Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hey, Guess What?

OK, I'm not sure how many people even read anything over here anymore, but I'm finding it really, really hard to maintain even one blog, let alone two. I always thought it would be just fine to have a "personal" blog with all of my random things that go on and then a "homeschooling" blog with all the school stuff we're doing. That way the three people who read my "personal" blog don't have to sift through any boring school stuff and the three people who read here won't have to be subjected random things. (Although I have a sneaking suspicion that those three people are exactly the same people...)

But, alas, it's gotten to be too much.
Don't despair, though! Stop crying! Wipe those tears!

I'm simply going to start posting homeschooling goings on on my other blog! I have a Catagory over on the right side that's labelled Homeschooling, and I'll make sure to only put school stuff in there so you don't have to deal with any other drivel.

SO, please switch your Google Reader or your Favorites Bookmark or however you find me to The Karate Mom!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, March 20, 2009


I am so frustrated right now that I want to scream at the top of my lungs and not stop for at least ten minutes. I want to go back to my room and beat the living crap out of my heavy bag, but I have the ending of a migraine, and I don't think that would make it feel any better.
I have a child who cannot stand to have her work corrected. 
Regardless of if she has no understanding of what she's doing, regardless of if she's frustrated out of her GOURD, and has NO IDEA what she is doing, if I try and help her, SHE GETS MAD AND TAKES HER FRUSTRATION OUT ON ME.
Heaven forBID that I try and help her understand what she's doing, she'd rather flail along like a fish out of water and just get more frustrated. 

And then, if I make a suggestion like, "Hey, honey, why don't you just go and sit in your room for a couple of minutes, get away from your math and then come back to see you understand it a little better." I'm met with, "Well, THAT won't help!"
She wants me to GIVE her the answer, of course, rather than guide her to find the answer herself. 
It. Drives. Me. INSANE.
I really think I'm going to lose my mind.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Picking Curriculum

Well, we're reaching the end of the school year - can it be? How can that be? - and I'm beginning the search for curriculum for next year. I'm probably not going to change much of what we do because I really feel like we've found a great mix that works for our family. Here, in great bullet format, are my considerations for next year:
  • Language Arts - do I continue to use both Learning Language Arts Through Literature and  Shurley English? I really like both curricula, but it can be kind of time consuming to do both of them in one day. Shurley English is very thorough, but LLATL really provides a lot of variety, though, which I think is good for her. It's mainly the time thing that has me rethinking our system.
  • Spelling - I've used A Reason for Spelling this year, for the entire year  *pats self on back* and I like it, but it's really geared for a classroom setting, so some of the activities are a little hard to pull off. , Plus, it's requires quite a bit of one-on-one interaction every day, and I'd like something that Reilly can do a little more independently. BUT, we've been able to make it work fairly well, so part of me thinks "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
         I'm also debating beginning spelling with Declan. I know that I didn't "officially" do spelling with Reilly until third grade, but that was really because of lack of being able to  find a curriculum that I liked, not because I didn't want to do spelling with her.
         ARFSpelling does have a Level A that I believe would be the correct level for him. The down side to going with it is, again, the one-on-one required...sheesh, one would think I just want someone else to teach my kids from the way I'm talking! That's not what I mean, I promise!
  • Math - we're sticking with Math-U-See, for sure! I love, love, love it and, barring a change in learning style with one of The Kids, don't forsee ever changing that particular curriculum.
  • Science - I'm excited to stick with Sonlight Science again for next year! The Kids have really enjoyed all of the experiments we've gotten to do this year. I've loved all of the experiments, once I got used to the fact that they didn't necessarily match up with the lesson being taught, and I love having all of the materials on hand. I've already looked over the next level and I'm excited about what they will be'll be a great year! One consideration that I'm making is whether to get the four-day schedule or the five-day schedule. You get more materials, obviously, with the five-day, but seeing as we only do science one day a week (the four-day schedule can actually fit into one day, it just takes about 30-45 minutes) I'm wondering if the five-day schedule will fit in the same way.
  • History - I'm also sticking with The Story of the World and moving on to The Middle Ages. I'm hoping that my Homeschooling Guru Friends will still want to do a history co-op to do all the fun stuff, because The Kids and I have really enjoyed that this year. I don't think I'll buy History Odyssey because I ended up using it mostly at the beginning of the year but I've abandoned it as we've reached the end of the year. She did all of the chapters out of order, which made NO sense to me at all, and I spent a lot of money on a whole lot of books that I've used just a few times. Waste 'o' money!
  • Handwriting - Still going to use Handwriting Without Tears because I like it and it works well for both of The Kids.
  • Declan - Here's my main "deal" with The Boy. I'm going to start him in LLATL in second grade with Red Book, like I did for Reilly, which means I don't have a language arts thing to do for first grade. I'll continue with reading from Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, and math with Math U See, but I'm a little stumped as to what else to do. Do I jsut get some of those big 'ol workbooks from Sam's (Comprehensive Curriculum - First Grade) and work out of those? *shrug*
I think that one more thing I'm really going to try and do is actually use Rosetta Stone Spanish that I bought last year! I fully intended to use it this year, but I think that I thought that we'd just fit it in somewhere. Nope, we didn't. I realize that it needs to be scheduled in, so I hope to do that next year. I'm thinking 15 or 20 minutes, maybe twice a week?
So, that's what's going on in my little noggin right now! Thanks for reading this far!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Update! Update!

