Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Long Vacation

We ended up taking a long vacation from "school" these last few weeks. Getting ready for a Christmas party, and Christmas... well, we took a lot more time off than I'd planned. But we continue to read - the "Swallows and Amazons" books (we are on book 8 of 12), and A Christmas Carol (Dickens) and other Christmas books. Yesterday E read one of her Christmas books (Miranda the Great) all at once. J read a Tintin (gift from his grandparents, my request) and at least browsed A City Through Time. Today he will mess around with one of his science experiment kits.

My big failure has been to keep a pen in J's hand to keep his writing skills going. Today is thank you card day and I fear a rebellion. He has only 3 to write. I had vowed he'd write something every day but did not enforce this. So we will have lost some ground.

Also our break from workbook math turned into a break from all math. I'd planned on continuing with flash cards and games, but the only math we've done is doubling and halving recipes.

Oh, and I dropped the catechism review that was going on; I'm sure E has lost some of that.

But today is a new day and Daddy is home all week, so we can pick a few things back up.

I have to admit it has been nice to be on vacation so completely. I have been getting more sleep and just feel more relaxed all around. That can't be a bad thing.

Monday, December 18, 2006


The kids are filling up a cleared space in the dining room with their playmobil figures. My ears perked up when E asked J, "Are your pirates Christian?" I didn't hear the exact response but suddenly they both broke into song: "What Wondrous Love is This." Not exactly your typical sea chanty. But it works for me.

(This kind of entry is supposed to go to my homeschoolblogger.com site. But with the problems there...)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

11/15 - 12/3

I don't know why it always amazes me when I check in here and find I haven't logged any work for a few weeks.

Maybe that's because we don't do any work.

No, not true. Close, sometimes.

Bible - we are continuing to read a psalm a day, and are now on the book of Isaiah. I just read a chapter, or part of a chapter, and we discuss it, and off we go. Isaiah is perfect for this time of year because of the prophecies. Is it ok to be proud that when we read Isaiah 6 and the kids break into the song "Sanctus," or when we read ch. 9 they can't help but start singing "For unto us a child is born..." Reminds me that last year I saw a unit study on Messiah. Time to find that, or at least put on the cd.

Catechism - we are on q. 31 but are taking a week review and then having a treat at the end of the week if on Friday they can recite all 31 for Dad. No problem for J. E... we'll see.

Writing - had a bit of a breakthrough with J. He is working on a story which he had been dictating to me. I was tired of sitting here typing while he thought up what to say (and the story stinks, but that's beside the point), so I told him he had to start writing it himself. He moaned and complained but finally we agreed that I would stay close to help with spelling. He did great, enjoyed it, and has been writing a little more ever since. Both kids are still working on cursive and copywork.

Reading - everyone is reading fine; I suspect J is at grade level, maybe a little lower, and E is at or above.

Math - still struggling. We are almost done with MUS Alpha - only 2 tests and the unit on time. Then no workbook math till January. We should be finished this week. I have to let the math facts go and have faith they will get it someday.

Grammar - continuing with Daily Grams and doing well. I can tell by the test prep exercises they do that they are getting it.

Spelling - I give E a test now and then, but she can spell most anything. J gets a list of words to copy.

Latin - On lesson 9, still enjoying it.

History - progressing through SOTW.

Science - progressing ever so slowly through BF History of Science. J still unschooling in that area.

Phyical activities - J continues with PE and swimming; E is taking a break from swimming but is continuing gymnastics dance, and wants me to find a real gymnastics class for her. Very happy about that. The dance is OK but the music isn't to my taste, particularly. Too hip-hoppy.

Starting the next Ransome novel, Secret Water. C is reading A Christmas Carol to them at night (just started). Also reading a book about various wonders of the world (name and author escape me but I'll catch it up later). So lots of learning/reading/exploring the world going on...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Week of 11/15

A normal week. No sicknesses, no extraordinary events, except a visit to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

J's reading is slowing down. Or, I should say, his fiction reading is slowing down. Lately he's been reading a lot of Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, and a lot of library books on planes. But it's hard to tell how much actual reading is going on. I have been lax on having him read The Landing of the Pilgrims. It's time to find a book to read together and discuss, as we did with Charlotte's Web, etc. Maybe Trumpet of the Swan, or Little House in the Big Woods. (L I Wilder may seem too girlish?)

E is reading too many American Girl magazines but she is doing well with her reading. Sometimes she reads to J and I can hear that she is doing fine. But I need to amp up the quality for her too...

Both kids adore the Spectrum test prep books but I don't want to start relying on that type of work too much. Easy for me, not very good for them.

Along with our Swallows and Amazons reading, we are reading The Seven Wonders of the World, which is actually about 7 groups of wonders. Right now we are on the wonders of the ancient world (Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Diana, etc.). Very interesting; written from a Christian perspective. This was precipitated by the kids listening to an audio book The 7 Wonders of Sassafras Springs.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

2006 Reading

2006 Reading

Read Alouds - General

Heidi - J. Spyri
Ten P's in a Pod - Arnold Pent III
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare - E. Nesbit
Sarah Plain and Tall - Patricia Maclachlan
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates - M M Dodge
The Chronicles of Narnia
Duncan's War - Douglas Bond (to James only)
Challenger: America's Favorite Eagle - Margot Theis Raven
Caleb's Story - Patricia Maclachlan
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
The Lampfish of Twill - Janet Taylor Lisle
King's Arrow (James only)
The Diamond in the Window - Jane Langton
Swallowdale - Arthur Ransome
Winter Holiday - Arthur Ransome
Coot Club - Arthur Ransome
Pigeon Post - Arthur Ransome
Stars, Mosquitos and Crocodiles (partial) - Millicent E. Selsam
We Didn't Mean to go to Sea - A Ransome

Read Alouds - History

The Monk Who Shook The World - C. Davey
Fine Print - J Johansen Burch
Michelangelo - M. Venezia
Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth is a Planet - D. B. Fradin
Along Came Galileo - Jeanne Bendick
Leonardo Da Vinci - Diane Stanley
Good Queen Bess - Diane Stanley
Roanoke: The Lost Colony - Bob Italia
Michelangelo - Diane Stanley
Michelangelo's Surprise - Tony Parillo
Sir Francis Drake - His Daring Deeds - Roy Gerrard
The Search for a Northern Route - Peter Chrisp
Champlain - Christopher Moore (Tundra Books, 2004 Toronto Canada)
Despite all Obstacles: La Salle and the Conquest of the Mississippi – Joan Elizabth Goodman
2001 Mikaya Press, NY
Beyond the Sea of Ice: The Voyages of Henry Hudson – “ 1999 “
La Salle: Down the Mississippi – Harold Faber (Great Exploration Series) 2002 Benchmark Books NY
Pocahontas - D'Aulaire
Jamestown Colony - Brendan January
The World of Captain John Smith (partial) - Genevieve Foster
Story of the World Vol 2 and 3 (partial)

