Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What 2 Read Wednesday:
"...those people who seem the most 'normal' ..."
Book Review: The Books of Elsewhere series
by Jacqueline West


“It's been my experience 
that those people who seem the most 'normal' 
are in fact the most dangerous.” 
Jacqueline WestThe Second Spy




Once SC and I finished the listening to the audiobooks of the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, after contemplating starting the Lord of the Rings series but decided not yet, I stumbled upon the first book in The Books of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West.  This is another series that has a touch of magic and fantasy, and some horror-lite akin to Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which is SC's favorite genre.  We decided to give the audiobook a try, and I was not only not disappointed, but hugely impressed with the quality of writing in these stories.  After some research, I discovered that West has won awards for her poetry, which makes sense.  She utilizes words in the Elsewhere books in a way that I have not seen/read in most contemporary children's novels.  She is a true wordsmith.

The story of the Elsewhere series is about Olive Dunwoody, an eleven-year-old girl who, along with her math professor parents, moves into an historical home whose previous owner, Ms. McMartin, has recently deceased.  Quickly after moving in, Olive notices that things in the house, which they purchased fully furnished with all of old Ms. McMartin's stuff, is a little off.  For example, when the family attempts to move some of the paintings on the wall, it is found that the paintings are oddly stuck.  Then, Olive begins to think that the painting she can see from her bedroom is moving.  After an afternoon exploring the house, where Olive discovers an intriguing pair of spectacles, and learns that not only are the paintings moving, but while wearing the spectacles she can travel into the paintings to a place called Elsewhere.  However, Elsewhere isn't the quiet place it seems to be, and Olive realizes that something, or someone, is not pleased that her family has taken ownership of the McMartin house.  Each book in the series builds on Olive uncovering secrets of the house, and the McMartin family, as she tries to outwit and defeat an evil that has prevailed for too long on Linden Street. 

I would recommend these novels to older elementary children who are not easily spooked.  However, if purchasing the audiobooks read by Lexi Fridell, she has such a sweet voice that I think some of the spook is lost by her reading it, and a younger elementary child who has a firm grip on fantasy vs. reality would love it.

       
  

**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure statement.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

10 FOR 10: Trip #1
Universal Studios Florida & Walt Disney World

"Laughter is timeless. 
Imagination has no age. 
And dreams are forever."
Walt Disney


WHAT IS THE 10 FOR 10?
Next July, AC and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and as such have been discussing what sort of big trip to take.  However, it occurred to me that we typically take some pretty big trips every year, sometimes as a tag-along when AC works, and sometimes just using all the points and miles he has amassed from his work travels.  I couldn't help but wonder if another trip would really be that special and different.  So, I came up with the idea that instead of just one more trip, we should take ten trips to celebrate our years together.  I told AC, and told him that it didn't have to be just him and me (because SC is also part of our lives, obviously), but that I wanted to take ten purposeful trips, that are focused on celebrating us (and our family) as much as we can.  I told him that they didn't all have to be long or complicated trips, though we had already talked about a few places that will be, and we can start now (in our tenth year) and run through the end of 2015 so that we didn't take too much time away from work.  So, hopefully, these ten trips will make this a celebratory year, one that will stand out for us as we look back (in another ten years).

TRIP # 1:  UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA & WALT DISNEY WORLD

For our first trip, we decided to count the family trip we had already planned, visiting Universal Studios Florida (Harry Potter World!) and Walt Disney World.  AC had visited both places when he was a child with his mom, but neither SC nor I had ever been.  AC loved seeing what had changed (and re-staging some pictures his mom had taken), so it was very exciting and entertaining for all of us.

We started the trip with Universal, and specifically the new Diagon Alley area of Harry Potter World.  It was absolutely incredible to see the creation of this fantasy world.  There was only one ride, the Escape from Gringotts, which is a 3D "multidimensional" ride that takes a group down to a vault, and then (with the help of the cast of the HP movies) back out, running from Death Eaters and Voldemort.  Even with only one ride, there is so much to do and see in Diagon Alley, and all the shops will be familiar to readers of the novels.  Parents can take their child into Ollivander's Wand Shop and experience a wand "choosing" them.


