HELLO

Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.

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Saturday
Aug302014

Anyone?

So. We still have this tv in our garage. It's a Magnavox 20" tv/dvd combo with remote...purchased new about 8 years ago. As of April, when we moved it to the garage, it worked just fine. 

If you're local and can pick it up, it's yours! If you're not interested but happen to know where we can recycle/get rid of it...PLEASE let me know! 

UPDATE: It's been recycled locally! Thanks all!

Thursday
Aug282014

PS on reading...

For the sake of thoroughness and recording it somewhere, here's a partial list of books boys read during the 2013-14 school year (some assigned, some chosen...I've probably forgotten some).

NOAH (7th grade)

ASHER (5th grade)

  • Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card (surprisingly, after reading this Asher had no desire to see the movie...I'm not sure what that means)
  • Leviathan series, by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien

MICAH (3rd grade)

That's that. :)

Wednesday
Aug272014

Summer Reading 2014

While I'm on a roll here, figured I'd do a quick run down of the summer reading the boys did. Here's how it worked:

  • I required them each to read a minimum of 1200 pages over 12 weeks, with the goal being to simply keep them reading somewhat regularly (and the hope being to help them see that reading is awesome, lol). (There were three "deadlines" spaced throughout the summer as check points.)
  • If they read more, they could earn some prizes (like ice cream and Pokemon booster packs). ;)
  • I found page numbers to be more effective this year than hours/minutes as we've done in years past.
  • Since it was summer, boys each selected their own books, though they had to be approved by me to make sure they didn't try to slip in books they'd already read or books that were obviously intended for little kids, lol. (I was also known to make suggestions, though those were rarely followed, lol.)

So. Here are the lists:

NOAH (13 years old, grand total of 1215 pages...yeah, he did the *bare* minimum...he's definitely not as taken with stories as the younger two, though he actually does plenty of non-fiction reading/research)

  • The Nazi Hunters, by Neal Bascomb (He picked this one after I'd read it. I, personally, found it fascinating.)
  • Alex Rider books, by Anthony Horowitz (He's worked through five of these so far. I believe there are nine. He has them all sitting in his bedroom. Given that his English teacher this fall has already required him to bring in some personal reading, I'm hopeful that he'll actually finish these. I read the first one. I didn't find it hugely challenging or anything but will take what I can get if it keeps my teen boy reading, lol.)

ASHER (11-12 years old, grand total of 4111 pages...Asher is definitely my reader!)

  • Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, by Tom Angleberger (Asher had previously read the earlier books in this Origami Yoda series...they're fun and seem to appeal to middle school age antics.)
  • Akiko series (10 books), by Mark Crilley (These books were recommended to me years ago by a local bookseller. At the time, I read a few of them to the older two boys but never made it all the way through. Asher and Micah thoroughly enjoyed them.)
  • Treasure Hunters, by James Patterson (Boys loved this and thought it was fabulous that the main characters are homeschooled.)
  • The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt (I may have enjoyed this one more than the boys, though Asher did still enjoy it. (I'd made Noah read it earlier in the year.))
  • Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (Deanna and others who are purists about literature, don't look. ;) My philosophy is that it's better for boys to read abridged versions and learn the story than to not read them at all...and they wouldn't have self-selected the originals, lol. So. Asher read this one after Micah had finished and pleaded with him to read it so that they could talk about it together...before we all went to see the Peter Pan show at the Candlelight Theater.)
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (another abridged version but one of Asher's favorites of the classics he read over the summer)
  • Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (Asher was just so-so about this one...Micah tried but quit, lol)
  • Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (ditto Moby Dick)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society books, by Trenton Lee Stewart (Asher's loving these! I've only read the first book, but Asher's on book number four now, having finished the first three during the summer.)

MICAH (8-9 years old, grand total of 3283 pages...Micah enjoys reading but I'd be lying if I said he enjoyed it as much as Asher...honestly I think he enjoys trying to keep up with Asher more than reading, itself)

(Note, Micah and Asher read many of the same books...taking it in turns to recommend/insist upon books to each other.)

