Thursday, May 31, 2007

So much for plans

lol. I'm not sure why I tried to implement something new on what was essentially the last day of the school week. Totally bombed. Ah well!

Monday, I've got to put my foot down. We have a park day scheduled, so I can't say something like--no play time this afternoon if your work isn't done. I'll have to have a meeting with them Monday morning. "It's so important to work hard this week if everybody wants to be done by the end of next week. What can we set up today to make sure the work that needs to be finished is finished?" The 12yo (well, he'll be the 13yo on Monday) has 3 basic requirements: read, write and math. He's got a lot of math to cover. I've already talked to him about next year's math and he likes the idea of having the TLE, which is lessons on the computer. I think that'd be really good. Make him a little more independent! They read out everything to you, so he just has to sit and pay attention. And do the work on the side, but that's not a problem. Actually, the problem is he doesn't care. He doesn't want to do math, he sees no point in doing math, he'd rather just be playing.

I'm so aware of how our homeschooling next year has to be focused on better time management with the two oldest. And something else, but I don't know what that something else is. Something that will make sure the 12yo works and not succeed in finding ways of not getting the work done. He was so proud of his work this one day and said he wanted that every day and has not done work like that since.

You know what it is: it's a real lack of routine and guidance. I've said this before and it's important for me to remember this, that the best homeschooling time we've had, not only educationally but just in general, was when we had our morning meetings. When everybody had a certain amount of time at the kitchen table together. I wonder if it's too late to get that back? Might be worth trying. The summer weather is definitely making school seem less inviting, but even just working on a routine is better than giving up!

And I also know I have to spend more time praying. I've fallen out of the habit yet again. Things seem to fall in place and get so clear when I pray consistently. The kids are often even more agreeable to working. THEY'LL initiate things. They'll be eager to get stuff done. I don't know why that happens--it's not actually what I'm praying for--but whatever it is that I'm praying for seems have that as a 'side effect'. I can do everything I normally would in the morning and the kids are just different. Ideally, I would be like Brother Lawrence, as in the book "The Practice of the Presence of God", and everything would be approached prayerfully, keeping God in mind. But I find that so hard to do with a multitude of distractions around me all the time!

Timer beeping. Time for me to get off and finish up some cleaning. And maybe do a bit of reading.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Daisy Needs

I've seen this on a few blogs. You go to Google or Yahoo and do a search for "your name needs" and see what pops up and comment on them. Here are some of the things that popped up for mine.

1. Daisy needs to be the Alpha dog--I don't think this is true. Depends on the issue. :)

2. Daisy needs no batteries and comes with two-pronged lawn stake--um, ROFL.

3. Daisy needs cheering up --no, I'm actually doing rather well right now.

4. daisy needs a new home--Well, I'd love to move (my neighbourhood is going down the drain!) but don't need to. And it'd require a little more income to move into something worthwhile. I have this thing about walk-out basements, too...

5. daisy needs a quick re-homing(free)--I don't even understand what that means! Further along that line it says "DAISY is home/family raised and socialized"--hehehe. Is this about homeschooling?

6. Daisy needs the money--yep! Well, no, don't NEED, but it'd be nice.

7. Daisy needs a foster or adoptive home immediately--actually, I quite like the family/home I'm in right now. Please don't make me leave!

8. Daisy needs to know whether her mother really ran off or met a more sinister fate--well, my mom is a runner...

9. Daisy needs a driver in her old age--I'm not old!

10. Daisy needs Münchner Abendzeitung--I think that means the Munich Evening News. Maybe there's something important in the German news for me.

11. Daisy needs help with the royal paintings--yep, I don't know a single one of them. Although I'd recognize our current royal family.

12. This one was too funny to not share:
Daisy needs to be socialized around people and we recommend she see a professional trainer to assist her.

Feeling bored

Had a lot of fresh air today and am feeling the fatigue of that a bit. I've also got things to do that I absolutely have no interest in doing. So I'm procrastinating. Which, combined with the fatigue, has me feeling bored. lol.

