Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life in the Homeschool Lane: Week 2, Friday

(This is planned, but posting on Thursday)

Webkinz Party Day with our homeschool group! See that, homeschoolers socialize AND know about those elusive little critters. We will be making a fruit pizza. We were supposed to make a game. Super-dad aka Celery is trying to think of something that we can make to play. My brain cells in that area of my brain went to mush and I just have no energy to assist the girls in creating a game that is coherent AND can be played.

Should be lots of fun!

2 weeks down of 4th and 1st grades. Only 30 more to go!

This Weekend: Pilates and no homework (for the kids!).

(note--homeschool needs to be added to spell check!)

Life in the Homeschool Lane: Week 2, Thursday

Rode bikes to Violin Lessons today. That was fun...and hot. Very hot. Sweating hot. No shade hot. Lost my sunglasses and the sun is high-bright-in-the-sky-blinding-me hot. But the kids enjoyed it. I think I will be ready to do that again in about...December?

Contemplating going for my PhD. Nevermind that no College or University offers a doctorate in Mom-ology.

Contenders for my dissertation subject include:

"The Gravitational Pull on Mars As It Relates to Matter on Earth From Child's Hand to Floor"

"'Do I Have To?' IS Translatable Into Each Language on Planet Earth."

"'Is School Done Yet?' How Mere Seconds Seem an Eternity in the Life of a Homeschooled Student And One Math Drill Just About Covers All They Care to Do Academically-Speaking."

"I Just Cleaned the Floor But Yet There is Junk All Over It: A Study in Migratory Habits of the Hannah Montana "Right" Shoe, Ignored Peas, Mancala pieces and Construction Paper in homes with Children old enough to Know Better but Too Young to Get Their Own Place to Trash."

Life in the Homeschool Lane: Week 2, Wednesday

Late start this morning. I have no idea why. But the bed was very comfy.

Today I have decided to time our sections to see where our time wasters are. Right now we are on break.

Religion is supposed to take 20 minutes, it took 35. But that involved retelling a Bible story and by the second sentence, I realized that she was supposed to tell me so that I could write it down. Then tomorrow she will copy it. Ooops! That was part of the delay in this section. In the early grades, it is more important for the student to focus on conveying the information without the added frustration of writing.

Math though--Rutabaga took only 34 minutes! Wahoo!!! And my girl got 100%, 8 out of 8 problems correct for the second day in a row! I am so proud of her. I create single digit equations for her double digit multiplication as her warm up and then she does the double digit problems.

For example: 29X53. I would create 4 problems 2X5, 9X5, 2X3, 9X 3 out of that one problem. Creates a little extra work, but she has to do those problems anyway. Then she is able to focus on the mechanics of a double digit multiplication problem without having to worry about silly multiplication mistakes that she had been making. (She was slipping into 2 + 5 for example for no apparent reason at all.) The other thing she did is write down all her place holding zeros in so that she wouldn't make goofy place value errors. And all this is done on graph paper for easy lining up of numbers.

Memory work is next and then I set her off to her independent work while I work with Butternut. :)

Holy smokes--it is 11:40am and I cannot believe what my wonderful kids have accomplished!
School is nearly done before lunch! And certainly will be done before activities.

Children: Who are you and what have you done with my veggies?

The only thing left is an easy peasy coloring page in a Florida book. Yes--my 4th grader still enjoys coloring. As should everyone. :)

Hit the library real quick on the way home from Alfalfa Sprout's tumbling class and speech therapy. My Julia Child biography came in and I forgot to request it when we were there yesterday. Bon Appetit!

It's 3:35 and I kind of do not know what to do at this very moment. I suppose I will complete some necessary tasks.

By 5pm, music playing has been completed! Let's hope tomorrow is just as lovely.

Life in the Homeschool Lane: Week 2, Tuesday

Math is last--very last. We shall see how that goes. I don't wish the school day to be held up any longer with math.

Kids are screaming--evidently blogging while they should do a simple task of emptying a dishwasher and vacuum a carpet, is not the best of choices. I shall make a note of that. I will also note--I hear no vacuum in the distance.

But in a moment of--affirmation, Rutabaga told me that she loved homeschooling.