Read Alouds - Science

The Periodic Table - A True Book
Oxygen - A True Book
Hydrogen and the Noble Gases - A True Book
Nitrogen - A True Book
Calcium - A True Book
Carbon - A True Book
Iron - A True Book
Mercury - A True Book
Zinc - A True Book
Chlorine - A True Book
Tin - A True Book
Archimedes: Ancient Greek Mathematician - Susan Keating (J only)
Archimedes and the Door to Science - Jeanne Bendick
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine - Jeanne Bendick
Fine Print - J. Johansen Burch
Leonardo the Beautiful Dreamer

J (incomplete)

The Canterville Ghost - Usborne Adaptation of O. Wilde
Little Wolf's Book of Badness - I. Whybrow
Little Wolf's Diary of Daring Deeds
Little Wolf, Forest Detective
Mice of the Herring Bone - T. Davis
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Classic Starts adaptation of H. Pyle
The Three Musketeers - Stepping Stones adaptation of A. Dumas
Da Vinci - M. Venezia
The Case of the Puzzling Possum - C. Ryland
The Case of the Troublesome Turtle - C. Rylant
A Brave Monk - R. C. Sproul Jr.
The Sword in the Tree - C. R. Bulla
The Minstrel in the Tower - G. Skurzynski
Mercury - S. Tocci (A True Book)
Spies - Richard Platt
Leif the Lucky - Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire (Beautiful Feet Books, 1941)
The Wild Year: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary (My America series) - Patricia Hermes
Knights of the Kitchen Table - Jon Scieszka
Charlotte's Web - E B White
Weslandia - Paul Fleischman
Robinson Crusoe Reader - Christian Liberty Press
Mr Popper's Penguins - Atwater
The Real Thief - Wm. Steig
Great Illustrated Classics: Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
GIC: The Jungle Book - R. Kipling
GIC: Tom Sawyer - M Twain
The Flying Tigers - John Toland (Landmark)
Tintin - lots
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims - Clyde Robert Bulla
Wackiest White House Pets - Gibbs Davis

E (Incomplete)

Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas - C. Ryland
Mr. Putter and Tabby - C. Rylant
Mr. Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears - C. Rylant
Julian, Dream Doctor - A. Cameron
The Courage of Sarah Noble - A. Dalgleish
Ruth and Naomi - Jean Marzollo
Sleeping Bobby - Will and Mary Pope Osborne
Tacky The Penguin - Helen Lester
Pixie Tricks: Sprite's Secret - Tracey West
Daniel in the Lion's Den - Jean Marzollo
Poodlena - E. B. McHenry
The Sword in the Tree - R C Bulla
The Diamond Princess Saves the Day - J. V. Malcolm
Double Trouble Dwarves - Tracey West
The Wicked Wizard - Tracey West
Charlotte's Web - E B White
Mr Popper's Penguins - Atwater
Various American Girl books
Various Jewel Kingdom books
Various Animal Ark books
Magical Animals - Carol Watson
A Light Kindled (about Priscilla Mullins) - Tracy Lenninger
Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims - Clyde Robert Bulla
Cindy Ellen (A Wild Western Cinderella) - Susan Lowell
Miranda the Great - Eleanor Estes

Mom's Reading (this is pitiful)

The Daughter of Time - J. Tey
The Beekeeper's Pupil - S. George
A Little History of the World - E. H. Gombrich
Sweetness and Light - Hattie Ellis (don't remember finishing this)
Bible (daily reading)
The True Woman - Susan Hunt
By Design - Susan Hunt
Teaching the Trivium - Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
Shepherding a Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp
Ex Libris - Ross King
Virgin Earth - Philippa Gregory
A Girl of the Limberlost - Gene Stratton-Porter
part of Marriage to a Difficult Man (Susanna Edwards)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Week of November 6

No records to keep, really. We progressed in all areas, more in some than in others.

Bible - Continuing with Psalms, finished Mark. Next is Isaiah.

Catechism - moving along. Did a review with J - he's in good shape. He knows it and more importantly, he understands it. E needs more work but she is getting there. She just doesn't apply herself to memorization. I am pretty sure, anyway. It's that little-girl voice she uses. Sounds so fake. "This is too hard." Remember the talking Barbie: "Math is hard." Ugh.

Math - getting a little better. J is getting faster w/the facts but is doing great in the geometry section of the mathematical reasoning. E is progressing a bit but still has to think - or pretend so - with simple things like 7 + 1.

Had some travel this week so listened to The Penderwicks, a great book-on-CD.

Both kids read/are reading Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims for next week's book club.

Swimming, PE and dance continue.

That's about it. No excitement. Need to add more writing, but don't I say that every week?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Week of 10/30

The big event this past week was the Reformation Celebration at church. This year's theme was the Huguenots, so we read Wings Like A Dove, a story about Jeanne d'Albret last week, to prepare. The story was pretty good, but focused on her life before she made her declaration to protestantism - the rest was mostly a postscript. Still, during the "sermon" part of the celebration the kids understood a bit more than they might have if we hadn't read it.

The day after Reformation celebration is always a bit slow, since we are recovering. But we progressed in all areas - the kids are slowly improving in their math facts, and reading, and writing. They are enjoying the Daily Grams practice and getting much better with punctuation, word usage (which was never much of a problem anyway), sentence combining.

Along with the math facts both kids are working in the Mathematical Reasoning books and J is just eating up the geometry part. I am always amazed at his visual/spatial abilities. E doesn't like it so much, nor is she as good at it. But she perseveres.

We are still reading a psalm a day, and are also reading a chapter of Mark each day. After Mark we will do Genesis, then tackle Isaiah.

Still reading the Swallows and Amazon series for pleasure.

For science, we are continuing with the BF history of science, now on the middle ages. We had previously read Fine Print, about Gutenburg and the press, but no one minds doing it again. We have slowed down a bit with "regular" history. J is reading The Landing of the Pilgrims and E is reading Mayflower Mystery or something like that, in support of American history, but SOTW has us taking a detour to Japan right now which is fine too. I don't place a lot of emphasis on non-western history at this point but they should know that things were going on in other parts of the world too.

Today we had a field trip to McMenamin's Edgefield Estate. Fun but not so great for the kids. A tour of the old building, which has some historical significance, then a brief tour of brewery and winemaking area. I think the wine area was most interesting. Funny thing for a kids' group.

My own reading continues in its desultory state. This morning I started some fun, light fiction: The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley, and I am going to go sit down with that right now.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Reading for homeschool group meeting 10/30/06

Our homeschool group meetings usually begin with a devotional reading. Now that I am the leader, I guess it's my job. So I searched and searched for something but nothing seemed right. Then I came across these verses in someone's blog (wish I could remember who's) and this pretty much wrote itself. Why did I think I needed to search for something someone else had written?

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. – Galatians 6:4-5

The context of these verses has nothing to do with homeschooling, really. But like most everything in the Bible, it has applications to homeschooling and all of family life.

