Although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, in some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... in which I have spoken of so many important things done by Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Home School 2012-2013

Taking a break from the Stanley Kubrick-weird RNC play, "Springtime for Statists and Amerikka" to talk about homeschooling, free style.

I just finished week four of this year's school and have gotten off to a rocky, yet typical start. You always say to yourself, this is going to be the year where everything is going to be organized. I think I've been saying that to myself since I was in First grade, but it never, ever happens, does it?

One kink I've been having is with my own health with the plague of the persistant UTI. If you don't know what that is, go ask your mama. As someone who's had four natural births, let me just say aaaaaaaaaouuuuuucccchhhh. It really interrupts your day, and the kids go in all different directions. If you go to a clinic, they'll give you antibiotics, which then mess with you in their own way and trash your gut flora. But there was no bacteria growth in my urine this last time, but I took a hefty dose of antibiotics just in case. No good. After a little research, I heard Dr. Wallach suggest to someone with similar complaints that it could be a peripheral neuropathy, which would make since because I have sciatica and chronic back pain that I just tune out. The neuropathy through the urethra could set me up for inflammation, which then invites chronic infections. I'm thinking about going to a chiropractor to get adjusted. I hesitate to enter the medical complex, where they just read off their Scriptwizard to match me with the pharma product that is best for me. Do you get that feeling in the doctor's office like you do in a shady mechanics office like you're about to get royally ripped off, or referred to specialists in a never ending and expensive goose chase?

So anyway, back to school. I definitely need to tighten up the routine. The flies in the ointment are the babies. The littlest one gets jealous of me reading with the middle kids and will sit on top of us or on top of their desks, demanding to be the center of attention. Up to the crib she goes, but it really bugs me to hear her cry. I just wish they would go potty!

Another challenge is that my middle school-age kids are not self-starters. Meaning I have to stand over them for the duration and read all their instructions to them. During this age, they have nine subjects: Reading, English, Math, Latin, Handwriting/Cursive, Bible, History, Science, and Spelling.

The Bible, History and Science are read-alouds, but the history we're using is the Mystery of History and I'm trying to do the quizzes and activities so they'll remember the lesson, but with the babies running amok it's kind of hard. I'm hoping to catch up on the activities this weekend and be more diligent in my recording of our progress.

I've got their science notebooks printed off, but there seems to be a lot of writing involved. When you've got a dyslexic kid, you look at that at think of the hours that's going to take.  We're doing Apologia Zoology 3, and one of them is going to be doing the experiments at co-op this year, so that's a relief. I am making her write a brief summarizing sentence in a Bible notebook to record our progress in reading a chapter together a day.

The reading consists of reading one or two stories a day from their respective McGuffey readers. The older one was attempting to read Black Beauty on her own, but I think I'm going to have to urge her to get back into it. The handwriting is the one thing they can do on their own. I don't give them a hard time about the quality of their writing because I know it won't change anything. After looking at my cursive book from 3rd grade, I see that my handwriting hasn't changed much over the years, either. The one subject they both enjoy is Latin of all things. I run off the worksheets and they copy the answers off the board. It's pretty weird, but they like seeing who can copy first. I hope that some of these words are sticking. We're using Prima Latina.

Trying to do Spelling Power the right way, after failing with my oldest. They sell the booklets and you really should use them. The kids like doing the 10 step process, and over time, they should be able to do it themselves. You go through as many words on the list as they can spell right in 5 minutes, any more will overwhelm them. Incorrect words are written correctly in the right column and copied onto the 10 step page. These words are processed with the ten steps: spell out loud, check, trace on table, check, cover and write, check, etc. You keep doing this every day until they get that word right. Because my girl has auditory issues, I stress the sounding of the words a little more so that she can hear the parts.

Math is going smoothly for the first grader; he's using Saxon 2. I don't bother with the Teacher's guide, I just use the worksheets, and explain stuff to him as we come across it. My right-brained girl is using Singapore Math, with is very hands on. We're starting long division, which is where you really do get the times tables drilled into you in my opinion. I bought the linking cubes and told her not to loose them, but they are now everywhere thanks to the babies. Patience worketh godliness.  Keep telling yourself that. Apparantly, I was supposed to buy a workbook which I guess I'll get to when I put in for the second semester of this curriculum because the textbook is not very long.

So anyway, I'm trying a mix of Saxon Algebra I and Khan academy with my teenager. She doesn't like it so much. I'm trying to get the careless mistakes out of her, ya know. I'm tweaking the grading system since this is counting this year as a high school credit. She's also taking high school Physical Science for credit at the co-op.

I'm trying to get her to write the three point essay in preparations for any future writing evaluations. I'd like to get her permission to post some of her work on the blog, but she's pretty shy. My problem is that I can't get her out of the research phase and to just get it written down. Her first essay this year was on sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, who makes some freaky new world order stuff, placed in prominant  places, like the UN and the Vatican.
Her next one was on the heresy of the Message paraphrase. She is reading her way through the Robinson booklist. I'm also trying to include her in our history study. So I guess you can say she has five subjects. She is also taking advanced drawing at co-op, along with Civics. I only hope she doesn't blow anyone's mind.

I also have the priviledge to introduce a class of a dozen homeschoolers to Austrian economics this semester using the book, Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury. I'll also be teaching chemistry to middle schoolers, which is always interesting. Hopefully the laws of nature won't abandon me as I attempt these experiements. I hope to get the ten lessons and all the materials together this weekend in their respective boxes so things will go smoothly this semester. After teaching co-op classes for four years, you'd think I'd have a clue by now. I just ran off most of the copies for these classes, so that part of my year of "getting it together" is still intact.

The newest development is that baby boy has outgrown wall-scribbling, but baby girl has grown into it. I guess I'll wait to get the paint can back out until she's got it out of her system or I bust her in the act a few more times, whichever comes first. She is ready to potty, but with all what I've typed above, you can see how I'd forget to check in with her. She also needs to be weaned, but who can say no to her cute little face? She and her brother recenty got into a "paint fight" with two bottles of paint I didn't even know I owned. Everyone thought they were playing nicely, giggling and all, but they were covering my downstair carpet in pink and blue acyrlic paint. After three hours of scrubbing the carpet, its not too obvious that there was a paint explosion there. Baby girl still has blue paint stuck to her scalp, however.

So I guess you can say I'm a busy person. That's better than being one of these depressed  TV heads you see wandering around. Here's a quote that sums up my philosophy:

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, Iwanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived. " ---Thoreau


  1. I'd say you are busy! It's a good kind of busy, though. Have a happy school year!

  2. Get the older ones involved in the teaching process.
    It works.
    I had three doing pretty good this summer. I only do a summer homeschool, but it's almost a full year crammed in. Long days. But really worth it. My kid is doing really well this year and she is dyslexic. The other 2 are step kids and they live about 250 miles away, so they don't go to school with my daughter. His two fight all the time and doing it this way was a real eye opener for all involved. It worked - well, for the most part, really well.
    PS - I really like your blog. Keep it up. I don't post much. I have alot going on. I used to have my own blog, but it's not fair to my readers that I couldn't keep up anymore due to my mother going through end of life and I was pregnant last year, so I'm just starting to get back to "looking" at blogs.

    1. That's a lot to have on your plate. I tried getting my second oldest to help the next one down with his math yesterday.
      I don't want to keep spreading my oldest around so much that she'd get burned out, as she already does a lot for me, especially when I've been down and out lately.


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