Thursday, February 07, 2008

Homeschool Open House Week in Review: Week 22

Homeschool Open House Week in Review
Week 22: January 28-February 2, 2008

Older son is aged 10 and in 5th grade.
Younger son is aged 7.5 and in 2nd grade.

I feel the need to start off by saying I have never received a single comment on any of my previous 20+ in this series. I have no clue how many people are reading these and if anyone cares or is getting anything useful out of me sharing this information. So if you are reading this maybe you could leave a comment even if it is very basic such as saying “Thanks for posting this”. I’m seriously wondering if continuing blogging this is something I will continue to do.

Days one and two of this week were the end of our Disney vacation so we were not home.

On Day three we got home after midnight. So that morning we slept late. The vacation was so wonderful we all kind of totally forgot what life was like in our home and in Connecticut. The day was spent reacquainting ourselves with our lives. We unpacked some, did some laundry and played with the cats. I read email and snail mail. We were still all sore in our feet and muscles due to the miles and miles of walking we did every day at Disney and for being on our feet for sometimes 16 hours in one day. We went to bed early

On the three other weekdays we did our homeschooling. For two days we did 100% of the scheduled homeschooling. For the record we were still tired and had stiff musles for a few more days after getting home!

The third weekday was the day of their first homeschool science and nature outdoor class. Last week I had received a call that the schedule was being changed and that meant that now both of my boys could do the program on the same day. This is the class that my boys absolutely love and that they wish they could be at five days a week. They love the class itself and they love being with the other homeschoolers for a full six hours. Actually what happened on that day was we rose early, got ready and went. When we arrived an ice storm was starting and the class was cancelled. We turned around and came home as the class was cancelled. We were all goofed up and off kilter then so we didn’t do all of our homeschooling lessons on that day. Instead I continued with the laundry marathon and cleaning the house.

This week was atypical compared to last fall and the other years we’ve homeschooled as I am not up to speed with arranging playdates with other kids yet, during the week. We spent a lot of time at home this week. It was a week of a low number of errands and no real running around. We were real home bodies this week (after getting home from Florida that is).

On the last day of the week, a Saturday, my husband took the kids to a homeschooled boys’ birthday party. I spent the time reorganizing our Language Arts books. I planned out a change with my younger son’s study of Language Arts. On the way home from that party my husband picked up a friend of my sons’ and he came over for a playdate. All of us then went to visit my mother-in-law. My brother-in-law, his wife and my nephews arrived and we had a champagne toast for my husband’s new job. Those kids were very sick and I prayed that we all would not be infected with the bug (so far we have not become sick thank goodness). Then the brother-in-law’s family left and the rest of us went out to dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday, a treat of my mother-in-law. We dropped the boy off at home at 10 p.m. while on the way home. It is nice that my boys have this friend who is a nice kid that they get along with.

General Thoughts
I feel a lot of pressure right now to get our homeschooling lessons done. I am being very strict with my kids that when not traveling we are to do four days of homeschooling lessons here at home per week and then their one day at the homeschool class. This ranges from "feeling great" to me feeling like a taskmaster. The kids are in a groove now though and this week they did their lessons without complaint. They knew they could have one hour of video game playing if they did all their lessons so they were happy to get the homeschooling work done. If I let them they'd play the video games for 8 or more hours in a day so they need those limits.

Our outside classes and commitments are very low right now. It is a relief. However sometimes it feels a bit too ‘cabin feverish’ to me. Then again that is typical for January and February when sometimes the days are also wet and cold, or very grey, and not really conducive to even going outside to play.

It does feel fantastic to do all of the homeschooling lessons that are planned, rather than feeling overwhelmed or that we just can’t handle doing everything I’ve planned. Truth be told I would like to be doing more but right now am content with what we are doing. I have not listed out what we are doing in a while so I will make a list right here and now. These are the main lessons not extra, supplemental stuff.

Older son, age 10, Fifth Grade
1. Independent reading practice, silent reading, fiction, 45 minutes
He is usually reading realistic fiction or fantasy which are his two favorite genres.
The Lexile scores of the books range from 600s to 850.
2. Vocabulary From Classical Roots Grade 4 (new this year to us)
3. Spelling Power Level D
4. Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting penmanship workbook Level D
5. Reading Comprehension: Reading Detective Level A (Grade 5-6)
6. First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 3 (Grades 3-4)
7. Math-U-See Delta (Grade 4)
8. Science, main thing is the outside class which is 6 hours per week, other learning with living books and experiment kits at home which I’ll not list right now.
9. World History and Geography: Story of the World Volume 2 (we are behind where I’d like to be in the study of history, I’d like to be in year 4 of the chronological study of history but we are still in year 2!)
10. Writing Composition: Institutes for Excellence in Writing, we are on a break from this but need to get back to it.

