School's a startin'

TOG Yr1Redesigned Week 1 - looks daunting when I type it all out. But this is what I have committed to for the next school year. I'm very excited about it! However, DDs were not nearly as excited when I sat down today to show them how things were going to work this year. They love the topic - in fact had checked out books on mummies on their own this summer without knowing that was on the agenda. They love the idea of using the computer for their vocab words (they will be looking them up at Wordsmyth) and doing SOS for science. But when I opened up the pages of TOG stuff and showed them what the LG and UG assignments looked like, their eyes about bugged out of their heads! "All that work, that's too much, I'm going to die if I have to do all that," were the comments received. Now, realistically it isn't that much more than before. Last year we did more reading together because I spent the first half of the year pregnant and the second half of the year nursing a newborn. Since I was sitting on the couch anyway, might as well read their assignments together. This year they will be doing more reading on their own. But I'm not backing down. I think TOG is going to help prepare my kids for future learning in college, on the job and in life. And if it takes a four week fog, or longer, for them to realize that I'm serious, then so be it.

For this first week, we are actually taking two weeks to complete it due to the fact that we have VBS at church next week. Plus, with so much new stuff I figured I'll need to work with them a little more to begin with. So here is what our Week 1 will look like:

Princess S (LG)
Climbing to Good English pg 90-93 (where we left off last year)
Math-u-See Beta Lesson 7
SOS Science - Lessons 1 and 2
Three pages of handwriting practice of the cursive letters a, b, and c
Reading: Egyptians, The Nile River, several pages from Old Testament Days
Her SAPs (student activity pages)
Hands-On Activities: making notebooks, salt dough or cookie dough map (haven't decided which yet), Egypt coloring pages
Writing - learning about nouns

Princess E (UG)
Easy Grammar 4 - memorizing prepositions (ongoing) and pg 3, 5, 9, 11, 13 and 15
Math-U-See Gamma - Lesson 1
SOS Science - lessons 1 and 2
Three pages of cursive review letters a, b, and c
Reading: The Nile River, A Place in the Sun (5 chapters), Ancient Egypt Make it Work (several pages), Geography from A to Z, What the Bible is All about for Young Explorers(several pages), Usbourne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of Ancient World (several pages)
Her SAPs
Same hands-on stuff as above
Writing - reviewing nouns and learning steps in the writing process

I am not starting Laura until next week. We will be doing the letter A next week and reading books about them. I'll post them later.



Happy Birthday to Princess E

My eldest DD turned nine today. DH was reminiscing about the event during dinner. He reminded me how hot it was. It was so hot, in fact, that the hospital started turning women away only an hour after we arrived. They had to drive a half hour north to the next closest hospital. Thank the good Lord I didn't get turned away or we'd have had a highway birth. Here's the story as best as I can remember it:
I remember standing in the shower the morning of July 14, and listening to the radio announcer saying that today was Bastille Day, the French holiday commemorating the fall of the Bastille in 1789. I thought, that’s a cool day to have a birthday but it won’t be today. I went to work like any normal day. Around 1:30pm I started feeling really tired and not quite right. By 3:30pm I was exhausted and had a headache. Because all the essential work had been done and no one else needed help, I asked if I could go home to rest. I called DH from the cell phone to say I was going home to sleep. On the way home I started having really bad cramps. By the time I got home, I decided to call the doctor’s office. They said I should head right to the hospital. So I called DH, who was just leaving anyway, and sat back to wait. But DH got caught in traffic, and it took him over an hour to get home. He pulled in about 4:50pm and I was rolled up in a ball on the floor in pain.

