It must be a rule that homeschooling bloggers do fine for a while, but inevitably, they seem to get wrapped up in living life and blogging falls to the wayside. That’s certainly true in my case; whereas I used to update regularly, over the last year or so, updates have become sporadic. I’ve made numerous resolutions to myself to get back into the habit of blogging regularly – even have a reminder on my calendar on my phone – and still, somehow time slips past and another day, week, month has gone by without me updating.
But, rather than spend a lot of time making excuses, I’d rather tell you about what we’ve been up to! I last updated in January, and since then, things have really exploded around here! Not literally, thank goodness – actual explosions would be a little bit hard to handle. But schedule-wise, we’ve never been more busy than we have been over the last few months.
One of the biggest changes to our homeschooling life has been the addition of a co-op class to our homeschool group. Some of the group members and I have been talking about it for a year or so; the idea of a co-op has always appealed to me, but we just never had the right dynamic. But about a month ago, we finally got it started! Our co-op meets weekly, and has 3 groups of students: A group (ages 10-13); B group (ages 7-9) and C group (ages 4-6). We also have a nursery group. We have 16 students and 2 babes-in-arms, with 7 families participating.
We’re just wrapping up our first round of classes – Science Lab (in prep for our group Science Fair), French, Art, PE, and ‘Life School’ which is a practical math class. Our second round of classes will include Geography (landforms & maps), Science Lab (experiments) and continue with French, Art and PE.
Here are a couple of pics form our art class:
We’ve been hiking in the Big Thicket – we went on a post-burn hike to check out the forest after a prescribed burn. The burn was only in certain sections of the trail so it was really cool to see the difference between the burned sections and the non-nursed sections. There were scorches on the trees higher than we were tall, which was both interesting and kinda scary – I can’t imagine being in the woods during a fire!
And started a new community service project this year, with a local charity garden, The Giving Field. On our first trip out, we helped harvest a total of 17.5 lbs of various salad greens – kale, lettuce, and spinach. We’ll be working with them throughout this year, which will give the kids a chance to see the garden through the entire year, from preparation, to planting, to growth and harvest, to nurturing the soil and planning for next year’s planting.
We also visited the San Jacinto Monument and Battleship TEXAS with our homeschool group recently:
as well as a host of other field trips that I haven’t been diligent in photographing. Thankfully, a new camera has recently found its way into my possession (after the sad demise of my last camera – fully loaded with pictures, mind you – in the watery grave of Village Creek last year), so perhaps I’ll be more motivated to update. No promises though ;)
Rest assured that we’re still around – LBB is wrapping up his first year of middle school (MIDDLE SCHOOL!!!!) and PeaGreen will start in the fall. It’s so odd how much more self-directed they are becoming as they get older. We do still harp on the basics, but they’re actually interested in pursuing their own studies as well. I’m continually amazed!
It’s spring time, which means that we’ll be getting our garden started soon. Then, summertime is right around the corner. Time flies…
Keep in touch!
New Year’s resolutions tend to be a joke among the general population. Not that I don’t get a good laugh at all the unrealistic, radical lifestyle changes that people plan to put into action like flipping a switch, but I find it somewhat insulting that the plan to make changes has become so cliche’. Most of my friends make resolutions, and actually do work towards them. Either their resolutions are more realistic, or they’re more motivated than the average Joe; but I’m lucky to be around people who are inspiring me to continue working towards my goals well into the month.
I’ve flip-flopped back and forth about whether to do resolutions this year, and about how to do them. There’s a trend right now about choosing a single word or phrase that sums up your goals and making that your theme for the year. I like that idea, but don’t know exactly if it will work for me… but who knows. Once I getall of this out of my head and onto the screen, I may find a theme when proofreading!
So, I am going to do my traditional 9, and update my last year’s resoloutions as well (as usual). Here’s last year’s post; I’m late this year – it’s Jan. 14th already.
1.) Food – Join the local produce co-op; cook with more fresh (and unusual) foods. Be more open to trying new recipes, including gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and other diverse styles. We’ve been in a rut food-wise and I am ready to get out of it! Also – freezer meals. I’m feeling freezer meals in 2014.
2.) Home Improvement – this is an on-going thing. We’re planning for a new roof in the spring, and hopefully the kids’ rooms will be finished this year (again).
3.) Health & Fitness – Rather than put pressure on myself again for a specific belt goal, I am going to plan on karate 2x per week, and biking or walking/running 2 miles per week. I also want to do two 5k’s this year. More would be great, but at least those two. I said one last year, and didn’t do it, so TWO this year! (Maybe even 3!)
4.) Kids – They’re really growing up now! I’d love for a family vacation to be on the menu this year (even if it’s a camping trip or weekend in Houston, Galveston or San Antonio). I really want to start bigger art projects with them. They’re always interested in my art, so I want to get them set up in collaborative projects with me, and with others.
5.) Husband – Date Nights are always in the plan! I’d like to put into use some of the things I’ve Pinned on my board for dates or sweet things to do for him. Mini-break would be just heavenly!!
