Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good-Bye School Room

Our school room is no more. It was never really used for doing school in anyway. The school stuff was stored in there. Sometimes, Dea would do school in there, mainly because she didn't want to clear off the table in the office to work there. It was mainly used as a play room for the kids, though. However, I am tired of the mess (they don't clean it several times a week as they are supposed to, so it is always trashed & virtually impossible to walk through). Plus, Jay hasn't been practicing his drums. I know, those two things - a messy room & Jay not practicing drums - may sound totally unrelated, but I assure you, there is a connection being made here. I am convinced that the reason he has not been practicing is that the drums are in the basement. He doesn't like being down there by himself. I refuse to go into the basement due to the spiders (I am deathly afraid of spiders). Hubby can't be down there every time Jay practices. Dea won't stay down there for long. So, his time down there is very limited. I truly believe that he would practice almost daily, if the drums were on the main floor of the house (or in his room, but that is NOT happening). So, I am turning the 'school room' into the 'music room.' I took out the arts & crafts materials that were in there & returned them to the arts & crafts room. I moved the school cabinet into the closet. I moved the school bookcase into the office, next to the computer desk. I moved the filing cabinets out of the office (they were next to the computer desk) and into the music room (one in the closet, the other where the arts & crafts cart had been).

The drums haven't been brought up, yet. That is hubby's job. They will be brought up, though. Dea already used the music room to practice her flute yesterday. That will be its new main purpose, for the kids to use to practice their instruments. Their tv is still in that room, so they may watch tv in there. However, the main purpose is now music. Hopefully, Jay will prove me right & practice his drums much more often once they are brought up.

Meteorology Grade 3

This is a list of much of what was included in our study of the weather.

Jay is really interested in Meteorology. So, he read pretty much every book our library had that wasn't ridiculously below his level. I'm sure I missed many of the books, as he keeps forgetting to give them to me before they go back to the library, so I can record them. I'm sorry, I just never get everything we use & do recorded. This should be a fairly accurate record of the more important parts of our study, though.

Main Topics:
Winter Storms
Rain, Thunderstorms, Floods
Weather Forecasting
Weather Instruments
The Job of a Meteorologist

Why is the Sky Blue
NOAA Research
Web Weather for Kids
The Weather Channel Kids
Tornado Guide
Interactives Weather
Weather Wiz Kids
Sky Diary
Climatologist's Toolbox
The Weather Dude
BBC Natural Disasters
Fact Monster Natural Disasters

Why Why Why do Tornadoes Spin?
Weather Explained
Extreme Weather
Hurricane & Tornado
Forces of Nature
Restless Skies: The Ultimate Weather Book
The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane
Twisters and Other Terrible Storms
Anatomy of a Hurricane
Tornado! The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms
Eyewitness Weather
Is Our Weather Getting Worse
Extreme Weather
Cambridge Guide to the Weather
Tying Down the Wind
The Weather

Bill Nye: Climates
Eyewitness: Weather
The Weather discs 1 &2 (BBC)
Storm Chasers: Perfect Disaster
Raging Planet
National Geographic Nature's Fury
Hunt for the Supertwister
National Geographic: Killer Wave: Power of the Tsunami
National Geographic: Tornado Intercept
Storm Chasers

Make a tornado

Cloud poster
8 Experiments/demonstrations from Elements of Science kit on Heat
9 Experiments/demonstrations from Elements of Science kit on Air
7 Experiments/demonstrations from Elements of Science kit on Light
Poster of safety rules for a tornado
Track weather, both forecasts & actual
Forecast the weather

Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween is a big holiday in our house. We celebrate it pretty much all month. Here are the plans we have come up with for Halloween this year.

Books (read-aloud):
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Three Good Deeds
The Restless Dead
All Hallows' Eve
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep
The Gargoyle on the Roof
The Haunting of Hill House
We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Movies: (There's no way we'll get to all of these movies, but these are the ones that have been requested & approved)
All -
Silver Bullet
Gremlins 2
Sleepy Hollow
House on Haunted Hill
Monster Squad
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Ghost Busters
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Birds
The Mummy
Jurassic Park

Dea & me -
Night of the Living Dead
Day of the Dead
A Nightmare on Elm St.
Pet Sematary
Graveyard Shift
Secret Window
Friday the 13th
Shaun of the Dead
Children of the Corn

Soul cakes
Panna cotta brain or brain cake
Bloody popcorn
Mummy fingers
Pumpkin bread
We'll likely add some other foods to the menu, but this is how it stands right now.

Halloween Bingo
Halloween Scrabble
Word Games (word search, crossword, cryptogram, etc.) I have found several online. I'll print them & hide one each day. The kids will have to follow a clue to find it, so they can do it.
We'll do these throughout the month. On Halloween, we'll either do a family movie night or game night (or both), since we won't be having a party this year & don't do trick-or-treating.
Of course, throughout the month, we'll make various autumn & Halloween themed crafts/decorations/art.
We'll likely start putting up autumn decorations on the Autumnal Equinox (Sept 22). Halloween decorations start going up on Oct 1st.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Paintings

Last Wednesday, we started multi-media pumpkin pictures, but we didn't get to finish them that day. I have something else I hope to do for Art this week, so we finished them over the weekend. We started by sketching the pumpkins. We then traced over those sketches with black glue (regular Elmer's glue with black acrylic paint added to it). The glue took a little while to dry.
The small one on the far right is the first one Jay tried. It didn't turn out the way he wanted, but he decided to keep it in case he messed up painting the other.

