Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This week we started a new method for homeschooling. I'd previously been skeptical of the approach used by The Well Trained Mind, even though Nathan was highly in favor of it. It seemed very rigid and very expensive. But, one night last week I decided to flip through the book again before returning it to the library and opened to a page that held the answer to a problem I was having. A little further looking and before I knew it, I was convinced. The following day I called Border's Books and had them hold a copy of The WTM for me since I couldn't keep the library's forever.

Inspired, I created a rough guide schedule. Each day we have lit, lang arts, math, history or science, ASL, free reading, and music or art. I follow their recommendations for record keeping--notebook entries, which Lil'Nathan seems to really like--and their suggested "schedule" for history and lang arts--ie starting with ancient history and moving over 4 years to modern, also the study of grammar and writing through copy work, memorization, and such. I've got a grammar book and some spelling books coming from Amazon. We also bought a history and a science encyclopedia (which we can use for years, and both kids love to pour over encyclopedias anyway). But that's all I'm getting for this year. Next year I may add a writing guide and a few others. We got a great discount on two of them through Border's Rewards and also their educator discount on the third. It is very expensive to follow with everything they recommend, but we'll do our best with the library and some "close-enoughs" as well as online.

I think I like it. Things definitely seem to be flowing more smoothly. It does take more time during the day, though, so even less "extra" stuff (like laundry folding!) will get done. Joseph makes things really difficult sometimes, especially when he's beyond tired and refuses to nap--like today!! But we manage. No one says we need to be done by 1 or 2, so if we get bumped back to finish at 4, that's okay. Lil'Nathan has never complained about an extra long break.

In other news, school continues for Nathan at a breakneck pace. He's up constantly until 1 or 2 in the morning. I'm listening to Pride and Prejudice on tape while finishing up Joseph's birth announcement. I've got Anne of Green Gables and Dragon Rider to listen to next. I also have Gail Carson Levine's newest, Ever, to read as soon as I can find a big chunk of time--I hate having to stop a good book in the middle. I know it will call me all day and then I'm a rotten mother hiding from the kids and letting them get into whatever it is they get into while I sneak in a few more chapters.

This weekend I finally had enough of our sickly garden. I went out and swept the porch, pulled all the dead plants, hung up other plants, and got eaten alive by mosquitos in the process. Not as badly as Joseph, however, who was up all night on Sat crying and scratching. Some of his were swollen larger than a quarter! He got an oatmeal bath at 2am--which really amused him--and then I put a very thin layer of Benadryl anti-itch cream on each spot. He finally fell asleep just before 4. We've kept him in thick pants and full jammies since Sat to keep him from irritating the bites. They are almost gone.

On Fri we go to Lebanon. Nathan and Joseph have annual physicals. Joseph will get shots, he's way behind, but none the worse for it. We are also going to the cemetary, the Co-op, LISTEN, and Stern's (a wonderful "farm stand" style store). Maybe we can even find some early apples for apple crisp.

I made brownies--really, really good brownies--for Nathan's work party on Fri. They only ate one or two, saying they were too sweet. Huh. Killer chocolate for sure, but I didn't think they were too sweet. Well, it was a 9 x 13 size pan, and they were sitting all weekend on the counter. They even had chocolate chips in them (and were low fat, made with oil and applesauce, instead of butter. Whole wheat, too.) Naturally I was helpless against them. Nathan had a brilliant idea yesterday morning. He said to freeze what was left. So, after eating almost two more, I froze them yesterday afternoon. Guess what? They are even better frozen. :)

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