Friday, January 27, 2012

The Name of this Book is Secret

The Name of this Book Is SecretThe Name of this Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute...sort of like Lemony Snickett and Mysterious Benedict kids.

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Finally, Some Peace at the Inn....Week in Review 1/23-1/27 12

So, we finally had our first peaceful school day in ages. I swapped some things out for my 7(almost 8 year old...and WHAT a difference....
This week the boys were sick with a nasty cold which started last Friday. Cubby was pretty much out of commission Monday and Tuesday. Hammy was having sympathy pangs. This turned out to be the week where the proverbial poop hit the fan in our homeschool. My youngest is definitely an unschooler type. I, however, am not by any stretch of the imagination....but, as a war hardened mom, know when something has to give. You can not force feed knowledge. You can not force a child to learn. I can go over and over the material, insist, yell, work myself and him into a frenzy, but that is not productive and does neither one of us any favors.

When these events happen in our homeschool, which they inevitably do from time to time, I need to step back and evaluate our materials, my teaching method and what will be best for that particular child. My youngest needs lots of one on one, he likes to read materials for himself, he loves hands on manipulatives, he needs to see the point in the exercises or assignments he is given, he likes to focus on one skill at a time, and he is still working on getting his handwriting fluid, so too much writing tires him easily.

So, in case you are wondering.....I finally gave in and put CLE away for him....even though it makes me sad. It is such a good, rigorous, thorough program which has served me so well over the last few years...but, this kid was going to either have a nervous breakdown, or give me one!

He spent 45 minutes on Tuesday crying because he hated school, he hated his math, he hated his books and he hated ME for making me make him do school!! OY! Not what you want to hear when you work so hard to provide a good education, and when you love your kids and want them to love learning.

So, Wednesday....I took the day to really rethink WHAT would work for this boy. He is a bit quirky....very smart, able to think, but easily frustrated by curricula that is either too easy or too hard.

I did some soul searching, and as much as I love CLE, I can see that it is just NOT a good fit for this child at this time. Looking at our school day I can see where all of my CM leanings have been slowly pushed out and replaced by workbooks and me repeating ad nauseum to the kiddoes to get their work done.

I packed up his workbooks and cleared his slate. On Thursday, I had a trial run of how I thought we may make our day work.

When the boys wake up they usually like to sit on the couch and snuggle while I build up a fire in the wood stove, make their breakfast and the older kids bring in firewood, take care of the dogs etc. When they came down Thursday a.m., I handed each of them a book....MTH Vacation Under a Volcano for Hammy and Detectives in Togas for Cubby. We are studying Rome, so I thought these 2 would work well. Grace is reading D'Aulaire's Greek Myths. I told them they should each read a chapter and then come narrate to me when they were done.
That went beautifully! was a nice way for the kids to start their day and I felt like it was more productive than just sitting and staring into space until they were awake enough to function.

So, hammy's program now looks like this:
Math: Life of Fred Elementary Series. We have already completed Apples, so we went onto Butterflies. I ordered an A Beka Math book for extra practice, and will use few days a week...but, with me teaching using manipulatives.

Reading: Hammy has finished CLE 2nd grade reading, so we will spend the rest of the year reading living books. We did the CLE program orally, so it was fun and pain free...but, I would like him to be writing better before we move on to the 3rd grade. He is reading well, but I would also like to see him read more "real" books. I will draw from Sonlight, Veritas Press, Well trained Mind etc. Booklists. He will narrate daily. Once a week we will work on a written or drawn narration.

Language Arts/Writing. Hammy will be using WWE 1 to get the hang of copy work and narration. I will probably use his copy work to teach grammar concepts which are covered in the CLE program. I always taught my older kids this way...ala CM/Ruth Beechick, and it was very effective and less stressful on my little kids. Hammy too to it like a fish to water. He was so relieved and learned his lesson well. In his case, less is definitely more. For spelling, I will probably just use the spelling lists from my CLE TM....