We went to the library this afternoon! I found more books mentioned in the movie, "You've Got Mail". So to add to the "shoe" books, we now have the Betsy-Tacy series. They look like cute books.

And school is finished before dinner.

Life in the Homeschool Lane: Week 2-Monday

I'm beginning to agree with my 9yo. Maybe Math is a very much unnecessary subject. Too bad for her that we will not drop that subject. HAHAHAHA!

Alfalfa Sprout decided that 9 o'clock in the morning was a fine time to fall asleep on the math blocks. Evidently math bores him as well.

Butternut once again is on the never end quest for break time. Is it break time, yet? X1000. (Uh oh--math again!)

By night fall it is time for my monthly Bunko Night. Tonight's theme was My Big Fat Greek Bunko. Yep--we theme all of our bunko nights. We are a group of wild and crazy gals! A huge blast complete with a sing along version of the Mamma Mia! movie! "You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your live. Oo-oo-oooohhh! See that girl! Watch that scene, Dig it the dancing queen!" Oh yes--what a fine way to conclude the school day! Bunko monies this evening were donated to a family in dire need where I live. If you know me and live locally and think you might be able to help this family, please contact me and I will get you in touch with my friend who is coordinating the effort.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend Fluff: Week 2, Saturday/Sunday


Kids did a whole lot of nothing on Saturday. A re-watching of the new "Witch Mountain" movie remake. There are more words in the title. It is sci-fi. That's as much as I can remember. They played on their Webkinz and Ty Beanie Baby Land on-line games. I think at one point puppies may have been tended to on a Nintendo DS. Daddy saw some sci-fi movie at the movie theater with his friend/co-worker. I think it is District 9. I think I should get a cookie since I think that is indeed the correct title.

I went to see Julie & Julia. I rather enjoyed the movie. I came straight home (via the grocery store for some boring groceries) and got onto our library web site. I then proceeded to order/hold a DVD of Julia Child's cooking shows, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her book about living in France which I am highly looking forward to reading. The good news is--I'm first in line on the DVD. The bad news--I am #10 on the waiting list for one of the books and #3 on the other. But I can be patient! (Those who know me would laugh at this point, but I'm about tapped out on my Barnes and Noble budget.)

We did not do ANY school this weekend. Though I hope to incorporate our Read Alouds throughout the week. My kids shut down and just want to play all day long and do nothing that resembles school work on Saturdays. I can't say that I blame them. It's like having homework ALL...DAY...LONG!! Okay--this would be hyperbole! I do let them break for meals and potty breaks and to go to bed. HA!

Sunday is Mass and I am not sure what in the world we will do after that. The girls will get paid their meager commissions (This is in lieu of allowance as they have learned in their Junior FPU storybooks by Dave Ramsey.) I say meager when it isn't THAT bad. However--they didn't do all their tasks. This means their plans of purchasing the planned items won't happen unless we hit a 90% off sale. Hopefully the life lesson that you get paid for doing work will sink in sooner or later.

First Week of Schoolness (Week 1, August 17-21, 2009)

In a not well thought out spur of the weekend decision to begin school NOW as opposed to the first day in September as in the days of old, we began our school year in the garden patch. Towards the latter end of the week of August 10th, the kids were getting a little buggy about school starting and with the amount of work to be done in a whole year; I just could not wait any longer. The schoolroom (our dining room) had been organized with all of last year’s stuff pulled and the new curriculum placed on the shelf. What better time to start school than now!

Monday, August 17, 2009 was our first day and once again I some how manage to front load the week as I do every year. Why oh why can I not balance it out better? We did finish our week with most every assignment completed and graded and here are the highlights.

Marco? Polo! Tales of a 4th Grade Something

Rutabaga has made it to fourth grade. (And my spell check helps me realize that her name is spelled wrong all over this blog!) She’s very excited to be in fourth grade. Well—except for the part that she has much more work than her sister. Lots more work. Her syllabus has her complete her schoolwork in roughly 3 hours and her sister in 1 hour. She does not like this. It is unfair. It is just plain unfair. And like the kind schoolmarm that I am, I apologize that she feels this way and urge her to do her math.

