Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Here is the e-book Challenge:
And of course.....
I am now going to try and set up some kind of list...ummmmmm.......maybe :-)
Monday, December 27, 2010
Did you reach the goal of 52 books?:
Why yes, I think I did!
What was the last book you read?:
The last book for this year is The Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. He is one of my all time favorite authors...and I got to read this one on my new Sony E-Reader!! Thanks Honey! I love you!!!!
Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week?:
I didn't read from a list...and I really did fly by the seat of my pants. I really wish I could have been more organized and purposeful in my reading, but this was not going to be the year for it. I got most of my ideas from the other readers on the WTM forum, Sonlight lists and Ambleside Online lists. I also got some ideas from my older kids ("MOM! You have GOT to read this!! That is how I came upon the Book Thief and The Heretic's Daughter.)Did you learn something new about yourself, an author, an topic?:
Well, YES! I didn;t think about it until now, but I found I really...R.E.A.L.L.Y. enjoy Dystopian Literature. i didn't even know that was a genre! I just thought i loved Sci-Fi without robots and with a political twist. I went on one of those reading jags...and got Elvis reading them as well. This included but was not limited to: Hunger Games trilogy, Orson Scott Card books, 1984, Brave New World, This Perfect Day, etc.
How many classics did you read?:
Well, i read a bunch of Children's Classics like Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Little House on the Prairie series (not really a classic, but almost there...LOL)
Did you discover a new author or genre? Did you love them or hate them?
Yes, I really like Malcolm Gladwell and enjoyed his non- fiction statistical books especially Outlier. I love how chatty, but interesting they were.
Name your top ten favorite reads:
OK...Harry Potter...I never read these before and I am so happy I finally did. They were so much fun, I loved the whole series.
Hunger Games Trilogy
The Book Thief
I Am the Messenger
The Heretic's Daughter
Water for Elephants
Percy Jackson Olympians series
Name your bottom ten least favorite reads:
The Outlander by Gil Adamson (not the series of a similar title)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Time Traveller's Wife
Elegance of the Hedgehog (hated the end!)
The Element (yawn)
Knowing and Teaching Elementary Math (I am not so sure I liked her tone young lady.)
Life of Pi (loved and hated at the same time. Beautifully disturbing. It broke my heart.)
Name a book you simply could not finish:
Bill Bryson's book about Australia. I like him, but the book was a schnoozer for me. Ds loved it...go figure...
I remember throwing a few books across the room this year, but I have blocked them from my memory...sorry...sigh....
Name a book you expected to like but didn't:
The Time Traveller's Wife. After all the hip and hype...I kept waiting for something besides soft porn to happen. I really like time travel books, they fascinate me BUT this was like a poorly written made-for-tv but had too much skin, so let's make a movie book. I think the premise was interesting, but so poorly carried out...I kept waiting for the story. Didn't happen...blah!!!!
Name a book you expected to not like but did:
Harry Potter. After all the warnings and etc. I thought I would read it just to say I have and back up my choice not to include it in my children's reading lists. I was surprised how much i enjoyed these books. I apologised to my older kids for believing and propagating the "Harry Potter is not ok for Christians" myth. They assured me it was OK and they actually all read and enjoyed the books too...rotten kids!
So, now I am looking forward to next years challenge. I am going to put together a list for myself....52 books long, but I have the right to be wishy-washy and not follow the plan. I am going to try to include 4 biographies, 4 non-fiction (not biographies) 4 Classics, 4 Christian Classics, 4 Travel Books, 4 science fiction, 4 girl books, 4 Teaching Theory Books, 4 Historical Fiction, 16 books from any category...
I plan on drawing heavily from Ambleside Online, The Well Educated Mind and other bloggers :-)
Come on Reading Challenge 2011!!
Friday, December 24, 2010
This question was asked on the WTM today, and it really set me to reminiscing…..
For things like math and LA, do you use the same thing for younger kids as you did for their older siblings?
I don't use the same materials. With my older kids I used a lot of "homeschool only" curricula. The WTM wasn't out yet and I had lots of warm fuzzy ideas. Then I met Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer. I also gained more confidence in my teaching ability. I found out I hated Saxon math, because it was a bad fit and didn't help my kids to love or understand math. It just frustrated them and me. I should have know the first week I started home schooling with my borrowed copy of the 5/4 book which I promptly dropped on my foot and broke my toe!
I do use many of the same read alouds and readers.
