Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekly Report: 2/22- 2/28 2010 SNOW...SNOW...AND MORE SNOW!!!

This has been the week of the snowstorm. Funny thing is....we don't have any snow. All around us, everyone is buried in up to 2 feet of the white stuff. US.....we got slush! Slush was falling from the sky. We got rain...rain...and more rain....OH....we also got a BLACKOUT!!!

Now, I LOVE blackouts. I love the quiet. I love the dark. I love the humless house. I love readfing by candlelight. I love hearing my kids jumping out of closets and scaring the crud out of eachother and then laughing their collective butts off...the scarer and the scarees.

DH did hook up our tiny generator, so we could flush the toilet and we did have one flourescent light bulb going in the kitchen. Got the woodstove cranking and settled my young'uns down to reading and snuggling in their sleeping style! LOL.
OK...down to progress subjects:
Monday: Knew snowstorm was on its way. Promised the little buggers that if their seatwork was finished, we could go to the playground to play. Guess what? They finished by 12:30. Off to the playground. Cousins met us there and our yayas were all let out.
Last day of Karate. Our contract is complete. Kids love it. Pocket hates it. WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!!! Must find cheaper dojo for kids. They are good. They could compete. I can't afford this. LOL! comes the snow.... yay!! supposed to be deep....not sticking yet!
Wednesday: BLACKOUT!! shovel...shovel...shovel....
Thursday: shovel...shovel...splooosh....
Friday: Ummmmm...more snow...UGH!....more slush...UGH! UGH!!!!
Kids made progress in Math, Reading and Language arts. Mr. Mustache Man is reading very well for a newly 6 year old boy. Cubby has declared I am boring. I take that personally. I believe him. I am boring. Do your your work...come' your work! Ummmm...BORING!!!!! Decided it is time to really consider going back to my CM a more mature...boy kinda way. Talked to Cubby about what made things boring.....Basically, he is bored because there is too much written work and not enough hands on work. I need to incorporate more math type games, manipulatives and real life experience. He likes his reading program and I will continue to do the writing in the workbook for him. his reading comprehension is wonderful...even months later.
Dr. Kazam figured out she needs 80 more days to finish her assigned work. She is a list checker. She is a workbook kid.
She likes knowing exactly what is expected and self-teaching lessons. She is a learn on your own kinda girl. Git it done and I can go do what i really want to do...CREATE! PAINT! BUILD!
Elvis needs a total overhaul in my High School Plan for him. I am seriously considering holding him back a year and having him complete 10th grade again next year. He is very intelligent and always worked at least a year or 2 ahead of grade...BUT he has leveled out due to sickness and immaturity this year. I can not help but to meet him where he is at and move on from there. He is reading Dante mby choice, BUT his Lit program sits untouched for weeks....He is reading Yuggie's Chem book, but is only in Module 6 of his own....OK....So, he is learing...BUT, he is immature and nneds to learn to prioritize and complete subjects as assigned.
Ding is getting used to campus life
Yug is plodding along.
Sorry, No pics this week...again. Still no camers...sigh.

Week 8 Book 9 The Book Thief

This book is going down as one of my top ten EVER books. Why? This book was totally different. It was different than any WWII book I have ever read. It was not gruesome, it was touching, it was captivating, it was "colorful." Told from the point of view of "Death" narrated in his person, we get a different view of Death's job, his weariness, even a bit of his caring. Death, whom we all must meet someday and his chagrin and fascination with the human soul knits this book into a masterpiece.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week in Review.. 2/15-2/19

There are no pictures this week because my camera shattered when I left it out in my car in very cold weather. The display just shattered...So now , my camera has been returned and I have credit for a new one, but no camera. I used my trusty phone to take some pics, but now have to figure out how to transfer them to my lappy...OY.

This week I reviewed some of my plans for the year and decided I needed to revamp some of the younger kids work.
Mr. Mustache Man needs more hands on and less workbook work. he is certainly capable, but capable does not necessarily mean it is good for him. My goal for him this year was to get him reading and to get him to be able to sit while he is read to....Mission accomplished on both goals.

