Saturday, September 20, 2014

Babble Planning--Junior High/Middle School

I've decided to babble plan. What is that? Just me babbling on "paper" while trying to plan out a homeschooling week.

My plans for my son have not been specific enough and so a lot of things haven't gotten done as I had planned. So, I will babble here and perhaps it will be of some sort of help to others--even if it's just inspiration to sit down and make a plan. ;)

*What has he done so far for French? ... Absolutely nothing. Okay, so what can he do? Reading, writing, grammar. I have not had him start writing a journal entry a day about what he's been doing. I was hoping his dad would get more into it, actually ask him, but things have been kind of chaotic and our son isn't up before Dad leaves for work, so... I can introduce it to him. Maybe have him write it like letters. "Cher Papa, aujourd'hui j'ai..." I also have grammar workbooks for him to work through, even just a page a day. For reading... I can resume reading Le voyage au centre de la Terre--except he's become quite bored with it (always that question: do you keep going? because you suspect he will enjoy it later? or just to see things through?)--or find something for him to read. Or maybe just start a different French novel for now, something simpler.

So, this means for this week:
-writing each day in the journal
-grammar each day (I need to find a book and have one specific page each day for him to do)
-at least being read to in French each day

*What has he been doing for English? We started Writing Strands, but haven't really done anything this past week. I'm not convinced it's a good fit for him. Getting him to write even just a paragraph a day in French might actually be enough right now, although I do still like the idea of perhaps doing mini Writers Workshop sessions. (I'd need to refresh my mind how they work.) He's been reading Lone Survivor. And I've had a few days of reading The Hobbit to him and we discuss things here and there. I could always add in Sequential Spelling, grammar... COPYWORK! Ach. He desperately needs to work on his handwriting.

So, for this week:
-continue with silent reading each day from Lone Survivor (at least 30 minutes)
-reinstitute copywork each day; what will he copy???? Ha, Calvin and Hobbes dialogues came as the first answer. lol. (He still loves Calvin and Hobbes!)
-Writers' Workshop?? Would have to see what I can find online (ooh, my search has led me to finding something useful for readers' workshops Looking at this document , it's hitting me that the best place to start would be a mini-lesson on journal entries, possibly start from the beginning with sentences. Having him write about things he wants, too, and why, like an electric guitar and an amp ("Why do you want it and why should Maman and Papa help you purchase it?") or a hamster.
-ooh, last-minute thought: have him read poetry. But what? ("Shakespeare's sonnets.") Oooh.

-he's been doing a bit of The Key to Algebra series, now in book 2. Just need to do it more consistently and perhaps for longer periods! And I've restarted him on multiplication table drills.

So, for this week:
-at least 30 minutes a day The Key to Algebra
-multiplication table drills, like I set up the other day (I should probably just take a picture, but it's closing in on midnight here and I don't feel like it ;) ). Basically, I just wrote out things like 1 x 3, 2 x 3, 4 x 3, 3 x 3, 6 x 3, 3 x 4, 5 x 3, 3 x 6... Lots of repetition with the x3s.

-we've touched on the school textbook a bit for the biology unit and the space unit. Could go back and touch on those or look at the other units.
-we haven't done any hands-on activities yet

So, for this week:
-touch on a different science unit each day (okay, except maybe Thursday--it'll be his birthday); I still haven't printed off the actual outcomes, which I think would be a better option to follow (research the outcomes) than simply following the textbook
-plan for at least one hands-on activity, ideally something connected with the science units

-we started watching Canada: A People's History

For this week:
I'd like to continue it and have him write something about what we watch. We also have some books and magazines out from the library on Canadian history, like issues from this magazine. Just a matter of being more consistent and deciding each day how much and what to do.

I haven't been having him track his hours, although he has been doing some exercise with the punching bag. I could always have him look up rules for things like playing badminton (we play sometimes at the rec. centre), tips for shooting baskets, something. Perhaps a year-long plan for phys. ed. topics would be in order.

Just need to sit down and do it with him.


I'm reminded by finding this that I haven't at all been doing a morning meeting with him. This will be important to discuss the work to do each day and have a routine to get moving with. And I either need to just set a schedule for him (which he seems fine with me doing) or a checklist (which might be more for me than for him). A daily checklist in a specific order that he can use as a schedule or can check things off in any order. There, sounds good.

Ok, it is shortly after midnight now. I can either stop and wait until morning to post or just post now. I think I'll post now. ;)

How do you plan for your middle school child?

Friday, September 5, 2014

What to do with my time? (And what about when my kids have graduated??)

It's 11:30 a.m. as I start typing this. My son has been up about 2 hours; my daughter a little less. My son has read Day 2 of Writing Strands (he asked to be allowed to just follow their schedule instead of doubling up; fine--it's a kind of structure that fits well with him), he has done a few pages of percentages and we've discussed safety issues with science labs and started looking at biodiversity. Not to mention looked at possibilities of books for him to read on his own. He would like something non-fiction; that doesn't surprise me. Now it's just finding the right type of non-fiction for him.

That's all I had figured out for today and now it's all done. My daughter has grabbed her bio text and is working at finishing up as much as she can from the chapter today and also has art assignments she's alternating with. Doesn't require much from me with these outside courses.

So, now I'm a bit: What do I do with myself? lol. And given my son is grade 9, only 4 (maybe 5) years left. What am I going to do with myself as time goes on and my daughter has moved onto other things and my son will just be working on his own a lot? And the bigger question: What will I do with myself once he's done school?

I am in my 12th official year homeschooling my kids, my 13th or 14th year if you count the homeschooling I did of someone else's daughter when my daughter was kindergarten age or the year before that when I homeschooled yet someone else's kindergarten child. That's a long time at "this job." Over many years, there were other kids here from other families, either in a homeschooling fashion or just childcare. It's now just the 3 of us most of the time. And I'm finding already this year that my son is much more able to do different things on his own (so far). I'm also not planning on doing all the reading aloud to him that I did last year.

In any case, I suppose I'm facing what any long-term homeschooling mammas face: what do you do when the work you've been doing is going to suddenly not be there anymore? It's kind of like knowing you're going to be laid off. And your work load as you approach the layoff is lessening, but you still have to be there for the hours.

This really is my chance to pursue long-term dreams/desires like writing, isn't it? I just need to make sure to take advantage of it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to School!

Well, not back to school, but back to schoolwork. ;)

Our school year officially started on Tuesday. I guess it's only now Thursday, but Tuesday feels like a lifetime away for some reason. I was completely unprepared for any kind of work Tuesday, my daughter slept until almost noon (she'd been at a sleepover the previous night and hadn't really gotten much sleep!) and so we went out for lunch and both kids got a pair of shoes to replace the ones their toes are reaching the ends on.

Wednesday (that was just yesterday? wow) we had a meeting with our teacher advisor to submit and discuss our plans for the year. The original decision to change how my 16-year old is registered got changed--she's decided she wants to give the online another go, wants that structure, wants to learn to just push ahead even if things aren't completely done (and I will add, done "right"--I think this is a way she is working on tackling her perfectionism a bit). And she got started on her biology course yesterday, which is good since it's a day before the teacher expects people to start. :)

My 13-year old son is still leaving everything in my hands. lol. Except that I told him Tuesday morning I would have work for him on Wednesday. I planned out all kinds of things, but with the idea that only what would take up maybe a couple hours in the morning was all I'd have him do. He ended up reading The Action Bible for over 2 hours. I had him read Day 1 of Writing Strands 4 as at least some sort of other work for the day. Today, I got him resuming his work with The Key to Decimals workbooks. My plan is to kind of alternate between that and the algebra. He just needs a little extra on the side with some basics; he's otherwise completely ready to go. My daughter has gotten an art assignment done and has decided to tackle one course at a time by focusing just on biology for now.

A gentle start, but can't let things stay too gentle for too long!!