Wednesday, November 30, 2005

11/18 - 30

Longer break than I thought. This is not as easy as I thought it would be - keeping this up.

Daily we have kept up our Bible (with TableTalk) and added in catechism. Also reading ACTS using Victor Journey Through the Bible.

CA daily.

Started routine which looks like this:


Bible, Catechism, CA

Maps, Charts and Graphs (J)

Math U See, Math Detective (J), Math Daily Warmups (J)

Reading, English from the Roots Up



Explode the Code
Editor in Chief (J)


Spelling Test
Spectrum Test Prep (J)

We are on ch 31 of SOTW and reading To The Edge Of The World, about Magellan.
Chapter 10 of MUS - adding 8s

Science - we are now in unschooling mode on geology as I've realized we've read so much about just about all the topics. Contining to read "earth science" and will start chemistry in January. Plan to have more structure to that.

Everyone is progressing in reading, with Eleanor just about overtaking James in skill. But he is getting better and his comprehension is improving. He read The Gingerbread Baby to E the other day and as she said "I only had to help him with one word!"

RA is Nightbirds on Nantucket by J. Aiken

Sunday, November 13, 2005

11/11 - 13

Bible, Catechism, CA

History Pockets

J - MCG Fri and Sat

Math Detective

RA: A Long and Uncertain Journey - J E Goodman (V deGama)
Began Eric Liddel - Something Greater than Gold

Thursday, November 10, 2005

11/10 Thu

1 John w/TT, catechism #100, ACTS 14, CA

Discussion of TV (anniv. of Sesame Street today) and St. Patrick.

Lesson in cleaning the bathroom. Arguments ensued over the filling of the soap dispenser. Discussion of 1 John and love again.


J did 2 lessons Maps charts graphs.

MUS #9E. We are starting to have a big problem with both kids saying "I know it, I just can't get it out." That is starting to be an excuse. I understand not being able to get words out. But part of getting the facts down is being able to get it out of the brain and on paper.

Math Detective - operations. As usual J got the concepts fine - knew what to do, and was a little better on doing the operations.

2 Mindbenders

J read Under the Sea (Usborne Beginnings) for science. E read Mealtime Prayers.

Black Hearts in Battersea has become very very exciting. 3 chapters and counting...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

11/7-9 Mon - Wed

Another bad week. Now E is sick. But we are progressing slowly, oh so slowly...

Bible every day - continuing with 1 John and Tabletalk, and Acts just for reading pleasure. Added in the Victor Journey through the Bible and now the Atlas of the Bible (Collins). Added in Catechism per the schedule in Tabletalk. Whew.

CA, of course, daily. This with Bible takes approx 1 hour.

J does 2 Maps Charts Graphs each day, except Sunday.

Now on Lesson 9D in MUS. Were going to do some today but ran out of time, as it's PE day.

Tuesday we read all of The Voyager's Stone while the kids marked up maps documenting the journey. Then James copied a picture out of the book.

Tuesday a bit of copywork.

Today some Explode the Code without the writing, because we were going to have a spelling test, but ran out of time. Also the chapter on C. Columbus in SOTW. Starting a book on Vasco daGama, who gets a brief mention in SOTW.

Kids decided they would like to know each day what we are doing and when (as in what order, not what time of day). So I am planning on something like this:

Daily - Bible, Catechism, CA
MWF - ETC, History, some kind of logic puzzles, math,spelling, reading
TTh - Copywork, math, science, puzzles, reading

I like J to start off with Map Charts Graphs to warm up his brain. E needs something similar. She can't seem to shake off the cold, tired feeling. Soon.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

11/5 Sat

Another sick day for E. But we read "Seek the Lord Early" in JC Ryle's Boys and Girls Playing, and CA

Found an interesting new bug in the house today so C started looking up bug sites. J & E messed around with that a little. OK it's a stretch for schooltime but it is science... and I'm sure there'll be some bug books coming home from the library next visit.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Continuing with 1 John via Tabletalk, and Acts on our own, 1 chapter per day.

CA every day.

Wednesday was game day in the morning, and J had PE in the pm. Lots of physical activity!

Continuing with Maps Charts Graphs, 1-2 each day; now on lesson 17

Did a couple of Math Detectives.

Sick day for E today.

Both continue to read but have not completed any books recently.

RA Black Hearts in Battersea - Aiken

A very slow couple of days...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

11/1 tuesday

Because the Table Talk Bible study is going so well, we're just going to do the entire reading each day, with the "for further reading' verses too. If we skip a day, we can make up on the weekend as there are no readings on Sat and Sun.

Also read Acts 8


J did 2 lessons of Maps Charts Graphs. There were a couple of questions that were written a bit ambiguously - good for him to see the need for precise writing. Also he misinterpreted a couple of map symbols causing him to answer incorrectly. This was good for him to see too.

