Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal–January 6th

Steam Boat Experiment

In my life this week…We started back with our normal schedule on Monday, though Mr. Mo took this week off work, so things weren’t quite back to normal. My asthma set me back some with jogging, ends up that it is the mold that is doing me in. I finally had to stop my allergy shots as I was having too adverse of reactions to them. So this week, I started trying to jog shorter distances (2.75 miles), more frequently, and my lungs were much happier. I will slowly build back up to where I was, distance-wise and then hopefully build up to a full 10K 3-4/week. It may be that I will just always have to take things a bit easier in the fall/early winter because of mold. I didn’t know this before, but it ends up that fall’s leaves are a big source of mold.

What’s working/not working for us… I have been very bad about writing wrap-ups for Gohan this year, so I’m writing his first this week. The subject that has been the most interesting lately, as far as I am concerned anyway, has been Physical Science. We’re using the Advanced Version of Exploration Education’s Physical Science. Overall, we’ve been very happy with this program. The lessons are very clear. The program comes with almost all the lab materials, except for a couple of common household items (these are really “common” household items, not like the ridiculous items some companies consider “common”). My only complaint is that I wish they had divided the lesson up a bit more evenly. Some of the labs end up taking us two weeks to complete. I wish they had broken them up more, had the student do smaller parts over the course of several lessons. The only other snag we have hit is that we got really excited playing with the car after Gohan made it and it broke. Then it ends up that it is called for in many of the other experiments, which we have therefore not been able to do. Most recently, Gohan has been studying machines and heat exchange. The above picture if from one of the experiments using a steam boat that he made.

We have finally settled on Saxon Algebra 1/2 for Gohan and it is proving to be a much better fit for him than any of the other math curriculums that we have looked at this year. While he grasps the concepts easily enough, he still struggles with mechanics of multiplication and division with long digits. Obviously, this is his learning disability rearing it’s ugly head. Up until last year, it had seemed that he had escaped without it affecting his math, but we were not so lucky. He completely understands how to set up the problems, even the really advanced ones, but then just has these big “brain farts”.

MP900442459[1]Speaking of his learning disabilities, we’re looking into getting him an IEP with the local junior high. I would like to know what they would offer him in regards to services. We’re mostly looking into supplementing what we’re doing already, but we are also contemplating sending him to school fulltime next year. Our reasons for contemplating school for him are twofold, one he has been a bit uncooperative and antisocial since I pulled him out of the ALE. He misses his old friends, but this is a non-negotiable issue for me, so we’ve been butting heads some. Once we begin the IEP process, the ALE will no longer be an option as the ALE was in a different district, which will not accept interdistrict transfer students with IEP’s. Secondly, I’m not sure that I am able to fully meet his needs right now. Dora is a very high maintenance child and Primo has needed much more of my help, in regards to transitioning to the adult world, than I had expected. I do think that Gohan may have some trouble, socially, if he went to public school as he would be a special ed. student., plus he is very unathletic. So we will need to spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons. He is currently open to the idea. The IEP process will definitely help to clarify exactly what our options are.

While working through the IEP process, we will be still plowing ahead with language arts to the best of our abilities. I have switched up his curriculum again, though I think we are pretty set at this point as have been using these since early November. Gohan just finished reading the latest book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Cabin Fever and is using the following:

Gohan decided that he just didn’t want to study Japanese anymore and I do not require a foreign language until 9th grade in our homsechool, so he is not doing Mango Japanese anymore.

He really despised doing the art projects for Meet the Masters, so we are using The Usborne Book of Art to do a more traditional art history/appreciation course. We have been doing this since November and he has been a much happier kid ever since. Finally he is still happily reading Cartoon History of the Universe 1 Vol. 1-7 and not so happily doing some work on his History Odyssey Timeline.


