I’m a bit of history geek, I admit it. I love to watch history documentaries and read historical novels. I’m loving reading history to Boo and Pumpkin Girl. And I love making timelines with them.
I got a little crazy when I saw the products over at Homeschool In the Woods. I even bought a timeline book for myself.
To read more about my timeline madness, including reviews of some of the Homeschool In the Woods products and how I use timelines in our homeschool, please visit me over at the Homeschool Classroom: Using Timelines to Teach History.
Also, we’re having a little give away over there this week. Click over to this article specifically – $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate Giveaway – for information on how to enter.
For all the clutter I battle in my home, I am surprisingly obsessive about keeping good care of our books. All of my books are as neat and pristine as the day I bought them. I love the sight and feel of a beautiful dust jacket. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
My children however – not so much with the careful use of their books. After seeing Pumpkin’s treatment of Little House on the Big Woods, she’s not allowed to read the rest of my collection of the Little House series. She can check them out of the library, thank you very much.
And that limited edition copy of Charlotte’s Web, with it’s color pictures? Forget it.
I’m crazed, I know.
My children are voracious readers. This summer, Pumpkin went through every one of the books meant to be her readers for the next 2 years. That’s OK, but the books came back rather beat up. I won’t even get into what happened to our copies of the Curious George collections and the cover of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
So what’s an obsessed mom to do?
Protect her beloved books with library supplies, that’s what! All the details of what to buy and how to protect both hard cover dust jackets and paper back books can be found on my post today at The Homeschool Classroom: Protecting Your Books With Library Supplies.
Last week our homeschool group celebrated Michaelmas, which is now not only the feast of St. Michael, but of all the angels.
I asked Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda if she had any coloring pages of the archangels, and she made a beautiful one of St. Michael just for us! The children thought it was very cool that she made it for us – thank you, Charlotte! Be sure to visit her blog for more saint coloring pages. They’re listed in her sidebar and she has St. Gabriel and St. Raphael now, too.
Later we had dessert. Angel’s food cake, of course! With whipped cream wings.
And devil’s food cake cupcakes, too!
St. Michael just happens to be our family’s patron saint, so we will also be celebrating his feast day this Monday at home. One project on our list is this coloring page that Charlotte helped me find, which has both the prayer to St. Michael and a picture to color: St. Michael. We’ll also talk about Le Mont St Michel, which is dear to my heart because Philip and I stayed there during our honeymoon. St. Aubert of Avranches founded the abbey there after being told to do so by Michael the Archangel in a dream. When he didn’t do it, Michael bore a hole into Aubert’s skull with his finger. That got his attention enough and he had the abbey built.
Traditional dinner fare for Michaelmas is roast goose, but while the geese are plentiful on base, I’m not up to catching, cleaning and cooking one. I’m thinking roast chicken instead.
Did you know my oldest boy was a preschool drop-out?
Yes, it’s true. Seven years ago, I was fairly new to the parenting world, with a soon-to-be 3 year old boy and an 8 month old baby girl. My Boo was what I called a “Velcro baby”, meaning that he clung to me like the familiar hook and loop tape. When we had to be separated, you could almost hear the ripping. He was a non-stop mover and talker who just loved to be with his family.
So I did what every sensitive, loving mother would do – I put him in preschool.
For the rest of the story and to find out how I started homeschooling, check out my post on the Homeschool Classroom.
I have been blissfully living a life free of homeschool laws. In Korea, as the family of a US soldier, the education of children was placed firmly under the responsibility of the parents. Put them in the school provided on base, or one off base or homeschool – they didn’t care, as long as you were indeed educating them.
Then we moved to DC. Several years ago, DC attempted to enact some outrageous homeschool laws that included pop home inspections. Those laws were struck down immediately and the powers that be were way too concerned with other things to bother with better laws. As a result, all you had to do was notify the schools if you were pulling a child out of a DC school. That was it.
Well, that all changed last month. Now we have to notify the Office of the State Superintendent of Education that we are homeschooling. We have to keep a portfolio of our children’s work and provide a copy of our high school diploma. If the OSSE determines there is cause for worry, they can request up to 2 portfolio reviews a year.
Through the grace of God, my high school diploma was not in non-temp storage like usual. Non-temp storage is your stuff the military stores for you when they attempt to cram you into a house too small for your soldier’s rank. It’s free, but the catch is this – you cannot access those things until they are delivered to your next assignment. For various and sundry reasons relating to 5 years worth of non-temp storage being delivered at the same time as all our other household goods, having a one month old baby and general unpacking lethargy, we missed the 30 day deadline to send things back into non-temp storage here.
The point is, and I do have one, my high school diploma was available to be copied and sent in as demanded requested.
The funny thing is, this law just came to the table a few months ago and was passed last month. And yet they set a deadline of August 15th to have your intent to homeschool form in. Apparently, the OSSE estimates there to be 130 homeschool families in all of the District of Columbia.
Let that sink in for a moment.
