Friday, May 27, 2011

School's out for summer! Sure it is......

So why is it that I expect more from the children in my life?  We are calling it summer break but in my eyes it does not resemble a break at all. In the eyes of the girls it is a huge relief to only do what I have shown them they will be expected to complete over the summer.

Just how is this a summer vacation?  For one, it is our first year and although we did plenty during our schedule school year we did not do everything we had hoped to. No! No!  That is not quiet right. We did what ever we planned to do but as I made it individual to each person's need it meant that G will have year round math and F will continue with her phonic/reading in hopes that she will be in the first grade reader next year. But if not, we will work on each child's level.

That makes the curriculum purchase a bit hard. We bought all of the second grade program and we purchased the consumables for the first grade. It is possible we will not be at that level for each child so the whole integrated curriculum will be less effective. WHICH is why I expect more from mine than others.

I expect them to learn year round even when we do not call it school We have always done this even before we officially home schooled. We find enjoyment in this process, they are eager to learn more and more. 

Yes indeed, today will be our last official day but it will not be the end of out lessons plans and would have never been the end of learning for the year either way.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday will be our last official day

I am finding that it means very little on one hand as we have summer work that is going to be completed. On the other hand they seem to like the thought that we will not be engaging into routine class time.

I find that I am still planning lessons. G has accepted the fact that her math will not be completed and we are going to take is slow so she is successful in the process.  I think she is even looking forward to the math summer program. I will bring home the whiteboard/chalkboard easel so we can work with it during lesson. Lessons will not be in their class room but at my house. Since I have the pool they will be here most days and we will do lesson before jumping in and then workbook during the after lunch wait period.

She took several test that I had not given in math and did very well. She even did it without the puffy cheeks and stiffened arms. She does so well on the test that I know we could move along faster if her emotions would just change about the word  M-A-T-H. 

G has only three stories left to read in her last reader for first grade and will have completed the Letter and Sounds book by Friday. She will not have all the Language book completed but most of the book at the end is about creating sentences and stories. I offered her to work more in that book which she really does not like the book much. She finds it repeating to the point of aggravation. The other day it had several pictures and wanted sentences that described the picture. She did o.k. but not great. Then the next page had a large blank wanting to tell a story about a subject. Instead I asked her to write about the zoo trip we made last week. She was so excited!  AND she did a good job with it.  So we will call it quits with Language book as well and she is eager to practice sentence structure with a journal/diary for the summer.

F has only a few pages left in her K math book. She has several in he phonics book and has more readers to get through. It does not seem to bother her at all. She is enjoying the book but does not find it as fun as the math book.  Perhaps I was wrong to pace her differently in this book but I let her be the guide here as well. Some days she did not want to touch the book but would do several lessons in the math book.  She is 4yr 7mo. now and I feel she is doing well with phonics and reading but we may very well be finishing this level by next October. We will see.  When she does not have anything to do but phonics/reading she is likely to really take off this summer.  WOW that sounds like she did not take off which is not what I mean to say about F.  She is eager and bright but she is also a hot head and when she is tired her four year oldness shows. One cannot win a fight with a tired four year old.

We join the health/science/social studies/art all into one combined class. Which means F is doing first grade learning here.  We finished the last of each book. F did read all the questions herself and answer them. 

So what about my failure with spelling? Well I am heading to and going to use it this summer and in the future as the current method does not even get the subject done.  This will be a summer thing too for G to complete the first grade lessons that we stalled on. 

I wonder if other parents/grandparents stall in spelling at home too or if it is just our own failure. No one seems to ever complain about spelling class on other blogs. A lot of math issues and some curriculum issues out there but no spelling issues.  I guess our little Academy is unique in this.

I imagine that this summer I will blog maybe weekly or every other week.  I will go online to see what is happening in the blogs I follow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photos on Friday

We went to the zoo yesterday instead of the class so finished the plant book today. Here are photos which of course are nearly alike but I must show each child's book.  Next week we will go back in the science book and do the insect section followed by another trip to the zoo at the insectarium and butterfly house.  Then science book will be 100% completed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not sure if I am more excited or the girls

So in a simple plant lesson I expanded once again. I hate to call it a lapbook as it is very very simple. I will call it a folder lesson I guess.

I am on my way to their house to see the end results of our white flowers and food colored water. The lesson was indeed simple. Soil, water, water cycle, sun, seed, roots and they will cover so much or this over the next two years as it builds on that we discussed the job of the stem.  I know, I know--simple indeed but for a 4 yr old and a 7 yr old it was exciting.

By the end of the day yesterday the rose and the carnation had begun to change color while the others had not.  Last night I hear there were more changes happening.

Off I go to see how it all worked. I will post pics later

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Comparison of our lesson time to public school

Recently I had read a blog that the person was questioning how there home lesson time compares to the public school. I have all ready done this comparison.

