Thursday, July 21, 2011

100 Days to 1000 Blessings - Day 7

I'm going to do something a little different for this today.  I found this poem tucked in a file folder, edges curled and slightly browned.  It gave me some needed perspective on the disaster area that is my house right now.

I'm thankful for the muddy floor that greets me every day; 
I'm thankful for the dirty socks that on the floor do lay.

I'm thankful for the fingerprints that deck both chair and wall;
I'm thankful for the daily dust that on the desk doth fall.

I'm thankful for my kitchen sink that hides the dirty dish;
I'm thankful for the splattered wall from when I fried the fish.

I'm thankful for the Cheerios, Playdoh, and other yuck,
And all the stones and crayons that plug my sweeper up.

I'm thankful for the toothpaste smeared on the bathroom door;
I'm thankful for the wad of gum stuck to the kitchen floor.

I'm thankful for the scattered toys that often pierce my feet
When I must run to get the phone before I have time to sweep.

I'm thankful for the mending that I love so much to do,
That I hide it in the corner and buy them something new.

I'm thankful for the unmade beds that mean I'm not alone;
I'm thankful for so many things that make our house a home.

by Michele T. Huey

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Easing into 8th Grade

Not Back to School Blog Hop

The Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter is on Curriculum this week.  Read more entries by clicking here. 

We started back to school this week. Sort of.  Jason started math, since that is one subject we seem to always get behind in during the year.  We pretty much have a 4-day school week for all subjects except TOG because of Co-op on Fridays, and doing school work on Saturdays just doesn't happen.  He finished Horizons 6  last year, so we are moving on to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. He's doing 2 lessons a day right now because the beginning is all review and we can speed through it for a chapter or two. Unlike his sister, he likes watching the lessons on the computer using the CD-ROMs, instead of reading them in the book. Then he works the problems in a notebook.

We also started doing some of the Dianne Craft  "brain exercises" to target his writing block and reading block.  As he has worked on the "Writing Eight" and "Eye Eight" exercises this week, I have noticed him doing some of the things that Dianne talked about in her workshops at the homeschool conference - things like hesitating about which direction to make some of his alphabet letters, not wanting to use his guide hand to hold the paper, and not being able to track well with his eyes.   My son is a sports nut, so I have told him that these exercises serve the same purpose as the basketball and baseball drills that he works so hard on - they train his brain and his body so that certain activities become automatic, instead of requiring conscious thought.  We joke around a little bit, even while I am sitting with him and making sure he isn't rushing or doing the exercises incorrectly, and he is being a good sport about it so far. 

Next, we'll add bible and science, then grammar and writing, then history and literature.  I still have to contact the guitar teachers whose names I have collected from friends, and arrange for lessons. By the end of August, we should be in full swing. :-)

This is the plan for 8th grade:

EnglishWinston Grammar - I like the multi-sensory approach that this program uses - moving, seeing, hearing, saying

Write Shop -  an incremental writing program that teaches fundamental composition and editing step-by-step;  especially good for those who are not "natural" writers
( follows Dianne Craft's suggestions for starting with writing good paragraphs, and then moving to writing papers )

TOG Year 1 literature -  includes The Bronze Bow, The Golden Goblet, The Eagle of the Ninth, Black Ships Before Troy, Hittite Warrior, The Wanderings of Odysseus, and other books

English From the Roots Up

MathTeaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra

Science -  PLATO Earth and Space Science and Life Science ( on the computer - from Homeschool Buyers Co-op), supplemented with other science books from a Christian worldview for balance -
**I decided on this because while we are working on his reading block, I needed a program that was not reading intensive, but was still interesting and delivered challenging content;  I don't know anyone who has used this, but it has pretty good reviews and the sample looked  well-done, so we'll see how it goes! 

History, Church History, Geography, Philosophy and Worldviews - Tapestry of Grace Year 1, The History of Redemption (Ancient World)
This will be our 8th year using TOG, and our 2nd time doing Year 1 ( we originally started with Year 3).   We love going through the history of the world chronologically, and exploring the people, places, events, and ideas that make up HIS-story. :-)

Bible - Switched On Schoolhouse Bible - Christian Basics II and Life of Christ
Audio Bible , dramatized version;  TOG Y1 includes a lot of Old Testament reading, and since reading is still a struggle, this audio version should help him cover the material

Guitar lessons, Boy Scouts, basketball, baseball, service projects, misc. studies thrown in :-)

This is my FIRST YEAR EVER with only one student!   I started homeschooling when Alex was in 4th grade and Sarah in 1st, with a preschooler and toddler in the mix.  It feels really strange, but I'm looking forward to this year.