Nutcracker Ballet
It was fun to be able to take my children to see the ballet! 

Snow Day!
If the kids go sledding before breakfast will they be ready for their lessons when they come indoors? It's the first snow of the season. And it's the first snow in the country on our hills. I think the best thing to do is to surrender to the beauty of new fallen snow, my children's enthusiasm for their winter sport and to enjoy the day with them. 

Field Trip Funnies

Driving down twisty windy roads to find Norskedalen. The fall colored leaves making a tunnel over the narrow road. As I drove I was excited about the day's activities and that I'd have some undistracted time with my three oldest children. I turned off my inward focus and asked my children, "Are you looking forward to today's field trip? It's the first field trip of the year!" 

Middle daughter says, "Aren't we going to be late already? Are you sure you know the way there. This doesn't look right." 

Son says, "Isn't it lunch time? I'm hungry. Did you know that I like all candy that's sweet?"

Oldest daughter says, "If you took all these leaves off the trees and piled them on our house they'd cover the whole house!" 

How interesting.  Rabbit, Pooh, and Piglet.

Does that make me Tigger? 

Yes, the Civil War Heritage presentation was lovely, minus the cannon booming every 30 minutes. Pictures perhaps when I find the camera's USB cord. 


Teacher Institute Days
Monday & Tuesday we're going to attempt to finish unpacking boxes and to re-assemble a few items. The elliptical trainer, the bunny hutch, the boy's bunk bed and a couple book shelves are on our list of "To Do's."

Trying to keep house and running back & forth to the garage to hunt for a necessary item is just not a good way to live.

World Map Cake

The Year has Officially Begun
Yesterday, with my bum leg parked on a chair & wrapped in ice, we cracked the Teacher's Manual for My Father's World Exploration to 1850. This year I've got a 7th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, and Pre-Ker on board. 

As we no longer have a dedicated school room we will be together around the dining room table, which isn't in the dining room yet! Their workboxes will be on the 3 season porch. I'm still trying to figure out where to put my computer so we can use it during school time. Details, details, details. 

But we did it! It felt good for all of us to have the "old" routine back. 

Other things on the agenda: MathUSee, Rod & Staff Grammar, Progeny Press Study Guides and My Father's World 1st Grade. 

One down, 169 days to go.  

Five Year Old Vocabularly Funnies
My 5 yo son's retort to his baby sister, "YOU! YOU! YOU just grow up and be nauseous!" 

Course of Study
I wish I'd have learned about the value of writing a course of study for each kid earlier in my homeschooling career. By the end of each school year we limp in to those final days with our enthusiasm   consumed. It's hard to remember why or what has filled our school days throughout the year. 

But as I'm cleaning up and filing school records I usually find the course of study that I made for each child the previous fall. And I remember the enthusiasm, the plans, and the purpose I'd had for the previous school year. 

Reality is that we don't always finish what was planned. Sometimes a book didn't work out. Or the extra activities weren't a good fit and we withdrew. And then there are spontaneous field trips taken. Details that I can fill in that journal our completed year. And then I file it away for record keeping.

It is so good to remember what was done. And it's fuel for my newly kindled enthusiasm for the upcoming school year. 

I love free resources. So I use the Course of Study form from Donna Young's website.   I make one for each of my students. I write down each subject and the curriculum. I write down planned activities and topics planned for their Co-op classes. And then I add field trips that I'd like to plan. And then I'm ready to start the next step in getting ready for the new year--daily lesson plans.  

180 Days of School Countdown

I have a "Countdown to the End of the Year" poster/checklist for the kids to mark off how many days of school they've done and they can see the progress their making towards the end of the year. 

We're on day 164 of the current school year. The kids are motivated to get it done!  

Personalized Homeschool Student Planner's 
I like to make a personalized student planner for my kid each year. It's called "180 Days of School." I include holidays, coop's and any field trips I know we're planning. This helps me to be realistic about what can be accomplished. It also becomes my check list and record for the new school year. 

I make a 34-week student planner. I fill in holiday, coop days, and known field trips before printing each copy. Then I pencil, or type, in individual weekly assignments here. This helps us  know what needs to be done regardless of interruptions etc. to our day. 

My kids are all starting to work more independently and the message is that school is first, then the other stuff. But really, it's helps me remember what I told them to do! And it keeps one child from trying to pass off work that was already done as the current week's finished work. (smile)

Today I'm picking up where I left off my planning for next year's lessons today. When I ordered this year's curriculum and started planning we were still wrapping up last years's work and no one talked about moving.

The school room has been mostly packed and the one lone box sitting in there has the next year's work. By the time we arrive at our destination we need to also have a plan ready for the next school year.

So here I sit with the mini binders  that enticed me at Staples the other day on my errand to buy more duct tape. They were so pretty in their display. So many pretty colors! Of course I bought a purple, a pink, a red, a green, a yellow and a white. All the colors we use for color-coding the kid's stuff.

I was going to make my own template/spreadsheet for a weekly checklist to three-hold punch and then HSMom2One on The Well-Trained Mind forums posted a link to a free customizable academic planner At Homeschool Classifieds. Perfect!

My specific "To Do" today is getting these binders ready to roll for this fall. Each subject will be listed and I'd like to add a count down from 170. The plan is that they'll be reusable too! And the kids will be able to personalize their own covers.

After writing all this out I supposed you're thinking that it would just have been easier to buy an Academic Planner from Walmart for $6.79. Hmmmm, there was a reason I didn't but now I can't remember. But look at it all ugly and black--no fun. I'd have to actually open it to know who's I was grabbing late Sunday night. I admit that I felt giddy walking past all the kiosks of school supplies. Ahh, there was no reason here. It was an impulse buy that's inspiring me, and hopefully inspires my children, to get excited for the next school year. And they are personalized just for our family.

The pretty binders aren't the standard hole punch. BUT I learned that it's possible to have an adjustable 3-hole punch. Mine is so we're back in business! :)