Sunday, August 29, 2010

Past Days of My life-----I have a few posts from the past waiting to be finished. This is the first in my series of Past Days of My LIfe.

This week went better than weeks past, and yet not quite where we need to be.   Wednesday we slept in because J got in from out of town late.   He left for work a few minutes before 10 and I left to pick up N.   Five minutes from home, the phone dinged to let me know something came up on my calendar.

 Hmmm, I thought.   I don't remember having anything on the calendar for today.  Curious, I checked my calendar at the next stop sign.

 AAAAHHHHHHH, it's the day of E's PE test.   He's suppose to be at the college running a mile along with his other PE tests!  Okay, so I u-turn and speed back home (not an exaggeration for effect in this instance!).   HONK, HONK, HONK!  Out comes E to see what's up.   I tell him its time for his PE test and he, along with his two sisters, need to be in the car now!   He runs in for his shoes and sisters.   After getting in the car, decides he needs a water bottle runs in and gets it.

Okay, we're off-- it's only 10!   We will swing by N's school (which is on the college campus) and pick him up on the way to E's test.  Of course, on the way, I'm scanning my mind for the info about where the test is being held on the college campus.  I remember reading about signs and special parking.  I also remember thinking I don't need this info for a couple of weeks.  I'll worry about it closer to the actual date.   Ack!  Why didn't I pay more attention?.   Driving slowly by N's miniature campus,  I don't see him.   We give each other 15 minutes past pick-up time, so I think he took longer on his test than expected.  No problem--I'll figure out where E is suppose to be and come back for him.   Driving over towards the athletic area of campus I see hoards of young kids and adults walking.

E-R asks me, " why  didn't  you park and pick up N."

 I tell her, " he wasn't there".

 "Yes, he was," she says.   "He was sitting right out front with one of his friends!"

 Aaahhhhh!   So, now I'm worried that N saw me and  started walking the 5 miles home thinking that I left him behind.

 Okay, are all these kids I see walking doing the mile run?   I park at the first spot I see and find an official looking lady with an official looking  badge.  " Okay, we're just here---I'm sorry we're late.   What do we need to do?"

" Well, first you need to park on the other side of the campus and walk over here and then down this way to the athletic field."   Ack, I decide to chance it with the parking spot!   We hurry over to the field, joking as we half run, half walk, that this is a good warm-up for the mile run.  We sign in.   No problem, it is a do it at your own pace.  No pressure, no one cares that we are 20 minutes late!   :)

So, we first do height and weight and then it is time for E to do the mile run.  I watch him start his mile.   And instead of being one of the moms armed with a video camera taping this 7th-grade milestone, I run out of the stadium dragging two littles with me, hoping to be able to figure out where N might be!   He's not at his campus; he's not walking home--as far as I can tell.   At this point I figure it must be time for E to be finishing his mile run.   So, I (again) speed back to campus and find a spot in the 30 minute parking.   Littles and I run back to the athletic field!  Perfect timing---E is just finishing up!    We stay with him while he finishes his other tests and head back to the car.    I sit and take a few breathes and think  where might he be, where might he be.  Where would my kid go after thinking his mom abandoned him.       E-R says, I bet N is at the library.    So, we circle around the campus again to re-park in five minute parking.    We calmly walk up to the library and sure enough---there is N---without a care in the world.   He says, what happened, mom?   End of story.

You know--Perhaps its time to begin using that calendar hanging up in the kitchen..

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Beginning of School 2010/2011 School Year

 N started school two weeks ago with his trig class at the college.   And then we met with our beloved Mrs. Stout who helped set up a plan for the year that puts N on track to graduate at the end of this school year.   He went home with his packet of work for his first high school class of the school year, 11th-grade english.   This last Tuesday A-M started her second year of school at Foothill.   She's taking drama, dance, honors english, algebra II, honors world history, honors chemistry, and honors spanish.   Busyiness has already filled her world.

Today began our homeschool.   In the past, I've taken great pleasure in planning our schedule and fitting together like a puzzle how we would use each minute of the day.  You know what?   I must be tired, because this year I turned this aspect of our school over to my cute not-so-littles.  

Most of our first day consisted of them planning out next week and fitting in when they would work on each subject.  

We'll start out our days with Memory Time (from 7-7:45) all together. 

E-R's schedule

8:00-9:00----Read Lit book and free reading
9:00--9:30---Math lesson
9:30--10:15---Language arts with I-E and mom
10:15--11:00---Thinking skills
12:00-12:30---Homework time*

* Homework is anything she is assigned such as math and english lessons.

Next week science isn't scheduled but in future weeks will alternate with history time.

