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I can't believe this is the last day of our second week of homeschooling. It flew by! I got up this morning with Melissa when the alarm went off and got her off to school. Had my coffee and computer time and got set up for today's lesson and things like that. A little before a quarter to 9 I started hearing a noise that I couldn't place. It was almost like an alarm but not quite. I couldn't figure out if my ears were playing tricks on me, if it was coming from outside or where it was coming from. And after a few minutes I finally realized it was an alarm sensor thing my husband had set up a while back in the basement- it's a rainy day and the stupid basement was starting to flood again. So I ran up and woke my husband so he could go down and take care of it.

When he was done, he and I watched a show on our DVR, we are so behind on our shows, and our DVR has hardly any time left on it, and we're going away for vacation soon and if we don't open up a fair amount of room before we leave, we're going to be screwed, so last night we watched a few shows, and this morning we watched like 1 1/2 shows before it was time to move on to other things.

Ben woke up before Alexa and came down and hung out with us, and at 10:15 I asked Shawn to wake up Alexa as we let her sleep pretty late. So he got her up and we gave her breakfast and got ready to start our day.

The first thing Alexa and I did was to review "Alabama" one more time- she's got it memorized but we'll finish up with it today before moving on to a new state and capital tomorrow.

Today is Jane Goodall's birthday, so from the Animal Planet website I printed out two pages of information on Jane Goodall and read it to Alexa. From the Enchanted Learning website I printed out five pages of information on chimpanzees, which Alexa read aloud to me. At the end, there were ten questions for her to answer pertaining to the pages she'd read on chimpanzees.

She was doing fine until she got to the part that asked "What is a wild chimpanzee's life span?" She must have thought that they wanted to know what "life span" means because she was starting to write down a sentence saying something like "how old they are." I erased the sentence and told her no, write down what their life span IS. How many years. So again she started writing some sentence. Again I said no, stop what you're doing, that's not what they mean... but instead of stopping, she just kept writing. I took the pencil from her and said "Stop. Listen. They are asking you how many years a chimpanzee lives. You have to write down the number." I don't know if it was her or me but she started writing something yet AGAIN that wasn't what the paper was asking. And then she started crying "I don't know what you mean" - so I tried making sure I was explaining gently but she just put her head down on the table, crying.

At the same time, Ben had been having a tantrum of his own, because at the same time, I was trying to keep him from touching my computer. He wanted to play on it but he doesn't exactly know how and then he'd keep trying to call me or Alexa to help him, but I was trying to "do school" with Alexa so finally I told him "you can't touch the computer right now, do something else" and that was that. So now I had two of them crying and my head was about to explode, so I made both of them go "take a break" in their rooms for a few minutes. And because I didn't feel like hearing Ben yelling and crying, I went and sat outside for two minutes on the front porch where all I could hear was rain.

When I came back in, Shawn had taken over with Ben and Ben was no longer crying. Alexa stayed upstairs for a few minutes, but then came back down perfectly fine as if nothing had happened and that was that. We're not QUITE averaging one mini meltdown a day but sometimes it feels like it. I keep telling myself to just take it in stride and see how things go. I've read more than once about how kids just need some "deschooling" time and need to sort of decompress and that it can take a few months, but that after a few months (they say one month per year of school the child attended), the kids tend to be more even tempered, less whiny, etc. I don't personally know if that is true. I guess it could be. Or it could just be a personality thing. But maybe with a combination of a few months out of the school system and a few months to "mature" (getting closer to 9 than to 8) maybe this type of thing will happen less often. In the meanwhile, while I'm not doing total "deschooling" (as in not giving any schoolwork and letting her just get used to being out of school and having fun etc), I'm also not giving tons of work or making her sit and do things for hours a day, I only give things like math and language arts four times a week and only one page of each most of the time- and we waited a week and a half or so before introducing ANY math after she left school. We didn't even start spelling yet, we'll be doing that next week. So I'm trying to balance everything. And for the most part it does go very well, but like I said, there are some of these "mini meltdowns" maybe two or three times a week.

Anyway. When things were well again, we continued with our schoolwork. She did one language arts worksheet, which was just putting proper punctuation at the end of sentences and then writing three sentences of her own (one that ended with a period, one with an exclamation point and one with a question mark.) She breezed through one math sheet, which was just circling whether the numbers provided were odd or even numbers. She read aloud several pages about different frogs and toads for today's "National Frog Month" activity. And she read "The First Dog" by Jan Brett to me. This was for our supplemental "Story of the World" reading; it was about a caveboy who befriended a paleowolf, hence 'the first dog.'

After that, we ate lunch, and then I told Alexa to spend a half hour or so in the kitchen keeping the dog company, and that she could choose an activity to do at the kitchen table. She chose to play with her modeling clay and after about 35 minutes she came out and showed me a "picture" she'd made with the clay. It was framed and everything, with a blue background for 'water', and she'd modeled a little duckling ("look, those are the tail feathers..."). It was cute.

Next, she sat down at the dining room table with Ben to play with a "Highlights" activity that had come in the mail. There was a two page outline picture with hidden pictures in it, and a sticker sheet. When they found the hidden pictures, they would put the appropriate stickers on them. So she helped him and they did it together. She watched a little TV, and when Melissa got home and finished her homework, they both went into the kitchen to hang out with the dog and played the card game War, then Go Fish.

My mom brought over more books for our library- a few books in a series she found at the thrift store, and one of those books full of questions and answers for kids, called "How Come"?

Anyway, we had dinner, I showered, I packed up a bag of stuff I'd need for entertaining Ben and the girls' workbooks etc and headed off to 4H. It turned out to be a wasted trip- an hour round trip in the rain with three kids in the car only to find a church full of people there for a play- and no 4H. As I was driving back home (not very happily) Alexa said something like: "Oh. Now I remember. I think she said something about there being no 4H tonight. Maybe it's next week. I don't know. Let's try again next week." As soon as I got home, I sent an email to the leader asking her to PLEASE let me know directly either in person or by email if there are days there is no 4H so that doesn't happen again as I can't really count on the kids to remember to tell me.

So that was about the extent of our evening, although on the bright side, Alexa was reading to me from "The Tail of Emily Windsnap" in the car on the way TO 4H and finished the book! So we read that whole book together. At home, I let Alexa decorate her chocolate easter egg and have dessert when we got home (it came in a fundraiser we'd ordered from through Melissa's school; it had come in today) and had her write in her journal. Noting much else to report, more tomorrow!

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THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT:


THE FAMILY:

Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, art, singing and music, theater/performing, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 15 months and my little ray of sunshine. :) Enjoys pointing at things, chasing the cat, trying to pull all the books off my bookshelves, eating, playing, and snuggling.

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!

CURRENT CURRICULUM/MATERIALS:

Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


ABOUT ME & MY BLOG:

Welcome To My Blog!


MY ARTICLES, ESSAYS, & RAMBLES:

The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


MY REVIEWS:

Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


OUR BOOK LOGS:

Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Alexa's Eighth Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log

Ben's Third Grade Book Log


SCHEDULE SAMPLES:

Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


USEFUL FORMS & THINGS:

Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio, UPDATED

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


MISC:

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper

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