Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 13

Today is Kevin’s 45th birthday and also St John Bosco’s feast day. I was going to read to the kids a bit about this wonderful saint but so far not. Maybe I’ll get there. It’s not noon yet.

I am going to try something new; putting the academic bits in bold so they are easier to see. I think I chose the wrong day, since today was academically even lighter than usual. This is because my instincts are telling me that I’m going to go over the top if I am not careful. Things are going wonderfully academically right now — and the result is lots of interesting side projects, and great motivation. If I go on the theory that more is better, there is always a backlash. So I’m not doing everything I had on my list to do today. It’s going to look sparse, but my instincts are telling me it’s not. Anyway, reality!
I am thinking that in future I could also highlight one particular child on a particular day. I am really enjoying this learning notes blogging — it helps me keep in touch with what is going on.

Last evening Kieron was bored.

  • He had been reading all afternoon; I gave him King of Ireland’s Son. But he was looking for something else to do.
  • I offered to help him with the USA Map puzzle he got for Epiphany from some friends (100 pieces). We did that and had fun, so he wanted to do another puzzle.
  • So we did the old DK Creepy Crawly one.
  • The little ones really wanted to be included so we brought out the old Animal Alphabet Floor Puzzle. We haven’t done this one for years and years.
  • Clare was watching and wanted to do a reaaally challenging puzzle so I got out the Quizzle that their uncle and aunt had sent last year. Kieron and I tried to work on it once but didn’t get very far.
  • Anyway, she worked on it for a long time yesterday and is still hard at work. It’s a history timeline puzzle.
  • Kieron and I played card games with the two little ones. This was a milestone! to have the two youngest capable of “sort of” playing easy games like Fish and Crazy Eights. Kieron wants to play again today.

All this written and I haven’t gotten to today yet! : ).

  • Anyway, up at 7:30 with Aidan as usual. Whole wheat muffins today for breakfast, and a load of laundry. Paddy woke up while I was still busy so I got out some little plastic airplanes and he played on the couch. When Kieron came out he joined right in and they have been playing together all morning with little breaks as tensions rise (Paddy is a volatile just-four and Kieron is a just-eleven who knows the rules well but not enough to apply them with tact consistently).
  • I worked on a shopping list since Kevin is going down to town today to shop, bless him.
  • I did a bit of HWT with Aidan but not as much as yesterday.
  • Sean was still processing about the football game — he likes his ducks to be in a row and this kind of helplessness bothers him. He checked the tracking (still no movement) then did his Quia Latin.
  • I made him a protein milkshake and encouraged him to read Story of the Church since he hadn’t gotten to it yesterday (he read the whole of Rosemary Sutcliff’s Outcast, though).
  • Kieron ate breakfast and read King of Ireland’s Son.


  • Sean fell off the reclining chair which was missing a couple of bolts, and smashed his hand. So I spent some time fixing it…. the chair, I mean. He was in charge of the hand, except for sympathy.
  • Sean decided he might as well start math. He is on a roll…. doing fairly complex rational numbers, the kind I don’t remember doing until about 10th grade…. and not making mistakes at all. So we’re going to skip the next page which is just more practice, and come back to it later if necessary.
  • Kieron finished King of Ireland’s Son and went back to playing with Paddy.
  • Clare out of her room working on the puzzle and listening to A Wee Bit of Ireland (traditional Irish folk songs )– so that’s our music appreciation for today.
  • Aidan listens to Veggie Tales on his tape player.

10 am

  • Sean read a chapter of Athanasius by FA Forbes — starting it today so I introduced it a bit. He is not up to the Arians yet in Story of the Church but I thought that reading the saints life ahead of time would give him more of a context for the brief outline in the spine book. Clare and I discuss the Arians briefly.
  • I gave SEan the timeline cards from ABCs of Christian Culture (I have been trying to dig out lots of our old manipulatives and visuals which went pretty much unused for several years because we were struggling with so many medical issues and I just didn’t have time or energy). He doesn’t care much for the pictures; all my kids are extraordinarily fastidious about visual things. The pictures are actually quite well drawn but stylized enough to make him comment. Anyway, he looks them over.
  • Aidan retreated upstairs after getting 2 mild scoldings in a row — one when he was persistently interrupting when Kevin and one when he spun the broken recliner. I really don’t like scolding — consider it a breakdown in discipline because it usually really isn’t effective at all as a preventive for the future.

11 am

  • Kieron and Paddy still playing and Clare still working on the puzzle.
  • I work on the Rummy Roots cards that Aidan ripped up once when he was a toddler. … so there are some missing cards and I tried to make facsimiles with index cards.
  • UPS arrives with a laserjet cartridge which we sorely need.
  • Kevin reluctantly departs for town.
  • That brings me up to now.

A couple of notes:

You notice that Kieron hasn’t done anything but puzzles and reading today. We’ll see if we get to it this afternoon.

I have been trying to start a habit of making little “learning centers in a bag” to bring out in those down moments. Paddy has them in the morning and afternoon — times when he’s at a low ebb and usually starts asking to play on the computer. Bringing out something has the potential to give him a fresh start. So does storytime.

For Aidan, baths and going outside are good measures for this kind of low ebb situation. Paddy doesn’t like being in cold or wet places as much as Aidan. I think he has very mild sensory issues, like some of the others in our family. Aidan is basically a sensory seeker and a couple of the others are sensory avoidants. I’m a bit of one myself.

On a related note, I have told the older children (mostly Kieron) to focus on picking up toys after playing rather than leaving his things lying around wherever he lost interest. What I am doing now is putting stray toys in a bag and when I have enough, making a new collection to rotate out. The little kids don’t really mind when their toys disappear for a while. In fact, one of the signs that they are tired of playing with that toy is that they start treating it less carefully; so I am trying to forestall that cycle by rotating more proactively. But the side effect is that Kieron might end up having one or more of his toys exiled for a certain time period. I warned him a week ahead of time so he’d have a chance to acquire the habit of keeping track of his toys. We’ll see how this system works. I’ve also put Kieron in charge of toy pickup at the end of the day. He is to supervise the little ones and teach them to pick up. Hopefully this is a positive channelling for his present 11yo “bossy” instincts and it also gives him a chance to build awareness of his own toy-strewing habits. We’ll see! The older kids all are able to keep track of their own possessions; in our house this ability seems to develop at about age 8 to 11.