March in our homeschool – 2021

Hello. I am tired. I don’t really feel up to writing a summary of last month’s homeschool, but I do like having written these summaries. So here we go. It may be brief.

The anniversary of when the pandemic hit home was March 13 for our family. I had gone to a barre3 class and had my three children in their childcare and when I got home my husband told me he thought we had to start staying home. And just like that our lives completely changed. We have been living in a pretty conservative place – COVID-speaking – and we have been personally conservative over the past year and it has all taken a toll. All four of my children’s grandparents are vaccinated now and our hope is that my husband and I will qualify in May if not sooner. So there is a bit of hope, but it still feels hard to grasp some days.

The anniversary became a catalyzing moment for me to realize we can’t carry on as we have been, so I’ve been searching for creative ways to get my kids around other kids regularly, especially my extroverted tween. Just in the past two weeks my eldest has started a running club in a neighborhood park and is joining a friend for her outdoor guitar lessons. My two oldest kids have joined a forest school for a full day of outside time on Fridays. These changes are giving structure to our days (places to go at an appointed time – how strange!) and are giving my kids much-needed contact with peers and other caring adults. This year has been such a massive confirmation that we need a village to raise our children.

Fifth grade

At the very beginning of March my fifth grader was wrapping up a block on ancient Latin American history by spending a week reading and summarizing the Popol Vuh: A Sacred Book of the Maya. It was an enjoyable read and had a lot of interesting overlap with other ancient creation stories we have read from other cultures.

We spent the bulk of March focused on Greek Myths. I was a little unsure of how this block would land with my kiddo, who has been obsessed with Greek Myths since I bought her the Usborne Illustrated Greek Myths at the Getty Museum’s gift shop when she was just three years old. (Sigh … remember visiting museums?)

I wasn’t sure if it was worth spending time covering myths she was already so familiar with, but we read the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, which is much more in-depth and a bit darker than the version she was familiar with. She loved them.

I organized this block just like I did with the Norse Myths last year, which was basically just to figure out how many days I had, divided the number of stories and then read the number of stories per day that we had time for. My fifth grader picked a favorite story from the day before and composed a summary and did a drawing. So we did not attempt to summarize and illustrate every story in the book! That would have taken forever.

In addition to our main lesson work, my fifth grader is still spending a good chunk of time each morning working on her independent work. She got a desk in her room this month, and suddenly she is taking her independent work upstairs and the lesson time I have with my seven-year-old is much quieter! For independent work she has been focusing on spelling, decimals, handwriting, grammar and making her own illustrated book of homonyms.

First grade

In March my seven-year-old was doing the last math block in Lavender’s Blue Homeschool first grade curriculum. I wrote back in January the this kiddo isn’t crazy about Waldorf math, and initially I planned to skip this block. But I realized that if I skipped ahead to the second grade content that we would be doing two language arts blocks in February and March and figured that he would rather revisit math. This block was a much better fit for him, because it was much more math-focused and less story-driven. He’s a kid who likes math to be math! I’ve been shopping around for a math curriculum for him to use next year, and I think I have landed on Math Mammoth. I printed out some sample lessons and he really seemed to enjoy doing those.

This is Singapore Math’s Primary Mathematics 1B workbook.

For skills we are still focused on reading and daily math practice (this year we are using Singapore’s Primary Mathematics first grade workbooks for practice time). He is still enjoying All About Reading and grabs the practice book on his own time to read to his little sister, which is just the sweetest.

My seven-year-old also knit a lion in March! We used the patten from A Child’s First Book of Knitting. He handled the whole project aside from needing a little help embroidering on the face and mane. Leo the Lion turned out so sweet and my kiddo is very proud of himself. Handwork is such a wonderful way for children to flex that follow-through muscle and he did great!

Also, I can’t wrap up without mentioning Waffles and Mochi on Netflix. It’s so good I sit down and watch it with my kids. All three of my kids – ages 11, 7 and 4 – love it. Highly recommend.

Mother Culture

Some things I’ve been enjoying this month:

Listening to …

The Radical Mother Village podcast episode called “Idealism as a Radical Mother, Living from our Values and the Work of Revillaging”

The Lazy Genius podcast called “10 Things Saving My Life Right Now”

Reading …

The Huntress – I finally finished this book and absolutely loved it. I also loved her book The Alice Network.

For Goodness Sex – Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values and Health – I could talk for hours about how much I’ve loved this book. I don’t have a teen quite yet, but this book has been incredible in giving me a clear picture of how discussing sex and sexuality can be different with my kids than it was within my family when I was growing up. If you’re looking to evolve beyond having a singular “talk” with your kids and wanting to open lines of communication to be discussing sex comfortably and confidently, I think you’ll love this book.

New York Times’ “Who We Are Now”

Watching …

My husband and I indulged our newfound obsession with British television and ponied up for Amazon Prime’s Masterpiece content. So far we’ve loved The Miniaturist (this book is so good too), All Creatures Great and Small, Death Comes to Pemberly and Jamestown.

Flowers are up here in Portland … we’re already past daffodils and we’re now cutting our red tulips and bringing them in to brighten up our dining table. Magnolias are out and our dogwood and maple trees are about to blossom or leaf out. Nature is telling me it’s time to be optimistic, to open up and receive the sun’s warmth so I’m trying my best to tune into that. Until next time …

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