Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weekend Ramblings {November 19, 2016}

I devoted some time to the blog this week to try and catch-up and get some post up. I accomplished Review of Term 1 and  Fall Nature Study. I decided to finish the week with a Weekend Ramblings.

Things have been moving swiftly along over here. I work very hard to keep the calendar not full so that when it's out of my hands we can enjoy a full calendar and not be too stressed. We are certainly in a low and have been catching up on the stuff that gets put aside during a busy season.

We are down a car after an unfortunate collision with a deer.

In some what related news, it's deer season here and the boys have been out hunting to fill the freezer. Caleb got a unique one Friday afternoon. It had white socks on each leg and white on it's nose. Picture quality is low, but you might be able to see it. I don't have much taste for the meat, but I'll eat it. We typically ground some of the meat for soup and to make jerky. I do like jerky (actually goose jerky is my favorite).

We will be enjoying an "almost" break week from school to celebrate Thanksgiving this week. I'm calling it a make-up week to pick up a few readings the boys are behind in and to get ahead in a few since I think the last week of school before Christmas break will be cut short.

I'm really behind in Christmas shopping. I typically like to be mostly done by Thanksgiving or at least have a good list made and waiting for sales. I've barely started! I went with my mom and aunt to do some shopping on Friday afternoon in hopes to find some things for my mom to give me for Christmas and we came home empty handed. I spent a couple of hours online trying to find these items I'm wanting and still haven't found them. I'm really a little sticker shocked! I did purchase two items off Amazon over the weekend to give and enjoyed hitting the slow shipping button to build up some ebook credits since they are not needed until Christmas.

Some of my favorite things on the web recently:
~ Jen @ Wildflowers & Marbles has her annual Advent Booklet out for this year. This is always my favorite for making Advent plans. 
~ Celeste @ Joyous Lessons has one of my favorite type of post up This Year's Paper Plans. I get excited about those types of things!
~ Masterly Inactivity advice from Brandy @ Afterthoughts

What are you liking on the web lately?

What I've been reading~
My fiction list is just keeping up with the books the boys are reading. I'm working on Count of Monte Cristo, Pride & Prejudice, and Wind in the Willows. For teacher training I'm reading through volume one of Charlotte Mason. I've read parts and pieces of all her books, but I'm ready for a run through of them in order this time. I have a few others on my need to read pile, but I think I won't add anything to my list until Christmas break. Perhaps I will just read through Christmas break. A girl can dream! 

What are you reading?

Advent Planning~
The Advent season kicks off next Sunday. I'm looking forward to pulling out the box of Advent decorations. I probably should clear a little room for those during the week to make it go smoothly. Besides some family time and decorating next Sunday, I will enjoy my favorite Advent song O Come, O Come Emmanuel performed by The Piano guys. Wait until Sunday, then click on that link and enjoy! I'll be working on an Advent plan this week. Our tradition is that there is no tradition. We do things a little different each year. This is were keeping a blog comes in handy. I just need to click the Advent label on the right hand side to tell me what we have done in the past.  ; ) 

Plans for next week~
I really thought I would be working on cleaning projects, but I think I got those all done during the last break week. Happy!! So, reading, Advent planning, and Christmas gift buying is on my list for next week. I'm hoping to work on my Advent Morning Basket plans, too. The boys will probably do three half days of school. I plan to relax after Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 18, 2016

Fall Nature Study {2016}

We made a couple of trips out to the usual spot for some nature study over the past month. I didn't get around to writing about them, but I did find some pictures on the camera and wanted to get those up on the blog. I like to use this blog as family scrapbook.

You're never too old to play in leaves. I encouraged the boys to go find rakes and enjoy. And they did!

On one of our visits we went to visit Frog Pond and found a green mess. Lucy thought it was fun to swim in! She came out green! Yuck!

Acorns seemed plentiful this year.

One of my favorite views when sitting at the lake (I love the grass color)!

