Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Revamped, Maybe

You would think that once I'm done with a school year, I could take a break. But, no, I am nothing if not obsessive. Good grief. The ink is barely dry on their evals and I've already changed half a blog about what we're doing next year. Here's to changes!!

  • We may participate in a science co-op. I have a meeting next week with a group of friends to talk about a science co-op for our kids. Most of the older ones are 8th and 9th grade. They are using a different curriculum than the one I have but they are basically the same. I perused them both and the only difference is font and layout. I bought the new one anyway. If I have to teach it, I want to be up to speed on the curriculum we are using. Just makes it easier. We would only meet once a week and we would each teach a chapter and then do some experiments. That's really what I wanted a co-op for- to share the experiments with someone. All three would participate, but they would be seperated into two groups. We're not sure what to use for the youngers, but I have a ton of stuff I'm taking to the meeting. Hopefully, we can get things to work day and time wise. And I miss using the "Co-op" tag for my blogs. 
  • No summer dance for us. Mermie has been quite sick and Big Sis is a little overwhelmed. I want to be available in case I need to go. And yesterday, hubby found out that one of my front tires is seperating. My dance money just bought two new tires and a front end alignment. We are all disappointed. I was going to get my tap shoes back on and the big girl was (finally) going to take ballet. The boy was going to get reacquainted with ballet, and my tapping baby was going to hip hop her way through the summer. But in the fall, we are still on track for two classes each. We'll see what our schedule is like if we add science co-op.
  • We may only participate in one set of programs for summer reading. I need to get online and sign everyone up at the various libraries. One has two programs that two of my kids would be incredibly interested in. One is a creative writing workshop that lasts several weeks. It's at the biggest of the libraries that we go to. The big girl has always been a great writer. Creative writing was her language arts this past year and she did a great job. I would really like for her to get some input from someone else, though. This is right up her alley, I think. I figure she'll attend two or three and we'll go from there. The other thing is Pokemon club for the boy. It's normally a different day of the week, but I guess for the summer they add it to summer reading. It's the same time as creative writing. And that leaves the baby, who is going to spend some time reading with her mama. I am so looking forward to that. We are working on her reading skills and speech. 
  • We changed the baby's math. I had bought a curriculum I really like and have always wanted to use. I got it super cheap from friend. As I was looking at the curriculum when I was organizing the kids' school drawers, I realized that the lessons have no directions with them. It is the lesson pages and that's it. It is totally dependent on the teacher. This is not the year I need that. With three different maths, I needed something that was self-paced and would allow the baby to get started until I can get to her. And in third grade, it's just buildng on skills they already know. I still have some of the boy's math from third grade. I bought replacement workbooks for what the boy had already used when I ordered the new science. I feel much better now.   
I know one thing for sure, I will have to be super organized this year. I'm hoping for lots of dance classes on the same day for multiple kids, music lessons in the afternoons, and gas prices keep falling. We start school the second week of August. I'll have our dance schedule by the first week of August and hopefully everything else, as well. But what will probably happen is that I'll change my mind about something. Again. I know me so well...

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sweet Summer and Beyond

If I just wrote about our summer plans, this is what the blog would look like.

(cricket, cricket, cricket)

That is exciting, let me tell you what! I haven't made many plans at all. Well, a couple, but after June, we are foot loose and fancy free. Most of these things are either a week or only a couple of weeks. Except the last two. They will go on and on. Anyway, here we go...

  • Summer dance- I would really like the kids to take summer dance classes. They could take, and I'm asking them to, a dance they may not want to devote a year to. Or take a class they may be interested in to see if it would hold their attention. They cannot take what they've been taking as a regular class. It needs to be outside their normal. And we have to have shoes they can wear. I don't want to buy new shoes for three weeks of dance. Except the big girl. She wants to take ballet. If I have to buy her shoes, she may take ballet as her regular class next year. My hip hop girl in ballet. I have a feeling she'll love it. We just got done with recital and they'll have a couple of weeks off before dance starts. But, for the older two, there's always...
  • Summer camp-They will actually miss the first week of summer dance because of summer camp. This will be the boy's first year, and the big girl's third year. They are so excited. The big girl will be sharing a cabin with some friends. The boy, however, will be the only middle school boy going with our church group. The big girl went solo her first year at camp. I'm hoping the boy does well. He is his mother's son. I have had to hear how excited they are since we started talking about camp at church in March. Some days, I have to tell them if they do NOT hush their mouths about it, I may have to beat 'em. And I would.
  • Summer reading- This is something we have done every year since the big girl could read. I just kept adding kids as they learned to read. The big girl and the boy will be in the teen and tween program. Good grief, how did that happen? We usually register at a couple of different libraries. We are close enough to four, but we're only registering at three. Even though they're part of the same system, they all run their programs a little differently and have different prizes. It keeps the kids on their toes. And me, too.
  • Summer math- Ugh! Who wants to do math in the summer? Me!! But I'm weird that way. I have these fun math books from the makers of Highlights. Math and fun do go together! No, really, they do. I promise. This way, the kids keep some of their skills, it's not a cruddy math book, and I don't have so much to back track on when we start school again. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
  • Summer cooking- See how that tied in to the chicken dinner thing from the last one? I am clever! It is time to teach the kids to cook. The big girl has a few basics down and the boy, too. But they would starve if they only ate eggs, chicken nuggets, and hash browns or french fries. The big girl got a cookbook for Christmas several years ago. I think we may start there, replacing yucky ingredients with good ones. If they can read a recipe and know what it means, they won't starve. That makes me happy. I can throw nutrition in there as well. I smell cooking disguised as a unit study. Shhhhhh!! Don't tell.   
Those are our summer plans for now. Not much really. Just enough to keep us out of trouble. Yeah, I know. I need ALOT more than that! But that's what we're doing for now. 

