I feel like I’m waking up after a long winter. Actually, closer to recovering from a long sickness, but I really don’t like to equate pregnancy with sickness–even when that’s what it feels like. The last couple have months I have been in pure survival mode–it’s a good thing Honeybee knows how to make peanut butter sandwiches or I’m not sure the rest of the family would have survived at all! Things are getting better though–I’m still tired, but not nauseous all day. I can even cook dinner without gagging! I always wonder how books on pregnancy can so glibly give advice about all the healthy foods you’re supposed to be eating–when food of any sort seems looks and smells awful?? Ah well. At least for me the misery doesn’t last the entire pregnancy! Food is starting to taste good again.
We’re back to getting schooling done on a regular basis, and it’s actually going more smoothly than usual. The kids and I have devotional after breakfast–currently reading through the New Testament. Then we do either history read-alouds or memory work. After that the younger three go off to play and I work on math with Honeybee. Math is one of the things that is going much better. Honeybee has struggled in the past because she tends towards perfectionism and is terrified of getting something wrong–and of course there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes in math. She also likes to work independently, and the program we were using (Singapore math) wasn’t really set up for independent work. We switched to Math Mammoth several weeks ago, and she is flying. The program is set up as a worktext with clear explanations and instructions in the workbook, so it is easy to use independently. Of course, her independence is tempered by wanting to have me nearby whenever she is unsure of herself so I can confirm her answers are correct before she writes them down! That’s happening less often though, she seems to be gaining confidence.
The rest of Honeybee’s work she does mostly on her own, she likes having her own planner with a checklist. She practices violin, does Rosetta Stone Spanish, and works on the story she is writing on the computer. She just does these whenever she chooses during the day–she likes to keep things checked off, and I almost never have to remind her. She also reads voraciously, so I don’t worry about scheduling that. Both Honeybee and Jumping Spider recently started piano lessons, I try to find time to help them practice. Other than our morning routine, learning activities aren’t specifically scheduled–I tend to use them when the kids seem to need some external direction (i.e., playing together devolves into fighting each other). That’s when I pull out a science or math activity, or a read-aloud book (we’re actually working our way through Lord of the Rings), or take one of the children aside for a one-on-one lesson. Alternatively, if the weather is nice enough I send everyone outside!
My main emphasis for Jumping Spider right now is solidifying his reading. I usually find time to read with him during the day, and my husband also reads with him in the evening. He is quickly moving into independent reading, and like some other boys I have known is particularly fond of non-fiction. I often find him browsing through one or another volume of our encyclopedia set! So far math with Jumping Spider is still informal, I may try him on a structured program soon to see if he likes it. I don’t really feel a need to do sit-down math with younger children, so unless he enjoys it I will put it aside again. We do lots and lots of math exploration, reading books with mathematical ideas, playing around with manipulatives, talking about math, etc. Jumping Spider starts cello lessons next month (I wanted to wait until most of the early pregnancy ickiness was past). I’m excited about that–I took him with me to observe a lesson with the teacher we chose, and he was fully engrossed in the music and teaching the whole time.
Ladybug is needing more attention from me–and more challenges to keep her brain busy and out of trouble! I have started teaching her to read, and she seems to be enjoying it. I tend to shy away from early reading, but it felt like the right thing for her. She is a very intense child, her mind is always working and unfortunately if she doesn’t have something constructive to occupy herself she often chooses to entertain herself by teasing/irritating everyone around her. I am hoping reading will help occupy her, and also think she would like some beginning piano lessons–I just have to find time to fit them in! I don’t think she has the focus yet for violin, although Honeybee was playing at that age. Piano doesn’t require quite so much awareness and coordination of different processes.
Dragonfly is adorable and the source of all kinds of havoc. He’s learning new words all the time, although not at the rate some of the others did (notably Ladybug). He has always reminded me of Honeybee when she was little, and I am often surprised at how much of what he does is the same as what she did. Honeybee was also not super quick to pick up words–but when she did talk sounded a couple of decades older than her age. I wonder if he will do the same? Some things Dragonfly does now that Honeybee used to do include demanding that I draw whole series of animals one after another–labeling them by the sounds they make–and being fascinated by stringed instruments. They’re not entirely alike–Honeybee was always cautious about new physical activities, and Dragonfly apparently has no fear. I very much appreciate having the older kids around to keep him entertained during the day, because like Honeybee he wants constant interaction (I often wished for an older sibling for her when she was a toddler).
I’ve been very grateful for an understanding husband during the last couple of months. Dan has picked up a lot of the slack around here, particularly in taking over responsibility for the kids whenever he is home. He also takes them out on adventures most weekends–to the dinosaur park, or the train museum, or the nature center. Here are a couple of pictures from their last visit to the nature center:
By the way, I’m going to need a blog name for the new baby when he/she arrives–something that fits with the other kids. Any ideas?