Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The 2014/2015 School Year. The Oldest.

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Next year's stuff, waiting to go on the shelf when this year's stuff comes off!

 As we wrap up the 2013/14 school year, it's time for my favorite part!  Planning and buying and getting ready for next year!

We should all take a moment and ponder the irony of being SO. VERY. DONE. with one school year and anxious for the next one to start, all at the same time.  It's not just me - I've discovered that a whole bunch of homeschoolers are over one school year and excitedly planning the next one.

The oldest will be a junior.  My brain cannot wrap around that.  Her schedule is busy but I think we have a plan that will work well for both of us, without overloading either of us.  She will be participating in two co-ops next year, which will put her out of the house 1 1/2 days per week.  She will also be continuing both piano and voice lessons, and will still be working in the church kitchen.  Thankfully she is pretty much done with a lot of her requirements, so we're going to be able to make her schedule work for us without making either of us crazy! 

I still need to tweak the calendar some to figure out when to start, but for now our basic plan will look like this:
Monday - half a day of co-op, then geometry, writing, and Spanish.
Tuesday - co-op all day
Wednesday - geometry, writing, and Spanish.
Thursday - geography, geometry, writing, and Spanish.
Friday - geography, geometry, writing, and Spanish.

For science, she'll be doing Chemistry.  We're doing another Landry Academy Intensive so all of the labs will be covered.  She will be getting Chemistry at the Monday co-op as well, and if we need to add to that at home, we will. 

We will be splitting the geography curriculum (which also includes Bible and a study of world religions) over two years. 

She will be getting American literature at the Monday co-op, along with chemistry, a computer class, health, and citizenship. 

The Tuesday co-op, Artios Academies, will cover more history (actually it's the same history she did this year at home, but it was interesting and fun, so that's all good.)  She'll also get a lot of fine arts in the Tuesday co-op, and we're very excited about that.

The curriculum she will be using next year is as follows:
Heart of Dakota Geography (which includes SO. MUCH. MORE. than Geography!)
Teaching Textbooks Geometry
Institute for Excellence in Writing Essay Writing
Chemistry 101
Landry Academy Chemistry Intensive
Rosetta Stone Spanish

We are quite excited about next year! I put together her transcript so far and we are both pleased with all that she has accomplished so far.  I didn't quite realize how many credits she had until I started compiling it all.  She is a good student, and I think she is every bit as excited about next year as I am.

I always enjoy looking at the plans homeschoolers have for the next year, so here is ours for the oldest.  I have plans made for the middle one and the little one too.  I'll get those posted soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

And then THIS happened.

Pin It I bragged on the middle one last week.  This week it's time for the oldest.

This girl has the strongest work ethic!  I'm not really sure how that happened!  She works hard, regularly, at lots of things. She spends half of her days on Wednesdays making meals at church.  She and her father deliver meals to a couple of homebound people every week.  She has developed relationships with these ladies and is blessed by them and is a blessing to them.

She plays piano and sings and works hard at both.  The girl seriously cannot walk by a piano without playing it.  She spends several hours a week working on various songs and styles of music.

My dad got her a gift of time in a recording studio ... so very awesome!  She mentioned to her friend that there was a song she wanted to do and couldn't find accompaniment.  Her friend said "I can do that!"  And then something magic happened.

They recorded that song.  They recorded a couple of others.  We scheduled them to sing one of the songs at church, and they did a fabulous job.

This was this past Sunday.

I love that homeschooling has allowed our schedules to be somewhat flexible, and gives these two opportunities to work together and push each other along as they grow the gifts the Lord has given them.  

(And yes, we already discussed the fact that next time someone other than me needs to do the recording, so maybe we won't miss the beginning!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding What They Love and Do Well

Pin It I think it's hard to be the middle one, especially when the middle and oldest are both girls.  Especially when the oldest one has an ability that is noticeable.  I think the middle one tends to live in the shadow of the oldest one. This is really a bit ridiculous, especially in my family, because my oldest and middle are NIGHT AND DAY.  Seriously.

About two years ago, my friend suggested that we consider Taekwondo for our middle one.  Well, in looking for activities different than things her sister would be interested in, this may very well top the list, so we tried it.  I honestly did not expect her to enjoy it after the novelty of it wore off.
A new black belt!
I was wrong.

She is now a black belt.  She knows she can do something that her sister cannot.  This morning I walked into her class after it was over halfway over.  I watched, in fifteen minutes, her take on some leadership with younger kids and them respond well to her.  I watched her work really hard to learn a new skill.  I watched her fail at that skill a lot more times than she succeeded at it.  I watched her be frustrated and want to give up.  And then I saw determination.  And more hard work.

