Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feeling uninspired to write

I knew I hadn't be on my blog in a while, but I didn't realize it had been a couple weeks. We've been plugging along with life and school here, but I think whenever I sit at the computer, I'm looking for escape through reading rather than having to think and write. ;) 

As my oldest is showing more and more proficiency with reading and writing, I've been wondering where I wanted to go with his writing instruction. We have been using the "writing elements" outlined by Susan Wise Bauer in Writing With Ease, recently moving into the Year 2 elements. We've also been (slowly) making our way through First Language Lessons written by her mother, with both older boys (and the youngest likes to memorize the poems with us). But, I just have not been sure if I wanted to continue along these lines with Nomar as he advances in skill and ability. So, the curriculum junkie that I am went looking and reading and researching. 

I have been very interested in the Institute for Excellence in Writing materials, but have found the website a bit confusing in terms of navigating. Fortunately, my friend IRL that homeschools has the teacher DVDs, so I have been slowly making my way through the first one and taking notes. I like what I've heard so far (has not been much) and what I have read so far. But, then I had to go look up Classical Writing as well, and found out they just put out a Primer series (well, I'm not sure how recently it has been, to be honest). I was at first debating using the IEW - Student Writing Intensive with Nomar after the new year, but saw the CW Primer series and felt he could start that now (and Vladdy could start some of it now too - especially the narration, picture study, and nature study portions). So, I ordered it. Only the Autumn Primer. I also printed the free Week 2 download on the site to get started now (I am SO impaitient!). 

I am still interested in the IEW method. For now the CW Primer is similar to the WWE - narration, copywork, eventual dictation. But, it also pulls in some spelling (for us, it serves as reinforcement as our spelling instruction comes from All About Spelling), grammar (Nomar is ready for a bit more than learning about nouns ad nauseum), and has weekly nature and picture study. Some of the artists being studied even match what we will do this year through Meet the Masters. I think it is going to be a good program for us. 

Here's what I'm thinking: we use the CW materials (for now the Primer series and probably when I feel he is ready - sometime in the spring, move onto CW - Aesop) as our language arts program (along with continuing in All About Spelling and reading instruction). I'll watch the IEW DVDs and start using their method for writing across the curriculum, which for now would just be history and science. That way, hopefully, the boys will eventually have a large toolbox, as it is, of writing and will be very proficient writers.

I also finally purchased the simple machine kits from Lego Education. We are all very excited - I think the hard part will not be getting everyone to do the learning, but trying to spread out the creations over a few weekends instead of all in one day! I have some books and background activities to do before they get here on simple machines, work, and force, and hope to start this week. I picked up an Evan-Moor book on Simple Machines at the teacher's supply store that I plan on incorporating.

I think I'm using today as a planning day - our PE class has been canceled due to inclement weather (we weren't going to go even if the rain started to let-up; it's cold, windy, and muddy outside). Two boys are up and are getting to watch TV (it's a "rainy day" :) ). I think we can still get most things done in a relaxed manner today and then get back into the normal flow tomorrow (somehow it is supposed to go from cold and rainy today to the mid 80's by Friday ... still not quite sure how that works!). 

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Mus exit"

That is my youngest's favorite line from Minimus Latin, chapter one. You see in chapter 1, the mouse, Minimus, goes around to the people at Vindolanda asking who they are, and they answer in turn. At last, Minimus makes it to the cat, and asks "quis es" in a tiny, shakey little voice. The cat answers, and the final scene has Minimus wasting no time getting away, with the words "mus exit". Little Luke Skywalker thinks it is hysterical, and whenever we practice asking "quis es?", he will answer "mus exit". 

Tonight we were sitting on the couch; the older two were taking turns reading to me from their HOP workbooks. The youngest was sitting there with us. Suddenly I heard his little voice say, "mus exit." I look over and he is "reading" through the Minimus book - every time he turned the page to a new dialogue, he would say, "mus exit." I'm glad to see he is enjoying Latin so much. :) If he's not going around saying "mus exit", then he can usually be found singing the Vale song from Song School Latin. Who knew that the Latin programs I bought for the older two would enchant the youngest so much.

