Monday, Monday

Remember hot air corn poppers? They had the clear (or yellowish) container atop the motor and once your kernels heated up, you could watch it all twirl and fly around as it exploded into soft, tasty popcorn. Just imagine that scene and you will totally understand how my thoughts are functioning today. If only I had some melted butter to pour onto them. I'm sure that would somehow help. Doesn't melted butter just help everything? Okay, maybe not bacon.

Instead of a holiday next Monday, we're taking one today. Except I'm working. Tasks, errands, chores, whatever - I have things to do today. I started out off-track and am praying that God gets me back on His path.

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverb 16:9

I thought I was meeting a friend at Starbucks early this morning, so I drug my tired self out of bed, got ready, and zipped on over there. Fortunately, I can access Facebook through my cell phone, so when she wasn't showing up, I checked on my account. Sure enough, she sweetly reminded me that we're meeting on Thursday. Oops. Although the boys were incredibly grateful to have me come home early with double chocolate chip blended cream frappes with a squirt o'mint. Can you say SUGAR for breakfast?!? Woo hoo!

Once home, a list of things needing to be done began to run through my head. Uh oh. I knew there was no way that I could take care of all those items and have a successful day of homeschooling. What to do, what to do?

Time out to inquire of the One with the answers. GOD.

So today, I'm walking around with a pen and pad of paper so I can jot down every little thought that pops into my head - a task to do, a phone call to make, something to tell my hubby, or a phone message. The goal is to accomplish the tasks at home in the morning and then do the out-and-about errands after lunch. So far, so good.

Oh right, what's a post without pictures? This just made me laugh:

door tag

On the door? A tag telling us that our delivery driver left a package.

door tag-2

See where the package is?

door - pkg

On the step, in front of the door, just below the label.

door - pkg2

I suppose if the package were gone, at least we'd know the driver did his or her job, and now someone else had taken our package. I'm not sure why else you'd leave a note that essentially says, "We left a package - right beneath this note."

It was good for a giggle.


Wordless Wednesday - My Reflection (x3)


For more wordlessness, go here and here.


Day-in-the-Life Week

It's Week #4 in Darcy's Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop. I missed last week's Student Photo post. Pretty silly, considering how many pix I take. I may get some this week, though, and I'll be sure to post them.

We operate in FBTSOMP* mode around here quite a bit, but a day at High Altitude Academy typically goes something like this

*Fly By The Seat Of My Pants

I get up and have my iced chai latte (caffeinage) along with toast and peanut butter or an english muffin, while reading my Bible, praying, and journaling. Then a shower, get dressed, and make sure school plans are printed out from Homeschool Tracker.

There's a tv show that comes on at 9:00 a.m. which ClayGuy enjoys. While not conventional, I allow him that time - before school - to watch his show. If the Comedian's up in time, he joins in. Therefore, school starts sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.

Because we're just starting our third week of school, the schedule isn't real set yet, but we always begin our day with Bible reading and prayer. We're starting 2 Samuel this week.

Next up, we often take a walk around our neighborhood. Sometimes we walk over to the bread store and do a little shopping before heading back home.

Upon returning home, my guys are usually a little hungry, so a snack is in order as they begin working on their assignments. They have a fair amount of flexibility in school, so they choose what subject to do from their independent work. Their current subjects (both independent and things we do together):

English - vocabulary, spelling, literature, grammar & composition, independent reading
Math - algebra
Science - biology
Language - Green & Latin roots (aligns with biology)
Computer - check email, typing, game programming
Art - read the Proverb that corresponds to the date and draw one of the verses, clay sculpture, sketching
History - haven't plugged this in yet
Practical Living - happens whenever I have something to teach them. In addition, they occasionally head to work with hubby and help him out.
P.E. - walking, biking, bowling. We're looking into joining a martial arts class as a family.
Music - the Comedian is playing baritone again with a homeschool band

There are a couple of other things in the works. I usually don't start out with everything in the first few weeks. That's not intentional, but it seems to work out that way every year.

We usually break for lunch sometime after noon. We'll take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the day.

I think that's about it. Sometimes we wrap up a little early on Fridays to get together with some friends.

Be sure to check out the other posts and take a peek into a Day-In-The-Life of other homeschoolers.


