Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is a catch up post.

I really am having trouble blogging anymore. I can't seem to work up an enthusiasm for it. But I have a few minutes here so I thought I'd try to put forth a little effort and see what happens. Hope I don't bore myself too much (or the one or two readers that might mosey over.)

Lots has been going on:

  • Rick and I went to an opera! La Traviata! And it was wonderful. Rick had never been to one before and I think he was pleasantly surprised. Elizabeth Futral was the soprano and she was spectacular. Rick bought season tickets so we are going to a lot of operas this year. Next one is this Saturday: The Pearl Fishers. Last night Rick was youtubing the duet with Andrea Bocelli and another guy (who was excellent). So that's exciting! That must mean that he actually is interested in attending these with me, I think. . . . .
  • I have been reading a lot, though I am behind on my Autobiography of Ben Franklin, which I started a couple weeks ago, but then put down and haven't picked up again. Must do that soon. Right now though I am reading Washington Irving short stories and they are delightful. I also recently read a really engaging book entitled I'm the Teacher; You're the Student, by Patrick Allit, a British professor at Emory University. He basically walks the reader through a semester of a survery course of American History and along the way, he expounds on his philosophy of life, the art of teaching, the reason for apostrophes, and many other sundry points. Along the way, you learn an awful lot about history and you get to take his students' final exam (he includes the answers.) It's a great book.
  • The Friday co-op that I had so many misgivings about went really, really well in Sept. Now I'm in charge of Nature studies for the month of October. We'll see how stressful that becomes!
  • Hannah continues to work at Starbucks, go to Spanish class at the community college, teach the littles on Tuesday mornings, attend her Thursday Econ/History/Lit class, run errands, sing in the church choir (she had a little solo on Sunday and sang very well), teach RE (I helped her this last Sunday). She is rather down in the dumps about her weight, her lack of self-discipline and the fact that she never gets to see her boyfriend because boyfriend's mother thinks she's too much of a distraction and therefore discourages them ever going out. However, I think she's still looking forward to Homecoming, if they are still an item by then!
  • Will just played his Beatles White Album concert this past weekend (two shows) at a local Irish Pub. Unbeknowst to me until this weekend, he apparently has acquired a girlfriend. She seems nice enough. He and Sean absolutely love the Music Theory class they are taking at a music school near here.
  • Josh dropped Odyssey of the Mind. He also just announced he doesn't want to take piano lessons anymore. Sigh . . . . On the other hand, he is really enjoying the Kolbe curriculum this year. He has already gotten through the first 3rd of Saxon Alg I. He loves his composition book this year. Today, he was diagramming sentences and he told me that he was going to diagram them himself and then have me check them to test himself. We are really enjoying our Latin class and teaching ourselves Greek. He's been rereading the Life, The Universe and Everything series. He takes good care of Tillie, the puppy. He still spends way too much time on Youtube watching Pokemon stuff.
  • Sean continues to obsess on Super Smash Brothers. However, he is warming up to his new piano teacher and announced yesterday that he plans to be a pianist and composer when he grows up. He just went to his best friend's birthday party this weekend and had a good time but then had an upset stomach during the night. Fully recovered the next day though. He wants to join the church choir.
  • Becky loves piano lessons and practices all the time. She just rearranged her room. We finally got rid of the crib in there (hey, she's only 7 now!). Hannah gave her her old pink, spangled, sheer canopy that used to hang over Hannah's bed. Rick hung it up in the corner where the crib used to be and then took both Becky and Sean out to Target and bought Becky a bean bag to put under the tent/canopy for a reading nook. He also got Sean his promised comfy chair. (Sean got to pick a prize for reading 10 books this summer and he decided he wanted a nice chair in his room.) Sean loves his new chair and can be seen sitting in when he is not in front of the Wii doing his SSB thing. Wait, this bullet is supposed to be about Becky. Becky has been waking up every morning between 3 and 5 a.m. and crawling into bed with me and Rick, thereby waking me up. This means I lie awake every morning from about 3 to 5 until about 6 or 7 and then wearily get up to sit in front of a hot cup of tea and try to feel human.
  • Bad stuff - I havn't been saying the Rosary hardly at all. Boo hoo. I really must get back in that groove. It really makes me maintain a better outlook on life, if I can just get over my initial inertia. Also, my house is a cluttered mess. I spent all summer it seems really working at decluttering things. Yet here it is on the eve of October and it is a depressing mess. I can't seem to get up any energy to actually get surfaces cleared for any length of time.
  • Mostly importantly - this Sunday is Rick's birthday and I don't have a clue about what to do. I know his family is coming over and we are going to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Oh Happy Rosh Hashanah! But what to get/do for Rick??????
  • Boy, long wandering post . . . . okay I"m off to move laundry and read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today was a good day!

