Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Page!

Well, my research side took over last night, and a bit this morning, and I have started a page with all the things I can find online that have to do with Montessori and adolescent programs. I have not yet finished--I do need to curb the research impulse to get things done today--but it's on the menu bar above or you can click here.

I can not believe how much more is available online now compared to when I looked just a few years back!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Know What I Want?

It's a little after 8:30 pm here as I start typing this. I'm dreadfully tired, but if I go to bed now, I'll either just nap--and then not fall back asleep until something like 1 am and completely mess up my sleep cycles--or I'll sleep through and be wide awake around 4 am. Or earlier. What to do? My mind can't focus on reading, I can't work on my other website, computer games are holding no interest and if I put on a movie or the TV, I'll just fall asleep.

So, I'm blogging. :D

I was thinking I would babble about how much I like the way we use Faith and Life (nope, I'm not an affiliate with them! ;) ). But instead, I've decided to babble about what I would like to see:

A Montessori homeschool curriculum or book for the adolescent years.

Yeah, I know, demanding request. It can be hard to find any real solid information about Montessori and the adolescent years. Training programs are few and far between and, afaik, don't have online options that we homeschoolers could take part in.

Maybe what I need to do is to gather all the information I can find and make myself a little book. A guide I can hold in my hands.

Of course, I could do as I always tell other people to do: Experiment! ;)

My thoughts are multiplying and jumbling together. I'll stop here for now, but I think I might babble to myself in a Word document. And maybe share some stuff at a later point!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh my...

I went to the library today.

Decided to pick up a book I found on bugs: Bugs Britannica.

Once home, I picked it up as my nieces and nephew were getting ready to leave with their dad and I randomly opened to any page, just to see if I'd made an even remotely good pick (was in a rush at the library; the cover looked good :P ).

The first bug I come across... Well... I feel I just have to send you along to another page so that you can see what this bug is commonly known as. I don't really want to have such a word show up in my blog and get listed as an xxx site! lol

Here you go: the Priapulida.

We all got a huge laugh from it, especially when we got to the description in the book about the Roman god, Priapus.

Ah, the things you learn while homeschooling... lol

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thinking About Sonlight

There has always been something rather appealing to me about Sonlight, which seems kind of strange since I really do love Montessori. I think part of it is the resources they use, but having a guideline for just one course (social studies is on my mind) is starting to appeal to me. To have some structure I can say to my son, "Hey, this much has to get done this week."

I'm specifically thinking of the 4-day "world history in a year" they have for grades 7/8 (Core W). I'm actually thinking of ordering it to start now; well, ASAP. I just have to be honest with myself and admit that we're pretty much halfway through the school year and I've accomplished nothing with him for social studies. Well, no, that's not true: we did the Great Lessons and looked a bit at some history books, but that's it. Probably less than 10 hours worth of stuff in all.

Now, the Core package would also have LA stuff, which isn't a bad thing. But it's much pricier than anything I've purchased before. Which might also be a motivator to use it. lol. Another possibility is to just get the guide and then try to find the necessary books myself.

Decisions, decisions...

Anybody combined Sonlight with a Montessori-infused home? Advice?

Our Tuesday... So Far

It's been an "interesting" day today. And it's only 12:04 pm as I start typing this.

First, I "slept in" until just after 5:30 am. I normally wake up sometime between 4 and 5, move down to the couch and try to fall back asleep. (My husband's alarm goes off at 6 am and I am often able to sleep past that--if I don't have the alarm waking me up.) But I finally got out of bed close to 6 and realized I probably wasn't going to go back to sleep. I did some things on the computer instead.

My son, who has been awake before 8 for days now, showed no signs of being alive until after 8:30. My daughter, who thought she had her alarm set for 8:15, but wasn't feeling great yesterday so I didn't wake her up when it turned out her alarm wasn't on, didn't get up until after 9, I think it was.

Before she was ready, my son and I tackled the first activity in the TOPS chemistry unit we are doing:

Our coffee filter wasn't quite the type of filter they had wanted us to use, apparently, because the jar on the right was supposed to have clear water, but it still did a decent job since you can tell the iodine made the other jar's solution a much deeper purple.

