Monday, November 21, 2011

At This Moment

How did it happen that just yesterday I was sitting on a beach in Virginia with one of my best friends and now I am sitting wrapped in a afghan at my dining room table wondering how the heck it came to be that Thanksgiving is this week????   Three months passed in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes I sit and I wonder what we did with our three months?  What did we accomplish?  I feel like we run and race from place to place every single day, but is all that running and the stress that comes along with it worth it?  I have friends that have chose intentionally to not do one single activity outside the house other than playdates.  They are saving for a huge trip next year.  Their time at home has given them the opportunity to work on some great projects.   Their lapbooks are stunning, filled with facts, pictures, and writing.  The time that was spent creating is evident.  Part of me longs that have time at home to devote to projects and I know I will get more time in just a week when some of our activities either end or are on hiatus.  
So what have we accomplished?  I think it is time for a little accountability on my part.

Lilah has read an entire series.  While it is not “literature”, she has enjoyed it and has recommended books and shared books with her friends.  The conversations I have overheard sound very similar to my conversations with my friends when we discuss what we are reading.  Grace has at least two books going at all times.  She has read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, she has read historical fiction, realistic fiction, non fiction, biography.  We have also listened to several audiobooks this fall.
Lilah has begun keeping a personal journal inspired by Sharon Creech’s Absolutely Normal Chaos.  Both girls completed a Badge project which included poetry reading.  They have made several new entries in their poetry journal.  They have both written essays about John James Audubon.  Grace submitted an essay about Why We Should Honor Veterans to a state wide essay contest.  Lilah has become pen-pals with one of her friends and writes at least one letter a week.  We also began our Artist/Writer’s Group focusing on journal entries based on their artwork.  Grace has begun a new installment in her Annie Popper historical fiction stories (this one based on the New York Blizzard of ’10) and Lilah is creating a piece based on her reading of The Poison Apple Books.  
Lilah took a coop class pertaining to writing: newspaper where she submitted book reviews, and poems.
We have completed five chapters of Story of The World Book 2.  We have learned about St. Nicholas, The Hagia Sofia, Halloween’s Celtic origins, and made our own code of Justinian.  We have made new entries in our Book of Centuries including John James Audubon, Eugenia Clark, Frida Khalo and Isaac Cline.  
New States/Cities Visited: 
Assateague/Chincoteague, Virginia
Washington, DC
Chicago, IL
Cedarburg, WI
Began Simply Charlotte Mason’s Business Math Program with their Aunt as a facilitator.  I was hoping to have this program completed by January and this may be realistic for Grace but Lilah will need extra time to finish this.  They have both learned calculator skills, decimal addition and multiplication, percent, and long division.  Lilah has also become more speedy in her recall of multiplication facts but does not know all of them yet.  She is playing Timez Attack to help reinforce her mult. facts.  
Grace took a coop classes pertaining to math: Geometric Constructions.
Grace is continuing to make progress on her independent study of Weather by reading her Weather 101 text and working on a notebook.  She completed her Meteorology Bridge Program at a local University.  Her goal of becoming a Meteorologist has not changed.  
Grace took a coop class pertaining to science: Rube Goldberg Physics where she learned about inclined planes, levers, and other physics concepts.  
Lilah used many of her science kits this fall.  She began a notebook about insects.  We will be beginning our next Apologia book this December.  
We visited Yale’s Art Museum.
We learned about Frida Khalo and examined some of her works.
We completed four journal pieces in our workshop.
Lilah participated in a coop class: cartooning.
Lilah also continues to learn about manga drawing.
Both girls attended a class at the library: Graphic Novel Writing.
Outside Classes/Activities
Piano (Grace)
Horseback Riding Lessons (both)
Two Coyotes One Night Class (both)
Girl Scouts (both)
Dog Walking (both)
Co-op (both)
Meteorology (Grace)

This is how I know we are okay.  Unlike school where you have grades, reports, tests, and report cards to measure progress in homeschooling you don’t.  Or, I don’t since I choose not to grade, test and compare against a norm.  Choosing an unstructured, interest-led style of learning means for me, that I have to have more personal accountability in tracking our progress.  I have to compare each girl’s work against work they have previously completed.  It is through this that I can see their growth, or identify the areas we need to focus our attention on.
I have to say honestly that I am looking forward to the month of December.  Co-op is  on break, meteorology is over.  Girl Scouts takes the month off.  We have moved Artist/Writers to bi-monthly rather than weekly.  I will have time at home every day.  Time to work on our notebooks, finish up our math program, write, read, rest, reflect.  My projects will include copying work samples for their portfolios, cleaning out our office, donating outgrown books to the library and in between all this, preparing for Christmas. 
Can Santa loan me one of his elves???

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