Saturday, September 29, 2012

Homeschool Schedules

Homeschool're joking, right?  I will say that the best part of our lives as homeschoolers is that we get to create our lives rather than bouncing around according to what other people want us to do.  With that said, one of the things that I had to purchase for myself at the start of this term is a desk calendar with lots of space to write.  I don't have a desk to put it on, but it stays near me and my laptop.  Keep reading to find out why I need such a calendar.

1.  I started up The Sparklers Baton Twirling Corps, which is actually a business that I moved from my home town to my new town.  Incidentally, we have been living here for about 3 years, but there were things that kept me from reigniting my business such as illness, lack of funds, lack of transportation and the birth of a new princess.  The Sparklers meet for two hours, two days a week, and more if necessary.

2.I joined the Chamber of Commerce and we now get invited to do all kinds of community performances.

3. I joined our local homeschool group, and pledged to help the leader and coordinate educational projects.
4. Along the lines of number 3, I started a Girl Scout troop for homeschoolers.  
5. During the summer, I was offered a job with the school to teach their baton twirling team in preparation for marching contest.   This involves practice every morning for an hour and then an additional 2 hours on Tuesday night, which happens immediately after Tuesday's practice with The Sparklers.  Can you say RUN???
6. THEN, our local art association had their first meeting for the year.  I am now the President and Melody is the secretary. This is not because we are awesome or anything like that, but because nobody else wanted the positions and somebody has to do them to keep the group alive.  Holy Cow!  I am only afraid that they will kick me out in the end for my ADHD like qualities which could cause their schedules to begin to mimic my own. 

Looking through the above list, my head is swimming with ideas of how to coordinate projects that include all of these groups at once.  Twirlers are girls that could become girl scouts that could enjoy art if it was presented to them in such a way.......hmmm.......GET BACK TO THE BLOG, LAUREL!  Wait a minute.......homeschoolers like art, which could become a series of educational projects that the Girl Scouts could help with, that the twirlers could perform to if I found some cool music, that the art association members would think was awesome if it was fun and could be a part of one of their regular meetings, during a holiday season filled with treats and ornaments......and......Santa is coming in 3 months, and the princesses want to all dress like fairies for Halloween and the answer to the math problem is ABCDEFGHIJK.....where's Ivana's binky???? LOL!  Don't freak out by my rambling.  It's all perfectly normal.

Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Necessary Changes to our Charlotte Mason Curriculum

This is Princess Abbey's Y7 year with Charlotte Mason.  This marks the first year of what could be considered Charlotte Mason high school.  If Abbey were in public school, she would be in 8th grade, but I would venture to say that little of her Y7 program could be found in a public schooling 8th grade program. 

This also means that the year is very challenging.  I didn't realize how challenging it would be until we got started.  Our first two weeks kind of feel like a waste right now, but we will keep moving forward, regardless.  It's good that we truly don't have any strict deadlines other than that most kids should finish high school by around age 18.  I still have a goal of graduating all of mine early, but when push comes to shove, it will depend on the individual princess and her abilities before we can truly determine when she is ready for graduation. 

With that said, I was disappointed to discover that the reading schedule for this year is simply too much.  I think that it would be too much for anybody, and I am an avid reader.  For several days, I asked Abbey about her daily work.  Her daily work for this year includes things like a current events book, a forestry and wildlife course, music/art appreciation, and quite a few other things.  I was very disappointed to find out that she was having to make choices and decisions about what work or reading was most important and what would have to slide.  Even by cutting out some things (without asking permission), she was working until well past midnight!  I would tell her that she should stop and she would tell me that she could not.  She had this schedule that I posted for her in her notebook, and she was bound and determined to do it.  Holy cow!  Suddenly, she is complaining that her eyes and head hurt badly.  She doesn't feel well.  She's too tired.  This isn't the gentle education that Charlotte Mason created. 

I took her schedules out of her notebook that I had written before the start of this school year.  Those are now in the trash.  This is one of the many benefits of homeschooling.  If it doesn't work for your family, you can trash it.  I wrote a new schedule that included all of her daily work and ONE book to read for the week rather than a chapter or two out of several different books to be read during the same term.  I don't know for sure, but I think that by reading one book at the time, we can still get all of the books read for each term, and maybe they will all make a little more sense. 

ALSO, on another note.  I am reworking the book of centuries.  The book of centuries is a very large timeline, created by entering events that happen during each century as the student runs across them in her reading.  The last time that we created one, we used a spiral notebook, with a few pages designated for each century.  By the time that the school year was over, we had many empty centuries, and others that were full and could take no more.  This time, I'm putting together a three ring binder, with a divider for each century so that we can use loose notebook paper instead of attached pages.  That way, we can have as many pages as we need for each century.  In doing so, we should be able to make this one book last for the rest of her homeschooling years.  I'm very proud of my simple idea.