This planning was very stressful for E-R, but I am sure that is will be much become much easier for her in future weeks.   I also think she will have much more time during her day than she thinks to work on her math and english. 

E's schedule

6:00-7:00---Free time or math
7:00-7:45---Memory Time
8:00-9:00---Work with Mom on Language Arts
9:00-10:00---Homework for Language Arts

On Fiday--Instead of History, Art

I-E's schedule

6:00-7:00---Building Thinking Skills
7:00-7:45---Memory Work
8:00-8:30---Lit reading
9:00-9:30---Math Lesson
9:30-10:15---Language Arts with Mom
10:15-11:00---Monday The Story of Western Civilazation, Tuesday through Friday Homework
Then on Monday, Wednesday,and Friday---shower!

Over-all our scheduling time was a bit stressful, but E did say that he enjoyed planning out his time.   I-E said that now she realizes why I spent those three weeks hunkered down with the computer planning out our year.    Isn't a little stress worth-it, when it brings about some gratitude for mom and her work?

We did complete some math and history, but the highlight of the day was our Dig! Discover!Display! Kit.   It has become a tradition to start out our school year with one of these kits.   This year E picked the crystal mine kit for us to kick off the school year.

The kids have exspecially been looking forward to this Friday for a reason that has nothing to do with school.   Papa will be home after a long two weeks working in Europe!   They plan to take him to Jamba Juice when he gets back into town!    

How was your school experience this week?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not Back to School A Day in the Life

Up at 6:00 AM--soon to be 5:00 AM
Oh, MY!!!!

Well, I am a bit later writing this post than planned, because I have been trying to adjust to my new days!   A morning person I am not.    My two oldest children, A-M and N, attend early morning seminary at 6:30 AM.   Last year, A-M had perfect attendance.   Even when she was sick and didn't head off to school, she went to seminary and sat in the back.   N went every morning with the exception of a few sick days.  My beloved husband plays basketball in the mornings three days a week, so he drove them those days, and a friend drove them the other days.   My point---I didn't get up until after A-M and N were gone for the day.   This year, N has asked if we can all get up together and eat breakfast before they leave.  Not an unreasonable request and yet I HATE GETTING UP EARLY!!  But you know what?  N only has one more year before he leaves for college and then year by year my other kids will be gone.   So, I am working on getting up early.   This week has been 6:00 and next week we will all get up at 5:00.  The biggest problem---I don't like going to bed early. All has gone well this week, except I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon at 4:00! 

Monday through Thursday
5:00--up for breakfast, scriptures, and chores
6:00--free time
7:00--school time, mornings will be the basics, such as math, language arts, scriptures, and memory work-- 
11:00--lunch, garden, swimming, and/or park time
12:30--history or science time
4:00--swim team

We have a Shakespeare class at 9:30-11:00.   I think we will go to the park afterwards for lunch and then on to the library to work on our school work. 

I'm still not sure when we will fit in art.  In the past, we have worked on it Friday afternoons.  This year, I don't think that will work, so we'll see when it fits in. 

In past years, I have planned my school days down to 15 minute increments.  This year, I'm turning ownership of the day over to my kids.  Friday is our first day of school, and I am going to have the kids sit down and plan out the schedule.   I'll post our schedules after Friday.  

I keep telling my kids that we will get use to our new early schedule in a few weeks.  Perhaps, if I repeat it a few more times I'll believe it.  

I will get use to getting up early.  

I will get use to getting up early. 

I will     




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Awesome Art Curriculum

I recently attended a workshop sponsored by The Getty.   Although the young lady presenting the class was young and unfamiliar with homeschoolers in general,  I am very impressed that The Getty is reaching out to homeschoolers.   After a brief introduction to the layout and art galleries at The Getty, we looked at an unique piece of art.   Titled, Bust of a Man,  and created by Francis Harwood in 18th century Florence, Italy this piece really  blew me away.   It's unusualliness is not only in its material (black pietra da paragone--instead of a white marble), but also its subject.    The scar above his eye, the tilt of his head, and the gaze of his eyes, gave him an individuality that really set apart this piece of art for me.   Following our discussion, we created a bust of our own.   Our bust was to represent someone who normally wouldn't be put on a pedestal.   One of the participants represented her trashman.   You know what, trashmen should be on a pedestal!  I've never thought about trashmen like that before.    And that is the point of art.  A classic piece of art is universal and should make us think about our world in a different way.  Last but best of all was the curriculum.  

This curriculum is a gem.   Each of the 28 lessons includes plans for elementary, middle-school, and high-school levels.   These plans includes not only art, but also english and history.   And the timeline feature will make a classical homeschooler's heart beat just a bit faster!    Even though this curriculum is based on pieces found at The Getty, it is completely self-contained and can stand alone.

