Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yellow and Blue Make Green

Even when you're being eco-friendly and using the blue-dyed water from science to make your chicken Ramen noodles.

Week in Review May 24-28

This has been a great week. As the end draws near and a light summer schedule is in sight, we have spent this week trying to finish up and hold on to hope 'til the end!

The Little League is finished with grammar and spelling for the year. We stopped at lesson 24 of PR so we can simply review the huge variety of parts of speech and spelling rules. I've been strongly focusing on all of our acquired skills during science and history times. The Little League has Really upped their writing assignments. They've been writing a ton this week. The Ax Man does not love this, but alas, too bad! Games are on the daily summer schedule!; We are finishing up the entire Literature study of Little House in the Big Woods. The boys couldn't wait to finish it until next fall. They are enjoying the story so much and eager to read to the end. We'll just keep going by reading a weeks worth/day over the summer and enjoying the offered activities.

Same old for everybody in math. Watching a variety of DVDs (b/c there are a variety of children), reading math books and completing 1 assignment every day. This will continue throughout the summer -- no break for math!

History has been great. I had the pleasure of handing out assignments for our last week, today. One more week to go and we're finished with TOG Year 3, Unit 2! We've enjoyed greatly stories of Pioneers, the Oregon Trail, and also the great advancements of the Victorian Age. It's led to great bible study on reliance on God during difficult times....just when we thought we had it tough, we learned about the lives of pioneers and realized just how easy we have it! Darling is working on a pinata for our unit celebration; we've decided on some food; and the Elders will be polishing reports to present to our guests. I think they have a good understanding of the Jacksonian Age, both victorious and tragic, and they are getting a feel for the Spirit of America from times past. It's been a delight to discuss all these studies with them. They've grown a lot as students this year and offer excellent discussion times.

The Little League learned about Samual Morse and wagon trains this week. We did the fill in the blank activity from America: Interdisciplinary Lessons and to my surprise, they called it, "Fun." Who-da thunk a fill in the blank could be fun!?! The boys hustled and played catch up (due to illness last week) and covered the Great Famine of Ireland, too. The "You Wouldn't Want to..." series is great. We learned a ton about the "Great Hunger" and did some wonderful note booking.

The Elders are still pushing through chemistry. Whenever they finish, they're finished for the summer. The Little League and I are wrapping up next week, so this week, we did several experiments. I finally got rechargeable batteries for our camera, so I was able to photo journal our experiments. This makes for better note booking! The boys look at themselves in the pictures and their explanations come alive! They remember so much more! So, they tell me, I dictate back their sentences, and then we have a place where we can reinforce grammar and spelling. Working beautifully!

We watched our last Latin DVD for the year....glad to be almost finished with Level 1. We should wrap that up in late Sept or early Oct.

Finally, we finished up our last week of Write Shop. We started this in late winter this year and I am so.very.pleased. with the results. I'll include my best writers final descriptive paragraph for your enjoyment. It's not perfect, but I am certainly pleased with our progress. The assignment simply was to describe a place. He took one of the picture books we're using for history and went to work.

An Untouched Natural Valley
A spread of, dark, blue sky hovers above a secluded landscape, marked by puffs of foggy, white clouds, seemingly floating into the endless abyss. Ash black mountains paint a pronounced backdrop that sports serrated peaks, appearing to claw for the sky. Beautiful, pure, white snow throws a broken and gapped blanket, splendid in sheen and appearance, onto the mountain. A rough imitation of a blue jay’s egg, small, dirty, white and periwinkle rocks, scatter the brown mossy ground. A middle border of low, thick and lush, grass, green like a jungle canopy, hugs the soft, nutritious soil. The smell of the small clumps of dark pink and sparse white petunias, delights the nostrils, and gives a sweet fresh design to shower the ground. Sprinkled like dew across the grasses, the blossomed flowers, regal in the sunlight, feel smooth and velvety on the tips of my fingers. In the center of the delicate valley lies a limpid spring, gently trickling over the smooth stones like a careless whisper floating past, until it fades away altogether. Dark and royal, a rich azure, the small spring completes the serene and secluded vale.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

through faith and patience, inherit the promises

“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ” Hebrews 6:10-12 NAS

My work is hard.
His yoke is easy.
Never enough time.
His burden is light.
I am not gentle.
He knows my name.
I know faith without works is dead.
He died for me.
I smile, His Spirit stirring.
He loves me.
I am refreshed. I am full.
He is not unjust, and He Never forgets my work and labor of love.
I am a humbled.
He keeps his promises.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week in Review May 10-14, 2010

Well, this has been a different week. My 3 extras are out of town, so that meant super easy school for me :)

The Ax Man continued working through Singapore 2B and read aloud two chapters of Stuart Little to me each day. That's it! He played, and played, and played...he's very pleased about that!

