Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blizzard Reflections

A blizzard gives you time to think.  Time to reflect on what you want out of the upcoming year.  Top on my list is maximizing our homeschool experience.  I have been compiling some things that I want to accomplish provided the girls are excited about them as I am.
I want to do an awesome Nature Study combined with a in depth study of Botany.  Using Apologia Botany we will extend what we have touched upon in Audubon and outside science classes.  We will also get out more.  I took out all the books that looked interesting from our local library.  My plan for the week between Christmas and New Years is to read, read and read some more.  Right now I am reading Teaching Kids to Love the Earth.  My kids have a natural desire to explore and wander so thankfully I don’t have to spark their interest.  We are registered for a winter survival class led by Lilah’s teacher at Two Coyotes.  Every month I will plan one big “field” activity for the family.  Possible trips will include a winter nature cruise to look for seals in Long Island Sound, a nighttime hike and a outing to show Greg the beauty of the Audubon Center where we have spent so much time.  
I want to find a math program that eliminates the battles between my oldest and myself.  I am leaning towards Aleks and will try the free month in January.  If math is something that we can do without a fuss or a fight it will free up lots of time for other things.  Plus having the capability to do math on the computer will help her become as computer proficient as she would like to be.  She loves the computer and she loves what she is able to do with technology.  Unfortunately her netbook may not be the best format for Aleks, she may have to use my laptop, but I don’t think that will be much of an issue......
I want to return to weekly baking with Lilah.  We got away from this when the summer arrived and then Grace became gluten free.  It is not fair to Lilah who truly loves to bake and decorate.  She will continue to take cooking and baking workshops, like the all chocolate Valentine’s workshop in February.  But just because we can’t eat all the cookies we make anymore, we can certainly find people who can in our community, like the fire fighters, police officers, church staff and and food pantries.  Last year she began compiling her favorite recipes into a binder.  It is a shame we have let this go. 
Riding out a blizzard makes you thankful for the things you have, like a warm home, plenty of food in the refrigerator and family to call upon should you need help.  A few posts ago, I wrote about wanting to find a way to give as a family.  I know what I would like to do.  Our family is going to sponsor a child in the Appalachia Region of the USA through Save The Children, a local company for us.  We discussed this yesterday.  The cost of an individual sponsor is $28 a month.  I could simply write a check every month but that would make it my project, not a family project.  Instead the girls are going to donate one dog walk per month to the sponsor cost.  I am going to take the $5 from my tutoring money and Greg will forgo one cup of coffee a week in the morning.   Together we will sign up online for an account and pick the child in greatest need.  I am so excited about this!  Then we will learn about the region of the United States the child lives in.  My girls have not traveled extensively through different parts of our country.  They have been to Tennessee, so they have seen the beauty of a true mountain range, but they have not experienced the poverty that the Appalachian region experiences.
The beauty of a blizzard is not always evident during the storm when the wind is ripping down tree branches and whipping fallen snow into a frenzy.  The beauty of a blizzard comes when the storm has passed, the wind has calmed and the sun transforms the world into a winter wonderland.  I feel like the fall of our homeschooling has been a bit like a blizzard; a transformation of family, of children, of paradigms.  It stirred us into a frenzy at time, blurring our vision.  The power of what we were doing was felt by us all and at times was not a positive thing.  Like our own blizzard of ’10, the storm seems to have passed through our home, not leaving any damage thankfully but giving us an appreciation of what we have been through and a glimpse of the beauty of what is to come.


Janet Rose said...

Beautiful post today! May God's blessing fall upon your plans. Stopping by from Hip Homeschool Hop today.

Jenilee said...

great post... so true. the storms of life can really teach us things if we are willing to learn and grow!

Kara said...

Great reflections! Your plans sound good. I understand about the math battles...we used to have those here too. We went with Teaching Textbooks and have loved it. Visiting from the Hop.

Theresa said...

When I first read this, I wrote a looong reply, then realized I should just write a post! lol!
I had never heard of Aleks...please let us know how Grace likes it. Allie is finding Teaching Textbooks too easy, even though we have advanced her.

Also, let me know how you like the science. I know Jason would love to do a Botany unit with the girls -- maybe I can even get him to do that with them!

musicalmary said...

I love all of your goals.... I am reading this week as well -- and working on the history program for my kids. You are such a devoted homeschooling mom.

Karen said...

Your blizzard is very different than our 3" blizzard. I think us Alabama folks would just roll over and die with that many inches of snow.

I love to read about your goals because it truly inspires me to do other things. I actually love the idea of sponsoring a child in the US. I may check into that also. Isn't it great how you give me ideas and vice versa?

I can't wait to hear about your visit with Theresa. Kei and I are a teeny bit jealous. :)

Happy New Year Jess.

Joy said...

Loved your post! We live in the mountains of NC and for quite a bit of snow. We loved being snowed in and the slower pace of life. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and have some new ideas for our family as well. Thanks for joining in the Hip Homeschool Hop!

dthaase said...

I came across your site through the homeschool hop and thought I would share a creative writing site for kids (and adults) that I have just set up - come and see the "I Wonder Chronicles for literacy and creativity" - use the prompts and add to the wonder!

more here:

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

This is a great post and I love your idea of donating your baked goods!! What an awesome idea. My son loves to bake and create, but I don't always want us eating all the "stuff". I will mention this to him :) We are making some changes to our day too, but I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to get it all together yet! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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