AND I've saved the best for last!   This and more wonderful curriculum is available to you for free!
A little bit of clicking around the education part of this website will reveal lots more neat resources.

Be sure to check out reviews from lots more homeschooling moms at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not Back to School Pics

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Time for our "Not Back to School" Pictures.

(okay, don't expect to see this mama in a bathing suit again in the near future!)

We'll also have some friends joining us.

We don't usually play poker during school time (really, we don't ;) )

This student has already started school.  She's learned that a source of food lives in this container and once a day this container opens.     She has just one chance each day to stick her little paw in there and grab it.   Opening  time is just minutes away!

Happy Not Back to School Time!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Our School Home

This week at Heart of the Matter the Not Back to School Blog Hop continues with School Room Week.   We don't have one room set aside for school instead we have a school home.   Here are some pictures to help you visual how we've set things up.  

Disclaimer:   Time was not had for cleaning before these pictures were taken--so what you see is how things really are at my house.  

Globe sits on the window seat next to my mail basket.   We use it at least once a day.

Corner of the living room with our couches and computer desk.  If you look closely, you can also the pull-up bar hanging from the kitchen doorway.  

This is our dining room table.  This summer it has been used for a Heroscape field.   In a few weeks, it will revert back to a dining/ school table.

This is the TV and you know what?   Some days this is a very important part of school.   Shark Week, anyone!?

Anyone else have a lego room?

Here comes the good stuff--what every homeschool home needs lots of:

SHELVES, of course!

Don't forget the ones in the garage.

And the sad, sad ones in the upstairs hallway that the kids takecare of

And the all important bins.

And last, but certainly not lest---the favorite place for a homeschool mom to find a math book

On the floor!  

What does your school space look like?   Do you have a room set aside just for school or do you spread out a bit more?!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Declare Your Curriculum!

It's that time of year again.   Time to Declare Your Curriculum! 

Not Back to School Blog Hop 

I think I'm most excited about our science plans this year.   We are using Joy Hakim's The Story of Science: Newton at the Center.   It covers science history through the Middle Ages and Renaissance.   We will incorportate timelines, study journals, art history, and geography into the study of science history.  Many of the science experiments suggested in the TG are included in the Milestones in Science kit--so that made supplies for many of the experiments super easy.   The Mystery of the Periodic Table and Along Came Galileo will round out our science for the year.

Our core for Language Arts is Rod and Staff English.   E will be working in level 6 and E-R and I-E will complete level 5.    In addition to R&S, we will be working with Write Source,  Daily Warm-Ups: Prefixes, Suffixes & Roots 1, and  Test Prep Words Level I.   Figurative Langauge.and Other Literary Devices  will introduce I-E and E-R to literary anylisis. E-R and I-E will also study several books using blackbird & company lit guides.  The one I'm looking forward  to the most is Exploring Poetry.    E will be working more in depth with Windows to the World.  Of course, we'll continue with our favorite spelling, Sequential Spelling

E-R and I-E are continuing on with Singapore Math 5.    E is finishing up Teaching Textbook's pre-algebra.  I am not what we will do for algebra.   I'm not really happy with his standardized test scores in math.   I say this because he had the same weaknesses that A-M did after completing TT's algebra.    So for now, he will finish up pre-algebra, and I will try to figure out algebra by that point.  Math will be supplemented with Mathematicians are People, Too.

History, history, history!    We will be covering the Middle Ages and Renaissance.   I have a plethera of materials.   SOTW, The Human Odyssey, various Kingfisher history encyclopedias, Learning through History magazines, In the Hands of a Child lap booklets,  numerous Jackdaw resouces, The Story of Western Civilization, ect.   Blah!!!!!   It's too much.  I can't decide what to do with any of it.   Part of me wouldn't mind a workbook or two (perhaps a textbook with ?s included) and a few neat library books thrown in.   Anyone have any ideas, suggestions, or a swift kick for me?

Spanish and French will be online courses again.

Critical Thinking will include Mind Benders and A Case of Red Herring.   E will work on Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal.  E-R and I-E will work on Building Thinking Skills Level 2.   And I will sneak into Language Arts  a few more thinking skills with Descriptive Mysteries.

Art will continue with the second half of Calvert's Discoveries in Art.   Everyone is excited to continue the second half of this program.   Art was the highlight of our Fridays last school year..  Hopefully that will continue this year.

I'm most likely missing a few things here or there.  I am awaiting the delivery of an art history book and a map book for geography.   If they are the gems I am expecting, I'll post more details later on.   One never knows though---must have it in my hands to make that determination!

What are you using for curriculum this year?   Feel free to  share your plans(or links to them) in the comment section.