Monday, January 29, 2007

Mind Your Manners!

Today turned out to be a pretty good day. In case you haven't noticed, school has been stressing me out a bit lately. I decided to take a proactive approach to the situation and accept that it was ME making it stressful.

    So to fix the situation, I've made some changes where they needed to be made: in me.
  • I've starting making Yoga a higher priority in my life. Higher than tv. Higher than... *gasp* ... sleep. I do feel better because of it and every night, I meditate on having more patience, wisdom and peace in my life.
  • I've tried to stop procrastinating. I try to do things when I think about doing them, rather than putting them at the bottom of that never-ending and never-shortening list of to-do items.
  • I've started saying yes. Can we read a book? Yes! Can you play a game with us? Yes! Can we have candy? NO! I may be saying yes a little more, but I'm not a complete pushover. ;)
  • Also in line with not being a pushover, I have stopped trying to be everything to everyone at once. School happens when I say it happens and it happens for the person I say it happens for - no more, no less. I just cannot go back and forth and back and forth between three kids. It's crazy to even try.

So with that general attitude adjustment in hand, I started the day by printing out the mailing labels for the February Homeschool Newsletter... even BEFORE I got the word that the newsletter was finished and ready for them. I've always waited until the last possible second to do it and then ended up all stressed out. Why?? I don't know. But this month I just realized that it would be smarter to just have them ready ahead of time and for the first time EVER, I wasn't the slightest bit stressed getting them ready. I was going to take the kids to the park after taking the labels to the post office (to mail to the person who mails out the newsletters - don't ask about the paper trail... it's crazy) but C&C were fighting all morning long. Oh they were fighting non-stop, but I didn't let it get to me. I stayed calm and simply told them that I wasn't about to take them to the park to be around other kids if they couldn't even get along with each other. And so we came right home even though they begged and bargained with me.

At home I put Greyson in bed, made grilled cheese for lunch, and then brought a couple of library books over to the table. We are hosting a Good Manners Tea Party for a couple of friends on Wednesday and so I had a small pile of books on table manners that we had not, of course, gotten around to. I read Polite as a Princess, a Disney Princess book, Dinner's Ready! A Pig's Book of Table Manners by Jane Gedye, and Mind Your Manners! by Diane Goode. To my surprise, Cameron asked me to read both the Princess one, lol, and the pig one twice. The one by Goode was actually based on an 1805 Spelling/Reading Primer so the language was a bit hard to grasp at times, but it did lead to an interesting discussion on life before electricity. I'm also reading From Hand to Mouth: Or, How We Invented Knives, Forks, Spoons, and Chopsticks & the Table Manners To Go With Them by James Cross Giblin as my bedtime reading. It's pretty interesting!

When everyone was done with lunch, I announced that it was time for Cameron to do his schoolwork. Cassia instantly went and grabbed her math book, lol. I told her that I really wanted to be able to give her 100% of my attention when we did her schoolwork, so I wasn't going to let them both work at the same time. She pitched a bit of a fit until I suggested that she work on her Little Mermaid digital coloring book while she waited for Cameron to finish. She jumped at the chance to use my laptop.

Cameron whizzed through a phonics lesson on "s" with the /z/ sound. He read like a pro and the more I complimented him, the better he did. Next he did two pages of math where the problems were in sets like 5 + 2 = __ and 15 + 2 = __. He really got the concept down. He did get a little hung up when the first sum was more than ten, as in 7 + 5 = __ and 27 + 5 = __, but once I reminded him how to count up on his fingers for that first problem he could do the second without hesitation. I think that settles the question of whether or not we should start doing drill work. I think not having those facts at his fingertips is holding him back a little. We finished up his school day with a little science. We did one final observation on his moldy bread and he correctly observed that the fungi need water in order to grow. I was ready to stop but he saw a word search on materials as the next activity and wanted to do that too. I read across each row and he told me when he recognized the name of a material, lol. It was actually a really fun way to do a word search.

He went off to play video games and Cassia lost no time in telling me that it was her turn now. First we did a couple pages on matching geometric solids with real life objects. She was really good at that. Somehow though, she's gotten it into her head that a sphere is called "rolls like a ball." ROFL. Next we did some counting and writing with the numbers 5 and 6. She liked the counting and tracing parts but wanted to put off the actual writing and "save it for tomorrow." So we moved on to phonics and we did a couple pages on the letter s. Again, once it got to the actual writing part her arm was too tired and she wanted to skip it. I have no problem with that at all. I'm actually really impressed that she's forming her letters and numbers as well as she is! She also did a really great job of remembering the sounds of s, r, p, t, and k, especially considering how irregularly we work on it!

Now they're both watching Robin Hood again, big surprise, and I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner. Roast chicken sound good to everyone? Anyway, fingers crossed that I can continue to do my yoga and my meditations regularly and keep a certain peace in my mind and my heart so that it can find the way into the rest of our lives. I hate being stressed. This is much more fun. :)

1 comment:

G said...

Isn't it nice when we're able to have/make things go more smoothly? I realized lately too that I am the primary source of stress when it comes to school, so I've been working on ways of combating that. Easier said than done many times, but I am trying! I used to do yoga and loved it, but just don't make the time for it anymore.

Off to have the kids practice good manners!