I participate in a few online homeschooling communities, and I see a lot of moms struggling with comparisons. I see it sometimes in real life too. Maybe none of you ever feel anxiety when you compare your kids with someone else’s, or compare your curriculum or methods with something others are using or doing. But maybe you sometimes feel a little pang and think “should I be doing that too?” “Would my boy have his math facts down if I used that program?”

I fall into this sometimes. Sometimes I question the validity of my methods, which do not fit into any easy box of “classical,” “Charlotte Mason” or “Sonlight.” This happens most often when I see someone whose kids have memorized more of the Bible than mine, or are “ahead” of my kids in math, or better readers, or…

But we have to remember that we have been given our children, our lives, our challenges, our work. And the work you have been given may be very different from mine. Each of us (along with our husbands – definitely our husbands) will be called to account for the work we do with our children.

And our children are very different, with different talents, skills, needs, desires… and a future already ordained by God.

There seems to be nothing homeschool moms enjoy talking about more than curriculum. “What are you using for _____??” “What are you doing about _____??” It’s fun and often helpful to find out about new stuff. We love stuff! But don’t think that because one person does something one way, and is having success, that you have to do it too.

[Example: Alpha-phonics. Most people loved it. Boy hated it and wasn’t successful at it. Research. Phonics don’t work for him. Oh no! He’s a sight reader! Let him read books. Take away the phonics. Success.]

But what of Paul’s use of the word “boast?” Whenever Paul uses this word, he is making a point. When may we boast? When we have achieved the standard. And what is the standard? Or better yet, who sets the standard? Of course it’s God’s standard. It’s not Charlotte Mason’s, or Bob Jones University’s or Susan Wise Bauer’s standards we are to reach for. We are not to look up to – or down on – anyone else because their standards don’t matter. God’s standards do.

Be confident, yet humble, as you seek to educate your children, to prepare them for adulthood, to bring them up as children of God. Don’t watch too carefully what others do with their children. You have your own children. You have been given your own work.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Week of 10/24 or so

You know it's been a "lost" week when you don't even care to figure out what the date was on Monday.

Actually it wasn't so bad, just not very productive. J was sick and so we didn't get much done, academically. Progressed slightly in math, copywork, etc. The kids are really getting into those Spectrum test prep books; they ask to do those first every day. So some skill advancement happened. Not much.

We did a lot of reading - finished Peter Duck and got well into Pigeon Post, the next in the Swallows and Amazons series. Read the rest of Wings Like a Dove, about Queen Jeanne d'Albret of Navarre (Huguenot history), and a little nonfiction about her and Renee of Ferrara in Trial and Triumph. Started reading Stars, Mosquitos and Crocodiles: The American Travels of Alexander von Humboldt.

Once again I felt validation or vindication, or something for our homeschooling method of a little skill work, a lot of education. The settings of most of Peter Duck and some of Stars, Mosquitos... are the same place. Over and over I see these opportunities to make connections. This is the stuff of real learning. Yes, yes, learning to write and read and do sums is important, no denying that. But I can see these kids really learning when I am reading to them, or they are reading on their own (now that they know how to) and they can make connections about their world!

Today is Reformation Preparation day. Back to the sewing machine!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Week of 10/16

A sick week, and an errand week. Both kids had minor sore throat/colds, very sluggish and tired. So we did minimal table work and minimal thinking work - mainly stayed with Bible and catechism, a little workbook work (Mathematical Reasoning, some test prep) to "wake up our brains."

J buried himself in the audio Narnia books. I read more in Peter Duck and have almost finished Wings Like A Dove, fictionalized history of Jeanne d'Albret, Huguenot queen of Navarre. E read a "Secret Seven" book by Enid Blyton. Watched a lot of baseball! But our team didn't make it through the playoffs.

Tomorrow will be a baby shower here so we had to spend time shopping and cleaning for that. Ugh. Picked up paper placemats from Loaves and Fishes for the kids to color and return.

My own reading: hahahaha.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Week of Oct 9

This was not our best or most productive week. We progressed a bit in all areas, but nothing spectacular. I'm not even going to log it. Just more of the same. Enjoyed the book Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, and mapping Galen's travels. Continued reading about Pilgrims but did not do any real work in history, ie. the History Pockets project. Continued reading Peter Duck, that's the current obsession anyway, so...

Did have a slight breakthrough in math, however. Thursday had a terrible day over math drills, slow, sloppy work habits, etc.. Was really feeling frantic over the lack of progress in the math facts area. Today I pulled out the flash cards (addition, subtraction, time and money), something they'd always hated and did poorly at. This morning they loved it. And did quite well - at least J, anyway. So we'll take a break from written drills and MUS and try to do two sessions of flash cards a day for the next week, and drill again next Friday.

Today was game day with the hs group. Both kids did a short "show and tell" presentation. I wish they would call it "public speaking" instead of the juvenile "show and tell." No matter. E took copies of her favorite smoothie recipe and planned to talk about it. Once she stood up she couldn't remember what to say so I had to coach her through it. She was happy to give out recipes, though. J teamed up with Z to talk about the paper airplane models they build. He did a little better, not much. But it was his first time, her 2nd. I plan to require them to do this each game day.

Oh, we watched a Schlessinger video on settlers in St. Augustine, pretty interesting. They watched some Nat'l Geo animal movie and other than some baseball playoff games, that's it. J is back to Google Earth and his Lego Mindstorms, which is good.

J and I have started something new for spelling - I am giving him word listsl so he can copy them out. I will periodically give a test based on those lists. E - not worried about her right now, would rather she spend the time reading good stuff. Need to find her some good stuff...

My own reading - more pitiful than ever. Still working my way through Marriage to a Difficult Man. Also working on Bible study. Hoping to be done with that very soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Week of Oct 2

A shortish week. We had company on Friday and it never fails, it takes us 2 days to get ready. Need to build more housework time and discipline into the day.

Bible: Continued with Psalms and started reading James. I'm using a Life Change Bible study book as a guide but don't really use it that much. Continuing to work on memorizing Psalm 33, though not often enough. Should have it down by now.

I am pretty dissatisfied with our Bible time. Trying to use the time efficiently and read during breakfast just doesn't work. There are too many interruptions. I pulled out The Family Worship Book for some ideas, but I know what has to be done: We need to make the commitment to have a family Bible time every morning before breakfast. I could read history or science during breakfast if I want to be efficient. Really, I feel like our priorities are just messed up in the morning and Bible is stuffed in between cereal and toast.

Catechism is going fine as always.

Math: Ugh. Still struggling with those facts. We have completed lesson 25 in MUS but it almost seems like nothing has changed since we began. We also continue to work in Mathematical Reasoning as a break and for the concepts. As J works in the test prep books, he does fine on the conceptual stuff, but can't do the operations. Oh, we have started doing more timed drills which some might think is nuts, but they are taking so long to do the problems. I am hoping they will compete with their own score and try to get a little faster. I can see that they don't work quickly or efficiently.