Wordless Wednesday - Giraffe in the Window?

window giraffe 1

window giraffe 2

For more wordlessness, go here and here (note: the second link isn't live until 11 pm MST). Enjoy!!


Wordless Wednesday - Knocked Out of Their Tree


For more wordlessness, go here and here.

p.s. - Sorry I haven't made the rounds of late - school plans have been rather occupying. I look forward to checking out the rest of the WW entries this week!


School Room Week

Here we are Week #2 of Darcy's Not Back-to-School Blog Hop. The focus is on your school room. Where does school happen in your home?

At our house, it's pretty basic. Anytime the three of us are doing something together, we're either at the dining room table, or perhaps in the living room. When the boys work on their own, it's the dining room table, the living room, or the family room. There really isn't anywhere else to go, besides their bedrooms, and I mostly don't allow that. Legos, clay, and other assorted items call out in a much louder voice than school work.

school room

I'm not sure why no one ever works on the patio. It's quite nice out there. Oh well, maybe I'll sneak out there.

P.S. What color should I paint that big white wall? The curtains on the far end of the dining room are hunter green. Any thoughts?

Belated Blog Hop Congrats

Oops! The Blog Hop came and went and so did I, apparently. I didn't draw for the cute little $10 Starbucks keychain gift card. Silly me.

My thanks to Random dot org for its random services in randomly selecting a number for me.

#26 = Corrin from Clif & Corrin

Congratulations, Corrin!! I just sent you an email so I can get your address. Thanks to everyone who participated.


The Remains of My Day

In some alternate reality, where I have straight hair, I might look like this. Well, with wet and recently colored hair. And blurry looking.

I'm so glad they're harmonizing! Could you imagine if they were off-key?!?


Maybe I'll go back to this. Feeling a little fickle right now.

For more hair nonsense, go here and here.


Some Thoughts on Homeschool

I can't believe we're about to begin our fifth year of homeschool! My word, it goes fast. Having not begun until 6th grade for each of our boys, my journey will only be a grand total of eight years (they're a year apart, grade-wise). In the beginning, I remember listening to people who'd homeschooled longer than me and thinking that I couldn't fathom being that far into this. It appeared much longer than it really is. I'm right at the half-way mark of this season of my life. Three more years with ClayGuy and four with the Comedian.

How I think homeschool should look - organized, attentive, and color-coordinated.

By the end of each year, I usually feel as if I did a pretty crummy job. Thus the Slacker Middle School references. Somehow, it's too often human nature (and maybe mom nature) to see the worst because we know what we should have or could have done. I only include others, because I've heard too many similar stories.

How homeschool usually looks!

Not to excuse my own poor choices, but one thing you learn quickly about homeschooling is that life still happens. And sometimes it impedes upon your school plans. The first year of homeschooling (2005-06), we moved out of our house of 11 1/2 years (October). I also had one child in public school and one home with me. Being my first homeschool year, I was just trying to find my way in this new phase of life. ClayGuy and I had both educational fun and serious tempers and head-butting. While moving didn't take the entire year, when things get off-track early on, it can be a challenge to recover that ground.

The second year (2006-07) brought my youngest son home. I was to discover that his learning style and perspectives are completely different than mine or ClayGuy's. That, in and of itself, presented some challenges. Add to that the oftentimes poor interaction between the two of them and my need to referee, and there were days when it seemed as if we did nothing more than deal with behavioral issues.

That year there was also an outside commitment that quickly became an over-commitment. I found myself entrenched in something that bumped homeschooling off the top of the priority list, which was incredibly frustrating and guilt-inducing.

In our third year (2007-08), we got off to a pretty decent start. Once we passed the holidays, however, we made the decision to start looking for a house to buy (part 1 and part 2). I have no idea how many houses we looked at, but we made seven offers. It was a long year. Of course, when you're planning to move, you also have to plan on packing. So in addition to school, regular life, and house hunting, I was now purging stuff (so we'd hopefully have less to move) and packing. We still had no contract going into summer, so this continued.

Our most recent year (2008-09) found us still house hunting and eventually moving in September. Obviously that does put a dent in the school plans. No matter how good your intentions are, they just don't pan out the way you anticipate. On a good note, I think my boys learned something about teamwork, lifting, moving, organizing, and such. Again, it didn't waylay the entire year, but it significantly altered life. In addition to getting out of the old house, there's so much to do when you arrive at the new house. And then the holidays arrive. And then you find that it's January and you're finally getting back on track.

