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Spring Fever

I’m still trying to figure the direction in which this blog is moving. I just can’t bring myself to do weekly round up-type posts. Although I enjoy reading them at other blogs, I find them boring to write. I already do something similar for my records, albeit in a very abbreviated format, and cannot get myself to do another, more detailed version here. I prefer to have something interesting and stimulating to write about; witty if I can manage it. But lately our homeschooling just isn’t providing adequate material for posts. We have a routine, and to be honest our homeschooling is a bit like an old married couple: comfortable, unexciting (usually), and a little dull. You might even say we’re in a little bit of a rut.

We’re really enjoying spelling (cause it’s new) and science, but everything else is just a little stale. Even history isn’t thrilling us anymore. Esa’s disappointed with the colouring pages in the Story of the World Volume 2 activity book, and I have to agree that they’re not that great. (The ones in activity book 3 are even worse; the drawing is terrible.) Math is going well, but we’re not doing much supplementing with stories or activities. We’ve not done art or poetry in weeks. He really dislikes Writing with Ease, in particular dictation. I think it’s a fantastic curriculum, but it can be a little dull. Okay, very dull. He enjoys the narration, and the reading selections have provided us with introductions to books that we otherwise might not have discovered, which is great. Handwriting is a boring but necessary evil. We’ll be starting cursive writing soon, which will liven things up a bit.

I think the real problem is that we’re feeling a little burnt out. If I made a little more effort to supplement, or take him on educational visit somewhere, we might be able to inject some life into our homeschool. But I just don’t have the “umph” for it right now. Spring is here, the garden is blooming, we’re planning to go to the US in a few days, and my mind is just elsewhere. Maybe what we need is to just unschool for a while. Lots of read alouds (also lacking right now), lots of time in the garden (if only it would stop RAINING!), read about herbs using A Kid’s Herb Book, maybe do some nature journaling, and just have an overall relaxed approach for now.

In other news, I have started yet another blog. 🙂 My interest in veganism is providing me with a lot of material to write about, and since I don’t want to bore my readers, who mainly come here to read about homeschooling, I thought a separate blog was a good idea. If you’re interested, here’s the link: http://spillinthebeans.wordpress.com/

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Goin’ Vegan

Reader discretion is advised…seriously.

Another note: this post isn’t meant to be a lecture; I’m not out to push others into veganism. I just wanted to share my story and talk about my personal reasons for going vegan.

There’s this blog that I love: Twist365. Jackie is smart, witty, funny, informative, and entertaining. She mentioned a book called Skinny Bitch, and how she went vegetarian for 8 months after reading it. I was curious, so I had a sample sent to my Kindle. After just a few paragraphs, I knew I’d stumbled upon a great book.  All the claims the authors make are backed up with cited references. I love its no-nonsense, kick your a** approach. Being an overgrown kid, the witty swearisms made me giggle.

The food you put into your body works its way through your organs and bloodstream and is actually part of who you are. So every time you put crap in our body, you are crap.

This book was seriously shocking. I was expecting a diet book and what I got was a wake up call.

Dioxin, one of the most toxic substances in the world, is often found in dairy products.

Not only that, but rocket fuel is also found in milk, often at levels well above those considered “safe.”

Rocket fuel!

I know that meat, eggs, and dairy products are full of crap (often literally), that livestock animals are treated badly, that they’re diseased, deformed, pumped full of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. I’ve seen the watchdog programmes. But the news reports and watchdog programmes only give you the PG-rated bits.

I’m going to get a little graphic now.

I went on to read about how cows are slaughtered…how the “stunning” they receive isn’t always effective…how they’re often still alive as they are taken apart piece by piece. Hogs, which are dunked into 140-degree scalding water to remove their hair, are sometimes still alive for this process.