Social experiment of the day :)

For some reason this morning, my boys decided they wanted all their beds in one room and all the toys in the other (two bedrooms split between three boys). So, I decided to humor them, but told them they had to help. While I got something for breakfast, they started taking toys out of one room and get the rooms ready for me to move furniture. Thankfully nothing required actually deconstruction of furniture - just stripping one bed and taking it out in parts (mattress, box and metal frame). After a while, they got distracted and decided to bring in the Crash 'N Go racetrack from the garage; I put the rooms back together. It actually looks better than I thought, though we didn't move any clothes as I can't guarantee how long the new arrangements will actually last. ;) 

There are 3 beds, 6 pillows, countless stuffed animals, a few extra blankets (all crocheted by great-grandma), and a low cubby/bookcase holding a lot of books for them. (It also serves as a place for the CD player for books on CD, a clock because they think they are very grown up with a clock in their room, and numerous cups of water for night time.) I'm curious how it'll go tonight. Well, tonight will probably be fine; I'm curious how it'll go the night after tonight. ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taking a day off

So the boys don't know it yet; they are still sleeping (well, the youngest is up and watching Go Diego!). But, I decided that we are taking off the rest of this week. We've been going at it since sometime in the summer (early July I think) 4-5 days a week and I need a break. I am sure they could use one too. We will still go to PE today. We will go to the aquarium tomorrow. And I still plan on reading to them and having them read to me. But, math, spelling, penmenship, writing ... all off the table until Monday morning. I need a couple mornings of TV for them. I need a couple mornings where they can just run and play and I don't have to wrangle them to the table to get going on our work. We need mental health days. :) Monday, we'll be refreshed and ready to go again. (Hopefully we won't have any struggle getting back into routine - that is my one hesitancy whenever we take time off - especially with Nomar, my oldest.) 

Having made that decision, I suddenly feel so much more peaceful this morning. We can take it easy. They can watch PBS Kids and relax. We can get ready for PE and spend some time at the park with friends. History can wait a week - it's been waiting about 900 years for us anyway, what's a few more days? 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mondays ... maybe we need to just jump right to Tuesdays ;)

Today seemed to start well; I was able to be up alone for about 30 minutes before someone joined me. Once Nomar woke, he and I sat on the couch with Luke Skywalker and read a couple library books. Then, we read a couple sections from Our Island Story. I'm not sure quite what happened between then and Nomar's long exile in his bedroom, but I'm blaming it on Mondays. He suddenly decided he wasn't going to cooperate and instead thought grunting at me was going to be the appropriate response. Actually, ever since fall baseball began, he's been much shorter on the fuse - his tantrums have increased quite a bit. I'm wondering if as much as he loves playing baseball and really likes his coach, he's feeling a bit overwhelmed with the whole thing. He's the youngest on the team and the coach does have high expectations - not in terms of ability, but in terms of putting all one's effort into learning; I actually really like his coach, and don't want to pull Nomar out, but I do think we need to figure out how to be a bit more proactive about the whole thing with him. With Vlad being so obviously sensitive to everything (physical, emotional, spiritual), and Nomar's evolving maturity, I forget how sensitive he can be also. At least we made up and had a better afternoon.

On a positive side, the boys are loving Monkey Match memory with the Song School Latin cards. We are working on the vocabulary from Chapter Two this week - quid est tuum praenomen? and meum praenomen est ..., so we were able to add two more sets to our memory game. 

Vlad has his first "big" book to read today for Hooked on Phonics - he started the Orange workbook in level 1, and the books are longer and more "book" like than the beginning readers in the Kindergarden level (which are more like BOB books). I was thinking of splitting the book into two sessions, but I think we'll take it as it comes. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A very busy week almost done

There is definitely a benefit to being busy, especially with three boys who like to do things all. the. time. It's probably also beneficial, even if it doesn't make sense, to be busy when you aren't feeling to well since it means we are out of the house more (and less likely to deal with behavior issues stemming from being "bored"). So, this week was a blessing. 

