Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It was a good day

Sigh, a good day. For school today we learned about light. I got a kit from Rainbow Resources and as I tried to read a book from the library the girls were looking through the kit. I don't think they paid much attention to what I was reading. I had planned to do the experiments in the order the book listed them, but the girls were having so much fun playing around, I ended up just guiding then towards the experiments they were already doing. Ah, the best laid plans... Maybe this is what unschooling is about. I probably could have just let them go wild with the supplies from the kit and they would have learned just as much. If only I could be the walking encyclopedia that my dh is. He is able to spout out info about almost anything without a bit of prep work. I, on the other hand, like to read the information straight from the library books. I don't even like to paraphrase. I am afraid I will say something wrong. So for now I will stick to planning our topics of study and let the unschooling happen during our nonplanned times.

We also got around to Math and Handwriting. Three subjects per day seems good. Now to figure out which subjects to do which days...

SK and I started our letter writing. I stole this idea from a friend. We have a notebook and we take turns writing to each other. We started yesterday and SK was so excited to write back to me. I am hoping this will be a fun way to improve handwriting and check spelling and grammar needs. We'll see.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Time to myself

One of the biggest difficulties I have been having with homeschooling lately is not getting any time alone. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy being around my girls. I would really miss them if I sent them to school for 7 hours, 5 days a week. I would just love a couple hours a week to myself. I have been trying to spend more time with my dh in the evenings, so I really have no time for me. Luckily, dh understands the need for alone time and so every once and a while (like right now) I say, I need some time and take some time to veg out in front of the computer.

I have actually been missing the time when my oldest was a baby. It was so nice to have quiet time to myself. She was a pretty easy baby. Lots of things have gotten easier. They are all potty trained :) They do lots of things themselves, but in other ways they need me more to help them with things they are working on. I hear motherhood gets harder in different ways when they are teenagers. I guess I will just take it one day at a time until them...

The Good Stuff

So, I have felt pretty down since we started back "doing school" after the holidays. I guess it is normal for homeschooling moms to have times where they feel like they aren't doing a good job. I have definitely been feeling that this month. I do spend a lot of time thinking and reading and planning things for our homeschool. My oldest has spent most of this month complaining about school. It is hard to spend so much time on making our homeschool great and then have her complain. I am so torn between giving in and letting her unschool and saying, hey I'm the mom and this is what you need to learn. I know there is a balance somewhere. Most days lately, I just remind her to have a good attitude and she ends up learning and even having fun sometimes.

Ok, so the good stuff. I need to remind myself of the good things that have happened lately instead of focusing on my frustartion:

-playing with geoboards with KE and SK and having them get excited about parallel and perpendicular lines!
-having a good time doing a pretend Passover Seder with the girls after learning about Moses and the Exodus in SOTW
-noticing the 6 - 7 chapter books next to my oldest bed and having her excitingly tell me that she is reading them all.
-listening to books on CD in the car. The girls love it and don't even know I count it as school.
-Watching how much my girls are learning as they play on the Disney Fairies website. Although not an educational site, I love watch my oldest read and figure out how to navigate the site. Also, she is writing and learn about addresses as she finds the different fairies.
*** And not school related, but one of the best things was tonight when my dh offered to go out and get me Chipotle for dinner after he had been gone snowshoeing with friends and came home to find me a little stressed out.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mid winter blahs

I think I have the mid winter blahs. School has been very up and down since we started back up 2 weeks ago. We have had some really good days and one day where I really considered sending my oldest to school. Things have been mostly better, but I am still feeling down, so I think it must be the winter thing. It has been cold and snowy here since we got back from visiting family in Florida 3 weeks ago. For the past 3 winters, we have lived in Colorado. During those winters we got some snow, but usually it melted in a day or two. We have also gotten used to occasional 70 degree days throughout the winter.

I really do feel better about how school is going and I have tried to relax a bit. I am not as structures as some. I don't used a packaged curriculum. We don't do every subject everyday. And I try to be flexible when our schedule needs it. We only do one topic at a time (History, Science, Music, Art, Literature), but I have been trying to do all of the skill areas every day (Math, Spelling, Reading, Grammar, and Handwriting). Getting to every skill area every day is tough, especially since those are the areas that get the most complaints.

Side note: My oldest has been complaining so much lately that when we read about the Moses and the Israelites today in SOTW, my middle said that her sister was like an Israelite!

So, I am trying to come up with a plan to do each skill area, but not every one, every day. We normally have a co-op once a week, so we only "do school" 4 days a week. Perhaps, I could plan to skip one area each day, hum... that may work.

I know I can't go totally unschooly, but I do want to try and relax a bit and incorporate the skill areas into the topics. I hate that the math curriculums are based on 5 days a week, 36 week school years. I don't like having to pick and chose to get done for the year. I am not comfortable getting "behind." I know I shouldn't worry, but in Colorado we have to test every other year starting in 3rd grade- this year for my oldest. I think maybe that is part of my stress. I want her to do well, so I will know I am doing a good job.

Tomorrow is another day, we are planning to have pretend Passover Seder. Hopefully it will be fun and not stressful.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A better day

Big Sigh, today has been a much better day. KE is happy doing Right Start Math activties, as along as I "let" her do some workbook pages :) And got some new cheapy workbooks for SK and she loves them. I got one for addition and subtraction and one for multiplication. I realized during my many hours of researching elementary math that these years are really for getting a good grip on the 4 operations(addition, subrtraction, multiplication, and division) because most everything else depends on them. Abeka has alot of practice for these, but skips around alot and introduces new concepts and then goes back to old ones. I went through the rest of the book and found that there are only 35 new topics. I am feeling much more confident about being able to teach SK the things she needs to know by the end of third grade. I am also going to have dh be the story problem teacher. For some reason, I just cannot explain them very well.

So, for now I am going to focus on the basics and just occasionally introduce new topics. Oo, and I played Ten memory with both SK and KE (where you find 2 numbers that equal 10, 2 and 8; 4 and 6, etc.) We had lots of fun and KE caught on right away. Also, I bought some pretty notebooks for SK the other day. My plan is to use them for Spelling and Grammar. They have been very motivating. We haven't gotten around to using them, yet and SK is very excited about them.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Back To School?

So, we start school today after a Christmas break and SK had a bad attitude from the start. I decided that our topic for the week would be art. Since SK loves art, I figured it would be a gentle reentry into school. Well, we read about mosaics in WY3rd GraderNTK and I thought it would be fun to make our own mosaics out of cut up cardstock. When I explain to SK how to take the little pieces and put them together to look like something, she starts crying that it would take too long. Fine, I say, don't make a mosaic.

I should have known then that it wasn't going to be a good day. I was excited to use the Right Start math - grade 1 that I borrowed from a friend. I had planned to include SK to give her a better foundation in Math and have her continue to use her current Math book as well. When I asked her after, which she liked better, she said neither... Then KE starts crying because she didn't get to do any workbook pages! Are you kidding me? I have been working my butt off to avoid workbooks because SK hates them and now I find out KE wants them. Sigh! Well, I guess that's what homeschooling is about. Individualizing education, Right? It just makes it harder for the mom. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Welcome to my world

So, I finally found my way to the world of blogging. I discovered blogs just a few months ago during my many hours online searching out homeschool topics. Actually, I think I was reading a post from one of my many yahoo groups and came across this blog. I have read many others, but this one is my favorite. I have a few others I read regularly, but I have become picky about my blog reading so I can actualy have a life and not spend all my time on the computer. Then I go and start my own blog - ha, ha. So, welcome to my little world. Enjoy!