This week has been a hard week for some reason. I've been tired and grumpy and fighting those two things all week. So I didn't know if I was up for Friday school today. But everything went well!

It started off with Mass. I've been trying to get back in the habit of going to at least one daily Mass a week with the kids. I somehow stopped doing this back after last Lent. My plan this year was to go to the 9:00 Mass at a nearby parish on Friday mornings and then go on to our 10:00 co-op which is just 15 minutes down the same road. But I didn't manage to get my act together to do it the past two Fridays. But this morning we made it to Mass. And it was lovely. Thank you, God!

Then we proceeded on to the Co-op. The kids classes are: American Sign Language, then Cultural Studies (they were in Puerto Rico today), then lunch (I get to visit with them then) and lastly they have Nature Studies which I help teach. The day went very well. The kids like all the classes. My schedule is: first period teaching a darling group of little 3 and 4 year old boys and one little lady in the preschool group. Then I get to help out at the nursery, then lunch and then Nature Studies.

Right after Friday school is tennis lessons with our TORCH group. The afternoon was a beautiful one, full of puffy clouds and a temperature hovering around 70 degrees. The teen class is at 1:00 and the littler kids at 2:00. So I got to sit and chat for a couple of hours with lots of lovely Catholic homeschooling ladies while my kids ran around the tennis court.

Now we are home and everybody is decompressing in front of a screen! Becky and Will are watching cartoons. Josh is on the computer (as am I!) and Sean is playing his beloved Super Smash Brothers. In a couples I'll get up and clean the kitchen (which is a disaster, I am sad to say!).

Hannah and Will got up this a.m. and went to the 6:15 a.m. Teen Mass at our parish and then had breakfast. Hannah spent time doing her Spanish Lab at the community college. Will vegged at home. Hannah had to come pick up Josh early from the co-op to get him to his tennis lesson on time and then we followed a bit later.

Anyway, it was a satisfying day and I am pleased with the way the co-op is working out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Morning lull

There's a lull in activity this morning. At least for me there is. Right now Will is with the math tutor in the dining room. Hannah is at her Spanish class at the community college. Josh is curled up on his bed reading The History of Medicine and Sean and Becky are playing with Sean's big set of magnetix. I think they are building a flying saucer.

Already this morning Sean and Becky have done some penmanship, math (it was fun: we learned about Roman numerals and measuring ounces, cups, pints, quarts and gallons). Sean did some work in a music theory notebook. I read aloud to both Becky and Sean from our CHC Devotional Stories and we learned what a Covenant is. Sean asked if I'd read more from D'Auliare's Book of Greek Myths. We read about Echo and Narcissus. We did our read alouds out on the screen porch.

Josh finished up Algebra homework (he just had a little bit left to do) and practiced piano. Then he worked with the math tutor.

We still have to do Language Arts, Latin, Greek and Logic.

I'm finding that you can still be relaxed and feel unschoolish while really being in academic high gear. I think this happens by just letting the day flow but keeping in mind the things you hoped to accomplish.

