Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up Sept. 14-18

Frustrated with my seemingly haphazard scheduling, I opted to simplify with the use of Old Fashioned Education. I am fairly happy about it, though it does require a lot of reading and less hands-on, something which my boys desperately need. So, after some prayer and a little tweaking I decided to use it with my Tapestry of Grace (instead of in place of), using the grammar, math, Bible study, and Science sections with the subjects offered in Tapestry of Grace. So, there. Soon I will post our weekly outline.

This week God has really answered my prayers about the boys socialization and activities. I tend to be a bit of a loner, not that I always enjoy it, just that I often lack the motivation to go out there and interact. It is definitely a shortcoming of mine that I need to work on. It is such a blessing to have it brought out in the open because of homeschooling. Seems many more issues than I originally thought can be worked out simply through bringing my children home. But, anyways, activities. I found a guitar teacher for Christian. After months of half-hearted searching, I was surprised and embarassed to find how easy it was to contact the gentleman who was originally recommended to me and set up lessons. He starts Tuesday. I am relieved. I believe he's excited.

Christian also participated in his first JAGs adventure group run by a mom of twins who were Christian's friends in preschool. I just love her, and we are excited to be a part of it. They made pocket flashlights (about which Christian will blog this week). He was quiet at first, but when he was able to socialize freely at the end of the activity, he seemed to be loosening up. I'm proud of his social skills. At times he can be braver than I am. He chatted with boys he hasn't seen in 5 yrs and ones he'd never met. I refused to go to my high school reunion ;P

Keegan will start piano lessons with Ms. Tara some time next week. I am excited- she is so talented, and I think she will be a good match for Keegs. Now I just need to find him a group activity so he can play with peers. I'm pretty sure I'm signing him up for soccer (he really needs the physical activity), but I don't think it starts until the spring, so I am looking for something else as well. I would love any suggestions. He's 7.

It was a good week. I'm tired. We had some meltdowns and some real successes. Overall, I am quite please, but tired, yep.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekly Wrap-up: Aug. 31-Sept. 4

Tomorrow we will start our 3rd week (2nd official- with books & all that fun stuff) of (home)schooling. I am very excited about our journey, and if I continue to learn things in the amount I have this week, I shall be a whole new person by this time next year. I've said this before, and I will say it again: I know I have far more to learn from this year than my children do.

I am so thankful the Lord is sovereign; He can use one experience (in this case, homeschooling) to address many issues with which we have all been struggling. By nature I am lazy, disorganized, impulsive, last-minute, flighty and impatient. When I homeschool, I cannot be any of these things (well, I can and I will at times, but the consequences for these behaviors are very clear- in a hectic day, poorly conducted lesson, etc). Without self-control my children are also disorganized, easily bored, emotional, and whiny. There are direct consequences for these behaviors as well in the form of less play because of the length of time needed to complete schoolwork appropriately.

This week I have learned:


-I must plan for Math ahead of time. When I am not organized, I quickly lose the childrens attention and do not have the energy for creative teaching because it is used up in keeping them focused.

-I must not try and do every activity Tapestry of Grace suggests. I must remember it is a buffet, and gorging myself (or my childre) never ends successfully.


-My best work does not come from times where I am put on the spot. I cannot say enough about the importance of preparation.
-My day goes much more successfully if I am up before the children and get my God time and planning time. I feel more established.


-My children quickly tire of worksheets.
-There are going to be bad days. Moody children make for difficult encounters. Creativity and patience are a must. Redirect the child's thinking, ignite passion and creativity, and try, try again.
-If I am not on my toes, they will quickly talk me into less work and inferior quality.
-As children (and boys especially), they need breaks consistently and active time (preferably outside) every day. No excuses. And I make more than they do.

Some of my favorite places on the web, these days:

Old Fashioned Education- most of my curriculum comes from this comprehensive, and FREE, site.

Project Gutenberg- tons and tons of public domain e-texts. Many wonderful old primers can be found here.

Super Teacher Worksheets- I came across this site while searching Google for spelling words and am extremely surprised at the quality of the worksheets found here. My boys get bored if I give them too much written work to do, but these provide more hands-on worksheets as well. I did use their lists for spelling words as well. They even have printouts for each week.