Darling carried on in usual fashion. We're reading Life of Fred Fractions together each day, then she does the "Your Turn to Play." The story of Fred is great and she's getting a nice review to the many things she learned in MUS. I also had her pick up her Singapore Math WB, something we've had on hold for some time. We're working through that fairly well, and it's serving as a great way to apply what she's learned between Fred and MUS to a program that looks different.

Lil' Mother and Bard carry on in their own math studies and Rockin' Guitar Dude started his next math program :)BTW, he got a 100% on his MUS Algebra Final..I'm very proud! Following Dana Mosley DVD's he's picking up on 3 chapters in the Larson Alg. 1 text that were not in MUS, so he can begin Alg. 2 next fall. I REALLY like the Mosely DVDs. What a great teacher! It really helps me to have a visual of the lessons, so I'm available to answer questions. Good stuff and worth the digging on Amazon! If you're interested in saving $$ and using the Mosely DVDS, just email me, I have ISBNs (special thanks to Pongo at the WTM boards for sharing her money saving technique).

Everybody is whizzing through Noeo Chemistry (levels 2 and 3) to get finished. Lots of experimentation goin' on these past couple of weeks. They have all been told, "When you finish your lesson plan, you have summer off from science!" They're moving along nicely, as you might imagine ;)

We're moving through the Victorian Age in history. What a full time of invention and a new era in great literature! The Little League is enjoying Oliver Twist, Darling gets A Christmas Carol and the Elders read David Copperfield. I had to read them all b/c I just couldn't resist Dickens...just couldn't!

We're also studying Australia. I'm gonna close that study off with mini-books and a great video next Monday...just waitin' for my Green boys to come home ;)The Elders will be quite familiar with Queen Victoria by the time we move on. Darling made a Christmas Carol file folder game. I'll include pics next week..I need camera batteries!

Regular stuff carries on, vocab, spelling, grammer....Latin Road gets a highlight this week b/c I am diggin' on the DVDs. They save me so much time! Time Management is getting better all the time and my boys are both being very timely since they got, well...some old fashioned discipline last week...if ya' know what I mean. Crazy when they're bigger than you, but effective apparently b/c this week has been exceptionally timely.

Finally, there's me. I'm a plannin' machine! I thought I'd use this week, since I have so little teaching to do, to get prepared for next year. I've got my lists drawn, plans in mind, now I have to get to it! It's daunting, but after reading up on a few things, ala WTM forums, I'm good to go. I just need to sit down and do it!

So that's it for our week, nothing exciting...but still full of prospects as I look forward to another year of home schooling and learning, learning, learning for a bunch of 8 (including myself) next year. It's cool to learn so be encouraged with an observation I shared on the WTM board:

It's so wonderful to feed our children.

Of my five and the extra in school, only half of them enjoy personal reading. For the other 3, reading doesn't come as easy, so it seems like work. I'm always working toward the numbers being at 100%, though, and I do see glimmers of hope growing in the Workers.

Anyways, as I prepare for next year, there are more and more books lying around; and simply b/c I'm looking, my library is coming to life! I'm reminded of books they're ready for now and offer them things to read for pure enjoyment -- books I know they'll appreciate (btw, the Lovers are always doing this anyways, and the Workers are sometimes).

Thus, my thought...it's so wonderful to feed our children! It's like watching someone enjoy a marvelous, gourmet meal. I offer this observation as an end of spring, early summer encouragement to us all as we work toward whats to come and iron out what we hope will be!

Keep up the good work everyone, and feed your children!

