I'm noticing a trend, as I do these weekly wrap-ups: every week, I look back on the week and feel like it was very busy. This week was no different, though we had some different sorts of activities going on! I had lots of frosting stuff to do, between the class I am taking, and the class I taught this week. I am pleased to say that we did a good job on school too, in spite of all the craziness this week. We almost got healthy this week. In fact, my husband and I are both doing much better. But Monkey, poor little sausage, caught the fever thing that's going around. I'm having a hard time deciding if it's influenza or a sinus infection, though now that it's the weekend and I can't take him in until Monday, I'm leaning toward the sinus thing. So there may be a trip to the doctor in the near future for us. When I called thinking that it might be the influenza, they told me that I should keep him home and just treat his symptoms. Ugh. It'd sure be nice to get all three of us healthy again!
Phonics: Nothing fancy this week, just keeping up the blending practice. We used just a piece of paper I'd folded in quarters one day. I wrote the letters on it while we snuggled - we're working on 2 letter blends with short /a/ - and then helped Monkey "read." I knew his attention was done when he wanted my pen, so then he colored all the letters I'd just written. We practiced blending the syllables on my shirt the other day. (It had Grumpy the Dwarf on it, and said "Grumpy" in big fancy letters.) He asks all the time, "What does ___ start with?" We're having a good time with reading. Hopefully in this next week I can get organized enough to get some of our games out again. I can see that he could still use some extra practice telling b from d. We also played with our food:
Math: We did our math with food. We spent a lot of time playing with food this week. It worked. Monkey cracked eggs and counted them up as we went along a couple of times. We also got Anno's Counting Book in the mail, which is such a fun book! It has no words at all, only numbers on one side of the pictures, and cubes that look like base-10 blocks on the other side of the pictures, and a beautiful watercolor scene in the middle. We read it several times, but I was too busy to get my Math Expressions book out and figure out what the "official" use is supposed to be. I think the first thing you do with the book is just read it anyway. Not that it matters. We would likely have just read it regardless. It's a great read. We had a lovely time, all snuggled up and counting. This is going to be a fun math program.
Nature Study: We didn't do tons. I did get him to a park early in the week. I turned him loose out of our truck and then sat back to see what he would do. He ended up noticing several different kinds of seeds and doing a lot of seed crunching. I took some pictures, but I don't know what's happened to them. It was really laid-back. I was thinking about Masterly Inactivity at the time, and I felt like it worked beautifully, though we didn't have time to stay as long as either of us would have liked.
But we must get clearly into our heads what we mean by masterly inactivity. Carlyle's happy phrase has nothing in common with the laisser allez attitude that comes of thinking 'what's the good?' and still further is it removed from the sheer indolence of mind that lets things go their way rather than take the trouble to lead them to any issue. It indicates a fine healthy moral pose which it is worth while for us to analyse. Perhaps the idea is nearly that conveyed in Wordsworth's even more happy phrase, 'wise passiveness'. It indicates the power to act, the desire to act, and the insight and self-restraint which forbid action. But there is, from our point of view at any rate, a further idea conveyed in 'masterly inactivity.' The mastery is not over ourselves only; there is also a sense of authority, which our children should be as much aware of when it is inactive as when they are doing our bidding. The sense of authority is the sine quâ non of the parental relationship, and I am not sure that without that our activities or our inactivity will produce any great results. This element of strength is the backbone of our position. 'We could an' if we would' and the children know it––They are free under authority, which is liberty; to be free without authority is license.
Memory: Monkey is doing so well with this! I forgot to do a thing with Who Has Seen the Wind?, but we've been very consistent with the Bible verses we're doing. He's getting quite good at saying Romans 8:16, and we added 2 Timothy 1:7 this week. I'm hoping that the 2 Timothy verse will help him overcome his fear of the dark, which is why I chose that one. It's too soon to tell for sure how effective that's going to be, but I'm hopeful.
Art: I was reminded what the difference between product-oriented art is (I want this to be beautiful) and process-oriented art (This is enjoyable; let's do it some more!) We had some of both, though it was mostly me worrying about my product, and Monkey enjoying his process. Not surprisingly, this mostly worked itself out in food this week, though I did make my first contribution to the Giraffe Man's Giraffe Collection. This was another place where we saw product vs. process in our art this week. My giraffe picture is hung up on the wall; Monkey's got chopped to smithereens after he finished coloring, because cutting is so enjoyable. And that's OK.
Mom's Ed: This is really the source of all the food in our education this week. I'm in the middle of my 3 weeks of fondant class, so there is cake and fondant around. I need to practice and when I last asked Monkey if he wanted to "do fondant class" with me, he lit up like a Christmas tree. His eyes sparkled, he bounced on his tippy-toes, and he said, "Please!" So we did fondant class. I'd do it again with him, but he's sick. We'll do it more after he's better. But I did get my first fondant cake done.
I was also teaching an icing class this week. I was teaching how to do my fancy cookies, and I learned some in the process of teaching. For one, I need to control things a bit more carefully when I do the classes. Several of the things I've taught at church over the past year had "iffy" results, and they could have been better if I'd delegated less. There's a fine balance between getting your students to be hands-on, and making sure that everything is set up properly. I think that I need to be a bit more careful in my set-up so that I can make sure that they have success at the class. Success in the class is so important to having confidence to try again on your own! I also learned that 2 classes in one day is too much. Next time they want a morning and an evening class, we'll have to separate them in time. Two in one day was too much for Monkey.