Friday, April 30, 2010

Waiting, Watching, Listening

I haven't been keeping up with my blog like I should, but I have a sort of good reason for not doing so:  Nothing Much has been going on.  The past month has been more floating through life than participating in it.  I don't think this is something bad, however, it doesn't make for exciting or interesting blog posts. 

The summer is rapidly approaching and I've done about all I can do to prepare for beginning homeschool.  My final curriculum choices have been set:

Saxon Math Grade 1
First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind
Spelling, Vocabulary and Sight Words Workbooks (If, and Evan-Moor)
Geography Workbooks (Evan-Moor)
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey
Daily Art Projects ranging from painting, drawing, sculpting (I'm doing an unschooling approach with this)
Instant Immersion Spanish for the computer
Piano Wizard for the computer supplemented with weekly piano lessons from a good friend
P.E. will be daily workouts along with logging our progress on Lance Armstrong's website, The Daily Plate, with the eventual inclusion of some local sport or activity like karate.

I'm going to be tracking his progress (and mine) on Homeschool Tracker basic along with some written stuff.  I hope to see which one suits me best as we go along.  The homeschool Tracker basic is free and they have an advanced version that I may end up getting if I find that it would be useful but good to start off with the stripped down model.

I have 'finished' the cleanup in the office/guest room/homeschool room.  What an ordeal that was!  The yarn alone was a monumental feat all by itself!  Needless to say, I have enough yarn to last my knitting pleasures for at least 3 lifetimes.  I will do a separate post on that one once we get the final touches done on the room.

School has been thankfully and disappointingly a non-issue.  Thankful in the fact that we seem to be quieting down from trouble, but disappointed because we are going tediously slow through school work projects.  I praise Logan for having the patience because I surely wouldn't.  And as glad as I am that we are rapidly approaching the last day of school (Exactly 5 weeks to go!), I'm not looking forward to the room mother duties that I signed myself up for long ago.  We have a party and a field day.  Is it wrong to want fain illness on those days or just go ahead and pull him out?  I won't, but begrudged I will be.

So we wait and we watch.  Everyday Logan is asking when can we get started and I point to the big 4 on the June calender.  I stress the importance of finishing what we start and that he is (barely) learning something in school right now and it is important.  As each days goes on for me, I listen for clues to help us on this new journey as we close in on it:  How he learns, where his interests are focused and what his setbacks might possibly be.  So far, I see someone who is a 'connected learner', in that he learns through connections of things, his most recent was the connection of the directions North and West and wondering if the Worth in Forth Worth was a combination of North and West.  He wants to explore and is finally becoming okay with getting his hands dirty so I hope to have many hands on science activities and reintroduce him to the fine art of finger painting.  We're going to work on slowing down and listening to the world around us, contemplating how we can achieve what it is we want to.  We're going to remove the overriding stress of 'get it done' so that we can really look at the why of what we're doing -not just keeping up with the class for the sake of moving on to another subject.  In other words, "Yes, you can add and subtract, but why is that important, where do we use this, how does this apply to science, art, history?"

Until around June 4th, it's very likely posts will be sporadic, but I will be around!  Once our adventure really begins -things will be fun to report!

Loganism for the day -Daddy, "If you have a good week next week, you can get a new Wii game."
Logan, "How about two games?"
Daddy, "One good week equals one Wii game."
Logan, "So if I have another good week I can have another Wii game?"
Daddy, "Uhhhh....."
Good one, Daddy! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm still here!

Although my brain hasn't been!  I work at a lovely little theatre who's performing a wonderful little show right now so between the day to day schedule of to school and back and my weekend being at work, I haven't had much time to blog, or even think about blogging.  Everything is going okay at school for now...I'm just trying to keep Logan riding the wave til the end of the year so we can get started on our plan.  He's so excited about starting his first grade at home this summer which has totally given me the confidence boost that I think I was missing.  Our little talks here and there about it typically include the matronly, "You know, you're going to have to work really hard at home too."  which typically follows with a, "I know mommy, I'll do a really good job and you will be very happy."  I still have this feeling that once we get into this, he's going to blow everybodies expectations out of the water. 