When my daughter was finally ready, she actually said she was feeling great. Finally had a decent night's sleep. That didn't last long. We didn't have what she wanted for breakfast but needed to go to the nearby Service Canada--in a mall where Safeway is--so she decided to wait on breakfast and we headed to Service Canada. 1.5-hour wait, we're told. Oh. It was already after 10 am at this point. We sat down and she started complaining about pressure behind her eyes. I thought it must be sinuses. I go buy her a bottle of water and a package of Pop Tarts. After a couple of minutes, she has a blind spot. Shoot. Sign of a migraine. She's had one before. A little later, pressure was gone from her eye and the blind spot was gone. But her forehead was hurting. By the time we actually got into see someone, she was really not feeling well. We skipped Safeway and went straight home, but she ended up vomiting in the van. Including on her black suede boots.

She's now resting on the sofa, perhaps even sleeping, with HGTV on in the background, a large bowl ready just in case and her cat keeping her company.

We were doing not too badly at trying to get her math course done before the end of January. I'm keeping my fingers crossed she'll still manage!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Last week quick review

I had wanted to do the same Friday review I had done last week, but it actually took a bit of time to do, so a modified recap before this week begins!

Homeschool Successes
My 15yo got a LOT of work done. She not only worked most of what time she had during the school day, but also did extra work most evenings. We'll have to be careful with this, but it is helping her catch up in math. She finished the one chapter and did her test on Friday, getting a 92%! Goal is to get the next unit done by this Friday so she can do the test on Friday and just have the final to do and a small project. We might still get her done before Feb. 1 yet.

My son got some more of Life of Fred done, read a bit in Sherlock Holmes (I don't want him to read too much at a time; just a couple of pages and then I have him tell me), has been playing basketball in his room and I can't remember what else. The plan this week is continue with that stuff but to start the TOPS unit, now that I have the corn starch we need. And play guitar with him at least once. He's better than I am (I really don't know how to play lol) but he really likes to practise with me rather than by himself.

What I've Been Up To
Lots of work on a new project: Vacations with the Kids! It's only in the beginning stages! Been learning a lot about affiliate marketing and spending a lot of time researching and working on getting the site set up the way I want. I am feeling determined to do what I can to not have to teach classes next year. I wouldn't mind one a week, but these three per week, plus picking up my nieces and nephew after school and my daughter's activities and just everything... Three's a little much.


That's it for now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creativity? Or laziness?

I discovered my son drinking out of this late Monday:

It's a kids' Tupperware pitcher. At first, I was thinking it was a sign that the dishes had to be done--I'd had 9 kids here Monday afternoon and they all used a plastic cup for a drink of water. So, when my son went to get a drink of water, there weren't any plastic cups left, so he grabbed this.

It hit me later that we did have glass glasses in another cupboard. And mugs. We had proper things to drink out of.

And so, the burning question in me: Is his use of the pitcher a creative solution to a problem or just plain laziness? ;)

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Saved the Day!

My 15-year old is quite behind in her math and we are trying to go through more of it and faster so she can finish before first semester is over. That, however, means stress and issues and combine that with tiredness and hunger... It was a rough morning.

Math done with, she decided to grab her laptop and check her school emails. Another falling apart ensued because a document she sent as part of an assignment wouldn't open. She'd done the assignment on her MacBook, saved the document as a .doc, but it now wouldn't open for the teacher. I sent it to my address and tried on different computers (um, yes, we have a number of computers in the house)--couldn't open it. She was a mess because it was just another stressor and thing to have to do. She started getting herself ready to redo it when she discovered part of what she needed was no longer there. Well, just add salt to the wound, why don't we?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

It hit me that it was a .doc, she'd opened it in Pages on her MacBook and then saved it.

 "How did you save it? Did you choose their option to save it as a Word document or did you just change the ending to .doc?"

 "Just changed the ending to .doc. It works downstairs [on our Mac desktop] when changing image files."


 I figured I knew what had happened: the conversion didn't take place. I renamed the document with a .pages ending and voilà (yes, that's how it's supposed to be spelled)! It opened, all her work was there, I saved a copy as a Word document, she sent it off and the crisis was averted, stress levels have gone down.

Have you been your child's superhero lately? What happened?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week in Review: Jan. 7-11, 2013

I saw here a Week In Review setup and then saw a different one. I kind of like it, thought it would make for a good blog post, so here I go. :)

In my life this week...