We have been to the dentist, the library, the park, PE class, the park again, grocery shopping, and Fed-Ex Office to laminate ID cards so far this week. Tonight there's baseball practice. I think tomorrow is free of anything scheduled outside the home. Even so, we have had a some-what productive week (it started out less than productive as I was not feeling well). Today was probably the best day thus far. I swear, making sure I am up well before anyone else wakes and getting ready is a huge factor for determining how our days go. 

We started our morning with "Monkey Match" - we played memory with the vocabulary cards from Song School Latin. Though we have only technically done chapter 1 in SSL, we have a bit more vocabulary under our belts from Minimus, so we were able to play with about 10-12 pairs of cards. The boys had a blast (except Vlad when Nomar kept getting all the pairs first). Even Luke Skywalker (3 y.o.) is learning a fair amount of Latin. We also sung our songs (I'm skipping the alphabet song - young Luke is still learning his English alphabet and I don't need to confuse him with missing W's and such). We'll start chapter 2 in both Song School Latin and Minimus on Monday.

I also pulled out our Explode the Code books that were sitting on the shelf - level 3 for Nomar and level 2 for Vlad. Wednesdays are short mornings due to PE, so we don't get spelling done. I figured spelling 3x a week and then ETC 2x a week would be good practice for them, and with the novelty of the ETC workbooks, they are loving it. ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up

This was a lazy week, if I were to pick one word to describe it. I'm blaming it all on Monday being Labor Day. We did some things that I was hoping to accomplish - read some history, learned some Latin, had our first art co-op this morning. And yet looking back, I feel like we did not do half of what I was hoping to do. I guess that is the beauty of homeschooling; we can go at our pace, knowing that in the end (in the long run) it'll all work out just fine. All three of them will know how to read. All three of them will know their math. All three of them will be able to write. They'll know Latin. They'll have a good foundation on the story of our (collective "our") history. And they'll probably have some good experiences with art, science, music, and sports under their belts. 

I am working on learning the balance between having a big picture plan (which I sat down and worked on this week) and being flexible to go with the flow of life. This week, life happened and not as much sit-down academics happened. Tuesday we needed to get to the post office before lunch. And we spent a beautiful afternoon at the nature center. Wednesday was PE day, and instead of getting through our core subjects in the morning before leaving, the boys had a great time unfolding most of the maps we have (our city & surrounding areas, our state, and the US) and trying to find places on them. Today we had a great time at our friend's house for our first art co-op. We had some art time and then the kids all played together. We may not have done as many math problems as we normally do, or may not have had much in terms of spelling or reading practice. But, despite its "lacking" in those departments, there is no arguing that this week, overall, was a good week. And so, that is how I want to remember it; not as a week full of wholes on my weekly "planning grid" (I actually don't write anything down until *after* we do it), but a week full of memories and enriching interactions with meaningful people in our lives.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


For almost as long as I've been out of college, I think Thursdays have been my favorite days. Fridays seem like a good choice as it is the end of the work week. But I am usually so tired by Friday that I just want to go to bed early. Saturdays are good days too - usually we do something as a family, whether that be working outside in the yard or bike riding or running errands. Sundays are going to become very busy for us as the boys (Nomar and Vlad ;) ) start the fall baseball program. Mondays, well, I'm not sure there's much to love about Mondays. ;) (Well, the return of Castle on Monday nights is something to love.) Tuesdays and Wednesdays are just regular ol' days, though Wednesdays are kind of nice in that we go to PE and hang out with friends. (I feel like I could be writing a remix of a sappy Cure song.) 

