Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just when I thought it was safe to relax...

...I change my mind, my plans, my life!

First of all, for those of you wondering about the who No Poo thing. I tried it, my hair did fine. I had a few pony tail days, but "washing" it every 3 days with baking soda and water and conditioning with apple cider vinegar and water really did the trick. My hair was healthy, smelled fine (once the vinegar dried I would give it a spritz of Tea Rose perfume and felt wonderful), and really was healthy looking. The problem was that the second day, the tangles in my curly hair were horrible and when brushed out, it well, wasn't curly. With my shampoo (infusium) and conditioner, I could finger comb the second day and wet it and brush the 3rd day and still have my curls. So...I gave up that crunchy aspect and went back to Shampoo. But...if money is ever tight and I needed to do it, I now know what to use and that it would be fine!

Now, for my new change of plans....We are back in the schoolroom after our unschooling month. I am finding that the children and I are much more focused and even enjoying our free time more than when we just had weeks and weeks of it (no more choruses of "I'm bored..." ever day. Though my 10 yr old will beg to differ with me and tell you she was content just spending her days up in her room playing. And I do think that since we really forge ahead in the winter months when I don't want to go anywhere anyhow, that we ALL needed a long break. With that in mind, I am going to try the following schedule for next year: Mid August thru the first week of Dec (18 wks), take off 3-4 weeks for winter break, January thru March really buckle down (12 wks), take April off, and finish our year with the month of May (4 wks), finishing the last friday of May. Then we take June, July, and half of August for summer break. That should give us about 34-36 weeks of school with two major breaks. We used to do 6 wks of work, take a week off, but as they have gotten older, I think this will work better. The children seem to get extremely creative after a week of being sloths and I think it is good for them.

My other changes include our curriculum. My daughter has been using Life Of Fred math for the last year and a half. I chose it because of her love of reading. There is an underlying story that is told along with the math teachings and I thought she would respond well. WRONG! She has complained and fought with me over this math style the whole time and I couldn't figure out why. Well last week, the light bulb FINALLY lit up and I realized that DUH!, she isn't very good at word problems,and this whole underlying story is making the math lesson like one giant word problem! What I thought was pre teen moodiness and rebelliousness was just my darling daughter trying to unravel the math from the words. Whew! Glad I finally caught a clue there! So...we have started looking at other forms of teaching math and I think we have found a good match in Saxon Math. The way it builds upon itself, one lesson to the next, seems to work better for her. There are more problems for each lesson, which she complained about at first, but when she saw that as she mastered the concepts, I cut down how many she need to complete, she found it tolerable LOL

Also, we have been in the market for a new Language Art/Grammar/Writing, spelling curriculum for both children. We had been using Learning Language Arts Through Literature and although both seemed agreeable to their lessons, it wasn't quite what any of us were happy with. So when I stumbled on the Barron, Painless...series and found a Painless Junior series also (good for 3-4 grade), we tried a few lessons and found them a good match for my children's learning styles. My son, who is 8 is working through the Painless Junior Grammar now and will use the writing book next year. My daughter is finishing her vocabulary curriculum and will do the Painless Grammar book at the beginning of 6th grade, working through it at her pace (so we should be done by our winter break). Both children are going to do copy work and cursive work next year and both will take a writing course in the fall as well as studying poetry in depth and revisiting Myths of all time periods and cultural settings.

I also found the coolest book called Artist to Artist, which covers 23 illustrators. Usually we study the old world masters or famous artists corresponding with the time periods we are studying in history. But I have decided that we will use this for our art curriculum and culminate with the children writing their own story and illustrating it and having it printed and bound. (and yes, of course we will learn about the history of printing and book binding and make some of our own at home. After all, we are homeschoolers and everything relates to everything, now doesn't it?)

So now that I have changed my mind on several curriculum and things, I have ordered all the books and supplies needed for next year so I can't change my mind anymore. It is done...

....I think!