Back to school!

Been awhile, eh folks? Regular blogging is clearly not my thing. But we’re back to school so I’m going to treat this like my day’s work. Lesson planning and blogging, no rest for homeschooling mom.

I’ve been in a bit of a fight with our district over the children’s end of the year narratives. State law says parents are allowed to write them but each district has the right to veto that. And of course I live in a district that thinks they “are still in charge of my children’s education” (their words) even though I’m the one doing the teaching and I’m not qualified to write their end of year narratives (basically their report cards) as a result. Make sense to you? Because it sure as shit doesn’t to me. All the surrounding districts allow parents to write the narratives, some parents even get lovely notes written back from their superintendents saying what a great job they’re doing. Ours? Nope. So that’s fun. Now I have to come up with a peer review panel to interview my children and go over their year’s work by next week…all while I should be actually teaching them. I hate jumping through bullshit hoops, I really do.

Anyway! The new year is off and running. The kids have dropped gymnastics and will be taking an aerial silk acro class which I think sounds like a blast. We learned our lesson last year and have scheduled way less things because we all got burned out by the end of the year on activities. There were no worries out socialization with these guys, that’s for sure.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the middlest to do her work in a timely fashion. Because this kid and her procrastinating. Gonna drive her teacher to drink.

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Poetry month!

April is national poetry month! And what better time to update this than now?? We’re diving right into poetry which I am thrilled about. The children? Not so much. It’s ok though, I have enough enthusiasm for poetry for all of us combined.

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We started by printing out and taking turns reading this poetry tools chart. We’re starting with metaphors so all three copied the definition for that into their notebooks. Then we took turns saying what we think poetry is using metaphors.

Mine: Poetry is a song without music.

Ten year old: Poetry is a megaphone for your feelings.

                      Poetry is words that are not for you.

Eight year old: Poetry is a unicorn made of words.

                        Poetry is an identical twin.

Six year old: Poetry is an invisible unicorn.

                    Poetry is Chicken stuffed in your shorts. (not quite sure where we’re going with this but ok)

Then they had to flip through some of our poetry books and find/copy a metaphor.

Day 2:

I wrote four “boring” sentences that they had to turn into metaphors to make a poem. The sentence they were given were: The night is dark.

The wind is loud.

The rain is wet.

I am safe.

The ten year old wrote:

The night is like an endless ocean.

The wind is a lion roaring.

The rain is a parade of footsteps.

I am in my cocoon of blanket.

The eight year old wrote:

The night is a black and white photo.

The wind is a cheetah Chicken running.

The rain is an ocean falling from the sky.

I am safe in the fortress of my family.

The six year old wrote:

The night is Bowie’s fur.

The wind is Roo’s tail wagging.

The rain is a faucet left running.

I am safe in the citadel of family.

Now I know they’re mine but come on. The night is a black and white photo? I am safe in the citadel of family? THESE CHILDREN ARE POETIC GENIUSES. Ahem. Not that I’m biased or anything. They are going to watercolor a picture to go along with these for an art tie-in. I also printed out the metaphor comics from this poetry package (which is a brilliant tool if you have children who love graphic novels) and hung them in the bathroom for a little light reading. At the end of today’s lesson, the ten year old actually said “ok, maybe I don’t HATE poetry”. I call that a succes!!

Indus Valley Haiku!

Elephants

Elephants are cool

they do most people’s stuff

I love elephants!

(10 year old)

(yes, I’m aware that this is not an actual haiku but let’s just pretend)

Toilets

rich people have them.

Mesopotamians did

not. They were not rich.

(six year old)

Elephants

They help plow the fields

enormous and gigantic

with very long tusks

(eight year old)

January recap

How is it possibly time to send in quarterly reports again??? Oh yeah, because I procrastinated and sent the first reports in a month late. FAIL.

We’ve been chugging along here. The six year old is currently spinning in circles in the middle of the kitchen yelling, “I’m a cold air molecule!” (spinning slow), “I’m a hot air molecule!” (spinning really fast) while listening to tribal music from India. Whatever floats your boat kid.

We’ve done a little revamping of curriculum again. I started all three girls on reading text books that I had stashed away. The eight year old has started a new cursive book and I’ve switched her to Math-U-See for multiplication. She has zero interest in math and thinks multiplication was created to make her life miserable but the Math-U-See seems to be working so far. We’re only five or six lessons in but she is complaining less so I’ll take it.

The six year old is almost done with book 1B of Singapore math. She’s covered all of the things that Common Core (blargh) says a first grader should learn and once she’s done with 1B, we’ll just work on strengthening those skills instead of going on to books 2A and B. Unless she gets bored and then we’ll move on. She really loves all things math so it’s highly possible that will happen.

The ten year old is working on long division. She is definitely my most infuriating student…she wants me to give her all the answers and loses her mind when I won’t do that. Evidently good teachers will just spoon feed you the answers so you don’t have to use your own brain! Good thing I don’t care about being a good teacher then, eh? Tweens. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live with ’em. Because they’re moody and awful, see?

