A big in breath

While we tend to take off most of December, we are so busy with crafting, baking, shopping, and other Christmas related activities, that it doesn’t feel like downtime.

Now that Christmas is past, I feel this sudden space to breath in and assess where we are and where I want to head for the new year.

I started by going to the library on my own this afternoon to work on planning for the rest of the school year. I have already finished my first and fourth grade planning for the year, but I still had high school to work on. We are supposed to start back Monday and I had nothing written in for our daily plans! I know which blocks we are doing but I needed to work out the detailed planning.

I was putting off high school planning because I’ve been really unsure of where we are headed with high school.

The last two months have been very hard with my tenth grader as he was in a play that was consuming most of his time and headspace. We also were using Udemy courses for the first few months, which felt like a break for me, but I don’t think it was the best choice for him. He likes more interaction with learning.

So, now that we are coming out at the tail end of 2019, I am feeling more clear on where to go. We are doing a month of chemistry in January, which is something he loves. That will be a good way to ease back into things. I’m also going to start getting more serious about writing up his transcripts now that I have a book on the topic (Setting the Record Straight).

Week wrap up

We went on our lantern walk for Martinmas with our homeschool co-op.

Practicing the names and sounds of the alphabet that my first grader has learned so far:

Working through the Norse myths with my fourth grader. We only have one more week of Norse myths left!

And his music lesson and form drawing:

Monday, part 1

We were down one child today, as my teen was out of town at a concert. It was still very much a Monday, though. Here is our day in pictures. I’ll be writing a follow up post, that’s more reflective.

Copy and verse memorizing work.

Fourth grader knitting. He’s making a sweater for his little brother.

Painting from a Norse story with my fourth grader. He wanted to use paper that would fit in his main lesson book.

Painting with my first grader. I accidentally grabbed the wrong red and we leaned first hand why we need the circle colors. 😂 Carmine red doesn’t quite mix the same way with yellow. You can see my prop painting above, with a lovely golden color for the goose. But we made it work.

I had to snap a picture of my toddler. He always wants to paint with us, but what a mess still! This photo was after he’d dumped the tiny bit of rinse water I’d given him. But the pleasure is in the process and I know it’s good for him to experience painting.

Rainy Wednesday

Some pictures from today and yesterday. The rain has come, thankfully! I love this time of year.

The tenth grader’s work for the week. He’s working at his own pace, which he seems to really like. He is feels more in charge of his time this way. He only comes to me for help with his math, as needed.

The first grader was writing a summary today. (I erased the first pay to help her keep track of where she was in copying it down into her main lesson book).

The fourth grader and I had another painting lesson to go along with the story of Sif’s golden hair. Mine is on the left, his is on the right.

His summary from yesterday combined with a grammar lesson (underlining).

He’s also learning cross-stitch, making a beanbag.

Some wall signs I’ve made this week:

The toddler doing his work.

Bumpy roads

Yesterday we started out our day at home, like usual, but things didn’t go as planned. Against my better judgement, my teen had been out late three nights in a row, which meant he was exhausted. This led to an atypical morning and I accepted that he likely wouldn’t be getting any school work done before we had to run off to play practice at 11:30. When the time came to leave, I’d finished my first grader’s work but not yet main lesson for my fourth grader. I saw it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we packed up our things and took to the park.

We are in the middle of a Norse mythology block. Yesterday we discussed Loki’s story and painted from it.

This morning I managed to quietly get out of bed before the toddler and had the house to myself while I did a quick tabata. I took the trash out to the curb and got to see the full moon and the sunrise.

When I woke at 4 am this morning, I woke with a sudden word in my head: control. This is the problem for my teen. He feels like I’m trying to control him. We’ve been having huge struggles with him lately. I mean, to keep it in context, I know it isn’t that bad. He still wakes up every morning and comes to me for a hug; he’s not drinking or doing drugs; he’s not sneaking out at night, etc. But we’ve been having big struggles with finding balance between freedom and responsibility. He’s such a different person that I am, that I find it leads me to loose my patience with him and fall into old habits of exerting control, which in turn just make him buck more wildly.

So, back to this word that came to me. I realized suddenly that I need to stop trying to exert my force on him, because when he feels like he isn’t in control of his own life, it just makes things worse.

Parenting pushes and stretches me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I know people think I have it all together but I mess up so often. I suppose that’s all we can do. Mess up, dust off, make amends and go forward.

More from our week

We are getting into our school rhythm more. Finished up week two today! following are some photos from grade 10 and 4. The tenth grader is doing a LA/history block called ‘The Word’ (on udemy) which is a history of the written language, more or less, with some ancient history mixed in. The fourth grader is doing a mapping/local geography block.

For a back to school present, I gave my 10 year old his own set of watercolors. He’s been doing a lot of painting on his own. I love his artwork so much, I had to share a bit of it.

Winter Solstice

The darkest day of the year has passed. This turning of the wheel is such a special time. It feels so different than the summer solstice. Each year that we celebrate, it feels calmer and more reverent.

We made sun bread to start the day.

We also made pizza, which I like to make on the solstice as it is big and round like the sun.

As the sun began setting, we went outside to build a fire. We kept it burning while we ate dinner (inside, as it’s very cold out!). We then headed out to burn our Yule log after dinner.

Every year, we get a log of wood and wind cotton string all around it. We then sit and discuss what intentions we want for ourselves in the new year and we write it on small bits of paper. These papers get tucked into the string and the log then gets placed into the fire. Last night, the moon was very full and the sky was clear. It was a perfect night for a solstice fire!

Tonight was our spiral walk with our co-op. There was rain forecasted, so we set it up inside. It was lovely!

And so, winter is here again!

The first half of December

December is well under way. We’ve had plenty happening and much more breathing out time in the coming weeks.

Our advent spiral for this year.

As part of our third grade journey, we learned about Hanukkah, which lasted all of last week. My third grader made a menorah and helped light it each night. On the first night, we said a traditional prayer during the lighting. We read lots of library story books about Hanukkah. We made latkes and challah. We made dreidels out of two kinds of clay. (We also made some Christmas tree ornaments.)

We celebrated St Nicholas’ day. No pictures, as I forgot. St Nick brought everyone chocolate coins and wool socks.

This week, we are celebrating St Lucia’s day, which is tomorrow. In preparation, today we made lussekater (Lucy buns), pepparkakor (small ginger cookies), a crown for my daughter and two star boy hats for my sons. They plan on waking up before me tomorrow morning and brining it in to me for breakfast. It may be tricky to wake up before me, as my baby is an early riser. It’ll be fun either way!

Autumn wreath

We collected some autumn leaves a few days ago and melted some beeswax. (Our beeswax is red because I added some old bits of colored beeswax candles to our pot.)

We then dipped the leaves in the wax. All of the kids had a go at it. They were dry within minutes.

To assemble the wreath, I hot glued the leaves onto an old wooden wreath base that I had in my garage. It is lovely!