Thursday, March 29, 2012

Schedules and Motivation

We are still plugging along on all our curriculum choices and having the kids keep up with their schoolwork. It is a struggle everyday especially with my 9 yob. He just doesn't want to put forth the effort it takes to use his little brain and make it grow. He wants everything to be easy and when it's not he wants to give up. He usually pushes through to finish at the end so that he earns his minutes for finishing his work, plus he knows he can't do anything else fun until it's all done- but it is extremely emotionally draining for me and he definitely isn't making as much progress as he could if he would just concentrate. I think I'm going to have to make him do extra work each day so that he builds better habits instead of giving him Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. We'll see if that helps. He is a delightful child otherwise, willing to help with the twins, willing to run whatever errand I need him to- taking care of the goats and chickens. He will miss the goats more than anybody ( the story there is on my other blog He likes to read especially because he gets an hour of screen time for every book he finishes.

We have been traveling a ton, but since we haven't had vision therapy in a while, and soccer is starting and we've been doing Destination Imagination, we decided to quit our Friday co-op. It was just too much! Being gone so much makes it hard to get the house clean, the piano practicing done and the schooling done. With this pregnancy I didn't have the energy to keep everything up on schedule so we really slacked with the schedule, not starting on school until 11 am and working until 6, 7 or 8 p.m. with plenty of breaks in between. Now that my energy has returned we getting back on a better schedule where the kids start around 9 am and are done by 4 or 5 p.m. depending on how focused they are. I'm glad that they really didn't get behind because of this pregnancy-- just the house and the car did. but we are catching back up on that and the kids are helping more than before-- I just have to be on top of it all.

I love spring. I think that is helping us get on a better schedule too. Can't wait to move and have more time at home!!! I love where we're headed. The girls will be studying formal Logic, algebra, hopefully geometry and Latin this coming school year. Then they'll get to move into formal Rhetoric and continue with the Latin and then the sky's the limit-- whatever they decide to study-- they'll have a great foundation and be able to do whatever they desire. I just have to keep them motivated and on task!! No small feat indeed-- but we are finally witnessing the benefits!!! yay!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Latin Test-- done!!

The girls have been studying extra all week with their dad for the National Latin Exam. My husband wrote a great website and entered in all the vocabulary, endings and other Latin grammar charts that needed to be drilled and memorized to really learn the language so that the girls would be able to drill easier on their own and he would be able to keep up with their progress since he does have a full time day job. They spent the evenings this week doing practice tests from past years and going over what they missed. Then my dear friend and neighbor agreed to administer the test at her house and mail it in for us. My husband had the girls get up early and take a practice test with the bubble sheet this morning so that they would be alert and ready for the real thing at 10 a.m. #1 scored a 67% and #2 scored an 83%. There were a couple things on that test that hadn't been on other tests so we were hoping that this year's test might be more in line with the other tests they had taken. So , this morning, my girls walked over to take their first officially graded test. They both finished the official test early and they both said they knew everything on the test. So we wait-- we should know by April 20.

Even so, without the test scores, we are very proud of our girls. Latin is a difficult subject and there are a lot of things to keep straight and a lot that they had to learn, drill and know over the year in order to make it to the point to be able to take the NLE. They learned a lot academically and they both really buckled down and studied and focused. #1 does well focusing since math never came easy for her, but #2 really had a hard time focusing because she never really had to before, but she's done it in Latin I. Both girls said that it was fun to go and take that test. I think they both feel they have really accomplished something. They got to go to the Olive Garden with their dad to celebrate this evening. What lucky girls!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Update and Destination Imagination

What a time we have been having!! We have been keeping up on our work mostly, the girls take the National Latin Exam this coming Thursday, and we've been watching our new house be built and we can't wait to move and we have been commuting to our homeschool and church activities 3 times per week an hour away and we are getting a little burned out and we want to stop, but we just have 2 months left before our house is supposed to be done.

My husband has done a fabulous job teaching the girls Latin. Being a computer programmer who can make computers do just about anything, he set up a website where they can take tests on vocabulary, endings and even past exams and see exactly how they did right when they are done and exactly what they missed. So he would often assign them to take a certain test until they got 100%. Being a full- time employee, it made it much easier for him to help them do what they needed to without him there all the time. We hope they do O.K. on the exam, but even if they don't, they've learned a lot and we plan to have them take all 6 years worth of exams and we expect they'll get better and better each time. I'm proud and jealous of the girls at the same time. I would like to learn Latin some time-- when the babies are grown, perhaps. It is fun to hear #2 tell me where we get different words from, and also tell me the funny things in the story she's translating. #1 seems to be enjoying it too. It has been so good for them all the way around.

The boys are moving right along. #3 has started history reading and daily spelling word copying to improve his cursive handwriting. They are also working better at piano since I sat with them and made sure they were practicing what they need to. #3 can sure be stubborn, he just has to know that there is no getting out of whatever it is he is supposed to do and then he does alright. #4 is amazing at memorizing and is just interested in learning. He knows our Greek vocabulary better than his older brother and it frustrates his older brother so I may have to start drilling them separately unfortunately-- I will probably just have to have the same talk with #3 that I had with #1 when her younger sister was better at memorizing than she was. Everybody has that strengths and weaknesses- let the younger one shine and you still have to learn it even though it comes easier to some-- you can still learn. That's definitely coming up.

We have also joined Destination Imagination which is a national program. Our tournament is on April 15 and we'll have a middle school team of girls presenting a movie trailer- acted out-- with an original music score and soundtrack, at least one special effect and it involves 2 people from different nations. We had a bit of a rough start getting our team together, but they seem to be getting it now. We also have an elementary age boys team who will be building a tower between 7.5 and 9 in. tall out of wood and glue that needs to hold weight and golf balls delivered by their own delivery system. That is also on track to work out despite a bit of a rough start. I'm sure we'll do better next year by starting earlier and having the experience of the tournament under our belts.

We've got other things coming up I'll report on as they happen (hopefully). Oh and baby #8 is a boy!! 6 sons in a row!!! Life is good!!!