Snowpocalypse is upon us and I’m guessing our Tuesday program will be canceled tomorrow. Guess I’ll have the six year old bake something and call it math and home ec. The kids want to go out and play in the snow (gym!), they still need to make a stop motion film version of the book Alone in the Forest and I have big plans to file away the last month’s worth of work and drink tea. Happy Monday!

THE CODE

We’re up to Hammurabi’s Code of Laws in Story of the World. This has actually been a really fun chapter for the girls, they really get a kick out of THE CODE (said in the most booming voice possible). They watched some homemade skits on youtube which prompted a need to write their own skits and record them. Hammurabi starring Littlest Petshops? Sure! They also made their own Code of Laws for their bedrooms. The end results were. Interesting. To say the least.

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We’re doing a big review on Monday and Tuesday is the farm school talent show and making dough for the Christmas Eve sticky buns. Then ‘vacation’, which I think I’m looking forward to more than the kids are.

We’re having an “unschooling” day today…read: mama needs to clean this shit hole because she can’t continue to live like this and I have to say, while unschooling is not for us (me), when I stop to watch the kids and try to see what they’re doing through unschooling glasses, they really are learning things while playing. So far today two have been outside on roller blades (despite the rain), training one of the dogs to pull them (complete with rewards for the dog…gym! Animal behavior!), one is currently crafting dollhouse furniture out of foam core and fabric (math! Spatial relations! Art!) while singing (music!) and the other two are making some sort of hospital/hotel for toy animals (cooperation! OMG do we need all the lessons in cooperation we can get!). During all of this they’ve been discussing the different places dinosaur bones have been found, which led to a google search for digs in the US. Later today they have swim lessons, a library trip and gymnastics for the big two. A full day for everyone, even without our regular sit down lessons. 

Why I love homeschooling: 

Tomorrow the six year old is going to read the book “Extra Yarn”. Then? Videos on yarn bombing, sheep sheering/wool processing/spinning and learning how to use a drop spindle. Maybe a lesson on gauge swatching for math? I am educating tiny little guerrilla knitters. Maybe the future won’t be so bad after all. 

Let’s pretend that it hasn’t been almost a full month since I’ve updated, ok? Do you have your imagining hat on? Good. It’s only been two days! Look how on top of things I am! 

But seriously punctual blogging is not my strong suit. Actually punctual anything computer related is not my strong suit. Ask my mother how long it takes me to reply to her emails. Go head. She’ll have some choice words to say about that, I promise you. 

So we’ve been trucking right along this past month. We’ve finished the intro and chapter 1 of Story of the world (covering history, archaeology and Mesopotamia) and are now starting our ancient Egypt unit. The big one has finished Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and developed a love for making dioramas in the process. She’s now reading The Secret Garden and while she doesn’t love it, I love the fact that she’s reading it. The middlest has finished Henry and Ribsy and is starting on the Oz series and the smallest reads a different book every day (and could I please start keeping track of them? Because that would be helpful). All read for fun but their school books have activities that go along with them. 

I revamped their social studies curriculum and abandoned stand alone geography in favor of geography along with wherever we are in Story of the World. 

The smallest was working her way through the Singapore math 1A workbook but it’s really too easy for her so I jumped her to 1B (also too easy but not AS too easy as 1A). All three have also started using Math Rider (math! And horses! And quests!) and Khan Academy to supplement their math and all three have finished the first book of Life of Fred (the middlest has been reading them for fun but I’m making her go back and do the actual work now much to her upset). 

Farm school and homeschool group are still a big hit. We’re planning a trip next week to see the Ancient Egypt exhibit at a museum near (ish) to us. Now that we’re entering the colder weather, we’ll stick closer to home because this mom doesn’t drive in the snow. That will be the true test of our family togetherness! 

I have been having an easier time of this than I thought. Yes the house is messier than usual but everyone’s main concern, that I would lose my mind with no break from the kids, hasn’t happened. Yet. Again, talk to me after winter when we’ve been cooped up with no outlet for months. It’s a valid concern, I require a fair amount of alone time with no one in my personal space in order to maintain my (questionable) sanity and I am clearly not getting that. So come bedtime, I am locked in my bedroom decompressing and oh, there better not be any whack a mole playing or mama will lose her shit. 

But it’s good. This has been good. I am sending a prayer out to whoever is listening that it continues to be good. And while I’m sending out prayers, if the powers that be could make my children behave at the La Leche League meeting tonight, that’d be great. It’s my first as a leader in training and well. Let’s just say I wasn’t anticipating having the whole crew with me! 

Cleo (or is that Nefera?) DeNile the Monster High is spending her time with us while we work on Egypt. Making their own Nile rivers! 

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile. The girls each read it and made a river story map to show what happens to Bill and Pete during their adventure.