We had heard that the lines for this experience were incredibly long, and that they took a group of 30-40 people into the "theatre," where only one child would be chosen.  However, we got very lucky, and visiting these places just after public school started was great.  We were the only 3 people in the theatre, and so we did not have to worry about SC not getting chosen.  It was an incredible experience and fun to watch as she was handed three separate wands, given instructions to point and something and say a spell, and then to watch her face as the reaction happened.  Of course, after the "experience" the parents are then told that they now have the option to purchase the wand that chose their child.  We had heard about the new interactive wands, and the ability to locate spots in both sections that would then create a reaction when the wand is waved in the special "spell" way, so we decided to go ahead and purchase her chosen wand.  The interactive wand experience was really neat, and the amount of Universal staffers hovering around and helping make sure people are standing just so, and pointing the wands just the right way, meant that there were very few opportunities for frustration.

We also went into Madame Malkin's Robes shop, but decided on purchasing a Ravenclaw patch rather than the $100+ children's robes, and I know that Grammie will be thrilled to make highly authentic-looking robes.  We tried regular butterbeer and watched an amazing puppet show that told the Tale of the Three Brothers.  We had ice cream at Florean Fortescue's, and picked up some special candy and a purple pigmy puff at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.  We snuck into the dark Knockturn Alley and the spooky shop Borgin & Burkes.


Then we headed to King's Cross Station to take the Hogwart's Express to Hogsmeade.  It was very cool to see and compare this King's Cross Station to the actual one, where we visited when we were in London in the spring.  The ride was fun, with the windows playing video, and shadows of the characters showing up in the hall outside the carriages.  However, in order to experience this ride, tickets to both parks must be purchased for the same day, because the Diagon Alley area is in the Universal main park, and the Hogsmeade area is in the Islands of Adventure park.


This is where the original Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is, where the line walks through Hogwarts Castle.  We had lunch at the Hog's Head Pub, tried frozen butterbeer from a stand while we watched "students" from the school sing, and then purchased some chocolate frogs and other treats from Honeyduke's.  This area also had the small roller coaster the Flight of the Hippogriff, and the much larger Dragon Challenge.  SC wasn't tall enough for the latter ride, but we rode the former quite a few times.  Again, coming when we did just after the public schools started, we rarely had to wait in line more than 20 or 30 minutes, which was very different than what we had prepared for!

We spent a total of two days at the two Universal parks, and not just in the Harry Potter area.  The other areas were neat, especially the Simpson's part, but definitely not as thoroughly done as the two HP sections.


For the next week we went to the various Disney parks.  Hollywood Studios was just okay, but we spent the least amount of time there, so we didn't get to see every show.  We went to the Frozen Sing-Along, and that was really fun.  I also liked the Toy Story arcade-style ride.

Epcot was very interesting.  I loved each of the different country areas, and we ate so much good food.  My favorite ride (and I think SC's also) was the Test Track, where each person/group designs a car, and then the ride runs through various testing conditions, finally giving a result on how well the design performed.  


We spent quite a bit of time at the Magic Kingdom, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was very different from the Disneyland park in California.  Even the rides that were supposedly the same, like It's a Small World, were different and interesting.  SC loves the fast roller coasters, so we rode Big Thunder Mountain Runaway Mine Train four times, and she took AC on Splash Mountain twice.


 The new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a good combination of a new, faster roller coaster intermixed with some of the story elements of the older rides like Fantasyland at Disneyland.  We got to meet up with one of SC's good friends BB one day, and they did some rides in Adventureland together.  They also spent quite a bit of time playing pirates and swordfighting.  We attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party one evening, and got more candy than we cared to bring home.  The "villian" fireworks show and parade were awesome.


The final day we went to Animal Kingdom, but because we were staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were able to go on a special early-morning safari with one of the zookeepers.  It was an incredible experience, where we rode on the "safari" ride from the park, but without the audio track playing.  Instead, the zookeeper personally told us about the animals we saw, answered questions and told stories.  It was worth waking up early after a late night of fireworks!  The rest of the park was a bit disappointing, because they were doing so much construction work.  The entire center of the park, where a lake is supposed to be, was walled off from view, making everything feel very closed and cramped.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time there, and SC finally was able to get her face painted.


