Friday, March 5, 2010

Homeschool Hurdles

I have been having trouble staying on target with school lately because I am so tired.   In the meantime, I gave the children their assessments for the homeschool program we will be using next year (St. Thomas Aquinas Academy). With Honey being gone last year, Elizabeth having a big learning disability, Rolo starting school "officially"next year and a new baby on the way, I knew I needed a little bit of help planning for next year.  I am a little behind in some subjects and have been desperately trying to catch up.  In my defense, most of the backup comes from Elizabeth from where her public school failed her.  And yes that is as nice as I can be.  She was over 2 years behind in handwriting, spelling, grammar,  and math, when we withdrew her from the public school.  I hate to think of what might have happened, if Honey and I had never intervened. It has been very difficult to play catch-up when I don't know where all the holes in her knowledge are located.  I am hopeful that St. Thomas Aquinas Academy can help me position Elizabeth with better resources to fit her specific needs.  Since I had to test the children individually over several days; we needed a "light" school project to fill in the week, in order to not loose all that learning time.  I happened to see an ad for the Planet Earth* documentary series on Animal Planet.  That seemed perfect, and thanks to TIVO-the best $5/month I ever spend on TV- we have been able to watch all 11 shows over the course of the last 3 weeks.  We watch a 1 hour episode, then write about and discuss the show.  It is nice to have one item that can cover science, geography, handwriting, writing, spelling and grammar all in one shebang!  I know that all the year can not be made up of movies, but it certainly has helped me get over this bump without leaving the kids behind.   I am even noticing a big advancement in Christopher's writing.  He is starting to understand how to pull related information together to form one thought.  Getting him to focus just a little bit is a big achievement.  He is so much like his mama; rush ahead, learn the hard way, retreat, retry.  It is hard to teach him a little bit of focus, when I lack that skill myself!

* Personally I think the series, "Earth, the Biography" is better narrated and more interesting.  Planet Earth is still worth seeing, but should really be titled "Earth Animals" or "Planet Earth-Animals".  It is more devoted to animals and the environments in which they live, than to the earth itself.  Also, there were many times when a map would have been a very useful addition.

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