With a population of 588, 292 (according to the census), only 130 of them homeschool. I have to say that on our base alone there are 70 families registered in our homeschool group. So that means that there are only 60 additional homeschool families in the entire District.
I’m imagining the single filing cabinet that has been set aside to accommodate 260 pieces of paper (intent form plus a copy of diploma).
Someone is going to be very surprised on Friday as the mail starts to pour in.
I did my part to plug up the system and took a moment to fill in the form and copy my diploma.
I may have a slight problem with authority, but I’m not actually going to break the law.
There was a bit of a bruhaha when Subway recently announced a writing contest that explicitly excluded homeschoolers. They got flooded with complaints and promptly issued an apology.
Now they’ve revamped the contest, opening it to “legal residents of the United States who are currently over the age of 18 and the story submitted must be by such entrant’s child in Pre-K – 6.” Very cool.
There’s some pretty tasty prizes to be had, including $5000 worth of athletic equipment and a $100 Subway gift card.
Get the details and enter here: Subway Contest
The Boy got an A on his Math-U-See final exam. Yep, this boy. The one who can’t do math to save his life. Got an A. 93% correct. My Boy. An A.
I pointed out the questions he got wrong and he was able to explain how to do them correctly. I showed him all the ones he got right and he beamed.
This is huge. Boo’s brain is to math like water is to oil. (har har, language arts, science and math example all rolled into one!) There’s more to it than that, more than I’m ready to talk about right now. Just suffice it to say that Boo getting an A in math, especially on a final exam that covers material from the whole year, is something I wasn’t sure he’d ever do.
He was so happy that he gave me a big, long hug. I had to pry him off me to breathe. Then he gave me another hug.
My Boy. An A in Math.
So, here we are on the last day of the year and I’ve noticed a trend around the homeschooling set on the internet.
We’re looking to be more organized this year. Lots of people like Dawn, are sharing their planning and organizational tools, so we can try to find a system of our own. Yesterday, I shared my love of list-making and how I keep my lists and notes organized. I admit that I went on a bit about my new Circa notebook.
I’ve spent the last couple of days transferring any notes and lists worth saving from my 2007 notebook into my 2008 book. As I was busily writing, it occurred to me that with the versatility of using a Circa, I won’t have to start a new notebook next year. I can just remove the pages that I don’t need, add some fresh pages and I’m ready to go. Cool.
I’ve just got to admit one thing here. I hate having unused pages in my notebook at the end of the year. I feel like I wasted them. I also hate tearing pages out of my notebook. The paper it leaves behind is too messy, even if the pages are perforated. I know, I know…let it go. I’m trying. But of course, with a Circa I can add and subtract pages all day, without a mess.
So by now, you’ve either stopped reading or you’ve clicked over to Levenger to get yourself one of these Holy Grails of Organizational Madness.
Let’s go on a little tour of my 2008 and Beyond notebook.
Here it is.
It doesn’t look like much, I know. I have terrible lighting in my house and the flash didn’t help. I’m using the “junior” size, which is approximately the same size as a half sheet of paper. What you can’t really see is that the cover is translucent and I have 5 tabbed dividers. I’m planning on finding some pretty scrapbooking paper to use inside the plastic cover to make it prettier.
Here’s the first page of my first section.
It’s the current week’s page from Motivated Moms. I printed a whole page of the half page size, folded the paper in half so that one week is showing on each side, and punched it. The rest of this section will be my everyday lists and reminders, including menu plans and shopping lists.
Here you see my Plan from now until the 2012-2013 school year. Remember, I’m using Sonlight, so this is just an outline of which cores and language arts programs I’m planning to use and when. Next is a list of timeline figures I’m using with my current core. Then is our Catholic homeschool group’s plans for the remainder of the school year. Other things I’ll be including in this section are art ideas, school shopping lists, and anything else school related. When it comes time to review our school year, I’ll write my notes here.
The next section is for thoughts, ideas for blog posts, funny things my children say, that kind of thing. Sometimes I use it to maintain a prayer list.
Section 3 is for projects. Right now I have a list of the try-its our Brownie troop will be working on. All Brownie related notes will go here. I also include non-school related projects here, primarily shopping lists or ideas. For example, if I need a certain kind of yarn or needles for an upcoming knitting project, I’ll write it here.
The last section is for anything else, usually something temporary. Christmas lists, packing lists for upcoming vacations or anything that doesn’t fit into any of the other sections. Here is where the Circa is really going to be helpful. Lots of times I’ll start a list, like to-do lists for a vacation, in a different section. Then the project or the planning grows and starts needing a section of it’s own. Now I can just move the pages, instead of having to flip back and forth between sections. Or the opposite will happen, I’ll start notes in the temp section, only to realize that they belonged with my homeschooling notes.
Well, there you have it. The secret to my success. Or the manifestation of my madness. Whichever. If I’ve bored you to tears, blame Matilda. W-a-y back in June, she asked me about my notebook. I bet she thought I forgot.