Four, on a good day that is the number of subjects we attempt to cover.  That’s with me combining writing with their language arts/reading work.  To be honest…I hate it!  Think about it, how truly effective is it to try and cram so much into one day?  Even with the freedom homeschooling affords us, it still feels like we are rushing to keep up with our lesson plans.  If we spend more time on math then we are a bit behind on science/history in relationship to what is planned out.  While sure it’s not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things because we can just school during a day that was normally planned as an off day, but who really wants to give up their off days?  I sure don’t!  I look forward to those days where I have no errands to run, no playdates or field trips, no lessons to deal with; just me, myself, and reruns of my favorite shows. 

One thing I despised about my public school experience was the way we bounced from subject to subject.  One minute you are knee deep in a novel during English class, the next you are trying not to fall asleep while you stare at your textbook listening to the teacher drag on about the Revolutionary War.  Part of the reason I was so passionate about homeschooling T.B.M. had to do with wanting to avoid what I view as the short comings of public education; and then I went and planned our day just like what I spent 12 years hating, what the frick frack was I thinking?!

I've mulled over the decision to go to one subject a day for a while now, awhile meaning about two to three years, I kept telling myself it was a crazy idea.  My biggest concern was that they would forget what we covered during the week with such a big gap between their lessons in any given subject, but then I thought, if I plan just right then, hopefully, they won’t.  Multiple subjects a day is draining for us, school becomes a checklist of assignments to complete instead of the full immersion experience that I'm aiming for. 

So I’m doing away with a schedule that involves trying to squeeze multiple subjects in one day and replacing it with the following schedule:

Mathematical Mondays (Math)

Test Tube Tuesdays (Science)

Wordy Wednesdays (Language Arts)

Time Traveling Thursdays (History)

Foundation Fridays (Life skills, Etiquette, character/virtue study, etc.)

Does this mean there will be no reading work at all on Mondays?  No, there will still be daily reading; it will just be more relaxed because the actual reading lessons will be on Wednesday.  Math will also be worked in as well; on Wednesdays we’ll do a few word problems that tie into the math objective of that week, while giving the boys a chance to hone their reading skills.  There will also be math and reading on Tuesdays during our science work, and plenty of reading for history.  My goal is to weave various subjects into the day, but keeping the main focus on the that day's subject.  So on Test Tube Tuesdays if we do chemistry experiments we will use a bit of math, followed by reading and history when we learn about an important chemist, and teaching proper lab/safety information ties into our foundation work since I consider lab/safety knowledge an important life skill to learn. 

Next week will be the start of our one subject a day learning, I’m a bit nervous, but also extremely excited since I've wanted to make this move for a while now.  It seems far more practical and I think it will ensure the level of subject mastery that we are striving for.  Plus, it will be fun to spend all day fully immersed in one subject!  Oh the projects we’ll create!

How do you organize your day? Do you focus on one subject, multiple subjects, or something else entirely?    

Copyright(c) 2012 Rayven Holmes

There is really no other way to put it.  Our life right now is completely insane, in a good way of course.  Six weeks ago I had our third son, yup third!  Some people collect stamps I, apparently, collect sons.  He has brought with him tons of joy and of course the typical chaos that ensues when your schedule is based around when a little one needs to nurse or be changed.  I've sat down to blog, or at least think through a blog, and have had to quit in order to please the podling who from this moment forth will be referred to as Stormaggedon Dark Lord of All, or Stormaggedon for short.

Aside, from adding Stormaggedon to The Bringers of Mayhem, we are also preparing to move after the New Year, and of course homeschooling through all of it.  I've been mulling over a few directions to take our schooling in hopes of producing better results and a happier learning experience for the boys.  I've also been dreaming of a homeschool room that our next house will allow us to have, as well as ORGANIZING!!  Yes, I’m addicting to organizing. 

There is plenty I need (want) to blog about before this year is out!  So while I lay the foundation for those posts, Stormaggedon commands all you peasants to watch these videos.  If you don't get it, you will after the videos. If you do get it, I award you 10 awesome geek points! 

