Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - October 17 & 24

In my life these 2 weeks…it's been a heck of a ride these last two weeks. I am very thankful we now do have a conclusive result: I have an inflammatory bowel disease. My blood work was inconclusive for determining if I have Crohn's or ulcerative colitis [because I am an outlier as always], so my doctor and I decided to try me going off the medication to see if my symptoms came back. They did, so now I am back on and will be taking this stuff for the foreseeable future. I see this doctor again in 3 months. I am extremely happy to know a piece of what's going on with my body and to know the medication is necessary. The downside of gaining this knowledge is that I have been feeling worse these last 2 weeks than previously.

In our homeschool these 2 weeks… we're starting to get into our groove of the new school year and it's good.  We are starting school again at noon, and both girls have expressed some dislike for finishing in the evening. I told them they have 3 choices: start earlier, take fewer breaks or live with ending later. Both are thinking about it. Both girls are working more independently this year, and I shared how that is working with ODD.  With YDD I man the timer and ask her what she's doing next, but she directs her day and is doing much of her work without me. I haven't yet managed to fit in English From the Roots Up and we need to buy a replacement headset so ODD can use Rosetta Stone, but we are now getting 90% of each day's work done. This year has needed more of a warming up process rather than the jump right into full days like our previous years.

Grad School...we are almost through the first master's level class and it's been noticeably harder.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… 7 Habits of Highly Effective Homeschooling from 5J's was a good, quick read.

My kids' favorite things this week . . .ODD's favorite was getting to see Yuki Saeki at a comic book workshop at our library. She even won a comic book by Yuki Saeki.

I’m cooking… pumpkin. Lots and lots of pumpkin. Today I am baking and pureeing the last one. My freezer is overflowing with produce from my garden and from a friend's garden. Yesterday I got 4lbs of bell peppers roasted, pureed and put in the freezer, too. I still have another 2lbs of jalapenos to process and I'm thinking of making jalapeno jelly for the first time.

I’m thankful … my family has decided they like pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread because we will be eating a lot of it this winter!

Things I am pondering…
 how does an ISTJ take care of themselves? My counselor has said I need to be a friend to me, and I am struggling with that, not sure how that looks in my life. When I am a friend to someone, I do things to help them: share my experience or work in their garden or take them a meal. A friend of mine [who is married to an ISTJ] gave me an idea to think about: do or get something that makes my jobs easier.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)… an excellent read in the midst of Pinktober: Please Put That Pink Can of Soup Down and Put Your Bra Back On. From someone who knows far more than I on the topic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Growing Independence in My 7th Grader

Middle School Monday at Homeschool Coffee Break
Middle School Mon - er - TUESday
I missed getting this up yesterday but wanted to share how I'm helping my 7th grader work more independently. I have to start by saying this child of mine is pretty independent in the first place. She's been known to get up at 6a to get all her work done so she could play with a friend in the afternoon.

The first thing I did was give her a voice into her curriculum and I chose curriculum that she didn't need a teacher for as much as possible. I don't do a lot of planning; mostly we just do the next chapter of whatever book. I do lay out our subjects:

I put our subject into Google Calendar with red. I look over each day in the morning before my girls get up and make any necessary tweaks or notes. Any changes I bring to my 7th grader's attention. We do God Time together and then she runs her day. She adds completed subjects in pink. So you can see our partial week above to get an idea how this looks for us.
She is subscribed to the green, pink and red calendars. Any changes made show up automatically which is wonderful. [Everyone except the 10YO is responsible for regularly checking Google Calendar so they know what's going on. Any "When is ______?" I don't answer and tell the child to check the calendar.] I group subjects together, but she tends to do computer work all together in a lump. So she does Duolingo, spellingcity, sumdog and passive spanish listening together in a block.

This year, she is doing her history narrations in Google Docs and then she sends me her initial draft. I get an email from Kat Nat like seen below:
The email has a link to the doc. I go into it read and edit. Some times I ask for more detail and some times I just fix grammar. She makes changes and then prints it out for her history binder.
She does handwrite for her writing and grammar curriculums, so I was willing to compromise on history and let her type it.

