Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teensy Tuesday

Excited today, B will be breaking out the new microscope. He will be checking out bacteria growth in his pond experiment. I think I will pull out the Discovery Toys microscope as well and let A and J check out the slides. They will think that is the coolest.
I have also assigned the boys to do a report on a Canadian Explorer. Basically because B needs something to fill his time:) He is continually looking for the next thing to do and without the Sonlight core I am just pulling stuff together on my own. And I have not spent enough time planning yet this year...
Our Draw Today program is going well, at least for B, he is totally into it and enjoying it. I wish that he required more of himself in the way of editing, revising because he does a wonderful job that would be fantastic if he would just spend the time necessary to keep at it until it was perfected. Although, it is hard to be the other way, like R and I. We are perfectionists and that can really hinder creativity. R does not really want to do the art, because he doesn't think he is good at it. That is why the Draw Today program is so wonderful, because they can succeed at it and feel talented. I can't wait to see what he does with it.
Right now, my R is driving a little batty. He refuses to stay on task for even five minutes. sigh. It is noisy here, I will give him that, the whole time we were working on our math, the decibel level was insane.
A and J both want to be involved in everything. J has me asking him addition and subtraction problems up to 10 and he writes them down and solves them. He is fantastic at the solving and we are working on the printing. A wants to "do math" as well. She had me dot write problems for her to copy. Couldn't just do the numbers, she had to have problems to solve like her brothers.
Home educating with 5 kids from 1 to 15 is never dull, and usually not that easy either.

As for the rest of our lives, B starts his YMCA volunteering today with Afterschool Mania. Basically he is a referee for a bunch of elementary school kids and I am sure he will love it. We need to run to the book store to get his first book for his Modern Classics course. He has 12 chapters to read for next Monday. I am sure he will be done by tomorrow:)I also need to take the boys to get their agendas still. I really want them to start planning their time on their own.
Big B is working nightshift all week, so our days and nights are without him. I hate it, but I am hoping to make it a week of afternoon fieldtrips to help keep it quieter for him. And to keep me sane. Today, we will take a walk in the sun, the weather is gorgeous still.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 2

Friday was more of the same but I did some math evaluation exams with the boys to see if we could skip to the next math level. We won't be skipping:) Which means that I need to order a new curriculum for R AND B now, unfortunately for my wallet. I was hoping R would be able to jump ahead because I have the next years curriculum that my friend gave me. For now I am printing off the Jump Math introductory fractions unit for him.

I will be ordering Teaching Textbooks 7 and Algebra 1 as well as the corresponding Life of Fred books as a fun add-on.

B will be working on his pond experiment today and starting his Modern Classics online Socratic Dialogue class. I am a bit geeked up over his reading list, some of my faves and books I want to read.

Both boys are continuing with their Writing Strands assignments and I am hoping to start The Latin Road to English Grammar again this week and Rosetta Stone French next month.

Some of my plans have been thwarted by missing books. J read Flat Stanley and then proceeded to lose it. I read the economics book I want the boys to read, left in on the couch and it went missing in the clean up. ugh. Apparently I need to clean up the family room. Again. For the third time this summer I need to declutter it after my kids have been cleaning it. They seem incapable of putting things away properly, they just keep stuffing everthing in and under stuff. So frustrating.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I realized today that I am not getting an opportunity to work with my littles. Between refereeing and guiding my older 2 and dealing with baby and home, I am not finding many teaching moments with A & J. I am going to have to schedule myself a bit more strictly I think, rather than going with the flow. ugh.
My goal is to start Flat Stanley with them this week and next week I want to add in reading, handwriting, and math games/activities. I also want to start taking dictation from them of their stories, and maybe have J do some dictation/copywork as his printing skills improve. As for science, nature study and appreciation will comprise the most of our work, I will add in fun experiments as we go along as well as lots of good books to read. Oh, I should go to the library and find Magic School bus videos, the kids love the books, though I find them painful to read. (I yawn so much while reading aloud and they are kinda long(-: )
After we read Flat Stanley, I will have them make their own Flat Stanley to send on an adventure by mail. I am hoping that our Stanley will fly to many places (maybe some of my blog friend's homes!) And the kids and I will map his journey's and hopefully find out a little about the places that he travels to.

Today was one of those days with R, it is 3:40pm and he has just finished his puny amount of school work and has not done his chore for the day (dishes). I have had to get after him numerous times today and he will not stay on track. Sigh. I am trying to stay positive and to keep my discipline positive, but I can tell you that my patience has really been tried today.

