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.



  1. I agree that AO chose an unfortunate name for "free reading". For several years, I put the free reading books out for the kids to choose freely as books they might want to read in their spare time. They rarely did. Then I realized "free" reading actually meant "free from narration but still required" reading. So now I just put titles I pick from the free reading list in the stack of books we're using for assigned reading and I don't call them anything different. I do offer the kids some choice in most of the books they're reading, but it's choices from selections I provide.

    1. This is helpful! I think I'm holding on to that AO free reading list and making it a master instead of the servant. I have one reader who can tackle it with no problem, but the other can't I need to lay off. My goal is just to keep him reading good books.


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