Monday, May 31, 2010

Empty Spot at Our Table


I thought of my brother often this weekend. While we have been busy studying, playing and preparing for summer, he has been busy training a group of young Marines, preparing them for war.

We skipped our town parade, a parade where a very small number of veterans march but every town politician comes out to shake hands, and every youth group marches while parents proudly snap pictures. Not of the veterans, of their children. Not to minimize their children’s accomplishments whatever they may be, but it seems to me that we have lost sight of the meaning of this day. The focus of this parade is not the Veterans, but on the litany of groups from across our town. I tire of watching vendors hawk their cheap wares to children more interested in gathering up the candy that is casually tossed to parade attendees than clapping for those who served in the Armed Forces. Have we forgotten the meaning of this somber holiday?

This year, our family attended a much smaller parade in a beachfront neighborhood in our town. My daughter marched for the first time ever as part of her homeschool Brownie Troop and the parade culminated at the local green. The focus of this parade was not on the children marching. Our priest gave a blessing, ending with the words from Taps, which I have never heard before. We covered our hearts and said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang along to the National Anthem. It was a meaningful celebration of Memorial Day.When my family gathered at my house later, we felt the absence of my brother.

Tonight as Memorial Day Weekend comes to a close, I say a prayer for the military families in this country who like us, had an empty spot at the table. We miss our 2nd Lt. but we are blessed that for now he is not in harms way. We are thankful for the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and our thoughts and prayers are with their families who will always have an empty spot at their table. We are grateful to the men and women proudly serving our country. Uncle Paul, stay safe.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.
Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

A good book is a great friend


This is my first blog challenge - responding to a topic chosen by another blogger. Home Is Where You Start From has issued the L.E.N.S Blog Challenge topic: A Love of Reading.

Here is my picture:

Reading stirs so many memories in me. From rocking my infant daughters while reading picture books to them at bedtime, or snuggling in front of the fireplace reading together, to reading every Disney Fairy book to Lilah when she was three to reading every Junie B. Jones book to Grace when she was four, reading has always been a priority in my family. Books line our shelves, our nightstands, our countertops, overflow out of library bins, and can be found hidden under carseats. They are tucked away under pillows, strewn across the couch, and fill the racks in the bathrooms. This clutter never bothers me. Books are our friends and it would not feel natural to not be surrounded by them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

If You Change the Way You Look at Things....

Someone told me recently that they thought I have changed. This idea of change has been bouncing around in my brain ever since. Have I changed? I spoke to my husband about it. We do not think so. Today one of my favorite blogs, Our Life In Words, posted a quote by Albert Einstein: If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. This one sentence sums up how I have changed, or not changed.

I am still the same person. I have had issues with public schools, despite being a teacher with a M.A. in Elementary Education, even while I was teaching. This is no surprise. I have talked about homeschooling for five years but I was never taken seriously, or maybe I never took my ability to homeschool seriously.

I changed the way I look at things in my life. If I don’t like it, I no longer have to accept it. I have heard it said that your 40’s are the greatest decade because you have finally figured out who you are and as a result, you finally get to enjoy yourself. My thirties were a time of building a family, constructing our home in which to house this family, and creating family ties to school, friends, neighbors and community. Now that I am close to 40, I have my family and I like our family. I love our home. I love my neighborhood and for the most part I love our neighbors. I am blessed. I have made one big change in my life - homeschooling my two daughters. This does not change who I am, but it changes how I look at education and learning and life in general.

As a result, things around me have changed. I went from having just one true friend who has known me and accepted who I am for the past fifteen years to having a new community of real friends. The women I have met over the past six months are creative, kind, caring, honest people. I choose to be their friend and at times I am honored that they chose to welcome me into their circle.

Through them I am finding new interests. I have learned to knit. I am learning what homeopathy is. I have tried kombucha and liked it! I have discovered a passion for farm fresh eggs, an interest in vermiculture and desire to garden.

