Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bumpy and Crazy...

If our life was anything other than bumpy and crazy, I'm not sure I would know what to do!

We started our school year last Monday as planned.  Tired from truck show we were determined to plug along.  Then Wednesday we hit a bump.  I babysat my nephew who is just a few months younger than The Cuddler.. so he is almost 3.  We attempted school, but it was just too much of a distraction having an extra kid around.  He was here Thursday too, I didn't even attempt to do school.  I knew it wouldn't happen.

Friday, I just said forget it I need to finish recovering from it all.

Welcome New Week... or so we think.  Yesterday, I was all set to pick up where we left off, we made it halfway through our lessons and noticed our dog, who was very heavy with a belly full of puppies was acting strange.  Not even 10 minutes later she delivered puppy number 1.  Within 35 minutes she had delivered 7 puppies.. and ended up a while later with a final count of 9.

Today, I'm all out of sorts... so we covered the basics for school and called the day good.  I need to get my content subjects back into order so we can get back into a full swing of the game.

I really think if our life was smooth I would be lost, but at the same time... maybe if it was smooth I would be able to accomplish everything I think we should.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not the smoothest start to our new year...

But not entirely bad either!

I mentioned in my previous post that we were spending this past weekend at a huge truck show.  It is a super fun weekend, but it is also very tiring going from 5am till 10-12pm in the July heat and sun for 3 days in a row.  My family really had loads of fun, but we are all feeling the effects today. 

I did learn that the money I spent on Ooka Island and Reading Eggs is paying off.  I had left The Scientist have a break in reading.  He was very reluctant and got really frustrated easily.  Today he flew through his story, and we started where we left off, so some of the words were completely new to him.  The Artist also did very good with her reading.  It's great that they play both of these games willingly.  I am kind of sad that I spent money on Click N Read, because it's not as fun and animated and my kids just don't get into it at all.

Math was pretty great, both got to play a game with their lessons.  We are finishing up last years books before we move on, and it did kind of upset The Scientist that he was in the K book still.  He is mathy and I'm thinking maybe I could move him up to 1st but McRuffy Color Math is ahead of the game in my honest opinion. 

We finished the day with our BCP geography lesson for the week. We read in the NTK book and took an imaginary trip to the moon, which lead to us exploring the composition of our Earth.  Finishing up by coloring the land and water on a simple Earth picture. (This went with K Geography lesson 3).

All in all, not a bad day, but I think it may have been a bit more fun for us all had we not been so sleepy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Your Mark, Get Set....... We are about ready to GO

Since my original start date I planned has come and gone, and I wasn't ready, we will be starting our school year on Monday, July 16th.  I have no doubt it will be a hard day for all of us.  This weekend is a HUGE truck show in Bloomsburg, PA.  We will be there Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, getting our fill of the awesome rigs that people build, mud drags, tough trucks and of course MONSTER TRUCKS!  My family lives for this weekend!  I should be busy right now getting things together so I don't have to get up before the sun tomorrow to do it, but I just can't!

What on earth could take my mind off of getting ready for my favorite weekend of the year?  School.  Crazy, huh? 

I have to be honest here, as much as I love Intellego Unit Studies, I was having a very hard time getting myself ready to use them as my spine.  For me, they have a disjointed feeling.  I think it's the fact that they aren't written in a narritive style that we read to our children, they are written in a way that we should read it, find our own words and then present the material.  I just felt like I was stumbling over my own thoughts trying to figure out how to relay them to the kids.

Now, I have been really impressed with Baltimore Curriculum Project's Lesson Plans since I found them.  They are written to fit a classroom, but I'm ok with tweeking.  I'm not sure why when I tried them we didn't stay with them.  I think I tried them at the start of my horrible grass is greener kind of year that I wasted last year.  My kids really loved the activities that we did, I need to learn to listen to their hints more.  They also like some of the activities in the Intellego (they do not care for the "go read at this site" links, and I do not care for the links that lead to another lesson plan that I have to sort out).

I decided that I would make it the best of both worlds.  I am using this monthly lesson layout as my spine instead of the Intellego Unit Studies.  I will then line the IUS and the What Your __ Grader Needs to Know books up with them, add in some BrainpopJR, some Magic School Bus, and some of what ever other videos I find that will fit.  I will omit things we do not care for when we come to them when we are going through all the different activities.

I have lined up our first week (actually I have the first 6 done now).  I think we are ready to go on Monday, tired or not.  Maybe sitting around on the sofa with the laptop plugged into the TV will be just what we need come Monday morning ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grass is Greener Effect

A recent post on a homschool board I visit really hit home with me.  It was about the time and money we waste when we get the "grass is greener" frame of mind.  I know for a fact I am very guilty of this!

I have to take a trip down memory lane, and think about when I first started homeschooling.  It's been 6 full years since I started.  I remember the still wet behind the ears feelings.  I was terrified to say the least!!  In retrospect, I shouldn't have been.  I  had it all under control, even if I didn't know exactly what that looked like then.  In fact, I think I was in more control then than I am now as a homeschooling mom.

Back then, I didn't know about probably about 90% of the resources that are available to homeschoolers.  I knew about the "The Complete Book of...." books that were cheap and available at Sam's Club and I knew that there was a world of knowledge in books.  I knew my state laws and the subjects they said I had to cover. 

I picked from things that I pretty much knew existed.  We used a Comprehensive Curriculum book (basically a condensed version of several of the "The Complete Book of...." books), The Complete Book of United States History, an old set of books from Southwestern Publishing called "My Fun with Learning" (this covered science and more history plus much more), we read real books (many of which I later learned are called "living books" amongst the homeschool community), I searched online for activities to go with books we read.  One of my favorite memories is making green slime after reading Horrible Harry and the Green Slime.  Our year that year was so relaxed. The Test and I both enjoyed it.

What happened to that life?  What happened that changed our whole homeschooling experience?  What ruined the good thing we had?  The Grass is Greener Effect!!! In bouncing around online looking for book ideas, craft ideas, etc, I discovered this whole HUGE online community of homeschoolers.  We live in an area where it seems there aren't tons of homeschoolers, I have bumped into a few, but not a great number (which is ok, I'm an introvert most of the time). There are no groups that would have brought to light all these "wonderful" resources.  But this huge community online opened my eyes to all the wonders of the homeschooling world.

I learned about this math and that, and why this grammar is the best one.  I learned about this method of teaching and that one and yet another.  I then ran into those homeschoolers.  The ones using 3 maths, 2 grammars, 4 writing programs and spending countless hours a day doing science and history.  I read why this math was great, but you needed to suppliment with that one because this one is lacking, and then combined this and that one need to be supplimented with yet another because together they still are lacking rocket science.

I quickly began to doubt myself.. well first I thought easier, already prepared curricula would be wonderful.  I then began to doubt myself... was I really able to put my own stuff together?  Was I really hitting on everything we needed to be hitting on?  Was my son on the verge of becoming a nuclear pysicist? 

Now I know, I don't really care if my kids grow up to be garbage collectors or if they grow up to be president, but it's hard to keep that in mind when you are faced with "this is the next great curricula".  The whole "The Grass is Greener" did more than cost me tons of money, it sucked a lot of the love out of homeschooling for us.  It totally changed the dynamics of what we were doing.

The moral of the story.... If is isn't broke, don't try to fix it.  Just because someone else says they are doing x, y, and z does not mean that you have to do it too.  Don't doubt yourself!!  By being involved enough of a parent to want to homeschool your children, you are doing the greatest thing for them.  If something isn't working, by all means then you need to change it, but you need to decide before you go looking if it isn't working and just why it isn't.