Friday, January 18, 2008

A Red Letter Day!

It is noon and I am done teaching! I have been waiting for this day for months!
Math? check. Spelling? Check. Handwriting? check. Social Studies? check!!!! English? punctuation, check. journaling, check. Bible? check. French? one child done, the other has independent work to do.
Yay! The boys are working on mapping our neighbourhood and R has to do his French and then they are done. Unless of course I find my Science cd-rom soon and then I will make them do their pre-test and study. I hope I do find it, but I am looking forward to getting lunch done, have them do their chores quickly and booting their cute butts outdoors to enjoy the sun and snow.
Maybe we can make this home education thing work! Even with a new baby in the house.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So we have a nice rhythm happening in our school days. Math, Spelling, Handwriting, French, journal/writing. And then.....
we get stalled.
We need to start our new Grammar program. We need to start our new Social Studies unit. We need to do our Science test and move on to the new chapter. We need to be doing more Bible memory work, we seem to have fallen out of the habit.
The reason we are stalled is because I haven't taken the proper steps in planning ahead. I have to get my but in gear. Find my Science test disk so that I can print out the pre-tests and tests. I need to do a week of the Grammar program ahead of them so that I can teach it. Yeah. Why did I think that the Latin Road to English Grammar was a good idea? I still do, I am just lazy about making time to do it. I have had the program sitting on my shelf for 2 years. I cut out and organized all the flash cards. I uploaded the audio to my iPod. And still it sits. Today, tonight even, I will do the first lesson. I think it will be fun! Don't you?
Oh and the flippin' library. I still haven't ordered my books for Canadian History. I hate the library. Hate. All I can think of while I am there or while I am reading a book from the library is germs. Of all the dirty hands that have touched the books. I realize many people love the library, I am just not one of them. If I could buy all of the books I need then I would gladly do that. I would go without lattes and food to buy the books. But sadly a great many of the books I need are not available for purchase. wah. So I need to bite the bullet tomorrow and leave my house and head to the library to buy my card. Once I have that, it is easy. I just go on my computer (joy!) and order my books.
Okay. I can do this.
Tonight: - Check over this week's math lessons
- Do first Latin/Grammar lesson
- Find my Science cd-rom and print tests
- Do a French lesson....
- Maybe work on my yearbook/scrapbook for last year...
Tomorrow: - Get past journaling on our list of school work

I really can do this. I know I can.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hockey Mom

My boys are the sweetest. Yesterday when they were suppposed to be journaling they wrote letters to the local NHL team about why their Mom is the best hockey mom ever. They are going to enter them in a contest for cool prizes. Like family tickets to a hockey game as well as dinner and a limo ride.
Are they cute or what?
Did I mention that their dad put them up to it? I think he really wants to go to the game, but it is pretty sweet that he recognizes all I do to make sports possible for our kids. I am a pretty lucky Mom and wife!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Not so bad

Well it did not go to badly yesterday. Our morning started with listening to the terrific New testament on CD I bought for Brent for Christmas. It is in the style of old Radio plays but true to the complete text of the New Testament. Awesome!
In school we started with math, as usual and that went well so we moved on to spelling. I have not taught spelling yet this year so we did the Spelling Power placement testing. I am very pleased with the results as R is one level ahead of where we left off and B is two levels ahead. Today we did the more specific tests and those were the final results. (R{10}is level C and B{13} is level G) We also managed to get in some handwriting, blogging/journaling and French. Not too bad for the first day back.
Today we started with our prayer and Bible reading: Ps. 1 and 2 & Matthew 10 & 11
I have finished the spelling placement and the boys are working on their math.
Science: We are finishing our reading for Module 3 and I need to print out the pre-test and tests for them. I love this module, we are learning about non-obvious variables, blind and double blind studies, graphing and interpreting results. Cool! I have decided to use science as exam taking practice. Easy choice considering that there are exams for each module. I am going to set them up formally to take these tests, this is not something we do very often, but I think it is important for them to know. They both plan on continuing their education, so they will need to know how to write an exam as well as how to study.
Handwriting: I have been using Handwriting Without Tears with R (10) and I have kind of let handwriting slide with the eldest. Today he decided to handwrite his spelling test. Big mistake. So I am doing some remedial handwriting with him using the same curriculum. I wish I had found it before he learned to handwrite because although he has some pretty letter formations, often the curly letters he writes are easy to mistake for other letters or letter combinations. Not so good.
Grammar/Punctuation: I will go over a page or two of The Usborne Guide to Better English. I hope.
Writing: 20 minutes of blogging
Geography: finishing off our unit on Canadian Geography

I need to get to the library and renew my card so that I can order all the books we need for our Canadian History unit.
I was flipping through a book I bought a year or two ago, The Usborne Guide to Better English: Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation. It is terrific! In five minutes of flipping I learned tons of things that I am doing wrong in my own writing. How embarrassing! It is a fun little resource and it even includes some activities and tests, so I think I will read it with the boys and we can do the activities. It is the least dry English book I have ever seen and it offers a very common sense approach to the subjects that makes so much sense to me. The book is British, so I am not sure how it would line up with the American standards of Grammar and spelling, but for us canuckleheads it works perfectly.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Journey

I had this idea that at some point in my home educating journey I would arrive. I would know what I was doing. That I would have many words of wisdom to bestow upon my fellow travelers.
Well it has been 5 years and I feel that I have absolutely nothing to offer. I often feel more lost than I did at the beginning. I think it is more that now I so painfully aware of how much I have yet to learn.
One thing that I have gathered is that boys are often not ready for formal education til much later than our 'school' system would have us believe. Most boys are not ready to sit in a classroom all day at the tender age of 6. I read many blogs of women who have children in school, I read of their struggles with their perfectly normal little boys being shamed and punished for being themselves in school. They are full of energy and life, anxious to explore everything around them. Sitting in a desk for hours at a time is almost impossible, especially without indulging in a little mischief.
These perfectly bright children are being taught to despise school and learning because a traditional classroom is not set up to accommodate their needs. They will fall behind and learn to hide their little lights or they will go the other way and become what it is they seem to be told daily - trouble.
Now I am not faulting teachers here. Teachers have to do the best they can to reach a large number of children in the most effective way possible. To do this they must require some semblance of order in their classroom. This is reasonable. I really do not know how a 'school' can meet the needs of all children. I am not sure how to integrate boisterous, little boys into a classroom, although I am sure it can be done without shaming them. Methods like where teachers put kids names on the board or have a behavior poster on the wall can not be the best way to manage behavior. Shaming kids is never the way to bring out a child's best.

Friday, January 04, 2008

To begin again

I am totally stressing about starting school again next week. I thought I would have all this planning and organizing time in December and I really had none. The weekend rush of sports and church is about to begin and I am completely unprepared for next week. All of our schedules are completely messed up and I know it is going to be a hard couple of weeks organizing and getting us all back on track.
Anyone have any tips?