Is this wrong? Is this a bad change? Some think it is. I don’t. My husband, who is my true best friend does not. He feels I have finally become the person I have wanted to be for so long. I feel like the little girl in the latest youtube video affirming my life. Like her, I like me, I like my house, I like my kids, I like my dogs, I like my family, I like my friends, I like my husband, I can do anything I set my mind to, I can be a homeschooling mom, I can learn new things, I can meet new people, I can discover new talents, I can strive to be better, I can change, or not.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Change of Scenery





It has been a tough morning. Grace is on day three being home from school. She is better, but not able to cope with the extreme heat that her upstairs classroom in an 80 year old school with no air conditioning will bring on a 85 degree day. On top of this, Lilah is very out-of-sorts. I am blaming it on the bug bite she got at her nature class yesterday. We have been so vigilant to wear long pants, long socks, apply loads of our favorite all natural bug spray and she did not get one bite...until yesterday. Figures, on her last day she would get one of her massive welts on her leg. It is so large it hurts her to walk. Benedryl will relieve the itch and the swelling but it does not do wonders for her mood. So, rather than stay inside on such a beautiful day and argue over lessons, make up work and crappy attitudes, we are going to check on our garden, give it nurturing and hopefully it in turn will nurture us back into alignment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blessings






Today’s closing ceremony touched my heart in a way that I never expected. I expected a song, perhaps a dance, a few words, something typical to other programs my girls have been involved with, or what may happen at the end of the year in public school. I got a song. Children and adults joined hand in hand singing words of encouragement as we send out children on to a new adventure. The song was enhanced by the steady beat of a drum which the children all participated in playing. And the words, oh the words. They touched my soul. You see, the instructors at this amazing school deal with homeschool children all the time. They had no way of knowing that Lilah was new to homeschooling and that this was her first major program with new friends, in a new setting, with new teachers. At the circle, each child in the program stepped into the center and received blessings from their instructors. The instructors shared what made an impression on them or a certain strength or talent the child has, a goal to work on, or a touching memory they have of that child. Lilah proudly stepped into the circle to receive her blessings. Her blessing spoke of her true love of nature. How in fact, this class may be her first step towards becoming a naturalist. They spoke of her ever present smile, her eagerness to join and her willingness to try. My child. My child that I was so concerned about not too long ago. My child who cried to God to help her fiend friends. My child who did not speak. Justin, Chris, Carianna, and Jaz, you touched my child’s spirit, you touched my soul. I am so very grateful to you.


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Book and A Challenge



I stare out my window at my pool shimmering in the late afternoon sunlight smug with the knowledge that G’s school ends soon and rather than dream of lazy playdates, swimming in our new pool, making trips to our beach, my head is full of books! I have two dilemmas to work through in regards to reading.

First I have L, an avid reader. She is reading at a fourth grade level but she is only seven. When we began homeschooling she struggled to tell me about her reading. Now that we practice narrations (she tells me what she has read) orally and in writing, her ability to retell is dramatically improving. She narrates every book she is reading, whether it is part of our curriculum or her pleasure reading. I am constantly checking in on her comprehension and ability to decode the words. When she was in school she was given easy books that did not challenge her ability to read or her imagination. My theory for this was so the teacher could focus her energy on the children struggling to read at grade level. The books she would bring home had no real plot, no character development, and they were hard to discuss.

I began a literature study. We started with Beverly Cleary since Beezus and Ramona is being made into a movie starring her favorite Disney Channel star Selena Gomez. We talked about the roles of characters. We labeled one the protagonist and another the antagonist based on their character traits. It was meaningful. Now she is reading a Dick King Smith book Sophie’s Tom to discuss why the author wrote the book. I am borrowing much of my teaching from Deconstructing Penguins because I feel that until you are able to break a book apart you cannot find the true meaning. Each book we read will focus on one aspect of “book dissection” setting, protagonist, antagonist, climax, and what message the author wanted to convey. Because she is young these concepts will take time. We have time.