The Latin Road to English Grammar...a quick summary

We've benefited from the Latin Road to English Grammar. It comes with student text, teacher manual (including all student materials), pronunciation CD and a teacher training DVD option. Initially, I was learning and teaching, but since time is not on my side, I use the DVDs now, happily . We watch them together one day a week and the dc work throughout the next 9 days solo, asking if they need help. The program includes daily lesson plans, which of course, you can take or leave. Tis can be started as early as 5th grade, but I'd encourage your dc to be in the Logic Stage before beginning this scribe heavy program.

*The program assumes a strong English grammar understanding.* If you don't get English grammar just yet, then try the Bridge to the Latin Road, first...it'll help ;)

The nuts and bolts are:
1.Copywork to create a notebook from which your dc could actually teach Latin. There is a lot of scribing.

2. Translation and sentence marking, both Eng. to Lat. and vice versa, via textbook (not a textbook style textbook, though)

3. Vocabulary building, including a CD with pronunciation (student text).

4. Read aloud to practice pronunciation, also on the CD (student text).

5. Worksheet that serves as a chapter review.

6. Test every 2 chapters.

I admit it's not exciting and the children don't rave about how much they love Latin, but it is very effective and although it is a lot of work, my children (grades 6-8) are almost finished with Y1 and all are retaining and making high marks. By the time the 3-year program is finished, they will have earned 2-years of high school Latin credit. Once again, Barbara Beers does a remarkable job of clear, concise education in Language Arts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's here...the Gilbert Academy 2010-2011 schedule...not for the faint of heart!

Things to know:
I block teach the Elders one day a week so we can get in the “big kid” stuff easily. We have daily meetings to make sure the work is getting done, to discuss what they’re learning and to work through any problem areas. The Little League is on a 4-day schedule so I can put this in effect.

The 5th grader gets much freedom, but will be joining the big kids a little bit here and there.

I’ll start with the A-bomb…2 years old…working on less destruction, more obedience, and mostly just some fun. Once he stops putting everything in his mouth, we’ll do some sand, water, and finger play. Not much for him….I don’t really do pre-school

K5 – 4 days/wk (easy life, learning to be in school with our focus on learning phonics)
Sensational Strategies
Family Math
Sit in on Sci and History read alouds and color some related pics and talking about what we learn
Sports through a church league
He can’t wait for this! He’s so excited to start school!

2nd Grade 4 days/wk
The Phonics Road finish level 2, begin and complete 3
TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary) including some narration and summarization (UG core, the rest LG)
Science – I’ve decided on something a little different. Rotating months between Apologia Anatomy and Science kits for physics, using Noeo as our spine, but adding more hands on. I think the Little League will appreciate the variety (and so will I).
MUS Beta (finish it), head to Singapore 1A,B
Piano
PE
Bible/Worship
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, in the form of games 
Sports through a church league
Alternating writing/drawing journal
Memory work


3rd Grade 4 days/wk
The Phonics Road finish level 2, begin and complete 3
TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary), including much narration and summarization (UG core, the rest LG)
Science – as above with the 2nd grader
Singapore 3A, B + Challenging Word Problems
Piano
PE
Bible/Worship
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, in the form of games 
Sports through a church league
Alternating writing/drawing journal
Memory work
Typing….maybe….he wants it, I’m not sure if I’ll comply.

5th Grade 5 days
The Phonics Road finish level 3, begin and nearly finish 4
TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary), including a focus on outlining and paragraph formation She’ll use UG for everything except lit, where she thrives and will begin her adventures in D
Writing Aids
Science – as above with the Little League, with living books added
Singapore 4B, Life of Fred Decimals, Singapore 5A
Wordly Wise - she loves workbooks and has requested she finish what I dumped with her sister…okay 
Piano
PE
Bible/Worship
Vocabulary with Mom (following a Webster’s vocab book and vocab cartoons) This will be her first time joining the Elders for this…I may wait until she finished the WW b4 starting this, I’ll probably let her decide and she’ll probably join us early on. She likes to be a big kid.
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, Latin roots in the form of games 
Beginning Time Management….good luck with this one! She is naturally in this free flowing state of scatter brain, yet still gets it done. Putting structure in this one will be a doozy!
Daily Grams
Sports through a church league, weekly babysitting
Alternating writing/drawing journal
Memory work
Typing
Logic CD via Critical Thinking Co.


