Monday, August 29, 2005

A brand new day!

Can you believe August is nearly over? It seems this first month of homeschooling is just flying by! I am really looking forward to the fall though, I have to admit! I love the cooler weather and the changes that come with fall! It's my very favorite season I think! I love pumpkins and hay rides and Thanksgiving! And I really love fall clothing like sweaters and jeans and boots!! Mostly this fall I'm looking forward to cooking and baking fall foods... especially breads! I think the big kids are old enough now to help with the baking!

I'll formally evaluate our first month of homeschooling on Thursday, but overall I can tell you it's been very positive! I can tell you one important thing I've learned: never take a 2 month break from school! LOL It was very necessary for me to process all that was going on with Peanut, but it didn't help Bubba one bit! Poor guy has forgotten nearly everything! He has struggled with what should be review with Calvert math, and tomorrow he's actually going to learn something new. I think he'll be OK though...and I think he'll pick it up quickly! I hope he does anyway! :)

Princess was given free reign of her readers on Thursday of last week and since that time she's finished 2 of them and is halfway through the 3rd. There are only 5 for the whole first grade curriculum! Oh, well... it doesn't matter! She's happy, and loving reading and that's all that matters! I'll find her something else to read!

Peanut wants to 'do school, too!' so she's been joining us at the table or has been getting home preschool from her siblings. Princess is in charge of storytime and 'lessons' and art. Bubba is in charge of PE! Nothing better than getting two sensory-sensitive children together and letting them bounce off each other for some self-therapy! :)

It's late and sleep awaits me! Will write more tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2005

We survived the library!

This morning we did our Bible and AWANA and then headed for the library! It was so successful! It was the first time in over a year that we've gone to the library and I didn't leave thinking "OK, never doing that again!" Peanut was a little bit wild, but overall she did much better! The big kids were good too! We got alot of fun books, and Bubba even picked a chapter book that we'll read together! Princess is still into American Girl!

Maybe we'll go back to the library in September! ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Home

That word has been foremost in my mind for this last week. What makes a home? What makes a homeschool? What makes a homeschool different from a home school? Is there a difference? Now before I even start, it's important to note that what I'm saying is from my own head! I'm sort of typing out my thoughts as they come. Welcome to stream-of-consciousness on the Black Pearl!

OK, that article I wanted everyone to read and think about! It prompted so much thinking from me! There has always been a chasm between the mom/homeschool mom I want to be and the mom/homeschool mom I seem to be by default. I'm not sure why that happens, or how, or how to fix that. For example, a classical model for education really appeals to me... and implementing it with a WholeHeart/Charlotte Mason approach just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over! And my reality: Calvert. :) Calvert has been a very big blessing in many ways this year, because I'm not sure how much school we would get done. But something that is becoming very evident as our school days continue is that it's not the schedule that's helping me get school done, nor the lesson manual. It's ME getting it done. It's me saying, "OK, kids, we've still got science and history to do!" It's me gathering the materials we need for science, and being willing to do it. So in short, the planning is not my problem. Implementation is my problem. I can implement with Calvert or without Calvert. Since I have spent the money on Calvert, obviously I'll be implementing WITH Calvert this year! (Relax my wonderful husband! LOL I'm not switching gears again! We're Calvert users this entire school year!) That information is just, um, informational!

OK, the home thing... we're just never here. I want our home to be a place of peace and refuge. Those are the words that keep coming to me: home and peace. Last night I attended the last of a series of WholeHeart workshops that I've been attending locally. The theme was 'habits, discipleship, character'. The moms who spoke about those topics kept reiterating that we really have to be close in our own walk with God, to be able to model that for our children, and to be able to take advantage of the teachable moments for our children! It seems so simple and yet I'm just clueless! I live in an area that is very active. You could literally pick from so many options for homeschoolers that you might never actually be home. That is such a blessing, I know! How wonderful to have the opportunities available and have to make choices! But that's where I have such a hard time is in making the choices! I want my kids to have all sorts of opportunities and I don't know where to draw the line.