No, nothing exciting to report, as the exclamation points in the title would lead you to believe. I just wanted to let you know that I'm updating, and I thought I'd fancy it up with some cute punctuation. Because I've always thought that exclamation points were kind of cute. Not as cute as semi colons, but much easier to figure out how to use.

Last Tuesday, we schooled for a little while and then took a break to watch the Presidential Inauguration. I think that The Kids were bored out of their skulls, but I wanted them to see it. I didn't vote for Obama, nor do I think that he's going to be the savior that people want to believe he's going to be, but I can certainly appreciate the history that was made as he was sworn into office. I think there's kind of a neat irony in this Inauguration day falling the day after Martin Luther King day.

Everything else is going pretty smoothly, really. I recently went and bought a Comprehensive Curriculum book for Declan that has a lot of "fun" worksheet activities that cover a wider range of kindergarten level activities. I've not been thinking to do a lot of things that talk about sequencing or things like that, plus I thought he'd like a bit of a change from the regular routine. His reading ability is chugging along like gangbusters, and I'm really excited about that because it was really so easy with Reilly that I was concerned that it was a fluke and I'd run into some big issues with him or something. We've started doing long vowel words with a silent e and he's really getting the hang of it, although I do have to remind him to pay attention and look for an e, but I think that's typical.

Here's a confession for you: I think this is the first year I'm truly comfortable as a homeschooler and with the way we do things. It has taken me four years to realize that if we don't finish every single lesson in the curriculum, we will be okay and the world will not fall down around our ears. If we skip math one day, the Math Police aren't going to come to our house and flog us with logarithms. I think I spent the past three years stressing out because I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails, but I'm finally (ha! finally!) in a rhythm that feels pretty right for our family. Yay!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Consistency: Doing the Hard Stuff

One of the things that I struggle with the most as a parent is consistency with discipline. I think that I just heard a collective "AMEN, SISTAH!" from pretty much every parent reading this, because heaven knows that one of the hardest things to do is follow through with that threat that you just made to Boseephus, Jr. about how if he did XY or Z one more time you were going to ground him for an entire year plus take away all of his desserts and send all of his action figures to starving kids in China. No sooner are the words out of your mouth then you realize that aaawwww MAN, now I need to actually do those things as discipline, or run the risk of my children realizing that I have no backbone whatsoever! And the implications of THAT are scary. Simply scary.

Well, I will confess that I am, more often than not, of the back-boneless variety. I am the classic Threatening Repeating Parent: "If you don't do such-and-such, then _____________" and I lay out some kind of consequence, only to remind said child of the consequence fifty times more, all the while growing more and more frustrated and closer to losing my temper. And, admittedly, sometimes completely losing my temper altogether. I hate that more than anything, really, because one of the things I'm trying to teach these little munchkins that God blessed me with as kids is SELF CONTROL, and it's hard to teach that when you're foaming at the mouth.

