Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

Remember as a kid on the playground how you would just walk up to a kid and ask if they wanted to get on the slide or the see-saw, and then they were forever your friend? My two best friends from college saw me and asked if I wanted to go have dinner with them in the dining hall and we were inseparable for 4 years! Seems odd as an adult to connect with people in this way. Things usually progress organically between adults as you are involved in activities together or work together. Well after 7 weeks of planning, researching, and teaching my child I realized how isolated I've become. The homeschool checklist says to join a support group but I hadn't had the time to really check one out. I did receive two newsletters from one such group but didn't see an opportunity to participate. They have an upcoming day retreat but it seems odd to show up at a member's home for a retreat for your first introduction to the group. The Classical Conversations group will provide this type of "connecting" structure next school year but we have from now until August/September to plug in somewhere.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010

I've lost track of which week of school I'm in so the title of this blog is just today's date. As I'm thinking about the yearly testing that must be done to satisfy Virginia homeschooling laws, I realize the test will be more of an assessment of learning from public school than what we've done in the last 7 weeks. Next year's test will be a better indicator of what we've accomplished. But I must say I felt pretty good when JW helped MW with her math homework tonight. The subject matter was something that her and I went over since we've been homeschooling.

Jordan's working in her "after schooling" book for the first time tonight. Her report card came out yesterday for the 2nd 9 week term. Two of her grades went from an A to a C. When exchanging emails with the teacher regarding this her answer was basically "the kids know what they need to do in class and she will bring up her grade next term. It's not the question of her knowing the material but rather her not turning in assignments." This answer did not satisfy me. If she was in high school this answer would be acceptable to me because she is totally responsible for completing and turning in assignments. But a third grader who clearly knows her work for some reason isn't turning them in? Does anyone think the parent should have been made aware of this issue well before grades came out?? I think so. Granted, the teacher has been out on maternity leave and the class was left in the hands of a sub who just graduated from college but I really have a problem with this. Part of me feels like leave it alone she's coming home next year and another part of me feels like letting them know how I really feel about this but will this change her grade? I think not. Not sure how I'm going to handle it but at this point in a child's academic career I really feel like grades should reflect a student's mastery of material.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week 6, Saturday

I haven't blogged in a while. The routine is starting to settle in and I felt a lot of frustration this week. We still seem to move a little slow for my taste but I am not sure why I'm in a rush. I finally got a history curriculum from Abeka to add some structure to our history lessons. So far in black history we've learned about Sojourner Truth and Frederick Doulass. Of course this is of most interest to me, I suppose it has deeper meaning for me. I didn't know Douglass grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland which I've passed through on many occassions. And secondly, his final home is a historic landmark in SE Washington, DC. Without a doubt a homeschool field trip in the very near future.
The first field trip on our calendar is a day visit at Monticello next month. We haven't studied Thomas Jefferson as yet but I'm sure we will before the visit.

Well that is a wrap for now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 5, Day 1

Another snow day today and tomorrow! The snow has hit the east coast and the result has been all 3 kids at home participating in homeschool. The kids didn't go to school on last friday either but JW and I took that as a snow day as well.

But today things were back to normal. I found a fun activity on-line where I hid clues around the house that the kids had to find to answer 18 questions about the human body. It was so much fun to watch them run around to find the clues without letting each other know where they found them because the first one to finish received a money deposit into their piggy bank. While having fun they learned a lot of facts they, or I for that matter, didn't know before. For example, I never knew the left lung was smaller than the right lung to make room for the heart. God is so amazing in the way he has knit us together. This scavenger hunt is in keeping with JW's science unit on the human body. We finished up a unit on the digestive system next will be the circulatory system. JW has such a gift for drawing & illustrating that I am using this to help reinforce lessons. She drew a beautiful colored picture of the digestive system and labeled its parts. I got the great idea of having her do this for each system we study and then construct a book when we are finished. I believe this will go a long way in helping her to really learn this material. I am also excited about finding her a drawing class being taught at a local arts center. It's a 6 week class that starts 2/15 once a week for an hour. There is a second 6 week class that builds upon the skills introduced in the first which I will probably register her for as well. I'm eager to see how her natural gifts develop as a result of this training.

I'm thankful to God in giving me creative ways to teach her lessons. Creativity is truely not one of my gifts so I know its from him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

JW's Diamante

blue, flat
falling, dropping, hitting
Teacher, Student, Controls, TV
screaming, running, flying
fun, challenging

Week 4, Day 3

Since we've begun, I've blogged everyday until now. I guess I felt there wasn't anything new going on so I didn't want to post the same schedule everyday.

However, yesterday was the first day of the 4H Veterinary Program that I enrolled Jasmine in. It is a 5 class session on animal care and the profession itself. Because this class was 7:15 - 8:15 pm the younger two got the benefit of attending some of the session. This first night was spent on touring the facility, looking at xrays and discussing animal diseases. JW said they saw pictures of parasites, ticks and other gross things. A golden retriever was on site for petting and "examining."

The animal clinic was minutes from Mt. Vernon which I had never seen. It was dark and snowy so it was hard to see, but we got a glimpse. This stop is definitely on my list of places to see in the very near future.

Today is also an interesting day. Because of the snow, school is out so the younger two have enjoyed participating in our timed math drills this morning and everyone got a chance to write their own diamante poems during Language Arts. This was one of those unplanned moments where I was able to see how working with more than one child can be juggled. They thought today was going to be a sit in front of the TV kind of day -NOT!


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