You know you've waited too long for nature study when Lucy goes crazy and can't seem to stop running!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review of Term 1 {2016-2017}

We are three weeks into term 2 making my term 1 review a little late. I was struggling to write a recap of our term because it's all been written before in the School Ramblings.

I updated our original book list to include the plans for the whole year. I originally just had term 1 plans and was going to do a post each term afterwards too. I decided to just do one post this year. You can find the update post for our book list for year 10 here and year 7 here .


Thinking back, Tyler said his favorite book was Call of the Wild with the reason, "It wasn't boring." Tyler's least favorite book was Everyday Weather. Tyler thought he didn't learn anything from this book, and the book wasn't good at teaching weather. I only read parts of that book and I wasn't too impressed either. Tyler gave mixed reviews of America Moves Forward. He thought it, "was a good book and kind of explained what's going on, but the chapters were too long." (I'm enjoying this book and don't think the chapters are too long.) Tyler's favorite Morning Basket book was Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. His least favorite MB book was our Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. Tyler's response was, "I don't like plays." 

Hmmmm . . . . . on to Caleb's thoughts of term 1.

Caleb enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo because it was a "good book." He equally enjoyed History of the American People. Caleb is enjoying the American Revolution time period. Caleb's least favorite book was Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist. The science of this one is beyond his understanding at this point. I agreed with his review, but I'm enjoying Brother Guy's story and can leave behind all the science I don't understand. Caleb was not a fan of any of the Morning Basket selections this term.  : (

Lucy running laps around me while I read by the lake.


Monday, October 17, 2016

School Ramblings {October 17, 2016}

This blog post is a little late since I took on a closet cleaning project over the weekend. I did get the hall closet cleaned out (which houses a lot of school stuff) and rearranged my "desk". This closet business has been on my list since summer and I was happy to cross it off the list.

I also worked hard on writing end-of-term examinations for the boys. This is the last week of term one! The boys will finish up their term one work and do examinations this week. That means next week is break week!

One of our views from last week's nature hike.

What's in the Morning Basket? I'm excited to finish term 1 and move onto term 2 morning basket plans! I'm not sure what those are yet . . . . but I'm ready for something new. We will finish Beethoven, Constable, and Little House in the Big Woods this week. Some books will continue to next term though. Remember when I said last week that we thought the cheesy Fall in Love With Music was a hit? Well, episode 2 was not a hit! We will move onto episode three before calling it quits.

I won't be sharing any Favored Books this week. I will do a post with all of our favorites and not so favorites for term 1 in the near future.

What's this? (improvement needed) Not really school related, but we are having a lot of bad attitudes around here that need some work. There is a lot of showing of complaining (vocally and physically) when asked to do something. Even though I thought I was working at preventing this it seems to have sneaked in and exploded. I do have a plan to work on this. Pray for us!

Looking ahead (teacher's duties). I have a ridiculous amount of work to get done before term 2 starts. I do most of my planning in the summer, but I had so holes that needed to be filled and I completely forgot about those!!! My goal is to get started with the work before break.

How was your school week?


Saturday, October 1, 2016

School Ramblings {October 1, 2016}

What's this? two School Ramblings in a row?? I can't believe it either. I was hoping to have another post done and ready to publish, but that did not happen. I felt like I should do a quick School Ramblings to make up for it.

What's in the Morning Basket? I added something new to the basket . . . . well, I can't actually put it in the basket. There is a show on Amazon (free for Prime members) called Fall in Love with Music. It was recommended somewhere online by a fellow homeschooler for music study. We've only watch one episode and it was a little cheesy, but there were no complaints from my crew. I plan for us to watch one episode a week during Morning Basket. Go check it out if you have Amazon Prime.

Cassie's favored book (of the week): I have another surprise book! I've been reading The Revolution Against Christendom by Carroll with Caleb for his history. It's a meaty book, but I enjoy the writing style and so it's been a pleasant read. 