In order to keep up with her I have become an avid reader of children’s books. Children’s Literature is my favorite genre. When I was teaching, I would spend hours reading what my students were reading. That was ten years ago so I have a great deal of catching up to do! Today I read Gail Carson Levine’s The Fairy’s Mistake and enjoyed it. I need to preread many books to make sure they are appropriate for L’s age.

G on the other hand, is another story. She too is a strong reader. However, the big difference is that reading is not something she truly enjoys. This year I was upset to find that her class does not have any S.S.R time (silent sustained reading). They only get to read for enjoyment when they are finished with their work. I was told by G that her block of time for language arts does have reading groups but it is very directed. She has a very short stamina for reading and this has not been developed at all in school. Our first thing I will do when she comes home is to help her find the joy in reading again. It breaks my heart to know that somewhere along the way she lost it. Once upon a time she had it, now it is gone.

I picked up the new Rick Riordan book, The Red Pyramid today. It will be our summer read aloud. I am so excited by this book (I have not read it yet) since L has become an avid learner of Egyptian lore. I can picture us hanging out on the patio furniture dripping wet from a swim, taking a break by reading a chapter in the shade. Ohh....so excited. Anyway...back on topic, G’s literature study will consist of Newbury Award or Newbury Honor books. To my knowledge she has not read one. I have many lining our bookshelves and will pick up the new ones and read them over the summer. Today I started Surviving the Applewhites but it is too soon to offer an opinion. I just finished The Princess Academy which I think G will like because the female character is so strong and courageous, like G. But first, before I can contemplate giving her one of these books, I have to build her stamina in reading, her confidence as a reader and her desire to read.

It is a challenge I am up for!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Choices

Today I spent some time with my Queen Homeschool Catalog and my laptop searching for what I plan to use for curriculum for G and L. In my mind I am trying to envision our day, what subjects can be taught together and what can be taught together but at different levels. Math will be different. They will use different books (Life of Fred and Horizons for G and Singapore for L) and most likely be taught at different times so that I can give each girl their own individual mini-lesson. While I am doing this, the other will be working on independent reading for their literature study. I have to come up with a book list for each girl. History will be taught together. Neither has had history in public school. We are up to the 14th chapter in Story of the World but one of my friend’s kindly loaned me her cd’s so that G can just listen to chapters 1-13 to get caught up to where we are. I am thinking of adding in a living book program which would pick up at Ancient Greece and would be at least a 4 week study. I could use SOTW to get us to the next period where another 4 week living book study would pick up. I would like to order cursive lessons (since G was “taught” cursive by completing a packet last year. Needless to say her cursive is less than beautiful. This can be done together, as can their vocabulary, and spelling (spelling will be different levels).


I am thinking of adding in Bible study. I did not choose homeschooling for religious reasons but we are a spiritual family and church plays a large role in our life. I teach 5th grade religious education and both girls have sung in the children’s choir. There is a simple study focusing on increasing wisdom which I would like to do alongside my girls and we would truly be learning as a family!


Science will be together continuing on in our R.E.A.L program on Life. I love the labs and feel like the girls will be engaging in their learning together. G will join us where we are this summer. She will miss the study on cells, but will be able to pick this up quickly when we begin the study of our body. Writing will also be done simultaneously, but again, on different levels. I plan on using Write Shop, which will keep G progressing along similar themes that she would learn in school. In my mind I have to be aware that this may only be one year for G. I can look long term for L because I know she has no desire to return to school for now. She will also use Write Source but it will be in addition to her Write with Ease program.


