Friday, September 23, 2011

Homeschool Resources

Can you even believe it, I'm posting two days in a row. Kirsten
tagged me on this days and days ago, and I'm going to attempt to answer the questions while also blogging about my own recent homeschool thoughts.

One homeschooling book you have enjoyed...

Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss

There are lots more, but after homeschooling for over 10 years I've really been out of the how and why to homeschool kind of books for quite some time. Also I am not going to take the time to link to any of these so you'll just have to do it the old fashioned way and google it if you are curious.

One resource you wouldn't be without....

I have to include my two favorites here...the public library and the internet! We are fortunate enough to live in a county where we can take books out of any of the (about 10) county libraries. It is very easy to order any books you need via my other favorite, the internet, and they will be delivered to the library of your choice. I'm a library glutton though and I don't stop there. I happen to live in the one town in the county whose library isn't part of the county system. I make quick use of that place as well. They are a little stricter there and their fines and policies will kill you, but there's something endearing as well. It is so quiet and comfy in there and it really feels like you're stepping back in time when you we go there (which is at least weekly). But wait there's more. That's still not enough for me. We also have a card (and large fines) to the neighboring larger big city county. I currently owe then over $5 for a book that would cost only $3.99 in the store. it was lost under Madi's bed for weeks and no one even read it (Jake checked it out). I might spend a fair amount at all these libraries over the course of a year, but I get sooo sooo much more in return and in the end I'm saving a bundle.

Now for the internet (and let's include my ipod in this)... just today we spend some time watching the animaniacs state capitals song and video and their presidents one too. This was on you tube, so we can add you tube to the list of resources I wouldn't be without. Yesterday Jake and I watched the Pilgrim part of EPCOT'S American Adventure on you tube. ("There's a land cross this ocean I'm waiting to see, a land for these people who dream to be free......") For that matter I can add Disney to the list of resources. We're missing not having passes right now. I'm thinking next year Jake will probably do Exploring Countries and Cultures and we'll spend a lot of school at EPCOT.

Khanacademy is another website that I've only begun to tap the riches of.

One resource you wish you'd never bought...

I'm not sure that I have an answer for this one. Maybe some of the more "pro-reformation" stuff from My Father's World, oh and the one History book that bashed FDR. Even things we don't agree with I've been able to use as a lesson in the author's perspective etc. I'm pretty sure of stuff before I buy it though so I generally don't buy anything until I check it out first. I might have a few things laying around that we haven't used yet, but they'll be used eventually.

One resource you enjoyed last year...

This kind of goes with the last question. I generally don't use a resource until I'm pretty sure of it, so everything we've ever used I've enjoyed. That might sound a little obnoxious, but for the most part I think it's accurate. Jake used Catholic Heritage 2nd grade last year and I really liked it. I did find that I didn't get my money's worth out of the whole lesson plan packet though, so this year for 3rd he's just doing their spelling and language and other stuff for the rest. Some of my favorite all time resources are Five in a Row, Singapore Math, Teaching Textbooks, Apologia Science, Story of the World, and this year Notgrass's America the Beautiful and Hakim's A History of US.

One resource you wished existed...

I wish Netflix didn't drastically up their prices. We will be receiving our last DVD in the mail today (the second part Colonial House which I highly recommend). After that we'll be streaming only. We can't justify the cost of the DVDs, but now I'll have to barter with someone to let us watch some of their American History ones.

One resource you would like to have...

Hmmm this might require more brain power than I have right now to figure out. We really have so much at our disposal, it's sometimes hard to imagine more.

One homeschool catalog you enjoy reading...

This is probably the easiest question. Until this year none of my kids have ever done Sonlight (Madi is doing Core 100 this year), but it has been BY FAR my favorite homeschool catalog for years and years. We have used it to get many great book recommendations. LOVE! IT!!! (Madi and I are loving the whole curriculum this year too!!)

