Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fine Arts vs. Sports

Well, is it "Fine Arts vs. Sports" or "Fine Arts and Sports"?  I think both are important. 

Sports have always been  a big deal in our family.   Steve and I both love sports.  When I was looking at high school requirements and college requirements in the past year (something you do when you have a high school student), I saw a requirement for Texas public school students to have a high school fine arts credit.  They should also have PE (physical education) credits.  The  PE credits are a "no-brainer" for our family.  We do sports.  Year round.  The Fine Arts.  Um.  Well.  We need to be intentional about that. 

I was looking at the Sonlight Forum about Fine Arts and I found that for some people PE credits are natural for their family, but they have to seek out Fine Arts.  For other families, Fine Arts abound but they have to seek out sports credits.  We are the former family. 

But, my kids have had fine arts and they continue to have them interspersed.  Tapestry of Grace has Fine Arts integrated into the program- I love TOG!  So, we've done Unit Studies on Color and on Drawing.  My kids were in a coop art class.  They have taken art lessons.  We're good.  It's not our forte, but we incorporate arts when we can.  This year, my two oldest are in the church choir and they will get their Fine Arts course work from that.  (It's free too!) 

There is an International Christian Film Festival in our town (San Antonio) in the spring, and I'm hoping that Luke, my high school student,  will get to go to that.  That would add to his Fine Arts experience.  ( I want to go too!)

Below is what prompted me to address this today.  Levi wanted to paint today and when Sophia saw him painting, she asked me to leave out the paints so she could paint later in the day.   Here is their work......

Sophia's flowers

Levi's Art (He turned 3 yesterday)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Only 15 more years of homeschooling

I'm not quite at the halfway point of my homeschool journey yet.  Levi turns 3 this week.  I can't believe it. 

Luke will graduate in the spring of 2014 and then Levi will start kindergarten in the fall of 2014 and graduate in 2026 (ish).  That means the most students I will have in homeschool at one time is five.  This is my third year with 5 of my kids in school.

Currently I have a toddler,  two elementary-age students, two middle school students and one high school student.

I call my toddler "job-security."

People sometimes ask me what I do. 
             My mood usually determines my answer.  Most often I smile and say, " I'm retired, so I just sit around watching TV and eating chocolate."  If they actually look like they believe I do that, I add, "And I have 6 kids and homeschool them."  After that comment I can't remember anybody ever asking what I retired from.  That is the true part.  So is the eating's the sitting around and watching TV part that I made up. 

What?  You want to know what I did before homeschooling?!  Since you's the short version. 

I spent 20 years in the Army before retiring.- yes, I retired. I have a master's degree in Nursing and I'm an adult nurse practitioner.  I am a Dessert Storm veteran- I was in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.  I jumped out of airplanes and helicopters for fun.  I've competed in marathons and triathlons...and finished two marathons in the past year.  I grew up in PA, lived in CA, GA, TX, MA, WA, LA, Germany,  spent summers in NJ and I've traveled to/in four continents.   I think that's the short version.

And, oh, for the next 15 years...teaching, learning, being a wife, mother and daughter of  The King!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living the thankful life.

I wish I lived the truly thankful life.  I have so much to be thankful for.

I"m so thankful for my children. And for their friends.

Here is Caroline and her best friend, Katie who was able to stay with us this week!  

I am thankful that I can make a special meal on holidays.  
Here are the apple and pumpkin pies I made today for tomorrow's dessert.

Pumpkin.   Apple.

I am thankful for the abundance of food we have.

Thanksgiving menu:
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Green beans with fried onions
Rolls & butter
Cranberry Mix (recipe from Pine Cove Camp last year)
Pumpkin and Apple pies
Vanilla ice cream and whipped cream

I am thankful for my family and friends.

Our Thanksgiving meal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When do we take off school for holidays?

Two of the top questions I get from non-homeschoolers aren't about socialization, they are "when do you take off from school for holidays?" and, "do you take off during the summer?"  Those questions always seem so genuine to me.

I normally follow the local public school calendar.  The reason is because we usually live in a neighborhood with numerous kids who attend public school and are friends with my kids.  When the neighbors are off, my kids like to play with them, plus we can see and hear them outside playing.  So, that works well for us. Of course, there are kids who go to private schools,etc, and we adjust as necessary.

And the summer?  We take off!  I love having summers off.  It seems like such a free time.  That's also when I do some planning for the next school year, although some of that is done during the spring semester of school before school is out.  

Thanksgiving.  This year the local public school is off for the whole week at Thanksgiving.  We usually have school through Wednesday and it's so busy trying to get ready for the big day.  We are off this week and I love it.  I think we'll continue to take off the whole week at Thanksgiving. 

Luke and Josh are in New York to go hunting with Steve's dad.  They return next Monday night.  They've both hunted before and they love it.  So, actually they are in the "School of Self-reliance" this week, improving their survival skills!

Caroline gets to spend half of the week with her best friend Katie who now lives about 2 and 1/2 hours away.  Katie has the week off too.

Christmas.  One of my friends takes off three weeks each Christmas.  She bakes and gets ready for the holidays...and actually gets to enjoy them and not be so rushed.  I would love to do that, but I haven't done that yet.  Maybe if I write it here, I'll make it happen.  One thing I can do to make that possible is to combine/condense some of the material.

Christmas shopping days.  There are some schools that give the teachers two days off for Christmas shopping.  Wow.  That's another thing I would like to implement, but the need for a sitter makes that less likely. 

My same friend who takes off three weeks at Christmas doesn't take off for Labor day. She says she can't figure out the sense of not working on a day that celebrates working!  I agree, but we usually take it off because we take off most days that Steve is off work.  That's one of the reasons he likes homeschooling is that the kids can be off when he is so we can travel, etc.

Birthdays.  One of my friends gives the kids off school for their birthday.  All the kids.  They have 9 kids!  We started that a few years ago...and I better decided if we'll do it this year because Levi turns 3 next month!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Independent students. Yellow card/red card. Cub scout campout.

INDEPENDENT LEARNERS:  When my children were much younger, I think maybe 3rd grade, 1st grade, 4 yo, 2 yo and baby...I thought, "I need them to be able to do some work on their own without me doing everything with them."  I just couldn't teach everything to all of them and have wee ones too.

I remember reading on the Sonlight forum that around 4th grade students start reading to learn (vs. learning to read).  And, around that age or so, they start becoming more independent.  I wanted to help them become independent learners.    I think that's when I started to try to implement schedules for, at least, my older one.  I've tried to enable them to do work on their own and even check their own work at times.  I find I still need to at least do spot checks, but they've learned, or are learning,  how to manage work on their own.

This year, with 5 in school, I started making a schedule for myself so that I know what I have to teach to whom on what day and at what time- whew.  Schedules are actually a guide that make school more flexible.  If we don't get to something at a scheduled time, we can work it in at a different time.  I have about 18 years with each child, so there should be time to work all the "requirements" in before they graduate!

Below is a picture of the winning team for the ACYS Shootout Soccer tournament in San Antonio this weekend.  Luke's team came in first place.  Josh's team played and they won 2 games and lost 1.  Oddly, Josh got a yellow card (that's like a personal foul and if you get too many you are out of the game).  And Luke got a red card in the first game today so that meant he got kicked out of the game and couldn't play the next either.  His opponent was playing dirty and it finally got to Luke, so when Luke had the ball he kicked the other player while taking a shot.  He got carded.  What do you do when the other team is playing dirty and doesn't get caught?  One of the parents said you say to the player, "I'll pray for you.  Jesus is watching you."  He said that would make anybody think, no matter what his spiritual views were.