A Day in the Life

Snow at the end of March. Just a minute before there was a squirrel on the feeder pole and a bunch of starlings and a grackle.

Snow at the end of March. Just a minute before there was a squirrel on the feeder pole and a bunch of starlings and a grackle.

This last day of March I woke up to snow on the ground and snow falling. It was a bit of a shock since when I went to bed it was raining. Our backyard is a marsh.

I’m trying to work on beginning a new habit: having the girls do their copywork at breakfast instead of waiting to start school work after I’ve finished doing the breakfast dishes. As it stands now, on days when we go out to the store or a field trip etc we get no reading/writing/math done at all. I’d like to be able to squeeze it in more regularly especially as the nicer weather is soon approaching when we’ll want to get out and enjoy the world.

Copywork is much more fun when it's from Narnia

Copywork is much more fun when it’s from Narnia

So I’ve got to figure out what will work for us. Sophie is pretty easygoing. The hardest thing is pulling her away once she’s started playing. (I’m thinking this fall I’ll definitely be doing some kindergarten work with Ben just because with him sitting down to do some kind of work there will be one less distraction for her.) She’s been copying a page a day out of a little Christmas board book that she likes. It’s working very well.

Some of our morning school work.

Some of our morning school work.

Bella is harder. What works one day seems to be a disaster the next. But I think my latest strategy might have some staying power. I’m finding her passages from Narnia to copy and letting her use tracing paper to go over the letters I’ve written. She’ll do much, much longer passages this way than if she has to copy them outright. For now, I’m happy with the tracing. She just needs to get the practice so she doesn’t feel so overwhelmed by handwriting. We’ll see how long we can sustain this. It seems no matter what strategy I choose, I have to find a new one every few weeks to keep up with her.

Sophie shows off the book she made for Anthony

Sophie shows off the book she made for Anthony

After her math lesson, which involved cutting squares in half to make rectangles and then those rectangles in half to make squares and then those squares in half to make rectangles, Sophie transformed her shapes into a little book which she then illustrated and wrote and gave to Anthony.

Lucia want me to pick her up-- again

Lucia want me to pick her up– again

Lucia is in a very trying stage. If I’m trying to teach big kids she needs to be up at the table where she can see what I’m doing. She wants to be in my lap and grabbing the pencils and markers and drawing in the books and on the papers. She wants to crawl on the table. She wants to play with the math manipulatives. And she needs to see what I’m doing when cooking too. How dare I not be holding her! And the markers and pencils. And eating crayons. Anyway, because of her and Anthony and Ben what should ideally be about an hour’s worth of school work with Sophie and Bella often stretches beyond two. Oh well.

Lucia eats rice. Her favorite.

Lucia eats rice. Her favorite.

Bella and I read a chapter in Life of Fred and she read me half a dozen sentences off the white board. Then she ran off to listen to The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in her room. Sophie played with Ben and Anthony in the living room. I mixed and shaped my bread (another round of sourdough honey whole wheat). Then lunch, which was a crazy hodge podge of everything.

Anthony and Sophie are finishing lunch

Anthony and Sophie are finishing lunch

Lunch. Sophie has rice with shredded cheese and Anthony has peanut butter crackers and dried currants as a follow-up to their peanut butter and jelly tortillas.

Lunch. Sophie has rice with shredded cheese and Anthony has peanut butter crackers and dried currants as a follow-up to their peanut butter and jelly tortillas.

Lucy went to sleep pretty quickly after lunch and I read a chapter in my Brother Andre book while I nursed her and then checked my email.

After that the kids and I did a quick tidy of the living room and then had story time. I read the second half of the chapter in The Life of Our Lord for Children and the story of St Alban in Our Island Saints. Then Anthony requested Owl Moon and Bella wanted Brambly Hedge. We took pictures to text to my sister who was in the hospital today having a catheterized procedure done on her heart to fix the problem she’s been having with it racing. Then I read a bunch of poems out of The Barefoot Book, including Fern Hill, which I’d never really paid attention to before. Suddenly today it was luminous. Also Wordsworth’s Daffodils and Robert Lewis Stevenson and Auden and a Ogden Nash and Blake’s Tyger, Tyger.

