Friday, August 10, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal 8/10/12

As of Thursday when I sat down to type...tomorrow may be our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

My kids need to get back into a routine with structure so badly that we just might start before the 20th, when we had originally planned on.  Is it just me or is any other family to this point as well? 

OK, now that you know how my week has been going, I'll get to answering the prompts...

In My Life This Week:
There has been way too much arguing and fighting among the kiddos...hence, the new school start date!  We need routine!

I have been busy freezing (because I just didn't feel like canning) tomatoes from our garden.  14 quarts so far!
I had about 75 tomatoes ... so far!  We planted about 30 tomato plants!

Nothing works better than my great (maybe another great) grandmother's food mill for juicing these babies!
In our Homeschool This Week...
All is ready (well maybe 98%) for our new year to start.  We are out of computer printer ink so I have a few more things to print, but they can wait! 

I have been scouring the web looking for some good first day of school ideas!  If we start on Friday, that doesn't give me much time to get it in gear!

Helpful Advice or Tips to Share...
When I went upstairs to snap a pic of my daughters newly painted room I snapped a few of the boys' room as well.  When our oldest son was a newborn we visited friends whose son was a couple of years older.  His room was decorated like a garage complete with one of those red plastic car beds.  We loved his dresser so much we did the same thing in our boys' room!
 Isn't this a great idea!  Craftsman tool chests for dressers!  When the boys leave the nest, they will each have a tool chest to take with them!

Our boys have also liked trains so we got these signs on e-bay pretty cheap! I love how the reflective paint reflected in my flash!

My Favorite Thing This Week Was...
Spending time with my daughter finishing up her room for her birthday!  She picked out the colors.  We still have a few shelves and her chalk board to hang up, but that should be done before Saturday's Hawaiian birthday party!

I loved to hear the excitement in her voice when she said "I just feel like I am in the ocean in my room!"

What's NOT working for us...
Too much time on our hands and not enough structure spells disaster as I mentioned before.  Disaster also strikes when a child with Aspergers was planning to start on the 20th who is now being told he may start sooner!  We are seeing the typical "back to school time" agitation in him.  Whenever a change is ABOUT to happen he gets cranked up.  Every year he reacts the same.  Every year we brace ourselves for a few extra outbursts.  He already told me that he IS NOT STARTING SCHOOL 'TILL THE 20TH!  We'll see...
Questions & Thoughts...
Anyone else with kiddos on the spectrum have any ideas for making big routine changes that are not even here yet, BUT ARE COMING go smoother?  I would love to start just one school year without tantrums and an agitated oldest child.  Am I dreaming to ask for that much?  I feel resigned to believing the situation is what it is.  Resignation makes me tired!  

Right now, as I type, Caleb is agitated because the county to our north has a severe thunderstorm warning and we don't.  Weather, especially severe storms is his autistic obsession.  Obsession to the point that we have to limit his time watching the weather channel and checking the radar on the computer.  He is mad that grandpa isn't feeling well today and won't take him storm chasing.  He is mad that  the county to the north is getting hail and we are not.  He is pacing the house checking the sky out each window to the north.  I hope it storms here!

I'm Cooking...
 Tonight, because a certain boy who is looking out the window for storm clouds asked for it, I am making chicken enchilada's!  Mmmmmmmmm!  (He is mad now because radar is picking up weak indication of rotation in the storm and if someone gets a tornado he will not be able to see it! AHH!)

I'm Grateful For...
An oldest child who is physically healthy enough to be looking out the windows watching for storms!  Really, I am trying to be!

A husband who just called to say that he is already coming home from work!  And it's only 4:30!  He has been working so much lately that he is never home much before 6:30!  He goes in to work at 6:30 am! 

I will be super grateful if he insists that I go for a walk tonight!  :O)

My dad, who bought tickets for us to see my cousin's first NFL pre-season game on Sunday.  We rarely miss church but we are so excited to go to Indy Sunday to see my cousin Play  for the Colts for the first time!  

Kids who are healthy enough to get tired of each others' company! 

A SUPER FUN Photo to Share...
My chickens and cats LOVE to eat cat food together!  This pic just makes me smile!

 P.S. My internet was down this morning, so I am just now (noon) Getting around to posting this, but I thought I'd let you know...we did start school today! (Friday) AND it went very well!  All of our new books and software are introduced and the kids were thrilled to look through them!  We even played multiplication BINGO and TAKE OFF! Our favorite Geography Game!

To see the game on Amazon, click HERE.  WOW, the game is $99 new!  We got it for $5 at a homeschool resale sale!  GREAT BARGAIN!!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fall Curriculum 2012

Choosing Curriculum is kind of like choosing a vacation or car!  
I want all of the best features, perfectly suited for each of my kids unique learning needs and it has to be affordable and Christian centered and fun and my kids have to like it and...and...and...!  Just like a vacation or car, there is good and bad in all models and no matter where we go, there is always something to do and see!  No one car covers every feature I want and no vacation can be at the mountains as well as the sea shore AND the dessert all at one time! 

So, we do the best we can in finding just the right fit for the kids!

And every year we change things up just a bit! 

Here are our choices for this year.  As I tooks pics today I realized that we may need a 15 month school year to fit it all in, but here's to starting strong and finishing well!

For the 4th Grader:

For the 6th Grader:

For the 8th Grader:

2 Fun books I got at a Curriculum fair that look promising!
(A small part of)The bookshelf for reading books...usually we get them at the library though.

A fun Indiana History lapbook to do with our Co-op this fall!  It's from

Another lapbook for our co-op LEGO club from www.walkingbytheway.com and 2 fun books for our Election class!

The newest addition to my daughter's curriculum. We are sooo excited to start making Americal Doll type clothes!

Another addition to notebooks for recording end of lesson questions and such, we are adding in spiral note card books for recording the people and places we want to remember for history tests.
I got the neon notecards for my daughter 'cause she is a colorful kind of girl! :O)

As with many of you who have kiddos on the autism spectrum with social, emotional and academic differences, we tailor all of our curriculum not only to fit the child but to fit the moment!  There are just some days when Mr. 8th grader can't handle a full math or grammar lesson. If we all want to stay emotionally sane, we tweak lots of things, even in our already eclectic curriculum. If you are the home educator of an Aspie of other similar kiddo, let me know how you tweak your day to fit his or her out of the box needs!

Even though we use a lot of books, even text books, we often go on wild goose chases and run after our passions and interests.  The books are sort of like a road map for what we need to cover but we often take that knowledge and present it in a variety of ways.  We may be book folks, but we are often not pencil and paper types! :O)

Here are some of the fun ways we rub in tangents and show for it in the end...
  We love power point!

We LOVE maps...BIG ones!

We like BIG book reports too!

We should by stock in poster boards!

I would not really consider us a Charlotte Mason bunch, but when the mom has a degree to teach science and focused lots of her college time to Nature Study classes...Nature is a BIG part of our curriculum!

Oh ya, I bought these typing CD's for the kids.  My daughter really likes the Jump Start Typing.  I was hoping they would really  get into this over the summer, but who was I kidding?!

This post is linked up with ihomeschool's "Not Back to School" Blog Hop!
So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?