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.
—Leonardo Da Vinci

And those free-range eggs aren’t as ethical as I thought they were. “Free Range” doesn’t always mean all that free, In the hatcheries for the egg industry, the unwanted males are dumped in the trash or thrown into grinders. Here’s how the chicks are stored in the hatcheries:

Photo from Our Planet Today: The Cruel Life Inside a Factory Farm: http://www.ourplanettoday.com/the-cruel-life-inside-a-factory-farm

Speaking of chickens…

Here are two quotes from poultry plant workers:

‘Every day, I saw black chicken, green chicken, chicken that stank, and chicken with feces on it. Chicken like this is supposed to be thrown away, but instead it would be sent down the line to be processed.’

‘I personally have seen rotten meat-you can tell by the odor. This rotten meat is mixed with the fresh meat and sold for baby food. We are asked to mix it with the fresh food, and this is the way it is sold. You can see the worms inside the meat.’

Dear God in Heaven.

And don’t even get me started on how dairy cows are treated.

So, I turned aspiring, yet unsure vegan. I began doing more research, looking at vegan recipes and books, setting up a vegan notebook…the usual things we enthusiastic types do.

A few days ago, during my web travels, I happened upon a website, http://www.vegsource.com/. I clicked on the tab about celebrities and watched the video of Ellen Degeneres talking about why she became a vegan. She mentioned watching a documentary called “Earthlings” which documents our dependence on animals for food and other products and how those animals are treated. I Googled it. I clicked “view trailer.”

Okay, I’m going to get dramatic, but I’m also being truthful.

It was one of those life-changing moments.

I’ve never been so stunned, ashamed, sickened, frightened, appalled, transfixed, horrified, and angry in my life. Shaking, I closed the computer and gave in to some hearty sobbing.

Thankfully, no one was at home to witness my moment. It was one of those times when you just need to be alone.

I don’t think I could handle watching the entire film. I don’t think I want to. The trailer was enough to convince me to swear off all animal  products for life. No meat, eggs, dairy, leather, or anything else containing animal products.

I haven’t included the link yet intentionally because I wanted to give ample warning first. It’s very, very graphic. Scenes of animals being stripped of fur whilst still alive, dogs being stepped on, poles shoved down the throats of animals to force feed them, animals being beaten, crying out in pain…and the blood. Lots of blood. If you want to view the trailer and/or watch the film, here it is: http://www.earthlings.com/.

Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.
—Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Family Life, Inspiration, Michelle, Vegan

 

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A New Year…Time for Me to Focus

I love January.

Oh…I’ve just had a strong feeling of deja-vu; I know I’ve talked about liking January before, but I can’t seem to find it in the archives.

Anyway, I love it when January rolls around. The days slowly begin to lengthen and I can see the light at the end of the long, cold wintry tunnel; spring doesn’t seem as far away as it did on the other side of the calendar. And my birthday is close and I love birthdays.

For my birthday, I’ve asked my husband for a Kindle. I really, really want one of these things. For a book lover with very limited space, an e-reader is a dream come true.

If I do get a Kindle, here are some of the books I plan to get for it:

  1. All of the Twilight books
  2. The Well-Educated Mind
  3. As many classics as I can fit onto it
  4. The History of the Ancient World
  5. Sequential Spelling 2

No, those are not in random order; Twilight is #1. I’m addicted.

Another great thing about the Kindle is that you can download pdf files onto it, so I can download the SOTW activity book and other homeschooling pdf’s and not be so reliant on the computer.

The official story that I’m putting out for why I want a Kindle is that I’ve recently set a few goals for myself. After reading the article Stop Cleaning the Kitchen and Read a Book by Susan Wise Bauer, I was inspired to expand my horizons regarding self-education. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to draw and paint (which I plan to continue), but I also want to do several other things…I want to read at least 6 classics this year, and most classics are available free for the Kindle. I can have a huge library of classics at my fingertips and not have to worry about returning books to the library before I’m done.

Always the list-maker, I decided to compile my goals into a list of New Year’s resolutions.

  • Lose 24 pounds.

