Friday, April 11, 2014

Teaching Moments

Still struggling with her lack of motivation to pursue anything on her own, but there are moments that do come and go. After her reading the Helen Keller story (4 times) and seeing the movie, we're learning some sign language.

Another "educational" project that is more about character building has us going for walks and picking up beer cans and bottles. Conversations are all over the place, and she's gaining an appreciation for helping the environment on a personal level. The added bonus is that we get 10c for each bottle or can. Our plan is to collect all these dimes and try to save up to adopt a tiger through the World Wildlife Fund. She's really excited. Our local roads have never looked better, though I'd be a little happier NOT to find 15 beer containers within 1 km stretch of rural road. Not good for a few reasons.

Anyway, I'm a crappy blogger and will likely start using this page more for offering up more secular worksheets, ideas and unit studies that I've been building. There are so few options for getting secular material that I would rather focus on that instead of my own personal chattering. So stay tuned for some new stuff.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Break Blizzard

Today's social afternoon is cancelled due to yet another blizzard, and my work schedule is seriously hurting. I don't think my clients care about weather, homeschooling or March Break disruptions.

Thankfully, my wonderful other half has my girl engaged in a big LEGO project. I've written 500 words so far! I'm half way to my goal for today!  I hate having to turn the "don't bug me" sign on but I really don't have much choice. I wish I could be a full-time homeschooler and leave some of these other things behind.

I hope to start blogging and doing my own work again soon, but sometimes paying work is kind of necessary to keep the budget out of the toilet.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Note to self

We're making cardboard armor today to help learn about Middle Ages knights. She's been dying to do it, but since she can't really cut through corrugated cardboard on her own, I'm doing most of the work. Interest and attention are quickly waning.

Next time, plan out a project that she can be more hands-on for. Great ideas aren't so great when I have to do all the work.

off to hot glue!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Taking it "easy" today. Still managing to spend most of my time researching future units and creating new worksheets. Creating your own piecemeal curriculum is a lot tougher than I had thought, I have to admit.

Today we continued with equivalent fractions and skipped grammar since I was busy opening presents this morning. A look at heraldry and coats of arms took up most of the afternoon, with Em using a bunch of clipart and blanks to create her own lovely piece of artwork. Adding in some French vocabulary about family relationships has rounded out our day. She's finishing up by reading another King Arthur short story.

I am a little worried about what the heck we'll do once the big Middle Ages unit is done. I think I will add in my own science unit or our days are going to be pretty light. Solar system or states of matter....

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Just a share

Wanted to share a great little article about some common homeschooling fears, particularly for folks with single children.

7 Fears about Homeschooling

I agreed with just about everyone of these, except that my daughter is 9 rather than a kindergardener.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Back to it

We lost a day of work last week due to Family Day which threw my schedule off way more than it should have. We still had fun with some snowshoeing though. Then another lamb was born unexpectedly, which interrupted another day and the fact that the mother ewe needed a vet call was another problem too. So this week should be smoother. Let's see how that works out....

Middle Ages are going nicely. I do like the unit study concept where we can really look at a topic in depth. This week is more about knights now that we've covered castles. Last week, Em built an impressive box castle for an afternoon project.

I saved up boxes for months  :)  Here is our castle model, complete with working drawbridge at the front, two watchtowers with crenelations, an open baily and a secure keep at the back. She's been building Lego additions ever since.

Need to find a typing program for her and also get started on a little research "paper". She needs work on collecting facts and putting them all together, knowing what to keep and what to leave out. I've been stalling but am determined to start this week. The topic is Eleanor of Aquitainesingle child homeschooling . She read a great fictionalized diary about her life (check the link), and she is actually a distant relative. The interest is there, so I am hoping that there is motivation to do some work too.

Ok, now I'm just rambling and not getting my own work done.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting the Vibe

I seem to be changing a little when it comes to our day-to-day rhythms. Letting go of some specifics and details, and letting our day flow how it does. Not quite ready to ditch the plans and schedules yet but I'm starting to really enjoy the freedom.

