Summer Begins!

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I’ve been depressed. I’d say more, but that pretty much sums it up.

But summer is coming, windy and cold as it may be here, and I’m finally crawling out of my self-pity cocoon and am becoming a bit more hopeful about life here in the North. The kids were released from school on Friday, and we’ve had almost a whole week off. We had a family barbecue Monday evening, and I got the kids signed up for Tee-ball. Little Bit was thrilled. The Boy was happy but kind of clueless. And Big Girl was annoyed, because she was nine, and the cut-off age for participants was eight. However, she’d missed the signups for Little League and they were already well into their season. Luckily, after the first practice, she was allowed to join. She has zero experience with baseball, so aside from being slightly taller than most of the players, she has no real advantages due to age, so I think she’ll fit in fine.

We spent a cold and windy hour at the field tonight. I retreated to the van to hide until it was over. Not like my presence was really necessary anyway. Instead, I pre-read the rest of our family read-aloud (The Borrowers!) and watched my kids fumble their way through attempting to catch balls whenever I glanced up.

They were assigned to the Gold Team for a split-team game this Saturday. Not one of them knows what’s going on, I don’t think, but they are having fun! Little Bit wanted to know if there would be a trophy involved, because she thought she ought to get one, and would I be proud of her if she did? She’s always aiming for praise, that one.

I planted some flowers. Per The Lease, I maybe, uh, should not have, but I did anyway. I planted some in containers, too. My mother bought me a lovely hydrangea tree, and I put it inside because it’s still occasionally freezing at night. Then the cat got in and… peed in it.

Speaking of the cat, Little Bit and The Boy were treated to a lovely presentation of feline mating right out on the patio. I’m a bad kitty keeper, because I hadn’t yet fixed Mika and she… well… was in heat and escaped the garage to find a (sole?)mate. Basically, Grumpy Cat’s longhaired twin. No joke. Little Bit had been quite interested, weeks ago, in “cat sex” so this was a… er… special occasion for her. She was in awe/horror/disgust/amusement over the whole thing, and couldn’t wait to tell grandma that the “cat had sex!!!” and might have kittens. The Boy was just concerned that the male cat was biting her and it didn’t look very nice to him.

Kids are getting some, er, wholesome education there, let me tell you!

I’m thrilled to be done with school. Little Bit’s last couple months of first grade were harrowing, considering the sheer volume of reading she was expected to do. I confess – I cheated. I signed off on it after she’d read each story only once, because there was just no way I was spending 3-4 hours a night having her reread these bloody things over and over again. It’s just /too much/ for a six year old who’s already struggling with reading. A half hour of reading a night after six hours in school is plenty, in my opinion. Heck, my second grader, The Boy, only had to read TEN MINUTES a night. (We read thirty. That’s our house rule. He often reads for an hour or more just because he likes it.) But it would often take close to an hour for Little Bit to read all 3-6 stories she had to read a night, plus one non-assigned book a week for a book report, plus do writing homework assignments… and it’s just… yeah. Too much. So I’m glad it’s over.

Big Girl is glad, too, because she’s going to be homeschooled next year. I’m not entirely sure what she thinks it will be like, but she is excited for it, because school has always been nothing but trouble for her. We’re starting our school year officially in July and going mostly year-round, but we’re doing some ‘light’ work over June, just to keep on task for two reasons – first, because kids lose things so fast at those younger ages; and secondly, because in all honesty, they could all use it anyway, both the continuing education and the routine.

This first week, we’ve begun a new morning work routine, where we are starting some memory work, then following with some drawing while I read to them aloud. Doing the read-aloud in the morning as a routine will hopefully mean we’ll get to it more often. We’ve been bad about getting it done before bed at night thanks to bedtime struggles and The Boy’s attention problems after his meds wear off.

The memory work is new, but something I think they could all benefit from. Little Bit just likes it. The Boy has a fabulous memory already and it would be nice if he’d use it for something besides memorizing entire phone conversations I’ve had and repeating them into his fake one to his imaginary friend. (Yes. Really.) And Big Girl…. needs it. Like, /needs/ it. She has a wicked combo of poor attention, poor memory, and poor recall, and she needs the practice to exercise those brain ‘muscles’. The repetition and routine will help her immensely. I hope. We’re using the Charlotte Mason memory box system. Here’s what we’re currently working on:

  • My phone number (Little Bit and The Boy still struggle here)
  • Our new addresses (mailing and physical)
  • Their birthdates (the years are the hard part for them)
  • Counting from 0-24 by twos. (precursor to the 2 times table)
  • Counting from 036 by threes. (precursor to the 3 times table)
  • The poem “Little Things” by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer

We’ll add to this as we work, but those are our starting cards!

I’m also having the kids continue their daily Xtra Math facts practice, and we’ve added in daily lessons from CTC Math as well. This is going to be Big Girl’s math program this coming year, and I got a great deal for homeschoolers that let me add Little Bit and The Boy to it as well so they can supplement their own school studies. They seem to like it, but we’ll see how it actually works after a few months of using it.

Also, as usual, the kids must read 20-30 minutes daily. They get to pick what to read during this time, but I’m working on having them complete books instead of just reading a few pages, then switching.

We’ve also begun beginner piano lessons. I’m having to somewhat reteach myself as well, because it’s been years since I’ve played, but I recall enough to at least give them basic lessons for now!

Next week, we begin a slightly more fleshed out June program, and then in July, our year will really start up for school!

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