Sunday, December 29, 2013

Climbing Parnassus

Woo Hoo!  Found this at a used bookstore this evening.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Usborne First Encylopedia of the Human Body

Finally finished another book for the donation pile (grandkids :).

We haven't worked on school in over a week.  I'm having serious withdrawals.  I'm sure I'll be cured the first day.  Lol!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Break

We didn't get to school today (doctor's appointment and more shopping), so I officially called "Christmas Break."  I also informed 11yo that we will start back up after Christmas.  She said, "Un hunh (informal yes)," but I'm not sure if it really registered.

This evening she read more Tales of the Odyssey to me and I read more from the body book and Peter and the Star Catchers to her.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

No school?

I'm even more behind than normal on Christmas shopping this year due to the week when we had ice on the roads.  Today that meant that we never got to school.  It feels so .... wrong.  And I'm afraid that tomorrow will be more of the same.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Delivery Woes (update)

For Black Friday Memoria Press offered free shipping.  Trying to save money, I bought the sixth grade curriculum package.  What I didn't pay attention to or worry about was that free shipping meant book rate with the USPS.  The boxes arrived in poor condition and "held together with tape" condition.  Numerous items were missing.  I wrote about it here: Detour Over & Delivery and Delivery Woes.

Memoria Press and I have been in contact and they have been gracious.  They replaced all the missing items and paid for shipping through UPS.  Today the box arrived in great condition and the books inside were pristine.

Before this happened, I believed it was the business's responsibility if the goods were damaged before they reached my home.  But this ordeal taught me something.  If I consciously choose to use a shipping option that is less reliable I am increasing the chances of a loss.  If the company replaces the lost or damaged items, those losses will eventually be passed along to the consumer - me.  I want to support businesses that deal with homeschoolers not hurt them.

I will be carefully choosing my shipping options next time I make an order.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Testing vs. Education

(I am not a writer.  Enough said.)

I've had a headache for several days. It is hard to feel excited about education when you don't feel good.

I've been feeling weighed down with scheduling math and grammar.  How could I possibly reach my goals before standardized testing takes place in May?  The more I thought about it the more discouraged I felt about doing math and grammar six days a week to reach my goals before testing.  As toad would say, "Blah."

The age old "testing vs. education" argument rolled around in my head.  Where should my focus be?  Testing or education?  I know the answer.  I know.  Education.  It should be about education.  Standardized testing is merely a hoop to jump through as proof for lawmakers that its citizens are being offered an education in the most basic of basics (awkward but I'm going to leave it for now).

Does checking off one math lesson or one grammar lesson excite me? No.  Are these subjects necessary?  Without a doubt.  They, along with reading, are the foundations of communication.  Without them we cannot communicate ideas to our fellow beings.  We cannot begin to participate in the great conversation.

It is a shame that some people do not realize that there is more beyond the 3R's.   They do not know what they are missing.  They view school as something to endure.  I was in this category and have the tendency to revert to that perspective.  I am there now.

As I looked at 11yo's standardized test scores from July 2012, I realized that she will do just fine in May 2014 and again in 2017.  And, I reminded myself that no one can truly evaluate a child's academic achievements with a mere 20-30 questions per subject.

If testing is not the driving force in education then what?  What makes me downright giddy when I share it?  Gilgamesh?  Odysseus?  Latin?  Yes!  I barely know them myself and yet I feel ... joy? as we learn of them.  I feel joy sharing things with my children that were hidden from me.  Together I hope we can join the great conversation.

This is education - to share with others what excites you, what you love.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013

Snow week.

We live in a wonderful area.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Winters are wet but rarely with temperatures below freezing.  We might get snow once a year but it usually melts within 24 hours.   Not this time.  It snowed and then it was sunny, dry, and cold for a week (low of 7 degrees?).  The snow on the road packed which people (ME!) don't have a lot of experience driving on.  Public school was cancelled day after day.  Even church was cancelled - gasp!  We tried to continue with homeschool but it didn't always happen as planned.

Yesterday it rained and today the high reached 50 F.  Dad went back to work, sister returned to public school, and other sister was at a friend's house.  11yo and I got something done even with her constant crocheting.  Deo gratias!

Math 5 - 52/170  Division with two-digit divisors.
English 4 - adjectives- identifying, diagraming, comparative
Prima Latina - 9/25  We are going through this quickly before passing it on.  Lively Latin is on hold.

Classical Studies - Genseric the Vandal
Christian Studies - 21 Making of the Golden Calf
Geography - short! video about Lebanon
American/State History - R&S 5 Homelands of North America (1-4).  American and Canadian geography.
Science - 21 Using Machines to Perform Work, 22 Simple Machines: The Lever and the Inclined Plane

We are reading through Usborne's First Encyclopedia of the Human Body and Peter and the Starcatchers.

11yo has started reading Tales of the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne to me at bedtime.  It's nice to be on the receiving end of a read aloud. : )

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cyber Monday

Did I mention that I ordered the audio book CDs for The Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages on Cyber Monday (40% off and free shipping)?   I was a little worried I wouldn't enjoy the narrator's voice (Jim Weiss).   The preface was a bit "off" but chapter one sounded really nice.  I was relieved.

Today I received my other Cyber Monday purchase, IEW's Medieval History Based Writing Lessons (50% off clearance items).

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be my new school shopping days.  There were some awesome deals.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Delivery Woes

Well ... I'm disappointed.  At the moment.  I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

The second box arrived in better condition (still a hole my hand fit through) with the packing slip inside.  Because I had the packing slip and the contents of the second box I finally knew that a lot was lost from the first box.  Crud!  I had to call the company and explain what I thought had happened.   I sent them a list of what I received vs. what was missing from my order.  My husband also took pictures for them to see the damage to the box.  I hope they are able to make a claim with the USPS, but it doesn't sound promising.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Detour Over & Delivery

I haven't given up on clearing out some books, but I have realized (again) that it takes much longer to read through books than you would think.  I got antsy because it felt like we were falling behind in school.  Today I tried to get back to normal even though all the family was home again (snow hasn't melted off and schools have closed).

Books and curriculum we are working on for the donation pile:
Prima Latina (lesson 5/25)
Key to Fractions book #3
R&S 5 History/Geography: Homelands of North America
Peter and the Starcatchers

Today I received the first box of my Memoria Press curriculum for next year.   

The box was in pretty bad shape.  It looked as if one side was almost completely ripped off at some point in the journey here.  Someone did a very good job of putting it back together with lots of packing tape.  The books inside were in good shape (the usual slightly bent corners) despite the beating the box had taken.  There wasn't a packing slip, so I have no way of knowing if anything was lost.  Out of seven sets of books only two were complete.

 But I have to say seeing the box in such bad shape has me quite worried about the second box.   If I've calculated correctly it will be even heavier than the one that arrived today.  They both arrived in Federal Way, WA the same day and yet the other box isn't due to arrive here for another couple of days.  My guess is it might have been damaged also and required greater "surgery" to get it back together.  I should stop guessing.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Detour 07 December 2013

Not much going on today.  It hasn't snowed more, however it is quite cold for this area.   It's supposed to dip into the single digits.  Lows usually don't get below freezing.  Of course, I could be wrong since I live in a nice warm house and dress for wet rather than dry cold.