Spent a fun evening going ice sledding in the dark a couple nights ago, and had a grand time. Between runs, we looked at the stars and pointed out the 3 constellations we know (note: learn more constellations!). Days have more free reading and I take time for errands when I feel like it.

She's now getting into fractions, improving her cursive and starting to do typing practice too. Grammar is going to take a backseat to a broader writing plan. Stories and short essays, including editing and formatting are what I'm thinking but we'll see how that works out.

The middle ages are really fun and I'm not so stressed about all the specifics anymore. Plenty of books are around, and I have a handful of interesting hands-on projects waiting in the wings.

Life has brought my some unexpected challenges lately which has led me to consider putting her back in school next year. Still not sure how I feel about that.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What isn't educational?

Watching old episodes of "How It's Made" should count as school, shouldn't it? Well, it's an episode on making suits of armor and if that doesn't fit a study on the Middle Ages, I don't know what does.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Enjoying the Middle Ages

So far this unit study is going pretty well. Still a lot to cover but I have found a load of good resources though the library books are a little iffy.

Here is our first lapbook:

Not that much color but each of these mini books is filled with writing and information. It turned out really well. I got most of the components from Homeschool Share. Not all of their stuff is secular, but this particular project was fine. I've been making some of my own worksheets too, which I'll start to post when I get a minute.

Trying to get a better schedule going for us, with a better plan for the afternoons. French and geography are going to be planned out better instead of just being hit or miss. Spending a few weeks looking at the world ecosystems too since that was part of this year's school work but we covered very poorly (in my opinion). The BBC Planet Earth series is an awesome way to look at the major habitats of the world. We're on deserts right now.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Currently discussing the lyrics to Ring Around the Rosy, and how it relates to the Black Plague.

And people think today's music lyrics are bad....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snowed in

Too much snow, and we're missing our weekly play day (again). Getting a little discouraged and more than slightly desperate for spring.

So we're taking our first steps into the Middle Ages today with a little reading and a lapbook. I picked a bunch of components from Homeschool Share for knights and castles. I lucked out and got the book from the library to go with it, but i'm sure any Middle Ages book would do. She seems to be enjoying the process so far.

Monday, February 3, 2014

So much for that...

Sat down to write about our day, and daughter came pounding at the window: "Lamb!"

No time for anything now, had to go watch another birth.

I guess that's one of the great things about homeschooling. You can make time for the unexpected.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Between Units

Our days are progressing smoothly, and I think Em is getting into the homeschooling groove. Attitude has greatly improved and she's much better with self-directed projects or assignments.

Did a chapter review in grammar and more division word problems. Cursive practice after that.

Since our main science unit is done, and I'm not actually ready to begin the big Middle Ages unit yet, we're filling in time for the afternoons until next week. Today there was some news reading at Currents4kids and even a quick typing lesson. I figure some typing skills will come in handy soon enough, even though she's only 9. All those new-fangled computers and such. Oh, and we spent time together looking at animal pictures in a big world wildlife book.

This weekend will be all about gathering up resources for the Middle Ages unit. I expect that to last at least a full month if not 2. It's still really hard to judge since I have no clue how long each day or lesson is going to take. Still, I'm sure it will be more interesting than talking about sound waves.

Struggling with social options still. Another playdate is on the horizon for the weekend, but getting another mom to call me back is not working out.... AGAIN.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Links to Nowhere

Ok, just a rant. I really hate it when you find pages on a specific topic, like a page titled "Unit Study on the Middle Ages" (my current project to organize), and then the majority of the supposed resource is really just a collection of links to other pages. Ok, that's fine.

But then I start to follow those pages, only to find they lead to more collections of links and after 5 or 6 clicks, I am still looking at link lists and not a darned bit of information on the Middle Ages.

It makes me nuts.

Imbolc Lamb

Our homeschooling day was side-lined for several hours when we discovered a new-born little lamb in the barn. Socks finally had her baby, who is appropriately now named Slipper. Just in time for Imbolc!

After that, we got back to business. Did our usual grammar and math lessons (thank gods for pre-planned lesson books sometimes). Then spent some time learning about the parts of the eye and ear, as an extension of the light/sound physics unit. Much more interesting than trying to understand wavelengths and whatnot.

