Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year

My family is not much into New Year resolutions, instead we tend to see something that needs doing and decide to do it- regardless of the date on the calendar.

However, a few years ago it occurred to me that I'm not normally brave enough to take a hard look and make goals for myself. Instead, I tend to push things aside and give myself the "I really should", or the "one of these days I'll..." speech. Obviously, that automatically means that nothing gets done. That year, I resolved to put time and energy into 2 friend relationships that were important to me. While both of those relationships ended being very toxic, I am still glad that I put my effort and care into them. I can never say that I didn't try.

So, without further ado, my goals:

1. Make my bed every day Even when I know that it will only get messed up in a few hours.

2. Make a dinner menu every month This goes such a long way in making my home run smoothly.

3. My speech I have a tendency to be critical. I'm a perfectionist, and I'm always working towards "the best". I think this frustrates my family when I don't focus on current accomplishments, but instead continuously look toward furthering "the best". At the very least, I need to learn to just keep my mouth shut

4. Accept the things I cannot change and probably more important to me personally is to let go. There are countless things that I cannot change, but I'm always trying to anyway. I'm always looking for that one crack that will make a difference. I always think that if things can be talked about, they can be worked out. To let go goes against my "never give up" personality, and will be very difficult for me. However, I've spent years of my life trying to fix and change and mend things that I have no control over. It's time to move on.

5. focus on my mind, body, and spirit In other words, the things I do have control over and that I can change.
Mind: same as #4, focus on recognizing what I cannot change and letting go
Body: Making time and effort to exercise, making time and effort to take a shower, get nicely dressed, hair and makeup. In other words, don't fall into "frumpy stay-at-home mom" looks!
Spirit:My spiritual journey is mine to invest in. My children's is mine to guide. I will invest the time and energy. Even when it is hard.

A New Year, a fresh start.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Venison is back on the menu- yummy!

With deer season ending on Jan 1st, we thought we were going to be going without this year. Since the deer had eaten our entire crop of Purple Hull Peas, we were determined to get back out what we had put in.

Today was the day. One of the biggest does to date with one shot! That's my man :)

No pictures, since I'm inside because my pregoo tummy isn't handling the dressing. I did clean out the little freezer so we can cure the meat in there, though :)

Sausage is one of the very few things that we still rely on the grocery store for, and we do eat a fair amount of it. Our goal is to master sausage this year (or at least be well on our way), so that's what we plan to do with the venison and pork that we will harvest in the spring.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to it!

Vacations, holidays, birthdays...we've had quite a bit of time off in the last 2 months. Sweet memories, good times, growing together and individually. It's time to get into the thick of things for the winter. I think we're all ready for a lot of tea sipping and fireside reading that comes with winter.

Somehow the fact that we are finishing up our Roman studies and that we will need a plan for the Middle Ages has completely escaped my pregnant brain until a couple of days ago. Looks like for the next few days I'll be putting together our Middle Ages study.

I've had a lot of struggles with history in the last years. Some parts I'm really happy with, and others I've been completely dissatisfied with. Nevertheless, we've muddled through, mostly by focusing on the parts we're dong well, and completely ignoring the parts I'm unhappy with. I wish that we had very clear goals and visions for the earlier years, but since that never happened, we got through the best we could. There's always high school, right?

For our new unit, instead of re-researching my options and spending countless hours agonizing and talking my poor husband's ear off, I skipped ahead to the decision making part, decided what my goals were, looked at what matched my goals, and bought Mystery of History Volume Two. Now all I have to do is schedule in the lit, and cross it with other sources (much of that work has been done for me by various wonderful Mamas!). I'm happy.

No other curriculum changes are planned until we need to move up again. #2 will be finishing his 8th grade math book in 2-3 months, and we'll move up to Alg from there. I will tweak the scheduling again next week hoping for maximum flow to get the most done.

Onward we go!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Science switch-up

As the mid year break approaches, one of the things that I do is re-evaluate how my goals for the year are going and if our direction is headed to where I want to end. For me, this goal and vision is one of the hardest parts of my job as a teacher. I'm not one to just pick a set of textbooks and follow that for 12 years. Learning is so much more than that! However, because that's my view and choice, I've made things harder for myself. Of course I have...I excel at choosing the hardest option!

Up until now, we've followed a fairly loosey-goosey science plan. It mostly involves lots of reading, lots of exposure, and learning to enjoy asking "why" and finding out the answer. A year and a half ago, I added in mandatory Apologia Elementary readings for the oldest two in addition to the topic that we were focusing on. I figured we were on the Apologia track, and that's where we would be headed. This year, I made a huge plan for studying physics- complete with a custom schedule of living books, spines, biographies, and a huge number of experiments. After all, this is middle school, so I wanted to ramp up quite a bit. While this went very well, and #1 and #2 were enjoying themselves and learning quite a bit, I started to question if I was on the right path. To further push me, the oldest daughter (who is very easy going, and tolerates pretty much anything) tells me that she just can't stand Apologia's "chattiness" in their texts. This is a complaint that others have made, but I honestly didn't think that it would be an issue for us.

This, of course, led to a few weeks of research figuring out my options on where I wanted to end up, and what the best way to get there is. This led to a mid-year change (something that I normally would not do at all to BJU Life Science.

We chose BJU because BJU is known for it's rigorous high school science curriculum. While we may not have future scientists, we do want to give our children every opportunity, and not give them a disadvantage by using a lighter curriculum. We chose to start now instead of waiting until high school because of the value of learning the skills needed now instead of when their workload is so much higher.

The first week was a big learning curve for all of us. The children are having to learn how to read a textbook and be able to pick out important information, how to study, how to outline, how to read a test carefully and answer the questions. I'm having to ramp up my lecturing in a subject that I haven't had to in the past, which also leads to restructuring our day. My goal is that they learn these skills needed for the rest of their science careers, not necessarily that they ace Life Science in 7th grade. They both badly failed the first test, which I thought was really good for all of us. It gave them a good wake up call that this really was going to be as tough as I said it would be.

Like many other choices that we have made in the past, I feel that choosing the harder road now will pay off in the future.