Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Starting The Day...

I realized today I have not had that stressed feeling for most of this school year so far. What a release. What a joy. Maybe its all smoke and mirrors in my head because we cover so many subjects a day  (with the Charlotte Mason approach we're trying this year) and I just 'think' we're moving forward, but I really feel like we're doing well.

Gone is the stress of not feeling like we're getting anything done.
Gone is the worry about getting up SO EARLY in order to accomplish all we need to do.
Gone is 'most' of the arguing about school subjects and length.
Gone is the desperation in my child's eyes during an hour long (or more) math lesson. 
Gone is the desperation in MY eyes, counting the days until Thanksgiving vacation.

A friend reminded me of something today when she posted a quote on her Facebook wall: 

"Tomorrow I plan to work, work, from early until late. In fact I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."  - Martin Luther

I forget, most days - if I were being honest, to start my day in prayer. Sure, we do scripture memory and a bible story. But real honest to goodness prayer for our schoolday and my family, I tend to push that duty aside. It should be a joy to talk to my Lord about my upcoming day, not a' have to' thing. And how much better would my day be if it began with God? 

I plan to experiment with this 'morning prayer' phenomenon (haha) and see how it improves our day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

 (Image is of a print you can purchase here: Alicia Bock)

Yay! One of my articles made it to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival (I'm sure all articles make it, but I'm excited just the same! hehe)

The blog post I submitted was the Scripture In Pictures post about how we're memorizing scripture these days. 

To see all posts featured in the Carnival, visit the hosting blog here: CM Blog Carnival.

You can submit articles here too: CM Carnival Blog Submission.

P.S. I ran across another Carnival on Homeschooling today. Although I haven't submitted any articles to it yet, I thought I would share. Lots of great links. Carnival Of Homeschooling. To submit articles for this one, go here: Blog Submission.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TRACKING Schoolwork, Hours & Days

Regular homeschool record keeping has always been my downfall. But it is also my greatest joy. Seeing all those little numbers lining up makes me so happy. Why don't I do it more often? Who knows.  But when I get around to it, I do keep pretty good records so I thought I'd share samples of some and then link you to blank sheets you can use yourself. If you find you don't want to print these and fill in by hand but would rather fill in with Microsoft WORD, just email me and I'll send the WORD documents to you. I couldn't figure out how to attach files you can revise with your own information.

Since we're new to this Charlotte Mason way of doing things I was a bit concerned as to if we were getting in the hours we needed in certain subjects to make sure we cover that subject for the year. We've always spent hours on each subject almost daily so I still feel like I'm copping out, doing shorter lessons (although it seems to cut down on the stress and boredom of the child.)

Here is a sample of our Weekly 'What To Do' chart. I write in pencil what we'll do and we go back and highlight the subject matter when we finish it. NOTE: The hours add up to about 29 1/2 hours (includes church and singing class). We're in school 30 weeks (36 really, but 6 are holiday weeks) so we need to do about 33-34 hours per week. We always are adding something in on the weekends: PE, Reading, Baking, etc... so we have been meeting those goals so far. We also add in hours on Fridays when we do art or games.

Here is my monthly hours chart, split into core and non-core subjects. Our state required hours be kept of how you spend your time. 600 hours must be in Core subjects, 400 can be in anything you want; more Core or Non-Core.

Here is my new sheet that keeps track of our weeks on and off, as well as the hours each month in specific core subjects and then one column for non-core subjects. I'm seeing that our science and math are lower than I want it to be so I'll be upping those in the weeks to come.

Below you'll find the spreadsheets for each, that you can download and print. Let me know if you decide to use them and if they help.

Charlotte Mason Weekly What To Do Chart
(NOTE: We have Fridays 'off' from regular schooling to focus on art, math games and/or field trips.)
School Year 2010-B

Monthly Hours Chart
School Monthly Hours Total SAMPLE

School Weeks, Holidays & Hours
School Weeks Holidays Hours SAMPLE

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Egg-stra Special Science

Last week I picked up Janice VanCleave's Biology For Every Kid. We've been lacking in the Science department. A little studying here and there (beavers, fish/seas/Jacque Cousteau, magnetism, laws of motion, circuits) but no real structure to our learning. Anyway, I know how the little one loves doing experiments and I thought we could at least find a few in here.

