Archive for May 12th, 2006

More of the Nitty-Gritty

May 12, 2006 @ 3:45 am | Filed under:

This post really belongs in my comments, but it got so long I’m just going to post it here.

CityMom asked:

Here’s another question—how much of the fact that your tide has come back in do you think has to do wtih the girls being older now then they were when Wonderboy was born? I am starting to notice that my oldest will keep learning and helping us to keep on task with school routines even when I am sort of losing track of things, I would imagine that your older girls, with the true love of learning that you have instilled in them, are making this happen?

This is a point I wanted to add to my initial response to the kind mom who said:

My 5th is the same age as yours, so about 3 weeks. I have not been able to start school up again, ( of course they are always doing something educational….) I have been blessed with healthy children, so we have no unusual circumstances, and yet I look at your web site and I am flabbergasted! My oldest is 7, I have a 5YO, 3YO and a 2YO. Are you just really organized???

We have the same number of children, but where this mom has a three-year-old, I have an almost-eleven-year-old, and that is a major difference. I have an extra pair of helping hands where she has another pair of hands needing lots of help—busy, busy hands, to boot. Ten-year-olds can be an awful lot of help. (I always think about Anne of Green Gables taking care of three sets of twins before the age of ten. I mean, I know she was fictional, but Montgomery was reflecting the norm for her community.) Whenever I want to work one-on-one with any of the children, I can have either Jane or Rose entertain Wonderboy. It isn’t organization, it’s delegation.

As for CityMom’s point, I think she is absolutely on the mark: it was easy to slip back to our routine after the baby arrived because my three older children are old enough to maintain the routine without a lot of prodding from me. They know how to do their chores, unsupervised. And our lesson time together is a fun chunk of the morning which we all enjoy. We listen to our Latin vocabulary chants together (Beanie likes this best of all) and then Jane and Rose can do their Latin bookwork independently. Then Jane goes to another (quieter) room to do her Math-U-See page; if she gets stuck on any problem she is supposed to circle it and bring it to me when she has finished the page. Meanwhile, Rose sits beside me and does her math. For the most part, she completes the work without my help while I play with her brother. Both girls can check their own work against the answer keys, and together we go over any problems they’ve missed.

Those are our only formal lessons; after that work is finished, we spend the next hour or two with our various read-alouds (always accompanied by Mr. Putty, of course—Rose never lets me forget) while Wonderboy plays with Legos or Wedgits in our midst. Friday is our hands-on day for art and science: we move to the kitchen or porch for the messy stuff. Personally, I prefer the read-alouds; I had to carve out a day for the ooey gooey needs-seventeen-ingredients-and/or-a-microscope kind of activities—and commit myself by announcing it to the girls—or else I would never get around to making it happen.

Adjusting to life with this baby has been the easiest transition yet—really!—easier than when I had just one baby, or two. Having a couple of seven-and-ups makes a huge difference. And Wonderboy got off to such a rough start…probably anything would seem easy compared to that.

Speaking of the new baby, can you believe she’s a month old today? Snoozing here beside me, just as sweet as can be….