Loganism for the day- As he's running around me at the store,
L: "Mommy! Do you know what I'm doing is called?" 
Me:  "No, goose, what is it?" 
L: "An orbit!"  he goes around me a few more times, "Mommy!  My orbit around you is too fat, you need to lose some weight so I can make a smaller orbit."
 Me:  "Thanks!"

>.<   I think I might start my exercise routine a little sooner than planned.  You know it's bad when your kid calls you fat.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 15: Then why home school? Secular Thursday

First, I will admit that I'm using my blogging obligations to procrastinate from the cleaning obligations around the house. Hopefully I will only allow myself a temporary distraction. :)

Around the web and around real life, I've found that it is hard for people to conceptualize a reason for homeschooling that is not for religious practices. The school is going to teach what I'm going to teach, right? So why not take advantage of the system that my taxes are paying for? You’re wasting your money and time better spent on your own pursuits. You can work and go on lunch dates with your best friend and be free to watch torrid romantic comedies during the day. Why on earth would you want to do exactly what the public schools are doing? If not for religious reasons, what else could there be?

I'm even going to go a step further and peer into the future and see the dimension where my son goes through the entire public school system and comes out of it okay. At least, no worse than the average student in the United States. Why would I want to home school?

Secular homeschoolers have a harder time proving why their reasoning is acceptable -even a few of those in the community have a hard time justifying their reasonings and, myself included, will latch on to other issues such as bullying, special needs such as learning disabilities or illness, and even curriculum as the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back to justify the reasoning of not being part of the herd. Being a secular homeschooler puts you open to scrutiny because faith, even for the faithless, is infallible. You cannot argue belief in a God anymore than you can argue the belief in love. Mr Franklin said it best, " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." So why would someone, who could as easily as they could home school, go and fight for the qualities they wish the school system to have? Sure, they could, but even if we did, concessions would be made and averages would be instilled and even if there was an improvement, the glaring mediocrity in that new public school system would tarnish even the most humble of educational requirements we have for our children.

So, I home school because I feel it is best. I see it as the best and I have faith that it will do the best. I don't need to align myself with a reason, a cause or a condition to persuade beyond the purpose of what I feel. If I must, I will liken it to a calling to God -that I believe that I can provide a better education for my son. Let the demonic public education cronies strike me down if this is false because I will not make my son a martyr to prove he deserves better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 13: Not talking nice, not following directions.

Before I begin, I have to put up this timeline to help clarify my mood/anger/resentment/justification and all around bitchiness with this subject matter. I try, at least, to be fair in my judgment of the situation and while I've got a fire under my rear, I have a pretty loud bark but it takes a lot for me to bite. Since I'm catching you up to speed, I'm leaving some of the good out because this is about the bad.

It wasn't until after Logan's 6th birthday, around the end of January, that he had a good week. What I mean by good week is a collection of stars, smiley faces and stickers in the margin of his planner book designated for the teacher to remark on his behavior. School started in the 3rd week of August -so approximately 5 and a half months, even around Christmas with threats that Santa reads his planner (technically he does), we could not make one solid week of good behavior.

My please and thank you, open your door, ask you how your day was, pick up his toys by his own volition, helpful with the laundry, dishes, and all cleaning duties we will allow, pick up dog poop, make his own bed despite living in a house where beds are not made, thoughtful, caring, mindful, rarely needed but easily persuaded to do the right thing, sharing without prompting, courteous, loving little boy took longer than half the school year to have a good week. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

Up until that point, the best week he had was 3 out of 5 good days -the week before Christmas. If he had good days it was usually once a week and those were intermittent. Now, I wasn't expecting perfection, but definitely expecting the good to outweigh the bad.

Now that his behavioral situation is "explained" (....depending on how you look at it....)

We have had 4 meetings with Mrs. H in all. The first meeting the first week of school was met with, "I'm listening to you but I have to get this stuff done." so we tried to talk with her while she complained about the mountain of work she had while we were trying to figure out how/why Logan was having a bad day.

Second Meeting: A week later, the second week of school, of kindergarten, when I came to pick him up, she screamed at me about how horrible he was. In front of other parents, in front of his class, in front of Logan. Now, by this time I had been paying attention. Mrs. H had 23 5-6 year olds in her class. Long story short, I got a profuse apology from her, the principal and things improved for a week after that-then basically went right back to the bad days.

