Monday, February 10, 2014

Homeschool Mother’s Journal: Feb. 2-9


In my life this week…

I’ve hit my skiing breaking point.  About half way through our six weeks of lessons is when I start to feel the effects of missing a day of school at home.  Pushing Luke’s writing and grammar program into only three days instead of four is getting old;  the fact that we are just crawling through Levi’s spelling program is getting old.  Dave shakes his head at me.  The boys are learning while we are on the slopes, but it isn’t academic.  I’m way more comfortable with the academic stuff and Dave is way more comfortable with the extra-curricular stuff.  I know we will all live and be fine, but my little home body self is ready to be home.

I do need to be more grateful for this wonderful family experience we have – skiing with our boys.  It was a dream of mine when Ben was a baby – to go skiing with him and his siblings.  I sorta romanticized it so much, however, because the boys are way better skiers than I am, and we rarely see each other after arrival.

In our homeschool this week…

Luke finished his first research report for essentials.  It was a multi-week project in which he researched Michelangelo.  With prompting from me, he wrote a 5-paragraph essay.  Luke did a great job and had the opportunity to see how IEW’s writing dress ups and decorations can really add color and interest to a writing project.

Levi was oh-so-happy to give a report on a missionary in CC this week.  We had just finished a Sonlight read-aloud called Catching Their Talk in a Box about Joy Ridderhof, who started Gospel Recording Network in the 1940s.  She saw a need for all the tribes of the earth to have The Word in their language and used modern technology to record gospel messages on records and send them out to the world.  Her work enabled her to travel around the world recording messages and stories in native languages.  She has a powerful testimony of 100% faith in God’s provision.  Levi and I plotted a map of her travels (as recorded in the book)  and download some pictures of recording equipment she used. 

I’m writing all this out because it is absolutely amazing how much Levi loves giving his presentations.  If you knew my Levi first hand, he is the shy one who still attaches himself to my leg when adults talk to him, answering in one or two words (whatever the ‎bare minimum is).  I so love Classical Conversations for this part of their program, and I know he is growing in wisdom and confidence because of it.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

As we returned to our studies after Christmas, I realized that the assignment books I had purchased for Luke and Levi were really more a hassle than a help.  Much of our CC work just doesn’t fit nicely into it.  I even gave up the use of the beautiful Well Planned Day that I purchased this summer --- we just don’t fit the mold well.

I SO wish I could remember where I saw the assignment sheet that inspired me to create a check off sheet for Luke and Levi.  I cannot believe I didn’t pin it to my Pinterest boards!  What I loved about it is that I could customize it to exactly what I needed for each boy – thanks to Microsoft Excel.  Here’s a picture of Levi’s customized schedule:

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I tried to use the two columns as ways to organize some “First Things First” subjects – Bible and Math.  Math is something that Levi can do fairly independently, which gives me time to check in with the other two.  Levi loves to work on his presentations and CC memory work, so those, too are at the top of the schedule.

Luke’s is similar, but different.  Since he uses Phonetic Zoo for spelling, I don’t need to keep track of learning activities each day. He just moves from test to test, so I just have boxes for him to check off.  He has a lot more to do, however, for writing and grammar, so that section is bigger.

This has been such a simple and helpful tool for us.  I keep them each week as a record of our work.  Since each of my kids has their own color, it is easy to keep track of the pages and they migrate from room to room in the house. 

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I love how Levi is surrounded by his cat and dog as he was drawing during school this week.  Sweet.

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

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