Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up–August 8, 2010




It’s weekly wrap-up time!   If you want to join in, we’d love to see what is going on with you, so please visit Mary.    I was so excited about re-joining this meme again, and I’ve run out of time to tell the story I’d want to as I’ve ‘miles to go before I sleep…’

From where I sat this past week,

As an individual, I…

waited until the end of our summer to begin the reading I had planned to begin in May.   Right before the summer ended, I had an “ah-ha” moment when it occurred to me that, rather than talk about The Well Educated Mind, why not see if the local library had it?   As the kids say, duh!    I’ll post my reflections later; there are simply too many to include here.    Much of the content is an extension of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, focusing on the process of reading more than what to read.    Unlike Adler, whose book serves a different purpose, it is broken down into how to read various genres of literature (poems, history, plays, etc.) in the logic, grammar, and rhetoric stages.    As I said, I’m still allowing all the lessons to meld and marinate.   Stay tuned for some serious rambling…

As a wife and homemaker, I…

am pleased and surprised at how the household has been fairly straight amidst of all that has transpired in the week since we’ve brought the puppy.   Perspective has helped me tremendously.   In preparing to work with the oldest on life skills training, as I’d describe it (an extended home economics course), I’ve continued to skim through Cheryl Mendolson’s Home Comforts.   I’ve blogged about this author before here and here, but it’s worth reiterating that I do love the concept of cleaning a home for more than just bragging over a museum-like appearance.    Focusing less on every single thing being in its place, and instead striving for warmth, homey-ness, and livability (is that a word?) has actually caused the neatness to come in as a by-product.    Of course, I write that as I stare at three loads of clothes that need folding, but as I find my rhythm, there will be a window for that, too.    So far, I’m learning that if I get past the initial reading with the youngest and get her started on math and phonics (in a dawdle-free zone, that is—see below), I can fold clothes as she completes her work.    That also gives me freedom to clean up breakfast dishes, or, as of late, to also watch the puppy.


As a mom and homeschooling parent, I…

am enjoying reading with Julius Caesar with the oldest, and I find it intriguing that this story really isn’t about Caesar at all!    Honestly, does anyone else go back to school when their kids begin?  (smile)    Note to self: next time, student plays Brutus.   In the meantime, I can’t figure out if I’m more excited that the story is unfolding quickly or that I planned five weeks for this book, and it will only take us two to complete the reading.    I also ask the same question of my oldest, who commented at the end of last week, “All this happened in one day?” 

I compiled the obligatory high school transcript this year, and it’s really made me think about the whole grading/ evaluative process in a new way.    I started to think in this vein during the summer when we got back this year’s standardized test results.   It is difficult to not look at numbers for more than what they are, when the truth is that they tell so little about who a child really is.   What is a grade, anyway?    It says nothing  Moreover, I wonder how much of my own attitude has rubbed off on the children.    We got the results in the mail and then took off for a drive somewhere, so I was reading the highlights aloud, primarily for my husband’s benefit.   I worked hard to focus on the many areas where the children were well above their peers in scoring.   Yet, the children wanted to see their own results.   Immediately came the comparison of the overall grade equivalent scores, where our son proudly boasted that his score was slightly higher than his older sister’s, who is 3 years his senior and two years ahead academically.    The question I still don’t have an answer to is, do you celebrate with one or try not to de-motivate the other?  It’s as hard a line as any tightrope, but I attempted to walk it.    Something tells me I’ll walk it again as everyone progresses during the year.

Our son is my primary focal point this year.   For several valid reasons (at least at the time they were valid), he’s been able to slide under the radar for the last couple of years as I concentrated on the girls. This year, the oldest is well settled into her routine, and the youngest, my second focal point, is coming along nicely, based on our work during the summer.    He is now a 7th/8th grader—a year that is more critical than I originally recognized in terms of transitioning our gang to the year when things begin to “count,” so to speak, on a different level.

The youngest is faring well, but if experience is indeed the best teacher, then I’m on the verge of harvesting another dawdler.   There are some behaviors that I’m having to get ahead of, like all sorts of unrelated side conversations and “just let me run do this…” type of interruptions that slow our day way down.   I notice it happens most during math.   I thought that, given my love for the subject, I’d at least have one child that enjoyed math.    Well, there’s still time.

When she’s on point, however, she’s very desirous of the older kids’ studies.    Right now, she is Cassius and Calphurnia during our reading of Julius Caesar.    I loved it when she proudly told her dad, “Dad, I’m part of Character!”   (She didn’t know the subject, but she was happy to jump in and be of help).

As a business owner, I…

am winding down the summer sale with only about three weeks left.   I praise God for great writing ideas that I’m beginning to detail, and I am thankful for each of my customers.   I know these are tough times for many, and to see people that are 1) still committed to the cause of home education, in spite of the sacrifices, and 2) wanting my work to be a part of their educational process is a blessing, and I’m thankful.

I also opened a Facebook account with the hope of expanding my business and personal network.   Am I the last person on planet Earth to utilize Facebook, I’m wondering?   Anyway, I’m praying about how to use it strategically; I really don’t need one more thing to keep me on the computer, so any online venture I take on needs a clear purpose and a tangible end result rather than something else to distract me from God’s purpose and plan.

May the Lord bless your week as well.

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6 thoughts on “Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up–August 8, 2010

  1. I am so glad that you had a wonderful week. I totally understand making one student the focal point. I do that for a few months at a time. Right now I am trying to get the youngest firmly rooted as a strong reader. What! No new pictures of that sweet puppy!

  2. Personally, I think puppies are much harder than babies!

    So (a new reader, please excuse my ignorance)do you homeschool year-round? Or do you start in August each year? Love your homeschool thoughts. And I took note of the book Home Comforts. Thanks!

    1. Do we school year-round? Yes and no. During our “summer” months we continue with a page of math per day for 3 of 5 days (just as we do during the school year), and we read. Regarding our summer reading, I do not require any narrations; I simply want the kids to turn off the television and embrace the power of a good book. Plus, it gives us a place to connect in the midst of a time that would otherwise be helter-skelter with dance competitions, cell phone conversations, and just general “vegging.” Plus, academically, it lets Mom squeeze in one more book!

      We generally run within a week or two of the school calendar. Our schedule is a 9-week-on, 1-week-off schedule, with a full 3 weeks to a month off at Christmas time. This year we began in late July in order to complete school in April. That way, we can enjoy a little bit of decent weather before it gets hot.

  3. Good job mom! I homeschooled for years .. they were sometimes hard and tiring but I would not trade them for anything. My kids and I have the best relationship. Truly a blessing. Happy homeschooling to you and your family.

  4. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos, lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:


    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

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