We're not very far into our school year [we started October 1], but so far she is liking the increased independence and it's working well. She's asking questions as necessary which is a HUGE part of being a responsible independent learner in my book.
  Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Gratituesday - October 21

Heavenly Homemakers Post
I keep thinking that having my two weekly posts on Thursday and Friday is not the best for me, so I am going to try shifting my thankful post.

I am thankful my 10YO put a great deal of effort into her history writing [even if it took her 6 hours to finish it]. I am thankful The boy is going to visit his grandparents for a few days. I am thankful my "cousin" safely delivered her first baby - welcome Ronan! I am thankful for timers which keep us on track with our days. I am thankful for the food I prepared today and the energy to prepare it. I am thankful for my DVR so I can watch football when I have time and not when it's broadcast. I am thankful for our library and how close we live to it. I am thankful for friends who make me laugh and encourage me to overcome my introvertness. I am thankful for a friend who is married to an ISTJ and so gets me [as I am one, too] as few other people do.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday - October 16

This has been a rough week emotionally. The boy is making his father and me CR@ZY!!!  There has been a nonnegotiable line laid down that we are praying he doesn't cross. And if he does, we'll just plain be praying an awful lot. So this week, my list is about those peaceful things I've tracked down in my life:

quiet afternoons of homeschooling
restful nights of sleep
strong faith talks with all 3 girls
new pumpkin bread recipe tried and loved
friends who check up on me
peppers still growing in my garden
3/4 garden boxes ready for winter
a chair that works for me at my computer desk
more schoolwork accomplished
a helpful physical therapy appointment
no appointments except on Tuesday

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - October 11

Weekly Wrap-Up

Collage Friday link here
Girlies up a tree! ODD is a little harder to spot, but she's in each picture.
In my life this week…It's been a pretty amazing week for me.  I had my 2nd physical therapy appointment on Tuesday and she was able to trigger the deep, sharp pain I've been experiencing. This is exciting because it means the pain is muscular and won't need surgery. Then on Friday I saw my gastroenterologist and she proposed going off a medication she prescribed for me to see if I need to stay on it. YAY! In the last 13 days, I have only taken a pain pill once [yesterday] which is so completely awesome. My stamina is still not where I want it, but my R.N. husband says that's to be expected given my last 8 months. I am so thankful for the good news and progress of this week.

Grad School... My husband is about halfway through his first Master's level class, and is getting a 99.8% so far. And he's bitter about the 2 points he's lost while I am just trying not to kick him. :)
We've moved our grad school student into our bedroom so he can close the door while he's studying. Having him in the middle of our living space was not working for him. Thankfully now he's got a good study space.
In our homeschool this week… because of ODD being sick, this was our first week of full time schooling and it didn't go very good. Most of the week, ODD only got about half her work done. I sat down and talked with her about it, and she said it was hard to go from very light summer schooling to our fulltime groove. I thought this was legitimate and I will keep it in mind in the future. YDD and I have started a new study for our God time from Firmly Planted. It's The Gospels Part One and here's Cathy Duffy's Review.

Our week: 1 - YDD being a floppy eared bunny. 2 - YDD was cold, so she gathered half the blankets in the house and made a nest on our bed. 3 - ODD eating Irish soda bread with our local group last week. 4 - ODD working on her history on the porch. 5 & 6 - YDD chopping and helping with dinner. 7 - YDD is my little clone right down to the knots she gets in her shoulders. 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…I build slop into our yearly schedule so I won't stress about weeks like this last one we lived through. Kids get sick, life happens and you have to factor that into your planning.

Favorite resource this week . . .still loving Duolingo for both girls' foreign languages [Spanish and German].

