Sunday, August 17, 2008

First Day of School

The day has come.
The hour is almost upon us.
Control will reign again.

I think we're ready for a little bit of structure. We've had a wonderfully busy, enjoyably chaotic summer. The girls have played, traveled, helped, volunteered and grown in more ways than one. I wouldn't trade any minute. I feel confident about the upcoming year. Last year I was a wreck. I don't know why I let our first year of high school for the teen, freak me out. This year I'll be a cucumber (cool. Get it? lol)

Little one has her Hello Kitty notebook and folders (also her joke book for 'down' times apparently lol), Teen one has her original 1970's fabric covered binder I scored at a garage sale this weekend. We're all set. Schoolwork amazingly fits into 1 box, for now.

As soon as the work starts to roll in, they'll need separate school book boxes. I'm craving The Desk Apprentice a homeschooling blog recently told me about (can't remember which one but when I remember I'll let you know.) Maybe when my ship comes in I'll buy two.

Anyway, wish us luck as we venture forth into another year of the unknown. Tomorrow is the day. The 1st day of our 8th year of homeschool. We may not know where the year will lead us, but we know God is in charge of it all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer School

I'm trying to fill in our time sheets for the summer hours (I'm behind, yes I know.) We don't really do sitting-down-homeschool during that time but there are things that can count for hours all year and why not include them? They're learning from them and you can count 12 months out of the year. Well, that's my thinking anyway. I meet my required hours during the 9 month school year without the summer, but I always like to see what the kids have been up to. Anyway. We'll call it summer school.

What have your kids been learning all summer?

9 yr old:
1 - Reading Reading Reading. And listening. She's read probably 15 chapter books, listened to another 1o on tape. Several of them classics like Treasure Island, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Alice in Wonderland. I love to see her engrossed in a book, glasses perched on her nose, bag of carrots at her side. Brings back memories of my age 11 summer when I read through the library's whole set of Agatha Christies and ran out. Mom had to kick me out of the house to make me go play. I loved and still love reading.

2 - Science. I think so far we've had the bee catching, the squirrel catching invention, legos made into cars, planes, pyramids, Sphinx, intricate buildings. We also read books on guinea pigs, ants, bees and puppies.

3 - Art. We've made thank you cards, mini books, Artist Trading Cards and used the paper making kit she rec'd for her birthday. She's drawn detailed pictures of fairies and other Spiderwick characters, animals and Veggietales characters.

4 - PE. Swimming. She had many many hours of PE practicing her swimming while we were on vacation. I mean, if she wasn't eating/sleeping, she was swimming. I see a marked improvement in her techniques. She has also been practicing on her new roller blades rec'd for her birthday. Our home is now a residential skating rink!

5 - Character Training. I say this loosely. She's obeying more. Things like going to bed when told, brushing teeth (most of the time), feeding the dog or picking up toys. Especially this week. We started a new calendar of chores (yes mom & dad have chores too.) She's done hers faithfully without argument each day. She is so headstrong so its a constant battle for obedience. We're still working on it but I guess with age comes a bit of maturity. Praying it continues.

15 year old:
1 - Social Studies/Character Studies. Volunteering. She has been a volunteer camp worker for 7 weeks this summer. Working in the kitchen, cleaning dishes, working the snack shop, providing outdoor games, helping with activities, doing odd cleaning jobs. She's developed a better tolerance for younger children (maybe it will help her when it comes to her sister.) She's learned discipline, dependability, punctuality and grace. This was a big summer of growing up for her.

2 - Bible. This has been the summer that she has embraced reading a bible and keeping notes. She enjoys bible studies; we've 'caught' her on several occasions off on her own reading it. It's really a blessing. An answer to prayer. I need to follow her lead and read mine more regularly.

We start school on Monday. I'm hoping to keep a bit of the 'fun learning' like we had this summer, ingrained into our normal homeschooling plans. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birds & Dolls

We've been undecided on what homeschool curriculum to use with dd#2, the 4th grader for history and science. I thought we might do the unit study approach, we haven't done that in awhile and she always enjoys more free studying. After much deliberation she decided to learn about Birds (science) and the History of Dolls. Very eclectic but I think it will be fun. SO far I've ordered all our books from the library. I got ideas for both studies from the books:
How To Create Your Own Unit Study and The Unit Study Idea Book both by Valerie Bendt. Books I highly recommend. Here's a sample of what we have coming:

(videos) John James Audubon, Robert Bateman, Birds, birds, birds!, Amazing Birds of America, All About Birds, Birds & things with wings
(books) Draw 50 Birds, John Audubon, young naturalist, Painting Your Favorite Birds, Bird Eggs, Bird Families, An Illustrated guide to attracting birds, How Do Birds Fly?, State Birds, Birds With Bracelets
(poetry) Wings from the wind, Sing a Song of Popcorn, Bird watch

