Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tapestry of Grace-Week Two-BLACK MONDAYS

Well...harrumph. Last week did NOT go as well as expected. What is it with Monday holidays and homeschooling????

Here, whenever there is something major that blows out ANY OTHER DAY...we can still get it done...have an appointment TUESDAY...NO Problem...what about Wednesday, a three-hour tour??? NO Problem, nice break in fact...and Fridays are a constant source of, "Whoops there is a near WHOLE day off"...but Monday...OH Monday...

If the item in question; the meeting, the errand, the date, the trip to Scottish Rite falls on Monday...I may as well take the REST of the week off. I think the biggest PROBLEM is that Monday is our set-up day. It has ALWAYS been the day that I set up the goals of the week...go over the spelling words...the reading assignments...the science projects...the art. I took Math out of the equation for Mondays in the middle of 2nd grade simply because Math was a big enough set up on it's own to throw onto a different day...but TOG is STILL a huge set up for Monday, even without Math in there.

Well CASPIAN was LAST Monday...and Memorial Day was THIS Monday...two killers in two weeks.

I really thought that Caspian wasn't going to be a problem...I really thought we would just start school TUESDAY and just do projects over the nope. First of all she LOVED Caspian. She did notice the differences between the book and the movie...but she liked it that is $5 well spent. I didn't get to see it myself, so I can't give a full review...

So Tuesday rolled around and we surely did the setup and SOME of the reading...but the momentum was off...the girls didn't roll quite like I expected them to...AND it was BEAUTIFUL outside...can you say Spring Fever. Anyway...I chalked it up to week 2 of a new curriculum and just kept a-going.

By Thursday, I knew this just was NOT going to fly...we were about 1/2 way through the spines...we had completely LOST King Arthur, Mountain Born AND 12 Dancing Princesses AND my cleaning lady was here on Thursday...which is much more of a distraction than it SHOULD be...but my girls LOVE Mrs. Missy...and she is only here once every 2 we invited her to lunch and took way too much time doing it.

Friday morning I decided, "Pffffft, this is going to be a 2 week worries", because after all I knew that I was facing ANOTHER black Monday with Memorial Day...and so that is where we are. Day 6 of week 2 that is GOING to take us 8 I can't tell you what we've learned yet...but I'll give you a hint...when Boniface was introduced the giggles went up with "Bonny Face Bonny Face"... They didn't laugh quite as hard when I made them find the Aegean Sea...Wait'll they try to find the Rhine...I already looked...on our modern map the markings are NEARLY nonexistent...Laugh at my mispronunciation, will you?

On the up side...since we have some extra time...we are TOTALLY going to the pool today...It is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous...AND the public schooled kids don't get out of school until June 4th...too bad for them...great for my kid's first trip of the'll get the "don't run into the pool"..."don't run away from momma"..."don't throw sand"..."put your face in and blow bubbles" pool training done without all the distraction.

Plus, let's be realistic, vanity TOTALLY plays a role...I'm FAR to chubby to be THIS white...this week gives me a chance to brown up at bit so I don't startle people next's really for THEIR own good.

See ya around...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Morning blips...

Week 2 TOG...Well this week is EVEN more full than last week. I actually started filling up the note section of my planning sheet. It's making for a much busier form...I'm not POSITIVE that it isn't too busy and I'm afraid that I'll miss things in the turmoil of it. Still I have my check boxes and my double check it book list. One nice thing about it all in one place is that I can just HAND it to Bubba...he now has WAY more information than he has ever he can stop wondering. HMMMMM...hope it doesn't cut down on conversation...I'll have to snatch it back if it does...

Plug for TOG...This weekend I had a RED LETTER moment when I knew the date of the death of Atilla the Hun and Bubba didn't. Now this may SEEM like childish competition...well, maybe it is...but I have NEVER....EVER...known the date of something that Bubba didn't know. It's sort of our thing...I ask him dates and locations because I never know...he is also the time keeper...his own fault for wearing a watch if you ask me. I get to be the food knower-abouter and the color guide...we all have our strengths.

Menus and Food...Since the beginning of the Girlie Trip (April 28th) we have eaten a bunch of junk food with a little good food my body HATES it when I do this...I get tired, crabby, gain's just not pretty. So in the spirit of getting it all back together I give you 6 days of meals and links to the things that we are going to be eating this week. I'm not giving you all the tweaks that I will make but generally if it calls for sugar or honey I either substitue stevia or xylitol or cut the sugar in half, I don't DO canola or veggie oil...or SOY, except naturally fermented soy SAUCE...and I don't personally do much grain (blood sugar issues), but there is one that just SCREAMS for something to sop up the juices and tortillas are easier than salads for the two littlest girls so my kids'll have a couple grain type foods. Here you go...

Monday - Curried Chicken Satay with Fresh Mint-Soy Vinaigrette and Sesame Snow Peas

Tuesday - Pork with Sweet Onion Marmellata (This one is PROBABLY too sweet for me, but I'm still making it because, well, it sounds yummy...I can at least eat the pork chop and "butter" it with a little sauce) and Asparagus with Vin Santo Vinegarette (If I can find the wine, so be it, if I can't it'll just be steamed aspargus)

Wednesday - Curried Lamb (Substituting Beef which I have on hand) and a Green Salad. The kids'll get tri-colored couscous with this one...curry just NEEDS something for soppin'.

