Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Ramblings

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Clearly I don't know how to write anymore. So indulge me by allowing me to ramble. And I include these ramblings in the Homeschool Weekly Wrap-Up carnival because, well, there's more to a homeschool week than just cracking open the books. A homeschool week in this house is, after all, Life.

**I'm watching the news right now. Well, listening to it. The story of how one of my state's illustrious school superintendents took 400K of the stimulus money to send some teachers and administrators to a California spa. Way to go. I'm so glad my tax dollars help fund things like this. Especially when I don't even use the public school system.

**This was a fairly productive week on the homeschooling front. We finished up Ancient Rome. If I wasn't so lazy, I would provide a picture of our finished lapbooks. We also finished up our read-aloud, The Bronze Bow. Very good, powerful book. A few frustrations still hang over our little academy--the boys, one in particular, still struggle with reading and math. I think it's more of an attitude thing, though, than an academic problem. He really, truly wants nothing to do with school. Never wants to read for pleasure. I'm open for ideas.

**The kids expressed quite a bit of interest in Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius, so we added a little to our science curriculum this week and built our first volcano. It is not finished yet, though, and we have not yet erupted it. Pictures next week.

**I bought some sugary cereal for the kids for this morning. If we put junk cereal on the counter, they help themselves and don't bother us on a Saturday morning. Gotta love that.

**My little old lady friend with Jehovah's Witnesses turned up on my doorstep again this morning. I'm afraid I messed up, though. As you know, after she left the first time, I did some JW research and was all prepared to discuss such matters with her--or with any of her fellow JW's--the next time they showed up. However, this morning I met her at the door still clad in my PJs, and I lost my knowledge and words. When she observed my dress, she apologized for coming so early. Which was an absurd apology since it was 10:15. I've asked God to send her back here. And I'll be ready this time. I'll invite her in, and we'll chat over a cup of tea.

**We're trying another church tomorrow. We like the church we've been attending; however, our BFF's have begun attending one they really like. Since we have not made a friend yet at our new church, we thought we'd give it a try. The kids are excited to join their best buddies again. Alex, however, had already made some new friends at the new church, so, while she is very excited to be reunited with Grace, she hates the thought of leaving new friends. When we asked her how she would feel about visiting another church, she shrugged and said, "I don't care where we go as long as we are going to church." Which is code for, "Can't you people make up your minds and stay somewhere?" I'm not too worried about her. In the event that we were to choose this other church over our new church, she would see her new church friends at co-op anyway.

**I signed the boys up for Time4Learning because I thought it would help them with their reading and math, not to mention teach Michael some of the US History we haven't covered yet but that will be on this national test this year. I was also hoping it would be supplemental material they could learn independently. However, I discovered that so many of the activities require fairly heavy reading, I ended up doing it all with them. Twice over. Not fun for them. Not fun for me. So I canceled it.

**I have known about Time4Learning for quite some time but have been very reluctant to sign up for it or for any online program for that matter. The kids already spend as much time as we will allow in front of a screen. Why should I add to that with their schooling? However, I've been looking at curriculum for next year and am discovering that everything these days is online. I mean, I know that that is the direction of our technological world, but it's amazing how quickly the world wide web infiltrates every single aspect of life. I've even come across full curriculum for my preschooler online! Not going to sit her in front of a computer screen for hours! Don't get me wrong. I run my own online class. I'm considering Teaching Textbooks for Alex next year because math is slowing slipping from my not-fond-of-math hands. But I feel that a little one-on-one time with a human being for part of the school day can be a plus.


Lauren said...

Have you thought about introducing comic books for the son who doesn't like reading?
Or toilet-humour books like Captain Underpants?

Kathleen said...

Lauren ~ Yes, he will read comics, Captain Underpants, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid IF I tell him he needs to do some free reading; however, he will rarely pick any reading up on his own just because he wants to. The one thing he does devour for hours are his Lego magazines. He does not do much reading--mostly looking--but I wish there was a Lego series for his reading level. There is a Lego series of books, but it is too advanced for him. If you know of a lower level series, please let me know!

Marianna said...

Andrew Lost books are also good. Wish I knew how to make them love it on their own. Some kids just don't have that despite all the read alouds and rich literature you surround them with. Oh, what about audio books? My kids love those- esp. Johnathon Park, anything Odyssey, and right now we are listening our way through the Newberry Medal winners.

Kathleen said...

Marianna ~ We do listen to books on tape--it's our Tuesday tradition on our way down to Bright Futures. It's hit or miss with Michael and those, though. He enjoyed all 4 books of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede). He also seemed to get into Hatchet (I loved this one--a great boy book!!), but he hasn't listened a moment to our current A Week in the Woods. Also a great boy book, but he's been off in LaLaLand back there in there in the back seat!

Anonymous said...

What about books on subjects like science--if they loved the volcano building and that sort of thing...? I was surprised by the choices J made last week at the library while working on his reading badge for scouts. He didn't choose all popular fiction or 'fun stuff.' He chose a biography on Hank Aaron, a true story about a man who trekked across Antarctica and another book on sports figures. Truly surprised me. And these were all books for him to read on his own.

But another thing to consider--are you sure your son doesn't have a reading 'problem'? Maybe dyslexia? I don't know much about dyslexia, but I know several children who have struggled with reading for years, only to be diagnoses later. Just a thought...I'm betting you've already thought of it.

Good luck. This is a tough one!

CrossView said...

I stay both amused and irritated by how taxpayer dollars are spent. On a daily basis, we see the school buses being used for all kinds of travel locally. I always wonder why we have to pay taxes to make sure the bus driver can stop by the grocery store or any place they go that isn't school related. Especially with the cost of gas... =/

YAY! for sugary cereal and sleeping in! LOL!

Good luck with the JW lady. They do all seem to be very nice people. We've even had them come all the way out here a couple of times...

Just remember that while you're visiting churches you're also meeting folks you'll spend time with in Heaven. Nice to have some familiar faces when you get there.... ;o)

My oldest loved Teaching Textbooks! They didn't have the lower grade stuff that they do now.
My youngest hates math. And I'm always looking for just the right thing for her. Haven't found it, yet. =/

My youngest isn't the fan of reading that my 20-yr old is, but she is spending more time reading for enjoyment. It took awhile but she finally got there. LOL! She does enjoy going to the library and picking out her own stuff. I have a block of time scheduled for "reading of choice". She loved the Bunnicula series and I like the simple writing style and was surprised at the deep stuff that was in there - ala vocabulary. I wonder if it's just a matter of time for your son? And Guy is still one who reads only for information. Is it a male thing?

Anonymous said...

Just wanna throw out a math program some of you might not have looked at....Life of Fred. Have you heard of it? Both of my kids--the math love and the math struggler--have enjoyed all the books so far. Fred does not have elementary books, though...he begins with pre-algebra. CrossView, I don't know how old your youngest is, but maybe this is one you would want to check out? It's VERY different from traditional math programs.

Sorry to hijack, Kathleen!!

Bunch of Barrons said...

I am definitely going to have to remember that little bit of info about cereal. ;) I could use a few extra hours of sleep, myself.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

"A few frustrations still hang over our little academy..."

I love that line. I just do.

I can also relate to the frustrations over funding a public school system that you don't use. That's why I didn't feel a teensy bit guilty when the state of VA said, hey, we'll pay for your masters degree :)

Arby said...

Tax dollars for a spa trip? I'll have to look for a government grant. You don't mind paying for me to go to a spa, do you?

SmallWorld at Home said...

I'm visiting from Weekly Wrap Up and I LOVE your post! You remind me of, well, me.