Saturday, February 20, 2010

Summer Plans

I know it is crazy to plan for summer in February or so it seems. But I really need to! How things seem to be shaping up:

H - will be home from college and working to save money for her Rome semester. She's applied to work for the census. We'll see if she gets it. If not she'll be job hunting or maybe working back at Starbucks. She'll be in and out probably going on weekend visits here and there.

W - will be gone the last weekend in June to NC with the parish workcampers. Then he 'll be home for a week and then off to Boston for 5 weeks to music school. He'll come home and the very next day leave with us to go to the Outer Banks for a week. As soon as he gets home his classes at NOVA start up! He'll be uberbusy this summer!

J - is the opposite of W. We've got nothing planned for him. He'll still be recuperating from his operation. I think he'll still be working on completing 9th grade. He's been so slow getting through Algebra II that he'll still need to work on that. We'll probably still be working on some literature stuff. I feel like just doing video school with him. I've got Teaching the Classics and a Teach. Co. course on Writing Good Sentences. It studies literature and different author's sentence structure. It is a rather unusual way to approach both grammar and writing. I only saw the first two lectures but it is intriguing to me. So maybe we'll do that. Maybe we'll also watching the History of Western Civ with Prof. Noble. Also, we'll all be trying to read a lot.

S - also have very little planned for him. He doesn't want to do music camp at all. I think we'll also be doing math through the summer. I'm thinking of getting him some Critical Thinking software that helps with his visual stuff. And we'll be reading a lot. He wants to do a Latin camp this summer so I'm brainstorming about how to put one together. Also LPH has an on line art class over the summer which looks fun. Plus, he'll still be doing his on line music theory course with them through August.

B - 3 week music camp (gotta decide which three weeks and sign her up), Latin camp and a week at the beach. Also the on line art class. I think she'll be busy and happy! She never gets bored anyway!

I must sign up to join the pool. I never did last year. Shame on me. S loves to swim, J and B not so much, but both have talked of being frustrated with their lack of swimming skills. The dr said swimming would be very good for J's back. So I think I'll join the pool and put out money for private lessons for them all.

So that's what's going on in my head now. We'll see how things turn out.

Monday, February 15, 2010

American History Post Revolution - Pre Civil War

It looks like for our Modern History Stream will be slowly going through American history. I was hoping to move to world geography but the kids want American History. I'm thinking of getting the Sonlight 4 Core which is Civil War to current times, pretty much. Until we get to that we are going to use the Time Travelers Early 19th Century unit. It looks great with lots of crafts and notebooking pages. I am sorting through the books we own to see what to read aloud. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Amos Fortune, Free Man - this isn't exactly post revolutionary except by a bit. I think the main character died in 1801, but it looks so interesting. Looks like it would make a great read aloud.
  • A Gathering of Days - A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32; This in diary form and I think that style doesn't lend itself to read alouds - might be assigned to S.
  • Need a book about Lewis and Clark - though we have read picture books about them.
  • The Story of Geronimo by Jim Kjelgaard - this is an old Signature Books edition published in 1958. Geronimo was born in 1829, died 1909.
  • Need a book about the Alamo
  • The Story of Stephen Foster by Esther M. Douty - another old Signature Book. I loved this books as a kid! Foster was born in 1826 - died 1864. I have a wonderful collections of Stephen Foster songs sung by Thomas Hampson who has the most glorious voice! We can use this to focus on American folk music.
  • Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie; The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847 - this is one of the Dear America series. I don't know how good it actually is. Might be another book I assign to S. Though I do want to read a book about the Oregon trail aloud to B.
  • Black Potatoes; The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845 - 1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti - this looks like a fascinating book! We could focus on some Irish songs along with this.
  • Gold Rush Bishop - This is an old Catholic Treasury Book, pub. 1962 - it's about Bishop Pat Monague, an Irish Priest who comes over and winds up ministering to the miners in the Gold Rush and then moving on to establish churches in the West.
  • If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern
I like the idea of using Sonlight because of all the assigned readers. S is really troubled by the fact that he finds it difficult to finish books. He asked me what ADD was. He says he thinks he has it because it is so hard for him to finish a book on his own. My response was:

1. You HAVE finished books on your own so you can do it. I plan to list out as many of these as possible so he'll get some confidence.

