Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reorganizing... Again...

Is it me or do you have to reorganize every other week? I knew the first year would be allot of trial and error (hoping it will be less in future years). What I didn't know is the reorganizing how we do our day and how I keep all the stuff organized would be such a feat!
I started the year knowing we would move. In an effort to not have to reinvent the wheel when we moved I put everything on one shelf the same space I was sure we would have in the apartment. I was right, and so far that shelf has been it. I love it I have it mostly neat and organized (Joy has shelves too and I try not to be a fussbudget about those).
I have slowly added things on the wall. Our Spelling board for All about Spelling is a magnetic dry erase with the letters of the alphabet. She then expressed a desire for a big calendar, so I dug mine out and it's up, with the calendar came 4 sentence strips with the date, day of week, yesterday, and tomorrow. We have also put all our memory work on the wall as a visual reminder of our work each week.
This has all worked well for me, I am no longer on a quest to re-organize or make better the system which I now have, UNTIL my mom gave me a 10 drawer organizing cart! I have always adored these carts. I have wanted one since I was a teacher in a classroom. I have always been able to pass it up because I didn't have a NEED for this wonderful cute organizing thing. It has been one of those someday I will find a need for it and buy it items.
Then came my birthday last week and the family dinner where I opened up my very own rainbow colored 10 drawer cart!! Wait dread and happiness wash over me as I am confronted with the reality that our current space is small. Will I be able to use it now? Will it fit anywhere? Do I need to take up the floorspace for this? How will I use it?
The answer is still unclear. I have placed it in a reasonably unusable space that is next to where I sit for our schoolwork. I have filled most of the drawers with the next lessons materials in that subject. I hope this will eliminate the problem I have of getting up and down 100 times during each lesson to get one more thing from the shelf.
I had the idea that possibly it could eliminate the large (kinda ugly) current homeschool shelf. Then I realized the cart doesn't fit binders (just one more inch). I still have hopes of a possibly smaller and closeable shelf in place of the giant one with the addition of my new cart. We will see. What I know now is that the shelf is staying and I will use it now. What I don't know is what I can or will do with the new found space on the larger homeschool shelf.
How do you organize? How many times have you re-organized?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When The teacher doesn't feel good...

It happens this week is the week my allergies have gone crazy! To possibly go TMI with some readers my nose is running like a fountain! It happens a couple times of year and if I don't have some kind of Decongestant it's a miserable time. I don't have any decongestant on hand this week and have been too lazy/cheap to go get some.
So the teacher isn't feeling up to par this week so school has slacked. We completely skipped Monday (Public school had off and I got older the day before). Tuesday we had a full day I think we did enough to make me not feel so bad about not doing Monday. Wednesday we started off good with the calendar, but then I had my Weight Watchers meeting and we ended with doing a simple math sheet (addition problem practice) and reviewing Memory work at the dinner table. Today I felt bad for not having done too much this week and we completed Math, and a couple other things I think. Tomorrow we have CC which means we aren't home and do no work here.
This was a light week, I didn't have it in me to fight her. It also made me think, when I taught public school I would have been at school this week, and unless we had some crazy lesson that required me to do somersaults, all would have gone on as normal.
So why is home different? Because my bed is right there, and she is constantly asking to watch this or that on TV? Do I need to be more firm even when I am not feeling that great? She gets out of stuff when she isn't feeling well.
Is this going to skew her view of when to take a sick day? I learned that you only take a sick day when you have a fever or are throwing up or some other tragedy has happened. I never missed school, my mom was a school nurse, I just took my meds and kept on keeping on. What will her view of when to take a day off be formed by?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why I co-op....

