Friday, January 25, 2013
Seven Quick Takes
While the northern part of the country is frozen in an Arctic air mass, I saw narcissus almost in flower when I was driving to my doctor's appointment yesterday. Living in Mississippi throws me for a loop sometimes. I had just settled myself in for winter, but now -- spring! Anyway, it's coming, y'all. It'll get up there eventually.
Since I finished the books I was reading, I've been prowling around, starting books and casting them aside and then sighing plaintively that I have "nothing to reeeeead." I would tell my kids to look at the shelves, but that's my problem: I keep pulling books off the shelf, trying them out, and thinking, that's not really what I want at all. It's like when you're hungry for a snack and you go into the kitchen and start opening all the cabinets and there's a lot of food there but in order to get what you really want, you'd have to cook something, so you just settle for the bag of chips. Well, I guess it's not like a Jared Diamond book (he of Guns, Germs, and Steel fame) is really comparable to "chips", but that's kind of what it feels like. I keep seeing books listed and reviewed online that sound good, but then I think, would I really like them? Oh, the plight of the neurotic bibliophile.
We got George and the twins Kindles for Christmas so they could listen to audio books and also, so that hopefully at some point they could actually use them to read on. What happens now is that the Kindles are on ALL DAY LONG, usually on the same book at different places but in the SAME ROOM. Without head phones. And then there are TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. Technical difficulties! Do you know what males do when there are technical difficulties with machinery? I am ready to toss every single electronic thing we own out to the curb. Except my computer. You can't have that.
I'm not exactly suffering from burn-out this year, but I'm not operating on the "super-homeschooler" level either. Everybody is kind of sort of unschooling, except for the very basics, which is about what I can get organized every day and still keep people fed. The twins seem happier using workbooks, at least for certain subjects. Dennis even cheered the other day when I told him it was time for a spelling test. His older siblings stopped and stared at him in surprise and horror.
To be honest, even the kids who don't cheer for spelling tests seem to be doing better when the skill subjects are approached with a no-frills but consistent approach. For instance, I had originally thought that Teaching Textbooks would be a good fit for my dyslexic 9 year old, but he got so frustrated trying to follow what they did on the screen only in his head. Using the book along with the screen seemed beyond him. I gave up and switched to Saxon -- yes, evil Saxon -- and I've noticed a lot of improvement. For one thing, he only grabs his head and moans sometimes, not every day. And for another thing, his reversals have diminished to the point that reversing a number has become the exception for him, not the rule. I attribute this to actually having to write the numbers down. Gee. Maybe he needed some practice? Anyway, I find it humbling that so often it's my own preconceived notions that stand in the way of my kids' learning.
We're still going our merry way with the content subjects: literature, history, science. Even though it seems like we've not been getting much accomplished this year, when I look back on all the books we've read together, I'm forced to admit that it's been a very, very good year for read-alouds. Plus, see #3. And hurrah for Audible credits. That's how my boys are listening to the entire Redwall series.
My five year old somehow talked me into letting him make foil boats and float them in the bathroom sink. With the two year old. While I'm sitting in the other room, listening. So you can tell how my afternoon has gone, if I have gotten to this point. For one thing, I pulled an entire roll of toilet paper out of the toilet. And then I revised my dinner plans from "Tahini Baked Salmon with Roasted Beets and Chard" to "Let's Slap some Quesadillas Together and Who Needs a Vegetable." In the doctor's office yesterday, I read The Food Lover's Cleanse in the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
Yeah, my life is nothing like that. But it was fun to read anyway.
More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!