Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Advent School

I like to mix things up for Advent. Stuff I'm hoping to do:

  • Jesse Tree with Biblical reading first thing every morning
  • Advent Calendar - we have a beautiful one that is made of wood with 24 little drawers. Each day you open a drawer and take out a little piece for a nativity creche, by Christmas Eve your creche is complete!
  • We'll light our Advent wreath every night.
  • We'll take a break from our cursive practice and instead pull out Mark Kitsler's (sp?) Draw Squad. The kids have been doing lots of cartooning and drawing lately anyway but it will be fun to do the exercises in the book.
  • Instead of our regularly scheduled Bible History and Faith and Life, we'll do the Jesse tree readings and also CHC's Exploring the Mass unit which came with S's 5th grade plans.
  • We are reading Freedom Train about Harriet Tubman. I hope to really move through that book quickly so we can get to the book on St. John Vianney.
  • Instead of our regularly scheduled Latin we'll memorize Veni, Veni Emmanuel in Latin and I'll also read the I Am Reading Latin Books from Bolchazy-Carducci (www.bolchazy.com)
  • Lots of math literature (and we'll continue with our Archimedes book) and games if we feel like it!
  • We'll keep up our lit readings at night.
  • It looks like the only noon Mass that we can go to all together during the week is on Thursdays, so that's what we'll do!
  • Getting ready for and celebrating Chanukah. When is that anyway? Better look it up!
  • Lots of cleaning to get ready for our big family Christmas party on Dec. 20th.
  • That means we'll decorate the house on Dec. 19th!
  • Lots of baking, Christmas cards and making/buying Christmas gifts!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Josh's 10th grade

I don't know why I am planning so much for next year when this year doesn't seem to be going all that smoothly! But that is my form of escapism. Planning is fun, actually implementing the plans is not!

Josh and I were talking the other day and that sort of fueled my thoughts. He wants to try to finish up Algebra II this year (he'll probably have to work through most of the summer). And then do the new Saxon Geometry next year. Even though some of the geometry is covered in the Algebra I and II books, he doesn't want to move onto Advanced Math just yet.

Also next year we already know he'll be taking our regularly scheduled Tuesday morning Latin class and he'll also be taking an intensive twice a week with Lab, Biology course. If he elects to he can also study for the AP exam. They have a study group that meets at 8:30 Friday mornings before the 10 o'clock class.

So we already know Biology, Latin and Geometry. I want to do Church history with him and that will also include Literature. Once again, writing is the thing that gets left out. But I think I'm going with my plan of having him write a short answer essay 3 times a week. He'll probably also do tennis again. He's not particularly interested in art or music at present. Maybe something will come up.

Well, that was easy. It kind of planned itself!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weekly Report 11/16-11/20

This week has been a slumpy week.

First off, no one was sleeping well for some reason. Actually I know why. W in some crazy lapse of judgment let B and S watch some old Twilight Zones with him. B has been completely freaked out ever since. Every night she cries that she doesn't want to go to bed. S puts on a strong front that he is not scared, however, he doesn't seem to shut his eyes until midnight. B keeps waking up in the night and crawling into bed with me and Rick. B kicks terribly in her sleep. Once she wakes me up, I am unable to go back to sleep. So I've been going to bed at midnight, waking up at 4 a.m. and trying to get by on that. This means that every time I try to sit down to read aloud or watch a video I drift right off to sleep. Both J and W being teenagers think staying up late is great, except the next morning they don't want to get up! I've also been fighting headaches all week.

With everyone being sleep deprived, we've been a family of grumpies. B had a total meltdown at our Socratic Discussion and we had to leave early. She has a terrible temper and once she gets wound up it seems like she can't not regain control over herself until she has screamed it all out. I was so angry at her. I know I didn't handle it great being so very tired. Sigh. All week I felt like I was trudging through sand to get anything done. Everything seems to take me 4 times longer than it ought to.

Secondly, we had two doctors appoints for J who has been diagnosed with scoliosis. One on Tuesday afternoon and one on Friday (to fit his brace). In addition to that Thursday morning was spent signing W up for community college classes for next semester. And W and J are going away on a retreat this weekend and both decided they needed new jeans so they took themselves off shopping.

Unschoolish: Kids started watching a new PBS show about business/economics called Bizkids. They learned all about currency. B and S played a lot on the computer: like making animations on sketchstar, listening to a lot of music, playing on Noggin (making videos). S read a lot of the Game Informer magazine (not sure I approve). S also exchanged e-mails with two friends. They watched a lot of Fetch, Wordgirl and Phineas and Ferb. S tried out a lot of new game websites, freeonlinegames, onemore level. B went to Ninjakiwi (she likes the puzzle games). B made up a lot of science experiments inspired by our reading of Archimedes and doing a couple of little demonstrations on density and buoyancy. J was, as usual, on the computer a lot. He developed an interest in sharks though and did a lot of reading about them. He and Rick stayed up late one night (sigh!) watching a program on sharks and whales or something. He announced he wants to be a marine biologist. This from the kid who hates swimming! We'll see about that! He also started rereading the Bunnicula series of all things! I have no idea what W has been doing except going to Music Theory class and some Latin/Latin class at the beginning of the week.