All events the past few days have been cancelled (Nativity Festival, children's choir concerts, church, etc.).  I think DH is about to go stir crazy.  I know other people are driving around but we've opted to stay off the roads.  Thankfully 15yo made snicker doodle cookies and 18yo cooked lemon chicken for supper.

Tonight we played Settlers of Catan.  We haven't played in a loooong time - a year?  I read to 11yo from Peter and the Star Catchers.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Detour 06 December 2013

Snow day!

But (there's always a "but" ;), we did do math, grammar, and Latin.

And .....
I got a package in the mail!  The Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages (audio book)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Detour 05 December 2013

This was truly a fantastic first atlas.

We read through it one last time.  It is going to the grandkids.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Detour 04 December 2013

Happy to have finally finished Proper Manners and Health Habits.  : )

I enjoyed reading more stories this evening from What Your First Grader Needs to Know.  11yo brings her lap top into my bedroom and sits beside me on the bed playing Minecraft while I read aloud to her.  Here are some of the stories we read/listened to tonight:

  • The Pied Piper of Hamlin
  • Pinnochio (Pinnochio Runs Away, Pinnochio at the Puppet Show, The Fox and the Cat, The Return of the Cricket and the Field of Wonders)
  • The Princess and the Pea
  • Puss-in-Boots
  • Rapunzel

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Detour 03 December 2013

Yeah!  CNN Student News is back.

Detours are fun but they make me nervous.  The weekly to-do list I made before I decided to take a detour is looking too pristine.  A to-do with very few marks on it screams at me, "Do something!"  Yes, we are doing a math and grammar lesson each day, but I can feel the anxiety building as I stare at the sparsely marked page before me.

What is the detour looking like?

Prima Latina - This was the biggest surprise of the day.  Even though Lively Latin is our main program, I decided 11yo and I should make a quick run through Prima Latina before handing it over to her niece.  We read through lesson one, worked through the exercises orally, and then watched the first lesson on DVD.  I thought 11yo might be put off by the teacher's accent but she actually seemed to like it.  Happily, she found the lesson material easy and didn't grumble.  She seemed intrigued that these lessons include memorizing Latin prayers.

Key to Fractions - Since workbooks one and two have been written in, we are reading the pertinent information and quickly reviewing the booklets.  Book one has been recycled and we are half way through book 2.  So far the information we have looked at is reviewing things she has learned in Rod & Staff 4 & 5.

We read parts of:
My First Atlas (Hammond)
Proper Manners and Health Habits (Rod & Staff - This is one of those books that got lost in the shadow of more important subjects over the years.  It's for grade 2 but I wanted to read through it at least once.)
First Encyclopedia of the Human Body (Usborne)
What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know (Core Knowledge - Wow!  They've changed the cover.)
  • It Could Always Be Worse
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Knee-high Man
  • Medio Pollito

Monday, December 2, 2013

Detour 02 December 2013

First book to go into the donate pile.  sigh.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Black Friday and Temporary Detour

I took advantage on Black Friday to buy next year's curriculum at a discount.  But ... (there's always a "but") ... we don't have room for it.  I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure out how to squeeze it into our house.  After one day of shuffling stuff, I've realized extra shelf space isn't going to suddenly appear.  Something has to go.  My vision changed and I could see books that we no longer needed to keep with the youngest closing in on 12. But first, I want 11yo and I to read through them one last time.

Which has created a detour.  We still need to stick with out math and grammar plans through the end of the year, but we will be spending more of our school time reading the soon-to-be donated books.  Hope she enjoys the detour.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christian Studies

Another subject from LCC (Latin-Centered Curriculum) and Memoria Press.

Why christian studies?  Cultural literacy.  Many western classics refer to stories from the King James version of the Bible, and authors assumed their readers would be familiar with those stories.

But what program to use?  Religion always gets a little sticky.  Our family is LDS/Mormon and sometimes what is taught in a christian program doesn't match up with our beliefs.  I suppose every homeschool parent runs into the same problem no matter what their beliefs are.  When choosing a program, what it comes down to is how much time you are willing to spend tweaking a program to fit your family.

Christian studies from Memoria Press fits the bill as it is more about becoming familiar with the stories and events rather than spiritual teachings.  Since 11yo and I do this program together tutor style, it is easy for me to insert my thoughts during a lesson about differences in interpretation which might pop up.

I think the hardest thing for me to get used to was the illustrations in the Golden Children's Bible.  They are so different from the style used in our church.

Suggested schedule from Memoria Press:
Christian Studies I - 3rd grade
Christian Studies II - 4th grade
Christian Studies III - 5th grade
Christian Studies IV (review of I-III) - 6th grade

We are currently coming towards the end of Christian Studies I.  We are doing one lesson per week with the goal of finishing I-III before 11yo begins early morning seminary when she is 14.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Classical Studies

I first read about classical studies in Drew Campbell's Latin-Centered Curriculum.  What we do probably isn't anything like he suggested, but we are taking a stab at it.

At Memoria Press they suggest:
3rd grade

4th grade

and 5th grade

Of course, we are playing catch-up.  We finished D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths early this school year.  Famous Men of Rome is included in our Latin program, Lively Latin, and we recently started Famous Men of the Middle Ages.  Siegfried, Kriemhilda, Alaric the Visigoth?  These aren't stories or people I'm familiar with so I'm learning alongside 11yo. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27, 2013

11yo thought she wouldn't have to do school today because other kids had the day off.  Lol!  Yeah, right!   Thanksgiving is one day not two.

Sadly, CNN Student News won't air again until next Tuesday. :/

Math 5 - English measurement (linear to sixteenths, capacity, weight, time)
Spelling - reviewed LOE lesson 8, comparative and superlative adjectives, suffixes -ish and ness
English 4 - subject and object pronouns
Lively Latin - government of the Roman Republic

Classical Studies - Attila the Hun (FMofMA), several stories from D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths (Skade, Frey and Gerd,  The theft of Thor's hammer)
Christian Studies - Ark of the Covenant
World History - first civilization
American/State History - mound builders from A History of US
Science 5 - 19 Laws for Moving Things, 20 Friction
Music - Chopin in Lives of the Musicians, listened to "Polonaise in A flat-major"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful for Today

Thankful for a Monday?  Yes!  Today was a great start to our week.  Math, grammar, spelling, and Latin (government during the Roman Republic) were done before lunch.

And ... drum roll ... we did something besides merely the basics.  CNN Student News, Famous Men of the Middle Ages (Attila the Hun), several stories from D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, a science lesson on force and resistance, and music (read about Chopin and listened to Polonaise in A-flat major).  Listening to Chopin's music was probably the highlight. :),_Op._53_(Chopin)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Awful week!

This week was awful and I'm not talking about homeschool.

How's that for honesty?

But, we did do math and grammar every day.

(edited to add the little we did accomplish)

Math 5
28 - Dividing a Small Number by a Larger One
29 - Changing Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers
30 - Chapter Review
32 - English Units of Linear Measure
33 - Measuring to the Nearest Eighth Inch
34 - Measuring to the Nearest Sixteenth Inch

English 4
56 - Using Set and Sit (w = worksheet also)
57 - Using Let and Leave (w)
58 - Contractions
59 - Using Don't and Doesn't (w)
60 - Using Can, May, Teach, and Learn (w)
63 - Chapter Review

Science 5
Above the Earth
Unit Review

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Awesome blog post!

