Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week in Review

This week has been a pretty slow week for us. Doug and I have been really sick (the kids just had sniffles), so I haven't been very motivated to do much.

On Tuesday, we got the boys' new bunk beds delivered, so that was an interesting experience. We did our usual reading lesson, and then because Doug was home sick, he helped them do a science kit we had - digging for dinosaur fossils. The kids have done similar activities before, but they still enjoyed it.

Wednesday was our big apple picking field trip and it went so well. I was really dreading it, because when I went as a kid, the branches were all so high and it was a real pain. So, I was imagining having to lift the kids up to pick apples. But we were pleasantly surprised when we got off the hayride to see that the branches were almost brushing the ground, and they were heavily laden with fruit. I think it took the boys maybe five minutes tops to fill their bags. When the hayride dropped us off back near the farm store, we got to have cider donuts and cider, and then each of the kids got some animal feed. I figured the boys wouldn't be interested since they typically hate farm animals (except our chickens, of course), but they ran off ahead of me and fed the chickens and the sheep. Fiona, for her part, loved the pigs and did not want to leave them. She kept oinking, though her version sounds more like a Frenchman laughing (ie - 'Hon, hon, hon!'). It was very sweet. When we got home, we did a reading lesson and called it a day, I was exhausted.

Thursday was a park day, so we met at Endicott Park. There were a few moms there, all new members with only toddlers. It was interesting trying to make conversation since they don't have any older kids, but we managed. That afternoon, Colwyn did his math workbooks (which also included reading, as he's working on the number words). Then we did a page from his history book, though it was more earth sciences than history - composition of the earth, plate tectonics, continental drift.

On Friday, we did more reading, but mostly had a lazy day. In the afternoon, though, we decided to go into business selling eggs (we have a surplus from our chickens). The boys made signs and I filled a cooler with eggs, which we set out in the front yard. I told the boys that they could keep any money people gave us, figuring that would be a good way to move into learning about money. We also gave our neighbors some eggs as a gift, but they surprised us and gave us $5 when they returned the basket. The boys were thrilled!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week in Review

Last weekend, we went to King Richard's Faire. We didn't think we were going to be able to go, since we usually get free tickets, but our 'source' moved away. Thankfully, we lucked out with a new 'source' and got enough free passes for all of us (admission is normally $22 per person or something like that). We watched a bunch of different shows, including two jousts, and had a really great time.

On Monday and Tuesday, we did reading and history (reading from the Encyclopedia of World History). We also went bowling with our homeschool group on Tuesday, which was a huge success.. we had a few families show up unexpectedly, families that we haven't seen since the spring. Hopefully everyone's gearing up for the 'school year' and will be more active. On Wednesday, we went on a cruise up and down the coast between Manchester and Marblehead with Mahi Cruises out of Salem Willows. I don't know that the kids listened to a whole lot of the narration, but it was definitely a fun experience. When we got home, we did more reading and did 'cookie math' - which is basically just us baking cookies, but the kids do learn about measurements.

On Thursday, we had Calvin over for a playdate in the morning, then did more reading and worked on our journal entries for this month's book club. The books this month were Friday was book club and was (surprisingly) a huge hit, as well. It was surprising because we tried out something new.. instead of all the moms sitting with the big kids while they presented journals, but the meeting being mostly free play, Jen had a few activities planned and also did a lengthy circle time where they read two books and had a discussion. While all that was going on, those of us with little ones hung out in the playroom so the babies wouldn't be disruptive. I was expecting Colwyn and Lachlann to resist, since they're normally very shy at book club, they they did really well. They sat for the whole circle time and even shared quite a bit of info. I was super impressed.

After book club, we came home and worked on a part of their math workbooks I'd been putting off. It involves pouring water from one container into many smaller ones, or filling up one big container with several smaller cups of water. We've done that activity before, but for some reason it came up again. I'd been putting it off because it's involved and makes a big mess, but we did it during Fiona's naptime, so it was fine. After that, they each did a few pages in their math workbooks, and Lachlann actually finished his Earlybird 1A book! Woohoo, Lachlann!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Week in Review

Our week was pretty full this week, but not nearly as full as next week's will be. We did reading lessons most days, two days of math, and three days of reading from The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History. We did cooking math one day (brownies, yum). We had health lessons on two days, when both Lachlann and I had physicals.