6.) Myself – Art Classes; Journalistas, Mom’s Night Outs… all of this and more on a regular basis! Writing workshop – if I can find one, go to it! Write, write, WRITE. Also, wanting to get back into painting this year. Even if it’s Painting with a Twist ;)
7.) Extended Family – Visit my parents more, continue working on family history/genealogy research. Maybe plan a big family reunion.
8.) Community – We’re Spiral Scouting this year, in addition to our regular community service work that we do thought school. That will lend the kids even more opportunities to help out on a larger basis. We’re already signed up for a river clean-up and plan to pitch in on a creek clean up as well.
9.) Work – Finish my BFUSA cert., start looking into pre-req.s for school (for me!).
So there…. those are my plans for this year. Maybe my theme could be ‘Onward and Upward’…
- Complete ‘Wreck this Journal’, and keep up with the Art Journalistas group on Facebook. (It’s a secret group; one for my IRL friends and I to post pictures and progress and meet up to browse each others’ books. We’re starting in January.) 2014: DONE!! I’m working on my second journal in this series as we speak (or as I type).
- repaint living room & kids’ rooms (also includes new beds in their rooms, decor and the like) 2014: FAIL (klaxon) I painted about 2/5 of the living room and hate the color. Haven’t even started on the kids rooms. Why is this is HARD to accomplish??
- spend more time with Grandmama & Mom & Dad (My mom had a stroke this past year, and it really pointed out how little time we spend together. Plus, my grandmother’s sister died a few weeks ago – her younger sister – which really brought home how much time she may have left. Making more time to visit with my family needs to be a priority this year.) 2014: DONE (and continue to do. I could spend MORE time with them, but who can’t say that? Keeping them in my plans for this year as well.
- Harry Potter Marathon. I’ve talked about it many times… now is the time. ALL of the movies – one weekend. 2014: Meh… The kids and I have started working through the HP series as part of their literature and reading assignments. They’re enjoying the book, so when we finish a book, the plan is to watch the movie, then do a comparison diagram.
- Karate: keep on keepin’ on. I’d like to be a green belt (or maybe even blue!) by the end of the year… though I am not the one who has the final say in whether or not I get to test; still, I plan on working hard, and I think that green is doable over the next 12 months. I also want to learn the Dojo Kun in Japanese. Also included in this res is going to be general health/fitness goals. More HAES, less sighing over a flat stomach. 2014: I took a break form karate from July-December. 3x a week was stressing me out with all the other stuff that’s always on my plate. I just burnt out of it. So I’ve started again this year, and am only committing myself to 2x per week (Tues & Thurs) so my weekend is free. Other health/fitness goals have suffered for the last 5 months or so, but I am back on track.
- Submit at least one writing project for publication (AnnA – gonna need your help on this). I also want to work on establishing and maintaining a regular writing schedule this year, and collaborate more with AnnA (my amazing writing partner – click her name above and read her blog!). Also, check out the local writer’s guild group again. I tried it a while back and it wasn’t my cuppa; it’s been a while though, so maybe fresh meat? 2014: FAIL on everything but collab. with AnnA. She’s back in town though, so I foresee more collabs in the future.
- Date Night with Loverly Husband at least 1x each month. we did really well on this a while back, but have gotten away from it and it shows, so back onto the list it goes. Up this week: Django Unchained. At some point this coming year, I also want to take a mini-break, just the two of us. San Antonio or Dallas, maybe. 2014: Once a month was maybe pushing it – we resolve, but we have a life. The good thing about it is that even if we don’t get to go out alone together, we still enjoy one another’s company when hanging out at home, or with the kids. But a mini-break does sound heavenly.
- Family Vacation – we so very much need to do this. We’re in better financial shape that ever before, so maybe this is doable this year. 2014: Back on the list for this year!
- Run a 5K… or walk a 5K. I really want to do a Color Run and/or a Tough Mudder…. or aZombie Walk… or a Flash Mob. Something along those lines. We have friends who are into 5Ks as a family and it looks like fun. I’d love to get the kids involved in something like that. 2014: FAIL – but I’m not giving up! The color run is coming up, and we have a Zombie Response Team in the area now, so maybe a Zombie Walk is forthcoming ;)
So… that’s that. I’m not updating the past years’ goals like I have in the past. Some of that is irrelevant; much of it is still on the list.
I thought that while I was on the subject of goals, I’d make a few homeschool goals for this year as well:
1.) Stick to our schedule a bit better. We did well through October, but November and December were difficult to keep on-track. January has been barely holding on; we need to do better.
2.) Math manipulatives – get better use out of them! We have a ton, and they just sit in the cabinet for the most part.
3.) Make use of Pinterest in a more productive manner. There are so many cool things there – that’s why I pinned them!! Now, the trick is to use them!
In any case, I think I will stick with Upward and Onward as my theme for this year. How about you – themes for the year, or traditional resolutions? Share yours!
