Monday, April 20, 2009

Meanwhile, back on the ranch

I have been neglecting my blog... I know, shame on me :) I just throw all my deep thoughts out there and then disappear for awhile :) I've just been so busy with LIFE lately. We are still in the midst of a billion appointments (well, maybe not QUITE that many) and our schooling is all over the place. J and K are still making progress, but I am feeling kinda slacker-ish about it. I do believe that it is just too much to ask one momma to get three kids to a 9:30 AM appointment (at the dentist, yikes) and still fit schooling in.

But, since we have finished week 5 of our new schooling program, I feel like it's time to take a break from the deep parenting thoughts (there are more.... I seem to have an endless supply of them, but I'll hold off on posting them) and focus on some school-y stuff for a few minutes. I still love having a lesson plan, even if we don't follow it strictly. For the rest of this twelve week term, I would like to find ways to stick a little more closely to the schedule. I am also hoping to add in a few things. Here are the things that are working well (I will make a bulletized list, because then y'all can admire how neat and orderly I am, lol... it's all just a front people):
  • I have stopped thinking that there is any possibilty I can teach the kids Spanish. I don't speak Spanish. I was a Classics major, folks. Dead languages only, please. So, we are focusing on some cute books that are in English with a few Spanish vocab words sprinkled in. These make nice read alouds, and give the kids a few vocab words in context. We like these books by Ann Whitford Paul and Ethan Long.
  • We're enjoying the really short reading lessons in Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Both kids are making a great deal of progress and aren't hating the process. YAY!
  • School first thing in the morning is great! On days when I think we will save school for the afternoon, we just never get around to it. Since what we're doing is so literature based, we just snug up on the couch and get to it. Nice. We keep the basket of school books on the end table.
  • For composer study, we finished with Mozart and now we are learning about Beethoven. The kids are really enjoying Beethoven Lives Upstairs from the Classical Kids series. This is a reading of the book by the same title, set to Beethoven's music. The kids ask for it over and over in the car. I love how very literary it is, weaving facts about the composer into a very interesting and engaging story. We are also listening to this. (we've been in the car so much lately, we may as well make use of it) This CD is nice (especially since I bought it for a penny plus shipping) but I do wish it had the 9th symphony on it.
  • For artist study, we finshed up with DaVinci (J LOVES DaVinci) and we are learning about Monet. I have a few postcard sized prints we have looked at, but mostly I am again trying to keep it literary. We have read a few cute books about Monet, and the kids are able to recognize Impressionism. I am reminding myself that this is really only meant to be an introduction, so I am trying to keep it fun for them.
  • We have really slowed our pace for History. We are reading through Story of the World, but taking more like two weeks per chapter, instead of one. This is giving us lots of time to think over the topic, and to include lots of related literature. J especially is enjoying this, and really living the material so I think we'll stick with this slower pace for awhile, even if we don't get through the whole book this year. I am happy to see him excited over learning about the first people, and about ancient Egypt (so far).

And now for the list of things I'd like to work on... more bullet points... YAY!

  • I can really see the value in doing a weekly, Charlotte Mason-styled nature study, but I just can't seem to fit it in. I need to brainstorm a way to make this happen.
  • I have already mentioned that I would like to stick to our lesson plan a bit better. This isn't just for me, just so I can see us making progress. I think the kids need the structure, too! I think it is important that they see that education is something we value enough to put a priority on. Now if only we could get done with all these appointments... SIGH! I think we will be finished by the end of April.
  • Memory work: I would like to have each of the kids learn a poem by heart, and then recite it at the end of the term. We are reading through A Child's Garden of Verses and haven't really been inspired by anything. We may just break out the Mother Goose. J, in an effort to avoid work, made up his own poem... it never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which he will go in an effort to NOT do what is asked! :) But for those of you who are reading this and are my IRL friends, be forewarned... you will probably be invited to the end of term recital.
  • PE: My kids are very active creatures (I know some of you are laughing because that mght just be the biggest understatement of the year) but I would like us to do an activity each day that is mom-directed. Something where all of us are doing the same activity at the same time. We have plenty of outside toys and games, it is just a matter of prioritizing this.

Well, that fairly well wraps up my summary of where we are after 5 weeks and where we are headed. I can't promise I'll have more time to post... I am trying to be more emotionally present to my family and those two things seem to be mutually exclusive.


  1. Love the bullets! I'm gonna check out those composer study links a bit later. That book sounds really good. Great for you being more emotionally present.

  2. I think it sounds like you have a really good plan in place. I am not a homeschooling mom (most likely because I would NEVER get anything done), but it sounds to me that your kids are getting a fantastic learning experience!

  3. Check out this nature blog. I just found it. We'll talk.

  4. We use Teach your Child to Read in 100 Lessons too and love it!