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… last Saturday we journeyed up to Portland to watch cousins play in a couple soccer games:
1 - L [with the asterisk] in the first game. 2 - O drinking smoothie. 3 - L after her game; she is in Kindergarten this year. 4 - DS and ODD chatting; that's my Dad with the camera. 5 - Now it's Z drinking smoothie; he's 2nd grade now.
1 - Z after his game. 2 - My Mom and cousins waiting for lunch. 3 - Z playing goalie. 4 - More Z playing goalie. 5 - ODD and O. 6 - ODD with L & O.
October 10 found us at a local pumpkin patch [Bauman Farms] with our homeschool group. 1 & 2 - YDD & ODD petting bunnies; YDD is wavering between a bunny or guinea pig for a pet. 3 - ODD & Kemmy and JQ. 4 - My girls drinking fresh squeezed apple cider. 5 - Heading to the store to buy apple cider to take home.
Things I’m working on…today I got a ton of kitchen work done which hasn't hasn't in a while so it was very satisfying. I baked 2 loaves of zucchini bread sharing with my family a childhood memory because I used my grandparents' recipe. I baked 4 loaves of bread, made 4 quarts of chicken stock, made pumpkin spice creamer to go in my coffee [I tweaked this recipe], pureed/froze peppers for use in enchilada sauce, roasted a pumpkin and 2 ginormous sweet potatoes.

My favorite thing this week . . .hanging at the pumpkin patch with my girls and our homeschool group which was also the girls' favorite.

I’m thankful for…friends for me and my girls. I am thankful for babysteps in getting up earlier and God time for me. I am thankful for time for long talks with my girls especially my 12YO. I am thankful our house is laid out so DH can have a private study space. I am thankful the next week has fewer outside commitments for me. I am thankful for progress made with counseling. I am thankful we've eaten through the first batch pumpkin puree already.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thankful Thursday - October 9

I am thankful that the physical therapy that I [and my doctor] did not think would help is in fact helping!! I haven't take a pain pill in 10 days - and I am thankful for that, too! I am thankful I am having an easier time driving. I am thankful for all the harvest stashed in my freezers. I am thankful for a good local homeschool group. Related to that, I am thankful all 3 of my girls still enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch! I am thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling even though it's making me a bit nuts this week. I am thankful my youngest is making progress towards being an independent learner. I am thankful there's football to watch tonight.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Middle School Monday - The very first one

Middle School Monday at Homeschool Coffee Break
Because of the weather where we live, I choose to run our school year October 1 - June 30. Our first day of the new school year was last Wednesday and it happened to also be the day my middle schooler [ODD] came down with a cold. So we adjusted and I learned ODD is fascinated with World War I and II. This summer, I had recorded The History Channel's series The World Wars and just kept it on our DVR. With a sick girl, we watched all 3 episodes in 2 days, and that's how I discovered her interest. I had previously asked both my girls if there was anything they wanted to learn about this year and both had little response.  However watching this series brought to light a topic ODD is very interested in. How am I fostering her interest? She and I went through the next week's of programming on The History Channel and picked more shows to record. We also got a couple books from the library:

Maus by Art Spiegelman is a graphic novel showing the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. ODD is rereading it this week. The author is the son of a survivor and he tells his father's story.
World War I for Kids by R. Kent Rasmussen was a fortuitous find as it's new to our library system. So it was sitting on the top of the New Books shelf like God had put it there for us. I love moments like that. I'll share what we think about this book after the girls dive into it.
This year, my middle schooler is in 7th grade. She is studying Spanish, Story of the World volume 3, Life of Fred math, writing, spelling and science. I share about our curriculum here. We are pushing her art horizons by enrolling her in a new art class with The Master School of Art. So far she's been frustrated with the homework of blind contours, but enjoys the class time. She's also deviated from my plan with her God time studies because her best friend is hosting a Bible study at her home that ODD is participating in:

She has enjoyed the discussions this book has started.
Hopefully this coming week we will get a full week of school in since she's feeling a lot better, but this is how our start has gone.

Finishing Strong Link-up