Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Ponderings and Planning

Okay, so I'm planning again. Not that my plans usually come to fruition the way I think they will, but it is the way I think things through. Things are up in the air a bit because I and some other ladies are trying to come up with a co-op for next year. It is a spin off from the Socratic Group/Art club we've been doing this year. I think it will happen is some way, shape or form. I just don't know exactly what subjects will be covered. I'm pretty sure that the Art club will also expand to include a book club. We may also add in other things like Geography, Science and poetry/Shakespeare. So I'm going to have to hold off and completely planning things because I really want the co-op to work. Part of me is doubtful though because so often in the pass things have not worked out.

Sean wants to go to school. He's bored. And he is influenced by his very smart friend who goes to school. And I think he feels a need to be more structured as well, even though he resists it a lot. So I'm thinking of relying somewhat on Kolbe next year for his 6th grade. I want to prepare him to go to school if he is inclined that way as he gets older and nearer to high school. So the Kolbe stuff would be:

Religion - I liked their Religion plans that I used with J in 8th grade. We didn't get half of it done and we did lots of it orally, but it was very edifying and satisfying to sit down about once a week and go over the readings and the questions informally. It was nice to have the syllabus and lesson plans to guide us in that. So I think that might be a good thing for S.

Math - we are already doing Saxon 6/5. I think we'll continue as much as possible in that, really gunning on it through mid-June and then lightly over the summer. And we'll start up fresh with 7/6 in the fall. There is so much review and repetition, I do not foresee a problem.

Reading/Literature - S and I have started up a book club between ourselves. Right now we are reading Island of the Blue Dolphin together. I hope to do this a couple more times this summer. Then the co-op book club can take over. That'll have him reading, I hope!

Writing - I think I might skip to WWE4 for S. WWE2 is a bit easy for him and it is time to step up the challenge in 6th grade. WWE4 is supposed to be 4th or 5th graders but SWB is very advanced in my view, so I think WWE4 will be excellent for 6th.

Spelling - I might use Kolbe's lesson plans for Vocab and Spelling. J really enjoyed the Sadlier Oxford book. I think S might too.

Grammar - Grammar gets covered in part by WWE. Also since we are doing Latin and Greek, he'll get grammar through that.

Latin - Latin for Children B (might be finishing up A at the beginning of the year)

Greek - Song School Greek - this is easy and fun but definitely teaches one Greek!

Science - if we wind up not doing any science in the co-op then I am very tempted to use Kolbe's Cambridge Life Science. I think in order for S to feel busier and more on par with his peers adding in formal science might be a good idea.

Geography - again if we don't do Geography in the co-op then maybe I'll used Kolbe's plans for Geography for S. I think he might enjoy doing the workbook they have.

History - History will be done with B. I'm thinking of doing BFbooks Western Expansion unit instead of Time Travelers which hasn't gotten off the ground at all. I can combine this with OM's 4th grade which covers the same time period. Also we are going to continue studying the Romans. Since we are going to Rome next May, I also want to study Italian history a bit. So I'd like to touch on the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Becky -

B is a different story! She is completely unwilling to do anything anymore! However, I really need to keep her busy because she gets out of control. I'm thinking she might love getting a box from OM with all her own books in it. The 4th grade OM program overlaps really nicely with my plans for S.

Religion - might just continue reading Bible History out loud at breakfast, occasional saint books and also get her a subscription to Magnifikids.

Math - OM math looks perfect!

Reading/literature - Book club for B, also I'd like to keep up working on phonics/VT. OM has me reading classic lit aloud to her, though many we've already read. I'll have her practice reading aloud to me once a week, if she'll let me.

Spelling/grammar/writing - all from OM

Latin - I'm just not sure what to do about this. B's been listening in on Latin with S, enough to get some familiarity but not enough to really know things. I could just have her listen in some more or I could try to have her study it herself. However, I don't know she'd enjoy going back over the LfC stuff or not. If not what else? If I did Song School Latin,would that be confusing while also doing Song School Greek?

Greek - maybe I should just let B listen in on Latin but really focus on Greek via Song School Greek.