Schoolish: B and S did cursive M-Th. Did a bit of Greek on Monday. Math - B learned about greater than and lesser than, putting larger numbers in sequence, figuring out sequences and problem-solving. S did lessons 16 and 17 in Saxon (mostly multiplication). J did up to L 27 in Alg II and took test 5 (but I haven't gotten around to grading it yet). We did a bit of Vision Therapy homework. Did Latin homework on Monday and then Latin class on Tuesday a.m. We need to study for Latin quiz next T. S read some in his Seton reader. B did some work in her reading workbook and read a lesson from the McGuffey reader. Neither B or S did very much music practice this week. We didn't do any high school history. We did get to the next book in the Iliad and I made the boys organize their notebooks (they had papers scattered all over the house!). S did a bit of Latin - some grammar and some vocabulary review.

For read alouds - we started a new book Freedom Train about Harriet Tubman. I'm going to try and sandwich that in before we get to the book on St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

I am ready for a Thanksgiving break. I figure Monday and Tuesday of next week will be regular days. Wednesday a.m. I'm going to try to play catch up with the teens in re lit and history. Then Wed. afternoon break officially begins. H is coming home for the first time in 2.5 months! She'll be in Wed. night!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suggestions for History Reading

For some reason I'm in planning mode right now for future readings. Here's what I'm thinking of for the rest of this academic year with S and B:
  • After Archimedes, we'll read the new book on Herodutus by Bendick
  • Since we've done so much reading in the Greeks: Tanglewood Tales, Black Ships Before Troy, The Wanderings of Odysseus, Percy Jackson books, currently Archimedes, next Herodotus, I feel the need to move on to the Romans
  • Aeneid for Boys and Girls
  • Famous Men of Rome
  • Detectives in Togas
  • Roman Ransom
By next fall I think we'll be up to Middle Ages. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • The Early Christians by Hunt (transitional book plus the kids will learn about the early Church)
  • Brendan the Navigator by Jean Fritz
  • Fingal's Quest by ???? I've heard of this book so much but have never read it.
  • Beorn the Proud - loved this book the first time around!
  • The Hidden Treasure of Glaston - I read this to myself a couple years ago - wonderful book!
  • Francis and Clare; Saints of Assisi by Homan
  • Cathedral by McCauley
  • Castle by McCaulay
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow - one of my all time favorite books!
For J who'll be 15 and in 10th grade:
  • Confessions of St. Augustine
  • Augustine Came to Kent - about the other St. Augustine!
  • Ballad of the White Horse - by GKC - I've never read this but really want to! - poem
  • William the Conquerer - Hilaire Belloc - haven't read this either
  • Murder in the Cathedral - T.S. Eliot - play
  • St. Francis of Assisi by GKC
  • St. Thomas Aquinas by GKC
  • Henry V - Shakespeare - play
  • Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Spine for J - Didache Church History text or maybe the Catholic Textbook Projects latest book on Church History.

Supplements - Popes and Papacy Teach. Co lectures; watch movies Becket, movie on St. Francis, Henry V with Branaugh, old Joan of Arc movie. Watch Teach Co. lectures on Natural Law if we never get to it this year.

S & B: For our Modern Studies next year, I'm thinking of getting the Beautiful Feet Western Expansion unit study. I don't know how much we'll do of the actual unit study. We can pick and choose and read all the wonderful books.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekly Report 11/7/09-11/13/09

Unschoolish: S and B - Lots of cartooning and drawing; playing with sculpey; playing with pipe cleaners (Mom went to Michaels!); S and B designed games for a 'fair' in B's room. They had the cutest ideas for different games - one was they took an old science fair 3 sided poster board, cut out strips to make a jail cell window with bars and then offered to take pictures of you behind the bars!!! (They got that idea from our trip to Salem, MA); ball tosses, knocking stacks of plastic cups down. They made a fun house mirror by taping smaller mirrors and magnifying glasses to B's full length mirror. Lots of gymnastics and music playing/practice; S played games on One More Level having to do with music and geography; S and B wrote e-mails to friends/family. Watched lots of Wordgirl and Fetch. J read the book The Wormword Files; watched c-span with Rick during Health Care debate; played lots of computer game The Way which involves puzzles. He kept drawing examples of the puzzles and trying to explain them to S and Rick. W - lots of music practice, he was under the weather with a sore throat most of the week. W and J went to CLC Wed night and then got up to go to the 6:15 a.m Mass on Friday.