Handwriting: They are doing more copywork each day; J finally did a complete catechism q&a in one day - though it was a short one. They are still enjoying cursive. J has to do more writing for Sunday School so he is not fighting it quite so much. Perhaps he is maturing a bit and understanding the need for it.

Spelling: Fine for E, still a disaster for J. Need to find something else. I love AVKO but it's not helping him learn the patterns.

History: Great as always. Pilgrims.

Science: reading Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, which is not in the BF guide but we're just stopping there for a bit. Did some map work on Galen's travels so I have something for the science binder.

Grammar: Still enjoying the Daily Grams exercises.

Latin: Completed Lesson 5 and today learned the Sanctus completely.

Creative writing: Tried doing the first of the Imitation in Writing: Aesop's Fables but it didn't work too well. We worked on it quite a bit before E informed me that she had no idea what we were doing. So I did the first one as an example for them. But I will let that sit a bit longer. I think that was a waste of money. But I may try again. I really should just pull out Writing the Natural Way and use that with them. Much more... natural.

J continues with PE and E continues with Gymnastics Dance.

They are reading Nature Readers and J is reading Daugherty's Landing of the Pilgrims. But today's reading included the Mayflower Compact and he thought it was a sermon. Oh my.

Oh, they love the test prep exercises and do fine on them. The reading comprehension blows me away - doing well on that. Surprising, a bit, since J stumbles so much and doesn't seem to get it when he reads aloud. Different skills, though...

Went to the Rice Northwest Rock Museum on Saturday. Enjoyable as always. J demonstrated he remembered some things learned at the last trip - things I'd forgotten. Lots of fun in the gift shop too!

My reading: Hm. Not much. Keeping up with Bible and reading a bit in Marriage to a Difficult Man every day.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

E and her Nature Reader

I love the Christian Liberty Nature Readers. They are better than most typical readers, in my opinion. Very interesting, good drawings, well written, and more detail on each topic (crabs, ants, spiders) than usual.

The one E is reading has a section on spiders. When she finished the previous section and saw that spiders were coming up, she approached me with her sweet, scared little face (all a put-on). "I don't want to read about spiders! It's going to scare me!" she whined.

Oh my. She's good at that. I suggested that maybe reading about spiders will lessen her fear of them. Oh no, she assured me. That would never happen.

Well, she will make sure it won't.

Week of 9/25

Another pretty good week. Nothing exciting, no new breakthroughs.

Bible: Continued with Psalms and completed 1 and 2 Peter. Catechism #22. Continued to memorize Psalm 33 but are slowing down on that... consistency = 0.

Writing: Still doing copywork and increasing little by little. Cursive is going OK except for the grumbling over "B" and "b." Yes, they are hard... Next week going to start Imitation in Writing: Aesop's Fables. More handwriting practice but also creative writing. I think they will like it if they can get beyond the tedium of holding a pen...

Math: This is getting ridiculous. The math facts are just not sticking. We've started keeping a chart of our math drills - seconds per problem. They are just up and down... it's very discouraging. Both can answer - with difficulty or with the MUS blocks - 7-4=3 but then not relate that to 7-3. Each problem seems to be new and different. Counting by 2s is just eluding E, or she is sandbagging. But why? There can't be any gratification in that. Continuing with Mathematical Reasoning, now on the geometry section. That is fine. Easy, though, I think.

Reading: They are reading the Nature Readers and doing fine. Also doing the Spectrum Test prep and doing fine with comprehension, vocabulary, etc. Started J on The Landing of the Pilgrims (Landmark History, Daugherty) and today got from the library a "girl book" for E, on Colonial America (name escapes me, too lazy to go look). It's one of those diary type things.

Spelling: Oh my. E is doing fine there, J is stumbling still. He doesn't get the rules at all. How many times have we gone over words with the "er" ending - letter, better, etc? He came across "lettr" today in a Spectrum exercise and thought it was spelled correctly.

Science: They still enjoy the History of Science study. We finished Archimedes and the Door to Science yesterday. The experiments are not particularly satisfying nor do they work well. But no matter, they are enjoying it.

Grammar: I added Daily Grams into the mix and they are enjoying that - no writing!

Latin: Still fun. Exciting even: "Libero - I free. Can you come up with any English derivatives?" "Hmm... no... oh! Liberty! Freedom! Liberate!"

History: Wonderful as always. Working on history pockets a couple times a week. E is avoiding the "hard stuff" like the map of Jamestown. Very much enjoying the Genevieve Foster history book The World of Captain John Smith. Unfortunately the next in the series, about William Penn, is out of print and not in the library... need to try interlibrary loan...

Other activities: Last week we had 2 OMSI trips, including one to see the movie Dolphins. Spent most of the time in the ball room. Planted the "Biblical Garden" from grandparents. Fun, quick activity. PE and Gymnastics Dance continue. Today went to the rock and gem show - mostly jewelry, but some interesting fossils and better yet, no begging for stuff, they spent their own money and didn't ask for treats. (We did use our Starbuck's "cool cards" from the summer reading program - good thing too, I hadn't realized they expire today.) Read lots of Coot Club, but not quite enough.

Listened to the audio book The House at Awful End. Very fun. Took the 2 sequels from the library in book form for J to read - not yet. He is burying himself in Tintins.

"Mother Culture:" Ha ha ha. I read Virgin Earth (Philippa Gregory), skimming the last 300 pages or so. Some interesting history, but overshadowed by the bodice-ripper aspect, the annoying characters and the unrealistic scenes. Starting Marriage to a Difficult Man. Submitted a blog post to the CoH, on gaps.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Week of 9/18

A good week.

Bible: continued in Psalms, 1 a day, and read all of 1 Peter. Continuing to memorize Psalm 33. Sunday School has started; I am dubious that any real learning will happen but we'll see.

Reading : each kid reads some in the Nature Reader (J 3, E 2) each day and talks about it. I supppose they are not formal narrations. But they relate back a few facts. Continue to work on Test Prep worksheets for reinforcement. They show reading comprehension is good.

Math: Continuing with MUS (single digit subtraction) and Mathematical Reasoning. Still a struggle. C suggested making a graph so they can see their progress in speeding up on the facts. Haven't done that yet.

Science: Continuing with BF History of Science. Going slowly. The math concepts were way beyong the kids. No experiments this week; we were supposed to do some gravity activities on Friday but went to Costco instead.

History: Working on History Pockets and reading about American history - Jamestown Settlement, John Smith. Old news but still exciting. J loves the history pocket projects.

Spelling: same old same old.

Latin: On lesson 4, still enjoying it.

Copywork/Writing: Still writing out the catechism each day. Also started cursive, which is well-received. J is doing better than expected. E got to "B" and decided she hates it and wants to quit. So we moved on to "C" and will come back to "B" later on...

