Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's definitely a journey

It only took almost twelve full weeks of us homeschooling to (I hope) find our groove. This week has been good. We've gotten most of the things done I'd like to cover each day. Some days it takes longer than planned, or we need breaks. On Thursday, we decided to try a new order or schedule.

I've been having the boys do their individual things first (two days a week after a grammar lesson, and sometimes after a read-aloud about that day's Saint): cursive, journal entry, literature, math, even their religious ed workbook on the days that we set aside for that. While they always got those done, I found that by the time we were ready to do group lessons of history, geography, science, religion and anything else I would like to do, they were burnt out, or too full of energy to give their full attention. We started spending less time on those things, or it was a battle, or working on them late in the day when Jason was home. That wasn't working. It was just too distracting. Once Jason gets home, they want to play or watch TV, or Jason does, or it's dinner time.

This week, as I said, we've done better about hitting most or all subjects each day. I've adjusted my expectations. If they read the bible as part of the history lesson, it counts as religion as well. (Yes, our history syllabus includes reading parts of the bible. First, we are doing Ancient History, which includes Egypt, and the surrounding areas, so it makes sense in terms of additional historical reference to how people lived, culture, etc. Secondly, we are Catholic Christians, and we believe in the bible. Just clarifying in case anyone is curious or has anything to say. Not debating this or trying to sound rude. Nothing but love for our family and friends :) )

So on Thursday, I opted to have us start with our group lessons. And coffee. He he he. My older boys like the iced frapp├ęs that McDonald's sells, so I figured I'd ask if they'd like a small cup of hot coffee with French vanilla creamer. The little bit of caffeine has done wonders for all three of us!

Alex almost immediately said he likes doing the group lessons first, and E seemed more involved and answered more questions than usual. So a grammar lesson and history reading (The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and Tales of Ancient Egypt) were first. Then we read about Saint Theresa of Avila from my awesome resource book Saints and Feast Days and St Martin from 57 Stories of Saints. We would have done chapter 2 and the lab from our Chemistry book, but realized we didn't have toothpicks anywhere. After lunch, they watched a quick episode of Physical Geography. Alex took his facts practice test and first math test from his new book (Saxon 7/6), E did his next math lesson, and both did spelling, cursive, literature, additional grammar work, and journal entry.

Yesterday, we were planning to attend a field trip that unfortunately got rained out and rescheduled for 10/30. It threw our day off though, as I hadn't planned anything outside of spelling tests and a quick journal entry. They both ended up doing some math, and then playing together with Jackson. I figure it was already going to be a day of little to no formal lessons, so we should just roll with it.

Next week, starting Monday, my tentative plan is to start with a walk/run for PE, then history - even though we are waiting on our new syllabus from RC History, I plan to include some if not all of the books/ideas from Ancient History through Literature that we are currently using, as there are some great books! - followed by grammar 2x a week, science 2x a week (reading the text one day, and the lab on the other), IEW writing, Saint study/Baltimore Catechism/Pearls of Peace, geography and literature. After that will be the independent or one-on-one with mom lessons of spelling, cursive, journaling, literature narration and/or independent reading, math, religion using their Faith and Life books and activity books, grammar or copy work, and IEW essay assigned earlier in the week. It will look a little like this:

Together we will do:
PE: 1 mile walk/run
History: Lesson 10(etc) - read-aloud and notebook
Writing: Watch the IEW DVD for the current lesson and do the outline 1x week
Religion: Saint of the Day from Saints and Feast Days and/or 57 Stories of Saints; next lesson in St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism #2 once a week; Pearls of Peace once a week
Geography: Mapwork or episode of Physical Geography
Literature: Current book (starting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this week)

