Monday, September 2, 2013

Dance is Phys Ed, right?

Child made the performance team for dance this year. Wow, is my life going to be busy. She has dance Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Ballet II
Ballet III/IV
Jazz II
Performance Jazz III/IV
Lyrical II/IIIB
Intermediate Acro
Performance Hip Hop II
Tap II (she should be in III, but there is a schedule conflict)
Technique II
Musical Theater III/IV
Pilates/Yoga/ Ballet Sculpt

Ensemble is sometimes twice a week. She only has Pilates when she has the 2nd Ensemble. In addition to the classes, there will be workshops, competitions, and community involvement including school assemblies, Sr centers, parades.....

Busy girl makes for busy Mom.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A new year, a new goal

Well, things got crazy last school year, and I never kept this blog up like I had intended. I am going to really try to do better this year! I kind of have to...

We have changed curriculum. Calvert was great for me, but it was very much boredom for the child. This led to a lot of agonizing, tears, and even preferring to clean rather than do schoolwork. This year we are doing Moving Beyond the Page. It is inquiry and project based, and I think she will do a lot better with this. The problem on my end is that since there aren't tests sent in to a teacher that I can send on to the district in order to verify what she is learning,  I have to come up with another method.

She has started a blog. We are going to be using it to document her journey. I want to use this to add in info that she doesn't include, because we all know what she thinks is important is not going to be the same as what I or the district think is important. If I can send in links to both blogs, that should cover us.

I am still waiting for the curriculum to come in. Do to some backordered stuff and a weirdness in my credit report (like the fact that there is nothing on my credit report!) it wasn't shipped until a couple of days ago. We are going to start back up on Tuesday anyway, and then add in the MBtP stuff when it gets here. We can at least to Math and Latin every day.

We had really good luck with Life of Fred Math last year. She is finishing up Elementary Physics, and then we will be moving into pre-algebra.

Phys ed this year is way too many hours of dance. She made the competition team and will be in classes and/or rehearsals 12-14 hrs a week. She loves it though.

That is it for now. We should be good as long as  I don't forget my password again!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Extracurricular Activities

Kiddo had her first dance class of the year last night. Her current schedule (subject to change due to withdrawals or classes added) is:
Wednesday: Acro 4:30-5:15
                     Tap 5:15-6
Friday: Ballet/Jazz 6:15-7
Saturday: Musical Theatre 10-10:45

Not an ideal schedule, but I was late in calling and this is where they could put her. If an opening comes up in a ballet or jazz class for her level, she will likely be switching to or adding that. She is on a wait list for the Hip-Hop class 6-6:45 on Wednesday night. We are currently at 4, and may be looking at up to 6 dance classes this year. I guess it is a good thing she doesn't have homework that she has to do around her dance schedule! I am paying for 4 classes here what I paid for 3 in VA, so I can't complain about that, I just wish the studio weren't so far a drive. It is only 15 miles, but it take a half hour to 45 minutes to get there because it is on the other side of the city. I love the school and the teachers though, and so does the child. I guess she will be missing a few Friday and Saturday classes sadly, as there are times that we will be gone for a weekend. I know we are going down to PA to my older daughters house at some point so we can go to Gettysburg, and when her Grandparents come up we are going to want to go to Boston. I will just have to figure out a work around wherever I can.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Changing schedules?

Once again, last night, the child was up again doing schoolwork. She did Math, Spelling, Science, and at least part of her History while she was supposed to be asleep. She is following the Learning Guide, and checking things off as she is going. I am starting to wonder if maybe the resistance I am getting is the time of day. Her natural rhythm seems to be late nights instead of early mornings (although I don't consider 9 am to be all that early).

I am wondering if I should just let her sleep in in the morning, and start school at lunchtime.

There are a number of problems with this though. With my health issues, the later it gets in the day, the less spoons I have. My brain gets sluggish, my energy drops, and my pain increases. If I start later in the day, it might work. I know yesterday morning neither of us could stay awake and ended up falling back to sleep. We got up at noon, got right to work, and were done by about 5:30. We had some arguments about watching the geography videos, but that got done. The problem was, her Dad got home a little before 5, and he gets irritated with her when she still has stuff to do after he gets home and they end up arguing and fighting. And like I said, later in the day, I am less able to deal with things like that.

Another drawback is that I *need* time to myself in the evening, after she and her Dad go to bed. I have very, very, little time alone, and I need that to recharge and to just be without anyone talking to me. Without that quiet time, I get very cranky.

Also, with dance classes a couple evenings a week, if we have to stop schoolwork for her to get dressed, drive a half hour to dance, be there for an hour, and drive a half hour back, and then pick up schoolwork again....I just can't see that happening. I don't want to "fall behind." I want to be able to take time off from the curriculum at Christmas to do "home ec," and bake cookies and make gifts. We are taking a week off in the spring to go to Disney. I want her Grandparents to come up in the spring, and do some tourism--yes, that will count as schooldays for the district since they will be field trip days (Boston, Lexington, Concord, Adams National Park, Plymouth, etc), but that doesn't get us through curriculum, and that has to be done too. Calvert is a fantastic, thorough curriculum. It covers a lot of material though, and with them requiring notebooks for some subjects, and me setting up notebooking for others, the curriculum can be time consuming. I know she learns well with this method, but there is only so much time in a year, and I would like her to have some summer break between 5th and 6th--she really didn't get any between 4th and 5th by the time we finished the 4th grade curriculum and tests.

I guess there will be experimentation with time schedules, and we will have to find what works for us best in the long run. At least we can experiment. In a brick and mortar school, she would have to work on their schedule with no room for change.