2. He's almost completing vision therapy and he's got his glasses so I really think that will help him.

3. I need to have a dedicated time during the DAY and not at night for him to read. His eyes still struggle with muscle fatigue and reading something that requires a little more effort than comic books is hard. He needs to do it when he's awake and not tired.

4. I think he needs to get over the hump of giving up on books that might be a bit more challenging. I think he needs structure to do that and so that's why Sonlight is so appealing. I was looking at SL 5 Core which is the Eastern Hemisphere but I think that will wait until 7th or 8th grade.

5. I'm actually going to start assigning books now - during Lent I was going to ask him to read a biography of a saint (maybe two). After that I am thinking of assigning Detectives in Togas for him to read. I think he'll like the mystery involved in that book and it's sequel (if he chooses.) He can then read A Gathering of Days and Across the Wide and Open Prairie. These are both girls' journals. I wonder if he'll object to that. Might have to find something in between that is more boyish!

Weekly Report 2/15/10-2/1910

Monday - President's Day

  • Made kids name at least 5 presidents they could think of right off the top of their heads. B said George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Obama and George Bush. S said GW, AL, Obama, both Bushes and Teddy Roosevelt. J said GW, AL, James Madison, Polk, Taft.
  • Told kids I was going to start reading them a new book for Lent instead of Bible History. Gave them a choice of The Key to the Golden City or The Little Apostle on Crutches. They decided on the first and then wanted to start today even though it isn't Lent yet. So we are putting our Bible History on the backburner for a while.
  • B and S both did very well at their WWE copy work/dictation
  • Learned about Greek vowel diphthongs. Listened to silly song at the CAP site that helps you remember them. (to the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man). Did you know diphthong comes from the Greek meaning two voices????
  • Did lesson in Saxon on angles with S.
  • J successfully avoided doing anything academic most of the morning. But I finally forced him to sit down and work on that Han Dynasty questionnaire.
  • W ran to the store and got trashbags for me. Then he's been working on his music/writing all day downstairs.
  • B set up a restaurant in her room. Very cute.
  • Took S to his piano lesson. He was mad at the teacher because she wouldn't help him read the music but made him do it all.
  • J had a bad headache all night and didn't fall asleep until 4:30 a.m. So I didn't make him go to Latin class
  • W and I crammed studied Latin because we'd completely neglected it to for two weeks.
  • I got a B on my quiz. So did W!
  • B did her phonics and cursive, and drew pictures but she didn't get to her math or VT homework
  • S did some reading in his Faith and Freedom reader but I don't think he did math, spelling or cursive. The young dd of the teacher was there at the Latin class (she's usually at an art class somewhere) and so they were very busy chatting and playing with her.
  • Took J to Algebra tutor
  • Took J to dr's appt. His surgery is next Wed. It is starting to hit home!
  • W took B to gymnastics; S went to his friend's house to play
Ash Wednesday
  • Read from Before America about Sparta and Athens and their differences. Learned about the difference between 'totalitarianism' and 'democracy' B and S thought this very interesting stuff!
  • Read next chapter of The King of the Golden City
  • J worked on Algebra in a.m.
  • Made S do the work he didn't do yesterday during Latin class - finished L. 32 in Saxon, did spelling page in speller, finished reading story in Faith and Freedom reader, which he didn't read closely so I made him go back and reread it!
  • B worked on an addition fact sheet and did a workbook page in her phonics book.
  • Both of them spent most of morning planning and videotaping a movie
  • J and I finished Book XVII of the Odyssey
  • Dictated passage from St. Francis de Sales Intro to Devout Life (about what devotion really is ) to J
  • J was supposed to look through How to Write the Novel Way and think about how he wants to approach it.
  • Took B and S to VT
  • Forgot to do any Latin with S!
  • Took S and B to Mass
  • Made crown of thorns for B's lenten sacrifice (out of dough and toothpicks)
  • R read more Mysterious Benedict Society to B and S
  • I read a few pages in Five Little Peppers but it had gotten very late and I could barely keep my eyes open!
  • J and W went to CLC early to help prepare for 8th retreat (the CLC'ers help lead). Then they went to 7:30 Mass
  • J's surgery is looming before us.
  • As usual I don't really know what W did today. He did lots of music and he says he's doing his writeguide. I know he's stepping up his Bible reading for Lent.
  • B and S both did their WWE
  • B did about 10 addition facts problems and then I showed how to borrow 'across zeros' in the problem: 508 - 99. First you try your next door neighbor but they don't have the one you need so you have to go to the next house, etc. She got it and was able to articulate it back to me.
  • S and I watched Ch. 19 in Latin for Children. He immediately got the bo, bis, bit, bimus, bitis, bunt. He started asking questions about perfect tenses. I was chatting about how there are Latin camps and he said he wanted to go to one. He also reiterated his desire to learn Italian. Maybe Rosetta Stone Italian?????
  • S and W did music theory lesson
  • B played dress up a lot this a.m. She was being different characters in a videogame S was writing in his head!
  • J did next Algebra lesson and his on line logic lesson.
  • B read some of the next story in her reader to me. She didn't quite finish it all. Her eyes got tired.
  • S has been reading Bone; he's determined to read all 9 volumes of it. He also started reading a saint biography of St. Hubert.
  • S had the part of his VT re-evaluation today.
  • Took W to get his driver's license today at courthouse. Saw my father's portrait! He was head judge there in the 70's.
  • Read next ch. of Frontier Bishop to B and S while we waited for dinner to cook.
  • Read scripture readings for next Sunday's Mass aloud to B and S.
  • W went to his music comp. class
  • Had Socratic discussion/art co-op. I have no idea what J discussed in his group. B, S and the other kids made Native American 'blankets'. It was a neat little project. B cut out rectangles of brown paper bag. Each child crumpled and then straighten the paper 30 times which makes it much softer and leather looking. Then we stenciled SW Indian designs onto the 'blankets' and colored them.
  • One of the moms stayed with her kids while W and I went to give blood for J's surgery. So B and S apparently put on lots of puppet shows for them while I was gone!
  • I took J to his science class before going to the Blood donor place.
  • W had an educational experience there as he had never given blood before.
  • Got back home so late and tired. The kids talked me into taking them to IHOP for dinner.
  • Alas the traffic was bad and the service slow and we missed going to the Stations of the Cross at our parish. But B had me light a candle and we went around and read each of the stations that we have hanging up in our basement and then we said a Hail Mary together. This was her idea!

