Wrap Up, Weeks 8 – 12…ish?

In CategoryAdventure, Home Schooling

Weeks 8 and 9:

We drove from  Michigan to Colorado. We drove from Colorado to Oregon.

Actually, you know what? I just realize that I can’t count these as school weeks, because we didn’t do any school.

Brilliant, that’s what I am.

Weeks 10 and 11 8 and 9:

Feeling the pressure, man. People can’t just not do schoolwork for weeks on end.

Big is working through Second Grade Math with a surprisingly better attitude. After two weeks with no practice, he had a rough start back, at one point telling me that 8+7 = 11, which I am reasonably sure is not correct. However, after I told him I was going to start printing extra practice sheets off the internet if he didn’t get it together, he took the Chapter 5 test and only missed one. Chapter 6 was review-ish, so I let him test out of the bookwork (teaching autonomy fist pump), and we are now in Chapter 8 trying to master carrying the 1.

Although… how to form letters and numbers is apparently up for discussion again. I can’t even. It’s so annoying. Do you know how long I have been dealing with this nonsense? YOU MUST MAKE YOUR SIX IN THIS CERTAIN WAY OR IT’S NOT A SIX.


He is SO stubborn. The only way to win is to out-stubborn him. It’s exhausting. And over something stupid like handwriting! It’s not even a satisfying victory! And then he wants to know why he has to work longer than his sister. Because she did FOUR chapters of geography while you argued against hundreds of years of numeral symbology? Maybe? No, probably not.

After that, he segues into his next massive waste of time position, which is a vehement condemnation of sitting properly and angling his paper properly, which I’ve suggested might help prevent hand fatigue.

AND THEN he wants to know why I have to lie down in a dark room with a cold cloth over my eyes.

Honestly. Little turd.

At the beginning of week nine, I had a Math Epiphany, wherein I realized that nine goes into thirty-six nicely, and we were one-quarter through the school year.

So I went through all the books, marked the 1/4 point, and began driving the kids like they were oxen headed West coaxing the kids to get some work done.

At the quarter point of the school year:

Big has done a quarter of Geography, Science, and Vocabulary. Sure, he did most of that this week due to the oxen-driving, but whatever.

We are on Day 18 of Grammar. *sigh*

He’s done 8 (out of 30) chapters in Math. I’ll take it.

Little has completed ALL of her Geography and a huge chunk of Science. She just sits down and works quietly while Big argues against the Tyranny of Writing Conventions, and manages to do massive amounts of work. I keep warning Big that she’s going to catch up to him one of these days. She is over a third of the way through the Phonics I have planned for this year, and is half-finished with Math – even though she drags her feet on it. She has a lovely, sweet attitude about school which I am savoring and hoping lasts.

She also knows all the answers when I am working with Big. On Tuesday, I was explaining his word problems to him, and I could hear her tiny voice saying all the answers under her breath.

Learning by Osmosis: It happens.

I have fallen down severely with All About Spelling and reading aloud. Poor Paddle-to-the-Sea is still stuck in Lake Superior. Oh well. I’ve decided to leave that for January Deb. December Deb would rather make cookies and watch The Grinch.

How are you all doing? I hope your school year is going well, peeps.

Grammar. Bring it.

In CategoryHome Schooling

All right, people. I’ve been threatening to talk about this long enough, let’s do it.


a) Should I even be teaching this at the age of 7? Is this one of those things where I can hammer it into his head for a decade OR do it for one year in middle or high school and end up with the same result? Grammar is fairly abstract, can he even grasp it at this age?

b) We are using Easy Grammar Grade 2. I don’t love this book, quite frankly. I mean, the one-page-a-day idea is good, and the exercises are short and sweet, but this is one area where I should have purchased the Teacher’s Manual, which I did not even realize existed until I started writing this post (Super! Homeschooler!). I normally eschew the TMs because hello! I’ve been to college, I should know second grade for crying out loud! On the other hand, there have been a couple of instances where I felt like I wasn’t explaining things clearly enough and a TM would have been helpful.

c) Diagramming? That’s obsolete, right? Gross.

