Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Weekend

The last 3 days have been pretty nice, not fantastic, but nice. Dea is still fghting about her schoolwork. She goes through phases. She'll do work without fighting, and actually put in effort for awhile. Then, we go back to fighting about every assignment & total lack of effort for awhile. Well, we're currently in a fighting & no effort phase. So, she's behind in a few subjects & we're trying to get caught up. She's being quiet a pain about it.
On the bright side, though, I've been shopping. =) Normally, I don't really enjoy shopping. However, there are a few things I love to buy. I enjoy shopping for homeschool curriculum. I do major research - figure out what will work with our style, the kids' learning styles, what other materials it will work with - before purchasing anything. I'm not the complete curriculum kind of girl. I like to mix & match. Our curriculum is mostly made up of supplemental materials, materials I create, books (not textbooks, but books from the library or our collection), and some DVDs, software, games, etc. tossed in, as well. I also enjoy shopping for books. If I were ever to claim an addiction, it would be a book addiction.
Over the last few days, I've ordered most of our materials for the upcoming school year. I purchased the basic school supplies we'll need for the upcoming school year (paper, pens, pencils, etc.). I ordered some books. Some are ones we need for school next year, others I just wanted to have in our collection.
As happy as I am that those purchases have been made & as much as I'm looking forward to the school materials & books being delivered, there is one purchase we made that I'm even happier about. We bought a new oven. Our oven died last year (I think it was in August), but the burners still work. So, everything has been cooked on the stove, in roasters, or in the crockpot for months. I'm looking forward to being able to bake again. I'm planning all the wonderful things I'm going to make once that new, beautiful oven arrives. I think I'll start off with lasagna & bread. There's also pizza, pizza rolls, mozzerella bites, corn bread, and cake. I can hardly wait! I love making most of our food from scratch, and that's been hard without a working oven. The new one is beautiful - black, 5 burners, 5.0 cu ft, and a brand I know I can trust.
We also did some clothes shopping. I really don't like shopping for clothes, but we needed to do it. Jay was down to only one pair of pants that fit him. So, we went to Goodwill for a bunch of clothing. Then, we finished the shopping at WalMart (Goodwill had a small selection of pants Jay's size). Now, both kids have clothes that fit them & some stuff that they'll grow into. Yay!
So, even though I'm not extremely fond of shopping, I'm glad that I got to do this shopping this weekend.

The Olympics

Ok, I know this is not going to be popular, but it's true. I'm so sick of the Olympics! This is probably due in part to the fact that I don't enjoy watching sports. I find it rather boring to watch sports. The only way it holds any interest for me at all, is if I personally know at least one person that is playing in the game. Otherwise, I'd rather scrub the floors than watch sports.
There's also the fact that I truly believe that the U.S. needs to be focused on more important things. We're behind most other industrialized countries when it comes to academics. We owe massive amounts of money to other countries. Our public education system needs to be completely revamped. We have thousands of people with no job, no home, living below the poverty line, going hungry, etc. There are illiterate adults & kids. Homeless shelters routinely have to turn people away. So, what do we focus on? What brings the country together? A sporting competition! Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Planning Next Year

