Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home School Report -- One Month Down!

Well, so much for my weekly updates! We've been so busy lately preparing for our anticipated move that I've totally neglected my blog.

We've finished our first full month of school, and things are going well so far! We went camping for a week this month which threw us off a little bit, but we did take our books along and got most of our school work done that week. We've made up the rest in the past week and a half. This is VERY encouraging to me, since we usually struggle to get school work done when we travel. One of the reasons we bought the trailer was to help keep our routines going, even when we're on the road. So far, success!

I don't have many specifics to report, except that I'm so proud of the hard work my boys are doing so far! I think the most exciting thing for me so far is watching Joey learn to read. To me learning to read is one of the biggest hurdles of beginning school, and it's SO rewarding to watch his little face light up when he successfully sounds out a new word. Priceless! I'm so blessed to be the one who gets to teach him! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home School Report -- Week 1

Well our first week is over and it went fabulously well! We finished everything we set out to do, and the boys worked diligently--most of the time! :) I was thrilled to be able to work in some non-basic subjects this week...of course my plan is to do them every week, but in the past extras like art and music (except piano lessons) have always fizzled out--mostly because in the past it has become such a battle just to get the basics done. I really believe, though, that the fun of those extras and looking forward to them will be a big motivator and contributor to the boys' good attitudes towards school. After all, it is easier to get excited about an art project than a math test, right?

Joey has been doing phenomenally well on his reading lessons. Not just the material, which I was already confident would be easy enough for him (he's a bright little guy) but in his excitement and effort to actually DO the lessons. I was halfway expecting a battle each day at reading time. Jordan really had to be coaxed to do his reading lessons often last year, and he is far more compliant than Joey. Joey really wants to learn to read, though! He's ready.

This year I'm adding something new for Joshua and Jonathan--homework. Yes, that doesn't sound terribly earth-shattering, but I've never assigned work specifically to be done outside of our regularly-scheduled school time. While they are good about taking initiative to get their basic subjects done each day, I think they can learn some useful study skills by having assignments that they receive at the beginning of the week and have to turn in by the end of the day on Friday. They have to learn to manage their time and be responsible to get it done, or they'll have to do it over the weekend--which, of course, is no fun!

I still have 2 more subjects to work in, probably next month. We're going to start studying a foreign language--Spanish--this year, but we want to use Rosetta Stone and can't fit it into the budget until next month. I also want to add a writing program-- probably Institute for Excellence in Writing, but again, not in the budget just yet! I make the boys write quite a bit already, as they produce written summaries of each lesson in history and science, and also do written narratives of the literature they read. But I want to start doing something more structured for writing. I was a good writer in school, but for some reason I just don't feel confident teaching my boys to write without a program of some sort!

I'm going to try to post an update each week about what we're doing in school. If nothing else, I can come back here later in the year and read them myself, just to see how far we've come. ;) I know we'll have our ups and downs, just like we always do, but I'm looking forward to a really good year!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Since My Mom Keeps Asking for Pictures...

...Here's our new travel trailer! For those of you who don't know the story, we travel a LOT and now that there are 8 of us, we have to rent 2 hotel rooms every night that we are on the road. After thinking/dreaming about getting an RV for the past several years, we finally bit the bullet so to speak and bought one (at a FABULOUS deal, I might add!) near the end of our recent 2-month road trip. Most of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, so please excuse the grainy picture quality. :)

This first picture is of the bunkhouse, where all 5 of the boys sleep. This was the big selling point for us to get this particular trailer. It has a slide-out on each side of this room, a dinette and couch that both fold into beds, and 2 bunks that fold down from the ceiling. Josh and Jon get the bunks, Joey gets the table bed, and Jordan and Josiah share the couch bed. The built-in dresser in the middle holds ample amounts of clothes, and the lower shelves on either side lift up to reveal storage...toy bins! Yeah!

The table side, with the upper bunk folded down

The couch side, with the upper bunk folded down

Looking from the bunkhouse into the main living area

The bathroom sink is between the bunkhouse and the living area. This is another feature we love...someone can be in the bathroom/shower with the door closed, and others can still wash hands/brush teeth/whatever without waiting for the bathroom.

The kitchen :) It's not much smaller than my Manhattan kitchen. Really.

The living area has a table and sofa in a long slide-out. The two closed doors go into the other bedroom.

Another angle. The table folds into a bed, and the sofa has a fold-out queen air mattress inside. Someday we'll need these!

A view of the kitchen from the other direction, looking into the bunkhouse. The door between them is the bathroom.

And here's the other bedroom, with a queen bed and lots of storage. I hadn't bought sheets/pillows yet when I took these.

All of the boys playing at their table. The upper bunk is folded up here, which gives more headroom at the table. Another huge benefit of having that table in their room is we can all sit at tables for meals. I guess it's not as ideal as all sitting together, but we certainly didn't see any RVs with tables for 8, so this will do just fine!

This is the only picture I have of the outside, taken while we were packing up to leave after 4th of July weekend.

We've used it for about 7-8 nights so far, and I have to say we love it! It's so nice not having to drag everyone and everything into hotels (and pay for 2 hotel rooms), and being able to cook real food instead of driving through McDonald's on the road will do wonderful things for our health! :)

Just in case you're wondering, yes, we added a generator and have already tried out "camping" in a Walmart parking lot, lol! When we're driving cross-country and just need to stop to fix lunch or sleep for the night, that will work nicely! :)

Sorry, Mom, but I don't have any pictures of the van yet. I'll have to work on that!

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Day of School!

Yes, for us today was the first day of the 2010-2011 school year. Again I have 3 "official" students this year in 6th grade, 4th grade, and 2nd grade, and then Joseph in K4. All of my little scholars sat down to work enthusiastically and we had a productive first day. I hope we can keep up both the productivity AND the happy attitudes! Here they are, at the table ready to begin:

Yes, I removed the math blocks from Josiah's grip after snapping this picture. Please excuse the ketchup on his face--I asked Joshua to help him wash his hands and face after breakfast while I helped Jon with the dishes--obviously the face part was missed!

The 3 big boys started out with math. Here Jordan works on his subtraction skills.

Joseph was so excited to receive a box of brand-new crayons all to himself! He worked on some numbers coloring sheets I printed off Enchanted Learning, and then made patterns with plastic beetles before finally adjourning to the living room with Josiah to watch Thomas the Tank Engine.

I love the look of concentration on Joshua's face as he converts fractions to decimals. I can't believe we now have a middle-schooler! Where does the time go?

Everyone did very well today--I'm so proud of my boys! I still have some schedule-tweaking to do as far as the timing of everything, in order to make sure we're as efficient as we can be. I'm excited to see where this year takes us on our learning adventures!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...