I had originally planned to then use oil pastels to color them in. However, I ended up giving the kids the option - oil pastels or watercolor. They chose watercolor.

This one is Jay's. It is a very colorful, rainbow pumpkin. The brown is a tornado, which is going to pick up the pumpkin.

This one is Dea's. She chose to go for very dark & vibrant colors, instead of the lighter pastel colors more often seen with watercolor.

This one is mine. It's nothing special & was just done as a demonstration of what their project was going to be.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Guess Respect is Just Too Much to Ask

I was recently witness to a conversation about the hours spent homeschooling. Several people in the conversation expressed pity for any child who does more than 4 hours of school a day before high school. I find this really insulting! It is incredibly judgmental to "feel sorry" for someone else's kids because their school day is longer than your kid's.

You don't know these kids (this was a blanket statement saying they would feel sorry for ANY child in this situation, not a specific child whose family they were close to & knew the parent was pushing). You don't know why their school day is the length it is. You don't know if their workload is too much, just enough, or even not enough. You don't know if the work is too hard, too easy, or just right. You don't know if the workload is a result of the parent pushing or the child's choice. You know NOTHING about this child, their education, their family life, their free time, or how they feel about their daily schedule.

In fact, you have no idea what they count as school. You don't know why their school day is that length. Maybe it is only 4 hours of actual work, and the other 4 hours are filled with games, breaks, PE, and documentaries. Maybe the day is that long because the child fights about school, regardless of level, subject, or type of work, just because they like to fight (those kids are out there). Maybe it takes so long because the child throws a 3 hour fit about having to do one lesson in the subject they hate (we've dealt with this one). Maybe it takes so long because the child daydreams. Maybe they do more subjects than you do. Maybe things you count as extra-curricular, they consider core subjects. Maybe they go more in-depth. Maybe the child has a special need you don't know about.

Even if they are doing 8 hours a day of actual work, not counting breaks, why is it your place to judge? Why do you think that your opinion of the amount of time a child, one you don't even know, should spend on school is more accurate or more important than that child's parent? Maybe the child doesn't want your sympathy. Maybe the parent actually knows their own child well enough to be able to plan their education without your snide comments and your pity. How would you like it if people said they felt sorry for your kids due to the inferior education they were getting because you only schooled for 3 hours a day? Even if you don't care about the opinions of the people saying it, having every single person who does things in a different way accuse you of something they assume you do, without any actual proof, gets seriously annoying.

Why assume the child is miserable? Why assume the parent is assigning too much work? Why assume the parent is forcing the child to work at a level that is too advanced? Why assume the parent is forcing too many subjects? Why assume the parent is just going for bragging rights? Why assume the child is struggling? Even if they use the same main curriculum as you, that doesn't mean they use it in the exact same way. Maybe they use additional materials, as well. Maybe their kids have a slower pace. Maybe you should stop being so damn condescending & judgmental and accept that not everyone is identical and it is perfectly fine for people to do things in ways different from yours. Just because they have longer school days than you, doesn't mean they are doing their child a disservice.

Yes, there are some people who intentionally accelerate their kids, regardless of the child's actual abilities and preferences. Yes, there are people who, when their child is 3 and showing no signs of being advanced, decide that they will accelerate that child, expecting them to graduate high school at 12 or 14. Yes, there are people who push their kids beyond what they can competently do, with no concern for whether or not it is good for the child. However, it is rude and disrespectful to assume that everyone who has a longer school day or whose children are accelerated are those kinds of parents.

I have actually been accused of forcing my kids to do an 'inhumane' amount of work by a person who makes those kinds of assumptions. This person didn't care that my kids asked to add on several of their courses. This person did not care that my kids are healthy & happy, and in no way suffering from the amount, or level, of schoolwork they are doing. This person does not know us well. This person just assumed that I was pushing my kids, because their kids would not have done the same workload. My kids are naturally accelerated, not pushed by me. There is a huge difference.

Now, this person obviously did things in a way quite different from mine. They expected much less of their kids, and required no actual schooling be done. When they did pick up materials for their kids' schooling, they were materials I wouldn't use. Some were ones I had looked over and decided against because they wouldn't work for us. Some were ones that I had tried at one point, only to find out that they were not for us.  I did not tell this person my issues with the materials they picked up, because I understand that just because they didn't/wouldn't work for my kids, that doesn't mean they won't/don't work for other people. I did not insult their curriculum choices. I never commented on their level of academic focus. When they suggested materials or methods, that I knew wouldn't work for us, I did not insult them. I simply said they weren't for us, which was true. I respected that this person had the right to make their own decisions regarding their kids' education. It was not the way I chose to educate my kids, but I respected that we had differing methods of homeschooling. I respected that we had differing parenting styles. I expected to get the same respect in return. I did not get it. Instead, I got someone trashing me, claiming I pushed my kids, forced them to do an inhumane amount of work, and expected way too much of them, all because my kids are more academically-minded than this person's, and their interests run toward things more worthwhile than video games. This is why we no longer speak.