One of my requirements before taking on the homeschooling journey was to find a group that meets once a week to keep me on track. I found Classical Conversations or I should say God put me in the middle of Classical Conversation so that I could fall in love. That is another story. This is about a conversation that myself and two other mom's in our group had after co-op this week.
At the end of our day we ended up at the playground with two other moms and their kids from our class. One mom was doing an informal survey to know if we would return to the group next year or not. I will and hope to become a tutor. This surveying friend is undecided, and the 3rd mom was most likely but not 100% sold.
The conversation at this point turned to what CC was doing for us at this time. Is it worth the money (which by some standards is high and others low, depends on your perspective). I think it's great, and completely worth every penny. My daughter doesn't get it all, we don't have all the memory work done and although she says she wants to be a memory master I am unsure I want to push too hard for it. What I know is that this foundation that is being laid this year is practice for us. We will get this cycle 2 more times. The other 2 cycles we will only get twice. This year is practice for how to do the memory work and how to get schooling done in a week. Are we perfect NO WAY!! Do I try and learn from every experience so that we can tailor our next one to work out better, absolutely. I am as much a student in this process as is my daughter. I love to learn and CC challenges me and my daughter to go beyond what I already know.
Mom #2 who is pretty sure, but not 100% (and also had the youngest of the 3 kids in CC). Does very little at home with the memory work except play the CD's. She likes that he knows more than she thinks he does, which he proves with the review work each week, but she isn't formally pushing any school at this point with her son. He's young and a boy that's enough he may actually get three chances at this cycle and the next one depending on what choices they make the next 6-7 years.
Mom #3 who did the survey is completely undecided. She is not only undecided about CC, but about homeschooling her son in general. She likes the Christian Education and cost that homeschooling provides, but she and her son are both strong willed. That combination means that they argue allot. He has to be pushed to do anything. He has started reading over the Christmas break, which was a major struggle. He is learning, and like my daughter public school thinks he needs to wait til next year to start Kindergarten. We both encouraged her to keep going, I gave what pointers I could. We chatted and discussed the possibilities. I would be sad to see her go, she is a good mom with a great kid.
This discussion is why I chose to co-op. Homeschooling can be lonely, but when the 3 of us got together we learned that we all have the same types of struggles. Some are more exaggerated than others in different areas, but they are essentially all the same. So getting together and talking about it was wonderful. We encouraged, lamented, and generally  just felt good to share with others in our same situation. All of our kids in this youngest group of CC are the 1st child so we didn't get the vertran's opinion, but at this time that wasn't what we needed or wanted, we needed like moms with like situations to validate our own. Thanks friends for sharing I had a great time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Day in the life...

Since many of the blogs I follow are doing a day in the life of their homeschool situations I decided why not join in. So with the same disclaimer that their is no typical day in our classroom here is our "usual" day, or what I hope it to be.
Morning wake up she watches tv and has breakfast. Then I eventually roll out of bed (I am not a morning person).
When I am up we start with the Saxon Math Calendar for the day/Morning Routine. This is done in our PJ's.
Next we stop school and do our real morning routine. For me this means brush my teeth, wash my face and put on make up, and get dressed. My daughter brushes her teeth, makes her bed, and gets dressed. 
When we are all put together we come back to the table and I ask math or spelling. She picks her choice and we do that curriculum. When finished we move on to the next I ask math (or spelling whatever she did not chose the first time) or reading. We complete that and continue through the day with all the curriculum represented I want for that day. We get through what we get through by noon and stop for lunch.
Lunch is whatever we can find in the fridge/pantry or Daddy calls and we meet/pick him up and go out to eat.
After lunch if we have curriculum I still want to do and she hasn't imploded on me we continue. If we are done we play/watch tv/do errands/clean house. I am also incorporating a visit to the YMCA so I can continue with my weight loss.
As you can see our schedule is very laid back and I let her choose many parts of the day. I do have set goals each day, like I usually want to at least finish math, spelling and memory work each day. Additionally I would like to get some other curriculum thrown in, but I don't have a set one for each day it's as I think we need it and she can handle it. Since we just came back to school this week it's a slow start getting back up to being able to do as much as I would like in a day, but we are building that skill up again and will soon be chugging along. Part of my problem is I don't get up early, and somedays we don't really start til 11 with the real school work. My next goal is going to be getting up earlier so we can start our morning Routine at 8:30 or 9:00 at the latest. That should help with the not having enough day for all our work!

