After five years in school, will homeschooling be a fit for our family? Walk with us as we try to find out!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: The One in the Frozen Tundra

Brr!  It has been bitter cold in these parts this week!  It's weeks like this one that make me dream of moving south.  We have been spending much of our time indoors, or bundled up like Eskimos just to get from the house to the car.

On Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we had a half day of school.  All three test subjects worked on the three R's in the morning, and then went to a birthday party for their cousin in the afternoon.  It was a swimming party, and they had a blast.  Tom took them so I could continue to catch up on phone calls and paperwork.  It was so peaceful to be home alone for a few hours.  While I am able to find alone time most weeks, it is always out of the house.  To be home alone was a gift!

Speaking of MLK, we finished up our copy work this week, and had some great discussions about the meaning behind the quotes and what they told us about the kind of man he was.  We have yet to watch the documentary I mentioned last week, so I am hoping to schedule that in for some evening next week.

Late Monday afternoon we had some friends over to practice making these crochet hearts. Aren't they adorable?

On Tuesday, we had a busy homeschool day and our regular gymnastics class in the afternoon.  My dad was kind enough to take the kids to their gymnastics class, so I could spend a few hours at the hospital with a friend who is nearing the end of her life.  In the midst of the sadness, I feel such joy and hope knowing that we will see each other again in glory!

The highlight of my Wednesday was traveling into the city to have dinner with three of my four college roommates.  Since most of us live hours away from each other, and we have a total of 11 children between us, getting together is a rare event.  It was great fun!

As a result of all the Wednesday night fun, though, we all overslept about an hour on Thursday.  Even though it wasn't a longer day than usual, it felt that way because we started and ended later.  Besides that glitch, Thursday was a productive homeschool day.  I even found a few moments while the kids were taking a break to work on the Quarterly Reports that are due to our school district next week.  It's hard to believe that we are almost at the halfway point of our school year!

Friday is our co-op day, and despite this bitter cold, some the gym classes are still scheduled to be held outside.  I am so thankful that I am not assisting in the gym classes this year, but I am concerned for TS 1 who may spend 45 minutes out in the cold tomorrow.  He, of course, don't understand what all the fuss is about and is perfectly happy to be outdoors despite the frigid temps.  

On tap for the weekend: basketball games, a boy cousin play date at Dave and Busters and church!  

Homegrown Learners

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Homeschool Mother's Journal Style

In my life this week…
I had quite a bit of paperwork and phone calls to catch up with this week.  I still have more paperwork, phone call and appointments to take care of, but I'm beginning to see the light.  

In our homeschool this week…
We began Unit 4 of Year 2 of Tapestry of Grace this week, the Age of Revolutions.  We all learned about Benjamin Franklin.  TS 1 also read about England's colonization of India, while TS 2 and TS 3 learned about John Harrison and how his sea clocks solved the problem of sailors knowing their longitude at sea.
We also spent some time learning more about Martin Luther King, Jr. this week thanks to the ideas Mary posted on her blog, Homegrown Learners.  If you are looking for at your fingertips ideas you can carry out easily to teach about MLK, that post is the place to go!  The boys have been working on the copy work pages Mary created.  They both read Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?  this week, too.  We all watched MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech on You Tube.  I'm planning for us to watch the documentary Mary mentioned next week.

Some computer learning 

 TOG Unit 2 Lapbook Complete

One of TS 3's journal entries

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Slow down, read aloud more and listen to your children.  (Reminding myself here, too!)  I am certainly guilty of speeding around and being too "busy" to really listen.  I've been making more of an effort to do just that, both during the homeschool day and during our family time.  It's been a blessing, not just to my children, but to me as well!

I am inspired by…
From Benjamin Franklin to John Harrison to Martin Luther King, Jr., this was an uplifting week for all of us as we studied these interesting, inspiring and world-changing men!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Dance class, gymnastics, basketball practices and games, baseball clinic and playdates- oh my!

My favorite thing this week was…

Returning to co-op!  I am not teaching this semester, and as much as I loved teaching the U.S. Government and Elections classes in the fall, I am grateful for the semester off.  No prep work the night before, no lugging posters and bags back and forth the morning of, and no rushing out the door to arrive early for set up on Friday mornings.  The kids seem to love their new classes as well as the ones that are continuing from first semester.  

