Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekly Wrap up: The one where mama got her groove back....

We are having so much fun with Tapestry of Grace. Last week we had a field trip to the museum of fine art to look at all the Byzantine art. Then we chose a picture to sketch and we glued a foil halo on it. This required me smuggling in tin foil and scissors. I tried very hard not to flash my scissors around. Those docents are old, and probably don't need to be startled.

We crushed up chalk to make our own tempera paints. I recommend going one aisle over and picking up some earplugs when you are shopping for chalk. The racket is unbelievable! But so is the fun. Everyone practiced their calligraphy and pretended to be a monk. But that is not the most exciting news. The most exciting news is:

Its official, we are in fact on a schedule.

It only took five years to get one :). I know, ridiculous right? Strangely, it had nothing to do with the kids. The kids are always going to be just kids, and they are notoriously unreliable when it comes to chores and schedules. Also, it doesn't have much to do with the schedule I choose. I had spent a whole lot of time trying to find the "perfect" schedule. I think I can safely say that holy homeschooling grail doesn't exist.

Nope, the two things that make or break it: Managing social commitments and Mommy. No schedule can be successful unless I
have managed our social commitments and not allowed them to overwhelm us. I learned that lesson last year and it has stuck with us. But I had neglected the other key part of scheduling..... Me.

The reason our schedule works this year is because my nutrition, exercise and health is working for the first time in a very long time. Getting this worked out meant doing things I never thought I would. We have gone about 60 percent raw. Over half our diet is raw fruits and veggies. We also became mostly vegan (except I allow fish) which is startling when you know I really loved meat and anything that remotely resembled a simple carbohydrate.

But the payoff has been amazing. Because I paid attention to my nutrition: I reliably wake up on time with energy to get the day started (before I wasn't completely awake until about 11am), I sleep well without any medication, most of my health concerns and immune issues have vanished, we aren't rushed or late everywhere. But the absolute defining development is that I have extra patience and emotional reserves for when things go wrong. If you have more than one child, things will always go wrong. It has to be a written law somewhere. Nothing else has changed, but I have. I am more flexible. Even though I miss eating whatever I want, I wouldn't trade what I have gotten in return. It was my Mount Everest, and I conquered it (five years later, but I am still counting it as a win)!

Monday, August 1, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I am so excited about this coming school year. We began our school year last week. Link Last year was really quite difficult for us with an illness in the family. We are looking forward including all the extra hands on activities this year, instead of trying to get the minimum done.

We are using
  • Tapestry of Grace Vol 2: The Middle Ages as the spine of our school year. This will encompass our history, geography, literature, art, and philosophy. I can't even tell you how excited I am about this. I go all nerdy when I start to talk about it. I love literature, so I had to pick a literature based curriculum. I LOVE love love love all of the hands on activities. When I imagine my perfect curriculum, this is what I imagine. I don't love how it is laid out and planned, but I can get around that easily enough.
  • Math U See is what we are going to use for our math program. Up until now we had been using Singapore Math. I like Singapore Math, and was happy up until now. I noticed this past year (which would have been third grade for us) the tempo picked up. The lack of review became a problem for us. I started having to supplement our math with lots of visual representation of the problems in Singapore, and since that is the cornerstone of the Math U See program; I am hoping this will be an improvement.
  • Rod and Staff is still our pick for Grammar and Spelling. I like the plain, simple, "let's just get this done" nature of it. Grammar is tedious, and I think maybe it is just the nature of the beast. So, at least this is short and sweet.
  • Real Science 4 Kids: Chemistry is new for us this year. But the kids are excited about it. It seems to heavily lean toward a little learning and then an experiment to test the knowledge. The kids favorite part is the experiments, so they gave this curriculum their stamp of approval.
The kids are up and ready to start school, so now I had better get all these books off the bookshelf and get started!