We've got this! A couple weeks ago I broke down and purchased myself a Erin Condren Teacher's Lesson Planner (this is an link that will get you $10 off your first purchase and I will get a referral credit if you purchase through this link). This was a good purchase! My system (for school planning and paperwork) is now running smoothly.

Another improvement for this week (the new planner was instrumental in this)was daily meetings with each boy and going over all of the day's work. This was a pleasant change! No more of me getting upset on Friday evening (or Saturday morning) when I go through all the week's work and find things not completed. Stress saver!!

Friday's nature study was a cloudy one. It is beginning to look like fall.

What's this? (improvement needed) Weekly nature study/hikes are not happening. We did go out yesterday, but the boys had to do their nature walk all on their own. I'm waiting for a freeze before I go back into the woods. Twice this summer I stepped into a nest of itty bitty ticks and I really don't want to do that again! Of course, I'm not looking forward to a freeze and the fall landscape is very inviting. Maybe next week? The boys did come out of the woods tick free.

Looking ahead (teacher's duties): This is my stack of pre-reading for the weekend. It all got done last week and I'm hoping for the same result this week.

 How was your week?

Monday, September 26, 2016

School Ramblings {September 26, 2016}

I'm a little behind in the school ramblings and should have had one out last week, but other things happened. I attempted to have this post published on Friday . . . . then Saturday . . . . then it was forgotten about.

After our last School Ramblings we had a break week and now have had two weeks of school. We have finished week 8 out of 12 of our first term.

Caleb's favored book~ Caleb has named The Count of Monte Cristo as his current favorite. I mentioned in my last School Ramblings that I was surprisingly enjoying this book too.

Tyler's favored book~ I didn't have to beg Tyler this week to get his current favorite book; he is enjoying Call of the Wild.

We've got This! I worked hard on putting together a new schedule and our days have been much smoother the last two weeks.

What's in the Morning Basket? Morning Basket is going well (depending on who you ask). I've been working on improving our art study time and have been pleased with the narrations and discussions. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a favorite of Tyler's. Caleb may be too old for the book since he has little interest. This has been a problem the last two year in Morning Basket. I'm not sure how to fix it.

Looking ahead (teacher duties): I am working on getting all the pre-reading done before start of the school week. It's tough and I'm currently behind in two books (last week it didn't get completed and I finished some during the week and couple more this weekend). The biggest problem is that Tyler is doing some different books than Caleb so I need to pre-read for both (instead of just the oldest). It was helpful pre-reading complete books during the summer, but I wanted to read 4 and I only goth through one and a half. (I did finished that half if that counts for anything.) Another issue is that I'm distracted easily and my to-list for Saturday is unrealistic (both of these greatly decrease the effectiveness for the pre-read, which is another problem). I want to read all the boy's books so we can have better discussions. I know I can't pre-read them all books. I read more of Caleb's than Tyler because that will save me time in the future. I decided a couple of weeks ago to add a few more to the list to read and I just haven't been able to keep up. I'm not sure if there is a solution (besides not planning anything on Saturday and hiring a housekeeper) but this is something I want to work on and try to accomplish.

We celebrated the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th with cake.

I'm looking forward to this week due to no activities outside the home during school hours. I love weeks like this since it greatly cuts down on everyone's stress level. Our evenings are a little busy during the first half of the week but we should survive since our days should be pleasant. I've got some nature study planned later in the week . . . . and we may have to bring a jacket. I don't want to say that too loud since we had some days in the mid-nineties with heat index last week, which makes 70s sound cold!

How was your school week? 

Monday, September 5, 2016

School Ramblings {September 5, 2016}

Lake at sunset . . . . can't see the sunset, but the lake was very peaceful when we came out of the woods.

My goal for this past week was just to get in a full week of school. I'm checking that off as completed. I was feeling behind and getting discouraged and we just needed a good week with few interruptions and we got that. We needed that the previous week too and it didn't happen. I don't plan to talk about that though.  ; )

After all the school, chores, and work of the week we headed to the family farm for some family time. I'm hoping this was some good schole for everyone. There was fishing, reading in the hammock, walking the trails just before sunset, fire building, and dove cooking. Pictures in this post are from that outing. I didn't pull the camera out until almost dusk, so the pictures are dark and blurry. And, yes, those are pictures of the boys swinging on vines in the jungle woods.