Third meeting: ADHD was brought up. So we would go and get him tested. We did (this was around his birthday) and his doctor said he had situational ADHD because, and I quote, "The teacher doesn't sound like she's got her shit together and can't control the class." Yes, reviewing everything made it bad enough for the doctor to curse (out of Logan's earshot, of course)

Fourth meeting we tell her that we're not pursuing anymore of this ADHD stuff, his doctor believes that the environment in the classroom is the culprit and we talked with her about how he responds to things. He is more apt to do something if he feels like he's going to get a reward -which is as simple as saying, "Good job!" (which came with a defense, of course, I mean how could we possibly think she's a negative person with all the previous examples of her behavior)

So from about early February to early April -a little over two months, I haven't been terrified of hearing how horrible my son has been, everyday, when I go to pick him up. But since his last bout of being ill with a virus, his little clique's no longer want to have anything to do with him, he's getting picked on and generally in a foul mood. That was his words yesterday and hers were 'not talking nice, not following directions'. We'll see what today brings. If it's another bad day, I'm going to ask Mrs. H how she would feel if she felt that she was getting picked on and not being listened to.   Sorry for the long post, hopefully I've explained the situation!

.....7 weeks, 3 days. We're almost done with this crap!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 12: The Electronic Babysitter has been fired!

I'm such a bad mom. I'll admit it. I use the electronic babysitter here and there....okay, sometimes a lot.

She's so useful in her many forms: Television, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2, Leapster Game Pad, even the thing I sit here and type to: the ol' computer. She takes so many different forms and she'll let me complete so many tasks without interruption. But her free and instant nature has a more insidious side because she's tricked my son into needing her constant attention. The Monday morning routine was almost scuttled due to a 3am visit in her Leapster form that made us extremely pressed for time because Logan would not wake up! Vile succubus, you shall no longer have your temptress claws around Logan's eyes, ears and mind! I know I am personifying her to make her seem more like her own entity than me, but that's okay. It's easier to hate the electronic babysitter than myself. In the infamous words of Donald Trump, "You're fired!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 11: Easy like Sunday Morning

Not a long post today.  Yesterday was a good, fun fill day of shopping with lessons.  Logan accompanyed me to Central Market for last night's victuals of Lamb Tikka Masala.  As we wove in and out of the crowded market, I would call off the items from our shopping list and Logan would find them and scratch them off.  He did a pretty good job too, until we crossed everything off and he needed something else to mark on.  Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the "I DID IT ALL BYE MI SELF" that he penned down his left arm.  Some patrons scolded and others laughed at his temporary sleeve tattoos, but it was all good.

Sunday was spent playing games and dissecting all the workbooks I've got.  I'm finding all this mise en place a very fullfilling experience and hope that I don't end up cursing myself later on.  It's giving me a chance to really go through the workbooks and pre-made lesson plans and make mental notes of the things I like and what I don't.  After this I have some Mario Kart and maybe even a movie in my future.

I love Sundays.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 10: Patsy Cline said it best...

Well, I think I have officially driven everybody on and offline crazy.  I am obsessed.  I have become a crazed, foaming at the mouth, rabid advocate for everything and anything homeschool.  I'd like to blame this whole new world for infecting me with the sickness, that only those with this much fever for it are able to inject the same amount of fever, but no, it's nobody's fault but mine.  I don't know how to take it slow, I must know it all at once and I must be able to run before I'm ever out of the cradle of beginnings. 

Hello, my name is Denise and I am an addict to starting things.....

....and never finishing them.

Blogging the other day about my once extremely important, constantly talked about, support group joined yarn dyeing business (even the blogging of the business is an all too familiar chord) reminded me how far removed I was from my old obsession.  I went out with more of an old man fart than a bang and it was because I exhausted myself, I was tried of messing with yarn and having to be accountable to so many different people and for what, at the end of the day a illegal Mexican day labor makes more in an hour than I've made in a day.  HUH?  So after I finished the commitments that I had, I quit.  That was October 2008.  I've dyed 5 skeins of yarn since then- and most of them because I didn't have the money to buy yarn (or else I would have).