What do I have to do? Well, I've got to finish up the receipts that I'm mailing off to the school board tomorrow. I at least went and spent the rest of my funding today--so very good French reference books. Other than that... Hm... I know there's stuff to do, just can't think of it. lol.

Oh, yes:
-some house cleaning (FlyLady-style room rescues and put out hot spots)
-read the library books I have out
-put stuff together for year-end reviews
-order more planning pages
-plan tomorrow
-find more schools to contact for the 16yo's FLA credits
-clean up in the basement (I guess that counts as a room rescue)
-resume and letter
-Quicken/business stuff

How about an update since the other day? Well, Monday went well, then Tuesday, they were all sleepy and just were not up to getting going right away. Don't remember if I managed to get some work in with the 12yo or not. Today, I read to them from The Thief Lord (oooh, there was a HUGE, unexpected twist in the story!) and then did a bit of work with dd and the 12yo, then worked with the 16yo and that was that. Dd and the 12yo worked with plasticine while I worked with the oldest. I had actually hoped to have a fairly strict schedule for this morning, but my mind wasn't with it.

For tomorrow... hm... I'm not sure. I have to make sure my receipts are postmarked tomorrow's date--a day later and theoretically the receipts won't be accepted! However, I can probably bring them in any time tomorrow and it'll be fine... Hm... Okay, let me plan out just a morning schedule, assuming everybody's awake!

8am: L.A. -phonics/spelling routine/WRITING: he needs to absolutely finish a plan for his potty story and then spend whatever is left on the LA time writing at least a rough draft (even if it's that he dictates to me). He's got a superb start to his story and just hasn't gotten anywhere with it.

9 am: MATH--Ray's (2 sheets--I'll have to print them off) and translations, rotations and reflections

10am: FRENCH: Read from easy reading book (go through the phonics of a couple of pages); Rosetta Stone as long as he wants

If there's time left, read through the science section on types of bridges. Could also play the new math bingo games or some other

9yo dd:
8am: LA--phonics/spelling routine; cursive; choice of French copywork (of verbs or a book) or writing a story with me (a proper story, planned out)

9am: MATH--Ray's and/or multiplication sheet (3-digit by 1-digit) and/or work with the 12yo

10am: recommendations: Le tour du monde, German (Rosetta Stone), reading, writing, etc.

But now it's 8pm. My receipts are pretty much done. And I have to get my kids to bed and will probably read a book or something to wind down.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why can't people do something just to be nice?

The 16yo is trying to find a school willing to look over her French work for FLA 10/20/30-2 and is having a dickens of a time. She contacted this one school and waited over a week to hear back. I finally said she should email a follow-up. She does and gets a response back the next day. The principal has no understanding of what it was that we were asking. So I reply, clarifying things a bit and he gets back to us, still NOT understanding (he thought we were asking for a course challenge, but that's not what homeschoolers do, although they look alike), but more to the point, saying that because she's not registered with that school board, "there is no reason for us to use any of our resources, human, financial or otherwise in the evaluation". I suppose this was the polite, or something, way to say, "You're wasting our time." How about just being nice and helping a girl get credit? The school she's registered with doesn't have anybody on staff to evaluate the coursework, so she has to find someone else or take Alberta Distance Learning (which she really doesn't want to do, plus it'll add up to about $900 or so for the 3 courses). This school has qualified personnel. The actual evaluation process would not be long. But, because the board doesn't get any $$$ for her, there's no reason to help her out, right?

Ugh I hate how the schools are so $$$ focused.

Monday, May 28, 2007

3 more weeks--minus a day!


We have three more weeks of school time to go. Only really 3 days this week, although I think the 16yo will still do work on Friday (it's her brother's 13th birthday on Friday--we have a tradition of having birthdays off), just not as much as usual since we'll be out for a few hours, plus doing the cake and present thing. (ooh, that reminds me: I need to buy a cake mix or two to bring cupcakes to park day on Monday.)

