Thursday, June 25, 2009

Working in a Coal Mine

Well I been workin in a coal mine
Goin down down down
Workin in a coal mine
Whew about to slip down
Five oclock in the mornin
Im up before the sun
When my work day is over
Im too tired for havin fun
Lord I am so tired
How long can this go on?

I read an organizing post that suggested making files for every week of Tapestry of Grace filled with ALL of the papers and assignment sheets for each child. I decided to do the same not realizing how much time would be involved and how my "must finish this" tendency would take over. I'm tired of the project, but I will not rest until it is done. I will probably be happy I did this when Christmas rolls around and I don't have time for planning and copying papers.

Here are the results thus far...
(click on pictures)

Files are numbered.
Only one file for the entire student body per week.

A sampling of pages already filed in week four.

Finally! A use for my Desk Apprentice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The June Push

This week is our last opportunity to accomplish school in June...and maybe even July for that matter. The family reunion, church girls camp, and a new grandson will be the focus in July.

Goals for this week:
Math - daily for all
Latin vocab - 13yo and 11yo
Biology - reading, study for Chapter 1 test
Tapestry of Grace - 13yo finishes any reading, discusses with mom, time line; younger girls read, work on geography/maps, start Unit 1 lap book

edit (Thurs.): Such high hopes but it isn't going to happen. 13yo is sick and 11yo is staying with married sister for the week. It has become a planning week.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Too Relaxed?

I don't know what happened, but I have been VERY relaxed about school (specifically TOG and Biology) the past few days. 13yo is way ahead of me in all of her reading. I tell myself every evening to bring out the books and read. Doesn't happen. I'll see what I can get done this weekend.

13yo finished a Garlic Press pre-algebra workbook this week, so I think we're ready to give Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 another try. TT along with Key to Algebra will hopefully be a winning combination. I've found the Key to Series to be very helpful and I really like their online component - Key to Tracker.

11yo started Rod & Staff Math 5 this week. The first lessons are review which have been very easy for her. She's been relieved (she doesn't love school). We've continued reading about Ancient Egypt though we didn't get as far as I would have liked to this week.

I found some cool Egyptian photos to use for my computer's wallpaper at National Geographic. I love the one with a couple of camels in front of pyramids.

As usual 7yo is getting the short end of the stick. We did math a few times this week and she dawdled even though her friends were waiting to play with her. We haven't done any reading. It's so easy to let her run off and play.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It arrived!

The package from Lampstand Press finally arrived yesterday. YEAH! It was fun to finally be able to look at and handle Map Aids, Writing Aids, the lapbook kits, and an evaluation CD (rhetoric). Once the Pop Quizzes arrive, I'll feel complete. :)

Did I mention we are taking two weeks to move through the first week plan? Taking extra time to ease into Tapestry of Grace has helped to ease my stress a bit. In fact, we may continue at this pace throughout the summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day Two

LOL! No, I'm not going to do a day four, five, six, etc. I promise I'll give those entries different names.

13yo was very independent today now that she has her TOG reading assignments. She is enjoying Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt better than the more colorful Ancient Egypt. Not what I expected. Could it be that the reading level is easier?

We read through the first lab for BJU Biology. I considered skipping it, but I reminded myself that labs are very important. Doing the labs in high school will help increase dd's confidence during college level labs.

We only had three lessons to finish in 11yo's math book, but I just couldn't do it. I bailed and moved on to the next level. I knew that the first chapter would be mostly review anyway. Here we go again. Another 170 lessons to face.

Today 11 yo and I shared reading from the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. It seemed a bit disjointed at first. I guess that is what happens when you jump in the middle of the book and you know your friends are at the park waiting for you to join them.

Monday night I started reading aloud A Place in the Sun. This evening I had 11yo take over and read to 7yo and me. She struggles with reading and was pretty tired at the end of the 2nd chapter. I need to have her eyes checked.

Still waiting for the rest of my TOG shipment. This is like torture. It's only been 3 weeks, only 3 weeks, 3 weeks.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day One

First, 13yodd is very hard to read. She doesn't feel well much of the time, so it is difficult to tell if she feels stressed by school work or if she feels off balance, nauseous, etc. Today was one of those days.

I had her read through the reading assignments, overview, and student activity pages for rhetoric. I think the student activity pages may have stressed her, but it was hard to tell. Once she had read through the weekly planning pages, I tried to do a planning session with her. She felt so poorly that I don't think she cared one way or another. She just wanted to be done, so she could go back to her bed.

I'm really doubting myself here. I'm not doubting TOG, I think it has great potential. What I'm worrying about is if I'm asking too much of dd at this time. Add to that BJU Biology. We probably should have eased into these programs in the summer and then one in the autumn.

My shipment from Lampstand Press hasn't arrived yet, so it's been a little hard to plan. We don't have Writing Aids or Map Aids.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jump in!

