St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm beginning to enjoy the evenings this time of year. We have lit up our firepit several times now and roasted marshmallows....a dream of my daughter' basically burn marshmallows and indulge in them in the cool of the newly arriving autumn evenings.

Our school days are full and enjoyable (again, where last year they were stressful due mostly to Michael's blossoming illness. But now, things have calmed and we have made strides forward in many areas. Even with life's circumstances such as the passing of my mother-in-law, we seem to be able to progress and be grateful, be patient and kind to one another. Our evening rosary unites us in a bond of prayer and family community.

It's already the end of our fourth week of school; I'm marking the weeks by our literature reading of Five in A Row; we end this week with A Pair of Red Clogs. Next week we begin (the optional book in the program) A Storm in the Night. Our cozy atrium reading area has been a joy and comfort this year! Both my younger ones resort to it voluntarily at times that strike their fancy to do so. I am so glad we took the time to prepare the area. I see a great schooling ahead and we've just begun.

This year is very different than last, as I have mentioned before. I think changing the environment so it does not resemble or have the same feel as last year, has helped, because last year - especially last semester - carries with it some bad memories of Michael's falling ill and being hospitalized and many stressful moments at home. It's amazing how an environmental change can bring about a healthy change for the better.

And so we continue on...apparently doing well in the religion department, as when I ask my 5 year old what he learns at school, he often replies: .."I learn all about God". We will just keep that going....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The last week brought some major changes to our lives. My dear mother in law passed away at age 84, peacefully, surrounded by family. Her "memory prayer card" has several beautiful old masters depictions of Mary, St. Joseph with Jesus as a child, the Holy Family, St. Therese with pink roses and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all inscribed with the Prayer of St. Francis on the back. My mother in law lived a truly giving life, a nurse of 35 years in a Catholic hospital on the psychiatric floor; and raising five children. This week we reminisce with many fine memories and photos and stories; my father and mother in law were married for 62 years, so there's a lot to pour over.

Keep your family close - life is all too short - don't hug a tree, hug a person.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Living a Learning Lifestyle

Although my dynamics have changed since I last posted this two years ago, our "Living a Learning Lifestyle" hasn' we accomplish that has been altered and adapted to our family dynamics, so it's interesting to contrast with it...which I will do in my next post. In the meantime, isn't this a beautiful fall image?

The last two years of homeschooling have been tough for us for several reasons; so I was determined to change the dynamics in our approach this year. I have our eighth grader and tenth grader together in the morning after breakfast and prayers with everyone, doing math in our one-room schoolhouse-diningroom :) Long ago, we use to do almost all our school subjects together this way -- then, babies and further distractions led to some dispersing to rooms and other corners of the house for subjects.

However, I'm bringing the bigger ones back together and we are doing math together - I'm right there for them; I go through the chapter concept in geometry with our oldest son. We love the book: Jacob's Geometry (Euclidean). Our seven year old keeps our almost three year old busy with books and puzzles and play while we do math, religion and latin. Then comes lunch; after lunch, I go over all the subjects per syllabi that are left, and some can be done in bedrooms after that -- THEN, I sit with our second grader and "do school" with him for the day. Now and then an older one will check back with me -- while all the while we have popped in a DVD for the youngest one to keep his interest away from us. Used sparingly, this can be a great little resource trick :) We like to use "learning" videos and DVDs; recently it's been The Letter Factory. When we are all finished, I spend some one on one time with our youngest -- and by then, it's usually time for a nap (for both of us!)

So far, this is working. We seem happier and more productive -- the teens seem happier to have me more involved in overseeing more for each subject and commenting on it/guiding it more - but not looming over them the entire time, and allowing them some independent work breathing room. I'm happier, because I can stay abreast of exactly where they are at (I feel I did not do the greatest job of that the last couple years - but I was pretty fragmented due to other distractions in my life) and I can grade right away -- esp. math. I have my daughter begin to check her own math work with the key right away.

This is only our third week, and it's the full one that we worked up to. We are chickens here - just starting with math, then adding in religion, latin and grammar the following week, then finally, all the subjects. We also have piano and art lessons and our own mix of physical education mingled amongst this academia.

Hoping to keep a good pace going.....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

School Days

Our home school is underway, we began yesterday. And what a lovely cooler day to begin school...well, OK, the gas company came and dug up our driveway again...sigh...and it was pretty noisy! That was about the sixth time this summer. What a mess and inconvenience but if they are keeping us safe than I shall not complain :) ..until the next time, which they tell me will be the final and major project of changing around gas lines and relocating our riser.

Mark is taking to "school" like a fish in water. He seems to really enjoy it and wanted it to go on all day...he's just "K" this year, so I'm glad I stocked my shelves with some special items for him to explore while I help with 5th grade and 11th grade.

Michael has a different math this year; we felt it would help with his OCD difficulties to try a workbook format. He seems to like it. He's about a year ahead of himself in math, and the continued rigor of this should accommodate him. I'm glad I didn't go with a computer based math program. He needs things that are portable to keep him busy and he could easily take his math workbook with him to appointments, etc. He also has a fun Latin word puzzle book to accompany his new Latin study of Latina Christiana I. He really loves Latin, and I threw in a "Reader" which he has already nearly attempted to read half of.

Jamie is finishing up a bird project from her Natural Science study of this last semester of her sophomore year. Her new science is Biology; we use Apologia by J. Wile. She seems to be enjoying it. I'm not sure she'll enjoy Spanish/English Medieval History too much...maybe just Richard the III. Otherwise, she is doing Algebra II and Spanish II along with Introduction to the Bible by Fr. John Laux, all of which will keep her busy as well as Karate and piano lessons.

Doug of course is underway with his college studies; so far he is really enjoying his Liberal Arts class and his advisor that is teaching it. Today he begins with his Drawing class and is really looking forward to meeting the instructor and getting started. After having formal art classes for the last eight years, it's good that art is such a big part of his studies each morning this semester.

I have much to do and need to get moving. Have a great day wherever you are!