I should re-read this at least once a year.  Loved it!

The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents

A couple of favorite quotes from the blog:

"Some days, we watch with envy as that yellow school bus drives by."

"We do not come to your blogs or corner you at the soccer game to tell you how bad we think your decision to send your kids to public school is because we don't care - not in the negative 'don't care' way, but in the 'that's your family's decision and we respect that' way."

I want to add that I have been cornered ... by church members.  Thankfully it's only happened a couple of times.  Most folks are too polite to tell me that they disagree with my choice. ; )

Sunday, November 17, 2013


When my mom was about 15/16 she boarded in a different city during the week so she could take the classes she needed to be accepted into nursing school.  She was so independent!  I can't imagine letting one of my girls live elsewhere just so they could attend a different high school.

Why do I mention my mom's experience?  She took Latin at her new high school.  Listen, I'm not the brightest light bulb on the Christmas tree, but while listening to my mom's stories, I mourned that I could never take Latin.  I didn't think it was offered anymore.  And then ... I found out that it IS still taught.  And even better?  There are self directed courses marketed to homeschoolers.  I was so excited!

I am so grateful for Memoria Press and all that it offers to homeschoolers.  If you look at my side bar you'll see that I use many of their books.  First we tried MP's Prima Latina and Latina Christiana 1, but it was the blind leading the blind.  I didn't understand what forms, conjugations, or declensions were.  Yes, I should have been familiar with those terms from studying English grammar, but I wasn't.  I was confused!

Then we found Lively Latin.    I finally found a Latin course that helped me to understand what I was doing.  Later, short video lessons were added which made it even better.  I was in love!

There is one con that I can think of ... printer ink.  If you download the lessons you will need to print them.  With so many color pages it could become a costly book.  We are currently in a position that this doesn't affect us.


  • workbook format written to the student
  • short video lessons (approximately 5 minutes or less)
  • classical and ecclesiastical recordings of vocabulary
  • Roman History included along with Art Study
  • I finally get to learn Latin!

The best reason I love this curriculum?  My 11yo ASKS for it!  : )

Check out this YouTube to see what is inside Lively Latin's Big Book 1.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013

Re-read The Witches by Roald Dahl

We've been reading through R&S's Proper Manners and Health Habits.  It is a book intended to be used in Grade 2.  Somehow we never got to it.  We're giving a quick read through before we donate it.

Math 5 - 26/170   Reviewing fractions (adding and subtracting, reducing to lowest terms, etc.)
Spelling - Reviewing lesson seven in The Logic of English - spellings of the long "o" sound.  Phonograms - oa, oe.  Grammar - article usage.
English - direct objects, predicate nouns, proper usage of raise and rise.
Lively Latin Big Book 1 - 2nd declension neuter, Tarquin review, vocabulary D.

Classical Studies (Famous Men of the Middle Ages) - "Alaric the Visigoth."  Listened to a free LibriVox recording.  The reader for this chapter had a Sottish accent.  It was wonderful to listen to but it did make it difficult since we weren't familiar with the story.
Christian Studies 1 - 19 Amalek; Jethro and Moses; Ten Commandments.
American History - Plains Indians
Science - 16 Weather Patterns - fronts, barometric pressure
Music - listened to excerpts from Mozart's "The Magic Flute"

Not the most productive week ever, but we were consistent with the basics.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I love Rod & Staff science textbooks for grades 3-6.  Why?  Mainly because they get done.   I know hands-on science would be better but something is better than nothing.  Also, there is a reverence for God as the creator without religion being shoved in your face. 

So, why did I buy Science in the Beginning if I love R&S so much?  Back when I read through R&S with one of my other students, I found that the love affair ended after grade 6.  I don't know what it was about the grade 7 book but it just didn't click.  I wasn't able to find another science textbook that would work as a bridge between elementary school and high school textbooks.  I am hoping Science in the Beginning can fill the gap and help me to be more hands-on with science.  

At the moment we are doing an Earth Science unit (mountains, earthquakes, waterfalls, oceans, storms, weather patterns, and atmosphere) in R&S 5.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

American History and State Study

American History is another thing we've fallen into this year.

This is how it is currently working:

  • We read in Get Oregonized about one of the six native american tribal regions found in Oregon.
  • Next we read about that region in A History of US: The First Americans.
  • Then we read related information in the "What Your ___th Grader Needs to Know" books and do any corresponding Core Knowledge worksheets I have.

I plan to continue reading through the A History of US volumes and return to Get Oregonized's second chapter "Days of the Explorers" when it fits into the American history timeline.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Current Events

Current events isn't something I ever had a plan for.  As often happens, it fell into place.  Someone mentioned how easy it is to view CNN Student News, we checked it out, and it is now the first thing 11yo asks for in the morning.

The thing I like about it the most is that a child gets an idea about what is going on in the world without the depressing weight that is often associated with news targeted to adults.

We often stop the video to look at maps or to ask and answer questions.  Fun rabbit trails happen too.  After viewing a segment on the upcoming winter Olympics, we used Google Maps to cruise around downtown Sochi, Russia.  Then we checked out a new tunnel which has been built under the Bosphorus Strait connecting Asia and Europe.

Of course, watching a video first thing in the morning is way more interesting than a math lesson on fractions. :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013


We are using The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine as our starting point.  We read about a composer, listen to samples of his music on the accompanying CD and on the Core Knowledge Music CD's, and then read more about him in Lives of the Musicians.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What if there were no deadlines?

We are attempting too many subjects/books.  Our days have been long because of it, but how do we cut back when  I chose all of these resources?  I want to do them all but there isn't enough time in the day.  There have been a couple of times this week when we started school at 9am and still found ourselves plodding through "one more thing" at 5pm.

Note: I am like a private tutor.  I sit by 11yo and guide her through her lessons.  I don't hand her workbooks and send her off to work independently (I wish!).  It is time consuming but this is what she needs at this time.

Every night I sit down with my notebooks and try to figure out a different way to do school, but every day I invariably get sucked into "list checker" mode again.  Last night I wrote, "What if there were no deadlines?"  It felt like a light bulb moment.  Did it change today? No.  I still spent the day trying to see how much we could cross off the list.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

First chapter complete!

Sped through the first chapter of lessons in Rod & Staff 5 Arithmetic this week.  We combined all of the addition lessons one day and continued through the rest of the processes in the same way.  We only did problems that I thought would benefit her.

The long term plan? From now on we'll do one lesson per day.  We'll skip tests (in the past we used them as lessons rather than tests anyway) and hopefully have the book finished in time for standardized testing at the end of this school year.  Of course, that assumes we'll continue lessons on Saturday and possibly even during the Christmas holiday.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Math Level

We were halfway through R&S Math 4 at the beginning of the school year.  Recently I looked ahead and started skipping lessons that I thought were redundant.  If you have used Rod and Staff you know it has plenty of review.  We were set to finish the book in a week.  Today I looked through the last few lessons I had planned for next week and decided that I was done.  Done.

We will start R&S Math 5 tomorrow and hopefully finish by the summer 2014.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pep talk

I am here to remind myself to hang in there.  