But Thursdays, those are my favorite. On Thursday, I usually still have energy enough to not feel utterly exhausted. On Thursday, I know the weekend is right around the corner. On Thursday, I know that I only have one more day of the work week before my husband is home for the weekend. On Thursday, I know my DVR will be recording Grey's Anatomy. And on Thursday, at least a couple out of each month, I get to go meet my two best friends for coffee or tea and chat - all by ourselves without any of our combined 15 children interrupting us. It's the best kind of therapy. We've known each other for almost as long as my oldest, Nomar, is old. We have shared some tough times together. We love each other and trust each other. And I am so glad we have our time together, even if it is only once or twice a month. Thursdays are my favorite day of the week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A very non-school "first" day of school ;)

So, for some reason, we just did not get our act together this morning. The boys were all up by 8:30, but I think because my youngest was up not long after me, I was slow in doing what I normally like to do in the morning when they are all sleeping (play on-line on my favorite bulletin boards, read up on Facebook, and eventually making it to the couch to read a real book), that I didn't get going with them when they were first getting up. I don't know ... maybe the stars were just not aligned quite right. I was hoping to have my oldest (I so need nicknames for them all ... I think I'll name them after baseball players or Star Wars characters!) actually get through all his core subjects before PE (minus spelling - we don't do spelling on Wednesdays as we just don't have the time before we have to leave). As it is, no one got much of anything done. 

On a positive note, we did read through Minimus chapter 1 again this morning. The boys want to just keep reading the book, but I'm trying to go slowly just because I need to learn the vocabulary as we read. We also listened to the Salve/Vale song from Song School Latin on the way to PE. I had them "help" me remember all the Latin words I know so far (great way to actually see how much they remember without them feeling "tested") and we realized that combined, "I" know about 15 words in Latin so far. 

PE went well. I chatted a bit with a couple other moms I know; one will be involved with our once a month art coop and one have only met through PE. But, afterwards, I realized I need to help my boys navigate "free play" with the other kids - otherwise it turns a bit into Lord of the Flies out there. I think that maybe as hs'ing parents, we think our kids are able to figure out how to play in a fun, yet nice and safe way, without a lot of intervention. But, I learned today that I need to teach mine the difference between play "fighting" and actual fighting - that it crosses the line when stick "swords" actually make contact with another body and pinecone "bombs" actually injure someone. I also realized mine did not yet really know how to handle older kids who are playing too rough (apparently my oldest threw a pinecone at an older boy who was playing harshly with them all ... we talked about what to do in that situation that does not involve bodily harm). 

So, I can't say we didn't learn anything today. We just didn't get done much of what I wanted to get done. This evening/tonight I plan on having the older two practice their reading - it's been too many days and they get very rusty. I also hope to read some more from the Burgess Bird Book and What Makes a Bird. We might throw in there a little of Our Island Story. As for the rest, there's always tomorrow. ;)  

Edited to add their new nicknames. :) My oldest is Nomar (he loves Nomar Garciaparra, formerly of the Dodgers and now with the A's). My middle son is Vlad (he loves Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels), and the youngest decided he wanted to be Luke Skywalker. :) 

School Days

Today is back to school for the kids in our school district. I remember most of my thirteen back to school days (K-12). Despite not enjoying school all that much, I did enjoy the first week or so. There's something about newness that makes things more bearable - the new crayons, new backpacks & lunch boxes, and new clothes. Because we all went to our neighborhood school, I didn't have the anticipation of seeing all my friends again; we had seen each other non-stop all summer long. But the newness of the year was exciting. (The newness wore off after a week or so - usually by the time the first tips of the crayons began to dull.) It is probably the one thing I wonder if my boys will ever miss, though having never experienced it, I cannot be sure that it would be missed. Can you miss something you never had? 

I think to mark the day, we'll take school pictures so I can make them their own school ID cards (they are only helpful for when we do things like visit the Natural History Museum, and their IDs get them in for reduced price, and for the coolness factor for the boys). Other than that, our day is not too much different from any other Wednesday; we are off to PE (though we won't stay long as our good friends won't be there today), I hope to start Song School Latin, and plan on having my oldest make it all the way through his core subjects today (yesterday's attention span was a bit lacking, shall we say).