I've decided to jump in. Monday we will start Tapestry of Grace ready or not. I may regret it, but there will never be a perfect time to start. There will always be appointments, meetings, and people who vie for my time. Most likely we'll take two weeks to work through the first week plan. TOG fog here we come. ;)

Since my focus will be my high school student, I had her attend a webinar, "Teaching with Tapestry of Grace", which described what TOG is and how it works. I want 13yo to have the big picture in mind, so she will know what we are trying to accomplish.

Yesterday, I raided the library and checked out week one books for the younger students. Then, I stopped by the local craft store and bought a basket to place the books in. Hopefully that will keep the top of the dog's kennel from being overtaken with piles of books that might start an avalanche at any moment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Learn as you go

Through some magic with a calculator, I figured out that 13yodd needs to read an average of three pages per day, six days a week in order to finish Biology in a year. Not a school year; a year. She is ahead of me in her reading, so tonight I was trying to catch up. While reading, it hit me. I've never taught her to take notes. There is a lot of information to retain "off the top of your head." In order to be prepared for a test, she needs to know what is important for the test. The time has come to teach her how to take notes to study from.

I've never taught high school before. Yes, my oldest was technically a homeschooler during her 11th and 12th grade years. I let her direct her own affairs (she learned percussion in the high school band, learned to play a drum set, and started community college early). This time around I have a direction, and yet I still feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Every day, I see some area that we need to work on or something that I've never thought of before. This is a "learn as you go" adventure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Scratch that?

Last night I had myself almost convinced that we should start Tapestry of Grace this coming Monday. Until...I remembered 13yo is supposed to read A Poetry Handbook before starting Year 1 Ancients. If we wait for her to read the book, it will put us off starting until the end of July which is when grandbaby #2 is due. Part of me wants to throw my hands up in the air and wait until autumn, BUT (there's always a "but" right?) what if someone else uses TOG this fall too? I don't want to be competing for library books at the same time. Hmmm...hmmm...hmmm. What to do? What to do?

I know my younger children won't want to do school this summer. They want to play all day. The problem with playing all day is that they get tired of their friends and squabbles are more likely. I think "I need to do school for awhile" is a great excuse to take a needed break from friends plus their math skills will stay in tact. But, do we need to do the humanities (TOG)? How much school is too much in the summer? I don't want to take away from their play time. Summer is special here in the Pacific Northwest. You have to take advantage of the sunny, warm weather for the short time it is here. Once the rains start up, everyone slinks back into their houses.

Still thinking.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Books

I received the shipment of rhetoric level books from Bookshelf Central. You would think I would be excited, but honestly, I'm worried. I've spent a lot of moolah on this venture and if it doesn't work I'm going to be sick.

Okay, calm down (speaking to myself).

A few days ago, I decided to reread the "General Introduction to Year 1." There was a lot of TOG information swimming around in my head and I wanted to get a better grasp on it. I'm taking notes as I go which has helped. I guess I'm extremely visual and need to see the most important points. There are a lot of pages to read.

ADVICE - Personally, I would read through the Explore Tapestry web pages first. They are concise and give a clear picture of Tapestry of Grace. Be sure to read through each sub category.

What is Tapestry?
  1. Tapestry is....
  2. 3 Big Ideas
  3. Philosophy of Education
Another very good page to visit is an older(?) Explore Tapestry page. It has a list of each of the pages found in the weekly plan. If you click on the title, you will be taken to a sample with yellow sticky notes explaining how the pages are to be used. A very helpful one in particular has purple stickies explaining how to save time while using TOG.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tapestry of Grace

I NEVER thought I would consider the curriculum Tapestry of Grace (TOG). It looked overwhelming and I wasn't sure how I would handle the differences in religious beliefs.

And then.....the ominous cloud of high school loomed over my head. I realized that I needed something to hold me accountable. I needed a guideline of some sort. TOG began to look very good indeed.

I am the proud new owner of TOG Year 1 Redesign DE (digital edition). For a few weeks now I have been reading, thinking, and reading some more. Folks, this is going to take a lot of work and preparation on my part. Yes, it is time to gird up my loins and put my shoulder to the wheel. My dd is depending on me to prepare her for college.

I seem to vacillate between excitement and sheer terror though I admit being discouraged more often than being excited. I am spending a lot of money on something that I'm not sure will be a good fit for us. Or should I say me? I seem to be the problem. I'm a procrastinator by nature and it is easy to let a curriculum choice fall by the wayside when the newness wears off.

Impressions and experiences so far:
  • beautifully organized but it has taken time to figure out which info is for the student and which is for the teacher.
  • I will have to make choices (can be painful) because there is an overabundance of resources
  • books - checking the library catalog for three student levels was time consuming. Once I had that list, I had to make the agonizing decision to purchase books or rely on the library to have them the week I needed them.
  • $$$ I guess this curriculum could be cheaper if I was willing to rely on the library (which I'm not). Honestly, the overall cost has motivated me to stick with TOG no matter what comes up this year.