We decided to try out the Naked Egg and the Shrinking Egg experiments.

2 jars (preferably with lids, because this house is full of spillers)
corn syrup
1 egg
measuring tape
6 days time

1. Take one jar and fill it with about 2 inches of vinegar.
2. Measure the length (and circumference if you want) of the egg . Write them on an observation chart you make up on paper. We didn't do this part, we were lazy but it sure would have been nice to compare sizes at various times.
3. Carefully slide the egg into the vinegar jar. Check to make sure the vinegar is deep enough for the egg to be covered. Our egg sank to the bottom. Add more vinegar if necessary to cover egg.
4. We then labeled the jar with a day and time we should finish the experiment, 72 hours later.

* Check your experiment every day and note any changes on your chart. *

* You'll note that bubbles immediately begin forming on the egg. Over the next couple days those will multiple and the egg will be covered. *

72 hours (3 days) later:

SCIENCE INFO:  The bubbles seen throughout the 3 days are carbon dioxide gas. Vinegar is an acid, the shell of the egg is carbon carbonate. The carbonate and the acid react and you get carbon dioxide gas. You'll notice the egg has taken on a yellowish look, no more bubbles really and no real shell left. The vinegar reacted with and dissolved it away.  It has the feel of a water balloon. Some of the vinegar sneaked in through the cells' membranes and made the egg bigger. This is called Osmosis.

 1. Carefully take the egg out, sit it on the lid while you measure its length and CAREFULLY measure circumference, noting on your chart again. You'll determine the egg has grown exponentially in size.
2. Use same egg for the Shrinking Egg experiment.

1. Pour 2" of corn syrup into the 2nd jar. 
2. Slip the bloated egg carefully into the corn syrup. Put on the lid. Add more corn syrup if necessary to cover egg.

* You'll note that unlike the shelled version of this egg, the bloated one floats. More buoyant. (Here you'll see we did the experiment a 2nd time, to show the difference in the eggs, side by side.)

72 hours (3 days) later:

*You'll note, as you probably have if you've been watching your experiment everyday (and i would recommend that you check it every day around the same time, noting changes) that the egg has lost a lot of its bloatedness. According to the experiment it was supposed to shrink up like a shriveled raisin, but it didn't really get that small.*

SCIENCE INFO: This is once again a case of Osmosis. The water (and some vinegar) moves where there is no water, in this case into the corn syrup. The corn syrup can not get into the egg so the egg takes on a shriveled appearance.

Great, easy learning experience for the whole family. DH enjoyed getting involved as well (note his finger putting the egg in the corn syrup. :) ) We picked out a few experiments to do in the coming days. The little one read many of the experiments and the science behind them and I heard her telling her dad all about different things. So even if you can't get to all the experiments in a book, make sure you let the little ones read through it as they 'pick' which ones they want to do. They'll learn a whole ton of information from this book. I know I did!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scripture In Pictures

 (Psalm 100: 1-3)

This week we've been experimenting with how we learn scripture. I'm sure we've tried memorizing things before but with this year being our first year using Charlotte Mason methods, we're memorizing scripture. We started our homeschool year memorizing the Lord's Prayer. I thought that was an easy one to start with since the little one had heard it and probably tried saying it  a few times in church. So memorizing that one went pretty well.

Then we moved on to Psalm 23. What a soothing, comforting passage! The little one took right to it and we had no problems memorizing it. I think because its kind of like a story. I used this scripture passage to teach inflection in speech. The little one has a habit of just running through the sentences as fast as she can remember them but I had her learn it like she was giving a speech. So others could understand what she was saying. I've also told her how excited her grandma is going to be when she tells the learned scriptures to her. This added incentive creates more pride in the learning and speaking.

After that we tried memorizing Psalm 100. Something about that scripture was hard! A lot of praising, gladness, joy and faithfulness. Don't get me wrong, wonderful words of wisdom. But words that don't  conjure up immediate pictures in your head. So, after several frustrating days of not getting anywhere, we turned to picture-grams. This took the fun of learning up a notch and made us forget the drudgery of repetition (that my children seem to hate with a passion.)

(Psalm 100: 4-5)

We took liberties with some of the words (one of my favs is dd's interpretation  of 'good' as a thumbs up! lol) We used a face to indicate 'his, him or he' and an up arrow to mean 'Lord'. I think my daughter got more out of the experience than trying to memorize a scripture by rote.