J has lots of stuff to do this week. He's got to do 2 lessons of Alg, read lots of the Odyssey (I really want to finish it before his surgery!) and study Latin. This is good. He should be kept busy so he doesn't have time to get nervous. Next week we'll only do as much formal schooling as I can muster on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is the surgery and I have a feeling life will be chaotic for a week or two after that! So I'll consider anything we get done a blessing. I'm already convinced that we are going to do some formal studies through most of the summer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plans for Lent

  • Abstaining from meat on Fridays
  • Prayer
  • Alms-giving
  • Making a Lenten sacrifice
  • Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
Prayer - We were thinking of doing the following:
  • Mondays - saying a family rosary, either in the a.m. before breakfast or at noon.
  • Tuesdays - this is a tight day - maybe try to say the Divine Mercy but we can't do it at 3 because B goes to gymnastics then, so I think we'll try to say it before dinner on Tuesday nights.
  • Wednesday - noon Mass at a nearby church which has noon Masses during Advent and Lent
  • Thursday - read the readings for Sunday's Mass - J (and W if he wants) can explain to us what they learned from their CLC Bible Study the night before.
  • Friday - Stations of the Cross at our parish every Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Almsgiving - For some reason our parish doesn't participate in Operation Rice Bowl. It is a tithing parish and is very strong in the peace and justice aspects of living the faith. So I wonder why we don't participate in this particular charitable activity. However, on the WTM board someone mentioned Food for the Poor's Operation Starfish We love Food for the Poor so I'd be happy to participate in a program they have. I don't know if I can get my act together enough though to start it up. It looks like something maybe our homeschool group can do together.

