Another month gone, y’all. I honestly don’t know how time passes so quickly. At this point, my plan to update each week is just completely out the window; I’m barely able to get in the once-a-moth gig at this point. Once you read through this post, you’ll see why though. The additions to our normal busy schedule have basically made ‘free time’ a thing of pure fantasy.
We’re still taking #alltheclasses – the boys started an aquatic science course with one of the moms in our homeschool group and are 8 classes in at this point. They’re enjoying it. The course is project-based, which I absolutely love, because I feel like they’re getting more out of it than they were with traditional book-work. This is the kind of science-y stuff that I have always wanted to offer my kids, but never got around to doing. They’ve made models, maps, used all kinds of cool tools and worked in larger groups, which has been a really neat dynamic for them. That can be one of the failings of homeschooling – missing out on group learning environments. It’s not an essential element to education, but I’m glad that my kids get to experience it. Since it’s a small group, and the kids that are there actually want to be there, I feel like this is a really good opportunity for them. Their next lesson involves building a wave pool thingy. I don’t know a lot about it, but I can’t wait to see it!
Our homeschool co-op is still going strong. I can honestly say that this has been the best part of our school year. Having something to break up the monotony of the week has been really nice. We’re 10 weeks in, and will be taking a break next week for Thanksgiving, then have the last 2 weeks of the fall semester before breaking for the rest of the year. We’ll pick back up in January, at which time I think we’ll all be ready for it to start up again! Our schedule for co-op runs in 6-week segments; we’re in the second 6-weeks right now. We started home economics (which I think is called family and consumer sciences in schools now) this 6 weeks, and the kids are learning how to crochet, along with literature (still Romeo & Juliet, which they elected to continue), debate and orchestra. We got our music for our homeschool group’s Christmas Pageant coming up in December (a community service event where we visit a local nursing home and sing carols and play for the residents), so we’ve been practicing Christmas carols and learning tab music.
The last month has been full of activities. We went to Johnson Space Center’s Homeschool Day in Houston the first week of October. This was our third trip, I think, and as always, we had a blast! (no pun intended). This was the first year that we’ve gone with friends who were older; the moms and I sent the kids off with a couple of assignments and we got to go on our own tours. We met back up with the kids at lunch, then sent them on the tram tours while we caught a couple of the inside demonstrations and then toured the Space Shuttle. Because they kinda did their own thing, I don’t think I have any pictures of the boys from this year’s trip!
Each month, our group hosts a teen social for the group’s ‘tweens and teens to get together for some older-age appropriate socialization. In October, we brought games to a local coffee shop and let the kids hang out while the moms had their own table.
We also have Social Studies club every 6 weeks where we focus on one country at a time. Each student does a project of some sort based on that country. October’s country was Iraq. My kids chose a culture project; LBB did a recreation of a painting by Faeq Hassan, and PeaGreen did a recreation of one of calligraphic artist Hassan Massoudy’s pieces.
Mid October, I helped host WMC’s Nurture & Nourish Retreat at Crystal Beach. We rented a beach cabin, and spent Friday through Sunday working really hard on the mental aspects of good self-care. We spent some time learning how to stop the negative self-talk spiral, work through anxiety and depressive episodes that sneak up on us, and quite a bit of time learning some watercolor letting techniques and creating some artsy affirmation cards. It was such a great weekend! I came home refreshed and although it took a few days to recoup from my retreat, once I settled in, I feel renewed.
We’re hosting another retreat in April, and I am so excited for it!
October is always my favorite month of the year – so several reasons: 1) It’s fall (supposedly), which is my favorite season; 2) pumpkin spice; 3) Halloween season; and 4) it’s time for our first week-long break of this school year – yay! This time, our break fell the week of Oct 17-21, which was the same week after my retreat. I needed to take some time off to ease back into real life, and having the week off from school was perfect timing.
We had a couple of things planned for that week that we ended up missing. The kids prepared for several weeks for their Public Speaking (part II of persuasive speeches) class. PeaGreen went to visit his cousins, but LBB and I were going to go without him. I tried, but I just couldn’t make myself take LBB. I needed the break! Taking full advantage of the time off so we could start back strong the next week was a priority for me.
During my off week, I didn’t just laze about – I was productive! I spent a couple of afternoons painting with a friend (who shall now be called ScienceMom since she’s the one who teaches the kids’ science class as well). We found a really cool Harry Potter/Starry Night mash-up picture online and I wanted to attempt a recreating. It didn’t turn out too bad! I also found a YouTube channel called Painting with Jane. I did one of her tutorials a month or so ago, and I loved her ‘Squishy’s Embrace’ picture, so I did that one as well. I actually had to go out and buy new canvases! I’ve had the same 4 sitting around for a while now, but they’re finally painted, so I got new ones.
We decided back in the summer that our homeschool group should do a haunted house for our Halloween party this year. That was ambitious, and as the month started winding down, I think we all got more and more nervous about how it was going to work out. The last week of the month was full of decorating and setting up – I think we spent more time at ScienceMom’s house than we did our own! This is from the day before the party, after a long day of moving furniture and decorating. We didn’t want to wait until the very last-minute, so the bulk of the work was done the day before.
