Monday, April 26, 2010

The soccer teams are up.

Each year the kids look forward to playing another season of soccer. We've had our ups and downs. Last year hubby coached my eldest son's team. It was meant to be good and it meant my daughter could also play. But the team we had was definitely made up of more parents than kids - parents with very strong views about well everything. It was a rough year for all of us.

This year the teams have been split so that the 12 and 13 year olds can play a combined grade. Yes. The longstanding friends are still in the team, but there are lots of other experienced players as well. Lots of scope for a fun year, and best of all we just have to turn up, watch and support! Doesn't that sound like fun.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Home Church

Since the start of the year my husband and I have been spending time listening to sermons from Mars Hill Seattle. Its been good to drink deep of a gospel based, reformed position. Coming from a small town our church choices are very limited, and currently there isn't an exegetical preacher in town. At least I've not heard of any through the grapevine... so its been good to sit and let God's word minister to us, let the gospel renew us and enjoy the teaching.

Its been fun, encouraging, and neat to hear children who really couldn't remember what they had been taught in Sunday school discussion an idea or illustration form a sermon. Yes! I'm definitely excited at this move, even if I also realize that it isn't the best long term solution it is certainly a good for now one.

My biggest question is about having the opportunity to met other people, build friendships and have fun with others in the context of faith. My prayer is definitely that one day that will happen again. I'm sure it will. In the meantime I will have to work just a little harder on building up those connections I the place where we are.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"When Children Love to Learn" editied by Elaine Cooper

I first had this recommended on a email group last year.. Is sounded good but well never made it into my final Amazon order. After all I was sure I didn't need to go back down the Ambleside route. I really didn't need another major change in the content of how we home-school.

Last term was good. We made lots of progress, my Engineer finally started to find school enjoyable. The kids grew in confidence and learning was consistently happening. Only I was exhausted. It was easier to curl up at my desk and potter than connect with anyone. In the middle of it a copy of this book came up on the second hand list and I brought it. So it arrived I looked at it and put it on the bedside feeling like this wasn't something I wanted to read yet.

As it dawned on me that I needed a break, time to relax, time off coffee, time to laugh I took some days off with hubby and the kids and chilled. Hubby cooked, I rested, we walked, shopped, visited the farmers markets, soaked in the thermal hot pools, a relaxed.

I picked up the book.
Good choice...lots of ahah moments.
CM didn't need to be Ambleside,
Maybe it didn't need to be bouncing through more subjects in a day than my brain could cope with.
Maybe there was a little freedom here to enjoy what we were doing right, and freedom to let everything else happen without the stress that dominated last term.


So now we have a book basket of the books we need to read over the next few weeks. Now there is a little more freedom to add back some read-alouds and not worry about the boys listening in, maybe there is room for some group discussions. Hopefully this is just a fine tuning of the balance... a return to more us without loosing the independent learning paths that seem to be working.

I need to keep reading but hopefully "everything will stay the same, but something will change so that the connectedness returns to our school days.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Science play

I've always loved the rose in the food coloring experiment. My husband uses it in his online course for his science class but we haven't ever seen it done quite like this to show veins and arteries in the body. Yes its a bit of a long stretch, but it does look kinda fun. Valda

Autumn Break

Its kinda a break, I think both hubby and I are enjoying the change of pace from teaching to planning, although life is short and it seems that school needs at present, both where he teaches and the home-school could easily become overwhelming.

I will be happy when we finally settle in some of the big changes that we have made this year in the home-school. I'm happy with getting back to my roots with Veritas, even if I am a very eclectic user of the program. Veritas with a hint of Charlotte Mason in the background seems to suit us, although I am hoping that in the next few weeks we can get the balance right between mum teaching and independent work. In General our days look like this

  • Singapore "My Pals are Here" level 5 nearly 6. It isn't the perfect program, My youngest thrives, but there are always those word problems that get just a tad obscure. Some days I do wish we had an answer book just so that I could understand what they were wanting in terms of an answer.
  • Following Singapore we're using Jacobs Algebra. I like it, but it has taken a while for my daughter and I to find a pattern where she is confident in maths, so for the last we while this has been a 12 hour a day joint exercise. Its getting better. The boys will have a much better time of it when they get there simply because I now understand the book so much better.
  • Henle book one for the boys - my youngest wanted something he though was more straight forward than Wheelocks. I much prefer Wheelocks.
  • For my daughter and I Wheelocks. Yes, I didn't think I would say that but it is a much nicer program than Henle.
  • Yes two ancient languages is madness, but it happened and now two of the kids don't want to let go of it. We're using Elementary Greek. Nice program, but lots of errata to wade through.
  • After a love hate relationship we are firmly back with Classical Writing. My youngest is flying through Aesop, the middle one in Homer A and my daughter in Homer B. Its challenging enough although I wish I could speed my daughter up a little. She's a good writer, handles it well, but we haven't done the grammar like we should...
Spelling and Copywork
  • A dictation bases spelling program Simply Spelling rounds out our language arts, copywork, for reflection more than anything else finishes off this section.
  • Apologia, General Science and Elementary Science Botany cover the bases here. Its a bit sad because my husband has put together a great hands on Science program at the level of Apologia General and Physical Science but for now it is so much easier to run with the text book than set up equipment for a lab based course. I truly wish I had the time to convert it from the classroom to the home because I like it much better.

History and Bible
  • Veritas for the boys, CM style, I use their time-line, readings and their projects, but we generally work on a read, narrate and then think deeper or play approach than the worksheet and test model.

  • Omnibus 1 for my oldest. Its a fairly good program, but very very busy. This is the one I am still customizing for our needs. How much do I keep how much to I make ours. I suspect it will take a while more before we own it like we need to but I like it as a base for the areas I don't know, and because it stretches me in the areas where I have studied before.
  • Simply read and narrate unless some project jumps out from what we are reading. I've enjoyed having a softer program here.
In all that's us busy but seeing the benefit of what we are doing.