Today a family member questioned why my 11yo isn't involved in the co-op this year.  I tried to be honest.  I'm tired and I'm taking a break.  I perceived it as not merely being asked a question but as having my actions and choices questioned.  I guess I could have said it is none of their business but I was raised in the South and being disrespectful to my elders is very uncomfortable.

Then I was later told that I "didn't want to do anything."  I guess that is true if it means I'm trying to cut out unnecessary stress inducing activities.  But, it made me feel like the person was saying that I don't do anything.  That I don't work.  That I'm lazy.  

I let it get me down.  The more I thought about it the more discouraged I became.

Here's the thing.  I spend hours out of every day trying to educate my 11yo.  I don't hand her a book and send her off to a desk.  I tutor her one-on-one.  Hours of my day are spent sitting by this child as she and I work together.  I do work.

I let the discouragement get under my skin and it started to convince me that I'm a loser.  I started to feel that what I do is less than mediocre.  

Put on the brakes!

I have to do what is right for 11yo.  I can't let what other people think de-rail us.

We have found a groove this year.  We are making progress.  If we are consistent we are going to have the best school year ever.  We are headed in the right direction.   

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hanging in there

Potential jurors were excused.  I won't have to worry about a jury summons for another two years at least.

And yes, I lost a little momentum.  I'm trying but we haven't accomplished as much the past couple of days as in previous weeks.  It's sad when you have to force yourself  to do at least one math lesson per day.

Yesterday I read this article, "How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses," and watched several Sugata Mitra TED talks.  The teaching methods are so radically different than how I do things with 11yo.  I am very much a textbook kind of gal.  I'm intrigued.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Not chosen for the trial

and that's okay with me!

I'm sitting here trying to make sense of what I saw today.  Alcohol seems to have played a big part in the choices a young man made.  Here it is a year-and-a-half later and he will be dealing with those consequences for years to come.  And so will the young woman.

I'm so glad I wasn't chosen to be part of the jury.

Unfortunately I have to check Tuesday evening and see if I am called again for a trial on Wednesday.  I didn't expect that and I'm not looking forward to it.

The last few days I've been pretty uptight and anxious because of the unknown.  Now?  I don't want to participate due to the weight of responsibility of deciding someone else's fate.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12, 2013

Goals - start R&S Math 5 in November.  Move quickly through R&S English 4 and hopefully start English 5 in March 2014.

Math - smoking! I looked through the book and determined that the amount of review in Rod & Staff would allow us to combine or skip lessons.  Three weeks = lessons 115-140 (8 skipped).  Finished adding and subtracting fractions, large quotients in division, introduction to decimals.
Spelling - reviewing lessons one and two from LOE, moving through Level 3 words. Increased the number of words from 5 to 10.
English - speeding up by doing a lesson and worksheet on the same day. Nouns (common and proper)
Latin - other subjects, subject and verb agreement
Composition - ahem, first thing that was dropped with lice infestation

Sayings - finishing the first grade list (ex: Let the cat out of the bag, The more the merrier, Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today).
Literature Studies -
Classical Studies - still reading D'Aulaire's Norse Myths. "Nord, Frey, and Freya"
Christian Studies - Moses.  Currently reading about the ten plagues.
World History - the beginning of civilization.  All Usborne books - World History, Ancient World, and Encyclopedia of the Ancient World.
American/State History - tribal regions (Columbia River, Great Basin, Klamath Lakes, Plateau) in Get Oregonized.
Science - metamorphosis/butterfly, insects.
Art -
Music - Mozart in The Story of the Orchestra, Lives of the Musicians, and What Your First Grader Needs to Know.  Listened to - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, Rondo All Turca, and Ah vous dirai je maman!

Jury Duty?

I'm here to tell you that nit picking (head lice) takes a lot of time.  It has upped my stress level as I've tried to continue school, wash extra loads of laundry, and keep appointments.  Seriously, picking nits and juggling appointments has been the biggest headache.  Half of the family is gone during the day and we have struggled to get everyone's hair combed in the afternoon before they need to leave to go somewhere in the evening, etc.

We are coming to the end of our marathon combing sessions and I was hoping that we would have more time for school.  I guess not.  I've been summoned for jury duty.  I'm not expecting more than 1-5 days.  We aren't going to fall behind in that amount of time.  My fear?  We will lose momentum.  I am naturally a procrastinator and I fear this little break will turn into a long break.  It has happened in the past.  We have a great start to the school year and then I gradually slow down with the return of overcast fall weather.  Next thing you know it is Thanksgiving and we haven't done school for weeks.

Fear is a funny thing.  As a child I was afraid of the bogeyman.  Now? I am afraid of myself.   I'm afraid of my character flaw - procrastination.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Never Enough Time

Trying to plan school for next week and as usual I realize there is never enough time to do everything I want us to do.  It certainly isn't as bad as it was the past several years.  I feel like a real human being now that I'm no longer driving to seminary.  But still, it seems like there is always something that comes up - like this lice infestation.  Seriously, just when I was full of excitement about starting a new chapter in our lives we are hit with a lice infestation and an early autumn (gray skies, rain, rain and more rain).

Just gotta keep plodding along.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oh, goodness!

I've been very excited to start Science in the Beginning, but I'm not a hands-on type of person.  Today I gave my procrastinating self the "just do it" talk.  I memorized the scripture "And God said, 'Let there be light,'" and took 11yo into our darkest room which happens to be the bathroom.  She immediately starts her silly laugh while I'm trying to recite "...and the earth was without form and void.  And dark was upon the face of the deep."  Do you know how hard it is to try to recite a scripture you've just memorized in a dark bathroom with a silly 11yo girl?  When I came to, "And God said, let there be light," I was supposed to turn on the bathroom light. didn't quite happen that way.  Instead I turned on the bathroom fan.   11yo went from laughing to whooping.  I can't tell you how stupid I felt at that moment.  All I could do was laugh along with her but seriously I felt like a failure.  How could I mess up something so simple?  

This is how homeschool used to always feel.  I would plan out the "prefect" lesson or try following a scripted lesson and it always felt like a flop.  Cool ideas don't seem to translate into cool teaching experiences for me.

One good thing did happen today.  After school was over I walked through the living room and happened to see 11yo reading about coastal Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.  We had read a book about Chinook Indians earlier in the day and she hadn't seem overly interested even though I thought it was a great book.  I was happy to see her take learning beyond "mom is forcing me to do this when I would rather be on the computer playing Animal Jam."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Is Upon Me

Haven't accomplished any school today or yesterday.  I don't feel blue or depressed I'm just sitting here surfing the net instead of doing school with 11yo.  Why has our school suddenly tanked?


We school sitting beside each other.  Since 11yo found out I have lice, she won't sit near me.  I don't blame her, but it does make it hard to tutor/school her the way we are used to.

I spent a good portion of yesterday doing laundry and preparing to pick nits from hair.  I was doing something yesterday just not school.

It is overcast.  I should have put this as my #1 reason.  This happens to me every year.  I make plans when the sun is shining and I feel energetic (for me) and then autumn arrives with its overcast weather.  I must not give in to this again!  It ruins my feelings of self worth as I dwell on what we didn't accomplish every year not to mention doing 11yo an educational disservice.

Okay.  Getting off the computer, brushing my teeth, and finding some way to have a successful school day with what is left of the day.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Head Lice

Yes, homeschoolers do get head lice.  Big Fat Sigh!

I have head lice.  Arg!  I am almost 50 and have never had head lice in my life.  Since I'm the only one in the family who has lice (two have nits, two have no signs of infestation), apparently I'm the one who brought them home.  To think that I had these for weeks without being aware gives me the willies.

There are a lot of remedies.

This is what we are trying: The Lice Program.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

Tired.  This might end up being the theme for the remainder of this blog.  I hope not but it might.

New science textbook arrived and I've been too tired to sit down and enjoy it.  Hopefully I can find some cuddle time this weekend. ;)

We finished a couple of resources recently: D'Aulaire's Greek Myths (Memoria Press study) and The Magic School Bus DVD's.   11yo loves Greek Myths and wants to start over.  I am happy to donate the Magic School Bus DVD's to my grandson.  We enjoyed them but the theme song was about to make me bonkers.


I rediscovered a book at the library, Get Oregonized: Oregon's History, People, Natural Resources, & Agriculture, and have added it to our reading of A History of US.  It is an older edition than the one pictured above. more book added which will help us with the beginning of our Memoria Press study of Famous Men of the Middle Ages.
D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

Math - Distance, Rate, and Time.  Started working with fractions.
Spelling - grown, loud, join, coat, and cook
English - Sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and diagraming statements.
Latin - derivatives for vocabulary C, Horatii and Curiatii, finding the subject of a sentence.
Composition - continuing KWO and summaries of paragraphs (beluga whales, narwhals, chameleons, vulture bees, and fungus gnats).

Sayings - (from the Core Knowledge Sequence) It's raining cats and dogs, Where there's a will there's a way, A.M. and P.M., An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and Fish out water.
Literature Studies
Classical Studies - Starting Famous Men of the Middle Ages -  "The Gods of the Teutons, section 1"  
D'Aulaires' Norse Myths - introduction and "The First Gods and Giants."
Christian Studies - Three lessons (10, 11, and 12) about Joseph in Egypt.
World History
American History - Core Knowledge What Your First Grader Needs to Know - "Crossing the Land Bridge."  A History of US chapters 5-7 (Inuit, Anasazi, and PNW).  Getting Oregonized - pg. 2-5 (first people, archaeology, and tribal regions.
Geography - chapter in We Visit Israel.
Science - lesson on crustaceans, visited the pond to see burrowing crayfish.  Watched several Magic School Bus shows - wetlands, cells, stars, gravity, smell, electricity, and computers.
Music - CK What Your First Grader Needs to Know - "Instruments and their families" and "The Orchestra."  The  Story of the Orchestra - Bach.

Never enough time.  We still need to do something with art!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14, 2013

A positive thing happened this week.  11yo decided that we need to have a schedule so that we get to all of the subjects in her logbook.  She happily pulled her science textbook and Christian Studies books off the shelves and plopped them on the end of my bed.  I was happy to see her take an interest in what she is learning. : )

Car schooling - we had a couple of 1/2 days this week and car schooling made it possible to still feel like we had a successful day of learning.  Before leaving the house spelling, grammar, Latin, composition, and most of math were finished.  Both times I brought chalkboards with problems from the remainder of her math lesson, D'Aulaire's Greek Myths on CD, The History of US volume 1 (she read to me),flash cards (math and Latin vocabulary) and Core Knowledge classical music CD's.  In general the first hour on the road was our most productive time.  I reserved music CD's for the return trip.

The following may not look like much on "paper."  However, we do daily lessons and it does take time!  The 3R's plus Latin fill our mornings (8-12).

Math - two-digit multipliers
Spelling - meet, kept, shape, thin vs. thine
English - compound subjects and verbs
Latin - review of conjugating 1st conjugation verbs
Composition - more ownership of the KWO process.  She reads the paragraph, underlines the three key words, and writes the key word outline.  Mom still acts as scribe for the paragraph.

Classical Studies - Calydonian Boar Hunt, The Apples of Love and The Apple of Discord, Helen of Troy
Christian Studies - Joseph and His Brothers, Joseph in Egypt, Pharoah's Dream
World History -
American History - chapters 2, 3, and 4 of A History of US
Geography -
Science - The Science Experiment, Unit 1 review, and Air Pressure (Magic School Bus)
Art -
Music - Core Knowledge CD's (prek-K and grade 1 and 2).  We read about Antonio Vivaldi in The Story of the Orchestra and Lives of the Musicians.  We also read Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Anna Harwell Celenza.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013-2014 In the Beginning

Where we are:

Rod & Staff  4 Mathematics lesson 102/170
After a short stint with Math Mammoth she asked to return to Rod & Staff.  I'm still hoping to use MM as enrichment.

Logic of English is on hold while she practices "missed" words from The Logic of English Levels 1 & 2 lists.

Rod & Staff English 4 lesson 10
We are doing both lessons and worksheets.  We may or may not read through the writing/composition lessons.

Lively Latin Big Book One lesson 3
We are reviewing all lessons from the beginning.
Read lesson, watch video, read a section of history.

IEW Student Writing Intensive Level A  (SWI A)
Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales (finished Unit 1 lessons)
We just finished working through lesson one of SWI A (Sea Snakes, Desert Tarantula, Pillbug, Deer Flies, Oysters, and Pearls).  I've been doing the writing.  This next week she'll be using easy articles from IEW's "Articles & Stories for Notetaking & Summaries" with less guidance from me.

Literature Studies:
On hold.  The books we have are for the Middle Ages and we aren't there yet.

Classical Studies:
Greek Myths lesson 30/31 +review
Famous Men of Rome is basically covered in Lively Latin.  We may use the review questions from Memoria Press.
Famous Men of the Middle Ages - haven't started.

Christian Studies:
MP's Christian Studies Volume One lesson 9/25 +5 review lessons

World History:
SOTW Vol. One: Ancients chapter 18/42
Ch. 18 Life in Early Crete
I hope to also read to her Usborne's World History, Usborne's Ancient World, and Usborne's Internet-linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World.

Geography 1:
MP's Geography I reviewing Israel
We only covered about five countries and are reviewing from the beginning using library books.

Rod & Staff 5 Science lesson 2/48
Magic School Bus DVDs - We've finished six out of eight DVD's.  Once we finish one we give it to my grandson.  I'm seriously tired of the theme song. ;)

We have a subscription for Creativity Express.  We haven't started it yet.

Core Knowledge CD's and books.  Plus, we have the CK songbook.
The Story of the Orchestra
Lives of the Musicians
So far we've listened to the CK Preschool and Kindergarten CD while driving to married sister's house (two hour round-trip).  I hope to combine The Story of the Orchestra and Lives of the Musicians.

Meh week

Okay, the weather here has stunk!  Overcast and rainy ... to the point of flooding our back patio which usually doesn't happen until November or after.  It was too overcast too soon.  My body couldn't handle it and I started feeling blue.  In fact, we didn't even do school Thursday.  I had to make myself get up and get going Friday and even then we only accomplished a half day.

Last night as I sat there contemplating how dissatisfied I felt, I realized that it wasn't just the weather.  Our studies had felt disjointed.   This is what I think happened - I focused on box checking (making sure that we hit each subject at least once during the week).  Even if 11yo asked to keep reading science I said no because we had other things we HAD to accomplish.  If she wanted to read history, I said no because we had other subjects that we needed to cover.  It meant that we were only getting bits and pieces rather than a bigger more satisfying picture.

I still think that the first half of our day is good - 3r's (math, spelling, English grammar, Latin, and composition).  It's the second half, the loop, that needs some tweaking.  Box checking the content subjects doesn't work as well.  I end up feeling tied to "must do x number of lessons by ____ date."

Here's my tweak.  I'm going to keep a running list of things I want to read or accomplish under each subject heading.  We'll just keep going until we hit a good stopping place then we can move on to another subject.  I'll have to keep track and make sure nothing is getting left out (um, usually art or music).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Great first week!

I am happy!  Sitting here on a Friday night with a smile on my face because we had a productive week.  It went much better than I anticipated.

Yep, there was some battitude the first couple of days, but 11yo gave up when she realized that I was going to persevere.  She still pulled the "I'm so tired!" excuse and I understand that she IS tired.  She's been getting out of bed at 7 a.m. when she is used to 9 a.m.  However, just because you are tired doesn't mean you can slur your speech to the point that your mom can't understand what you're saying.

My goal this year is to have set subjects in the morning:
  • math 
  • spelling 
  • English grammar
  • Latin
  • composition
...and to loop content subjects (ex: history, science, art) in the afternoons.  This week we tried the morning schedule and it worked!  And, we were actually able to fit in a few history and science lessons even with several "end of summer" parties this week.

Dang!  I am so excited for this year.  I might actually get to DO something besides live in my van while chauffeuring kids around.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Playing on the computer so ...

Yes, 11yo has stitches and I made her sit around for several days trying to insure that her wound healed more quickly.  While she was "down" I realized that since we've been home she pretty much plays computer games all morning.  I've been waiting to start school so she could enjoy the beautiful summer weather and yet she was spending much of her time inside.

so...we started school Monday morning.  We have had 1/2 days but still it is school.  Yesterday there was a little battitude.  Today?  there was a lot of badattitude.

Even though we've struggled with her bad attitude and with me feeling like some of the lessons are a bit disjointed, I'm still glad we have started.  It feels right.

Monday, August 19, 2013


11yo wrecked on a scooter today and now has 10 stitches (3 inner, 7 outer) in her shin.  She kept her eyes covered during most of the procedure but mom was leaning forward trying to see what was going on.  Education at its finest. We know that homeschooling is really for the parents.  : )

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just waiting

Twiddling my thumbs here while I try to let 11yo finish out her summer.  Most of the kids in the neighborhood will be starting public school in two-and-a-half weeks.  Her best friend's private school starts a couple of days later. I did do several math lessons with 11yo this week.  Hey, if she's going to play on the computer rather than be outside enjoying summer then I see nothing wrong with doing a math lesson instead.  My goal will be one math lesson a day until the other kids return to school.

Even though I'm a homeschooler at heart I have had fun helping get my oldest granddaughter ready for public school kindergarten.  Her charter school requires uniforms so we had fun shopping for those a few months ago.  Recently her mom and I took her supply list and went shopping.  Decent backpacks (i.e. not gaudy) were pretty limited in her area so when I was in Target yesterday I bought her a different one.  It was inexpensive but then we found the last remaining matching lunch "box."  Eek!  It cost almost as much as the backpack itself.  Even though she is just in kindergarten I've been surprised how the costs have added up.

15yo and I will be heading to the local high school with checkbook in hand Wednesday for freshman registration.  She is technically the age of a sophomore but has decided to go in as a freshman.  I expect that there will be probably $200+ in fees.  My guess is that it would be more if she had decided to participate in a sport.  Regardless, it is going to hurt my pocketbook.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Student

My oldest at home will be starting classes at the local community college the end of September.

15yo has chosen to enter the local public high school as a freshman.  I'm sad.  I had expected to go through high school with her.

11yo will be my only homeschool student.  This is going to be a huge change for me, and I'm feeling a bit lost.  It's like I've entered the empty nest syndrome prematurely.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Road Trip

Recovering from a car trip across the United States with my sister and 11yo!  Took the southern route from west coast to east coast (OR, ID, UT, AZ, NM (Carlsbad Caverns), TX, LA, MS, AL, and finally FL).  Spent a week in North Carolina visiting family and looking over my parents' property which is for sale.  Spent another few weeks hanging out in Florida with my brother's family and my parents.  As much as I love my family the chiggers and mosquitoes convinced me that my body is better off in the west.

On the drive back we hit GA and NC again on our quest to learn more about our ancestors (Smiths and Redmonds).  We drove through TN, KY, MO, IA, NE, WY, UT, and ID.  Spent a week in Idaho with my sister's family.  After six weeks away from home it has taken almost a week to feel "at home" in my own house.

We saw some amazing scenery but I have to say that northeast Georgia has to be one of my favorite places.   Maybe it's in my blood.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Finished Another Book

Another goodbye ... Rod & Staff Science 4.  I enjoy R&S Science books, so I'm (happy and)  sad that we finished another one.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Am I a nut?

Today 11yo and I finished a book (Rod and Staff English 3) which I bought for her sister.  Older sister was probably nine at the time and now she is 17yo.  And?  I'm sad to know that I will be giving it away.  I mean, I even started trying to talk myself into saving it.  Am I crazy?  I've been waiting for the day when my youngest finally finished some of these books so I could get them out of my house.  Rod and Staff books are wonderful but they do take up a lot of space.  I guess it is the goodbye to memories that is what is bothering me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Skip Day

Overcast weather returned to our area.  All that sunshine was too good to be true.  I was going bonkers Thursday, so Friday I decided to take a day off and go shopping.  Finances have been tight for a long time which means we rarely go on shopping trips.  But, there are times when you realize you have deprived your kids for too long.  11yo had one pair of shorts.  With summer on the way, broke or not, we went shopping.  

Enjoyed the break from the constant diet of chauffeuring children to church meetings, doctor's/dentist's appointments, and teen related activities (choir, play practice, etc.).  Going to the mall was definitely a much needed departure from the norm.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Alternative Spelling Lists

Since my daughter who is using Logic of English is older (11yo), I decided to add the alternative spelling lists provided on the LOE blog.    Lists 1-4 and 6-9 include videos taught by the author.

Logic of English Alternative Lists

A few of the words on the first list are easy ("mob") but others have been a fun challenge ("squalid").  My goal for 11yo is mastery, so we will be working at a much slower pace on these lists.  For example, this week we are working through lesson seven in the book and also using alternative spelling list one.

note: The slower pace (one lesson per week) has been a better fit.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Viola/Cesario and Sir Andrew Aguecheek
It was a crazy week.  Go, go, go.

Saturday - special choir mini-retreat (17yo), birthday party (15yo), major grocery trip

Sunday - sat in the car for three hours while 17yo attended a single adult congregation, took her home for 10 minutes to change into her formal choir uniform, sat in the hot car for another 30 minutes while she sang at a fundraiser, stayed up late making several meals

Monday - early morning seminary (dad drove!), tech rehearsal for "Twelfth Night" (15yo and 17yo), choir rehearsal (17yo)

Tuesday - early morning seminary, tech rehearsal

Wednesday - early morning seminary, dress rehearsal, afternoon church activity (11yo), evening youth activity

Thursday - early morning seminary, hair appt. (15yo), 1pm  & 7pm performances of "Twelfth Night", Dad and I manned the ticket table and helped with concessions, cast party until 12:30am (someone else drove!)

Friday - standardized testing (15yo), Biology class (15yo and 17yo), haircut (15yo), 8:30 - 11:30pm drove 15yo to her sister's house (took a wrong turn, was lost, delay because of an accident, missed a dead deer and a live possum)

I'm probably leaving out something.

I am tired.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Missing school

This past week was almost exclusively Logic of English.  With learning the ropes AND doing full lessons (learning phonograms, spelling rules, spelling list, grammar, composition, and vocabulary development) it took a lot of time.  This next week we'll be slowing down the LOE train but my teens are going to be performing in a play, Twelfth Night.  School for the 11yo will be squeezed in between me chauffeuring her sisters to play rehearsals every day.  Somewhere in all of this driving around to various activities I also need to wash clothes and cook for people.  There isn't going to be a lot of extra time.  School time with 11yo will be the first casualty.

I miss our regular subjects (Greek Myths, Latin, History, etc.).  Is life ever going to be normal?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Logic of English - Lesson Four

Much, much better!
  • We were forced to split the lesson into four sessions due to chauffeuring my older daughters to and from their play practice.  
  • I tried to rely on my brain more and on the script less.

The Future?
As much as I want to propel her forward I need to take into consideration that 11yodd's brain needs time to absorb and practice using the information that is being thrown her way.  I want her to own it!  If we try to maintain a lesson a day it may be like too much rain on dry ground.  The water runs off because the ground is too dry to absorb it.  I don't want to create a flash flood.

So now the question is...just how fast do we move through the material?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Logic of English - Lesson Three

This is an excellent program.  I am the problem.  I know I should break the lesson into several sessions, but I ... just ... can't ... make ... myself ... do ... it!  I am killing our love of learning.  My 11yo has never been excited about school but today I could tell she was seriously fried.  Me too.

The one thing she DOES like is the games.

My goal for tomorrow (lesson 4) is to break up the lesson into at least three sessions.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Logic of English - Lesson One

Hoo Boy!  This is a well laid out program but the first day of any program always takes forever. 11yo is easily distracted but once she discovers the pattern of the lessons it will be much smoother.  Ditto for me too.  Thankfully today's information wasn't new to either of us.  We knew the phonograms A-Z from using All About Spelling (AAS) and the grammar from Rod & Staff English.

The phonograms are a little different from what we learned in AAS.  "I" and "U" have one extra sound and "O" has one less.  We (okay I) decided to stick with four for "O."

The lessons will be longer than AAS even when we get the hang of things and move through them more quickly.  I may need to split up the lessons into two or three sessions during the day.  AAS lessons are typically 20 minutes while the suggestion for "struggling readers and spellers" in LOE is 75-130 minutes per lesson.   Of course that includes grammar and some composition.

Having only had LOE for several days I think a pro is being able to see the big picture.  The advantage of All About Spelling is the gentleness of the approach.  Both programs are excellent in my opinion.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 22 - 26

I am amazed that we are coming up on the end of the school year.  Where have the days gone?

The teens are spending a couple of days a week at play rehearsals (Twelfth Night).  They also have participated in several dissections in their Biology class recently.  This week was the frog.

Grammar - We've been learning about adjectives this week.  The plan is to skip the last unit of R&S English 3.  Those lessons will be reviewed in R&S 4.  That means we only have a dozen lessons to go.

Math Mammoth - We are trucking along in 3A.  She is reviewing math from a different angle.  We've worked through approximately 60 pages.  We started order of operations today.

Lively Latin - We should finish lesson 4 soon (conjugating verbs).  We'll spend the summer learning the next few vocabulary lists so when we come back to it in autumn we'll be prepared to easily move through the lessons (16 total).

Classical Studies/Greek Myths - Wow!  We are so close to the end.  Only four more lessons plus a review. Theseus has killed the Minotaur and Icarus has fallen into the sea.

Christian Studies - Studied the story of Jacob and Esau this week.  I hope we can wrap up all of the Joseph related lessons before we break for summer.

Geography I - Lebanon.  I would like to finish the Middle East countries and start with North Africa in the fall.

Science - We finished the unit on stars in R&S 4 (Orion, Gemini, Bootes, Leo, Cygnus, Hercules, Cassiopeia, and Pegasus).   Health and disease is next.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

All About Spelling 1 and 2

warning: another spelling post ;)

All About Spelling

Okay, spelling for 11yo isn't going as easily as I would like.  I feel like it is my fault for not actually reading through the lessons or following the plan as laid out in the book.  I am learning that I can't rely on visual and auditory alone.  It worked for me, but she needs more.

This is what worked in level one:

  • she would practice the phonograms using the CD
  • I dictated the words and she spelled them on the dry erase board

Here is what I hit upon today and it seemed to work well:

  • showed her the word card and pronounced for spelling
  • she clapped the syllables
  • she spelled each syllable using the letter tiles
  • on her own she decided to mark the vowels as long or short according to if the syllable was open or closed
  • she pushed the tiles together and pronounced for spelling
  • she wrote the word above the tiles while saying each individual sound

A real stumbling block is our relaxed pronunciation of words.  I believe using different modes of learning (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) will be powerful, however I think pronouncing for spelling will be essential for her success.

As the teacher I am now convinced that skimming the lesson won't work anymore.  I need to read the lesson and actually follow the suggested steps.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Better Over Best

Earlier this week I was trying to track down some Latin game cards I had seen recently.  I could NOT find them no matter how many piles I searched through.  What I did find was a lot of papers that could be recycled.  That's what I started out doing today.  It morphed into moving currently unused curriculum so I can have room for what I'm using now.  And then, I started to evaluate curriculum.  "Am I really going to used this?"  Oh boy!  Such tough decisions.  Perfectly good stuff going on the mental chopping block.  I will probably only have one child at home next year and it is time to let go of items that won't work for her.  Time to choose better over best.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Slowing down

Sometimes homeschooling just feels like a slog.  You want to accomplish a certain amount each day but the child's brain can only handle so much information.  Slow, then slower, then really slow.  It feels like we're trudging through mud rather than skipping along the yellow brick road.  Can I blame my "check list" mentality again?

Spelling - My goal was to make it through AAS 2 and 3 by the end of next school year.  We were moving along and then we hit a group of words which she naturally mispronounces (mixes short i's and e's).  Instead of calling out the word and having her spell it on the dry erase board while sounding out each phonogram, we've added in the visual aspect for reinforcement.  I show her the word on a flash card, say it for spelling (emphasizing the correct sounds), have her pronounce for spelling, and only then does she get to attempt it on a board.

until - 11yo pronounces it  "un tell"
I show her the flashcard and pronounce the word overemphasizing the short i sound in "til"

dentist - I actually pronounce this as "dintest,"  I know, weird, huh?
Again, I have to pronounce for spelling.  I never realized my pronunciation was so poor.

We'll probably spend all week on this spelling list which means we will be behind where I would like to be.  In order for her to truly learn these spelling words, we have to move at her pace.

reminder: It's not above covering the material, it IS about learning it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

THE Dress!

17yo was asked to attend the local modest prom at our church.  She decided to make her own dress rather than spend hours and hours searching in stores.

Pros - Mom didn't have to come unglued driving in the big city, our feet don't hurt, and 17yo's ego hasn't been bruised by all of those dresses that didn't fit.

Con - twas the night before prom and 17yo is still sitting at the sewing machine.  She will most likely be up until the wee hours of the night and possibly be so tired tomorrow that she might not enjoy her first date.

edited to add:  She had a great time!

Frog closures she made

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Education vs. Checklists

I did it again.  I spent the day making elaborate checklists for school next week and then I realized that following those checklists was going to suck the joy out of learning.  When will I learn?  Education isn't about making our way through a certain number of books in a school year, it is about savoring knowledge and using that knowledge to better our own life and the lives of those around us.

As others have said:   It is a marathon not a race.

We need to have goals.  We need to progress towards those goals.  But, if we dash toward the goals we will miss the journey.

Deep breath.  Try again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Twas the week after spring break and...

...I am pooped!  I have been so tired this week. Seriously sleep deprived.

As far as school we had a productive week.  I'm proud of myself for being more consistent than I naturally want to be.
  • We did math, spelling, grammar, and Latin every day.
  • We finished AAS 1 (All About Spelling) and started AAS 2.
  • Started Math Mammoth
  • We did ancient history, geography, and science four days.
  • Greek Myths and Christian Studies once
  • We had two writing lessons.

FMI ("for my information"):

Reading - working on clear pronunciation.  We picked a passage/page which she read daily.  She tends to be "lazy" due to a stuffy nose and tongue that tires quickly.

Math - started Math Mammoth 3A.  She was halfway through Rod & Staff Math 4.  MM 3A starts with mental math and it has been work.  Glad I didn't try to start her in level 4.  The Puzzle Corners are kicking our butts (notice that is plural because they are kicking my behind too).

Spelling - started AAS 2 today.  She seems to really enjoy this program ... specifically the tiles and writing on the dry erase board.  Is this kid kinesthetic? Probably.

Grammar - direct objects.  She still gets confused about what a verb is, so we have to review the terms every day.  It can make for a long lesson but she needs the review.  We have finished 70 lessons.  We will be skipping 10-15 lessons which I know will be repeated in R&S 4.   Since I was the kid who didn't understand grammar at all when I was her age, I don't mind that she is working a couple of years "behind."

Composition - Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales.  This is such a charming little lesson book from IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing).  We've done several lessons and will be taking a quick detour to SWI A to cover the same information (Units 1&2).

Latin - LOVE Lively Latin!  This is the second child I've used Big Book 1 with and I am enjoying it even more than I did last time.  I love hearing my sweet girl chanting Latin.  BTW, we use the ecclesiastical pronunciations.

Classical Studies - we read about King Midas and Sisyphus in D'Aulaires' Greek Myths and Numa Pompilius in Lively Latin and Famous Men of Rome.  Looking through and planning Famous Men of the Middle Ages for next school year.

Christian Studies - the one subject I feel relaxed about.  This week we read about Abram, Sarai, Lot, and the Abrahamic Covenant.  The plan is to cover Christian Studies I-III over the next few years in preparation for early morning seminary when she turns 14.  One lesson a week is perfect.

History - read, did map work, and colored pictures for two chapters (first writing, Old Kingdom in Egypt) in Story of the World (Ancient Times). We own the SOTW volume 1 CD's so 11yo is familiar with these stories.  I would like to finish Ancients and then read Volume 2 (The Middle Ages) along with Famous Men of the Middle Ages next year.  I would love to work through The Human Odyssey with her but she isn't ready for it.

Geography - Geography I from Memoria Press is sitting in the wings.

Science - I enjoy the younger levels of Rod & Staff Science so I couldn't pass up R&S Science 3.  We finished it last week and 11yo has proven that she was ready for R&S Science 4.  In one week we completed the first unit which was about weather.  If we finish before summer that would be great!

Art/Music - Um... no plan.  I'll wait until fall/autumn to worry about it.  Whatever we do we will most likely use Core Knowledge materials.

Literature - Memoria Press Literature Grade 5 is another "in the works for fall" subject. It looks like it will be large addition to our day.  Now is not the time.

My overall goal at this time is to be consistent and progress.  As I look at Memoria Press's curriculum packages, it helps give me goals to strive toward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Always Tweaking

How other homeschooling moms can make a plan and stick to it is beyond me.  I am constantly tweaking.

The biggest change this week... we are trying Math Mammoth.  The co-op sale ended April 1st and I was able to download the books last night.  The layout is quite different from Rod & Staff, so it took dd a little longer to do her math this morning than I had hoped.  I'm sure things will speed up when she has the experience of a few lessons behind her.

Classical Studies (Memoria Press) - We've been stalled out on D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths forever.  11yo loves the book but it seems to get shoved to the back burner behind the 3r's.  I bought the audio book read by Paul Newman, Sydney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, and Matthew Broderick.  I'm not quite as in love with it as I thought I might be, but it was nice today to not have to struggle through all of those Greek names.  Eleven more lessons and reviews and I'll let 11yo love the book without studying it.

Famous Men of Rome is scheduled for fourth grade.  Many of the stories are part of history in Lively Latin, so I'm going to let that suffice and move on.

I received Famous Men of the Middle Ages Monday.  It is part of MP's 5th grade package.  The plan is to prep ourselves using library books over the summer and start the guide in the fall.  I already picked up Medieval Feast by Aliki.

Literature (Memoria Press) - I also ordered the 5th grade literature set too.  I have no idea how it is going to get crammed in as we have trouble getting around to everything already.  The order is: Adam of the Road, Robin Hood (Green), King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Green), and The Door in the Wall.

Science - We retired Rod & Staff 3 and have moved into R&S 4.  I hope I don't overwhelm her, but I'm going to try and move through it before summer is in full swing.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Break over.  Boo hoo!  Back to being sleep deprived (early morning seminary driver).  Back to chauffeuring my kids (choir, play rehearsals, doctor appointments, etc.).  Sigh.  I have enjoyed sleeping-in and relaxing.

Okay, trying to find something positive to say...

I ordered new homeschool materials and they should start arriving mid-week. : )
  • Math Mammoth should be ready for download in a few days
  • D'Aulaire's Greek Myths audio CD from Amazon
  • Memoria Press's Famous Men of the Middle Ages set
  • and MP's Grade 5 literature set (Robin Hood, King Arthur, Adam of the Road, and The Door in the Wall)

And, I ordered our "planners" (My Student Logbook) for next year.  I am super excited about those!  I used one this year and it actually worked for me.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break & Math Mammoth

I planned to homeschool 11yo during spring break.  Monday  - check.  Tuesday - laziness set in.  Wednesday & Thursday - 11yo accompanied her Dad while he manned a booth at a Maker Festival.  Not exactly what I had originally planned but a break has been nice. : )  Her sisters' Shakespeare rehearsals begin soon and life will be chaos for at least a month.

Math - eek!  We will be making a big change soon from Rod & Staff to Math Mammoth.   I have appreciated and loved Rod & Staff for a number of years.  It is traditional, sweet, and practical.  But, we are bogged down by the amount of drill and I would like to have more focus on concepts rather than "memorize how to do this."  Luckily I hit the 50% off sale at Homeschool Buyers Co-op or I probably would not have been able to afford the change in programs.