Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Jan 29, 2011

The Homeschool Chick


I first learned of this meme over at Brenda's Garden of Learning blog. I think it really appeals to me because it reminds me of the Simple Woman's Daybook meme that I try to include every now and again. There's just something that I enjoy about peeking into the lives of others. No, it's not a creepy, "baseball hat floating by your bathroom window" kind of thing. I think it speaks to my love of biographies, only what is more exciting to a homeschool mom who loves food than to read about the lives of other women, moms or not, homeschooling or not, who cook... or not. Either way I'm good.

Read, please comment (I love comments!), click the link above to see more blogs participating in The Homsechool Chick's meme, and join in on the fun! The rules are simple and easy, but the meme is only linked each Friday to Monday, so make sure you check it out soon!

In my life this week...
Unfortunately this was a rough week. I was down with a bug that my daughter had the week before. But the really icky part was that I've been dealing with a bad back for a few weeks. I try to be one that doesn't whine and complain too much. I have arthritis in my hands and various rebellious body parts as well as sciatica, so I'm generally just quiet about a bit of what goes on. This back pain has been a little more than I can quietly handle. So, I did a lot of asking for help, limping around, and whining a bit. I'm not used to it so I'm getting a bit surly in my current state. But, all things shall pass... and for the things that don't there's always chocolate. (Yes, I'm going to limp my way to the kitchen this weekend to make more GF/CF chocolate chip cookies. Weight Watchers or no Weight Watchers those yummies are needed in my tummy...) 

In our homeschool this week...
C did amazingly well! Thankfully she's old enough (9th grade... sniff...) to work independently so she wasn't terribly off schedule. She whipped through math, literature, grammar, science, music appreciation, and creative writing on her own. I was so thankful that my issues didn't sideline her. Granted, we didn't accomplish everything on the schedule since I wasn't up to some of the discussions but I've learned to take it as it comes. We have seasons where we get more accomplished than I have dreamed and seasons where we are accomplishing 90% instead of 100%. (Let's not talk about the third kind of season that exists!) I'm good with that. 

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
A wonderful homsechooling friend organized a girly afternoon for her daughter and several friends yesterday. I hear all of the girls had a great time! They laughed, worked on craft projects (crochet/knit), played games, had a fantastic lunch, and enjoyed time together. It was fantastic. It definitely lifted my kid's spirits after having a very boring week with mom at home! I just love afternoons like this. It's a nice reminder that even as teenagers they can still have "play dates!" (We're just not allowed to call them that now... shh.....) 

My favorite thing this week was... 
Our music appreciation curriculum is fantastic! (Discovering Music - see the curriculum page above for more curriculum info.) The kid enjoys it so much that she began listening to a local classical radio station, and she's gotten herself hooked on a particular segment that they do where they discuss pieces and play longer selections of operas, etc. We were sitting in the living room talking about something completely unrelated when she realized the time. She cut the conversation short with an apology because there was a particular piece scheduled that she had been waiting all week to hear. This thrilled me to no end. If you've read anything on my blog you might notice that the arts are extremely important to me. The fact that she apologized - aka used good manners - made it even better! You could have knocked me down with a feather... and not just because I wasn't standing all that well with my back. ;)

What's working/not working for us...
Unfortunately we've had a year (or two) where things seemed to fall into the "not working" category. We've gotten a handle on it all and I believe are in a good groove. The main thing that is working best for us at the moment is that we are following our daughter's particular leaning in her scheduling as well as what materials we have chosen. Planning, at least in my case, was centered around what types of materials or learning styles our girls exhibited. I never really paid a lot of attention to the scheduling needs of those kids beyond the basics. Did this child do better with focused work such as math after lunch, or do they need to alternate between "thinking" tasks and "doing" tasks? (When I speak of scheduling I'm not specifically talking about actual blocks of predetermined time. "10am to 11am, etc." I'm talking more about routine or order.) This year we've pushed all the boundaries on scheduling. 

