Maddie is our first born. She thrives on schedules, order, and her brain is the most peaceful when she knows all her ducks are neatly in a row. She loves playing with others, but as an introvert she needs time alone to recharge. Passionate about animal science and their habitats you will often find her with a book on an animal or nature. Last year she took piano lessons and after taking some time off she has began to start plucking away at the piano again and has picked up the guitar. She is a unique, beautiful, and talented masterpiece given to us by God. She has something that no one else in this world has. God has things he wants her to do in life and it is my job to help her be as ready spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically as possible.
The reason I mention Maddie’s personality is because it plays a big part in how we structure her day. It also plays a huge part in us teaching her to navigate the world around her. Giving her permission and confidence to live as an introvert who is able to confidently develop and nurture relationships. Yet, at the same time helping her to realize the moments she has had enough interaction with people and teaching her to take a graceful exit. When she understands her limits she is able to communicate those limits in a healthy way.
This year I am requiring less sit down work than I had originally planned and it has worked out beautifully. I have mentioned in previous articles that I used the drag method with Maddie. The drag method is what I refer to making my kids keep up academically and emotionally with me while I tell them where they should be. The problem with this is I am doing what is comfortable for me, not what my kids need. Dragging them has never triggered a light bulb moment faster. In fact it slowed down the learning moments. When I took a deep breath and relaxed is when the learning moments began to take off.
This year I am requiring one math assignment a day, which is two pages, front and back. I also require a three paragraph sentence. It is amazing what can be learned in three sentences! We have talked about punctuation, spelling, and grammar. She has begun to grasp silent letter spelling and has become quite the story teller through her illustrations and paragraph.
She loves history, science, and geography. I am constantly amazed at what she knows from all the reading she does. Maddie loves science and I have done my best to fill her book shelf with all the books she could ever want on the subjects. I have books about inventors, scientist, the workings of the human body, animal science, habitat, and this year I put a nature poetry book on herself. Learning nature and poetry all rolled into one. A couple of months ago she picked it up out of curiosity and it has become part of her nightly bedtime reading. She hungers to learn because she has freedom and space to do so.
Most of our kids learning and light bulb moments happen away from their sit down work. It happens when they are in the real world putting their sit down work into practice. Maddie has begun to play Settlers of Catan with us, a favorite board game Mark and I enjoy. She discovered that the flash cards she had been practicing came to life when she had to quickly add the dice and keeping track of her points throughout the game.
Mark and I gifted Maddie with a guitar and science experiments for Christmas. I am excited for Maddie to be able to complete her required math and paragraph everyday. Then be able to practice her guitar for hours and try her hand at her science experiments. Maddie wants to get a dog and train her dog in agility as well as to be a therapy dog that goes around to hospitals and nursing homes giving comfort to others. When she is old enough and we feel she is ready, training a dog has amazing life and academic lessons!
She has daily and weekly chores she is to complete before she does her school work. We are a family and as part of living in our family we work together to keep our house clean and tidy. When we all pitch in to help we are all able to have fun and I get to be “fun mommy” instead of “busy mommy”.
Maddie’s Required work (needs to be done in the morning):
3 sentenced paragraph
Inspired: (Allowed throughout the rest of the day and she gets to pick when and how long she does each):
Learning to honor Maddie’s emotional and academic abilities has been key to helping her take the reigns of her learning. Inspiring a life long passion for learning! It is an adventure worth embarking upon!
I’ve noticed that Maddie has really come out of her shell this last year. I love having conversations with that beautiful girl!