Right now, I feel we're over-extended but I don't know how to drop anything. I do know I can't say 'yes' to anything else that's a regular committment, which means we're going to miss seeing our friends at Bible Study. :( My kids just don't do well with running all over the place. Peanut especially takes several days to 'come back' from a day that's just too busy and full. She's been like this forever, and today her OT told me that she just might be a child who needs a slower pace. It was so ironic that her OT said that on today of all days! I wish I knew how to actually slow things down and do that!

Well, it's been over an hour since I started this post! I got up to answer the phone, then finish our school work! So my train of thought has derailed! LOL! I'll have more to say later, I'm sure! ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

AWANA and math

AWANA went well tonight! The kids are all wound up though... it's nearly 10 and they are ALL still awake! I don't think school will be starting on time here tomorrow! :) There was a slightly larger crowd than last week! I think maybe 7 or 8 Cubbies, same number of Sparks, and alot more T&Ters. I think there were maybe 11 of them this time, compared to 4 last time!

Now as for math... while I waited for the kids to finish AWANA I was able to address Princess' mathematics concern. Yesterday she asked me when we were going to do 'real MATH'. She's bored with Calvert 1st grade math, at least the beginning of it. As much as she did not like MUS last year, she did at least consider that to be 'real math'! LOL So I looked through the book and bumped her up by 20 lessons! I think those will be fairly easy as well, but it's introducing ways to attack addition, so I want her to understand how Calvert approaches it. It appears to be very similar to how MUS approached it though, so it shouldn't be difficult! And maybe she will be happy to have some 'real math' tomorrow! ;)

The 'HOME' in Homeschooling

I came across a link to this article on the WTM boards! I really enjoyed reading it! I hope you will too! Once I have a few moments to ponder it, I will post some thoughts!

http://home.att.net/~MikeJaqua/HOMEschooling.html

Monday, August 15, 2005

What exactly IS the Black Pearl Academy?

"Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a homeschool is, you know. It's not just the books, and the pencils, and the games, and the lessons. That's what a homeschool needs. But what a homeschool is... what the Black Pearl Academy is... is freedom!"

Inspired by Captain Jack, our founder!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Week 2 in review!

Well, this week was certainly crazier than the first week! I'm actually contemplating for next year not starting school until after Labor Day so we can get used to our AWANA and Fall Ball schedules!! :)

We started back to AWANA this past week with a new church and it was fantastic! This is a small AWANA program. They have fewer children in the entire program than my son had in his class last year at the old church! I absolutely love it! I hope the rest of the year continues to be as nice as the first evening went! Peanut went for the first time too, and it just amazes me that she is old enough to actually go to AWANA! It seems like just yesterday she was born and we were embarking on his homeschooling journey! And now, she's jumping on board with us!

Bubba and my Princess started Fall Ball this week as well! This is Princess' first season of ball, and it's sort of surprising because she's such a girly-girl! I wasn't expecting her to want to play! This is Bubba's 4th ball season (they do Spring and Fall here), but they changed the cutoff date so now instead of being the very youngest each season he will be in the middle, to one of the oldest! The boys seem to be much more of a normal size this time around! LOL! In the spring, the boys were nearly as tall as my husband!!

Monday we took the day off to have our 4th annual "Not Going Back to School" party at Chuck E Cheese. It is always the first day of public school. The reason I did it the first year was because I was afraid without someplace to go, I would run Bubba over to the nearest public school! I actually did cry when the bus went by without him! This homeschooling thing was such a foreign idea to me! I can't believe this starts our 4th year of homeschooling! Time is flying!

