Precious Memories

This is the last week of our six week term and we are all biting at the bit for a break.  This term has felt hard work, but not in a good way.  I’m still trying to rebalance my life after learning to sleep for the first time in forty years.  All you people out there who home school, blog and keep house in addition to sleeping, could you give me some tips on how to fit it all in?   I’ve lost six hours a day and I’m struggling to do all I need to!

We did manage to visit our pond this week, with camera in hand.  It was good to be back and we were all excited to see some gorgeous fluffy Mallard chicks:
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School is ticking along.  We are thoroughly enjoying our science this term and I am wondering why I didn’t think of doing science this way before.  We learnt about bacteria this week and are currently growing some very suspicious looking cultures:

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We are coming to the end of our project based plague unit.  I am beginning to realise that everything we do is a learning experience, even when it fails.  Whilst the children’s projects haven’t exactly been a failure, the experience of the past six weeks feels somewhat like one.  Don’t get me wrong, we are still adoring project work.  PBL fits us like a glove, however I have learnt that I need to ensure the children are getting topics which have enough depth in them to keep their attention.  The fact is, the black death could have been covered equally thoroughly in three weeks rather than six.  I can see the children dragging their feet and all three have a waning interest.  Believe it or not, I have had to press them to finish, even T12 ran out of steam at the end:

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A5 had something very exciting happen this week, when she lost her very first tooth.  She was over the moon.  I was somewhat sad.  My girls are growing up fast and furiously.  It made me determined to enjoy every moment of their childhood.  I’m not sure the older girls could be said to be going through childhood anymore.  They are growing into gorgeous young ladies, with their own personalities and their own style.  I snapped the picture of L11 doing the washing up because I was struck by how beautiful she was and what a lovely individual style she has developed.  I gave her the dress she is wearing and she teamed it with a material scarf which she turned into a belt and a gypsy blouse from a charity shop and head scarf:

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Although I haven’t got round to actually posting about it, we are still doing Mr Men school and the little ones are still thriving.  Each time I plan for the following week, I am struck by just how much educational content there is in each book:

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The little ones are also doing their bug school whenever the fancy takes them. To be honest, it happens incidentally more often than not and is usually associated with good weather. My children are fair-weather entomologists! A5 is showing me the ladybird she found, whilst B2 went hunting for caterpillars on Granny’s rose bushes.  I’m not sure why she’s giving me a thumbs up as she didn’t actually find any!  I also found some unused bug and butterfly kits which I had kept from the older one’s school, hoping they would one day come in handy. They have posters, stickers, a lampshade (?) and an information booklet. I intend to ‘strew’ these next week and see if they come up with any fun ideas how to use them:

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I also have been planning our two weeks off, which we are all excited about.  The children will be learning about Chaucer, Fibonacci, loom jewellery, and T will be teaching himself about animation.  Busy, busy but should be great fun as well as giving us a break from our normal routine.  And you know what they say…a change is as good as a rest!

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We’ve got so much to look forward to next week with friends visiting, good books to read, new skills to teach ourselves and a school room to complete.  Feeling very thankful for this life of mine.  I hope everyone else has an equally lovely week filled with lots of love, fun and family!

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    1. I had a huge grin on my face after reading your comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such loveliness, it really does make my day!

  1. I loved every bit of my school these past six weeks and believe me I learned so much about the plague😍

  2. Looks like fun as usual. It’s always hard to determine how long a study will take and how long interest will last. I struggle with knowing when to move on because we’ve lost interest and when to stick it out.

    1. It is all so new to me. Before I always made myself a list of I wanted to get done, but with PBL it is firmly in the child’s hands. It’s a big learning curve.

  3. I’ll tell you the trick to doing it all..WE DON”T DO IT ALL! I look around me and see the dishes stacked in the sink and three science projects still on the table (that’s why we ate outside tonight)! But, the important stuff gets done and it will for you too. I am so glad you are sleeping every night. That is such a wonderful gift.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I so get the whole eating else where when the table is chockablock full of school projects. We’re hoping it will improve once the school room is up and running.

  4. Wonderful memories and just love that photo of B with the thumbs up! They do grow up so fast, don’t they?

  5. I definitely don’t get it all done, but for the first time in our 15 year marriage, I now have a household planner, which I printed out from The Confident Mom site. It means that I now actually do some of the jobs that previously I would have until they were so disgusting that I couldn’t stand it anymore! Glad you’ve able to sleep now, x.

    1. Thank you for the recommendation, I might have to check that out, Gwen! I guess it’s just going to take time to get used to less time. I’m happy though, ‘cos I’m sleeping!!!

  6. Claire I always love reading your weeks. I am amazed by how much you get done. I feel like a slug at times with no inspiration. I love the pond pictures and the bacteria. I love reading about your PBL experiences and I know what you mean about learning even from ‘failures’. I know that when Keilee was younger she asked if we could please move on from The Civil War. She said we had been studying it longer than it lasted! 🙂 Happy weekend.

  7. I can totally empathise with your young fair weather entomologists!
    Beautiful pictures, Claire, of wonderful learning. I love reading these updates and seeing how your home-educating is evolving. It reminds me of the kind of things we are doing – only I am becoming very rubbish at chronicling things on my blog!

    1. Hello Lucinda! We’re all missing you in blog land! Although I always sort of imagine you in far off countries having lots of adventures!!

  8. I’m trying to think of great pieces of advice on fitting it all in once you’re actually sleeping and I don’t know that I can give them really.

    It looks like another glorious week of fun for ya’ll. I remember watching a friend’s kids for a week, and her daughter has hit the teen years where they alternate between wonderfully grown up and then a little kid again. I walked into the kitchen and did a double take thinking “where did this young woman come from?” It was shocking enough when it was my friend’s child, I can’t imagine what it’s like when it’s your own child.

    1. I took them for their first bra fitting and the lady thought they were 13. They’re only 11, but I still think of them as 2. I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to find this period in their life hard! Where are my babies???

  9. Oh, what sweet pictures. Your children have grown so much in just the year I have been following your blog. You are simply amazing! (Maybe simply isn’t the right word. Amazingly Amazing is more like it:))
    I will tell you, the older I get, the less I accomplish. Some days I look around and just shake my head.

    We have a friend whose daughter has a loom and she makes all kinds of things. She made a nativity scene that was amazing. I have seen a similar one on Pinterest. You should look it up. I don’t know how she does it!

    Thanks for sharing your busy week. It is always fun to have a peek at what y’all are up to across the pond.

    1. somebody else left a message today about the band looms saying you can make almost anything you want, and that I ought to have a look on pinterest. A nativity scene sounds like a wonderful project!

  10. I’m a little bit behind on everyone’s blogs (as usual!), but I just popped in to say that you’re experience with project-based learning, including the timing of projects, will probably be an evolving art. We’ve taken just a few too many reviews over the past couple of months and it’s nearly cut out our PBL out, but we’ve still had fun! We have several ideas that we’re wanting to work through though, so I think we needed this time to build some creativity back into our homeschool :-)…..I also wanted to say that I love the cell models for the bacteria study!

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