I don’t want to stray too far from what G would be covering in public school in case she chooses to return for 6th grade. G is bright. As long as I keep her reading, writing and progressing in math, she will do just fine. Really anything beyond that is a bonus as what she is learning now seems to be forgotten very quickly. Case in point, we were discussing field trips and we recently went to the CT Science Center. I asked her what she learned on this trip. She said nothing. I asked her what she learned in school that had anything to do with that trip and she said she couldn’t remember back to the beginning of the year. To be fair, she did enjoy learning about the water cycle and there were great exhibits about rivers, erosion, the Connecticut River and weather cycles. Unfortunately the museum was so crowded and overstimulating, we did not spend much time at these exhibits. So as her school year ends and I look forward to easing her into homeschooling with a few fun hands on projects this summer, I can barely contain my excitement.


Next weekend we may implement our plan - the swapping of bedrooms!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday in Pictures


A little bit of cursive practice....

A little bit of art...


A little bit of spelling...


A little bit of piano.



We moved our learning outside.


The coffee table became our desk.


We shared the yard with Jake. He always makes us laugh.

A little more art...


Some learning about King Tut...


Followed by very yummy cookie/muffins.



We ended our day at G's school for their Spring Carnival. They choose great books at the used book sale.
It all added up to a great day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sticks and Stones





Today I was a chaperone for the Brownie Trip to the Maritime Aquarium. It was the culmination of their year-long study of water. While we were watching the seal feeding, I happened to be standing next to a preschool group. Most of the children were settled peacefully on the concrete steps of the tank except for one little boy who was about three.

He was having a terrible time. I am not sure what upset him but he was crying for his Mommy. He did not want his caregivers and was struggling against them. One older woman, kept telling him to stop - he was not being “nice”. I hate that. Nice has nothing to do with a three year old and a meltdown. Anyone who works with children knows this.

This little boy could not self-soothe and he was resisting efforts to restrain him from kicking and writhing on the floor. Clearly in despair, he looked at the older woman and said “I don’t like you!”. She replied back, “well, we don’t like you either! How about that!”.

Tears welled up in my eyes. Tears are welling up again right now as I remember her voice and the look upon his face. How dare someone say that to a child! How spiteful. Who is the adult? Who is the child? That boy needed comfort, love, understanding. Sticks and stones did not break this child today but words most definitely hurt him.

I wonder if his parents will ever know?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Joining a coop






I am excited by the

possibility of joining a coop. L and I visited a coop about 45 minutes from us today. They were having their year end picnic and graduation ceremony at a stunning location, Wadsworth Mansion. The picnic was open to prospective families so we took the ride north to check it out. We were not prepared for a picnic. We did not bring games, food or blankets. Our goal was not to intrude on graduation but to introduce ourselves to the organizers of the coop, glean bits of information about how the coop is run, what type of classes have been offered and how the registration process works. While my friend and I met with other parents, our kids ran around, played tag, climbed trees, read their books and wrote in their journals. The beauty of a coop (from my newbie perspective) is that parents, each having unique and often fascinating backgrounds, offer their skills and talents to the group. Children get to select the classes they would like to take. In the past classes such as architecture, journalism, karate, theater and book groups have been offered. The children travel from class to class, learning things that would not typically be offered in a public school (until middle school), and have time to be with other children who have similar interests. After the picnic, we drove to the facility where the classes are held, Green Street Art Center, where I was amazed by the opportunities the building presents. Contained in one center is a full recording studio, a theater, a computer lab, a mac lab, two art studios, a library room, a gathering place, and a dance studio. It is most certain that we will be joining in the fall. I am even thinking of teaching a class......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bliss

G's egg lab


L's lab. She was amazed by the blastodisk. She dissected the egg to remove it.


G learning more about weather patterns while snuggling with Daphne.

Math time.



The best part of our day was a healthy lunch - chicken stir fry with rice noodles.

Today was a little glimpse into what homeschooling two children will be like. G stayed home one more day. But since she was not quite as sick as yesterday she joined us for lessons. She did a page in her math workbook while L worked on her review. I showed her a great website I found for meteorology which is basically a text book online. She joined us for a science lab in which we labeled that parts of an egg cell and learned the differences between plant and animal cells. Then she disappeared upstairs to work on a rough draft of a project she has due on Monday. When she came back down, not only was her draft complete but her room was clean! Amazing.