The rest of the week is a blur of school work, seeing my mom who was in town on business, husband being home one day when he shouldn't and gone alot when he should have been home, and of course, ball practice! And Peanut was coming down with a cold, but I didn't know it yet! So come Friday morning, this little engine completely gave out! I called school off for the day, and we went to the square for another Brown Bag Lunch concert. This time it was a magician and he was very funny! I wish they had these into the fall! It was alot of fun! We were joined by the R family again, and it was nice to see them! We had another ball practice last night, and then came home and Peanut showed the full-blown (no pun intended!) effects of her cold. Sorry R family if we gave any germs to you! :(

Peanut and I stayed home today and dh took the big ones to ball practice! It was a nice day to play around with her! I think she had fun with the run of the house! :)

And since I haven't mentioned it lately: Yes, I still am loving using Calvert! I am not the least bit worried about whether or not we're doing enough for school! It's such a measure of peace of mind for me! And it really helps on those days when I don't feel motivated to do school... I know all I have to do is open up the manual and follow the directions! And I'm not quite as worried about it been too easy for Princess anymore. The pace is really fast, and honestly, if she weren't such a strong reader I wonder if she'd be able to keep up! They expect alot of reading out of these little first graders! :)

So now I'm updated! I'll try not to wait next time until it's the 3rd week update! ;)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Our First Week in Review!

Well, we definitely had a great first week!! I can't describe in words how much Calvert is helping me to relax this year about whether or not we're doing enough! It's such a blessing to me! The pace is a bit difficult to keep up with at times, but our schedule is a real help! On the days both kids have science experiments though, I believe someone (probably Bubba) will have to do their experiment in the afternoon after rest time!

Bubba has worked hard this week, and he's done really well! He LOVES the notecard making for science and geography! He did very well with the first composition assignments, even though he complained about the amount of writing! But he did it! :) I am a bit concerned about him when he replies to questions that test his comprehension. Sometimes he answers things that don't even relate to the question. I remember his Kindergarten teacher in Public School mentioning that as well! Anyway, I'm going to ask Peanut's Speech Therapist if she can test for Auditory Processing problems, or if that's what the audiologist does. In the meantime, I'm going to watch this more closely! I started reading him Owls in the Family! What a neat story!

His favorite thing from school last week was the science experiments!

Princess has done very well, too! Her work is totally easy so far! She is doing fairly well with her assignment sheet, better than I expected anyway! And her printing is really, really so much better than it was last year! I taught how to write her name in cursive the first day and she's writing it every chance she gets!! She has seemed to enjoy the stories in reading, but she is totally over the patterning chapter in math! Thankfully, she is finished with it! I read Mary on Horseback to her this first week, and started B is for Betsy! It wasn't on our original list, but I had purchased it from Sonlight for Bubba's reading last year and it was too hard. Anyway, someone mentioned it on the WTM board as a book about a little girl going into first grade, so it was very appropriate!

Her favorite thing from school last week was learning to write her name in cursive!

Peanut did so much better during school too! She didn't spend nearly the time on my lap that she has in previous school years! I didn't do as well as I wanted to with her floortime, but that is a work in progress! She loved playing with the new toys I bought for school, and also she loved getting at the playdoh every day! It's definitely a big change from homeschooling with her last year!! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel... it's gonna get easier and easier with her being part of the homeschool!

If I had to guess, I think her favorite thing from school last week was the playdoh, or maybe the aquadoodle!

As for me, the peace of mind from using Calvert has been priceless! It's definitely more work than we're used to, but not overwhelmingly so. It's probably not a fair judge yet because I haven't had to do much in the way of teaching with Princess! But I do appreciate having the discussion/comprehension questions with their reading and other subjects! And I forgot how much I like Calvert Math! We'll see if Bubba is able to keep pace with it this year! I don't worry about that with Princess! I was really really tired by the end of the week though! If we do not have Bible Study this fall, then we may go to a 4 day school week!

My favorite thing from school last week was not worrying whether or not we were doing 'enough'!

Monday, August 01, 2005

First Day of School

Well, the schedule was a big hit!! It flowed nicely, and really the morning just flew by! I think the times I allowed are going to work well, with adjustment! I understand some lessons might require more time than others so we will be able to be flexible within the framework! The kids really enjoyed "Recess" and "Snack Time"! Anyway, I'm so glad for that schedule... it gives us all just the knowledge of what comes next when!

The big kids did great with their assignment sheets! Princess was very proud of herself to have an assignment sheet! :) The Peanut had a hard time adjusting to all of us being busy again, but playdoh and an Aquadoodle entertained her for most of the morning! I highly recommend the Aquadoodle!

It was a very nice first day!