We have some ambitious scriptures passages coming up I'm hoping we are able to get through:
Deuteronomy 5: 6-21  (Ten Commandments)
Matthew 5: 1-12 (The Beatitudes)
Luke 2: 1-20 (birth of Jesus)

How do you learn scripture? What passages do you learn?

(Sorry about the picture quality, taken with the cell phone and written on a white board.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So today I'm blogging my frustration. I'm at the end of my rope. My wits are fried. The devil has ahold of my day and I don't know how to take it back. All of my frustrations are bubbling to the surface and I feel like crying. How do I go on from here? 

The child is a walking contradiction today. Everything is making her upset, every subject is the one she hates 'the most'. I'll explain what to do and she'll say 'what? I don't know what you mean?' or 'I didn't hear you." when I clearly know she did. She is trying to make me insane. It is definitely a test of wills.

It's at these moments I don't know what to do. My tendency is to talk to her about her attitude, which she resists. I then assign a punishment for the continued problem (ie: extra chores, grounding) and I try to move on. I finally gave up today and said school was done until she got up and did all her chores. And maybe the chores would work the attitude right out of her. Then she is like 'okay, I'll do them.' I don't know how to respond to that. She is talking in a manner of 'no problem, I don't care what you say, you're not upsetting me with chores.' You know the attitude. UGH. She wasn't saying 'okay' because she was happy.

Every time she has a problem with her schooling and attitude I'm at a loss. I feel like stopping the subject she doesn't want to work on is like affirming her attitude as a good thing. Like I'm approving of it. Yet pushing on through the subject is torture at its best. And before someone tells me its the subject and maybe i need to change up what we do in it; It's not. She is having attitude about every thing.

I'm going to go ball up in a corner to cry and pray. Where is my chocolate?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make Your Own Grammar Bingo

Under the guise of trying to make grammar 'fun', I  created a grammar bingo this past Monday. I'm sure there is something already out there that I could buy but I wanted something now. I thought I'd share what I did in case anyone could use the same.

I first went here to 5x5 Bingo Card Maker to make my own card. You can put in 25 words. I put in the 8 parts of speech over and over until all 25 where full. (Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Conjunction, Interjection, Preposition). It will randomly make you a card. I changed the 'free space' into another part of speech spot. I then randomly generated several cards, printing in between on cardstock. Yes, it prints all those words at the bottom. Doesn't matter, I just cut out my cards. I personally left an 1" on the left so I could punch holes and keep the cards in my 3-ring binder.

Next I looked for a concise list of words for each part of speech. Difficult to do for some since there can be upwards of 800 words on a part of speech. I randomly chose words and put them together on a paper. You can print it from the PDF document below:

I plan to highlight the words I call on the list, making sure to call from each part randomly.  I can always print out a new list for when we've crossed off all the words but I imagine by then, she'll know them perfectly!

We used our set yesterday. It was a bit harder to describe what conjunction and prepositions were so we watched the Schoolhouse Rock Conjunction video and Grammar Rock's Preposition video. Be forewarned though, the catchy little tunes will get stuck in your head.

If this works out to be a fun way to learn, I may be doing a Types of Sentences one next!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Household Cleanliness

I think it is time to make a household cleanliness chart (aka: chores to be done, but I hate the word 'chores' so household cleanliness it is!) Or should it be called responsibilities? That word, even though it shouldn't, has bad connotations as well. Chores, responsibilities, duties, jobs... all these words put a frown on even the most stalwart of countenances. I've tried to talk with the family about what a joy it can be to keep the house clean, to honor each other as being important enough to keep it clean for. But its hard when I have trouble finding joy in the jobs myself.

Colossians 3:23  - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (NIV)

We're sporadic cleaners. No, the health police can't be called in but we don't always get to the dishes TODAY and the laundry is usually in piles to rival the Rocky Mountains. Having too many clothes is a known side effect of shopping at thrift stores most of the time. Our sporadic cleaning changes into organized spring/fall cleaning when we plan to have someone come over. I really don't mind these behemoth cleaning efforts because everything gets done. Then when its over I'm always lamenting, 'Why are we comfortable living with cobwebs, or never seeing the light of day on the children's floors, and oh how nice it is to have clothes in our DRAWERS instead of living out of baskets."