Friday was our first Earth Scouts meeting, and it was a big hit. At first, I was counting myself as very smart for not inviting everyone over to my house for the meeting, but that morning as I was trying to pack everything, load it and the kids into the car, and get everything into the library, I realized that I was wrong. :) Luckily, the space at the library was just perfect for us and the staff was super nice. While we waited for everyone to arrive, the kids decorated the folders they'll use to keep their journaling pages together. Then we sat in circle and listened to the first Rosie Emery song (I was expecting earthy, hippie type music, but 'Cooperation' emulated a hip-hop, rap-ish song and was a little embarrassing). Then we talked about what Earth Scouts do - the kids enjoyed listing everything they could possibly think of that lives on the Earth. We did a few cooperation games next, with much laughing. Then the kids had a snack. Once snacktime was over, the kids made their individual pictures depicting our Earth community that we made into our Earth Scouts banner. While they did that, I demonstrated the woven belts for the moms, and that was about it. All the kids really seemed to enjoy themselves and were well behaved. Fiona, who I had forgotten to bring toys for, entertained herself quite well for over an hour and a half, with very little help from me. I was so impressed.

I think Earth Scouts will be a big hit for this year, and can't wait until our next meeting. :)

We also made two trips to the park this week.. Lynch Park with Charlotte and Sam, and Stagefort with the homeschoolers. This is my favorite time of year for park days.. the ground is dry, there are a lot of overcast days, and the temperature is almost always cool. Woohoo for fall!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Homeschool Group

Our homeschool group is crazily busy this fall. September got off to a slow start, but this Friday (9/18), we're having our first Earth Scouts meeting. I booked a meeting space at the Hamilton Wenham Library since we'll have 10 participants, as well as a handful of observers. Next week, we go bowling on Tuesday (9/22) and on a cruise of Beverly/Salem harbor on Wednesday (9/23). Friday (9/25) is book club at Jen's. The following week, we have an apple picking field trip on Wednesday (9/30) and a toddler story time at Robin's on Friday (10/2) - though we'll probably skip the story time).

In October, we'll have science day, Earth Scouts again, book club, Recycled Art Day, an Aquarium field trip, a fire station tour, a Halloween Party, and a Lego day at my house. I'm responsible for five out of those eight things. Oh, and I also have Colwyn's birthday party to plan.

Oh, and we'll also try to get in as many park days as possible before the truly cold weather hits.


I'm really super excited about Earth Scouts, though, and will post more in depth about it after our first meeting.

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Friday, September 11, 2009


I'm so annoyed with the school system. I sent in a letter of intent and education plan copied (with a few additions) from AHEM's website. The stuff I added in was what specific materials we plan on using and what materials we'll most likely use.. I figured it was likely that they'd ask for that info anyway. About a week after sending in our LOI, I got a letter back with a form that requested the exact info I'd already given in our LOI. Aggravated, I wrote "see attached" on the form and sent back our original LOI, with an additional paragraph at the top stating that this was info we'd already sent in. I also corrected them because the secretary had listed Colwyn as being in first grade, which is when most homeschoolers start reporting, but because Colwyn has an October birthday, he'd be in kindergarten this year. So anyway, I sent that in, and a week later I got another letter back saying that they were in receipt of my ed plan, and would I please give the middle school principal (who is in charge of approving HSers) a phone call. Really annoyed now, I sent back another letter saying:

I received a letter asking me to give you a phone call. Phone calls during the week, while caring for three young children, are impractical. More importantly, I would prefer to have a written record of all correspondence. I would appreciate it if you could address any concerns or questions in writing, through the mail.

I’m confident that our education plan for Colwyn far exceeds what he would be learning in Kindergarten this year. We’ve been planning to homeschool for years, we have a great support system in place, and are secure in our choices. I’ve already had to send in my letter of intent and education plan twice. I believe I have fulfilled my legal obligations in letting you know of our plan to homeschool. I would appreciate anything you could do to hasten this approval process.

I couldn't mail it until Tuesday because of the holiday, so I'm not expecting a response until Monday. I'm very curious to see what they have to say, but above all, I'm sick of getting the run around and would like this stupid approval process to be over and done with.