We got to the hospital at about 5:15pm. They sent us right to a room. After a brief exam it was determined I was about 3cm, so they hooked me up to a monitor for a half an hour. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, so after the half hour was up they told us to try walking around. We didn’t get very far down the hall when I announced I had to go back to go to the bathroom. However, after spending quite some time in the bathroom with no results, I went back and lay down. But I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom. DH didn’t know what to do to help me out, and the nurses didn’t really help give him any ideas. Finally after complaining about it for a while the nurse decided to examine me again. She immediately announced, with surprise in her voice, that I was at 9cm. “What!” I said. I was planning to have an epidural, but we were too far along for that. My doctor was on her way to break my water, but she was stuck in the same traffic DH had been stuck in. The next contraction the nurse announced I was now a 10 and could start pushing. “Without my doctor?” was my concern, but at that moment it didn’t matter. E was so determined to get out, and all I wanted was to get her out.
The nurses gave brief instructions about pushing, and my water broke after two pushes. Then the nurses went out into the hall and grabbed a doctor who wasn’t needed at the moment. After an all to brief introduction (we still don’t know his name) he sat down and said “Three minutes and we’ll have this baby out.” He told us right away that they would have to suction her lungs because she had swallowed fluid. A few pushes later, at 6:41pm, she were out and they said she were a girl. DH and I were both shocked because all the way through people had been telling us we were having a boy. So DH turned his attention to E while the doctor worked on me. But I was still in a lot of pain, and nothing they were giving me was working. One nurse attempted to give me a sedative in my arm, but after the needle was in, it backed out and stuck her. Finally they gave me something that put me in La La land for the next hour and a half. I don’t remember much but I know I got to hold E for a short time before I fell asleep. DH followed E around and took pictures so I wouldn’t miss her first bath. Then Grandma and Grandpa got to see E. We called Nanny and Papa to give them the news. And the rest, as they say, is history. Or in this case, herstory.


Stormy Weather

Well, we're having our third storm in two days. There has been heavy winds each time that have toppled several trees and put power out. Thankfully, we have not had any damage. The flower pots fell off the deck, but they were salvageable.

I've made some progress on things for our school starting up. I've got a list made of which library book needs to be requested on what date in order to be here on time. I've left myself a two week window in case we have to wait. I've also earmarked the closest substitute should that book not be available. I have E's daily task chart done and plan to print up a few for her. I have listed certain days that she needs to work in each subject area, but it will be up to her to figure out which assignments to do on which day. The exception is her vocab words, important people and science. She is going to need the computer to do these assignments, so I have certain times she is going to have to do these. I have S's daily task chart designed but I am going to be scheduling all of her work for her, at least for the first half of the year. So I'm just entering all the info into an Excel file and then I'll print it out for her.

Math will not be listed but printed in after the fact. The way that I use Math-U-See is a little different. They will watch the DVD first. I will orally quiz them on what the lesson was about to determine if they understand what they need to do. If it is a completely new concept, then we will do a few practice problems on paper. If they seem to know what they are to do, then they do worksheet A. If they get them all correct then they move on to the first review worksheet D. If they get that one all correct then they may take the test. If they feel they need more practice they can opt to do any of the other worksheets. It was hard for me to see unused pages at first. But, it has allowed us to feel more like we are moving at their pace. If they seem to "forget" how to do something, then they can always go back and do the other pages. With my two extremely distractable scholars, this has helped to keep us from getting bored and goofing off. They prefer learning directly from the DVD first as opposed to listen to me teach so I let them. Mr. Demme is more fun to listen too :)

I still have to: get schedules laminated, get chore schedules put into Handipoints and a hard copy printed, decide on hands on activities for first four weeks and buy supplies needed, and put notebooks together. I've admired the spiral bound workbooks that other's have put together, but realize that I just don't have the time to do that yet. I also know how much I realize I have forgotten to do and we'd have several to many pages that weren't included. I would rather put everything in a 3 ring binder and then have them spiral bound together after we were done with the unit.

The rest of July is looking to be quite busy. I think the time will fly be. E has a birthday on Monday. She will be 9. That is hard to believe. She will be coming back from Big Sandy Camp tomorrow afternoon. S cannot wait to see her. She realizes now, I think, that her sister is her favorite playmate.