Geography - co-op and/or OM which has lots of Geography in it.

History - RA about Rome/Italy. OM overlaps a lot with the BFbooks Western Expansion unit, so we could pick and choose between them. Lots of hands on projects for B to enjoy.

Science - co-op or OM science overlaps with Kolbe's Life Science for 6th, so again we could bounce back and forth between those resources and come up with a nice study of animals.

Art - Art club but also OM has lots of art in it.

Music - I think both kids will be on hiatus from music lessons next year, but OM has recorder duets. I can see both kids getting into that.

So that's what I'm thinking right now.

Next year it looks like J will be away at classes a lot. So I'm going to have to coordinate that into our daily lives. Plus, hopefully we'll be very involved in 4H.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CM blog


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekly Report 4/17-4/23


  • J got back from his CLC retreat. They had election of officers. J was in the running for vice-president but didn't make it. Then they put his name in for secretary but he withdrew because he said he'd be terrible at keeping records of meetings. He says he hopes he gets to be an officer next year. He joked: So I found out what having a social life is like! You hang out with a bunch of kids your own aging goofing around and talking. I liked it! Maybe now he'll come out of the shell he's been in these last two years!
  • We finally made it to confession. I feel so badly that I never got the kids there during Lent. Bad mommy! But it was very rewarding to go anyway. Better late than never!
  • W had his piano lesson. He finally contacted someone about attending the homeschool prom; only a month late, but they need boys at it so they let him in!
  • S and his friend hiked the 3 miles from friend's house to our house and thought it was the greatest thing ever. That's the first time they've done that without someone older with them..
  • B went ice skating with her new friend and had an absolute blast.

  • Monday morning we all went to an open house that a Christian homeschool support service about 30 minutes from here was having. It meets in a huge Baptist church. They have various classes for 7th -12th grade all day long on Mondays and Wednesdays. They don't make you sign a statement of faith which is great. J sat in on a debate/speech class and now he really wants to take it along with Geometry. We met the Geometry teacher who seemed very nice and teacherly (if that's a word!). Afterward we went back to the library in our town and then ate lunch and took a walk around the historic spots/park in our little town.
  • J did math lesson and then lots of Latin homework. He stayed up late trying to finish it.
  • S practiced piano and then W took him to his lesson
  • B wanted me to read several library books to her and then she spent a long time coloring in her Doodle a Day calendar which she had misplaced for a couple month, so she had lots of catching up to do.
  • I taught RE in the evening. I can't wait until that's over. Just one more class!
  • B got the latest Penderwicks audio book from the library and is listening to that. S got a Calvin and Hobbes book out that had a very lengthy intro by Bill Watterson. He like to read about cartoonists and how they come up with their ideas.

  • Went on a great field trip in a.m. to the Kennedy Center to see the NSO. It was an educational program connecting history with music. The ushers were really disorganized though and made us late because they couldn't figure out where to sit us. We missed Bach's Toccata and fugue in G minor. But we did get to hear bits of Hayden's Surprise Symphony and Military Symphony. Hayden lived about the same time as George Washington. Then we got to hear Tchaikovsky's ending of 1812 Overture which was fantastic. All the school children just ate it up. Then we heard bits of Rite of Spring by Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein's Times Square from On the Town. We also got to hear a couple of snippets of other pieces and they ended with a focus on percussion and on a contemporary composer Jennifer Higdon. And finally they played Sousa's Stars and Stripes and got a little girl out of the audience to be guest conductor. The conductor, Emil de Cou is so very personable and warm. It was lots of fun.
  • W took himself and J to Latin class and then W drove J to his math tutor as well.
  • S did first 1/2 of lesson 45 in Saxon 6/5 on quadrilaterals
  • B did the 9x table with Math It - S and I explained 9x mysterious powers.
  • B was caller in a game of phonics bingo - long vowel words. She's getting this reading thing!
  • S and I read the first ch of Island of the Blue Dolphin. I told him we were going to start our own personal book club and begin with that book.

