Sunday, January 18, 2015

Keeping the Balance Between Schooling and Life

Week 3 Part 2 - January 12, 2015

Oh, that balance between schooling and life is NOT easy for sure. This week was a challenge, balancing our schooling momentum and planning for S's birthday party. We, I mean, I, did it though. I am glad to be on the other side of that big event, and now I can focus on my husband's birthday party. 

I don't usually share shots of "other things" here on the blog, but I decided to share a couple shots of the salon results and the cake I've been alluding to in my last few posts.
S chose leopard print nails.
This cake is yellow cake, with teal vanilla french buttercream frosting. The sugar work is actually poured isomalt. Disney Frozen anyone? "Let it go...let it go...."

All in all, a fun party.

On to what really matters on the blog, school last week. For the above reasons, the pictures are little lighter this second half of the week. 
S learned to iron and really enjoyed this task. I think she felt it was almost meditative once I, the guide got off her back and trusted her enough to not burn herself. 

This is a practical life lesson for the Primary sequence. The direct aim of this work is to develop independent care of the environment. The indirect aim of this work is to help develop movement coordination. 

I purchased this small table top ironing board and this travel sized iron. This ironing board is rather large, and is pretty sturdy and tip-resistant. Good for kids who aren't necessarily going to know how hard to push down. This iron gets pretty hot and irons well for something so light. There are no numbers on the dial. So I put a red dot indicator with a Sharpie at the right dial setting for cotton fabrics. My only qualm with the iron is that it doesn't have a round handle. It comes with a molded handle form that you grip as you can see in the picture above. I filled the iron with water not thinking that it would simply be easier to use a spray bottle instead of messing around with the steam setting. (There is no way that I am going to be able to catch the clothes for this lesson straight from the dryer set to the "iron-ready" setting. So dry clothes is what we iron, and in order to iron them, we need to spray them to make them damp.) S is using D's table to set up her table top ironing board. 

A note to all you parents teaching lefties out there. This lesson needs some tweaking!!We set up the work stations from left to right as is indicated in the KotW albums. The wrinkled laundry basket was on the floor to the left of the work space. The ironing board was in the middle. And because our other laundry basket is being used for something else entirely, I used our small clothes line to hang the ironed garments to the right of the work space. 

Now, the lefty part. Lefties iron the opposite way from righties, or they do at least as far as I can tell. (I talked with my lefty Dad who couldn't seem to remember how he irons anything.) We set up the ironing board for S with the point to the right. We draped the shirt around the point and she held the shirt collar and yoke with her right hand and gripped the iron with her left hand. When she irons, instead of ironing from left to right and top to bottom, as the album suggests, lefties must iron from right to left and of course from top to bottom. S ironed from the collar to the shirt tails in this manner. (And I would have said from waist to hem on the pants but I see that she didn't do the pants this way.) This way, if there are pleats in the back of the shirt, she could lift the yoke with her assisting right hand, to iron them appropriately with her left hand. (She hasn't gotten these more complex ironing techniques. And now that I read the album, you start with clothes anyway, so there isn't a bunch of fiddling around.) So, to sum up, I hope this doesn't complicate reading from left to right.

The iron rests on the board to her left. The iron itself is made for righties since the cord comes out of the right side of the unit. If it were in my right hand, (I am right handed) the cord would extend to the back of the iron. For S, the cord extends to the front of the iron. Weird huh! (For me, it felt really weird presenting this lesson with my left hand. So weird.)

Anyway, S did just fine with this lesson. Her movements were slow and graceful and this was her concentrating face. With some practice, she just might be able to iron OUT more wrinkles that she irons IN.
T also asked to do this lesson and here he is ironing his own Sunday church shirt. We swung around the other side of the ironing board as you can see and the set up was once again, left to right. T did a great job ironing and hanging up his shirt afterward. He even wore it to church today.
You may have noticed that one of the items on T's Work Plan list was grammar boxes. Last year, T sped through all the initial presentations for each part of speech. This year, he is going back through and exploring each one in more depth. The above box is one of the verb boxes.

He has 25 boxes to go through and he is checking all of my grammar card work to see if all the cards match up. Does anyone out there know if there is a reason the child should do the grammar boxes in order? Or is it okay to skip around? Is there some reason the child should do the second verb box before they proceed to the third verb box, or the adverb boxes?

 This is a preposition box.

T didn't know which part of speech what "to" was. So he looked it up in the dictionary.
S already counted the hundred chain, and the thousand chain and now she is slowly counting her way through the other bead chains. Here she is counting the short 8-chain.

