Greetings & Happy Holidays. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and that you’re looking forward to the winter holidays in December. We had a pleasant Thanksgiving, but the best part has been taking a few days off from our regular routine to play and putter around the house. Boy, I needed that! And the boys needed it too.
There’s much going on that I can’t write about in this space, so let’s just say that this homeschooling mama is growing older, and she’s feeling tuckered out. I turned 49 in October! It’s hard for me to believe that. When I was a young girl, a 50-year-old was old old. LOL Now poof. I’m almost there. Of course, I don’t consider it old anymore, but I do notice a lot of changes in my body. *groan*
But life is mostly good, and for this, I’m grateful. At this age, I have learned to appreciate all the good, simple things. Being alive is on the top of that list. And healthy. I like to rake leaves and trim the foliage in the flowerbeds. I love watching birds, and I love the blue sky, and I love rain too. I have a cozy home, and I love my family. I get a little time here and there to share my thoughts on this blog, and somehow that’s like meditating for me. It helps me breathe and sort my thoughts.
This isn’t to say I don’t see the darker side of life. We are still waiting out this pandemic, and we are more than ready for a vaccine, but we know that life will stay somewhat altered for a while beyond that. This isn’t fun. I know many people who are over 50-years-old who are being negatively affected by this pandemic. You don’t necessarily have to catch COVID-19 to have it take away your freedom to be with loved ones or access to proper healthcare, which has other negative consequences. I also know plenty of people who aren’t taking the pandemic seriously, and they don’t wear masks or take any precautions, and this is frustrating because their decisions impact us. We’re having to stay home for an entire year because we can’t trust going out among the general population for anything except essential shopping. Thanks a lot, I say.
Sigh. But life goes on, and we savor the good and try to let the other things go. This too shall pass.
If there’s one good thing about being stuck at home, it’s that we can do a lot of learning and reading.
My 5th grader just finished up a fantastic class on outschool.com. (If you don’t know about Outschool, you should really check it out.) He took a 10-week zoology class with a great teacher who made the class fun. It met twice a week on Zoom, so it was in depth, and he did a lot of homework for it. He also took a class about birds from this same teacher over the summer. Outschool has been great, and I plan to use it more as my son’s needs grow.
As a family, we have been enjoying the series How the Universe Works, which is available on Amazon Prime right now. We’ve watched a lot of documentaries about space, but we’ve never gotten the detailed information that we are getting in this show. Keep in mind, it’s a few years old, so with rapid technological advances, some of this information is already out of date. In addition, we usually don’t like documentaries that repeat information and images over and over again (you’ll see a lot of explosions), or use dramatic language to describe nature, but the basic information is so good that we can overlook that.
As for books, we are all diving into our favorites. My 11-year-old won’t give me back my Kindle! He is devouring chapter book after chapter book, and I haven’t even kept track of everything he’s reading. My husband is supplying him with plenty of series. As long as the books have animals for main characters, my son is happy, and I’m thrilled he’s reading so much, so he can keep my Kindle. 😉 At the moment he’s reading the Seekers series.
My 14-year-old is enjoying the classic science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert right now.
As for me, I’ve always got a few things I’m reading, but for my bedtime book, I’m reading The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. I just started it, but so far, so good. It’s entertaining and informative, and since I’ve learned a lot about the research of birds in documentaries, I feel like I have some knowledge and background which makes me thoroughly enjoy this book.
I also recently finished re-reading the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, though I’m questioning now whether or not I really read it as a kid. I thought I did, but I sure didn’t remember anything from the book! Maybe I just saw the movie. (I don’t have the greatest memory.) Anyway, I enjoyed it, though I see where teaching this book today would be tricky. You definitely need to read it keeping in mind the timeframe it was written and perhaps juxtapose this book with some more current but also wonderful books written by black authors. I would recommend Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which is also set in the 1930s. Do you have any other recommendations?
How is your homeschooling going, or what plans do you have for the holidays? Please tell me in the comments below.