I don't say this to be depressing or excuse away the times that I didn't do what I should have, but it's more a reminder that life will happen. I know there are others who had even more significant disruptions. But as I begin planning the upcoming school year (2009-10), I need to remember this. I need to schedule some downtime here and there. I need to cut myself a little slack sometimes, recognizing that not everything will go according to my plans. While that can be more than a little frustrating for a control freak like me, I am comforted by the fact that I know and serve the God who does have everything under control. He's not surprised by these life events. My future is safe in His hands. I need to not be stressed out when they happen, but trust in and seek Him and what He would have us do.

A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Proverb 16:9


Wordless Wednesday - Shadow of a Clematis

For more wordlessness, go here and here.


Curriculum Week

My friend, Darcy of Life With My 3 Boybarians and Graphically Designing fame is hosting the Not Back-To-School Blog Hop. The basic scoop is that every Monday you post according to that week's theme. Sign the linky over at Darcy's site and then go see what everyone else had to share about the theme.

This week is Curriculum Week. Since I'm in the throes of planning for the upcoming year, the timing couldn't have been better. ClayGuy is 15 and the Comedian is 14 (10th & 9th grade, if you're into that kind of age-grade relationship). That does, however, mean high school. This added an extra layer of planning, because now I have to consider things like credits and requirements and such. In Colorado, the homeschool laws are fairly lenient, which is nice.

At this point in time, I don't know if either of the boys will attend college, but our high school curriculum has to account for the possibility. I'm using the book, High School @ Home - You Can Do It! by Diana Johnson as a guide to planning. I have to say that this book has been an enormous help. If you're nearing high school with your kids, I highly recommend it. A couple of other plugs - HSLDA's Homeschooling Through High School is incredibly helpful. Also, Lee Binz at The Home Scholar offers a wealth of information from someone who's been there, done that.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Because my boys are only a year apart, I am not going to teach two separate science courses, history courses, language arts, etc. So they'll be working with the same curriculum at times, which is just fine. By the time they complete high school, each will have covered what he needs. So if you're looking at my plans thinking, "Isn't he supposed to do that when he's a freshman?" don't worry about it. It's one of the beauties of homeschool; you can make it work for your family.

Bible - We start each day by reading through the Bible together and discussing what was read. We will also be re-implementing prayer journals. I would also like to have the boys participate in a Bible study/devotional on their own where they can learn to study God's word on their own. Still praying about that.

Language Arts - Grammar & Composition III, Themes in Literature, and Vocabulary, Spelling, and Poetry by Abeka. Interestingly, as I was perusing language arts materials, I found that much of the same material is taught in middle school and high school, particularly when it comes to grammar, punctuation, and such structural matters.

Math - LifePac Algebra for ClayGuy and Keys to Algebra for the Comedian. The Comedian will actually be done with his series probably by the middle of the year. Then he'll be moving onto Geometry and the curriculum will be determined closer to that time. Keys also has a Key to Tracker online which provides your child with further assistance and tracking. Given that the Comedian loves anything computer related, I think this will be a bonus for him.

In case you're wondering . . . they have different math programs because they both learn it quite differently from each other. They also are fairly independent with math, asking for assistance as needed. They'll be doing similar work, though different books.

Science - We're using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Biology this year.

Greek/Latin - We began using Vocabulary Vine last year, but didn't complete the book, so we'll be finishing that up the first part of the year. I've also ordered Science Roots, as Dr Wile of Apologia says that it is "a valuable study tool" to go along with their Biology course.

History - We'll be picking up where we left off in Mystery of History. While it's geared for slightly younger kids, there are things that can be added to bump it up for older students.

The Comedian is going to bowl on a junior league again this fall. There'll be other P.E. for both of the boys, as well.

That pretty much covers the core areas for us. More will be added, such as computer game programming for the Comedian, driver's ed for ClayGuy (he has his permit), practical living skills, and art.

{p.s. - Since hubby has his own business now, he occasionally takes the boys out on jobs with him. So they get to learn about various aspects of RV service and such.}

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