So here's my homeschooling thought of the week (it doesn't apply to homeschooling only, it's about all school and learning in general). What percentage of school would you say is learned for the information and what percentage is done for the sake of brain development, learning to learn, etc... Like for example I think most people can agree a lot of higher math is done for brain development and not because anyone really needs to know if two trains are traveling toward each other, one having left from Boston at 9am at a speed of 85 mph and the other left New York at 9:10 blah blah blah, you get my point. Here's what I've been pondering lately. Jake's spelling for example... Jonathan and Madi never really did spelling at Jake's age (and thus it might not really be necessary...shhh don't tell him that). So I wonder, am I having him do it so he'll really learn to spell the words (which I am convinced he'll learn someday anyway), or so he'll learn that he has to do some things even if they're not always that much fun? I do believe that the activities in the book are good for his brain development too. Also spelling has a nice rhythm to it to Monday the first page of the lesson, Tuesday the second, Wednesday write the words in your neatest handwriting, Thursday quiz (often oral and frequently while he's in the bathtub), Friday test (unless he gets them all right on Thursday). Rhythm is good. Two of the things that Jake is "into" currently are Veggie Tales and the game Top Trumps. He's especially hooked on playing the Star Wars one, but we also have some about dinosaurs, animals, boats, and planes. The way the game works is you pick a category from your card (like fighting skill) and you compete with the other person for their card's fighting skill (or whatever). Well last weekend Jake enlisted Madi and I to help him to create a Veggie Tales Top Trumps. So we made pictures (the pic is at the top) of Bob and Larry and all their buddies and they can compete on the basis of funniest, tallest, best silly song etc. He definitely learned more doing this than he probably did with any of his school work last week. It reminds me of the long ago question when someone asked what Jonathan was learning in second grade. I said he had been present for the birth of his baby brother. The retort was, "That's not in the second grade scope and sequence." I went to public school my whole life and I know I learned far more on our two week vacation to California when I was in 6th grade than anything else the WHOLE REST OF THE SCHOOLYEAR! I can, to this day, tell you about most of the trip in great detail (as can my brother who was in second grade at the time). So here's the thing, we are playing the high school game complete with credits and transcripts etc. I know Jonathan is learning a lot and for the most part enjoying it. He's definitely enjoying Algebra 2 after a year of Geometry, and he's liking Biology. He's not in love with Spanish and English, but he's doing it and getting A's. His History class hasn't started yet and the virtual school people will be hearing from us today. BUT I know that he is getting much more educated and prepared for his future at the theatre. I have many more thoughts, but my time was up a long time ago. There may be more to come...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I was going to call this 'thinking about blogging', but I just called a post that a few times ago

I just can't seem to post much anymore. Years ago in the peek of my blogging, I'd get asked by people, "How do you find/make time to blog?" In those days that was a joke, blogging essentially came before everything except eating! Now...not so much. Those were the days when I "thought in blog", these are the days where I have resorted to writing things in a planner because I seriously CAN. NOT. KEEP. IT. ALL. IN. MY. HEAD!! All three kids are in the thick of Cinderella rehearsals. Jonathan is Herbert (the Prince's Dad), Madi is Fifi (one of the step-sisters), and Jake is a Newsboy (the same part Jonathan was when they did this show five years ago). Jonathan and Madi auditioned on Tuesday for two extra shows. One is the Florida Theatre Conference. The other is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Both of these were audition only and everyone isn't necessarily in. They both got into both! They will each be in a scene of LOCKERS for the conference (this is a competition and something they've never done before), and Madi is Beth (her first lead in two years) and Jonathan is the harried Reverend in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This doesn't count the two adult shows that Jonathan is currently doing lights for until all hours of the night. Jake has joined Madi in church choir. In addition to the children's choir, Madi, will still be cantoring (ie THE choir) for other Masses frequently. Jonathan and Madi have pretty active Youth Group schedules this year and since Middle School and High School are mostly separate this year that means a lot more driving for me! Oh and Madi has had a bee in her bonnet about playing soccer lately, so she's doing that too! Somehow all of these things and Jonathan's five hours of driving every Saturday for five weeks (and whatever else I am forgetting at the moment) do not interfere with each other. Crazy huh!?

Then there's schooling besides! They all pretty much have heavier loads than ever before. They're keeping up pretty well too and still able to find plenty of down time to hang out with friends and still sneak in too much TV.

