We are in the midst of our Summer/Fall birthday season right now and these three dear ones have had birthdays since the last time I updated:
Happy 11th birthday to Teddy, 13th to Pippa (a teenager!) and 1st to our sweet little Verity Laine! Isn’t it nice that even the big ones still indulge me and let me take their annual teddy bear photo? Here is Pippa at about Verity’s age, for 1. size comparison (13-year-olds are huge!), 2. likeness to Verity (twinsies!) and 3. just for nostalgia (because how on earth is my baby thirteen already?!)
Aww! Wasn’t she sweet?
But probably what you really want to hear about is how school is going, right?
It is going so, so well!
I will admit that I spent the first week saying, “What have we done?” as I spent every evening signing dozens of forms and reading up on all the rules and regulations and getting to know each teacher’s little preferences and idiosyncrasies. But now we have found our groove, and it’s a good groove!
As a homeschooling mom, I held my breath for the first couple weeks to see how the girls would fare academically, and they are both doing very well: at or above grade level in all major subjects. Whew! Romilly’s teacher told me at back-to-school night that she is engaged and participating valuably in class, which is a huge part of what she wanted to get out of this year. Bea is in student council and plans to run for treasurer, and she’s also joined an afterschool singing club. Ro goes to an after school fitness class on the same day. Both are learning instruments and playing in the band. They have made friends and are finding acceptance. I could not have asked for a better first month for them!
Lewis is also thriving! I have to work a little harder to know how he’s doing, but here is what I do know: 1. He loves going. 2. His take home note each day has consistently informed me that he had a “Great” day every single day except for one in the first week that was only “Good”. 3. His ability to accurately copy letters has improved more in the past month than in our whole year of homeschooling. At home, Lewis has had some behavioral challenges, so we are working through those, but overall, this is such a good fit for him.
As for the “homies” we are having some new adventures of our own this year. Pippa, Niko and Junie have joined a homeschool choir, the Keystone Youth Choir. The are learning much and being stretched there as well as making new friends. (Bonus: the littles and I have a built-in playdate each week during choir with a friend from AWANA whose big brother is also in the choir.) Also, when Delia (and soon Teddy) go to Theraplay for speech and OT each week, Pippa, Niko, Junie and Cora are still going to the Weavers’ home for what is now officially called Family Science Club.
Pippa, in 8th grade this year, is almost completely independent with her schoolwork. I give occasional guidance in grammar and math, and we grade her tests, but otherwise, she runs her own show. I am amazed at her self-motivation and determination this year. She designed a weekly checklist of all the work that needs to be done, and she is a tough taskmaster!
I am finding with three at school and Pippa working largely on her own, that my teaching load at home feels much more manageable. I carve out time to work with the littler kids in the morning while Niko and Junie do some independent work. Then I can help them until lunchtime. After lunch we read together or do science. At 3:30, when the schoolies get off the bus, our homeschool day ends, too. Wherever we get to, there we stop. This shift in our day provides a nice change of pace for everyone. The homies get to have some fixed free time (which never used to happen!), and I get to debrief with the schoolies and help with homework. Life is feeling more doable than it has in a long time.
Another unexpected side effect of having a few kids leave each day is that we have so much to talk about at dinner! The schoolies tell us about their adventures, and we tell them about ours. The best part is that it is so balanced, with neither side generally feeling that they’ve missed out on anything, but everyone, having had a full and fun day, happily sharing and being excited for each other (disclaimer: it is also very noisy!)