Lenten Sacrifice:
  • I am making Friday a screen free day for me and reducing myself to 30 minutes of screen each day for the rest of the week. That seems a really light sacrifice but with J's surgery going on I'm not sure if I can commit to more than that right now, realistically.
  • S wants to give up computer and also give up playing games on his DSI. He's planning to limit himself to only animated on his DSI. Which makes sense. I mean an artist doesn't plan to give up making art for Lent!
  • B wants to make a crown of thorns with clay and toothpicks. Each time she makes a sacrifice or does a good deed she gets to take a 'thorn' out of the crown.
  • J says he's going to try to pray more. Frankly he'll be having and recovering from major surgery on his back, so that might be hard enough. Maybe he can offer up his anxiety, pain and discomfort!
  • W, not sure what he's got planned.

  • I also am going to ask W, J and S to do regular spiritual reading during the course of Lent.
  • I am going to commit myself to finishing Jesus of Nazareth and Reading The Old Testament. I won't read any other books until I am finished with them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekly Report 2/8/10 - 2/12/10

  • Had a big blizzard. Lost power twice; first for 10 hours and then for 18. Got rather chilly! We read aloud a lot. R read last part of Percy Jackson series. I thought he was farther along than he actually was. He has read all but the last chapter. I also read a lot of Five Little Peppers. We played Pictionary Jr and Charades; played in the snow. We did a lot of sleeping as well! J did one lesson in Algebra. J and I also watched Earth Science lecture (after we'd gotten our power back!) about Intraplate volcanoes. Yellowstone is set to blow soon and will decimate North America! I told R and he was so funny. He said: "But I bought a house in North America! Why didn't someone tell me about this!" Hopefully it won't happen for a few thousand years. . . . .Monday
  • Read aloud Bible History - The Division of the Kingdom into Judah and Israel.
  • WWE for B and S
  • B did 5 subtraction problems with borrowing
  • I asked S if he wanted to do Life of Fred but he chose to do Saxon w/ me! We did Investigation 3 on fractions and percents.
  • Latin - more vocabulary review. How do I keep this from being so tedious????
  • Greek - did some fun decoding.
  • B and S are very into playing pick up sticks today
  • J did 1 test and one lesson in Algebra.
  • W got up early and worked away at music.
  • R stayed home and worked some from home but then he and W intrepidly went out into the snow to get propane, get the snow blower fixed and get some provisions. Supposedly we are getting 5+ inches of snow starting tomorrow to add to the 24 we've already got!
  • Everything is canceled for today. So no piano for S, no guitar for W and no teaching RE for me. Hurray!
  • J, W and I did Latin homework; translating 32 sentences and then doing a practice NLE. Still need to study for quiz.
  • B and S played a lot animating and drawing; S's friend came over and they all played together.
  • W did not go to his 7:30 mass and Bible study for the second Monday in a row. He's bummed.
  • Had major migraine in a.m. We didn't make it to Latin or Algebra because I didn't want W driving around on snowy roads. Didn't feel better until almost 2. Kids hung out, played, watched tv, etc.
  • B did a page in her phonics, and 5 subtraction problems with borrowing. She got them all correct! She didn't do her cursive practice in her workbook because she wrote a very nice thank you note to our neighbor in cursive.
  • S read a story in his Faith and Freedom reader (about a blizzard); he did a little bit of work in Life of Fred but found it frustrating because they expected him to know how to multiply big numbers (multi-digit) I guess in Saxon we haven't gotten past multiplying a big number by a single digit number. So I sat down and showed him using a problem from LoF: 24 x 3600. He's grumpy tho, say he didn't get enough sleep last night
  • S also did some cursive practice in his workbook (quote: ask and you shall receive, etc) and he did a page in his CHC speller on 'ai', 'ay', 'oi', 'oy' words.
  • Read lots of Five Little Peppers to B.
  • J did lesson in Algebra. Glad R was home because J was having trouble focusing and R sat down and worked the lesson with him. Apparently it was trigonometry.
  • W got up early and did lots of music practice. He wrote a piece for his audition piece. He called it the Severe Scoliosis Boogie!
  • Finished Herodotus and The Road to History.
  • Started reading Frontier Bishop
  • R signed W up for the 5 week summer school at Berklee. I don't even want to think about W being gone for 5 weeks. What will I do with out him. I'll miss him like crazy. Funny, sweet, helpful. Yikes, I'm already sad.
  • R started reading the 3rd Mysterious Benedict Society book aloud to B and S
