Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thursday Ramblings

(lush green backyard pic from last summer)

Spring is here. It makes me want to take walks, pick up leaves and flowers, pull out the bug/flower/tree identifier books and have a picnic. Instead we spent yesterday indoors doing our normal list of schoolwork. I wonder which way we would actually have learned more. It's so easy for me to just stick to our lists, and textbooks and videos so I can visually see what we are learning by the amount of papers piling up. But are we retaining anything? I wonder. I think I need to loosen up and stop worrying about hours and courses, and daily logs so much and live a little.

The teen received her ACT scores back. We're so proud. While it isn't the 30 she wants, its higher than a 20 so we're very proud for her first time taking it. She was convinced she would receive a 10 or 15 so she was overjoyed and didn't believe us until we showed her the official print out from ACT. I think she is beginning to study for the next one in June. We were looking at the requirements for getting into KCAI school and they only require a 20 ACT score. She needs to work on 20+ pieces of art to include in a portfolio that has to be evaluated by any art school she might attend. I'm a bit selfish. I'd love to have her nearby at KCAI, plus its a fabulous school. I want to attend there after we have finished paying for her.

Am I the only homeschooling mom that changes plans mid stream? I can't seem to stop doing that. It's just that when I see something going downhill and the kids eyes glazing over, I want to change it all up to make it more interesting. I think sometimes that can be a bad thing. I don't know. Half way through the teen's World History course we realized she was retaining nothing through the textbook and bored out of her mind. So I sat down, made a list according to history subject and ordered videos covering all aspects of World History through the library. They were glad to see DH this week when he went to pick up our pile; 60 videos, to last us the month. It's kind of an exciting way to learn history. She's a visual learner and picks up so much through the videos. We're taking notes and discussing them as well.

I think today we made go outside to draw. It's too beautiful a day given to us by God, to waste it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Emerging From Winter

borrowed from

Where has the time gone since my last post? Homeschool is back on track. We have been hunkered down during the winter months catching up on schoolwork. It seems, according to my hourly charts, that the end of November through mid-January were hit and miss as far as getting anything done. Some weeks, great! Some weeks, oh my goodness. We might as well have taken them off. And we did take off several for holidays and vacations. The last 7 weeks have been spent reevaluating where we are at in every subject, seeing what needs to be accomplished, seeing who is lacking in what.

The little one (4th grade): She FINALLY has her times tables down. Kind of. She can't spout them out immediately like she can her list of favorite cartoon shows but she knows them well enough to do all her math. For science we quit winging it because she couldn't decide on a subject to study and we opened a book I had that is quite colorful and direct. We've been studying volcanoes, earth, and fossils. I may have to give in this week and build a volcano and grow some crystals like a good homeschool mom should. Ugh.

The piano lessons she started taking in January are going so well. At least I think so. She loves her teacher (who wouldn't) and it just squeezes my little ole' heart when her dainty fingers reach out to make chords in a song. All week we've been belting out 'Down In The Valley' while she plays. I'm so proud.

The teen (11th grade): has been ACT driven. Almost all schoolwork went by the wayside while we brushed up on every subject known to man for the ACT. She took it last week. Up til the test we didn't feel confident about her knowledge at all even though we had studied non-stop. But after the test she was all smiles. We don't really care what she gets this time. It's the experience of test taking that we care about. She can take it many times during the next year.

She has been reading all over the board for World Lit. She read a lot of Grapes of Wrath, really getting the gist of the time period. I didn't require her to finish it. Maybe she will over the summer. Right now she is engrossed in Watership Down.
I love to see my kids huddled in bed, glassed perched on noses, reading big books. Last night she couldn't sleep until she had found out what happened to BigWig (if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the book!) After she is done I plan to rent the movie for her to watch.
This week has been all about painting. We've just felt like it. The teen takes watercolor painting instruction from a very talented friend of mine. Every week we meet and they paint and talk. Good relationship being built there as well. Always good for the teen to have good christian mentors outside of her parents. Anyway, her painting is improving drastically.

The little one has been watching videos I picked up from the library for her art; Art Lessons for Children (several volumes) by Donna Hugh. I've order Ms. Hugh's Drawing Lessons for Beginners as well. Excellent video series. I've seen her painting improve immensely!

The little one was so excited about what she is learning that when DH came home early from work today, she sat him down and taught him how to paint a chinese dragon. So cute!

DD's painting, DH's painting

We've also started doing the Illustration Friday prompt each week. See my blog here, here and here for the newest examples, or search my art blog for 'illustration friday'.

I think that's enough of an update. I'll be back soon. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're in the homestretch. Seven more weeks until Summer break! Hallelujah. I think we all need it.
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