Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homeschooling Meme

Courtesy of Tammy at Aut-2b-Home, I present you with a homeschool meme!

1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyed -

I especially enjoyed reading For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. In fact, I think I need to read it again as a refresher.

2. One resource you wouldn't be without -

The internet. If I had to, I could completely educate my children using the internet (and many of those resources would be free!)

3. One resource you wish you had never bought -

Sadly enough, the Well-Trained Mind book. As much as I love it and it resonates with me, it has set me up to feel that it is the gold standard and anything less than that one particular brand of classical education is not good enough. It's not the book's fault, not the authors' faults, strictly me. And it has caused me more than enough grief in my 9+ years of home education.

4. One resource you enjoyed last year -

RightStart Mathematics, Level B. This curriculum connected with Reece and she was finally able to understand math. I wish I had been able to use it for the big kids!

5. One resource you will be using next year -

I am assuming they mean the school year we are currently working on. If not, I have to answer this way anyway because I simply can't think of next year yet! LOL Since Austin's science class got canceled, I found an online resource for Physical Science. The instructor is a local math and science teacher and he offered a trial of the class for free online. Austin responded well to it so I purchased the entire DVD set. This same instructor offers Pre-Algebra videos online for free. He has higher level math courses and a physics course that can be taken in person in the Atlanta area, or as an online course. I am fairly certain that Riley will be doing her math through him at some point.

6. One resource you would like to buy -

Honestly, I don't want to buy anything right now. I am overloaded with curricula and options. I just want to feel confident in using what I have on hand in the best way that I can!

7. One resource you wish existed -

Something like Ambleside, but where the books are more modern. If it could also be set up so that the entire family was on the same history time period, that would be nice. And since I'm dreaming here, it would have detailed guidance on what to expect at each level in terms of oral and written narrations, etc.

8. One homeschool catalog you enjoy reading -

I used to love to read the Sonlight catalog but they changed it this year. I guess I will hold on to my last copy for dear life!

9. One homeschool website you use regularly -

Simply Charlotte Mason because it has the clearest explanations of Charlotte Mason's philosophies. I do not always follow all of her suggestions, but I do appreciate the ease with which she breaks down Mason's ideas.

10. Tag six other homeschoolers -

I don't know any others that haven't already been tagged by Tammy, but if you're a homeschooler and you're reading my blog still (God bless you! LOL), then do this meme and please comment so I can go read it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monthly Reflections 2011-2012: August

I originally began this post on Labor Day. I wanted to give anyone who might still be out there an update on how our first month of the new school year went. I got a few paragraphs written, but then I stopped. I couldn't really get a feel for what was wrong. I didn't blog at all in August because I didn't want to do the same old complaining that I've been caught up in for so long.

"It's hard."

"I'm scared."

"Don't know if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

I'm sure you're wanting to say, "We know already. For pete's sake, get over it and move on!" LOL

I understand and I will tell you that I'm working on it. This summer, and especially through August, I have come to regret that we ever started homeschooling. It's been a horrible feeling, especially since I have always been so strongly convinced that homeschooling was the right choice for our family. And yet, for the last few months I have been left to wonder why I ever started in the first place, and where our family might be now if I had never taken Austin out of school.

Of course, when I drift into these thoughts the picture I have of "where we would be" is very rosy. The kids are happy in school and doing much better academically than they are at home. They are in good public schools because I have been working for the last 7 years and we are able to afford a home in a better school district. Austin and Reece have been getting the therapy that they need through the schools, and Austin was diagnosed much sooner because the schools recognized the problem long before I accepted it. We have nice new cars that have fewer than 100,000 miles on them. The girls each have their own rooms because we can afford a bigger house. My dh only has to work one job, because I am working. The kids get to do more activities because we have the money to pay for it. Everyone gets along much better because they aren't around each other all the time, and we are all much happier.

::sigh:: It's a nice picture, isn't it?

If I'm honest with myself, I know that this picture doesn't not necessarily represent reality. Maybe it does? Maybe it doesn't. But it's hard to remind myself of that truth on those really hard days. And they've ALL been hard lately. But maybe that's because I spend too much time thinking of what could have been (that nice picture?) instead of what is.

So here is what is, or what was, for the month of August:

Austin tries very hard and is determined to do his very best to reach his goals.
Riley is going through a very challenging time in her life, but she will get through it eventually.
Reece is excited about learning and is having a lot of fun.

So there you go! Short and sweet!

September will be a very ineffective month academically, so I am hoping to make it a very effective month relationally! Will let you know how that works out!