Bible, History, Read Alouds, Poetry etc. Are done as a family. this year, I am using Sonlight Core W and it is going well dfor all of the I will stick with it. This week we covered the Golden Age of Greece, The Peloppenesian War and Socrates. CHOW Chap 27&28.
We finished reading the Book of Isaiah and moved onto the book of Jeremiah...
Our memory verse is 1 Peter 2:9
As a devotional, we are reading Grandfather's Box. this week we read Chapters 19-22
We dumped The Trojan War by Olivia was awfully boring, and we already read Black Ships and Wanderings of reason to torture us all.
We are using Archimedes and the Door of Science as a Read Aloud, rather than a reader as a re
Placement for The Trojan War. phew! That was a relief.

We also finished The Invention of Hugo Cabret. We all LOVED this book. I have Wonderstruck kicking around here...and can't wait to read it to the kids.

Cubby had a short week because he was so sick at the beginning of this one...but was able to finish his 4 th grade CLE reading. He will be reading living books and writing narrations for the rest of this school year.
He finished 3 math and 3 LA assignments. I also started him on WWE 3 and he did so well! He loved his first lesson, so I am encouraged.
He practiced his facts using Rocket Math and began reading detectives in Togas.

Had a long talknwith Grace about the level and amount of academic work which will be expected of her come fall. She will be entering her High School years, and we will begin planning her Course of Study in the next few weeks. I am planning to homeschool with a mix of home made, farmed out and online courses. She is a lazy student, and it is going to be a struggle to encourage her to excel. She is an average student, but is capable of so much more if she would put forth the effort. Her tendency is to do as little as possible to pass, and she is well aware of that. I am well aware of it too...and not afraid to call her on it.

This week we reviewed her progress for the year...and talked about where she is doing well, where she is excelling and where she needs to step it up. She has conveniently " forgotten" to do her Science lessons for the past 5 weeks., this weekend she will be catching up on some science. We have been VERY light on her science anyway because she is just not interested whatsoever. I made sure we covered many scientists and their discoveries all though out her elementary years....sneaking in science wherever I could, and that seems to have familiarized her with many scientific concepts. I think she will do fine next year with an introductory Biology class and I am now researching our options.

She will be ready for Algebra 1 in the fall....and is well ahead in English and history. This looks to be an interesting next few years.

So, here is my week or rather semester in review....
Update next week :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The History Boys

The History BoysThe History Boys by Alan Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok.. I don't particularly like reading plays. I prefer to watch....sometimes with book in hand. Must see if YouTube has some footage.

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Monday, January 16, 2012



                                                      Reading Chair
                                            Howard the Turtle
                                            Caleb's workbox
                                           All the kids' workboxes etc.
                                              Sammy's Spelling...He is creative :-)

I feel like the Biggest Doofus Ever!

My poor parents! Why didn't I ever know how hard parenting adult children was going to be?? Is it some sort of big fat universal secret?? When they are little and behave poorly, you can just handle it. But, when they are older, and technically adults....well...our options are minimal. We need to stand by and watch while terrible things can, and often do, happen to them.

No wonder my mother was a nervous wreck when I was pregnant after my first baby was an emergency c-section. No wonder my father often shook his head and sighed when my husband had a new business scheme....or before then, when I was dating someone less than desireable.

No wonder our hair turns gray and our skin wrinkles up!!!! As I watch my older children go off on their own, oh...the things I neglected to warn them about stand out glaringly at me. The ways of the world ...the things to be careful of...pitfalls....dangers...those things that can derail their future, steal their happiness, rob their health are everywhere I look.

Their futures hang on a thread...and it is out of my hands to help them. I have no choice, but to put them in the hands of the Lord and pray He keeps them safe. Is there such a thing as safety??

I raise our babies hoping I can do a good job. I feel happy when they reach High School, knowing they have gotten past those fragile baby years...and I hope and pray we can get through the "learning to drive" years without a serious accident, teen heartbreak, drugs etc. They got past those days. I was free and clear. Oh, parenting skills are just being honed now.

Being the parent of an adult means:

You have to bite your tongue when your daughter's husband doesn't live up to your expectations.

