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Showing posts from October, 2010

Weekly Accomplishments

New Haven is like a mini-New York City.  It offers Universities, arts festivals, music schools, coffee shops, parks, and cuisine from every ethnicity imaginable.  We do not take advantage our proximity to it and all we can do there.  I am changing that!

Friday we wrapped up our week with a 50 minute concert at Neighborhood Music School.  Their faculty is holding a series of concerts over the next few weeks.  They are aimed at the “lunch crowd” timed perfectly for local students or professionals to pop in for some good music during their lunch hour.  It is also perfect for homeschoolers!  We sat front and center to hear about the history of blues.  This was perfect for us since Grace has been immersed in the Louisiana culture and blues was born next door in Mississippi.   The girls are finishing up their stories this week.  Today we focused on using strong verbs.  They went back through their pieces and changes plain boreing verbs to ones that better express the action the character is p…

No Expiration Date

We are now two months into our life as a homeschooling family.  After overcoming the challenges of adjustment and allowing for de-schooling to take place, I am noticing that some things are really working! 1) Math - my girls have very different learning styles when it comes to math.  Singapore Math was what I chose for Lilah when she first came home and it is what we are using now.  Back in January, she would argue over math every single day.  Tears were common.  Now, she loves it.  Just the other night, she asked to stay up late.  I assumed it was to write.  When I came up or bed, on my pillow was a note that she worked in her “fun” math book practicing math facts for a half hour!    Grace has also had a journey in math.  Math was her favorite subject in school.  Not so much at home.  Her teacher was the 4th grade math teacher, and as such, had years of materials at her fingertips.  Unfortunately, I do not.  I asked Grace not to compare me to her.  It just isn’t fair.  I don’t have re…

Is Classical a "Wise" choice for us? Part 2 of my journey series.....

I had thought about homeschooling before.  10 years before now.  Before Grace went to Kindergarten and I became a PTA card carrying, Board of Ed Meeting attending, Room Mother.  Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things.  I was both proud and happy to help my children’s school do everything they possibly could for my children and the hundreds of other children who spent their days there.  I made friends, my girls (well....Grace) made friends.  We went to the concerts, fairs,  field days, and fundraising events.  The school was the heart of our community.  We walked every day, rain or shine, with our neighbors.  That school was the reason we bought into our neighborhood.  We wanted to give our children the same sense of community we had growing up, with Greg in Chicago and me in Worcester.  But in the back of my mind I was already wondering if there was another way and if I would ever have the chance to experience it with my girls...... Once the decision was made to try …

Before and After



Nature Studies

We don’t live here........

Our neighborhood is just that, a neighborhood.  We have a park with sledding hills, man made ponds, football/soccer fields, and a playground.  We have sidewalks lined with century-old trees that provide lovely shade in the summer sun.  We live three blocks from Main Street where we can walk to get ice cream, pizza, or a slushy.  We live a few miles from the sound.  But for this, this wide open land of meadows, forests, streams and ponds, we venture to the Audubon.  Our teacher is wonderful.  She speaks to our children with kindness and respect.  She encourages their inquiry and draws out their wonder.  She takes time to answer both their questions, and ours! Today Grace held a salamander for the first time with guidance provided by her now-expert amphibian handler sister.

We I learned the difference between lichen and moss.

My very own Ivy & Bean

Do you know where I found my girls at 9am today?  In Lilah’s bed, under the covers, furiously writing the stories they began yesterday!  They were inspired by our plan to see Annie Barrows, the author of the Ivy and Bean series today at R.J. Julia Booksellers. I would have taken a picture, but the moment was so special it seemed private in a way.     Some days it feels like we accomplish so much.  Math, poetry, history and science.  Then there are days like today, where we enjoy life fully and squeeze the learning into the cracks between our plans.  Every Tuesday our friends enjoy skating at a local ice rink. We go as often as we can. Put Grace on the ice and watch her come alive.  She skated competitively for a few years and now that she has given up lessons, she is able to just skate for joy.  

After skating she had piano where she was given her much anticipated Harry Potter Soundtrack sheet music.  While she was at piano Lilah had some computer time. After picking up Grace from her le…

Spooky Ooky

Our October has been fun-filled and action-packed.  This weekend was no different. Over at Frog Creek there was a party.  A very fun party.  There were witches and vampires, devils and fairies.  Sharks and cleaner fish.  Drew and Mimi.  There were frozen eyeballs and spider cup cakes.  Mummification out of toilet paper.  Haunted Hallways and bubbling cauldrons.   We had fun.  Lots of fun. 