Ok, I’m going to be open and honest here. I feel fat and my smaller-sized clothes don’t fit. I’m 5’2″ and I weigh 134 pounds (9.5 stones). That’s borderline overweight. I have a small frame, so for me, 134 pounds is just too much. In my teens and 20’s I was quite slim…well, I was too slim in my teens (98 pounds). I tried to put on weight,  but I was quite anaemic and I couldn’t get much past 100 pounds. In my 20’s I hovered between 110-120. I’m hoping, through healthier eating and exercise, to get down to 110-115, which is a healthy weight and one at which I feel comfortable.

I’ve got a nice set of girlie weights and this Cindy Crawford DVD set, which is excellent. Despite being gorgeous and having a perfect body, Cindy Crawford has a great personality and just seems like one of the gals. She’s not annoyingly smiley and perky. By the end of the workout, she’s just as sweaty and tired as you are…and just as relieved that it’s done. I look forward to my workouts and love it when I get up the next morning and all of my muscles are so sore I can barely move.

  • The Big One: Start writing.

My first foray into creative writing was in first grade. I hated going outside for recess in the winter. Hated it. I decided to do something about it. Students were allowed to stay indoors if a parent wrote a letter stating that said child was ill. And that’s just what I did. Lacking real stationary, I used the back of a little alphabet card, about 2″x2″ in size and crafted the missive in pencil. My teacher was not impressed. She gave me a stern look and sent me outside.

Thus began my illustrious career in writing (at school, that is). Thankfully, I improved with time. So much so, that by 9th grade my teachers were telling me I had the makings of a professional writer. I took AP English classes and wrote endlessly in my spare time: journals galore, poems, stories, and I always had a novel in the works. At 14 I actually did write a novel: 400 pages hand-written on loose-leaf paper…in pencil.

Unsure as to how to launch a career in writing, I gave up writing for Psychology (which I didn’t finish), and then nursing (again, unfinished). Now, I’d like to get back into writing. I don’t think I have what it takes to make it professionally, but I’d love to write a novel anyway. For me, writing is compulsive…just as an artist must make marks, I must put words on paper. And although I’ll probably rely on the computer for the bulk of my writing, my notes will be in my favoured pencil. 🙂

This is to be my main focus. Art is a much-enjoyed hobby and is refreshing after spending lots of time writing, but writing is what I do.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but a few days ago, as I was lying in bed, a few lines came to me. It wasn’t an idea of a book as such, but a few good lines and a good start. I’ll see where it takes me.

I’m also planning to work alongside Esa with Classical Writing.

  • Learn Latin.

Song School Latin is great for Esa, but I’d like to work ahead. I’m thinking of using Galore Park’s So You Really Want to Learn Latin. This is designed for teens, but I think it will be perfect for me.

  • Read (at least) 6 classics, 4 of which should be new.

I remember someone in one of my Yahoo! Groups saying that she was looking for something to read because she’d read all the classics, and I thought to myself, Really? ALL of them? And then I thought, What? Just ONCE? I can’t imagine anyone reading everything that’s considered a classic, and even if one had, classics are meant to be read over and over.

I’ve read a few classics, but not many. I love my Jane Austen, I’ve read a few books from the Brontes, and one or two others, so I really need to work on this.

I’ve already made a start on this one. I’m re-reading Great Expectations, which is a favourite of mine. I read this in 9th grade and absolutely loved it. I’m loving it even more the second time around.

Here’s my tentative reading list:

  • —Great Expectations
  • David Copperfield
  • —Sense and Sensibility
  • —Animal Farm
  • —Wuthering Heights
  • —1 Shakespeare Play
  • —Sherlock Holmes

These, of course, are to aid my self-education. Although I’m a pretty good reader, I want to get more from my reading. I’m also a forgetter; I read something from a non-fiction book and then I forget it. I often take notes, which helps, but I want to really own the information. I’m hoping How to Read a Book will help with this. I also plan to start narrating what I read.

  • Improve my grammar.