We're part of a history co-op with some of our best friends which meets every other week to do all the really fun activities that none of us moms really wants to plan for just our own kids. This week we were meeting at our house, but Monday morning I was spending time in school struggling with The Kids and their attitude. Both of them, oddly enough, because Declan is usually just fine. Finally I told them, very calmly and firmly, that if they didn't stop reacting to me in an irritated manner whenever I spoke to them or corrected them, if they didn't completely change their attitudes, they would not participate in the co-op. The way it would work is that they would be back in my room, on the bed with books, and they would not come out at all. Not to say hi to their friends, not to have a snack, or go to the bathroom or get a drink, et cetera and so forth. The only thing that would get them out of that room would be if the house caught on fire. (Hey, I'm not unreasonable!)

Well, Declan straightened right up and proceeded to finish up his schoolwork without any attitude. Reilly, on the other hand, did not, and long story short, lost her attendance at the co-op. She apologized for her behavior, and then said in a very sad voice, "I really wish that I could come to the co-op." I told her that I did to, but that she had her chance to change her behavior. She had her choice to make, and she chose to continue to be rude to me and I'm done with that. When co-op time came, off she went to my room, and she wasn't heard from until everyone left, which was about two and a half hours later.

Back in December I read
this blog post over at Woulda Coulda Shoulda and it really made me rethink how I dole out consequences. The line that really jumped out at me was when she wrote, "Hey, I’m ready and willing to believe my daughter is super special and everything, but with 80+ kids I’m supposed to believe that her absence ruined the show? And also that THAT takes precedence over raising her to be a pleasant, respectful human?" One thing that I've realized is that I tend to back down on my consequences when it's something that I deem a "memory". It's as though I think The Kids are going to be scarred if I have them miss out on something that they could look back on fondly when they're adults. (Does that make any sense?) I'm realizing, however, that more important than memories that might be made while they're growing, is their development into repectful adults.

So, Reilly missed the co-op, and hopefully a lesson was learned. Hopefully not just by her, though. Hopefully I'm learning too, and will continue to grow a spine.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Starting off with a BANG!

No, we didn't blow anything up. I promise. Although, frankly, that might have been more interesting than the science experiment that we did on Tuesday...

I jest, I jest! Actually, the experiments we're currently doing involve magnets and The Kids find that absolutely fascinating. It's just that this past Tuesday, we were supposed to cut a butterfly out of tissue paper and then attach a paperclip onto the butterfly and some thread, and tape the thread to the table. Then, supposedly, you could make the butterfly "fly" using your magnet, but without actually touching the paperclip. I had my camera at the ready, poised to take cute pictures of my cute kiddos and their "flying" butterflies.

It didn't work.
It worked on the video. It always works on the video.
Stupid video.

Apparently our magnet wasn't strong enough, because we had to get it so close that it just kept clamping on to the paperclip. And not flying. Oh well, they had fun anyway.

I'm currently trying to download some pictures to make a slideshow of the things that we did for our Christmas Around the World study. Unfortunately, the computer is being crabby and slow...kind of like me with this raging cold that I have that is making me feel like my brain has decided to melt and run out of my I don't know if I'll get it posted tonight.

I mainly wanted to post here to let all three of you know that we are BACK IN SCHOOL! And, let me tell you, the "bang" that I spoke of in the post title? Well, let's just say that not everyone came skipping back to school with bright shiny faces, excited and eager to begin learing all about language arts and math facts again. In fact, when I polled my homeschooling friends, I don't think that ANY of them had a great first day back. (Actually, I think we may have been ahead of the curve because we didn't have any actual tears.) But, as the week went on, we seem to have gotten back into the routine fairly well. We go back to our co-op tomorrow, so The Kids are super excited to see all of their AHEE friends again.

Well, the slideshow is going to have to wait for another day. The photobucket site is being too slow and my Benadryl just kicked in and I'm about to go all loopy and start telling you all kinds of secrets that you never wanted to know in the first place. I promise I'll post it really, really soon. The pictures of Reilly and Declan wearing the Saint Lucia wreaths that they made will be worth the wait, I promise!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just To Let You Know..

I'm not dead. We've not fallen off the face of the earth. I'm just finding it very hard to update here. School is going well and we had a great time doing Christmas Around the World for the first part of December. I even took some great pictures of the crafts we made to represent the different countries we talked about.
Honestly, I'm not sure I'll get around to posting them, but I'll try.
I'm really sorry.
I may start posting school updates over at The Karate Mom. Somehow it seems less daunting than keeping the blogs as separate entities.
I don't know why.

Anyway, I hope you all have a merry Christmas!!