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Showing posts from September, 2014

Horse Show

Years ago Grace used to skate at the International Skating Center in Simsbury, Connecticut.  She was a good little skater.  Determined.  Fearless.  Strong.  Her happy place was on the ice.  Simsbury is about 80 minutes from my house and we during shows or during competition preparation we were commuting up to 4 days a week.  It was hard, especially on her sister.  It was also hard on Grace.  She missed Greg desperately.  She missed her Dad enough to give up a sport she loved with her whole being.  It was then that Greg and I decided that no sport will take the place of family togetherness.  To us, no sport is worth dividing up a family, taking up weekends, negatively affecting the family budget, and giving one child a seemingly disproportionate amount of time and attention.  This is why we passed on soccer, even though Grace really wanted to play.  This is why Grace passed on trying out for travel basketball and swim team, even though she would make a team.  These sports are seasonal,…

Social Justice

One of our electives this fall is Social Justice.  We are using the 6 part series titled Seeking Social Justice produced by the Heritage Foundation and offered free by Compass Classroom.   Social justice is "justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society".
Social justice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Last time I checked The United States of America is NOT a socialist country, even though we are moving steadily in that direction.  Social justice is NOT the distribution of resources in the hopes of achieving equality and therefore a “just” society.  This is NOT the definition I want my girls to internalize when they go out into the world.  Seeking Social Justice has helped us to create our own family definition of social Justice:
Social Justice is identifying a need in the community and devoting one’s available time, money and resources to affect a lasting change in the identified com…

Week of September 22nd

When I read Blake Bowle’s Better Than College and the book Do Hard Things, I realized that high school at home should be more than randomly picking subjects and working through textbooks.  If we are going to opt out the benefits of schooling, then we need to make sure we are taking time to appreciate the amazing things that homeschooling teens has to offer. Up until now there has not been much that my girls could attribute solely to homeschooling.  The could still ride horses after school, could participate in craft shows,  have music lessons, book clubs and writing groups.  They just could not do these things on the same day.  Homeschooling allows for 90 minutes of music lessons on the same day as 90 minutes of horseback riding, whereas these would have to be spread out to two days for a typically schooled student. One thing Grace certainly could not do if in public school is work the morning shift at the kennel.  She works from 7:30 or 8:00am until 11:00am then comes home and fits in …


14 Things About Grace on her 14th Birthday
This girl loves life.  She is not one to sit and let it pass her by.  I love that about her.  I love that she inspires me to join in more and not always be the one behind the scenes taking pictures, although I know that if I don’t she will move too fast and I want to remember the moments of this child’s life.  All of them.
Dogs and cats and horses, oh my!  She loves them all.  
Things tend to come easily to her and her personal struggle is sticking with the things that don’t.   Her dream is to own a Steinway Grand.  For now she will settle on playing one at every available opportunity.

She is a worker.  Of all the things we’ve given our daughters, we have tried hardest to give them the value of work.  Her Dad and I are so proud that she put in over 70 hours of volunteering at her workplace and was offered her first paying job at 14.  
She is a good friend. 

She dreams of being Gabby Douglas and her 5’9” frame can frustrate her.  Those legs just were…

Weekly Summary : September 15-19th

I love the summary of our weeks.  This week I added a LIFE section because we are trying to cram so much into into our weeks before the puppy comes.  Dentists, eye exams, orthodontists, etc.  These things are all necessary and compete for our project time and lesson time.  Normally this would leave me frazzled but I am not, surprisingly.  I am tired, but not scattered.  I credit this to the divine tea I discovered at the Herbal Apothecary on Cape Cod called Nervine Divine.  I plan to order more soon!

Subject Accomplished

Social Justice (elective) Watched video #2 (Family) in Seeking Social Justice Series with discussion Completed Bookmarks Baked dessert for dinner Science Grace finished video series for Week #5 (Meteorology) Lilah created paper mache globe to illustrate why we have seasons Horseback Riding Lilah - one lesson Grace - two lessons plus 2 hours spent at farm preparing horses for upcoming horse show. Had a lesson in the care of a horse when her horse had a muscular problem in her hind…

