School, school, school
You know, back in the day I decided I didn't want to be a full-time home school mom. And now that I am one involuntarily, it turns out that I definitely don't want to be one!
I mean, okay I'm not miserable or anything. And I don't think the kids are either. Apart from the misery we're going through from being away from home for ten months, that is. But sheesh this is intense! I love spending this much time with my kids, and they seem to be enjoying getting to stay home all the time. But what this has made me realize is that when the girls were at school it was like we each had our own little independent time. And G was still home with me, but one kid is A LOT quieter and less needy than three kids. Also, and I think this is the main thing, me being the only one that they're directly responsible to makes me the bad guy way too often! When it's their teacher that assigns homework to them, I just get to say stuff like, "Finish your homework and then we'll have fun!" But instead I'm assigning the homework (even if it originally did actually come from the teacher) and I'm the one that has to keep them on task! It's exhausting.
So, the result is that SCHOOL IS MY LIFE. It's most of what I think about and most of what I spend my time on. When people ask me how I'm doing, I usually want to tell them about school. It's been very all-encompassing. So I'm going to tell you about school! Let's start with G, since he's the easiest. He's reading! We've been going through the same reading book I did with the girls and he is doing great! Actually, he's doing way better than the girls did, which is probably because I started them too young. But he is really soaking it all up and it's looking pretty likely that he'll be done with the book and ready for early readers before baby comes.
M is spending 90% of her school time on her schoolwork from overseas. She spends a total of about 4 hours a day on school, and 3 hours of it is just keeping up with her classmates. It's very, very challenging for her to master the same amount of material as they do but without the environment for reinforcement. We're managing, and she's able to still make Bs on the tests her teacher sends me, but she's clearly not doing it as easily as she was making As when she was going in person. In her work from me, she's really enjoying history (we're in Renaissance/pre-modern Africa and the Middle East for the rest of the year) and she's also loving violin, which I've taken over from H. She has newfound motivation since her teacher started allowing her to learn one song from the Narnia movies soundtracks in addition to the classical piece she's working on. It's amazing what motivation will do for someone!
E is doing fine; she has too much time for her age, and she is reading like a maniac. She's also in second grade math and her handwriting has greatly improved just because she doesn't have that much else to work on anyway! I've started teaching her some basic stuff that she'll learn next year in school overseas just to try to even up the amount of time that both girls are spending on working, and she's enjoyed that. We've also found someone to tutor her online in language, and that has helped a ton with recovering her quickly fading language skills. So she keeps busy! But let's just say that she would not be spending this much time on learning if this was still normal life. But it is nice that her reading has improved so much and we've noticed that the length of time she can concentrate on something has drastically increased, which we think is because of the extended time she spends reading. So that's a nice plus too.
So, I think that gives you a picture of what our life is filled with these days! We're all doing well, but I think we'll all be happy when we can get back to having "school" and "home" be two separate places.