Here We are Together, Together, Together

We fasted again to know our next steps for the future, specifically to get a clear answer. And we did get a clear answer. It was...
Continue as you are until further directed.
So that’s what we’re going to do.

I loved my time teaching the kids for an hour and a half every morning. I am learning things too. I was very happy with all the books I’d chosen to teach from except our literature book. I’d picked a book of excerpts from Charles Dickens’ books aimed at children, but the excerpts were disjointed and odd. I decided to just read straight Oliver Twist. I’d hoped to read a Dickens book I hadn’t already read, but in the end I decided Oliver Twist would be their best start, and the first reading was... horrible!

Part of it is was that first chapter and a half is rough going, but most of it was that it wasn’t our best morning no matter what we did. Linus was especially belligerent and ruined for everyone else any good feelings they may have been holding on to.

Penelope and Archie were eager to learn and be good students from the start. Ruby tried to stand up and leave the first morning, but she never got around the corner. Reading poetry was a lot more enjoyable than any of the kids would’ve guessed. She walked back into the room with a sheepish smile and never tried to leave again.

Really, since her blessing right after conference, Ruby had been one of the biggest advocates of anything I’m trying to do.

Herbie swore he didn’t learn anything our first German lesson—he already knew it all. But in further questioning it was revealed that he had learned several things—every single verb I used. By the second lesson he was willing to admit that he was learning new things.

Moses’s oral summary of Joseph leaving Potiphar’s wife was clever and funny. I laughed quite a bit myself.

I thanked Penelope for being such a good student and she said, “That’s because I like it! Are we doing geography tomorrow! Yay!!”

Our geography book is fantastic. I think it’s all the kids’ favorite. In the first lesson I learned things about the cardinal directions that I’d never fully understood before. It’s so simple, but for some reason I’d never been taught correctly? Or something? Maybe it was just me? Anyway, I get it now, and so do all the kids.

Archie is doing great, he is definitely following what we’re reading. The only difference for him so far is that when I read passages out loud and have the kids write them (to work on grammar, spelling, punctuation...), Archie just copies it while looking at it. He has quite a ways to go in terms of spelling and is still working on things like the proper spacing between words.

I tried to get Penelope to do copywork to start too, but she was offended, started crying, and was determined to show me that she could do what the older kids were doing too.

There are things I can’t teach all the kids at once. Math, for example. Also science. Ruby and Archie are no where near the same level in those. At this point, I’m glad to have the packets and broadcasts for the kids to work on individually.

Moses was stressed as his math teacher, who we hadn’t heard from at all, suddenly emailed in a boatload of exercises a couple days before the packets were due back. He finished them about an hour before I biked over to the school to make the switch.

We did have a couple of other snags with the packet. Ruby’s French teacher wanted her to watch an R-rated movie and write a new ending. One of Herbie’s teachers based a question on a TV show we’d never seen or heard of. Herbie had a math question asking him to find the area of a blue shape on a black and white printed page. Sometimes they emailed the teacher, sometimes they just did the best they could.

We seemed to have gotten the perfect amount of work for the older kids, but the second week of packets have hardly anything in them. We think this is a reflection of how school is going for everyone in the school, not just for us.

We didn’t get Linus’s work until Thursday, and there was a bit of a misunderstanding with Penelope’s teacher, but we got it figured out. Next week should be better, and the amount of work the younger kids are getting seems to be constant. Just 5-6 more school weeks!

We had another poetry recital. Linus has been working the most diligently on the poems and the new proclamation. He memorized them all! He earned extra cookies for being able to do the entire proclamation. The rest of the kids and I only know parts of it. (Moses knows the first few and the last few paragraphs—those middle paragraphs are long!)

The missionaries suggested that we plant some dried beans after they left us their spiritual thought on faith. When they followed up, we hadn’t done it, but the kids really wanted to. After the missionaries signed out, Woo suggested we plant our beans outside. He knows how much I dislike a bunch of leaky cans, yogurt or paper cups full of dirt littering the kitchen.

The kids really took to that idea and planted a bean or two all along the path in the park. Then in the patch of weeds and bushes near the parking lot, every single one of them cleared a little patch of dirt; lined it with stones; planted beans, apple cores, potato eyes and onion parts; and watered them every day. It’s been their favorite place to be all week.

Several of Herbie’s beans sprouted on Friday. Moses could only see one of his sprouting, but he dug up some others to confirm they were sprouting too. He was so excited.

Penelope and Archie worked together as a team and were proud of their joint venture.

The imaginative play theme of the week has been Narnia. Moses and Linus were usually twin princes Trinian and Rilian. Archie was a centaur, Penelope was a servant at times, a princess at others.

Herbie and Woo were able to surf a few times. The waves were not great, but they weren’t going to be picky.

Woo got us out of the house on a rainy Saturday by suggesting a driving adventure. First we spent 15 minutes pumping up the front tire. We all took a turn, but Woo did most the work, like he always does.

He entertained us by taking us down a bunch of random dirt roads in the forest and acting like the tire would lose all its air at any moment (it never did). We came out of the forest at Praia D’El Rey, a lovely place that everyone single one of us (but Woo, who has his reasons) wished was our home in Portugal.

The sun came out when we left the car to check out the deserted beach and look over a golf course, which the kids had never seen before and were fascinated by the pair of golfers we saw.

Every kid asked me if we could move there either while we were there or when we came home. I don't think it's any place special, mostly it was the appearance. We’re staying here until we’re supposed to leave, but there’s a strong desire to live in a nicer and more beautiful place. The whole little village was extremely alluring to us.

Sometimes on Saturday mornings Herbie does all the dishes, sets the table and gets out everyone's cereals (or makes a pot of rice when they're out of cereal) before we get up and read.

Morning scriptures

And that’s our week. Hope yours was great!