This week's School Ramblings will contain a favored book I've been reading from Caleb's list, some improvement needed in the schedule, and perhaps I'll talk a little about our Morning/Afternoon Basket.

The boys couldn't give me any raves about books this week, so I guess that means I need too. Surprisingly, I'm going to say that I'm liking The Count of Monte Cristo. I put it on Caleb's list for literature because it was on the AO list and it came recommended by others. I started reading it and thought it was wonderful writing. I then turned it over to read the back because I had no idea what it was about and was quickly saddened because this was not a story that I would ever pick to read and I honestly didn't want to read this 1000+ page story of wrongful imprisonment and revenge. I tried to get Scott to take over reading it with no luck. I have since picked it back up and it's been really hard to put down. The story is very engaging, I like the writing, the characters have depth, and there is a little mystery. I still don't think I like the plot, but I don't think that really matters at this point. Caleb is listening to a different translation than I am reading and that has been interesting. I think mine is better not counting the numerous French words that are not translated.

Our schedule is my biggest problem at the moment. I can't really describe the problems I'm having, but our days are not piecing together in a way that I feel like our days should. Some days/weeks are wonderful and it all comes together, although sometimes messy. Other days/weeks just feel like that dream when you are late for the bus and you just keep running and running but you never get closer to the bus stop. I'll be working on that schedule this week. The boys have been extremely helpful in telling me how they want their days to go. I think we will have the rhythm down very soon.

Tyler threw me for a loop this week with two books choices he wasn't happy about. I'm still working on a solution to one of those. I think the other one is just a buck up buttercup moment.

Free reading is a little bit of a fight. This is a common problem that we have had before, but I thought I had a good solution this year. Free reading isn't actually free reading. It's school required reading. I pulled the books from the AO list and what we had on our shelf; I also got feedback from the boys on what they wanted to read. The boys each have a stack of books I want them to read this year and I've asked that they spend two hours a week reading them outside of school time. This tends to conflict with their real free reading books that they have picked themselves to read. 

I decided to schedule free reading for Tyler after he is done with school since he is finishing early anyway. This will allow him to read whatever he wants at bedtime. 

With Caleb I took Gulliver's Travels off his literature list (something had to be dropped) and moved it to his free reading pile. Since he was enjoying this book he picked it up right away and hasn't complained all week about his free reading pile. The problem may return when he finishes that book. 

I do think I need to change free reading to another name as it appears to be confusing to begin with.

I had some reason for making Morning Basket into Afternoon Basket this school year and all those reasons have disappeared. We are now back to Morning Basket. Honestly, this is where it should be. Starting with truth, beauty, and goodness is a wonderful start to the day. 

I have Caleb working hard in writing and I'm happy with his progress. I've been giving him more detailed instructions on his written narration instead of just write about what you remember. I expected lots of resistance, but he is doing it with little, if any complaints. I really think he enjoys writing. 

We have completed six weeks of school so that makes this week a break week. I don't feel like we deserve a break yet, but I don't feel like we can go another six weeks without a break. We are going to take the break week, but I will have the boys spend 45 minutes a day doing school readings. This makes me feel better about of schedule!

Clicking around, here are some of my favorite things on the web recently:
Ember Days and Seasonal Thanksgiving from Wildflower & Marbles~There are at least two older post that Jen has about Ember days. This is a practice that I have wanted to put into our home. Perhaps this will be the year.

And speaking of Jen, The Call Within the Call-Lessons from Mother Teresa on Homeschooling is a must read!

A Delectable Education Podcast-Language Acquisition~ I'm excited about the language arts podcasts. This first one is a great introduction and would be good even for my friends who don't homeschool, but have children, especially little ones.


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