Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It's amazing how one little thing can change your view, your goals, your feelings. I moved the bookcase in the living room from one corner to another. No big deal. It was behind the big chair in our room and was mostly filled with art books of mine that need to go to my studio. In another corner, in an old large plastic milk crate (florescent orange and doesn't match the room) were our library books, overflowing. Being homeschoolers, we have never had just a few books out of the library. In fact, last week we only had 35 checked out and I was proud of that fact, even told the kids a few times. Now, we're back up to 95 after a nice long library visit.

ANYWAY, after coming home with 5+ bags of books and plopping them and me down on the couch, I stared at my bookshelf. I looked at the hutch in the other more accessible corner... and got the idea to switch them. We never get into the hutch unless we run out of candles. Usually during a storm. Why didn't I think of this switch before? I don't know. So, after some hard work and hauling books, and then neatly placing our library books on the shelf, we have this! Accessible books! Off my floor! And the unsightly milk crate is heading downstairs.

The little one loves the book corner. She brought out a rug from her room, her cup chair and the bed tray and now has her reading area. I have my books all lined up and it reminds me what I have and I am more eager to read them. I love it! It will be so nice during the school year when we have even MORE books out from the library!


I've been reading up on unschooling, and Sonlight and other things this week. I mentioned before how my children think I've sucked all the fun out of school and the little one even asked to 'take off a year from school.' Imagine my shock. I've come to realize she doesn't really mean that. This week I asked for more specifics, what she wants to do, versus what she hates. Hates worksheets, textbooks, writing. I never knew about the writing part. But she doesn't consider when she writes poetry or stories on her own, as 'writing'. Just when I have her do something as 'school'. She wants to read, play games, do lots of science stuff/experiments and cooking, art, piano.

Now I know you shouldn't coddle the children, but I don't want them to HATE school either. I'm looking into a more relaxed homeschooling for the little one (the teen has her schedule of college classes and simple textbooks all ready.) I think I'm formulating a plan. We'll read a lot (hence, the researching of Sonlight for history and reading.) I thought for math I'd make up a list of topics I want her to cover in the year and then provide opportunities for that learning. Whether through board games (Smath, Tri-onimos, XTable WAR, Number Quest, etc.) or through games we make up, cooking, field trips, math books (Divide and Ride, Alice in Numberland, Body Math, Grapes of Math), building things, lego playing, etc... I want to try anyway. Science will be reading, experiments (something she requests a lot of) and field trips. I don't know if this is considered unschooling or not but I'm getting close. On spelling and grammar, I had Wordly Wise for spelling, but its workbook. Not sure how to do these topics without instruction. I think I have a few games (Scrabble, Upwords, etc...)

Any suggestions would be great appreciated.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Things Have Changed

I read this today:

British Government Spells End of 'i before e' Rule
Published - Jun 20 2009 11:54PM CDT by Associated Press

It's a spelling mantra that generations of schoolchildren have learned _ "i before e, except after c."
But new British government guidance tells teachers not
to pass on the rule to students,
because there are too many exceptions.
The "Support For Spelling" document, which is being sent to thousands of primary schools,
says the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for
words like 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their.'
Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society, which advocates simplified spelling,
said Saturday he agreed with the decision.
But supporters say the ditty has value because it is one of the few
language rules that most people remember.

This reminds me of a discussion I had recently with another homeschool mom, about all the school information that has changed since we were in school. This spring I was studying with the teen for her ACT and I was correcting her on the right way to use commas. The ACT study book insisted I was WRONG! The rule used to be if you wrote a list of 3 (or more) words, you used commas after the first ones but not after the next to last word. IE: I want Jack, Jill and Peter to come to my party. (after Jill, no comma.) Now they're throwing in commas left and right.

Remember in typing class how you always had to hit the space bar 2 times inbetween sentences? Nope. It's faux pas now. Not advised. And now you can even start sentences with the words AND and BUT! What is the world coming to?

Either I or DH read an article recently about a school district some where in the US that allows kids taking the SAT or ACT to use texting abbreviations in their answers. I can't really think of what those would be because I'm not as savvy as my texting teen dd but can you imagine that? Making it easier for the kids with the excuse that they 'know the abbreviations better and we shouldn't penalize them for using that.' They use things like: RLY meaning “really”; R, meaning “are”; Y meaning “why”; UR meaning "your"; and IDK, meaning “I don’t know.” I just don't understand this logic of 'dumbing down' things for our kids. They're not going to be able to compete in this world with a subpar education.

It amazes me the amount of dd's friends who text and don't know the difference between there, their and they're, its and it's or your and you're. My dd is especially 'into' words and spelling so maybe she notices it more than others who don't care about words as much.

It seems to me we're raising a generation of lazy talkers. I'll admit I do text with friends and the teen using abbreviations sometimes, just because I'm a talker and want to fit as many words into my 160 letter spots as I can. But in normal life, and typing emails and such, I use correct spellings and punctuation (as best as I can remember it). We have a generation of teens that still don't understand what things need capitalizing, or the meaning of basic words. There are many words that are in our way of speaking that were not correct a long time ago. Funner vs. More Fun is one example, Ain't is another. It has actually made its way into the dictionary!

Since I like learning I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that there are people in this world that don't particularly prefer learning and are content to stay in their level of understanding without an urge to better themselves. Not that I know it all, by any stretch of the imagination. I just like to discover new things, new words, new experiences. This is one thing I love about homeschooling. We can do more spelling, more math, whatever we need to make sure our kids get the basics or even a higher than rudimentary level of learning. And if they're struggling in something, we can keep going over it until they're proficient and aren't left behind. I've read articles saying the bigger your list of usable vocabulary, the more intelligent you sound to prospective employers and potential mates. I tell my teen this all the time.

I'm getting so confused! What changes will come next? They'll start telling me that 2+2 is 5?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer Update

The girls were enjoying their summer until... (insert scary DUN DUN DUN DUH music) evil mom said they haven't finished their math books and must still work on them. I've been waking them this week at 10 am. I say 'if you finish your chapter in math and do an hour of reading this morning then you have the afternoon to veg.' Apparently they haven't embraced this plan yet. Dilly dally dilly dally.

We spent a few weeks doing no school. We read, baked food, went places. We needed a break. But now I feel the need for them to finish up these math books so they will be ready for the next book in the fall.

The little one has made a summer goal. She wants to read 45 books. She has 11 weeks. I told her maybe there could be a reward at the end (possibly a new book purchase. She's been wanting the whole set of Hiccup books.) So far she has reread 3 of her Spiderwick books for fun. My only stipulation is that they be chapter books for her grade.

DD is running off to volunteer most of the summer at church camp. I think it's good responsibility for her, learning to care for others, be responsible, finish her jobs on time. Next year for her is busy busy. She plans to graduate in the spring. So a summer of fun volunteering is just the way to relax. Time to get busy looking up scholarships.

We've been playing at the pool this week. DD has taken up running with DH and is excited to say she has a 'sport.' She hasn't ever been much involved in any. DD and I are both reading through Madame Bovary for fun.

I haven't finished grading everything or giving the teen final grades for her transcript. That is the next order of business. Plus I'm planning fall curriculum and possibly choosing a new course of action for the little one. Possibly Sonlight, less textbook and more reading. I'm also planning to take everything out of the dining room /aka schoolroom. Need to spackle and paint, put in 'new to me' furniture I was given by my SIL.

Summer is here. Big plans are everywhere (including selling off all the extra school stuff and donation the rest.) We'll see what gets done.
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