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

There is a new Carnival of Homeschooling over at Homeschool Atheist Momma!  It’s the first time I’ve shared a post for Carnival of Homeschooling, so head over and see what was shared by everyone.  

Copyright(c)2012 Ravyen Holmes

I actually have a blog post in the works, but until I finish that enjoy some Peter Frampton!

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

A few days ago I overheard a conversation while at one of T.B.M.’s extra activities.  It was between three girls, two of which attend public school and one who is homeschooled, the homeschooled girl is roughly 2-3 years younger than the other two girls.  One of the girls started the conversation by telling the girls what grade she was in and then asking the other girls their grades, the other public school girl told her grade and then turning away from the girl who is homeschooled goes –in a very condescending tone-“She’s homeschooled, so she doesn’t have a grade”.  At this point the homeschooled girl attempted to explain to them that it depends on the subject, like with many homeschoolers, but the girls just spoke over here never listening to what she was saying.  Then they started in “Well why are you homeschooled?”  “Do you even want to be homeschooled”.  The girl tried to once again explain what they do in her home and her mother’s reasons for choosing home education, she NEVER once said she didn't want to be homeschooled, in fact she was attempting to speak on the positives and getting repeatedly interrupted.  

Eventually the girl said that they just didn't understand and walked off to regroup her thoughts, my heart sank for her.  Not only because these girls weren't listening to her, but because a lot of it seemed very orchestrated.  I've watched her mother have to try to explain their reasons to others at this same place before and the things these young girls were saying seemed like they came right out of the mouths of the other women who had ganged up on the homeschooled girl’s mother before. 

The young girl eventually came back over and was content to just stand and wait until it was their time to take part, but the other girls weren’t finished.  Instead they started in “Well if your mom doesn’t think the schools are challenging enough she can just put you in the gifted class” and –this is the part that made me go WTF the most- “How is your parents able to even teach you?”.  How is?  How is?  Oh sweet grammar, she is really trying to promote public school and belittle homeschooling while using such horrible grammar?  They then tried to say things such as “Just talk to your mom about coming to real school, you know cause you don’t want to be homeschooled” and “Well if you come to regular school like us you will be able to meet more kids your age, which you really need to do.”  Seriously?  11 year olds really say that to one another?  My BS alarm was ringing-they had to of been prompted right?-, my blood was boiling, and yet I couldn’t speak. 

What would I say?  Well, I had a million and one things I wanted to say, but these are children-none of which included one of my children-.  Children, who clearly seemed to have been given an agenda, an orchestrated series of questions to ask and comments to make, which I found upsetting and sickening  I found myself wondering as T.B.M. and I got ready to go to the car if I should have said something, anything, to maybe make these young ladies think.  Would it have been worth it?  I’m sure the homeschooled girl would have appreciated it, but does that cross a line when it’s not your child?  Should we ensure that by a certain age they can defend homeschooling and our family’s choices?  Why do they even need to defend it?!  I think I was so floored that it was children saying it, I’ve heard adults make these comments millions of times-especially my own family-, but I’ve heard next to nothing from other children-especially of this caliber-.  The most I have directly heard was when General Disarray was asked one day which school he attended because, the boy who asked never sees him around school, he told the boy he was homeschooled, and the boy goes “Oh, well I wish we went to the same school so we could see each other more”.  I’m pretty sure this would have been the boy’s response no matter what, since we don’t live in the same school zone as him, and it’s an understandable response given their ages and how much fun they have when they are able to interact with each other. 

The exchange between the three girls though, has left a horrible taste in my mouth, and I wonder what would other homeschoolers do?  Would you sit and observe and internalize the interaction so you can better prepare your own children for similar interactions if they ever arise?  Would you speak up and tell the girls that every family has to make decisions for their family and sometimes these decisions aren’t the same as everyone else's, but these decisions are given a lot of thought.  And maybe if they are genuinely interested in learning about homeschooling they should either hush and listen to what the girl is saying or ask the girl’s mother why she made the choice she did?  Or would you do something else entirely? 

