Friday, May 2, 2014

Grounded Chores List

I haven't been posting much on this homeschool blog. We've been going about the business of homeschooling and not coming up for air often. But today we spent the whole day at the library, doing science and Spanish, math and finding new books. Sometimes it's nice to break from the norm. We're entering the home stretch for this 9th grader. Almost done. As the weeks go by, different subjects are finished. One more week of science and then 4 more of math only. I kind of like it when they stagger to a finish.

I've been a pinning fool on Pinterest lately. You can find me there under 'contessa kris'. The other day. I saw someone had posted a short list of chores for when a child is grounded. I thought, how wonderful! No more arguing about exactly when the child is ungrounded. She has to earn her things (music, tv, etc...) back! I took the info I found and expounded on it, adding the definition of grounding, several more ways to earn points and a penalty for complaining. It's not often we have grounding around here until the attitude gets in the way. This will come in handy then!





Thursday, May 1, 2014

Building a High School American History Course

I mentioned in January I was worried we were not getting enough American history in. Sure, we had been reading the living books that went with the American History curriculum from Sonlight, but that was it. I wanted more for my daughter. So after I wrote the blog post I sat down to figure out what I could do without having to order a new curriculum or back track through Sonlight. Here's what I came up with:

1 - For 12 weeks she watched one episode a week of America, The Story of Us, a history Channel production.

3 - She also had to write a 2 page report on what she learned in the video. Nothing dry, but interesting stuff she'd want to share with a friend. The library had a detailed America, The Story of Us book that corresponded with each episode as well. I ordered that and she used it while writing.

4 - Dear America books correspond nicely with an America study and we had maybe 25 books that have been sitting around. I put them in order chronologically and she read one each week based on what the episodes were about.

5 - I also typed up vocabulary lists based on the videos and episode paperwork, that she practiced on Quizlet. You can find my lists here.

6 - Additonally when she had time, she watched the Dear America videos on Netflix. It doesn't have all of them but it has maybe 10.


7 - And finally, to throw in a bit of US geography, she watched How The States Got Their Shapes each week. This show is great!

She learned so much with this approach. I don't know if it would be a full 1 year of credit for a high schooler on it's own but you could add more books on famous Americans, research on American inventions, explorers and maybe additional reports or field trips. We had read a lot of the Sonlight books in the fall so this rounded out to a full high school, credit and an enjoyable one at that!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Race To The Finish Line

I can't believe I haven't blogged on this since October 2012! What have I been doing? Oh yeah, surviving, learning, teaching, being, growing, backsliding, experimenting. Yeah, surviving. DD Phee is half way through 9th grade. Her interests and talents are emerging. This means once again I question all that we're learning or trying to shove in her brain that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Each day I question the validity of impending college requirements and if we should even 'require' or push her in that direction. Each day I think God is saying 'slow down, one day at a time'. I'm not good with one day at a time.

Last night I was having some pains. I googled them to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. I wasn't of course but it sure felt like it. Most likely gas, right?! lol But while trying to go to sleep, I was planning in my head what needed to happen if I did have a heart attack. I'd need to make sure someone grabbed my bra and socks. I tried to remember the meds or vitamins I take regularly so I could tell the nurse. It's not that I'm a paranoid. I'm just a 'here's a problem, what needs to be done about it in sometimes great detail' planner. Okay, this sounds funny typing this since I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person as well. Is that possible? This is probably why I overthink Phee's schooling or lack there of and worry about her schooling future. I'm conflicted.

On the one hand I'm thinking, it's already January and we haven't gotten anywhere in American History this year! I need to throw together a curriculum plan to finish it up in 14 weeks! Race to the finish of 9th grade! On the other hippy mama hand I counter with 'what does she even need American history for? She loves art and music and writing. She's learning guitar, piano and drums. She's writing a book about Doctor Who as a kid. She loves words, looks up definitions and plays word games all the time. She's teaching herself how to write music. Last night she was in the art studio inventing and spray painting and drawing. Why muck all that ambition up with learning by rote?'

I read this interesting article by Matt Walsh today that someone posted on Facebook. He talks about not being college material. I so agree with this line of thinking! Not that my 2nd child has struggles with schooling. It's more an application problem with her, attention to drudgery; unlike my older daughter who worked extremely hard but felt like she would never get anywhere. I understand there are kids whose choice of career warrants a college education and beyond: lawyer, doctor, microbiologist, engineer, architect. But what about the musicians, the writers, the artists, the inventors, the chefs? Can't these skills be just as easily learned and earned through books and classes (but not necessarily a degree), experimentation and apprenticeship? What harm are we causing in placing an expectation of 'you have to get a degree or you'll never amount to anything?' This thinking will not work for everyone, in fact it might backfire on us. Quashing creativity has only gotten us more drones in the workforce. Those who go against the grain are the inventors, the dreamers, the impossibles. I'm using a computer, a phone and an Ipad invented by the company started by a man who never finished college, Steve Jobs. This is not to say I don't have high hopes and goals for my child. Slacking will not get you anywhere, unless your goal is McDonald's fry cook. And even then slacking can get you burnt or fired. But creativity is monumentally important. Have you listened to this TED talk by Ken Robinson? It's a must!

I think my goal as a parent is to equip her to be able to go to college if that is her desire; make sure she has a basic to advanced understanding of english, math, reading comprehensively (even if we never learned additional information over these subjects, which we will, she will have a leg up on many a public school child.) However, I will not require it of her. As long as she is always learning, has a plan to move forward and not a plan to live on my couch in front of a TV for the rest of her life, I'm good with that.

Linking to Monday's Homestead Barn Hop, Homeschool Link Up & Hip Homeschool Hop.


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