I am so glad we were able to take this trip, and we had a great time.  I think we had a better time because it was much less crowded than was expected.  I also think we did a good job not forcing ourselves to spend every single moment in the parks.  Universal closed at 6 or 7pm, so we were able to go out into Orlando those two nights for dinner, and we met up with a friend who lives locally for a meal once as well, having some delicious, authentic Colombian food.  We didn't push ourselves to stay for the fireworks shows every single night in the Disney parks, but made a big deal of the few we did see, and we allowed ourselves to sleep in, not worrying about being at the park as soon as it opened.  Overall, I think this helped us have the best time possible.  Even taking it "easy," we still managed to walk about 80 miles in the week and a half that we were in Florida!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014/15: Year 2
"... study hard what interests you the most ..."


“...study hard what interests you the most 
in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” 

― Richard P. Feynman


I know I mentioned before that I was renaming the years from K/1/2 etc. to "Year 1," with this being "Year 2,"  but when we did our back-to-homechool pictures this week, I still but "1st" on there.  That being said, today was our "first day," but we spent it at the Dallas Arboretum and then the Perot Museum to catch the end of the "Largest Dinosaurs" exhibit before it moves on.  

So, tomorrow will be our first day with our new "Year 2" schedule and curriculum.  We are heading to DisneyWorld in mid-September, so our first two weeks will be a bit lighter, with the project-based subjects like history, science, and writing/literature not starting until after we get back.  When we return, our schedule will be 8am-2:30pm on Mondays - Thursdays, with a few quick things like a spelling test and some different, challenging math on Friday mornings before piano lessons, with the afternoon free for field trips, meet up with friends, or just hanging out and free time.

We put some of the subjects on the back-burner last year (or took them much slower) as we adapted to life, as I wrote about before, so some of what we are doing this year I had originally planned for Year 1.  However, most of what I had planned for Year 1 was at least "1st grade" level, so I am not worried about it being "too easy" for this year.  In fact, while SC is advanced in understanding-type subjects, things like penmanship are still on target for her age, which meant working ahead in some things means either I did most of the writing for her, or we adapted (or in the case of some stuff, we held off for this year).  In the end, here is a look at the curriculum I have planned for Year 2:


LANGUAGE ARTS:

Language Smarts level B (finish)
Language Smarts level C
Jacob's Ladder Primary 1 (finish)
Jacob's Ladder Primary 2
Vocabu-Lit level B
SpellWell levels A and AA
Explode the Code (various levels to reinforce phonics, not necessarily to teach reading)
Handwriting Without Tears
Reading Detective Beginning
BraveWriter Jot it Down
  *We are doing a fairy tale project all year that came from the Bravewriter book Jot It Down, where we will be reading and studying ten separate fairy tales from Perrault, Andersen and the Grimm brothers
BraveWriter - Arrow
  *The BraveWriter "Arrow" program is technically for 3rd grade, but we will be reading books on SC's level and modifying the dictation portions into copywork and more manageable amounts for her physical writing ability.  We will not be following their choice plan for this year, as I was able to choose individual books from past years.  Our list is:
        Sarah, Plain and Tall  by Patricia MacLachlan
        Turtle in Paradise  by Jennifer M. Holm
        The Lemonade War  by Jaqueline Davies
        Charlotte's Web  by E.B. White
        Because of Winn-Dixie  by Kate DiCamillo
        Henry Huggins  by Beverly Cleary
        Detectives in Togas  by Henry Winterfeld
        In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson  by Bette Bao Lord
        Harriet the Spy  by Louise Fitzhugh
        All-of-a-Kind Family  by Sydney Taylor


HISTORY:

History Odyssey Ancients (finish)
History Odyssey Middle Ages (begin)


MATH:

Singapore Primary Mathematics 1B (finish)
Singapore Primary Mathematics 2A
Zacarro's Primary Grade Challenge Math (begin)
Mathematical Reasoning level B (finish)
Mathematical Reasoning level C
various logic books from Critical Thinking Company and others


SCIENCE:

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding K-2 (begin)


SPANISH:

Song School Spanish (finish)
Sabio Octavio grammar, math and reading/spelling


BIBLE:

Telling God's Story Year 1 (finish)
Telling God's Story Year 2


ART/MUSIC/PHYSICAL ED:
Meet the Masters
piano lessons, Broadway class at the local theatre, swimming, gymnastics and soccer, plus we got a subscription to a local symphony for the year and are very excited to be able to take SC to these concerts

Also, part of the BraveWriter "lifestyle" is experiencing the stories of life through nature hikes, poetry tea parties, listening to all kinds of music, watching movies, ballets, operas, stage performances, and then being able to understand the narrative and retell the stories in your own words.  This is one of the reasons I chose BraveWriter, as it encompasses so much of what else we will already be doing.


I hope everyone is off to a great start to their 2014/15 year, whether in their homeschool or in school away from home!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"...one's chances of survival increase
with each book one reads."



"If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. 
Or better, one's chances of survival increase 
with each book one reads."
-Sherman Alexie


Between this time last year and now, SC's reading skills have really taken off.  I distinctly remember the energy she expended about this time last year to get through even one chapter of the fun Mr. Putter and Tabby series books.  We read together every day, and she would be drained after just a few pages.  Now, however, she is decoding words at a mid-4th grade level, and comprehending at a mid-3rd grade level.  (Have you heard about the DORA test?)

She cannot get enough of books, and we have had to deal with the quandary of her sneaking books past bedtime.  I cannot bring myself to in any way tell her "no books" or "you shouldn't be reading."  So, when we catch her reading past bedtime, I just take the flashlight or book light away and tell her that she needs her sleep, to have enough energy for the next day, and that the book will still be there in the morning.  It is hard for me, though, because I understand the need to finish, and how wrapped up one can become in a good piece of writing.


At the beginning of last summer, and into the fall, I had a "reading challenge," and we diligently wrote down each book she had read, tallied points, and she earned prizes.  Very quickly, however, we had to adjust how points were calculated (away from number of pages to reading level), and then again (to extend the reading level).  We ended up just tallying minutes, and finally stopped keeping track.  I am not sure if the challenge helped give her that push she needed to become a reader or not, but she is just as likely (if not more) to closet herself away in her room, in her "reading chair," as she is to ask to play video games or watch the TV.

I thought it would be interesting to put together a list/progression of the books she has read on her own over the past year.  Once we stopped keeping written track (because I just couldn't keep up!), I may not have them all or be in the correct order, but this is most of them.  I have previously written about the first ten books she read here, so I will start after that.  I am also only going to link to a few of our favorites, rather than each one, for expediency.  

This first part of the list is the one I diligently kept track of, June through November.

Title//Author
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Mo Willems
Almost Richard Torrey
Born to Be a Butterfly Karen Wallace
Should I Share my Ice Cream? Mo Willems
I'm a Caterpillar Jean Marzollo
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Bill Martin, Jr.
Sid's Surprise Candace Carter
Going to the Sea Park Mercer Mayer
Welcome to Royal Prep Lisa Ann Marsoli
Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog Cynthia Rylant
Penny and her Marble Kevin Henkes
Mr. Putter & Tabby Ring the Bell Cynthia Rylant
Bear in Underwear Todd H. Doodler
Mr. Putter & Tabby Spin the Yarn Cynthia Rylant
Hop on Pop Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat Dr. Seuss
Just Lost! Mercer Mayer
The New Baby Stan & Jan Berenstain
Bad Kitty Gets a Bath Nick Bruel
Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter & Tabby Run the Race Cynthia Rylant
I Want my Hat Back Jon Klassen
Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter & Tabby Catch the Cold Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter & Tabby Paint the Porch Cynthia Rylant
Just a Little Music Mercer Mayer
Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty! Nick Bruel
Missing Molly Lisa Jahn-Clough
The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein
Bad Kitty Meets the Baby Nick Bruel
Princess Posey & the First Grade Parade Stephanie Greene
Play, Mozart, Play! Peter Sis
My Trip to the Hospital Mercer Mayer
Mr. Putter & Tabby Write the Book Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane Cynthia Rylant
Mr. Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans Cynthia Rylant
Pete the Cat: Rockin' in my School Shoes Eric Litwin
Mr. Putter & Tabby Make a Wish Cynthia Rylant
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse Kevin Henkes
Princess Posey & the Perfect Present Stephanie Greene
Hamster and Cheese Colleen AF Venable
Madeline Ludwig Bemelmans
Princess Posey & the Next-Door Dog Stephanie Greene
Princess Posey & the Monster Stew Stephanie Greene
Cardboard Doug TenNapel
Princess Posey & the Tiny Treasure Stephanie Greene