Should I be spending some time each day helping T.B.M. perfect a homeschooling elevator speech? 
Really what I want to know the most is WHY DO WE HAVE TO DEFEND THIS?!  Why do our CHILDREN have to defend this?!  I don’t see the kids at this activity who attend public or private school having to defend their parents choices for sending them to these institutions, but those of us who opt out of these institutions have to defend that decision, why the hell is that?! 

Why, why, why, why, WHY?!  

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Back in January I touched on our 2012-2013 plans and after ordering some of the needed items, viewing some of the materials a friend of mine had, and a long chat with The Spouse the decision was made to change up our plans.  Despite my original stance on using a “box” curriculum or “all-in-one” I had a change of heart, which is of course the beauty of homeschooling, you can change things as you see fit. 

While we have managed to get some work done this year, neither the spouse nor I ,are pleased with the current way things are progressing-there is a lack of structure we both feel is necessary in our homeschooling-and our home in general-.  I had gone back and forth for some time over using Oak Meadow, I did like the way the program looked, but didn’t really want to use an “all-in-one”.  After a long discussion with The Spouse –I’m talking about a conversation that went well into the early morning hours!- where we both expressed concerns, expectations, positives, and negatives of switching as well as our current hodgepodge of materials. 

We went through the Oak Meadow Grade K that I had purchased from a friend and decided that while we like the material it was too easy for Professor Chaos so I purchased the Grade 1 for him and we will be starting that as soon as it arrives.  For General Disarray we decided to skip fourth grade because he already knows a great deal of the material Grade 4 covers and what we haven’t covered Oak Meadow covers as review in the start of the year, so we are going directly to Grade 5. 

We won’t be using it as a complete “all-in-one” because we prefer Saxon Math and find it to be a bit more advanced/challenging than Oak Meadow.  We’ll use the Oak Meadow provided Math for the first three grades and then switch to the Saxon 5/4 math and go forth from there.  We’ll also be supplementing our science and history work as well for more in depth study. 

As for our yearly game plan, General Disarray will start his Oak Meadow work this upcoming week, since the program is broken down into 36 weeks we’ll finish up right before Christmas-no planned breaks- and then take off from our regular schooling until we get settled at our next duty station.  We’ll do some light work to ensure material learned isn’t lost during the 2 - 2 ½ month break.  For Professor Chaos we’ll be using Hooked on Phonics, Explode the Code, and a series of math workbooks until his Oak Meadow work arrives and then we’ll use Hooked on Phonics in combination with Oak Meadow.  

We won’t finish up Professor Chaos’ work before the Christmas break, so we’ll do a light version of it starting after the holidays- at the same time we are starting the light work for General Disarray- that will put Professor Chaos finishing up around the time we are settled at our next duty station.  Once we are all settled in we’ll stop the light work and take a good solid two weeks off to relax, adjust, and prep for the new school year. 

That’s our school plan and I’m looking forward to seeing how the school year unfolds.  There are also going to be changes to our daily schedule as well, but that is for another blog post.  After I’ve got some much needed sleep.  

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

This past weekend The Spouse and I decided to do a bit of Spring cleaning while T.B.M. enjoyed the sunshine. One of the items on our agenda was tackling Professor Chaos’ mattress. Like any child night time accidents can and will happen, usually brought on by an insistence of just a “sip” of water before bedtime. So, what must one do in order to salvage a mattress?

 First: We applied distilled white vinegar to the mattress and poured baking soda over it (this helps remove the smell). The vinegar smell will linger for a bit, but it will eventually go away-and vinegar smells way better than pee-. We let this set for a while and then vacuumed it up. I would highly recommend applying baking soda more than once to ensure the mattress gets thoroughly dried-the baking soda is what pulls the moisture out of the mattress; it’s also great for when the accident first occurs in order to dry it-. We did it only once since we started a bit later in the morning and wanted to get the mattress out in the sunshine before it got too late. 