PE: 1 mile walk/run
History: read-aloud and notebook
Grammar: Week 20(etc) - lesson and first sentence
Science: Read the text Tuesday, do the lab on Thursday
Religion: Saint of the Day from Saints and Feast Days and/or 57 Stories of Saints; next lesson in St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism #2 once a week; Pearls of Peace once a week
Geography: Mapwork or episode of Physical Geography
Literature: Current book (starting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this week)
Independently or with mom, in any order, they will:
Spelling: Mon and Fri are pretest and test, the rest are activities
Cursive: one page a day
Journal: using the prompts from a kindle book I have, they each write a short paragraph or two
Literature: a short narration of what we read, either aloud or written in lit notebook, or answer some questions; independent reading of a book of their choosing
Math: the next lesson or a test in their book, both are using Saxon although we are currently waiting for E's new Algebra 1 book
Religion: Read and discuss a chapter with mom, followed by the activity book each day.
Grammar: the rest of the day's grammar lesson 2x a week (We do one full week's lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays since it's fairly easy. We will finish book 1 before January, and move on to book 2 and may slow down then.) copy work from a poem or similar 3x a week
Writing: IEW, using the outline, write a rough draft and final draft for all of that week's articles and stories.

It sounds like a lot written out!

I just told Jason this morning how the days and weeks are all blurring together. One minute I look at the clock and it's 8 Monday morning, next time it's 5:30, then it's Thursday, next thing I know it will be December, and after I blink, it will be 2020 and E will be getting ready to graduate! Only half joking! Time to go enjoy our Saturday for a few hours, since it's nearly NOON already!!

Science and swimming! What a day!

*originally written back in September! Forgot to hit PUBLISH!*

Our first official homeschool field trip was AWESOME!

To be honest, I was dreading the 2 hour drive. Right up until the morning of, in fact. But I really, really wanted to take the boys, and they really, really wanted to go. So after breakfast, packing some lunch, and loading the car, we drove to Juno Beach to meet up with some friends. It ended up being just a small group of four moms, our kids, and one other parent's kids, so I think there was right around 18 or so of us?

We met up at the park first, and let the kids run around and eat lunch. Then we walked across the road to the beach. The real beach, like at the OCEAN! (Like every other beach isn't a real beach, or something. But it is something special to see the ocean. It was all three of the boys' first time at the ocean. I'm kind of sad that Jason wasn't there with us, but it is what it is, and we will definitely go again. It was a beautiful stretch of beach, and hardly anyone was there. Well, it was the middle of the day, on a Friday, so...

After a quick picture,

we went back to the park, and to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center. The impending storm drove us inside, and we barely made it in before the torrential downpour started.

We walked through the visitor center and store for a while, before heading outside to wait for the rain to stop.

My phone battery was nearly drained, so I didn't get any pictures of the many sea turtles that we got to see. There were green sea turtles, and, I think, loggerheads.

Ethan liked seeing the turtles, but wasn't interested in signing up for the vet lab, and was being a bit camera shy. Not to mention it was terribly hot and humid out. Jackson was running around like a wild man, asking questions, playing in the little play area, and pointing out every turtle to us.

Alex decided to sign up for the vet lab, and really seemed to enjoy it. In it, each child got an "injured" plastic green sea turtle, that they had to take care of. They had to figure out it's injuries, name it, tag it if it wasn't, do "bloodwork", measurements, etc, and fill out paperwork, and listen to some facts given by the teacher.

The younger boys each chose a small stuffed animal from the gift shop before we left.

Time to go to the beach before our drive home. After taking what felt like forever to get Jackson to eat something, and then get him and I changed into our swimsuits, the four of us followed our friends back to the beach.

No pictures, because my phone was charging, and I was having too much fun swimming in the ocean with my guys! Between digging in the sand, and swimming, they all three had a blast. E made a friend while they played a game of sort of riding the waves. A and his friends made up a game to see who would be the last one pushed back to the beach by the waves. J and I swam together, and looked for shells. One of my mom friends caught a tiny crab, baby shrimp and even a itty-bitty fish using some sea weed. Nearly 2 hours later, I decided we had to call it day, as I knew they would be getting quite hungry, and J would probably fall asleep in the car before dinner if we didn't leave soon. We said our goodbyes, and after a quick rinse and change of clothes, we headed out to dinner. Several slices of pizza later, we were back on the road, and home by around 9pm.

I'd call that a huge success. The boys are already planning to go back, as a family this time so Jason can see the turtles and the beach, and when extended family visits, it's on our list of possible places to go.