Week three went fairly well, with a bit of an attempted mutiny from the troops. I set a solid course, with Latin beginning our day at 9 o’clock, sharp. You must be seated at the table, having finished breakfast, and ready to sail.
I sound stern, don’t I? Of course, I broke my own rule even as I laid it down, because there I sat with my tea in front of me. Still, students are not teachers, I reasoned, so I dealt strongly with the children who were misbehaving. LOL. Okay, I told them to do better next time, and then I incentivized them with skittles the next day. Anyone who can name a Latin verb gets a skittle. One more earns another… you see where I’m going with this.
It’s amazing the stimulating effect sugar has on a child’s brain! LOL! Well, on my eldest’s brain, anyway. Shane could only remember “luna” and “oremus”, but he’s only six, so I figure that’s a reasonable start, right? He’s learning the prayer, the “Sanctus” anyway, and Braeden is the one with the workbook. (It is just too challenging for Shane, at this point, with all the writing it requires. I’m not out to demoralize the poor little guy!)
I instigated “Skittles Tuesday,” “Jelly Bean Wednesdays,” and “Mike and Ike Thursdays,” and before readers and dentists lose their heads over how bad it is for kids to have that much sugar, remember, please, that I required a great performance for one piece of candy, which is precisely why I chose little candies for my incentives. (They each earned 3!) Braeden had a very well liked teacher (“one of the best!”) for first grade. I eventually realized that one of the reasons she was so well loved by all the kids was that she kept a bowl of candy ever-ready for treating good behavior. I’m just learning from the pros.
Fridays we have piano lessons. I’ve managed to get both boys in at the same time, so it’s only a half hour, then it’s off to the public library. It isn’t your grandparents’ library. It is housed in a modern building built expressly for the purpose. No dusty old stacks to rummage around in, and everything is computerized. Our library is fantastic, with a great selection of kids’ books and a large well-stocked salt-water aquarium to distract little kids while Mommy finds something just for her!
We are going to karate almost every day now, because we are in town. Karate is during after-school hours, and it is my back-up incentive so the kids must finish their day of work before I will take them there. They have responded really well to this and they like the concrete instructions. Next week, I will improve on the schedule I have planned, so they can follow along with the work and cross it off as they complete each subject for the day. I had purchased a white board for this purpose and that worked for chores, over the summer, but they use it now for doodling and the computer prints out our work list. I also know now that although we start every day with Latin and a prayer, my kids prefer to choose what subject to do when. This is a hold-over tenet of Montessori, which allows children to do whatever work suits them for as long as they need, and it makes good sense to me. You know how you have to write a letter to a sick friend, but now is not the time? Maybe later at night, when you’re in the mood? That’s what this is. Sometimes you are more open to learning math than others, and only the child knows that for himself, intuitively. So, as long as they finish the work, in time to get to karate, who am I to argue? Shane is still going strong with math, and I won’t dissuade him from working ahead. He is leading me in this, in fact.