I want to say that I've changed, but once you get to the point where you become an addict, there is no going back, you can't just pick up something without the constant fear and drive that you might run away and not see it through, not find a way to make it work.  Hence, how I've made so many people in my life 'crazy' with this new-fangled-craze-of-the-day.

So, honestly, I'm scared.  Am I doing this to get my fix of starting something new?  I can't think that I am, even if in some way I am.  This isn't the hair off the back of some random sheep -it's my son.  And I understand I have to prove this, but through the constant thought of home school, I am finding it in me to do this.  I'm making myself look at the ugly truth that I can't give up, anymore than I could give up on parenting. 

I ask myself everyday, everyday since this idea was birthed through my lips to my husband...

Why do I want to do this? 

I want Logan to have what I never did: A chance to succeed. 

How can I give him that chance to succeed, if I am not responsible for his education?  How can I give him the chance if I place his security, his trust, and his capablities in the hands of a stranger?  How can I trust him to make the right choices, build a strong sense of character and have intregity if I do not lay down the first bricks of that foundation?  How do I teach him to protect himself and trust humanity with a healthy respect by forcing him into a random slice of the world for 35 hours a week?

I'm sorry, I can't trust the same system that spit me out with all my flaws, all of my lacking abilities, my mastery of being a jack of all trades, that left me too many inabilities to then expect it to do my son better than it did me. 

So, I may be crazy, but I'm trying not to be.  And thank you to all my friends, on and offline, for being here for me.

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wond'ring what in the world did I do?
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 8: Everything in its place....

So it is my goal to start working on the office.....

Did I mention it was messy?

Now, before I can say anything else, I must say this disclaimer:  Mike, aka Daddy, aka Welder Extrodinare did not in any way, shape, form, or fashion contribute to the mess that you see here and that all responsiblities for said mess are under the sole ownership of Denise, aka Mommy, aka Mess-Maker Extrodinare.  (now that THAT is out of the way....)

Where to start?  After a good friend lived with me during a very tumultous time in her life and occupied said mess encapsulator, I took up watching another good friend's baby who slept in said room.  That was finished up last summer and to clear out the room that stuff took up in our bedroom, I moved it in there.

At first it wasn't this messy, but painting and redoing Logan's room which included finally going through his toys and packing up toys he no longer played with, as you can see here:
Along with the mattress that is below these tubs got placed in here as well.

Did I mention that I use to own a hand dyed yarn business too?  Well, a year and a half later and I'm still up to my eyeballs and because of this, knitting itches do not typically lend to keeping things tidy.  As shown here:
And here:
All of those lovely papers are the records that I need to hold onto incase zeh IRS ever wishes to come knocking. (whoopie cushion in case I allow them to sit down on my couch...)

So, why I am showing you all this?  To help keep me accountable to getting this mess cleaned up.  I'm not proud of it, but who ever is of a mess? What I want to turn this into is a place where we can at the very least use as proper storage (cause this doesn't count as storage) for art projects, worksheets, big maps and little findings.  Somewhere buried in there is a keyboard that Logan can use to practice in between music lessons...if we could ever find it.  While I'll never have room for a library in this house, a proper bookcase (no, Denise, your nightstand tower does not count as a bookcase) would be nice to have. 

We haven't been in this house for that long and already we're running out of a place for everything. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 7.2: Nouns in a box

Ding-Dong!  Barnes and Noble calling!  My order of Saxon Math and First Language Lessons of the Well Trained Mind came today!  Sooo excited!

My first initial thoughts on Saxon Math: what a lot of material!  The teachers manual that came with the kit is bigger than my Complete Works of W. Shakespeare!  It took me a moment, but I realized that all the workbooks and laid out lesson plans were contained in this behemouth.  It looks like it's going to be a really good course, although I have a feeling we're going to be blowing right through it.  I'm a little disheartened, because it seems like there is good amount in it that has already been covered with him in kindergarten so I'm sure I'll need to find a way to supplement.  We'll see once I dive into planning the lessons.

I am really liking the Well Trained Mind level 1 and 2, just their philosphy that just because a child can't read, doesn't mean they shouldn't be exposed to good literature -(which I doubt Pat's Hat, a decodeable reader qualifies and I'm not saying decodeables don't have their place but great works they are not) and that the focus is on implementing grammar, spelling and comprehension even if they haven't learned how to write.

