We’ve been talking about national landmarks and symbols in our Social Studies lessons lately. We’ve learned all about the bald eagle, Liberty Bell, American flag, etc. Today was our White House Day.
Pretty much I’ve just been feeding her facts and we’ve been doing a craft on the symbols each day. Information and crafts are her two favorite things, so this little unit has been a hit. Today we decided to do a little video tour of the White House. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work, but the website did have an awesome little activity on the oval office.
The first step was proclaiming Adeline the president. When I said, “Adeline! You were elected president of the United States!” she began to nervously giggle and shake a little. With those words, my girl thought she was actually the president. Goodness, after we typed her name, the internet even said it! She was giddy, but then the gravity of it all hit her pretty fast.
“Wait! I don’t meet any of the requirements! I’m only six! I don’t make good choices!’
She was obviously relieved when I told her that it was just for pretend and sake of the activity. She loosened up a bit and was able to properly settle into her new office.
Activity found here.
I am so grateful to those of you who have expressed that my last post was encouraging to you. I have been asked questions about how we do what we do with the other two little ones, what subjects we cover, and what curriculum we use. I know there are moms of six, seven, or more that do it, but I thought I would share today what a homeschool day looks like for us.
Today it looks like this:
This is Adeline having a biscuit and a smoothie with her Papa at a restaurant. She’s currently on a hard reboot.
Monday and Tuesday were great homeschool days. We made a model of the layers of Earth out of clay, we learned about the Liberty Bell, took a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty, and Adeline spelled words like ‘couldn’t’ and ‘wren’ without issue. But today my love woke up in a foul mood…and I kind of did, too. She refused to do her chores properly, refused to pick up a giant mess she helped make, and was sassy and contrary. I yelled. She yelled. She cried. Papa swooped in to save the day, taking her out for a reboot. Today she will dust the church while he has a meeting, go to the barber with him, perhaps visit parishioners, and take the car for an oil change. She will have time without me and with her (excellent) Papa. I’ve enjoyed time with the two littlest Moore girls and even a little quiet time to myself as I write this.
It is hard to be together all of the time. It’s hard to do work when you’re supremely grumpy. When the two are combined, sometimes everyone needs a day off. I’m glad I didn’t send her off to school today knowing that she would be a stinker to her teacher. I’m glad we have the flexibility to say, “We are not at our best today. We will make no progress.” I know that’s not 100% the real world, but a go-easy day sometimes does far more good than pushing on.
Hopefully tomorrow I can share an outline of our homeschool day, but today we’re taking a small break. Though our aim is something beautiful, and I believe our reasons for homeschooling are good, it is a shaky ride some days.
I get a bit defensive when I talk about homeschooling with people. I worry that Adeline (and the other girls when their time comes) will be viewed as weird. I worry that I appear judgmental to those who choose to send their children to school outside the home. I worry that people will think that I don’t teach enough, that we don’t have enough paperwork to show adequately what we are learning, or that I am neglecting the girls’ social or academic well-beings.
I find myself often answering the question, “Why do you homeschool?” Goodness, sometimes on hard days I ask myself the same thing! So, in no particular order, we homeschool because:
1. I don’t want to have to choose where to live based on school districts.
Charleston has good schools and not so great schools like any other city. I want to choose a home based on its functionality and price, not on whether the school is a good fit.
2. I don’t want Adeline to lose her love for learning.
Adeline works significantly above grade level in some subjects and right on par in others. I don’t want her to be bored during school. I don’t want her to be at the mercy of other kids’ abilities. I want her to learn in whatever way is best for her. I want her to explore topics she is intrigued by. If she cannot get enough information about volcanoes, by hang, I want her to soak in as much as she possibly can.
We get asked a lot why Adeline isn’t in school when she is at the grocery store with me during normal school hours. My general response is, “She is at school. We homeschool and she’s learning right now.”
3. We are Orthodox Christians and church is important.
I am not saying that Orthodox Christianity and public/private-schooling are mutually exclusive. I am saying that our faith is rich in feast days, and many of those days fall during the work/school week. It was such a blessing to me on my birthday (also the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner) that Adeline was able to be in liturgy with the family. It is wonderful to receive communion together on these days and then to spend much of the rest of the day learning about Christ and His Church.
4. We want her with us.
Maybe it’s selfish, but I want to choose the people who are my child’s main influence. I want it to be her Papa and me. I don’t want to see her for an hour, drop her off at school, and then only see her for a few more hours before bed.
Also, if an especially awesome trip pops up, but it’s in the middle of the week, I want to be able to go and for her to go with us. Adeline’s nouno was able to visit us after a few years of not seeing us, but he could only make it on a Monday. No problem! We spent the day together. We had some old friends visit, but they could only come on a Thursday. No problem! We could all be together without worrying about what she may be missing at school.
5. Our view of the purpose of education is a bit different from the school system’s.
My goal is not for my kids to go to college and get a high-paying professional job. My goal is for my loves to find what they want to do with their lives, work at it, be fantastic at it, and be incredibly happy. If that is going to an Ivy League college and earning a doctorate in physics, beautiful! If it is going to a technical school and becoming a mechanic or crafts(wo)man, beautiful! If it is learning an art, being a musician, etc., I could not be happier. As long as it pleases God and can pay the bills, I am on board.
