That's the boat I found us in a few weeks ago. My youngest daughter has been a bit short-changed during her elementary years. We've called 4 countries home during her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade school years. Those years we've cut back on some of the fun parts of school and I've focused a bit more on basic skills, just trying to survive. I've had her tag along with her older sibling in order to simplify things in my day so that I've had time to learn culture and language and figure out where to buy groceries and how to turn powdered milk into cottage cheese and such. I haven't been as diligent to cultivate a love for learning in her little heart. As the year has progressed and things have settled down I've been more able to focus on our schooling again. I came to the realization that she really doesn't like school. She could read, but she doesn't enjoy it. She can finish her math lessons, but hasn't grasped some of the concepts as well as she should because she hasn't been challenged to play addition war and dice games the way some of the others did. I realized that there were lots of tears of frustration and she was feeling overwhelmed way too much of the time. So, I decided to make a change.
I decided for the rest of the year, I was going to pull her out of the Ancient History study that her older siblings were doing. Instead of reading history based literature like they've been doing, she was going to go back to the fun classics like Beverly Cleary and Astrid Lindgren and I was going to work on helping her to learn to enjoy books and to delight in what she's reading by helping her understand how to make connections.
With that decision, I also decided to lighten her load a little bit, taking away her written Science and History work and instead, letting her join Abe and I for our 5 in a Row time. There will be plenty of time for her to learn the Scientific Method, but I was running out of time to help her realize the wonder in it all. And, it was a great decision. I've had her do a few things and do them well, rather than worrying about racing through and getting that curriculum done. The tears are less and the joy is more.
Since I made that call, we've had a great time "rowing" several books together. The first two weeks, our books focused on snow, which was ironic because most of the people we love back in the US were getting pummeled with the white stuff. We had a great time studying about snowflakes, painting our own snow scenes, making a special snowflake snack to share, and Lily was very proud as she recited Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" at dinner one night.
Here's Abe's sign
Lily was ready to take orders from our customers and make change from their payment.
Abe got in the action, flipping burgers and hot dogs.
"It would be our pleasure to serve you."
A few of our menu items.
Lily, the french fry cook.
Here's a completed order, ready for Abe, the waiter, to deliver it to the guest.
By the time it was over, I was exhausted and didn't want to make another milkshake anytime soon. They just wanted to know if we could do it again next weekend. I guess that's what you'd call a success!