Schoolish: M-Th: S and B did cursive, math, and reading every day. S too math test and only got one wrong. S did Latin and spelling too. Read alouds - Finished Carry On, Mr Bowditch; great book! Cont with Archimedes and the Door of Science - learned about Simple Machines, parts of a lever, etc. Bible History - Saul and David. W, J and I went to Latin class on Tuesday. J did L. 22 in Alg and took a test which he got an 82.5 on. He needs to do another lesson today. He's moving at a snail's pace. He is totally wrapped up in The Way. Watched 2 Archeology lectures with W and J. J and I watched lecture on minerals in Earth Science. W and J also listened to the Iliad Book 9 and wrote out answers to study guide questions. W and J read through ch. 24 of History of the Ancient World. Socratic discussion on Friday a.m. Hopefully today (Fri p.m.) we'll read another book of The Iliad and J will do another Alg lesson.

Noteworthy stuff: J had drs appt Tues afternoon for mri for his spine. Need to go back to orthopedic doc next Tues to find out what to do for scoliosis. S and I had a date Thursday night. We ate at Silver Diner and then went to see his piano teacher give a concert. She played Pictures at An Exhibition by Mussorgsky. It was incredible! S was totally blown away! And most noteworthy of all! H turned 19 on Tuesday. Her first birthday away from home. She spent it writing a paper and studying for a test and then breaking up with her boyfriend. Birthdays just aren't the same when you are at college!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Report 11/1/09-11/6/09

School-y stuff:
  • Read alouds: Read more Bible History (story of Samuel), Carry On, Mr Bowditch and Archimedes and the Door To Science. I love how Mr. Bowditch and Archimedes are overlapping when it comes to mentioning navigation and astronomy! Learned about the Achimedean screw.
  • Did catechism on Monday
  • B and S did cursive every day
  • S did a week's worth of spelling in his spelling workbook
  • B did read a story from her reader and a page in her workbook. A couple times during the week she copied over some words she'd been reading onto the whiteboard
  • S did Lessons 11, 12, 13, and 14 in Saxon 6/5
  • B learned rounding to 10's, hundreds, reading large numbers, place value
  • J did lessons 17-21 in Saxon Algebra II. He took a test on Monday. Scored 75%. Argh! Rick says there was one question he just didn't understand but that the rest was just carelessness in arithmetic and trying to do too much figuring in his head. So the new rule is that if he scores less than 85%, he has to retake the test. I think J knows his dad will just go over the test with him so he doesn't need to work hard for accuracy. Daddy is too nice!
  • J and I watched two lectures on Earth Science - how the planet was formed and the rock cycle. Earth science is cool!
  • J, W and I watched first lecture on Classical Archaeology. This also seems very cool, combining history and science.
  • J, W and I read/listened to Book 7 of the Iliad
  • W went to Music Theory class
  • Latin - S did Latin 3x times this week. B sat in when we watched the dvd lesson for ch. 16.
  • Latin again - did Latin homework and went to class on Tuesday. W and J studied to make up test and took it on Thursday afternoon. I have no idea how they did.
  • Did a crossword puzzle in our Greek workbooks
  • Violin and piano lessons. S practiced every day, B not so much!
  • S read in his Seton reader using his flippers (VT exercise)
Unschool-y stuff:
  • W and S continue to have a music appreciation study together. They've been into Steve Reich this week big time. They've been trying to jam on the piano together.
  • We watched a lot of Bill Nye clips on youtube this week - science!
  • We watched The Wizard of Oz and the first Willie Wonka movie with Gene Wilder this week.
  • S played a neat geography game at One More Level
  • J was been really into the game The Way this week. He and Rick had to figure out a big computer glitch.
  • W and S helped pack kits and write cards for the troops at a youth service project at church
  • J and W went to their CLC meeting on Wed night - Bible study, discussion, etc
  • B and S love their cartooning class. S worked really hard drawing a cartoon mouse. His perfectionism works against him mightily! B is constantly drawing.
  • B is also constantly writing. She writes on the whiteboards, on paper, making posters, etc. Both she and S are constantly asking me how to spell stuff.
  • B and S played at drawing school. B set up a classroom in her room with 4 stuffed animals. It is the cutest thing ever! I should take a photo!
  • B and S loved gymnastics and have been practicing lots this week in the front yard.
  • B and S also got into being mimes this week using the leftover face paint from Halloween. They made up all kinds of acts! Very cute.
  • Rick is reading The BFG to both B and S, HP to S and Samantha to B
  • S finished reading the latest Wimpy Kid book. Now he's into F- minus cartoon.
  • J seems to just be reading stuff he finds lying around. Not into any particular book this week. He did read a couple of chapters of History
  • S and B went to Music Theory dot com a couple times this week to each themselves MT.
  • B starting getting back into Starfall site again.
  • I've started reading S Grimm's Fairy Tales at his request. I've been reading Little House in the Highlands to B which makes me want to travel to Scotland so badly!
  • Today - Friday - Socratic discussion group this a.m.
  • J has appointment with spine doctor at 1 p.m.
  • Afternoon: cleaning the house would be good; also reading another book in the Iliad
  • Getting everyone out to do some exercise.
  • Over the weekend - J needs to do another lesson in Algebra II; W, J and I need to do some Latin homework.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Learning Log 11/3/09