Thursday - Tequila Chicken...this will end up being kind of like a taco salad with lettuce, salsa and guac, maybe some cheese...the kids'll probably end up with tortillas.

Friday - Fish again this is going to be served with a salad of sorts...cabbage, salsa...the kids'll STILL probably end up with tortillas...maybe'll depend on how I cut the fish. Oh, I'm subbing Tilapia for this and I'll probably broil it or pan fry it...I have it on hand, Bubba doesn't have to be involved, etc.

Saturday - Burgers (gitcher own recipe), Caprese Salad (cut grape tomatoes in half and cut mozzerella (fresh) or monteray jack cheese into chunks about the same size as the about equal portions...add some fresh basil if you have it...drizzle on some good olive oil and balsalmic vinegar, salt and pepper...voila...done!)

Caspian...Bubba is staying home this morning to take Beanie to Prince Caspian as a belated birthday date for the two of them. She has been waiting patiently for several months and knows the book six ways to Sunday (books on tape are GRAND). I hope she isn't disappointed.

See ya around...

Friday, May 16, 2008

TOG Week 1 Review (LONG)

I told you that I'd be back with a review...

Before I do that, let me make a not embark on TOG the week you return from a two week vacation...before you have grocery shopped, re-organized the guest areas that were used profusely during the one week you WERE home during the vacation, and most especially NOT before you've completely unpacked. This sort of thing will set up MANY road blocks to every other item in your day...and you will find yourself DAILY frustrated with wondering where on earth those colored pencils got to...what happened to that book...what ARE you going to eat...and what do you MEAN I'm out of underwear? This has been a public service announcement.

So...TOG! I just love it.

As you might notice in my public service announcement...things were not perfect this where near. But the one thing I was (MOSTLY) ready for was TOG...I had all the books that I could get (there are some coming from various vendors and some I chose to do without)...I had a schedule...I had maps and teaching aides...and I was set.

My schedule turned out something like this...

Read all of one spine (spine is a MAIN text for the class...TOG has a couple of "spines" for this unit that you read just a few pages or a chapter as overview to the more "literature-type" sections)...

Read one of the lower grammar picture books, "Brigid's Cloak" (there were 3 total)

Read most of "Who were the Romans" as background for understanding the state of the Roman Empire when the barbarians started defeating them regularly.

LITTLE GIRLS (Bear Mostly, Monkey Face played with a puzzle at my feet...but both Beanie and MF climbed up several times to see pictures)

Read a picture book by Robery McCloskey "Blueberries for Sal" and another that I can't remember and a chapter in a junior novelization of "Barbie's 12 Dancing Princesses" (I know, I know, it can't all be top of the line...besides both Bear and MF LOVE it and will sit still...which has to be teaching them SOMETHING.)

Then we worked on Geography Terms, River, Mountains, Deserts. We found rivers; the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Nile. We found mountains; the Rockies, the Andes, the Alps, the Himalayas. We found deserts; the Sonoran or Arizona Desert, the Sahara Desert, the Kalahari Desert, the Gobi Desert.

BREAK (Lunch and momma chores)

Beanie did Dictation
Bear did a reading lesson and a writing lesson

The little girls MOSTLY played in the 45 minutes after lunch...Bear's reading and handwriting take about 10 minutes total. Beanie's Dictation is new and took probably 20 ish minutes to explain the concept, copy the dictation, go over the errors, pull out the spelling words and fix the errors. So even with the lessons and the lunch time clean up they all got a few minutes to run around and play.

From 2 -2:30...I was MONDAY after I had had about 9 hours on the road on Saturday...and then stayed up way too late Sunday making sure that I had everything together to fly with TOG in the was necessary...pbbbbbbb.

ABOUT 2:30 (Little girls SLEEPING)
Bean and I set about reading the REST of the stuff scheduled for the day. The stuff that was either too boring or slightly too graphic for the little girls.

We read one chapter of another spine (Story of the World) ,

Read about our Barbarian for the Day "Atilla the Hun",

Started reading King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table...this took a fair amount of discussion because, well, it's not EXACTLY a happy story, is it?

We started reading Aladdin and other Tales from the Arabian Nights...very glad for the time to discuss quietly with my oldest girlie because, once again there are some things that need to make sense before you can move on.

And then read another chapter of a literature book we've been reading called "Mountain Born",

Now if you've followed me THIS far...Tuesday and Wednesday are a breeze because we followed the same schedule, only the books changed...and Tuesday through Thursday are Math days, so that also was added.