  • Dentist appts in the a.m. No cavities. Now the kids don't believe me when I tell them they need to brush their teeth, cuz they haven't been doing it very much and we haven't made it to the dentist in two years and ,uh, no one had any cavities. Apparently they've been gifted with really good teeth, though poor B is going to need braces.
  • J and I watched the next lecture in How the Earth Works on glaciers. I slept through most of it, unfortunately.
  • J read Aeneid
  • J also worked on essay for 30 minutes
  • S and I read the next ch. of Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • S did L 46 in Saxon
  • S translated next little story in the LfCa history reader.

  • Did a little bit of schooly work. Read Augustus Caesar's World to S. Read King of the Golden City to B and S. Read story about Mother Cabrini to S and B
  • J watched next history lecture on Sparta
  • J read lots of Book 5 in Aeneid
  • Went to Little Flowers and taught little class on St. Mother Cabrini
  • S played with Jack
  • W went to see Adrian Ballou in concert and met him! Got to chat with him. Was so happy about it!
  • J and I went to 4H and J had class on shooting sports
Read Alouds:
  • B is listening to the Penderwicks on audio
  • R is still reading Detectives in Togas
  • I've started reading Old Town in the Green Groves by Cynthia Rylant; This is Rylant's retelling of the missing years of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, between the time they lived on Plum Creek and moved to Silver Lake.
  • King of the Golden City
  • Augustus Caesar's World
  • I've been reading Movie Shoes by Noel Streatfeild to B and S.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weekly Report 4/10 - 4/17/10


  • S had a great weekend. His friend spent the night, then when R came home from skeet shooting with J Sat a.m., he took everybody out to putt putt golf. Weather was gorgeous.
  • J did his 4H shooting sports on Sat - turns out the kick of the shotgun is a bit too much for his recovering back. I think he was disappointed. R now loves skeet shooting!
  • Sun - R took B and S out on the boat with him. Unfortunately, the dr said J can't go on the boat. When R goes on plane the bouncing is too violent for his back. J and I hung out at home. He helped me with some housework. We went to 5:30 p.m. Mass and then picked W up from airport.
  • W had great weekend with H and now really, really can't wait to go away to college! Or at least away this summer.
  • W slept, I guess recovering from his weekend.
  • J did lots of math and Latin and read Aeneid
  • B woke up with sore throat and feeling cranky and under the weather, so I've not pushed her to do schooly work.
  • S did Greek and WWE. We never got to math! S went to piano lesson (W took him)
  • I spent a lot of time preparing for my RE class. Only two more classes. I can't wait til its over!
  • R stopped reading Aeneid to the kids. Said they weren't engaged. I think he gave up too soon. But I'll read it to them when we finish Augustus Caesar's World. Instead he started reading them Detectives in Togas which they are enjoying.

  • I turned 50 today! I'm old!
  • R got me a grandfather clock. So handsome and Victorian looking. I love it. I've already decided it will be B's when I pass on someday. Since she's the youngest and will live with it the longest of all the kids, God willing. The couple who delivered the clock loves clocks and they gave a very nice lesson to B and S on how the clock, chimes and pendulum all work. Science for the day?????
  • I didn't go to Latin class (again) because R wanted me to be there when the clock was delivered.
  • J and W went to Latin class. We've started the Passive voice! Eek! For some reason the passive voice has always scared the patooties out of me!
  • S did some Latin, a division facts sheet and some dictation.
  • B still had sore throat so I gave her books to look at. She especially enjoyed looking through the Reader's Digest book on North American Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians. She was especially interested in the bats! I dug up a Where's Jesus book (like Where's Waldo) and she spent a lot of time with that as well.
  • Took J to his math tutor. She only gave him one lesson for homework because they had gone through the previous 4 very thoroughly and apparently they are hitting tough stuff right now.
  • R got Chinese carry out so I wouldn't have to cook dinner. And a white choc. b-day cake from the bakery.
  • H called from UD to wish me happy birthday.
  • We went to our first 4H business meeting, just J and S and I. B stayed home w/R cuz of her throat. Went to get into the van and I had a flat tire! Had to take R's car. Mtg was interesting to me. S and J didn't understand it because we got there a few minutes late. It is run by the kids using Roberts Rules of Order. New experience for them.
  • S gave B his Mutts comic book collection and was helping her read the comics to herself. She was very pleased by both his gift and the reading. I'm seeing more and more efforts on her part to read. VT is kicking in! Hurrah!
  • J and R watched the next part of Free to Choose

