Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Too complicated!

A picture of clouds that have nothing to do with the post.  : )

I had a week off planned for last week. (End of term break) The week before that I was convinced we didn't need a break and should just work on and take it later in the month (or days as needed). But, God made it very clear within hours of deciding no break that we certainly needed it. He even told me I needed to start my break early and  have the boys only do independent work for the rest of that week. ; ) Seriously! We even extended our break an extra day when our field trip was canceled due to snow (Tyler did do a math lesson).

I was really not looking forward to school today. I haven't sat down to teach a lesson in well over a week. I enjoyed the time off! We really spent a lot of time at home "resting". I wasn't as productive as I hoped but maybe it was suppose to be a time spent on thinking through things, which is was.

The day started off bad (no morning basket since the alarm didn't get set, bad attitudes in math, teenager telling me we shouldn't do spelling and math first thing even though that is how we've done it all year, 10 yo telling me that he isn't in a math mood today, etc.) and by afternoon my mind was in an uproar. 

Why is this so complicated? We just need simple! 

We are doing a writing program and spelling program and they are both complicated and take a lot of time. These methods are certainly not Charlotte Mason approved. 

Are they helping? No, they are not. Especially the spelling. I'm spending 50 minutes a day teaching spelling and it's not making much difference. The time spent is not justified. 

I gave up on Caleb's writing program a couple of weeks ago but I had printed out some sample lessons to try of another. It was just too much busy work. I had planned to work on it with Caleb today and read through it and was overwhelmed. I finally got to the main reason of the lesson and it was to write a narration and make sure it had a beginning, middle, and end. So, we did that for a book he read just before the writing lesson. Simple! 

I know what Caleb needs to work on to improve his writings. I don't know why I think we have to have a program to do this (at least before high school). Especially programs that are meant to be done everyday, the whole school year, every year. There are simpler methods with equal results. I had a good writing education from my public school (one of the few things I learned!) and we didn't have a "program". I'm not a great writer but I went to college and was able to write at that level that was expected of me.

Where do we go from here? I imagine we will keep spelling simple with just using dictation. We haven't had much luck with dictation in the past but at least it will only take me about 10 minutes a day to teach instead of 50 with the same results.

Writing I'm a little less uncertain. We will work on improving written narrations and I think this will be perfect and exactly what the boys need in this season. Oh, and lots of rich reading!

I don't think I would have realized all of this unless I had my mind off daily lesson as long as I did.


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Celebration of 14!

Caleb turned 14 at the end of January. (I completely forgot to do a post!)

Yes, we did have birthday cake with breakfast! 

If you haven't figured it out yet, the boys like to make silly faces at me when I take their picture. Thanks to a new camera I can actually catch them doing it every time now!

Dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I don't normally embarrass my kids, but he actually got up to go to the bathroom and that is a no-no if it's your birthday. It gives your dad time to call the waitress over to let her know it's your birthday. Blurry pictures since it was dark and I didn't want to use the flash. That would be whipped cream and chocolate all over his face.

Presents and cake at Grandma's and Grandpa's house.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pretty Happy Funny Real {February 12, 2015}

It's been a while but I'm linking up!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Last Saturday at the family farm. 
The temperature hit almost 70! We spent the afternoon playing at the farm. Short sleeves too! 

Lucy has learned to sit still while driving. She isn't a fan of driving though and doesn't pick to get in the vehicle on her own.

Walking around the lake is always an adventure. Never know what you will find. We found a dead deer (picture will be below, not graphic) and some ice (even though it was very warm for February).

The sun shimmering off the lake!

I'm a big fan of tall grasses. I know the picture isn't exciting but they are a favorite for me. I love the colors.

I know! Who puts a picture of dead deer on their blog? Well, it was a nature study discovery and isn't gross looking.  ; ) This deer was very camouflaged laying in the tall grass next to the lake (Scott walked right past it but Tyler noticed it).

Someone has been letting Lucy sit in the recliner with them and now she expects to sit in it. Even though the pictures show Tyler, it was Caleb who is the guilty party! Tyler had no choice in the matter as Lucy was determined to join him!

Spoiled! Of course, she will out grown this very soon. I hope she realizes that!

  Scott gave me a new camera for Christmas (we don't normally exchange gifts but I talked him into it)!  I have yet to read the manual and figure it out. Just been using the auto mode. It has a 42X optical zoom on it though. I think it's pretty amazing! It was affordable too. First picture is taken of the boys who are across the lake (about the middle-yellow dot is Tyler). I zoomed in on the second picture so you could actually see them. And it's clear! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The End of Term 2 {2014-2015}

(Photos from our usual nature study spot. Geese found on the lake during one of our recent visit.)

Term 2 has come to an end! I'm happy about this. Not only because it means we are closer to being done with the school year but also because we just need to bring an end and start fresh mid-winter.

The problem with having a three term school year is that you have a big (Christmas) break halfway through. I want to end a term before having a long break. It seemed like we had unfinished lesson to complete when we started back. That could have been avoided. I've gone back and forth on three and four term years and at the moment the 4 term school year as my vote! With some modifications though as I don't want examinations at the end of all those terms. Anyway . . .

Exams went well! They don't always do, so this was a pleasant surprise. I got lots of help in writing questions from the SCM Narration Book.

Tyler's Examination:
* Copywork selection from history book
* Keyboarding-print out today's selection
* History: Tell me what happened to the Roman Empire.
* Religion: Who said this? "This very night, before the cock crows, you will deny three times over that you know me." Explain what was going on.

* Science: Make a chart of all the classification of animals and tell me about their characteristics.

Caleb's Examination:
* Math: Saxon Test 9
* Science: (1) What is your definition of science? (2)Pick one (list given) and tell me their contribution to science. (Caleb picked Ancient Egyptians)
* Literature (Lord of the Rings-Fellowship): (1) Tell me everything you know about how Aragorn discovered Frodo had the ring. (2) Who is Sam Gamgee?
* History: (1) Pick one of the people you read about in chapter 8 (the 1950s in the US) and tell me all you know about him/her. (he picked Elvis Presley) (2) Tell me about American culture in the 50's.

The end of term two brought the completion of a few books for the boys. 

Tyler completed the Story of the World 1, A Life of Our Lord for Children, and The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism #1. I pulled out Stories of America (from Simply Charlotte Mason) and Health 5 (from Seton) just because they weren't well loved and were the first to be dropped if we got behind.

Caleb finished The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism #2 and The Virtue Tree program. I pulled out Writing With Skill Level 1 to discontinue because it's just too many lessons!

This week we are on break (we usually take a week off after a term). I didn't think we needed a break but it turns out we do. The boys do have a check list to complete this week (math and extra reading) which is helpful in keeping them off screens. There is also lots of outdoor play, even though the weather is cold (the puppy helps with that). And lots of Lego play too.

I'll have a post with term 3 books coming up very soon.
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