We have also had lots of visitors lately, which I hate to list as an excuse because we really enjoyed each of these visits. Our church is currently looking for a new pastor, and because Marc is an elder in our church we've had the privilege to host some of the visiting pastors that served as pulpit supply. So far we've had three young men fresh out of seminary stay with us, and it is greatly encouraging to see God raise up terrific men for the ministry. We learned so much from each of them and really enjoyed their company. One of the men also brought his wife and his young daughter, whom Grace bonded with instantly. I'm hopeful we will get to see them again soon. I wish the third man who stayed with us had been able to bring his family -- his wife is a homeschooler who buys organic food and carts kids to swim team everyday, so I think we would have been able to find a few things to talk about! We also had wonderful visits from Grandpa and his two dogs, and a couple of weeks later Marc's sister and her husband made a quick visit.
Looking back on all of that, it is easy to see why I've been inconsistent with weekly reports and blogging in general. School suffered as well, making our homeschool slump last for two straight months. I've had to really fight back feelings of failure the last several weeks and resist the urge to compare myself to all the bloggers whose homeschools seem to be going so well. I have however noticed that several of blogs I read have been quiet lately, so maybe I'm not alone in my struggles to keep up with everything.
Nevertheless, some great things happened in February. We've been having a fantastic time with our Iditarod study which I am going to blog about in a separate post once the race starts. I already blogged about our field trip to Mini Town, but earlier that week we had another great field trip. The kids got to take a tour of a local news station. Of course this was the worst day of my cold, so my wonderful husband volunteered to take the kids (thank you, Honey!). At the end of the tour the kids were on TV for the last few seconds of the noon newscast, and I got to see them live (from the couch at home in my pajamas).
Academically speaking, February has been a turning point for Grace. She has turned into a reader on her own. We've been plugging through The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. Overall we both like this book, but it just seems like it is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get through it, so it's easy to think of it as drudgery. But over the last few weeks Grace has just starting reading everything she sees -- even stuff that is still many lessons down the road in her reading book. As a result her reading lessons are going very quickly now, because in many cases it's review of what she has already picked up naturally. So even though we're only on Lesson 94 (out of 230) she's doing remarkably well. She's also been doing fantastic with math. Her experience with Math U See Alpha is much like Ryne's. She struggled with the concept and the MUS way of teaching addition of 9's, but once she mastered that lesson she was able to easily transfer the concept to her 8's and 7's and is now on a roll.
Ryne finished out the month with his Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet where he received his Bear badge. It was a fun evening, and I am pretty sure Ryne is the most handsome scout ever!
Last but not least, we have started piano lessons again. It's been six months since Anna had a lesson and more than a year since Ryne last had a lesson. We found an excellent teacher who comes to our house on Wednesday mornings for lessons, and I am just loving this arrangement. While one kid takes their lesson I can work with the others in our school room. The teacher uses a much different method than our previous teacher and it seems to be making a huge difference in keeping Ryne engaged. He has incredible music potential, but it's a struggle to keep him motivated. The first time he started piano he loved it so much he played all day long and even wrote his own music. Then one day he just stopped and he couldn't focus during lessons, so we quit. Now he seems to be interested again, so we'll see. He can play by ear and picks up music reading skills pretty quickly. Anna too seems to be thriving under the new instruction. Grace is excited to be taking lessons for the first time. Now the biggest challenge is for me to get us into the habit of practicing consistently.