I didn't know about Christian Light programs and when I did hear of them, I thought "Light" meant it was easy or for special needs. I started using them after a recommendation on the WTM for my struggling 4th grader. What a difference! Things I was trying to accomplish, in a workbook, easy-peasy to implement....sigh of relief!
When I started there was no SOTW, No Ambleside Online...heck, there was no ONLINE!, No TOG, Sonlight and Beautiful Feet were available.
Somehow when I started homeschooling, there was this weird underlying "feeling" that I can't put my finger on. There was a philosophical Holier than Thou spirit floating around these parts. I could never really get my mind wrapped around it, guess I am not spiritual enough. There were Marilyn Howshall and Lynda Coates and Robin Sampson (now Scarlata? or is it the other way?)
For the girls, there was Far Above Rubies. I researched through “The Principle Approach,” I flew caution to the wind and bought (used) all 4 volumes of the Weaver Curriculum, because I wanted to teach History in a chronological manner, I tried text books, A Beka and Bob Jones. I learned about Ruth Beechick and implemented her ideas into our LA. I used a version of the Phonics Road. I was like a teeny , tiny ship being tossed upon the waves of curricula and Home Learning. I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on, and literally drove myself NUTS! My kids seem no worse for wear. My heart was in the right place and they knew we were on this crazy journey together. My first 2 had been in school, so they needed a bit of “detox’ing.” My younger guys were little…and loved being in on everything the girls were up to. Then came pregnancies, sicknesses, financial issues, aging and sick, dying parents, aging US…lol.
It was a weepy, surreal time. The Christian home schoolers I knew were ultra religious, and convinced Christians were oppressed by the wicked, evil, soul stealing public schools, and needed to protect our children from "Others." Problem was, I was OTHERS...and didn't want anyone to know that...LOL! I could never fit in. I tried...I switched to all dresses, went to church 3 times a week, taught Sunday School, had fellowship meetings in my home, tried to be legalistic etc. I almost went totally BONKERS!
I had to go through a period of soul searching, self examination to determine who I was and how I fit into life. It was really hard. I was depressed a lot of the time. I was physically ill, pregnant, nursing or both much of those early years. Then, I fell in love with Jesus, asked Him into my heart and to guide my paths. I yearned to know the real Jesus, not some made-up version, not some watered down, all is good, happy-happy, jooy-joy version or mean, ugly, nasty version. Not some version who didn't love us for who He made us to be, and then expected us to be someone else. I wanted to know the God of the Bible and I wanted my children to know Him as well.
More self reflection. I now had teens who were going off to college, tweens, kids and babies. I always pictured myself like the clown in the circus spinning plates and not letting any of them drop.
THEN , dh started his own business and I was expected to be ½ of it…..
Curricula needed to be simple. I didn’t have hours upon hours to sit on the couch and read to my babies. I was too busy driving them to swim meets and classes. I was too busy balancing books, answering phones, dealing with taxes and invoices and vendors. My Dad passed on and I became the sole care giver to my Mother. SOMETHING had to change!
As I said, when I started home schooling for us was intrinsically intertwined with religiosity. With that part of our lives over , I needed to reassess OUR OWN reasons for home schooling. One big reason was that God called us to this path. I had that calling and know it, without all the legalism or religious rules. It was pretty simple…Do This!
I am also very academically inclined. I think deeply, my husband thinks deeply and I want my kids to be thinkers as well. In came the Well Trained Mind. In came Charlotte Mason .
In came online classes, resources, message boards where there were like minded home schoolers. Some still made all their own bread from their own home ground flour…and all their 12 kids had matching outfits which Mom herself sewed from the woolen cloth she wove….think Teaching Home, Far Above Rubies, Crown of Silver….but there were also those home schooling for purely academic reasons, those home schooling for religious reasons, who weren’t
Anyway, in answer to your question, as we home school , we grow. As we raise our kids, we too grow and change. As we home school, our children mature, as we mature. As we home school, we learn who we are. We change, our curriculum choices change, our teaching methods develop and change, our book choices change. As we home school we hone our children’s skills, we hone our own skills. I am no longer that twenty-something Mom with all young kids. I am a forty-something woman with adult children, teen-agers, tweeners and young kids. I am readying to be a grandmother at some point. Of course I am different! Of course my curricula is different. Homeschooling is a path which we walk, sometimes we stop and rest and then we go on. All of the methods, curricula, educational philosophies, teaching methods, etc. have melded together to look like something "new" and "different" in my homeschool. My school should not look like your school, and as you grow and mature, your homeschool will change as well. It is sort of like looking back at baby pictures and then pictures of you as a child, adolescent, teen and then an adult...young, middle and then older.
