Sunday, March 31, 2013

2 day getaway

We normally take all of our vacation time in the summer but the girls and I had an opportunity to spend a few days at the beach this week.  We arrived after 11 pm on Thursday night because traffic was such a nightmare.  There was nothing to do but sleep once we arrived.  The next morning was breakfast and a day out at an Arts & Crafts fair and outlet shopping.  My mom prepared dinner for us all and we watched movies until night.  The weather was pleasant but cool.  Nothing was better than the view from our room. 

On our finally day we enjoyed breakfast at our favorite beach spot, took a stroll on the boardwalk and headed back home.  We did make a stop at the birthplace of Harriet Tubman.  There was a Harriet Tubman museum and educational center where we viewed a documentary of her life and saw much on display regarding her contribution to American history.  I know and have learned a lot about Harriet Tubman but there was still much I didn't know.   It was a great visit for us all.  


We all wished we could stay longer but I couldn't leave my husband much longer with the younger kids.  But I'm grateful we had a change of scenery even if for only 2 days.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Art of Poetry

 Classical Academic Press

 photo aopbundle_MED_zpsfb333070.gifIf you enjoy poetry and are looking for a creative way to incorporate poetry study in your homeschool the Art of Poetry by Classic Academic Press just might fit the bill.  The Art of Poetry curriculum bundle includes a Teacher's Edition, Student Text, and the poetry DVD set for $124.95.

You can purchase each item separately for $29.95 (Teacher's Edition), $24.95 (Student Text), and $89.95 (DVD set).  The curriculum can be used for middle and high schoolers.  I used it with a 6th grade student who doesn't have an appreciation for poetry.  She feels that readers' analysis of the author's intentions are too deep and thinks the subject matter of most poems are gloomy.   I'm sure this has a lot to do with her maturity level and her readiness for going deeper.  The author makes a good point of poetry helping one to think analytically and metaphorically which is essential to writing literary analysis so at some point my daughter will have to develop this skill.

The Art of Poetry DVD SetOne can use the student text without the DVDs and Teacher's Edition but the sample DVD we used of Chapters 1 and 2 came in handy to help bring perspective to poems that we would otherwise not have.  Each chapter focuses on an element of poetry like Image and Metaphor which is then explored in the various poems of that chapter.  At the end of each poem is a series of questions to help readers understand the poem.  The answers to these questions are in the Teacher's Edition.  The Teacher's Edition also includes quizzes for each chapter which helps the student put into practice the skills learned in each chapter.  Poem vocabulary and suggested activities end each chapter.  The activities include creative suggestions for further investigating the element of poetry that was explored in the chapter.  For example, the first chapter explores images.  One activity includes finding four images that describe the past school year or make a collage of images that describe you or a relationship that is important to you.  There are plenty of activities to choose from for each chapter including writing your own poetry.

I love that the website and the student text includes a suggested schedule to use the curriculum.  You can use the curriculum as a unit study, spread it out over a year, or do several chapters to spread it out over several years.  If your student is like my student and isn't ready for deep analysis, you can just read a poem a day just to familiarize yourself with different poets and their styles.  This is the approach I like best.  You can discuss aspects of the poem if something jumps out at you and is relevant to your student.  This way the material isn't too heavy for the reluctant student.  Even better are the audio files available at the Art of Poetry website under "free resources."  I don't have to rely on myself to read the poems "correctly" stressing syllables and lines that should be emphasized.  We enjoyed the audio files.

Even though my student didn't enjoy the poetry, I liked this curriculum.  I like the flexibility of it best.  It allows one to ease into the subject matter slowly saving meatier concepts for when the student is older.  In my opinion it is a little pricey for a poetry study which I expect to be part of a larger language arts curriculum.  However, you could start slowly by purchasing the student text only and using the audio files at the website.  Then add in the more advanced analysis for an older student and include the teacher's edition for the discussion questions and quizzes.  The DVDs help to round out everything adding the expertise of the facilitator to give insight and foster further in depth discussion.

Click on the banner below to see what other crew mates thought of this product.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is there such a thing as too many educational choices?

You know the great thing about homeschooling is choice and flexibility and the worst thing about homeschooling is choice and flexibility.  When Princess was sick for a week I was able to move all of that week's assignments to the following week.  Since she has one outside course, Geometry, she had to take the following week to just do her Geometry assignments so that she could catch up with her class.  No problem.  It worked and if need be extending the school year will allow us to finish up everything that is planned.  Flexibility - check.

As I evaluate her many strengths and weaknesses, I am attempting to make decisions about next year's schedule.  We definitely want to take advantage of dual enrollment at the local community college and I'm very fortunate to have two colleges to choose from.  One is 20 minutes south and one is 15 minutes north.  I'm thinking about an Art History course one semester and Spanish I the second semester to help round out the Spanish she's done in Rosetta Stone Level One.  Literature/Composition and History is an easy option to do at home with an outside evaluator for composition.  However, I am at a fork in the road with Algebra II and Chemistry. Choice - check.

We attended an open house for a local university-model school on Wednesday.  She would attend 3 days a week and complete assignments at home on Tuesday/Thursday.  I like the concept and the school's mission but it is a costly option.  We HAVE to have math take place in a classroom setting.  It is just what is best for her.  Our current co-op won't offer Algebra II next year.   There is a second coop that will probably offer it but I think Princess wants a different social setting.  That point has us looking at the local public school for 2 courses.

In homeschool you can always change something that isn't working.  You can even leave a co-op if you choose but taking a course in public school, I don't know if it is so easy to change if we find it just isn't working out.  Furthermore, I am a believer in finishing what you start.   So I am looking down all paths just praying about what to do.  Decisions.....decisions.

 Head over to weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers to see what other moms were up to this week.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat

Well this week has been a whirlwind.  Pumpkin and NuNu signed up to be a part of a christian theater group which put on a production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat this weekend.  For weeks practices have been once a week for 3 hours.  This week started with an 8 hour Saturday practice and two weekday practice of 4 hours each.  Friday night was the opening performance and there were three Saturday performances.  The girls are tired and so am I.  I'm glad its over.  They thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the group and are already asking to be a part of the next performance which begins this summer.  I don't think I've ever seen them more excited about anything they've been involved in.  So no matter how demanding this production I have to let them do it again.

good times with new friends

my young thespian signing autographs
They described their experience as an escape.  Does that mean my home school is like prison?  I guess we all need an escape from our daily grind.  Now if I can only find an escape for Princess and myself. 


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