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Over...Mostly

School is done!!! Can I get a woot woot? Now you get the quick run down. Lucky!!

  • When we started this school year, we were coming off a not so stellar year before. The year before I was depressed. Meds probably would have been appropriate, but you know how stubborn I am. That was during the whole moving, holding, not moving stage of our lives. I wanted this year to be different, so it was. We got alot accomplished, even a new schedule and some new extras. We are exhausted.
  • We had to make some rules. Blech!! Up by 8, working by 9:30. We still need to tweak that. I have a hard time remembering that what could take me 10 minutes to do will take the kids a while longer. I'm hoping over the summer to get rooms cleaned, maybe move a piano, and get the kids a good work space in their rooms. There was too much distraction some days and giggling galore when there should have been work going on. Hopefully, we can change that.
  • Our schedule got harder to manage when we added music. It has been worth every second. My kids are such great musicians. You should hear my sweet girls play piano. The boy gets better and better every day at guitar. Those lessons will continue over the summer. We've changed the time of both piano and guitar and I think the times now are great. Hopefully we can keep them when school starts back in the fall. We also added a weekly bible study that I facilitated. That threw us for a loop at first, but I feel like we hit a groove eventually.  
  • The baby finished a grammar workbook, 3 reading comprehension workbooks, and a logic workbook. That may not sound like much, but for a 2nd grader, it's a bunch. She worked ahead with some of her stuff. She follows the lesson plan unless she likes what she's doing, then she goes ahead. She really likes to read. I was afraid I would run out of reading comprehension for her. Have you seen how many workbooks I have for that? She got further with the math curriculum than the boy did when it was his. But once again, when she enjoys the work, it's not work. I wish I could get her to like cleaning her room.
  • The boy finally ran into math that was a little harder than he was used to. He is my math smarty. He got frustrated a couple of times, and this is what makes me glad we homeschool. Don't understand the way it's explained, let's try this a different way. And it works. Yea! For his language arts, we used the rest of his workbooks from the year before. The curriculum we were using comes with 10 workbooks and a teacher's guide. Last year he only finished about half of them. See what I mean about slacking? He finished the rest this year. Next year he starts a couple of book studies. 
  • We changed the big girl's math twice. The math we started with just didn't give her enough info to do well, so we moved to something else. It was good, but there was not enough review of previous concepts. Ok, there wasn't any review except the chapter test. I did like that it showed the solution instead of just the answers. The last one seemed to be much better for her. She also finished her language arts. She did creative writing this year. We found she has quite the talent for poetry. Who'd have thought? Then she started her curriculum for next year. It was a great preview of what to expect. 
  • No science this year. We just couldn't get to it. I had high hopes, but it didn't work. We did art instead. I had downloaded a freebie about cartooning. I was a little leary at first. It was so much fun. The kids did an awesome job. We supplemented with an art DVD that had four or five lessons and those corresponded with our cartoon study. We could actually see the concept work and understand it a little better. It's easy to fit a 10 minute art lesson into our day, but not always easy to find a half hour to 45 minutes for science. Next year, though, I get to teach science twice in one day. Good thing I like science.
  • We ditched our history curriculum and studied American history. We had the best time. We started by watching America: The Story of Us. We would watch an episode, then build lessons from that. One of the best parts of the day was watching our history while having lunch. We learned so much this year. We took a little time to do a unit study on some Indian tribes. I even found some movies based on each tribe we studied. Sometimes they had a lot to do with the tribe and sometimes it didn't. Indian in the Cupboard doesn't have much to do with the Iroquois except that the Indian was Iroquois. But it was a cute movie. 
Next year is still up in the air. We have to get our dance schedule to know what our other schedules will be. I hope the baby will be able to participate in girls club again next year. She had the best time. The big girl's style is cramped a little. The boy is now in youth with her. This should be interesting. We have a few summer plans, but not much. The big girl is teaching herself calligraphy. That is perfect for her. My two oldest will go to camp for a week. This will be the boy's first year at camp. The baby will be spoiled rotten. We may do summer dance this year. I have fun math for the kids. Just a little, to keep their skills up. And we always join the summer reading programs at the local libraries. We are close enough to three libraries that we could join them all. And lots of lazy. OK, probably just a little lazy. You know us, we don't sit still for long.

Have a great day.