Saturday, July 26, 2014

10 days and counting...

Today I ordered the last of the books (I hope! LOL) that we need to get started on our first day of school! Planning is moving along slowly, mostly because after a few hours I put my head down on my laptop and say, "There is no way we're going to be able to do all of this!"

On a good note: Austin is only scheduled for 20 hours this coming week, instead of the 35-40 that he has been working all summer. Of course, last week he was scheduled for 28 and they called him in another day so he worked 35 again. He is loving the money, but he simply cannot work that many hours and do his senior year of high school. When I reminded him the other day to remind his boss that he returns to school on August 6th, he said, "Maybe I'll just drop out."

He wore a smirk on his face as he said this.

I replied, "How exactly does one drop out of homeschool??" Then we both laughed at the absurdity of it all. He has really developed a snarky sense of humor lately! ;)

Riley doesn't start her new dance classes until the Monday after we start school, so we'll have to wait and see what her work schedule looks like. She will only be available on Tuesdays (afternoon or evening), Saturday evening, and Sunday. If she can get her work done diligently and prove to me that she can manage her time well, I will let her add Thursday afternoons if they need her. But she's going to have to work hard to be able to do that. And I'm just not sure how that's going to work out. She loves her job... so maybe that will provide the incentive she's been lacking to work quickly. I guess we shall see!

As for Miss Reece, she spent this week translating "Let It Go" (from Frozen) into Latin. This took hours and hours of work over several days - and she did it all on her own. Then yesterday she translated the Happy Birthday song for her Daddy! I don't know if she did it correctly and I don't even care! She's a beginning Latin student, after all! I'm just excited that she wants to do translation work and that she seems to enjoy it.

However, I would prefer that she stop answering my texts in Latin. Because I don't remember all of the vocabulary and it takes me too long to figure out what she's saying! ;)

This week I plan to get the first couple of weeks' worth of assignment sheets ready to go. And to stop freaking out about how we're going to get everything done! LOL

Monday, July 21, 2014

Planning time, planning time! Open the books and see what's inside!

Yeah, I'm quoting my Blue Clues again! This is what happens when your kids get old. You start reliving their childhoods with their old favorites!

So this weekend, I started my planning - with a little over 2 weeks until the first day of school, I figured it was time to get on the ball!

My "work space" - aka, the kitchen table!
I am pleasantly surprised to find that most of our materials for this coming year really don't require much planning/scheduling on my part. They do, however, require a lot of time from me actually preparing the lessons. Since I'm going to be spending so much time sitting and waiting at Riley's new dance studio (or the nearby library!), I will be able to use my time productively. Which is good!

The first 2 months of school will be the most challenging because I'm still training for my Half Ironman - actually, I'll be in the peak of training! I'm going to have to schedule the most intensive things for my rest days, which will mean a little bit of juggling around. I haven't scheduled any races for myself (aside from the free Turkey Trot) after the HIM until I see how much time I will have for training.

Since this is Austin's Senior Year, we're finishing up our chronological history study with the 20th century. I'm really looking forward to this time period because it's my husband's favorite! I hope he will share his vast knowledge with the kids, as well as his love of the movies and mini-series that highlight the major wars and events during that time.

I have several goals for myself this year:

1. Do a better job with narrations. This means staying on top of the kids' reading.

2. Do more discussing in general with Riley. She told me at the end of last year that she doesn't enjoy just going off and reading and narrating. She wants me to 'teach' her - which goes against the CM philosophy. But I think what Riley means by 'teaching' is more of a discussion and interaction. The girl needs her interaction. (She will be taking science and speech/debate outside of the home this year).

3. Teach all of the kids study skills. Again, in keeping with CM principles, I have neglected to teach the kids the principles of how to study. Some kids - even most kids - may figure them out on their own. Mine haven't.

4. RELAX and enjoy Austin's last year of high school. Of homeschooling. And since Riley is shooting for dual enrollment next year, this could be the last year I am responsible for the bulk of her education as well. So I need to make the most of it during this completely crazy year!

We are home for a few weeks with relatively few commitments outside of my training and planning, and meeting friends for some last-minute pool time! I'm hoping to get caught up with a summer of posts! :)

Friday, July 04, 2014

Countdown to 2014-2015...

It's July, and you know what that means: we start back to school next month!! I simply cannot believe that this will be Austin's Senior year of high school - it doesn't even seem possible! Riley will be a Sophomore and Reece will be smack-dab in the middle of middle school (7th grade, which I remember SO well).

Our local schools will be starting the first full week of August, on a Tuesday, so we will start the following day.

