I haven't posted to my blog for a couple of weeks. I have been having lots of face time with my kids. ;o) You know, the kind where you actually look in their eyes while they are speaking to you? I am notoriously bad about trying to do several things at once and giving people half (or less than half) of my attention.
We are in the last four weeks before summer, and are slowly organizing the house now that extracurricular activities are gradually leaving the schedule. (I'd really like to paint, but haven't had the opportunity to do anything but the kids' bathroom. Perhaps this summer I can do more.) Our "books pending" shelf is almost empty of this year's schoolbooks, and I am beginning to load it with things for next year. Very exciting! Triss will be doing a year of American history and government, and my dad gave me quite a few books that fit right in, including three separate books on the Constitution! I will be challenged to select the best books for our situation and not overload Triss with too many assignments next year, there are so many excellent resources out there on this subject. I also found two copies of _Founding Brothers_ for a dollar apiece at HalfPrice Books last night. I bought both, because, more and more, the kids and I are feeling the need to each have a copy of the books we read aloud. We are all very visual. (I actually purchased two more sets of the complete works of Shakespeare a few weeks ago so we can all have our own copy of the current play without having to print a lot of material. Now we have three complete Shakespeares and I use the online Shakespeare, so each one of the four of us has the words of the Bard in front of us while we are reading.)
I received a Wii Fit program from my parents for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and have been working out every morning. I am feeling better than I have in awhile, and really appreciate the way the program is set up. The kids are working out on the program, too, although they are already in great shape. They motivate me to work harder so I can keep up!
I'm sure my friends irl are getting a little weary of my Wii Fit analogies, so I will share a couple of them here in the hopes that I can Stop Talking About It irl. (Our moms' book club was very forbearing with me the other night as I launched into my metaphors, lol.) This is one of the benefits of having a blog, imho.
First, the program gives you points for balance. There are four sections: Yoga, Strength Training, Aerobics and Balance Games. All but the Aerobics really focus on balance. It is so easy to get off balance! This has led to the kids and I talking about how when we try to compensate for something we know we are doing wrong, we often head too far in the other direction-- there is a subtlety to landing in the center. Also, focus is very important. If you aren't focusing on the muscles that are required for balancing on one foot, or walking with an even pace, your balance is going to be off. Also, that focus becomes automatic after you have worked on it for awhile. Habit training!! I hope these thoughts eventually flow over to our work on improving our habits in other areas.
On the exercise portion of the program, you are given Fit Credits for the amount of time you spend exercising. The goal is to collect 30 fit credits per day, which is 30 minutes of working out. But-- it is only the time you actually spend in exercise. (Do you see where this is going?) You don't get credit for the time spent switching, or doing the Body Test, or deciding what to do next, or getting a drink of water, or running to get something you forgot, or visiting for a moment about your great (or horrible) score on one of the games. You only get credit for your exercise time. When I first started, it took me an hour to get thirty fit credits, but now I have it down to about forty minutes.
This has excellent implications in terms of getting any kind of work done. If I need to do my dishes, and I get in there to do it, but first make myself a cup of coffee, begin emptying the dishwasher, then start looking at cookbooks in order to decide what to fix for supper, go back to emptying the dishwasher, realize I haven't put on makeup this morning and go do that real quick, get sidetracked by a book I was reading the night before and sit down to consume a quick chapter, go back to the dishes, stop and look outside at the huge roses my 8yodd wants to show me, then back to the dishes, and I realize it has been an hour since I started... I can't exactly say that it took me over an hour just to do the dishes, because I have been doing other things too, right?
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with stopping to smell the roses (or to decide what to fix for dinner). We moms often have 'the pace of a hen', and I think need to function in that way at least sometimes. But it is a good thing to realize that the actual act of doing dishes doesn't take that long, and this is true about many things.
And there is a problem with allowing students to think that one lesson in math or any other subject takes an hour, when they could have it finished in thirty minutes or less with complete focus.
On Wii Fit, every time you earn fit credits, a little time clock shaped like a pig falls down from the sky and little coins drop into it. The piggy shows you your accumulated minutes, and when you get to 30, it throws a little party, jumping up and down and showering confetti. Fun! So the other day the kids and I were working on something, and they were goofing off, and it occurred to me (for the nth time) that this is the reason four hours of work sometimes takes as long as six hours at our house. I asked them to think about the Piggy Minutes, and they loved the term, so now whenever anyone is dawdling at our house, someone is sure to say, "Look out! You aren't getting your Piggy Minutes!" which is easier to tolerate than saying, "Get back to work!" (I also say, "Focus!" but that is getting a little old.)
I think these benefits can be got with other types of exercise too, or drill, as CM called it. But I have been given this program, and am very pleased with it. I just love the yoga exercises. Sometimes I do the breathing for six minutes. I have had some problems with vocal production (in terms of singing) for the past year, and couldn't figure out what was going on, but after using the Wii Fit I realized my center of balance was off and I had begun breathing backward (tightening my abs as I breathed *in* instead of as I breathed *out*). I have had much better vocal production in the last week. Yay! I was beginning to think that I was getting over the hill in terms of voice, but I was just not focusing correctly.
That's all I have that's new at this point. I am getting so excited about next year's school, though. As I said before, Triss will be studying American history and gov't in depth, and Cornflower will be going into AO Year 3, which is one of my favorites-- full of discovery and invention and beauty. Mariel is maturing into Year 6, and I think will do well studying a bit of 20th century history and then two terms of ancients. All in all, next year promises to be fascinating, and I feel enthusiastic about planning it.
I have been staying away from reading blogs lately in order to catch up on Bible reading, and I am still not caught up, so I don't know when I will get back into the swing of keeping up with everyone. I went on a couple of blogs last night to get some info for a friend, and could feel myself being drawn into everybody's exceedingly interesting thoughts. I had to make myself stop, because it does take a lot of time to read, even on feeds, and I have been doing so much better at focusing on what is happening at our house, I don't want to lose that focus. Once I get completely on track with Bible reading, though, I will see if I can bring blog-reading back in-- with balance. :O)