So, thumbing through WTM, we settled in on the section about nouns and I told Logan what a noun is (a person, place, thing or idea) and so we started listing off words and deciding if they were nouns or not.  All this while he was pretending the box these new materials came in was his own personal imagination transporter.... I think it was a car, a ship, a box and a rocket at least five times over. 

I wonder if he gets to learn about grammar at school while having this much fun?

Loganism for the evening - 2 plus x equals 5 so x equals 3.  Yes, we understand algebra.  Is this kid too cool for school or what? ;)

Day 7: Believe those who are seeking truth. Doubt those who find it. Secular Thursday Dish

The title is from a quote, that I just found, from Andre Gide. A quick wiki on him, he was a philosopher who believed in one finding themselves and I believe his little quote, "Believe those who are seeking truth. Doubt those who find it," is a really good representation of what our take is on our religion, what we believe to be right and the preach that we practice.

The hubs and I are the atheist/agnostic type. He's a little more of the first and I'm a little more of the latter. I was raised catholic and some of those roots are just too hard to let go -a true testament to the effectiveness on catholic doctrines of faith. However, to say that I am a true Christian, a true believer is not being true to myself. I don't believe in joining an all-inclusive club where only the 'right ones' are let in. Oddly enough, this goes along with saying, I'm not a true atheist or a true agnostic. Some may say I'm a fair weathered atheist, and it's only when stuff gets tough, that I cast off my faithless beliefs in favor of the saving hand from an omnipotent being. The real truth is that I'm still trying to figure it out and I'm never going to find that truth so I will be happily ever after searching for that truth. I love it when quotes come along and put words exactly to how you feel.

So, this is how we wish to teach Logan. We want him to have religious tolerance just as much as social tolerance. We want him to be awed filled and show him that educating yourself about different viewpoints, different aspects of life, culture, religion and everything else out there may change his point of view, but he shouldn't be afraid to seek out an alternative because of the chance of losing his beliefs. Reject complacency in the status quo but don't be (and here's the kicker word) lazy and reject the entire status quo. This is what we hope to teach him in this little venture of home school -hopefully he finds it as interesting as science.

I'm sure my explanation has left more questions...but the ultimate thing we believe is that faith, spirituality, religion are a personal choice to be respected, acknowledged, and tolerated. It makes our own quest to seek the truth that much more believable.

Loganism for the day: "I know why the road slopes down! It's so the water can run into the pots and be soaked up." me: "Did you learn about that in school yesterday?" Logan: "No, my brain figured it out because I'm smart." Indeed!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 6: All quiet on the western front.

It's quiet.

Too Quiet.

We went back to public school today, back to the old routine.  It's weird, walking in after having this great epiphany and plan you've formulated.  I hate to nerd out but probably much like the first time Neo walked around the matrix after being unplugged.  It just didn't seem real, it didn't seem comforting.  The idea of leaving him back up there just didn't seem right.  Mrs H, his teacher, was very happy to see him.  I could tell she missed him.  Even Mrs P and Mrs S from the other classrooms came up to say hello to their little red head and find out what illness he had.  I really appreciate them for how much they care about their classes up there.  I wish it would transfer over into the administration, the bean counters.  When I left Logan, the prospect of going home and not working on things, reading books, talking about homeschooling just seemed blah.  But I know he'll have fun at school and he did miss Mrs H so it'll be nice.  Just seeing his excitement about discovering that there is a little tree inside the maple helicopter seeds was infectious. 

I plan on using this time to set up a lesson plan, maybe go and look at Mardel's for secular material (heard from a friend they do have secular stuff up there) and the Teacher's Supply Store in our local shopping area... I probably could get some stuff for dinner too and finish putting up the laundry.  Havoc the Dog needs a bath, and we really need to get the office together so we can turn it into a classroom.  I've been wondering if I should repaint the chocolate walls to something a bit brighter and sunnier, I do love my chocolate walls though. 