7th Grade
Dialectic - TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary), continued focus on outlining and paragraph formation; focus on seeing the big picture and how all the subjects connect across the Tapestry of history.
Science – as above with the Little Leaguers, with many living books added and an outstanding notebook expected 
Larson/Hostetler Elementary Algebra + Dana Mosely DVDs (essentially chalkdust but for less $$ and no customer support, which is fine…she has her older brother  )
Vocabulary with Mom (following a Webster’s vocab book and vocab cartoons)
Piano
PE
Bible/Worship
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, Latin in the form of games 
The Latin Road to English Grammar 2
Daily Grams
Write Shop 1 (finish) and begin Write Shop 2
Time Management continued….easy with this one  She’s the queen of organization, and naturally so. If only *I* was born organized!
Sports through a church league, weekly baby sitting
Alternating writing/drawing journal
Memory work
Speed reading
Logic CD via Critical Thinking Co.


8th Grade – ready for high school – this one is very academic
Rhetoric - TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary), focus on Literature as a deeper subject (gulp)
Science – Apologia Biology…unless Noeo comes out with Physics on time, then Physics w/ added labs (want to get the hs credit, and the program is targeted through 9th grade, so bio can wait a year!)
Math is on the wait and see. He’s using LoF Algebra now, and loving it. When he finishes, I’ll test him using Saxon Alg. If he fairs well, I’ll put him in LoF Alg. 2, if he needs some work, we’ll hit and miss with Larson/Hostetler to fill in gaps. Fingers crossed that Fred will pull it out for me!
Piano (although I’m hoping for a drum set for him…you’re welcome to pray for that!)
PE
Bible/Worship
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, Latin in the form of games 
The Latin Road to English Grammar 2
Daily Grams
Vocabulary with Mom (following a Webster’s vocab book and vocab cartoons)
Vocab. Using the 100 most common classical words list (his choice on this. I showed it to him and he adds them to Quizlet, then studies on his own…yeah, I love this kid!
Write Shop 1 (finish) and begin Write Shop 2 (Comp I and II reqt at end of WS2)
Time Management continued….
Boy Scouts, including Den Chief with the lil’ guys.
2nd semester: gov’t credit to fulfill state req’t, using TOG (trying to get comfy with lit first!)
Alternating writing/drawing journal (he’s been writing the same story for over a year…)
Memory work
I think he may enjoy the Write Your Own series, so I’ll give it to him as leisure.
Logic…still unsure, leaning Cothran


9th Grade – high school entry  cool…scary…cool…scary
Rhetoric - TOG Y3 Units ¾; Y4 Units ½ (lit, geography, church history, history, vocabulary), focus on Literature as a deeper subject (still gulping)
Science – Apologia Biology…unless Noeo comes out with Physics on time, then Physics w/ added labs
Larson/Hostetler Intermediate Algebra (Mosely DVDs…ditto on the generic Chalkdust)
Guitar focus with a minor in piano 
PE
Bible/Worship
Computer drill for math, vocab, spelling, Latin in the form of games 
The Latin Road to English Grammar 2
Daily Grams
Vocabulary with Mom (following a Webster’s vocab book and vocab cartoons)
Write Shop 1 (finish) and begin Write Shop 2 (Comp I and II reqt at end of WS2)
Time Management continued….prayers please that we’ll mature this year and just leave this ole puberty thing (he’s kinda driving me crazy)
Boy Scouts, including Den Chief with the lil’ guys.
2nd semester: gov’t credit to fulfill state req’t, using TOG and drivers ed (yes, he’ll be driving – that is CRAZY)
Memory work
Speed reading
Logic…still unsure, leaning Cothran


I *may* do a once a month co-op for the Little League, still thinking this over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Home Schooling Has Changed Over the Years

Another stirring thread over at the Well Trained Mind Forums: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174400

I started my home schooling journey by knowing lovely families who home schooled. I grabbed a few books and compared home school to private and public education. I was the girl, who debated Against home schooling in college (a sociology class req’d for education majors) so I needed to be convinced I could provide a solid education; although, I was already witnessing the social education from the families I mentioned, and those results where great. I was overly confident in my abilities b/c I knew I was a good teacher, although I started my family and did not finish school, I knew it was “in” me. Reality check -- I had no idea what I was in for and over time, two things that have greatly changed are my levels of judgement and humility: they’ve kind of switched places. I’m much less judgemental and a lot more humble!