I am so tired of judgmental people who think that they have the right to claim that people they don't even know, or barely know, are pushy, controlling, cruel, looking for bragging rights, etc., especially based on something as arbitrary as the amount of time they spend on school. After all, how dare some of us spend 7 or 8 hours on school? How cruel we must be. How hard it must be for our poor children to live with parents like us. I'm sure my poor daughter is miserable having parents who truly believe that she can do anything she wants, if she puts her mind to it, and are trying to help her reach her goal of attending Yale. My poor son must also be miserable having parents who support his interests and allow him to add courses to his schoolwork each year, based on his interests. We are such horrible parents for trying to support & encourage our kids. I guess we should instead be holding them back, forcing only "age-appropriate" work and only allowing the "basics" to be studied, not allowing them to work at their own pace or follow their own interests. How cruel to allow the child to do extra pages when they ask to or to add in extra materials for a deeper level of mastery/comprehension.

I could save some time, money, effort, and energy by only allowing one level of each subject per year, or by cutting out the subjects many see as 'extra' or 'unnecessary.' However, my kids move fast. I refuse to tell my kids that they need to slow down their natural pace, so we can make one level of Grammar, Math, etc., last the whole year, despite their ability to master it quickly and their need to move on. I refuse to do just a general overview of Science & History when I feel depth is important, and my kids enjoy the depth. I will not force my kids to wait until Jr High to start a foreign language, especially considering all the studies that prove it is easier to learn languages when younger. I will not skip Logic for my son who loves Logic. I may have to use materials that are a little below what he can actually do, due to the shortage of good Logic materials for kids, but as long as he enjoys it, we will continue to do it. I don't see Art & Music as extra. I see them as core subjects that the kids should have every year. How else will they find out if they have an interest or talent that may lead to a career or lifelong, fulfilling hobby, if they are never exposed to those 'extras' that so many see as unimportant? The more they are exposed to & allowed to try, the more opportunities they will have.

Each of us has our own philosophy regarding our children's education. Just because someone else has different priorities, that doesn't make them wrong. So, before you start judging other people, stop and think. Do you even have enough information to form an educated opinion? Do you know the whole situation? Do you personally know the people? Do you have any actual proof that the parents are, in fact, doing something wrong? Remember, it might be wrong for your situation, but it might be right for theirs. Not all kids are like yours. You can't expect all parents to educate their kids in the same manner, using the same materials, at the same pace, for the same reasons, or according to the same philosophy as you. Kids are different. They are individuals. They each need something different. That is why many of us homeschool. To say that all homeschoolers should do things in the exact same way, is ridiculous. Let other homeschoolers choose how to educate their kids without your judgments & pity. Stop tearing down everyone who is different than you. That kind of narrow-minded thinking is the root of pretty much every problem this world has. So many are bound & determined to fight against everything that is different. In doing so, they are missing out on so much of beauty that this world, and its diversity, have to offer.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Day in the Life, Friday

8:10am I finally get up after the kids spent the last 2 hours doing everything they could think of to make sure I didn't get to actually sleep. I am still feeling awful today and was really hoping to sleep in a little, but the children have decided I shouldn't be allowed to sleep.

8:20am Dea gets started on school.

8:30am Jay & I watch a few videos on the Middle Ages from Discovery Education.

9:30am Jay is getting very bored with videos, so I let him go play until reading time. Dea also takes a break, and they are playing together.

10:30am Dea gets back to work on school. Jay starts hour of quiet reading time.

11:30am Lunch time

12pm Jay & Dea go outside to play.

12:15pm Jay has decided it is too hot out (it's not even 70), so they've come back in. Jay goes on the computer & Dea is doing some puzzle book.

1pm I decided to lie down for a nap. Dea, theoretically did school work. Jay played & watched some tv.

3:45pm Since my nap took most of the time we normally spend doing school, we have decided to do all the schoolwork in one session. Jay starts with LOFD chap 27. Next, he wants to do Metric2, because page 9 is long & involves a lot of writing (it's about understanding metric words & prefixes). After that, he does Writing. Next is page 8 of FF, two pages of EG3, and a penmanship page. Logic is next, followed by ASL. We did a little less than we normally do. We didn't do Spelling (yesterday & today were just going to bereview anyway, since we'd already finished all the new work int he step) . He only did one exercise in Writing, we usually do around 3. FF isn't taking much time (today's page only had 4 questions), but that is likely because we are still in the beginning of the book. So, all of that combined to make school go quite a bit faster today. Normally, the amount fo work we do is too much for only 2 hours in the afternoon.

