D is for Donut...and Dump

It's "D" week here, all week long. Seems a good enough excuse for a brain Dump. It's also "tweak week." I'm about four weeks into our new routine and it's taken me absolutely every waking second of those four weeks to reach my stride. Michael's absence echoes in this house--I feel it every time I go to lock the door at night and can't get over the feeling that someone is not yet home. And, I feel it every time I drive all over town and miss the tangible help with carpooling. And, I feel it when I have something to share and I look up to tell him and he's not here. He calls nearly every day and not because he has to, just because he wants to say hello. He's happy enough, though he's not playing as much as he'd like and he's working very, very hard. His schedule is not  his own and considering he's so close to home, we've hardly seen him at all.

But back to "tweak week." There are seven children in my house who need some sort of academic attention (this includes Gracie, who is definitely wanting her own work this year). We have two children preparing for sacraments (reconciliation, first Communion, and Confirmation). We have two with special needs. We have a nursing baby who is going to walk soon. And we have countless other unique factors to consider. I've tried to map this all out graphically. I've spent hours and hours talking about vision and scope and sequence with like-minded friends. But, in the end, we just had to live it for a while to figure it all out.

  • I've learned that Monday Night Geography is a huge hit.
  • I've learned that flower fairies are not just for girls and Elsa Beskow books are family favorites.
  • I've learned that Patrick will binge read Harry Potter but he needs a huge infusion of willfull suspension of disbelief or he's going to get kicked out of Hogwarts.   
  • I've learned that Teaching Textbooks are awesome. My new math goal in the younger grades is just to get them ready for Teaching Textbooks by fifth grade. I'm so NOT a math mind.
  • I've mostly figured out the driving and I live for Thursdays when I only have to take one child to one thing. The rest of the afternoons are painful. I don't like to drive. I do love my kids, though, and I see value in extracurricular activities. We sing a lot of Signing Time in the car. I love Rachel Coleman; she can get my baby to stop crying.
  • I've learned that my husband is enjoying the sidebar photo albums and the chance to see the children's work as they do it.
  • I've learned that Nicholas is not interested in learning letters out of order. He knows how to read and he doesn't care a whit about the letter quest someone else wrote. Instead, he wants to do the letter of the week with us and he's very, very serious about it. So, I've learned that I am going to have to write my own alphabet story. Fortunately, someone else is learning the same lessons and we can have some fun together with this one. Stay tuned; we're getting seriously creative here.
  • Mostly, I've learned that learning takes fire in my house when I have time to think and to plan and to read and then I have the courage to let go of those plans and sit back and see where God wants them to go.
  • Oh, and I've learned that in New Orleans (the site of Monday Night football this week), D is not for Donut at all. B is for Beignet.  And Daddy brought home beignet mix and we had to sell it to poor Nicky, who didn't want  to eat B food on D week. So,  D is Donuts from Dixie. We can cut them like Ds and Dust them with Domino sugar. They're Delicious.! See? Just keep tweaking until it fits.