History of Dolls:
(videos) Queen Mary's dolls' house, Hitty : an American travel doll, Raggedy Ann & Andy
(books) Dolls' house : inspirations, 500 handmade dolls, The honest-to-goodness story of Raggedy Andy, The history and art of googlies, The real-for-sure story of Raggedy Ann, The ultimate doll book, American folk dolls, The dollhouse mystery, The dollhouse magic, Dollhouse decor, The apple doll, Dollhouse Mouse, Make your own toys, The Pooh craft book

Now I just need to look for some supplements to these studies online and we're set for Monday! Hopefully the books come in on time.

** Squirrel Update: They stole the pear again. lol I told dd that the squirrels must be smart, as opposed to her earlier comment about them being 'dumb animals'. She said 'But I'm smarter. Gotta try again.' She certainly is tenacious. **

Crazy Us & Squirrels

Yes, I know you're wondering about the blog name. I'm sure its obvious to most homeschoolers.

Organized-In-A-Schoolhouse schooling has been around so long when people hear you're homeschooling they're thinking, you can't do that! And when you explain all the reasons that, YES, I can do that and here is how we do it, they still sneer a bit at the obsurdity of keeping our children home instead of sending them to qualified teachers. This is our 8th year homeschooling our children so I think people have gotten used to us by now but I know they're still thinking 'those crazy homeschoolers' every time we do something out of the ordinary. That's what people are thinking when my dd is running around the backyard in a long shirt (her daddy's that she likes to sleep in) and building her squirrel catcher. Or when we hit the library or thrift store on our way to grocery shopping in the middle of one of our light days of schooling. It's also what my mailman is thinking every time we answer the door in our school clothes (PJs) to take packages from him. Yes, we're 'those crazy homeschoolers', what will we think of next?

I don't really care what people think. Oh, I do care on some level but not enough to keep us closeted indoors all the time. I know what we are doing is right, legal and much much better than the schools around here, that's for sure. I mean really. Have you seen the teens down the street sunning in their tiny bikinis? I think my child can run around the yard in her sleep shirt. She has more clothes on at least. Plus, at this time, I still feel its what God wants us to do, so how can you argue with him?

Note: About the squirrel catcher. DD #2 drew a whole schematic diagram before putting the plan into action. The bell is so she can hear the squirrel be caught although not sure how that's supposed to happen from inside. She set it up the night before and the pear was gone the next day but the bucket was still up. So she modified her plan. She's hoping for a catching tonight. Not sure what she plans to do then and we're not letting her keep a squirrel but its a great experiment in science endeavors. I love it when children think for themselves!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome to Those Crazy Homeschoolers

Ohhh, a new blog. Just what I need with our busy lives. NOT! Yet I can't help myself. I'm thinking I need a blog just for homeschooling, to keep me and the children motivated, to meet like minded people, to show off to the grandparents at the very least (right?!) So here we go.

Our Homeschool History: (I'll try to keep it short. No really. I will.)
We started homeschooling when my (now) teen was going into 3rd grade. First of all, I didn't want to homeschool. Friends at church were doing it but I was like 'just because they're jumping off bridges, I don't have to follow right?' Besides, my dd and I are just alike. Headstrong, firstborns. There's no way we would get anything done in a day. I had a 1 1/2 yr old at home as well. Who has the time? DD was doing okay in her private christian school. She was in trouble sometimes for talking, daydreaming, not doing all the worksheets she was supposed to. She told us she was bored because they kept repeating the same stuff she knew. She also told us she wanted to dress and act like the teenagers in the school (nuh uh, baby!) One big problem I had was, her sister would cry for an hour after we dropped her off at school. She missed her that much.

Friend invited us to go to a homeschool conference. DH and I decided to go just so we could make sure we were doing the right thing by keeping her in private school. But God had different plans. We came away from the conference with ideas, and hope and a feeling of purpose. I didn't know what or how we were going to do it, but we decided to homeschool.

It hasn't been a bed of waffles or anything. Each year brings different feelings for me, and the girls. Some years they're looking forward to it and I'm dragging my feet and some years its just the opposite, more so in the teen. My going-into-4th-grader usually is excited to get back to math and science. I'll talk more about them and their interests later. Don't want to scare people away on my very first post. Just know that in my heart of hearts, I still feel like we're supposed to homeschool and I welcome comments, and suggestions, links to your homeschool sites and endeavors. Anything. I look forward to new homeschooling friendships. Bring it on!

God Bless.
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