Here is a copy and past schedule from the web site for G's public school and grade.

8:05 - 8:30: MORNING WORK AND DEAR TIME                                                                                                                                 
8:30 - 8:50: CALENDAR                                                        

9 - 9:20: SPELLING                                                              

9:50 - 10:20: SPECIALS (PE or Music)                                                 
10:20 - 11:25: READING & GRAMMAR                                        
11:25 - 12:05: LUNCH / RECESS                                                    
12:10 - 12:45: MATH                                                                      
12:45 - 1:15: SMALL GROUP TIME                                              
1:15 - 1:50: CENTERS / SOCIAL STUDIES / SCIENCE             
1:50 - 2: PACK UP                                                                          
2:00 - 2:20: RECESS
2:20 - 2:35:  SNACK

Morning is relaxed with no special wake up time, ensuring each child get the rest needed. With that said they are usually up and have eaten by 8:30. They have morning grooming time to promote healthy habits (pratice what is taught) Straighten room up and then play together. No TV

Start time varies between 0945 -1030 but to show a schedule I will begin at 1000
remember this is for our first grader
1000-1005  Dress frog and weather observation combined lesson
1005-1010 Calendar and Pledge combined time
1010-1015 Responsibility of Class Rabbit Care combined time
1015-1045 Math lesson and workbook
1045-1100 Handwriting
1100-1145 Lunch
1145-1230 Phonics Awareness and workbook/Reading  (after all this is foundational work and time should be spent)
1230-1250 Grammar/Language Skills--also reinforcement of handwriting skills
1250-1300 Spelling lesson is Monday then she must self study it and be ready for test Friday--I rearrange the room this time to combine lesson for G and F for the "specials" that take place one each day of the week
1300-1330 Science/Health/Social Studies/Art/Music/PE

We use to have recess between some of this but now unless they ask for a break they just keep working through.  Rarely do they seek recess in the afternoon as they want to be finished.

So, when you compare our time to the public school and take in consideration the lack of distraction or the time wasted gathering supplies and books (as I always have the next item at reach), we seem to have more lesson time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Had A Great Day

It was a day without any tremendous achievements but a day full of all it was meant to be.

I returned to the classroom and handled a full day of lessons with each girl. At the end of the day our specials was to work on our small single folder plant book. I know that there are many lessons as I look forward to the plants in science so this is just a tiny introduction.  They have a flowering plant that they cut out and the pot that I had found online.  Today I drew the Water Cycle on the board and we talked about how old the water is that they drank at lunch. They were amazed.  I had found an easy to color water cycle that we glued in the folder.  This is a work in progress and I am not sure just what I will put into the next part of the folder.  They enjoy making things and when it reinforces their lesson they feel very proud.

F has only 18 pages left in her math book but I must say that since I know the first 88 lessons will cover the same addition facts next year I have let her use the abacus often for the more complicated facts.  G did well today with the new material but got all flustered with having to problem solve some counting by two problems such as the number before and after 104 when counting by twos.  And suddenly, after all year know that the minute hands reads 30 when on the 6 she has become confused with the addition of 45 minutes.  She is in her last reader in the curriculum and read 32 pages today independently and was able to tell me about what she read with great understanding.

G has about 30 pages in language and phonic but she is doing several each day. F will not be finished w/ the phonic or readers before summer so when G has lessons in math F will need lessons in phonics/reading.  F is reading very well overall.  She is excited but gets confused with special blending sounds. F is a lazy learner, if it comes with work she tries to avoid it and refuse it. I always seem to find a way to encourage her to give it one try. Today she did some difficult reading but recalled all that she read.  I know she too will be a good reader but she works at it more just like G works at math more.

At least I know it is not my teaching techniques. 

My health note is simple, I continue to get better again. I am blessed indeed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I am having a bit of turmoil about the summer.  I know many homeschooling families take several breaks each year and actually have school year round. Still, I believe that overall that most families attend school in a more traditional form.

With that said I feel bad that G is not going to get a summer break.  So I was thinking that perhaps instead of no break at all I could create a summer math program that would be equivalent to a summer school. Only several weeks and only math but still a break that she can see an end point to. One thing that makes this hard for me personally is the fact that I am grandma. Mother wants the math book to be completed before she goes on to the next.  She understands that the next book will have lots of review but would rather skip that review since she will be basically doing math all summer and begin at what ever level she will test at.  As a teacher it makes sense but as a grandma I struggle.  Either way it is not really my decision. My job as a grannyteacher (my new made up compound word) is to support my daughter and their decision to home school.

OK big sigh!! If you have any thoughts about it please feel free to post a comment. I am open to all comments. 

It seems that I am on the mend from my recent flare and I intend to be in full grandma mode today. Girls are coming over for a play day here but unfortunately it has become cold and wet again. Crazy since it was 90 degrees last week.