Ben and Sophie listen to a story--snapped for my sister in the hospital

Ben and Sophie listen to a story–snapped for my sister in the hospital

Selfie with Ben snapped for my sister in the hospital

Selfie with Ben snapped for my sister in the hospital

Selfie with Anthony-- snapped for my sister in the hospital

Selfie with Anthony– snapped for my sister in the hospital

Bella at story time-- snapped for my sister in the hospital

Bella at story time– snapped for my sister in the hospital

Somehow it was five o’clock and so I declared we’d have burritos with the leftover pork and quesadillas for dinner so I wouldn’t have to cook. The bread went into the oven about now. An overnight sponge and then two long rises through the day mean this bread takes a lot of attention. But it’s so good. At least it makes two loaves.

Bella listens while I read from Brambly Hedge (The Secret Staircase)-- snapped for my sister in the hospital

Bella listens while I read from Brambly Hedge (The Secret Staircase)– snapped for my sister in the hospital

We were happy to hear my sister’s surgery went well and that they found an unexpected flutter as well as the problem they knew she had. I think a flutter just like this was partly what triggered my dad’s stroke, so it was really a good thing they fixed it. When she woke up my sister said she felt better than she’d felt in ages. Her heart was no longer trying to run a marathon. I’m so glad they finally were able to treat this problem. She’ll stay overnight and go home tomorrow. An easy procedure with a quick recovery.

Sophie never did read to me today. She usually reads me a Bob book. But I figure she did a lot of writing.

I fond a lot more pictures on my phone that Bella took. She’s obsessed with grabbing it to take photos.

Bella took a still life of the kitchen counter-- rye and whole wheat flours, a sippy cup, a Mason jar that recently held homemade yogurt, iPod and phone cables snaking through everything.

Bella took a still life of the kitchen counter– rye and whole wheat flours, a sippy cup, a Mason jar that recently held homemade yogurt, iPod and phone cables snaking through everything.

Bella snaps a still life with vacuum cleaner

Bella snaps a still life with vacuum cleaner

Bella snaps a picture of the floor with my phone

Bella snaps a picture of the floor with my phone

Bella snaps a photo of the dining room with my phone

Bella snaps a photo of the dining room with my phone

My sister's heart chart, before and after.

My sister’s heart chart, before and after.

5 Responses to A Day in the Life

  1. Ann Kubala April 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    I love your ‘Day in the Life’ posts!

    Ann

  2. Mary April 1, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    HOW do you find the time to do everything, Melanie?? I am truly amazed. I am single, with no kids, and I don’t have half your energy.. Do you sleep at all?? Kudos to you!

    • Melanie Bettinelli April 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      Mary, I honestly have no idea. When I was single I did maybe a quarter of what I do. I read less, definitely sleep less– I think I average about six hours a night. I talk on the phone much less. My poor parents hardly ever hear from me these days nor does anyone else. Sadly, I do read a lot less than I used to.

      And my house is in a constant state of chaos. And I usually accomplish about half of what I want to do on any given day. But somehow we muddle through and by God’s grace it’s almost always enough.

  3. Ellie April 2, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Melanie, prayers for your sister! What a relief that they found the source and could do something for her!

    I want to offer support and encouragement, especially with Bella — when you write about her, she really reminds me of my Calli!! Calli really struggled through her younger years, she’s very bright, a gifted artist, and on the asperger’s spectrum so we really walked a long journey with her. Lessons were a bear back then (until about age 12.5) — reading, math, writing, emotional control. But with prayer and love and patience and love and prayer we made it through and she’s blossoming wonderfully.

    How you all homeschool reminds me so much of how I homeschooled those younger years and i always enjoy your learning posts 🙂

    PS popped your email back …

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