Maybe I am using the wrong program. Easy Grammar is supposed to be, um, easy, and I thought it would be the perfect compromise between being the Sentence Diagramming Police and being the Unschooler Who Don’t Need No Grammar, Man.

Maybe I just need to stick it out and see what happens. I suppose a real grown up would at least finish the book before passing judgement.

I have read some very compelling opinions on the pointlessness of teaching grammar to elementary school kids, and I also have friends who believe in starting early. I don’t know which way I lean.

Here’s the thing. Every once in a while, Big will get his notebook out and write a story. I don’t correct anything he does for pleasure, unless he asks. When I told him we would be doing grammar, and told him a little bit about what grammar is, he flipped out and thought he would need to go back and fix all of his stories. Naturally, I told him that was not the case at all, that he wrote and spoke fine (well?), and that grammar was just going to help us categorize the words we already know. He didn’t really buy it.

That is the reaction that has me questioning teaching grammar. I am not afraid to tell my kids to suck it up and deal if they don’t like something, but I don’t want it to stifle his creativity. I don’t think Easy Grammar will do that, necessarily, because it’s not the end of the world to learn about capitalizing sentences. But I think it is a risk if I choose something more rigorous. I don’t want him associating something he doesn’t like with something he does like and have it ruin his fledgling interest in storytelling.

Not to mention, do I need to teach grammar before I even ask him to write anything? Isn’t reading well and speaking properly enough for now? Won’t that give him a leg up when he does write? Shouldn’t grammar be taught within the context of writing? I don’t remember learning grammar at all, and I certainly never diagrammed a sentence in my life, and I turned out okay

yes, I realize that is the same logic old people use about everything – “we never needed a carseat with you-uns, ‘n yer awwright. We jes’ wedged ya inna dashboard ‘n lit up a ciggy when we broughtcha home from the ‘ospital.”  I’m old. I don’t like learning new settings on the DVR, either

– But maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe people who are interested in writing aren’t deterred by grammar, and I shouldn’t take that into consideration.

So. What do you say?

Stick it out? Switch to something else? Growing With Grammar looks good. Analytical Grammar looks interesting but gets mixed reviews. I know there are some Rod & Staff devotees out there…

Or should I wait until later?

Maybe Just Shut up and Make a Decision, You Big Weenie?

The Beach

In CategoryAdventure, Navel Gazing

baby starfish

it really looked like that. stunning

There was a SALE

In CategoryKnitting, Navel Gazing

I have finished most of the Christmas shopping, and am now trying to put the finishing touches on some knitting. Stupid Optimistic Deb thinks she can knit two cowls and six or eight hats in the next month. This stupidity optimism caused me to have an accident at the yarn shop on Saturday –

Jim, move this table over here. No, over here, by this rock. What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m posing my yarn. No, not posing WITH the yarn. Look, just move the table.

What am I going to do with over a thousand yards of laceweight denim-colored yarn, you ask? Well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you. Hopefully the purple will somehow turn into this, so I have a gift for my mother-in-law, should she decide to show up.

I was only going to get those two skeins when I happened by a sign that said 30% off.

People can’t just pass by a sign that says 30% off. Amiright or amiright? And anyway, it’s llama. Llama! How often do you see that? So soft, so cozy, so tweedy. Yum. And it was only $5 a skein! Name one person who wouldn’t buy $5 llama yarn.

Jim. Help me move the table over by this fern. JIM. The table! I want to move it again. Isn’t this fern gorgeous? Yes, I am still taking pictures of yarn.

It’s hard knitting surprises for people when they’re up in your grill asking you to make lunch all the time.

What? No, this isn’t new, I’ve had it for a long time. What do you mean, why did I buy more yarn when I already have yarn? Because I didn’t have THAT kind, OBVIOUSLY. Listen, you don’t need to worry about it. Just hush up and help me move the table again.