PE for J, Gymnastics dance for E.

On Saturday, participated in the House of Ruth "Walk for Life" 2mile walkathon.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It still amazes me...

that that boy cannot read simple words just as "that," "than," "but," etc. He just misses them, or just changes them to something he thinks might work. But "harder" words like authority and Mesopotamia and Bartholomew are fine. The little words are too small, I guess, to seem important. But the big words are easy to remember? Hard to say. I guess I should do more research on it. He seems to get the content of whatever he's reading so I shouldn't get too bent out of shape with it. Hard not to, though.

Week of 9/11

This was a pretty good week. Nothing extraordinary, though.

Continued to read Psalms (40 - 43) and began 1 Peter (1:1 - 2:12). Question 20 of Shorter Catechism, which was also their copywork. Memorizing Psalm 33 - up to verse 11 now.

Both have started reading Christian Liberty Nature Readers for silent reading - they read individually and I ask questions about the reading. J is reading #3 and E is reading #2. She told me after her first session that it was boring because she already knew everything it had to say about crabs. A few questions showed her, um, lie. So she continues.

We had a "unit test" in MUS. 48 problems. It took J 50 minutes to complete. He got 100% though... E took not quite as long and got 83%. This is the only area in which I give grades - mainly because they ask for them. I pointed out that in a testing or classroom situation they would not have been given so much time and would have failed. As always we will persevere. Also working on Mathematical Reasoning book a few times a week. Right now it's quite simple - numbers and numeration - but moving into geography soon which will raise J's interest immensely. I figure any exposure to numbers is a good thing.

Have completed lesson 3 in Latin and love it. But it's only lesson 3...

Started cursive writing. As I predicted, J likes it much better than manuscript. But he is only on "I." E started strong but got frustrated on upper-case "I" and wanted to quit.

Studied Jamestown for history. Started the history pockets.

Science - completed lesson 5 in the History of Science. Still very interesting. One of the experiments didn't come out very well, though. A pencil was supposed to float upright in water. It didn't. I find that so often these "simple" experiment just don't work.

Explode the Code is causing real problems. They need the exposure to the phonics rules but it is too simple and juvenile for them now. Will have to look for something else.

Both continue working in their Spectrum Test prep books. We just do a couple of pages, a couple times a week.

Spelling is going OK. Too simple for E, too hard for J.

We also watched a DVD: Coral Reef. That wa the extent of tv/video this week. I had gotten Stuart Little from the library to watch and compare with the book but there hasn't been time yet. Y'day we met some friends at a pizza parlor with a play area.

J has started writing a story using some story-starter cards from his aunt. (Will find the name and update later.) Very cool. But very time-consuming for me as I have to type it all up for him. Need Mavis Beacon now! But that won't help with spelling... J is also doing PE.

E starts gymnastic dance next week. She is crafting like crazy but nothing, um, worthy of keeping yet. She keeps getting craft books from the library but still prefers to do her own thing.

We spent a lot of time organizing craft materials and getting rid of old coloring books and other useless, outgrown stuff. I have a bag of stuff to take to Exodus to sell next week.

A very productive week.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wherein I actually start writing about what we are doing

This is the end of our 2nd week of homeschooling for the 2006/2007 school year.

How silly does that sound? I really dislike the idea of the school year. We live, we learn. Sometimes we have to deal with learning things we don't really care about, but that get us to a goal. The dreaded math facts, for ex. Anyway, here's what we did the past 2 weeks.

J and E together:

Bible and Catechism - we continued with reading a Psalm and a chapter of Proverbs each day. We are memorizing Psalm 33. Finished Proverbs and are starting 1 Peter. Should have started Friday but it was hard to concentrate with the road work trauma going on outside. In Catechism, we are on question 19. J has them down cold; E kind of follows along with him. But we will be coming 'round again so she should have them next time. Well, that'll be in 2 years... hm.

Math: Continued working on facts via MUS and and theory/concepts via Mathematical Reasoning. We're almost finished with the Alpha level of MUS; just a few more chapters of single-digit subtraction, then time (which ought to be an easy review for J) and then move to Beta which is just double-digit. We ought to fly through that, as theoretically the basic facts are down. Maybe.

Copywork/handwriting: They both write out their catechism answers each week. I am too easy with J on this; he should be writing more each day. But I'm not pushing it, yet. E is actually sloppier than him but doesn't hate it as much. Go figure. Next week we are starting cursive using A Reason for Handwriting. I am not sure how all this writing is going to work.

Reading: We finished up Stuart Little. They would read, then we'd discuss together. I didn't use a canned literature study guide but just went over the book with them. No written reports. Not quite ready for that yet. J's skills at narrating (though we don't call it that) are quite good - that auditory memory. He is working on not rambling quite so much, and keeping events in order. We are also continuing to work on Explode the Code for phonics reinforcement and rules. They don't like it, much, but it's good practice for them so we will press on for now. If I could find something a little more "grownup" for phonics rules, syllables, etc., I would change.

Latin: We started lesson 3. They still like it; it's still fun. And not too much writing.

Science: Have completed lesson 3 of BF's History of Science. E likes the story about Archimedes; J like the reading in The New Way Things Work. As usual we are doing far less of the writing than is recommended. Next year.

History: Restarted/reviewed first few chapters of SOTW. Updated the timeline to show Dutch Revolt, Guy Fawkes and James 1. J told me the story of Guy Fawkes - remembered from previous reading and our trip to UK - before I read it to him. Reading HA Geurber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies as a review. Started working on History Pockets: Colonial America.

Test Prep: Both kids do work a few times a week in a test prep workbook - 3rd grade for J, 2nd for E.

Spelling: We are still doing AVKO Sequential Spelling, level 1. It is too easy for E, too hard for J. He can't get the patterns down. I'm trying to think of a better way.

Now, individually:

J continues to be very engaged in science and history. He hates the "boring basics" of writing, copywork, spelling, math facts. He is curious and anxious to learn. He occasionally still works on his Maps, Charts, and Graphs book but I think it has become too easy for him. His reading skills are improving greatly. His comprehension is good though I am still concerned because when reading aloud he skips small but important words that can change the meaning of a sentence or concept, such as "not." Maybe he gets it when reading silently. His narrations of books read, and his test prep work, shows he is getting it.

E is reading very well. She is lazy, though in a different way from J. Her printing is more sloppy. She doesn't like to listen to history or science as much. (Of course some of the science is just hard for her to understand, for ex the different classes of levers.) She is weak on memorization but I think that is laziness too. This all sounds so negative. She is also reading very well (though she tends toward twaddle, which I have to deal with) and is very creative with her crafts. She is resistant to math (brings to mind the talking Barbie: "math is hard").

I don't want to get bogged down in page numbers completed each week. Until such time as we live in a state which requires something more structured, I will continue to progress at our own pace.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It still amazes me that spelling simple words is such a mystery to J. He can be looking at a word and still be unable to spell it. He misses vowels, he adds in consonant blends that aren't there... where's the "r" in "spill?" He switches letters around - classic dyslexia? - and apparently has no understanding that the letters are generally written in the order they are pronounced.