The end of the month was really exciting. We had the Halloween Party, and started the second 6-weeks of co-op. Due to a strange set of last-minute goings-on, I ended up hosting at my house, which was kinda nice. My house is tiny, so it was somewhat less comfortable for everyone, but we did get to do orchestra outside, which was amazing! All music should be played outside, I think.
After setting up the party, we went to see the annual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Jefferson Theater in downtown Beaumont. I love going there – it’s such a cool old 20’s style theater. They’ve been hosting classic movie night over the last year or so, and it’s been great to see fun old movies and neat to hang out in that theater. I had planned on taking my kids to see it, but LBB elected to stay home, so PeaGreen and I went and met some friends to see it.
We also moved my grandmother’s piano from her house to ours. She’ll be moving in a few weeks, and the piano was not going to be able to go with her, so it’s now comfortably in place in our living room – and getting regular use as well. The boys took piano lessons from her for a couple of years, but they slacked off as they got older. Loverly HUsband and I both want to learn, and PeaGReen is interested in taking lessons again, so the plan is to start in January. Right now, we’re just focusing on violin and cello.
I bought a bike! A pretty, pink cruiser with a nice, wide seat. It’s been fun to ride again!
Another big deal for me was a paid writing project – my first! I worked with a good friend of mine to complete a CPR & First Aid manual/training course for an online school. It was a 20K word-count project with a week-long deadline, and we aced it! Unfortunately, it was the week before NaNoWriMo, which means that my brain hasn’t recovered enough to make NaNo happen yet. At this point, it’s halfway through the month and I am still on the outline. That makes me sad, but I’m not giving up yet. If you’re writing, too, then Happy NaNoWriMo to you!
That’s pretty much it for October. Because I’m 2 weeks late with this post, I’ve talked about some stuff that’s happening in November already, but for the full story on what’s current, you’ll have to wait a couple more weeks for the full November update post (unless I get around to updating before the month is out… but don’t hold your breath). <wink>
Hope you’re enjoying the cooler weather – I know I am!
November 14, 2016 | Categories: All About Me, Art, Classes, Community Events, Daily Review, Field Trip, Group Lesson, Music, Rambling Thoughts, Science, Socialization | Tags: balance, commentary, family, going with the flow, homeschool field trip, homeschooling, random thoughts, record keeping, secular homeschooling, SuperMom Complex, THINK co-op 2016-17 | Leave a comment
Once again, it’s science fair season in the homeschool world! It’s odd to me that in our area, the public schools all have their science fairs in the fall, but the homeschooling ones here are all in the spring. Personally, I prefer that time frame; it seems like the fall is all about getting back into routines and then stalling out for the holidays, but in the spring, there’s tons of time and everything is running smoothly. Maybe that’s just my perception, but I’m glad we get to wait until spring!
This year, our local homeschool group is hosting a non-competitive science fair. We have done competitions in the past, but they’re not really ‘fair’ considering the wide age gap among our students. A non-competitive fair lets everyone participate, with different levels of participation. Some students do the traditional results board outlining their projects, others do their projects and experiments at home and just do a presentation, while others do a family project instead of individual ones. We like the variety and options that this model allows us. We always try to plan our group science fair early so that those who want to go on to compete can participate in the Texas Regional Science Fair in Tomball.
This year, the boys are both doing individual projects, with display boards.
PeaGreen: Hydrophobic Sand
PeaGreen’s project is answering the question, ‘Can you use household products to make hydrophobic sand?’. We saw some on TV and he decided he could make some.
I was pretty happy with his choice, and his enthusiasm for this project. We had some decorative sand from a previous project, so it truly was a ‘household product’ experiment. He chose 6 products to test, and a seventh portion of the sand as the control, including hairspray, WD40, and cooking spray. We made a chart for him to use to test his results, and took lots of pictures.
LBB: Do Dogs Understand English?
LBB loves his dog, so he’s always on the lookout for something he can do that involves our Max. We came across an interesting premise – that dogs don’t actually understand the words you use, rather, they’re conditioned to tone of voice. So he was all over deciding to test that theory.
My brother and his family recently moved next door to us, bringing their fantastic boxer, June, who has become Max’s very best friend, so LBB had two dogs to test his theory on. He used words that sound similar to commands the dogs already knew, like ‘sit’ and ‘lay’, instead saying ‘spit’ and ‘hit’ and ‘play’ and ‘fray’. He also tested other words that didn’t sound the same, but said them in the same tone of voice. He was supposed to get pictures, but he had his hands full and it’s been cold out, so this mommy was lazy and didn’t venture out for photography duty (bad mommy).
Our science fair was at a local state park, and we had a really great turn out from our homeschool group!
In other news, my sister has been playing with face-paint quite a bit lately, and convinced the kids to let her do them up, comic-book style. Don’t they look great?! I love that Fred’s tee shirt is in a similar theme.
Trying to stay warm,
February 26, 2015 | Categories: Art, Kid Craft, Science, Socialization | Tags: benefits of homeschooling, commentary, costume, curriculum, face paint, Field Trip, homeschool field trip, homeschool science fair, homeschool science fair beaumont tx, homeschooling, pop art face paint makeup, record keeping, secular homeschooling, village creek state park | Leave a comment