I can't complain about overstuffed schedules and responsibilities and never being home to get anything done. We're always home. I don't over schedule us. Evenings are spent on the computers/TV, reading books, art time or playing games. It's laziness pure and simple. It's about time to work in regular cleanliness.

Proverbs 12:24 - The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work. (The Message)

The girls and I had a nice talk the other night about being responsible. I had them both make lists of things they could/need to be responsible for without being asked. I've grown tired of telling the little one: brush your teeth, change the fish tank, take a shower, pick up the living room. Or telling the teen: do laundry, take your medicine/vitamins, shouldn't you be studying, time to find a job... So far I have only seen a glimpse of them taking on their responsibilities. So far I have not figured out how to instill in them the WANT to do these things for the good of the family. Working on it...

The little one and I are reading Everyday Graces.  It really is a nice gentle way to discuss not only manners but responsibilities. We've been reading the chapter on Helping Out At Home. The poem called  'Why Do I Have To Clean My Room?' by Jack Prelutsky is funny and very pertinent. I'm hoping this book will help us, especially with the attitude about cleaning, manners and cleanliness in general.

Okay, so here goes. I don't know what is best to put on what days and I don't know if I should be including the responsibilities the kids have on their lists but I'm just gonna wing it. I've kept Sunday clear because its Sunday and I've left minimal things for Wednesday since the little one and dh have to be at church by 515 pm.

Sunday: Day of rest, just keep up with the day's dishes/kitchen

Monday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean living room, fold/put away clothes

Tuesday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean bathrooms, clean dining room

Wednesday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, sweep all floors, dust all electronics

Thursday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean living room, mop tiles/floors, clean bedrooms

Friday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, change kitty litter, change sheets, fold/put away clothes

Saturday: Dishes/kitchen, 2 loads laundry/wash dry. Sweep all floors if necessary. Cook the majority of the week's meat. Get DH's clothes ready for the week.

Now... anyone want to be my cleaning accountability partner?!

(This post is included in the Homemaking Link Up over on Raising Homemakers.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 2: Car Schoolers, Questions & Manners

 (Books picked up at Half-Price Bks over the weekend.)

Wow! I've always heard about those superhuman people who end up doing 'carschooling' (basically they have so many activities, they're doing all their sit down work in the car!!!) but never thought we'd really experience it for ourselves.

But Monday, we were carschoolers. A favorite aunt died and her funeral was 1 1/2 hours away. I was determined not to make our Monday our Friday free day so off we went with car school to do. It was actually quite fun. We were able to recite our scripture we were learning (Psalm 23), work on math, read the bible, listen to Haydn for music. I was able to download a typing program to my laptop so she had fun practicing with that. We listen to a book on tape for literature (Farmer Boy) and read when we got home for a bit. All in all, we still got in 5 hours of work! See, who said you can't get anything done on the road?

Enthusiasm Level:
This week went by in a a whirlwind. We got most of our schooling done Mon-Thurs, swapping out some of my reading to her, with her listening to some Cds on tape (Farmer Boy, Just So Stories, Arabian Nights, ) Friday was supposed to be our art day but hubby and my planned evening out turned into a mini getaway so Friday was spent straightening the house and packing everyone up for overnights. We'll get to the art this week. I think the week was enjoyable, just hectic. I enjoy slower days.

This Week's Questions:
What happens if you're cremated?
Can I get paid for each load of laundry I do? (NO.)
Why didn't you tell me Nancy Drew was cool?
Did you know beavers build their house with mud and save up air inside like a bubble? 
Did you know there are fish that can fly? They do it when they're scared.
Rhode Island is so small. Do I have to memorize its capital?
Did you know Christopher Columbus was not the first to cross the Atlantic? Why didn't you tell me?
What does gaff-ee (gaffe) mean?
Isn't a bar code cool? I bet there are millions of them.
Do you know that magic trick where the girl is sawed in half? That's fake. She scrunches up in one side and wiggles feet attached to sticks out the other end. No one gets sawed in half really.
What is a Fibonacci?   (Let me tell you, the new Do Not Open book I got her is cause for lots of questions...)