Second: Place the dry mattress outside in a nice sunny spot. We placed Professor Chaos’ mattress on top of T.B.M.’s outdoor play equipment so it wasn’t lying on the ground and had a great sunny spot. We kept it out there for the rest of the afternoon-roughly 3 hours or so-. There was a noticeable difference in the mattress when we brought it inside, not all the stains were completely gone (some of the darker ones had faded but not completely disappeared, while others were totally gone), but we had only had it out there for a few hours so we weren’t expecting them all to have vanished.

 We plan to repeat the process on another weekend, skipping the vinegar/baking soda process and then placing the mattress out in the sun first thing in the morning and not bringing it in until just before the sun goes down. We were very pleased with the difference and are happy we won’t have to replace the mattress anytime soon. Not only does the sun help get out those pesky stains, but it kills any gross bacteria that may be lingering on the mattress as well, giving your little one a fresh smelling, stain free, bacteria free place to lay their head. I recommend vacuuming the mattress before you put the bedding back on just to make sure there is no lingering baking soda, pollen, etc. that may have been leftover or picked up while outdoors.

 Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

This article on Slate is making the rounds today…and it’s the typical anti-homeschooling nonsense we have all come to know and love. Although, this one is a bit different because it takes aim at “progressive, liberal” homeschoolers, did I just get called out? I did! Darn it! I was hoping to just read this, get pissed and then return to my cave.

I’ll give run through all the silliness-and some opinions of course, because you know we all have one, even if they are wrong-:

1.First we have the a-typical worst case scenario used to paint a portrait of all homeschoolers/unschoolers

2.We have the vast assumptions that if you fit into this group here –in this case liberals- that you of course do the following: don’t use textbooks, only teach history that fits into your viewpoints, and teach college level math to 13 year olds-regardless if they are ready for such a thing or not-

3.If you homeschool then you believe you alone should decide how your child is educated-ok I must admit that I believe the education of one’s offspring should fall on the PARENTS regardless if they make the decision to send their child to public school, private school, or use one(or all) of the many methods of homeschooling. That decision lies with the PARENTS because THEY are the ones responsible for the child that THEY created/adopted, so that part isn’t really silly although their claim that this is somehow a bad thing is very silly- If the decision isn’t being made by you then who is calling the shots with your child, and more importantly why are they the ones doing it and not you?!

4.If you homeschool you hate public school, you don’t trust it, you are taking part in some elitist, two parent home, class privilege- ok I had to stop and laugh for a bit at that part. I’m so glad they injected a bit of humor in that article. But seriously though of the homeschooling families I know I can’t think of one I would classify as “privileged” unless we are talking about their homeschooling classroom/space I which point the correct word I would use would be “envy” as I really would love a large homeschooling area. Although, living overseas doesn’t allow for much space –glances at clutter…I should be ashamed, but I’m not-. Many homeschooling families actually have a child or two in public/private school as well. I know this probably comes as a shock to the writer, folks use both methods?! Why yes, yes, they do. Because, each child is different and part of being a good parent means doing what is best for your child, either through public, private, or homeschooling. Also, the two parent thing…given the divorce rate in America one can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, there are some homeschoolers in single parent homes. In fact, a good friend of mine, and single mother, homeschools her children. It’s only temporary, but I think that makes her a good parent since she is putting an effort into her children’s educations instead of just sitting around waiting for when a school that doesn’t make her cringe becomes available, but what do I know I’m an elitist. She also isn’t a “welfare queen” either, yes that’s right single homeschooling parents work hard at paying jobs too, in fact many homeschooling families where there are two parents also have two incomes, go figure!

5.Oh this one is a goody, ok it’s another a-typical scenario where a group of parents sets up a preschool playgroup for children that have “never left their side”-considering that a preschooler is usually between the ages of 3-5 years old the whole “never left their side” thing kind of makes sense. Other than a babysitter where is the kid going to go if one of the parents stays home? Then there is that silly assumption that attachment parenting equals kids who have never been away from their parents and breastfeed well past toddlerhood? Yeah that last part confuses me as not every attachment family engages in extended breastfeeding. I get it, you see the word attachment and you think permanently conjoined at the hip, or that they are still hanging on by the umbilical cord, I get it, the word is hard for you to understand. So let me grab the dictionary and define the words “attachment” and “parenting” for you:

Attachment: 1. Emotional Bond: an emotional bond or tie to somebody or something.