6pm Dinner time.

6:30pm Now that we're done with dinner, it's time to do Latin. Today, Latin consists of playing the BINGO-like game in the back of Primer A. Dea joins us for this, to make it more fun.

7:30pm Now that we're done with Latin BINGO, we're going to play Scattergories. After Scattergories, we play Man Bites Dog.

8:45pm Jay starts hour of reading before bed.

10:30pm Jay got to stay up late tonight, reading. So, he's just now going to bed.

I'm sorry these last two posts were so dull. Well, you've now seen what a semi-normal week is like for us. Normally, our Thursdays & Fridays aren't exactly like this week, but we finished our work. I hope these post have been helpful to at least some of you.

Good night.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Day in the Life, Thursday

9:20am I finally drag myself out of bed. The kids have had breakfast & watched some Phineas & Ferb. They  woke me up several times, but I am not feeling well today, so I slept in. Jay has offered to do only independent work today, so I don't have to do anything. I might take him up on that.

9:30am Jay missed half of today's History time, due to my sleeping in. We are now watching an episode of Monarchy, for History.

10:30am Dea starts cooking lunch. Jay reads.

1pm I am not feeling well, so not doing a very good job with this today. We have had lunch. Jay is going on Khan Academy for 30 minutes. Dea is getting back to work on school.

1:30pm The first afternoon session starts with ASL. We've mastered the signs from the last disc. So, today we start ST series 2 vol 7 My Favorite Sport.Next he does a puzzle from Fun With Logic and his penmanship page. Dea has shown me a History assignment and two Lit assignments.

2:10pm The kids take a break and go play outside, in the rain.

2:40pm Dea is working on Science. The kitten is hiding behind my legs, under my blanket. Jay is doing a page in Metric2. He then does 2 pages of EG3 and a page of FF.

3pm Break & snack time. The kids go back outside to play.

3:30pm back to school. Jay finishes the work for the last chapter in LFC A. Next, he does an exercise in CTD chap 6. He finishes off with LOFD chap 26.

5pm Jay is done with school for the day. All the work he did today was done independently. He still got done at a decent time and didn't skip much (we skipped AAS3, and didn't do much for History, but I think everything else got done). I'm rather proud of him. Dea is taking a break, and the kids are playing outside again.

10pm The kids are in bed. They spent time outside. They ate dinner. I still feel like crap. Hopefully, tomorrow's post will be better than today's.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Day in the Life, Wednesday

7:22am - Jay wakes me up to ask if he can watch an episode of Monster Quest. I say no, because it is too close to when school starts. He asks if he can watch a shorter show. We agree on one episode of Arthur.

8:17am - I get up to find Jay watching Scooby Doo. Looks like someone's in trouble. The kids get their breakfast.

8:35am - School starts. Dea is typing up her late Lit assignments. Jay start with Geography. Today's Geography assignment is from Map Corner and is about thunderstorms. We're tweaking the assignment somewhat. Originally, it includes having students mark on a map where thunderstorm activity has occurred in their region. I am having him read the story & mark on a map the thunderstorms from the story. Then, we will turn on the Weather Channel, and he will mark on a map all weather events in the country for this morning.

9:30am - Time for Art. Today, we're doing multimedia pumpkin pictures. First, we sketch a pumpkin on a sheet of paper. Then, we trace our lines with black glue (glue with black acrylic paint added to it). Next, the kids go off to play while the glue dries. It looks like we'll have to wait until this afternoon to finish these.

10:30am - Jay heads to me room for his hour of quiet reading time. Dea does some work, then takes a break.

11:30am - It's lunch time. We're having leftovers today. Hubby takes leftovers to work with him, but we seem to have a lot of leftovers this week. I am having smoked chicken breast, tomato, and carrots. Everyone else is having turkey & whatever fruits & veggies they want.

12pm - Jay has decided to spend his break on the computer again today. Dea is off doing her own thing.

1pm - Math games for Jay. I prepare our work area (the table) for the afternoon school sessions.

1:30pm - Dea fights with her computer, but eventually gets some work done. Jay starts with FF. He is really enjoying fractions. A lesson in Logic Safari 2 and 2 pages in EG3 finish off this session of schoolwork. I am ready for a nap. I have no idea why, but I am very tired.

2pm - Jay & I play Tons of Trivia during his break.

3pm - Jay starts his 2nd session with Metric2. Then, he started chap 6 of CTD. He finished the session with ST series vol 6 Days of the Week.

