Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal: Week of Jan. 23rd

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In My Home This Week:  Wow.  It has been a very long time since I can say with satisfaction that I accomplished things this week.  My new routine is not easy.  Five days in a row, I have woke to the gentle shake or kiss of my husband.  I only see him for about 15 minutes before he leaves to catch a train, but those 15 minutes are the best way to start a day.  Sometimes, if I am really lucky, he will have the coffee on for me.  
I refuse to slack off, even when the call of my bed is stronger than the call of my coffee cup. I have to look to my accomplishments to propel me forward.  I have: reorganized our daily bookshelf, reorganized the closet space that hold our books and tools, cleaned out the old office which is now a reading room.  I have caught us up on laundry, taken the curtains to the dry cleaners, hung up new ones (borrowed from my bedroom which may never go back), found a new recipe for pumpkin-flax breakfast cookies, baked those twice! and many more things that were on my to-do list.  
My new way of thinking is: put away, throw away or give away.  No more piles.  No more shifting something from one place to the next.  If something is sitting that long unused, it must not be very necessary and gets put in the Goodwill pile.  I have given away two bags of clothing and one bag of unused school stuff.  It feels good.
It feels so good that when 5:30am comes Monday morning, I will meet my day head on, coffee in hand!
In Our Homeschool This Week:  Greg made a comment to me about my post last week.  He said that if the girls come downstairs and I am at the dining room table in my pajamas on the computer it must feel no different from a Saturday morning.  If they know there is no sense of urgency or agenda, he can see where the temptation to balk at schoolwork could occur.  But if they come down to the smell of something cooking, to work laid out on the table for them, and to their mother, at the dining room table, on the computer, with her coffee, but showered and dressed, it sets an entirely different tone for their day.  

They have responded positively to the changes.  There is still the balking over math.  Lilah does not see the need to memorize her multiplication tables and Grace really does not see the need to simplify fractions, but I guess even waking up at 4:30am would not change that!
math: While they may balk, both girls are progressing.  I have to come up with a plan to help Lilah memorize the facts.  It was so easy when Grace was in school and had her test every Friday.  I am thinking about having Greg give her a test every Saturday.  He is not here during the week so she can’t moan and complain to him about it!  Grace will finish book 2 of Key to Fractions this week.  Now that she has moved into multiplication of fractions, she is enjoying it once again.  
history: Grace added a few people to her Book of Centuries.  She is still reading her biography of Clara Barton aloud to me.  She looked up information about the Clara Barton museum in Massachusetts and emailed her Aunt to see if she could personally recommend this for a field trip.   
geography: I have decided to expand beyond the map work we do weekly with Story of the World.  Now we are working on map skills.  This week each of the girls had fun with the compass rose and finding mystery numbers by using the compass.  
writing: Grace has combined writing and technology this week by beginning a Powerpoint presentation about the animals we learned about while watching Billy the Exterminator.  She listed 25 different animals from memory.  After completing a title page for the presentation, she began with alligators.  She included 4 facts from her sister’s animal encyclopedia that referred to Billy’s teaching that episode.  Her plan is to mail a copy to Billy when it is completed!  Lilah continued to work on her story..........
science: We continued to read from Flying Creatures and we continue to watch our window for any signs of live flying creatures.  Our bird feeder has been up for almost three weeks and no sign yet!  I don’t understand.  We had a successful bird walk at Yale University and I have our next bird walk planned!  Lilah is almost done with her mosquito lap book, it will be finished this week.  She has put many hours into this project (I would guess 4-5 so far).  We are going to browse through CurrClick to find another she would like to do.  I also found a insect guide available for download at Terminex.  There are many fun activities relating to the study of entomology.  Hopefully she will be inspired!
grammar: The girls continue to enjoy our lessons!  We worked on identifying nouns and pronouns in sentences.  My Aunt gave me a book: Skill Drill Grammar from her classroom.  I have been using it for additional practice after we learn from First Language Lessons.  Thanks Aunt!
What We are Reading:

While this is a YA book, I would not recommend it for my daughters, until they were adults.  I came across it on a blog and just like that blogger, I could not put it down.  It kept me up until 11:30pm, despite the fact I had to get up in six hours!  The author has a way of really making you care about this flawed characters despite the fact that they make the wrong choices over and over again.  There are also darker sides to this story, co-dependency, binge drinking, sex, and violence.  These two characters have a relationship that I would never want to serve as a model for my daughters and I would hope they would not read this until they know what it is they do want from a relationship.

What I am Pondering:  An update on Grace’s basketball game last week.  The coach I wrote about was given a one week suspension but was allowed to be with his team for the team photos last night.  I am happy that action was taken because our town leaders  have a history of apathetic reactions to the complaints of its residents.  However, I do not think a one week suspension is fitting as a resolution.  I would fully support our team sitting on the bench for the next game, refusing to play out of protest, gladly forfeiting.  Grace would disown me.  She thrives on the competition and will be looking forward to a rematch.  However, if the coach would agree to a forfeit, I would hope she could see the bigger issue at hand.

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