Officially Fifth Grade

(I meant to post this yesterday, but got busy and forgot about it)

We officially started Fifth Grade Monday--it didn't happen last week because I was just too sick. I am still coughing, but am enough better that it wasn't an impossibility like it was last week.

We decided to put off beginning Latin until at least next week, if not a little longer. This gives us a chance to get into the curriculum and develop a routine before heading into strange, new waters.. It is probably a good thing we did too--We took from 9-5 to get through yesterdays schedule. A big part of the problem was getting her back on track after lunch. Right now I am thinking that when she grows up, she is going to be a master of the three martini lunch! We broke for lunch at 12:30, and it was 2:30 before I could get her back to work for more than a moment at a time instead of dancing, twirling, and working at stretching her leg up over her head.

Speaking of legs, I called last night and got her dance scheduled for this year. I screwed up and didn't call early enough, so she can't get separate jazz and ballet classes, she has to do a combo, but she does have tap and musical theatre. I don't particularly like the time and day slots, but it is my own damn fault so I am just going to suck it up. They put her on a wait list for Hip-Hop, and even though I don't like the idea of my 1 yr old moving like that, her dance teachers think she needs it as it is becoming a more standard style in much of musical theatre, Oh well, the child has nothing to shake or thrust, so it shouldn''t be too bad. The child has decided that she wants to study gymnastics and fencing too. Fencing isn't going to work this year, because the beginner lessons at the local fencing club overlap her musical theatre class, so that can be put off for at least a year, and with the summer Olympics just ending, there is going to be no chance of getting her into a gymnastics class. Her dance teachers would like to see her go to a circus school in a few years and learn there because they can teach her gymnastics and the wire work she wants to learn.

I guess the math I chose for this year, Life of Fred, is a hit. At 1:30 this morning when I came downstairs to take something for pain, I found her at the dining room table working on math and giggling. She really likes the fact that she has an answer key that shows the working of the problem so she can figure out where she went wrong if she didn't get the right answer. I was kind of concerned that the answers were in the book, but she has already figured out how to use them appropriately. I am really looking forward to seeing her love of math come back, and I think Fred will do that for her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not the first day of school

The local public school begins today, so a neighbor girl who also is homeschooled spent the night last night. We went to bed and let the girls stay up as late as they wanted. They are sleeping in this morning. Part of the thrill of this for the two of them is that the friend has a younger brother and sister who both attend the public school. Having the sleepover last night accomplishes a few different things. It allows her Mom to get the other two up and off to school with no interference from their big sister and no ha-ha I get to stay home. It gives the girls something special to celebrate the start of the homeschool year. It reminds them of what they gain by being homeschooled instead of what they miss. This isn't hard for my daughter, but her friend was a social butterfly in public school, and she misses having other kids who are not her brother and sister around her all the time. When the girls get up, I have a tube of cinnamon rolls in the fridge that they can make for breakfast. The neighbor's little brother has a Drs apt this morning, so after her Mom drops him off at school, she will come by and get her daughter, and our two girls will start the year with a half day.

Because it is Tuesday, and I believe that certain things, like spelling, take a full 5 day week, we are going to do other things than regular curriculum this week. I have a kit for learning how to read a non-fiction book-- and we will do that this week. It gives her some hands on fun to get back into the swing of things, and useful information that she will use long-term. It also hits some of the 5th grade standards of learning.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pros and Cons

One of the good things about homeschooling is that I have control over my daughter's curriculum and how and what she learns.

One of the bad things about homeschooling is that I have control over my daughter's curriculum and how and what she learns.

I have spent a lot of time this summer researching curriculum, not to switch from Calvert, but to supplement it, as she wants and needs more info and more depth than is offered in any fifth grade curriculum. I have been purchased a bunch of stuff, but passed on a lot more. I have looked in depth at many different things and I have found a disturbing trend, but I am not sure if it is in what is available or in my reactions.

I have reached the point that as soon as I see the words "from a Christian perspective," I quit reading. I don't know if I am missing something that may be really good, but so many of the things I actually looked at before reaching this knee jerk reaction pushed stuff that is not based in reality. Sorry, but the world is not 5,000 years old. Man and Dinosaurs did not live at the same time. Evolution happens every day. Change is the nature of the world, not stasis. Science is not the place for religious education, and with all the revisionist history that is out there, I don't trust the history texts either.

Some stuff I have looked at I can use and leave out the fallacies, but with so much of it, especially the free stuff, there is no way to eliminate it all. This makes me sad, as I am not opposed to moral lessons or philosophy intertwined with facts--looking at not only whether we can, but whether we should. I think Literature is a wonderful resource for this, but attributing evil intentions to a character because it is other than Christian makes no more sense than assuming that every character portrayed as Christian is always right and good. This is especially important when looking at historical figures. Is it right that American Indian tribes were wiped out because of Christian missionaries bringing discord and disease? Were the Crusades, called for by the Church, a good and right thing, or were they political maneuvers promoted for personal and political power? I want my daughter to make moral decisions not by limiting her world view, but by expanding it. I want her to see cause and effect, both the good and the bad. I want her to learn to research and make her own choices and decisions, not accept something as true because it was told to her by an authority figure. I want her to argue with me when she disagrees, and be able to back up her arguments with documentable facts. I want her to be able to think and analyze and not be blind to manipulations. This is why I agree with the Bill Nye video I posted. I think it is dangerous to the future of America to teach our children nationalism as opposed to patriotism, religion as opposed to science, mythology as opposed to history.

And as a Homeschooler, I can't blame anyone but myself if I fail.