She's now engrossed in the anatomy book and hopefully doing a little exploration on her own. Nope, she's clamoring for a French lesson. Off to Rosetta stone, which of course is only installed on MY computer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Long Saturday

Pleas and calls for playdates have all fallen flat, leaving us alone again for the weekend. And snowed into the house at that. Toy shopping has been cancelled, so Em is bored as well as disappointed.

I tried to convince her that the cool kids do math on the weekends. She's not falling for it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm cold

The woodstove can't keep up with this crazy cold weather. I'm freezing! But my daughter knows the speed of sound by heart, so I guess there's an upside to today.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Time Hates Me

Well, my mornings are still running smoothly. Grammar, math, cursive and creative writing worked well before lunch. I used a Story Starter from Scholastic (love it, except you can't save to work later). She is still working on hers, and will likely keep writing for a few days now.

But after lunch, my plans of science or other unit studies for the afternoons is sucking. After a little geography, I jumped into today's demonstrations about light and refraction (3 of them). Took about an hour. I got her to do some more writing but our day basically fell apart around 2pm.

I have to come up with some other regular subjects to tackle in the afternoons. I hadn't wanted to overload our days but more and more we're coming up short. I can see some days in our upcoming Middle Ages unit will take a full afternoon (catapults!!). Can't wait.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday again already?

Spent another great afternoon at our local homeschool play group, though Em only had one other boy to play with. Still thrilled that it's otherwise working out well with our weekly schedule.

Before we left, we squoze in a quick math worksheet and a grammar lesson to at least do something educational. On the way home, we ended up taking a short "field trip" to the book store which was fun for everyone. I got fancy coffee. 'nuff said.

She wrote a new haiku poem when we got home, and did an illustration for it. So I am somewhat fine with our academics for the day.

I'm also toying with the idea of publishing a Pagan kid's cookbook. Of course, I need a new project like another hole in my head. We'll see where that goes....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Doing Cursive

Handwriting practice is going pretty good. They hadn't even started back at school. I'm making it a little more interesting by writing my own practice sheets. This page at worksheetworks is perfect.

Add your own text and it creates a PDF you can print. I write a sentence at the top and have her repeat it on the lines below. Today's was "Darlene was doodling during dinner". Much more fun than just writing "d" over and over.

Another social play event tomorrow, which I am really looking forward too. She's getting past her lonely stage I think now that she has a few outings to expect each week. I'll be making some phone calls tonight to see about some girls coming over on the weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed. Nobody ever seems to have time around here.

Our day today:

impromptu discussion about haiku poetry over breakfast
Grammar - nouns and their purals
Cursive writing practice
Math - introduction to division

Watched some Bill Nye over lunch

Spend the afternoon doing experiments about light and reflection
That's our main science unit for the next week or so.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Unexpected perk

One unexpected benefit of homeschooling is that I can't snack all through the day like I used to do while I work. With little eyes around, I can't be stuffing my face like a maniac. So I've already lost 2 pounds since we started.

Not the most enlightening way of looking at things, but I'll take the perks where I can find them.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Socialization has commenced

We're getting some rhythm down to our day, and getting some progress in the core subjects (math, grammar, spelling). Still a little flighty with the science and social studies.

Our first attempts at getting her some social playtime have begun! We went to a local homeschool group play-day and it was a big hit. Last time we went, she was too shy to talk to anyone. This week, she jumped right in and never stopped. It's a big relief. As an only child, I am really concerned about keeping and maintaining friendships. Our local Girl Guide group only has 5 girls in it and we obviously don't go to church. Here's hoping next week is just as good.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Is this thing on?

Just a quick test post to see what it looks like with the theme. A proper introduction is coming soon.

Basically, I wanted to create a blog about homeschooling an only child in a Pagan (at least a non-Christian) environment. I seem to be in the minority on all counts here.

And the name comes from the silly saying I use when getting my daughter into bed:

"Nighty night, flighty bite". 

 No meaning. It's just one of the many pieces of nonsense that come out of my mouth.