This part of the list is not in exact reading order, but rather alphabetical by author.  I also do not list the various picture books she has read because I cannot keep track of them all.  Our usual take from a library trip is 20-30 books, and we also go to Barnes & Noble to sit and read picture books a few times a month.


by Jorje Aguierre
Giants Beware!

by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean
Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go
Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record
Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter
Ivy and Bean: Bound to Be Bad
Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance
Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea?
Ivy and Bean: No News Is Good News
Ivy and Bean: Make the Rules
Ivy and Bean: Take the Case

by Nick Bruel
Bad Kitty for President
Bad Kitty School Daze
Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble

by Kazu Kibishi
Copper
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes
Explorer: The Lost Islands
Amulet: The Stonekeeper
Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse

by Mary Pope Osborne
Dinosaurs before Dark
The Knight at Dawn
Mummies in the Morning

by Ashley Spires
Binky the Space Cat
Binky Under Pressure
Binky: License to Scratch
Binky to the Rescue
Binky takes Charge

by Doug TenNapel
Bad Island
Ghostopolis
Tommysaurus Rex

The list also should include all the Berenstain Bears and Little Critter books she can get her hands on, plus anything Star Wars related that the library has.  I still feel like I am forgetting some, but oh well.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Happiness can be found
even in the darkest of times ..."



Over the past school year, we have really gotten into listening to audiobooks.  I am horrible at reading aloud, especially books that have more than one main character, who all need to sound different.  In fact, I struggle with this issue even when reading silently to myself.  (On a side note - I have found that watching a tv/film version of said book helps immensely by giving me the voices in my head, though of course I cannot reproduce them aloud.)

Enter: audiobooks!  The first audiobook we listened to, about a year and a half ago, was The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, narrated by Rob Inglis, and from then both SC and I were hooked on having a professional read to us.  As SC's reading skills began to develop, she even began to follow along with her own copy of the book, which exposed her to more words (and what they look like) than just listening alone would have.  Over this past year, she has gotten to where she can follow along without getting exhausted (which frequently happened when we started out), and we have found some great books that we love.

Many of the books we were able to find on audible.com, which is a monthly subscription service.  Each month we get 1 credit toward the purchase of any digital audiobook (they have larger packages), and considering the 1 credit costs only $16, and most of the audiobooks are $20-$30, it is a great savings.  We have also been able to find some at the public library (like the Harry Potter books), because they are not available digitally.

So, in reverse order of listening, here are our "read-alouds" for this past school year.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale(currently listening)

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale

5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, narrated by Del Roy

6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, narrated by Anne Hathaway

7. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author

8. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle, narrated by Hope Davis

9. Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston, narrated by Alan Cumming

10. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweilernarrated by Jill Clayburgh

11. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, narrated by Juliet Stevenson

I should note, SC is very interested in fantasy/sci-fi stories, especially the darker ones.  In fact, the book from the list she liked least was From the Mixed-Up Files.  While these books are appropriate for her (and we spend quite a bit of time discussing them), they may not be appropriate for all 5 year olds.


*Are you making a list of the books you have "read aloud" this year?  Join me, as I will be adding this list to the "List it Tuesday" link-up here:




**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure statement. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Without deviation from the norm,
progress is not possible."

"Without deviation from the norm, 
progress is not possible."
-Frank Zappa


According to the typical school calendar, our first year of homeschooling "for real," and SC's kindergarten year, should be almost over.  Yet, after all this time, we will do school through the summer, with a few adjustments for the water park and other summer activities.  See, we have only been keeping a "regular" school schedule (like the one I laid out here, though not really) for just over a month.  Though kindergarten technically started at the beginning of September, after the first few weeks of struggle (during which I absented from blogging), I forced myself to adapt so that school wasn't such a miserable experience for both of us.  

