Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week of November 2 - 9

On paper this looks like a slow week but in reality it was chock a block full.  Taking an afternoon and hanging out with Grammy is always worth it, especially when we can’t see her during the week.  Taking half a day to make a new friend is always worth it for giggles and smiles weigh just as heavily in our home as notebook pages and multiplication problems.

Lilah asked me recently why I list our work each week.  I do it for several reasons. 1) Every time I think of shutting down my blog,, I receive an email from some person out there who thanks me for sharing how we homeschool older children.  There are hundreds of great blogs of families educating young children via Waldorf, Classical Conversations, unschooling, or Charlotte Mason.  But there are not as many of us who keep blogging when the kids hit 7th, 8th or 9th and beyond.  Perhaps the kids don’t want their lives shared publically.  Perhaps the kids choose school.  Or perhaps homeschooling does not look as interesting without as many craft projects, field trips, coop activities, and park days.  2) Homeschooling middle school and high school is ultimately about providing your children with a education that is equivalent to one they would get if they were traditionally schooled.  You can approach that in a variety of ways, through unschooling, hybrid schooling, classical homeschooling, etc.  By listing what we do I am showing how our style of homeschooling, call it what you will, works for us.  3) I print out my tables to place in the girls’ binders.  I have a summary of every major thing we have to date this year. Lastly 4) I have relatives and friends who read my blog and this is how they keep up with my girls and what we are doing.  Because they are actively involved in their lives, they will ask specific, pointed questions about certain aspects of our unique curriculum.  Some even join in and work on some of the same things we are working on just for fun!

However, a table or a list on a weekly summary is not all that happens during the week.  Some bloggers are very self critical when a week is determined to be light on lessons.  Not everything can be quantitatively defined when homeschooling older kids.  History is blank this week and that is our favorite subject right now.  Science is blank.  We did not do vocabulary this week.  Instead we choose to spend 4 hours making a new friendship.  I have written about our need for new friendships after an almost complete loss of our close friends this summer.  This is more than necessary, this is vital.  To have a new friend that both my girls adore and a mom with whom I can easily talk to is a gift.  No history took place that day, but time was certainly not wasted.  Friday we spent the afternoon with Kim and her kids.  We have not done that in weeks.  So Grace’s essay was not typed up.  Or mom was home.  My mom works in Manhattan with Greg.  She is never home during the week.  We spend Monday afternoon with her.  So no science got done that afternoon.  We will make it up some other time.  Perhaps this week we will do two lessons or heck, maybe three!  

When we focus only on what it looks like on paper we can be hard on ourselves.   It is hard to convey the value in the time not listed under a subject heading.  It is hard to show in words the lessons that were learned sitting at a new dining room table making conversation with adults you just met.  But valuable it is.  

I feel confident that we will achieve the goals I have set for us.  We have to really.  Now is not the time we can just push stuff aside.  Credits have to be earned.  Some weeks will look very paper heavy.  Those are good weeks when much is accomplished.  Some weeks will look light on paper.  Those are good weeks when much is accomplished.  Just lessons of a different variety.


Grace: Lesson 26 Associate Property.  We struggled a bit through this one.  It took several days.
Lilah: Chapter 3 Quiz = 100%
          Lesson 18

Language Arts

Lilah finished November’s book club book: The Music of Dolphins.  She did not love it.  She said she likes “beautiful long sentences that make me think.”  She found the style of writing too choppy.   She also read One Hundred Dresses.

Both girls worked on their Around the World Study Guide.  We also made a big push to finish the book.  We are almost there.  Fog is off the coast of Ireland!

Grace completed an essay about her experience at the kennel.  I asked her to do this to round out her credit for her internship.  Next week she will write an essay about what she has learned at her first job.

Writing group switched from poetry to memoir.  We are working with Natalie Goldberg’s book: Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir.

We attended a Marionette Performance of The Wizard of Oz.  


The girls completed ASL I last week.  Their teacher agreed to issue them a grade and write up a summary of their class participation.  This week was a celebration of their work and a chance to converse solely in sign.  They begin 6 weeks of private lessons next week.  They will join the group class in January and continue for the third session in April.
Lilah jumped!  Grace jumped!  They love it and I love watching them.  I do have to remember to dress warmer since the sun has long set before we leave and the temperatures on top of that huge hill are much colder than at home.

I asked their trainer if she would write up a review of their progress to add to their portfolios, now that they have been riding 6 months.  She agreed.