Younger son, age 7, Second Grade
1. Independent reading practice, silent reading, 30 minutes
He prefers fantasy genre (Secrets of Droon) and realistic fiction (Andrew Clements) but recently he really enjoyed reading a biography. I may move him to read more biography and history instead of mandating fiction as he just doesn’t seem to care about it enough.
2. Spelling Power Level D
3. Reading Comprehension Reading Detective Beginner (Grades 3-4)
4. First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Levels 1-2 (Grades 1-2)
5. Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting penmanship workbook Level D
6. Math-U-See Gamma (Grade 3)
7. Science, main thing is the outside class, 6 hours per week, the other learning with living books and experiment kits at home which I’ll not list right now.
8. World History and Geography: Story of the World Volume 2 (we are behind where I’d like to be in the study of history, I’d like to be in year 4 of the chronological study of history but we are still in year 2!)
9. Writing Composition: Institutes for Excellence in Writing, we are on a break from this but need to get back to it.
10. (I want to add a vocabulary program for him either late this winter or this spring.)

Now that the budget has expanded with my husband’s new job, I am going to look into having my children take art classes with an art teacher. I am feeling lately that we should be doing more art instruction. I have slacked from doing picture study a la the Charlotte Mason method.

I want to also get regular poetry reading into our schedule. I have slacked on this.

Another area of slack lately is I am currently not doing any fiction/literature read aloud’s with my children. I don’t feel that I have the time.

Scheduling and Pace of the Family
Right now we are at a very relaxed state so far as running around to appointments goes. I am focusing on homeschooling the kids. I am trying to keep the house clean and decluttered which takes up a good amount of time. The kids help out with the house as I ask but we still have no formal chore listing and they do not do chores independently, I oversee everything and I tell them what and when to do it. I’m having that feeling again where I wish we had a schedule and they did chores on their own (of course do them perfectly and on time without any intervention from me but I have a feeling that is an unrealistic expectation).

On the days when we are not sick and no crisis is happening our life seems very quiet, and changes from feeling peaceful and ideal to feeling cabin fever-ish. I feel we are not doing enough stuff outside the house right now especially since the weekly outdoor homeschool park day is not happening due to this being winter. However in the past I have found if we do extracurricular’s outside the home our schedule rotates around that and sometimes the fun or fluff stuff dominates us and the basic homeschooling gets slacked or not done at all. I am seeking that perfect balance again but am reminding myself that no one I know who homeschools seems to have this perfect balance mastered.

I am going to consider adding in a sport for my kids as they are doing none right now. The budget is such that we could actually afford the Tae Kwon Do however I am placing as a higher priority that I first join a gym and exercise regularly which is at least ¼ the price of martial arts for one child.

We continue with Scouts. My older son is getting ready to cross over into Boy Scouts in a month or so. I can’t believe that!!

General Information About Weekly Reporters:
Homeschool Open House’s Weekly Reporter blog post project is a concept devised by Jessica of Trivium Academy. For more information, see the Trivium Academy blog entry dated 9/04/07.

Graphics which I am using in my Homeschool Open House and Weekly Reporter were designed by Jessica and are available on her blog, again in the same blog post dated 9/04/07.

For information about how you can become a Weekly Reporter or to view a list of other Weekly Reporters, read the information at Trivium Academy in the 9/04/07 blog post or see the information in her right sidebar.

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NCLighthousekeeper said...

Hi - I'm reading. :-) Your oldest is about the age of my youngest. Sounds like you had a good week of school, considering you were coming off of a vacation! You have to unpack and do laundry and catch up on mail sometime!

Rima said...

Me,me! I read it! :D

MamaK said...

I read too. I will try to be more posty! I don't receive very many posts as well. I appreciate the posts when i get them. But I do know people read by my counter. -K

Sunniemom said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now, but for some reason my computer started freezing up when I tried to comment. I just downloaded Firefox, so we will see if that works!

Keep 'em coming!