Being thankful for what God has provided us with is the key to happiness. That is what we read in our chapter of Life of Fred today. Such a simple truth that I quite often forget.

I was with a good friend yesterday, and I felt down because I was mentally comparing and believing she has it so easy and cozy because of her child's personality versus my child's (shame on me!). The teacher in me makes me want to fill the check boxes with marks, I want my daughters to excel, to follow the pace I believe optimal and that I see others able to follow. I become unreasonable and demanding, most specially with the oldest. But every child is unique, a person. I forget this (sigh). And when I forget, I become sad and discouraged. Jealousy and selfishness blind me to the blessings I have been given in abundance.

So, allow me to brag a bit and share my joys and my struggles. This I am sure is the medicine my soul needs.

We are currently in our 5th week of AO year 2

These are some joyous things:

* Wonderbook for Girls and Boys: my year 2 daughter is in love with this book.

* Pilgrim's Progress: both enjoy the readings and get the main picture of what it is being read. Maybe the key is that 800 words is not very long. I am able to read this at once and they enjoy these coloring pages.

* Understood Betsy: if I can make myself stop when I see a break is needed instead of insisting on finishing the assigned chapter that very moment, both girls enjoy it fully.

* Nature Walks: even if they not always draw, they enjoy our visits to a nearby sanctuary park with some friends.

* Hymns, folk songs, music and art
: finally this year we are regularly enjoying the music from a composer, looking at art by a painter and narrating it, and singing and dancing hymns and folk songs that delight us.

* Handwriting: both of my girls have wonderful handwriting. The oldest writes in cursive. Now she is almost finished memorizing the beatitudes, every month she has a long verse for our Bible, and all of this she does with joy and dilligence.

* Life of Fred: she learns and benefits much from this wonderful series. She is doing the questions in a piece of paper, that yes.

* Poetry. Both girls are enchanted by Walter de la Mare.


* History: the chapters to read every week have gotten lengthy. This coming week I am not going to write down the assigned sections for week 6, but I will write what we left undone this week, and maybe just part of week 6. I want a healing and tender week. I need to see if I can read a bit from every book every day instead of assigning a day per subject which gets intense and frustrating. All the section or chapter has been too much to read at once, but I have been unable to stop out of a sense of DUTY. This is wrong, the joy is going away when I try to finish something for the sake of finishing it.

* Math. I am with Jeanne. Changing curriculum is never the solution. Life of Fred is not a change of curriculum. It is our needed source for math reasoning and wonderfully written books that nurture our love for math. We are back to MEP. The challenge is mine. I need to take my advice and do not mind if she is now at almost eight, still working on the lessons of book 1B at my discretion. When my oldest shows that she tolerates what I give her, I tend to give her again more than she can chew, which only backfires. There is no need to forcefully finish at the expense of hating what is being done.

* Narration. I need to vary the lessons and keep them short, otherwise narration is becoming tedious and too much.

*Burgess Animal Book. This book, at two chapters per week, has become also a bit too fast pace for my girl to follow, narrate, and enjoy. Today we are, by my insistence, up to date, but we stopped and watched the you tube videos that someone collected in an excel paper at the cheat sheet ambleside group. I have a folder for the girls where they also glue the animals we read about. I must slow the pace so that we can all enjoy this book which we truly love. If mom can just keep it short for the day.

* Independent reading. My oldest still struggles with me suggesting her to read for 25 minutes. I am insisting on this one, but some easing her into this can be done on my part. Go to our guest room with a comfortable sofa and a bed, where I have two of my shelves full of nice books, maybe play music in the background, create a nice routine to inspire her to do this.

All things considered, I am committed to make this year a wonderful year for all. Even if we take a year and a half to finish all that I envisioned for one only year, (and I mean it), it will still be immensely profitable and joyful. I definitely need less planning and more praying!

Food For Thought: It may be possible that the ambleside years, even when you start them at seven or close to seven, and follow all of it from the beginning, are too much for some children. Maybe some abandon the program because of this inability to stay up to date or because they believe this type of books and practices are too much for their children. Just make ambleside fit your Charlotte Mason homeschool, and your Charlotte Mason homeschool fit your child. I will do that and keep sharing how it goes!

4 opinion(s):

Heather said...

You left out a big thing that is working for ya'll. Your kids are bilingual. When I read to my kids in Spanish, it is in the hope that my kids will learn a little Spanish. When you read to your kids in Spanish, it's for the enjoyment of the book and the language. That is huge. Your kids are learning to read and write in English and Spanish. And because of that, they may learn to read (in English) a little slower than their monolingual peers. But in the end, when one reads fluently in two languages, and the other can only read one language fluently, who has the advantage? I remember that conversation we had a while back about how we all tend to look at the other side of the pond and wish we had this or were doing that even if all those desires are incompatable. I love that D can read well. It is a joy to listen to her read to B or find her curled up with her Bible and a flashlight after B has gone to sleep. It is a joy. But, I look at ya'll, and listen to your kids converse with ease in two languages, and I want that. Even if it might be incompatible to seeing my daughter blossoming in the written language of her native tongue. Your kids are doing more than just fine.

Amy said...

My daughter finished Year 2 this past spring and we always felt rushed with the animal book to get to Pagoo in time. But then found out that there are no living books scheduled in Year 3 science until term 3. What a disappointment we rushed. With my future Year 2 students we will do the Animal Book spread out over 3 terms and move Pagoo to Year 3 Term 2 & 2. Since I mentioned it to the Yahoo group, I've seen others say they will do the same thing.

Silvia said...

Heather, thank you for your warm and heartfelt words. They truly picked me up and mean a lot. I love you guys. Your kids are doing more than just fine. They love life, learning, and they are best friends to others.

I thank God for your friendship, such a blessing and a treat!

Silvia said...

Amy. GREAT ADVICE. I love love being at the 2011 cohort yahoo group. What a treat to be in your nice company. I definitely will use the BAB for the whole year and move Pagoo. I was assuming that year 3 will be pretty well loaded, and had reservations about moving any book, but rushing books is even worse than leaving them for another year, even if we have to sacrifice another book... doing little meaningfully is far better than following the program superficially. But, live and learn! LOL. I am glad you will know better for your future year 2 students. The first one is always the one who breaks the ice and who shows the way.


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