It is only the first few days of November and I find that I am already bracing myself for the impending holiday season, which makes me sound like a big Bah Humbug! (However, I find myself in good company. Hi Andrea!) But this is the point in the year where I feel like time starts to speed up. It seems from Halloween through New Year’s, there is a vibe in the air where things tend to go from fun and exciting to crazy and overwhelming almost instantly. In order to counterbalance this, I try to be very judicious with our outside activities and commitments. When there are too many events on the calendar, I can feel myself start to twitch. So I make sure there are lots of blank spots, with ideally one weekend day completely free each week. I also strive to keep a tight rhythm, early bedtimes and full bellies. If I can concentrate on these three priorities, our days tend to flow much better. This will be our final formal homeschooling block for the calendar year, and it will go through the first week in December. Here is what we are up to this month.
Vincent: practically 11(!), 5th grader I had planned for Vincent to wrap up his Ancient Mythologies block with Egypt this month. In retrospect, I think I planned too many myths in a row. Even with taking a break and having a week of math in between, I don’t have the enthusiasm for Egypt like I should. Therefore, I am going to swap out a fractions block I had planned for January. Math sounds good right about now, and hopefully Egypt will sound fun and exciting come the new year. We are using the Key to workbook series that Donna Simmons recommends. Vincent has been busy with knitting, needlework and penny whistle. I think these activities are just as important as his main lessons and have adjusted the length of our school day to accommodate them.
Jude: 7 years old, 1st grader Jude will spend November doing his first math block of grade 1. He has always had a head for numbers and computation, but I am still going back and starting at the beginning. We did this with our letters block and it was a great success. We will make a main lesson book for the numbers 1-12, continue with skip counting and do lots of drawing, painting and modeling. Jude will also continue with his knitting and practicing the penny whistle. Both boys have resurrected our long-ago banished Playmobil sets. We took them out of the attic and their imaginative play has really taken a new turn. In our house if something comes out of the attic, something must go in the attic. The boys chose their legos – which is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE to me. I think it is the first time they have had a break from those little bricks since discovering them on our trip to Legoland in 2009.
Sheila: This is the point in the year where I turn up my inner work. It is easy for me to lose my footing and feel like everything is crashing down around me. I know that getting up early and going to bed before 10 pm helps me to maintain a sense of balance and peace in my daily life. I also try to make sure I get my walk in everyday and not overdose on too much sugar. November seems to be my last chance for any real holiday crafting. December is too much of a blur for anything except baking. My sewing machine will be on the kitchen table most weekends. I have some grand plans, but we’ll see what actually gets accomplished. Look forward to some holiday crafting posts soon.
Links and other things I have loved this past month:
- This is a fascinating podcast about people and media – both children and adults. It explores why, in this age of hyper-connectivity, we are so disconnected.
- Read this little post by Maya over at MayaMade about giving yourself permission. Then linger around her blog for a while. It’s a good one.
- As we head into the shopping season, this post from Rachel over at Clean is a timely reminder.
- Kelly Rae Roberts is one of my favorite artists. There are some really big, beautiful and important thoughts in this post.
- Needle felting is something I want to do more of and this post about how to construct a doll figure is inspiring. She makes it look not only doable, but relatively easy.
- Here is a link to Barbara Dewey’s newsletter. It’s not too early to start thinking about the homeschool teacher training held at her farm in August every year.
Recipe of the month: My parents will be visiting my brother in San Diego for Thanksgiving this year. We don’t know what we are doing yet, but whatever it is, this sweet potato dish will grace the table. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 cups sweet potatoes, baked, mashed and cooled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup milk
Mix thoroughly. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make topping:
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle topping on potatoes and bake for an additional 20 minutes.