I'll be ordering next year's school materials in the next few weeks. I like to get them before the current year is finished, so that I have plenty of time to look over them & plan the next year. We only take 1 month off between grades & that isn't enough time to make sure I have everything planned for both kids. So, I've been finalizing my list of materials to buy. Most was pretty easy to decide on, but there were one or two things I wasn't sure about. My biggest issue was Math for Dea. She's fantastic at Math, always has been. However, she HATES Math. She would rather scrub the toliet than do Math. Last year (5th grade), We bought Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. I had heard really good reviews about it. Well, she decided not to put any effort into it at all. There were several assignments she handed in that made it obvious that it wasn't an issue of comprehension, she just wasn't trying, wasn't even reading the problems before writing answers. She didn't even finish the book. So, we made her redo it this year. She should be doing Algebra this year, but she's got to get through Pre-Algebra first. She has to learn that Math is important & she has to do it, even if she hates it. I know some people don't think Math is important. Some say that it shouldn't be required after they've learned the basics. I, however, feel that Math is very important. My kids are required to take a Math course every year they are in school, until college.  Anyway, I would like Dea to enjoy Math a little more. I don't exactly enjoy it, but I could have liked it more if it had been taught in a different way. So, I've decided to try Life of Fred Algebra for Dea next year. We've already got TT Algebra, so we can switch back to that if Life of Fred doesn't work out for us. I want to give it shot, though. Maybe I'll be lucky and she'll decide she likes LOF, at least enough to not argue about Math (with TT we're down to arguements/crying once or twice a week, before TT it was daily).
So, here's the basic (preliminary) plan for next year:
Dea, 7th grade -
Art - study artists & their works, do art projects using various styles & mediums
Music - study different genres of music & artists from each, continue listening to variety of music, learn guitar & singing (both optional)
Latin - continue with Oxford Latin Course (hopefully finish)
Algebra - Life of Fred Beginning Algebra & Advanced Algebra or Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 if LOF doesn't work for her
Biology - Power Basics as spine, various Labs and other assignments added to it
Geography - Power Basics World Geography with various assignments added to it
History - continue study of Wars - WWI, WWII - Dea will write book on each
English/Language Arts (whatever you want to call it) - she's doing her first year of High School level - Writing Strands, Easy Grammar, study of poetry & plays, read whatever books she wants, I'm working on creating Vocab curriculum

Jay, 1st grade -
History - interest led approach, lots of hands-on projects. He's into Ancient Civilizations right now, so we're doing Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, & Ancient Rome. He'll also be creating a timeline. I'm getting some fun dinosaur stuff for him to do during breaks (he loves dinos).
Language Arts - finish the ETC series (more for review than anything else), read whatever books he wants (doing a project or having discussion to show comprehension), the Vocab curriculum I'm working on (for Spelling & Vocab probably), copy work for handwriting practice (if needed)
Latin - Songschool Latin
Science - Magic School Bus based, using the books, episodes, Literature/Science Units, and Kits. Topics to be covered - Human Body, Germs, Insects & Spiders, Going Green (Ecology)
Art - introduction to some different styles of art, mediums, and artists; various different art projects
Music - continue to listen to variety of music, start learning about classical music & composers
Geography - basic map skills
Math - continue with Mastering Mathematics working at his own pace

Well, that's my preliminary plan. I won't be able to finalize it until I have all the materials here, and can look through them. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Planning

We got our taxes done the other day. We're still waiting for them to call us in to sign, but we know how much we're getting back. So, I'm busy finalizing the list of things we need to do with the money. I'm thrilled. We're getting more than I was expecting, so we'll be able to take care of everything we were hoping to do.
As part of finalizing what we need for school next year, I'm searching through all of the school stuff that I have. Considering that I have thousands of files on the computer, that I've collected over the years, this might take a while.
Right now, the kids are doing housework. This week, we've started a new schedule. After breakfast, we do an hour of housework; after lunch, we do an hour of housework; and after dinner, we do an hour of housework. We've been having a little trouble with the after dinner housework. I'm not sure if it's because my hubby's home, or because we always have something going on, but it's been hard to get in the habit of doing the housework after dinner. This new schedule (getting the housework done at specific times of day) is better than just hoping to fit it in somewhere.
We get schoolwork done after the housework. The kids are doing alright with this schedule. They know to sit down and get to work on school as soon as the housework is done. Dea is being a pain about her Math. She's also being lazy about the other subjects that she doesn't feel are important. Jay, on the other hand, loves doing any kind of school work. He's still working on his handwriting (numbers & letters). He's going to start his subtraction book next Monday. He's also been doing Activity Page sets from SchoolExpress.com. We're still working on Reading, of course. He really wants to read chapter books, but I'm still not sure he's ready for books that long.
I think next year will be better for both kids. Dea will be doing Biology, and I'm planning tons of labs for it. She'll be studying WWI & WWII for History. She'll hopefully finish off her Latin program. She'll also be doing Algebra, World Geography, and Language Arts will focus on Poetry & Plays. Jay will be studying Ancient Civilizations for history, which will involve tons of hands-on projects. Science is going to be Magic School Bus based (he LOVES Magic School Bus) and have tons of hands-on work. He's really into maps, so I'm fairly sure he'll enjoy Geography. We'll start doing Art & Music with a bit more structure.  I'll also be introducing him to Latin next year. So, with all that planned for next year, I really think the year should go great for us.