Every Destination Needs A Starting Point: My Personal Evolution Series

Post 1 in my Series: My Personal Evolution
There is nothing extraordinary about me.  I am a mother, a teacher, and a wife.  What makes me different from most other women my age with children my age is that I do not send my children to school everyday for their learning.  I am not certainly not the only person who homeschools.  The numbers are increasing every day.  Nor can I say that I am doing a better job than the teachers my daughters had in school did.  I am just doing it differently.  Like many other mothers, I did not like many of the aspects of my daughter’s public education.  Like many mothers who tried to change a system, I experienced mostly failure.  Then I took matters into my own hands and decided to create the environment I wanted my girls to learn in.  No big deal right? I taught elementary school for five years.  It was a second career for me, having spent years in the international relocation industry.  I loved my job but I did not like the values of the corporations I …

Weekly Accomplishments

The weekly wrap up is becoming a very important part of my week.  I like having a written summary of how we are growing and learning week to week.  This week has been especially busy. Sunday we met friends in New York City and had an A-mazing day.

Monday we spent the day with friends in the country.  We carved pumpkins and watched the Food Network’s Pumpkin Challenge.  Grace had her flute lesson and flute ensemble lesson.  

In history we continue to read The Odyssey.  So far we know Circe, the Lastrogonian Giants, The Lotus Eaters, The Cyclops, and the Gods Zeus and Poseidon.  I am looking forward to watching The History Channels program Odysseus in November.  By then we will be done with our read aloud and hopefully will be reading The Lightning Thief.
I am incorporating mini-lessons into our writing.  One lesson involved me pulling out some of my favorite books and comparing the first sentence.  We noticed that book books pull the reader in immediately through actions, feelings, questio…

Blustery Squalls

I have been doing a great deal of thinking about how I want to homeschool.  It turns out I have been on a journey alongside my children, sort of deschooling along with them.  I just did not realize my journey would be as profound as theirs.   I will begin a series of posts focused on my evolution from picking a style that seemed very structured and sequential, to one that more closely resembles a combination of Charlotte Mason and Unschooling.  Look for that soon...... For some reason I feel like I have been neglecting science.  Last year I bought the R.E.A.L Science Odyssey for Lilah.  We plugged away at several lessons and we enjoyed it.  Unfortunately it never felt connected to everything else we were doing so it was always the last thing we got to, when we got to it.  Since it has yet to make an appearance this fall I felt I was neglecting science.  Then I thought some more.   Lilah has been doing a spa science kit for about a month.  She has used food items to make facial masks, fo…

Wordless Wednesday


Imagine you could find someone that you want to become friends through the click of a cursor.  That is what happened one day while I was browsing blogs on blogger.  I clicked  ‘homeschooling’ on my profile and up popped Theresa’s picture and her blog, Our Life in Words.  Like me, she has two daughters.  Life me, she had experience in education.  Like me, she loves books.  Like me, she was considering homeschooling her daughters who were in public school.  Like me, she felt education was about more than testing and that our children’s creativity was being lost.  Like me, she looked deep within herself and after careful consideration with her husband, she withdrew her daughters and became a homeschooling family.   I told my husband that I feel like I have known her forever.   So many stories have come up through our blogging and we would find ourselves commenting back and forth that we have had the same experience or feeling or issue in our lives.   Making the decision to take your childr…

In the Zone

I can feel it.  It is coming back to me.  It took a month of ups and downs but this week I feel like we are in the zone.  The Homeschool Zone, that is.  I am letting our days lead us rather than the other way around. Today for instance, the girls wanted to blog.  They were pulling out old pieces of writing and polishing off works in progress.  Grace wanted to write about her science kit: Magic Science that she loves so much.  I requested that she include three things she has learned from the kit.  I explained that when you write to inform you must provide certain information to the reader, not just your feelings on the product.  She learned to include the title, a description of activities, where it can be purchased and if she would recommend it.  Viola!  A writing mini-lesson in the context of her favorite activity.  Gives me chills.  Holistic learning. After both girls wrote and blogged for about two hours, we moved to history.  We talked about our trip to the Renaissance Faire yester…