Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Term 2 begins!

We have started Term 2 officially! It's always difficult to come back from a holiday and it has been no exception at the Black Pearl Academy! But we're pushing through!

The focus for the next 4 weeks for Austin and Riley is for them to take more responsibility for their schedules. They started this week in planning out their assignments and which days to do which assignments, and they will also be in charge of getting themselves out of bed in time to complete their work. I'll let you know how it works out! They seem to be happy with the scheduling independence - Austin calls it being in charge of his own destiny! LOL But we'll see how they like getting themselves out of bed! :)

For Reece, we're working on her reading more of her own lessons. She struggles with comprehension when she reads to herself but not when she is being read to. Unfortunately I simply don't have time to read everything to her. She does not like pre-recorded books, either, which is quite annoying. She struggled with comprehension of her literature book today, but gave me an amazing narration on a rather challenging section of her world history book! I don't think one is easier to read than another, or if it's related to ASD (Austin struggles with comprehension and enjoyment of fiction).

So those are our goals for the 4 weeks until Christmas break!! 4 short weeks! SQUEE!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Term 1 Reflections

This week we are taking the entire week off from lessons because we are finished with Term 1! I thought we could stand a nice long break - we have only taken a day off here and there since the end of August!

We definitely have some things to tweak in Term 2, but overall I think Term 1 went quite well.

Reece finished Junior Analytical Grammar and absolutely loved it! It is designed to be an 11 week program and then you're done with grammar until middle school, but she enjoys parsing and diagramming so much, I'm sure we'll keep up with some of her own sentences that she writes.

Riley has had a much calmer year so far this year and is nearly finished with Pre-Algebra and Latin. I have Algebra 1 and Henle Latin 1 ready for her to start probably after the New Year - her first official high school level courses! WOW!

Austin has had much more success with Algebra 1 recently. He has really gotten the handle of the slope-intercept form for graphing equations, and he seems to be retaining what he is learning. This in itself boosts his confidence and makes the next lesson that much easier! Biology is still a killer, but he is just doing his best to push through it!

The biggest change for Term 2 will be in scheduling and assignment sheets. Austin and Riley have requested the freedom to plan out their own weeks, and this was something that the neuropsych had recommended for Austin (and Reece, even) to start doing. So I think it's time to jump into it. I will give them each a list of work at the beginning of the week, and a blank assignment sheet. They will schedule their work (roughly) and I will look it over and point out any potential flaws. My only 2 requirements are that math and foreign language must be done every single day. After several weeks I will no longer require them to check their schedules in with me first, so long as they have all work completed by the end of the week! This way they can learn to manage their time better and decide for themselves which days they want to work harder or have a lighter day.

Also, in Term 2, I am going to add in some Latin for Reece, I think. I would also like to make sure she gets a few more hands-on, creative projects to extend her learning. She will enjoy it and she really does have plenty of time in her day, at least for right now.

For now, though, we're just going to enjoy our week off! We have all worked very hard and we deserve a little down-time!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Changing Attitudes

If you thought from reading the title that this is going to be a post about homeschooling teenagers, you'd be right. But not for the reasons that you may be thinking.

The attitudes I am changing are my own.

Yeah. I'm guilty of having a bad attitude when it comes to homeschooling my teens. I'm also guilty of not trusting God with their futures. OUCH. Double-whammy.

My Bible study time this morning really whacked me upside the head with this reality.

"What I want instead is your true thanks to God;
     I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High. 
Trust me in your times of trouble,
     and I will rescue you, 
     and you will give me glory."  - Psalms 50: 14-15

All God wants from me is genuine thanksgiving (praise) and trust in Him! Check out this other verse from today's readings. And these are not pre-chosen readings. I am just working my way through books of the Bible in a random order. But God takes the 'random' and uses them to His purpose.

"They look everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High." - Hosea 7:16a

How guilty I am of this one? I lament, I question, I complain - I rarely pray over it. I get a bad attitude with my kids and worry that they won't be productive adults. And I go on and on and on instead of praying and trusting and basically acting like the grown-up.

Yes, this is a huge responsibility. But worrying myself into a frenzy doesn't help. Telling myself that I never should have started homeschooling in the first place doesn't change the fact that we HAVE been homeschooling for 10 1/2 years and those plans do not appear to be changing. Comparing my kids to everyone else's kids like I have anything to prove to ANYONE is ridiculous and defeats the purpose of why I am homeschooling in the first place. Pushing pressure on my children to be a certain way is just my ego run wild. It's not really about the kids. It's about me. And that's not what I'm supposed to be doing.

This year's word is Courage. And instead of being courageous I am cowering in fear of the future which makes me have a bad attitude.

"I command you - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9 

 Pray. Trust. Praise.

I've got 2 1/2 years left of high school with Austin, and Riley will be beginning her high school next school year. Do I really want it to be this way for them?

Pray. Trust. Praise.


Friday, November 02, 2012

I just have to say it again!

If I post again about how much fun Reece is to homeschool right now, will you send me hate mail??

Well, send it on, then!

She is SO MUCH FUN right now! LOL

The most recent example was this week when we were learning about "Check Numbers" in math. I had been hearing all sorts of horror stories about them on the yahoogroup for RightStart Mathematics, so I purposely added some extra time into our schedule to allow for covering them.

To my surprise, I realized that I knew what they are already. My grandfather taught high school math, and he used to show me all sorts of wonderful things that numbers can do. I remember him calling them "magic numbers" but when I talked to my mom about it she didn't think he would have called them "magic" because he would have wanted to use the proper term. What we think likely happened is that he taught them to me and I probably said it was magic and the name stuck in my head! LOL

Anyway, Reece was frustrated with the lesson. It had her using a chart to find these "Check Numbers" and she wanted more. She wanted to know WHY. The next lesson was all about finding them for yourself so I went ahead and told her what they are and how you find them. If the number is 34, you add the digits 3+4 and get 7 and that is its check number!

She was very impressed and excited. "This is SO MUCH FUN" she exclaimed after each problem! She didn't even use the chart anymore! LOL Riley told her to stop making them (she and Austin) look so bad! Hee hee

One day I promise to update on Austin and Riley's work. Honestly, Riley has mellowed out considerably this year and we make it through 90% of our days with no arguing. But her work habits are much different from mine (and Austin's... and Reece's... LOL) and it drives me BATTY! I need to work on letting that go and embracing who God made her to be, even if that's the sort of person who waits until the last minute and then rushes around to finish things like a chicken with her head cut off. ;)