  • A good day! B did cursive, math (rounding to 100's), read the story of The Little Red Hen, copied over some words from the story on the whiteboard, listened to the story of Samuel from Bible History, I read her the next chapter from F&L, violin lesson
  • S did cursive, math (story problems), read Wimpy Kid book, Bible History, F&L, Latin vocab and grammar, piano practice and lesson
  • Rick is reading them The BFG by Roald Dahl.
  • J took Algebra test which Rick corrected.
  • J and I watched next lecture in Earth Science about how planet was formed. I need to watch it again. It was pretty technical and I didn't quite get it all.
  • W went to Music Theory in a.m.
  • W practiced music with band member in afternoon
  • Evening J, W and I did Latin homework
  • Got up and finished Latin homework
  • Went to Latin class
  • B did cursive, reading workbook, math, coloring
  • S did cursive, reading in Seton reader, did math lesson on lines, page of spelling book
  • Took kids to vote with me
  • J did next lesson in Algebra
  • Discussed History reading with J and W
  • B and S went to gymnastics which they loved
  • Watched first lecture on Classical Archeology with W and J
  • B and S watched Bill Nye videos on youtube
  • W went to Soundry for open mike night
  • B and S played at Music Theory.com
  • R is reading so many read alouds: BFG, Sea of Monsters, Samantha (American Girls), Prisoner of Azkaban.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Random Thoughts in a Desperate Attempt to Feel on Top of Things!

  • Why do I like this bullet function so much? Is it because my brain is so scattered I can't write in actual paragraph anymore?
  • I have signed J up with Clonlara and have yet to do anything with them. I haven't even talked to our advisor even though I've gotten two e-mails from them asking me to.
  • After two weeks of flu J is right back to living in a hole where the only thing he wants to interact with is his computer. This is the whole reason I signed up with Clonlara, to get some structure into his life. Hey, there! There's a whole life going on out here that you might want to participate in! LOL. So this week J and I really need to sit down and go through the Clonlara manual (which we've only done partially) and then communicate with his adviser.
  • J really needs to keep track of his time. I don't think he has a clue that he spends hours in front youtube and very little time doing other things. Keeping track of his time will make him aware of that. So I'm going to ask him to do that little exercise; jotting down what he's done all day.
  • I need to get W registered for the CC next semester. I can not figure out how to do it online to save my life. I think also maybe you can't if you are a high schooler still. I think we need to go in and talk to a counselor. But last semester we waited too long and the class he wanted filled up. So this week I really want to take care of that. Maybe we'll do this tomorrow.
  • I'm hoping that we can finish reading the Iliad and Odyssey by the next semester. Then I think I'll give W a credit for Greek Lit. He'll be so busy with CC courses that I don't think we'll be able to do the whole year of Ancient Lit that I had planned. It is very hard to get all three of us together for long enough blocks of time to move forward at the pace we need to. So I am letting W go. J and I can hunker down and get some learnin' done and I won't have to worry about W. He's got so many outside things going on that it really interferes with scheduling something we can do together.
  • I'm thinking of having an audio-visual hour after dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are the nights when we don't have to be out. We have so many Teaching Co. courses, documentaries etc that I'd like to watch, but again it is too hard to schedule it in on the fly. I think we need to have set times!
  • Just now I realized that we missed a meeting on Thursday night to sign up for High School Workcamp. Grrr.
  • I'm assessing what's working for the younger children. Read alouds have been going well. S is really into the new Archimedes book. I'm planning to read about St. John Vianney after Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (Modern Studies). I'd like to read the new Jean Bendick on Herodotus next for Ancient Studies. Bible History continues to chug along. B wants to participate in the Science Fair which is in February (27th I think?). Both children are doing very well when it comes to reading and learning cursive. I think I need to be a little more consistent with math and Latin (which ironically is supposed to be the core of our planned stuff but somehow gets shoved aside frequently!). Doing the Greek once or twice a week seems to be working fine. I'm in no rush with Greek!
  • After Christmas I think we'll switch to Writing With Ease. I'm looking forward to that.
  • Okay, it is the Feast of All Saints! I need to get costumes ready for our party. We aren't going to Mass until 6:00 p.m. tonight. It is the youth group Mass (1st Sunday of the month).