Fourth of July and Listing Tasks

So our fourth of July was busy but fun. We handed out the Freeze Pops and watched the first half of the parade. M slept through most of it. We went home for an hour then went to a BBQ hosted by a family from church. The kids went through the sprinkler, even though we forgot to bring swimsuits, so they were completely soaked. But they had fun! Then we went to see fireworks. Our Pastor and his family live a block away from the park where they are let off. So they always let a bunch of people park in their driveway and walk over. We all pitch blankets and chairs on the grass. The kids get to run around and chase each other for a half hour until they finally start. M cried at first so I held her close to me and covered her ears. But then she got quiet and watched. She was asleep again after only about four minutes. We laughed at one of the young teens in our group who was more interested in texting her friends than watching the fireworks.

I made a list of all the things I want to accomplish this next week while E is at church camp. Here they are:

To Do’s While E is at Camp

· Get schedules laminated

· Get chore schedules put into Handipoints and a hard copy printed

· Type up list of TOG books to request out three weeks prior

· Type up list of books for LOTW

· Find and purchase used copies of What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Walk with Y'shua Through the Jewish Year and A Place in the Sun

· Decide on hands on activities for first four weeks and buy supplies needed

· Print out several copies of assignment checklists for E

· Type up first four assignment checklists for S

· Put notebooks together



Fourth of July Plans

Today we took the kids to a really neat park called Chutes and Ladders. Go to here to see the photo better. Isn't it neat? The only problem is it is crawling with kids in the summer. Several daycare centers were there (you could tell by the yellow and blue shirts they had) as well as many other families. The girls had fun climbing and running through the water. M enjoyed all the people watching.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. I've always loved that holiday. I love fireworks. We've always brought our kids to see them. They slept through their first year while they were babies. My kids have never once cried at the noise. They just love the beauty of all the dancing colors. This year I'm sure will be no exception. We are going to help our church hand out Freeze-Pops at a parade. E & S should enjoy that. Of course, it's going to be hard for them to hand them out and not eat them. I may end up sitting and waiting on the sidelines with L & M. L wants to help hand them out, but I'm afraid that she's too little. There's bound to be tons of people, and she isn't real good at staying with us. Her mind wanders as she people watches and she could get left behind real easily.

I've spent the last two weeks trying to get our schedule done for the next school year. I've worked on an assignment sheet. I've gotten all of my copying done. Now I just need to get notebooks put together and we'll be ready for our first day. I had been planning to start on August 4th, but our church is having VBS that week. So now I'm leaning towards starting on July 28th and just doing half days for the first two weeks. I hope that will help alleviate all of the TOG fog I've heard so much about. The girls are not at all excited to start up school again. I picked our August 4th date to correspond with the start date for a charter school where several of their friends attend. That way I won't have to hear, "But we're the only ones in school." (For those of you who did not read my old blog, we started school right after July 4th last year so that we could take 8 weeks off when M was born in November. They hated this schedule as the neighborhood kids were not in school and could be heard playing outside.) So while not all of their friends will be in school, some will be.


Why Do I Homeschool?

Since this is a question every homeschooler is asked, I thought I'd answer that here with this list of reasons.
1) The public school system is not set up to help each child reach their full potential. I believe each child has the right to be taught in the way they learn best, even when the method varies from subject to subject. They have the right to do a lesson over if they didn't understand it the first time. They have the right to move ahead faster if they understand the ideas being taught. They have the right to question what they are being taught and to learn the Truth from which ever books can give it.
2) My children are very naive. They will believe pretty much whatever other children, and most adults, tell them. (DH and I seem to be the one exception to that :)) Therefore, it is my job as their parent to filter out the junk, and help them learn how to differentiate the Truth from the lies.
3) I want my children to learn how to think, how to research, how to process information and how to come to their own conclusions. I don't want them to simply spit out information they do not understand, or worse yet goes against their beliefs, simply to get a good grade.
4) I believe that the public schools are no longer trying to teach children how to learn. Their soul purpose is to indoctrinate children into a certain mindset, and there is no tolerance for those who think differently. (An oxy moron as this is what they claim to teach - tolerance of everything.)

Therefore, DH and I believe that for now, as God has enabled us to be able to homeschool, our children are best served at home, where they are loved and trained and taught in the methods God has impressed upon us as the best for them. Methods change, curriculums change but God never changes.