On top of starting school that "counts," SC was also dealing with AC's travel becoming more frequent as well as less structured, which resulted in outbursts of anger and an attempt by her to survive through control.  We dropped back to only going to her twice-a-week private kindergarten, which was normal for her, and worked on the homework they sent home.  We spent time going to the local science museum, and signed her up for a few classes there.  We met other homeschoolers for park days and field trips.  We listened to a large number of audiobooks, and spent hours at the various local libraries.  We watched PBS Great Performances stage shows, ballets and operas.  We baked together, and had tea parties, and discussed the arts.  Plus, we traveled with AC when we could, including spending two weeks this spring in London and Belgium.  We had a wonderful "school" year.


However, we still needed to get a real routine going for school.  Much of the past year has been up to SC with regard to what she wanted and when she wanted, which isn't real life.  Eventually there will come a point where it may not be best for her to be homeschooled, either because I cannot keep up with her (like in math or science), or because the services offered by the district we happen to be living in at the time can do as good a job at teaching her on her level.  We are aware of at least two local districts that have full-time gifted programs, and while we don't live in one of them currently, moving isn't out of the realm of possibilities for our future.

So, when we returned from our European vacation, SC and I sat down and talked about school.  We talked about the things that had to be in our daily schedule (math, language arts, handwriting practice, spelling), we talked about the additional things she would like to do (Spanish, history, art, breaks), and we worked together to plan out a schedule that worked for both of us.  

The first few days were a bit tough to really get into the schedule, but now I am excited for the next stage of school, over the summer.  I am also really excited that we will be done with the private kindergarten, because it is opening up our schedule so that we are not having to cram things in.  We are looking at potential extra-curricular activities for the fall, like a Broadway class that teaches acting, dancing and singing, and maybe a class at the local zoo.  So many of the local museums and places that offer after-school activities now offer classes during the day for homeschoolers, which means we don't have to be out late into the evening trying to get things done.



Finally, for the time being I have decided that instead of calling this year "kindergarten" and next "first grade," which is the way the US public schools do things, I will just call this "Year 1," and the next "Year 2," and so on.  The work that SC has been doing, even the work she has been doing at the private kinder class, is at least on the first grade level, so to call it "kindergarten" is a fairly large misnomer.  For organizational purposes, it just makes more sense to call this "Year 1," and I will be changing the labeling on the blog.

I hope to get back to writing blog posts at least weekly, because I love to write and I have missed it.  I am not going to work to write posts just for weekly "link-up parties," though I may join if the content fits.  Also, I want to continue writing the What 2 Read Wednesday posts, because I enjoy writing book reviews.  I want to get back to this blog being a refuge for me, rather than the chore it had become, and hopefully others may be able to take something from it as well.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
-Frederick Douglass, "West India Emancipation," 1857


As I sat down to type out this post, wrapping up our first week of kindergarten homeschool, I couldn't think of anything positive to say.  I got through three paragraphs of drama, and decided to just delete it.  We have had a REALLY bad week.  There has been a lot of explaining "why" school is mandatory from k-12, a lot of fighting/arguing, a lot of tears (from both SC and I), and I am just drained, both emotionally and physically.  

We only made it through 1/3 of our schedule for the week, and that bothers me to no end.  However, I still have hope that things will get better.  Much of the arguing has given me some real insight into how SC's brain works (and why there have been such major bumps in this road), and though things might have to go on a bit differently than I had originally anticipated, I still have hope that this will work out.  I keep coming back to the fact that God has led AC and I to choose this as the best choice for her this year.  Cliche, I know, but as Jeremiah 29:11 states "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."  There is a reason He has led us down this path for now.   

So, I really didn't want to look back on our first week a few months, or even years, from now and read how horrible it has all been, even if we eventually stop homeschooling.  I don't need to rehash the gory details (and they are, believe me).  I do want to remember it has been hard, but so is any major change.  And I want to publicly remind myself to be faithful to Him who knows the plan, and not lose hope.

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 

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