Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Time Is It?

This says it all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where I've Been

I haven't been blogging much lately. I have a new toy that's taking a lot of my time. Wanna see?

Can you tell what it is? It's Microsoft Windows - on my iMac! Now, don't get me wrong. I love, love Macs. However, there are a few things we can't run on it. With Parallels (& Windows) installed, here's what I can now do.

- (for our business)
- Creating Keepsakes digital scrapbooking software (there are some for the Mac, but none as cheap as this one)
- Mavis Beacon typing software (which I bought thinking it would work on the iMac - nope!)
- and....

Homeschool Tracker! I spend too much time planning and rearranging. I'm hoping that using HST will make that easier and faster. I also love their daily assignment sheets. I've been using them for the end of this year and it has really kept up focused.

I've gotten just about everything entered, and up to speed on using Windows, so I'm hoping things will calm down now and I can relax (and blog!).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plans for Next Year

I know it's been awhile since I blogged, but I have been busy working on our curriculum choices and schedule for next year. I am hoping to get it all done before summer so that I can concentrate on other things at that time (like my house!). I am almost done and am very happy with how it's turning out.

So, without further ado, here is the outline of our 2008-2009 school year.

Robert (6th grade)

History, Geography, and Literature: Ambleside Online Year 5
Writing: IEW
Literature Analysis: CLE Reading
Grammar: Junior Analytical Grammar (after finishing CLE Reading)
Spelling: Spelling Wisdom (includes copywork and dictation)
Math: CLE Math
Latin: Getting Started with Latin
Science: BJU Science 5
Logic: Dandy Lion logic, various other puzzles and games
Bible: Explorer's Bible Study

Ruth (5th grade)

History, Geography, and Literature: Sonlight Core 5
Writing: IEW
Literature Analysis: CLE Reading
Spelling: Spelling Wisdom (includes copywork and dictation)
Math: CLE Math
Science: Christian Liberty Nature Reader 5 (from AO Year 5) and library books
Logic: Dandy Lion logic, various other puzzles and games
Bible: Bible Study Fellowship

We will also be following Ambleside Online's schedule for composer, artist, folk song, and hymn studies. Another thing from AO I've been wanting to fit in is Shakespeare and Plutarch. I finally decided to do one each term, rather than try to do both. So, we'll start off in the fall with Plutarch, then do a Shakespeare play when we're done.

You may notice that Ruth does not have grammar or Latin in her schedule. With her 4-day week, I found that her daily schedule was getting way too full and complicated. I decided that grammar and Latin could wait until the following year. It's funny that it took me awhile to figure that out. Once I remembered, "Hey, I'm splitting them up! They don't have to do the same thing!", it became much clearer.

I still have some planning to do. One of these is figuring out IEW writing assignments for the first term. However, there are a couple of books I need to have before I can really do that. I've ordered them and they should be here next week. For now, though, I'm done. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Because I'm a Glutton for Punishment

One of the advantages of homeschooling children that are only 17 months apart is the ability to combine them for many subjects. I've combined Robert and Ruthie for history and science since we first started homeschooling. It has made life easier in many ways.

However, I'm running into a few problems for next year.

- Robert will be in 6th grade, which is middle school here. I am feeling the need to ramp up my expectations of him. Combining has often meant bring him down to Ruthie's level. That's got to change.

- Ruthie will be attending a day of enrichment classes every Wednesday, which will mean a 4-day week for her. As long as they are doing things together, it also means a 4-day week for Robert. I'm not sure I want this.

- They have different interests in school. Ruthie is much more interested in the arts. Robert is much more interested in science.

- Speaking of science, Robert needs to be ready for Apologia General Science (or whatever formal science we decide on) in another year. Ruthie does not.

- I plan to return to Ambleside Online after Sonlight Core 5. Looking at their schedule, Robert would not reach a study of the 20th century in high school if he does Sonlight next year. I'm not absolutely sure we will homeschool the high school years, but I need to plan like we will.

So (deep breath here), I've made a decision. Ruthie will do Sonlight Core 5 next year. Robert will do Ambleside Online's Year 5. I am also separating them for science. I'm not sure exactly what I will do with Robert's science, but Ruthie will have a much more relaxed year in that subject. She will be doing some science in her enrichment classes, so I might let that be the bulk of it and just fill the rest in with library books.

I've talked to the kids about it and they are thrilled. I think they want their "own" schoolwork, rather than sharing everything. We will still do some subjects together (composer and artist study, read-alouds, etc.), but they are looking forward to the separation.

I'm a bit nervous about this. (okay, more than a bit) It will mean more work on my part. In some ways, though, it will be oddly easier, if that makes any sense. Combining them is too much like multi-tasking, and I don't multi-task well. I do better with separation and clearly defined lines. So, bring it on.

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to, at any point next year, throw up my hands in defeat and go back to combining them without anybody saying, "I told you so."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bible Study Fellowship

I absolutely love Bible Study Fellowship. I was in the middle of attending a daytime BSF study when we pulled the kids out to homeschool. At the time, I thought about getting a sitter for Wednesday mornings so I could continue to go, but figured out that was not going to work. I also thought about transferring to a nighttime meeting, but I really felt that I needed my focus to be homeschooling. So, with great regret, I gave it up.

I have finally decided that I'm ready to add it back in. I went to an informational meeting last night and am signed up for next year. I am so excited! Ruth will be attending the children's program on the same night. I have heard wonderful things about it, so I'm hoping it will be a good experience for her.

BSF is very structured, and has some rules that some people don't like. However, they don't bother me at all, and I have found that it is a method of in-depth study of God's word that really works for me. I encourage you to seek out a group in your area and see if it's for you.