Sunday, July 30, 2006


Susan has a good post on her blog on
a Sabbath season. Started me thinking.

Talking with a priest from our parish added to the thoughts already swirling in my head, about homeschooling and seasons.

We don't do a lot of planning in our educational process. We live and learn.

I read about education issues. I look at our state's education documents.The boys and I talk - we follow interests. I know what we can do and should do, over a term or a season.

And then the days just flow on from there.

We do some Maths. Some writing. Some reading. Some themes. We talk. We watch movies. We participate in groups. Some art - symbolic self portraits! Music lessons and band practice. Ice skating. Skateboard lessons.

We have meetings to discuss progress and paths.

I keep a log of what we do. And it all gets done. I can check off outcomes achieved on the education outcomes checklist.

This season our focus is Chemistry, via Group Learning and follow ups at home. Alexander is studying Latin. Thomas and Anny French, via some fun computer programs.

We all keep journals and nature journals. And the boys will be blogging this season, as a way to extend writing skills.

Wednesday mornings, before Group Learning, seem to have become a good time for more focused religion reading and writing and discussing. We read about the Saints and celebrate the liturgical year as a matter of course. And Anny is copying out some Latin prayers.

Current events - reading and viewing and talking about the news - takes place.

The Maths we do takes the form of Kumon or workbook or activities or maths journals .

And there is some Kumon English study .

[As an aside - I am a Kumon Education Centre Supervisor and the children have the option of studying with Kumon. Or not. What has been interesting for me to see is that some of my boys like a methodical programme, with clear goals. ]

This term I have replaced our artist and composer of the month with a weekly Latin quote and poetry selection - rotated on the refrigerator. A nice change.

The choices for this week? They are e e cummings and
Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am


Cindy said...


Great timing for this post... as I have been thinking about this are related areas, too. I am starting a post about this on dogdays.. maybe put it on the journey blog, too.

In the meantime, I am thinking about what you wrote. Your post really resonated with me.

When I hear the elements of your life, the reading, some planning, following interests (your and your boys), etc- it sounds much like mine.

I like how you bring in the ideas-- the Latin on the fridge and so forth.

Right now I am wondering how to balance what I do. Would be interested in your ideas.

I find there are so many factions to my life- how to know what to do when?

Then, I will get off on one and the others will drop.

Especailly in bringing in the ideas.. to remember to do it. Any ideas?

I like your ideas of looking out over a month or a term. After you do that, do you spend time planning and looking for resources? Do you plan certain tims during the week to do the research, or just whenever it strikes you? Sorry for all the questions! Would love your thoughts.

Cindy said...

Hi again-

I don't think I can edit my previous comment, so here is another post!

Do you have a system to keep track of your ideas? I have tried journals, binder, etc.

I will get ideas, but then don't have them all in one place. Things to follow up on... remember to do... I think I need some sort of better plan to follow.. even things the boys want to do that I forget. Any suggestions? thanks!

Leonie said...

I am very ad hoc in my planning and finding of resources. I do tend to look in terms, simply because the schools here noperate on terms ( approx 10 week blocks).

This is our seasonss - and they affected by the time of year. summer season is definitley diferent to winter, for example. Just because of the kinds of things we can do and want to do.

I have a homeschool log which is also an ideas notebook. And I jot thing.ns down in there. And keep my eyes open for possible resources

I have a file of ideas and clippings, etc, too. This gets cleaned out once or twice a year.

It is loose and not systematic - but there are definite components.

The thinking and praying writing down of ideas each term.
Meetings with the kids.
Regular reading of education/homeschool sites or books.
Talking with others.
The notebook and the file.
The educational outcomes list from the state education authority.

So, there is the kind of methodical thinking of learning in term/seasonal blocks - and then the serendipity of going on a craze :-) - via an interest or something that just comes up.

Don't know if this helps much - Susan's post on a Sabbath season resonated with me cos it is a bit like our seasons - some formal work, no lesson plans, interests, just pick up where you left off, being open to change..

