We live in a very private world. Although we reside in a neighborhood, we are not overly neighborly. We rarely see our neighbors outside, and we speak with most of them only on occasion. I occasionally feel saddened by the thought that my children will not grow up with the joy of knowing their neighbors as I did as a child. I had friends in the neighborhood, and we played until the street lights came on. I am even lucky enough to still be very close with one of those neighborhood friends.
Today I had a major revelation. My children do have these relationships with our neighbors. The only difference is that our neighbors are not children. My children keep a keen eye on all of my neighbors. They are quick to notice if something is not quite right with someone’s house or yard, and they will quickly go to check things out.
Recently, my immediate neighbor fell and had to have surgery. My children have amazed me with their commitment to her throughout this process. While she was gone, they watered her flowers, filled her bird feeders, and cared for her yard. Since her return, they bring in her trash cans, bring her mail over daily, water her flowers and visit with her daily. Each of them has helped out in some way and without any coercion or inquiry from me. This morning, my oldest son noticed that a limb (which is putting is nicely-it was more like a medium-sized tree) fell in her backyard. He called his grandfather and coordinated with him to bring up his chainsaw this afternoon. He then spoke with all of us to see if we could help out with hauling the limbs. Again, he did all of this on his own.
Today I realized that my children actually have it better than I did as a child. I had friends in the neighborhood to play with, but they have neighbors. They know what it truly means to be neighbors with someone. They are not worried about how often they see or speak with our neighbors. They simply respect each of our neighbors for who they are, and they learn from each of them. Children teach some outstanding lessons, and today I learned an amazing one from mine.
Sims is sailing into seventh grade this year! He is the ground breaker and the guinea pig for each grade. The themes for his seventh grade year are communication, vision and exploration. His goals include:
- Find and utilize effective strategies for time management and organization for school.
- Be able to recognize and respond appropriately/effectively to other’s emotions
- Find and utilize an effective and efficient note-taking method
- Articulate ideas clearly and effectively
- Find and utilize a method to organize though in the form of written communication using prewriting, drafting, editing and final copy.
Sims will work through the following blocks:
4 weeks of Middle Ages, 4 weeks of chemistry, 4 weeks of Wish, Wonder, Surprise, 4 weeks of geography, 4 weeks of Astronomy, 4 weeks of Renaissance, 4 weeks of Anatomy/Physiology and 4 weeks on Carry On Mr.Bowditch. In addition to his blocks, Sims will work through Phonetic Zoo, Word Roots-Latin, and Pre-Algebra. Sims will also participate on and Environthon team!
Sawyer jumps into fifth grade this year! Wow! The themes that I chose for fifth grade are self-awareness, compassion and empathy. Sawyer’s fifth grade goals include:
- Utilize effective communication to inform others of her emotions.
- Find and utilize an effective time management strategy.
- Find and utilize an effective organizational strategy for school work and room.
- Utilizing previously taught grammar skills, write a variety of papers to learn the skills of prewriting, editing, drafting and final copy.
- Increase confidence in utilizing math concepts in everyday life.
- Increase awareness of how other’s are feeling around her and other people’s plans.
Sawyer’s blocks include:
4 weeks on Ancient civilizations, 4 weeks on botany, 4 weeks on Mossflower, 4 weeks on US Geography, 4 weeks on Ancient Egypt, 4 weeks on Ancient Greece, 4 weeks on Ida and finally 4 weeks on another Botany block. She will also begin using Phonetic Zoo, Math-U-See Epsilon, and Latin Word Roots. She will also participate on an Environthon team this year!
I am still in the middle of planning but I have finished Grade 3! Parks, the youngest kiddo, will begin third grade in September. The themes for third grade that I plan to cover include cooperation and confidence. Here are his goals (I make the initial goals and he will add more at the beginning of the year):
- Find a method for getting thoughts onto paper.
- Work independently for 30 minutes.
- Understand the concept of multiplication and division and apply to practical life.
- Find and utilize effective strategies to reduce anxiety and increase self confidence.
- Work in groups effectively.
- Investigate how the environment effects the choices made on shelter, food and clothing.
4 weeks Mr. Popper’s Penguins to focus on writing and dictation using Brave Writer.
4 weeks Shelters focusing on how we protect ourselves, different types of human shelters, animal shelters, and Native American shelters
4 weeks on Farmer Boy by Wilder focusing on writing nature studies and dialog using Brave Writer
3 weeks on Giving focusing o being selfless and giving.
4 weeks on creation stories
4 weeks on Where the Mountain Meets the Moon focusing on heroes and writing a journey using Brave Writer
4 weeks on building with a final building project
4 weeks on cooking to focus on practical math and writing commands (recipes)
2-3 weeks on farming with a focus on field trips and hands-on farming
In addition to the blocks, Parks will be working through Daily Math problems, Spell Well spelling, copy work and memory work. I also plan to have each child present something they are working on every week or every other week to our family or homeschool group (I am still working on this concept).