Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shopping for School Supplies

I LOVE this time of the year.  Even though public school won't start here for quite some time (after Labor Day) the stores have already stocked their shelves with packs of notebook paper, folders, notebooks, scissors, glue sticks, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc.  As a homeschooler I have found out that we don't need many of these items to be replaced yearly which can take some of the fun out of the whole back to school time of the year.  Actually, the only items I think we may need to replenish this year are glue sticks.

I guess I was determined to participate in the fun this year, so I convinced myself to buy 8yo a cute backpack at Target recently.  And then, well, ya know, I might as well let the other girls buy a backpack too.  After all, we do use them when we go on overnighters.  I packed the girls into the car this afternoon and drug them all over town looking at each store's backpack options.  Of course, they decided to keep their first picks, but it was fun to oooh and aaaah over this year's latest back to school goodies.

Homeschooling a pre-teen

My daughter cracks me up.  One minute she's prancing around with high heel sandals and hair slicked back into a new "do" and the next she's having a 2yr old melt down over restarting math after several weeks off.  No matter how mature she looks, the little child who used to have tantrums is still in there. 

Bless her heart, she so wants to grow up.  She was a late reader and still struggles a little.  She is currently reading Mary Pope Osborne's Tales From the Odyssey and decided to check out the "real" Odyssey (Fitzgerald).  She came into my bedroom a few nights ago and questioned me about when I read it with her older sister.  She couldn't imagine how we had read it when sister was twelve.  She told me how boring it was and promptly re-shelved it.

edited 03 September 2012 to remove a keyword

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One way to tackle homeschooling is with a loop schedule.  You go through your list of subjects until say noon.  Didn't get to everything?  No problem.  When you start school the next day you just pick up where you left off.

Example:  Your list includes math, Latin, grammar, writing, and German, but you had to stop after grammar due to a doctor's appointment.  The next day you would start with writing, move on to German, and then start the loop over again with math.

This sounds wonderful and I think this would help me relax.  But (there's always a "but" right?), not one of my kids is independent.  Yes, I even have to tutor the 15 yo one-on-one.  This is more a parenting problem than an academic one.  The 15yo is, I believe, being passive aggressive.  She doesn't want to do the work (even when a written list is presented to her), so she conveniently forgets.  Suddenly it's bedtime, etc. and she has done very little of her school work.  I finally figured out that I had to tutor her in order for her to move forward.

Individually tutoring each child every day is tiring.  I enjoy working with them one-on-one.  It forms a special bond between us as we learn together, and I know exactly what they are learning.  At the same time, I feel fried by the end of the school day.  I feel used up, drained.  Consequently supper has become a hit or miss occurrence which is discouraging for Dad when he arrives home tired and hungry from a long day at work.

If I can accept the fact that we won't finish the loop every day then I think it would be a good fit for us.  It would allow me to tutor my kids without the pressure of feeling that I have to cram in x, y, and z before we can finish for the day.  Also, I would know that we are progressing, moving forward.  Maybe we won't be "on track" but at least I'll know that we are heading in the right direction.

I have to let go of the notion of being "behind."  This should be about learning not about ticking off a to-do list.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wishful thinking for fall 2010

Sorry if it is large.  I'm still  learning.

Morning Routine
Independent Work List

3 R’s



3 R’s






Cook’s Helper
W - YW

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekly Planner Page

Today I was done.  Just done.  I've been trying to help my 15yo prepare for the pioneer trek for three months.  Last night I took the girls for a supply check, and this morning I woke up not caring about anything.  I didn't even plan supper.  It was fend for yourself.  I ate half a peanut butter and jam sandwich and then a cheese tortilla.  That's how bare the cupboards are.

The one thing I did accomplish today was to make a weekly planning sheet for the fall.
(Shaded areas before and after lunch are for school time.   We also have dr.'s appointments in the a.m.  Sat./Sun are usually full of church/family related activities.)

 Now, before you think good thoughts about me, I will admit that I did it for a very selfish purpose.  I'm tired of living my life around the plans that everyone seems to like to make for me.  I'm 46 and I have never felt in control of my life.  So, I made a realistic planning sheet that shows that I have NO time left over for all of these people and their plans.  Homeschool is a full time job for me.  I know that everyone wants just a little piece but those little pieces add up and next thing you know homeschool has been short changed (or I have).

What I wrote on Facebook last night: "Polly is going to block out my entire planner for the rest of the year. Oh, wait, I don't need to do that. Everyone else has already filled it for me. Silly me. I thought this was my life."

Yeah, I know I'm whining, but I have reached my limit. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Twiddling My Thumbs

My girls (12 and 14) have been sewing, sewing, sewing.  I've done a little school with 8yo but mostly I've been letting her play.  With all of them busy, I've had to make myself find something constructive to do besides sitting around twiddling my thumbs.  I'm a big worry wart when I have time on my hands, so I'm trying to stay busy with cleaning the house.  When I say "clean" I really mean "declutter."  Of course the house needs to be cleaned but just a few decluttered surfaces has helped me feel better about the house.  As I look around at how much better it looks, I wonder why I don't keep up with it.  I can't seem to find a balance between homeschool and housekeeping.  It seems to be all or nothing in either direction.

Friday, July 9, 2010

So ready....

I am so ready for this pioneer trek prep to be over! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

80/20 Rule

If I understand the 80/20 rule correctly, I use 20% of my homeschool  resources 80% of the time.  Does that mean I should give away 80% of it since I don't use it?  Easier said than done.

I spent hours today going through my beloved homeschool books trying to decide if I can actually part with these lovely things that I never use.  It has been so difficult for me to try to decide if I should keep them or not that much of my time was spent walking through the house in circles instead of accomplishing anything.  Eventually I found myself merely moving books from one shelf to another.  My dad calls it "shuffling sh**."  Apparently I love my stuff too much to get rid of it.

Why not keep it?  Because we live in a smaller house (1047 sq feet) and we need some space.  There are homeschool books crammed into every nook and cranny in the house including the garage.  In fact, it is spilling over onto the floors.  There are piles everywhere I look.  Aah!!!

Now that I've driven the six miles into town for some comfort food (Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza), I think I can cope with the mess again.  Back into the fray.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just Average?

What is average?  And, is it okay to have average kids?  Read about it here: "Average Kids"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

8yo update

R&S 1 workbook 80/170 - Five subtract math facts, halves, time to the hour
Counting - 5's and 10's almost perfect, 1-100 w/o chart with a few prompts

100 EZ Lessons - #23, still finding the lessons very easy : )
Can't say the "wh" sound

Oral Language Lessons
There was a time when she could not repeat strings of words, so I'm pleased that she can now repeat sentences correctly.

Need to work on handwriting.

Homeschooling really IS time consuming

I didn't realize until this past week how much time I spend homeschooling.  My 12yo and 14yo girls have been sewing pioneer costumes with my mom all week, so I decided to stop all homeschooling.  They are under a deadline to finish the clothes in a couple of weeks, and I quickly realized that they didn't have time to sew and do school.  I am amazed by how much I've able to do around the house this past week.  Sending them off to school is mighty tempting at the moment.  ; )

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bored Is Dangerous

My 8yo learned an important lesson tonight.  If you seem bored or are fighting with someone, mom will do one of two things.  First, she'll find a chore for you to do like cleaning up your room.  Or second, if she's in the mood she'll make you do school with her. 

Yes, at 8:30pm this evening we started school work together.