Thursday was a touch different because by Thursday most of the REQUIRED reading is done...we are still working through our list of barbarians...We've done Alaric the Visigoth, Atilla the Hun, Genseric the Vandal...Thursday was Theodoric the Ostrogoth and Friday will be Clovis, who we have read before...BUT all the spines are done...all the lower grammar picture books are done, we are working on the upper grammer stories (King Arthur and Arabian Nights) but at this point it's just reading the next chapter...Dictations are now taking very little of MY time...I just read and correct, Bean knows how to do the rest. Math is still what it is, but at this stage once she understands it, she is really at the MEMORIZATION phase of her times tables so again, it doesn't take a lot of input from me.

So THURSDAY was our Art day. We spent about an hour drawing. We are using 1 2 3 Knights, Castles and Dragons...and yesterday the girls drew and colored a princess (of course) and scrapbook mounted them for their history folders...I really REALLY need a scanner.

Today, Friday, is review day...we are going to go over the Geography Terms one more time...slap some Barbarians up on the Timeline...paint a salt map of an imaginary land that we made the week before our vacation...finalize next week's spelling list from the dictation spelling words...Review all the math times tables and hopefully play our Timesattack video game.

As for a review of TOG. This has been a wonderful week of learning a bunch of things I never would have pulled together on my own. Sadly, Bubba is the history buff and he is not that interested in teaching it. I, on the other hand am more of an English buff...(now don't go critiquing my writing) and enjoy reading and diagramming and spelling and that sort of stuff and a Science buff...I'm into bugs and slime and colors and chemicals and stuff. History has RARELY been a consideration let alone a passion.

But this is fun. I've learned so many things this week...things I didn't even realize that I didn't know. For instance...

1. When someone SAID barbarian, the picture in my head was of the Mongols...I KNEW that there were some germanic barbarians...but didn't realize that MOST of the barbarians that destroyed Rome were of European (not Asian) descent. That's what I get for getting most of my history out of historical romance novels.

2. I did not realize that the 1001 Arabian nights stories were all from ONE story of the lady Shahrazad who TOLD the stories over 1001 nights to save her own life.

3. I didn't realize that the Alps were the fuzzy cap on the boot of Italy. Kind of like the snow boots that I wore when I was 7.

4. Those barbarians are VERY interesting characters...from Alaric who insisted on being buried at the bottom of a river, to Atilla who was told that he would die when he fell in love and then died the day after he was married, to Genseric the Vandal and all his Vandal nation who destroyed EVERYTHING in the cities that they conquered so that even NOW we call wanton destruction vandalism, to Theodoric who conquered and conquered the same guy (Odoacer) . Theodoric STILL managed to charm Odoacer into agreeing to be king WITH him, only to turn around and kill this co-king as soon as possible so that he, Theodoric, could finally be the ONLY king of Italy. This stuff is facinating. Where have I been????

5. I knew that St. Valentine was a guy...but I didn't know that he was a healer and that "From your Valentine" was written in a note accompanied by a crocus...on his way to his execution Valentine gave this note to a jailer for the jailer's daughter whom Valentine was treating for blindness. HIS portion was not a "LOVE" story per se...or at least not the type of love that we've come to associate with Valentine's Day...but the pure love of a nice elderly man (doctor) for a sick little girl. He was executed February 14, 270. Valentine's Day has been combined with a Roman custom that was celebrated February 15th where notes were drawn and maidens who had written the notes were courted...but that's not what St. Valentine himself was about. I never knew that.

All that to say...I'm having a great time learning these things right along with them. I like that I have the freedom to choose the books that we are going to read from a pre-determined EXCELLENT list of books. I like reading and reading and reading and talking and talking and reading some more. I like the kids all around me constantly...weird, because I already THOUGHT they were around me constantly...this is more.

Well, I'd best be off...there is much to be done.

See you around...

Monday, May 12, 2008

TOG and Me

Well...hmmm...I have about 5 posts that I need to work on this week...and I'll really try to get to it, I will.

But for now, an apology for my absense to anyone reading...I've had one of those joyous months (well almost 2 months really) where all the good or exciting things happen at once. One of these is that we decided to use Tapestry of Grace THIS year and not wait until Beanie is in 5th grade.

So to that end I've been planning and organizing and trying to figure out how to pull it all together as soon as possible. As I've done this, I been scouring many blogs and have been so thankful for the stuff people have put up to help me in my in my own little inexperienced way...I thought that I'd put up something that I've been working on.

It's just the PLAN for TOG's revised Year 2 (unit 1 week 1)...I haven't put it into action yet, so I have no idea if I'm anywhere close on ability or actual time allowances...but I thought I'd throw it against the wall and see if it stuck this week...I'll try to give you an honest review of how it worked at the end of the week so those of you thinking of working with TOG have some idea and also for those of you that already USE TOG to laugh heartily at the new girl. Ya'll try to do that BEHIND your screens, will ya??? But feel free to throw some pointers my way.

This form was not mine...I discovered it on the TOG forum (I'll have to find the link) and Bubba recreated it for me in word.

So it is...

I am OBVIOUSLY going to have to work on the resolution...but if you know what books are supposed to be should be able to make them out a bit...I, sadly, don't have a scanner...just a camera...but it's a start...and of course an excuse for not writing more...

Well, I'm off for now...

See ya around...