Every summer when I am doing my yearly planning, I leave February blank except for the cryptic abbreviation: ROR, which stands for “Room of Requirement.” I have shamelessly stolen the name and concept from the Harry Potter series to provide the space and time for whatever we need to address homeschooling-wise. February tends to be less cohesive than other months, but I find spending a little bit of time on a few things consistently helps to solidify certain struggles that have come to the fore this year.
February also belongs to Anne of Green Gables. We are on the third book of the series, Anne of the Island. The boys won’t admit how much they enjoy these books, but Anne is one of those characters who blurs the line between reality and imagination. I love the language and reading it aloud is a pleasure.
Vincent, 12 years old, grade 6: Vincent wrote his first research report last month. I gave him the choice to go deeper into one of the blocks we had studied this year. He chose geology, narrowing it down to metals and then finally copper. We covered research at the library, creating an outline, constructing paragraphs, making a rough draft, editing and making a final copy. I think at this age, the low-tech approach is an exercise in discipline and linear thinking. Vincent’s mind already works at light-speed, pinging from one thing to the next. Doing research via google only exacerbates this. Having a couple of books and the World Book encyclopedia was enough. We also continued to work on his business math and reviewed fractions. The biggest breakthrough, however, came with cursive writing. I have a separate post started about this already, so look for it soon. I will tell you the secret though: The Write Approach and gel pens!
Jude, 8 years old, grade 2: Br’er Rabbit was back on tap for this month. We did a block of these tales in November and they have permeated Jude’s imagination like nothing I have ever seen. (His alter ego is Mr. Br’er.) We made a reader from one of the tales, which is the second time we have done this type of project. The first time we did this, I chose the tale, summarized it and directed the drawings. This time it was Jude’s turn. He did really well, even though he spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out the least amount of words he could write and still make a complete sentence. We also worked a little on form drawing, reviewed the days of the week, the months of the year and various times tables via beanbags. We ended the month by creating a board game based on the Br’er Rabbit tales. The game is very simple, and very fun. Look for it soon at a toy store near you. lol
Sheila: I’m considering this month an unabashed success because I refrained from having my “February Freak Out.” Last year was bad, and I was determined not to have a repeat. There were some feelings that we weren’t doing enough, but all in all these were quelled with a few minor adjustments. Hurrah for inner work! Hurrah for progress! I have been busy working away on my ebook, which I can tell you is about inner work and how I think inner work relates to planning and homeschooling. March is always reserved for the big blocks of each grade, so I have also been busy putting my big girl panties on and finally (FINALLY) getting over my fear of teaching physics. I have been dreading this block for probably two years, and instead of giving into my thoughts of postponing it, I called Alison (of “Ask Alison” fame) and she talked me off the ledge. Where would we be without friends??! Jude is doing the second grade block on Saints and Heroes, which I am looking forward to.