A Little Rebellion


"New Year"

Our "official" start date for the 2011-2012 school year was Wednesday. It being summer, we haven't done that much in the way of formal education. That said, the following all occurred.

- Four activities in Sentence Composing for Elementary School; we started this late in the school year, so she was finishing up a section.
- Typing practice x 3
- Rosetta Stone (German) x 3
- C25K x 2 (w1d2 on Wednesday, w1d3 tonight)
- Trumpet practice x 3

- Two days from the end of WWE 1
- Rosetta Stone (German) x 3
- lots of reading

- lots of writing going on, mostly fiction
- planning for formal work for 2011-2012
- finalized EG's grammar syllabus for 2011-2012
- C25K workouts with EG (I've done the whole program, but on a treadmill and not surface streets, like we are this time)
- GNO with two of my three Ms :)
- Thwarted twice in our quest for Pride shirts from Old Navy, SmrtMama and I had an impromptu day in Midtown yesterday.

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"Official" Days of School

It's only taken me six years of homeschooling (five years of reporting to the state) to finally decide upon the following course of action.

For a couple of years, I've been very diligent at counting days for our state reporting, and only counting days where I felt we reached a certain threshold of learning. It occurred to me several times, though, that there were days we didn't count that were probably far more educational than the end of the year celebrations at the local public schools. As it happens, I also never counted the days that EG was doing end of the year testing. We were usually done with our required number of days by that point.

I also never had a real interest in doing "year round school" in the way that many people usually mean it. I didn't want to do a three week on, one week off schedule, or a three months on, one month off schedule. Summer camps are very important to me as a parent. I'm sure I'd feel that way regardless, but as a homeschooling parent, they're very nearly sacred. Next year, PC can go to a half-day camp at the local YMCA, which means I am eagerly anticipating getting a week where I am ALONE for three hours a day, as well as two weeks where one of the older kids is the only one home with me. I'm getting off track; suffice it to say, while we do light schoolwork throughout the summer, camp is Very Important.

This past year, I did an experiment. Each year, as I filled out my "attendance report," I kept track of our running total of days. Then, I kept an unofficial count. It included things like trips out of town, field trips, and more. If it was somewhat educational, I went ahead and included it. I probably missed a few.

As of the end of May, I have 242 days of education counted for the eleven month period of July 2010-May 2011.

I don't feel bad about what I'm going to do tonight or tomorrow, then: I'm going to print out our "attendance sheets" and fill them out for the 2011-2012 school year. In advance. All 180 days. If we hold with the past year, we'll surpass that by at least 60 days.


Wrapping It Up, Officially

We've been on a very light schedule for the past two months, really; we hit 32 weeks before our spring break week, and almost all of my lesson plans were written for 32 or 34 weeks. EG did have two webinars that both concluded yesterday. All of the extracurricular activities are done until autumn.

And today, I wrote my annual summation of the year. Technically required. Y Georgia law, I'm not actually obligated to submit it to anyone. I'm just supposed to write it and keep it on file. I guess it goes with the test scores that we have to have but not submit.

Now I've really got to finalize everything for next year. I have a lot of plans to finish writing before we start. Oh, and Bento to purchase. I love the Bento iPad app and really want to be able to enter things more easily via the laptop. Other exciting technological things on the horizon include my turn for a new computer over the summer. Oh, Apple store, you just keep calling my name.

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Electronic Organization

For Mothers' Day this year, albeit a few days late, I got an iPad. A shiny, new, 64 GB iPad 2, to be more precise. I already loved my iPhone and my MacBook, but I think it might just be my iPad that persuades me to go paper free (in terms of homeschool organization and planning) at last.

I've already added a lot of helpful apps. I'm also trying to figure out a way to swing making it work if we get EG an iPad, because I can already see so many potential uses for it for her with regards to schoolwork.

Therein lies my dilemma, in a way. For so long, I've been the only person who keeps track of the family calendar. I use iCal and have it nicely color-coded and everything. If EG starts using an iPad, though, and I can convince the Spousal Unit to use the iPod Touch, I suddenly reach the point where having our calendars sync would make so much sense. I'm not sure if I can do that with iCal but I'm pretty reluctant to switch to a new system!

I've already discovered I need to get Bento on our computers pronto. I got the iPad app and love it; I can't wait to modify it for school use!

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Why We Don't Identify As Year-Round Homeschoolers

We educate all year, of course, and I still require what most would consider academic or book work during most of the summer months. Overall, though, I tend not to identify us as year-round homeschoolers for one reason: summer camps.

I'm a big fan of summer camps. Yes, kids need downtime, time to relax and just be, and so forth. I'm not denying that. For my kids, though, for whom every day might include a good dose of that sort of thing, summer camp is a great time to expand their horizons and provide them with a not-as-every day experience.

The result is that I'm almost always seeking out options and ideas for great summer camp experiences for the kids. EG has a few camps that she always attends, but this year she's branching out. I'm similarly seeking new options for FB, as he's outgrown the preschool half-day camps, and simultaneously hasn't quite aged into some of the grade-school camps. (Fie!) As I was writing this post, I went to confirm something else and discovered that, technically, PC is old enough for half-day preschool camp at the YMCA. I really can't imagine her at camp. "[PC], come sit in the circle." "No!" Yeah, I think we may wait on that one--though, ohhh, it is tempting.

What kind of camps? This year, both of the bigs are going to ice skating camp. They'll also go to a local high school show choir's day camp (EG has gone for years; this will be FB's first year). EG will go to Girl Scout day camp; FB will probably go to tennis camp at the Y for a week, plus a Sports & Skills camp that a local church holds each year. EG's two big new camps are Girls Rock Camp and Space Camp. Yes, these absorb a huge chunk of the summer budget, lol! I think she'll really enjoy both of them, though. I want to find something else for FB, but as I said, he's at an awkward age. The local universities have summer camps, but he's not considered old enough. He's bright and all of that, but if I pay for zoo camp or similar, I want him to be a little older. I think he'll still manage to have a good summer.

And, of course... I hope we'll be moving this summer.


NaVidPoMo: Day the Last

Because I never got to finish NaVidPoMo, thanks to our internet service being down.

First, the video I was going to post that day:

And, for my daughters. My daughters who have to grow up in a rapists' culture. My daughters, who still seem to need these sentiments. No matter how much we hate that reality.


Two Steps Forward...

• We had no internet for most of last week, and then I took the kids to visit my parents for three days. The lack of internet was a huge downer. I did have my iPhone but it's not quite the same as a functioning internet connection on my laptop with its full keyboard.

• I did manage to get a lot accomplished last week while the kids read a lot. I have more work I want to complete during the remainder of this week.

• However, last night when the storms blew through, a neighbor's tree fell into our yard, across the fence that is technically theirs. The good news is that we have no responsibility, financial or otherwise, for the fence to be fixed. The bad news is that we're dependent on someone else to fix the fence.

• This is how I feel:
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"A little rebellion every now and then is a good thing." - Thomas Jefferson