Friday, March 7, 2014

Planning Ahead: Homeschooling 2014

It's that time of year again- February is over, but spring isn't here yet. One spreadsheet is everywhere in our house, printed fresh every few days (after a gazillion changes) so I can pour over it in spare minutes.

It's all about school for the upcoming year.

The thing is, we're still in the thick of this year, and now up to the part of the year where I start to feel like we'll never "be done", which is a little silly. See, we school essentially year round with breaks taken as needed through the year. We're never "done", but it's nice to move through material and end up with a stack at some point that shouts, "You've completed something big!"

So, I'm refreshing my schooling brain so that I can think good thoughts and finish out this year strong, while getting ready for next year.

The two books I come back to every single year are The Well-Trained Mind and Real Learning. Combined they provide the backbone for education in our home.

If you only take one thing from Elizabeth Foss's book Real Learning, let it be the literature lists. We use her lists for audio book selections when possible, and read-aloud if they aren't available on CD. They are rich and lovely book lists, utilizing picture books into later years- which I have not seen on other lists. Picture books are so very valuable in the later years and we shouldn't confine them to the 2nd grade and under crowd.

The Well-Trained Mind is my reminder text to keep the main thing the main thing. It is so easy to get into a "buy the best curriculum" scurry instead of recognizing that education is best when it is direct and uncluttered. The Well-Trained Mind forums can be an extremely helpful source of information. I'm currently researching elementary French options for next year, and there are dozens of threads to search through on that one topic that have provided almost as many options as there are posts. These forums are the first place I go to when I need to get started on researching a school area we want to pursue. I also appreciate that many posters there are considerate of budget and will mention costs associated with programs.

So for now, I'm trying to refocus the rest of our year, March- May. I picked up the Astronomy book from Memoria Press at my local curriculum store last night and we're going to focus heavy on science for a few weeks, as well as spelling. We will still study our other subjects as well, but we're going to put some focused work into spelling and science since those two subjects have gone a bit lax over the last 2 months.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just a Toe

Ah... the Spring WILL Come socks! These have been a perfect quick project for what is hopefully our last big snow of the year. I never thought I'd call socks a quick knit, but I'll have finished this pair in 7 days I think- which I'm certain is a record for me.

My husband teased that I should call them my Therapy Socks. All the medical testing I'm going through is starting to get to me, I think because we're closing in on 3 full months of testing and appointments with no real news. I've been in a weird mental place since the lab draw last week. I had the draw on Wednesday, cast on the socks Thursday and I just keep knitting, knitting, knitting... and trying to stay quiet and listen for what I need to know right now. And maybe what I don't need to know- listening for peace I suppose.

{Baby toes next to my sock that just needs a toe... oh, my baby has a sense of humor!}

I thought I'd make it through the toe last night, but I taught late and a warm bath and a book won out over the knitting. I really do just need about 3 cm and then I'm to the toe decreases and it will fly off the needles. Maybe tonight?

I just started Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's new book last night- The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes. One essay was all I could manage before tucking in, but I so enjoy her perspective on life- not just as a knitter. 

{What are you reading and knitting this week?}

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow Day (Weekend) Knits

Last week was not a fabulous week here. Doctor's appointments, extra work hours for me and my husband, and a few missed events because of those two things really bothered me. We didn't get enough school time in, the house was far from where I like it to be, and the jobs waiting to be done (like reorganizing a closet) that could normally be done at any later date seemed to scream at me.

So I made a list, tried to account for time to rest, and we jumped in on Friday morning. The boys worked on schooly things while I sorted through the giant box of papers we've acquired in our school room since the first of the year. I put my rest time into a sock I cast on at knit night on Thursday night. Just as I was about to jump in on chores again, my husband texted me about snow. Sleet starting mid-afternoon Saturday, with snow called to pile up over the following 24-36 hours.

Right then I made a deal with myself. Getting all the chores done during what was left of Friday instead of spreading them out over the weekend like I had planned would equal time to knit, knit, knit. I may have also promised my boys some bonus time with video games if they helped.

So we worked really hard. We made it through the bathrooms, and the rest of the laundry, the vacuuming and the mopping. We had dinner together, finished up the kitchen and after children made it into bed I went to work on my sock.

I may have laid there awhile too, just soaking up the stillness my body needs right now.

By lunch time on Saturday I was one sock richer, and the snow hadn't even shown up yet. And by this morning, I'm up through the heel flap, and waiting for a bit of time later today to turn the heel.

Of course tonight it's back to work, and working through the rest of the week. But maybe a completed pair by Wednesday or Thursday?

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