Divided Attentions

I’ve said before— more than once, but maybe not here– that I derive peace from “open spaces.”

By this I do not mean the great plains (though that’s never been tried), but rather clear floors in the rooms I frequent.

Currently, because of the book-project, the playroom floor is strewn with books and I’ve spent just about all my free moments working through piles and boxing books.  So far this has resulted in less school prep, and I get the impression we could do more with our time.

Nevertheless, I figure this won’t last all year and am most interested in just “clearing the floor” so I can get on with our lives.

Current tally:

  • Five boxes
  • 252 books

All entered, with location, in the new book database.

I’ve boxed all the middle-grade horse and dog books I grew up on, clearing shelf space for the copious amounts of picture books I’ve collected.

It is my goal at present to stay mostly with picture books at least until Natasha hits second or third grade.  I have plenty that are at 2nd-6th grade reading level, so she can be consistently challenged without making such a distinction between her read-alouds and the younger children’s.

Scaling Back

We are dropping grammar and spelling for now.

I’ve decided it’s too soon to really push those for Natasha, and I expect regular copy work to open those topics in a more complete and natural way than I’ve yet come up with on my own.

Math continues to be insanely easy for Natasha, but has just begun to be a bit of a challenge for Melody.  It’s interesting: I decided to use one book for both girls, thinking it would simplify my (teaching) life to have them at the same level, but even in the same book they are clearly not at the same level.

I really am teaching everything twice.

But it was really neat to watch Melody *get* something this evening.  That was delightful.  And Natasha’s enjoying her sense of mastery, and the feeling (different from summer) that this is *real* school now.

I’ve tried to tell her that all our reading is part of school, but she wants *math.*  “It’s exciting,” she said, with her I’m-being-so-honest-I’m-embarrassed laugh.

From an e-mail I recently sent:

At home our current issues are self-control and deciding whether my not-planning-enough-ahead absolves certain poor behaviors, and, if so, how much.


We’ve started school now, and the kids love it so far.  The challenging thing there is figuring out the right amount of stuff to fill each slot, and denying myself (so completely) to stay on-track with the schedule God game me to balance the children.

They love the regular change of activity and increased interaction with Mama.  I grow weary of my continual-on, but am trying to think less of me.

It’s a slow process, but Lord-willing I’ll mature.


Now I’m using my new laptop.

Just now I’m actually using in the children’s room, with the illuminated keyboard (*yes* it’s everything I hoped!).

Starting to input my library, starting with the books I want to pack away– so that I can reclaim the playroom as a tangible mark of my progress.

I’m going soon to have to decide how much poetry to hang on to, and where to put it. For me it’s always been more about browsing than anything purposeful, so till now I’ve always kept it out, knowing it will be out of mind as soon as it’s out of sight…

Had a successful visit to FMN’s 1/2-off children’s sale.  Got a stack of historical novels that (once these kids are asleep) I plan to divide by years of the cycling 4-years of history plan.

I also picked up a number of YA and folktales for my own purposes, and I’m less sure how best to use/access them.  I’ll tackle that one once the school books are entered and packed away.

First day of school

Natasha: I practiced letters. Last year it was very harder to practice letters, but this year I just chomped through it. I felt good about being able to practice my letters easier. I ate a cookie and some milk as a snack.

We expect to do the second half of this “first day” on Monday afternoon.

The children were all three very responsive to the changes in activity as directed by the timers.  I think we all enjoyed having the level of direction and surety of “next thing” it offered.

Started a day early I didn’t yet have a couple worksheets I meant to, so I expect I’ll be biking over to Office Max or Kinkos before Monday, and rectify that.

A Blessing of Provision

Natasha got her first glasses less than 6 month ago.

Back at that appointment the eye doctor said to watch her and bring her back in 6 months if we noticed her vision deteriorating.

I ranked at this idea for a number of reasons.  First, it just seemed like a way to get extra business, so there was an automatic conflict of interest.  Second I wasn’t sure I could notice “a deterioration of her vision.”

Well, I did.

She started squinting about a month ago, and then sitting on the chair in fron of the movie rather than on the couch.

I called and made a new appointment.

She needs new lenses.

But (and this was the part I didn’t know to expect) our insurance will cover the cost of the new lenses because the replacement/correction is happening less than 6-months later.

Fussing is Ugly

This morning Melody didn’t want to get dressed right away.  I told her to make her bed and we had a fuss-fest the whole time.

When the bed was done I thanked her and she continued to fuss.  I asked and told her several times to stop and finally reached my fill and snapped at her

“Fussing is Ugly! You are beautiful and precious and don’t need to waste your time on ugly things!”

And she was quiet.