I love grammar. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the orderliness…who knows, but I really like to see good grammar. When a writer has good grammar, it tells me that the person cares about his writing and sees it as a part of himself…a bit like good grooming and careful dressing. I think good grammar is like cleanliness: a grammatically correct piece of writing is clean and tidy, whereas a piece of writing full of errors is sloppy and has a lazy feel to it.

My grammar isn’t horrendous, but I’ve forgotten a lot. So, I’m working my way through Harvey’s Elementary Grammar and Composition. This is a very thorough and very (!) challenging book and I’m relearning lots of things, such as predicates and participles. However, it does use some out of date words, such as copula for linking verbs, but I can easily work around this. Going through the material myself will make it easier when it comes time for Esa to use it. Although, I’m now starting to think that we may need to preface this text with something easier first, so we may use FLL 3 & 4.

Every day, I sit for about 20 minutes and do a lesson or two. I’ve also ordered the book Woe is I, which looks not only informative, but entertaining. Once I’m finished with my grammar study (or mostly finished), I’ll start on Latin.

  • Delve into history. SOTW is great, but I’d like to read a bit more deeply. The following three books are what I’m hoping to read this year:
  • Get rid of many possessions.

I’m planning a project. I want to go through my entire house, room-by-room, and clean it from top to bottom. My house isn’t a mess, but there are things that need attention and due to our limited space, I want to clear out the things we don’t need and organise the rest. I’m going to empty every drawer, every cupboard, and every shelf; go through each and every item we own; clean, scrub, and dust every surface; wash all the curtains…I’m going to go through the house with a fine-tooth comb and get rid of all the stuff we don’t need, and thoroughly clean every inch of our home. I’m both excited about this and dreading it. I’m worried that I’m going to run out steam part-way through.

Where on earth am I going to find the time to do everything? Really, I should be finding ways to cut back on what I have to do, not add in more stuff. Well, Esa is becoming more independent with his school work. There are many times when I can duck out of the room for short periods to wash up the dishes, or start a load of laundry, or do some quick vacuuming in another room. The result of this is that once lessons are finished for the day, I have less housework to do, which gives me a little extra time in the afternoons (most days, anyway).

I’m not intending to tackle everything at once. I’ll work slowly through my list. The reading I will do alongside the more academic pursuits.

Here’s the plan:

  • Exercising: This is the easy one (in terms of scheduling). Whenever I exercise, it has to be done in the morning, otherwise it just won’t happen. I’ve given up a little computer time 3 days a week to pump iron with Cindy before everyone else is up.
  • Project Winter Power Clean: I’m either going to take a full week to do this, or do a room here and there on bank holidays. I’ve got to be in the mood to do this.
  • Art: I get some time for art during our homeschooling art lessons and when we’re on holiday. We tend to take one week off every 5th week, so I do get some time for my art. It is going to have to take a bit of a backseat for now. Once Esa is older and more independent with his work I’m hoping to pursue art more in depth. For now, my academic enrichment is more important to me and will improve our homeschooling.
  • History and other non-fiction reading: I’m going to designate 20 minutes each afternoon for this.
  • Latin: If I can’t find time on the weekdays, I may do this on the weekends, with little bits of review on the weekdays.
  • Writing: I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. Instead of checking email and reading blogs in the morning, I may devote that time to writing and do the other stuff in the evening. I’m very much a morning person, so I need to do the writing while my mind is fresh. I’ll also try to do a little writing here and there when I can squeeze it in, and on the weekends.
  • Follow the advice in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. This is a gem of a book and the advice presented can be applied to any discipline.

I’ll keep you posted with progress on my resolutions.

What about you? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Happy New Year!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Latin, Michelle, Resolutions: 2011

 

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Back to School Excitement…(a little less than) One Week to Go!

(This post was written on Sunday.)

