The Room of Requirement – or – What We Did in February


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.

17 thoughts on “The Room of Requirement – or – What We Did in February

  1. This is the first I’ve heard about your ebook. Wow! I am so excited! I can’t wait to read it. And kudos to you for avoiding the freak out. Just shows how hard you’ve worked.

  2. Hi Sheila,
    Congrats on surviving February and what wonderful work you’ve done with your boys. I love how you’ve taught Vincent the good “old fashioned” way of writing research reports (w/o Google!) and I can’t wait for the post on cursive writing. We have those “The Write Approach” books and love them! Aloha, Lori

    • I didn’t think about the combination of library research and cursive writing all in one month. We might as well pack up our covered wagon and go west!

      What age are they starting cursive in your school? Do they use TWA or is that just something you are doing at home? I am going to begin with Jude next year (grade 3) – which truth be told is when I wanted to start with Vincent.


  3. I really, really love Anne of Green Gables. In fact I love all of LM Montgomery’s books and use them as my secret comfort reading for sick days and insomnia. I am waiting for just the right moment to bring Anne to my Ida, who is now almost nine. I’m thinking maybe eleven is ideal. What do you think?

    • Hey Brenna,
      I never read Anne of Green Gables as a girl (true confessions!) We started reading the series when Vincent was 10 and Jude was 6. The first two books I found perfect for them. The themes of Anne of the Island (love, marriage, death at a young age) have been a bit over their heads at times, but the overall tone keeps them interested. I think I will look at the next one and maybe skip a year before reading it. Were you planning on doing the whole series at once or doling them out? Either way, I think 11 is a good age.
      Any suggestions for our next read aloud? Thinking of Little Women or The Secret Garden.
      Hope you are well.

  4. It’s time for a felted house of your own! You’re in – you made it through without the “February Freak Out!” And with a winter like this one. Hooray for inner work and progress! Big hugs.

  5. Loved catching up with you today and discovering that you also have a second grader! I can’t wait to read your books – it is sounds so relevant to my life!
    Many blessings! Nicole

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