The direct aim for this lesson is to give the child further experience with linear counting and skip counting. The child will count the beads on each chain and use corresponding labels to mark multiples. In this case, S is marking 1-8 and multiples of 8 up to 8^2 since this is the square chain. This work extends for a while. After initially counting each chain, the child can also compare the chains and their corresponding tags and find common multiples. These chains also help to demonstrate square and cube quantities when the chains are folded as well as geometric polygons which the chains are shaped into figures.
Here S thought it a good idea to dust the bead cabinet.

T helped D with the red rods. I write more about the red rods here.

S is still working on those Waseca animal biome readers! Speaking of which, I need to keep working on laminating the rest of them. My crystal ball says that my life will shortly become less "frozen" and more "laminating-hot."
D is working with our penny board. Here 100 pennies equal a dollar. This work also works out that pincer grasp. We got this and our other money boards from Hello Wood.
 Just acting cute (and not so much like a baby anymore *sniff*.)
In searching for something else I found this work in the closet. It is a lacing work by...Melissa and Doug? Don't quote me on that. Anyway, S gave D a very good lesson on how to W-sit...I mean on how to do these lacing boards. (I think that S wore this outfit nearly every day last week.)

And finally, a word about those work plans. So far I think they are working. (No pun intended.) It has only been a weeks time, so I guess the verdict is still out with the jury. We revisited their work journal work plan lists mid-way through the week and discussed what work they had chosen to do, what they didn't decide to do and what should they focus on the rest of the week. This conversation was light in tone and without judgement. We don't make this list an "absolutely must complete" list.  Just like party planning took over the last part of my week, there are life-related events that at times will take the kids' attention away from their regular work. Life just happens. At the same time life happens, so does life happen. Life imposes, must-dos on all of us, and as responsible adults, and children, we must recognize these must-dos and do them ahead of all else. It is my intent to demonstrate to T, S, and later D, that we all prioritize our activities, and that prioritizing can change, and must change, as we feel is responsibly necessary. Hopefully our lists will eventually be living lists that reflect our goals, preferences, and progress.


  1. Regarding D, I think kids grow more in the month of December than any other month. I think it's the holiday food. I've been stunned by the growth of several friends' kids last month including D.

    S, dusting that shelf WAS a good idea. Tell her I wish she were here to dust MINE.

    Will show Kal-El the pics of T doing the grammar boxes to help light a fire under his but.

    Truman is sitting next to me eating a bone/stick thing that a flute student's mom gave him yesterday. I think it might be filled with cocaine. At any rate, gave me time to type comments on these wonderful posts I've been reading on my iPad. I don't like to type comments on my iPad.

    1. My kids certainly like to grow in the middle of the winter. Right out of their winter clothes I just got them a few months prior, and way before it is time to get them spring time clothes. Haha, holiday food. :) D just shot up, but it is likely that he is still only in the 19% for height. (He's a little sturdy guy.)
      S probably would help you dust every surface in your house and sweep up too, and put things away, but sometimes not in places where you'll be able to find them again. She really likes a clean organized environment. She goes around with the brush and dust pan after every lunch to pick up everything her brothers dropped on the floor. We don't have a dog..
      T like the "fire under his butt" part.
      Nice to have you posting again!

  2. Awesome week! And it sounds like you have found the perfect use of the work plans and work journals! Yay!

    I do the FILLER boxes in order, but before a child is done with all filler boxes, we can move on to the next grammar box ---- that way the child is constantly reviewing by going back and doing the rest of the filler boxes, while also working on later boxes.

    With that said, my son preferred to focus on one part of speech at a time; and we did an oral review with each new grammar box (since the later ones DO continue to use previously taught parts of speech.

    1. Yes, that is what I meant, filler boxes. Thanks for this tip. I'll let T know that he can do any stack he wishes, but that he needs to do the "stack" in order. Verb 1, verb 2, and then verb 3 etc. (I say stack since we stack our boxes.)

      Yay for work plans for sure. Now onto really getting used to working WITH the work plans. :) This is such an important skill to learn. It is one that comes naturally to me, a planner and a list maker, but for others organizing their thoughts like this isn't intuitive. I don't know how I learned how to do this...but I do know that it wasn't something taught in school. All I remember was, here is an assignment report. It is due on this date. Turn in something that is this many words, has this many bibliography references, and margins this size. I don't remember ever being taught HOW to accomplish a task like this. I think it is so fortunate we, as homeschoolers are able to explore and practice skills like this before it becomes imperative in real life.

  3. I was definitely on a cloud during the wedding, but my husband was so happy with how organized and hardworking our event planner was during and after our party. Thank you so much for making our event so amazing!