Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Seasons are achangin'

It is definitely getting cooler around here. Especially at night.  I love the smell of the cool air.  Of course, the upcoming change in the season is a hot topic and prompted me to want to Do something with it.  I found a cool 4 Seasons lapbook, but nah, too much for now- we've already got some lapbooks going.  What I've been wanting for a long time is a HUGE tree that changes with the seasons.  So, finally I stayed up all night and got it ready so we could put it up today.   I taped some sheets of packing paper* together to draw the trunk. Then I cut it out.  Drew some freehand leaves on card stock as my templates, traced a page of them and photocopied them onto more sheets. [Do you remember the old days when we would have had to trace them all?, whew!]  The kids helped color the trunk and cut out the leaves. The youngest wanted apples on the tree, so she made some. . .  I ran over to the store and bought removable adhesive for the leaves, since we'll be taking them down for winter and putting up different ones in the spring.  We all worked on hanging them.  Some are 'falling.' The sign says, 'Leaves Fall in Autumn.'

The plan is for:

  • Autumn colored leaves for Fall
  • Snowflakes /snow for winter, [we're ever hopeful here on the Mason-dixon line] 
  • Pale green buds and flowers for spring 
  • Big dark Green leaves for summer- and maybe some bugs, lol. 

I hope to save the pieces [or we could add/replace] but the idea is to keep it going.
I will also add some info on the Seasons.  Tomorrow I hope to make a 'circle' of time. It's a paper plate of the 12 months, color coding the 4 seasons. Maybe I'll show it to you tomorrow.

oh, and Happy Constitution Day! [whoops, posting too late, well, belated then.]

*I love it when packages in the mail include packing paper! I keep mine in a large paper shopping bag. It's so useful to have big sheets of paper handy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Falling into Fall

Coastal Highway,  near Monterey, CA
I don't know where my summer went. I know I had 2 great trips this summer and a daughter moved out on her own, but somehow it still doesn't seem fair to say summer is over.  Summer is the usual time I re-organize and declutter my spaces.  I also love to plan.  [Planning is so much more fun than actually doing it all!]  Lucky for me, I've been at this for awhile so a lot of plans are already in my head. Still, it would have been nice to get the out of my head space prepped too.  Since we have our eldest visiting, I wanted to get a little head start on homeschooling, so that when she leaves it won't be the cold turkey back to reality that visitation usually causes.  So, jumping right in, we've gone ahead and started back to homeschooling on a light schedule, concentrating on math and SWR.   We also developed a new chore chart. We've had a lot of changes to the family dynamics recently so this was a big need!

My theme for the year?  The year of independence!  My two main students are 11.5 and 9.5 and have been homeschooled together since forever.  I have been feeling that its way past time they become more independent as well as work at their own pace with mom rather than stick together.  As usual, it depends on the subject. Things like History, Latin, Science, Bible are still done together [or individual assignment] but for Language Arts and Math they definitely need to go at their own pace now. And the High Schooler has started dual enrollment at the Community college. He does some work with Dad, but the only thing he does with me is ICC.

For the main 2 in Math, I have them doing their Saxon assessments first, before the work in front of it. If the assessment was 'easy', I had them skip to the next assessment.  Using that method, they did skip nearly half of the book. [one a little more, one a little less] Which I figured they needed to do. I probably could have skipped the book altogether and just went to the next one, but I was concerned about missing something.  . . and a little review won't hurt.

For SWR, we've started our logs. Did the first few references pages and the first list. [They both tested and started in the same list, but I am dictating separately to allow difference in speed/pacing].  They will have dictation 2 days a week and on the opposite days, while I'm working with their sibling, they'll have independent work to do.  Also, I need to remember to assign them phonogram games with their pre-schooling sister!  

I need to work in other subjects and figure out a schedule or assignment system.  I need to do it soon because I did decide to continue our little Latin co-op [and ADD history to it] with a friend of theirs. A teen teaches them the Latin. I'll do history discussion/crafts with them.  .  That starts at the end of September.  I had considered not doing any co-op and simply focus on our own family, but I know certain things will not get done without it.

I really hope to work with the preschooler too. I want to make sure she isn't left out. I've got to organize my material/plans so it will be easier to implement on a daily basis.  . .

The current high schooler is currently taking a music fundamentals class and a Geography class. [it was on the same day right after, so helped cut down on the driving time!] In October he'll add the Student Success class, also on the same day.    ICC chapter has started as well and he's one of their student leaders. Actually one reason why my personal plans were lacking; I spent a lot of time working on first semester chapter meeting plans instead.

One nice thing, theoretically, is I am no longer part of soccer. Dad takes the kids to the weekly practice and the weekly game. [all kids, same time/same place. love it]  This way, MOM gets to work on her papers, uninterrupted. I hope to be able to have 2x a week 'office hours' where I get all my paperwork done.  So far, I had to take the kids to soccer once and this past week I de-cluttered our mudroom rather than the school supplies! But eventually, I hope this will be the key to staying on top of many many things!!