Monday, October 10, 2011

A new HSing year

We are entering week 5 of our 2011-2012 HS year, and I couldn't be happier.  Things have gone smoothly and the kids are generally enthusiastic about our new curriculum.  Here is what we are using this year;

Paths Of Exploration
Math U See


History has never ever been my strong subject.  The thought of trying to put something together on my own was intimidating to say the least, but the reality is closer to impossible.  There is simply too much out there to sift through.  When I saw "Paths Of Exploration" last year at the UHEA Convention, I knew it was the answer to our History dilemma and so it came home with me.  Yes, it took a while for me to actually start using it, but now that we have started, I am SO HAPPY!  Everything is planned out and presented so clearly.  I really don't have to plan much at all.  I simply open the book, make sure we have the necessary supplies, and begin.  It has been a Godsend.  All subjects except math are covered and all relate to the topic of the day.  We are nearing the end of the Christopher Columbus unit, and next will be Jamestown.  All of it a great refresher for me.

Next is our old friend Math U See.  We have been using it from the beginning.  The kids' progress through Math has been impressive.  They are both understanding and progressing rapidly, with each of them working at Grade 5 level.  And the beauty of it is that it too is completely planned out for you.  We are finishing up the last of "Delta" (multi digit division) and will continue with "Epsilon" (fractions).

I must say that the biggest and best part of this year is that we have finally found peace in our household.  A lot of changes have taken place this past summer, and although difficult, they have been for the better.  We are all breathing easier, and are at long last finding joy and comfort in our home and in each other's company.

School is good... Life is good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Got Bees?

It has been a VERY busy month!  Not so much in our school life, but life in general.  We have once again put our home up for sale.  This means cleaning, de-cluttering, cleaning some more, and then leaving the house whenever someone wants to snoop take a look at it.  It does tend to make life a little more hectic than usual.

In all the chaos, I thought it wise to cancel the honeybees I had on order (placed in December).  It really didn't make sense to acquire bees when I knew the possibility of moving was in our not-so-distant future.  We were sad, but accepted the reality of our circumstances.

We did decide though that we would take a field trip to at least see other people getting their bees.  Wow - what a sight!  Hundreds of thousands of bees, all packaged in neat wooden containers with screened sides. At least 4-6 pallets stacked full of bee boxes.  Escaped bees confused and aimlessly buzzing around, people coming and going, some with pick-up trucks for larger orders, most simply putting the bees in the trunk of their cars, but all of them with a nervous smile plastered on their face.  If only I would have remembered my camera!

We enjoyed meeting beekeepers and connecting with the local beekeeping clubs, seeing the bees, and wishing we would have kept our order in place.  Then the strangest thing happened...  In speaking with the organizer of the entire sales event, knowing that all the bee packages were spoken for, we were offered a package of bees!  In my weakness, I eagerly accepted the treasure box presented to me.  We rushed to the car with the same nervous smile as everyone else, put the buzzing bounty in the trunk and headed home.  About half way home I really began questioning my sanity, but kept going until we stopped in our garage.  We opened the trunk and gazed in amazement.  Now What???

to be continued.....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

MathUSee Gamma - COMPLETE!

WOW - we are soooo excited!  The kids have finished MUSee Gamma!  They are now proficient in multiplication!

I'm not really sure if I can say that multiplication itself was a challenge, but actually getting through the lessons was the challenge.  The kids, especially H, really started to slow down as the problems got larger.  Not because they couldn't do them, but because they "didn't want to" do them.  Oh the drudgery....

But with some arm twisting, and some cheer leading, and maybe even a little bribery, all lessons have been completed successfully.  What a relief!  

I will be waiting a few weeks before diving into the next level (division) so that the kids can decompress a bit.  I've decided a nice change of pace is what they really need, so the next month or so will be primarily focused on science, maybe some history, more reading and writing.  

This is what I love about HSing.  The flexibility to make changes as we go.  It makes learning so much more fun when you aren't chained to a desk, enduring the same monotony day after day - and it makes teaching so much more satisfying as well.  Oh, and best of all - I get to spend time with my kids.  ;-)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 - Already?!

Another turn of the year has come and gone.  We are already 1/2 way through January!  I find myself amazed at the accelerating rate of the passage of time.  No matter how hard I try to slow life down, it keeps going - faster and faster.  I suppose I will just have to accept the fact that time really does fly.
So where have I been the past 4 months?  Home.  Trying my best to bring harmony to our household.  And although challenging, I have had some success.  Here is an update on the happenings of late;

We are still homeschooling, and doing MUCH better than we did last year.  December was tough to keep momentum going, but that is par for the course with the holidays.  I am not going to beat myself up about taking a few weeks off for the holidays.  I am overjoyed to say that we are almost finished with MathUSee Gamma!  We started over with it in September and have made steady and swift progress.  Both kids are reaching mastery of multi-digit multiplication.  We are on course to move into division in the next month or so!  I am so very pleased and am breathing with relief at their progress.   The Spectrum writing workbooks have proven to be a tremendous help as well.  I have seen great progress in both of their writing and spelling abilities even though it doesn't feel like we have been making any extraordinary effort.  I think the variety of the lessons as well as more consistency has been the key to improvement.  Reading has really taken off this year too, especially for H.  It is a joy to come home from the library with armloads of books and actually see that my son is reading them.  I thought it would never happen, but patience has paid off.  Overall, I am feeling the best I have thus far with our HSing.  I think I have finally reached a true knowing that the kids will be fine, even if we don't do it like they do at PS.  It is a blessing to have them learning at home.  My son is still very enthusiastic about cooking, and is looking forward to some serious science projects.  Both kids also want to learn to sew and knit, so there are lots of fun things on the horizon for us.

As for myself, I have been challenged to the extreme over the past few months in several aspects, but I feel like the sun may finally be breaking through if at least a little at a time.  My primary concern at the moment is my struggle with severe anemia.  The past three months I have been struggling with it, but have just come to discover that it has gotten worse.  I am now engaging in overdrive iron supplementation and hope it will make a difference.  Another month will tell.  My financial picture is slowly taking shape with the recent purchase of a duplex, but I still am looking for a way to further supplement my personal income.  I am seriously considering starting up my spinning business again.  Which reminds me - I have actually made some time to sit down with my wheels again!  It feels so good to create once again.  It has been long overdue... 

My goals for this year are pretty basic - to keep up our HS momentum, to improve my (and our) health, and to continue to improve my financial outlook.  And finally to bring back joy and peace to my household. 

OH!  I almost forgot!  We got another doggie! She is a young Australian Cattle Dog (aka; blue heeler).  I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would ever own more than one dog at a time, but much to my enjoyment, we now have two!