Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Was Fun 'til It Wasn't

Here are the boys on their first day of school. Can you believe how tall they're getting?

I read an article in Macleans this week called, Why Your Teenager Can't Use A Hammer, by Cynthia Reynolds(click on link to read). And I was really thinking about how as a culture we are moving away from doing things ourselves and teaching our children and moving towards getting other people, "professionals", to do everything for us. I'm not suggesting that we don't need people with expertise to do complicated jobs for us but that we should take the opportunity to try and solve some of our own house problems with elbow grease and problem solving. So it was with this attitude that we, meaning me and the two boys, started removing the tile in the front hall.

I would say it was a success. But caveat that with the info. that E sustained an injury to his finger. Nothing serious. No stitches. Some blood. He did pass out. But then that gave me the opportunity to teach A about first aid. You know: feet up on pillow, loosen clothing, cool cloth on head.
Learning opportunities are everywhere!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Day

Well this is our last day of summer. By that I mean that we are starting school tomorrow. Hopefully be 9a.m. we will be sitting down together to get started.
Going back to school is a little different for us as homeschoolers. They didn't go and buy new pencils/books/markers. (We keep a steady supply available all year.) They didn't get a whole new wardrobe of clothes. (We have a pretty relaxed dress code here-though no pjs) There is no nervous anticipation about finding out what other kids are in their class or how their new teacher will be. (Yup-still your brother. Yup-still your mom.) Those are the things I remember from going back to school. I hope that when they are grown that they won't resent me having made this decision and wish they could have done school 'normal'.
Anyway, tomorrow we will have new workbooks and journals. And we will go to the library and get a pile of books to match the theme for our first 8 week term. (Fairytales)
I was trying to think today of what the biggest difference is between 'homeschool me' and 'mom me'.
And what I decided is that when I am 'homeschool me' they have my complete and undivided attention for our classroom time. No phone calls. No internet. No chores. Just me looking them in the eye and talking with them. Not just telling them what to do. Talking with them.
I also went back and read the reasons I gave in Sept2009 for why we are homeschooling. Most of them are still true.
Sept2009
1. I still enjoy spending time with the kids. And they are still growing up very quickly.
2. I said before that I thought I could do as good a job as the public school. Correction:I feel I can do a better job.
3. I'm not sure how the kids would like 'normal' school now. Maybe they'd like it(shrug)....I'm sure they'd cope.
4. They are going to need to form new relationships with other homeschool as a result of the move. But they have already made fast friends with our neighbours.
5. Hmmm. This one no longer really applies.
6. But this one sure does.
Sept2010
So.....here we go.
School Year 2011-2012.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And There Was Light

The Man, the Myth, the Legend (a.k.a. Grandad) was here last night to finish the install on our skylight. First the hole.

Then the tube.

This is how it looked at 6:15a.m. (M took this picture...too early for me.)

And at 8:30a.m. And then 10:30a.m.

We're saving energy. Love it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Cancerversary

Yesterday we celebrated Grnny's 2 year Cancerversary. We love you Granny.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not Yet

I'm glad they're not too old to ask for a push.

Or play in the sand.

Or smile for the camera.

++I'm thinking of my VA friends who had the earthquake today++

Saturday, August 20, 2011

i love weekends

The roofers came and finished the job.

A got really involved in the reading program at our local library. First you add your 'books read' to the wall and then you put a marble down the track for each one.

We started Saturday in good style. Pancakes. And cuddles.

The only thing better than cake pops for dessert...

is getting to decorate your own LEGO cake pop before eating it. (ThanksMissLra)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Whew


We will be doing five terms of eight weeks each. After each term is completed we are taking a full week off of school.





The two blocks on top are E's. The two blocks on the bottom are A's. And the middle grey section is joint activities.


We are definitely not unschoolers, not that there's anything wrong with that. And we haven't traditionally bought a full curriculum, not that there's anything wrong with that either.



The first year, I didn't have a full grasp of where E was in terms of his skills/knowledge.

