I would like to share with you some of the things that I am grateful for in the past year made possible because we have made the conscious decision to home educate: being able to snuggle my kids in the morning, reading the books that we want, doing crafts at midnight, not doing Algebra when we are totally frustrated, studying Mythology for a whole 3 months just because we want to, painting and drawing whatever we want, park days, tons of field trips, having the ability to decide who we do/do not want to spend our days with, the fact that Dae cannot name one thing that she is grateful that she doesn't have to put up with in a public school setting because she has never been in one, working at our own pace in our own way, not having to stick with a curriculum or method if it is not working, cooking together, going to the beach for a week in September at half price, good friends with excellent family values, knowing who my kids are around, deciding we want to take a day off just because, no bullying, not worrying all day about what is happening at school, not worrying about someone else's beliefs or values being crammed down my children's throat, not having to wait in school car lines, not having to make the decision to send/not to send the kids to school if they are feeling bad, special "in" clothes, not having to explain what certain bad words mean, not worrying about drugs being offered to my kids, being able to decide to take time off in the spring to do native plant rescues and play in the beautiful weather and school during the hot summer days, doing science experiments every day if we want, and the list goes on and on and on.... Do any of these sound familiar to you? As I sit here thinking about this, the list is endless as to how our lives have changed, our way of thinking and doing things, and the things that I no longer worry about or even think about any more. What do I miss about sending my kids to school? Nothing...absolutely nothing!
I read an article about trying to avoid learning... The basic premise is that you can't avoid learning even if you try. Looking back over the past couple of weeks during our Christmas holiday, I wonder if that is true. Let's see, Dae has been painting on canvas every day, so we have discussed different genres of art such as impressionism, mixing colors, different artists, cartoons, caricatures...darn! That's learning! We went shopping several times and comparison shopped! Learning again! In mindlessly watching T.V., we learned about the assassination of Ms. Benazir Bhutto and then had to discuss the meaning of "democracy". Darn that evil T.V.! We have several friends who celebrate holidays other than Christmas and learned about those. Argh! Then, of course, we opened all of those awesome presents, which consisted of candle wax, metal working tools, woodworking tools, books, canvases, pottery clay, etc, etc, etc... We had to research those, didn't we? I'm trying, I really am...but, it's everywhere!
December 26, 2007
December 24, 2007
This has just been the best season for my family. Dae and I have spent almost every day painting, making wrapping paper, sculpting, making ornaments, etc. We spent one whole day watching all of the oldie Christmas animations... We have just had a blast. I did all of my major shopping months ago, so we have been able to just enjoy the fun stuff and buying little odds and ends. There are still some crafts we did not get around to, but we can still do them or just wait until next year.
We have also been having a great time lesson wise. Dalton is just flying through his Geometry, and if you can remember the hard times we have had over Algebra, then you know what a huge relief that is. It makes our day so much better now that he is understanding and even enjoying his math. That is the only problem we have ever had, and I think it is just a block he has over the Algebra. He has also decided that he wants to do an extended study of World War II, so I have ordered a ton of material from the library for that. I found a great site that lists all of the movies dedicated to the different wars in American History. You can check it out here: Movies about war. We have also been concentrating a lot on politics lately. We all took a test at USA Today to match our beliefs to a candidate. Try it out, I was surprised who they paired me with.
Dae had her Yoshukai testing on Thursday. I am glad to have that over before the holidays! She will not have to go back until January 8. That is a much needed break. She did very well at testing. She was the highest ranking one testing and will receive her last green belt. After that is brown and then black. This particular art is much slower to progress than others. On average, it takes about 3 1/2 years to get your black belt. She has already been taking a little over two years. Dalton will be able to go back on Jan 8. I know he is very happy about that.
December 17, 2007
We went to see "The Nutcracker" on Thursday. We had really good seats. We were in the balcony but on a side tier all the way at the bottom, so we had a wonderful view and our group was alone and not having to deal with all of the school groups. It was really, really nice. The performance was excellent as always. My favorite part is in the second act with the Chinese dance and bellydancer. I am sure there is a specific name for that part of the show, but I don't know what it is. Friday the group went to the Alys Stephens Center and saw "Sister's Christmas Catechism". My family did not go, but I heard it was hilarious. Dae and I were supposed to go Friday night, but Dae was just too tired, so we bowed out of going. Saturday we had a Mom's Night Out at Devyani Dance Studio where Megha, fellow homeschooling mom and bellydancer extraordinaire, was performing. If you have never seen Megha perform, you should take the opportunity to do so. She is really spectacular. Today, as you can imagine, we just hung out at home. We did work on making Christmas wrap, but that was about it.
I am sure you all remember the trouble Dalton had with Algebra last year. We started Geometry this week, and he is really enjoying it so far. I love Algebra and hate Geometry, and he is just the opposite. I guess the old saying about if you love one you usually hate the other is true. We are using Math-U-See, and I hope it keeps going well.
December 11, 2007
I know this may seem weird, but I am going to put my Christmas list here; the only place in the world where they will not find it!
paint by number
Diva foam kit
rug for bedroom
Felicity doll clothes
Monty Python tickets
slick lunchroom trays
Car Bike Rack
I hope everyone's school year (or nonschool year as is REALLY the case) is going as wonderfully as ours. Our week was mostly spent at home as Dalton was not feeling well. We did get time to decorate for Christmas, watch Roots: The Next Generations Episode 6, make Christmas decorations, and cook together. Dalton had his last McWane Class, but sadly he missed it as he was sick. He also missed the Teen Scene on Thursday; although, I did hear that the teens had a blast. He was able to attend the first ever Teen Park Day at Homewood Park. We had about 12 kids there, and we stayed about 4 hours. It was a good time. I am not sure as to when and where this will be made a permanent fixture in our schedules but will keep you posted. If you are not a part of Teen Scene and would like to be, please contact me to be added to the Teen Scene Yahoo Group.