As Charlotte Mason said, “Education is a life.” I add, so is home schooling.
Have a Blessed Christmas!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It has been a busy month...our month off from swim practice. It took a lot of patience and explaining that the month off from swimming was MY vacation...not the kids vacation. It's funny how when you are in a routine and it is interrupted your entire schedule is topsy turvy.
So, we basically stayed focused on catching up our schoolwork, planning our garden, playing a bit in the beautiful weather...before the bug invasions of May, and figuring out how to get our seatwork finished by noon (just the younger ones) so we could have the afternoons for free time.
Passover Sedars, Easter dinners, Nanny's birthday....
Our highlight this month was a trip to West Point Military Academy for a free swim clinic. We all piled into my van...little guys in tow and had an awesome day. we had just finished learning about the Revolutionary War, so the cannons were a big hit!!! Cannons to the right of us! Cannons to the left of us!!! BANG!!! BANG>>>
The Hudson was so beautiful and the mountains were bursting with SPRING!
I took a ton of pictures on my phone, but getting them on my lappy is another story completely!
Of course April is an awesome month for Nature Study. Flowers are popping up all over the place (So, is my hayfever...aaaahhhhchooooo....)
Newts, salamanders and efts abound...the deer are eating my garden ALREADY!
So this week swim season (long course) begins...and Elvis comes down with a nasty cold! It seems the swim card is just going against him. He is discouraged...he lost yet another week of practice. I am discouraged for him.
This is the time of year when all my homeschooling buddies feel like they haven;t accomplished a thing ALL year and the public school starts looking
Are my kids all I had dreamed they would be...well...not yet..LOl...but I am not sure anyone could live up to those dreams. Somehow I thought (even though this thinking was very skewed) that homeschooling was going to be some kind of magic bullet. My kids would be protected from all the hurts and harms in the world. I could watch over their little heads and hearts and put only good things into them. (Very Buddah-like) The thing I didn't think of at the time, was that they were not perfect and I am not Jesus. I am sinful...have good days and bad days. I don't know it all...I can't carry the burden of perfection and therefore could not expect my kids to be somehow perfect as well. I made lots of mistakes in schooling that older crew....and I am sure I will make plenty schooling this younger bunch. BUT GIVE UP??? NEVER!!!!! I really...in my heart believe ...that homeschooling is better for MY kids than any other avenue of education.
My original ideas and reasons still hold true...even if my method and my realization that the is no silver bullet...have changed me.
1: God told me to do this....audibly....and I was not a Christian at the time. "Get those children and raise them separate and Holy unto Me. "
2: I wanted my children to love each other...to be best friends. The school system has a way of dividing and conquering the family unit. It remakes the unit....and then tears it apart and remakes it...over and over for 12 straight years.
3: I wanted my children to be able to discern right from wrong and choose to do the right thing...
4: I wanted my children to be educated whether they pursued degrees or became skilled technicians. For their own self and their own needs, I wanted their brains to be fully developed to love beauty of art, music, literature etc.
4: I wanted my children to find peace in their own relationship with God. I did not want them to have a shallow understanding of the Bible or who they are as God's children. I wanted them to love other people, respect other cultures, to walk with wisdom. I did not want them to be whitewashed tombs. I did not want them to be haughty in their belief.
5. I wanted to have a relationship with my kids...a real one...based on mutual admiration and respect. I wanted to know them for the people they are...not as little clones or cookie cutter kids. I wanted them to have the freedom to pursue their own personage, to be comfortable in their own skin, to love who God made them to be, to be strong and of good courage.
As you can see, most of my reasons were not academic. Academics are very important to us. I use much more rigorous curriculum than most of the homeschoolers in our area...but my reason for homeschooling were, and have remained, focused on so much more than just books and knowledge. It has been focused on raising independent, hard working, honest, loving, creative individuals who are someday going to go out and make a difference in this world.
It has been a bumpy road...and my road is still quite a long one to travel....but, lately, I have been feeling up to the challenge again. I am coming out of the burnout and indecision, overwhelmed feeling of the last few years...and triumph feels GOOD!