3:30pm. Break time. The kids spend their break playing outside. I just realized that I haven't been mentioning their chores at all (kind of like bathing, we do all do it regularly, I just don't post about it). They do chores during their breaks and after school. So often, though, their chores & play are rather intermingled. So, I don't really think to list them. A lot of Jay's chores are helping someone else do something. He helps on my dish days. I clean the office twice a week, and the kids take turns helping with it. I also do the living room 2 days a week, and they take turns helping with that. The kids also take out the garbage & recycling several days a week. They are responsible for cleaning their bedrooms once a week & doing a touch-up once a week. Dea has dishes 2 days a week. She also alternates cleaning the litter boxes with her dad. The kids also clean the school room & the hallway. I know it sounds like they have a lot of chores, but all the rooms only they clean are rooms only they use. Then, they are expected to help with the communal rooms that we all use. We used to do the chores in 3 large chunks - morning, afternoon, and evening, but the kids would be complaining by the end of each chunk. So, I let them do little bits here & there. As long as it gets done, I don't really care. Their bedrooms & hallway almost never get clean. So, I just refuse to allow them to have friends in to play in their rooms. If they want someone to spend the night, it is an automatic no if their bedrooms & hallway aren't clean. I'm hoping this will eventually teach them to clean their rooms & keep them clean. There has been slacking on chores by both kids over the last few weeks. Then, hubby hasn't done any since his procedure last week. So, I've been trying to pick up the slack & get us caught up.

4:10pm - Afternoon school session 3 starts with penmanship. Then, we do Spelling. That is followed by LOFD. Today, he is doing the Bridge following chapter 25. He passed the Bridge on the first try! Yay! Then, he works on Latin. He's telling me that he's sad that he is finishing LFC A this week, but is looking forward to LFC B. He also told me he is sad that he is so close to finishing LOFD, but is looking forward to LOF Fractions. He is really enjoying these programs! After finishing his Latin for today, he asked if we could  watch the first lesson on the first dvd for primer B, just to get a sneak peek before next week.

6:15pm - Dinner time. We're finishing watching the Latin lesson while we eat dinner. It is a rather long lesson, over 10 minutes. I doubt they will all be that way. i'm sure it's just because this one reviews a bit from the last level.

6:30pm - The kids are outside playing.

7:30pm - The kids relax watching some tv & eating fruit. We didn't finish those Art projects. I guess we'll try to do them tomorrow.

8:30pm Jay is in my room reading and Dea is doing some chores &  playing with the dog.

9:30pm - Jay heads up to bed to read (and apparently to clean). Dea has walked the dog and cleaned the litter boxes, so she heads to her room to read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day in the Life, Tuesday

So, I thought I'd do one of these posts each day this week. That way, you can see what things stay the same & what things differ from day to day. Sorry if these posts bore you, but many people express interest in how we fit all our subjects in, and this is the best way I can think of to explain/show it.

7am - Jay wakes me up & asks to watch an episode of Monster Quest, I say yes. I consider getting up, but don't really want to. I spend the next hour listening to the kids fight. What a beautiful way to start the day.

8am - The kids eat breakfast. I try to ignore them & go on FB. When they finish eating, they go off to play.

8:30am - Time for school! Dea starts out working in the office. Jay's day starts with Science 'experiments' from the Elements of Science kit from Thames & Kosmos. I'm not very impressed with this kit. The experiments are really just demonstrations, at least so far. He isn't learning anything new from them at all. For our weather study, I planned to do the activities on heat, air, and light. We've already done the ones for heat & air. Today, we're doing the ones for light.

9:10am - We're done with the kit for today (did I mention that the 'experiments' go by really quickly?). Now we're watching some videos from Discovery Education. I download them onto a flash drive, which we then plug into the Roku, and watch them on the Roku USB channel.

10am - I let Jay take a break until reading time. Dea has already taken a break & is now getting back to work.

10:30am - Jay goes to my room for his hour of quiet reading time. I am searching Discovery Education for new videos for the kids. They have changed the site since last time I was there. It's much easier to use, for the most part. Unfortunately, I'm having some difficulty downloading some of the videos.

11am - Dea is making lunch today, so she's in the kitchen working on that right now.

11:30 - Lunch time. Today, it is pasta with a tomato & meat sauce.

12pm - Jay is spending his break on the computer playing fun educational games. Dea is spending her break watching videos from Discovery Education. For some reason, the Roku USB channel won't play the videos on her flash drive, so she's watching them on her netbook.

1pm - The afternoon starts with Jay doing 30 min on Khan Academy and Dea doing Math. Before starting on Khan Academy, Jay chose what work to do for each of the afternoon school sessions.

1:30pm - In addition to Khan Academy, today's first afternoon session includes Logic, penmanship, FF, and EG3. For Logic, he chooses a logic puzzle from Fun With Logic. We're using copywork packets from Happy Scribe for penmanship. He is currently finishing the Middle Ages packet. I need to print a new packet for next week. I'll think it'll be the Archery one. He wants to start cursive with this next one, so I think I'll have him just do the cursive alphabet for next week & start the actual sentences the week after. He does one page in FF and two pages in EG3.

2pm - Break time. Jay has chosen to do spelling during the next school session, so I get the board set up for that. Then, I go do some dishes. Jay is spending his break outside playing with Dea.