It’s a beautiful day today. We’ve had several days of lovely weather, in fact. (Sadly, the weather is now horrendous.) Although the near-constant rain sometimes gets me down, I must say that I don’t miss the scorching temperatures and stifling humidity of Ohio. I did my best to spend very little time outdoors during the summer because it was just so flippin’ hot and miserable. English summers are much more inviting (when it’s not raining). You can’t help but want to go out.

Esa and dh are outside  now, breaking in the new jet washer. Suddenly, everything is filthy and in dire need of being blasted with water: rubbish bins, car mats, empty plant pots, bike, windows, rocks, slugs, neighbours…

As I look out the window I can see Esa in his high-visibility jacket, huge sponge clutched in his little fist, wiping our car’s parcel shelf. I can tell he’s itching to finish the scrubbing so he can blast it with the jet washer.

I’ve not spent as much time outdoors this year as I did last year. Partly because we’ve had a pretty miserable summer, but even on nice days I’ve just not felt like going out. I do regret that. I did spend about 5 minutes outside today repotting an aloe plant. And lovely as it was, I just didn’t feel like staying out. I don’t know why, although I do know that when the cold weather hits I’ll be cursing my stupidity.

Dh has this whole week off. Normally I groan when he’s at home for a whole week and we have no real plans, but I’m looking forward to it this time. This is the last week of Ramadan, we have Eid this week and no lessons, so there are some preparations to be made. We’re planning to take Esa to a museum in Manchester to round off our prehistory studies and we need to do a little shopping. I’m hoping to get some time for my artwork, but best of all I’ll be finalising our preparations for our first week of second grade, which begins September 13th.

I’m so excited about school…but a little apprehensive. Ok, a lot apprehensive. I’m worried that I’ve gone overboard and all this work I have planned is just going to be stuff we have to get through. I’m afraid that there’s too much writing. I’m terrified that he’s going to hate it.  The fact that I go all googoo eyed when I steal glances at our books doesn’t mean Esa’s going to share my enthusiasm. And if he hates it, I’ll end up hating it, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes and make adjustments as necessary. Nothing new there…

Here’s a partial list of what I need to do:

  • Hole-punch the SOTW 2 activity book student pages, skim through books and teacher’s pages for chapter 1
  • Read through the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting teacher’s manual for books B & C
  • Read through our first Minimus Latin lesson and make notes, photocopy worksheets, etc.
  • Remove cat from stack of papers
  • Get out the delicious Writing with Ease workbook 2 and read through the first lesson, tear out student pages and hole-punch
  • Prepare paper for Sequential Spelling lessons (Use student writing paper I already have? Or make paper using Italic Handwriting printables from manual?)
  • Reprint any pages cat has shredded
  • Get out Singapore Math books, which have been collecting dust and select review pages/new material to cover the first week. Math drill? Math stories to read? Math games?
  • Read through next science lesson, take notes, gather any materials & books we’ll need
  • Brush punch-outs from cat’s fur
  • Choose phonics lessons from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide
  • Look through web links for any relevant websites, book recommendations, activities, etc.
  • Make note to send cat outside the next time I need to do any planning

That ought to keep me busy for a day or two.

 

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Two and a Half Weeks Left and Counting

Lately I’ve been casting wistful glances at our mountain stack of books for second grade, wishing it was time to get them out and flood the room with new-book smell. Sometimes I allow myself a few minutes with one of them…I’ll sit down with one and leaf through, relishing the crispness of the clean, unmarked pages, sighing with anticipation at the delights that await us…even the paper cuts I accumulate are all part of the fun.

That Writing with Ease workbook is particularly captivating…it’s 3 centimetres thick. I’ve covered it with book-covering film so the cover is oh-so-glossy and sturdy and hopefully with stand up to Esa’s attempts to destroy the book once he realises it’s really an instrument of torture.