Next week is study week for the 16yo, and just the usual for the others. I don't know when our year-end review will be. I've always had our facilitator contact us in the past, but we're with a new board now, so maybe she's waiting on us. I don't know. As late as we can go in June, the better!

The week after that is study/exam week for the 16yo. The others will be finishing up any requirements I have of them. THEN we'll be officially done school work. After that, there are field trips (Ft. Edmonton, St. Albert Spray Park, the zoo, Millennium Place) and park days and our usual lunch for the end of the school year--no time for school. lol.

Today was really quite good. I had been reading to the kids first thing in the morning, but I was finding it hard to get them working afterwards. So we flipped it today: I pulled dd and the 12yo into work around 8am (while the 16yo got a few more z's on the sofa), they worked fairly well (somewhat) until about 10am (this is actually a long stretch when considering the work that has been going on lately!) and I read to them from about 10:30 until 11 (our lunch hour). We decided we've been home too much and took the afternoon off to go to WEM, where I managed to use up a few more dollars of my funding (I've got 2 days left to use up the rest--and I have no clue what to buy because I can't order anything--I need to send the receipt in the mail on the 31st at the latest) at Chapters. I plan to do the same thing tomorrow morning: get the kids working (I'll have my plans a little clearer, I hope!), then we've got errands to do in the p.m.--drop the 16yo off at diving, go to the library and use up my funding. lol. Wednesday has nothing planned--16yo will work on school work both morning and afternoon. Thursday is unsure at the moment--16yo doesn't know if she's diving or not.

What are my plans? I don' t know. I think I should go to bed. But maybe babble out some ideas so I don't have to do all my thinking in the morning:

-12yo HAS to write!!! and he can have silent reading time. Start with our usual phonics/spelling routine, though. And touch on a couple of stories in Literacy Power. Dd--whatever. lol. She usually likes to do the phonics/spelling routine with the 12yo, but she started some story or something this evening and may go off and do that instead.

-MUST do Ray's--2 lessons. 1 lesson just really isn't enough since I'm taking it from the Primary book (intended for the first 2 years of school). Plus do translations, rotations and reflections with the 12yo (and dd, if she wishes).

-look more at the 12yo's science text: he really wants to make a bridge with popsicle sticks, but I really want him to look through the whole section on types of bridges first.

-work on continents and provinces of Canada

If that all gets done, then we'll look at playing Yahtzee, sound/word bingo or some other fun schooly thing.

With ds, I want to get to him first thing. We haven't consistently worked on phonics in quite a while. I want to play some little games tomorrow morning with him. But what? Hm, not sure. Maybe Go Fish with the alphabet cards we have from Sing, Spell, Read and Write. Or memory with some cards I could do up quickly? OR do Reading Reflex type activities with French words. Tell him it's a game to put the letters in the correct order and he'll probably love it, especially if I go first and he has to tell me if I'm right. I would also like to work on continents with him. And I've had the thought of having him do a little research booklet on sharks or something, something where he copies down the word under an image he's selected, for example.

All I can think of for the moment. I really need to sleep! One of our cats woke me up too early this morning because he was trying to get at a flying male carpenter ant that ds has in a little bug catcher.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another week almost done

It's Thursday. It shows that the kids are all getting tired and are ready to be done with school! I've allowed the routine to change a bit and am initiating educational things that aren't necessarily as demanding as I'd like them, but it's still stuff they enjoy and helps.

Examples of stuff we've done this week:

-they've spent HOURS on Google Earth. Oh, and what a proud mama I can say I am after dd and the 12yo pinned where the grow-up was on our street...

-the 12yo, dd and I played a subtraction game yesterday with a die. We started at, hm, maybe 100 and rolled a 10-sided die to find out how much we could subtract. The first person to reach (or go past) 0 won. At first it was just dd and I playing but the 12yo asked if he could play with us the second round. Today, dd and I did some multiplication with 3 6-sided dice: 2 for the first multiplicand and the 3rd die for the multiplier. When it was your turn, you rolled the 2 dice and decided which number you wanted. Then you'd roll the other one to see what you had to multiply by. There was no real winning or anything, just taking turns. Dd managed to get x1 and x 2 an awful lot. lol. Then she went on Google Earth while the 12yo did an addition game with a 20-sided die--same principle as the subtraction game, but you start from 0 and add up. We decided to go to 200. I lost.

