Monday, August 25, 2008

Bein' real about our first day of school

If you are a homeschooler reading other homeschool mom's blogs, you will likely read about the fantastic first days, with kids excited about school, new books to be read, new crayon boxes (who doesn't like a new box of crayons?).

You are not going to find that kind of post here!

Our first day started out horribly.

- I woke up at 1:40 am thinking it was time to get up. I laid there for an about 30 minutes worrying about our first day. I almost got up, but thankfully I just kept tossing and turning until I fell asleept.

-I didn't wake up at 6 am like I wanted; I will get up at 6 when Dave leaves to go running. I forgot he doesn't run on Mondays. Oops. I got up at 7:12 instead.

-The kids wouldn't wake up. I gathered up all my sweetness to wake them at 7:50, but it didn't happen. So much for starting school at 8:00 am!

-When they did open their eyes, their bodies got out of bed but only with the greatest of reluctance. Yes, school this year started with tears. Ben said school is too hard. Luke didn't want to do the school he's been excited about because Ben didn't want to do school. You know -- monkey see, monkey do syndrome.

-When school did finally start at no earlier than 9:00 am, there was more gnashing of teeth (read: tears).

-Finally, frustrated but amazingly patient (it was a God thing, and only attributable to Him. I'm glad I did set aside a few minutes to do a devotional before I tried to wake the boys), I got the boys into the school room, sitting in their desks and re-started school. I welcomed the boys to our school, showed Luke how to write his name on his math pages, did our calendar time..... These were all the things I wanted to do to start our day, but got side tracked by all the grumpiness. In the end, this snapped everyone out of their funk, and the rest of the day went well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Among the .. People" Science for K

I am looking forward to reading these stories written by a kindergarten teacher at the turn of the century for Luke's science. I think it will touch nicely on the features of these animals; added bonus is the moral of the story, too (character training and science in one!).

We will use the books in the following order:

Pond People - 18 chapters

Forest People - 20 chapters

Night People - 15 chapters (I might flip-flop this with Farmyard People; this may be a good one to read as spring comes)

Farmyard People - 18 chapters (to be read during winter)

Meadow People - 28 chapters (this will be great to read in th spring!)

I am planning on reading 3 per week. That means we've got 100 animals to read about and 108 lessons to plan for. I would like to be able to find coloring pictures for each animal, practice copywork of the animal's name later in the school year - I even have a Draw Write Now! book that has animals to learn to draw. And, I'd like to look into our Character First! curriculum to see if there are any animals that align with the books. (Character First associates an animal with a character trait to teach Christian values in a secular manner, however the materials were written by committed Christians and there are Christian add-ons available, but you can't find them on the website; you have to call and ask about them.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Maple Leaves are Turning Red

Ever year while we are on our annual camping vacation, the first of the maple leaves start turning read and gentle meander their way down on our camping spot. It is a sad/happy moment. It is usually at this point that I realize that life is going by far too fast for me these days (the kids keep growing, more gray hairs "miraculously" appear on my head, etc.) and I have absolutely no control over it. (It is not uncommon for me to grab a boy or two by the shirt color and gently beg them to stop growning. They do not heed my pleas.)

I do like fall here in New England....the leaves turning excites me. I like wearing a fleece jacket and jeans (moreso than shorts). And school starts. That is the part that I like.

I will post a few pics from our camping vacation and our day trips.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Final Choices Made

....and nearly everything is purchased.

I wanted to have everything new that I needed for school to be ordered before this weekend. Aside from some Critical Thinking Press stuff, I'm done. Yea!

There were some changes from my original plan. You can check out our final curriculum choices here.

Choosing our language arts was very gruelling. Over the past two days, I'd given Ben Christian Light Education's language arts placement test. This curriculum was recommended to me by some Well Trained Mind forum ladies. He placed in the 400 series (4th grade), and I was very pleased to see that he remembered all the grammar we'd learned over the course of the past three years! (Go First Language Lessons! However, I just felt that I couldn't do FLL 4 this year because of the time committement it required of me to sit with him during the entire lesson. I'm trying to spread myself out so I can be a better mom to my other boys. It is hard being in three places at one time.) CLE's LA includes spelling and some writing, but I don't need those subjects, so I decided to go with Growing with Grammar's 4th grade program. We'll try it for a month; if we don't like it, I'll go back to tried and true (and much loved) FLL4.

I'm excited about Luke's science this year. He is too. We can't wait to read about animals. He gave me the sweetest hug today after I told him I'd ordered his science books about animals and said, "Thank you, mommy, for getting the books for me."