I’m even more thrilled about second grade now that I’ve managed to save the SOTW Volume 2 Activity Book to my computer. If I’d bothered to read the downloading instructions, I wouldn’t have wasted 4 of my 5 downloads. But I thought I Knew What I Was Doing, so didn’t read the instructions. That’s not really like me at all, but vanity doth cloud my judgement at times…

I’ve also been perusing some of the audio books and lectures on Peace Hill Press. I bought a few (download versions…the ability to save files went to my head) and I’ve really enjoyed The Joy of Classical Education (only $.99!) This is definitely one I’ll listen to again and again, particularly if I need a little homeschooling pick-me-up.

I’m also thrilled I found the audio stories which supplement SOTW. These CD’s are pretty expensive to buy in the UK, and I prefer downloaded versions in order to save space AND you get them immediately. We’ll definitely buy a few of these as we go along. And next year I’ll buy the SOTW 3 audio book download from them as well; far cheaper than buying the CD’s. It crossed my mind that I won’t be able to resell them since they’re MP3’s and not CD’s, but then I realised I probably won’t want to resell them anyway; I can see us using these for a long time, so downloaded versions are perfect.

Esa’s getting really excited about second grade, too. Poor boy…he has no idea how much torture work awaits him this year.

I am a little concerned with the workload. We may need to cut something out if it proves to be too much. Oh well, tweaking is a specialty of mine.

Speaking of tweaking…

I’ve recently done some tweaking to our second grade schedule. It dawned on me that I’d only worked in a total of 8 weeks’ holiday. Now, if it were a year ago, I’d be finding a way to reduce that (silly, homeschooling-crazed mother that I was am was am was…oh, who am I kidding…?), but I found myself looking at that schedule and nearly hyperventilating at the lack of lines on the spreadsheet reading ****HOLIDAY****. It now has many more holidays worked into it (and my defibrillator can get a  much-needed rest.)

One more week (after this week) of prehistory/phonics review/math facts memorisation, then a week off, then we shall begin second grade.

Speaking of memorising math facts…

Ugh. This just isn’t going anywhere. I knew it was going to be hard work, I knew it was going to take time…but what I didn’t know is that after memorising 12 facts, as new ones went in, old ones would fall out, despite the repetitive drill. I thought if we did one set a week, introducing 3 new ones each day for 3 days, reviewing them all each day,  that he’d have them down. It started out well, but then our little house of flash cards came crashing down. He’s getting them confused and we’re only on 3’s. There’s just no way we’ll make it to the 9’s the way we’re going about it. I’m not really sure what to do. Not knowing his math facts is slowing him up when he does his work. Not sure if we should just persevere, try something else, or leave it for a while.

Maybe I should have him write a set out 10 times each day. That’s what one of my teachers did. (Ok, it was 4th grade and for multiplication tables, but it did work.) I do think a multi-sensory approach may be better, though. Will have to do some googling.

 
 

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The Holidays Are Over…Time to Get Back to Work

We’ve had a few glorious weeks off which were spent lazily and indulgently; they went by far too quickly. The week before last Esa and dh along with 20+ members of his family all went to Scotland and stayed in this gorgeous Jane Austen style, seaside house for a week. I had obligations at home, so I stayed behind. I spent much of the week working through The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (I can’t begin to tell you how great this book is for homeschoolers and anyone wanting to learn to draw) drawing, and painting. It was lovely having a week to myself (the house stayed so clean), but it was just a little too quiet.

Esa was a little out of sorts during his holiday. The family thinks he was missing me, but I think it was because he’s was coming down with a cold and not feeling well. He perked up, however, when he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels.

The day he came back, he lost his first tooth. It’s been a week of milestones.

Last week saw us returning to lessons; we’re doing a gentle summer school with 4-day weeks, reviewing a few things, continuing with science, art, and handwriting, and taking a jaunt through prehistory.

We aren’t doing anything all that special for prehistory. We’re using the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History along with some library books. We’ve got a dinosaur colouring book, too, but I can’t seem to find any other activities or colouring pages for prehistory. We’re doing a timeline and I’m having Esa memorise the different eras.

Our books for second grade have arrived and I’m really looking forward to September.