Cindy said...

Yes, this helps.

This reminds me of some conversations we have had before.. but some new ideas.. helping me gel this.

Let me ask, too-

How do you get a rhyme to life and goings ons? THinking here about blogging/email.. reseraching new ideas.. going out.. prayer time.. time with kids...

For a while I had a schedule, but I get boxed in. But if I don't have one I lose track of things. Find I do one thing a lot then not another. Any ideas?

I think maybe I need one notebook to write all my ideas for things to do.. and one clipping folder. Problem is I have about 3 journals going (plus the blogs) So sometimes feel scattered!

Do you allow time for blogging and cut off when you reach your limit?

Would love any and all input! Yes, I liked Susan's post, too.


Ladybugs said...


I have to say, "Me, too!"

I've been thinking about how to approach our year and our children have had alot of exposure to music and art....

But I'd like to do more Latin and poetry.

I recently bought Juliana a new poetry book and thought we could read a poem a week and discuss. I decided, too, to post one latin word a week and we can try to come up with words that have that root.

I know that these are "my" decisions but we've been discussing the importance of these topics and the children understand - or at least say they understand - LOL - my reasoning and they're willing to give it a go.

Thanks for your post!


Leonie said...

Maria, it works best for me to focus on a few things at once - I can't do the artist/composer/Latin quote/poem/grammar of the week/science topic of the week/ etc thing - too much busy work and the kids tune out. So, I do one or two things.

I think this term's Latin and poem will work well. We have enjoyed our artist/composer focus.

Cindy, I don't have a schedule. We do have some routines that seem to change and then I build on those.

Example. The kids know on mornings home we will have a focused time together. But there is no set time here and what we do together depends on the day - not set days but - is there a project going on? That takes priority. How will those studying Kumon fit that into the day? Maths and writing can be done then - or later.Perhaps reading aloud will be part of the focused time - or pushed to the evening hours.

Wednesday just fell into place as religion day - I think because we have to get ready for and leave for GL, so it wasn't a good project day.

Typically, evenings are when we do game things or read aloud or
( most often) watch movies and talk.

I squeeze in my Kumon study time and reading time before bed - jot notes in my homeschool journal then, too.

I work Monday and Thursday afternoons and have monthly meetings on Wednesdays. J and A work M/T/TH/Fr afternoons and J works Tuesdays and every secod Saturday. Tuesday and Friday afternoons I am available but focused on my Kumon work - the kids know this. Tuesdays Thomas and Anny fold newspapers and I help them deliver them around 4 or 5pm. So we fit our life around things like that.

Everyone knows that mum's workout time is a.m. I typically read email/blogs while eating breakfast ( I eat later than everyone else) - unless we are out early. And check email on and off when I am on the computer doing other stuff or when J is on the computer and says - mum you have an interesting email! lol!

I used to blog and catch up on blogs on weekends - now I do it here and there, when there is time, and the kids are othwerwise engaged.

Very loose - yet I live by my To Do list. I am lost without it - it kind of maps my day. I usually make the list before bed, or, if I am too tired, the next morning over a cup of tea. I refer to my diary and running work to dos list. I write every thing down in my diary ( planner) - if I don't wqrite it, I won't do it! This includes things I want to do with the boys - like, on today's page I had stuck a post it note wth journal/nature journal/maths journal written on it. I did this last week when I was reading a blog and thought we all should do more journaling. Knowing I wouldn't get around to it without a reminder, I wrote the post it note and stuck it in the diary for the start of this week.

Gone on way too long! :-)

Cindy said...

Not too long at all, Leonie. It is fun to hear about how your day plays out and also how you handle various needs/schedules,etc.

It sounds like a big jigsaw puzzle that just comes together!

I see we have a similar flow to our days, too. Dependent on what is happening in our lives at the moment and the patterns. For eg when we have a dog sit we plan the rest of our lives aroud that, since they have 2 and 3 visits a day. (one is coming up on Tuesday)

I find we come together and seperate into our own projects very naturally. That works well here. Boys will have a need/request and come find me and if it is something that requires a car trip, we plan around the week.

