Thursday, February 14, 2008


Its only February, but we need to start planning our homeschooling for next year. The first part sounds easy - complete a survey for our co-op group so they know which classes to prepare for high school and how many parents they'll need as teachers. The math and science survey is easy. Josh will do Geometry and Physics next year. BUT, if Geometry is only going to be taught once a week instead of twice a week, we may not want to take it at co-op, we might do it at home on our own. If Physics is taught by the woman who absolutely LIVES for science, then he'll take Physics at co-op (even if its only once a week), but if it is taught by the other person who seems to make everything more difficult than it needs to be, well, then we'll need to do that one at home, too. So if we do math and science at home, which curriculum will we use? Well, math - there's Teaching Textbooks - we used it last year for PreAlgebra and Algebra 1. Great program for homeschoolers. There's VideoText - what Josh is using this year at co-op for Algebra II. It comes highly recommended, but I'm not thrilled with it - its a little complicated for home use, but it works well for co-op. Then there's Saxon (lots of drill), Singapore (not even sure which book teaches Geometry), Bob Jones, Abeka, and several others. Ok, Math might be a little complicated. Let's move on to Science.

If Josh takes Physics at co-op, it will be Bob Jones curriculum. Ok. BUT if we do it at home, do we use Bob Jones? Abeka? Apologeia? Do we even do Physics at home? Maybe we'll go back and do Biology next year. But then the same curriculum question comes up. PLUS, we have to make sure we do the labs - can't give full credit without the labs. Oh, and there's always the option of dual enrollment at the community college - take a science class there (with the lab) and let it count for high school and college credit. Possibly an option. Hmmm, maybe Science is a little complicated, too. Let's move on to English.

The English survey for co-op asks what we want/need for next year. A writing program? Well, yes, but I'm not too thrilled with the program this year, but then I don't have any better suggestions, so I suppose it is better than nothing. Literature? Absolutely! But that's one we can easily do at home. Its just a simple matter of deciding which books to study. I hate using a textbook for literature - they give you just a snippet of great writing, ask you to analyze it, and move on to the next snippet. I definitely think literature should be studied by actually reading an entire book! Radical, I know. And then there's the WordView curriculum option at co-op. An amazing curriculum. Teaches our kids how to think, how to reason through things. Yes, another radical idea. If we choose that option, it will count for 3-4 credits, so we might not need anything else other than math and science. The downside of it is that the books are a little on the challenging side, and Josh isn't an amazingly strong reader, so I'm afraid he'd be more frustrated with trying to keep up than anything. But then, sometimes a challenge is good. Still not sure about English, so I'll put it off and discuss with hubby when he gets home tonight. Unfortunately, the surveys are due tomorrow, so we don't have a ton of time to mull it over.

Then we have the other items - SAT prep. Pretty important. Music. Important to be a well rounded individual, plus Josh really loves playing the guitar. History? Not necessary if we do WorldView, but if we don't then I need to find something. Kind of takes us back to the curriculum question. If we do all this at home, do we use a prepackaged curriculum? Build our own? Satellite? Videos? Textbooks? Real books? Some make credit counting easy, others make you really think about how to count the subjects being studied.

So all that is just for how to get Josh through 10th grade. But I also need to plan out 11th and 12th for him to make sure he gets everything he needs to be prepared for college (and more importantly, for life).

Then there's Zach and Maddie. I like using whole books. Something about actually reading a real book and learning from it makes sense to me. I don't like textbooks and workbooks (except for math - they work for math). BUT with a new baby in the picture, I'm not sure how much time I'll really be able to spend reading and teaching, so the video programs and textbooks/workbooks are rather appealing to me. But I don't want to shortchange their education just because I'm busy with a new baby. But I don't want to plan on having time to read and teach and then shortchange them by not really having time to read and teach. (Sigh.)

The thought of just sending the kids to the nearest school on the first bus that comes by is starting to look appealing. Let someone else make the decisions. Then if it doesn't work out, I have someone else to blame. But I guess it would still be my fault for sending them to school instead of teaching them at home, so maybe that's not the answer at all. Sure would be easier in the short run though!

Anybody out there have an answer? I don't want to be in charge right now. These choices are too hard. I want it to be simple. One size fits all education. Oh, that's what the public schools do. Doesn't seem to always work very well. Back to square one. What are we doing for next year?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cleaning Results

The hall closet cleaning carried over to cleaning off the baker's rack, which carried over to cleaning out the pantry. Why? Well, stored in the hall closet was the box of Tom's Grandma's china that his parents sent us back in October. We stuck it in the closet because it was packed so well, and at the time we weren't sure whether we were staying or moving. We're still not sure, but I decided that Grandma's china doesn't belong in the back of the closet, it belongs out - so how pretty would it be displayed on the baker's rack? However, in order to make room for it, I needed to clean of the other items we already had there. Then, in order to find a home for all those things that were displaced by the china I had to clean out the pantry. That took most of the afternoon yesterday. I still have a couple of things I need to find a home for, but its taking shape. The cleaning domino effect continues.

Another result of cleaning out the closet - Zach and Maddie have found a new place to play. Tom came home the day we cleaned it out to find them playing in the closet - they had on their swimming goggles and snorkels and were pretending they were underwater explorers! How fun! Yesterday they did all their school work in the closet, then spent time in there with flashlights making shadow puppets on the wall.

You know, in the last year, we have gotten rid of enough "stuff" to fill another house. The more we get rid of, the more we realize we need to get rid of! I guess its an ongoing process. That would be the "keeping" part of "housekeeping". You don't "housekept", so its not something you do once and then you're done. Its ongoing (hence the "ing" at the end of the word). And you can't put it off to do later, that would be future tense, as in, "I will housekeep." Someday, my children will housekeep, so they can use future tense, but for all of us who already have a house, or an apartment, or an RV, or a boat, or a space of some sort that we're responsible for, we can't use the future tense - that would be procrastination. Kind of like what I'm doing right now as the laundry sits in the dryer waiting for me to come fold it. I need to get that done, but its lunchtime, and I'm hungry and need to feed the munchkins, so laundry will get put off just a little longer, then on to finish cleaning out the pantry. See? Ongoing. Housekeep-ing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Good grief, I don't post much!

So, something happened to January. I'm not sure what it was, but it disappeared before I knew it! We had company, but still, you'd think I would have noticed that we were actually IN January before it left! And now, here we are. February 6th!

I spent this afternoon cleaning out the closet under the steps. It looks great! Except I now have an abundance of things that were in the closet but I don't want to return to the closet (since it doubles as our tornado shelter, and I don't want to spend precious minutes trying to dig out our shelter from behind a pile of stuff when we really need to take cover). So, to find a home for all the items that are still out, I need to clean out another room - maybe the laundry room. There's a shelf above the washer and dryer where I could put a lot of these things, but the shelf is full right now, so if I clean it off and organize it, I might find the space I need. Does this ever happen to anyone else? You clean one area, and as a result you clutter another, so need to clean that one, then end up cluttering another, and so on, and so on. I think we need less stuff.


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