Your child moves away and you no longer can make sure that he is eating well. sleeping enough, studying his course work.

Your child is in college and her room mate does not share the same principles and morals.

Your child discovers the "nightlife" and decides to join in ONE TIME and pays the consequence for the rest of his or her life

Your child gets sick...and you can not drive 100 miles to take them to the doctor because your younger child is also sick.

You can't say anything when you see the pitfalls, because you are so old fashioned and such a fuddy duddy....can't see eye to eye...don't understand the way things are now...

You see their immaturity, but can't point it out because that will alienate them and you know it is better to have open communications than NO communications...and adult kids are great at clamming up!

My children are good students. They have career paths. They work influence is now tempered by their decisions. My fear for them has multiplied. I thought my job was has really only, in a way, begun, but now my job is to pray...long and hard...for their lives and their souls. This is harder than making sure their schoolwork was finished and they knew their spelling words. This is much harder.
Yes, my kids were pretty easy teen agers...but not so great twenty-somethingers.

Think about it...they can drive...they own cars. They can drink legally. They can set up utilities, sign leases, get married, drop out of school, sign loan documents, date whoever they darn well please, have s*x, live with lunatic room mates who do drugs and bring home weird men...and they can't get them the heck out.....

They can pretty much make as many really bad choices as they want....they can eat cake for dinner, with a beer if they want to...They can go to Taco Bell and Wendy's instead of the supermarket and healthfood store. They can date the guy you hate and ditch the one you like. They think their friends and professors are smarter and more with it than you are...

So, Mom and Dad....I am sorry for all the gray hair and wrinkles, sleepless nights, worry, and bit tongues. I too have stepped in IT all too often...and must have caused my own parents plenty of anxiety.
I just never knew......

Friday, January 6, 2012

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of TimeThe Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book, especially just finishing reading the historical accounts of Richard III and the Cousins War. So much much "Tonypandy".

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holidays are over...Guests Have Gone Home

We are exhausted. New Years Resolutions in place. House is wrecked. Must finish business work and get us paid up to year end. Must plan next semester of school. Must get laundry caught up....

Oh, I have a loooooong list of must dos.

Must teach kids to:

Know what an hour is....TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS!!!!

Those are the 2 areas that MUST be worked on with my children this semester...even to the exclusion of any other subjects.

This year, dh and I are focusing on nutrition and nutritional healing. I know God has put everything in us to be able to fight infection and heal ourselves. the Bible also says we are to use every herb as our medicine. Through my and dh's research, we have found how nutritionally depleted our foods are. Because of factory farming, food processing, weird non-foods posing as food, soil depletion, anti-biotics in meat etc., our bodies are not only barraged by chemicals, but we have no nutrients to heal on.

We are overweight AND starving! At the same time! We are a rich country full of fat and sick people because of our new methods of providing a full stomach but no nutritionally rich food.

This year I am going to help dh grow and juice wheat grass. We will make sure our kids eat raw and nutritionally dense foods. I believe this type of diet will help Carl fight Lyme disease, will help Mark fight diabetes and high blood pressure as well as lose weight, will help Hammy with his sensory integration issues and will help me with Hashimoto's, PCOS and fibromyalgia. I think it will help my healthy kids be even more healthy. My oldest is determined to beat Hashimoto's and Fibro as well...and Ding is fighting Hashimoto's too.....did I ever say Hashimoto's is genetic??

Anyway, this year I plan to focus this blog on our Nutritional Healing and our journey to better health.
So far, I started my journey a few weeks before Christmas, by going gluten free. So far, I have lost 6 lbs. and am in much less pain. My goal is 10 lbs. more, exercising daily at least 5 days a week...and being pain free. I also plan on learning yoga because the few times I have tried made me feel so much better. I have yoga on the to hook the Wii up!


Son of Neptune....

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book felt contrived. It was not up to Riordan's standards. I kept thinking all through the book, that he was just trying to get it out by deadline...and oh boy, does this book need a good edit! It was an ok story, but weirdly wordy....and not polished at all.

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