What's Working:
The Charlotte Mason style of smaller concentrated time frames are working still. We love them. I'm also learning to be flexible in when we do things even though I have everything written next to 'certain' hours on my chart. Flexibility is key to keeping things enjoyable. 
Learning is becoming more self lead, more independent when she is working on a subject. I used to have to stand over her or be sitting nearby for her to continue working. I think this had more to do with inattention than disobedience, because of the long times for each subject we used to follow.

What's Not:
Attitude still. We had a nice intense talk yesterday about attitude. I let her know that every time she huffs and 'OH NO!' a subject or selection of book I've made that she doesn't agree with, it doesn't help the situation. Especially when she hasn't even looked at the books yet. And every time she says she hates school, one, it hurts my feelings because I work hard to make it more enjoyable and two, she's lying. We discussed all the things we've been working on and she enjoys quite a bit of them. We also talked about the fact that responsibility has a place in homeschooling. There are some subjects we just have to do so she doesn't grow to be 20 and still be at a 5th grade level. She doesn't want that. We talked about the things that do interest her and incorporating them in more. It was actually a very good talk. She wasn't pouting or crying afterward. I thank the Lord for directing how I explained things to her.
Down time. I really need to make some 'set in stone' electronics rules. I've told her she has to read an hour to get a 1/2 hour of TV time. On Monday I kept finding her watching TV or playing computer with no hours earned yet the rest of the family was doing the same thing. It's hard to have a child stick to rules the rest are not following. I need to rethink how we do things in this house.

For the upcoming week, its a 4 day-er since we took Monday (Labor Day) off to laze around.  The above books are some we will be using in our studies. The little one's assigned reading right now is Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. We're jumping off into a study of fish/sea, mainly because a friend gave the little one some fish a couple weeks ago and amazingly they're still alive! So unusual for our household.

We're talking about getting a frog or turtle or something but it has to be earned and it won't be until October sometime, if at all. I expect to see responsibilities being done, attitude changing, schoolwork being completed, etc... She seemed eager to earn this and we plan to look for a small tank at a garage sale.

Everyday Graces: Child's Book Of Good Manners (Foundations)Everyday Graces - I picked up a book at the library on manners and graces. I plan to read a bit of it each morning during breakfast, and use some of the quotes and verses inside for our copywork/dictation. Has anyone used this book before? Is it a keeper? It looks wonderful. It has sections aptly named: Helping Out at Home, Taming the Tongue, Telling the Truth, Washing, Dressing, Working Hard, Caring for the Sick, and a whole section on Table Manners as well as other great topics.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Atmosphere Schmatmosphere...

Schoolroom or no schoolroom. That is the question...

Our school has played out in many rooms of the house over the years. I've never felt the need to set up like they do in schools with actual kids desks and a large desk for the teacher. The closest we came was some posters on the wall in the dining room when it was my art room, and part of the art shelf held our books. The rest of our supplies: school pencils, art supplies, etc.. were in an old wood jelly cabinet in the hall. We used the art table to do our work.

Now the dining room is back to being a dining/computer table room with a nice sideboard that is stuffed to the gills with last year's school books, papers, reports and all my bills stuff. Yes, I have not cleaned up stuff from last year. I'll get to it eventually. 

The room has been recently painted and artwork has been added to the walls. No more homeschooling posters, no more charts. I found that we didn't use them mostly EVER. So what was the point. Just to look like a schoolroom?

This year, seeing as I'm down to one kid and we're trying the new Charlotte Mason method, we have less  items to use. I'm not using textbooks right now, just books from the library, bible, hymnal and some printed sheets. We keep doing school on my big king size bed so today while cleaning up the week's schooling, I gave in and dedicated a drawer in my dresser to the homeschool cause. 

(See the second large drawer? I shared it for storage.)

(Current homeschool 'table', my bed.)

However, lately I've been seeing pictures of all the homeschoolers around who are getting their homeschool years started. Some have posted pics of their school rooms. It makes me think, is atmosphere important for a better learning experience? If things are organized by containers instead of shoved in drawers, will they grow up to be little organized beings? If a child is sitting at a desk surrounded by schooling papers and books does their knowledge grow exponentially? Am I stunting my children's growths by not providing this atmosphere? Just curious...