She did not master this skill today.  She did work hard, and she is planning to continue to work hard and WILL master this skill.

I love to see the pride she has in this.  She has developed friendships and confidence that she would never have had without it.

I'm not saying "everyone go out right now and enroll your child in Taekwondo!" but I am saying there is something fabulous that happens when your child finds an activity that is theirs.  Watching her work really hard to do this activity well is such a blessing!  Sure it might be easier if she and her sister were involved in all of the same activities, but it's worth the extra effort to see her shine in her own activity!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschooling Elementary

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Is this not the best first day of school picture ever?

Really, he is fine with school starting.  He just doesn't enjoy having his picture taken!
A little bit better, little one!

So, in addition to my 10th grader and 7th grader, I have a second grader this year!  This one keeps things interesting.  Well, they all do, really.

We quickly found out that what worked for the girls doesn't work as well for him.  We made it about three weeks into the DVD program we were using before realizing that it was an exercise in futility because the entire time the DVD was on, I was having to try to get him to pay attention to it.  There was about an hour of DVD time, which we *crammed* into about two hours.  :-/  Thankfully homeschooling for a long time has taught me to be able to say "this is NOT working for us, let's let it go!"  So we did.  He is actually still using the same curriculum, just not with the DVD right now.  I really do want to go back and add the DVDs, at least for reading class in the future; we'll see how that goes.

He is using Bob Jones for reading and English.  English is a bit of a stretch for him right now, but really I'm okay with that.  Sometimes I still get stressed about it, then I try to remind myself that he'll be writing paragraphs again next year and the next year and for the next eight or so years after that, so it's fine if writing a paragraph in second grade is really too much for him.  Okay, I kind of have to remind myself of that daily.  He is reading well though, and actually does pretty well with grammar too.

For math, we are using CLE, but that ends this week and we're switching to Teaching Textbooks.  I have enjoyed CLE, and we may end up going back to it, but for now, my time is a priority and I think TT will be completely student driven for him, so we're going to give it a try.  He is pretty mathy, and seems to be excited about doing his math on the computer.  We'll see how it goes.

He is also using my beloved Heart of Dakota curriculum for science and history, and pretty much just enrichment of what we're already doing.  He is finishing up Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory.  I decided to make it work and to put him on the same path as his sisters, that we would do Beyond for first and second grade, Bigger for third and fourth, Preparing for fifth and sixth, Creation to Christ for seventh, Resurrection to Reformation for eighth, and then he will be on the same high school path as both sisters.  At least that is my plan as of now.  I try to be flexible ... to an extent.  I'm really not so much a flexible person, but by the same token, I don't want to have everything planned out forever. 

He also attends our co-op, and is learning about the fifty states there, along with science, literature, art, and music.

OH!  I have to show a picture of a mural his co-op art class did.  So fabulous!  They all worked together and this is the end result:

So, there is what each of my kids is doing for their schoolwork this year.  Sometime soon, I will have a post on what works for us as far as organization and planning goes! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homeschooling Middle School

Pin It I posted what the oldest does for school a couple of weeks ago.  I also have a middle schooler, and one in elementary, and thought I'd share what they're doing, both for my future reference, and for the fun of it!

Wow!  The middle one is in seventh grade!  Not quite sure how that happened so fast!

Schooling this one is definitely different from schooling her older sister.  The curriculum is mostly the same, but the methods are not!  She is much more hands on than her sister, and enjoys doing the projects and the more fun aspects.

She is also using Heart of Dakota.  She is just starting Resurrection to Reformation.  We do a weird one and a half year plan with her for these, mainly for my ease to make her high school match her sister's.  It's a four day a week curriculum, and we do three days usually.  She will finish this at the end of her 8th grade year.  This is covering her history and science.  We love HOD SO much!

She also uses Teaching Textbooks, Math 7.  She enjoys this and is doing well with it.

She also uses IEW for writing.  She is doing level B.  I have to say - I expected this to be more of a challenge to her than it is.  I kind of anticipated this taking two years but it looks like she will finish it in one.  I'm not really sure what that means for her writing for next year.  We may hit harder on grammar, or come up with a creative writing course or something.  (I'm definitely open for suggestions here!)

She is doing the Ultimate Grammar series as well, to hold on to the skills she already in grammar. 

Most of her real science comes from co-op, and she will be also doing literature and writing at co-op, as well as history and an overview of Spanish. 

I have a post coming about the little one, and then about how we organize it all on good days.  Maybe one day I'll post about how we organize it all on bad days.  ;)  I'll just mention that there may be chocolate and copious amounts of coffee involved.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Homeschooling in High School

Pin It The oldest is in tenth grade now.
(because what says First Day of School better than Starbucks and PJ's?)

