Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomorrow, It's Official

Tomorrow, all of the local school kids start public school. The neighbors already started yesterday, at a charter or private school (I'm not sure which it is).

Suddenly it all feels so real, so rebelious, so subversive.

I'm not sending my son, who is of compulsory school age, to school.

The weird part of it, here in California, is that homeschooling is basically setting up your own personal private school. The thing is, the only official form to fill out is simply a notification to the state that you already opened your school. I don't have to ask anyone, I don't need to be approved, I just let them know that it already happened. The funny thing is, I can't do that until October 1st, when the website goes online again. (They turn it off every year, so people don't file at the "wrong" time. Weird.)

Anyway, it makes me feel like we're in some sort of weird truant limbo, even though we are not. We're just like every other private school in the area. Some have more students, some are religious, they turned school into a business, etc.. But they don't have any more official paperwork than I do.

It just feels so much more real when you imagine all of the other little kids going off the school with their backpacks and lunchboxes, their crying moms waving and smiling. And my kids are sleeping in, eating breakfast together, coloring castles with me in the kitchen, and playing happily together downstairs.

It feels so real to me, because they got so very used to doing their morning lessons, then running next door to invite the girls out to play. But now their friends aren't home. And I don't even know when they will get home -- yesterday we never even saw them. Maybe they went out for dinner after school? All my kids know is that suddenly their summer playmates are gone, and their afternoon is just a little sadder and more lonely. Luckily we have park day today!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do You Homeschool in the Summer?

Some people choose to homeschool during regular public school time, other school year-round. What do you do?

Here at Yet To Be Named Private School (in CA homeschools actually register as private schools -- however as my son is only just compulsory school age this fall, we haven't needed to file until this year. The forms are accepted in October, and I have no idea what we will name it yet!), we decided to school, well, whenever. We have no real given timeline for school.

We reserve beautiful days for going outside and playing. During rainy season, we tend to stay in more and do more school-type stuff. Last summer, we did quite a bit of work simply because it was 100 degrees every day and no one wanted to be out in that. So this year I fully expected to get a lot done this summer. We took a big break to move over the winter, and took a big break last october to go on two big trips to see family (including a funeral). We took a break for weeks while I was in the horrors of intense morning sickness. And now... we're still on a bit of a break. See, every day has been 70 degrees out. Beautiful! And we have lovely neighbors next door that the children love to play with for hours every day.

So I actually cheered this morning when it began to rain here in Silicon Valley. It never rains in August. Our rainy season is fall and winter, and it rains nearly every day for several months. Summer does not have rain at all, hence why we have all those great fires.

But rain! Today! In August! Let's have school!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So Behind!

Sorry for not keeping this updated. Life has been busy. I'll try to get everyone up to speed quick, and maybe post more when I get a chance. :D

1) I was working 25 hours a week, part time. That ate up a ton of time. But we parted ways amicably when it became clear I could not uphold the quality of my work and the time required.

2) Because I was having all day migraines, sinus pain, stomach aches, and other problems.

3) Due to, apparently, the fact that I'm gluten-intolerant (and possibly still have issues with soy and dairy). I tried going gluten free because I couldn't think of anything else to do (and my sister is gluten-intolerant, plus my allergist suggested I should get tested.. um.. two years ago. I think I forgot to because of a headache!). All those symptoms and more started clearing up within *days*. I no longer have oddly swollen feet in the morning, weird tingling in my fingers, sinus pain, migraines (well, some, but not every day!), back pain, all my IBS symptoms, and so forth. I previously thought it would take months to see any difference. No... I was sure in three days.

4) I've been coping with trying to not eat gluten. If I accidentally ingest a little (say, in paprika that uses gluten-containing stuff to prevent clumping) I get a migraine and gastrointestinal distress for about two days or so. A month or so ago I ate a bowl of pasta just to see if gluten was really the problem, and I finally felt better 10 days later. I spend a lot of time researching things...

5) Just after I finished work, I also got pregnant! So while I feel better from not having gluten, I'm now exhausted and nauseous for a much happier reason.

6) I may start more part-time work soon, but I expect it will work out better. Fewer hours, less ambitious deadlines, no required time in the office (there IS no office!).

If anyone has any tips or tricks about homeschooling while pregnant, please leave a comment! I spent this morning just trying to walk through the house and not lose my breakfast (lost that battle) and I can't imagine trying to engage a 6 and 3 year old in anything useful. But I want to keep up as much as I can, since I imagine we'll lose more time when I'm near the end, and when there's a new baby!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How's That Homeschooling Going?

Okay, okay, I'm really bad at keeping up on my blogging. I admit it. Partly, it's because I'm a very private person, and I live in fear that my real life will be blasted across the internet for everyone to know until the end of time. It's really a very scary prospect. Especially when freedom seems to be a little more rare than before, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, we've been doing pretty well. Our official studies took a break for a few months while we moved to a new house and visited family members all over.

History -- we completed SOTW vol 1. We skipped through some chapters when I read it, but then listened to the whole thing all over again on the CDs. (I love those!!). Now we're just starting vol 2 and enjoyed making Celtic warrior outfits.

Math -- we do this in fits and starts. It's nice that way. We've completed MUS alpha and just started on Beta. His understanding of math is really noticable -- I think he's really getting it! He had problems with place value and a few other things, but I think alpha (and time) helped sort that out.

Art -- we've gone nuts with coloring and watercolors!

