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This week has involved (thus far) a zoo trip, library day, two unrelated doctor visits, lots of phone calls to various doctors and pharmacies, unscheduled but necessary errands, as well as efforts to keep life moving along in a good direction.  When things like this happen, keeping on track with academics can be a challenge.  What’s to be done?

Take a deep breath and prioritize.  While alphabet games for the three-year-old may fall by the wayside for a few days, math for the older children should not.  It helps to take advantage of where ever you find yourself and identify ways to tie things into your academic plan (or re-write it slightly to encompass them).  Here are some examples of what I mean.

  • At the zoo, reading the signs and maps assists with creating a mental picture of who lives where, and how life in each biome works together.  Take advantage of any activities or animal shows to increase not just a knowledge base about God’s creations, but appreciation for the myriad of questions they may not have thought to ask.  Sketching the animals and their habitats encourages focus and study.  Look for the differences in textures, colors, size, etc.  If you can find out when the animals are fed, follow the zoo-keepers around and observe how and what each animal eats.  What precautions, if any, the zoo-keepers need to take for the various species.  Why or why not?  The zoo is a unit study just waiting to happen.
  • When dealing with medical surprises, ask your doctor for any child-friendly information sheets they may have concerning the issue at hand.  Our pediatric cardiologist gave us coloring and game pages, information sheets, and allowed my children to examine heart models and ask questions.  Often you can find child friendly information online to supplement whatever you are handed.  Chicken pox can be a days’ detour from the goals for the month.  (And then a few days off for baths and naps.)  If you are dealing with more serious issues, it may become it’s own unit study for a week or more.
  • Our children’s librarian is transferring and this week is the last story time he will be doing for us.  This gives us the opportunity to make thank-you cards, and to discuss accepting life’s changes.  And to look forward to the good that will come.
  • Unseasonably hot summer weather has hit, and the garden is suffering a bit.  Here comes a botany lesson.  Peas don’t take 100 degree weather well; the tomatoes love it.  Time to pull the peas and any weeds taking advantage of the warm weather, water the tomatoes and melons, and thin the corn that is beginning to form tassels.  Look for signs of seed pods forming, fruit and flower formation, and learn to spot pests and disease.  Summer is here!

Some things require flexibility in the academic plan for a bit.  Other things are simply a bump in the road.  Whichever you run up against, find ways to smile and keep moving.  As our children see us take on the unexpected with composure, they will learn to do the same.

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