Oy! Math! I love math. I love it with a passion. Why I didn’t major in it and go all the way to a PhD and be the guy on NUMB3RS in real life, I shall never know. (Okay—I do know, I just love television production and went to school for that instead!) I am NOT the best math tutor. My philosophy is shamefully—“this is how you do it. See, easy peasy!” Only, some people aren’t built that way. The problem with Rutabaga—she’s built like me. She CAN do this math. But it is her LEAST favorite subject.

My heart is broken on this revelation. However—I tell her, she doesn’t have to like it to be able to do it. And clearly she CAN do it. Her mistakes are just silly ones. On one math page for example, she got 2 answers wrong for not being able to read her own handwriting. I check the “work” when the answer is wrong and not once, but twice on the same page—due to her lack of love for the art of math and equal disdain for handwriting, she added wrong b/c she couldn’t read her work. But by the end of the week with extra tutoring, by jove she is getting it. This double digit multiplication can be a bear. But she gets it. We just had to practice extra hard with properly lining things up so we don’t mistake a number in the wrong place and remember to write our numbers neatly.

The beauty of homeschooling is this: We don’t have to march on forward with math and burdening her with new information while she has to still process the old information. We can pause and work extra. And all will work out in the end.
My other silly moment this week with Rutabaga was my attempt to set a reading goal for my voracious reader. She reads: A lot. So I thought I was being generous at the 150 book reading goal for the year. HA! Let’s just say that she will beat this goal by the end of September at the rate we are going. She reads for leisure and we have lots of living books we read with our curriculum. Needless to say, this is just further emphasis on my inability to do quantitative “guestimation”. I can calculate it given the proper information, but I cannot “guess” to save my life. We will be updating our reading goal to about 500 books for the year and I still think we will be able to beat it.

Additional subjects for my 4th grader: Bible and Catechism, Latin (the subject in which I purchased the incorrect teacher’s manual), Spelling, Science (using Abeka’s 4th grade science), American History (with a small little lead in with Marco Polo and the Vikings as we make our way to a more detailed study of the start of America than we did last year.), Florida, Poetry, and Writing using Writing Strands (so far—I love this workbook!) as well as English using Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serle.

First Grade: Learning to Read

Butternut is on her way!!! We began the Scaredy Cat Reading Program last year with our letter sounds. We finished Kindergarten with the start of Scared “A” (known as the “short” A in other phonics programs). She really enjoys this program especially the games. She is beginning to read Easy Readers with some assistance and can’t wait to read as well as her sister.

In Math—she began her first grade math book last year and got almost halfway through it. We are continuing to learn addition and soon we will start subtraction. She is also working on telling the time.

The rest of Butternut’s curriculum will include Bible and Catechism, Poetry, and Handwriting. I am amazed that she remembers her poems from last year. I wish there was more to say, but 1st grade is a pretty basic curriculum. The rest of the week, she entertained her brother and played with him while Sarah was hard and work.

Alfalfa Sprout: The Language is Coming!

Sprout had a language explosion since I last wrote. His words are coming in! This is truly amazing! However—before anyone says “See, I told you he would talk!”—there is a very obvious way that he speaks and he still requires speech therapy. The good news is—as long as it isn’t late at the end of the day, he will attempt to copy words. He cannot speak in sentences at all—once in a blue moon he will do a two word combination. However—we can get him to copy a sentence word by word. This is progress!

With help—he will say “ay I-ee a oo-wa oo-wa ease” . He says it one word at a time after prompting. Can you tell what that is? It’s “May I have water please?” With the language coming in, we can now comfort the pediatrician that we are simply dealing with a speech issue and not a more serious concern.

We are very proud of Sprouts progress!!

Rutabaga: Piano (with Little House of Music’s, Miss “G”—she’s amazing!); Guitar (with “Arts of Praise”), Voice, Dance, Gymnastics and we may throw in a little bowling for fun.

Butternut: Violin—she just LOVES her violin, piano, voice, dance, gymnastics as well as a little bit of bowling.

Alfalfa Sprout: Mommy and Me gymnastics—pretty much climbing on things and learning some tumbling.

We are very excited this school year and pray that we stay on schedule and enjoy what we are doing.