May 17, 2011

This N That

My posts have been few and far between as of late.  Even though we school at home, that too has a rhythm and this end of the year season has more gatherings, wrap ups, and all out scampering to get things finished that I ever see coming.  May hits me every year like a hammer.  So, here's a little recap of the things that have kepts me running rather than blogging.

We had our end of the season band and choir concert.  I haven't gotten the pictures from the photographer yet, but I did take Hannah Jane out in the yard for some official band photos!  LOL!  She just looked too darn cute to let pass without a bazillion photographs.  I'm sure the ones the mom and dad photography team will send will be way better, and when they arrive, I'll share those too, but for now, here is my flute playing doll!

End of music season meant a concert a week for 3 weeks straight, analyzing video looking for weak spots, and lugging sound equipment around town in the van, then back into the house for rehearsals, then back around town.  Fun, but certainly exhausting!

Then there was the Renaissance Festival.  We drove out a little past Ogden for the big fair last Friday.  Having been to the one in TN and OR, I was disappointed at it's size and variety, but happy with the family friendliness of it.  There was only one half dressed fairy that I could see and the was a visitor instead of an employee.   I thought the kids might be disappointed as well, but they all three said it was the most amazing day of their lives.  Odd, I thought, but okay.

Everyone's favorite thing there was the jousting.  The world champion jouster (yes, there is such a thing) was there with his group, the Knights of Mayhem and it was pretty intense!  They would hit each other with these long wooden poles and they would splinter into pieces and fly out over the spectators.  They kept stopping and checking to make sure everyone in the audience was okay before doing it again.  It was pretty spectacular.  The video doesn't do it justice, but Hunter wanted a video so I had no choice but to make one!

We had end of the school year teacher meetings with Hannah Jane's online public school to decide what she wants to take next year.  The kids all piled in the floor in a big room at the library to watch CondorMan on the wall while moms and dads ducked into a closet sized room with the teacher to discuss progress, testing results, and plans for next year.  Hannah Jane is one of those students that doesn't let any teacher off easy.  She always wants exceptions to the general rules.  That said, her teacher usually tried to get those exceptions for her. 

She finished her 2nd grade history and didn't want to stop, but wasn't generally allowed to order a new grade level within the same school year.  Knowing that, I went ahead and started teaching her the 3rd grade year of history content on my own and figured we'd just order her the 4th grade in the fall.  But her teacher is going to try and get her the exception to the rule again so that she can keep on plugging away at her favorite subject through the summer. 

She also wants to start on Latin in the fall.  Joe really wants her to take Spanish, and we bought a cheap Spanish program that they all sort of like, but she's just not into it at all.  I let her take K-12's free trail of Spanish and Latin, assuming she'd like Spanish more because it's a more updated computer based program and she already has a little Spanish under her belt, so it should feel easier to her.  But of course, she picked Latin and then obsessed for the rest of the day over how she was going to break it to dad that she preferred Latin.  Joe took it well, but told me in the next room that it's a wasted year of language since no one speaks it anymore.  She assures us that if she's just allowed to take the one year Latin course, she'll follow it with the 3 year Spanish course for sure.  We'll see how that actually plays out.  In a year, I totally see her requesting Chinese or German like she did last year.  What's that they say?  You can lead a horse to Mexico, but you can't make it speak? 

She's continuing with the public school science, but she's doing it on  top of the Berkley Biology class that she's taking online at a snail's pace.  I suspect that she's totally over the Berkley thing, but unwilling to part with the bragging rights that come with being 7 and taking the course (albeit for no credit or recognition whatsoever).

Language arts from the public school system was a bust for her.  We found this video course out of Canada that we just love that covers grammar pretty intensely.  I do have to remember to inform her of the American word for some things so that when she gets to standardized testing, she doesn't flub, but that's a small price to pay for a kid who actually enjoys grammar!  Then she writes a general 5 paragraph report on every thing she learns in history or science, and I call good enough for her writing skills.  Finally, she gets poetry from poetry club and our morning circle time, and memorization skills are provided by our Baha'i prayer box.  So I think her language arts are just fine with everything we do at home.  No public school workbooks needed. 

Hunter really wanted to do the online school thing, and I really wanted him to.  But because it's a public school, but not one in our district, his speech services would have to be provided by the same district he receives curriculum from and that would mean getting his speech therapy online.  I just can't envision that working out for him and I have been thrilled thus far with the services he receives through out local school district.  That said, he transfers to a different school in the fall and the service coordinator that I spoke to on the phone was more than a little patronizing about our choice to home school.  I get it.  I was a public school teacher myself and recall how fondly ps teachers and administrators feel about homeschoolers.  But his current teacher has been great about it and I'm hoping his new one understands our choice more that the man on the phone.  He was so upsetting that I hung up the phone and took a personal moments to pace and rant in my head before going back in the house with the kids.  I suppose if his new teacher is like her supervisor, we can still enroll Hunter in the online school and pay for speech services from the university.  So Hunter's future is still a little up in the air.

Finally, we've had soccer out the wazoo!  4 sometimes 5 days a week of soccer games and/or practices.  It's been crazy!  Hunter and Hannah Jane both started out a little less than interested in the actual game and more interested in the dandelions and friends.  But they've both come so far!  Hannah Jane actually scored a goal last weekend and Hunter played harder than I've ever seen, even getting injured, but still running down the field to chase the ball while tears pored out of his eyes!

Haven takes his role of snack manager and lead cheer leader very seriously.  For hours after the games he'll still be saying, "Great job today, Hunter!  Hannah, you really kicked that ball hard!"  He's so super cute!  It stinks that he's just not old enough to play yet.  But he'll be ready when the day arrives!

I think that about covers the last week of our lives.  Busy, busy, busy!  Saturday soccer season ends and Sunday we head to Moab and Mesa Verde to see the arches and the Anasazi ruins.  Our house sitter is coming today for a little refresher course on how to take care of our bazillion animals (this time including a pregnant cat) and the garden.  We're about to head out and clean out the van so that perhaps my mother in law who will be traveling with us doesn't think we're the complete slobs that out vehicles indicate. 

If we survive the next week and a half, we'll be able to settle in to a nice mellow summer schedule of volunteering at the Heritage Center, giving private flute lessons, working on summer teaching campaigns, starting a Ruhi book 1, and continuing to plug away at all of our fun school work. that I look at it, summer may not be so mellow.  But I'm ready for it!

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