Okay, lull was over. Made lunch for Sean and Becky. Sean did his five spelling words. Hannah picked them out of his Writing Tales story and they are a bit too hard for him: mouse (this one isn't hard!), country, journey, heartily and residence. The thing that is throwing Sean is that the 'ou' sounds in three words make completely different sounds, which just has him muddled! Plus, spelling is tough for him because he never says what he thinks he is saying. I'll ask him to spell mouse and he'll spell it orally "moues." Then he goes to write it and he can't remember because he knows it doesn't look right but since he's spelled it orally wrong, he can't figure out where he got lost. He can't get his mouth to accurately say what he wants it to say. For example, when spelling 'journey', he kept saying 'g' as the beginning letter, even though he knew this was wrong. He got frustrated with himself. Maybe I just shouldn't make him spell the words out loud until he really knows them visually? I might ask the VT about this. We did a little grammar exercise where I read a sentence and he had to change it to another type of sentence: command, exclamation, quesiton or statement. He was quite good at this and enjoyed this little exercise.

Then we did Ch. 5 in Latin for Children which is just reviewing. He remembered a lot of the meanings of the words but then he and Becky starting quibbling over whose turn it was to say what word, etc. So we didn't quite finish the page. They are downstairs playing Super Smash Bros which is what Sean lives for lately anyway.

This post is turning into a journal of the day. . . it is now 2:20 p.m. Josh read a lot of The History of Medicine, he's really enjoying it. Then he did his Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary. Then we read some out of the Art of Argument about ad hominem circumstantial fallacies. Next we studied for our Greek Alphabet quiz which I've arbitrarily scheduled for tomorrow. Will is in rebellion about Greek now. If it doesn't equal a credit, he doesn't want to do it. So he only studied a tiny bit and then went off to make himself a hot dog and read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Now Josh is reading Christ and the Americas, Sean has gone back to Super Smash Bros., Becky is watching the old Disney Cinderella and Will is still reading.

This is the time of day when I have a strong need/desire to take a nap. Might do so while Becky is occupied with the movie.

9:17 p.m. Well, I never did get a nap in. Instead I helped Josh with his American history. Then I took Sean to his piano lesson, drove all the way to Chick-fil-a and got dinner, brought it home, read the first Chapter of Lingua Latina, supervised Becky while she practiced her piano, played a concentration game about the states she got from Chick-fil-a. Left Josh here to watch Becky until Rick got home, hopefully reading his Lingua Latina. Took Will and Sean to their first Music Theory class which was really fun. Came home, said prayers, Josh is still working through his Latin. Will says he needs to read his Economics and do his Rhetoric.

I'm going to bed to watch episode 5 of The Last of the Mohicans (the old Masterpiece Theater version from the 70's.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

My life is too busy for a blog life.

That is why this blog is so anemic. I guess I'll just do the occasional blogging without guilt kind of thing. I know I've seen a little widget on someone's blog with that statement.

I can't believe how fast the week has gone. I managed to blog Monday, but what happened Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are a blur. Let' see what I can recall:

Tuesday: I had actually planned out B and S's lessons so that H could teach them while I, W and J went to Latin class. It was so enjoyable. We got our books which was exciting. We need to do our homework though and I have a feeling we are only going to be able to do it over the weekend. The rest of the week flies by so quickly and in the evenings I am brain dead, so I'm think Sunday afternoons might be Latin homework time for us. Or maybe we'll have to each find a time to do the work separately and then compare our answers.

Anyway, H covered penmanship, math, writing and Latin with S and did reading, math, penmanship, Latin and piano with B.

Tuesday afternoon, J did Lang. Arts, Religion, History and Science. W did Rhetoric, History and lots of guitar playing. Oh, J practiced piano before Latin class.

Wenesday: In the a.m. everybody got something done. We actually did some Greek since we didn't get any done on Monday or Tuesday evenings. Wed is busy. The new piano teacher came. J got upset, ach, he gets frustrated so easily sometimes. I thought he was getting a little better about dissolving into tears so easily but not this time. B had a good time though. H went to her Spanish class and then did lots of homework for the Thursday classes.