Parenting: Child-Rearing: the experiences, skills, qualities, and responsibilities involved in being a parent and in teaching and caring for a child.

So what happens when we put the words together? We get “Attachment Parenting”: a parenting style that establishes an emotional bond with the child through the child’s upbringing –I made that up using my knowledge of the two words, it’s amazing what someone can do with a little knowledge!- Now yes, we do the “attachment parenting” thing. Of course I just define it as loving my kids and doing what feels right. If I have an infant that needs to eat every 2-4 hours why would I stick him or her in another room, when I can easily have them room-in with us and not have to go hunting for them at night? It seems rather counterproductive to place them in another room don’t you think? Of course attachment parenting involves way more than just extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, it also entails respect for my child as an individual and validation of their emotions. Of course I wouldn’t expect someone who only has a TV based knowledge of what attachment parenting is to actually understand. That would involve some thought and actual research, what happened to those in journalism? Then there is the a-typical “hippy” homeschooler. To quote Cartman “die you damn hippies!” Ok, not really, I love hippies, they are fun. I’m not one though, I prefer to eat plants not smoke them and I’m not a big fan of tie-dye, sorry I disappointed you again-but I did just give into a stereotype, darn it I thought I was better than that!-.

6.“I don’t want my children to be raised by someone else for eight hours out of the day” this was a comment made by the “hippy” homeschooler. This isn’t silliness. There is a quote that most homeschoolers know “I’ve seen the village and I don’t want it raising my children”, I stick by this quote. I love it. It sums up so much of what I feel on the issue and you can call me every name in the book for making the decision to homeschool my children, because all you are doing when you do that is confirming that the village has NO business raising my children. Of course the writer of the article can’t let that quote go, and so the silliness resumes. The assumption is made that we are only teaching our children to trust just us, the hand-picked few people we allow them to come in contact with, and no one else. Yup, everyone else is just pure evil. Then there is the whole “it’s hard work to be your child’s “everything””. Ok, that part is a bit true. It is hard work being a PARENT period. It doesn’t matter if your kid learns at home or at a building someplace else if you are a real parent you are involved in their life. While they may not acknowledge you as their “everything”, you are in fact their “everything”. Taking them to school –or pulling up a chair and teaching them- , picking them up-either from school or the afterschool program you place them in(and pay for)-, sitting up and doing homework with them, helping build science fair projects, and mediating fights between siblings and friends. You cook, clean, and drive them from one sport, musical, or school related activity to another. Without you, you the active, involved parent, they would have nothing, because you hold the keys to everything. You get to know their teachers or you plan co-ops, you take an active role in your child’s life and in doing that you are doing WORK. Lots of hard work that will pay off in the end. If you don’t want to work hard I suggest you don’t reproduce. And furthermore if you see tending to your children as being their “babysitter” PLEASE I beg of you DO NOT reproduce! You ARE NOT their babysitter, you are their PARENT. If you can’t handle that work –and as I stated before it doesn’t matter what method of education you use an involved parent is going to put in some serious work- then put on a condom!, instead of sitting around bashing those of us who feel our work as a parent also includes overseeing our children’s academic educations as well.

7.Then there is the “if you homeschool you have money” nonsense. I would really like to know where this one came from. Ever since we started homeschooling that is all I ever see, homeschooler=wealthy. People with money tend to, overwhelmingly so, put their children in private schools that reflect their views and opinions-wait…where is the article on them?-. Look, if we were wealthy my husband wouldn’t need to lace up a pair of combat boots every day and pull 10-12hr shifts-without overtime-, nor would he need a job that runs the risk of killing him before he hits the age of retirement. Don’t be so ignorant and uninformed to believe that because we are able to live off of one income that we can do so easily and that it doesn’t come with its sacrifices. For us, for our family, and millions more these sacrifices are worth it. The fact that I have the ability to halt lessons on days when the pain of daddy being gone is too much to bear, the fact that my children don’t have to worry about missing a school lesson in order to be there when their father steps off a plane, makes every penny we have to stretch worth it. I know, for those who don’t understand the concept of attachment parenting wrapping your mind around the fact that a family chooses the emotional well-being of their children over keeping the status quo seems a bit difficult to grasp. So here is a visual:

This Means More To Me:

Photo Credit

Than This:

Photo Credit

8.The writer claims we aren’t a country ready to self-educate our kids…nope we aren’t. I’ll agree there, but a lot of us better be willing to because our public schools aren’t ready to educate a fraction of the children that walk through those doors. The sad reality is that most of our public schools are understaffed and over budget. It was bad when I was in school and I finished high school almost a decade ago when the economy was actually doing pretty well and I know it hasn’t got any better-in many cases it has got worse-. When I was in school you had 30-32 students to a classroom and only about 28 desks. Usually a student sat at the teacher’s desk to get their work done. If we wanted to be able to write on a worksheet assignment we had to provide the copy paper ourselves, not to mention the countless other supplies the school needed each semester for each class. There are exceptional school systems, where the class size is just right, there is an abundance of school supplies, and the teachers are well-paid and not overworked slaves. These school systems are not the norm and furthermore tend to be in affluent areas-as in areas the average homeschooling family can’t afford to live and since most school systems use a zoning technique to determine who goes where if you don’t live in that nice neighborhood you might as well not bank on your kid going to that nice school-. That’s the reality of the American school system on average, if people really hate it they should spend more time trying to fix it instead of attempting to blame the problem on those of us who have found a solution that works for our families. Putting our children into the problem schools won’t fix the problems, in fact it will just cause more problems –since you have more bodies but no extra money to provide them with up to date textbooks, materials, or in some cases even a place to sit!-.

9.Then the writer goes into the typical kids will meet people from different social and racial backgrounds, I covered above that where you live determines where you go to school so you essentially will interact with the same kids who live around you and more than likely come from the same background as you, whose parents income is similar, and who are probably the same race as you. Furthermore, my children are part of the minority of children being raised in bi/multi-racial families by the time they are adults they will be able to write a book on everything they’ve experienced in their Northern Yankee/ Southern Conservative family. Not to mention the experiences they gain from being the children of a service member whose job gives them the unique experience of meeting people from other countries, belief systems, and economical levels. You can try to tell me all day long that my kids will experience a better variety of people in public schools but I will just call shenanigans on that nonsense. Generally, we all know this agreement is pointless, unless you just don’t allow your children near anyone who doesn’t look, talk, walk, spend, and believe like you. At which point I say SHAME!

10.The writer finally gets to the reason behind their homeschooling distaste, FINALLY! A family of public school educators. I don’t get it. I mean what is so upsetting about parents doing what you “do”? Granted, I don’t do what public school teachers do,-I’m not micromanaging a classroom of kids, and figuring out the lowest common denominator that I need to teach to- and before someone goes and blows a gasket on me, that me clarify something, the only debt I have in my name is for student loans taken out to get a degree in…wait for it…wait for it…EDUCATION! Yeah, I know crazy, right? I actually wanted to be an educator and then I thought wait…I don’t like what I’m seeing in these schools and no matter how hard the teachers try things aren’t changing. Maybe, I should put the education of my own children first instead of relying on a system that disturbs me. Not saying I hate public schools-or that they are the “root of all evil” some are actually doing great things and some kids do really well in them, but they aren’t good enough for my kids. So, maybe I am a bit elitist, I value my own children’s educations over others, and I don’t think a school should be compared to a “daycare” either. Really? Come on, at this point we should just call it what it is, 8 hours of herding children together like cattle to keep them out of the way of all the “hard-working” adults.

Our young people deserve better than this. Until the system changes, until our tax dollars are used for properly educating children, then our children will remain at home.

You don’t have to like it and you damn sure don’t have to agree with it, but my kids are worth the hard work that goes into home educating them and if you can’t see that then may I suggest some glasses, oh and this Webster’s Dictionary too!