Is it 2:45 yet?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 5: Momentum

Putting yesterday's catastrophe behind us, I am glad to say that there were also two shiny moments that came out of the day too. First, we got to talk with Logan's doctor, who I absolutely love and adore, about the option of homeschooling and she believes that in this day and age that it's becoming more and more of a viable alternative to the lack-luster public school since schools are turning more and more into assembly line factories than educational Mecca. Also, a quick conversation with my friend lent to a more solidified plan for piano lessons during the summer and hopefully past that point as well. A convo with Logan about this left him sooo excited! He loves his Micol so much :)

Speaking of conversations, I've gained momentum after the nice chat with Logan yesterday about these plans and what we're going to be doing. Trying to be fair, I make sure to balance my own enthusiasm about homeschooling with the reality of many days at home with mommy, the friends he has now at school won't be around, and he will have to work hard to learn stuff. I may be delusional, but none of this stuff was a deterrent from being able to go on many field trips and do art every day, but, 'not all the time because we have to learn other things too' to quote the little guy.

I think I've made a few more curriculum choices as well. I believe we're going to start with R.E.A.L. Science and I want to focus on geography around the world before we work on history so much, although I might work on a little generalized US history.

Up next: work on the old office, yarn dumping ground and gravesite of all old toys room. Does this mean I'm going to have to, gasp, get rid of some yarn? CLARINE!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 4: Really?

I don't know why I thought I should be surprised. Today was our 'meeting' with the 'district criminal attorney' about Logan's 'truancy'. For some reason I expected to have a serious meeting with some very serious people who would discuss the very serious matter of Logan's academic pursuits in a very serious way. Then we arrived at the 'court house' which was actually a converted old school or extra gymnasium for Farrington Field. Out of two doors were droves of people, mostly with middle-school children and older, lined up for this 'meeting' with these very serious people to talk about the very serious matter. We even drove by it because I just couldn't believe that was the place that this sort of matter took place at. So, we realized we were at the place we walked up and like aimless cows in line at the meat packaging plant we waited our turn in line to be 'processed'.

Through the metal detector, past the very tall, very scary looking police man looking for issues to a person who told us to go to a table with a number. Since there were so many schools, they went past a lady who was preparing to usher people in and told us we couldn't go past. Finally that matter was cleared up and we talked to a sweet old man who reviewed our information and told us we didn't have to be there. We knew this, but we wanted to talk to someone anyway but we quickly realized that there would be nobody to talk to. Just a bunch of people doing their job, and would remind us very quickly that they are only willing to do exactly what they are paid for (not that I mind, but even most people are 'helpful' and don't scowl when you wonder exactly why you're there in the first place). So, with a anonymous stamp on our paperwork and a thank you very much, we were sent from the belly of the beast back into the real world.

It amazed me to think about how much of my tax dollars go to pay for stuff like this. It made me wonder, how if people had done their job at the school, there wouldn't be the need of this "Truancy Resource Center" as a plastic makeshift banner stated on the outside of the building. Finally, it made me wonder, why do I subject myself and my family to this? Being treated like cattle? Getting to see the underbelly of what our public school system is has really opened my eyes. It really, really scared the shit out of me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 3: Even the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray

Before I blog about anything else, I believe we are finally in the last battle of this virus that has invaded Loganland and taken our king captive. The cough is still bad at night, but he isn't going into 30 minute coughing fits during the day. School tomorrow should be interesting, it's been 4 and a half days missed so he is going to have a lot to catch up on. I can't help but interject my new found homeschoolism here and say we wouldn't have the worry of a mountain of school work if he was at home...we'd just be able to pick back up.

I have taken the first step to really put forth a plan of action. I bought curriculum books! The first one decided upon was Saxon Math for 1st Grade Complete Home School Kit. I've heard a lot about this program both in and out of the homeschooling community about how good it is and I figure that we'll start there and see how it goes. The program wasn't too pricey, $54 plus free shipping from and a 15% off coupon for one item from The language arts book I chose was First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind for $12 at barnes and noble too. I did decide this one without as much in depth decision as I did the math. I would like to keep language, literature, grammar and everything to do with the written or spoken word as classical as possible so we're going to try that route. The last book that I bought was a Vocabulary Vine a Spiral Study of Latin and Greek Roots for $8 through a barnes and noble authorized seller. This will be a supplement to the language arts portion of the program to help develop a deep understanding for language.