Math Detective - J did all reading and most of the questions, except the operations. But he was able to quickly, seemingly without much thought, answer the question: How many children attended the play? (We knew there were 150 seats and 40 adults.) This is not a difficult problem but I was amazed at how quickly he answered it considering his troubles with basic math facts.

Read SOTW, chapters 29 and 30, about medieval Africa and India, and some Indian folktales from the Foolish Men of Agra by Rina Sigh. James read The Eggplant (very short and lots of trouble reading). I am not spending a lot of time on these areas as we will pick up some about them later and I want to spend more time on the Americas which are coming up. I am not too worried about the kids having a general idea of African and Indian cultures.

Spelling test #17. James spelled the w/sh/could family for the first time!

James worked on chain mail a lot today.

Starting an early reader version of Anne of Green Gables today. E read about 1/2 of the first chapter and ran out of steam. J, who had expressed extreme disinterest in the story, wanted her to continue and when she wouldn't, he read the rest of chapter 1. So they will share the reading in this book. After they finish, I'll read the 'real' version.

RA: 5 Children and It, completed.

Monday, October 31, 2005

10/31 Monday

Reformation Day!

Went to WUG in the morning to help clean up after the celebration.

1 John 4:5-6
Acts 7


J read in Abeka Grade 3 science book on oceans. Saw the experiment information and wanted to do it, but once he read it, he knew the results and didn't want to bother.

E read a couple of Thanksgiving books, did great.

RA: 5 Children and It

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Homeschooling Myself

Isn't that the title of a book? It struck me yesterday that I spent so much time thinking about my kids' educations I keep forgetting about my own. I know parents should constantly be learning themselves. This not only keeps us from getting stale (and boring?) but is good for the kids to see too. I neglect that, badly. I do think about the future and being alone with my husband again without the kids to talk about. What will I be able to talk about?

For our vacation I had lots of reading plans. But I only ended up reading a few pages here and there, out of several books, didn't finish anything and didn't really get much benefit from what I did read. I lost my Bible midway through the trip so didn't really do much Bible study - though Cris had his and most places had Gideon Bibles in the rooms...

I vaguely remember a comment, perhaps made by Charlotte Mason, about a mother's reading. Perhaps it is part of her "Mother Culture" philosophy. I believe she recommends always having 3 books going, or maybe it's 4. The Bible, daily, of course. Also, "a stiff book," something to learn from or make us think. And something just plain enjoyable. If there was a 4th, I can't think what it would be.

Also one has to find time for enjoyable pursuits. Gardening could be one of these, and that's necessary too. Then there's time to knit, and increase my knitting skills - getting tired of washcloths... Sewing, other home crafts. I should learn to do basic home improvement, so I could do things like paint a wall now and then. Whew! Hard to imagine doing this while homeschooling. Yet, women do and have done so, with more children! Maybe they could fit it in because they didn't hahve the internet calling their names all day long...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Back home...

I'd planned to post while on vacation but internet access wasn't as easy as we'd expected. Vacation was also much busier than we'd anticipated but I did get some time to think about education and, most importantly, lots of time to observe my children and think about their progress, the way they learn, and what we should be working on.

We learned a lot on this trip. James is a museum freak; we spent an entire day in the British Museum and had to go back for more. He can't tear himself away! Eleanor always wanted to know where the gift shop was... but while on this trip we found that she can pretty much read now, after minimal "teaching" from me. What to do with all those Explode the Code books??

We also talked a lot about things we'd like to do and how we'd like our home to work. We agreed (and we'll see how this works in practice) that we'll get our "basics" - reading, math, writing - done in the morning without arguing or delaying, so we'll have more time for the more fun stuff. We have a few projects planned... including some gardening, and learning to sew and cook, and of course lots of reading aloud. Oh, and teatime every afternoon. If anything, travel has made them - James especially - even more curious and wanting to know everything about everything. They were very happy when I pulled out Story of the World today to read about the Wars of the Roses - a topic with which they are fairly familiar after visiting the Tower and York Minster.

Those basics, though, are still going to be a struggle, especially for James. He has lost what little grasp on math facts he had. And I hate to think what handwriting will be like for him, since he barely put pencil to paper for a month. The journals I brought didn't quite work out - we were so busy doing that we didn't take much time for the reporting. But I'm feeling pretty good about our "school year" which, I guess, has started!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Will we ever learn?

Cris asked me tonight: "if we were flying out on Tuesday instead of Monday, would we still be running around at the last minute getting things done?" I believe the answer is yes. We always think we have more time than we actually have.

So, off to finish the laundry and get the clothes packed! This time tomorrow we'll be on the plane, so anything left unfinished will have to stay that way.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Girly girls and their dolls...

This has nothing to do with homeschooling and everything to do with it.

