Friday, August 30, 2013

A reasonable start - but aren't they all?

It's the end of Homeschool week 2.  It's 9pm on Friday night, and I'm tired out!  In a few minutes, though, we're going to start watching the Jeeves & Wooster tv series.  I plan to knit the latest in a long line of dish/washcloths while we watch.  Mindless entertainment at its finest.

The first two weeks went pretty well.  We haven't found our groove yet but I'm optimistic.  We're all optimistic in  August, aren't we?

The boy who is sick is still sick, but maybe coming out of it a little.  Everyone is tired; no one seems to be getting enough sleep.  The mornings don't start quite when I'd like them to and we just aren't in sync yet.  When I'm ready to discuss the history reading, the boy wonders if it's a good time to ride the exercise bike.  And he's right; it is. So we work around that till he finishes, and then, whoa, it's almost lunch time!

But we are moving along in pretty much everything.  Science and math are still problematic for us; they always have been, so I'm not sure why I thought it might be different now.  Optimism!

One surprise is my girl's sudden change of attitude toward the history book.  We are using a regular ol' high school textbook as part of our  history this year.  One of the features of the book is the "reading check" - short questions every few pages, just to, well, check the reading.  I have my kids keep a notebook in which they write their answers, and we talk about them at the end of each section of the book.  Before summer break, she hated that book.  Now, she has decided it's not so bad after all.  Is it because we are moving into a more interesting time for her, or did she turn a corner over the summer and decide that maybe history is pretty interesting?  It doesn't matter, does it?   

Another cause for optimism is the purchase of the microscope. We waited a little too late, maybe, to finally get a good microscope, but it's exciting to have it.  The day it arrived, we found a dead yet perfect cicada on our front steps.  It is still in the fridge in a baggy, but next week it's going under the lens! 

I guess I should make a page for our studies this year.  But now it's time to Jeeves & Wooster!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week Zero

Tomorrow begins Week Zero of our 2013/2014 school year.   Why Zero?

In a sudden, late burst of enthusiasm for the new school year, I typed up 2 weeks worth of work plans.  Then I realized that after the summer we've had, there's no way we're jumping right into all the work we have planned.   So, Week Zero.

It begins tomorrow, at the pool at a local-ish state park.  This is the last week the pool is open, and the first time we'll get there, despite plans to swim there oh, three or four times over the summer.  It's been a weird summer, in terms of both weather and ability to get out to the pool.  On the days we were free, it rained. Is there a message for me there? 

On the way there or back, we'll listen to a Great Courses lecture, from the series "The World was Never the Same."  The lecture is called "Dante Sees Beatrice" and we're listening in preparation for reading The Inferno together this year.   The speaker is very engaging, so I don't expect listening will be a burden. 

I'll finish reading The Giver aloud, and we'll talk about it a bit. We're reading that because we needed a family read-aloud that is fairly short.  But also, it's on a lot of lists so I thought I should read it.  There are sequels but my kids can decide to read those if they want.  I think my 16-year-old will be taking on 1984 and Brave New World next, though.

We'll also clean out the school crates, recycle the old science and test-prep workbooks we never finished, and generally clean up.

The 16-year-old will do a practice CLEP test (Humanities or Western Civ I, we're not sure yet) to see how he does and if testing like that is a viable option for us.  This isn't an official test, just at the kitchen table with the practice test book.  Should be fun!

It's been almost three months since my last post, and this is only my fifth post for 2013!   I don't have any illusions that I'm going to be a regular blogger again anytime soon.  I don't know if I'm going to go back to my 2013 reading page and update it.  Goodreads seems to have taken the place of that.  Whenever I make a blogging commitment to myself, I almost immediately have cause to break it.  I do miss it, though.

Despite our lack of swimming, it wasn't a terribly bad summer, but not a terrifically good one, either.  I was seriously burned out on homeschooling, even parenting in general.  I read a few fluff books. I did some cleaning and organizing.  We did manage some field trips, though not the trip-per-week I had planned.I stopped reading blogs altogether, even my favorite homeschool blogs.   But I seem to be coming out of it. 

A good session of homeschool planning, with books and papers piled all around me, will do it every time.