I particularly was interested in your diary- where you write stuff down. Hope this is not getting too nitty gritty.. but where I am looking for enlightment.

I use a calendar, and like you, my brain resides there. I have an 8x10 two-page montly calendar that all appts go onto and I can see the month at a glance.

Then I have a two page calender for the week. It has hours on it and I transfer all the monthly stuff on there for day by day reminders. Also I put on my to-dos (such as phone calls and errands)

What I don't have a good place for is the stuff to do with the boys. Are you saying your homeschool plans and ideas are on your main calendar, or do you have a diary seperate?

Sorry to get so detailed, but your life flow sounds similar to mine and I am looking for ideas. I seem to have notes and ideas writtne all over.

I think, too if I put an idea on a page of my calendar, then don't do it ... and turn the page I might forget about it forever! :-0 Does this make sense?

If not.. just ignore.

Maria, how do you keep track of your ideas for the kids?

I like your idea for poetry. We did that for a few weeks at a time.. read one poem a week. It is a gentle introduction and gives such a nice variety. I love the idea of Latin quotes on the fridge, too.

Thanks for the reminder, Leonie, to do only a few things at a time. I think I am very all or nothing.. so part of why I need a place to put my brainstorming down, so I can get to it when the time is right.

Ok.. enough from me.

Leonie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leonie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leonie said...

Okay - finally able to post properly!

...Never enough from you two, Cindy and Maria!

Okay, I am getting ready for going to Kumon and having a coffee before I go...So, my diary.

It is your basic diary/planner. Nothing flash. But a page for two days and I write down everything - not just appts but also reminders to do things ( clean carpets - July might be a good time, this morning I saw Anny's room and thought - add that to the weekend to dos in the diary, for example).

The homeschool diary is a log and also holds general ideas - the file holds the programme for the state and general articles etc. Same with a computer file. Things we might want to do at some time.

But if I want to really do something, take an idea and run with it, if the kids really want to go with something - the only way we will do it is if I don't jot it down as an idea but make it a To Do in my diary. On a moveable post it note ( I love post its - we all use them at home and now I have the kids at my Kumon centre using them too!). So I can move it from one day to another or week to another as it suits the routine.

So - a record log with general ideas, an ideas and programme file and computer file, and my can't live without diary/daily To Do list/post its.

Sounds very scattered - maybe an indication of my brain? lol!

Blogging is for conversation and my personal journal is for - once in a blue moon - personal entries - be they fitness or spiritual related or just a mish mash.

Cindy said...

This is very helpful to me, Leonie.

I like the post-it note idea. My planner is a Franklin Covey and in fact back in my corporate days I took a class on how to use the planner (time mgmt) and they had us doing something very similar to yours.

You would write a list of to-dos and then for the things that did not get done, you would make a little arrow sign that said they were to be transferred to the next day. Ok, but I like post its better.

We have joked around here how whoever invented those things must be rich. They are great.

I have a planner that has a week on two pages. I use it for everything *except* our homeschool stuff. That is what I am trying to incorporate.

I have actually several spirals I used as logs. The main one is my log- where I write one liners about what we did. I have another which talks about ideas. I third I use excusively for Clonlara calls, which is full of treasures. I think I could publish and sell the wisdom in there!

And, I have a spiritual journal. So you see why I am so scattered.

And I print off my blogging occasionally to put in my file in case blogspot ever goes belly up so I will have a record. It has turned into a nice record, though selective.

And, I enjoy the conversation of blogging, too.

I want to integreate my ideas with my daily planner. I am going to start with the post its.

I am all or nothing thinking at times, so tend to think I have to reserach an idea heavily before starting... so dont' get to many things. Maybe I need to 'just do it' and post its are a nice way to start.

Enjoyed the conversation!

Ladybugs said...

Me? Keep track of ideas?

