Friday, July 25, 2008

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

or better titled - "The Excitement of Beginning, The Anxiety of Failing : A New School Year Approaches"

I've worked through the process of Managers of Their Homes for so many years (and really never carried through) that I don't need to do it anymore. Although it was a seemingly overwhelming amount of work, it always comforted me to know that if we HAD to keep to a schedule, we could.

I've read A Mother's Rule of Life and base our school days on the "pegs" of daily family life.

I've chosen my curriculum, bought my planners and decided what extras we'll do for the year for the year.

Now, I'm doing my usual emotional aerobics going between being really excited and completely freaking out. I'm getting ALOT of encouragement and ideas from Starry Sky Ranch's post

multum non multa ... encourage us to drink deeply at the springs of our culture

While truly ‘good books’ are an excellent and necessary preparation for the Great Books, they are most profitably read independently or within the family circle, not as part of formal schooling.

In other words, it is ok to let the children read independently. It is not sending them off to "do nothing". It is allowing and encouraging quiet, often intense, intellectual work.

Occasional narrations will sharpen the summarization skills if used discriminately. We need not micromanage this process.

The implication seems to be the more effort and expense that is put forth the better the outcome. This is not necessarily so. In fact imbalance can negatively impact the disposition of the teacher, the home environment, and the ability of the student to focus intently. Moderation in all things is the best policy. Better to err on the side of personal demeanor and careful attention to the learning environment than on an abudance of materials and instruction.

Heck, you may as well head on over there and check out her whole blog...grab a cup of coffee, it's good stuff.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Highland Dove School Year '08-09

Wednesdays is our non-textbook day. Co-op is Wednesdays, we'll try to schedule field trips for Wednesdays, thank you notes or letter writing that day.

Mon, Thurs & Fri is our regular school days. History plus all regular subjects.

TT : Tuesdays will be Terrific Tuesdays (God willing). Art, science instead of history & alternate grammar, religion. Also 1 on 1 time with Dd#1 who will be working indpendently on most subjects.

Dd#1 - 7th grade ~4.5 hrs
Logic ~ 20 minutes / day Traditional Logic
Math ~ 40 minutes / day Zeta Math-U-See
Latin ~ 1 hr / day Helene
Spelling ~ 10 min / day Natural Speller
Grammar ~ 20 min / day
Seton 7
TT : Mary Daly's Diagramming Worktext
TT : Grammar of Poetry
History ~ 2 hrs / day All Ye Lands / Reading Your Way Through History / Christ the King Lord of History - Imitation in Writing: Medieval Legends / Shakespeare / Weekly Reports Due
TT : Science ~ 2 hrs / day Neoe Chemistry II / Physics
TT : Art ~ 1hr Teaching Art Through History / ArtPac 7
TT : Religion ~ 30 min Image of God 8B

Dd#2 - 5th grade ~4 hrs
Logic ~ 20 minutes / day Mind Benders
Math ~ 40 minutes / day Epsilon Math-U-See
Latin ~ 30 min / day Latina Christiana II
Spelling ~ 10 min / day Natural Speller
Grammar ~ 20 min / day
TT : Mary Daly's Diagramming Worktext
TT : Grammar of Poetry
History ~ 2 hrs / day Story of the World / Reading Your Way Through History / Imitation in Writing: Medieval Legends / Shakespeare / Weekly Reports Due
TT : Science ~ 2 hrs / day Neoe Chemistry II / Physics
TT : Art ~ 1hr Teaching Art Through History / ArtPac 4
TT : Religion ~ 30 min Faith & Life 3

Ds#3 -3rd grade ~ 2.5 hrs
Math ~ 30 minutes / day Gamma Math-U-See
Latin ~ 10 min / day Prima Latina
Spelling ~ 10 min / day Natural Speller
Grammar ~ 20 min / day
TT : Simply Grammar
Handwriting ~ 10 min / day CHC
History ~ 1 hr / day Story of the World / Reading Your Way Through History
TT : Science ~ 1 hrs / day Chemistry / Physics
TT : Art ~ 1hr Teaching Art Through History / ArtPac 2
Reading ~ 20 min / day Catholic National Reader 2
TT : Religion ~ 30 min Faith & Life 3

Ds#4 -1st grade ~ 1.5 hrs
Math ~ 20 minutes / day Alpha Math-U-See
Latin ~ 10 min / day Prima Latina
Spelling ~ 10 min / day Natural Speller
Grammar ~ 20 min / day
Simply Grammar
Handwriting ~ 10 min / day CHC
TT : Art ~ 1hr Teaching Art Through History / ArtPac 2
TT : Reading ~ 20 min / day Catholic National Reader 3
TT : Religion ~ 30 min Faith & Life 1

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do you Harry Potter or not?

A friend asked me this....and here's my answer -

I have not Harry Pottered, but I most likely will. It isn't that I'm deathly AGAINST Harry Potter, there's just soooo much excellent literature out there. I won't push Harry on the kids, but if there's an interest I won't keep them from it. If they've tackled C.S. Lewis' more adult fantasies (I'll see what I think of his space trilogy this winter) and J.R. Tolkeim's LOTR and maybe some Chesterton, I'll feel like they have a base for great literature with great themes and wonderful messages. Just because we all love steak won't keep me from letting my kids have hamburger.

