Friday, August 24, 2012


If Mapping the World by Heart proved my sole home educating responsibility, I think we'd stand an excellent chance of completing the curriculum this year.  Many other areas require some tweaking.

DS17 got the mother of all viruses coinciding with the beginning of our new homeschool year.  Two weeks and one ER trip later, I think he may be on the mend.  I've been letting him sleep until 10 a.m. because he needs it.  Teenager morning mode puts him ready for school at close to lunch time.  Not ideal.  Fortunately, his math and science classes at the local college don't start for another few weeks.  Here at home, he's been doing our geography course while grousing that it is not challenging enough.  Granted, the introductory lessons are easy, but I think once I hit him with the research essay on disputed water rights next week, the grousing will cease.  Rather, that particular strain of grousing will cease.  New grousing may commence.  He's gotten a jump on his AWANA curriculum and finished the prologue and first chapter of Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.  He read Fahrenheit 451 in anticipation of his high school lit group beginning in  a couple of weeks.  He is plowing through the second training module--12 videos and a 50 page manual--for his Mathnasium job, hoping to get that out of the way prior to his college classes starting.  He continues to meet with his college professor to discuss their summer research topic.  All the boys wrote a creative essay which required incorporating Harry Potter, a mop and contour maps into their storyline.  I needed them to write something, anything and we don't do enough creative writing.  Interestingly, I could detect elements from last year's lit group in this son's story, as well as influences from his own reading of choice.

DS15 lost his Trig book.  We searched for a couple of weeks, and yesterday conceded defeat and ordered a new one.  This son started Apologia Biology with a live, online class via Virtual Homeschool Co-op.  He promptly complained it was far too easy.  I knew I should have trusted my anti-Apologia instinct.  This kid is Goldilocks; last year all I heard was how AP Chem was way too hard.  Now he recalls it fondly as a challenge.  This week, he switched to Saylor's Microbiology course.  It's college intro level, so that should fix the lack of challenge problem.  Not sure yet what new problems may arise from it.  He did all the same geography, AWANA, reading and writing as his brother.  This kid claims that he keeps reading the same book for lit club, "dark, depressing and weird" over and over again.  I point out to that they are really quite different dark, depressing and weird tales.  While he read me the required length essay from the creative writing assignment, he has gone on with his story and is now at 5000 words and not nearly done.  This provides good reminder to me about what feeds this one's soul.  He is artistic and creative.  I need to build in the freedom for him to explore that.  He got his permit yesterday (two teen boys with permits!  Lord have mercy) and sits for two hours every Sunday in a stupefyingly boring Driver's Ed class for which we paid an ungodly amount of money.

DS11 approaches his schooling in a surprisingly workmanlike manner.  Geography takes him a while, but he breaks down the task into manageable chunks.  He read Project Mulberry for his middle school boys' lit group that begins in September.  Life of Fred's Pre-algebra with Biology is too easy for him, but he likes the story line.  Teen hormones haven't kicked into gear for him yet, so he's usually up early, cheerfully and in full control of his faculties.  He started jogging because his older brothers do it.  He also attacks pogo-sticking with similar tenacity, setting a record of over 2000 jumps.  He's been on break from piano lessons for a couple of weeks, but demanded I print out Fur Elise for him after he couldn't find it by googling "Four Leaves."  He's mastered it and waits impatiently for lessons to start again so he can show-off to his teacher.  His soccer started yesterday and he loves it.  I am particularly glad I had this one read his creative essay to me, rather than handing it in for me to read.  He crafted a  story full of creative descriptors.  Had I merely read it, I might have missed his voice for the distraction of spelling and mechanics issues.  Throughout the year, I think I will continue to have him read his work aloud to me first and then we can follow up by correcting the grammar.

DD6 needs more academic attention.  She loves to read and is hooked on a variety of junk books that my inner Charlotte Mason conscience scolds me for.  Anything fairy-related is a huge hit with her.  There is no end to poorly-written fairy books at the public library, matched only by their seemingly endless supply of Mickey Mouse graphic comic books that the princess also loves.  Twaddle, all of it.  I need to, but haven't yet, gotten her Five in a Row curriculum rolling.  She has been reading aloud to me daily from her Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader, book 2.  Seems like we've been learning about crabs forever now.  I'm about ready to move on (or scream), but that may have something to do with the fact that it's my fourth time hearing an emerging reader tackle crabs.  She shows good oral narration skills, usually able to retell the highlights of what she just read.  We're just beginning to add in our Singapore math, completing the 1B book leftover from last year.  I purchased a sticker atlas book for her to do when the boys are working on geography, but haven't started it with her yet.  Writing will remain mostly copywork.  Typically, we use her AWANA verses for this.  Until AWANA starts, she has a few thank you notes to relatives that she can be writing.

DS 2 and 3/4...well, doesn't "2 and 3/4" about sum it up?  Mercurial, charming, demanding, curious, exhausting, adorable, maddening, inquisitive, whirling, running, exploring.  There is no underestimating the impact this one has on my ability to focus on the other four.

I'm glad for these warm up weeks to see how our actual schooling works.  We have no end of activities yet to start; I'm concerned how the days will flow once we are fully up to speed by mid-September.  Still to add in:  two different lit groups, one speech club, an art class, gym classes, piano lessons, another soccer schedule, youth group, AWANA nights, two Science Olympiad clubs, college classes with a lab, wood carving, karate and a request for fencing club.  Stay tuned, I expect more tweaking over the next month!


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