Dae's last McWane Class will be this week, and she has decided that she does not want to take the classes again. We also have the Nutcracker Performance and Sister's Christmas Catechism to attend this week. Dae is not feeling well, so I hope she feels well enough in time to attend. We are making most of our Christmas wrap this year, so we will be working on that this week. Dae has her Yoshukai testing next week, so this week we will be working on her Japanese terminology and written test as well as her katas.
Homeschooling at 38...that's me. Do you ever feel like that you are learning so many things over that you had forgotten? Sometimes we go over things that I don't remember ever having learned in the first place. I was never a history buff in school...really couldn't have cared less. I LOVE history now. We focus a lot on history in our readings, shows we watch, and field trips, and both of the kids really love it. I think that is the point of homeschooling. They are given so many opportunities that they would have never had if in a school system. Let your kids see you enjoy learning and reading. I am about to start taking a quilting class and a sign language class. These are both things that I have always wanted to learn. I am hoping to be able to come home and teach the kids what I learn.
December 6, 2007
Dae found a really cool game on www.iknowthat.com called Bee Hive. It gives a lot of scientific information about beehives but also has a virtual world where you earn points to decorate your bee, buy furnishings, etc... In order to earn the points, you have to visit different areas of the beehive including the math room, grammar room, etc. It is a really cute game. She did a ton of perimeter and area work to earn points which also involved multiplication, division, and addition.
I have been researching ways of teaching about the election process including interactive games. I have bookmarked several sites but have not had the chance to really check them out. Dalton and I will check them out tomorrow, and I will post the ones that we think are really good.
Dae spent most of her day today decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping and labeling presents for her Webkinz, drawing, Toon Town, the Beehive Game, Yoshukai, etc... She definitely keeps herself busy. Also, one of her hermit crabs obviously was molting and we missed it because it has moved into a new shell.
December 5, 2007
The newest development in our household is that we have purchased a new laptop. I cannot get used to typing on it. The cursor keeps jumping around and doing crazy stuff it is not supposed to do. A development of the new computer is that I have noticed Dae is spending a considerable amount of time on the computer. She wants to play and do lessons on the computer. It does not seem to have made any difference in Dalton's time spent on the computer. One of the conditions that Dae must adhere to is that she use proper finger placement to type with. She does not want to continue her typing lessons, but I feel like she did enough to know where the keys are and how to hold her hands. All she really needs is practice, and she will get plenty of that if she keeps "playing" on the computer.
Sadly, I do not think that any of our duck eggs have made it. I don't know why. A good friend of mine who is educated on the subject told me that duck eggs are hard to incubate and that we should try chicken eggs. We will definitely give that a try. It is a very interesting experiment. Three of our ducklings made it to the final days before hatching and then died for some reason. They are fully developed. You can see them when you candle them. We will give them a couple of more days, but I am about 99% sure that they are not viable.
We have just finished the fifth episode of "Roots: The Next Generations". We will finish up the series next week. It has really put things in perspective for my children. Dalton specifically requested that we watch this series after seeing an advertisement on television. We watched the original Roots series last year. I think we will revisit both series in a few years when Dae is a few years older and has better comprehension of what she is seeing.
What's new with Dalton? Dalton has finished up his McWane classes and also his Biology book. He has now decided that he would like to study human anatomy because "he needs it". I am not sure exactly what he means by that, but I'm happy that he is interested. We have pulled all of the human body books off of the shelves for him to read. He is also pretty immersed in Greek Mythology at this time. We are going to start Geometry next week. We had planned on starting this week; however, he has been sick for the past two days, and I did not want to start him on something new when he was not feeling well. I have been searching for him some resources to learn Spanish, but he has not liked any of them so far. He finally explained to me that even though he knows he SHOULD learn Spanish, he does not WANT to learn Spanish. He has already had two years of German, and he says he just does not want to learn another language right now even though he feels like he should. It was his idea in the first place, so I am not going to push the issue. I will just keep finding resources for him until he decides he is ready. Something will spark the urge at some point or another. Dalton is also working out at the gym every other day to rehab his knee. It has not hurt in at least two weeks, and he should be able to go back to Yoshukai at the first of January. He is very excited about that.
What's up with Dae? Dae has one more McWane class to go, and she has definitely decided that she does not want to continue taking the classes. I am so sad for her. She was SO excited about these classes and then didn't like them. She is such a science buff. In the next few days, we are going to make a worm farm. I will post pictures. We are also reading the marine biology section of a "What If...?" book. Dae has just finished the first Josefina book and about to start the second. We are also about to start reading the second Anne of Green Gables book. Next week we have an appointment with a friend who is going to teach Dae to decorate cakes. She is going to love that. Dae is also getting ready for her next Yoshukai testing in a couple of weeks. This will put her at a third level green belt, which will make her the highest ranking in her class, just under the black belts.
What's up with Deb? Well, I am very excited to say that I will be attending a sign language class starting in January. That is something I have always wanted to learn. It will be a 10 week class. I realize that is not nearly long enough to learn the skill completely, but hopefully it will give me some building blocks. I am also going to attend a class to learn to quilt, also something I have always wanted to learn. I am also currently participating in a Mom's book club and enjoying that. I just read "The Golden Compass" to see what all the controversy was about and am now on the second book in the series. I also have "Summerhill" and "The Birth of Venus" in line to read. I have also been working on updating the website and possibly looking into starting a new site that is not connected with a blog. That is something I will do later on though. You see, it is never to late to "homeschool"!!!
That's all for now. I will post again soon.
Have a great holiday,