Weekly Wrap-Up: In a Rut

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It’s Weekly Wrap-Up time again and I hope lots of you will participate this week…because I need some encouragement and inspiration. If I could describe this week using only one word, it would be “rut” or possibly “boring.”

I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I have just really felt dull this week. I’ve felt like we haven’t learned nearly as much about Italy as we have the countries that we’ve studied previously for Around the World Day. And, it didn’t help to have this confirmed by my thirteen-year-old. It seems like we’ve learned a lot about ancient Rome, but not so much about modern Italy. What’s bad is that I can’t quite put my finger on what’s gone wrong. We’ve used the same approach that we’ve always used when studying our chosen country.

Maybe that’s the reason for the “in the rut” feeling. I mean, I would think “tired and true outline, new and different country” would stand us in good steed, but maybe it was time for a different approach. I’m strongly considering just doing an “Italy immersion” week next week and seeing what we can pull out for Around the World Day. If I decide to go with that, I plan on asking the kids what they had hoped to learn about Italy that we haven’t yet learned, then, hitting the library.

On a positive note, I took my own advice and re-read my favorite “Teach Your Child to Read” article. This week, I had Josh and Megan pick a book from their shelves each day for our reading practice. I felt like we made much more progress in reading this week than normal. Whenever they came across a word they didn’t know, I’d either supply it for them or tell them the applicable phonics rules so that they could figure it out. A lot of times, they could figure the word out simply based on the context of the sentence.

I’m ready to pull out my Times Tales materials for Josh — and probably Megan, too. I used them when Brianna was learning the upper times tables and they are wonderful. If you’ve never seen or heard of it and you have a child who is struggling to learn the upper times tables (such as 6X7, 8X9, 9X7), I highly recommend that you take a look at Times Tales. It’s a mnemonic (yes, I had to look up how to spell that!) memory system that teaches kids the harder times tables in less than an hour. Literally. Brianna had them down in 45 minutes and still remembers them, four years later. I bet that even Nim can learn the upper times tables with this system. Won’t that impress people? 😉

Paint Tray

We ended the week on a little more interesting note, by pulling out the paints for the kids while I read. One of the best purchases I made at the curriculum fair this year, were these little, round paint trays. I’ve since seen them at a couple of hobby stores for $1 or less. I love them because the washable tempera paints that we use wash right off the trays and the wells are small enough that we’re not wasting paint like we were when I was using ice cube trays. The trays also have a large area in the center for mixing colors, which the kids love to do.

We also did our nature walk, which I’ll recap in a separate post later this weekend. Brianna worked on our paper mache Leaning Tower of Pisa and I began working on our Roman headpieces again — finally. I wasn’t really eager to burn my fingers with the hot glue again, so we’re trying a different technique. Once I decide whether or not it’s effective, I’ll post some details and pictures…well, unless I decide that it’s NOT effective.

I’m hoping to do some reflecting and planning this weekend to see if I can figure out if it’s just me going through a phase or if it’s time to change things up in order to get out of the rut that I feel that we’re in. I know that we have these ebbs and flows and I can live with that. I just want to see if there’s anything that I could or should be doing to make sure that we’re including enough of the things that make learning more than just inputting information. I feel that it’s a blessing to be able to educate my children at home and I don’t want to squander this time.

So, what about you? How was your week? Leave your comments here or post about it on your blog and leave your link so that we can share some ideas and get inspired.

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  1. I just read yours right before I posted my url.

    Umm, I dont think that I am a good one to help you out of your rut this week. opps!

  2. Hi

    We haven’t had a great week either and have been stuck in a rut too. Have ended up doing some planning and jigging things about and hope next week is better.

    I’ve had a look at the Times Tales you mentioned and that looks like something that could work well for us.

    I hope we all have a better week next week.

    Take care

  3. YAY! I remembered this week! 🙂

    I don’t know if I helped with the rut though. Thanks for the Times Tales recommendation. I’m going to check that out.

  4. Hi. I like your wrap-up. I hope it’s OK that I posted my “Week in Review” here since it’s kind of the same thing. Here’s hoping you get out of your rut next week!


  5. Hi! Sorry to hear that you feel like you’re in a rut. I just posted about our week. I hope it’s ok that I did it on Saturday because we were busy with our day on Friday! I started to feel like we didn’t get much accomplished this week…I struggle with guilt sometimes, but then I have to step back and look at all the things we did together and talked about even when it wasn’t “school time”. Then, things look much better! We’re still ironing things out and I think we’ll always be doing that. Just an idea since you’re learning about Italy- there must be some music or art or RECIPES that could liven things up. Maybe find a Mario Batali recipe. I haven’t watched him in awhile, but I always enjoyed it because he included little facts about what he was cooking and where in Italy it came from or what it meant to that area. Just some ideas. I hope next week looks better for you!!!

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