Friday, September 5, 2014

I think this is the first year we'll be adhering to a 'regular' school schedule. I suppose there was the year that The Boy was at Montessori and The Girl was officially a first grade Homeschooler. Dropping and fetching one child does make the family toe a certain line. 

Schoolwork this semester will include live, online lectures, regularly scheduled across the week for 9am. The work area for the kids has been tweaked so a second computer is available. They used the iPad over the summer when their classes ran concurrently. It worked out, but a full size monitor, keyboard and mouse is the more desirable setup. 

To answer Miranda's comment of earlier this week, the kids are enrolled in an Ontario virtual school called Virtual Learning Centre. It's run through the Lyndsay area school board and offers homeschoolers who are not attending a bricks and mortal school the chance to earn high school credits toward their Ontario Secondary School diploma. It's the more desirable alternative to the province's correspondence learning setup, in my opinion. It's also free - as compared to the other online high school options I've found which charge around $400 per credit/course. 

The Girl has signed up for Biology 11, Computers And Information Systems 11 and English 11. Each class requires 2.5-3hrs per week of class time with a teacher. Then there are the assignments and course content to work on. At home, with materials most homeschoolers might recognize, she's doing math and a college first-year (so senior high school?) Anatomy & Physiology. 

We've been sure to add work time for each course to her weekly schedule. She's pretty much booked 9am to 3pm or 4 pm every week day. 

I'll have to talk about the registration process and the user interface another day. 

Today is up and running. The kids are logged in and waiting for their lectures to begin. It's English for The Girl and Science for The Boy this morning. The Boy is trying to organize his life and assignments as he's leaving on Monday for a week to visit family. After this morning's work, we're off to put an appearance in at the annual homeschoolers picnic. I've got treats ready and it's supposed to be the hottest day of the summer. 

Treats are pound cake and strawberry freezer jam and lemon balm and honey jelly. I'm sure I'll also have to take a full compliment of drinks and snacks and bags of outdoor accoutrements so as to look the part of a good homeschooling mother. 

Mrs. A



Thursday, September 4, 2014

September landed yesterday. 

The kids' course assignments came through, the deadlines for extracurriculars have hit, calendar is full and the daily schedule is mostly set, whether we like it or not. We have small 'moments' about the workload not being as expected, the schedule being different than discussed, the free time and screens being curtailed. I call it September Stress. 

If I recall correctly, it only lasts a couple of days. 

Things I'd like to tell you about but don't have time this morning. Hopefully, I'll get around to it in the near future...
     - I made a gravel driveway. I have obtained the tools required to keep it a gravel driveway and not a wildflower field that we park in. 
     - The registeration process for high school classes at the provincial virtual school. Not a lot of anecdotal info out there. I'll use a bunch of key words so as to hopefully pop up as an option to read when people are searching. 

That's all for this morning as I am herding teenagers to the school table so we can get oriented with the weekly class schedule and I am determined to tackle plans for lunch so it's not the usual gong show where I make 3 different lunches and cobble together something for myself from the leftovers. 

Mrs. A


On The Needles

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

After a very long time, I've finally finished knitting a mitten. Sort of. And just one so far. 

Denim blue and white, I think it's sport weight. I started it last winter while watching The Girl at her sporting events. The pattern is called Winter Wonder Mittens. It's free on Ravelry. 

This is a foray into learning to do stranded colourwork. I'm making myself learn two handed as people tell me that, eventually, it will get faster/easier. With the 5 needles and the two yarns and worrying about getting the flat parts to lie flat, it's mostly been an exercise in frustration and hope. 

But I like the finished mitten! Even though it's going to be too big for my hands, methinks. 

It has a picot edge to the cuff that I still have to sew down. And a thumb, of course, to be knit on. If the body of the mitten was fiddely with all the needles, I'm dreading having to knit the thumb.

I keep reading through the pattern to see where the sort is that says to full or felt the mittens when you're done. Because this is a big mitten. But it is what it is. I will finish both mittens because I like how fast the rows go once you get going and I like the pattern a lot. I may just have to find someone with much bigger hands than mine. 

I'm sure after all the finished bits are on and done and they've had a good bath and I've tidied up a blobby stitch or two, I'll be very happy with these. 

Mrs. A


A 'Monday' Morning If There Ever Was One.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Coffee on the deck this morning. It's damp and gloomy. Warm, though.

My tomatoes and hot peppers are tying to grow, but with the cool temperatures lately, it's slow going. 

Today is 'Back To School' for most of Canada. In my mind, it's the Monday morning to beat them all. It's like everyone is to returning to the way they think life should be. It's like the whole summer was ramping up and waiting for this morning. I hate it. The little boys across the street are on week #2 of school. The French board always goes back a week early. The bigger girls across the corner from us have been out on their deck since I came out with the dogs at 6:50, waiting for their bus. It's 7:40 now and they're still waiting. My teenagers are still sleeping. I'll go annoy them awake at 8. 

Back to school for us is looking great - for the last 24 hours. Before that, I was getting increasingly stressed and annoyed. 

On one front was the virtual school that was on holidays (well deserved and traditional, I'm sure). No fall classes confirmed, no communication, not a lot of information on their website. 

The other front was the absolute inability to sit uninterrupted for more than 10 minutes before being needed for something. Normally this wouldn't bother me as I would use September to plan and prepare our schoolwork. This year, not being able to sit and plan was A Problem as both kids have chosen to be Scheduled and Schoolish. 

All was resolved in one website update. The virtual school posted one of those messages that makes neurotic homeschooling moms settle down. Don't contact us, we'll contact you. We're rolling out classes as we can; grades 9 and 10 first, 11 and 12 following. Watch your email for updates. 

So I'm quite pleased to be able to be so Scheduled and Schoolish, yet to have this gentle start to the school year. We'll take in the local Not Going Back To School Picnic and that's about it for today. It's the way I prefer to do it. As the fall weather gets cooler, we find ourselves indoors more, ready for some bookwork and reading and diving into interesting stuff. Taking the time to renew our journaling habit, thinking about personal goals and looking forward to the kids' sports and extra curricular activities. A couple of weeks for getting books and paperwork in order, making lists and still being able to drop everything for a nice day. 

The Girl Child has planned 5 courses for first semester (Sept.-Jan.). Algebra 2, Biology, English, a computers/programming course and Ananomy & Physiology. She'll be fencing at the university and working as a library page. There is also a boyfriend and plans for an additional job and volunteering. We're calling this year Grade 11 1/2. By age, it's her Grade 12 year. She could be graduating and heading off to university this time next year. But we decided to have the extra year of high school. Plans are to do a co-op placement for second semester.

The Boy Child has planned English, Algebra and Science for first semester. Science will be at the virtual school, math is a homeschool course and English will be cobbled together as usual. He will keep up his music - focussing more on piano than the guitar, but hoping to add in a new guitar teacher and do some performance. Once the planned work is under away, we'll see about adding in something else more interest based (astronomy or physics probably) and maybe a new part time job. Hockey and volunteering on the ice with the young hockey players is planned. It's his Grade 10 year and the plan is to attend the high school for second semester. 

That's the plan so far. It's interesting I to write it out and see it look so prepared. I wonder how it will all play out. 

Mrs. A


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