Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Money Troubles

I thought I was stressed when I wrote the last post!  The hubs had been unemployed since June.  We were OK for the first few months, but now I'm really feeling the pressure of the vice grip that is debt.  We have no credit card debt, thank God, but a car loan and two other "small" loans, in addition to my very old student loan.  Courtney finally found a truck driving job (I never got around to posting about how he went to truck driving school and how unhappy I was with that decision).  They're working him to death for a pittance, but it's better than no income.   So now, on top of homeschooling, working, parenting, cooking, laundry, etc, we're having to dig ourselves out of this hole.  To say that it's been a strain on our marriage would be an understatemnet.  That subject requires a post of its own, but it's not within the scope of this blog to tell ALL my business. 
I think I'm coming out of the depression I was in for a number of weeks.  I do have many blessings to count, after all.
As for homeschool, I've concluded that I'm going to have to go with a boxed curriculum.  I don't really want to (nor can I afford it right now), but I just don't have the time & energy to put lesson plans together!  We are doing pretty well overall. We make adequate daily progress and the girls do get a lot out of what we do.  I just wish we could do MORE.  Money is not everything, but it sure does make life a little easier all around, doesn't it? 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to (Home) School!

People often ask me, “How do you homeschool AND work?” I’m starting to ask myself the same thing. I NEVER have down time. I’d like to post more often, but it’s just not possible right now….and we haven’t been schooling for a couple of months now. Luckily, I have an awesome husband who does a lot to make things a little easier for me.  We start next week, but the girls have been asking for weeks now if we have school or not. Good to know there’s interest!

One of the things that’s been keeping me busy is getting familiar with my Homeschool Tracker software. The learning curve is quite steep, but it looks like the effort will be well worth it. I’m loading lesson plans and learning how to get things set up. I’m hoping it will decrease daily prep time. I concluded that the Workbox System just isn’t going to work for me. It requires daily work that I’m not willing to do. I’d rather have something in writing that I can look at once a week and get things together right then & there. I guess I’ll be using the WB system with a twist: Daily work will be placed in folders, which will be placed in drawers. I hope to take pics and post them in the near future.

This year Ava will be in first grade, Shelby in Kindergarten. If she was going to public school, she’d have to wait until next year. She is very bright and interested in many things, so I think she’ll do well. The plan is to break the year up into six 6-week terms with one week breaks in between. We’ll take three weeks off for winter holidays and two months of in the summer. I think this way, we’ll get a lot of work done without burnout. Each week will consist of four “academic” days. One of these days may include a field trip or outside class. The fifth day will probably be a work day or housework day for me, although it may consist of a field trip, depending on what we’re studying and what’s going on in town. I any event, learning takes place every day, right?

I have most of my curriculum in place, although I’m still doing some tweaking. The girls will do science, history, geography, health and language arts together. When ever possible, Language Arts will correlate with geography. They will do math & reading separately. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with Delaney (aka Babezilla) during school. I’m leaning towards daycare, but right now, finances won’t allow for that. For history, we’ll probably start out with Core Knowledge’s What Your X Grader Needs to Know . We’ll breeze though that in the first term, then embrace the classical education model and start with Ancient History next term. We’ll use History Odyssey for that. I’d like to use K12 for Shelby’s phonics, but that’s till up in the air. The rest of the subjects are as follows: Pandia Press’s REAL Science, Handwriting Without Tears, NC Healthy Schools for health, Phonics Pathways for Ava’s phonics, Galloping the Globe for geography and Right Start Math. They’ll each do Time4Learning as independently as possible while I work on phonics and math with the other one after we’re done with the group session.

I hope to incorporate lots of hands on activities. I know REAL Science has almost daily experiments. We did a trial run of a lap book (Hey Diddle Diddle) and they loved it. Galloping the Globe and History Odyssey also incorporate crafty projects. I’m looking forward to starting and so are the girls. I think it’ll be more enjoyable this year because they’ll be working together. Let the learning begin!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Archaeology Day at Fernbank Museum

An old iron
A seed planter
My future archaeologists put the pieces back together
Learning about ancient pottery
Delaney too!
Artifacts from the past
Shelby still plans to be a vulcanologist when she grows up

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Edisto Island Beach State Park Camping Trip

As usual, Courtney got his way again.  He talked me into our latest toy, a travel trailer, henceforth referred to as "the camper."  Although the truck he'd recently purchased had ample towing capacity, he had to trade it in for am SUV because blah, blah, blah...
We'd planned the beach camping trip long before the camper idea was though of.  We were just gonna tent camp.  I was Ok with that.  I really was.  Gas alone ate up a big chunk of money.  I didn't realize how much would be needed when hauling a load.  The total gasoline bill for the trip was about $250.  Also, it takes longer to get places when you're hauling a load.  I'm a city girl, how was I supposed to know that?
There's a tiny Piggly Wiggly right outside the park.
Shelby's beach-friendly hairdo.
The girls sleep in the bunks above.  Ava on top, Shelby & Delaney below.  The door on the left is the bathroom.
Inside the well lived-in trailer.  The bed is actually a slide-out.  It extends the length of the trailer by about 4 feet.  The dinette area converts into a bed also.
It rained off and on the first couple of days there.  On Saturday, the surf was really rough.  Courtney tried some fishing, but it was no use.  The girls enjoyed the beach cold wind and all.

Breakfast in the outdoor dining room.
It was about a half mile walk from the car to Botany Bay Beach, a few miles from the campground.  It was worth it!  On the way we saw hundreds of little brown crabs on the sides of the path.  When a few of them decided to cross the path, Ava & Shelby went into hysterics.  A few minutes later, Courtney and I saw a possum coming towards us!  We weren't worried about it being rabid as much as how the girls would react whe they saw it.  Luckily when it saw us, it made a right turn.  Whew!

The beach was deserted and beautiful.  I have been to many beaches, but I'd never seen as many shells as I saw here!  We spent about an hour there walking on the beach and collecting seashells.  The have people there who make sure you don't take them home.  I just wanted to take pictures of them.
The girls decorated a tree.
Someone left this display for us to enjoy.
Listening to the sea for the first time.
Headed back to the truck.
I finally found a bird field guide at the Goodwill, but I never did find out what kind of bird this was.
My beautiful man.
The view behind the trailer.
Our first trailer camping trip was a success.  The girls definitely loved it.  Our next trip was going to be to a beach campgound near Destin, Fl.  Tight finances and the impending oil slick, have caused to change plans.  We'll either go the the mountains near Chattannooga, TN or Lake Lanier Islands.  Stay tuned!