I've always tried to let the children find the space that was comfortable for them. Beds, couches, tables, floors. There have been a few seasons where I made them both sit at the kitchen table to actually get stuff done because much dilly-dallying was going on and we were behind. But for the most part, any room was game for some schooling. But seeing everyone's pretty rooms, I keep thinking maybe my little one would enjoy having many manipulatives on hand, and being able to find a pencil without having to dig through a drawer. We do have a designated spot for library books, let me tell you, this idea was a lifesaver. I don't know how many times I would get all set to go to the library and we couldn't find half our books because they were stuffed under beds, piles, laying on tables, under pillows, in the bathroom, stuffed among the cookbooks or hiding in drawers. Now, they can be found. This also means I pay less of the librarians' salaries since we're late less. Don't get me wrong, we're still supporting them with regular 'paychecks'.

Here are some examples of wonderful homeschooling rooms:
Pioneer Woman (last year) and this year
Child Led's Homeschool Room
Molding Minds Room
Heart of Wisdom Dining/Schoolroom (they have my cat!!)
Learn As We Go's Classroom
Our Tidbits of Learning Room
Satori Smiles Homeschool Room Photos
Joyful Chaos Room
My3Boybarians Homeschool Room (I want the built in shelves!!)
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Classroom
Counting My Pennies Room & Organizing Tips
The Painted House's Before & After (stunning!)
Warm Cup of Coffee's Rooms

KatieScrapbookLady's Pics of her room are great!

Seedpod's room is scrumptious!

Okay, this might come out wrong but should I set up a classroom if I only have one child to teach (the teen is off to college during the day)? I see the benefit of having a room for multiple children since they have different programs, curriculum, supplies, etc... but for one child it seems frivolous. But then am I penalizing her just because she's a classroom of one? Hmmmm, so many things to think on.

I asked this question of my homeschool comrades at the HomeschoolSpot forums and here are some of their responses:
Jenny: Well, we will soon be moving into a new house, & today my husband suggested using one of the basement rooms as our classroom, and it really got me thinking. I was thinking about how dingy & dark the room was, how cramped it felt, how creepy it was... & I decided that I would much rather have school stuff cluttering my dining room then making my kids go down in to the dungeon. lol. I do not think my ds would have done well down there at all. We will have a classroom space set up upstairs, where it's bright & sunny & you just feel like you're living. We also do a lot of reading on the couch, etc. I think comfort, good lighting & a positive feeling in the room are key to having great things happen during at home homeschooling.

Birbitt: Sure atmosphere matters, the more comfortable the child is the easier it is to learn! We often do our reading snuggled on the sofa, or my bed. They write at the dining room table or on clipboards on my bed, or their bed, or the sofa. Many days we have school in our jammies just because we can. They learn better when they are comfy, and what's more comfy than your own home?

What do you think?

I found these interesting articles:
A Homeschool Room
This is NOT a Schoolroom
Homeschool Room Makeover
How to Design a Homeschool Room
A Video on Organization for Parents & Homeschoolers 

Do YOU have pictures of your Homeschool Rooms to share? Feel free to add a link to your blog post and pictures here!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 1: Charlotte Mason & the Newbie

Can you say sleep deprivation?! That's what the first week back to homeschool always means to me. We're night owls and its hard to switch your body from staying up til 2 am or whatever all summer and now getting up at 830 for homeschool. I am still going to bed way too late and wanting to take naps after our day is done! Hopefully I work that out soon.

Charlotte Mason method is a new concept to us. This was our first week trying it out. I was thinking it would be more like unschooling but I did a fair amount of prepping for our first week. Although now, I have us all set up for several weeks in advance. Okay, I say that, but don't have any illusions it won't all fall apart next week.

Enthusiasm Level:
Very high right now. We worked well for 4 days and now she has today (Friday) 'off'.' We did make plans: library visit in the morning and all afternoon board game playing but to her, that's 'off'. ' I know I will still be counting this day according to what subjects the games covered.

Week's Questions:
"How do you draw an ankh?"
"How would a mist come up from the ground? Is that like fog?"
"I was practicing J and F in typing and it says I have trouble. (me) What did you miss? (child) J and F."
"What is a wretch?"
"Can I learn Dari language? What about Greek?"
"Can I look up the Egyptian god of death?"
"What does ren-dez-vooz mean?"

What's Working:
Shorter lessons. Genius! My daughter may not like to do cursive (copywork) practice but she knows its only for a 1/4 hour so she is able to handle it. She's really enjoying the learning of new hymns, the foreign language and latin and the history book we're reading: The Door In The Wall. I also ordered some books on monks, nuns and a disc on gregorian chants we are going to listen to.