Our daughter is an immersion learner. She likes to dive in, become obsessed with a topic, and when she's gotten what she can from it she moves on. This worked great with certain projects when she was younger, but as she aged we really didn't use it much. This year we've changed that. In the morning she covers the basics, or the high school version of the 3Rs, that will be year-long courses... math, literature, writing, foreign language, etc. Our change comes in the afternoon. We're taking the approach that colleges use... one course with focused study covered over one semester rather than a year. Because she began science in August we are using this time to focus on finishing her science course. She has been spending approximately  2.5 hours each afternoon on science, and she LOVES it. She also has one elective that she will focus on for the semester as well, and this part of the year is devoted to music appreciation. So far it's working like a charm. She's actually getting more work done per hour because she doesn't have to stop when she's got a good rhythm going. We are back to homeschooling January to December which fits this perfectly (see the post titled "Staring a New Homeschooling Year, Unconventional Version.") I'm really excited to see how it will continue (and crossing my fingers that it keeps working!)

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
My mind has been swirling with thoughts lately! I'm not sure if it is because I am in the midst of planning or if it is just my nature to constantly think ahead. I've been thinking a lot about her high school plan, and the ensuing looks and glances that I get when people find out about her classes. This isn't meant to be divisive or bragging in any way. Please, dear reader, do not take it that way! I've just noticed that when we needed advice or an ear with other tough situations and struggles in homeschooling years past it was readily available. But, not so much when you have a child that you have to run to keep up with. I'm hoping that there will be some workshops at this year's MidWest Homeschool Convention that may cover this. I am struggling between hearing that my kid is taking too many classes and knowing that I'm simply following behind handing her materials for courses that she's requested. Proof even us "old dogs" of homeschooling have the same concerns that many new homeschooling moms do. Am I doing it right? She still finds time to read books for fun, sketch and participate in art classes, see friends, watch (way too many) movies on Netflix, chase interests, etc. I think it's an internal struggle that we all have... No matter what our situation we feel like someone is thinking that we are doing the wrong thing. 

Why on earth do we struggle with this? Is anyone else out there struggling with it along side of me?

A photo to share...
I've been planning the kid's Ancient History course lately, and I have to admit that I have had a few sniffs over the difference in projects and activities between a middle school and high school level! Here's a project that she completed many moons ago when we studied Ancient Egypt. We created the Nile out of Sculpy clay and surrounded it with dirt and grass seeds. It was so much fun to "flood" the river and then watch everything grow. Ahh.... the days of hands-on learning. :)


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4 comments:

SisterTipster said...

Hey Stephanie~
I completely relate to the questions and had to for us satisfy my fears...I too have a child who is soo driven and desires to succeed. I pray I've made the right move as tomorrow we've changed up our course of action for high school. . . I'm blogging about it too~I think we are not different from other moms out there in the nagging 'worries' but we will be different how we address them for sure~Have a blessed week! HUGS!

Melissa said...

Hi there :-) Stopping by from THMJ...I too have a 9th grade daughter and posted about how well she worked this week when I wasn't feeling good! Loved the pic of the Nile project...what History are you using? We're doing Ancient Civilizations and the Bible...so we also recently studied ancient Egypt. Although she didn't make a Nile out of sculpey...she has a sculpey version of the Sphinx, that unfortunately hasn't been finished, because she was having trouble getting the "hat piece" to come out right! Hope you feel better soon!

Steph @ Wild Crickets said...

Sister, Thanks for the comment. It's so nice to know that we're not alone out there... no matter age, grade, situation. I'm heading over to read your post. Can't wait to see your new plan!

Steph @ Wild Crickets said...

Melissa - Thanks for stopping by! Don't you love ACB! We've used Diana Waring's cds for years, but this the first year that we'll be using her materials straight through. Well, straight through in conjunction with some things. I can't ever just do something as written. I think monkeying with curriculum is my addiction. lol And I bet your daughter's Sphinx looks great! I love projects. :)