Monday, April 4, 2016

Works-in-Progress by Karen Andreola

From Pocketful of Pinecones

Yolanda's Nature Notebook. The Downy Woodpecker fits the following excerpt from "Pinecones"

During morning lessons the children listened to me read aloud about the woodpecker. I'd like them to learn to recognize the drumming of its beak and have a chance to observe its unique hopping slide up a tree trunk. But I know that not all of what they will learn about God's creation will conveniently fit into my lessons. My students have a life time ahead of them in which to observe and discover - to become self-educated in their leisure, so-to-speak. My job is to allow their feet to walk the paths of wonder, to see that they form relations to various things, so that when the habit is formed, they will carry and appreciation for nature with them throughout their lives. pg 75

View from the kitchen window in springtime's soft morning sun. Yes, that is recent snow - not unusual for us in the woods. 
How nice it feels to rest within a schedule of lessons that is working well. But it isn't surprising that home teachers tweak. Changes are inevitable in the ebb and flow of the seasons of learning. See how fast the children grow?

As new patterns of daily activity emerge, each year a mother's job description is revised. That's okay. Each year Mom is older and wiser than she was. God is growing her mind and heart when she works - even through some difficulty - to bring order in her day.

Grandson Joseph requested a new vest of many colors. He outgrew the first one.
Keeping a string of lessons going each morning was always my goal. The children fell into a pattern. They moved from one subject to the next - off at their own desks after a group lesson around the kitchen table with me.
Front and back of garter-stitch vest awaits ribbing around arms and neck.
One child had my personal attention while the others worked independently.

I'd keep this going child-by-child on a rotating basis, listening to a young child read aloud, listening to an oral narration, reading through an older child's written narration, etc.

I recommend the three-needle-bind-off for shoulder seaming. It's so smooth. 

At times Nature Study, Music Appreciation, and Picture Study were haphazard - especially right before or right after, a household move.

As much as we followed a pattern for learning I remember a time of feeling perturbed. I stood in the hallway not knowing whether to turn right or left.

Using a rotary cutter with safety glove to make my granddaughter's quilt.
With hands-on-hips, I said to myself, "Why is it that no two weeks are exactly the same? Is this a mar on my efficiency?" In my government school experience, my classroom days were a blur of all-sameness. How monotonous. But sameness was what I was used to.

One thing was for certain. Our days of home learning were not monotonous.

"True Grips" attached to the quilt ruler help keep it securely in place while cutting.

Some of you are not on Facebook so I'll share this here.

In the home, no matter how consistently you work to instill good habits of quiet discipline. And aim for smooth and even days. No matter how well you prioritize and plan. Just when your schedule of lessons is working well. Life ushers its interruptions. They are part of life. And this is one way home teaching is much more like real life than an insulated-automated classroom.

The water heater dies. The basement is flooded. The washing machine is on the blink. A thunderstorm knocks out the electricity. The children have fevers and bad colds. Your best friend just had a Cesarean and you are watching her energetic two-year-old. It could be that Mom has another miscarriage. Dad losses his job. The family is uprooted as they relocate out-of-state in the middle of the school year. They miss old friends and must start over again to make new ones.

Piecing colorful "Hour Glass" blocks for Eloise's toddler quilt. The blocks await "squaring up." 
Children learn valuable life lessons (not in spite of) but (through) the interruptions of Providence. Mom and Dad learn, too. We’ve experienced all these bumps, detours, and more.

When the bumps in the road tumble you off your feet and you feel heavy, over-worked, anxious or discouraged -- remember this. The quickest (and best) way to get back on your feet is to get on your knees.

Never, never, give up my friend. God’s stream of living water is ever flowing. It can never run dry. You may be exhausted. But His wellspring is infinite, eternal and therefore, inexhaustible. It is there for thirsty hearts.   - John 4:10

Sketch out a pattern that welcomes learning, a pattern where each child has his needs met - even if this means trimming or combining when other re-arranging has proved unworkable. The most beautiful things in life are of design. Your family's patchwork pattern can be all its own. This is the art of home teaching.

My latest used find - a creamer to fit the mini daffodils from the garden.

And remember, too - even as we are nearing the end of a school-year - we are all Works-in-Progress.

Learning is for life.

I agree with Carol of Pocketful of Pinecones - don't you? 

Pinecones  is a teacher's guide to nature study disguised as a story to sooth and refresh for your Mother Culture. I linked it to Amazon.

End Notes
I hope to show you the finished vest-of-many-colors upcoming, as well as the toddler quilt. They are birthday presents in the making. Do you like the colors I picked out for the quilt? For your interest and convenience (and because I am asked) I am linking the Fons and Porter Safety Glove here.

If you are feeling a spark of enthusiasm to start quilting, I am also linking the Fiskar's Rotary Cutter with the handle shape I like, the True Grips that I stick onto my Omnigrid 6/12 Ruler and the Olfa 18/24 Cutting Board.

Comments are Invited.
Karen Andreola