Wow.  When we first started out and she was in PreK, I didn't really think we would still be homeschooling.  We started because she was ready for school, and yet public schooling for preK wasn't an option for us.  She had done Mother's Day Out programs, and we had recently moved, so I wasn't too familiar with the various preK options.  Plus, I had a continually sick toddler at the time, and taking the oldest to school and picking her up was more overwhelming than homeschool!  And now, however many years later, here we are.

I was so worried when high school began!  I'm a pretty scheduled, every blank filled in kind of person, with a bit of overachieving stuck in there.  Give me a transcript to fill out and suggestions of what is required to fill out that transcript and my inner drill sergeant comes out and OH MY HEAVENS we are GOING to get those boxes FILLED.

So the biggest challenge for me so far is relaxing a little.  She is never going to be a scientist, so I don't have to make her crazy and myself sick by ordering 35 little critters for her to dissect on the kitchen table.  We are doing a biology curriculum, but our real time and effort is spent on things that are actually useful to her.

We are still using our beloved Heart of Dakota curriculum.  This year she is doing Missions to Modern Marvels, and we are both enjoying it.  Right now we are on the cusp of the Great Depression.

We are still using Teaching Textbooks, currently in Algebra 2.  One of us is enjoying this.  One of us is not.  I'll just leave y'all to figure out which is which.

We are still using Institute for Excellence in Writing.  She writes pretty well, so this has been kind of fun for her.  She's doing the B Continuation.  I'm not sure where to go next year for her.

We are doing Biology 101, supplemented with the Landry Academy Intensive and co-op.  (I'll try to remember to write a review of the biology lab intensive!  We did this with a group a few months ago and thought it was fabulous!)

She is doing British Literature at co-op, and has already done a lengthy Shakespeare study.

She is getting government at co-op, and we're doing an economics supplement at home.

And of course music.  She is still taking piano and voice, and has spent sufficient time for a performing arts credit.  Also home ec, because she is a dedicated kitchen worker every Wednesday at church.  That girl is QUITE capable in a kitchen!

Because we haven't done a lot of testing, she is also taking an SAT class to help prepare for that.  I'm happy to farm that out!  We also take a PE class.

Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  It really IS a lot.  It works for us though.  Her days aren't too long.  I think she will be well prepared for life and am content with her schooling.  I actually enjoy it most days.  I enjoy her!  When the days are long and it feels like one kid or another is needing me every single second and I want to go hide in the closet with chocolate, I can remember that I have 2 1/2 years left schooling this one.  Bittersweet.  That usually helps me make it through the day.  That and the aforementioned chocolate in the closet!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Word for 2014 is ...

Pin It Well, actually there will be two words, because I'm an over achiever like that.  I'm only sharing one right now because the other is still a concept and I can't think of the right word to sum it up.  This is not nearly as lofty as it sounds - really it's more a shortfall in my vocabulary than anything else!  The oldest could probably come up with the right word, and the middle one could probably make up a word, but I'll just wait and see if I can figure it out myself first!

The word I do have now ... is LAUGH.  I can be a bit high strung.  Just a bit.  I like to have all of my ducks in a row, be where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there, and have everything done appropriately and cleaned up after.  My children sometimes make this a little difficult, like walking out the door and "I can't find my shoes" and "She hit me" and "I'm going to leave every one of the 237894 pieces of this thing I should not have taken out of the house all over the place so that when you're ready to leave, you won't get to because I'm going to be nowhere to be found and you're going to have to gather up all of those pieces" and the ever popular "OH MY SWEET HEAVENS, HAVE YOU BRUSHED YOUR TEETH?"

In the midst of all of this, the MOM FACE pops out more often than not.  Then I'm snapping at kids and I'm again reminded that since being in my 40's, my bad attitudes tend to last all day.  I remember Beth Moore saying "God doesn't just want to change your life, He wants to change your day" and that's fabulous but I'm JUST. SO. IRRITATED. and don't want to let go of the bad attitude, thankyouverymuch.

So laugh ...

Really I just want to try to loosen up some.  I'm always telling one of my children to loosen up, and as that child has a personality SO MUCH like my own, I have realized that I need to do it too.  I know I'm still going to get irritated when I'm supposed to be somewhere in FOUR MINUTES and there is still a child playing a video game, barefooted with unbrushed teeth, or any of the other millions of things that irritate me, but truth be told ...

... it's really SMALL STUFF, and in the grand scheme of things, doesn't really matter.

So, I'm going to try to loosen up a bit.  And laugh more.  Life is funny.  My kids are funny.  I want to enjoy that.  And maybe I'll be so busy laughing that I won't care so much if I'm a couple of minutes late.  (I promise I will still care whether teeth are brushed or not though, because that's just gross.)