Tomorrow I will work feverishly to push the girls to the end of the year. It is crazy, the books themselves do not have new info in them but more reinforcement work. I MUST GET DONE!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

dress up for homeschool

No, not like getting all dressed up at all.
F got a new dress up outfit to be dressed like an girl in India. She came to class like that. Then G, who get pretty silly a lot came dressed in a banana costume. They were both eagerly invited to work with the calendar and say the Pledge Of Allegiance. Then class began.

F got right to work in her phonic book and after a little direction did two pages independently. In the meantime G had to face her dreaded math class.  She had a bit of fun today as we continued to add three numbers, she found the puzzle in each one that made it possible rather than impossible.

But math went on...and on...and on....OK that is an exaggeration.  She counts by tens just fine but has a huge block if counting by tens from 15 or 38 etc.  So after finding some fun ways to do it she finally got it.  IT was exciting. She got a big star stuck to her forehead. We then began to buy the banana. I marked her with a price tag and made a story that kept increasing the price by ten. SHE loved it and she did well.

I should have stopped there!  We then went to do the book work and she did great until she had to add a quarter and a dime. WHAT ?  We just spent the entire class time on this skill but when it got put to her in a different fashion she was stumped. I ended up congratulating her on a good class effort and said we were way past time and so we stopped math. 

I would like to post all the fancy good parts of school and teaching but then I would not learn  from it and I do not want those who read this to think that homeschooling is about great achievements all of the time. There are real hurdles to jump, real frustrations.  I am so thankful to teach her math at home. I believe she would have been left in the dark and fake or fail her way through it.  After all, just because a child does not achieve well in one class does not stop them from going into the next grade.

After math G worked independently in reading, phonics, language and writing. She is such a great learner overall.

F wanted the same fun attention in her class as well. F is nearing the end of the Kindergarten math book and I really thought we would be doing this Kindergarten thing for two years. NOT THE CASE!  So I found a fun way for her to use the ruler and measure things. She began as a sour puss but quickly brightened up the room.

I continue to not be doing well in my health so I did not spend as much time to do the lessons overall.  Still they did all core classes today.

They are making a garden with K in the backyard as well.  I find this exciting, their yard has been the least of their concerns since they moved in. Now that K is a homemaker she is trying to make in nice overall and find pride in it.  She was a paralegal before and found pride in a job well done.  I know she will feel it as the yard becomes more home like as well.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What APS has stolen from me the past three days

APS is the short for my autoimmune syndrome. It has flared and my blood has been too thick. When that happens I feel like a drunk. I am slow to think, my coordination is off. It is an overwhelming weakness that akes over my body that the effort to talk is too great. When I do talk my speech is a mess.  It takes so much effort even right now as I challenge myself to type.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times all ready I have had to backspace as my letters jumble around.

These past three days I was unable to teach the girls. I was unable to attend my paid job on Sat. and Sun. As a nurse I would never want to put my clients in jeopardy and even if I could have phyiscally made it to work I would not have been on my mental ability thus rendering me too dangerous during this time.

Normally, I manage to keep my INR in range and do well but sometimes it just suddenly plummets for no reason.

I endure extreme pain all over with intermittent sharp pain that shoot thgough me. At times I feel like I need air but there is none to find. I have had several brief episodes of double vision and two episodes of blindness in one eye. It makes me feel sick and dizzy yet I must overcome. I know God carries me in these times and there is not excuse other than God's will why I continue on each day.

So I hope that tomorrow I will once again be able to teach the girls. I hope I can have a clear head and drive to the doctor's office. I hope this flare is over when I awake.

What does this have to do with the education of G and F.  Everything!  I push through to help them make new memories of life every day. Ultimately that is my goal each day. I know who precious each day is and I want to be sure they have many memories to pass on to their children.  I know APS is attacking my memory as well so every now and then, when it is a really great one, I plead with God to let me keep that one.

Good night.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby is growing

Today was a joyous day for our family. K is off of bedrest but on light duty mothering. I know, we can all get a good laugh at that one. Fortunately, I am able to help her a lot.
Today they could not see any more signs of the clot or separation of the placenta and found a growing baby with a heartbeat of 183 bpm.
We know that this is great news and we find hope in it. We also put our trust to God and will not worry about this soul. God all ready knows His plan and we can only hope it is the same as our desires.

G and F are excited to get a bit of mommy back. I do believe it was a challenge for all three of them. 
We had not choice today but to take the girls with us to the doctor office but there is a large common area just outside of the office and so of course I took out lessons and we went to work on one of the table. I expected questions but did not find any asked. I guess it was clear that there was real learning taking place.