What does your day look like? What do you need to improve upon?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homeschooling vs life

We are officially back in school. The problem with homeschooling for me is life sometimes seems to get in the way. The bonus is I can make appointments and schedule things at convenient times. The problem is I tend to schedule things at easy to get appointment times not fully thinking through the rest of my schedule for when I schedule the appointment. Everything I do is flexible, I just need to learn when to let it be flexible and when to baton down and make schooling the important scheduled event.
We now have 3 things on our schedule which are priorities. First is our Classical Conversations meeting on Fridays, that is a no miss situation. Second is now her Gymnastics class on Monday mornings. Third is my Weight Watchers meeting on Wednesday mornings. I do have a little flexibility in the meeting, but I like the Wednesday morning leader, and at the least that is my weigh in time even if I can't make the meeting at that time.
That means that two of our four days of HOME schooling we have outside appointments. Monday I think we will aim to get as much done before the class and not stress past that. Wednesdays, because the timing of my meeting is earlier morning I am working on how to manage. Before Christmas we would go to the meeting and have a light or half day of school. I don't want to do this since Monday is tending towards a light day. Yes, it's Kindergarten and I don't think it's necessary to have formal school every day every week, but I would like to average more than 2 classes a week. So how do you do it? What's your schedule like? For those of you whose kids go to school how do you balance school activities with outside activities?

Friday, January 6, 2012


I read allot of homeschooling blogs. I love them, and some of the advice given is mid year (now) re-evaluate your curriculum and see how it is working towards your ultimate homeschool goals. As I read this (multiple times in multiple blogs) I thought not about my curriculum but, what is my ultimate homeschool goal?
Let's start with the reasons I homeschool:
  • To give my daughter the education I never had.
  • To allow my daughter to start school when she is ready and not wait for the state mandated start time.
  • To give my daughter individual attention and support and never feel left out in a big classroom, where she is afraid to ask a question.
  • To have an education that includes the Bible and not just as another subject, but as part of history, science, etc...
  • To give my daughter the desire to always learn
So next step is a goal. This is where I am having difficulty. I don't want a negative statement in the goal, To keep our daughter away from the pitfalls of public or private education. I don't want to sound too pretentious either, To give our daughter a well rounded education of excellence.
How do I balance these things? Should I even care? I want to keep my daughter from what I experienced and what my husband experienced in our schooling days. I also want her to be smarter than I can imagine. Why should I hide these things in our goal?

Schooling Goal: To educate our daughter in a way that will increase her knowledge and love of learning beyond her school years.

Does that say everything, probably not. Will it be tweaked over the years possibly. Most likely I will forget about it for now. It's part of me and who I am and why I am doing this. Did I need to write it down, no, but it was a good exercise for me. Now why do you choose homeschool, public school or private school? What is your educational goal for your child(ren)?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Time off?

This is our first year homeschooling. We started out a little slower and later than I expected because of a death in the family. When we did get started we had some tweaking to do on our schedule and when I think we got it... We moved which meant a week (or two) off. Starting back wasn't as easy as I wanted it to be. Thanksgiving gave us another break, although I managed to make it only 2 or 3 days. Then Christmas came and I here we are in the new year still not really started.
My husband had the week before Christmas off so I was prepared not to do much that week, but had hopes of getting a little accomplished. A few math practice sheets were made, and I was ready to do 10 spelling review words a day. Monday we did it yeah us. Tuesday I had somewhere to go and asked my hubby to do it I think it got done. Wednesday we had fun all day. Thursday I thought about it, and Friday was Friday so since we already had 2 days off what would that hurt.
Christmas came, we celebrated big as always, Christmas went. My husband went back to work on Wednesday after Christmas. We played.
New Years came, I slept. Wednesday this week I set up our "big" calendar (one on the wall). We even managed to do calendar on Wednesday morning then we went to the zoo.
Today we had appointments at 10 and 1 so nothing has happened. Tomorrow is Friday why start on Friday? Next week maybe? We don't start back to our CC group until the 13th. My goal is to start on Monday, can you hold me accountable?