Wednesday afternoon is Vision Therapy for W and S. I leave W there and he walks over to get himself a sandwich and then to his band practice, so that is working out well. Then J and S had their first karate class after a summer break. B and I hung out for an hour and watched them. I need to bring cards/games/books to entertain B during this time. Beforehand we ate at McDonalds. Right after karate we had to drive to pick up W and take him to his CLC. Then we came home. So we'd left home at 4:30 and returned home after 8:00. I have a feeling that is the way Wednesdays are going to this semester.

Thursday - R taught Economics to the teens; then I taught American History and Literature. It was a good class, but I'm really wiped out afterwards. However, I can't stop because then I take J to his Odyssey of the Mind meeting. J is enjoying it a lot though. After we came home I made J work on his Religion report and he got a tiny bit written. He read history and science at night. I did manage to teach B and S a little bit in the a.m. while R was teaching Econ but they spent most of the day in front a screen of some sort. However, Th is our traditional pizza day, so I wound up taking everyone out to get pizza since I had to pick up W from his guitar lesson (H had taken him for me.)

Friday - co-op day. It went really well, even though when we got to the resource center they had taken away a room, but it worked out anyway. Everything went very smoothly, logistics-wise. My kids enjoyed all the classes. We got home around 2. H went to do her Span lab stuff on campus. W had mowed the lawn and now he's working on Rhetoric because he doesn't want to have to do much work over the weekend.

I need to reassess things. I think Monday and Tuesday are going to be our heavy-duty academic days. Wednesday is busy with music lessons, VT and karate. Thursday is dominated by the teens' classes and OM. Friday is co-op. I really think to be realistic we are going to have to do J's schoolwork over the weekend some. We just aren't getting it all in each week. That is the rub, when you sign up for a canned type curriculum, which we did when we enrolled him in Kolbe.

So that's the week!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday 9/8 Journal of the day

I'm just not much of a blogger lately.

Just feel like jotting down how the day went.

Woke on time 6:30 a.m. and showered. Usually I wait until mid-morning to do that so I can have a little alone time but today since we were going to our TORCH group's Blessed Virgin Mary's birthday party, I knew I wouldn't have time later.

Said rosary with everyone except R of course and H who claimed she was doing Spanish in her room but I think she was just sleeping in.

R had breakfast with us. Second week in a row! The plan is on Monday a.m. he'll speak to the teens about how they are getting along in their academic pursuits. We had a great discussion on the party conventions. He told H, W and J to watch two bios he'd recorded on tv one on Obama and the other on McCain. Then he wants them to visit the candidates websites and read up on them. Further, he wanted them to pick 3 issues they were interested in following and investigate what the candidates had to say on those issues. I don't know if anyone did it today though.

We had a pretty schooly morning. J had to finish up Algebra before the teacher arrived. He also practiced piano a bit. Then he did Algebra with the tutor for a good one and half hours. Then W went in and worked through SAT problems and did a bit of geometry, I believe.

While that was going on H got ready and left for her Spanish class. Supposedly she stayed there for lunch and then did Spanish lab work.

Meanwhile, I with B and S did: penmanship, math, spelling, grammar (with S), read aloud to B her devotional story from CHC and S listened in. Then S read the next entry in Pedro's Journal and then I read aloud the entry that followed that. They've met up the Pinta again.

We also went over Latin. Watched all dvd vocabulary sessions from Ch. 1 to 4 and then I gave S the Ch. 1 quiz just to review and make sure it is really in his head.

We snacked a lot all morning so we didn't really eat lunch.

Left to pick up muffins to take to Mary's Birthday party at a nearby park. The kids made a big rosary out of cupcakes and muffins. We sang happy birthday and then said a decade of the rosary. The park is nicknamed the 'sprinkle park' because there are a bunch of fountains that kids can run through. B got soaking wet. J, S and B all had friends there to play with. I chatted with other moms.

Came back in time to drop off everybody except S. B I think spent the whole time watching Wordgirl, Between the Lions and Tom and Jerry cartoons. H was home and on the computer but said she was working from 5 to 10 tonight. J took care of the puppy and played on the computer. I don't know what W did. Not any school work!

