Archive for the ‘homeschool support’ category

Going on a Whale Hunt

September 24, 2008

My son is reading Moby Dick- or supposed to be.  I think there’s more protest than actual reading going on.  I found a great site to use to check that he’s read each chapter.  It also includes quizes, an end of the book test, and discussion and essay questions.  They have every book I can think of on the site!

Then, today I called my sister- in- law and she was on her computer watching this cool site.  This guy took a 7 day whale hunt trip to Alaska.  He took pictures at least every 5 minutes for the entire trip!  How cool is that?!  I will probably never go on a whale hunt trip to Alaska.  But, now I get to go for free.  And, even better, on his plane ride, he’s reading Moby Dick.  I’m hoping that seeing an actual whale hunt will inspire my son to actually finish the book.  Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.  But, I can still have some hope!

High School- So Far, So Good

September 15, 2008

I just started week three of our high school journey.  For several years, I’ve been dreading the thought of teaching high school.  But, as the time got closer, I got calmer.  Everything seemed to click- in the planning mode, at least.  After 3 years of homeschooling, I’ve realized the right curriculum has to not only be right for my son, but also right for me.  I can find a curriculum that I think he would love.  But, because of everything else going on in our lives, I have to be realistic, too.  And, if there is a ton of planning involved in making that curriculum effective, I’ve realized it’s just a waste.  So, this year, I successfully found curriculum I think we will all like.  It has each day specifically outlined and he and I both know what he has to do.  I think this make us both feel better.

I, once again, created a goal book for the year.  I was actually proud of myself for keeping that up last year.  And, starting high school, it makes me feel better to be able to show what he has accomplished.  I think it’s good for him to see as well.  Some additions to the book this year are the weekly sheets.  My son actually created it the first week of school as part of his computer class.  Using excel, he made a list of his classes and the days of the week with boxes large enough for me to write his assignments in.  Although I love the homeschool tracker, it became a chore and not portable enough for us.  So, now I write his assignments in sometime the week before and he knows what he has to do each day.  There is a small box in the upper left hand corner of each assignment box.  He writes one line of an X when he finishes an assignment and I write in the other line when I confirm or correct it.  So far, so good.

So, as I said earlier, as the time was approaching, I was getting more confident that I was doing the right thing.  And then, a phone call confirmed it!  My friend has a daughter the same age as my son.  This summer, I borrowed her biology curiculum to give my son a jump on his classes.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do most of the experiments and only got half way through the book.  So, she agreed they could do the experiments together at her house each week- a true blessing to me since I didn’t know how I was going to get them done!  But, that left me one other subject to worry about- foreign language.  I really wanted to start him in Spanish this year.  But, the program I wanted was way too expensive for us right now.  So, I wasn’t sure what to do.  And then my friend called.  Her daughter was going to take Spanish from a friend of hers and she said my son was welcome to join them- free of charge!  I am so excited!  They aren’t starting until the end of September so that will give him time to get into the routine of everything else.  But, I am sometimes just amazed at how things work out.

So, is everything wonderful in the world of high school?  Well, not as much as I had hoped.  But, for a teenager with hormones and mood swings, we are doing pretty well.  He whines about this or that.  But, usually gets it done.  (If only he’d realize how short his school day would be if he cut out the whining and daydreaming!)  He has his regular subjects and then 2 electives- typing and computers for this semester.  He’ll be joining the YMCA once the weather gets too cold for him to be outside for recreation.   So, I think it’s a well rounded day. 

So, I’d have to say that so far we’re doing ok- pretty well, actually.  At least we will be once he finishes Moby Dick!  Why he chose to read it, I don’t know but now I’m determined to make him read it all the way through!  Don’t tell him I never read it!

Living the Simple Life- Not Starting Out So Simple

February 3, 2008

     Inspired by several people close to me, I have started a process to make my life more simple and therefore, better.  Living in the busy chaos of life in these times seems to be unfulfilling at times.  So, maybe by going back to the way things used to be before my time- simple and focused- I can become more focused on the things I enjoy and have more time to spend with those I love.

     The first goal I had was to create a better budget system.  I used to do the envelope thing and I lovrd it.  Pretty much, at each payday, money gets put in each envelope which is designated for a certain thing- groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.- and then, when it’s gone for the week, it’s gone.  I loved this system because after the initial planning and aside from the weekly “stuffing the envelopes”, there is no thnking involved.  I know how much was spent or not spent and I know where the money goes each week.  Unfortunately, my dh didn’t really get into this system when I tried it after we got married.  But, thanks to his friends recommending it to him and the book by Dave Ramsey, My Total Money Makeover, we are trying it again.  This is week one.  We started Friday with my paycheck and the begining of the month.  it seemed to be the perfect time.  The only problem was my dh was having pizza cravings and cheap pizza just wouldn’t do.  So, $30 later, he had pizza- from a place he loves and I don’t like- and our envelopes were already off.  Trying to relax and understand this is going to be a hard thing to get used to, I wasn’t very successful at.  But, by later that evening, I had refigured the weekly envelopes to add up.  We’ll see how the rest of the week goes!