  • J and I read Book XV in Odyssey.
  • Read more 5 Little Peppers to B
  • Huge blizzard today! 8 inches on our front doorstep by 11 a.m! Wind is blowing violently! We'll probably lose power again.
  • Read from old Catholic textbook called Before America about Ancient Greece. Looked at maps, talked about the Aegean Civilization.
  • B and S did cursive practice
  • J, S, B and I said a scriptural rosary at noon. We hadn't made it to Mass on Sun and I was feeling like we needed to get some dedicated prayer time in. B did really well reading scripture passages.
  • J worked on Trisms on Han Dynasty for a bit but then the computer suddenly died. That is the main computer so J decided this meant he didn't have to do school anymore. He retired to the basement to play some game for the next several hours.
  • B brought up two puzzles of the US to play with. One was a floor puzzle and one was an old wooden one with about 4 states missing. But we put them together and then she'd ask me about the different states and I'd tell her about them. S listened in when he was around.
  • The blizzard was distracting everyone. R went out and tried out his new snowblower. B went out on our screenporch and began sweeping the snow (!!!!) that had blown in. S went out and played for hours in the snow!
  • W went out and shoveled the front porch and walkway as well as the back patio.
  • B, W, R and I watched Anne of Green Gables. The dvd played the whole miniseries as a movie so we wound up watching the whole thing off and on all afternoon/evening.
  • R grilled hamburgers and hot dogs in the snow. I got pictures.
  • J and I read half of Book XVI of Odyssey
  • R read next ch of The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • I read B next ch. of Five Little Peppers
  • Read next ch. of Frontier Bishop. French Revolution is about to begin!
  • S and B both did copywork from WWE
  • B did one subtraction problem with borrowing from two columns.
  • S did Lesson 31 in Saxon - parallel lines, perpendicular lines plus review
  • S and B played happily for a long time putting on a puppet show
  • J worked on Han Dynasty questionnaire for History
  • J wanted me to give him dictation, so I found a quote from St. Francis de Sales and dictated it to him.
  • J finally wrote his rough draft descriptive paragraph about Tillie
  • J and I watched next lecture in Earth Science - Earthquakes and Volcanoes and how they effect humanity!
  • R took S and B to VT
  • W slept late, putzed around and then went to store for me.
  • Had a very nice Latin session with S. We reviewed vocabulary (he's getting better) then he proudly chanted conjugations and declensions. We did some sentence diagramming. He really wants to learn Italian.
  • B and S have been typing up notes to me and then translating them into French for me to read. They can't believe I can read a little bit of French. They are easy to impress! My we are getting so multilingual!
  • H called from Dallas a couple of times. She didn't get an A on a paper she wrote even tho she worked really hard on it. She went to her professor and apparently she had misinterpreted the topic of the paper. The prof said she had written an A paper but on the wrong topic! So she's got to go back and rewrite it. She's determined to get an A. She is really into Dante's Comedy right now. She's been fighting a cold for a while though and it has tired her out.
  • J and I finished Book XVI in Odyssey. Answered study questions.
  • Had major insomnia. Sigh...... so we really unschooled today.
  • Read next chapter of Frontier Bishop to S and B while they painted our bluebird houses (finally; been meaning to do this for 2 weeks!)
  • B and S listened some cds they haven't listened to in years while they drew pictures and played with puppets.
  • J bought some new computer game he downloaded and has been playing.
  • I decided to attack the boys room. It is again a sordid mess. We dug out all the junk under the beds and I brought down stuff that had accumulated up there. We decided to rearrange the room so that the beds are not right next to each other. J comes up to bed much later than S and always wakes him up by turning on the light to read. So we decided we'd make 1/2 the room J's and 1/2 the S's. Also, it could really use repainting. Though maybe that won't happen until the summer. Anyway, I'm hoping to go up there and work in short increments and maybe have the furniture moved around by the time J has to go to the hospital. We need to give away all those old Legos/Bionicles that haven't been played with in a couple years at least. Tho J refuses to give up his Bionicle books!
  • J started reading The Screwtape Letters.
  • W's Comm Coll was back on again today only starting at 10 a.m. So he went to his music comp class.
  • W helped S with his music theory lesson
  • I'm hoping I'll get more done over the weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teaching Catechism to the Unfaithful