Having G home felt complete. L was not learning alone. Our dogs were overjoyed. Our house seemed balanced. Granted she was not doing work that required my direct involvement but having them both each engaged in meaningful work was very satisfying. What will have to change is how our day evolves. G can’t sit still as long as L can and I have yet to find out how long she can attend to one thing at a time. G is a fiddler, a tapper, and a fidgeter which drives her sister crazy. I am not sure working at the dining room table would be the best for us.

So we have created a plan. Our plan could be very exciting. Greg and I discussed moving the girls into our bedroom, which is the largest, not by much, but every inch helps. G will not feel she is sharing “her” room (hers is much bigger than L's), as it will be new to both of them. G’s room (after paiting over the fushia) will become my room. L’s room will become the....wait for it.....learning room! Her room right now is only large enough for a twin bed and a small nightstand. I am going to measure it to see if we can fit a small table and loveseat in her room. At night L can read on the couch and go to bed after G is asleep which solves the opposite sleep styles. The hallway closet will become the new learning center, housing our texts, binders, manipulatives, colored pencils, crayons and other things we use daily. It is very exciting and a bit overwhelming.

The girls have never shared a room but they seem excited to make this change. Each has developed a floor plan of how they think the room should be arranged taking into consideration L’s Barbies, G’s desk, two beds, two nightstands and room to play. I am just thrilled my girls want to be together in this next chapter of our homeschooling adventure!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sick Day


A challenge is presented when G is sick. When she stays home from school it affects the day of lessons I had planned for L. I remind G that being sick means no tv/no Wii/no dsi. It does mean lots of rest, reading and sleeping. Then I have to talk to L. She still has to do her lessons. After all, she is not sick. Lessons become significantly harder. Add to this a follow up doctor appointment for me at the surgeon for my cyst and the day gets even more complicated. As of right now it is 8:30 am. G is on the couch. I think she may be sleeping but then I hear her cough. L is still in bed sleeping or reading, I am not sure which. I am showered, but not dressed. Lessons should be starting at 9:00 but that looks unlikely. I am going to pack a bag for each with work to do while we are at the doctors and we will just see how much we can get done given it has become a sick day.


By early afternoon some lessons were done. Math - check. Spelling - check. Reading - check. Then out come the craft supplies. This is always met with trepidation. I want her to create when she is inspired, however, I prefer her to be inspired after lessons are done! “Mom, I’m making a collage. Can you guess what it is about?” She reads me the words, art, china, kitchens, kids, school, Connecticut, house, read, start, programs, home, movies, book, family, adventure, love, work, know it, so good, the cursive letter C, daily, Japanese, Mom, story, nature, Yale, music, www., ?, email, Celebrate.

“Mom....it’s all about homeschooling! One of my favorite words on it is special because you are special Mom”.

Keep on creating L.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great Park Pursuit





Each week The Great Park Pursuit picks a State Park and plans a days worth of family adventures. This year our family is participating. I wanted to do something that would make us get out and explore. It is so easy to get caught up in housework, especially with homeschooling. The laundry piles up, the grass needs mowing, the vacuum cleaner is making a strange sound, the winter clothes bins are still out....I could go on and on. We have to walk away and be a family. The clothes, lawn, laundry will all still be there when we get home.


We met up with a friend and her two daughters. Together they splashed in the Housatonic River, counted rings on an ancient tree (85 years old), calculated wind speeds, ventured out in a canoe, picked wildflowers and enjoyed their friendship. It was a wonderful start to the weekly adentures. When we left we were given a clue to where the next location is. To find the location we need to read a Jean Craighead George book, To Climb A Waterfall. If the library has the book, we will take it out Monday. If not, we will wait until the location is announced next Wednesday.