So the boys did their art, we watched the second segment of the video, B worked on a silhouette and R was editing his practice drawings in Draw Today. They worked on Day 3 of their Writing Strands assignments, B put together his pond experiment and R finished reading module 5 in Exploring Creation with General Science. I need to pick up printer ink tonight to print out his review and the fractions review I have for him. R also did spelling.
We will do our Bible reading tonight at supper as J was at a friend's all day, and I am about to put in the CD for bible memorization, A New Commandment.

I am praying for the key to unlocking R's motivation and love of learning. Pray for patience for me, please!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

day 2

Z's first birthday today! I can't believe that a whole year has passed already, what a blessing he has been to all of us.
Today R did spelling and what a difference a year makes. Last year he felt like a failure at spelling, he had a super-hard time with it. This has never made much sense to me because he adores reading. Over the past year he has continually challenged himself with more and more difficult reading material. And I think that may have affected his spelling abilities. We did a pretest for his lesson and he only had 2 wrong out of 20. I can tell you that he felt terrific, like he could just maybe be a good speller if not a great one!
Both boys did their Writing Strands and science, we finished Daniel 7 and the littles had their first swimming lessons. J was completely in his element, and both kids loved their lessons and felt very competent.
After lunch we went for a nature walk. I use the term 'nature' very loosely, there is a man-made lake nearby surrounded by trees and home to many waterfowl, muskrat and birds. B needed to collect pond water for a biology experiment and the kids love to watch the animals and explore. Turned out that the city had sprayed herbicide?!? in the area the day before, so we didn't do leaf rubbings or sit on the grass and sketch like we would have liked to. (Am I the only one who thinks it is inane to spray herbicide by a wetland? Or really anywhere in the city?)
We ended our day with breakfast supper, carrot muffins for birthday cake and lots of Z cuddles. At both 9:09 am and 9:09 pm on 09/09/09 I was nursing and cuddling my newly 1 year old baby Z, what a perfect way to bookend his special day.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Day

I told the kids that this year we were going to enforce an reasonable start time so that we have time to accomplish our goals and still have some fun. Today was the first early morning. The children are to be ready to work at 8:30 am. This means that I want them fed, dressed, teeth brushed and sitting at a clean table with their books. I have a feeling that this is going to take a while to become habit. B was up, mostly because we made him get up before I took my Dad to the airport at 6:30 this morning. I wanted him to keep an ear out for A and J who were still sleeping.
Even with a warning call before I arrived home, B was not ready to go by 8:30 and R was not ready to work until 10:30am. He would not get out of bed and then he would not get moving. So tonight he has to be in bed by 8pm. I thought that would be a natural consequence of sleeping in... and I have a feeling that his father will awaken him before he leaves for work at 6:30am. Poor kid.
As for me, I am going to try and go to bed earlier and get up early to exercise and do devotions each morning before we get started.

I am going to try and keep a written record of each child's assignments and daily work here this year. Doesn't make for exciting reading, but I need to keep track.
B, R and I watched a short video on Stephen Covey's site about goal setting, we will watch the whole series and then set our own goals for the year. We went on to do the first of our Writing Strands' lessons, B in book 5, and R in book 4. I started reading the Evaluating Writing book. Wow. I realized that I have been hyper-critical of their writing, rather than encouraging it. Changing that immediately.
R did a spelling lesson to round off English for the day.

We read the first half of Daniel 7 together, it was a bit dry for the kids after the exciting stories they had enjoyed over the previous chapters. A and J went over their Sunday School memory verse and then we started to memorize Psalm 1 (in song) together. B is going to memorize Ps 136 and R chose Ps 43. (I probably need to check, I have a feeling that Ps 43 is super short.)

B reviewed his first science chapter, as I am going to retest/review the chapters he has done as he finishes the lab work he couldn't do previously due to missing supplies/microscope.

We finished off the day with Art. B and R started the Draw Today program, B loved it, but R is finding it difficult so far. I think as he relaxes and progresses that he will enjoy it more. He is very self-critical and a perfectionist like his mother and that can definitely hinder creativity.

Right now the boys are off on a walk, E is sleeping, or I would have taken all the kids. I am going to discipline us all to get at least an hour of activity a day, especially before we get on our electronics. The boys were asking for computer time, so I sent them on a walk. And R has homework (his writing strands) before he has any chance of computer time. I think he will not have any at all, as a result of a poor attitude for most of the day. ugh.

Tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to continuing our adventure then. Hopefully we will all be renewed in spirit and mind.