Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School 2011-2012...More Please?

Yes, I know it's Tuesday. And not the Tuesday after Labor Day. Due to a schedule mess-up with the carpet cleaners (who were supposed to come last week) we started today. Yesterday we were invaded. That said, however, The List is complete to my satisfaction, and we started school today in a sparkling clean house with all my little duckies in a row.

I had intended to start light this week, only covering our Tapestry of Grace materials so as not to stress out the kids with our new materials and schedule, but they were so ready to start and the materials were all organized so we forged ahead! I hope we have many more days like today in our school year. The kids had great attitudes, and both seemed really excited and ready to start school. When I tucked Matty into bed last night he looked at me hard and said, "Mom, thanks for being such a great mom and for teaching us at home." He then proceeded to tell me I must have a lot of patience, and that other "regular" moms couldn't do what I do. (Granted that is his perception--I know each is equipped for that to which they are called. I would probably be goin' gansta' on a principal somewhere if my kids were in public school, so I commend the public school moms for their patience!) I will admit that I did question him to see if he was buttering me up, but no...he just wanted to say thanks. (sigh) If I was having any doubts about the value of this home schooling journey, they are vanquished.

In the next week or so I plan to blog a bit about the materials we've chosen this year and why. Making the change from Classical Conversations to Tapestry of Grace has been a huge decision, and one that deserves some attention here. Many have read my "Coming Full Circle with CC" posts and this change is an extension of those thoughts. CC was a very important part of bringing us to where we now are, and as any homeschooling family can tell you, the needs of the students change--one program that works great one year may not fit at all the next. Stay tuned.

That said, here is our curricula for this year, first for Molly who is now 6:

Tapestry of Grace, Lower Grammar
The Phonics Road
MUS Alpha
Apologia Botany
Pathway Readers
The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
I Can Do All Things (Art)

For Matty, who is now 10:

Tapestry of Grace, Upper Grammar
The Bridge to the Latin Road
All About Spelling
Getty-Dubay Cursive Italic Handwriting
MUS Epsilon and Zeta
Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals
Khan Academy
Apologia Botany
Feed My Sheep (Art)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Update on the List...

The kiddos went off to day-camp this week for the first time ever. They left me ALONE in the house. For five whole days. That was both a strange and wonderful feeling, and it allowed me to do things that I would not otherwise have been able to accomplish. I was tempted by day two to register them for school, and then by day three each of them had dealt with things in their respective camps that reminded me of why we do this. It's a no-brainer. We're forging ahead.

Okay, so you saw the state of the basement and my office "before"--As of today, the school room is ready. The office, well, remains in a state of disarray, but actually it almost always is a weekend cleanup job. Here is the school room, open for business. I really need to deep clean it more than once a year. It is such a gratifying accomplishment! It is also the one day of the year that I could land a spot in the Ikea catalog since 90% of our basement furnishings are from there...

From the south end of the basement, looking toward the play area
From the north end looking toward the school area

Our reading / media corner. We spend a lot of time snuggling on this sofa and chair.
The Wii is off-limits until all the school work is checked off for the day!
The Maps are from Geography Matters.

And this is where the magic happens...ROFL

The kiddos were stoked to get their own separate cubbies in the play area.
I was overjoyed to sort their toys and tell them that if they ever
want to get a new anything they needed to get rid of stuff.
Then we organized what remained into "his" and "hers."
Want to guess whose is whose?
This weekend I will finish up the rest of the house, put the finishing touches on the lessons for next week, plan some menus and I will feel satisfied. In case you were wondering-- I did trim the cats' claws, and the storage room is not my department. Planting the new lawn is not my department either. I technically should not have added those to my list.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Annual Cleaning Extravaganza...

It must be done. I must clean the house in order for the school year to officially begin. It is this little neurotic glitch I have. Last year I redecorated the basement in its entirety. This year I believe I can be satisfied with some minor furniture rearrangements, a few things sold on Craig's List, toys sold in a yard sale, books utterly reorganized and all the new books properly placed within easy reach of the school area, the refrigerators cleaned and sterilized, the Rubbermaid containers sorted and stacked, a menu list made that will last me at least six months, a new lawn planted, the storage room cleaned, the cats' claws trimmed, the too-small clothes passed on to the homeless shelter and growing friends...Just a few things on my list. I have two weeks in which to check all these boxes.

See, here is the state of my office. Note the large stacks of books--and there is a cat in a box on the desk, in case you were wondering...

And here is the state of the basement. Note the large stacks of books.

And the state of the playroom. Note the piles of toys and boxes of stuff to be sold.

So for the next week and a half I will work in a frenzy to clear all this stuff and check off the other things on my list, and somehow I will manage to show back up to blog about how great it all turned out and how ready I am for school to begin. You can start placing your bets now...Our first day is supposed to be August 29.