It is all I can do not to scream in frustration sometimes. He's not stupid. He just doesn't get phonics. I just laugh every time I read something about phonics being the only way to learn to read well. No, it's not. Not for everyone.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Update September 3

I've decided to try this again - using this as a place to keep track of our work. Not daily! I'm thinking about a weekly summary of each kids' progress in various areas.

Our daily planning/recordkeeping now consists of a weekly checklist which I print for the kids. It has all the subject areas they need to work on for the week. J's looks like this:

E Week of:_________________________________________

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] Chores: Clear Table, Make Bed, Clean Up Toys, Dry Dishes, Other as required.

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] Bible____________________________________

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] Catechism________________________________

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] Christian Almanac/Artist&Composer Birthdays

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] Silent Reading__________________________

[] [] [] [] [] Latin

[] [] [] [] Math U See

[] [] [] [] [] Copywork/other writing

[] [] [] Mathematical Reasoning

[] [] [] Spelling Test

[] [] [] History

[] [] Logic or other puzzles

[] [] [] Explode the Code

[] [] [] History of Science

Other Activities________________________________

See, we don't do everything every day. I'm trying for a 4-day "work" week, with a floating day off - and we can do "schoolwork" on Saturday if we end up with empty spaces where checks should be. Each night I will write up a list of my own, of what to do, so I am not bumbling around the house looking for various resources.

It worked for a week. And we have no plans next week so it should work for two!

Anyway, the plan is to consolidate this into a summary which I will keep track of here. So we'll see how this goes. I am optimistic even though everything else I have tried has not worked.

I suppose if my kids produced more "stuff" from our work this wouldn't be a problem. They'd have history and science notebooks full of "stuff" they've done. Problem is they don't like doing "stuff." Coloring pages? Aaahhhh! I should be more diligent with the narrations. They both do very good oral narrations. But written? Too much work for me.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

2006 Student Showcase

Our first student showcase this year. We worked on a "History Pockets" project on explorers of North America. Didn't finish, as it included people way ahead in our chronological history study. And, I didn't want to try to jam anyone in and not give any explorer enough attention. We also added a few other explorers we wanted to study.

Everyone really enjoyed the showcase. I was pleasantly surprised that there were not more "parent-driven" projects. It was clear the kids had done the work.

The showcase also helped me see the value in being part of the hs group. I had been considering quitting as there are several things that annoy me. The adherence to the school calendar, for one. A "back to school party" in the fall - for kids who don't go to school! The nearly useless meetings. But, now I see there are good things too. So we will persevere.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Tough week - J was sick all week, allergies or what, dunno. Not much work done. Bible and catechism daily, then through the week a little math practice, a bit of science, etc. Read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in less than 24 hours (but over 2 days). Now on The Horse and His Boy.

My own reading, oh my. So scattered. I am in the middle of so many books. But now I have to concentrate on Women's Ministry in the Local Church as that may be the first book in our summe reading.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


J is suffering from the allergies or the allergy meds. Dizzy, headache. Lazy, too, of course, and hard to get along with. So no writing for him today, very little except some reading aloud and our Charlotte's Web reading/study guide. Spring is not so fun around here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

April 3 already

Well, what have we been doing? Not much....

Finished Hans Brinker

Reading Deuteronomy.

Doing the checklists.

Reading a lot, sort of. A semi-lot.

Almost done with ETC 4! But stuck on some phonics rules.

Almost to subtraction on MUS! I think J will breeze through that but E will not.

History - finally on book 3 of SOTW. Getting a bit tired of her format but we will press on.

Kids are reading Charlotte's Web and doing a Vertias Press study guide with it.

Need to look into swimming lessons.

My reading: hahahhahaha!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Through March 21

Fair bit of reading, but mostly sticking to those checklists. Started keeping a notebook for Catechism. I will write the question, they will write the answer. Today was easy, as Question 1 is pretty short. But they have a week to do each question...

The history pockets are going well for J, but E has lost interest. I don't think the part she has to do is too much for her, even though the grade level is 4 - 6. The pocket decorating is not above her level. I am surprised how well J can read the facts sheets. Frankly if my kid was doing that in 6th grade I'd be disappointed.

J is doing well on the verbal portion of the test prep. The math part scares me. But he has a whole year to get up to it. He is getting quicker on his facts.

E is having such trouble with MUS suddenly. Sometimes I still think it's fake.

Both are reading well, and daily.

I am still reading about bees and hope to finish Sweetness and Light soon. Keeping up the daily Bible reading and TableTalk.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Through March 13

Was out of town 3/8 - 11. And it snowed, so other than some Daily Math Warmups for J, and I think some copywork for E, nothing much got done. Oh, the Bible was read.

Got mostly back on track today, with a new MUS lesson (which is way too easy), some ETC (instead of copywork or other writing), Daily Math Warmups, and some history. We are reading about Sir Francis Drake in specific, and explorers in general. Read the chapter on Tides in the Tiner book Exploring Planet Earth. Also continuing with history pockets, finishing up the pocket on Jacques Cartier. Later this week we will make the pocket for Drake. So, a little disjointed but working for history nonetheless.

We have two field trips (Moonstruck Chocolate and a Lewis and Clark thing) and a game day to which I promised to go, so today was probably our big day for this week. Well, there is no art class on Friday so that may end up being a work day.

I am progressing through Sweetness and Light but stopped that for a while to read A Little History of the World, a beautifully-written book for the kids.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

through March 7

Yes, time does fly. We started the science textbook on 2/22 and here we are just on chapter 3. We are reading a lot of science books on the elements, though, from "A True Book" series which are interesting. And doing experiments, though never enough. And because the writing is such a struggle, we don't do any writeups. I know the kids, and J especially, are getting a lot out of it, and he is remembering it, but I would like to produce something!

History - age of exploration, and the Elizabethan age, are so interesting that is not difficult at all. The kids enjoy the History Pocket projects and are happy to work on those. I bought another of them, on American Indians, or Native Americans. There is also one on Colonial America that I want to order.

The kids are doing better with their reading but only E is doing much on her own. J went through a spell of doing a lot but now seems to have slowed down some. Maybe it's temporary. Next week we are going to start going through Charlotte's Web with the study guide.

J works on the Spectrum 3rd grade test prep and does great on the language parts, but can't do the math at all. He freaks out over a 4-digit addition problem even if the math itself is easy (ie. no carrrying). He still doesn't get it that he can't subtract a large number from a smaller one. (We are not anywhere near to working with negative numbers and I despair of us ever doing so.)