Wow – I can’t believe that we’re about to start our 5th year of homeschooling. It’s mind-blowing! It definitely doesn’t seem like that long, but neither I, nor the kids are planning to stop or go back to more traditional school anytime soon. Homeschooling has really become more than ‘something we do'; more than ever, it’s how we live.
I was looking back over some of the first blog posts I made, and it surprises me how much we’ve changed over the years – and what remains the same. Some of the traditions we started observing way back then are still part of our routine today. Tea time stands out as a big one (though admittedly, tea happens more than once during the day now, but we still gather in the kitchen for a cuppa). Field trips are still on Tuesdays, and we still mostly have school in our jammies.
Other things have changed. We have dramatically increased the amount of work assigned over the years. Back when we first started, I only focused on math, reading, handwriting and grammar. We did a bit of history (mostly pre-history – dinos and hunter-gatherer societies) and some literature (which Mommy read). But as we finished our first year, I added more – spelling, history (formally; Story of the World I) and science, along with lapbooking and notebooking, to what was already on our plate. By the next year (year 3), I added even more – research projects, science fair, public speaking, community service, individualized science, and geography. This past year (year 4) brought journaling (notebooking’s larger, more intimidating cousin), pre-algebra and even more critical thinking work into the mix. I bring this up because I see some of my friends and other newbies playing the comparison game. I get called ‘rigorous’ all the time, but I’m not, really – just really focused with the kids on college. They’re comparing where they are (just beginning to homeschool – some not even a full 6 months in) to where we are, four years past that. It’s not a fair comparison! If you’re one of those people, I say to you, “Don’t be so hard on yourselves, newbies!! Chillax for a minute. There’s plenty of time yet.”
LBB is in middle school now. In the fall, both of my boys will be in jr. high. I’m shocked at how very grown up my babies are now. They’re coming out with full-on developed concepts now; theories about *things* that they’ve learned about independently. It’s lovely to see, and to hear that their thinking process is balanced with a healthy dose of freethinking and skepticism, along with wise-eyed wonder, creativity and pure child-like fantasy.
We have big plans for this year, including LBB’s introduction to the Civil Air Patrol. We looked into it a few years ago, bt you have to be 12 to participate, and with LBB’s recent birthday, he’s finally old enough. Loverly Husband expressed interest in joining their adult program, so maybe this will be something they can do together. We’ve kinda slacked off on karate. I keep dabbling with the thought of getting back into it, but the motivation remains to be seen. LBB expressed interest in taking tennis lessons (continued interest from this past summer), so we may be looking into that instead. PeaGreen is still taking karate lessons, but only occasionally.
Curric-wise, much of what we’re using will remain the same as when we started ‘seat work’ back in August.
- Math – Everyday Math 5 & 6 plus workbooks & journaling
- Spelling – Dr. Spello, word bank, workbook lessons
- Grammar – DOL/ HM English & Thoughtful Journals
- History – Story of the World III & Activity Guide & Lapbook; composer/artist study
- Science – Journaling/Nature Study/ text for 5th & 6th grade / gardening
- Current Events – Morning Board/ CNN student news / community service
- Weekly research project
- Writing – creative writing/narrative/non-fiction/ picture-prompts
- handwriting practice
- PE/Health – FLASH
- Spiral Scouts
Our homeschool group is planning to begin a co-op in mid-January that will offer classes in art, science labs and some electives. If not, then we’ll have to add all that stuff in as well.
On the homefront, we got a puppy a few months ago. He’s a chi-weenie (half chihuahua, half dachshund) and he’s adorable!
That’s about it for now. I plan to update more regularly this year – it’s one of my NYR’s, which will be posted in the next week or so. Until then, enjoy the rest of your holiday time!
The Pearls and their ‘ministry’ are under fire again. Another dead child ‘in the name of god’. HOW are these people still publishing? Their most recent victim is Hana Williams. This beautiful girl ‘was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition‘. I am re-blogging this from 2010 to raise awareness for the appalling things that are being done to these children – the dangerous, horrendous, sickening things.
I am also calling out to Christian parents to speak out as well. This is being done in the name of YOUR god. This is your Heavenly Father’s name that is being dragged through the mud. I was raised Christian, and there’s no way that the god I was raised to know would approve of the methods advocated in To Train Up A Child.
To add your name/blog to the public boycott, and get your own banner/sticker for your website or blog, check MuseMama here.
Seriously. SPEAK OUT.
Originally posted on This Adventure Life:
I’ve been aware of and vocal in other internet arenas about the horror of the writings, teaching and actions by followers of Michael and Debi Pearl for years. Between them and Gary Ezzo’s Babywise series, I’ve had many conversations about these books and philosophy, both with moms online and in real life, and once even with Anne Marie Ezzo herself, and I have yet to find any value in what reads like a ‘how to’ manual for child abuse. In fact, many of the methods purported to help you raise perfect children are so completely contrary to the notion of biblical ‘grace’ that it makes me wonder how people who profess to imitate Jesus could be so blind. It literally makes me ill to hear people defend these books and even more so the people who wrote them.
I will say that I don’t think that parents intentionally pick…
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