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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Thursday
Aug272015

It's the little things

I have a sweet tooth. Not even gonna try to deny or hide that, lol. So, I was delighted when my lovely husband brought me this baggie of Jelly Bellies recently after a particular craving and whining session. 

I was even happier when I saw on the guide on the back that they'd changed the color of the buttered popcorn flavored bean to make them easier to find. I hate those things. ;P 

But. My happiness was dashed when I discovered that the buttered popcorn beans hadn't actually changed. They're still white with yellow dots...just white enough to often trick me into thinking they're coconut. Argh! On top of that, they added a caramel corn flavor, which is almost equally yucky.

So. I had my little guinea pig (aka Micah) make sure I had all the evil beans isolated and tossed those suckers. Take that! ;)

Tuesday
Aug252015

Report

So. In case you were wondering, both boys had a great first day at Options yesterday.

Micah was delighted to be back with his friends (which, fortunately, includes Asher), though he declared that his favorite part of the day was washing dishes in his Iron Chef class because "at least it was something to do." (He was a little put out by all the first day talking/rules and get to know you games, lol.)

Asher was similarly non-enthused by the first day rigamarole. His favorite thing was meeting another 13 year old boy who was actually smaller than him. ;) 

And, today, we began our homeschooling year. We did some talking and started on some reading, sentence composition, science and Korean. I know it's only day one, but I'm pretty happy with how things are looking!

Monday
Aug242015

Second First Day

Though Noah's starting his third week of school at this point, Asher and Micah are getting started today. This morning they were off to Options, the one day a week enrichment program we've been attending since 2008. Micah was pretty darn pumped about the whole thing:

(Seriously, the boy was up early and so very excited. You'd think he was tired of having us as his only audience all summer, lol.)

Asher took a bit more to get going but was still fairly happy: 

I dropped them both off this morning...easy-peasy. They didn't even look back after getting out of the car, lol. 

And, for tradition's sake, I'll also share this picture I took of all three boys together back on Noah's first day:

 
And I guess that means we're officially underway with this 2015-16 school year! 

Saturday
Aug222015

2015-2016 Homeschool Plan: Everything Else

Whew. Okay, need to finish this up before our school year actually gets going, lol. Here's the rest of what we've got planned:

ART: I did better last year! We pretty regularly tackled lessons in You Can Draw in 30 Days and it went well, with Micah enjoying them more than Asher. Toward the end of the year, we added in Doodle Crates and love those. I'm going to try to just continue this...with monthly Doodle Crates and lessons in another book by the same author. (Micah has grander plans than this...) ;)

MUSIC: Sadly, none of the boys is taking a music class this coming year. I'm hoping they'll all continue to practice on their own...piano for Micah, piano and guitar for Noah and Asher.

PE: Both Asher and Micah have PE at Options (so one hour a week). 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). Asher will also do gymnastics once a week, and Noah would like to point out that he walks to and from school daily. (It takes him seven minutes each way, so we're not talking about a major trek here, lol.) I've also been known to make the younger two drop and give me twenty or pull cards from this deck when attention is waning. All good.

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, again. As before, 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. 

CURRENT EVENTS: Still using 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.

KOREAN: So, this is a new one. Micah requested that we attempt to learn Korean this year. I've purchased Korean From Zero and some flash cards and we'll see how this goes. ;) (I'm not looking for fluency or anything, lol. But I'm hoping that the process is fun and that maybe we can pick up at least the basics.)

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

Saturday
Aug222015

2015-2016 Homeschool Plan: Science, History & Geography

Powering through with science, history & geography... ;)

SCIENCE: Last year's unit study approach went okay. We definitely enjoyed our units on astronomy, lockpicking, physics and the like and I enjoyed that each topic only lasted the six week session. The "okay" part is because I feel like we just really didn't put much effort into it. It's difficult because the boys claim to already know most of the things we cover. (This has actually always been part of our problem, lol. And, honestly, they usually *do* already know.)

This year, I'm going to worry less about the actual science and more about using science to teach note-taking and study skills. I'm using CPO Science's middle school series. We'll tackle earth, life and physical science. We'll go through them fairly briskly. (I'm guessing they're intended to be broken out to cover each one for a year but I'm using them more as review and to make sure I'm not leaving gaps.) I know that the textbook-y approach isn't the most exciting but I think/hope it will make for a more straight-forward lesson in note-taking, etc.

ETA: We'll also enjoy our monthly Tinker Crates. :)

HISTORY: Last year I combined world and US history, tackling things in six sessions again. I took Reconstruction (1865) to 2000 and broke it into six chunks. Within each of those, I used Story of the World Volume 4 and The Story of Us (books 7-10) as the framework and added supplementary books. I really enjoyed how it worked and ended up reading a number of awesome books...some with the boys and some just on my own for fun. :) 

With history, I feel like we've really covered things pretty well. We've made it, twice, through the four year classical history rotation (ancients, medieval, early modern, modern). Given various circumstances, I'm now attempting to cover the four year rotation one last time and in just two years. So. This year I want to tackle both ancient and medieval history. Rather than read through the history, though, I'm going to take 2-3 of our sessions for each and have the boys work with me to make a general timeline...to pick out the most important events, people, battles, buildings, etc. As with science, I'm less concerned this year with the content being covered as with the process of teaching boys to sort out main points and make outlines and the like. 

GEOGRAPHY: Last year, for world geography, I tried to use Mapping the World With Art by Ellen McHenry but decided after a few lessons that it was too advanced for us at this point. So we didn't really cover world geography last year. For US geography, we used 50 States and Where to Find Them, and that went pretty well.

This year, I simply want to review both world and US geography. I don't have a curriculum in mind...just want to divide up the states and continents and cover a portion each session.

Wish us luck!