Saturday, July 26, 2008

7th Grade Final Plans

Over the last three days, I've done nothing but homeschool planning and testing. I am very thankful that I mapped out my ideas earlier in the year, because I haven't had the time to spend studying and figuring this summer like I usually do.

As usual, I have planned way too much. There's so much that appeals to me, but never enough time. Then Doc has to go and mention a cool economics program that looks good. That will have to wait for another time.

So, here's our 7th grade:


Rod and Staff
Thomas hates this. He hates Rod and Staff math. But, as I've learned over our homeschooling career, you have to use what works. Rod and Staff works for him. It's the best fit I've found for him. I have to remind him that he hates all math programs, which made him laugh.

I'm going to order their master pack CD. Thomas needs practice with speed. And just practice doing problems. I haven't ordered this, but if anyone knows of a secular program similar to Calculadders, please let me know! I know this is overkill, but I also know that a little practice won't hurt.

I purchased two middle-school textbooks with teacher's guides on eBay in March. They arrived minutes before I left for Denver to help my dad with his surgery. I haven't even looked at them. Last year Thomas read two science text books, one on earth science and the other life science. This year I'll let him read, but hopefully I'll have time to look through the teacher's guides and be a little more active. Believe it or not, Thomas requested science text books. He loves science and would read those texts (and any other books on science lying around the house) for hours.

United States History:
We will finish our Glencoe Civics text that we started last year. Thomas loved that and requested to do it daily. We bought it late in the year, so lucky for him, we have about 3/4 of the book left.

I also want him to memorize the states and capitals. Shame on me for waiting so long to do this. This falls into the category of "someday we'll do that" or the category of "started but not finished". Also on the agenda is to memorize the presidents. President memorization isn't high on my list, but we have the Yo! Millard Fillmore book, so why not. I wish we had Yo! Sacramento, but we don't.

We will also be doing a mini-unit on the civil war. (We didn't get to this last year.)

World History:
Yes, I realize it's stupid to do US history and world history, but I have a compulsion to do both. We were going to use a text book for this, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I will be ordering Story of the World IV on CD. We will stop when we get to the civil war section and do the civil war unit I have loosely put together.

I can't say enough about our love for the Story of the World series. Well, let me rephrase that: For the CDs. We have listened to them in the car on the way to Denver and South Dakota and around town, besides listening to them in the house. Thomas has retained so much of what he's heard. Plus, we've listened to the other volumes several times.

I gave up on buying their activity books. We don't use them. We don't test, nor do we write reports. We just listen and soak it up. By doing this, Thomas has developed a real love for history. It really surprised me when we were in Denver this last time that Thomas asked that we go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science one last time. Why? He wanted to see the Egyptian Mummies one last time.

We will continue (or basically start over) our study of Spanish. I held us up because I struggled with it. Why can't we study German instead? I've decided this year we will work one half hour a day on Spanish. No scheduled completion dates, just constant study on a daily basis. We're using Bob's college Spanish text book and tapes.

Prentice Hall Geography will be our course of study this year. I purchased a text and teacher's guide last spring.

This is a very neglected subject in our home. A year or two ago I purchased Themes to Remember. Very "young" for Thomas, but we agreed to go through the book this year. I would really like to get Thomas started with piano lessons, too. I'm looking for a teacher, but if I can't find one that will work for him, I'll try to teach him myself.

Thomas begged to do logic last year. We used the Blast Off with Logic series in the past, so it's time to find something new. I didn't have a lot of time to research, nor do I want to start a formal logic study just yet, so I have selected Think Harder! Word Puzzles and Think-A-Minutes C1. I think Thomas will approve.

Thomas will continue with his ceramics classes. I have begged the instructor to teach regular art classes, but she says there isn't interest. He'll do a wheel throwing class when she offers. For our home study, we are going to use Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters. This is another book that I've meant to get to every year, but haven't. We'll pick and choose projects, but learn about some artists while we're at it. I also have Artistic Pursuits on my shelf, and I plan to pull that out and take a look. We do a lot of unplanned art projects through the year, and Thomas has free reign over all our art supplies. I had planned to set up an art studio in our laundry room, but I haven't got to it yet. I brought home a huge table from my dad's house that will serve as "art station central" so that we can leave projects out.

Yet another project we've worked on for years, but I've dropped the ball: Keyboarding. I have two books, Kids Can Type, Too! and Baron's Typing the Easy Way. I guess I shouldn't say I've dropped the ball. Thomas does know correct finger placement and uses it! I just want him to develop some speed and accuracy. In my day, I typed over 100 wpm with fantastic accuracy. I'd like for him to work up to 40 wpm by the end of the year.

We are going to study Word and Excel in more detail as well.

English is the focus of our school year.

Spelling is an issue here. We've used AVKO's Sequential Spelling for a few years and Thomas has improved, but he's a rule-kid and I think he needs to know spelling rules. He still uses a lot of incorrect phonetic spelling in his writing. We're going to try Spell Bound.

Grammar will be Exercises in English Grammar I and possibly II. A rather dry looking workbook with just grammar. From the samples I've seen, it looks just about right. Nice review in the first book and hopefully some new learning in the second.

Since the grammar book does not cover mechanics, and since Thomas whined his way through the mechanics portion of his standardized test, we'll be doing a workbook called Mechanics, too.

Writing will be every day this year. I have decided to buy the Spectrum Writing 7th Grade workbook, which we will probably follow loosely, read over The Write Source's writing section, and a few other writing books I have on my shelf. I plan on tons of writing for poor Thomas this year.

Thomas actually requested a vocabulary program, so I just put Words on the Vine in my shopping basket. A small workbook that goes over Latin and Greek roots. We've been doing that hit or miss for a few years now, but he wants more. I wanted something light and easy and quick, though.

For grins and giggles, we're also going to do Lightning Literature. My friend Carole wrote to me about it in detail, and I may skip some of their exercises. I trust Carole's opinion. I don't like to over-analyze literature. Okay, what I call over analyzing. All those questions and discussions about books when I was in school just zapped the love of reading for me. I didn't understand why I couldn't just read something, savor it or hate it, and be done with it! Instead I just had to play the game with my high school teachers and pretend to love it for the reasons they did or hate it for the reasons they did so I could get my good grade and move on.

I think that's it. Ambitious. We have never been the type of homeschoolers to start at 8 and finish by noon. We won't be this year, either.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On the mend?

I saw my doctor today. I called earlier this week and they gave me an appointmnet for the 30th. I took it. Luckily, they took a note back to him and he called me and he squeezed me in today.

Yes, I still have an ear infection in both ears. Yes, I still have sinusitis. My lungs are clear, which is great news.

He gave me an antibiotic different than that tendon-rupturing med. He gave me one refill and told me to get a refill if I was only 99% better.

The pharmacist told me I should feel better in 72 hours. I have my fingers crossed.

When I googled the drug, (and yes, I'll always do that from now on) I found that I'm getting double the normal dose -- I'm getting the dose for a severe infection. I had to laugh at myself because I actually thought, "Gee, I have a severe infection." Then I had that "DUH" moment.

I've been sick for weeks and weeks now. I can't remember what it feels like to feel normal.

Thomas's thumb is healing up. The day after stitches it was all different shades of purple and green and yellow. I almost snapped a photo of it, but it was so gross, I don't know what I would have done with the photo. It looks much better now.

He's able to use his hand a little more now. That's a good thing, because this afternoon, we're finally going to start our testing. After I have a much-needed nap, of course.

I wish we didn't have to do the testing, but we must. I also must place my order for school materials -- haven't done that yet.

Before I know it, the summer will be over and I'll look back and wonder where it went. That part stinks. We haven't been to the pool once. We haven't been to the lake, either. Thomas isn't supposed to get his thumb wet -- no swimming. He'll get his stitches out and then boom, he'll be at his summer camp. When he returns, the fair will be going on and boom, the end of summer will be upon us. That part stinks. But hopefully we'll all be happy and healthy.

I have a feeling we'll be doing a couple motel visits this year for swimming. That is if I can get my hands on the 50% off coupons that I've found in the past.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yet ANOTHER ER visit

I'm not kidding. I think we might as well move to the hospital.

Thomas was outside playing this evening. He was riding his bike with his friends and got hot and thirsty. He came in, grabbed an Orange Crush in a can, and went back out. He was not "drinking and driving", rather he drank his pop in our driveway with the other kids surrounding him. Then he decides to crush the can up and put in his pocket so he doesn't litter.

Big mistake.

Upon crushing the can, the aluminum broke and cut his hand and thumb. Bad.

He came in and was nice and calm. Bob helped him clean up, putting his hand under running water. It wasn't until I came in and did that mom GASP -- you know the one, it sounds like the end of the world has come -- that Thomas freaked.

I don't do blood or cuts well. Or bodily fluids, but luckily we only had blood, although I did feel like throwing up. lol

We cleaned him up and headed for the ER. Only five stitches. Thomas cried because they didn't give enough deadening medication. Every stitch and tie, Thomas cringed and cried. I felt awful for him.

And then it was over. We went to Walgreen's to get some new, fresh antibiotic ointment and large band aids, and then to Dairy Queen to celebrate the fact that it was done.


I am so sick of hospitals, doctors, and the smells and memories associated with them. As we walked out, I joked that I thought we were through visiting these places and Bob laughed an evil laugh. I should have known better.

It was only stitches. It could have been worse. I'll count my blessings. And Thomas will never smash a pop can with his hands again. Ever.


A meme I found at Summer Fae's Learning Adventures.

All answers to be a single word. No more. (Okay, so some I hyphenated to make them officially one word, but technically they are not hyphenated words. Oh well, I tried.)

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? tall
3. Your hair? graying
4. Your mother? gone
5. Your father? gone
6. Your favorite thing? Thomas
7. Your dream last night? Dad
8. Your favorite drink? Diet-Pepsi
9. Your dream/goal? Live
10. The room you’re in? Family
11. Your church? None
12. Your fear? Many
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? healthy
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you’re not? skinny
16. Muffins? chocolate-chip
17. One of your wish list items? built-in-dishwasher
18. Where you grew up? Wyoming
19. The last thing you did? cookie
20. What are you wearing? t-shirt
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? loved
23. Your computer? lifeline
24. Your life? rich
25. Your mood? exhausted
26. Missing someone? terribly
27. Your car? Bonneville
28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
29. Favorite store? book
30. Your summer? short
31. Like(love) someone? Several
32. Your favorite color? pastel
33. Last time you laughed? morning
34. Last time you cried? yesterday
35. Who will re post this? dunno

Why Do You Love Homeschooling?

Following a post by Summer Fae at Learning Adventures, who was following a post by Summer at Mom is Teaching, the question asked is:

Why do you love homeschooling?

I can give a one-word answer that covers many areas:


Yep, I love homeschooling because of the freedom that comes with it.

Freedom to set our own schedule, freedom to study what we choose, freedom to drive to Denver and be with my father for surgery, freedom to be with my father when he dies.

Freedom to go to a museum without a clipboard and worksheet with a hundred questions that must be answered, which ensures the freedom to actually enjoy the museum.

Freedom to go on a spur-of-the-moment field trip.

Freedom to take extra time to study a subject if it has piqued Thomas's interest.

Freedom from labels and stereotypes.

Freedom to take a nap in the afternoon.

Freedom of expression -- Thomas can wear whatever he wants to school, can share whatever opinion he has without worry.

Freedom to do school in pajamas or wrapped up in a Biederlack blanket, affectionately known as "fuzzies" in our home.

Freedom to pet a dog or cat while studying.

There's so many freedoms, that I can't list them all.

Freedom is a wonderful thing.