Behavior is still a problem. He just whacked E on the leg for no reason. The solution he proposes is for her to whack him back. This is perhaps the most frustrating part of all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Catch up - February - 22

Finally gave in and bought a science curriculum - Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. I just have to admit I need a more structured curriculum. Unfortunately I've discovered 2 typos already and of course that bothers me. But, the kids enjoyed chapter one and it gave some good background I wouldn't have gotten into. I still need to be more disciplined on doing lots more experiments.

Going along OK in MUS. The facts just don't come very well but it's getting better. I know J is anxious for more interesting math and he is getting that, a bit, with the daily math warmups and the math detective. I need to find a similar problem-solving book as we are almost done with math detective.

The reading is going well. E finished The Courage of Sarah Noble and the study guide. J is almost done with The Minstrel in the Tower. He told Dad last night that he would like to read more but is only allowed to read a chapter a day! So I fixed that this morning.

Attitudes are OKish. J had a meltdown today over not being able to play/work on airplane models until he was hungry for breakfast. But we got over it after he had some juice - blood sugar?

PE and art continue.

My own reading is going OK as I'm reading about bees a lot. Nothing with greater depth than that at this point...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Feb. so far

Not a good logger.

Reading continues, checklists continue. J has started reading Minstrel in the Tower, E The Courage of Sarah Noble, and we are going through Progeny Press study guides. So far so good. J is on book E of Maps Charts and Graphs. It is now challenging him! Finally. He needs more challenge and so far he is enjoying it.

The next Progeny Press book I want to do is Charlotte's Web. Also, we picked up The Sword in the Tree for the homeschool book discussion group. That'll be interesting.

My own reading is going OK. Put down Hugh Ross, picked up All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Ken Myer. Also reading The Beekeeper's Pupil by Sara George.

Finished Ten P's In A Pod. Nice story, inspiring, not great lit. Trying to think of something really really good to get lost in. Thinking of Wind in the Willows before I miss the window on that one.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

1/28 - 2/1

All is going pretty well. We haven't been doing so well on getting the checklists completed for each day. Something always seems to get left behind. But everyone is reading well, and pretty often, and enjoying what we are doing for the most part. Of course there are the problems of writing. We have really slowed down on MUS. The past few days I've given them tests we previously skipped. They are very easy! But perhaps that helps with confidence and reinforcement. It is nice to give an A+.

J continues in PE and is getting fewer wall sits each time, mostly. He's not gotten very many days in a row with none, however.

Both kids are enjoying our slow Bible study. I was having them read the passage to me but it is more efficient to read it over breakfast so I do it. But I should have each of them take some time to read it during the day. We stopped trying to memorize the beatitudes which we need to get back to.

Have started something new - using Progeny Press study guides for reading. J is doing the Minstrel in the Tower and E is doing The Courage of Sarah Noble. Well, he started on ch. 1 today and did well. Of course he does not want to fill out the workbook so we are doing it orally. E was to do ch. 1 and 2 but could not get beyond ch 1 for some reason. Because of company coming and time pressure, I didn't push it. Tomorrow. Of course we have our Wednesdays too.
My own reading is suffering as usual. Almost keeping up the Bible reading and of course I have my weekly Bible study. But I have two other books going: Brunelleschi's Dome and The Beekeeper's Pupil and am not doing too well on either. Maybe tonight?

1/28 - 2/1

All is going pretty well. We haven't been doing so well on getting the checklists completed for each day. Something always seems to get left behind. But everyone is reading well, and pretty often, and enjoying what we are doing for the most part. Of course there are the problems of writing. We have really slowed down on MUS. The past few days I've given them tests we previously skipped. They are very easy! But perhaps that helps with confidence and reinforcement. It is nice to give an A+.

J continues in PE and is getting fewer wall sits each time, mostly. He's not gotten very many days in a row with none, however.

Both kids are enjoying our slow Bible study. I was having them read the passage to me but it is more efficient to read it over breakfast so I do it. But I should have each of them take some time to read it during the day. We stopped trying to memorize the beatitudes which we need to get back to.

Have started something new - using Progeny Press study guides for reading. J is doing the Minstrel in the Tower and E is doing The Courage of Sarah Noble. Well, he started on ch. 1 today and did well. Of course he does not want to fill out the workbook so we are doing it orally. E was to do ch. 1 and 2 but could not get beyond ch 1 for some reason. Because of company coming and time pressure, I didn't push it. Tomorrow. Of course we have our Wednesdays too.
My own reading is suffering as usual. Almost keeping up the Bible reading and of course I have my weekly Bible study. But I have two other books going: Brunelleschi's Dome and The Beekeeper's Pupil and am not doing too well on either. Maybe tonight?

Friday, January 27, 2006

1/24 - 1/27

Have been doing pretty well on reading each day, along with keeping up the checklists. As usual we fall short on science. I don't understand why as the kids love experiments. But we never, or rarely, seem to get to them.

Lots of discussions about the Reformation as that's our time in history now. We read about Katherine von Bora (M. Luther's wife) in Heroes of God by Katie and Dan Montgomery. Also read about Michelangelo (M. Venezia) and Leonardo Da Vinci - J read M. Venezia's book on him. J is very excited to start studying LdV, as there is a box of "stuff" related to him waiting for us to get to him in history. Well, we are there. We also read a story about him in the Montgomery book.

In science I plan to continue using the "True Book" series and Usborne to learn about the elements, and Usborne to learn about compounds and mixtures. I do want to do more experiments.

Reading is going pretty well. Still struggling with writing. I do want to start some sort of creative writing activities but am at a loss of how to implement with my reluctant writers.

Today (1/27) - Mozart's birthday. We didn't do much as we went to the A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village in Salem. Listened to the radio broadcast of a concert in Salzburg, and heard the bells ringing at the moment of M's birth - every church in Salzburg! Rather thrilling. We have a book or two and a cd or two that I hope to get to tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Forget logging on the weekends. We don't do anything much, except reading.

Today J had an appointment with an allergist and tomorrow we are starting some new drugs. Very interesting conversations, especially learning that J gets chest pain and an acid taste in his mouth sometimes. Reflux!? Could be. So the next few days could be interesting as we get adjusted to new meds. We have a boatload!

Continued with Matthew 5, on anger today. Very timely as J has had so many problems lately in this way.

Both kids got their library cards yesterday! It was out of desperation as we had 11 books on hold, a huge pile to take out, and almost up to our limit on my card. The prospect of having 300 library books in this house is frightening. E is very excited and has already placed some requests.

I am almost finished with Daughter of Time. We are progressing on The Garden Behind the Moon but it is starting to creep me out now so I may drop it. Also reading Fine Print, Joann Johansen Burch, about Gutenberg. We are finally to the Renaissance!

Keeping up my daily Bible reading, mostly. Am a little behind on Exodus but if I stop wasting time this afternoon I can catch up tonight. But of course I am not reading the Matthew passages listed in the TT for the Bible-in-a-year reading since I am reading that with the kids.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

1/17 - 1/19

Very pleased with our Bible reading - the kids are actually eager to read each day. Of course now they sometimes argue over who got to read more. Arrgghhh. J as always gets a lot out of the Bible but the application is still not there. Tomorrow we start the Mat 5 section on anger. We'll have to take that one very slowly...