-we played a word bingo game I made up yesterday. I used the evaluation version of this program but don't think I'll buy it. I'm certain I can make a basic bingo template and create my own lists easily enough. Yeah, it'll take a bit more time to rearrange words, but... $34US for the program? Hm... I just don't think I would use it that much.

-I've been reading to them from The Thief Lord and a bit from Story of the World. I still haven't finished my sheets for the timeline. Did I share my timeline idea? I've taken 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper and am taping them together along their lengths, folded up according style. They will be hole-punched and go into a timeline binder. Each page will be for a century and different images and texts can be added on. Because of the limited space with an 8.5" x 11" sheet, I'm thinking lapbook style additions--like a little booklet added on, for example, or a fold-up sheet, things like that (if you haven't seen the type of lapbooks I have in mind, you probably won't know what I'm talking about!). We've just covered so much in various ways and it'd be nice to have it all kind of together and easy to flip through. The kids kind of know who Ghenghis (sp?) Khan is, then they heard about Attila the Hun. There's no connection now of how far apart these two were historically. We've been looking at anicent Egypt--again, little real understanding of how long ago it was. For right now, I'm putting together 45 sheets. I can always add more if needed!

Other than that, I'm not too sure. The 16yo has been busy with her own work and wrote up a poem today that she converted into a Powerpoint presentation for her ELA work. I asked the 12yo to write me a paragraph on something--he wrote 4 crazy lines. So I decided to write a story, but it turned into a poem instead about this kid they know who's making some very poor choices in his life.

Not sure what we'll do tomorrow. The 16yo has got a LOT of work to do, so hopefully she'll be able to work hard. I think I want to sit down and have the 12yo pick between developing an essay or developing a short story. We really haven't been out this week, so if we can, I think we need to go somewhere. Not sure where yet!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why do I do this?

I've been putting stuff together to go work off-computer on planning for the week, with our up-coming year-end review in mind. Since I was in the fax console to print off the ed. plans, I decided to print off the home ed. plan grids while I was at it. Then I start filling one in, with the thought that if it can all be ready for our review (which we don't even have a date yet), then that'll speed things up.


Boy. Perhaps I should sit down and make a list of everything and prioritize for this coming week.

That's what I get for having a caffeinated drink before going to bed!

What's officially left to do

I printed off the home ed plans I'd given at the beginning of the year. Looking at them, here's what I need to make sure to do:

With dd:

-German: I said she would improve oral and written comprehension and production, but she hasn't really done much; we're going to scrap official 3rd language learning next year and just have fun with whatever

With ds:
-Actually, his plan is fine, but I looked at grade 1 APS and for math, I'd like to do skip counting by 10's and 5's with him.

For the 12yo:
-shoot, I said he'd complete Literacy Power E. That's the workbook I said he hasn't done. I didn't realize that I'd said he'd do the whole thing. Good thing I'd planned that in! I think he could still complete it, even if "completing it" means only reading through all the selections and doing half the questions.
-I also said that he'd finish listening to SOTW. We're not even half done, I think.

For the 16yo:
-French is the only thing badly neglected. But I still made the objectives loose enough that it's not a big deal.

So, there we go. Not too bad!

A month left!

There's pretty much only a month left of school. We technically go until the last day of June, but we never make it that long with formal school work. The 16yo has plans to do her finals the week of June 11-15, although I wouldn't be surprised if one exam gets put to the Monday after to give her the weekend for further study. After that, dd has asked for us to put on a popsicle stick puppet play, there will be various field trips, I will, admittedly, orally cram all kinds of French things into the 16yo's brain (we've totally neglected French this past while!) and basically just fun stuff.