I still need to decide what we're going to do about history, geography, social studies and science. I plan to piggy back on the FWISD for information of what he 'ought to be doing', during his first grade year so I will be doing a little more research before I decide on books and things for those.

My plan for physical education is going to begin with tracking our daily exercises, yoga and beginning meditation. I also hope to get him involved in some different activities that will hopefully incorporate other areas of 'study' into a physical education. For example: We go on a hike to find different types of rocks, animal and plant life for science.

My plan for art is to have daily creative exercises where he will get to play with different mediums and an to also to begin exposure to theater arts by going to a children's performance at some point.

Music is going to hopefully start with piano lessons with a good friend who was classically trained. This was something that was already in the works before the whole homeschooling venture began.

I might start Spanish for his foreign language as well, but I'm not sure.

These are all the materials that I hope to use but as far as how we have our day structured for all the activities, I'm still working on that. My working idea is this:

Wake up, have breakfast and do our daily exercise.
Work on two core subjects for x amount of time.
Do a specials art, music or hands-on activity.
Work on one more core subject for x amount of time.
Journal the day.
Evening exercise, recreational reading and bed.

But even the best laid plans of mice and men often run astray so I plan to use this plank to help us develop what will work best. I'm basing this not on how school runs but how Logan's attention and focus runs. He's extremely work oriented in the morning and it winds down over the course of the day with one burst in the late afternoon/evening. I want to use those times that he's the most focus to work on the need to know things -how to do the three R's. Also, I didn't include 'free time' and time for socializing/extra curricular activities since we don't know what we're going to do yet or what times would be best. I hope to get him into a sport and/or karate during the summer so we can mold his schedule to work with the times he'll be doing those things. Also, I need to start looking for a boyscout troop that we can join since he'll be old enough this year.

The overall thing, since we're still learning what to do, is I will be using the FWISD as a marker for what our progress should be. And thankfully too, there are as many resources for homeschoolers out there as the day is long! I'd love to say this has been a chore, but really getting a chance to take command and herald Logan's education has been empowering and inspiring.

No loganisms for the day, little man is resting quietly so we can hopefully get better!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 2.2: Winds of Change

I wanted to add a quick little note in here concerning my post, "Forecast-cloudy." to say that I'm not usually this hot headed, but that the opposition to the idea that I've faced so far has been insulting in a lot of cases. Parents make difficult decisions every single day and are constantly put under a microscope by friends, relatives, peers and perfect strangers. But here are a few things that I've learned (in some cases for a second time):

People fear what they do not know. An uneducated atheist is more scared of an educated religious person is of them.

Perception is only as deep as the amount of light, i.e. knowledge, you let in. If your view is a very small and shallowed experience, it's highly unlikely that you're going to know better than anyone else.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. By the time schooling is an issue, we have already had to choose something over what someone called the only or superior way of doing it for our own reasons, sane or insane, and for example; stopping breast feeding at month 7 as opposed to month 8 had absolutely no bearing on Logan's development, which is not the case according to La Leche.

What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. In other words, our decisions, based on our experiences are in no way/shape/form/or fashion a reflection on you or your decisions. I hate dealing with the public school system but I am not asking for you to hate it with me. I do not think that your child, no matter how good or how bad they are doing in school is somehow inferior to mine because of what school they go to. I am not making my decision based on any opinions of your parenting choices. While I may ask for your opinion on the idea, I am not asking you to cleave your beliefs to mine because you perceive that I think my opinion is better. Absolutely not, that is unfair on both sides.

So that's it, I'm done defending for now and hopefully for a long time. If I don't let this storm clear, I'll never get beyond it and do what I set out to. Hoping that day three I can really start putting together a program -if I have any other homeschool readers out there, what programs do you like the most? Secular curricula preferred.

Day 2: Forecast- cloudy.

I'm not sure what I was expecting by coming out to the world that I had this wonderful idea of homeschooling. I want to find something to equate it to, however, I don't see this as life-changing as much as life altering. My best parallel is what the LGBT community uses with coming out of the closet and I wonder if they too had the realization that once their little secret was known that it wouldn't be the balmy, sunshine-filled day they would hoped it would be.