3pm - The kids took a bit of an extended break and had their snack. So, now we can get back to work. Jay starts off with Metric2, doing 1 page. Then, we do ASL. He started ST series 2 vol 5 last Wednesday, so he's ready to start the next disc. That means today is ST series 2 vol 6 Days of the Week. Next, we do spelling. We are still working on step 15 of AAS3. We could go through the steps faster, doing 2 or 3 a week, but I really don't want to have to buy more than 2 levels per year & don't want to have no Spelling for half the year. So, I enforce the speed of just one step a month. Dea is finishing her Math.

4pm - Break time again. The kids would love to go outside, but there's a manhunt for a murderer. It's on the other side of town, but since there is no guarantee that the murderer is in the area they are searching, I feel safer keeping them inside until further notice.

4:30pm -  Time for the last school session of the day. Dea is already back to work. Jay starts with proofreading and printing the major assignment for chap 5 of CTD. Next is 2 pages of chap 32 of LFC A. He ends the session with LOFD chap 25.

6pm - Jay is done with school for the day. It is dinner time. Dea is taking a break for dinner, then really should get back to work. She keeps working for 30 minutes, then taking a 60 minute break.

6:45pm - Now that everyone has eaten dinner, we've all relaxed, & the dog has been walked, we are going to play a game or two.

9pm - We just finished 2 hours of playing games. Jay just went to my room to read until 9:30, and Dea is walking the dog and doing her before bed chores.

9:30pm Dea is in her room reading and Jay is on his way to his room to read. I have the notebook I'll be using for keeping track of Dea's 9th grade year. I'm going to get the plans for the year into it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Day in the Life, Monday

6am - Jay wakes me up & asks if he can start the day with an episode of Storm Chasers. I say yes, then go back to sleep.

7am - Jay wakes me again. I start considering getting up.

7:15am  I get up

7:20am I left a turkey breast out to thaw (yeah, I know you are supposed to thaw in the fridge, but that takes a week), but forgot to put it on a platter. There is now turkey juice all over the freezer, down the front of the freezer, and on the floor. I get to clean it up. Dea walks the dog.

7:30am The kids get themselves breakfast.

7:40am Dea takes a shower. Jay helps me season a turkey breast & get it in the oven.

8am With only half an hour left until we start school, everyone plays (me on FB, the kids outside).

8:30am Time to start school. Jay starts with reading a book on weather. Dea starts by doing research on Celtic art.

9am Get everyone coffee. Yes, I mean everyone. The kids are allowed 1 cup of coffee a day. Though, I often forget to make coffee, so they don't get some everyday. I'm just not one of those people who need coffee. I drink it because I enjoy the taste of the flavored coffees we buy. Caffeine does nothing for me, so I'm very picky about my coffee, because it has to taste good.

9:30am Since Jay has already visited all the sites for his Science, he gets to take a break until 10:30, when he'll do his hour of quiet reading time. Dea has also decided to take a break. I don't feel like doing housework just yet, so I'll screw around online.

10:15am Read an article on Discovery about mining the Moon. Have an impromptu discussion with the kids - is it a good/bad idea, why, is there anything not mentioned in the article that should be considered,  what are the ramifications, support your opinion. Dea gets back to work on school.

11:30am We all sit down to eat our lunch of turkey breast, pasta, and green beans.

12pm The kids spend their break outside playing. I do some dishes & pick up a little. I get Jay's afternoon work on the table & ready for him.

12:45pm Dea gets back to work on school.

1pm Jay gets to work on school, starting with 30 minutes of Math games on the computer.

1:30pm For this session of work, Jay has chosen Logic, FF, penmanship, and EG3. He does 2 pages in MWW, 2 pages in EG3, a page of penmanship, and a page of FF. I start laminating the games from the back of LFC B, since we'll be starting that book next week or the week after, depending on how he does with the review chapter this week.

2pm He now takes a break. The kids go outside to play. I continue laminating the game pages, then start cutting the pieces apart.

2:30pm Time for 2nd afternoon session of school. This time, he does p. 5 of Metric2. Then, we start Step 15 of AAS3. We end the session with ASL, ST series 2 vol 5 Going Outside. Whenever he is doing work he can do independently, I am cutting the game pieces for that Latin game (there are a lot of pieces to cut).

3:36pm Jay finishes his second afternoon school session and heads outside to play. Dea started her break about 10-15 minutes ago. I take a break from cutting game pieces, and do some stuff online.

4pm Jay starts his 3rd and final school session for the day. In this one, he does LOFD chap 24, 2 pages in LFC A chap 32 (the final chapter, whole book review), and works on his major writing assignment for chap 5 of CTD. He does this mostly independently, discussing the chapter of Fred with me before he does problems (to check understanding) & a short discussion about what I expect in this writing assignment, the rest on his own. While he works independently, I cut pieces for Latin game. Yay! I am finally done cutting the pieces! I am so glad I have a paper cutter. if not, my hands would be killing me, and I wouldn't be done.

