Thursday, January 17, 2013


So the 13 yr old finished her 3 rd day of middle school today.  She came home very excited because  she got 100 % on a math quiz ( they are doing stuff she did ages ago) and 100 % on a science quiz.  She was so excited because I think she was never sure about the homeschool thing and wondered if she would do as well as the other kids, I think she thought she may not be because math didn't come as easy for her as it did for her siblings, plus she was always the guinea pig in this whole homeschooling experiment.  I'm glad she likes it, but I do wish it was a little more challenging.  We'll see it's just the first week.  Her favorite class by far is orchestra, she loves the sound of all the instruments playing together.  I'm really thankful we were able to afford lessons when we did and that  she is able to use my great grandfathr's violin.

The sixth grader has decided that she likes homeschool better, but she wants to finish out the year in public school.  She is really enjoying the games and competition.  They have a list of books that the kids are supposed to read and then they are divided into teams and answer questions about the books they've read sometime-- it's called Battle of the Books.  She loves to read and has surprised her classmates, teacher and the librarian at her pace.  They haven't gotten to go outside for recess except for 2 days because it has been so dang cold here or the air is bad or both, so they have free time in their classroom and she hates when the loud boys make the "yacker tracker" go off and everyone has to put their heads down on their desks.  She  is pretty far ahead in everything, but she likes the games and reward systems and I think she is learning a few things. They rotate every 3 weeks between computers, music, art and PE.  She can't wait to do art.

The 4th grader has loved school, it has been about 2 weeks now, math is easy, he's a good reader, but I was a little worried about writing.  He says he has done fine writing, but he doesn't know how to spell anything.  So I pulled out Spelling Power which I didn't have to use long for the girls after awhile, they were able to teach themselves spelling because they liked writing their own stories and children's books.  I also had them write book reports and history summaries.  We were just starting that sort of thing with the 4 th grader and I didn't realize how hard spelling is for him.  He came home a bit frustrated because he said he doesn't know how to spell blue and he misses his free time and he doesn't want to do piano or Greek and this is his first year playing basketball so he's not as good as the other kids, and he said he wants to go back to homeschooling.  That was the first day he ever said anything about it.  So we have started Spelling Power which I think is an excellent program and I'm confident that it won't take him long to be a decent speller and to feel better in that category.  He said he still likes school and math is way easy-- they are memorizing times tables and multiplying double digits.  He has learned some songs on the recorder and liked taking our piccolo and base recorders to school.  He has been earning turtle tickets and happily does his homework.  But he would like to stay home just one day.  Good thing Monday is a holiday.  I think it will do him good to stick it out and finish.  If I thought he was suffering and that it was too much for him, I wouldn't hesitate to take him out of school.  But if he wants to come home because it's hard and long, I want him to stick it out and feel that sense of accomplishment when it's over.  So the plan is to focus on spelling with him after school.  We are cutting back on piano and Greek until he is better at spelling.  I will also have him write in his journal.

I miss having my 3 oldest kids around, but I think their school experience will really benefit them and give them a better understanding of the world and the people in it.  The kids at the schools seem very nice, they have been welcoming and happy to show my kids around.  The teachers seem nice too.  I have to admit that besides making sure I have bread made for lunches, sending them to school is easier on me.  However, I miss the flexibility we used to have to be able to plan a field trip together or to take a full day to do science or to go to the park and play basketball during lunch.  We are not going to participate in choir this semester after all, because it just takes too much family time after having them gone all day.  We like being together and playing games, reading, watching TV, playing the ukuleles or whatever.  We really value our evenings together with everyone and we don't want to miss that although the choir turned out to be a really great thing.  I wish the kids could do it again, but there is always a trade- off.

The 2nd grader had a hard time being left by his older siblings.  He really wanted to go to school too, but he is feeling better about homeschool and he and the kindergartner and becoming better friends and getting along fine.  They do yoga and aerobics with me and I give them extra screen time for that.  We also got a new front loading washer because the old broke, so they learned how to do the laundry today and helped me fold and put away a ton of clothes.  They finished their regular work and we read some more of Pinocchio.  It's nice to have them to myself and they are able to ask questions and I can explain a lot to them.

The twins seemed to be getting over their illness, but then they caught something else- the flu I'm guessing- throwing up, fever, and they still haven't completely gotten over the lingerin cough from the other bug they had.  So far the baby seems fine- fingers crossed.  So we have not been able to have a regular schedule yet.  But we will get there.  I really look forward to not having sick kids.  It is so sad when they are sick.  We have watched a lot of Dora, Diego and GeoTrax.  Now they are starting to get into Blue's Clues.  Thank goodness for NetFlix!!

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