The second year I did, but A was kind of between levels and it would have been hard to nail him down to a specific grade.


This year I definitely know what needs to be taught and I definitely know what level A is on BUT I have found that I like to be master of my school domain.

It takes A LOT of time. To try and co-ordinate the strands with each other and with the themes that we cover is time consuming. But by the time I am done I really know what we are going to be covering in the year. I'll know when we are falling behind....or if we can condense or drop anything to add something new we have become interested in.

I'm not done yet. I still have two terms of Science to insert. And two terms of themes to add. And a bunch of language/writing activities.

But anything you see on this chart has been prepared for lessons. Right down to what pages on what days.

(The exception is the dinosaur unit-I know we're doing it but I don't have resources for that yet.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vocabulary Builder

It has been nice being home owners again after being renters for three years. Except for the part where we have to pay for everything of course. Anyway, I have been working on building my vocabulary this week.
Did you know there was a difference between skylights, roof windows and sun tunnels? I know enough to know that I am super pumped about the Velux Sun Tunnel being partially installed tomorrow on my roof. I say partially because the roofers installing our new shingles are doing the exterior work and then Grandd is coming later in the week to do the interior work. (Right grandad?)
I will post some pics tomorrow of the workers on the roof doing their thing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ExhibitA

This is why I try so hard to plan our menu ahead of time and shop as infrequently as possible. I needed milk. Just milk. I bought milk, blueberries, cucumber, lettuce, lunch bags, salad dressing, and two bags of chips. It should have cost me $5. It cost me more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More

Please welcome our new guinea pigs from the rescue shelter. On the left, Buttercup. On the right, Maple. These two are different breeds from what we had before but just as cute.
This week we had the chance to visit with some friends. And at church we had a little impromptu reunion with the people from our old small group.

We have this tradition of always going out to eat after church. Always to the same place. But now we need a new place so we are trying out some different places. The restaurant we went to today was not it. We did have some fun thumb wars while we waited for our food though.
(If anyone has a suggestion for a not-too-expensive, not-too-busy, not-too-greasy restaurant please let us know.)

You know how there's always that one thing about yourself that is hard to accept? Well with me it's my hair. I hate it. I have tried cutting, colouring, perming, straightening, braiding. Right now I'm pretty committed to completely neglecting it. This pic from today cracks me up. It's like my hair is trying to do that flowing flipping thing but can't quite make it happen.

I think this is what my hair was trying to do.

I did a little hair makeover on-line. Aa-a-a-ah! My Good Hair.
Speaking of which, have you seen the movie? Funny. Check it out.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Whew

It was so funny because after the boys did it K wanted to do it too. She's younger but she was not going to give up until she got it. Way to go K! Good sticking to it.

And last night we went to the GodRocks concert at our church.

Here's A rocking out with his air guitar....get it....air guitar.....'cause it's filled with air...and he's doing air guitar....it's funny on so many levels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Delayed

Hmmm......can you tell who this is? It's not one of mine.

Yup. There's one of mine in a cape. And another one in the background smiling.





Monday, August 08, 2011

Back to School

One of the blogs I read was discussing back to school preparations. Specifically, the homeschool room. Homeschool rooms were an issue around here after buying this house. We talked about using the 4th bedroom as a schooling room. The thing is, I don't think we'd actually stay in one room. We tend to move around a lot with our schooling depending on the day/other tasks I am trying to do/visitors/weather/the phases of the moon(alright I'm just kidding about that last one.)
But still I wanted to show where we would be learning this year so I asked the boys to help me.
Here's A in the reading corner.

Here's E at the kitchen island counter. Usually they work here if I am cooking or baking.

Here's A at the dinner table. Our most frequent schooling area.


Here's A at the van. We tend to do math facts or spelling in the van.


I asked the kids if they had any ideas of where I should include as places we learn.

'A' suggested the museums.

E suggested a picture of me. He says that where I am is where the learning is. I'm sure he didn't know how happy it would make me to hear that.

Christmas Flurry....of Pictures