I’m guessing it was those two full days of doing nothing but breathing life back into the kiddos with much deserved friend time, plus a weekend celebration, and new experiences (horseback riding and birdwatching)…but wow, my kids were on fire this morning and ready to sit down and work!

We started our morning with “therapy”, i.e. our SQUILT selection, which was Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Mov. 1. Weeks ago, at the used book store, I had found this great book called Bach’s Big Adventure and knew it would complement our Baroque study at some point. It is a beautiful book with an important story from Bach’s childhood and an overlying moral of working hard and always believing in oneself, yet remaining humble. The kids loved it.

After that, Zahra wrote two letters to family members without a single complaint, and I was so happy to see that she does not make the same error twice. With each letter, I correct one mistake, let the rest go, and she has been able to internalize that small lesson immediately. No “writing it out” ten times, no circles or underlines in red. Just one gentle comment and we’re done.

Noah practised reading a bit, but he’s getting really frustrated with the book. I love this particular method, and what is asked of him is such gradual learning, baby steps, that it should be easy and should inspire confidence in an early reader. He doesn’t see it that way. He wants to flip to the end of the book and convince me that he can read those pages (he can’t) because he wants to be done with it. So we’ll forget about it for a while. (Noah spent much of the afternoon writing messages on paper—asking me to spell most of the words, but giving each one an honest try, and doing all the transcribing himself. This, to me, seems harder; the curve before he learns to read something that he did not write himself will be much longer. But it is painless. In fact, it’s better than painless—it’s fun.)

All that before 10:00am. Booyah.

My friend Kimberley, a talented musician, watched the kids this morning, and when I came back, they were talking about guitar strings and octaves; and I caught Leila more than once singing scales in her room. On and off throughout the rest of the day, I was counting my blessings, thinking about all the wonderful friends we have and how they are enriching our lives!

After lunch, we did some math: 7x table for Zahra, simple addition and subtraction for Noah (with numbers over 10 this time, and he rose to the challenge!) and sandpaper numbers and starfish counters for Leila. Then, as I had received an email from Maker Camp, we watched a short video on making booby traps. The kids found this hysterical, so we printed off the directions and made a list of the supplies we would need. Confession: Projects involving batteries, wires and circuits make me nervous because I’m not sure I completely understand why all this works. Enter Daddy.

IMG_5705I left to make bread dough and start dinner, and the kids scattered. Zahra grabbed her book (Harry Potter number I-don’t-know-what), Leila made a picture of a spider and WROTE “spider” on the paper. Ok, it doesn’t say spider, but it is REAL letters, people! I was rather impressed. She also made something with a styrofoam ball and tape that I think is supposed to be the 3D model of her spider. Then she used her little bowl and pitcher set to clean her area of the table.

IMG_5711Noah headed back to the stairs with his open backpack to continue his parachuting experiments. See? The boy has follow-through for the things that really matter. I asked him why he thought it wasn’t working really well, and he matter-of-factly explained that the opening in his backpack was too small so he wasn’t able to “capture” enough air. Wow. You rock, little dude. What has a bigger opening? he asked. When I suggested a bedsheet, his eyes lit up. He spent some more time jumping with the sheet before heading off into the forest for his last hour before dinner.