What's Not:
I find our hardest obstacle to overcome is the get up and go hour. We set a goal of up by 830, school by 900 and be done with everything by 245. That way the little one would have several hours in the afternoon for more reading, playing, inventing, baking, outdoor playing, library visits, etc... We are so not morning people! But we've stuck to the plan almost every day. Except for one day I woke up with a migraine and the little one did 2 hours of reading in the morning before I finally started her on the other schooling. She also did some of the things we have scheduled to do on her own, such as foreign language, typing, grammar and piano. All are on the computer and the piano. I like that there are subjects she knows exactly what to do and doesn't need me. Not that I don't like helping her and working along side her. But she is learning independence.

I'm thinking math time might need to be extended from one 1/2 hour slot in the morning to two 1/2 hour slots, one at the end of our day. I printed out worksheets covering the topics we learned last year. Kind of a review to get us ready for the next learning but at this rate of one sheet per day, we won't start 6th grade math until December! Gotta speed us up a bit.

Being a definite CM newbie, I'm only cautiously optimistic about how this week turned out. I'm praying that next week will hold even more exciting times and discoveries for us. I'll report again after week 2.

Some helpful Charlotte Mason links I've found:
Ambleside Online (free curriculum that closely follows CM methods)
Charlotte Mason & Dictation (also list of links)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thrifting With Attitude

Yesterday was a whirlwind day spent with family, lunch and dinner out, running errands, thrifty shopping, grocery shopping, party planning. I'm dead on my feet and we have 40 guests coming in a few hours for a fun birthday party for the 11 yr old. I'll have all afternoon tomorrow to recover I guess and then Monday we start school! Yay! I think I'm excited again! Sorta. I was getting all jazzed about homeschool because now I've got a PLAN and we're trying new things (latin and french being 2 of them) and I think it might all work out.

And then... duh duh duh dun... (insert scary music), the child has had about 4 days of terrible moods. I'm getting scared she is moving into the horrifying stage of hormones! Someone save me! I don't think I can go through puberty with another girl. I'm so not worthy! We've already had to have a talk about attitude. Like when we were in the middle of the thrift store trying on clothes and she really didn't want to do this, especially in the mood she's in, so anything with any pink on it (her favorite color) she announces loudly that she HATES pink and doesn't WANT to try it on. I finally said, 'You're gonna', because me, being the mom, knows she is just in a mood and will love the pink clothes later. So she stomps off into the dressing room where I (and all the patrons around me hear) 'Well, I'm not gonna wear it even if you buy it!' Such sass! What a mood! What a chuckle this got from several moms, who nodded their heads and one said "I know what you're going through" laughing while she said it. URGH!

The thrift store shopping was still successful as evidenced by the pile in the picture above. The clothes episode went okay. We came home with 4 brown shirts, 1 black shirt, 1 khaki skirt, 1 pair jeans and shocker... 1 hot pink shirt. No meltdown when I put it on the counter either. Needless to say, it was a long day.

The books were a great find. Here is what we found:
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Vol. 1 (to replace a ruined copy)
Star Wars Galaxy of Fear, Nightmare Machine (dd loves reading Star Wars)
Angela Carter's Book of Fairytales (to be used for copywork/dictation)
The Fables of Aesop (to be used for copywork/dictation)
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (on my reading list)
Igraine the Brave (Cornelia Funke is a fav author of the teen, this is one of her younger books)
ROAR! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia (Someone just mentioned this on a forums board I frequent and that its a great supplement to reading the Chronicles of Narnia series. You can get this book at right now in clearance for $0.99!)
Learn At Home, Grade 6 (I just bought this as a supplement of occasional workpages for reviewing)

Wish us luck on the party. We invited 6 families over to our house, plus 5 teenagers to keep the teen busy. About 40 people in all, with plans to just plop chairs down in the backyard, play games in the grass and have a good ole' fashioned fun time. DH informs me tonight that the mosquitoes in the woodsy backyard are running rampant and its not wise to be outside. Great. Where am I going to put 40 people in my house?! Help!

P.S. Can you guess the theme of dd's party? I've given you a hint (in a roundabout way. hehe)
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