Monday, July 28, 2008

Planning Update


Back to keeping it simple with heaps of books, some good art prints, that tape I picked up for free at garage sale of Vivaldi, and lots of real life together.

A couple great things that emerged from my planning bonanza are...
  • lots of great lists of books (much needed for my son who devours books)
  • the realization that I only need to purchase one book for next year
  • a simple system for me
  • seeing that Sonlights year 7 and 300 could be mixed together to give Ariel heaps of great reading and lots of good read alouds for us and discussions
  • realizing that the older two are missing having more historical type read alouds and are not big on the grand overviews at the moment (ditto with that here!)
So today I did lots of cleaning, spent time in the garden, puttered (one of my favourite summer past times), and read the children lots of books. It was a very good day, and now it is off to bed to read Scarlet (after much urging from Ar.!).

Hope this finds you enjoying your summer.

Picture Book Bonanza!

Two weeks ago I decided that we needed to branch out in the picture book area- I had read enough Tintin and Asterix to be a bit of a household authority on the subjects! So I went and picked up around 50 great books with the kids....picture books we could all enjoy. I put them in big baskets in the living room and they are being looked at and read consistently with lots of enjoyment.

Some of the ones we have been enjoying..

One Grain of Rice- Demi
The Stonecutter- Mc Dermott
The Kitchen Knight- Hodges
Comus- Hodges
Clown of God (looooove this one)- de Paolo
Fin M'Coul- de Paolo
Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato- de Paolo
Hansel and Gretel- illustrated by Adrienne Adams
Saint Ciaran- Schmidt
The Emperor's New Clothes-Demi
The Magic Tapestry-Demi

I love how a well written picture book can bring all the children crowding into the couch to listen....even my teenager!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook- July 9th

Please visit Peggy's for all the daybook links....

Outside My Window... a quiet and cool evening- a wonderful thing in the middle of the summer. Tomatoes are growing and coriander is blooming. Lots of tasty greens for salad.

I am thinking...about how wonderful it will be to see Hannah on Friday when she arrives home from camp.

I am thankful for... my great son, Ariel.

From the kitchen...mixed green salad from my garden: beet greens, mizuna, red leaf lettuce, romaine and buttercrunch!

I am wearing... an olive green tee, faded jeans with a 'scarf' belt, bare feet, and my hair down so it can dry!

I am creating... a dishcloth, a pair of socks, and a binder with my different menus and such in it.

I am going... to Folk Fest this weekend, sans children.

I am reading... Hood by Stephen Lawhead

I am hoping... to go to bed very soon.

I am hearing... the hum of the computer. It is very quiet down here. Our turn of the century house has no opening windows on the main floor and I've shut the storm door for the night.

Around the house... loads of picture books. We went to the library yesterday and picked out around 50 picture books. All but 2 from the folk tale/fairy tale section. My boys have been on a Tin Tin and Asterix kick for months and I wanted some variety.

One of my favorite things... reading in bed with a cup of tea (and a piece of homemade buttered toast!)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Hannah's arrival, dusting and cleaning the kitchen windows, packing, relaxing with my knitting at folk festival.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... (my camera's batteries are dead, again, so here is an old shot...)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Update on that computer like thingy...

Yesterday I lugged our big tv up from the cellar again. I just seem to have this aversion to it in our living room. It was a gift, but a bit too large for the space. I also have my on again off again hangups with television in general. So it gets lugged up and down this narrow set of stairs in our turn of the century house (it's actually surprising I haven't permanently damaged my body lugging it around!).

Anyhow, I set it up in our hot sweaty house for a little Planet Earth for my kids and the kids I was looking after for the night. I hadn't hurt myself in that last trip up the stairs but the tv hadn't faired so well. When I turned it on it flashed alot then the picture just went.

I would like to say I am upset but it would be a little far from the truth!

Back to watching movies on the computer (the screen may be smaller but the sound is way better!).

Thinking on...

Less is more- school planning

It was good to read some of the articles Kim linked to. I must admit that I didn't resonate with heaps some of them said, but I pulled out some very helpful nuggets that have sharpened my focus and brought some simplicity to my planning.

Some of these would be:
  • Self teaching: as much as we have loved our all together time, I saw a lot last year that it needed to take a different shape. The age range is greater than when I just had the older two and it was starting to not work as smoothly. As well, Ar. is ready to really dig in more on his own and seems to prefer this. So, to borrow a term from Cindy at Dominion Family, we will have small Morning Times to enjoy some of those things together like artist study, poetry memorization (kids LOVE this), bible reading, literature, Shakespeare etc. We will still cover some history together but Ar. will do another stream as well (maybe H. as well).
  • Stick to the basics! Focus on those and the beauty that comes from the Morning Time themes. Read lots together and alone!
  • Include drawing and painting more in our days. The children used to illustrate a number of their narrations but it has slipped as more children have been added to the mix
  • Focus on a generous palate in all years, but in the early years (this would include my two youngest) don't worry about chronology or grand schemes. Pile the books up, all sorts, especially good picture books (think Diane Stanley or Demi), and start reading. There are plenty of years to work out the specific chronology.
  • Short lessons!
  • Lots of time outside- has to be a priority, especially in the September to January bracket (as it is just too darn cold here in the latter parts of the winter to do anything)
  • Simplify our outings. Is a child screaming for a new class/lesson/activity? If not, then reasses whether it meets your goals or how it melds with the rest of your life.
  • What are the needed areas of focus for each child? How can I best meet those needs?
I really appreciated Kim's focus here....
School planning is in full force here. It is actually far less planning and more refocusing. We know what our vision is. We know what we love and what we don't. We know what works. This season is less one of decision and more one of prayerful consideration of what challenges the new year will bring, individually and collectively, and how best to meet them.

I have also been enjoying the forms for housekeeping on this post (tried the one for emergency quick clean today and it worked smoothly)

The Home Management Journal- Housekeeping forms/lists

I should sign off now. The computer has become a wee bit of a monster for me as of late....of to read some Asterix.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heard today at my house...

Mom: No computer games today Aaron. It is a no computer day (for kids I guess!)

Caleb: What is that other thing that is like a computer that we watch movies on?

Me: A tv?

Caleb: Yeah, none of that either eh?