In math....I need to research more games, and literature to go with his learning. He is ABLE to do the workbooks, but whether they are necessary...and whether the fight to get him to do them is worth it at 6 is another story. This week, I think I am going to peruse Living Math is a fantastic resource. i am also going back to my CM roots...somehow...some way. The workbooks are easier on planning and easier for assessment...but I feel flat and totally uninspired. I am beginning to think that the workbooks are fine after 4th grade when the kids become independent and can read and follow directions.

Cubby also needs a re-vamp. The workbook thing is squashing his love of learning...but worse, it is setting up a battlefield between us. he does NOT want to sit and do these...What has worked and IS making him happy, is if I sit and do the writing for him. he is retaining more that way and enjoying the assignments. I think his ability to write well and comfortably is not at the level needed for him to concentrate on the actual lesson at hand. If I write FOR him, he can focus on the task needed to learn.

We have spent much time this week reading aloud...talking....reading some more...talking some more. I didn't get to check many boxes on my maybe I need to change the list.

Dr. Kazam and Elvis....plugged away. The Dr. has been reading...LOTS! She just discovered the beauty of the bedtime read. This week, she is reading the Percy Jackson series now. She also finished Detectives in Togas and loved it.

Elvis is working his way through Dante's Divine Comedy. He has finished Inferno and Purgatorio. We haven't used any study materials or lit analysis with this book at all. He just wanted to read it. I think I will have him read it again...and use the WEM guidelines for studying his favorite section.

Ding is unhappy at school. The neighborhood the school is in is not the greatest and I think she is afraid. She feels like she is in a prison, so the school search goes on....

Yuggie had his girlfriend visiting from Tuesday - Thursday (she lives several hours away.) They went up to visit Ingrid at school and Ahha and EEyah who live close-by. They went ice skating and had fun. He needs to seriously hit the books now. SERIOUSLY!!!

Week 7 Book 8 Under the Dome by Stephen King

This was a BIG book...1144 pages of typical Stephen King meets the Twilight Zone...Cast of 100 characters, Good vs. Evil...God vs. no God, Extra-terrestrial life meets Human earthling...predictable, engaging faster and faster and faster....Hide in your room instead of clean the house...sit on the couch and read instead of homeschool the kiddies....Stephen King.

I finished this tome in one week....mostly Friday and Saturday this weekend. I would have liked to see less extra-terrestrial and more environmental issues addressed. Would have deepened the book and made it a work of art instead of a simple Simpson's episode gone awry.

The bad guys were bad...the good guys were good. The book was fun and the movie should be out in a year or so...LOL!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Friday...Another Week in Review 2/8-2/12

What week are we in?? Well, I have been homeschooling for the past almost 15 years....14 years, 10 months2 weeks and 3 days to be almost exact...give a day or 2. This week was Ham's birthday. Wednesday to be exact...which means the anxiety of it coming meant he couldn't concentrate on his seat work...then the big day...well, who could ask a newly six year old to do seat work on his birthday....then of course no one else could do their seat work...and of course all the schools have a snow why should anyone else do THEIR seat work?? Thursday and Friday, well, we already blew off why should we bother on Thursday and Friday????

So, Here it is Friday and I think maybe, one lesson per subject has been completed by the kids this 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 she is reading....and loving this book.

Cubby and Ham spent the week learning how to be to 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 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

Week 6 Book 7

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..."'ll love it! " No wonder he stayed up all night 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

52 Books in 52 weeks Week 5 Book 6

Water for Elephants. Poigniant. Written in the voice of a 90 (or is he 93?) year old veterinarian from his nursing home. The plight of the elderly intertwined with the adventure of a circus act during the Depression. The graphic sex scenes threw me for a bit of a loop...TMI! but, the overall book had mee cheering for the man in the wheelchair and crying for the man in the train.