She Blonde Swede's EP

<a href="">It's Alright by She Blonde Swede</a>So this has nothing to do with homeschooling, but one of my best friends from college released his EP today. Track two is my favorite - I remember him writing it and us sitting in my college apartment singing it with my roommate. I even got to play tambourine. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nature Center

Today we met my friend and her kids at the local nature center. Though my boys enjoy going, they usually complain because they are not allowed to do things like climb the trees. This time there was no complaining by anyone. They had a great time "adventuring" with their friends - catching lizards (all the lizards stayed there), finding spiders and their webs in the trees, and trying to spot fish in the big lake and little creeks. I enjoyed hanging out with my friend and talking about things like Latin, art, and field trips. :) 

We did not take any pictures this time, and there were very, very few birds to spot. We did find a snowy egret just before we left. Another highlight was when one of the nature center volunteers brought out some just-hatched water turtles, and let us follow her when she released them. The kids kept a close watch for approaching fish to make sure the turtles at least survived their first dip in the water. Overall, it was a very stress-free 2 1/2 hours spent at the nature center.

When we got home, the boys made a list of everything they saw. There were very many spiders, a couple birds, some lizards, and quite a few water turtles. They also made note of the bugs they saw inside the small nature center building - a tarantula, a millipede, walking sticks, a black widow and a brown widow. Then they drew a picture for their nature section of their notebooks, and wrote a sentence about the trip.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lazy weekend

We had a pretty nice, long weekend. Surprisingly, on both Saturday and Sunday, my oldest wanted to do a lesson from the Hooked on Phonics Master Reader program. He's still working through the last of the regular levels (he's in the green and blue workbooks), but he wanted to see what the computer lessons were like. He did a very good job and even read the little story card that accompanied the first lesson. I told him that if he wanted, he could do his regular green/blue workbooks and reading books 3 - 4 days a week and then a couple days a week, he could work on a lesson from the Master Reader program. He is amazing me by how much he is reading now (there were times in the beginning of this calendar year where I wondered if he'd ever figure reading out). It still isn't his favorite activity (though I think he likes impressing us and surprising us with how much he can read), but he is making great strides in becoming an independent reader.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up

Well, we definitely had our up and downs this week. It was our first full week without dad home to help (poor guy had to go off and resume teaching math to high schoolers). I have to say I am happy we are all getting to bed earlier, which means we are all getting up earlier, which means we can actually get through the different things I want to accomplish. The boys are very much enjoying learning about birds. My oldest is loving Our Island Story, and both my 5 year old and 8 year old love to listen to The Burgess Bird Book. 

My 3 year old is having fun doing "school" things. This week, I hand-wrote two pages (one on one day and one on another) with a big A and little a, and a picture/word that starts with a (the first day was ant; the second day he wanted pie, so I wrote apple pie). His coloring is getting better - he's developing his hand-eye coordination (it's very apparent when we play catch outside - he likes grounders and he's starting to move his glove to the on-coming ball). 

I'm also impressed with how much my middle son (5) has matured school-wise. I can tell he's making some big leaps mentally; maybe that is why he's been having more issues behavior-wise - his brain is just too busy right now integrating all he's been learning to bother with impulse control and following directions. ;) 

We had our first real art day today. I got out both the regular pastels and the oil pastels for the boys to use. I can tell that we need more practice with art, and also more exposure to art. I am excited to begin our coop with our friends next week with Meet the Masters. I also am taking one Friday a month to study Medieval art history (using the book Art in Story and any pictures I can find on-line). Eventually I'd like to invest in a good "coffee table" art book for all of us to look through. I have a couple books published by Usborne for kids, but I'd like one of those thick books of prints. 
I'm eagerly awaiting our Song School Latin order. I'm already thinking it might be good for me to order the next level of Latin (I'm leaning towards either Latin for Children A or Lively Latin. I'm not sure yet, and I have not yet broached the subject of spending money on yet more curriculum with my husband (though he tends to tell me to go ahead and buy whatever). For now, though, I'll stick with learning with the boys through Song School Latin and reading Minimus together. 