Outside of the home, he continues to take a homeschool drama class and Taekwondo/Arnis. He also plays in two separate Yu-Gi-Oh leagues. So he is outside the home for about 12 hours a week, which I guess isn’t terrible. It just is that almost all of his time not spent doing bookwork, chores, or attending these things is spent on his computer, Skyping with friends. They play games, chat, make video collaborations, etc. So he is being productive and socializing, and does see most of these friends once a month at a “Game Night”, which is hosted at each other’s houses, but I would love to see him try to extend his social network a bit more. At this point in time, he is resisting 100%. We try to allow our children to make as many decisions as possible in regards to their life and education, though we obviously are not extreme unschoolers and do have certain limits. Still, we do not believe in making him attend things that he doesn’t want to attend or in limiting computer time as long as his schoolwork and chores are done and he gets in a reasonable amount of exercise. This doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t waste spend a large amount of energy worrying about my children’s’ choices. I figure I’ll stop worrying one day, once I’m in my grave.

I’m reading…The February issue of Ellery Queen. I got behind on my Ellery Queen reading, which I do love and just finished December’s issue. It was bit weird to read so many Christmas stories right after Christmas. February’s issue is timely for me as Mr. Mo and I just saw the most recent Sherlock Holmes movie and the first story in Ellery Queen is a Sherlock Holmes’ pastiche. Between the movie and the pastiche, I’ve decided to devote 2012 to catching up on Sherlock Holmes and filling in some of the gaps of my knowledge about him.

I’m cooking…Nothing this week. Secunda and Mr. Mo went on an Atkins diet and Secunda did all the dinner cooking as as result. As a wannabe-tarian, there is no way that I am cooking for an Atkins diet. When Mr. Mo goes on Atkins diets, which is usually every January, he eats things like pork rinds, big hunks of meat, etc.. Blech! Secunda decided today that and Atkins diet is not for, so I will be back to cooking again next week. To tell you the truth, it will be worth it as Secunda believes that there is no such thing as too spicy of food or using too many dishes to cook.

Disclosure: Several item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

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Favorite Resource This Week

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Left and Right Brained Learners

Here is a infographic from I know one shouldn’t put too much stock in such learning classification systems, but I also do think that it is good to remember that different people learn differently. Interestingly, when I was younger, I was very much a left-brained person and looking at this graphic, I realize that I have morphed into a right-brained person as I have gotten older. I’m not sure how that has happened (and you can keep your snide comments about “how all my left brain cells died off from old age” to yourself, thank you very much). Click the graphic to go to the site/enlarge.

Are You Left or Right Brain?
Via: Online College Advice

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Welcome 2012, Health Issues, and Chicken Butts

I kind of fell off the face of the Earth for the last couple of weeks, blogging-wise, but things got really hectic with the holidays and then I just wanted to be able to relax and not worry about blogging. Over the last two weeks, we did what much of America did, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s. We also celebrated both my and Gohan’s birthdays. There really was nothing remarkable about our celebrations, there were pretty much like everyone else’s. I guess one thing that stands out is that we had Chinese takeout for our Christmas dinner.

Unfortunately, over the last two weeks, Dora also had two seemingly unrelated health issues come up. They may both turn out to be nothing, or they may turn out to be big things. I will blog more about them, once more tests have been completed and I have more answers.

Another wonderful issue that has arisen with Dora is that she has learned to ask “Guess what?” and when one responds, “What?”, she retorts with, “Chicken butt!” I have no one, but myself, to blame. My husband has often used the “Chicken butt” line in our household, but I was unaware that it was something that anyone, but he and his childhood friends said, until I saw a stuffed chicken in a catalog that says the whole spiel. Of course, I had to get it for him! Well, he is on vacation or he would have already taken it to work to torment his co-workers with. Instead, Dora has become obsessed with the thing and the expression. The worst of it is that I fall for it every time! Yes, I am gullible to the nth degree, but her voice is just so innocent and there is not even a hint of a smile, when she nonchalantly asks, “Mom, guess what?” She also has the timing and spacing down perfectly. She doesn’t ask it often enough that I’m prepared for it, but she asks often enough that it is getting darn annoying.

Anyway, that is a brief summary of the last two weeks. We started back with homeschooling today. How about you? Did you do anything special over the holidays?

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff