Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 1 Report

I'm going to try the weekly reporting thing again this year, mainly for my own accountability and record, but also on the chance that someone out there is mildly interested!

We had a rough week, to be honest! I posted the picture at right (taken at Cloudland Canyon while on our anniversary trip last month) because it reminds me that in our school year there will be times we are on the mountain-top and times we are in the valley. And times in between where we, with firm resolve, struggle to climb back to the top!

Monday was spent organizing last-minute details for the boys' first day at Veritas Classical School, as well as getting books ready for M & A to study here at home. I hadn't run errands - or run my feet - in a while, so I ended up doing both Monday afternoon and evening, and was a little scattered and tired Tuesday as a result.

The boys liked their classes and teachers, but it's going to take some time for them to adjust to the workload. S (almost 15) did a tutorial three years ago and we learned the hard way how easy it is to leave too much work to do at the end of the week. So the 2 boys and I sat down Wednesday morning and mapped out their assignments by days. S. had quite a lot of literature / writing to get done over the weekend and will have a busy day Monday. C. has been able to keep up with his assignments, but he's a fast reader.

The other big change for the boys is that we've dropped Saxon math. It simply wasn't working for us anymore, and the DIVE cds weren't helping, either. So S is doing Jacobs' Algebra, and so far is loving it's straightforward lessons and narrative style. C. is using BJU Press 7th grade math. No cd-rom or DVD means Mom will have to be more involved in the instruction, but I've scheduled that during K's (3yo) nap and A's rest time. I'm pretty good at algebra and at least this way when they have a question, I won't have to spend 45 minutes reading through what they're doing to answer it - we'll all be on the same page, so to speak! ;-)

M (10 -5th gr) and A (5 - K) got a little bit of work done each day, but I'm still tinkering with the schedule and still trying to get my planbook organized. M is really motivated this year, and is already reading ahead in history! I'm stremlining for these two, using mostly curriculum from Christian Liberty Press, with a little A Beka and some living books thrown in.

My mission for this school year is:
-to help S & C succeed at Veritas and spread their wings as young men, learning to be responsible for themselves, be challenged academically, and begin getting out from behind Mom's apron strings and into the world;
-to get M up to grade level. As the middle child (and one with special medical needs that at times distract us from school), her academic progress has gotten kind of lost. I'm calling her a 5th grader, though some of her work is still 4th, but I'm optomistic by the end of the year, we'll "be there." If not, we'll just call next year "5th grade, part 2!"
-to simplify!!! I'm learning more and more that the specific curricula we use and the grand plans I make matter less than just "doing the next thing" - just diligently working through whatever we're using.
-to create a pleasant, Christ-honoring atmosphere in our home, no matter what we accomplish academically. I've only a few years left with S at home, and I want to impart a love for the Lord, His Word, His people, and the nations. He can always study and learn and fill in the gaps of "information", but I don't get a "do-over" in training his heart.

I finally posted C's 7th grade line-up here, and M's 5th grade on this page. Kindergarten ideas still to come. (And no, I've not forgotten about chores! More on that coming soon, Lord-willing.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It wasn't pretty, but we survived!

Today was the first day we had a full school workload. We officially started Monday, but that day was mostly organizing and preparing for Tuesday - the boys' first day of classes at Veritas. So today was day 1 with assignment sheets from Veritas, plus our work at home (math & science for the big boys; all subjects for M (10yo 5th grade) & A (5yo, kindergarten.)

To be honest, it wasn't really even "full" - M is taking science at an enrichment program and classes there have not officially started, though she does have some taxonomy cards and reading to work through before the first day; C's (12 yo 7th gr) math books haven't arrived (mainly b/c his mother forgot to go pick them up from the homeschool store -- oops!); and we didn't get to phonics or math with A.

But still -- it was a full workday. I had a conference with each of the boys and we mapped out which assignements need to be done each day. (In the future, I hope to do that on Tuesday evenings, but we had a little family birthday celebration last night for A - my little BLT turned 5!) C's teachers started off light -easing the students into things, I guess. Not so with S (14). I guess they figure "Hey, this is high school, get used to hard work!" He hung in there today and got the list done, but he's definitely going to have quite a workload.