Off and on for the last 15 years I have been a catechist for the parishes I've attended. I guess I'm on my 6th year of teaching catechism. I've taught 1st grade, 4th grade (twice), 7th grade (twice) and 8th grade. And then a couple of years in there I was a substitute.

There are so many things wrong with the model of catechesis my parish uses. They are much better at the Youth ministry thing. They also have a wonderful apostolate with the Youth Apostles who take over with the teens who have been confirmed. Official RE only goes up to 8th grade and confirmation. The YA program, entitled Catholic Life Communities is absolutely phenomenal. It is led by trained leaders who mentor the young men and women. They meet almost every single week of the year (no summer breaks!), they regularly go on retreats and also do fun social things. The meetings consist of reading the scripture for the next Sunday Mass, discussing it in small groups and then learning about the catechism and how to live a truly Christian life in this culture. However, this is entirely voluntarily and of the 70+ kids who were confirmed in Josh's class only about 8 joined.

Anyway, the actual RE model is awful. They take a few solidly Catholic volunteers and then because they never have enough of those folks, they take other volunteers who really don't know their faith very well OR have no clue how to teach like a teacher in a classroom, they have the kids come in and sit in desks, bored to death, and they use materials that are confusing, watered downed and basically trying so hard to relate to the kids they only earn the kids' scorn (which makes me respect the kids!). They is virtually no quality control. There is very little connection between the parents and the volunteer teacher. The children are often not really practicing Catholics and know appallingly little of their faith. They barely go to Mass on Sundays. They never pray as a family. They have no clue about anything in the Bible. It is truly depressing.

So this year I'm teaching 7th grade girls. I keep explaining things to them, like Eucharist comes from the Greek word for thanksgiving. Or the virtue of prudence is something like practical wisdom in action. They'd never heard of the word prudence before. Or that theology comes from the Greek root words for God and Word or Study. Then I was talking about Geography. We were reading from Paul's epistle to the Corinthians. Where is Corinth, I asked? They didn't have a clue. I asked them where the city of Damascus was. They didn't know. So jokingly I said if you really know your Catholic faith, it makes you smarter!

The more I thought about this the more something occurred to me. What if we taught RE as a supplement to the rest of the child's learning? Right now it is so disconnected from everything else in their lives. What if it wound up helping them on the SOL's or the SATs? Wouldn't parents take it much more seriously? I think this could be a real hook for the whole family. You could take different aspects of the faith and break it down so that it might complement the student's learning in various grades. Here's just a very brief outline of what I came up with:

Grade 1: Issue each child a Children's Bible and have them practice reading at home. They can become familiar with Bible stories this way, the parent can renew their memory of various Bible stories and then the parents/children can come in and participate in various activities, skits, etc.

Grade 2: This grade might be the best one done at our parish because it is the big Sacrament year with First Confession and First Holy Communion. I think they could expand what they've already got going.

Grade 3: Focus on Art History using a program like Christian Heritage Curriculum.

Grade 4: Focus on saints in American history. I mean both North and South. St Peter Claver, St Isaac Jogues, St. Kateri Teckawitha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Blessed Father Juniper Serra, St. John Neumann, St. Katherine Drexel, etc.