What’s working/not working for us…

We seem to be chugging along fairly smoothly overall right now, except for TS 3's math.  We are floundering a bit, and I am trying to decide what to do.  As you may remember, TS 3 was in Kindergarten at school last year, and we are doing Kindergarten here at home this year as well.  She is on the younger end of the spectrum for her grade, so I wanted to give her more time for some basic concepts to gel. I did decide on the Alpha level of Math-U-See, however, for her this year, rather than the Primer level because that seemed too basic for her.  She has been doing well up until now.  It seems we need to shore up some of her fundamental math concepts before going on with the addition facts, though.  I have been supplementing with games and ideas from friends, but I am thinking about getting the Kindergarten or 1A level of Singapore Math as a supplement as well.  I would use it to build up some fundamental skills and when she seems ready, we would return to Math-U-See.

Things I’m working on…

Getting back to a more consistent Quiet Time routine each morning.  I am a night owl by nature, so I struggle to get myself to bed before 11 p.m. on any given night.  That makes rising at 6 a.m. very difficult for me.  I know how important it is for me to spend time alone with the Lord before the demands of the day begin, so I am trying to reset the body clock to do just that.

I’m grateful for…
Endless resources and helps for homeschool, both online and real life.  The opportunity to learn alongside my children, and to be (with my husband) the primary shapers of their worldview.

Friends that make me laugh, and the ability to stay connected with them through texting and social media right in the midst of this homeschool experiment of ours.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  
-Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Homegrown Learners

Friday, January 4, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: The One after Christmas Break

How is it possible that I have not written a weekly wrap up post since September?!?  That's just crazy!  It's certainly not from a lack of wanting to blog- I love documenting our great homeschool experiment here.  It seems, though, that  my free time and energy level has decreased exponentially with the addition of our third test subject.  

The first week of January seems like as good a time as any to get back to writing a weekly wrap up, so here goes:

Our (almost) two week Christmas break included the typical frenzy leading up to Christmas as well as family gatherings for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  
Christmas Eve

Christmas Day 

Kid's Table 

Jesus's Birthday Cake 

 Christmas Day Attire- The difference in the way the boys and TS 3 dress makes me smile!

Some of the cousins on New Year's Eve

Cookies and Milk for the Kids' Toast

We started back to school on Wednesday, and although we have not yet gotten back to our pre-break schedule in terms of getting up on time and finishing on time, we were able to fall back into a full work load.  

We treated ourselves to a play date after our first day back to school.  While the kids played, the moms learned to crochet.  I felt like an old lady, and had resisted the trend for so long.  When I saw this blanket on my friend Vanessa's blog, though I succumbed to the peer pressure.  

Here is my first piece of work!  Isn't it cute?!?

Thursday morning we hit the books again.  We are wrapping up our Tapestry of Grace unit on Colonial Times.  It has been an engaging study for all of us!  We are hoping to join with some homeschooling friends for a unit celebration in the near future.  The kids are excited about the idea- we had so much fun at our Medieval Feast last year.

We are in the midst of a media fast this week for the kids.  I am convinced that there is much more peace in this home when we power down the iPods, iPad, TV and computer for an extended period and remember how to interact with one another and play creatively!  

After dinner, this little lady pulled out a workbook to "play" with last night.  

Co-op does not resume until January 18th, which gives us another day at home this week and next.  We are treating them as normal school days and following our regular routine.  

We have another play date scheduled for this afternoon.  We have been trying to have these friends over for months now!  (We are a bit over-scheduled after-school this year, but that is for another post.)  

Our weekend holds a basketball game both Saturday and Sunday for TS 1.  TS 2's team has the weekend off.  On Saturday, TS 3 and I will make our annual trip to the American Girl store with my sister, her daughter and our mom.  We are looking forward to an afternoon of browsing the store, wrapping up with dinner in the cafe!

I hope your holidays were filled with joy and peace and you make a smooth transition back to school, friends!

Homegrown Learners