  • Seize the Story, by Victory Hanley (Micah started with this one after finishing writing his haiku book. He devoured the suggestions and has big plans, lol.)
  • Peter Pan (Micah loved this one more than Asher, as he has a definite longing to never grow up, lol.)
  • Origami Yoda books, by Tom Angleberger (Micah hadn't read all the previous ones like Asher, so started from Darth Paper and made it to Emperor Pickletine (which came out earlier this month). I believe there are six of them altogether now, not counting the Art2D2 book which teaches how to draw and fold characters.)
  • Akiko books (As I mentioned, both Asher and Micah adored these.)
  • Treasure Hunters (I believe Micah said this was his favorite over the summer after the Akiko books. Don't hold him to that, though. He's indecisive like that.)
  • Treasure Island (Micah wasn't as impressed with this as Asher, as he hates for anyone to die in any book, lol.)

And that's what boys read over the summer. :) If you have any recommendations, I'd LOVE to hear them...as we're trying to keep this sort of reading up throughout the year...

Tuesday
Aug262014

2014-15 Homeschool Plan: Everything Else

Whew. Okay, trying to just knock these all out so I can cross them off my to-do list, lol. Here's the rest of what we've got planned:

ART: I'm going to do better this year. Honest. ;) I've got You Can Draw in 30 Days and two boys who are actually enthusiastic about learning it. In lesson 8, we get to learn to draw koalas!

MUSIC: Asher has Guitar 2 at Options this year, and Micah assures me that he's going to practice piano on his own. :) (Noah, fwiw, still plays both guitar and piano on his own and will be enlisted to help his brothers.)

PE: Both Asher and Micah have PE at Options. They both also have karate classes twice a week plus one or two additional practices for demo team and other additional training. Micah and Noah will also have JOAD (archery tournament team) twice a week (once with the team and once on their own), and Noah will also have swim team (and walks to and from school every day). I think we have PE covered, lol.

CURSIVE/TYPING: This is a work in progress when time allows. We still use Type Fu to practice typing. I'm going to revisit cursive this year, too. I'm not actually as concerned that they learn to write cursive (though that would be lovely) as that they know how to *read* cursive. I'm finding that it's an unanticipated lesson needed.

CURRENT EVENTS: I found an app called Student News Daily that does a nice job of selecting news to discuss with kids. Beyond my normal talking with boys throughout the week as things come up, I'm going to use this to more intentionally start discussions.

Okey-dokey. That's pretty much our plan. Yay! (Will update my curriculum pages on the left soon...)

Tuesday
Aug262014

2014-15 Homeschool Plan: Science, History & Geography

Powering through... ;)

SCIENCE: We're taking a unit study approach this year. The way I have things broken out, we have six roughly six week sessions. So, we're taking six different topics...lockpicking, astronomy, Ellen McHenry's physics labs, physics, catapults/trebuchets, and architecture.

(Last year, we did manage to work through two of the curricula planned. Human Body Detectives ended up being too annoying to me, as I had to correct grammar as I was reading it aloud. Ellen McHenry's Elements, though, was pretty good.)

HISTORY: I decided to combine world and US history this year, tackling things in six sessions again. Moving right along after last year, I took Reconstruction (1865) to 2000 and broke it into six chunks. Within each of those, I'll use Story of the World Volume 4 and The Story of Us (books 7-10) as the framework. I'll also add supplementary books. I'm actually geeking out a bit and thinking that this approach will be more fun and more memorable...and will help me remember to stop and review regularly. :)

GEOGRAPHY: Like last year, I'll cover both world geography and US geography. For world geography, we'll use Mapping the World With Art by Ellen McHenry. For US geography, we'll use 50 States and Where to Find Them. Both of these are new to me, so fingers crossed. :)