I found that I can only do my best and remember that I am going forward in love, choosing the best I can day by day....and hopefully walking in love with my children and husband toward a higher goal...making a little difference or impact for the future generations....and being loving and forgiving toward myself and my shortcomings...modeling to my kids that we can work hard and still fail an endeavor....and then pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and carry on, becoming stronger as we go.
WOW! That was a bit of a mind ramble...and I apologize....April has always been an introspective month for me.....Spring....and new beginnings and all.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Dr. Kazam, Elvis, Yuggie and I have all finished The Lightening Thief series...That was SO MUCH FUN!!!! We are now working on The Looking Glass Wars.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
We did some school work too!
This week we studied Captain James Cook. We learned about the early discoveries and explorations of Australia. We followed Captain Cook's journeys on our maps. Cubby and MMM learned their compass points. We also learned to 7 continents and 4 oceans.
We added Cook to our timeline to see that his explorations took place at the same time as the American revolution. We looked at portraits of Cook and saw that his clothes were very similar George Washington's clothes.
The kids thought it was so hysterical that explorers needed to bring artists with them on their travels because no one had a camera! LOL! Talk about being replaced by technology!
We looked up some Australian and looked at pictures of the flora and fauna.
Elvis finished Module 6 in his chemistry. Stoichiometry was a hard learn for him buthe got it!! He took his exam and got a 94%!!! YAY!!!
He also finished Chapter 9 in Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2. After struggling with Chalkdust in the begin ning of the year, we decided to go back to TT. That was a wonderful decision for us. He is back on track...and he is using the Larson book as back-up and review. We will also use Life of Fred as a review for Geometry over the summer before he takes the PSAT.
Elvis finished another unit in World Lit and continues reading in Dante's Inferno. he also read the Book Theif this week. He is plugging along in his Grammar. he is studying Spinoza in Philosophy.
This weekend we will be swimming in Silver Championships, so he is all tapered and shaved and ready to go!
Dr. Kazam finished CLE Reading 6. She loved the book! She learned so much from this program including literary devices and how to edit and correct her own work.
We added Life of Fred Fractions to her Maths. She is finishing up CLE level 500. Instead of rushing into 600, I want to use LOF to solidify wat she learned in 500. She is loving Fred!
Dr. Kazam is also all tapered and ready to swim at Silvers. I wish I had my replacement Camera!
The little boys did their lessons ok. As long as I sit there with them, they will get it done...otherwise OY VEY! The sun has finally appeared and the thermometer is above freezing, so my littlies spent so much time out doors. I gave them some chores this week and they took to them like ducks to water. They like bein helpful...now to teach them to clean up their toys. Their room is a lego explosion!
The little boys have learned to sit through and ENJOY read alouds! YAY!!! We have read so many books this week.
Now off to watch the new Phineas and Ferb!!!! Brand new episode!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
So, Here it is Friday and I think maybe, one lesson per subject has been completed by the kids this week....so Mama flips into un-schooler mode and asks, what DID WE DO THIS WEEK?? And strangely, I am happyLOL!!!!
Elvis: Yuggie's college Chemistry book arrived by mail on Monday. Elvis was curious and wanted to compare it to his Apologia Chem book. Conclusion: Elvis spent all of Monday reading Yug's Chem book. We have switched back to Teaching textbooks after a 1/1/2 year doomed trip with other Math programs....(Chalkdust/ Jacob's Geometry) becaue TT was deemed "NOT RIGOROUS" by the powers that be....YET, after TT Algebra 1 Elvis was one of the only kids in his Geometry class (online) that remembered and could explain the Algebra review....sigh.....I should have stuck with my gut. BUT, once again, I let the RIGOROUS POLICE take hold of my common sense....
Elvis and Daddy were supposed to go to a Well Pump School in Massachusettes on Tuesday...Highlight was to be a hotel stay and indoor go-carts. Life interfered....our well pump died on Monday night...Tuesday brought a pending blizzard. So, on Tuesday in stead of a 5 hour car-ride and go-carts.....Elvis actually helped pull and install a new well pump.
Ham and Cubby were close at hand "Helping" and lending a hand when needed.
Homeschool learning at it's best.
Elvis returned to Yuggie's Chem book and snuggled down to learn about balancing chemical equations and converting units of measure....
