We've been studying the history of Canada. My kids know who Leif Ericson is and the history behind his voyage to North America. They know who Pablo Picasso is. We've discussed native culture. They both created Totems based on what they think would suit us as a family. We've been reading Robert Frost's poetry, studying math facts (division, multiplication and so on) and we've focused on literacy first and foremost. I even edit their writing with the infamous red pen because (and I am sorry if I offend anybody here) the one thing I will not do is baby them through the process of learning to read, spell, write and define words properly. They took it well and enjoyed the challenge. Isaiah's reading capabilities are great and Olivia is reading chapter books (as she likes to call them). I am very glad.
Ian has been teaching them tree identification and so far they know the latin and plain terms for cedars and Manitoba Maples (both of which grow in abundance around our new place). They know the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees and stuff like that.
We've gone on nature hikes and trips to the library. I find the Florenceville library to be a great resource for us though it does lack the friendly feel of the Hartland library but it's a bigger town and I guess that's the way things go.
Of course, we've also been focusing on art and music (piano).
We decided to finish out the year in a bit of an official sense. Both kids will write the final provincial assessments at the end of this week and then we are done for the most part for the summer. But I don't think we will stop altogether. I plan to get organized over the summer months in terms of curriculum and we want to take road trips and visit museums, galleries and the like as often as we can.
I've seen a noticeable difference in Olivia the most. She's less temperamental and more self assured. She has finally gained a little weight (she was frightfully thin at times this past year) and her fear of being yelled at at school has obviously abated (although her teacher for this year has been excellent with her). Neither child seems to miss the social aspect (which is the main mythical downfall of homeschooling) because they've been going with my mom to youth group once a week and that seems to keep them feeling connected to their peers. And of course, we have a large family so there is always something going on somewhere.
As for me? Well, I feel so good about everything. I didn't know just how much I wanted this until I found myself in the middle of it. My days feel full and I feel happier seeing for myself the progress made each day. I feel more connected to my kids and to our family as a whole. This may not be for everyone but it is working well for us.
I haven't had more than an hour or two a week to focus on painting. I like this too because it is not overtaking my whole life like it once did. I love being an artist but there is more to life than that and I finally feel balance returning to my days. The painting I am working on right now is coming along one step at a time with plenty of intervals in between to think about what I want my next step to be.
Painting in progress.
Another photo of my bathroom :)
Living in town as opposed to the solitary lifestyle we knew before is absolutely great. I only had one bout of homesickness and it quickly subsided after I shed a few tears. I do miss those glorious sunsets and the mystical summer evenings but c'est la vie. Life moves on.
We take our dogs to the park and let them run and chase around after each other. If I need eggs or bread or something Ian runs across the street to the store for me instead of having to drive ten minutes away (think of the gas savings). There are nature trails everywhere and birdsong in utter abundance. I did not expect that but what a lovely thing it's been. The air is fragrant and sweet. The evenings are cool. The house is huge and I am happy. Life is good.