What can we do to teach this to our kids?  Wait until you have a day that is 95 degrees with a heat index reading of 105.  Then let them have a lemonade stand with the neighbor kid.



Princess M Funnies

In a statement made as she was rushing to the bathroom, "Mom my tummy water is swishing."


Planning for 2011/2012

While most of my planning for next year has been done, there are still a few things remaining.  One of those has been a daily schedule.  Schedules have been the bane of my homeschool existence.  My princesses just don't function well with schedules.  But I remain convinced that if we can stick to one, the rest of life will flow a lot better.  So I have spent much time over the last week thinking about how to make things work for us.  I will be adding Princess M in to our homeschool next year as a preschooler.  Princess L will be a first grader.  But she will still require me to work with her for almost the entire time.  Princess S will be a fifth grader.  I need to begin to mover her toward the dialectic level.  However, I'm not sure yet how to get her there.  Princess E will be a seventh grader.  She will be a second year dialectic student, but last year was very difficult as she fought the work load tooth and nail.  Despite the training I did to help her, she is my strong willed child who has to do everything her way - even if she can see without a shadow of doubt that her way will take longer, be more difficult and result in inaccurate results.  So, I still have much work to do with her.  Needless to say, it is going to require a strict schedule in order for everyone to get the piece of my time that they will need.

I decided that Princess S needs a very strict schedule.  I filled in for her when she is to do each subject.  I haven't done that before.  There were certain times for group work, but I generally let her decide what order to do her assignments in.  She can make school last a lifetime, with both ADD and SPD playing their parts to keep her distracted as well as being a distraction.  I decided to give her a finite amount of time for each subject, and to list in what order she will do each subject.  I'm going to set my alarm on my wrist watch to make sure that all transitions happen as scheduled.  My prayer is that by mid-year, she would be beginning to finish subjects early and either use the time as quiet free time (reading a book or drawing) or else working ahead.  Any assignments for the day that are not finished will be considered "homework" and she will have to complete them before being allowed free time.  For Princess E, I took all her blocks of time that she wasn't doing something with the rest of us and called them "independent work" times.  She will continue to schedule out her week as she did last year, and will be able to decide what order to do things in each day.  However, I told her that I reserved the right to make changes to her schedule if it is causing problems.  One problem she had last year is that she scheduled her reading assignments very light the first day, and then didn't do her outlines the way she was instructed, and therefore would have to re-read everything the day she tried to do her AQ/TQ's.  She would get behind and not have them done, and everything would get pushed back.  This year I told her that she will be assigning all of her TOG reading assignments the first two days and will be doing KWO's a la IEW with her History Core and History In-Depth reading.  She will be working each day until 3:15pm, and if she finished what she had assigned for herself early, she is to work ahead on the next day's work.  If she didn't finish all the work assigned for the day by then, she too will have "homework".

Another thing I did was to schedule in two 15 minute quick clean sessions - one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  The morning one will hopefully allow them to catch up on any morning chores that weren't completed or do some other cleaning that they can potentially earn commission for.  The morning cleaning will be followed by a 15 minute snack time.  The afternoon snack will be at 3:15 with a fifteen minute cleaning following it.

For Princess L, I have assigned her a play time with Princess M, as well as a time for her to read to Princess M.  She will have some scheduled free times.  I have decided to break up her time with me into three half hour slots.  We will spend 45 minutes on language arts, 30 minutes on math, and 15 minutes on TOG related activities.  Princess L and Princess M will also be assigned to help with lunch prep.  Yep - I'm crazy!

Princess M will have a one hour preschool time with me broken up into a 45 minute time slot and a 15 minute time slot.  These will be early in the morning.  One of the seminars I attended at our homeschool convention years ago was by David Hazell of My Father's World.  He talked about the importance of giving the youngest students the first time.  Once they get their time with mom, they are usually more willing and able to play by themselves for a while.  So, after her preschool time she will have a half hour learning video (one of many I have on hand) and then after our snack time she will have a 45 minute room time.  This will be challenging to begin with, but I plan to keep her Leapster away at other times and let her have it during her room time.  For now, I am scheduling a nap time in the afternoon.  It is a shorter time than she usually takes right now.  But generally when they turn 4, I am less concerned that the nap happens.  It will probably turn into an extended afternoon room time by the end of the year - but who knows.  Princess S would have continued taking naps at 4 if she wasn't sharing a room with Princess E at the time.  Finally, the youngest two princesses will have a half hour TV time at the end of our scheduled time so that I can work on dinner.

I have schedule myself a half hour meeting time with both of the older princesses each day.  This time will be to go over the previous day's work, doing some narrations (which will be new to us,) and going over any new questions that come up.  I also have some assigned some "office hours" for myself.  These will be specific times that the older two princesses can count on me to be willing and able to interrupt what I'm doing to answer questions or help.  This has been one of their complaints - that I'm not available when they need help.  (I would counter that by saying that neither of them generally asks for help - just do the work and cross it off and worry about corrections later - and when they do it is after having wasted a lot of time and right before I need to be doing something important.)

So without further ado, here is our daily schedule goal for next year:

2011_2012 Daily Schedule


What You Don't Expect to Hear From a Princess

* Allow me to preface this by saying this is a princess who has an overly active nose - such as her momma had during her four pregnancies with hyperemesis gravidarum.  * 

"But Mom, I can't go potty cuz I smell something in my butt.  And it's making me sick."

Name withheld to protect the guilty.


The Ice Cream Volcano

Since we learned about volcanoes in our last weeks of school, we decided that this suggested activity would be a fun one.  We choose to wait until Nanny was visiting.  We allowed some ice cream to soften and then formed it into a volcano shape.  We set it back into the freezer for several hours.  Then I poured some cupcake flavored Magic Shell over the top.  It went back into the freezer for another two hours.  Finally, we took it out and added chocolate syrup and crushed cookies.  We talked about how a volcano is formed, and what the land could look like before and after the volcano erupted.  Of course, eating it was the most fun part of the project!


Volcano 2

Volcano 3

Volcano 4

MMTA Convention

Princess E was blessed to be able to play at the MMTA Convention this past week.  She participated in a program called Music Bridges.  The purpose of the program is as follows: "Music Bridges offers teachers the freedom and flexibility to design a program to fit each individual student, at any age, and at any level of ability.  In addition to repertoire performance, a student's program may include an original composition, dance, drama or visual art."  Therefore, Princess E played a piece of music  which her teacher chose called "A Little Flower" by Cornelius Gurlitt.  Based on the song, she composed a poem, also called "A Little Flower."  She played "Lost Toy" by Christopher Norton.  She also composed two of her own songs, "Angry Clouds" and "Clear."  She sang on "Clear" while she played.  She received a perfect score when she did the program back in April.  The organizers decided to have a class on the Music Bridges program at the convention.  The judge was asked to choose two students who could best represent the idea of the program who could perform their program again.  Princess E was one of those chosen. 

We had to be up there by 7:45am.  Princess E was the first to perform, and ended up doing her whole program twice through.  She also was asked a lot of questions about her songs, and how she went about writing and composing.  One funny point was when she was asked about the overarching theme in all of her pieces.  She replied, "Well, I'd tell you  if I knew what it was."  So the judge asked the audience and one man volunteered that it was about becoming comfortable with who you were and what your talents were.  I thought that was pretty good.  The practice judge brought out the fact that she thought that all of the pieces greatly reflected Princess E's faith.  That was quite the compliment!   Here are two pictures from the event.