A perfect family outing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Fence

Today G forgot to have a test signed and returned to school. A test that she scored 100 on. The stamp that said Please Sign and Return was in the lower right hand corner of the paper, not the usual spot on top near her name. So she forgot. It did not come home for my signature stating that I am aware she scored 100. Her punishment......the fence. The dreaded, nightmare inspiring, humiliating, degrading, embarrassing fence. This is where children are banished to should they not do their homework or forget to bring something home and then back again. For G's infraction the punishment was ten minutes off recess, spent sitting on-the-fence watching her friends play, while they watched her sit-on-the-fence.

Okay teachers. My child is prone to anxitey - you come to my house and deal with the aftermath of your punitive punishment. I wonder if you forgot your plan book, or if you forgot to bring in a letter to send home or if you did not see a form requiring your signature, would you join your students on-the-fence. No....I did not think so.

I know "rules are rules", I was once a teacher too. But some rules are just stupid.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday



6:40 - Rainy day. Perfect day for snuggling in bed with a good book and cozy covers. Up to face the day. Spent half hour, checking email, and printing out Lilah’s checklist for lessons today.

7:15 - kids up, breakfast, and get ready for school/lessons. Love the smell of homemade french toast in the morning. Vanilla is very comforting to me. However my peace was shattered when we discovered the biggest spider I have ever in my house, crawling across the ceiling, inching its way closer and closer......

8:30 - get G to school.

8:45 - L usually uses this time to play or read. Today she asked if she could read. I asked her to read Sohpie’s Tom but she replied that she really wanted to read her new children’s Bible she received for her First Communion. How could I say no to that???

8:45-9:00 I clean up the kitchen from breakfast while Lilah reads the Bible.

9:15 Once L begins reading it is very hard to transition her to something else. After much prompting we begin lessons. Killing that spider was bad karma.

Science - began our new book R.E.A.L. Odyssey: Life. Thought L would love it and be excited to start the day with something other than math, but not so much. Seems her counselors at Nature Class have taught her that rocks are alive, which is in direct contract to our lesson today. Told her that we can respect rocks as part of nature but since they do not fit the criteria we learned today, we have to classify them as non-living!

Read Aloud: continued our fairy tale study with Little Mermaid Part 1 on www.StoryNory.com

Grammar: lesson 73, substituted my own writing prompt for the one given. Highlighted all the pronouns she used in her journal entry. Reviewed the many poems she has memorized. She wrote about her First Communion this past weekend. It was a great entry full of her wit and insight into family relationships. I am going to enjoy her development as a writer.

Math: began our unit on money. Used play money to trade coins and count money. Did corresponding activities in her textbook and workbook.

Completed three more thank you cards.

12:00 L helped make pumpkin muffins. I opened a can of organic pumpkin this morning to help my dog relieve his constipation. Since only 1/2 a tsp was needed, I did not want the rest to go to waste.

1:45 I had a visit with a friend. L joined us for a snack and our conversation about a local farming coop. Then she took my laptop into the living room and worked on Spanish.

3:00 Picked up G from school.

3:15-3:30 Read half the chapter in History: The Golden Age of Ancient Egypt

3:30 L’s friend came over to play. They played the Wii for about 5 minutes then began a painting project. Unfortunately I had no idea they choose to finger paint with acrylic paint! I am still soaking a pair of paints and we had to scrub the rug to get off purple paw prints.

4:00 Groomer came to the house to give the dogs a bath and a haircut. Jake freaked out and G had to lead him to the mobile grooming van. It appears everyone in my house is acting a bit off today.

5:30 dinner

6:30 watched Little House of the Prairie. While watching I reflected on how I wish our current viewing resembled the vintage Little House episodes that I grew up with. Morals, values, frienship, sisterhood, two parents, married parents, religion, discipline -- everything that is lacking from Hannah Montana or iCarly. My girls LOVE this show. They also love the story that every Monday my Grandparents would come to my house with a half-gallon of Friendly's ice cream and watch the show with us. I was allowed very little television as a young child and this is a very special memory.