Grade 5: Begin focusing on word roots; teach them a little Latin. (program: English from the Roots Up plus Lingua Angelica). Have someone from music ministry teach this.

Grade 6: Reading analysis otherwise known as Bible study. Use the new Kids Great Adventure.

Grade 7: Study the saints before America. (In preparation for choosing a saint's name for confirmation.)

Grade 8: Finish up Confirmation prep. Our parish usually has Confirmation in the Spring.

During the course of the year I think every grade should have:

1) A couple of family workshops (maybe Sept and April)
2) A retreat (Dec)
3) A speaker of interest to both parents and children (Oct)
4) A fieldtrip (Nov)
5) A service project (during Lent)
6) A performer, play or a movie night for the whole family (Jan)
7) A special Mass for all the RE kids (Feb?) Have confession beforehand. Most of these kids haven't gone to confession since their first one in second grade.
8) A big May crowning for the RE kids, in, of course, May

So if you have one big event each month that parents are expected to attend then I think they should make the classes bigger so they don't have to stretch for so many volunteers but REQUIRE that parents volunteer to be aids in the classes. They can pick times when they can be available. That way the parents get catechized too.

Okay so that's a very rough draft of my idea. Needs lots more thought I know, but I think it could work! Something's got to be better than what we are doing now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weekly Report 2/1/10 - 2/6/10

MondayJ did a lesson of Alg on Sunday and then another one Monday
  • J did his NLE practice exam and studied for Latin quiz
  • B and S - read Bible History - Solomon's sad end
  • B and S - WWE
  • S did a lesson in Saxon
  • B did another addition problem with carrying
  • B is quitting violin. She hasn't had more than 1 lesson since before Christmas. She was already fading in her interest and that gap really made her stubbornly refuse to go. I was going to force the issue but frankly Mondays are so rushed and it would be really nice to not have to rush around all Monday afternoon and evening.
  • S went to piano lessons
  • W has been very industrious but I haven't really been keeping tabs on him at all.
  • B picked The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew out as her new chapter book
  • R is reading the last book in the Percy Jackson series, The Last Olympian.
  • Got up and studied some more for Latin quiz
  • During Latin class B and S did penmanship, spelling/phonics and math. Or at least S did math, B didn't. B is going through a, how to put this politely, obnoxious I don't want to do it and you can't make me phase. Sigh.
  • I got a 99 on the last quiz but on the one today I got a 91. For some reason I stuck macrons all over where they didn't belong. J got B's on both quizzes and W flunked both. He says he studies but I think he really thinks about studying and then doesn't actually end up doing enough to get him through. I think he has to learn the hard way. I reminded both him and J about GPA's and how colleges will look at them.
  • Took J to Algebra tutor. He had a good session.
  • I got a new book from Amazon. I bought all these books by Miroslav Sasek. The one that arrived today was This is London. I read it aloud to B and S.
  • J and I watched next lecture in How the Earth Works about continent collisions. Very, very interesting.
  • B and S did a lot of line rider today which they haven't played in a long time.
  • Discussed what we want to do for Lent.
  • Finally finished reading Book XIV in the Odyssey w/ J
  • J has been reading The Life of Pi this week.