This was a tough week. I always seem to forget how I have to adjust to the hustle and bustle of school weeks. By the end of the week, both my daughter and I were absolutely beat! And no wonder: we went from Christmas holidays with no real structure, no real demands, to:

*Monday--school morning, I taught a class in the afternoon, picked up my nieces and nephew from school right after class, she had dance in the evening

*Tuesday--regular school day, regular after-school pick up, she had an activity in the evening

*Wednesday--appointment for blood work in the morning (completely stressed her out as she's never had blood taken before), followed by a visit to the library and lunch out, regular after school pick-up

*Thursday--French class in the morning (she is part of it), starting at 8:30, rush off a little after 10 am to a homeschool "co-op" of sorts (not a real co-op, but hard to otherwise explain), I had to stay for the parent meeting, got back at noon, had lunch and final prep before a class I teach from 1-3, after-school pick up, then went to pick up my 15yo at the co-op--complete opposite direction I need to go in compared to the school pick up

*Friday (we were both in rough shape by yesterday morning)--regular school day, except she had slept horribly, wasn't feeling well, I had a headache and sniffles all day, managed to get some work in, after-school pick up and then she had dance in the evening.

Add to all of this there is the flu going around and norovirus, which we haven't caught, but that doesn't mean we haven't come in contact and aren't fighting off! I still have a headache today, with my sinuses having now decided to join in, too, and my ears a bit. It's been a rough week.

In our homeschool this week...

Kind of tied with above in terms of schedule. However, I've hit a home run with Life of Fred and my son! Woot!!! I had him just read the first chapter of the Fractions book, telling him, "Just read it, don't do the math yet. I want to know if you think you'd like to use it." Well, he ended up reading half the book over two days because he liked the story aspect of it so much. lol. We did manage one time to sit down and actually do the math required. We skipped the first lesson's work because he has already done some work like that this year and it's far too easy for him (< > = ), but the large multiplication with the second lesson sure did challenge him since he doesn't know his math facts!

We resumed Faith and Life, although I think we only did it once. A new Débrouillards magazine came in (a French science magazine for youth) which formed his science curriculum this week. He reads that thing from front to back. There was an interesting article in there about robots which has spurred on what we'll work on next week for science. I did come across some TOPS units in my school stuff and he picked a unit he'd like to do (a chemistry unit). I started prepping the stuff and realized we don't have everything we need. Will have to do some groceries for that.

My 15yo has resumed her work, but it's been slow. Her level of positivity isn't good when it comes to a lot of it. I have somewhat decided that I do just need to forge ahead with her when she's kind of holding back, resistant to any of the work. That's what I did and we got all the pre-novel-reading activities done. Now she just has to get the novel read. Math has been an issue, as usual. One of those things where she does the work nearly perfectly, but frustration and tears are common. We had a fantastic math session Wednesday evening where she painted her nails, I read the questions to her and either she told me what to write to work out the answers or she would manage to write out a part. We need to get some done this weekend.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Make sure to have some down time, some time just for yourself, especially when things are chaotic!

I am inspired by...

It just hit me that I haven't done any Bible reading nor my devotional this week. (No wonder things felt so chaotic! part of my brain says.) Other forms of inspiration this week have been the people online who have managed to make a living--and been completely honest about how long it took them to reach the level they are at and honest about how you have to work at it. Zig Ziglar (author of the book linked above) has also been inspiring me to be more positive.

Places we went and people we saw...

Somewhat covered above, but let me write out a little more specifically. I saw all the kids in my classes. We saw the medical lab people, friends who are also part of the "co-op", dd saw her friends at Rangers (Girl Guides) and her dance classmates and instructor.

My favourite thing this week was...

Watching movies in the evening with my girl. :)

What's working/not working for us...

Working: Life of Fred! Woot!
Not working: Schedule. Lack of clear expectations on my part.

Questions/thoughts I have...

How do I get my 15yo over her lifelong unrealistic expectations of herself? How much do I insist that she forge ahead--especially when I can see she's slept horribly or isn't feeling well and I know how much my brain power and emotional tolerance of things goes out the window when I'm like that?

Things I'm working on...