So, what's left to do?

The 16yo has math, ELA and science to finish up. She's got two weeks to do a science unit that would normally take a month. She's going to have to spend a lot of time reading! She's going to have to double up on some math lessons here and there. Plus fit in what's left of her English, which is short story, poetry, discuss an essay, have her write written responses for different things, have her do a visual or multimedia "text". Two weeks. She's going to have to figure out a way to work her butt off. The reason she's only got two weeks for it is because she's taking the week after that to study for her math and science exams. She needs LOTS of practice/review time for her math and lots of study time for the science, plus practice with the equation stuff she needs to know. I suspect she'll do her English exam on June 11 or 12, then do the math exam later that week and the science on the Friday or the following Monday. I think I need to put a calendar up so she can see the time she has left. She also will need a daily feedback time to see where she's at. I told her on Friday that she really ought to finish her biology unit because she was only going to have 8 days, really, to do the final unit (4 days this coming week, then 4 days the week after because the Friday will be "off" for her brother's 13th birthday). It motivated her--she got the unit done AND we had time to do one of the bio activities.

As for her brother, my primary focus these next 4 weeks will be on LA and math. For his LA, I'm going to insist that he write every day. Actually, let me write out my plan, although I think I did this yesterday, but it helps me sort out my thinking:

-daily one-on-one with me (kind of remedial tutoring): I think I'm going to do the WRTR phonics review, but then switch to Phonics Pathways for reading and spelling. I'm catching him sooooooooo often lately not actually looking at the letters in words. He can read so much when he pays attention to all the letters, but he'll quickly process a couple and assume it's such-and-such word. I'll say to him something like, "How about looking at all the letters?" He'll look again and can usually read it correctly. But he still struggles with the simple words. I think this must have to do with blocks built up in grade 2, because it's the type of words he was working on in his gr. 2 classroom. (There are days where I feel I could strangle his gr. 2/3 teacher! So many blocks in place because of her!!!) Part of this remedial time will be oral reading. I was trying to decide if I should just go to words (I've got this Dr. Fry book with 1000 words kids should know how to read and write) or stick with the oral McGuffey. I now think that alternating would work best. He likes familiarity, but gets quickly bored if things are too familiar.

-daily assigned reading (silently on his own) with follow-up written work: I have a remedial gr. 7 workbook that consists of reading passages with follow-up questions/written activities. I had planned on having him do the whole book, but after doing a few selections, he really ended up resisting it. I think it's good work for him, though. I'm going to have him take no more than 2 days to work on a selection. Some of the selections are little cartoons that don't take any time at all to read.

-daily composition work: he's got a short story to finish and then an essay to work on for the next two weeks; after that, we'll see, but he has to write daily

-math: I'll put together some worksheets for this; 1 sheet is with questions from Ray's Arithmetic--division questions from the Primary book--and the other sheet will be with things from his MathPower book. I think I've decided that next year he should have the modified math 8 workbook. I think it'd work better for him to have the workbook and see what he has and hasn't gotten done. He just likes to live in lala-land and pretend there's nothing for him to do. Although I'll have to think carefully about that--I still want him doing the Ray's work, too. Ray's is so focused on figuring out rather than simply knowing stuff and providing the answer. It's super good for him.

-science: while this is not a focus, there is an excellent unit on structures in his text and he was just asking the other day about making popsicle stick bridges; this will take at least 2 weeks to go through

-social studies: I want him to know the provinces/territories and capital cities of Canada before the year is out. Just one of those things. lol.

-options: art, typing, web page work and more.

What I need to really remember to do is to tell him about the changes so he knows what's expected of him. Not that he'll necessarily be cooperative afterwards, but better chance of it when it's all spelled out what I expect. Oh, and I also need to have a look at the ed plan I submitted at the beginning of the school year to see what I may have missed!

For dd...

