Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28

A new model of public education - I found this quite interesting as the high school I attended practiced some of the ideas mentioned.

The easiest and best curriculum - I would love to be this relaxed but...

'Ready to Learn' Equals Easier to Educate

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27

So we just finished up our 30 day trial of Time4Learning. I really liked having it in my first days as a homeschooling mom. It was especially useful for the times I was overwhelmed before I started to get my lesson plans together. Everything is organized by category so the kids can just log in and start working without any problems. I liked that I could set time limits for their work so that they didn't spend too much time online. The older kids really enjoyed it. Robin's favorite part was the Language Arts section. The wry humor used throughout was right up his alley! I think that worked against him in Math though as he enjoyed the funny stuff so much, I don't think he was paying much attention to the lessons. He was able to go back and continue to work on each until he understood though. I do wish the Science and Social Studies was as interactive as Math and Language Arts, but that didn't seem to be a problem for my kids. I heard Wren telling her brothers about her science lesson one day in the car on the way to swim. Loved that. I would continue to use Time4learning if my budget allowed as the cost is quite fair and I find it to be useful. Overall, I liked the program and would recommend it as a supplement or a even as a full program if you have a kid that loves working online.

I was invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for my candid review. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

We haven't made it to any homeschool park days. We're skipping the homeschool P.E class too. Spring co-op sounds lovely, but we'll have to pass. You see, I've decided that while we're getting things up and running, we're going to keep the home in homeschool. One of our major motivations for homeschooling was to be able to spend free time together as a family. When the kids were in public school, even the empty calendar days were full. So though getting together with other homeschoolers and networking would be wonderful, it's just not a priority right now. We can't have any enrichment until we have the basics down, IMO. And the basics include a lot more (laughing, playing, movie nights, and read-alouds). All together.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18

Besides homeschooling, I recently did another thing I have wanted to do for years. I took our family photo early enough that I will not have to scramble to send out holiday cards! Holiday cards and I have a complicated history. I always want to sent them out, but it doesn't necessarily happen. September comes along and I think, eh, I've got plenty of time! Then October and I think, oh, it's just Halloween. Next thing you know, I'm putting up decorations and getting fabulous cards in the mail and I have lost the will to handle my own. Something else than can be an issue for me is finding a seasonal card rather than a Christmas card. You see, I'm agnostic and celebrate the Solstice. My husband is a Christmas loving Buddhist. Then there's my Catholic mom and Jewish step-dad...and well, you get the picture. I'm part of a multi faith family, so it's important that anything I send out reflect that.

That's why I love this section over at Shutterfly. Now the biggest problem I'm going to have is choosing a design! This Holiday Window Card is Wren's favorite, but they are wearing so many colors in the photos I took, I fear there might a color explosion if I chose that card. I think the Mod Ornaments card is my fav, but I don't know if there is enough room to put our photo in without some faces being obscured. I love that I can just drag and drop to find out. The Love & Joy Christmas card really speaks to me because of the sentiment. After all, isn't it what everyone wants for the holidays?

I'm getting some gift ideas over at Shutterfly as well. L is almost harder to shop for than I am and I think he would love one of these wall calendars in his new office. So it looks like I'm going to win the holiday card battle this year after all.

This post is a sponsored post by Shutterfly. Bloggers, get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17

I've been waiting for us to have a "normal" week so that I could write about it. Newsflash: There is no normal. In an effort to make myself feel like we are doing things The Right Way, I forgot that we are also living our lives. We might do a little school on Sunday so we can spend the day with L on Monday. Or we take a long break in the middle of the day to grocery shop and go to the library. So what? I'll just call those a half day and math & language arts field trip. Heh. If the kids are doing well and we are all happy, that's all that should matter, right? In theory, but remember, I'm still sort of hung up on doing things The Right Way. I am constantly worried that my kids will not do well during end of the year testing causing a downward spiral of homeschool probation (yes, such a thing exists in my state) and CPS investigations. That's the way my paranoid little mind works. And I wish more homeschoolers would talk about that. The fear that first timers or even long time homeschoolers may have about screwing it up. BUT, I see things. Little things. The way Robin breezed through three pages of word problems and explained them to me with ease. He's never done that before. The discovery during spelling that he loves crossword puzzles. The realization that he is a better student when he works first (before his sibs are up) and alone. The things I never knew when he was in public school. The things that let me know that, hey, this may be working...we made the right choice.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    November 9


    egg salad
    • We played cool math games.
    • Robin helped me fry plantain.
    • I downloaded some blank lesson plans.
    • We revised yesterday's writing.
    • I was encouraged by conversations with two friends.
    • Finch read to me.
    • Wren and Robin played soccer in the yard with the baby (still happening).
    • I signed up for the JASON science site.
    • We watched a video about Pilgrim life.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    November 8

    Finch and Wren at work

    In trying to avoid a rookie mistake by buying tons of curriculum, I've bought almost nothing.  Well, that's not entirely true. We do have Math Mammoth, a new dictionary, some Spelling Workout books, Learning Grammar Through Writing, and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8. And honestly, I think we could do without the last two! There are a couple more practical items (like a detailed world map) that I'd like, but I'm sure we could do without them if necessary.

    I'm finding that we already have most everything we need to successfully go about our days. Just like in other areas of our life, I'm realizing that we don't need more "stuff" to have a better experience. I am using Lesson Pathways as a guide for Language Arts. We already have most of the books used for the reading selections and those we don't have, we'll get from the library. I just couldn't decide on a formal language arts curriculum and now, I'm glad I couldn't! I love being able to choose what will work best for each child and that there are so many options available without me spending a dime.

    A friend told me about this cool notebooking thing her kids are doing for science and we're going to try it...whenever we get around to science! We haven't done that or history yet, but I bet we could get by with the "educational material" that we've collected over time. Art plays a huge part in our lives, so I also bought The Usborne Art Treasury which I thought would be a cute way to re/introduce famous works of art to the kids while incorporating something they know and love.

    So far, the only downside I can see to piecing things together like this is lesson planning! I'm going to have to start doing that soon so that things run more smoothly. Already, I feel like I'm trying to play catch up when it comes to planning. I've already said "let me just get through this week and then..." a couple of times. And it's not that I want the week to be over, it's just that we are so busy living that I haven't had the time. But I will. Just let me get through this week...

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    November 4

    It's been such a busy week that I haven't really had any time to write. We are traveling and have some family events happening so things are hectic. I did get letters from the school division on Monday basically saying that they had received our NOIs. Apparently I didn't screw those up. So, yay! I guess we're really official now....

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    November 1

    Lark was a spider for Halloween. Her costume wasn't this good. This one lives in our backyard.