Thursday, June 13, 2013

What Constitutes "Too Much Time On Your Hands"?

Have you ever read a book that you thought was okay, maybe even pretty good, and then just one line ruined the whole thing for you to the point you just couldn't continue?

Well, I've had that experience. I picked up a book on homeschooling at the library. I thought it might have some good tips on organization and at first, as I skimmed through a bit, it did get me thinking a bit and doing some self-evaluation. That part was good. But then I skimmed to a part today where it talked about not having enough time and having too much time on our hands.

Want to know what was, in her opinion, evidence of having too much time on your hands?

Reading at least 5 or 6 books per month.


I went back and reread the heading of the section to make sure I was understanding properly. No, no, I had not misunderstood. If you are reading 5 or 6 books per month, you are, apparently, not managing your time well, or not making the most of it or something.

I find myself just shocked. Stunned. How can reading 5 or 6 books per month be excessive? When I'm in a good groove for managing time and there's not a lot of chaos being thrown my way, I can easily read a book in a weekend, and then I'll do maybe 30 minutes of reading before bed each night. I sneak in reading when I have to wait, like afterschool as I wait for my nephew to arrive at my nieces' school (I have a 20-minute wait each day!) 5 to 6 books per month is something I can pull off and still be crazy busy.

I know people who say we ought to be reading a couple of books per week--focusing on books that motivate us, inspire us, educate us. That would be 8+ books per month. And yet, if we manage that, we apparently have too much time on our hands. She does not specify "novels" and "non-fiction", simply "books." I feel all discombobulated with the very idea.

She also said if you were watching 2+ hours of TV per day, you've got too much time on your hands. I do tend to watch 2+ hours of TV per day--about 2.5 hours when all is said and done. I relax with my kids in front of a couple of shows or have a movie on while I'm doing other things, like working on my taxes or making cards or planning my day or week or sorting through a box of stuff that needs decluttering. When I'm not exhausted, I'm typically doing something else at the same time, but not always; it's nice to just sit and enjoy the break from the intensity. Is 2 hours per day truly that excessive? She went so far as to proclaim that if you knew what had been talked about on talk shows all this afternoon, you'd definitely been watching too much! What if you were watching shows while folding laundry? Cutting out things for your kids' school stuff? What if you'd simply been sick that day?

This completely threw me for a loop and left me so discombobulated, I just don't even want to read any more of the book. It's one thing to tell people to be aware of where their time is going and is that how they want to be spending it, and quite another to be telling people that if they're managing to read a decent amount, they've got too much time in their hands! Isn't it?

Except now I'm feeling guilty for the time I'm spending on the computer typing up a blog post and relaxing with some FB games...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Babble, babble

My 15yo is doing a science unit test right now (only the science exam left to do! well, for science... tons of other stuff to do this week for English and social studies) and I don't feel like cleaning, so I'll babble about next year.

She has decided to not do the weekly homeschool program she's been doing this year and instead is adding on another dance class right before another already planned dance class. This works just fine because it's not an extra outing for me by adding on this class and by taking away the homeschool program, it frees up our week somewhat more and I don't have the complication of driving her to the program in the morning, coming home, picking up my nieces and nephew from school between 3 and 4 and then driving back to pick her up and finally getting home around 4:30. This change is good.

In terms of courses she's taking, she's planning on doing one of them this summer and just handing in the work in September (the information is all available online!), which will leave her with English Language Arts and math for her core subjects, then a first music course to finish first semester, and phys. ed. and art to get at least half-done. If she can make a habit of getting up between 8:30 and 9, she could get the core subjects out of the way by noon and have the afternoons open for music, art and phys. ed. We've learned a lot with this chaotic end of semester about pushing through stress and getting things done, and I'm prepared to keep up with the same level of insistence in the fall so that she stays on track with her courses. I think it's going to be a very good semester!! She's come a long way in terms of accepting that a lot of questions aren't about knowing but about thinking but she does still have some work to do with her perfectionism and writing assignments--always convinced what she's written is stupid, even though she's getting an A on most of it. (I'm really glad she's signed up to have other teachers mark her work because she has never believed me about the quality of her writing and now she has other people saying it!) She is very excited about the fall, not about English and math, but music and dance and now with the schedule more open during the day, we can go to the recreation centre weekly, to be honest, if we want. And meet up with other people there while we're at it.

This does have my brain turning to violin programs that she can use to self-teach. She's not really interested in having someone else direct her at this point, but is open to it if she feels she just needs some extra help. There are some places where we can just set up a lesson at a time, so that's good. (Yes, I've already done some research.) What she does need is resources that will help her. She's already thought of YouTube, but I'm thinking some sort of book/program that we can also use as a way of measuring progress, which will also help in terms of meeting some of the specific outcomes she's supposed to learn. I think I can leave the YouTube finding up to her, but I'll see what I can find in terms of a book or other kind of program.


This week is a crazy week. The poor girl is sick AND stressed AND has tons of work to get done. She is doing the one test now, but she has the exam in two days and has not even begun studying the first unit. She has 2 unit assignments to do for social studies, plus the unit tests AND the final exam--all for this week. And she's got to finish going through Romeo and Juliet, answer two packets of questions and do a small project or a test on the play; well, and she has to finish up what she's started for the movie study and her Animal Farm project. All this week. Well, before 1:30 on Friday because we are having company.

Which reminds me...

Those of you who have known me or been following for sometime--as in, from the old blog--might remember I was homeschooling a girl from another family during her grade 1 to grade 5 years. She moved a bit away for grade 6 and then they moved to Belize! She is back in Canada and after various things happening, it looks as though she might be going back to homeschooling and is interested in doing a couple of days per week with us--and is coming this Friday afternoon to chat about it. My daughter and I hope this will work out! Yes, that means that our weeks will be a little less open, but 2 days a week of having her here to work with us doesn't feel like something's being taken away from our week at all. Having a friend to work beside and chat with would add to my daughter's days, even if the two aren't working exactly on the same thing. I'll know more about what she has in mind once we talk on Friday.

Is this enough of a babble? lol

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

My 15yo did her final science quiz yesterday. Woot! She had a huge smile when she saw it was the last one. Up until that point, everything just felt so overwhelming and like things weren't going to get done. Now, there's a feeling that the end is almost near--and things are getting done.

There's still a great deal of work for her to do the next two weeks, but this next week is the more intense one. She's already decided she may just skip certain assignment questions or just go, "Okay, whatever, I'll just babble."

She's now got a cold on top of everything, so it's slowing her down, but it's also somehow making her more relaxed about everything, so it's not totally slowing her down because she's not being (as) blocked by her perfectionism!

I'm feeling so excited--the end is almost near! lol