Writing Group Lesson: For The Love of Words

Our writing group is off to a great start.  We are three weeks in to our six week session and my hope is that the girls will want to continue.  I have had some requests on Instagram to share our lessons.   Scarecrow Supplies: journal, internet access, Sharpie marker, crayons, writing utensils
I rely heavily on technology in our workshop.  We have two girls join us via internet from New York and Alabama.  Next week we will move away from Skype and Facetime to Google Hangout and my hope is that other girls will be able to join in since Google Hangout can accomodate 10 guests.   This week we used one of my favorite drawing tutorial sites .  The girls drew the Scarecrow using Sharpie and crayons.
While the girls were working on their coloring, we began to pass around a story.  I began the story using the scarecrow as the theme and passed it to the girl next to me.  She wrote a sentence, folded down mine and passed it on so that only her sentence showed.  This went on and…

Crosby Update

We are just about a week away from bringing a puppy home and I would be lying if I said I was not a little bit nervous.  Every dog we have had up to this point was taken in from either a rescue (like the Greyhound we adopted directly from the racing track) or from families that could not or did not want to care for them anymore (Jake and Daphne).  We have never had a puppy.   I hope we have done all the right things.  I read The Monks of New Skete’s book: The Art of Raising A Puppy.  Grace has read countless books and has benefitted from mini-lessons on what to do from her boss at the kennel.  We are puppy proofing.  We are clearing out the back kennel area so he has a designated bathroom spot (Daph stopped using this area ages ago when she decided she preferred the feel of grass to the kennel decking).  We still have to get his food, return the crate we bought for a larger one, and finish puppy proofing.  Our puppy obedience class is scheduled to begin the week after he comes home. Thi…

Projects Need Time

I am on a few Facebook groups for homeschooling high school and project based learning and as I browse through comments and links it seems that there is this notion that every project has to be BIG.  The big projects can be fun and they can be super impressive, but I find that the little projects are the ones that make an impact on our learning. This fall I intentionally pared down our curriculum to two electives (Social Justice and Personal Finance) and kept our basic core (math, science, history, language arts) to allow us time to dig deep.  We are sticking to our one subject a day (in addition to math) and when the girls feel like they want to create something that ties into the subject at hand, I am doing my best to say yes.
For example, they are working on week #5 of Science Shephard: Meteorology, which seems like it should be a no-brainer in this house.  But Lilah really never realized the reason for seasons (the Earth’s tilt and it rotation around the sun).  After we watched the …

Weekly Wrap Up: September 8th - How we are learning

Five years into this I now that if I push books and workbooks and rote memorization, the girls may do it for me, but it would be for me, not for them.  They need to strike a balance between what I need and what they need.  They gravitate towards project based learning.  Lilah always has and as Grace ages, she too, is taking a liking to it.  

One of the first things that people say about homeschooling is how much time their kids have to pursue friendship and interests and I have even said that once or twice when my kids were younger. Now that they are in middle school and high school, there is no surplus of extra time.  Our days are full.  Grace works two or three days a week and Lilah can fill two hours with crafting easily.  So we have to be intentional with our time. Which brings me back to the delicate dance of maintaining balance.  

We do one main subject a week. Monday it was science.  We did a week’s worth of lessons in one day.  Tuesday we agreed that we would listen to history i…

Taking a Break from CNN

Even though we say the world is our classroom, right now this statement may not be a positive thing.  We have enjoyed CNN Student News but with beheadings, upgraded terror levels in the UK and the 9/11 anniversary, I made the executive decision to suspend our watching for a while.   I did not cover current events until I was a senior in high school.  It was a senior-only seminar class and I enjoyed it.  There is a big difference between a 17 year old being able to absorb and understand the events taking place around the world and a 12 year old; especially a 12 year old whose father works in Manhattan and whose Grandmother and Uncle were in NYC on 9/11/01. This may be seen as overprotective, isolating, and sticking my head in the sand, and I accept these criticisms that are often placed on families that control how much or how little information is presented to their children.  I’ll take that over a child who is anxious about her Dad going to work. Our schedules are always shifting to acc…

First Full Week: Weekly Wrap Up #2 2014-2015

One of my favorite things we have incorporated into our day is our daily quote.  Not only does it teach us a bit about contemporary history (so far my girls have learned who Audrey Heburn, Erma Bombeck, and Maya Angelo were and that William Penn came from England and that Wayne Gretsky played in the NHL for 20 years) but they are also learning how to dig deeper into a statement and reflect on it and respond to it. 

Over the years I have been hesitant to share too much about what our curriculum is because until you are about a week or so into it, you never know what you will keep and what you will throw out and replace. This year I did purchase one set of materials that I do not like at all and will be selling in order to recoup some of the purchase price.  My other purchases, like Teaching Textbooks for Lilah were hits.  Grace has picked up her study of algebra through TT and even came down one morning at 6:15 to get it done. 

One thing we have thrown out is my brilliant plan for a stud…