  • Spent most of morning taking care of flat tire. Got AAA to change it (R couldn't get the lugnuts off!) and then took it into the shop to get patched.
  • Did start on the Latin for Children A Latin Reader which S loved! We did the first three little chapters. S loves translating. He said it was like figuring out a puzzle. Also read next Ch. of August Caesar's World which had to do with Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.
  • R got S and B a little hand held video recorder with which they are delighted! They are getting 'nature footage' they inform me of the geese on the pond out back and of one of our cats drinking from the stream. Also S made a puppet out of an apple and did various takes on that.
  • S did a divisions fact sheet.
  • B seemed still under the weather early in the day but by night was fine. I think she's over her sore throat.
  • J - took dictation from Intro to Devout Life, watched next science lecture on weather, read Aeneid for an hour and then discussed study guide questions with me.
  • I don't know what W did!!!! Except he took S to VT for me.
  • S spent a lot of time outdoors riding his scooter and shooting baskets.
  • S did a little Latin in his workbook, some fraction problems involving inches and centimeters and a short division problem, his written narration for WWE
  • B did a page of phonics and some beginning multiplication problems in her MCP workbook
  • J read Aeneid and orally answered study guide questions, watched next history lecture on Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period
  • Wrote essay for 30 minutes on whether Dido was right in calling Aeneas all those nasty things! LOL. J sided with Aeneas!
  • Read chapter of King of the Golden City to B and S
  • J did his online logic
  • Met with Socratic Discussion group. We've decided to expand into a Catholic Culture Club Co-op! (CCCC) for next year. The plan is to meet on Friday mornings as we do now but instead doing the Socratic Discussion we are going to have on alternate Fridays both a Book Club and an Art Club. On the other Fridays we may have a Geography/World Culture Club and poetry studies. I'm all excited about it. Also we talked about meeting over the summer for the Latin camp and also to watch Teaching the Classics. The Book club will be based on the Socratic questions from Teaching the Classics. The Art Club will be continuing the Christian Heritage Art Program we are using now. Not sure about the Geography/culture program but I want to use a Child's Geography.
  • J discussed The Seven Books of Mencius with his group.
  • The Elementary group finished their coats of arms; learned about the term 'value' when applied to colors.
  • W got up went to his music comp class.
  • J stayed home while B and S had their first spring tennis class with the homeschool group. W didn't take the class but he sat outside with us while he worked on his laptop.
  • J has a retreat with his CLC group overnight tonight. W isn't going because he can't miss his piano lesson tomorrow morning.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Weeks in Review! Holy Week & Easter Week!

I think I'll do this by child:

H - away at UD, getting over a nasty cold. Got an A on a paper she wrote. Had to get an extension on another paper due to being sick. Has decided she wants to double major in Political Philosophy and English. Has definitely decided not to do the Rome semester next fall, but will go in the spring term. So that means we as a family will not do our tour of Italy and Greece until next May. That makes me very happy! I'd much rather do it in May! She called me a few days ago and we talked for 2 hours which was wonderful. She didn't come home for Easter because it was such a short break and her friend was coming into the church on Easter and she really wanted to be there for that. She's feels a real kinship with her as her friend was raised Jewish. They celebrated Passover together too.

W - between the cancellations during Holy Week when the school system was taking its spring break and Easter week when Catholic institutes were taking their breaks, W didn't have a whole lot going on. He slept a lot, listened to lots of music, practiced lots of music, is currently listening to G. K. Chesterton's Thomas Aquinas on audio which he is enjoying, did some writing for his Writeguide mentor, hung out a lot with friends went to the gym a couple of times to work out. Usually he doesn't have much of a social life, but on Holy Thursday he went with the Youth Group on their 7 church crawl (after The Mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday evening, they go to 7 different churches in the area to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, before midnight when the Bl. Sacrament is removed from all the Churches until Easter Vigil.) Then he went to the Easter Vigil all by himself and wound up hanging out with a bunch of folks at the all night diner afterward. Then his friend had Easter break this week so he's been hanging out with him more than usual. On Friday morning he boarded a flight to Dallas to go visit H for the weekend. I hope he's having a great time. He's missed her so much.