Eleanor is getting ready to drop her doll, Sarah, off with friends to care for while we are away. (We decided that we wouldn't want to leave Sarah on a train, or in a hotel room. Also, Sarah can be a little high-maintenance and I didn't want to deal with her. But Eleanor doesn't have to know that part.)

So it's a little bit of a sad time for her. Today we went to the grocery store and oh, the sweet looks she got from the old ladies as she walked through the store, holding Sarah in her blanket, just like a good new Mama. Then she decided Sarah should ride in the cart, so she spread out the blanket and gently sat Sarah in the seat, then strapped her in safely. (Actually, I had to remind her not to put the strap around her neck, but rather under her arms. No chokeholds, please.)

I was thinking about the way our culture encourages girls to grow up so fast, with sophisticated clothing to wear and icky Bratz dolls to play with. Then I realized I'm happy to have her assume the role of Mama to her baby doll. That's growing up too. But it's a world of difference, isn't it?

Heat Wave

I've been looking forward to cool weather on this vacation. Everyone who's known me for very long knows I don't like heat. London average temps are about 70 in August and 66 in September - that's F, not C. (Hey! Another learning opportunity coming up! Better find a conversion chart to bring along.) But the day we arrive the forecast says 77, and rising over the next few days as high as 86!

I know, I know... quit complaining. It's not a serious complaint. Believe me, I will be happy whatever the weather. Cris and I have been talking about this trip almost since we first met. It's very thrilling that it's happening now, and we get to show our kids these wonderful places!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Now Comes the Hard Part...

The clothing is all piled on the floor, ready to go in the suitcases... most of the housecleaning is done... laundry is under control...

Now, what should I take to read?

I think it's down to: Sense and Sensibility (Austen), Johnson and Boswell's Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides With Samuel Johnson, The Heart of Homeschooling (Klicka; a freebie from joining HSLDA) and of course my Bible and new study book Becoming a Woman of Prayer. Oh, a Tabletalk magazine, too. We've been getting it for a while, though I never read it. Now's the time. Maybe.

For the readalouds with the kids: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers (Bond; a re-read but we may get to visit the real city in which the fictional story takes place), Black Beauty (Sewell), and The Enchanted Castle (Nesbit). Wanted to take Duncan's War (Bond, story of Scottish Covenanters) but there don't appear to be any girls in it, so Eleanor would object.

Of course I suppose it's possible we might find a book or two to buy while we are there.

See What I Mean?

Someone asked me: "Why slacker? You're not a slacker." Well, here it is, two days into this and I've already missed a day. So it goes with all my attempts at journaling - I start, I stop, I try a new method. (Well, except for those mid-twenties angst-filled journals I shredded a couple of years ago. Those were just chock-full of over-emotional... stuff.)

One way to describe my life right now is sporadic. That's something I want to work out while we're on vacation. "Are you studying Latin yet?" Well, we have this word-roots book we use sporadically. "How are you teaching grammar?" Well, we use First Language Lessons... sporadically. Even my attempts at new discipline methods fail because I forget to use them. The Penny Jars were a great idea. 2 jars per kid, each with 25 pennies. Do something good, move a penny from - to +. Do something wrong... you get the idea. Get the + jar filled, and get a "prize." (I hate that term.) It worked till the jars disappeared behind a pile of books...

Oh, and let's not forget the Bible study and prayer with the kids. If there's one area in which I should not be sporadic, this is it!

Well, maybe getting the house cleaned up and somewhat organized will help (she said hopefully). When we get back... ah, the promise of "when we get back." We'll get on track, keep the house clean and organized, wake up early every morning, cheerful and ready to work, study and... or maybe we'll just snuggle back under the covers with a good book.

Now it's time to get those last-minute errands run and finish cleaning the house. It will be nice to walk away knowing the house is clean snd a little elf (our friend Leslie) will be taking good care of it, so it'll still be clean and uncluttered when we get home. I should start taking bets on how long it'll take the kids to trash the place with their toys when we get home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well, now I've started this... what's next? Why do I want to do this anyway? Maybe I want to be a published writer... a famous blogger... or maybe I just have a lot of thoughts bashing around in my head that I want to get out.

Right now we're getting ready for our trip-of-a-lifetime - a month (just about) traveling in England and Scotland. The "schoolwork" I'd planned to do this summer has been tossed aside in favor of a crash course in English and Scottish history (hey, that's educational!), and getting the place ready for a housesitter. Ever look around your house and wonder how it would look to someone else living in it? For the first time in 7 years, the cabinet under my kitchen sink is beautifully clean and organized!

While we're away, I hope to continue to work out my thoughts on what education really means for my family and how to balance the desire to let my kids follow their own interests, at their own paces, with the need to pass those pesky standardized tests. And how to establish some nice, flowing routines so our days have some semblance of order and there's time to do all the many many things we want to do each day!

And, I hope to get some lovely wool and do some knitting! Something other than a dishcloth, even!