March 2. How can it already be March 2? Right now, our life seems to be in fast forward. We have some big transitions coming up this summer, and a million things to do beforehand. I need for time to slow down so that we can get ahead of the wave, but instead, life continues to rocket forward so quickly I can barely catch my breath.
Since I last updated, we have completed our homeschool time in Saudi Arabia, India, and China! The Saudi Arabia unit was a rough one for us, as the late winter blues hit badly. We were burned out, tired of winter, tired of every book in our basket, tired of the schedule, and just didn’t have much left to give Saudi Arabia! Even our read-aloud turned out to be something of a fail, as I had purchased Aladdin and Other Tales from The Arabian Nights for the unit. We greatly enjoyed the book, but it turns out that Aladdin actually takes place in China! Oops. So we definitely didn’t do Saudi Arabia justice. Maybe next time.
India was a little better. We still had those February homeschool blues, and we spent most of our India unit curled up on the couch reading books, but there is nothing wrong with that! We read The Jungle Book, some Indian fables, an adventure story about the first successful summit of Everest, a biography about Mother Theresa, and a lovely picture book called Grandfather Ghandi. We watched both of The Jungle Book movies. We watched travel videos and documentaries about India. We ate a LOT of Indian food (my kids are now obsessed with Naan, and this recipe for Indian Lentil Soup is now a regular part of our menu). It certainly wasn’t a pinterest worthy homeschool unit (ha!) but we got through it and will always have sweet memories of reading The Jungle Book together.
China was a fun one. We’ve been focusing primarily on the basics these past two weeks (math, reading, and writing), so we kept China pretty light and fun. One of our favorite things for China was the picture book Grandfather Tang’s Story: A Tale told with Tangrams. We cut out our own tangrams (a Chinese geometric puzzle used to make pictures) and made the pictures in the story as we went along. So fun! We also played Chinese checkers, had Chinese tea afternoons, ate at a Chinese restaurant, and are finishing up Little Pear as our China read aloud.
I admit, I gave in to the temptation to add some new curriculum in February to fight the February blues. 😉 This is a bad idea! Yes, by February we are ALL tired of looking at the same old books every day, but buying new curriculum isn’t the answer. I know this. I repeated this to myself all through January. Yet I still did it, ha! We had already added Exploring Nature with Children
(still love) and SCM Spelling Wisdom (to fill a legitimate need) in January. Well, in February we also added Math Lessons for a Living Education and Generation Mindful’s Time-In Toolkit. I know, I know. February got to me big time. 😉
Math Lessons for a Living Education is a Charlotte Mason inspired approach to math. Some CM purists will tell you that this is not really how Ms. Mason taught math. I can’t speak to that as I am neither expert nor purist, but I will say that I love the curriculum! It’s math told through a story about two children who spend the summer at their grandparents’ farm. I really like the scope and sequence of this curriculum, as well as the cost and the fact that it uses regular household items for manipulatives.
I did purchase this to fill a legitimate need, as Farmer Boy was ready for a more formal math curriculum (as in begging daily for more math work because he thinks it is SO FUN). I really like it so far! I still love the way Singapore teaches math, and Cowboy is continuing with that for now. But I’m really impressed with MLFLE too. Cowboy has been following along with his brother even though it’s “baby” math, simply because he is so interested in the way it is presented. . . so that leaves me with some thinking to do for next year!
We added the Generation Mindful Time-In Toolkit as part of our curriculum because it teaches self regulation. It has a game that goes with it called “Peacemakers,” printables and activities, and posters to set up a “calming corner.” We are using it to practice emotional regulation and to develop more mindfulness/appropriate strategies for sensory issues. I think I’ll hold my thoughts on this program until we have used it for a few more weeks, then share a review. 🙂
Whew. That’s 6 more weeks of school under our belts. We only have a few more locations to visit on our map before we wrap up our ECC year! Stay strong, homeschool mommas! February is over and the end is in sight!