Took S to meet his new piano teacher. She was really nice. He loosened up with her and played some songs that he couldn't play last week in front of the director who really intimidated him. The teacher was pleased. She said he should take a theory class as well. So we tried to sign up for that but the admin guy at the school said he didn't know whether it was going to be actually held has they hadn't gotten the minimum number of students to run the class. He said the teacher would be by in an hour. So S and I walked over to a little deli and ate a very early dinner. He had a cheese burger and I had a yummy veggie melt. Went back and found out the class was not going to happen so came home through rush hour traffic. Took a long time.

Once home tried to corral teens to do more work. W and J had done nothing. W and J both finished up Latin homework for class tomorrow. J did vocab; W worked on history timeline a bit. I checked through W's Rhetoric and spelled out what he needed to do each day this week. It's a bit of a deviation from the pattern of the last 3 weeks.

We had just a come and get it dinner for 2nd night in a row. I must start cooking again for my family. And yet somehow the kitchen is a mess and it is 9:38 p.m. Wahh! I don't feel like cleaning it!

Read more of D'Auliare's Greek Myths; about Deucalion and Prometheus and Pandora. J is reading his American History. W is practicing guitar now. H still at work. R still at work. He's been reading S and B The Phantom Tollbooth and they were disappointed he couldn't get home before bedtime. But S read comics instead and B is listening to a Boomerang cd about Jacque Cousteau.

For housekeeping I managed to get one piddly load of laundry done and it is awaiting me to put it away. Also trash needs to go out.

Started reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Seems like an enjoyable and interesting read.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weekly Recap 9/1-9/5

This week lots of activities (though not all!) started up for the fall. So I didn't really focus too much on our LCC routine we've been working at for the last 3 weeks. I decided I needed to relax and just see how the week went. And it went pretty well!

Monday was Labor day so we didn't do anything! R was home and we had all the in laws over. R grilled lunch for us. Then we vegged out the rest of the day.

Tuesday was my first day of Latin class as well as J and W's. I am really excited about it. I have been wanting to learn Latin for so long now and have only managed a very superficial study. In the p.m. S went to an interview with the Levine School of Music. He wasn't happy about it. He really was attached to his old teacher, even though it didn't work out. Sigh. I hope to get him warmed up to piano again. Anyway the invterviewer matched us up with a potential teacher whom we'll meet next Monday.

Wednesday our new piano teacher for J and B came to the house for the kids' first lessons. She seems very nice and the kids approved of her. Also our math tutor came and started J on Algebra and is going to prepare W for the SAT and get him to finish up his geometry credit. Also on Wed. W had his band practice and then CLC. Oh and H had Spanish but somehow she got accidently dropped from the roster so she has to go in and get herself re-registered. Grrr. Vision Therapy has switched back to Wednesday afternoons.

Thursday was the first teen class where R taught Economics to H and W plus 3 other teens. Then I led a American History and Lit class. I think things went well . . . . J started on his Odyssey of the Mind team which looks like it is going to be lots of fun. W had guitar lessons. H worked at Starbucks.

Friday we had our first co-op meeting or Friday school as we've taken to calling it. The kids had a class in ASL which looks like it is going to be terrific. Then another class on Cultural Studies and then another lady and myself taught a nature study class (she's leading lessons for September and I'm leading for October). I think things went surprisingly well because we really didn't feel all that organized going in.

So it was a good and busy week and I'm going to have to figure out how to work regular stuff like math, Latin, Greek, and Language Arts in amidst all the music and outside activities.

We haven't even started tennis, karate, etc.

R watched the RNC each night it was on and the teens watched some with him. We didn't see the DNC for some reason. I never watch any of those things if I can help it. I can't stand listening to speeches! To me it like being assaulted by a door to door salesman; I mean I get the same exact feeling of discomfort.

And now it is Friday afternoon and my brain is fried!