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Might as well add some music to my poor neglected blog, right? Enjoy!

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

....Sometimes you just got to get away...

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Ok while most of the US zones out on American Football, I’m going to do some homeschool blogging. *GASP* I’ve mentioned previously that we use a morning meeting board; you can read that post HERE.

I had wanted to do some updating to it and wanted to find something bigger to house it all, especially because my updates involved expanding what we use/do as well. After thinking on it for a few days I decided a tri-fold display board would be best. It can be folded and kept out of the way (saving us space) and should be able to survive our move –although if it doesn’t I can easily get my hands on another tri-fold board and spend less than 2$ so it’s cheap, which is important to a family that moves a lot and is on a budget-.

Once I figured out what I would use for the board I went about collecting the resources for our Morning Meeting Board. I reused a lot of what we already had but also, as previously mentioned, I added in a few more items.

Here is the finished product*the picture's not that great but you get the idea*:

I currently have everything stapled to the board but this isn’t very affective, it’s just all I had on hand at the time, I’ll be getting Velcro circles so we can pull things down when we need to. We have a monthly virtue we go over (using We Choose Virtue’s classroom edition-that’s the secular version-) we have them laminated so they can withstand years of use and moving. Under that is our “I’m Grateful For” list, the kids and I list two things each day that we are grateful for. After that is our word of the week along with a picture of Dr. King I figured Equality and King went hand in hand so whenever we use that word we also talk a bit about him, it was also our word of the week the last time I did this…hmm I should track my changing spurts to get the most out of them. Under that is also our artist of the month (which I desperately need to change, I finally have something I feel will be affective in our artist studies I just need to get the printouts made and added to the board).

In the center we have two “Days In School” printouts, they are a bit different from each other and I liked both of them, so we use both. Next to that is our Number Chart, I pick a number each day and Professor Chaos has to fill in the boxes (while counting out loud until he gets to the number I’ve chosen, sometimes I let General Disarray pick the number). Once Professor Chaos has counting to 100 down we will use the number chart to aid in our skip counting.

Under that we have our Days of the Week tracker from Trend© as well as our temperature tracking printout that covers indoor and outdoor temps, we have a digital thermometer that gives us a constant readout of the indoor and outdoor temperature as well as a few other fun things that we’ll use when T.B.M. are a bit older. We track temperature in Celsius since we use the metric system in our schooling, it’s what the scientific community, and most of the world, uses so that’s what I’m teaching the kids. Plus, honestly, I strongly dislike –read as hate…yes I know it’s a strong word- the US measurement system, always have. Especially, when I stepped into an advanced science class and was told I could no longer use the method I had been taught my whole life. Far easier to just start them on metric, anyways I’m rambling so back to the main topic I go!

Also on our board we have the current Season, Color of the Day, and a printable for learning time. I need to acquire a small clock to affix to the printout, for now though General Disarray has been drawing in the clock. We also have a Weather Tracker, Important Information sheet (which I will have to change up a bit since we have a local phone provider and can't just dial 911 in order to get emergency services), and rounding out the middle section, for now, is a skip counting page. I’ll also be adding a weekly shape as well to the board, but I need to get the Velcro circles first!

The last section of our meeting board features a Months of the Year song (all the way on the top), an Every Week song (which tells the number of days in a week and the actual days of the week), as well as a Days of the Week song (we found this song first and just LOVE it so it was kept on our Morning Meeting Board), and finally a Name Spelling song. I wanted to make sure Professor Chaos knew how to spell his name- he was doing pretty well but would skip a letter every now and then- so this has been a prefect addition to our morning meeting, especially when it comes to learning his middle name which is a bit long.

That pretty much sums up our new Morning Meeting Board. I store all the extras on the back inside little Ziploc baggies, that are affixed to the board using the last Velcro circles I had on hand.

For the printouts used, as well as ideas for your own morning board, check out the following sites *as always the views and opinions expressed on any blog/website linked here do not represent the views and opinions of this blog unless otherwise stated*:

Homeschool Creations

1 +1 +1=1

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Here is the list of the fun places we hit while in the US of A-finally-!

