When The Cat’s Away, The Mice Will Play (An Unconventional Homeschool Week)

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“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks



I thought I’d take a moment and write about what our week looks like so that over the years I can reference and say “Oh, yeah! I remember what four kids 7 and under is like.”  Or “four pubescent individuals” or “college students” etc.

This week, we’re doing life and school without our fine Captain while he’s away at training.  Therefore, I’m being a little bit unconventional, and the kids are being allowed some freedoms.  (“When the cat’s away”, the saying goes.)  School this week will still be rigorous, but we will be incorporating some unexpected changes to routine, to (hopefully) ward off some poor attitudes or behaviours. We did *not* start our day out with our normal circle time.  This morning, we went on a leaf walk, largely for the youngest two’s “school” for the day.  I made sashes of scotch tape, and we each picked up our favorite leaves.  Later on, we used some of those leaves to make compasses in a pie plate of water.

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Following making our compasses, we watched the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  We don’t usually watch movies during the day, just at night once a week.  It was hilarious, and all of the kids loved either Puck or Nick Bottom’s character the most, although I found Lysander particularly amusing.  Aslan calls Puck “Pup,” and Jubilee Calls Nick Bottom “McBottom,” but they’ll learn soon enough.  For now, I just take delight knowing that my 2- and 3-year-olds are beginning a love affair with Shakespeare at a young age.

Later this week, we’ll be writing our own Magna Carta (and studying the original one), having a party for number place values complete with a place value cake– (I haven’t quite figured it out myself, yet, so we’ll see how this goes), and going on at least one more extensive nature walk.  I think we’ll also be doing a lesson on symmetry, using leaves as an example.  (True confession: I had to spend several hours this weekend catching up on all of the history I lost or never learned surrounding the Magna Carta!  Yikes!)

I’m terrified that this week will wreak havoc on our house, that I’ll be so busy “occupying” the kids, that I will forget some of the important things in life and godliness.  Or that I’ll let character issues slide because I’ll be so sick of one more training moment requiring discipline and another moment and another moment and another moment ad nauseum.  For now, I’m just taking it one day at a time.  There’s a reason that one of my favorite hymns has always been Moment By Moment.

Million just finished reading Babe: The Gallant Pig and is now reading some library books like this one before he moves on to his next chapter book.

Creedence listened to some children’s biographies about Daniel Hale Williams and Marie Curie this morning.

I’m currently reading Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, along with a few other nonfiction works.

A song we’re listening to today:  ‘Tis Autumn by Nat King Cole 

I saw a neat idea on Instagram a couple days ago.  It’s a journal-styled notebook specifically designed to write down the books you read together as a family.  However, at this stage we’re in, we’re not reading a lot of the books together, due to short attention spans with one of the littles in particular.  I’d almost need to keep five notebooks, one for each child and one for family read-alouds.  Have you ever done something like this, and has it worked?  I’d love to hear more about it, if you have!


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