Homeschool


Early yesterday morning as I watered my very dry potted plants I noticed a visitor to our yard: an orange and gray striped caterpillar lazily hanging out on our passion vine.  I had never seen this variety before and my interest was piqued.  However, it was Sunday morning and I needed to get myself moving to get ready for church.  Mr. Caterpillar had to wait.  He did wait until this morning; he and 5 more of his friends! Of course I called Tink and Babycakes out to see these little creatures…it is what any good homeschooling mom would do!  After our initial visit with them  I thought nothing more of Mr. Caterpillar  and his siblings until lunch time when Tink screamed,  “Mommy, come quick!  Mr. Caterpillar turned into a butterfly!!”  Of course I knew that even though Mr. C was big and fat he certainly hadn’t been ready to turn into a butterfly…the silly thing hadn’t even changed into a chrysalis yet.  So imagine my surprise when I saw this:

DSCN6065In all our oohing and ahhing over Mr. C we had completely missed seeing a chrysalis on an adjacent branch.  Mrs. B was just sitting there apparently having just recently emerged. More oohing and ahhing ensued.

Further investigation showed that Mr. C was still around.

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But, I do believe he will be changing soon!  I’ll keep you updated.  For now here are a few more photos of our unexpected fall visitor:

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary

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Coram Deo,

Lola

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is all that is necessary.  Really.  Just one writing project a month. In a day and age when it seems children in brick and mortar schools are required to finish at least one writing project a WEEK the ‘one a month’ philosophy must sound like heresy.  But let me tell you…it is life changing. Freeing as it were.  Children can really get to know their topic and the result is much more engaging.  Why? How?  Because the child writes about something they care about and they spend time doing it.  The ‘it’ being learning about the topic. Living the topic. TALKING about the topic..a lot!!!  In essence the child ‘owns’ the finished product much more so than if they have to whip it out in a few days time.  There are not a lot of chances to really get to know the topic if you have hardly any time to really engage with it.  Not so when following the Bravewriter Philosophy. I know this because for the first 7 years of homeschooling I struggled with getting my children to write–everyday.   I thought to be a good writing teacher one must follow the current trend in teaching writing; that is, children must write  everyday (and create and finish new writing  projects every week) or they won’t learn to write at all.   How revolutionary it was, then, when I discovered Bravewriter.  Deep down I had always known there was a better way.  I just didn’t know what that better way was.  Then I found Julie!  Our writing has never been the same.  It has been so much better.  Less stressful more enjoyable. We do write everyday but it is with a purpose–our own purpose and it is by choice (yes, I do assign writing projects–one a month– but our writing has moved so much more beyond that).  Sometimes it is just lists of  favorite things.  Sometimes it is a spontaneous story to entertain a little sister.  Sometimes it is a full fledged report!!! Sometimes it a poem or a journal entry created just is for the FUN of writing.  I even enjoy writing; something I thought would never happen!!  For a more detailed look at the concept of one writing project a month read  Julie’s blog.  You might just find yourself embracing a whole new writing philosophy!!

Coram Deo,

Lola

A new school year, that is.  And with the new school year  comes my new school planner/journal.

cover shot

cover shot

I started with a  7.5 x 10 inch, lined,  Moleskin journal.  Then I added the picture to the front.  I covered the spine with a piece of scrapbook paper from my stash and edged that in ribbon, front and back.

inside cover and title page

inside cover and title page

On the inside front I place small sticky notes with recurring events; in this case, our weekly steps in the writing process (ala Bravewriter) and our “Friday Freewrite” reminder (for those weeks we are not working on a month-long writing project).  I move those sticky notes to the Monday of that week in the process, ie. the first Monday of the first full week of the month I place the sticky note that reminds me to have the bambinos choose their writing topic.  The following Monday I place the sticky that lists step 2 in the writing process: narrowing the topic using the “Topic Funnel”,  I do this for the 4 Mondays of each month.  If there is a 5th Monday it is a freebie!  I keep using the same stickies until the no-longer stick or I loose them!

Inside pages

Inside pages

Here, I’ve divided up the 2-page spread into 7 columns.  One for each weekday , one for the weekend with space for notes, and one for reminders of things I need/want to accomplish daily (quiet time and my morning walk) or weekly (1x a week school subjects with the kids).  This is the first year I’ve used a column for those reminders.  I am hoping this year it will encourage me to be consistent with those activities!

I’ve previously posted about my journals here and here.  I am still using the Gratitude Journal…

And lest you think I am the “oh-so-creative-one”, these little books do not stem from my original idea.  That distinction goes to Ann at Holy Experience, one to whom  I owe much!  If you truly want to be inspired, challenged, and refreshed you simply must visit Ann…really!

Coram Deo, Lola

What do you do with a kindergartener and a pre-schooler for “M” week? Monkey Bread! I had this great idea this morning only to realize we didn’t have the main ingredient for Monkey Bread: refrigerator biscuits. Never fear! teen age daughter to the rescue…she stayed home with the younger ones as I ran up to the store to get the biscuits. Once home the two littles and I cut, shook, plopped, melted and poured our way to this afternoon’s teatime treat. This, our first foray into the delights of Monkey Bread. I’ll let you know later how it turned out…but if the aroma eminating from the oven is any indication, then I’m sure they’ll be great. Pictures to follow, too!  OOPS!  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product…but take  my word for…it looked delicious and tasted even better!!

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Lola

We are starting our study of mammals this coming week.  Mimi is very excited.  The first study focuses   on Rabbits and Hares.  As the past owner’s of a couple of bunnies (whom we dearly miss) this is going to be fun!  I’ll be posting here or at my homeschooling blog (see tab at top) all about our adventures using the Handbook of Nature Study as we embark on this 9 week mammal study.

Coram Deo,

Lola

Rules:
* Grab the book closest to you. Now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write that sentence as your status.
* Copy these instructions as a comment to your status.
* Don’t go looking for your favorite book or the coolest one you have — just grab the closest one.

Compare it with Gilgamesh’s attitude toward death.

The only book within my sight or arm’s reach was The Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Literature …we must be homeschoolers!

Coram Deo, Lola

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This is our 9th year of homeschooling.  We started with The Boy’s 1st grade year using the Classical method ala The Well Trained Mind and Christine Miller’s Classical Home Education website. We truly felt is was the perfect method for our family.   However as we added the girls to our school roster I felt the need to make things more gentle so we started home educating our children using both the Classical approach with  a smattering of the Charlotte Maso  One of the first books we purchased was Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study…an intimidating tome if there ever was one (to say the least).  In fact after all these years I’ve never really used it!  I’ve tried to incorporate Nature Study into our schedule but have always given up after a few failed tries…there always seems to be something more pressing to get done.  This year, however, I really feel the need to add it in to our week.  Perhaps it is because Tink is our resident Kindergartner and I feel that I’ve been given a second chance at doing grammar school again (hopefully doing it better this time around)–and I want to get in the habit of Nature Study now, not later.  I have given up hope of ever getting the Boy to join in–he didn’t like it in 1st grade and he doesn’t care for it now in 9th grade; but the girls  seem much more willing to try.   So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this website…it seems tailor made just for me!!!  I think we will start the exercises next week. And I’ll be adding my name to the Outdoor Hour blogroll.  Won’t you join me?

Coram Deo,

Lola

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