-math: Ray's arithmetic but I think I might have her do some of the MathPower stuff that the 12yo will be doing. The angles work is really not that difficult and she'd look at it like a puzzle to be solved. I should maybe show her on the side, though--I suspect she'll be more interested in it than the 12yo and will do the work faster than he, and he'd see it as though she's smarter, but it's really just that she's interested and not afraid to play around and see if she can figure it out; he'd just see it as something else to potentially get wrong. [This reminds me: he and I have been having more and more conversations about his lack of confidence in himself. I need to see if I can track down good empowering literature to share with them, the way Marva Collins did.]

-French: we had bought the 3rd book (in French; I don't think it's been translated into English) in the Arthur and the Invisibles series and I had had hopes of her being able to read it with me. It's more challenging than I thought it would be, so I think I'll have to read it to her. Maybe once we've finished and she'll be more used to the language, she'll be confident enough to read the 4th book on her own. For writing... A mix of stuff. I need her to write every day. She enjoys writing stories with me, where we take turns But I'm almost thinking I'd like to alternate that with French copywork. Then we can look at some of the grammar/spelling involved in the copywork rather than correcting all her mistakes in her written.

-social studies: she needs to keep working on her Around the World project. She's only on country #15 or something like that. I told her that I would do at least one country for every country she does. I've only gotten one done so far. :0 If she and I could each do one each day for the next 4 school weeks, that'd be almost 40 countries. Plus the 15 I need to do still, that brings it up to 70. We'll see.

-English: whatever. lol. She reads a lot, she writes well... Totally unschooled for ELA.

-science: she'll probably participate in the structures unit

All my thoughts for now. I want to go play. :D

Why oh why...

Friday night was a great sleep night--almost 8 hours! And last night?



I was watching a movie with dh and didn't get to bed until about 11:30. For some reason, I was awake at 4:30. I started drifting off to sleep. Ds called me just before 5 because his foot hurt. I went downstairs to try to fall asleep on the couch. Was still awake at 5:35. Decided I would still stay laying down until 6. Fell asleep at some point. Woke up and wondered if I'd slept long. Looked at my watch: 5:54. Oy. Fell back asleep. Woke up again: 6:08. I gave up at that point.

I'll have to have a nice nap later on. And go to bed no later than 10 tonight.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I feel great

I was thoroughly worn out by last night--ended up falling asleep for about 1/2 hour before Numbers started, then watched Numbers with dd, then went downstairs to watch TV with dh, but I'm sure I was passed out by 9:30. Woke up close to 11, could barely walk, got myself upstairs and in bed and slept until 5:15 or something like that. That's almost 8 hours of continuous sleep (if you don't count the 2 minutes it took for me to get off the sofa, go kiss dh good night--he was on the computer--and walk upstairs, somehow manage to get the blankets pulled down and get in bed). I feel really good. I'd love to get that kind of sleep more often!! Now, before you tell me to just go to bed at 9:30, that usually doesn't work for me--I end up waking up by 4:30 most of the time.

[Correne, I had a look through my blog--you're right. It's been since last year's spring time change that I've been having sleep issues and just feeling tired and school feeling difficult. I don't know if this book on insomnia I read has changed some of my internal thinking or something, but I have been sleeping a bit better lately and even had the almost 8 hours last night. There are some little things they suggest I'm going to try out for the next while and see if I can get even better sleep.]

I also love that I told myself yesterday that there's nothing I really have to do today. If I don't do a single thing, so be it. And yet, I want to do things. After my brief computer time here, I'm going to spend about a half-hour just taking care of household things. Then we're having an early lunch and I'm taking the kids to see Bridge to Terabithia at the cheap theatre. Then we're all going out shopping this afternoon--one, to buy this cheap, but nice-looking, patio set for the backyard and two, so dh can get some new clothes. (He's almost completely colour blind and needs to be told sometimes if things go together or if it's something with thin stripes, he often can't figure out the colours at all.) Then we'll come back and I'll just hang out and relax some more. :D It feels good. I wish I had this energy during our school weeks!