I'm such a mish-mash! My brain always feels "on" kwim? I'm always thinking? I finally am beginning to put together a binder and separate it alphabetically by topics. Then, I can list resources as I learn about them and go back to the hard copy.

I think part of my problem is I've been all over the map with ideas and thoughts and desires. Now, I'm trying to focus and have more of a rhythym. It has helped that since I have been sleeping better and have been in better health, I feel more up to the task. In the past, I would read about what everyone else would do in their homes and feel so inadequate because my energy levels were so low. But I am greatly improved on that front! Thanks be to God!

Since we have used a charter school due to dh's unemployment bouts and financial stress, I used to print out a calendar for outlook for each of the children enrolled in the school (the 3 girls). Rather than filling in a plan, I would write what we did. One mom I know here, freaked out at this approach, but it worked for our situation.

Since I've talked with my kids about our how we're going to tackle a little Latin - Isabella was adamant and wanted Greek - so we'll do a Latin word now and a Greek word - they seem interested.

Just today, I told that I think we'll start waking up early and riding our bikes to Mass. At first there were protestations, but after the dust settled, they were interested. I told them that I just think we should try it. Then we can see if it works.

I sound so dominating and not very unschooly but I am saying we're going to try things 'cause if I didn't, they wouldn't. I did this when we first starting going to meet with other homeschoolers on First Friday and my kids are so glad! They love First Fridays now and I don't have the problems of them complaining when I get them up early 'cause they know what it means. But if I had not pushed a wee bit, they would never have had that experience.

Ok, I've rambled lots.

I enjoy talking with you ladies. I've missed you.

Ladybugs said...

Do you lovely ladies have any recommendations for Latin websites for sayings?

I am woefully inadequate with Latin and what I was initially thinking of doing is taking the English from the Roots up word cards and putting them up on a bulletin board and then the kids have to find words that have the root in them and put it up on our bulletin board. A word search - literally!

But then I got to thinking - quotes could be fun, too!

What do you think?

Leonie said...

Maria, asking your kids to ride their bikes with you daily is not demanding, imo. It shows that you care about their physical fitness - and yours.

I make sure my kids do some physical fitness stuff every day - it is important ,just as I think my daily workout is important. And every weekend we try to do a family fitness activity - nature walk/hike, basketball, skateboarding ( I am a terrible skater!) etc.

There are a couple of places that have Latin quotes online -I also like the EFTRU idea. We did that a number of years ago.

Latin quotes and phrases

Cindy said...

HI Maria-

I know you are full of ideas... ! That was why I asked.

I hear you on the fatigue front. I have dealt with some of that, too, and also sometimes feel inadequate reading all that others do. I am working on that. I just read a lovely meditaion on Mary and Martha in Magnificat this week.

I was thinking how it applied here. Trying to find a way to organize my thoughts and ideas so that I can use my limited energy to pursue them.

I agree with Leonie--- think it is great to challenge your dc to the bike ride, etc. You should see my teen at 9am daily Mass! He would not choose to be there, but know graces are at work. He was actually almost awake last week. :-)

I agree with you on finding the right rhythym... it takes time and experimetation. For me, I was so ingrained in school I had to let go a LOT to allow myself to see what they really need. Sounds like you already have a good handle on that.

Glad you are getting sleep. I think it is almost impossible to function without that. :0

Leonie, like your Latin quote site.

I am thinking of trying Latina Linguia this year with the boys. It is all contextual reading and learning Latin from that. I know I posted on journey about how Latin was not needed, but it is fun to know.. lol

I did like EFTRU, too. We did it years ago. It is easy and relaxed (the way we did it) and actually enjoyed seeing all the words that came from the roots. Maybe combo would be fun... that plus the quotes?

Glad to chat with you again, too, Maria!

Cindy said...

Alexander is studying Latin. Thomas and Anny French, via some fun computer programs.

Me again!

What computer programs are they using?? :)

Leonie said...

I was trying to find fun programmes - not school on a CD,iykwim? :-)

Learn French with Asterix

And another program I bought cheap on ebay - Let's Learn French - for Kids.