Next week I'd like to get an actual history activity done (either a map or a "Book of Centuries" type page with copywork and a picture). We also need to finish up our "compost" science experiment and make paper. It's a short week though; dad will be home on Monday, I hope to get to the library and/or nature center on Tuesday, and we have art coop on Friday. We'll see what we get done.  

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Last night the boys were sitting on the porch and I was walking past the open door. We all heard a bird call that was very different from what we are used to (most of what we hear are the crows and occasionally the sparrows or pigeons). We all went out and stood under our tree and saw a bird we'd never seen before. I got a picture of its back and tail (not very good) and I noticed that the tail was gray and black striped. The bird suddenly flew from our tree to one across the street and I swore it looked like a small hawk, but thought there was no way it was one as those usually stay in the park a mile or so away.

I went in and found the local bird guide and sure enough, we had a Sharp-shinned Hawk in our tree. We were all so excited. After it flew away (first it flew to a telephone pole and then flew overhead a little bit before going too far for us to see), we came inside, listened to the call on-line and found some more pictures. The boys thought it was the coolest thing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is a Bird?

We are continuing to read a few sections of What is a Bird? each day. Before the boys woke today, I went on-line and found some free coloring pages of birds, copied them into Publisher, and then added text lines underneath. All three picked the bird they liked, and worked on coloring them while I read. After I was done, each boy took turns telling something that makes a bird a bird. Then, after they were done coloring, they wrote the four main attributes of a bird on the lines under their picture. For my oldest and middle sons, it was their copywork for the day - they told me the attributes, I wrote them on a separate piece of paper, then they copied the words onto their papers.

This is my three year old's bird picture. We looked up his bird in the Audubon First Field Guide of Birds and he did a very good job getting his colors close to the actual coloring of the bird. (I wrote for him. ;) )
My middle son's picture. He was very proud of his coloring of the cardinal and his printing.
And my oldest son's picture. (He *loves* cursive writing and makes sure I put all his copywork in cursive for him; he not as fond of "translating" printing into cursive even though he can do it.) 
Tonight we will continue reading about Peter Rabbit's bird friends from the Burgess Bird Book. I think next week we will take a field trip to our local nature center and see what we can find there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Playing with numbers and counting

My 5 year old was in his room getting some small cars to take in the bathtub. I could hear him counting by 2's: 2, 4, 6. Then, he counted them by 1's: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Suddenly he exclaimed, "Mom, it's the same number if you count by twos or count by ones." I didn't hear him totally clearly and wasn't sure if I understood exactly what he meant. He came out to me and said, "See Mom?" He proceeded to line up the cars and count them by two's, arriving at the total of six. Then he lined them back up again and counted by one's, again arriving at six. "Isn't that cool Mom? It's six if you count by two's or by one's." I love it when they make connections like that on their own.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Today was a nice day

Today was one of those days, that although not perfect, was just very nice. Overall, things went well. Overall, people were kind and cooperative. We were able to get our core subjects done in the morning, did some reading after lunch (I read to them and they read to me), and then spent 2 1/2 hours at the park with our friends. My oldest has 7 more pages to read in his current Hooked on Phonics chapter book (he is 7 pages from being done with the Red level - we started in the Orange level in April and he has made HUGE improvements) and then he'll move on to the Green level. I think, even though he fights reading, he's feeling pretty proud of himself.