I think, sometimes, that people mistake my optimism for insanity. Yes, I have hopes for the human race and that one day we will all live in peace and harmony with each other. Our abilities as a species and the unofficial stewards of this world will one day benefit the universe. Okay, maybe it's a little insane but that doesn't mean that I'm without skeptism or reality. I want my hope to transcend reality, but realize that it may never come around in my lifetime or ever.

I don't know why I hoped people to easily brought on board with the ideas I have about my sons education, but I wanted to believe that my explanations and reasonings for why I want to give this a try would suffice even the hardest skeptic. I want the best for my son. What more of a reason could there be to try something out?

The sad thing that I've found is that already I have had to polarize myself, where I have to defend not only my conception but the marriage of that to my convictions. Marriage is a heavy word and it takes commitment that I'm not sure I'm ready for, but is that a reason to give up on an idea? Is it so, that an interlude of imagination and inspiration cannot be expressed without the dedication of a composed thought? Not every thing is bright in this world but we don't know unless we discover it!

So, in some senses sadly, I've had to galvanize and make this blanketed statement: GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FAMILY'S BUSINESS. I don't tell you what is wrong with you or with yours, I've got enough respect for you know that you're going to weather the storms and come out of it okay, can you give me the same? I am not going to mess up your friend, your grandchild, your child's friend, your nephew, your future 'whoever' by seeing if a different way of learning would suit him better. Did you ever stop to ask what he may want out of his education? I did, and I'm glad to predict a sunny day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 1: We're in a box and we want out!

I should have started this blog sooner.....

This week has been a very trying one. Logan is sick. Very Sick. He also has been truant according to his school. Very Truant. And now we have to make sure that everything is cleared up with the District Criminal Attorney so, as Logan says, "We don't have to go to jail because he's been too sick." :(

This whole mix up could have been remedied if the attendance clerk has accurately reported his sick time being excused, but sadly, talking to her friend in the office is more important than her job. Imagine my astonishment to receive a glowering look of distaste for coming in there and interrupting her conversation about so-n-so to clear up the status of his absences was accompanied by a condescending jab about how I need to understand the importance of Logan being to school, everyday and on time.

Needless to say, I didn't take to kindly to the idea of someone saying that I am irresponsible and undermining my son's education. And did I receive an apology for the mix up that it wasn't reported correctly? Of course not! But now I know that I have to hand deliver notes and watch over her shoulder to make sure she does the job my taxes pay her to so that our family doesn't suffer the affects of gossip being more important than job duties.

This situation has now become what I will refer to as "The Straw". My sanity, my anxiety and my love for all that is good and great in this world has said, "Enough!" This is the latest thing that is now added to the laundry list of what can best be described as failures my son has been either directly or indirectly subjected to.

With private school being economically our of the question and charter school proving either impossible to get into and still subject to many of the same complaints in public school, what do we do? This is when homeschool entered my mind and has not left since suffering this latest bout of incompetency.

Yes. I said it. Homeschool. More commonly known as "religious-closed minded-sheltering-freak making-antisocial-hoity toity-anti establishment- brain washing" homeschooling. There. I said almost all the noted reasons for why I shouldn't consider it and those reasons have been considered. Rest assured, it is for most of those reasons that have brought me to this point. We are realizing the limitations of this box we've allowed ourselves to be in and we want out!

The plan:

Logan is going to continue through his kindergarten year because as hot under the collar as I am, I am not going to make a rash decision about his educational pursuits. This is his life and he needs what will work best for him. So, once school is out for the year, we're going to take a good break and work on this adventure. I want to set up the yarn/old toy dumping ground, aka the office, as a 'learning center'. I'm going to do a little research on what 1st grade is suppose to be like and what we're going to do that will help him should he return to public school because homeschool is not right for us. But for this time, we're going to give him and his education the chance we feel it's not getting in public school.

So, for now, this is it. My big plan and hopefully not too shocking or polarizing. I hope you enjoy reading about our Adventures in Loganland and our journey out into the unknown. Stay tuned for Day 2 where I hope to have a little more focus and hopefully not have to re-write a post because blogger has decided to be crap-tastic.

Loganism for the day: "There is not enough art in Art Class. We need to go to a museum because we can see more than in Art Class."