So some mundane-ness that is our normal life.
Bedtime stories: We have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia for bedtime stories. I read them as a teenager, and then took a literature class on C.S. Lewis in college (one of my favorite classes, weird as it is for an accounting major to take a 400 level lit class for gen ed credit. See, I've always been weird, it's not a new thing!) We are all enjoying them (well, not Little Bit . . . Mommy are you DONE reading YET?!?! I want Wonder Pets). It's been interesting for me to see the symbolisms that children see, and don't see, in the books. We finished The Last Battle yesterday, so now we're on to other things, but it's been quite enjoyable! Now I've added unit studies on The Chronicles of Narnia to my "do sometime for school" list LOL.
Sabbath School Lessons: Over all I've been happy with the lessons that our church uses for the older girls. In fact, when I wasn't happy with the . . . lack of lessons . . . being used for Little Bit's class, I recommended, and finally kind of took over and implemented, using the same company's program for the littles. However, this is the girls' second time through the same rotation since our church combines Kindergarten (ages 4-6) and Primary (ages 7-9), and they were becoming abit too . . . rote. 2011 had an "extra Sabbath" and the way this particular curriculum dealt with that "53rd week" was with a lesson that I wasn't happy with (not enough Bible-basis). So we took the stated topic (angels) but did our own study on it, using biblegateway.com's topical index. The girls loved it, and it triggered in my mind that we might be ready to move beyond reading "stories" for our lesson study and go straight to the Bible. So that's what we did last week. At the end of each week's lesson it lists the Bible texts, and other resources, that that week's story is based on. So instead of reading the daily readings, we've been reading the listed Bible texts from a variety of Bible versions and discussing it. It's helping us all remember to go straight to the Bible.
Character Building and Virtues: We are reviewing a "virtue" curriculum right now. We received it before Christmas but I didn't introduce it until last week (we were already busy with Christmas and Hanukkah and I didn't want to bog us all down with adding more things, so now we're scrambling abit to get reviewing done by deadlines after taking some "time off" from reviewing). It's a good reminder for all of us to focus on our hearts and let that show in our actions.
Little Bit School: Another current review product we're using is Kinderbach. The older girls reviewed it last year so when we were asked to review it again, I decided it was Little Bit's turn (she's a tad young, the older girls are a tad old). The first day she balked at the idea of it, but since then she has gotten into it. I have no illusions that she will "learn to play piano" but she's having fun and run to get "her piano" (the keyboard) and happily shows me "Dodie's House" (D on the piano keyboard). So it's all good. The girls struggle with the fact that Kinderbach is LITTLE BIT's school time and they need to continue with their independent school work and not distract her by asking her what she's doing every 30 seconds.
Independent Schoolwork: Which leads us to independent schoolwork for the big girls. Bible notebooking has been independent work for awhile now. They listen to the days' chapters on the audio Bible on my phone and then choose a verse to illustrate and/or write as copywork. We've also been working on handwriting recently. We are using the Joy of Handwriting Cursive program and it is working well for the girls. I simply printed it out and added it to their school notebooks. They do one page each day. It builds nicely on itself so is giving them practice so they don't forget the earlier letters and is quick enough to not be tedious. Last week they finished learning the last of the lower case letters and are now starting on the upper case. I've been very pleased with how much neater their cursive handwriting looks already compared to their printing and have been encouraging them to use cursive for more of their writing. While I reserve the right to change my mind (multiple times), at this point I'm leaning toward going with the "old fashioned" approach and teaching cursive first when Little Bit is old enough to write. That said, Sassy was teaching Little Bit to write (manuscript) Ls last week, so I might already be too late LOL.
History: This is another area where we're moving into more independent work - reading, in this case. We're kind of stalled on the American Revolution, partially because it's an era that I personally enjoy and the girls seem to as well, so breezing through it in a couple weeks just didn't seem to do it justice. We kicked things off with our visit to Mount Vernon last month and I'm hoping to schedule a trip to Philadelphia in the next couple of weeks as a kind of wrap-up. I've had the girls read several books on their own, both those recommended in the curriculum but also some Christmas presents: Sassy's currently reading the Childhood of Famous Americans book on Martha Washington and MiniMe is reading the Sisters in Time book on the Revolution (Lizzie and the Redcoats is the title, I think). Thanks to our county library's decent selection of audiobooks we've also been able to listen to several audiobooks on the topic and, in fact, there's one waiting at the library for me to pick it up today.
Chores: December brought with it a need to do some MAJOR cleaning in preparation for a house full of people on Christmas. I am bound and determined to keep things moving FORWARD in this regard now that we made some progress. Murphy's Law is, as always, doing it's best to thwart me, the last several days I've woken up with a very stiff neck, not sure why, have decided to just deal with it, it seems to work itself out as the day goes on. ANYWAY . . . as a part of getting us all back in the "doing chores" mode, and to get the house ready for Christmas, I set up an account at cozi.com and in addition to using it for MY to do list, calendar, and shopping lists (all of which I can access on my phone as well as my computer), i also set it up so Sassy and MiniMe can access THEIR chore charts on Cozi, both on their computers and on their iPods. So far it's working relatively well, I still have to remind them every few minutes that they need to be doing their chores, but we're making progress. Rodney was also able to sync his work calendar into Cozi so now I don't ask him every day where he's going to be the next day :)
So those are some highlights from our "normal" week.