5pm Dea is now hiding out in her room. She got tired of me telling her to stop taking the dog for a walk every 5 minutes and do some school or chores instead. So, she went upstairs to hide in her room. That is just so much easier than actually doing her work. She's grounded right now, which means no going anywhere & no friends coming over. So, she has no motivation at all to do her work. Well, if she ends up repeating courses in 9th, because she didn't bother to finish them in 8th, that's her problem. Once December is done, any course she has not finished, she will have to do over. I'm tired of her laziness and total lack of motivation. She needs to start paying attention to deadlines and actually do the damn work before it is due. This crap of not showing me work for weeks at a time is not going to cut it. As of 9th grade, any assignment not handed in on time is a zero. If she wants to drop her grades & have to retake courses that is her business. She is the one who will suffer from it. Her goal is to graduate after 10th grade. If she really wants to reach that goal, she needs to light a fire under her butt and actually manage her time properly.

5:30 Jay has finished school for the day. The kids are outside playing until dinner. I am relaxing & playing on FB.

6pm The kids make themselves dinner. I pull out the materials for LFC B, put the worktext & activity book on Jay's school bookcase shelf, the history reader & answer key in my school basket, and the dvds & cd in Jay's school cd case.

6:30pm Dea shows me the Math lesson she did today & the one before it (since she hadn't shown me that one yet). She then tries to convince me that she should get to go outside, you know, since she completed one whole assignment today. We have an utterly ridiculous conversation:

me: How are you coming on those 3 Lit assignments you need to finish this week?

Dea: Fine.

me: Really? Because you've been doing research all day, yet have nothing to show for it.

Dea: I haven't started on them yet. The research I've been doing is for History.

me: You haven't started on them yet? One was due 2 weeks ago. One was due last week. You just said you're doing fine on them, but you haven't started them? How are you doing fine on them, if you haven't started them?

Dea: Is that a no, then?

me: (just look at her)

Dea: (walks out of room, slams a few things around, and comes back in) Why can't we go outside?

me: You've been outside most of the day. It won't hurt you to stay inside & actually get some school work done.

Dea: (walks out of room, slams things around, and comes back in, again) Can we play a game?

I shit you not, that is the conversation we just had!

She is now working in the living room & Jay is playing in the school room. So, I'm going to go clean the office.

7:30pm Dea is upstairs. Jay just finished watching Scooby Doo & is now playing. I am looking over the browsing history on the main computer & Dea's FB acct. Fun. I should probably check her email, too, but really don't feel like it right now.

8:15pm Time for Jay to get ready for bed.

8:30 Dea is cleaning up the yard. Jay is heading to my room to read for an hour before going to bed. I'm going to take out garbage & recycling.

Taking out garbage & recycling took until 9:10. Of course, that's in large part due to me sweeping the kitchen, too. Plus, for the last few weeks, hubby & the kids have not bothered taking out all the recycling or cleaning up messes they made (stuff that missed the garbage can, fell behind or next to the chest freezer, or ended up under the baker's rack). I cleaned it all up. I made sure it all got out. After 40 minutes of sweeping & dealing with garbage & recycling, I took a shower. I would normally wait until the kids were in bed (or before they get up in the morning), but really needed one.

It is now 9:37. Jay has gone to bed, though he will likely read for another hour or so, still. Dea has gone to her room to read. The neighbors are being annoying, making a ton of noise, as usual. I am going to read, watch some tv, do some dishes, and relax. I'll head to bed around 2am.

Good night.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week in Review 8/6/12

Yes, I realize that today is Thursday, not Friday. However, we're done with school for the week, so I might as well do this post now (before I forget). This was a really short week for us. Hubby was off work on Monday for Labor Day. He will be off on Friday so he can have surgery, nothing major, just a minor outpatient procedure. Anyway, between doing the shopping, taking hubby in for his surgery, and taking care of hubby after the surgery, we won't have time to fit in school. So, here's what we've done this week:

FF - p. 1-3
LOFD - chap 21 - 23
Metric2 - p. 1 - 4

Language Arts:
CTD - chap 5
AAS3 - step 14
EG3 - p. 45 - 50

LFCA - chap 31

ST series 2 - vol. 4My Favorite Season, vol 5 Going Outside

LS lesson 21, FWL

Art:Art Auction Mystery

Science: read book, 9 activities/demonstrations on Air from Elements of Science kit

History: read book

Geography: Games

We're not quite where I'd hoped we'd be by this time. I was really hoping to be much further along in several subjects. We've had to take more days off than I had expected. Plus, there were a few weeks we did almost nothing, because my husband wanted me to keep down the stress level. So, with all this unexpected time off, we just aren't where I hoped we'd be. However, with our new schedule, so much more gets done each day. Jay has more time to work without hubby here (the kids can't focus when hubby is here), so he gets all his work done most days. He's also finally falling into a nice rhythm with the new schedule. He does a school session in the morning - doing Science, History, or Geography. Then, he reads for an hour before our lunch break (1 1/5 hrs). After lunch, he plays online Math games for 30 minutes as the start of the 1st of 3 sessions of schoolwork separated by 20-30 minute breaks. He chooses which subjects to do during each of his afternoon sessions. So, he does a total of 4 sessions of school each day. Hopefully, since he's found his rhythm, we'll have more good days the rest of the year. He's also doing most of his work independently, which is really nice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pet Peeve

One of my pet peeves is people with little to no experience in something, who tell everyone else how to do it. I come across this a lot with homeschoolers. Now, I'm not talking about not actually having experience with a specific curriculum and voicing your opinion (which is based on actual research into the curriculum) of it. If all your opinion is based on is the fact that other people like or dislike it, then maybe you really should keep that opinion to yourself, though.