Oh, speaking of school... I ended up writing some things down yesterday and even thinking of things today. Also looked through my blog a bit and was reminded of the need for a certain amount of structure for things to get done. Things aren't getting done and it's far too early to be breaking for the summer! The 12yo has said repeatedly that he likes having a routine spelled out for him. I want the routine to change a bit--a specific block of 30 minutes set aside for the two of us to work on phonics/spelling/oral reading/etc., which can be whenever, it just has to be in there--and I want him to choose when it will be. Right now, I think first thing in the morning is probably best--his sister's not quite ready to get going and I can do things with dd and ds before that.

Anyhow, my thoughts:

-she actually has her own work chart she designed but we haven't really been following it; this week will be to make sure she does follow it and that I have things ready for her to do

-30 minutes a day focusing on phonics/spelling/etc.
-daily silent reading for at least 15 minutes (we need to discuss as a group if we want a collective reading time or just let it be; dd likes to read at various times but the 12yo, when left to reading on his own, will read for a whole 2 minutes and say he's read silently)
-daily assigned reading and response questions: he has a gr. 7 workbook that he's done a bit from, but not a whole lot; I want this workbook worked on!
-daily composition work (he's got a story started, plus an essay started)
-daily math: he likes it all structured and set out, so one page of stuff from Ray's (he really enjoys doing it for the most part; I've moved him into beginning division work) and one page of stuff from his MathPower (this week's focus will be geometry: angles work (two intersecting lines and figure out what all the angles are based on one angle being given), can't remember what else he has
-daily French: I was going to have him do some vocabulary building work (reading and writing vocabulary, that is) but we have access to Rosetta Stone French for a bit and I think I'll have him do that each day instead, at least to try out
-science: this doesn't have to be daily, but there's a really interesting unit on structures (kind of engineering for gr. 7 kids) in his textbook and he loves that kind of thing, so we'll try to work through that and have him (with others, as they wish) do some of the activities
-social studies: keep adding 2 provinces each day to his map to learn them all

If he does the phonics and stuff with me first thing, this is what his routine will be:


-assigned reading and questions
-composition time


Science/Social Studies

Other (his choice of educational activity: art, computer studies (including his web page building), educational game, other; if there is no assigned silent reading time, he can fit it in between subject areas--but he has to be timed to make sure he doesn't read a page and think he's read for 15 minutes--or he can do it at this point; outside time is a possibility, too)


Well, shoot, I've had interruptions and this took longer than I expected. I don't have time to get much done around the house since we have to have lunch and leave at 11am. I've got to hurry!

Have a great long weekend, all the Canadians who have Monday off! (I don't know if anybody else has Monday off.) Victoria Day this Monday, which is also the day we celebrate the Queen's (that is, Queen Elizabeth II) birthday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just feeling chatty

It's like such a huge weight has been lifted off me now that I've identified some of the issues going on this year. I'm so eager to get back on the right track! I don't yet have it all worked out how the 16yo will get her work done without me neglecting the others or how we'll organize stuff, but I'm going to rely on the kids a lot to figure that out. Things worked so much better when they did most of the school decision-making, too.

I do think my tiredness is definitely part of the problem. (Pam, if you're reading this--do those herbs you mentioned help people sleep longer, or just help them get to sleep? I can get to sleep no problem. But I have a hard time sleeping past 5! And usually, if I fall asleep before 10, I just wake up that much earlier (but not at all feeling rested); fall asleep after 10, and I'm still awake around 5 or so.) I can totally empathize with the 16yo because *I*'m having such a hard time.

But back to my originally scheduled babble:

I want to have some fun. With the kids. I want to play recorder and flute. I want to play some of the school games we have. I want us to come up with games we can play. I want to play word bingo and math bingo and French bingo. I want to do more art. I want to do more science. I want to put together timelines like I've wanted to do for sometime. (I actually started, but my original plan didn't work out so well and it was just too cumbersome to work with, so I've got another idea in mind: use 8.5" x 14" paper, each sheet for a particular century, or something. Haven't figured it out more than that, unfortunately! Century might be too long when looking at the ancient stuff we've done--it's almost got to be one sheet for each half millennium. lol) I want to go to Millennium Place. I want to have fun at the park instead of just sitting there. I want to be in shape. (Okay, so maybe I'm going a little too far with what I want for school! lol) I want to do sewing with the kids and so much more.