Usually by this time of the summer, I have decided upon our curriculum for the new school year - and changed my mind a hundred times. LOL

This summer, however, I am driving my daughter to work, and driving her to her new dance studio far, far away. And dealing with a pubescent autistic daughter. And helping the adult with autism manage his new job (which has gone wonderfully, but at the same time has been a huge learning curve for all of us). Oh, yeah, and I'm training for a Half Ironman triathlon at the end of September!! :D

Last week during one of the times I sat and waited for my dancing queen to finish her class, I pretty much solidified our plans for the year. So that is good news. Now I have to make it "official" by putting it in a spreadsheet and making a shopping list. This should be simple, shouldn't it? So why am I struggling so much to get it done. Is it a mental block? Is it denial? I just don't know.

I do know that August and September will be lighter months for us academically because I'll be in the peak of my training, and we'll be getting used to the schedule for the new studio as well as getting the little one to her own studio, and Austin will be adjusting to working and doing his lessons and I'll be having to figure out how to make it all fit in!! And Riley will have outside classes again this year!


Maybe this is why I'm having trouble? I might just be a tiny bit overwhelmed. :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Book Review, Part II: The Closer, My Story by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey

I can't believe I forgot to post the rest of my book review! I got an email today from the publisher asking for my link, and I looked at my blog and, sure enough, I had forgotten all about it! Getting 2 children in the workplace apparently distracted me from the rest of my life!

I had posted in my initial review (before I finished reading the book) that I was struggling getting into the story because it's in first person, and in a present tense sort of way. I will admit that it does make reading a little more challenging for me, but I loved the story so much!

If you're a baseball fan like I am, you are going to absolutely love reading all of the details about what was going on on the field and in the locker room during some of the most exciting World Series in history. Reading about the first moment that Mariano met Derek Jeter and knew he was going to be a great player - we can all read that now and think, "Of course!" But then you have to really think about it. He knew Jeter when he was just a kid, not much older than my own son. There are tons of kids who play in the minor league system and not very many of them make it to the bigs. Anyway, I loved reading all of those little details and behind the scenes stories.

I also loved reading how Mariano gives all the glory to God. But not in an artificial, or forced way. In fact, he tells the story of how God humbled him right as he was getting ready to pitch in a very big game. That gave me goosebumps! We all make mistakes and we all stray from the path God has for us - in small ways or in big ways. But we can focus again on God and His plan, and just do what He has set out for us to do.

Know, if you know me very well at all, you know I do not like to write in my books or to turn down the corners. But I came to a section and simply had to turn the corner down so I wouldn't lose it. These two lines spoke to me so deeply that it brought me to tears:

"I very rarely pray for specific outcomes."
"For me, the most meaningful prayers are when I ask for God's wisdom."

Whoa, that is incredible! I know that we can be very specific in our praying to God. But sometimes I wonder if that keeps us from welcoming all of the blessings God has in store for us? The last few months, I've been praying that God would give us the means to be able to go to Cooperstown for our 20th Anniversary. Money has been getting tighter and tighter over the last year. I remember saying to my husband last summer right as all of this stuff began, "I wonder if God is wanting us to give control to Him with finances. Instead of trusting in our savings account, He wants us to trust Him more to provide." Russ agreed - he knows that financial security is a big thing for me. And having that funded savings account is something I cling to. Well, over the course of the last year, we have had emergency after emergency that has not allowed us to rebuild the savings - so it's pretty much gone. After spending years of building it up and knowing it was there. Now we have to rely on God to cover our needs, trust that they are not really 'needs' if He hasn't provided, and just basically believe that He will take care of us. And He has. But that doesn't mean that this trip is going to happen. I have been praying and praying and praying like crazy that He would make it happen. Maybe I just need to pray for His wisdom - and realize that I am blessed beyond measure, even if I don't get to take my first real trip with my husband in our 20 years of marriage and see Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox, and Greg Maddux (and did I mention Tom Glavine?!?!? LOL) inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I started to cry when I put it all together. It makes me wonder if that's why I didn't "have time" to finish the book back when I was supposed to? Because I needed that message at a later date?

So the bottom line is, if you're a baseball fan who enjoys knowing more about what is going on on the field, in the locker room, and in the minds of some of your favorite ball players and managers, you will enjoy this book. If you're a Christian who enjoys reading about how God can change lives and use people in a might way, you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy a good biography, you will enjoy this book (in fact, it's going to be added to my son's reading list this coming year - for his Senior year as we study the last 100 or so years of history)!

Thanks for all of your patience for my tardy book review! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!