I have decided we got a bit stagnated so i am going to us a lapbook lesson for our plant study.  They seem to enjoy creating these.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Birthday Celebrations This Past Weekend

G turned seven and did a roller skate party.
B and I spent the day together to honor his turning twelve on May 5th. We did a celebration that included a day of local history.

this is a reinactment of an actual skirmish between a small group of union soldiers and a band of confederate that took place in Prarie Du Rocher, Illinois in 1864  (about twenty five minutes from where I live now)

the confederates attempt to head to the Mississippi River  bluffs to take cover and fight back.

You can google the Creole House for a tid bit of history near my own backyard

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It is done~

Not a miracle or life changing event but today we purchased all our curriculum for next year. They have decided to stick with a 100%  A Beka home school curriculum. The task as been completed and payment via their new flex pay will permit a payment again on June 10 and July 10. Then the books will ship and we will have them in plenty of time to get ready for the next school year.

Now for the reflecting aspect of this. G will officially be a second grade student and F will be officially in first grade.  We did not begin this year expecting F to complete the entire Kindergarten program in one year. After all, we only began playing school with the books but it quickly became a real school schedule for her and off she went. Based on Illinois school laws F will not be able to begin kindergarten in the public school until Fall of 2013. It was never our intention to begin her so soon and we do not push it upon her. As a matter of fact, F, has had several moment that she has gotten up and walked away proclaiming to be finished. We recall her true age and let that fact go, it is not like it is a weekly event or we would need to redirect.

Tonight G and F are spending the night with me. It has been a while since they both have done that. They use to get that opportunity all the time but now that K is a home-maker and not a paralegal I have discovered less nights with them.  I expect that to change in the summer as we will all spend time around the pool. 

I have concluded that the math book does a lot of repeat, repeat work and it is the book that makes math a boring subject. Today I tried to get excited about math to foster excitement in G for the same; it worked for a moment but then I was not as patient as I needed to be. When she began looking to the ceiling for an answer and not at my face for direction or the problem for an understanding, well lets just say, we stopped and prayer together at that time.  We offered thanks for the wonderment of math and asked for a patient and calm teacher.  I have discovered that talking to the Lord together in rough times has a way of calming me and capturing the girls' attention to how they may impact my responses. Prayer even in young ones creates a self-reflection much of the time.

We looked at the second grade math and have concluded that we will begin the year with CLEP style test until we find the area she will need to produce new material. We do plan to keep math going all summer or until she has completed all lessons in the plan book. For that reason she will not need the forty something lessons that review what may be forgotten during summer break.

I have fallen short of fun activities and I hope that K comes off of bedrest after her ultrasound on May 5th.  We would like to take a trip to the St. L:Louis Butterfly House and a lesson on insects.  So much I have in my mind but little of me left at the end of the day right now.

Tomorrow I will post pics of my two grandchildren birthday celebration that I took vacation from my job for. I rarely take or need a vacation at my job. I do work only two 12 hour shifts per week so most times it is not necessary to take a vacation.
I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Setting a date for the last day of school

Today I showed G how much book work was left to be completed by the end of this month. It was clear to her that math would be a year long class but she is also pleased that she will get a break from the rest of the subjects.

We discussed doing math while spending the day around our pool.  She did not seem to upset with the news.  She could clearly see that she was not going to be able to rush through the lessons.  I must say though that I think they drag some lessons on and on.  Math has not been my subject to teach and K has been following the lesson plan to the T.  Now that K is on bedrest upstairs I am modifying it to my teaching style.

I also gave up on a spelling class.  It seems that it was to much of a requirement on the lifestyle of this unique family to complete as I would want. Therefore, I decided some time ago that I could do spelling during the summer a bit and it would reinforce the phonics that we all ready know.  NEXT year it WILL not be that way. I am going to get firm about the matter with both the students and the parents. 

Tomorrow we will go to a material display and purchase the curriculum for next year. They offered free shipping in April but you could not do the flex pay system unless you went to a display. A few months ago we wanted to complete this tasks before the known price increase but just did not have the funds prepared to do so. This means we will pay more overall but the value in my opinion is great.

In Illinois you must attend for 176 days which was slated for May 19th  However, we ended up with some unexpected time away so we will have formal lessons until May 27. 

On Saturday G had a birthday party and one friend stayed overnight. It was the first time she has finally had a friend to arrange this with.  She enjoyed her day very much.

F has really been making progress but today she was a stinker. Fought me all day with every lesson until I finally suggested the nap. I know neither girl got enough sleep with the busy weekend. G was also clearly tired, her eyes showed it. So she went to her room to rest and read. She began Charlotte's Web but I have not seen her yet to know how she is enjoying it.

I will post some photos soon as my blog is looking boring. 

I continue to have therapy on my left shoulder and today the ortho injected the joint. WOW that smarts and has me in a lot of pain today. I will continue doing therapy and see him at the end of May.