Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wrap Up the Year on Paper

Next week I'll be setting about to wrap up our fifth grade year on paper.  All year long I've been keeping a journal on the computer of what we've done; this blog has also served as a wonderful map as it has diagrammed our experiences, materials, and some of my crazy thought processes.  Boy, I sure did worry some about math, didn't I?  Perhaps that was wasted worried energy now that I look back.  If there's one sentence I could utter to a new homeschooling parent, it would be, "don't waste too much time worrying - your child will get from point A to point B in his or her own way".   And, "you can do it!"

In the journal I kept track of what we covered in various subjects, what books we read, which ones I read aloud to Max, how we each rated those books, and some of my thoughts.  I also kept a three-ring binder with daily sheets that were used for planning and guiding him in his daily schooling.  It was an objective to encourage him to work more independently and by the end of the year, he was definitely managing to work much better by himself.  Last year in fourth grade I still spent a great deal of time with him or at least sitting near him at the table.  Even though he is working more independently, he tends to try to complete his work quickly so that he can move on to other adventures (adventures that don't entail school work.....)  And quick work doesn't equate to correct work most of the time. That's something we'll continue to strive toward in sixth grade - slowing down and concentrating!

I'm planning to write up a summary post to include what we covered during our fifth grade year.  I'm sure it's going to look ridiculous all typed up, but in truth, it really flowed well as we followed our interests.  We mainly concentrated on early American history and used that as a jumping off point, but I am easily distracted, so our rovings took us far and wide.  I read somewhere that you can turn your blog into a book and have it printed as a record of your journeys; I would very much like to do that!  Does anyone have experience with this endeavor?

Even though Max is finished with most of his work for the year (barring some math), I still have much to accomplish as far as wrapping it all up in a neat little package. There's something highly gratifying about this part for me!  I crave living in order, but can never seem to find that place on the map!  I've visited occasionally or have had brief glimpses of order from afar, but I tend to live out most of my days in creative chaos and befuddlement (population one billion, I'm sure......)  Order sure is easy to find in magazines or books on home design, isn't it?  I'll let you know if I manage to wrap up the year neatly and thoroughly so we can move on to next year and I'll try to share some of what we learned, both figuratively and literally!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


We are wrapping things up around here and transitioning into summer blissed out living.  Figuring out what that means every day!  Our area has been inundated with smoke and ash from the giant fire that is raging in Arizona; it has made for interesting visibility and sunsets.  Having so much smoke from a fire that is hundreds of miles away kind of blows your mind!  If it's bad here, I really feel for the people who are having to deal with the actual fire.  The sky has offered up quite a color show, especially as the sun sets, and the light has just been plain weird.  Kind of a goldeny yellow that makes you feel like you're living on Mars.  Although, the light has been bueno for photography lately!  I've been out with the camera some taking pics of flowers, but haven't messed with any of the images yet.

At the end of the month (in less than 10 days - gulp!) I'll be participating in my first big art fair for New Mexico artists.  It's the 50th anniversary of the New Mexico Arts and Crafts fair and my work got juried in, so I'll be toting all of my prints, framed and canvas pieces there to be set up in a booth to hopefully sell a bunch of it!  I'm excited and nervous.  I surmise that it's going to be lots of fun, yet taxing.  Three very long days - guess I had better bring enough food to snack on and some protein bars to get me through!  If you are curious about my photography, here's the link to my Etsy shop or my website.   I hope that it is a successful weekend.

We have a trip to Colorado planned to do some hiking, soaking and relaxing.  We're going with another family, so Max will have a good time horsing around with their kids.  And then some time spent up in Angel Fire, New Mexico will round out the summer for the mountain fix (I am much more of a mountain girl than a water girl).  Max will also be attending a camp in August for some swimming and more horsing around.

As far as homeschool stuff, we are finishing up the language arts section on Time4Learning this week.  He's taking the state assessment tests right now and he also finished up their amazing art program.  I'm going to blog about that separately because it was such a treat.  Then Dad and Max will continue to work on math throughout the summer using Key Curriculum Press workbooks and we'll check in to see what Fred is doing in LOF.  Other than that the boy is free to just BE!  Me, too :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

June Giveaway at Secular Homeschool is a GOOD one!

Several weeks ago my little eye spied this very cool manipulative math set that teaches algebra and my heart quickened!  Really, it did.  It does that when I stumble upon something that fits into a hole I am looking to fill, if that makes any sense.  Algebra looms on the horizon and instead of us looking out at dark and stormy clouds a way out there, I'd rather look forward to sunny skies dappled with some puffy white clouds - you know, the kind that are shaped like animals or things you can recognize!

Low and behold, Hands-On Equations is being given away to a lucky homeschooler during June at, one of my weekly haunts!  I love the people on this forum!  So much experience, support, curriculum ideas and encouragement is just a click away.  Here's the link for June's giveaway:

Hands on Equations offers a way to play with algebra visually and kinesthetically to develop strategies for setting up and solving equations.  All you need to do is to watch a quick demonstration video or two to grasp how effective their method is in teaching algebraic concepts.  Again, I grieve for not having been able to learn math in this manner!  What an opportunity for clarity and true understanding of stuff that sometimes doesn't lend itself to clarity and understanding.  I'm very optimistic about this program!   If you are too, then please throw your name into the hat and see what happens! 

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