Friday, February 1, 2013

Week of January 28, 2013

I want to thank everyone who sent me emails and messages on facebook after my controversial post last week.  Those were thoughts that have been weighing on my mind for a long time.  It is important to me that you know the real me and then can decide if you really want to be friends with me, follow my blog, whatever.  I was touched by the support I received--whether it be from people who agreed with me or people who said that we could agree to disagree and they still respected me.  I only received a couple of messages from people that were 'harsh' and even at that, I could tell those people felt strongly about their convictions and while I may not agree with them, I do appreciate their thoughts.  I think the most interesting thing that came out of it for me was the number of people who said they didn't feel like they belonged in other homeschool was a difficult post to share with the world, but if it made someone else feel understood in the homeschool world it was totally worth it!


Jason has been using a Thames & Kosmos Physics Lab with the girls.  This week, they built a sail vehicle and learned about speed and velocity and how this vehicle works.
When Jason was home for six weeks, he told me that basically I am attempting to do too much and it's too much like school.  I am just checking things off a list.  He's right.  I have a list and I check things off and I frustrate myself because sometimes I want to spend more time on something but I also really want to check something else off the list and make dinner and clean the bathroom and run to the produce store and make sure we all have clean clothes to wear.

I took a long look at my fear: making sure the girls are prepared for the SAT.  They may not have to take standardized tests if they are homeschooled, but they will take the SAT or ACT if they want to go to college.  When I was at work one day, I looked at the SAT prep books and I feel confident that in a few years they will do fine on the Language Arts section of the test, but the Math section brought up a whole set of anxiety for me--I couldn't do most of the questions!  So I looked at the grade level requirements for the girls right now and was relieved to see that they are at least on level--if not above grade level-in math for what they would be learning in school now, so I relaxed a little.
The girls built this car by themselves one day.  When Jason came home from work, he took the opportunity to teach them to compute speed. 

We finished Story of the World, Volume 3 in the fall and I do plan to order Story of the World, Volume 4, but I have also been thinking a lot about providing a rich environment, letting the girls take more of a lead... I know so many people are taking a more rigorous approach as their kids get older, but I feel, for our family, we can relax more now and see where the girls' interests lie.  We keep up with our Latin and Greek roots study and I give the girls dictation sentences every morning to assess or work on their spelling, grammar and punctuation skills.  Allie finished Math U See Decimals & Percents (Zeta) in the fall and I wanted something fun to make sure she really got those concepts down, I was considering Life of Fred Decimals and Percents, but Karen at Homeschool Girls recommended Living Math and the girls are LOVING keeping the books and making decisions for their own pet shops.  Beyond that we have been making time to Art Journal a couple of times a week and we are studying the life of Winslow Homer because some of his paintings really spoke to us when we saw them at an exhibit in January.
We love Living Math-Pet Shop Math--thanks, Karen!
Allie researching lizards.

We covered the last few chapters in Story of the World, Volume 3 during the hurricane when the power was out, so we had limited access to additional resources.  I gave the girls a list of books on some of the topics covered in the last few chapters and had them choose one to read and write a report on.  Allie chose to explore The Alamo by reading A Line in the Sand: the Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence by Sherry Garland and Piper chose to explore the Gold Rush by reading The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman.  I created these Historical Novel Review packets, which they filled in.  I am on the fence on using these worksheets, it does seem school-y to me, but I liked the idea of asking why they thought the author chose the title, would they want to live back then, etc.

I have challenged the girls for their next writing assignment to write an essay about a topic that interests them.  Allie chose to compare/contrast green anoles and gecko lizards, since she is saving her money to buy one.  Piper chose the history of the American Girl doll company, who started it, why, how, the first dolls....  They both spent hours researching their topics and were excited to tell Jason and I about whatever they learned.  I have spent some time with each of them helping them to organize their research.  I have a feeling these essays are going to be more complex than anything I would have assigned or any worksheet style book report I would have come up with.

Other Interests...

Co-op continues to be a great fit for our family.  We missed last week because Allie had the flu, but the girls can not wait to get there today.  Allie is really enjoying her Shakespeare class, she worked on her article for the Co-op Newspaper and enjoys her Logic class very much (a shout-out to her Logic teacher, Janet at I Blog 4 Boys! )  Piper loves her Theater class, Shakespeare, Native American homes and American Girl club.  

Allie started back to art class last Saturday and came home exhilarated and spent the rest of the day drawing.  Piper is back at Choir and is very excited that they are singing "If I Only Had a Brain".  Piper being back at Choir means that I get 2 hours a week to have coffee with one of my best friends and no children...we look at it as our little time to ourselves, to regroup, talk it all out, make sense of the world. It's a time we both greatly need and cherish.  Jason had meetings all day this Wednesday and called to say that he was coming home early and could bring Piper to choir.  Normally, I would jump at the chance to stay home and get some things done, but I look so forward to those two hours with my friend that I declined his kind offer.
My girls spend ALL DAY on Monday with my parents--thanks, Mom & Dad!  This week, my mom helped Allie make this skirt for her vanity table and my dad helped Piper build herself a night table!  Piper still has some sanding and painting to do to finish the night table--but she can say she built it all by herself (with Poppy's watchful eye and patient instruction, of course!).

Family Stuff

I am going to be an aunt again!!!  I am so excited!!  Jason's brother is expecting his first child this May--it's a little girl!  I am so happy for him.  My brother-in-law is a natural with kids.  He has always been a very fun, hands-on uncle, my girls have always adored him and I know he will be an awesome dad!!

This weekend...

Allie has art and Jason is helping a friend out tomorrow.  We are having several homeschool friends over Saturday night and babysitting for some homeschool friends on Sunday morning/afternoon.  Then we are having a small SuperBowl party Sunday evening.  
Allie can not get enough of The Missing series by Margaret Peterson.  
Linking up with Mary

Homegrown Learners