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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Week 9 Report

Life: I've lightened up a little bit this week in our lessons due to personal circumstances and life stress, it has been decided that I need to get a part-time job and the only time I can work is at night so that I can continue to homeschool.

Our church asked me to take over the youth program on Wednesday nights and although I WANT to and know that I could make a strong impact on the ministry, I have to pass in lieu of working. God, family, church. Since I'm the curricula coordinator at the church, I can still be helpful but what is really needed is an energetic, enthusiastic, fresh approach to a youth program for at-risk kids. The current volunteers are a bit burnt out and the power struggles about what to do are disheartening. I feel awful that I cannot be the answer for them because I have the energy and enthusiasm, not to mention I'm fresh-blood- a new perspective that has nobody's interests at heart but the kids. I'll continue to do what I can, who knows- maybe the new job will allow me to be there on Wednesday nights.

Math Programs: Math-U-See was not a hit here, I like it but Camille did not. We watched 5 lessons, including one about money. Camille said she didn't understand why the teacher used blocks instead of magnetic money to teach with. I enjoyed Steve Demme's humor and rapport with the students, I liked the illustration of concepts with manipulatives but to use Math-U-See, I feel I would have to add supplements for word problems.

To be honest, I think both Camille and I are accustomed to the vast amount of concepts Horizons Math presented and spoiled by the color worksheets, everything else seems too simplistic. I know the simplicity is what makes Math-U-See a strong program, we're currently seeking help for our spiral math addiction. Lol.

Actually, we're not...Math on the Level arrived yesterday and we can be both mastery and spiral as we see fit! I'm very pleased with Math on the Level, the teacher's guides illustrate the concepts in multiple ways, in color (yes, I'm spoiled), and I couldn't find a single weakness of the program where I feel the need to supplement. I will share more about Math on the Level as I become better friends with it, it is a lot of information to assimilate but I'm confident once I have, I will develop a rhythm with it, just as I have with Tapestry of Grace.

Bible, Primary Language Lessons, Building Critical Thinking Skills Book 1, and Explode the Code Book 7 have gone well this week without a hitch.

Camille's handwriting is wonderful! We've been using a Scott-Foresman D'Nealian (book 3) handwriting book 1x a week, she's to do 2 pages which I haven't scheduled in or mentioned before but using the workbook has paid off greatly!

Math this week has been Times Tales, we've been working on Part I which was shown in the video Camille made. Camille didn't believe we were doing math at all until I presented the flashcards (which I didn't tear out, I just showed her the page like in the video) and she saw the numbers. We will continue with Times Tales through next week during our break.

History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 3 Redesigned- Week 9
Due to colds this week, we have not finished Once On This Island but we're okay with that because we really enjoy the book and are happy to continue it.

This week is our final week of South America and I embarrassed myself. In the South America book that we're using there are maps to label and little stickers to put on each country to show what each country's natural resources are. I thought, 'we can photocopy these countries and make our own South American puzzle map!' Are you laughing yet? Um, Venezuela is larger than Brazil, Uruguay is larger than Chile and of course I don't realize this faux pas until poor Camille has labeled each map and we started piecing them together on our 'South America poster', which was my grand idea but poorly thought out. We just put them in the approximate place they should be and added the colored flags. It still looks great but the end product is nothing like the end product I had envisioned when we started!



I found our copy of A Picture Book of Simón Bolívar by David Adler so we were able to read that this week. There was a part in the book I had issue with...
"In March 1812 an earthquake in Caracas killed some ten thousand rebels while the Spanish forces were mostly unharmed. Many people saw this as a sign that God was fighting on the side of the Spanish king. Bolívar didn't. "If nature is against us," he said, "we shall fight it and force it to our will."
I understand that Bolívar was fighting for the good of the country but to imply that he would fight nature (or God) and force it to his will...well that didn't sit well with me. Unsure of how to address it, I left it alone and kept fighting. On one hand, Bolívar was brave and determined for a good cause but on the other hand, was he really saying that he was willing to go against God? I'm not sure myself which is why I left it alone.

Life Science: Head to Toe Science by Jim Wiese

This week we discussed DNA and the reproduction system, I'm very happy with the treatment of this subject in this book. We did our experiments and then read Gregor Mendel, The Friar Who Grew Peas which is an excellent living book.

We visited a few friends' blogs to compare their traits and whether they look like their father or mother. What a blessing it is to have friends who have many really helped illustrate the differences multiple children can have in their traits with the same parents.

I find that a little hilarious, thank you for having 5-6 kids so that we can see your family as a science experiment on genetics and heredity since we don't have as many!

Music: We also finished up our informal study of Antonio Vivaldi, although we have nothing to show for it but heads full of his compositions and the reading of I, Vivaldi.

Tomorrow we will be going to a fire department with the homeschool group that I'm not a part of yet, the kids will be able to tour the firehouse and experience the smokehouse-which will teach them to find their way out of a fire safely. We're all excited although I'm a bit disappointed to not have a nature study two weeks in a row.

Next I will post a First Quarter recap of all we've learned and changed in this first quarter. It'll be a sort of progress report.




Sharon said...

Hi Jessica,

(This is a long and personal comment so, as I know you moderate comments, please feel free not to post this, I wouldn't be offended at all. You could respond at my blog but don't feel obliged to do that either.)

I just wanted to encourage you about the situation at your church. Remember, you've been there less than a year and you can't solve all their problems all in one hit. (Only God could do that.) Perhaps some people need to learn to forgive each other and begin to work together? Obviously I know nothing about the situation but when I read what you had to say, I wondered if you stepping in to help out would actually give those involved a way out from their problem without actually dealing with the cause. I don't think that would be a good solution long-term, because the problem wouldn't really be solved at all, even though there would be immediate benefits for the youth.

Of course, you also would need to consider the impact of the extra time away from your family - at a time when you are already facing the challenge of finding and getting on with part-time work. You might also want to think about how much extra planning work (and other behind the scenes work) you would be taking on. Perhaps this wouldn't just be a Wed night commitment when you take into account all the planning. I know you thrive on planning, I do to, but you should keep remembering that little list of priorities you mentioned and be realistic about what another church job would entail, time-wise.

My husband is a part-time Ministry Intern at our church while he studies his MDiv full-time (almost finished) and I also face similar problems. I would be a very capable Sunday School teacher, but at the moment I am needed in the creche, where I don't really do much "teaching" at all. I would also like to get more involved in Women's ministry, but again, there's not the time for the big commitment I'd like to make, because I have four kids at home, two of whom I am homeschooling, so I have had to be content with giving only one seminar this year. I have wanted to study while my husband has been, but I only managed to get into the night course and qualify for a Certificate, not the Grad Dip I had dreamed of three years ago. These are just the realities of being a ministry wife who does not send her kids to away-school five days a week.

So please be encouraged. Just because someone at your church wants you to do something, doesn't mean that God does! And if He does, He'll tell you so, probably through His word and your husband, the two primary authorities He has given you.

~ Sharon from Equip Academy

(I read your posts a lot but rarely comment - one way I deal with the issue of time stress in my family.)

Lisa in the UP of MI said...

I can't wait to hear what you have to say about Math on the Level. I've been intrigued by this curriculum lately too. Which books did you end up buying?