I just spent $20 on groceries for the week- $10 less than our budget due to the pizza.  When I make out a menu and really plan the list, I’m amazed that I can have well balanced, good meals every day for very little money.  When I don’t plan ahead, it’s amazing how much I spend on the junk I end up buying!  This week we are having chicken in the crock pot, burritos, spaghetti, pot pies, and taco bake casserole. 

The next project for the day is what I am sitting here writing to procrastinate for.  My cousing had the idea to eliminate so much laundry and clutter by limiting the amount of clothing for everyone in the house.  I am not that brave since I have to go to work every day and need to wear different clothes.  Also, I am not worried about the amount of laundry I contribute.  My son on the other hand has two very bad habits.  The first is that he would rather put clean clothes back in the laundry than folding them and putting them away.  This is one of my biggest pet peaves!  The second is that whenever he gets something out to wear, he gets every single thing out of his drawers!  I mean everything!  And, then it all gets thrown in a pile on the floor where it stays until we have to yell at him to clean his room.  So, by giving him only a fewn options of clothing, there will be a smaller pile on his floor and he will be forced to put it away or else have nothing to wear!  I am hoping this works!

My other project for the day is to update my son’s school work.  Usually this time of year, I am not in charge of his school.  But, due to my dh having heart surgery, he has not been keepng up with it.  So, today I am going to make sure things are on track and plan for this week of school.  It will be a review week- which we have periodically to make sure he is retaining the information.  Also, at the begining of the year I created our book of goals for the year and I really need to start checking them off.  I know some of them have been accomplished and others should have been accomplished and I really need to regain my focus on his studies.  Pretty soon, it will be springtime and school will not be as easy then- too many distractions!

Focusing on taking better care of myself is on the list.  But, as most of you mom’s know, it usually doesn’t ever make it to the top of the list.  I hear people always saying you should take time out for yourself.  But, what do I take that time out of?  I get up and go to work early.  No high maintenance or prep time for me, it’s usually the get up and go look.  So, doing anything in the morning only takes time out of sleeping.  Does that sound like a good idea?  I’m thinking no.  But, then there’s the evening when I get home.  Ok.  I admit it.  I’m lucky to get dinner made before I colapse for the night!  But, I guess that seems to be my only option.  But, it just seems that since I come home so tired, I am setting myself up to fail by planning to excercise then.  But, I’ll keep you posted.   

I had thought several weeks ago about having weekly goals to accomplish.  Two weeks ago, they were to eat at the table more and to play games more as a family- or at least with my son.  I’m making an effort on both of these but fell a little short this week and didn’t make any new ones for last week.  This upcoming week here are my goals.  Although they sound easy, sometimes, they are not easy in my world.

Goal 1- excercise 3 times this week

Goal 2- keep up with schoolwork checking

Goal 3- continue the first goals- dinner time 3 times a week and game time at least once

So, I believe these are all good things- things to make life easier.  But, getting them started- making myself do them- sometimes seems to be a hurdle I’m not too sure about!  

Time For Mom

October 30, 2007

A friend from my homeschooling group had a great idea.  Every once in awhile, we have a mom’s night out for the mom’s in the group.  Several of us felt we were ready for one- SOON!  I think it’s just that time of year.  You know, in the beginning everyone is excited to start something new for the year.  But, a few months in and everyone is ready for a break!

Anyway, she decided to host one and spent some time coming up with a theme.  She came up with a great idea!  What mom doesn’t have stress?  What mom doesn’t put herself last in the time category- this one needs her to this, that one needs her to do that, etc.  So, we are going to spend a few hours taking time out for mom.  We’ll discuss what stresses us out and ways we can destress. 

I am in charge of coming up with some ideas for our discussion.  So, here I am at my trusty resource- the Internet.  And, you all are my first stop.  What do you do to relax- to avoid or relieve stress?  I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas.  I’ll also share mine as I find them.

So, comment and let me know!

12 Powerful Words

October 10, 2007

My sister told me about this.  I thought it was interesting.  Even if you homeschool and choose not to test, this is useful information.  Eventually, SAT’s and ACT’s come around and this is a simple thing to help the test taking process.  My son hates taking tests- even when he knows the info backwards and forwards, he forgets it all whn he hears the word test.  So, I am all for any way I can help ease his fears!

Larry Bell’s 12 Powerful WordsThe 12 Powerful words that trip up students on standardized tests.
Increase your test scores. Learn these words and what they mean.

