MFW Adventures: Revolution & Rhinovirus

The best time to gauge my children’s progress in learning to work independently, always occurs when I am sick.

Mom is down for the count. How much can you do on your own?

I’ve been working hard with my eldest son to learn how to fend for himself. Last year, I realized that if I ever disappeared for a few days, I would likely return to find him half starved and wearing the same clothes he had on when I left, with a decent chance he may not have even noticed my absence. The child knows how to melt away into imaginative play like no other. On the other hand, my second born would have prepared three square meals a day, finished a load of laundry, completed an assortment of projects on top of his daily schoolwork, and managed to keep all the pets fed and the house clean.

Its not like I only worked with the second born on life skills. They both received the same lessons and the same amount of attention. It really boils down to this: my second born cares about independence and basic hygiene; my first born does not care about anything but the alternate universe in his head.

So I end up sick for their all time favorite history topic, the American Revolutionary War.  What to do? Should I skip school for a week? If it had been any other subject, I would have! But here was a chance to see the kids in action in a subject they were well versed in.

I did decide to skip science this week as an act of grace and mercy towards myself. We voted to double up on science the following week.  We kept our morning routine the same. The boys worked through their Saxon lessons and we set aside our Language Arts for the week. When life gets hard we usually stick with one or two subjects and let the other subjects take a rest. The chances of goal achievement are much higher and I don’t have to deal with the horrible guilt of not finishing a tremendous to-do list by the end of the week. Honestly, stripping back also helps the kids learn much more than they do when I try to pack in too much. Win-win.

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So how did we survive the Revolutionary War while the General battled Rhinovirus? Well, aside from an insane “Liberty’s Kids” marathon that has left me with a vehement hatred for the opening bars of “I see a laaaaaannnnnd….,” we spent the majority of our days on the floor with packs of army men and an assortment of legos.  I read books aloud and drank tea. Whenever I needed to sleep, they read books to each other and drank tea. Even outside of school hours, the boys kept picking up easy readers and step into reading books about the Revolution.  I loved passing by their room at night and seeing those night lights on and the history books open. What a thrill!  Despite the hideous plague of illness I was wallowing in, I could not help but feel immense gratitude for the blessing of homeschooling. My kids don’t hate school. They love to learn. <—This will never cease to amaze me!

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The boys built a variety of weaponry. Cannons, sabers, muskets. Full disclosure: I did not teach them any of this, I don’t know where they acquired this knowledge and I still have no idea what any of it is , how it works, or when it was used. I only know that my kids dig it big time.

A few months ago, I stopped off at a Barnes & Nobles with $7 left on an old gift card. I found this book in the clearance section. Totally NOT age appropriate, however, it came with dozens and dozens of document replicas that made its $5 price tag worthy of my gift card.

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The boys loved reading notes from Cornwallis, drafts of the Constitution and George Washington’s commission note which renounces his allegiance to King George and pledges his loyalty to the United States.  Lots of tiny people geeing out over here. They spent Friday in Revolutionary War garb, tricorn hats in place, sending missives back and forth between camps. The toddler Nathan Hale was usually charged with carrying the documents between the Greenback Mountain Boys and an “ICY COLD” General George Washington.

So what did we read this week? Pretty much everything by Jean Fritz. One lunch hour consisted of twelve books and many, many quesadillas with sliced avocados from our tree. (Lemon tea for me!) They did not want lunchtime reading to end.

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Revolutionary War Book List
Can’t You Make Them Behave King George? by Jean Fritz
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Jean Fritz
Why Don’t You get a Horse, Sam Adams? by Jean Fritz
The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
Why Not, Lafayette? by Jean Fritz
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? by Jean Fritz
The Scarlett Stocking Spy by  Trinka Hanks Noble
The 18 Penny Goose by Sally M Walker
George the Drummer Boy by Nathaniel Benchley
If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore
If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy
Heroes of the Revolution by David A Adler
Nathan Hale Patriot Spy by Shannon Zemlicka
Paul Revere by Esther Forbes

We capped off the week with a Revolutionary battle reenactment that resulted in three nosebleeds, one broken picture frame, a box of overturned cheerios, a damaged tricorn hat and left me bedridden until my sweet husband came home early from work to rescue me.

Confession: I have a super big crush on my children’s principal.

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