This year I’m more concerned about saving time. Last year I was happy to spend  hours and hours planning, preparing, and putting things together myself. Not so anymore; I want to spend less time fussing about with things and more time doing.

I bit the bullet and purchased the teacher’s manual for Minimus. I had a 10% off voucher from The Book Depository, which helped, and I know I’ll be able to resell this once I’m finished. It’s a must-have, I think, and fleshes out the programme nicely. I thought I could create my own supplementary activities and worksheets, but when I sat down to do it, I just kept sighing and drawing blanks. The teacher’s manual also provides the answers to the exercises, which saves me even more time.

Writing with Ease level 2 workbook is another time-saving purchase. I spent so much time creating copywork pages and struggling to guide his narrations for writing…I can’t be bothering with that anymore. The workbook will make writing pick-up-and-go.

The only curriculum we’re using that is teacher intensive is our science programme: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. I can live with this. We love BFSU so much that it’s worth the prep work.

I see some changes on the horizon for this blog as well.

There for quite a while my life pretty much revolved around homeschooling; I spent vast quantities of time reading and researching methods, curricula…I read every book and article I could lay my hands on. I don’t regret this; all this preparation was necessary and has shaped our homeschooling. I think it’s helped prevent too much floundering and has contributed greatly to our success.

Homeschooling has broadened our horizons so much that we now have so many interests and pursuits that researching homeschooling isn’t necessary anymore. My enthusiasm hasn’t waned…I feel comfortable with what we do and now it’s just an integral part of our lives; it isn’t something that needs investigating, it’s something that we live. We’re living a life of exploration, investigation, and education…which is the whole point. 🙂

That’s not to say I won’t be researching curricula and reading articles from time to time; I certainly will, and I’ll still talk about it here. But I think I’ll be talking about a broader range of topics on this blog. (Art, which I’ve developed a passion for, is something I blog about here.)

We shall see.

 

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Wrapping Up First Grade

I didn’t realise what a big deal the end of the school year would be. Esa’s excited about finishing first grade and being ‘in second grade’ and I feel…lots of things. A sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, relief, sadness, excitement. I’m so proud of the hard work we’ve done, I’m relieved to be winding up phonics instruction, and I’m excited that we’ve (nearly) finished Story of the World volume 1 and will be moving on to volume 2.

When we first began homeschooling, I spent so much time planning first grade that I didn’t give second grade much thought. The thought of the end of first grade made me sad; I didn’t want it to end. That’s how enthusiastic I was. 🙂

But we’ve done so much, worked hard, played hard, and made the most of it, and I feel good about it. There’s very little that I would do differently. I do wish I’d had more patience at times, but I feel good that I made the changes that I did and did my best to make this a good experience for us both.

We now have 1 week of SOTW, FLL, and phonics instruction left. We will then spend several weeks doing pre-history and reviewing phonics. Esa knows most of the phonics rules, but he often forgets to apply them when he comes to a new word, so we need to work on that.

We have a lot to finish in Singapore math, but I’m not bothered about that. We’re taking our time and working through it at our own pace, taking detours when needed. Since easing off the curriculum his enjoyment of math has returned and I can see that he’s getting many of the concepts that we worked on.

Esa needs to work on addition and subtraction facts, so I bought Snap-It-Up; a fun card game that drills math facts. He also needed to work on patterns, so I set up some patterns for him to work out and finish:

These were challenging for him (not made any easier by the busy carpet beneath), and even though he didn’t always get it right, he began to see how to work it out. He just didn’t understand before that the pattern repeated.

During our summber break, we will continue with/do:

  • BFSU
  • Reading practice
  • Pre-History
  • Math: stories, activities, facts
  • Art (self-initiated)

We will have a break from:

  • Grammar
  • Handwriting
  • SOTW
  • Artistic Pursuits
  • Artist study
  • Composer study

I’ll be posting about our second grade curricula, which I’m quite excited about, soon.

 

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