Dr. Kazam spent her week antagonizing brothers, making stuff out of construction paper, and painting GORGEOUS tops for her friends birthdays. Her talent is definitely NOT Math. She is a born artist...very creative. I could not believe she painted these shirts freehand...I am totally amazed! She also found my copy of Lightning Thief and is in the process of voraciously reading it. I told her I would not take her to see the movie if she didn't read the book first...so she is reading....and loving this book.
Cubby and Ham spent the week learning how to be friends...how to share...how to play nice and build snowmen, snow balls, snow forts. They learned to pitch in and shovel off the steps, take out the garbage, help empty the dishwasher etc.
I realized that I never taught these little ones to do jobs that the older ones could do by their ages.
I spent this week trying to review my goals in our home school and my educational philosophy. The plans I painstakingly created over the summer are almost useless from tweaks and changes in our curriculum. This happens every year. I lead those horses to water, but they insist on drinking in their own way. No one is excited about learning anymore. Our studies have become very stale...no fun...just nag...nag...nag and rebel...rebel...rebel....
My intial thought is we need a break...but reality is we do not need a break...we would have those breaks if the kids accomplished their assignments in a reasonable amount of time.
We have been progressing nicely overall. When I look at my "finished" folders, I am encouraged...but that TO_DO list kills me every time...sigh....
Monday, February 8, 2010
NOTE TO SELF: NEVER EVER EVER give a kid a book I read as a teen without pre-reading. I read this when I was 18 or 19...soooooo many years ago.....I remembered the plot...I remembered the political motivation of the book.....I remembered the characters...I forgot how dirty it was!!!! EEEEEEEKKKK!!!!!!!!! OK...this book was sex with no boundaries or morals or conviction. It was another part of their society...but EGADS!!! My teens did not need to read this one...and there I go tossing it to my 15 y/o and saying..."Here...read this...you'll love it! " No wonder he stayed up all night reading...no wonder he looked at me really strange the next day and the day after that...until I picked up the book before this weekend's swim meet and threw it in my bag to re-read....AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! Ok....I still think it was a well written book...if you like Political Sci Fi porn....ok...maybe not porn, but gee, it got pretty close....I suppose we will live...and I need to remember that some of those Ancient Great Books pale in comparison....but : MUST PRE_READ next time...
Monday, February 1, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Dr. Kazam swims the 100 back-stroke finishing strong and taking 4 seconds off her best time.
Still exhausted from the weekend. Long Meets! Long Drives! Ding is back at school, visited Ahha and EEyah Sunday night. Daddy had a middle of the night service call and then the subsequent search for repair parts associated with commercial boilers in rural settings. UGH!
Ham managed to get Bible, Math, Phonics/ Reading and LA finished for the week. We only have seat work lessons 3 days a week for him as he is still 5. We will increase to 4 days a week the week after next when he turns 6
Cubby: Took 2 hours to give him a spelling test. 20 words....he spelled 19 correctly after lots of prompting. I am sure my 1rst grade teacher is rolling in her grave...OY! Other than that, he did a wonderful job of avoiding his school assignments. We managed to get a few done, but I think he needs a little academic seat work break. maybe we will do more orally, or maybe I will just tell him to suck it up and get busy. Not sure yet....
Dr. Kazam: She managed to do a math quiz, 3 LA lessons and 3Reading Lessons...all that after sleeping until 11 am pretty much all week Growth spurt, coupled with being sick and a weekend of competition did her in. Another weekend of competition this weekend coming...OY
History: We are STILL in SOTW 3!! This is Year 2....and we still have about 10 or 15 chapters to go. This week we covered the Constitutional Convention...George Washington, Ben Franklin etc. We covered the 3 branches of Government etc. My kids always have this deer in the headlights look. LOL. We read a few small books as go alongs: Shhhhh....We're Writing the Constitution, by Jean Fritz and A More Perfect Union by Maestro.
Elvis was holed up in his room most of the week. I guess I should check his progress, but he looks glum enough and I don't have a nice tone in my voice today...LOL. I know he caught up some work in his Literature and went back to Teaching Textbooks for Algebra 2. He took the test for Chapter 8 today and was able to get a 95%....YAY!!!! Math has been the bane of my homeschool existance and unfortunately ...his too. He also read This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. Great book!
Yuggie cracked the windshield in his car...Ding's is on its last leg....
We skipped Karate Monday....Skipped swim practice Monday AND Friday.....
Glad this week is now over! I need a new book for the 52 in 52 challenge....Going to go scout my shelves. I have 8 hours of bleacher time this weekend! Think I'll grab This Perfect Day from Elvis!