We attended a fundraiser at the farm Friday night.  The farm hosted their local Lions Club who is raising money to give to military families whose spouses are stationed overseas.  Knowing what it is like to have a family member miss the holidays, we wanted to contribute to this worthy event.
Social Justice

Read Chapter 1 of Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World by Brandon Vogt  From the back cover: “The value of human life.  The call to family and community.  Serving the poor.  The rights of workers.  Care for creation.  The Church has always taught certain undeniable truths that can and should affect our society.  But over the years, these teachings have been distorted, misunderstood and forgotten.  With the help of 14 saints, it’s time we reclaim Catholic social teaching and rediscover it through the lives of those who best lived it out.” 

Lilah and her friend Victoria decorated more wooden crosses for our upcoming dinner at the shelter.
Girls completed their pottery class (12 hours).  Finished pieces will be fired and ready to pick up soon.
Sunday, Nov. 2 the girls visited another of their teacher’s student’s home for a piano get together.  It was fun to play on their new baby grand piano and spend time with other families whose kids are equally passionate about piano.  They had their lesson Tuesday and have made great progress in one week with their pieces.

Lilah expressed interest in longer lessons so we are working that into our schedule.

We purchased The Piano Guys Christmas sheet music book.
Dog Training
Crosby had week #5 of basic puppy training.  We also attended the first class at the training center we visited on Monday.  Despite a horrible interaction with a member at the facility, where we were insulted for purchasing a dog from a breeder, particularly a doodle, after speaking with the owner and receiving an apology we decided to try the first class with no obligation to continue if it is not a good fit.  The rude person we had contact with will have nothing to do with my dog and will have no interaction with my children.  I agreed to try because of their involvement with agility and Grace’s strong desire to do agility with Crosby.  Life.  Hard lessons learned every day.  

Grace and Lilah were given the opportunity to earn extra money sewing dog beds.  Each bed takes about an hour to complete and there are lots to make.....
Crosby had a vet appointment Monday for his shots.   

My Mom did not have work Monday so we were able to have a late afternoon visit with her.  

Finished Season 1 of Gilmore Girls.  Have to say I do not like the cinematography of season 2.  I hope they go back to their original concept of filming the show.  

Grace volunteered Tuesday from 8-11am. I asked her boss if he would be willing to write up a review for her portfolio.  He agreed.  

Lilah used this time to bake homemade chocolate chip cookies for our new neighbors and our neighbors who just had a baby.  We took some fresh cookies to our old neighbor Henry at the assisted living center and spend a few minutes visiting with him.

We had lunch with a new friend Wednesday.  The girls had a wonderful time and we can’t wait to do it again.  It has been a very long time since we took half a day and just spend it in the company of friends.  I am thrilled that a new friendship is forming for both the girls and for me!



Phyllis said...

I so agree with you on all counts. I know I really am encouraged each week by your posts. Homeschooling older kids is harder to show, for sure.

Sandra said...

I always appreciate reading how others are homeschooling their older children - especially when it isn't via a traditional textbook approach. So many of my favourite bloggers are no longer blogging - some for the reasons you have given and some just want or need to spend less time online.

Jessica said...

Thank you! I think it is easier to show on Instagram than on a blog honestly, but until there is a way to print out the comments in a photo book, I will keep blogging.

Jessica said...

Just today I learned one of my favorite bloggers has made the choice to stop blogging. I learned so much from her over the years and I hope that she continues on in Instagram and shares the curriculum she reviews. It was through her that I found Compass Classroom and we have used two of their products this fall. I check in with my daughters often to make sure they are okay with sharing our life and they want me to continue. Our blog books are read often and they are a really cool summary of our history over the past five years. Thank you for your comments!

Karen said...

I read your post and agree so much with everything you said. Then I read your 'weekly list' and I see so many beautiful, wonderful things that were accomplished. you are so right, it is hard finding blogs whose children are older. I LOVE how reading your blog, all those years ago, has turned you into my dearest friend. And your girls some of Keilee's dearest friends. <3

Diane Knecht said...

Jessica, as always you write about what I am feeling. Thanks so much for visiting the blog today and commenting about my leaving the blog world. It will definitely be an adjustment, because when you blog everything you do in life just about becomes a blog post. I will continue on Instagram and of course I will still visit and comment on yours often. I have learned so much from you over the past couple of years. I've had a blog for something like 7 years now and between Grace growing older and wanting more stuff private plus me just running out of things that I feel are important to say - I just felt like it was time. Of course I will never say that I won't be inspired again and at some point pick it back up again, but for this chapter in our lives I need to be refreshed and renewed before having anything more blog worthy to say and post. I will definitely keep in touch though. You and Karen have inspired me so much with the way you teach your girls that I can't imagine not continuing to see where life takes you.

Jessica said...

Isn't it amazingly wonderful?! We are so blessed.

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