  • slept horribly last night. Did I drink too much caffeine???? Today was painful and slow as molasses.
  • Read next chapter in Cure of Ars
  • Read next chapter in Herodotus
  • S did a bit of math (very simple multiplying by 10s and 100s)
  • B and I went over end of ch test.
  • J did a writing exercise for Writeshop (describe an animal. He described Tillie)
  • J did a lesson in Alg II
  • I collapsed and didn't get any more academic stuff done
  • B and S went to VT
  • S and I watched most of a frontline report on how the internet is changing students possibly for the worst: computer/game addiction and becoming so distractible. We decided memorization, exercise and sitting down to read something for an hour each day with no distractions. Then he went downstairs to play a videogame and I got on the computer LOL! We are gonna have to work at this!!!
  • Took B and S to Starbucks where we sat and brainstormed about getting the kids to eat better at each meal. I told them no more snacking between meals (except fruit or veggies). Instead they should eat the meals I plan and put before them to keep them nice and healthy!
  • W shovel the whole driveway. Took him 2 hours. And he didn't sleep much last night either. I don't know if W did anything academic.
  • J is still reading Life of Pi.
  • Wouldn't you know it? B is now taking out her violin and trying to play it and begging me once again for lessons. What is a mother to do with a child like this??????? Other than tear my hair out!
  • News of big snow on the way here tomorrow, so instead of starting off with our studies I hit the grocery store
  • Finished reading Cure of Ars to B and S
  • Read next ch. of History of Medicine. S thinks it is fascinating. B hates it. Way too gruesome for her (dissecting corpses and such); she was writhing while I was reading it. Poor thing! LOL! So I guess I'll just make this a S and I thing and find something else for B.
  • Showed B how to borrow when subtracting
  • S did some vocab review in Latin. The one complaint I have about this book is that you learn tons of Latin vocab but you don't ever use it very often. So it just becomes lots of rote memorization. Some of that is fine but I think they are doing overkill. I do love their presentation of the material and the way they teach the grammar.
  • S and I did Saxon Lesson 30 talking about percents and fractions. I worked through every single problem with him since we hadn't done any review for a couple days.
  • J did his logic lesson on line
  • J did a tiny, tiny bit of Writeshop.
  • J carefully numbered his Alg copybook in preparation to do the next lesson, then took the dog for a walk. Came home and crawled into bed with his book. Since everything has been cancelled for tomorrow, I'm not worried. I'll just make him do the stuff tomorrow!
  • With all the talk of a huge snowstorm I just don't seem focused on academics much.
  • S did his music theory class on line.
  • S and B did a little bit of WWE
  • I finished reading aloud the ch on Herodotus' travels to Egypt
  • J did a lesson in Alg.
  • W went to his Music Comp class and got home before the snow got bad
  • I splurged and bought books this week. I got Life of Fred books for S. He dug right into the Fractions book with great gusto.
  • B did another borrowing subtraction problem on the white borrow. I made a big deal of the one's column having to go next door to it's neighbor the Tens and borrow from them. It made her laugh and the lightbulb went off! She got it!
  • I made everybody spend 30 minutes reading. Don't know if W actually did. J read History of the Ancient World. S read a book about the Percy Jackson series by the same author. B read to me from the McGuffey Reader. She read very well.
  • S did a little VT
  • B doesn't want to listen in on the History of Medicine. So I asked her to tell me what she wanted to learn about. I expected her reply to be flowers or pulleys (she loves to make stuff. She made an elevator for her stuffed animals using a pulley idea!). But no she said Reptiles! So I got out a book on Reptiles and it was just as gruesome as the Medicine book but for some reason, it didn't gross her out!
  • R is home because of the snow. He finished his work early and is now reading the very last chapters of the whole Percy Jackson series to the B and S.
  • We got the rest of our Miroslav Sasek books! I think we'll attempt to read them over the course of our snowy weekend.
  • I'd still like to get some Greek done.
  • I asked the kids, since we are done with the Cure of Ars if they wanted to start up a Geography study. I have A Child's Geography of the World. But S loved the Cure of Ars book so much, he wants another saint biography. I went searching and found Frontier Bishop by Riley Hughes. He's not a saint but a significant figure in American Catholic history. I went to Mount St. Mary's College and one of our dorm building is named for Father Brute. I thought it would be cool to read this book. Maybe we can take a fieldtrip up there if the snow ever clears! Anyway, he lived a little bit earlier than St. Jean Vianney but more or less at the same time. So we'd get some reinforcement about the French Revolution, Napoleon, only this time the priest doesn't stay in France but comes to America. So it will tie into a lot of things and then we can actually go see the places that Father Brute lived. They, of course, mention Baltimore a lot. We are going over there to the Aquarium with their cousins at the end of March. Maybe we can pop in and see the Cathedral as well.