Thursday, August 28, 2008

Getting ready


As homeschoolers, we are getting ready to begin our new school year. I am trying something different this year, well, at least with the youngest and oldest....I did not purchase pre-written lesson plans this year. The last several years, I used the CHC curriculum lesson plan guides for my youngest. This year I borrowed a friend's MODG third grade syllabus. I will adapt this to suit our books and needs. This really means a good deal more work on my part. The oldest(at home-we have 2 in college and one who is floundering right now) is a freshman this year. He will be using Saxon Algebra 1 and Switched on Schoolhouse for language arts, science and history. He enjoys the computer, so I am hoping SOS is a good fit for him. My daughter, who is 12 and driving me crazy with the attitude, will be following a MODG syllabus. Again, we will use only some of the books that are listed. We will substitute in other areas.

The biggest difference for her, however, is her math program. Her math program is called Applying Mathematics and is from Systematic Mathematics. I started using "Systemath" last year, and we saw a 57 point increase in DD's standardized test scores. Systematic Mathematics does not use a spiral method as most math programs do. It, instead, teaches one concept at a time until it is mastered. It also uses real life applications (recipes, sqare footage of houses) to demonstrate a concept. This year there are amortization schedules for a mortgage in the packet.

My daughter does not enjoy math at all. She does not even like this program. The program includes DVD's and a CD-ROM that includes all the worksheets, answer sheets, tests and other data for the year. I enjoy the dry wit of the teach on the DVD's. His name is Paul Ziegler, and he is a retired math teacher who set out to create a math program for homeschoolers after retiring. He occasionally makes an error, but usually catches himself. I know my daughter usually catches the errors. Of course, maybe this is part of the education...if the student is catching the errors, the student is really learning.

Well, I need to make a couple of phone calls and gather the last few books I will need for the school year. I also need to drop off a book to a friend.


Lord,

Please bless our little homeschool as we begin a new year. Please be with me as I write out lesson plans. Please help me to be more attentive to my children's needs. I need to remember that they learn better from hearing things. This really means I need to read out loud to them at least some of the time. Please help me to do this. Our little homeschool is dedicated to Your Grace. Help us to remember to call on You in prayer each morning as we begin.

Amen.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My children were upset.

Yesterday my children returned from Holy Communion upset. The Eucharistic minister had said "The body of Christ's son" instead of "the Body of Christ."
How would you address this? I was flabbergasted.
Here's what I did: I told my children to go only to the priest for Communion. I told our pastor about it and which Eucharistic minister it was. It was a woman. This may or may not be part of the issue.
Personally, I do not think that women belong distrubuting Communion. I also do not like to see girls serving on the altar. Call me old fashioned. I don't care. Christ did not make women priests. He conferred that role to men. Putting women in the positions that have always been held by men only strengthens the desire of some for women priests. My 2 cents on this subject.

Lord,
Please help this misguided woman. She may be a Eucharistic minister out of a desire to serve your church. If she is there to serve you, please show her the error of her words. If she is attempting to change things by abuses such as this, weed her out of this area of service, please. Please help me to guide my children and to teach them that such changes are an abuse.
Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It finally stopped...

...raining, that is. We have had almost 2 whole weeks without thunderstorms and torrential rains. I am SO grateful! I got to mow my lawn which had begun to resemble a hayfield. We took the 2 hour drive to Hampton Beach, NH not once, but twice. We went up last Sunday and yesterday. Both days were absolutely gorgeous. No one got sunburned yesterday, but my DH, who normally tans, did get a burn last week. He actually wound up blistering and peeling. He said it only hurt on his belly, although, his arms and shoulders were also quite red.

Normally, a trip to the beach would mean a lobster-red me, but I found a new sunscreen. The Coppertone spray on, 70 SPF sunscreen. It is easy to apply, and it worked..well, that and knowing enough to stay under my beach umbrella in the height of the sun between 10 and 2....
I did not get burned at all. I am excited about this. I have glow in the dark whit skin, so not burning is an achievement.

Last Sunday we stopped on the way home and explored some tide pools. There were snails more than anything in them, but it was fun for the children and a great way to show the effects of the tides. We were able to show the high tide line by the way the seaweed was in a line. What a great visual of a science topic!

I have come to realize that many of our everyday experiences are learning experiences. This means that, even though I do not formally do any school work with the children during the summer, we can slip in some "school" just about every day. We can discuss the science of tides at the beach, we can discuss chemistry while doing laundry (laundry detergent changes the ability of plain water to remove soils from clothing by making the water more "slippery"). The longer we homeschool, the more I realize how every day holds some learning experience, and the more I appreciate just how much "teaching" involved parents do on a daily basis.

Lord,
Thank you for the opportunity to show my children so many of the wonders you have placed in the world. Please help me to have a sense of wonder and to be like a child in examining all these wonders. They all point to you. Help me to recall that, please.

Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Digital Magazine

I have also had a chance to review the Old Schoolhouse Digital magazine. This is an online, interactive version of the Old Schoolhouse. I find it is easier for me to use than trying to keep track of a paper magazine in my already overflowing home. On days when my aging eyes need bigger print, I can make the print bigger. If a photo spans two pages, I can look at the two, but I can then “zoom” in on the text to read the article.
The articles themselves span throughout all the topics of homeschooling: special needs, different styles, and different types of families (adoptive, small, and large). There was a wonderful article in the summer edition about using the Charlotte Mason method to help children with special needs.
As my children are getting older, and I no longer have little ones of my own, I can read and appreciate the articles about smaller children and put the information away for when I have grandchildren. The Lord may even use the information I have garnered for some other purpose.
I love the way the pages “turn” just as though I was thumbing through the physical magazine, but I also love the fact that as long as I “bookmark” my TOS digital magazine, I am not going to have to hunt for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A review of The Schoolhouse Planner.

I have had the opportunity to check out The Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse. This resource, which is divided into 3 sections, is much more than just a planner! The first section contains a two page, whole year calendar. This section then is divided into 12 months. The planner runs from July 2008-June 2009. Each month includes resource lists, calendars and recipes.
Also included in this section are lists of presidents and their wives, kitchen conversion charts, lists of artists, composers, countries and capitals. There are articles on various homeschool topics such as, "Making Math Stick." Each monthly calendar includes space for notes. Holidays have not been labeled so you are free to label according to your beliefs.
There is a periodic table which includes quotes from Marie Curie and George Washington Carver. There is a history timeline. This resource is a Christian resource and includes the Reformation in the timeline.
One of the most impressive parts of the homeschool resources is the inclusion of transcripts of historical documents including the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg address. These are only a few of the resources included in the first 120 pages of the planner which is 247 pages all together.
The second section is made up of homeschool forms, and the final section is household forms. There are annual plans, annual goals, report cards, curriculum planning and curriculum recording sheets. There are also pages for co-op and support group information. The household forms include grocery lists, menu plans, and chore lists, just to name a few.
I am looking forward to having so much information at my fingertips while we learn at home this year. The Old Shoolhouse has put together a wonderful resource.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Forms

Registration forms and Vendor applications are now available for the New England Catholic Homeschool Conference. If you are in New England, I hope to see you there. You can find more information here.