I'm not too worried about one of my kids being fixated on Harry because I assign so much reading during school -- they only have so much time for "fun" reading. If a kid got stuck in a series I wasn't crazy about, I'd just assign more reading from books I wanted them to converse with.

This article from Memoria Press spoke to the same thing and stated it very well. - If I'm concerned about Harry with a particular child, I might make it a book study (read it together, analyze it, discuss it - writing essays would probably take the excitement out of it).

ETA : I found this article by Elizabeth Foss' son (I have her blog link on the left 'Real Learning') to be very interesting and much the way I expect my kids to react.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Ready Are You To Start Next Year's School??

This was the question of a poll I participated in and here's my answer :

July 14th -- I'm as ready as I'll get, but that's not saying much! My books and planners are here and I've decided on some of our major projects for the year.

We're doing school part time through the summer to catch up from last year's pregnancy. It's been quite shocking -- we're almost caught up!! Somehow (reflecting on how much we didn't get done last year) I miscalculated how quickly we would get caught up. I wanted to be at 1492 in the fall, but didn't really expect us to get there until January or February. Lo and behold -- it looks like we'll be there by September. It's great! :) Except that I spend all my curriculum $$ on the middle ages and now school will start and I'll need more books! :(

Since I didn't really expect us to get here...I'm fairly clueless how I'll progress from here in history -- we're doing RC History and they don't have specific lesson plans for that time period, yet. I can fudge it, but we never cover things as completely when I fly by the seat of my pants.

So...I was ready, but now I'm not and actually I wasn't all that ready to begin with??? :~[

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Baby's First Trip to the Zoo

Dave loves the zoo. I do not. We wanted to do something cheap with the kids this weekend and since we have a zoo pass and since I got out of going all last year due to the pregnancy...I needed to ante up and go. The baby did really well and it was a nice time. Maybe I'll go next time, too!

I love having pictures of my babies with the baby goats. I've got a picture of me when I was little with the goats, too...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Upward Mobility

THE BABY IS INTO EVERYTHING!!! This is enough to make a mama go maaaaddd! Pulling everything out of the way every moment he's awake! We have things with this baby we've never had with the other babies...
  • Legos
  • Marbles
  • 4 kids cutting, sharpening pencils...
  • I've even fished pieces of the dog's rubber bone out of his mouth!!

Homeschooling is definitely more challenging with an infant! I guess God figures I'm up for the challenge - who am I to say different?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

America the Beautiful

I completely ADORED this article by one of my favorite authors...here's a snippet to whet your appetite...
In a hundred ways, America is my mother. I cannot count the ways she has formed me and the gifts she has given me: gifts so much a part of me I doubt I am even conscious of them, any more than I am conscious of the rules of grammar as I speak... Patriotism is simply obedience to “Honor your father and your mother.”
What I Love About My Country
July 9th, 2008 by Mark Shea

Monday, July 07, 2008

Decorate your desk...or...Over the river and through the woods

The craft for today involved one bunch of $1 flowers from Dollar General and empty sour cream containers (we needed containers with plastic lids that we could cut slits in). The general idea is here and here. While Ds#4 got paint all over the kitchen floor and I nursed the baby [and accidentally myself] to sleep, Dd#2, as usual, went a little overboard with the creativity. She can never just follow a recipe or particularly any directions. There's occasions where that's not so good (like the refried bean quesadilla she insisted on making for lunch today with swiss cheese which I advised her against). There's other times when it's absolutely darling!
There's an apple tree with apples on the ground, a stone path through an arbor and a stream for her garden.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pencil Sharpeners...aaaaarrrgggghhhh!

Sing it with me, "Ohhhh Where oh where has my little sharpener gone, oh where oh where can it beeeeee?"

I'm just not willing to spend $70, $50, $25 or even $10 for another electric or manual pencil sharpener that my kids will break or that will break itself or that is "touchy" so that the kids can't use it (some can't have the pencil at any sort of angle but a right angle, some require a particular amount of pressure against the grinding mechanism--the kids just want to get it done).

I've been reduced to hand held pencil sharpeners and thought the loss in technical stature was a little demeaning.

After discovering The Pencil Revolution - that reviews hand held pencil sharpeners, I no longer feel demeaned, but liberated (a great thing to feel after the 4th of July).

I'm going to try the KUM this year ... from this site.

By the way, just for enjoyment sake, read this blog post - it's a pencil sharpener's review of a sharpener I haven't tried and it's HILARIOUS!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Baby Milestones

The baby got his first 2 bottom teeth at 6mo (he started teething at 2mo.) and his top teeth are just popping through, now. We just recognized them. We had some biting issues with nursing last week, but we're doing better, now.
The baby started crawling FORWARD this weekend. He's still not great at it, but unfortunately he'll get better FAST. My other kids didn't start crawling until 10 months (Ds#5 is 7mo.)
Dd#2 was about to crawl at 8mo, but I fell down the steps while I carried her and broke her ankle, so she crawled at 10 mo, too. Here she is at 9mo. in her cast -- one of the sweetest, saddest most precious pictures of my heart.