First we saw the St. Louis Arch A must if you are in the area.-

Next we enjoyed the Indianapolis Children’s Museum – A treat from my good friend Karen, we didn’t get to spend too much time there since we were on a time crunch so it’s on the list of places to go back and spend a whole day at! I highly suggest planning to be there the whole day, it’s
AMAZING!! Completely worth spending a whole day and more. -

Afterwards we arrived in NC and checked out the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, North Carolina Museum of History – Both Free! –

While in NC we also enjoyed the Children’s Museum of Wilmington, the USS North Carolina Battleship, and the Discovery Place. There is also Discovery Place KIDS which we were close to a few times but never got around to actually going – so it’s on our to-do list for when we head back to NC for another visit-.

Before departing NC we also went up to the mountains and enjoyed a rainy day of fishing at Grandfather Trout Farm – you’re guaranteed to catch something, trust me we tested this! Despite the weather- and my lack of fishing skills- we walked away with 3 very large fish, we would have stayed longer because the boys were having a blast but we were all soaked and still needed to dry off before our dinner date with some friends-.

We also wanted to enjoy Chimney Rock while we were in the mountains but the rain prevented that, so it had to go on our to-do list for the next time we are up that way.

After leaving NC we landed in Washington and having a few days to burn before our next flight we decided to rent a car and do some exploring.

We hit Northwest Trek Wildlife Park on the recommendation of my friend Melonie – it was AWESOME! I highly recommend it if you are in the area - ,afterwards we headed to Mount Rainier National Park and had tons of fun hiking around.

Once our adventuring was over and done we boarded a plane to come back home, somehow we managed to squeeze a lot into a short amount of time, but we would have still loved to do more. There is always next time and we have a rather long list of places to enjoy!

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Not my blog of course, I'm still trying to break up with FB. But my friend Karen's blog is having an awesome giveaway. Seriously, go check it out! You can find the giveaway post HERE!!

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

You poor neglected blog. So much potential. I just allow you to sit here, waiting, hoping, longing for words to fill your “Text Here” box. I know. You miss me. I miss you too. I have so much to share with you, the list of awesome places we explored while in the states, the list of awesome things I want us to do before we leave this island, my strategy for homeschooling while moving, and the various things I’ve done on the homeschooling front from changing our morning meeting board to exploring a Letter of the Day curriculum. So much to share with you. And then there is the blog giveaway series, oh sweet neglected blog giveaway series. You two can blame FB, for it is a lover that has proven hard to shake. But I will shake it, for us!

Until then though enjoy this video featuring A Perfect Circle's cover of John Lennon's Imagine:

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes

Well it’s a New Year! So of course my first post is about our 2012-2013 plans. I just love planning! I can’t help it; I’m always thinking, planning, and plotting.

Here is a rough draft of our 2012-2013 Plans:

General Disarray:
Language Arts- Harcourt Language Grade 3
Math- Saxon Math 4
Science- Science Fusion Grade 3 (have you all heard about this science curriculum for homeschoolers! I can’t wait to try it out! Finally, a secular science homeschool curriculum I can be excited about!)
History- Early Modern Times (a collection of supplies that have yet to be determined)

Professor Chaos:
Language Arts- Hooked on Phonics (starting with grade K and then moving on from there all the way up to grade 3, General Disarray got through within a year but I’m not going to make the assumption that Professor Chaos will. We will move at his pace to ensure acquisition of his reading skills).
Math- Saxon Math 1
Science- Science Fusion Grade K
History- Early Modern Times (he will be working with his brother, since we follow the classical method for history so when we get back to ancients for General Disarray it would coincide with when Professor would be starting Ancients. Allowing for one subject that flows between T.B.M., decreasing the amount of history planning I have to do, only planning for one time period at a time makes my life so much easier).

This year also marks our last full year in Japan so we are going to make the most of with plenty of field trips and festivals in the works to help round out our school year.
There will also be a continuing of things currently in the works, like our Monday activities, and possibly an increase of a few other activities.

Copyright(c)2012 Rayven Holmes