The house, of course, looks like we spent all day on school! The kitchen is a mess, any room K (3) played in while we were working is a mess, dinner is going to be late, and the laundry is not caught up. My attitude has been horrible all week - feeling disappointed with myself for not being more ready for the beginning of the year. But .... we survived and lived to tell the tale!
Now ... on to "do the next thing!"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ninth Grade Curriculum Plan

In case you're interested:
S – 9th Grade Curriculum Plan, 2009-2010
(S will be attending Veritas Classical School one day per week for humanities instruction. Their book list is copyrighted and is only available to registered students. So I can't list the books here, but trust me, they're good!)
Veritas Curriculum
Bible - New Testament Survey
History -U.S. History
American Literature
English - grammar, writing, vocabulary
Rhetoric / Debate
Greek I
(S. will also be taking an apologetics elective at a local a la carte homeschool enrichment program)
Apologetics -The Quest for Truth Chris Sherrod
At Home
Algebra I - Elementary Algebra Harold Jacobs
Physical Science - Exploring Creation with Physical Science Dr. Jay Wile
Fine Arts - Appreciation: Annotated Mona Lisa Carol Strickland
Young Persons Guide to Music Neil Ardley
The Story of Classical Music CD by Darren Henley
Various composer studies
Studio arts: Various drawing exercises
Guitar - weekly lesson & practice
PE - fitness training and various group classes at YMCA

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the winner is...

...Shannon! Congratulations - you are the proud new owner of Exploring God's Creation!

This was a fun giveaway, and I wish I had something to mail to all of you! Thanks for visiting and commenting. If I can ever find time to blog again (with the craziness of illness, last-minute end-of-summer trips, and school starting) I look forward to making some new homeschool bloggy friends!

Have a great week!

Friday, August 7, 2009

We interrupt this program....

Ok, so I promised to get the Part 2 Chores post up and running the other day. But then the Chicken Pox decided to visit our house and I've been a little distracted. So blogging is on the back burner for now, but stay tuned.... (and thanks for understanding!)
*Note to the curious... yes my children received the vaccine. But 10yo M has a rare blood disorder and she just marches to the beat of her own drummer, medically speaking. =)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Homeschool Giveaway!

*******Update: the Giveaway is over. Go here to see the winner! Have a great year, everybody!

Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations is sponsoring a Curriculum Cleanout. Now through August 15, lots of great resources will be recycled through giveaways. Have something that needs a new home? Need a few items to round out your curriculum? Then check out this great blog carnival that grows daily!
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My giveaway is for Exploring God's Creation Science workbook from Christian Liberty Press. First, I just want to say how much I love Christian Liberty Press! They are affordable, user-friendly, and have a solid Biblical worldview. This science workbook (we used it more as a "text") has information and activities on a range of topics in all the major areas of elementary science. It's listed in their 3rd grade materials, but we used it as a group when my kids were in 4th, 2nd, and K. (The first couple of lessons have some marks - before I got smart and photocopied the lessons.) Each chapter has a bit of info on the topic, followed by some questions and an experiment that uses easy-to-find household items. We supplemented each topic with books from the library and spent about a week on each lesson.
The way to enter this giveaway is to leave me a comment on this post - it's that easy! (Be sure to leave me a way to contact you.) Contest ends at midnight on the 15th - I will randomly select a winner from all the entries. Hope you win!

**Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of the Chores series!

Overheard

If you were a fly on the wall in the Next Thing house this week, you might have heard...

"Can I do yogos on the map, Mom? Can't I? 3yo K asking to do yoga on the mat one morning. I had to stop laughing to say "yes." She tends to end all questions with a sweet little, lilting "can't I?" What - does she think that makes her hard to resist? She's right!

K's Dictionary
shaps ships -- chap stick
sssip sslops -- flip flops
precious -- princess
Blessed Jesus to Your Name -- title of her favorite song, "Blessed Be Your Name"

"I think 21 Gu*ns is the best song ever. It makes me cry." 12-going-on-13 yo C, commenting on music by Gre*en D*ay

"Mom, K had to go potty at 5am and I took her." 10 yo M being a sweet big sister. She's done a good job with the middle-of-the-night potty breaks and hugs now that K has a big girl bed and shares M's room.

That's some of the chatter happening around here. Go visit Mary's place for more Tiny Talk Tuesday.