 The 12 Powerful Words
1. Trace           List in steps
2. Analyze        Break apart
3. Infer             Read between the lines
4. Evaluate       Judge
5. Formulate    Create
6. Describe      Tell all about
7. Support       Back up with details
8. Explain        Tell how
9. Summarize   Give me the short version
10. Compare   All the ways they are alike
11. Contrast    All the ways they are different
12. Predict      What will happen next

New Homeschool Forum Site

October 10, 2007

I “met” the web designer of this site on facebook.  (yes, I just started going on there- great way to keep in touch with some of my family and friends I don’t get to see often enough)  Anyway, he is really wanting to get this site going and I think it’s a great idea.  It’s a homeschool forum- with a newly added chat feature.  I know I always have questions or just want to vent and chat with others going through the same experiences as me.  So, I like the idea.  But, he hasn’t really seen any traffic on the site.  I know it’s hard to get things started.  But, maybe if we all check it out, it will get more traffic.  It’s not much fun to chat with myself (although I do it more than I care to admit!)  And, I could answer my own questions, but, it’s just not the same.

So, check out this site.  Give it a chance and let’s help get it going!   I might be posting some articles there, eventually.  So, forgive me if it’s something you’ve read before!  I’ll try to send him some new things.

http://hometolearn.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2

lincoln- same as always

October 4, 2007

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday!  And I really can’t believe it’s been so long since I wrote anything! 

A week of vacation was a wonderful thing!  A week of recovering vacation has not been as wonderful!  I knew it would be a little rough at times- getting back into the groove.  But, not this rough!

Monday morning I gave my son the list of things to do for each subject.  Actually, it’s written on the dry erase board in the schoolroom (Yay for an excuse to visit the office supply store a few weeks ago!).  Then, I went off to do my things for the day.  That was my first mistake- thinking it was ok to leave and assume he would accomplish his tasks.  I came home to pick him up for work a couple hours later- thinking he had done 2 of his subjects.  (that’s our agreement- he can keep his job working 2 hours a day if he has 2 subjects done before he goes and finishes the rest when he gets home)  Then I brought him back home to do his chores and school stuff.  I had a meeting and then made a trip to do go grocery shopping (yuk!)  When I came home, he and my husband were watching something on the computer so I figured all was right with the world and he had completed everything.  That was mistake #2!  Being exhausted at this point, I made dinner and then collapsed for the evening without checking his stuff.  You guessed it!  Mistake #3!

Imagine my surprise when I found only two subjects in the spot I told him to put things for me to check.  I went to the first book- wordly wise- to check his vocabulary.  I found 3 out of the 10- 15 questions that he just hadn’t bothered to do.  I was not happy since he has a really easy time with this so it was obvious it was pure laziness and not something he didn’t understand.  So, I handed it back to him and told him to finish while I went on to check his history.  Since we are using History of Us and there are not questions in the book, I have a list of things he has to write in a notebook for each chapter- vocabulary, famous people, important events, culture, art and literature.  So, since we are studying the civil war, he was on a chapter about Abraham Lincoln.  Here is what he wrote- the only thing on the entire page for the chapter.  Are you ready?  Are you sitting down?  I wish I had been.  Ok.  Here it is!

lincoln- same as always

That’s it!  That’s all he had to say.  What is that supposed to mean?  So, that is what he had spent an entire Monday doing! 

As you may have guessed, Tuesday morning was not quite what you would call fun around my house!  I proceeded to load him down with the work he should have done Monday and the work for Tuesday.  The last thing I wanted was to let him think he would get away with that!

Unfortunately, bombarding him with more work when he was having a hard time handling getting into the routine of a regular day made for a really fun time for all.  It was so much fun that we rolled it into a fun day Wednesday!  This was the day I finally told him to go t bed.  I know, a normal parent thing to do.  But, not at 4:30 in the afternoon!  He was obviously so tired I could tell I wasn’t getting any work out of him until he had some sleep!  The evening was better after his nap.

Today has been pretty good.  He even got caught up on some things and now has the privilege of watching Smallville- one of those father/ son bonding things.

A statement my husband made yesterday got me thinking.  He seemed surprised when i told him a homeschooling friend I work with has these kinds of days too.  “You mean we’re not the only ones?”  I have a wonderful support group that helps me vent.  As a homeschooling father, he doesn’t have that luxury.  Most of the dad’s work alot so the mom’s can stay home.  So, they don’t get together like the mom’s.  So, he had never had the opportunity to hear other horror stories. 

This is where you come in!  Share your moments of stress and chaos- your homeschool horrors!  Vent- just as I have just done (thanks!  I feel better!)!  Give me some stories to share to tell my husband that we are not the only ones with days like these.