For this reason, I am not terribly concerned with standardized tests, class rank, grade point averages, or the like. I want my children to be free to find what it is they love and then to master it and find joy always in their work. I want our homeschool to support that by sampling a bit of everything and allowing them to poke around in those things they are more inclined to. I want them to feel that balancing a budget, learning to plant and grow their own food, and identifying trees are part of their education. I want them to be well prepared for the real world. I want their faith to play an integral role in their education as well. By learning the lives of the saints, and why we do what we do in Orthodoxy, I pray they will become and remain strong women of God.
Everyone has their reasons for the education choices they’ve made. I know my friends who have chosen paths other than homeschooling have made very sound decisions for their children. I am so grateful to have the ability to choose to educate my children as I see fit, and I’m glad to be learning right along with them.
You are three! Three years ago you born full of spunk and immediately brought us so much joy. Your Papa and I fought against a c-section. My doctors and the nurses helped us do that. When you entered the world there were two doctors and a handful of nurses cheering for you. For us. It was so exciting and relieving to hold you in my arms. To whisper to you, “We did it!” To see your Papa so proud of you.
And now, three years later you are still a spitfire and joy.
You have quite a sense of humor. You tease Adeline relentlessly. You know just the buttons to push and then you lean on them. It’s pretty hilarious for everyone but her. You currently enjoy body function jokes.
You are a pious little thing. You know far more than I could have ever taught you by now. You soak in liturgy and chant. It’s beautiful.
You spend your days making jokes (and messes), and trying to be just like your big sister. I have to make two of each sheet for homeschool because you have to do your work, too. You like to match her clothing. Even if it is just that you both have a speck of blue on your clothes, you become “Blue Girls!”
But you are decidedly your own girl. You introduce yourself as ‘Kiki’ and never Katherine. You will not wear one article of clothing that doesn’t pass your inspection. Actually, you won’t do anything you don’t want to.
You are the most contrary little being I’ve ever met. If I threaten to leave you at the grocery store because you won’t walk along with me, you say, “Bye Mama!” If I tell you to pick up all your toys or I will take them all away you say, “I don’t mind.” If I tell you to to stop putting your hair in your mouth or I’ll cut it off you say, “Get the scissors!” It’s a little hard to negotiate with you.
You are a great eater. Your favorites are strawberries and blueberries and you want to eat them in everything. Pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, sandwiches…everything! But, you’ll eat nearly anything.
You are a smarty pants. At almost three you know your alphabet, can recognize letters, know your letter sounds, can count to thirty, and can hold a pretty sound argument.
You bring us such joy with your easy giggle. Your rainbow, Irish eyes that disappear completely when you laugh. You are such a sweet, dear little girl. I adore you, my love. I can’t believe we’ve been together for three years!
May God grant you many more happy, beautiful, spunky years, love. I love you.
You are Six. Half a dozen. A whole hand plus one. Six!
Six years ago at 10:44PM, after the absolute longest day of my whole life I saw your beautiful face for the first time. I could just barely spy you over the curtain, and I was only able to get a quick glance at you before you were whisked away, but that moment is forever sealed on my heart. You were so tiny and strong. So beautiful.
I love you. Sometimes I see that little dimple right above your mouth and my heart swells. Sometimes I see you dancing and playing so freely and I can’t imagine a greater love than I feel for you.
Your life has been in an uproar for, oh, the last three years. Sometimes I think you are so rigid, and then I remember all you’ve done in the past years. Two new sisters, two huge moves, Papa’s graduation and ordinations. You are the most resilient little one. Well, not-so-little one. You have adjusted so well to life in West Virginia.
Right now you are still interested in anything scientific. I recently cut off your access to Magic Tree House books because I thought they were worrying you a bit much. You teared up and said, “You’re keeping science from me! Those books are full of science!” Dinosaurs, chemistry, physics are all your things. You’re a big fan of social studies and history, too. You just love information.
You recently have started telling some pretty awesome jokes and making puns. You’ve told horrid ones for a few years, but now they’re getting good! You’re interested in magic and slight of hand. You can pull a quarter out of an ear with the best of them!
You love to sing, dance, and I know you miss gymnastics terribly. You’ll start again in a month or so and i can’t wait to watch you start flipping about again! You are very talented and hardworking, and you are so good at it!
I always tell you that being beautiful is lovely and being smart is wonderful (you are both, of course), but what is most important is to be kind. And my word, Adeline Marilyn, you are so very kind and generous (well, sometimes not to Katherine…). I notice how you make sure other kids are included in play. You will give the last bite of your ice cream to your sister. You make me a dozen pictures a day.
You are headstrong and stubborn. You have the sweetest singing voice ever, even if it is singing Frozen songs on repeat. You have the funkiest clothing style. You are nearly fearless.
This year you will be in first grade! We’re home schooling again this year and I am so looking forward to seeing what you can do!
I wrote this without mentioning your piety and love for Christ and the Church. Papa reminded me! We’ve struggled a bit with church over the past year, but it seems we’ve hurdled that. You remember the majority of hymns from the liturgy and I catch you singing them frequently at home and in the right places at church. You love to read about saints and Bible stories and once you’ve read or heard them you can tell them in your own words. You know the Creed and almost all of the English words in liturgy. Sometimes you correct me when we are talking about a saint or story…and 99% of the time you are correct!
We have hard days sometimes, love. You challenge me in ways I can not begin to express, but you make me try my hardest. I want to be my best for you. That started six years ago when I first looked at your beautiful face.
Adeline, I love you more than ice cream. I love you more than books. I love you more than pizza. I love you more than anything!
May God grant you many years, my dear one! May those years be beautiful, happy, and healthy!
I love you,