Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making Changes -- Feeling Better :)

So, after having doubts yesterday and hoping that today we would be able to meet up with some homeschool friends for roller skating, I woke up to this:

I called Jason, who is at work.  Apparently it is not snowing where he is.  Maybe there is a storm cloud over my head or something--if so, I apologize to the neighbors.  Apparently it was also snowing where the lady who organize homeschool roller skating lives, because she sent me a message saying that it was canceled due to weather :(

With age comes experience and usually when I am feeling cabin fever, the best thing for me to do is start changing little things in the cabin.  Well sometimes they are big things.  But right now, I am rather happy with the cabin, so they are small changes.

I felt the need to get some homeschooling done.  So the girls and I read Chapter 15 in Story of the World and discussed glass blowing, watched several videos on youtube about glass-blowing, a short documentary on the Phoenicians and a short documentary on Carthage and the Phoenicians (it's that going beyond the lesson plan that makes me feel we are really getting something extra special out of this!).  We also discussed the upcoming unit on Greece and possibly reading Percy Jackson together as Jessica and her daughters are doing over at Teachable Moments.

I've been having trouble deciding on a Science curriculum, and I've been feeling the need to teach my girls how to prep for a test, so I've created my own little Science curriculum using the Mind Blowing Science Kit we have been using.  I wrote some notes on the white board for the girls to copy.  I am going to test the girls on Thursday on what we have learned over the last few weeks about acids and bases.  I think this is, in part, why I am feeling so not into it.  I don't like testing, I don't feel it is a good indicator of knowledge, BUT I do think the girls need some experience with it...a little here and there.

I read them a chapter in Writer's Notebook by Ralph Fletcher (I am trying to balance things, a slow and easy and fun writing program to counteract a BIG TEST in Science and one in History) and gave them some independent assignments:
  • A lesson each in math
  • 30 minutes of independent writing about anything they wanted
  • some vocabulary words to look up in the dictionary
  • copy the science notes and fill in the blanks
  • write a letter to one of the characters in the books they are each reading (I modeled a correct formal letter template)
Oh, and I asked them to fold some clothes:

And then I set about painting over this old border that I had stenciled above my kitchen cabinets five or so years ago:

First, I washed down the area with TSP, which lead to a really gross realization that over my stove is a little icky...so I ended up washing down the ceilings and all the cabinets, too.  That TSP is a great degreaser!

Between coats of primer, I read comments about my Having Doubts post.  I am so grateful to the blogging community.  We are so blessed to have this supportive connection.  I can't even express how much those comments meant to me!!

I read this awesome blog post, which really helped to put things into perspective: Lessons Schoolteachers Could Learn From Us.

Also between coats of primer, I started cleaning out A's room.  I go through this each winter.  I want to simplify.  I want to get rid of half of our stuff.  I want things neat and orderly.  I only want what we need.  Lots of stuff goes to the Lupus Foundation, which comes by monthly to pick up donated gently used clothing and household items and other stuff goes in the trash.

This is just stuff from A's room (I did P's and mine last week, but didn't take photos), but it feels so, so good to get it done!!!

I feel good.  I am happy with what the girls accomplished today academically and I am proud of what I accomplished today in our home.

AND~we did it all before 4pm!  Which just goes to show how much time we normally waste!!  Hmmm...I'm going to have to do something about that!

I am off to get my first coat of paint on!