J - we didn't do much on Monday or Tuesday. We were recovering from both Passover and Easter. J tried to get up enough focus for Alg but didn't get much done. We didn't have our usual Latin class on Tuesday which was a nice break, I must admit! Tuesday, J tried to do more Alg but again failed. Did go to his Alg tutor in the afternoon which got him a little more focused. Wed and Thursday were full school days for him. He did Science, Latin, Math, History, Lit and writing both days. Friday he had Socratic discussion (Plato?). He and R started watching Free to Choose, program PBS did on Milton Freedman. J is very interested in economics. We've been talking about colleges and planning for them. He and W went to their regular CLC meeting on Wed night. H went to his 6 week drs. follow up appt for his back surgery. The dr said he could walk, swim or ride his bike as long as he didn't fall off! So I've made him do some walking. We went to a local park on Easter and did some walking. He enjoyed it but got winded easily. I made him take the dog for a walk this week(something he did quite regularly before the surgery) and he only lasted about 15 minutes. So we'll have to keep working on this and slowly get him moving again. He was skinny as a string bean to begin with and he lost weight since the surgery and doesn't seem to have put it back on. He's still reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's spending way too much time in front of the computer which I have started to actively curtail. He's going skeet shooting today with R and the 4H group. That's good. The biggest thing though for J was that he turned 15 on Easter Sunday! His favorite gift was a two volume set of The Far Side which both he and W have been burying themselves in. I get regaled by the ones they find the funniest.

S -has been hanging out with his friend Joseph a lot this week as Joseph goes to our parish school and they have the week off. We went hiking at a park along the Potomac river when the temp was 90 degrees out! S was bored a lot this week. We had several good discussions about unschooling. S said he wanted to continue doing Saxon Math and Writing with Ease because he didn't think he could learn math and writing with unschooling. He said his ideal day would be that we get up and have breakfast by 10 o'clock then we spend an hour working on math and writing and Latin (might be a little unrealistic there!) and then we have some kind of project or something scheduled to do each day. I think that sounds like a good plan! We started a new read aloud of S's choosing: Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster. We are still reading The King of the Golden City which generates a lot of good discussion. R has started reading The Aeneid for Boys and Girls to S and B. R finds it interesting because he never read the Aeneid in school. S learned short division this week. R built S and B a beautiful puppet theater during Holy Week. They've been enjoying this very much! Friday we did our Art club. We finally designed our coats of arms (didn't happen when I had planned it before) and learned about St. Louis and the crusades. He enjoyed the project. His friend Joseph came over on Friday afternoon and has spent the night. They had lots of fun playing on the newly repaired wii and also playing pool and watching movies.

B - loves the chicks we got on Holy Thursday. She and J are into helping me clean their container and feed them. S seems to largely ignore him. Guess he won't grow up to be a farmer! Anyway, I forgot to mention the peeps earlier. We had a lovely drive out to a farm in the country to pick them up. R finished reading The Doll's House to B. She found the ending quite sad. B began to learn her times tables this week. She decided she didn't like Writing with Ease but wants to practice her cursive, so she's been doing that. She also enjoyed hiking at the park. We've been outside a lot this week because of the beautiful weather. She voluntarily read me some poems from a little books of poems she enjoys. She and S went to VT this Wed too. Forgot to mention that. There is a lot of overlap in what B and S do! B also enjoyed the art club project. She got to visit a new friend she had made at the last game day. She had a wonderful time and is quite happy with her new friend.

The other big thing we did the Wed of Holy Week was to visit the Baltimore Aquarium with my sister and her two youngest boys. We had a great time. They loved the Dolphin Show and then we saw a couple of exhibits. The habor was beautiful.

I'm sure there is lots of stuff I've forgotten. They were two very full weeks!