I've also decided to do a semi-informal unit on birds. We have been reading The Burgess Bird Book for Children, which the boys are enjoying (especially my oldest), and from that we have begun flipping through a bird field guide and looking them up on-line as we read about different birds in the book. So, I picked up Take a Backyard Bird Walk and pulled What is a Bird? off the bookshelf in the living room to read. Though I don't want to structure our Nature Walks (when we finally get around to starting them), the boys have already expressed an interest in making sure we take a bird guide with us when we go to the park, so I think I'll make sure I pack it on our walks. :) 

We also just started reading Our Island Story. My oldest is loving it even though we are only a couple sections into it. We are using History Odyssey Middle Ages this year (we were "supposed" to get to it last year and never did), but I decided to start Our Island Story at the beginning instead of somewhere in the middle. I want to make sure we study the history of the world rather than focus on just one area (mostly, I want to avoid as much as possible being Euro-centric), I also know that British (and Western) history is very important to understand the origins of our own country. So, mixing History Odyssey with Our Island Story might do what I want - give us breadth and also some depth. We'll see ... we have to actually read the stories first. ;)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Copywork meets Nature Study

When we decided to get more structured back in the spring, my oldest son started doing copywork or dictation every day. We tended to alternate, with the dictation coming from his spelling program All About Spelling. This summer my middle son started doing very simple dictation and copywork. After talking with the boys, we decided to drop the dictation for now and just stick with copywork (they prefer copywork, so I figure that some days I'll focus on writing elements from Writing With Ease and some days I'll just write out a sentence from their spelling program so they are practicing that day's spelling concepts without it having to be dictation). Here is what my oldest son did yesterday.

We have been reading The Burgess Bird Book for Children; my oldest son especially has been enjoying the stories. For the past couple weeks we have been working on abbreviations in writing - months of the year, days of the week, and common abbreviations like Mrs., Mr., Dr., and the such. So yesterday I had him write a sentence about Jenny (Mrs.) Wren and Mr. Wren. His picture is what really got me though. His writing is consistently neat and nice. He takes great pride in it. But he has never been huge on artwork. He'll illustrate most of his copywork and dictation sentences. And sometimes he really gets into it, but yesterday he really put a lot of time and attention into his drawing. He was so proud of his work and so am I. 
We keep writing, science (which is sorely lacking), history (lacking as well), and nature study/observations (this is the first) in a 3-ring binder. The boys really enjoy looking back over their work to see how much they have improved and matured in their work.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goals for the year

I figured a blog would be as good as place as any to write out some goals for the year. 

*Fridays are art day: once a month we have an art coop with our friends using Meet the Masters; once a month we will also study another artist using Art in Story as our spine; and twice a month we will get out our supplies and just have some fun creating.

*Once a month field trips: I'm thinking if I aim for more than once a month, it will not only get overwhelming (and expensive), but will make it more ordinary than special. Some places we want to visit are the aquarium, zoo, art museum, science museum and observatory.

*Weekly PE class: This is not so much a goal as something that is already in the works. I guess the goal part comes in when I feel like not being committed every week to PE class even though it is nice to get out of the house, chat with friends, and watch the boys have fun playing with their friends.

*History: I would like to actually finish Medieval times this year considering I was hoping to finish it last year and never got around to it. That goes as well for things like science and foreign language. We tend to be really good about the "core" subjects - reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and math - but all the other stuff is pushed aside most of the time.

*Nature Study and Nature Walks: We decided to renew our pass to the local nature center. My goal is to get there once a month. I also plan on working our way through the first ten Outdoor Hour Challenges based on the Handbook of Nature Study

*Finally, my last goal, at least for now, is to not feel badly if I don't achieve 100% of my above posted goals. :)

"First" day of not going to school ;)

So, today was my husband's first day back at work (he teaches ironically), and though we homeschool year round (the boys definitely do better with more consistency than less), today is technically our first day back at homeschooling without an extra hand or two to help. That is, except two of my homeschoolers are missing. The two older boys (8 and 5 1/2) spent the night at Grandma's and Grandpa's house last night, so my three year old and I hung out together. We didn't do much - after an insanely unusually mild summer, the heat decided to kick in with today registering over 100 degrees. We did get to the local teacher's supply store to buy some art and craft supplies. We also read a book on bugs to see if it told us much about wasps or black carpenter bees. So, I suppose you could say some learning happened even if it were a rather small class. ;)