No, I'm talking about the person who has just decided to homeschool her 3 year old, and feels that she can tell all other homeschoolers how to homeschool their kids. Seriously? Your extensive experience comes from where? Your child has learned to count to 20, so you think that makes you qualified to tell me which Pre-Algebra program I should use for my kid? Your child isn't reading, but you're giving advice to the mother looking for help getting her reluctant, struggling 4th grader to read something more challenging than the Frog & Toad books? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you honestly think that, even though you have no experience with a child older than 3, you are more knowledgeable about educating kids than people who have been doing it for years?

This also applies to the "My kid isn't there yet, but...," moms. These are the ones who will tell you how to homeschool high school, even though their oldest is in 2nd grade. You post a question about high school lab Science, and they respond with something about how you can do all the lab work with easy to find things you already have around the house, like they do for their 7 year old. They tell you that there is no reason to buy expensive lab equipment, dangerous chemicals, dissection specimens, etc. That is all just propaganda to convince you that you need to spend more money. The simplistic baking soda & vinegar experiments they have done with their young children would be just fine for a high school lab Science. Or you post asking for suggestions for a Geometry program, and they respond that you don't need formal curriculum to teach Math. You can just use living books & real life experience, like they do with their 6 year old. You know, it's great that you have your kid try to figure out how much change you'll get back at the grocery store. Mine did that too, when they were 5. However, when we're talking high school level Math for a college-bound child, something more rigorous & formal might be in order. Maybe you'll understand that by the time your kids actually get to high school level work. Until then, why don't you go offer your "sage" advice to those just starting out with kids in pre-school & kindergarten?

This list also includes the former public school teachers who now feel it is their job to teach all homeschool parents how to teach. Not all former public school teachers fall into that category. Some aren't so presumptuous and when they offer advice, it is truly meant to be a helpful sharing of their experience. These will post stuff like "When I taught that grade, X was what seemed to cause the most trouble with my students." I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the ones who tell everyone how they should teach, what scope & sequence they should follow, what types of materials they should use, etc., even when they haven't actually started homeschooling yet. Do they not see that, when they do this, it comes off as condescending & disrespectful, not helpful? It's not that they don't have something to offer. It's their assumption that we need their experience that bothers me. Besides, most former public school teachers, who chose to homeschool, talk a lot about how very different the two are.

Now, I'm not saying that you should have to homeschool for a set number of years before you can respond to posts or give advice. What I'm saying is that it shows a great deal of hubris to assume that you are an expert on something with which you have no experience. I can't speak for all homeschoolers, only for myself.  Personally, I figured out my educational philosophy years ago. I knew my kids learning styles when they were toddlers. I've had plenty of experience learning to choose materials that work for my kids. I know my goals for their education. I know on what things I will & won't be flexible. I know my expectations for my kids. I don't need someone else to tell what I should or should not be doing, or how to do it, especially if that person's experience with homeschooling doesn't extend beyond reading some books about it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Holiday Season is Upon us

It is September. September is the beginning of the holiday season for us. It is the start of autumn, my favorite season. As of today, there are 16 weeks until Christmas, about 11 weeks until Thanksgiving, and about 8 weeks until Halloween. Now is the time to start decorating the house with Autumn Decor. Now is the time to plan what we're doing for the upcoming holidays. Now is the time to plan our menus for the holidays.

I prefer starting my Christmas shopping in January, but this year I simply wasn't able to do that. We're not going to have many presents for Christmas this year. I'm thinking one or two things for each kid and one family gift.

I think I'll plan my menus this week, that way I can start picking up some of the needed ingredients now. I'm hoping to put up the autumn decorations next weekend, technically a little early, but I can hardly wait after this horribly hot, humid summer we've had..

We've been working on our activity list for Halloween and should have it done soon. I will put it up as soon as it is finalized. Then, we will start working on any changes to be made to our Advent/Christmas activities.

I love this time of year. The weather will cool off. We'll head to the apple orchard. The house will smell of baking banana bread & pumpkin bread, and of multiple things made with apples. We'll have windows open & be able to shut of the A/C. The air will be crisp & cool. The leaves will change colors, making the world look so beautiful. Our hikes will be better. We'll spend more time outside. Plus, I get to plan the holidays. I know many people find the holidays stressful & hectic, but I really love the holiday season. We've put in a lot of effort to make the season less stressful & more enjoyable. Each year, the holidays get just a little better, as we perfect our traditions way of celebrating.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I have to start remembering those

I have a tendency to forget to add pictures to my posts. In my "Week in Review" post yesterday, I mentioned the foil embossing project we did for Art. However, I forgot to add the pictures of them. So, here they are: