Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sheet rock and revelation

Things haven't been going as well as I'd like here lately, friends. I've been a little discouraged and overwhelmed. Since I want this blog to be positive and, hopefully, helpful to fellow homeschoolers, I just haven't posted. I figure there's enough negativity in the world already, I certainly don't want to contribute to it. On the other hand, I do want people to know that not everyone's homeschool is as perfect as their blogs make them look! So if you're overwhelmed too - hey, at least you're not alone!

Having said that, I do think I've finally hit upon one of the reasons that I lost my blogging enthusiasm. It's so simple I can't believe I didn't realize it earlier. Here's the thing - when I plan lessons, I over-plan. I mean, really over-plan, like by about 100%. Knowing this, I always know that, at any given time, we will only cover about half of what I've planned. And I'm mostly OK with that. But it's all really good stuff. SO - if I blog about it AFTER we do it, I end up looking at all the really cool stuff that we DIDN'T do. Kind of depressing. If I blog about it BEFORE we do it, it's still exciting and full of possibility. So there you go. I will have to change things up a bit.

Now, there is some good news - actually great news! My very kind Mom (hi Mom!) got a little tired of looking at our partially completed back room. It's a 14 X 14 room that managed to get itself framed and mostly insulated a while ago and then progress came to a screeching halt. Over time, it became a repository for all the things we had no clue what to do with. (It also functioned as a walk-in cooler during the winter.) My Mom gave us a gift that enabled us to hire my friend Joy's husband to sheet rock and now it actually looks like a room!! The best part is, it's going to be a school room - yippee!!! This means, among other things, that we will not have to clear projects off the table in order to eat dinner and that we will no longer have a computer and printer in our dining room. There may even be a place for all the books I compulsively accumulate, but I think that's unlikely. And if Little Man is playing in the same room with us, I may be able to catch him BEFORE he paints the couch with bright green tempera paint. Sorry, no pics of that episode. But I do have these:

Ah. Progress. A good thing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What's better than Greek food?!

So. We're doing Greece this week and, as a special treat, my sweet, wonderful husband took us all out to a Greek restaurant that we LOVE. I say "we" as in, he and I. (They catered our wedding - way back in 1990.)
Now, I know that I am sometimes prone to unrealistic expectations. I mean, Z-Man sometimes talks like he's 21 but he is, after all, an 8 year old boy. So, this evening he finds himself surrounded by all manner of mouthwatering greek cuisine and he orders...

chicken tenders and fries.

I managed to do some quick expectations-adjustment and we all had a lovely time. We saw a traditional greek costume, some pottery, artwork, photos, etc. He recognized the parthenon and had one bite each of souvlaki, thracian chicken and galaktoboureko. And Mark and I enjoyed our meal immensely. So we'll call it a successful field trip.

I'd show you pictures, but I forgot my camera too...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trading Places

It seems that, at this time of year, at least where we live, attitudes start a bit of a downward spiral. It may be that it's getting colder (first snow today!) and we spend a lot more time indoors. It may be that the newness of the school year has worn off and we start getting into a bit of a rut. It may be that it's almost completely dark (ugh) by dinner time.

Whatever the cause, we've had more than the usual amount of whining, bickering and unpleasantness around here lately. I was pretty discouraged about it one day and, in thinking over possible remedies, I came up with the idea of switching places with Z-Man for a day. (Actually, I came up with a lot of ideas but that was, ahem, the only productive one.) Guess what? He was really excited about it! Actually, I think he viewed it as his opportunity for parent-sanctioned dictatorship but, hey, he was excited and sometimes you'll just take that, you know? He immediately started planning his lessons for the next day and filling mine and Little Man's activity boxes.

We had a great day! Z-Man came up with some great ideas! Here's my first activity box:

We're on Italy this week in our trip around the world (I'm way behind in blogging about it, but I'll get there.) Z-Man gave me the assignment to draw a map of the canals in Venice from Papa Piccolo. I think I did a great job, if I do say so myself.

My next box was a collaborative effort between Z-Man and Mark - thank you SO MUCH for the long division, Honey.

But he did have Z-Man work out the answers for his "teacher's answer key" so they got a little math in under the radar. Love that.

My third box was actually one of HIS assignments that he hadn't completed the day before. In order to complete it, I had to read chapter 4 of Daniel so naturally I read it out loud. In fact, I did the whole assignment out loud and then asked Z-Man to check it to make sure I had done it correctly.

Z-Man had Little Man sing the ABC's through twice with him for his first box. His second was this:

Little Man had to count the balls. Notice the smiley faces saying "yes" for each one he got right.

His third box was a treasure hunt! All these toys were hidden in his rice box (our version of an indoor sand box.)

After our work was done, we were assigned a game of football in the living room and then we watched a movie. Later in the day, I heard him telling his friend on the phone how awesome it was!

I think we'll definitely do this one again!

What are some other ideas for combatting bad attitudes? Comments are always welcome!