Science and engineering -- He takes a local science class with a really neat guy. Plus I still throw science lessons in randomly whereever they happen. As a former scientist, that's pretty easy for me. We get out a lot of books about animals, too. We visited a tide pools, aquariums, a farm, and all sorts of other wonderfully sciency things. We also have a neat book from the library called "Build It!" which investigates all sorts of engineering principles in a very hands on way. It's been fun so far. Plus he has legos and 27 million other building tools.

Reading and writing -- Not there yet. He's been doing mazes and dot to dots. He sometimes types notes to my character in Warcraft (from his character). He'll get there when he does. I'm not going to push him. I invite him to read with me sometimes, but he doesn't like it very long and still seems to guess a lot. Oh, and my husband is teaching them some japanese characters (read and handwriting) -- it also goes into art here, as he had them painting some shoudou with them.

Music -- we've listened to jazz and blues and irish folksongs this month. We have some nice medeival music for a fwe months from now when we get tothe appropriate bits of SOTW vol 2.

Grammar -- Mad libs! And I sometimes get ideas from First Language Lessons, but I skip a lot and don't go by the script. Oh, and I keep trying to explain and explain to the girl about pronouns. She uses 'her' and 'she' incorrectly.

We saw a musical last weekend. That was nice! It had some homeschooling friends in it. We had some other plans for this weekend, but most of them fell through due to health and weather problems. Oh well!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back to Business!

Well, after a whirlwind crazy month, it's time to get back to learning! We were gone to a funeral, then had a week of basically goofing off, then a week of vacation visiting relatives. So... three weeks later and the kids have gone completely feral. They spent two weeks running amock with all of their cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles, and now they just want me to amuse them!


Time for work, kids!

Oh, today was horrible. The two year old is SO two. So so so two. My son refused to have breakfast, because then I would make him sit down for school stuff! So we went to the library and they both ran all over and acted like crazy monkey people.


Tomorrow we're making pie with grandma!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Away For a Funeral

Sorry to not post for a week. Had a sudden funeral to attend. Anyway, I'll just take today to write a list of 10 happy things.

1) My kids and dh are still healthy.
2) We found incredibly cheap airplane tickets so we could all go to the funeral.
3) I'm learning to knit!
4) The kids adored seeing their cousins.
5) I have such a nice job that lets me work from across the country at night, or move my hours to different days.
6) My dh has been such a pillar of strength and helpfulness for the past couple weeks. I've been tired and listless (upset about things...) but he's taken up the slack, keeping track of the kids and things way more than usual.
7) My children haven't made my head explode yet. (They are seriously annoying lately. It's just one of those phases, I'm sure, but do they have to have them at the same time?!).
8) I love our park day groups. It's so nice to have so many people come to them!
9) Going on another trip soon to see their grandfather (my father-in-law).
10) And more cousins!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #3: Routines

I signed up for the Homeschool Memoirs meme and then promptly did absolutely nothing with it. So, here I am, playing catch up.

The theme from week three was routines. We're not really that into schedules, but we do have plenty of routines.

The most important routine is that every night, I read to my son for about an hour at bedtime. Any book he wants. The favorites right now a Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, Magic Treehouse, Timewarp Trio, A-Z Mysteries, Secret of Droon, Calvin and Hobbes, and Harry Potter. So yea, mysteries and fantasy for the most part. (With lots of historicalness.)

The week starts on Sunday. That's the day I plan the week out. I get out all the books and see which sections we'll do, make a list of any books we need form home or the library, get materials together, make any printouts we'll need, and write the plan down. In this time, I also follow up on any tiny bits of learning I meant to impart on the kids -- maybe a topic or concept that should have been covered in the week and wasn't, but isn't really a big enough chunk to bother focusing on for the next week.

On Monday, I go to work in the mornings while my husband works from home and watched the kids. Monday afternoon, we go to park day.

Tuesday is stay home day. I catch up on housework, rest a little, read the news, and we do a large portion of our school for the week! It's the day we read from Story of the World and First Language Lessons. It is sometimes the day we go to the library, too. Usually I'll read from the books while the kids color the activities or play with clay or something like that.

Wednesday is soccer and park day. Yes, it's a lot of park time. We go to the park at 11:30, bring a picnic, and stay until 4 or 5 pm! The night is usually mom-has-a-rest-time. (Good for reading!)

Thursday I go to work most of the day, and husband works from home. This is a pretty freeform day for hte kids, where they mostly play. At night we may go out to eat and then go to the grocery store. I usually read some books to them when I get home. Many of those books are for school, like a biography about a historical figure, something about a particular animal or plant, history mysteries, magic treehouse book, something from the Living Math cirriculum, and so on.

Friday is Fun Day. I catch up on cleaning in the morning, we do some more school things. Often this is the day we'll do a little art project, or science experiment, or finish some printouts. Then, if they haven't been actively fighting me all week, we go out! I often let them pick. Places we often go include: Chuck E Cheese (it's math! Really!), The Children's Discovery Museum, Ardenwood Farm, other museums, star parties (astronomy), etc.. Sometimes it ties into something we learned that week, but usually not. One week we went to Krispy Kreme. It actually tied in! That week my daughter was obsessed with industrial robots and machinery, so we watched the donut machines.

Saturday is karate for the son, and a visit to their grandparents' house.

We have lots of other routines (via FlyLady), but that's pretty much it!