My very first experiences were with a troubled nephew, pulled from public school, and dropped off with me. We went box…6th and 7th grade Alpha Omega…something I would Never do now. I have formed the opinion that boxes are a nice start. They give one a chance at structure and give you a glimpse that home schooling is real work. They’ll get the job done and cover all the topic areas. After a while, though, as you grow, or at least as I grew, the box is too confining and I need to spread my wings…and as my dc entered the schooling picture, I soon realized the box was not for them, either. (I know it IS for others, so no offense if ymv)

A friend whose three boys, ages 6-11, home schooled and passed on to me a ton of great stuff – not that I knew what I had: SWR, KONOS, and a ton of Abeka. (I sold the KONOS yellow book for $2?!?!) I started with 100EZL, Abeka, a home school support group, and a boy who wasn’t really to start school. We, both my eldest and I, cried a lot that first year. If only I knew the great advice so often heard today…RELAX. Heck, we cried enough the second year too. I was so concerned with outdoing the public school system, that I paid little to no attention to the clues of my student. I was simply schooling at home. That has changed a great deal.

While I still have a core I follow, I am much more attentive to the needs of each student. Those needs are about subject matter, learning style, independent passions, and the need to have life outside of school. My Type-A personality has a tendency to dive right in and be ALL about whatever I’m doing. I have over-schooled to all of our detriment. I am learning, and practicing still, that life goes beyond home schooling and some day, I want us to have a relationship beyond books and numbers. Overall, we’re fairing well there, but I have to keep myself in check so I don’t send us off balance. Who you are as a single person (type A or not) is not the same as who you are as a mother or teacher. In the same respect, who you are as a young mother, may very well change by the time you have teens. It’s not so much that you can’t meet your expectations or that you’ve suddenly become a realist; it’s more that you have changed, but in your mind’s eye, you still see that person from a while back. (OP) You have evolved, you just haven’t accepted it.  It took me a while to allow myself to live in that change without fear, guilt, shame, confusion, dread, etc..

          As a home schooler, I have realized and received confirmation from many home schoolers that it takes about three years to find your groove in home schooling, to figure out who you are. The thing is, you don’t stop there b/c you will keep growing and you children may not be you…ouch. That hurts, doesn’t it? Just b/c I read The Well Trained Mind and said, “That’s me! I finally found out who I am as a teacher!” didn’t mean it’s who my children were or are.  That has led to many times of strife, mostly b/c I’m stubborn and a lil’ slow sometimes at seeing beyond myself. At this point in our schooling, I still balance from totally following TWTM, to doing a generally classic education, with strong flavors of Charlotte Mason in the early years, and the allotment for personal joy, growth, development, and style in the later years. One day you’re cruising along in early elementary school, the next, you’re trying to figure out which Algebra program best suits each of your children. The growth is so far beyond academic…something Really hard to believe as a young home schooler whose consumed with the K-8 boards to find just the right line up…the growth is a part of who you are, who your children are, and who you all hope to be. Really be, not just what you’ve read, who you’ve studied, how well you score on tests or at what level your child is entering college. Initially, there is no way I could fathom that, now I own it…even if I forget its sittin’ on the shelf some days J

So, who I was, was who I needed to be. Like someone else mentioned, we giggle now when we see the newbies stressing about 2nd grade. At this point, we’re also laughing at who we used to be --- that mom stressed about 2nd grade. At some point, what I used was what I was given or found, but who I am now is a master teacher, confident, forever growing, always changing, full of confidence, patience, lesson plans, ideas, I am sure I can take care of K-8; however, at the same time, I’m  avoiding the high school board b/c I’m a big chicken, shakin’ in my boots about high school, wondering if I’ll have them ready for college, trying to stay classical, but offering more choice and freedom to my young men, and rising young lady….and I’ll bet there’s a mom over there giggling at me J Rightfully, so, she’s earned that passing grin, I’m sure of it!

So, you see, it’s less about how much you’ll change materials and more about how much you’ll grow. I imagine the majority of us will change a great deal, the question is…will you get better? Will you build solid people, as well as, solid students? Can you get past yourself in order to better serve your children (I’m also lazy, type-a, selfish, scared, sometimes just crazy!)? It appears, from the wonderful community here, that the answer to each of these questions is positive, and in the end, it doesn’t matter What we use, but How Well we use it, both spiritually and academically.

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