Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Resting and Not Relaxing

Like the title says, I have been resting. The last few weeks have kept me on my toes. Those darn Braxton hicks have come so often and have been very painful that I decided I should rest as opposed letting babe come early. This time around they have been stronger than I ever remember them to be. In truth, I get a lot of Braxton hicks in the best of pregnancies. Before the actual "labour day", I have worked away my first 5cm or so and the actual labour isn't too bad until my water breaks. But this time around, the contractions have been nearly as strong or as strong as those "normal-for-me" labour pains. So, I have upped the Cal-Mag intake, the water intake and threw in the towel to my long to-do list. Instead, I have spent the last week on the couch with my laptop and began planning the next school year.

I always get an overwhelming sense of 'not knowing what I am doing' and 'maybe I should just send the big kids to school' at this time of year. I look at other peoples' plans and read books on how to homeschool and choose curriculum to psych myself up. Oddly though, I seldom feel 'psyched-up'. I feel even worse. This year, more than in previous years I prayed about it. I asked God's divine assistance. This year, I am at peace with myself and am not second guessing every choice. Hmmm.... maybe I should take note and pray more.

Today, I ordered all of the new books and supplies for next year. I still have to make detailed lesson plans for the kids, but that will have to wait until I actually get the books. We are using a mix of Classical, Charlotte Mason and Unit Studies to round out our year. I tailored each child's studies to their particular learning style and interests. Our plans look somewhat like the following...

Grade 6 Plans

Math: Saxon 7/6
Reading: various books on Saints and Literature
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Coplan
History: The Great War

For those of you who might be interested, we are following the suggested readings of Shakespeare and geography as outlined in Year 3 of Mater Amabilis. The poetry comes from the Ambleside Online Year 6 lesson plans.  After watching the Discovery Channel Documentary, The Sinking of the Lusitania, Noah was really interested in WWI. So we decided to make that his main focus for history this year. The composers and artists lived during the period of history that Noah is studying. We are trying to do more Charlotte Mason style learning and are therefore using living books for most of our subjects.

History Reading List:
For Art Appreciation we are using the following books:
For Music Appreciation we are using the following books:
Music from the Great War era:

Grade 5 Plans

Bible History: Concise Bible History
Math: Saxon 6/5
Spelling: Spelling 5 for Young Catholics
Reading: various books on Saints and Literature
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Coplan

Grade 1-2 Plans

Owen still struggles with reading, so we are doing a lot of grade one stuff before moving on to grade 2. I suspect he has Sensory Processing Disorder and possible is also ADHD. He is quite a challenge to teach, so I am hoping that being seven when school starts works better to our advantage. If you have a child that can't sit still or retain anything you teach, you will know how it is to teach Owen. He needs to repeat, repeat and repeat in order to retain the simplest things. He is the sweetest boy, but struggles. He is joyful, though and doesn't get that easily frustrated. I get frustrated though. I was a straight A student and most things come easy to me. If anything, Owen is teaching me more than I am teaching him.  I have a wide variety planned for him, but we are sticking to the basics for the main subjects. We are not ditching what is working, even if it takes him longer to get through the material.

Sacramental Preparation: Jesus and I
Shakespeare: MP3 stories & Coloring Pages from HomeschoolFreebieoftheDay
Poetry: nursery rhymes, A.A. Milne Poetry, Harp & Laurel Wreath
Copywork: prayers, nursery rhymes, short poems
Art Appreciation: Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali
Composer Study: John Phillip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland
History: A Little History of the World audio version

We plan on studying science together. I ordered the Apologia Astronomy Science Kit that goes with the Apologia Astronomy. I also ordered the notebooking journal and jr. notebooking journal for the kids to record their observations in. My hope is that daddy will teach science or at least supervise if I am unable to because of a busy toddler and a bitty baby. Since dad is interested in astronomy and the kids all seem keen, we might actually do more than nature study, garden or read living science books.

I am so grateful that my two oldest are really independant learners and don't demand a lot of help or fuss about their work. Ok, they have their days, but they are generally keen on learning new things. Since Maria likes more of the unit study type of activities and notebooking, I tailored her studies to be more notebooked and unit study oriented. Owen is a very hands on, audio learner and so I plan to use a lot of mp3's, cd's and read alouds for him. We also made two splurges to aid in our school year. We ordered the Math Whiz Game to work on basic facts and speed and the GeoSafari Laptop with both younger and older versions of the learning cards. I am not a big fan of twaddle, but these two computer-like games seem educational and hopefully worthwhile. When you are nursing a baby or have a day when kids don't want to get school done, you sometimes need bribery tools. I hope these are good. Does anybody you know if they are good?

Now, I just have to start feeling better because until a lot of books arrive, I can't do a lot of planning. I also have great plans to make planners and a household binder. I am so excited to do this since I ordered a binding machine. The one that I really, really wanted won't deliver to Canada, so I settled for this one, a Fellows Star Manual Comb Binding Machine. I was able to order it in Canada here and I got the spines and cover sheets and other office supplies here. I love getting new school books and supplies every year. This year I am trying to get ahead of the game with baby being due mid-August.

Have you started planning your new school year? What are your must-haves and favourite resources?

God Bless and have a wonderful day!

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