Summer is in full swing now and it's easy to tell because of the sporadic posting. We're outside, walking around the pond, pulling weeds in the garden, and playing in the yard. It takes up most of our time. When I'm finally inside, there's the usual housework to tackle, though the amount I complete is limited with a toddler around.
The other morning I was amazed to find that by 9:30 a.m. I had baked a batch of banana nut muffins and had a couple loaves of bread set to rise from freshly milled flour. I poured my first cup of coffee and looked out the window as I marveled at my productivity. Look at what I had accomplished! And so early! I couldn't figure out why I usually don't seem to manage to do the things that I really want to do. What made all this possible?
I then realized--all three kids were outside. There was no one under my feet and no one demanding immediate attention. There was no one stealthily attacking the computer or table lamp and no one standing on the couch. I was able to be focused and efficient. It was then I realized that I was neither lazy nor unmotivated on a regular day. I was simply overwhelmed! If you remove One Toddler from my home I hit a level of basic functioning. Allow me to take a bow.
Henry is a lot like Thomas was as a toddler. He is full-speed, head-on, faster-faster. He is happiest when he is into Everything and furious when he is not. I think he'll be happier when he's finally able to speak clearly enough for the rest of us to understand. I'll be happier when I can afford to develop a dependence on alcohol. I'm sure a happier Henry is right around the corner but I'm not quite sure that I'll survive until then. If I hadn't had a child like this before I would seriously doubt that a day of sanity would ever come. Thomas is still pretty intense, but at least he doesn't break things any more. At least not on purpose.
In other news, strawberry season is drawing to an end. I've picked about 15 lbs of berries. It's translated into a batch of jam, rhubarb-strawberry sauce, and one poorly executed strawberry pie (ask me why sugar and cornstarch are important). I still have about five pounds of berries waiting to become jam and dessert. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. For now, I'm out of sugar.
The biggest thing occupying my attention lately, apart from the aforementioned toddler, has been homeschool plans. I am a big Planner. I love plans, I love knowing what to expect, I like An Outline. I like to know what things are going to be like. I don't think I'm terribly inflexible, not that anyone thinks they're inflexible, but I like to have a general idea of what MIGHT happen. So, I've been reading a lot about homeschool nuts-and-bolts.
The past few months I've been reading Charlotte Mason's book Home Education. I've read a couple companion books that are written to condense the Home Education book into simple, practical nuggets. I've read blogs and websites about this approach to teaching. I've been hip-deep in writings about Narration, Dictation, Copywork, etc. There are few corners of AmblesideOnline.org or CharlotteMasonHelp.com I haven't explored.
Anyway, all that to is to say that I've been hearing about some wonderful books lately. It makes me wish the kids and I could read all day. The hardest part is that we can't do it all. We can't read every book on every list and we can't follow every curriculum. For history alone there are many, many books that seem so promising--A Child's History of the World, A Little History of the World, The Story of the World, An Island Story, This Country of Ours. . . How do you choose? Thomas and Anna would listen to me read all day, but how much is too much? I don't want them overwhelmed to the point where they don't remember anything we've read!
Of course, at this point there is little fear of really reading too much. I have a toddler to make sure of that!