Saturday, August 20, 2016

Week 3 ~ Making Changes Already

We had a successful week. It was a crazy week in which I was fitting school in around life's edges. We had seven appointments this week. Only one had anything to do with school. There is also a huge amount of extended family drama going on right now, which is a distraction to our daily lives. With a high-end special needs family, this is an issue that seems to come up at least once a month. In the past, I would have looked at my planner and crammed in the learning around everything else. This time, I just made two goals for each day -- independent reading and one more subject. We did more than that each day, but that is all I wrote down for the week.

Changes ~ I decided after a long discussion with Anne to drop the curriculum she was using for music appreciation. She will still be having music appreciation but we are setting Zeezok aside. We love Zeezok and have used it for years. The truth is, though, she already knows most of what the curriculum had to offer, and what she doesn't know she could learn in a matter of days as an adult, if she needed it. As a person working toward owning a dance studio; Anne feels that she needs to know many genres of music, know how to play an instrument and be able to read music. I agree that she already has a good grasp of the classics. So now she will be moving on with taking at-home piano lessons, studying as many musicals as we can, exploring different genres of music and continuing to learn how to read music.

Last Weekend ~ We attended our church retreat last weekend. We were granted a full scholarship which made that wonderful weekend possible. Our church is a graying church and there are only about 18 kids under 18 in the congregation. As it turned out, Dean and Anne were the only kids who attended last weekend. The youth leaders held activities even though there were only two kids, so they got loads of one-on-one attention. They enjoyed the lake immensely, talked about being a positive person in the world and played chimes for the Sunday morning service. They also got tons of accolades from a dozen or so individuals. It is really nice to hear so many people complimenting our children.

The School Week ~ 
  • Anne discovered Great Illustrated Classics. Did you know that there are 70 titles in this series? She loves them. She has read in the past week Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and  Peter Pan. She started Oliver Twist.
  • Dean is still reading the same book, The Night Gardener. I am a bit concerned about the speed of his reading. It seems very slow to me. I will be watching that over the next few weeks to determine if there is something I need to do.
  • We read Anne of Green Gables and are almost done.
  • Anne started at-home piano lessons.
  • Dean played at least an hour each day on either the piano, guitar or tenor ukulele.
  • Anne completed a lesson in her spelling book, but she still needs to take the spelling test for the week.
  • We played lots of board games (Imagine If, 10 Days in Asia, Take Out, Art Shark, and Apples to Apples) and completed the Harry Potter puzzle.
  • We did three science experiments in which two failed or barely worked. 
  • Dean completed seven pages in his Wordly Wise book.
  • We did a chapter in  Life of Fred Fractions most days.
  • The kids made hot sauce from our peppers, picked our grapes and made grape juice, and also made jello, guacamole and mac and cheese. 
  • We did just a touch of history with Washington, DC History for Kids: The Making of a Capital City with 21 Activities.
  • CNN Student News started back up -- much to the kids' delight.

Out and About School-Related Activities ~ The kids went swimming with Grandma. Dean started Robotics Club and Anne tagged along to play with other homeschoolers.

What I Am Reading ~ I am really enjoying A Different Kind of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto. I find that it is just what I needed for advice during this transition of helping my kids take responsibility for their own education. I am sure I will have much more to say about it in the coming weeks. I am also reading Worldchanging 101 Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness by David LaMotte. I picked this one up at the church retreat book sale. It is another thought-provoking book. 

They guys are hopefully going to get the rest of the shed they pulled down a few weeks ago to the landfill today. Anne and I are going to start organizing for two yard sales that we are participating in soon. The guest room/office is a mess of stuff to sort into Ebay, Goodwill and yard sale piles. I love to reduce our stuff and make money at the same time. We are busy saving for dance classes. It is nice to start with a bit put by before classes even start. 

Blessings, Dawn


  1. One of the big pluses to homeschooling (at least in my opinion) is being able to easily adjust plans and courses of study as our students needs and interests change. Looks like it was a fun weekend.

  2. We start Monday, and we have 2 appointments next week. On the flip side, not all of our curriculum has arrived, so I guess it will all work out.

    I was bummed not to get in on the Zeezok review. It looks like a great program. We play classical music during morning chores, and I have it as background music in the school room sometimes, from the SmartKidz Media site.

  3. I used to be the one to cram things in around unscheduled issues too. It is so much easier to plan for fewer items and then be pleased when more happens. I think more actually happens this way because there isn't the stress of still completing a regular schedule.

    I'm so glad you all were able to enjoy the retreat too. It looks lovely and relaxing.

  4. Great idea to have goals for each day! We will start full swing the day after Labor Day. I'm feeling a bit nervous despite all the years that I have homeschooled.