Thursday, May 26, 2011

Signing Off for A Bit...

I won't be posting for the next week or two. I will be enjoying time off with my whole family as well as preparing for next school year. After that I will be posting plenty about our new curriculum choices and plans. I'm very excited, and full of hopeful expectation! I'll fill you in when I get back...Until then, enjoy your Memorial day and the warm summer weather.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Those Eyes!

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Summer Nature Study has begun...

...and "critter hunts" and woods exploration are the favorite pastimes around here. The weather is lovely, the garden is planted and the kids and cats are busy bringing home all manner of interesting things. We've had a turtle (that I rescued from the road), a vicious black racer snake that the cat brought home as a prize--42 inches long and mean as, well, a snake. I didn't like him so I didn't take a picture. We are currently nursing a shrew back to health after a trying day yesterday. Jack was so proud of himself--the shrew was less so. We have several garter snakes, bluebirds and wrens nesting (whose nest unfortunately fell prey to the snakes...the eggs have disappeared). We have been visited by a huge bullfrog who greeted us on our driveway as we arrived home one evening. The foxes in the woods have been heard yipping and calling at night, and the sounds of nature are so loud in the morning that it's impossible not to awaken early.

I love the spring here. It is a short-lived wonder and so I relish every day. The heat is coming, so I aim to enjoy these glorious days!  "All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres..."

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco de Mayo...Whatever...

Here is a wonderful article by my friend, Brent Hoffman of Sioux City Iowa, a city which recently celebrated its biggest concert event in its history given by Sir Elton John, fresh from the Royal To-Do across the pond. Admittedly that has nothing whatsoever to do with his article or my blog post. It's just a funny random fact about a place not often acclaimed for much of anything...I think. Feel free to correct me on this. I'm from Delaware, so what do I know? Knowing Brent certainly gives Sioux City a bigger dot on my map. Enjoy the article. I completely agree with him on this.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Moving Into New Territory

I have been thinking hard about the next two years of my son's grammar stage years. He is entering what would be his last year in a public elementary school and entering a middle school next year. Learning has certainly become a different thing in the last few months. Intellectually I can see the changes that are referenced by all the classical education gurus--he is moving from the grammar stage into the logic stage, what Dorothy Sayers refers to as the "pert" age--I'll say! Last year, we returned to CC after a year off and settled ourselves into a strong educational community. We also approached our studies in a much more systematic way. We enjoyed the content of CC's history sentences by building on it and giving it context at home. We did the memory work and fulfilled the requirement for Memory Master, which was a very rewarding experience, and pushed Matty to a new level of confidence. In thinking about next year, I was fine with the content that would be covered in cycle 3 of Classical Conversations, but I knew I would have to find a solution for the year after this. I had already looked way ahead into the Challenge years and decided that Challenge was not going to be a fit for our style of learning, so the "6th grade" year seemed a logical place to step out of CC.

I found myself praying to God for vision, but more than that, a plan. I decided to trust him to guide me to the thing I should be doing next, and I am so thankful that two days after that prayer for guidance the Lord spoke clearly to me. In a conversation with a friend, I was weighing out all the pros and cons of our situation, and I mentioned to her that I had always thought about Tapestry of Grace as an option for us...

Since Matty's first year homeschooling, I have been keeping an eye on the Tapestry of Grace (TOG) website, wondering whether or not that curriculum would be right for our family. I always seemed to resonate with their philosophy, and I certainly loved the title! A friend of mine had a year of it that she wasn't using and offered to let me look at it. It seems a perfect fit. Today I discovered this video put out by the author of TOG, and the way she lays it out makes so much sense to me.


Map of the Humanities from Tapestry of Grace on Vimeo.

So, to make the long story short, we will be using Tapestry of Grace Year 3 next school year as our core curriculum, beginning a four-year history cycle (as recommended in The Well Trained Mind). I have always wanted to take this approach, and the timing is perfect, as Molly will be entering first grade and Matty will be in 5th, completing the 4-year cycle in 8th grade.

Here's to a new chapter in our homeschooling journey!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Week 30: Ack! I Crossed the Threshold!

Monday, May 2: Woke to a beautiful morning, the garden is planted, children are asleep. So much is on my mind to pray and think about. How can I muster for school when there is so much planning and thinking to do? Here's the list:

In-laws arrive, Molly's birthday, homeschool day at the amusement park, beach vacation, homeschool convention, next year's planning retreat...wow! Meanwhile I cannot even find the sheets and textbooks that I am looking for to keep ourselves up to speed on the basics. Today I gave myself permission to stop lessons for a bit and regroup, then gear up for a six-week summer term of math and language arts. Meanwhile my basement / school room is a disaster--not the nice pretty pictures from the start of the year that I have posted here. Of course I will need to tweak a couple of things down there, too...I think a trip to Ikea may be in order. (mwahahaha!)

So...The next weekly update I write will be Fall term, week 1, for school year 2011-2012. In the meantime, I will be blogging about some exciting new developments in our homeschool goals and plans.

Happy summer from the Accidental Homeschooler!

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Week 29: Summer's Threshold

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I feel like this week passed at the speed of light. It was so full. We didn't get a lot accomplished in the nuts and bolts of school due to doctor appointments and meetings, but it was fun. The school stuff doesn't bother me so much at this point. I don't mind winding down. We are now looking toward gearing up for...next year? Is that possible? It looks like the remainder of the summer this will be the pattern--math and phonics and read-aloud books.

Matty is still listening to the unabridged version of The Two Towers and approaching the end of that book. It's a big undertaking for a little guy, but he's still really enjoying it. He hates Smeagol. He said that he wasn't sure if he could continue listening before bed because he gets so nervous about what Smeagol is going to do...and yet he continues to listen before bed.

I am very excited about this coming school year. There are some potential changes afoot, a lot of thinking and talking about said changes, and some goals that are being set. It's too early to unpack it yet, because it is still in the infant stages, but as things unfold I will be sure to blog about them!

I am hoping that this week we can work solidly on our school work, because after this we will be in vacation-mode. Grandparents come on the 11th, Molly turns 6 on the 12th, and I think I hear the waves of the Outer Banks calling my name as well...This weekend we are putting in our garden and watching the bluebirds nest. It's that time of year.