Today we finished The Monk Who Shook The World by Cyril Davey. They loved it, of course. Moved on in SOTW to read about Henry VIII. I don't plan to spend much time on him as the kids know enough for their ages. They are excited about getting to the Renaissance and Leonardo etc.

I'm pretty satisfied with our checklist system. Today we made another adjustment and moved the Bible reading to the very first thing. I think that helped, though before we were finished E started complaining of hunger. So we didn't do our prayer checklist, which should not slip either. And when it was time to write up the science experiment, J lost it because it was too much writing. So I am not sure what to do about that. They did a spelling test today which, to him, is a ton of writing. 25 whole words. Oh my! The horror. It didn't help that I packed up all the science library books in my own little fit. I didn't get angry, but it seems a waste to do the experiments etc if the kids don't care that much.

My own reading continues to suffer badly. Tonight I was going to start working on Sarah's bunting, since tomorrow is her birthday, but another late night for E so that didn't get done either. I've been at loose ends with C out and not feeling great - the GERD contributes to my anxiety, which affects the GERD, which contributes... arrggh again. I am keeping up on the daily TT but forget the novel - think I read a chapter y'day - and keeping up on the OT daily reading but not the NT.

Monday, January 16, 2006

1/13 - 1/16

Progressing very slowly through Math. I despair of J ever being fluent with his facts. E says it's too hard but seem insincere. I think she just doesn't like it.

The Bible reading is going very well. I think they will have the Beatitudes memorized soon.

New read-aloud for history is The Monk Who Shook the World (Martin Luther). New "fun" book is The Garden Behind the Moon by Howard Pyle.

My own reading is dismal. The Daughter of Time goes slowly. Bible study starts tomorrow so all my time will be tied up in that now. Trying to keep up w/TableTalk and doing OK with that, mostly, but not with the Bible-in-a-year reading.

Otherwise, checklists are up to date and working well.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

1/11 - 1/12

Reading is going so well. It seems like not so long ago I was so worried. J still misses so many little words like a, the, and... Don't know if that will ever get better. He also makes subtitutes so the sentence makes sense. Usually it works out OK, but sometimes missing or otherwise messing around with those little words can make a big change in the sentence meaning. But he is coming along pretty well.

They are both loving reading the Bible! We have been on the Sermon on the Mount and reading just a few beatitudes each day, and discussing them. I am hoping they can memorize that section of the Bible and recite to C. Also Psalm 33 has captured them and they fight over who will read next!

For our history reading, and pleasure reading too, we have The Monk Who Shook the World - Martin Luther by Cyril Davey. Great book.

For science we are reading about the Periodic Table, elements, etc. Have not done but one science experiment but we have the book so will do more next week. Picked up several chemistry "browsing books" from the library which J will surely get into.

My own reading... 2 more chapters of Daughter of Time. Maybe I just don't like this book. There are some comments there about the martyrdom of the Scottish Covanenters tht are bothering me - basically saying that no such martyrs exist. So something else to research.

Have not picked up The Genesis Question in ages.

Keeping up with the TableTalk readings but not the Bible in a year readings. Just about 1 day behind.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1/6 - 1/10

Checklists are working well. Reading is going well too. Both kids read every night and are reading their ESV Bibles (not dumbed down).

J read George the Drummer Boy by N. Benchley and not only enjoyed it, but got it.

Handwriting is not going too well; moved copywork or "other writing" to a daily task. J is having trouble writing his own name w/out a mistake!

My own reading is not going well either. Bible Study starts next week. Have gotten a little further in The Daughter of Time but so slowly that I am forgetting characters. Stopped completely on Genesis question. One day behind on Tabletalk/Bible. Ah well. Blogging a lot.

Today we saw the play Charlotte's Web. Very well done, all enjoyed it. Wrecked our school day, though.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

1/4 and 1/5

So easy to get behind. The checklists are still working. Kids are still reading in bed in am and pm when they get to bed early enough.

J is still working on "classic starts" Robin Hood. Not sure what E is reading. She seems to be like me - dipping in and out of things, never finishing. Maybe she finished Absolutely Lucy.

My reading is not going so well. Had kept up w/Table Talk and daily Bible till today. Woke up to dirty dishes all over the kitchen so that took over my morning. Read another few pages of Daughter of Time. It is a good book, and not as hard to follow as I recall. Still, it would be better to be able to just sit down and read for 1/2 an hour.

Must get to bed earlier each night as 6:30 comes way too early. Also must get to exercising again as weight is bad.

We finished Heidi today. They loved it, of course.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

1/3 Tuesday

The checklists seem to be working pretty well, but who am I kidding - it's only day 2. But we had a good and long day today, and did everything on the list, plus read about 60 pages of Heidi. Actually I thought we would finish it today. Tomorrow, most likely. I've noticed that since the kids are reading now and want to read in bed at night, we aren't doing any bedtime reading aloud. Guess that was bound to happen.

J didn't do any "formal" reading aloud to me but he read part of Matthew 2, and his math warmups and math detective, and the maps charts and graphs. He is reading Robin Hood, a version by "classic starts."

E is reading The Secret Garden, also by "classic starts."

My reading is going OK. Managed the Tabletalk reading and Bible in a year reading, and did most of lesson one in Pursuit of Holiness. Read only a few pages in Daughter of Time.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year, New Methods

Today we started up again, with another new routine. Maybe this one will stick. Maybe not. The good part is that the kids can see each day what they need to do, and maybe take more responsibility for it, and for keeping track of it. I hope to get out of the need to track everything here daily, but use this venue to record more general comments. And the reading.

We're now on a 4-day week, mostly. I do want to keep Friday free, and maybe having that will help everyone keep on track the other 4 days. So:

1. Every Day
Chores (some tbd, but clearing table, making bed, keeping room clean etc)
Christian Almanac/Artists calendar/composer birthdays
Maps Charts and Graphs for J, other puzzle book for E

2. M/T/W/Th
Math U See, Math Detective, Math Daily Warmups
Reading Aloud
Greek/Latin Words
Silent Reading

3. M/W
Explode the Code
Editor in Chief

4. T/Th
Spelling Test
Spectrum Test Prep

The other part of this - each item has a line for the child to fill in something about what they did. So, for today's history, they wrote "Cortes." For catechism: "Q. 98." Etc. I can create a binder for this and there are my records.

Can I keep it up?

Now, I do want to keep track of reading, theirs and mine. So:

J: The Case of the Missing Monkey - C Rylant
Parts of Matthew 1
Maps Charts and Graphs lesson 8
Math Warmups

E: Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Contest
Parts of Matthew 1

M: Matthew 1 and 2
Genesis 1 - 5
few pages of Daughter of Time
Tabletalk for today
Part of Chapter 1 of Pursuit of Holiness