8:00 bedtime, planning for tomorrow, updating this blog, catching up on Facebook. Snuggling with my dogs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday

Last night I spent an hour reading and planning for geography and science. I am very excited to start these two new programs this week. Today began at 6:30am to get both girls off for their day....

6:30 prepare lunches for school and nature class, get girls up, dressed, fed and ready to go

8:30 drop G off at school

9:00-9:30 drop L off at Two Coyotes. During drive listened to math facts on an mp3 player we borrowed from Library yesterday.

In between drop off and pick up I have to:

do a major food shop, hit the organic pet shop for dog food, get Greg’s shirts at dry cleaners, clean the house for the sitter tonight. Not to mention squeeze in a trip to the Audubon to pick up Lilah’s shoes from yesterday. 4 hours seems like a long time until you realize you have so much to do to get caught up on a week’s worth of errands that can’t be done during lessons....

2:30 leave to pick up Lilah. Stayed to enjoy a performance by the children. They sang a song about how a child's birth is connected to nature. The children held hands in a circle with the parents in the center. Beautiful.

4:00 Grace came home from neighbor's house

4:15 leave for appointment, drive time anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on how congested I95 is.

5:00-6:00 - my appointment. Unfortunately I found out 15 minutes before I was leaving that my sitter was sick so I quickly packed a bag of supplies: nature journal, books, pencils, math workbook, Grace’s homework, etc. to keep them busy. On the way home we played our favorite story: Manuel and His Three Friends from yesterday’s listening for Grace.

6:30 dinner

7:00 showers and tick check and half hour tv

8:00 get ready for bed - we are all tired and looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Week in Our Life






We have been learning at home for five months now. We have settled into a routine that includes outside classes, new interests and new friends. I thought it would be fun to document a week in our life. We are still figuring some things out but for the most part I am very happy with how things are going.

8:30 am walk G to school

9:00 begin our lessons. Math is usually first as this is her least favorite. I often find her on couch with our dogs working in her Singapore Math Workbook. Today was a review before we start a new unit on money this Wednesday.

9:30 Spelling - Starting a new program: Learning To Spell Through Copywork. I have never found that a spelling program translates into well spelled independent writing. I find that taking time to memorize a random list of words may work to pass a test, but ask the child to spell the list two weeks from now and they certainly will not score 100%. This book is simple yet teaches the phonics rules to be a good speller. Although the first few lessons are very easy, they get progressively harder. This week’s rule is when there is one vowel in a word, the vowel says the short sound.

9:45 Cursive writing - learning w today. So far she has learned the upward sloping letters u, t and i.

10:00 Writing - rather than working from our Write With Ease book, this week we are going to do some real life writing - thank you cards for first communion gifts! She choose to create her own cards using her craft supplies.

10:30 leave for Aududon class. Travel time 20 minutes. Class start time 11:00. In the car we listened to Jim Weiss: Tales from Cultures Near and Far for History. Stayed at class until 1:30 when we discovered her hiking shoes were locked inside the building. This meant no shoes for her all day nature class tomorrow.

2:00 p.m. off to Marshalls to buy a cheap pair of sneakers for nature class tomorrow.

2:45 walk to pick G up from school.

3:30 knitting class which turned into picking out many, many library books.

5:15 p.m. left library for piano lessons

5:30 - 6:30 piano lessons, while G had her lesson, L read her independent reading book for a half hour.

6:30 quick clean up of house, showers and tick check

7:00 dinner and half hour of tv.

8:00 get ready for bed - L will read in bed until 9:00pm then lights out.

Sometimes I worry that we did not get to every lesson I would have liked such as grammar, spanish, typing, art or music. But I realize art and music are covered in outside classes. Grammar we do when we can and she would only get one 45 minute spanish lesson a week in school. We will get to those another day.


Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...