Other than all the driving around and class planning and everything involved with the above, I have been working on learning more about how to make an income online. Lots of hours spent researching and learning and doing things!

I'm reading...

I've been listening to an audiobook version of Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. I am really liking it!

I'm cooking...

I honestly can't remember what I cooked this week. lol. I am working on a plan for next week with gluten-free suppers. Part of the blood work this week was to test for celiac. She will have to go wheat-free at the very least because we know that affects her, but we don't know at this point if it's just wheat or gluten the problem. We did a week and a half of gluten-free meals before Christmas holidays. I want to get going with it again now because if the testing shows it's likely celiac, then the suppers will already be taken care of and she'll just have to transition herself back to gluten-free for the rest of the day. The first few days were very hard when we went gluten-free in December; I want it to be a little easier this time around. We can't go completely gluten-free just yet because if the testing says she needs to go for a biopsy, she has to have been consuming gluten for a period of time to see what it's doing to her internally.

I'm grateful for...

Having my nieces and nephew after school. While it does add to the busyness of my day to go and get them (a process that takes 50 minutes!), I do really enjoy having them here. My one niece always turns the corner in her school, sees me and gets this infectious smile on her face. <3

I'm praying for...

Wisdom in guiding my children in their schooling and finding/creating suitable online work.

A photo, video, link or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)...

 "You have to be a positive parent if you want positive children." (Could be a paraphrase. lol. From the audiobook of the book linked above.)

Monday, January 7, 2013

So typical...

Here it is, Monday morning, first day back to "school", I'm eagerly awaiting my son to get up (he's usually up between 8 and 8:30 lately), not sure when my daughter's planned to get up (she was coming down with a cold, so I'm not going to push the issue) and I look and see that it's already 9 am. No sign of my son. I figured he was hiding out in his room reading. No: he only just woke up. lol.

I am teaching a French class this afternoon, so we only have the morning to work on things. It's okay if it's a gentle move into work. I've already pulled out some "school"-related books from the bookshelves and put them on the table. One actually has a sticky note from where we left off looking.

Hope you all have a good week back (if you haven't already started)!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to the Grind!

That sounds just awful, doesn't it? "Back to the grind!" Makes it sound so onerous. lol.

I wouldn't mind another week of holidays but I'm not minding, either, the idea of getting back into school, working on a better routine, etc.

Today, I wrote down some notes for myself for tomorrow for my son:

*Out of his room ALL morning (except to play guitar).
*Anything except for comics can be read during the morning.
*I used my Homeschool Tracker program to create a kind of open plan for tomorrow. I put in it:

--French: writing (composition about anything or something he's read or handwriting practice; can include calligraphy)
--Math (I'd like to find our one Life of Fred math and see if it tempts him at all; I just feel like he needs something different for a bit)
--Science (I need to pick an activity, but we also have various science books here he can read)
--Other: Look at the woodworking book I took out; any inspiration or desires? Explore indoor gardening possibilities. How would it work? What would you like to grow? You have mentioned wanting your own pet. Research different pets. Write down what you've found; we can come up with a template/form to follow to make sure everything is covered. What sort of things would you like to be able to do? What kinds of things would you like to find out how other people did them? Basically, a bunch of things to get him thinking, exploring.

So, I've essentially structured the time (kind of like Thomas Jefferson Education approach), and given guidelines for topics, but not decided exactly what has to be done. I know I need to decide some specific lessons at some point, but for now, I'm hoping my suggestions of things to do will get him started. I will do at least one science lesson this week.

It hit me that I forgot to put in there that I want him to plan and prepare a supper this week. I'll have to write that on his sheet (it's already printed off).

For my daughter, she didn't end up doing any school work during Christmas vacation. The huge focus will be on math and language arts, but she can't be neglecting other stuff, either. I keep having this nagging voice telling me to use with her certain time management principles I've learned, so I need to actually take action on it. Basically, sit down and write out all the things she's got on her mind she needs to do. What's the next action for each of these things? And take time each day to assess what's most important, what's been done, what risks being neglected. Things like that. When I think of her work habits before Christmas, she'd spend a lot of time in avoidance, using her iPod or laptop or something. I think I might take note of all that, the times I see her doing that, and then sometime later in the week, ask her if she's aware of where her time is going.

All right, enough thinking for now!