And I know if I could come up with some more simple games, ds would definitely be interested in doing more school stuff. He asked for this hockey math game from Scholastic and loves it. We've got to play more games.

On the note of ds... I have to say that despite my neglecting him a lot this year academically, it's still turned out okay--benign neglect. :) He's reading a little more each time, reads digital clocks without hesitation and can almost always tell you how long it will be until the time set for something. For example, if I tell him lunch is at 11, and he looks and sees it's 10:52, he'll tell you it's in 8 minutes. He's actually started extending that and can usually tell you up to 15 minutes before the time--even if you've told him something is at 1:30 or 1:40. That's very cool. He hasn't been working in his cursive book much, but he does still enjoy doing a little bit of it--just not a whole lot at once. It's an A Beka kindergarten book and it's just wonderful. It's started having the kids match up the cursive vowels with the print--he thinks it's a grand game! He really just wants to get to the pages where he can colour, but at the rate he's going, that won't be until he's 10. ;)

The 12yo--13 in a few weeks OMG--has been making some progress, too. We've had more talks and it does seem to help. We eased up on the reading level of his oral reading which made him much more interested in reading other things. He's started reading Superfudge--which I read to them all a few years back--and he says he likes it: it's still fairly easy to read and understand, even if there are some words here and there he's not getting. I think it's probably a perfect independent reading level for him right now. His handwriting... Wow. I mean, it's not beautiful, but he started writing this story about my niece and her obsession with the potty the other day and I absolutely had to comment on his printing. "You're printing looks like it's from a totally different person compared to the stuff you were doing last year!" He was pretty proud.

More babble... My niece (2yo) was crabby this morning. Didn't get her proper nap yesterday then was out in the evening and just didn't get enough sleep last night. She wanted to go outside with my two kids around 10:00 this morning--but have her shorts on first. Since I couldn't go out at that point, I told her "later". She pouted and put herself on the ground, on her stomach, in front of the back door. She laid there playing with her stuffed animal for a while. Then the 16yo says, "I think she's asleep. She's kind of half-sucking her soother." She was asleep. Here's what she looked like:

Poor kid had serious rug imprints on her face! I did pick her up and put her in bed. I never would have thought she'd fall asleep there.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Blah Week

We didn't get a whole lot done this week. There's just a general lack of energy and all the crummy weather did not help at all! So, it was kind of a relaxed, unschooly week. LOTS of things got printed off for colouring--I'm amazed at the number of hours spent colouring. The 16yo was feeling kind of guilty on Friday, but I said to her, "It's felt good having a break though, hasn't it?" She definitely agreed.

Hopefully, back to the school work on Monday. I'm reading "Positive Discipline in the Classroom" which has a whole bunch of stuff on class meetings. Actually, it's basically all about class meetings. Our schooling seemed to go so much better when we were doing our daily meetings with one or two bigger meetings during the week. The kids were more focused, more motivated. We worked more together rather than me being a constant directress.

I know I've said in the past that I wanted to resume the meetings, but they don't seem to get resumed for more than a couple of days. Why? Tiredness is the main thing I can think of. I really, really don't get enough sleep. Some people can survive well on the sleep I'm getting (6.5-7 hours), but I can't. And on days where it goes below 6 hours, I know better than to attempt to drive. I've started reading a book on insomnia and already I've been doing a bit better with my sleep. I'm still waking up really early (around 5, sometimes earlier), but... a few times this week, I've actually managed to fall back asleep afterwards. That's new! The problem is that while I'm getting maybe an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep, I feel even more tired, although more rested at the same time. I suppose it'll just take me some time to get to the truly well-rested level.