Speaking of TV, I'm considering not watching Dancing with the Stars this season. The first week has been recorded on the DVR, but I might not watch it. It's one way to find some more hours in my overflowing week. It's gotten a little old lately. I do like a lot of the dancers, but they seem to have run out of "STARS". And here's the other thing. When I was little I actually thought Sonny and Cher were my parents' friends. Because of that Chastity was my BFF. I now feel a little betrayed by her (him?) There's also the question of the X FACTOR, that has also been recorded, but thus far not watched. I'm a big fan of the singing and dancing kind of entertainment, but if I'm not hooked now, why get hooked ya know?!

Madi's math teacher (AKA Mr Teaching Textbooks) is now talking in my ear and distracting me, so I think it's time to get back to my planner and figure out who's supposed to be where when.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last one


Our family is camping at Fort Wilderness for Night of Joy this weekend. I am home right now, however, because Jonathan is doing this...

Yesterday we did this...


Tonight we're going back for more!

note: this is Jake's first year going to Night of Joy and he did great! This picture was taken after midnight and he rallied one more time after this to walk (on his own two feet) out of the park and on to the boat, bus, and finally camper!

More Frannie...

Francesca Batistelli at Night of Joy

St Augustine and other homeschooly pics

Homeschool {Disney} bus stop...

Navajo Flatbread

There's no school like homeschool and there's no candy like homemade peanut butter cups!

An Iroquoian Longhouse and a Woodland Wigwam...


I was trying to capture my children walking up to the largest stone fort in America build on the sight of the oldest permanent European settlement in the New World, and yet I couldn't take my focus off of the chocolate and caramel dipped rice crispy treat that I was eating!

Friday, September 2, 2011

part 2...maybe not

I'm overdue on the continuation of my last post. I'm not really feeling it right now though, and I'm 'longer' overdue on the book post from about 2 months ago. We'll start with that and see where this leads.

In the last few weeks I've read some really good books like The Help, I really loved it and the movie too. I felt like the movie was really close to the book and the characters were very much how I pictured them. I had just finished the book too and it still was close. Often because I read so many books by the time I see the movie I've forgotten enough of the book to make it seem similar enough, but this time I remembered it all and it was still really close. I'm not the first one to have said that either. I also read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I liked it. I didn't love it though, this book is written as a series of letters and I just skimmed some of the letters. Then I read Stink Alley. This is a kid/young adult, historical fiction book about when the Pilgrims went to Holland before they came to America. It is part of Madi's History curriculum for this year (she hasn't read it yet). It was a quick easy read and I really enjoyed it. Two days ago I finished my favorite of all of these Miles to Go, I LLOOOVVVEEEEDDDD it!! It is the second in The Walk series. I read The Walk sometime in the last year. I don't remember when, but I do remember that I read a lot of it on the bike at the gym. I just found out from amazon that the third book in the series isn't coming out until April...I don't wanna wait that long! Go read these books! I am fighting a little bit of a sore throat and after some really busy days and a busy morning introducing a couple friends to the 'fine art of wheat grinding' (haha), {and supervising a little schoolwork}, I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening reading most of The Duggars 20 and Counting, not great literature of course, but it's keeping me interested. Jake and I are still reading Farmer Boy, which is as slow (but nice) as it was the last two times I read it aloud. We are all reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School aloud because we are going to see the play in a few weeks. The best word to describe this book is lame (but kinda funny). It is no where near as good as Holes which is also by Louis Sachar.

Ok all those links wore me out! We're schooling like usual around here, fitting in virtual school, high school level classes, and spelling tests around beach days and visits with out of town friends. Next week Mike is off of work and in additon to school we'll be doing some rental house work (yuck!) and some camping at Fort Wilderness (yeah!). We are going to Night of Joy at Disney Friday and Saturday nights next week (though we didn't get our tickets yet, do they sell out?!). Next Saturday in the day though, Jonathan and I will have to leave Fort Wilderness so he can begin 5 weeks of "behind the wheel driver training". I am NOT ready for this!!

Rumor has it that the PSAT is being given on October 15. By Rumor I mean the College Board website. I called the local highschool again YESTERDAY (Sept 1) to register Jonathan and the GUIDANCE DEPARTMENT still didn't know a thing about it!! UGh!! The lady took my number and said she'll call me back...we'll see. I have to say I'm glad I'm not trusing my child's education to those people. (It's my blog and I can say that!)