Friday, May 25, 2012

Trying to work it all out

I know I haven't posted often this whole year - I just have felt like our homeschool just hasn't been running quite the way I want all year...  and it has caused us to be doing light homeschooling for a month or two (reading, writing, arithmetic) while I try to work things out for next year.  And I have been working hard to figure things out for next year.  Of course, my non-homeschooling friends feel that next school year is so far away.... but I feel like it is really close.

I am getting things worked out.... well, some things.  Others I'm trying to work out still.  It is amazing the number of things to decide.  Did I want to continue a CM program, or should we do something else?  If doing CM, what program - or should I try to make my own?  Do work together as a family (with level-appropriate added activities) - like Simply Charlotte Mason?  Or do everyone working on their own level - like AO?  This seemed so fundimental!  And then... do SCM? Milestones? Old Fashioned Education? Higher Up and Farther In? Ambleside Online? Tanglewood? Something else?  My own plan?

Everything had advantages and disadvantages.  And I admit - my decision on what to do kind of surprised me.

I think we are back to AO!  Yes, I hate "This Country of Ours" (which several of the CM programs use.) - and I don't like the AO Advisory's response to criticisms of this book.  BUT, that said.... as we are doing Canadian History instead.... we weren't even going to use the book.

So now, having worked this out.... I'm trying to figure out more of the implementation details for the family.  I won't have time to do all the readings to both Delta and Echo (not to mention some good readings for Foxtrot and Golf) - so we will need to use a few audiobooks as well.

I need Delta to be able to be more independent - which is something I think will work well with him.  So I need some organization which allows that... which is where I'm stuck right now.  Here are the options I'm looking at...

  • planner along the lines of 
  • workboxes
  • daily printouts from the SCM Organizer [SCMO] (which we already use)
  • a "weekly printout" (daily printout, with various items showing upcoming assignments) from SCMO
  • another paper schedule - I saw one I liked that had 3 weeks on a (2 sided) page!
  • having Delta mark things off on the computer - either with SCMO or Skedtrak, or another similar
And again, there are advantages and disadvantages of each option.

  • planner like from UR the Mom - I'm not sure how to go about doing the recommended goal setting when using a scheduled program like AO....  and (like all the options) - I need to have the AO schedule in some format for Delta to reference....   This does allow the most independence, including decision making (if I don't schedule each day.)  I like a lot of the ideas of this - just trying to figure out how to make it work for us.
  • workboxes - this worked well for us our first year of AO, and I really like the idea of it.  I also think this might work the best for Echo at this stage.  It allows for independence - but not decision making. The problem is the space it takes.... even the various variations.  We did workbox folders for part of our other AO year - it worked ok (not quite as well) - and it had the advantage of portability....   This really is a big space question.
  • Daily printouts from SCMO - we have done this in the past too - there is an issue about the amount of paper that ends up being used... 2 or 3 pages per person per day isn't uncommon!
  • "Weekly printout" from SCMO - the SCMO isn't setup to do this - but you can get 3 more assignments to show up by opening up the next assignments - so that is almost a weeks worth for most things.  Less paper than Daily printouts - still more than I really want...
  • The 3week mini-term schedule.  I liked this - it used 3 different colours - 1 for each week - and you setup all the assignments for the 3 weeks.  But it would take a lot of editing, as I have to make it for each mini-term.  (I'm sure the first takes the longest).  It just seems like a lot of work that I shouldn't have to do....
  • Using the computer for Delta to see what is available, as well as to mark it off.  This would be great as I already have everything in SCMO - but some of the things I have done to put in the AO schedule - makes sense to me, but wouldn't to him.... plus there isn't a student login - so he could, in theory, mess something up in the schedule.   I looked at Skedtrak (which is free) that has student logins - but then.... I'll have to duplicate the work I do already in SCMO... and I think I had tried it and found it a little less convenient that SCMO....
I am also a little "scared" of the upcoming year, with 2 different levels of AO - especially since Echo is complaining about doing a couple of little subjects of school each day - and they are so used to "light school"...  I'm worried about juggling the need for my help, and the overall time that might be needed.  I guess we will see how it goes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Out of This World!

Echo, Zulu, Major Hansen, Delta

Earlier this week, we got to meet a Real Live Astronaut!  Mike was reading the news, and discovered that Major Jeremy Hansen, Astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, would be giving a talk at the museum to a few groups, and that the public could register for remaining seats.  Knowing a great opportunity, and the love that Delta has for all things space - how could I pass it up?   I even arrange with Bravo to have Zulu miss school so we could take him too.

Because I knew it would be a popular event, we arrive early.  We were waiting before Major Hansen even arrived.... but that worked out well as he stopped as he was coming in, introduced himself, shook all their hands, and posed for a picture.  Oh, and being the first in line, we got seats right up front.  

Major Hansen gave a great presentation about space, and had a good slide show.  (Ok, Power-point presentation.)  We learned important things like: right now astronauts HAVE to learn Russian; the module in which they travel too and from the space station is VERY tiny and cramped; because the travel is done in Russian Rockets, they land the module in the Russian fashion - like a car crash on land (not a splash-down in the ocean!); and that the ride in the air-plane that is used to simulate zero-gravity is a lot of fun.  They also learned that if they want to become an astronaut, the important things to do are: do something you truly love (for him that was flying and the military, for others it may be science, or medicine, or something else.); get a degree - probably a masters or Phd, and then watch for opportunities to apply.

At the end, they had formal pictures.  By the way.... we just wore the Scouting uniforms because it just seemed like the thing to do.