Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Just Ridin' the Wave

Well, what a week. As I sit right now I can't even put two thoughts together about what we actually accomplished. We took Monday off for Labor Day, and were gone the whole weekend, so I hit the floor Tuesday morning seriously behind. I didn't have things organized, the house didn't get it's weekend cleaning, and I had (still have) suitcases sitting in the mudroom needing to be unpacked.

After determining last week that Apologia Biology was not going to work for Dawson, it was difficult to accept that Teaching Textbooks is probably not going to be the math curriculum for him, either. Last week he got stuck on simple one-step algabraic equations. By the end of this week he still didn't have it. He was frustrated and I was frustrated.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was defeated and wiped out. By Thursday I was feeling mentally worse. Dawson and Kyndal left at around noon to go with their dad on their annual trip. I was weary and I know Dawson was, too. I hadn't slept good all week, spending a lot of time worrying. This teaching a high school student is stressful stuff. And Apologia and Teaching Textbooks are used by everybody! I was so looking forward to him being able to use those two programs to work independently in science and math. And it's just not going to work that way.

Then this morning I realized some things:
  • I have taken complete control of Dawson's schooling away from God. I've been trying to do it my own way (or better yet, everybody else's way) and am surprised that it's not working. 
  • I have forgotten that Dawson naturally learns in ways that are not the "norm", which is a big reason why I took him out of public school anyway.
  • We are on a journey to excellence, not a journey to perfection, not a journey to straight A's, not a journey to honor student status, but a journey to his excellence!
  • I know what works and I just need to stick with it.
Soooooo, we are heading back to Life of Fred for math. Last year we switched to it when Dawson was struggling with Pre-Algebra concepts while using Saxon (yet another typical textbook). He instantly took to Life of Fred and breezed through three volumes last year. His only complaint with it was that he didn't think there were enough practice problems. But with LOF Beginning Algebra, there is a Home Companion that has extra problem sets. And besides, who says you have to do 25 of the same type of problem when you have the concept down by doing 5 or 10 of them? Maybe last year he just learned it really well and knew it, which confused him because he has always struggled with math? I'm willing to take our chances with fewer problems with LOF, if he is able to learn the concepts in a way that is fitting to him. And I'll add more problems from Teaching Textbooks if he really wants more. (Besides, I just paid $200 for it, so I might as well use it.)

I feel like we have been riding this wave of homeschool trends and self criticism and doubt for far too long, and I am exhausted from it.

We'll make the changes and move on. I'm ordering my new materials today.

With all that being said, and I know it was a lot, I will just leave you with our art project of the week. We studied Katsushika Hokusai and his painting "The Great Wave". He was an apprentice in a printing shop and used wood blocks and ink to make impressions on paper.

We attemped a similar project by making wave carvings into polystyrene. Being in my funk, I didn't read the instructions carefully, and we should have used one color of blue paint and used a sponge to apply it. I still think they turned out cool. And it was the technique we were more after anyway.






This week we did have a very successful week with the other basics, though, particularly grammar, reading, history, and writing. Brynne studied the state of Minnesota (which will be showcased in our Study America Saturday post tomorrow), and did some great Living Math (to be posted about on Monday). We decided not to try to cram in science this week, so will skip our U.S. States study next week and focus on science instead.

I am ever hopeful that things will be running more smoothly by the end of next week. In the meantime, check out other wrap-ups with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

8 comments:

  1. Good for you Nicole! Go with your gut and remember you know your son best. I look forward to hearing about his progress.

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  2. How wonderful, Nicole! I know it's probably not been wonderful, but you recognized early that something wasn't working and set out to change it without worry about cost and trends. It can be a very hard thing to do! Dawson will benefit so much from this!

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  3. I certainly have had weeks like this before. I know it is hard, but once you find your place again, it will all level out. :)

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  4. Katsushika Hokusai is one of my favorite artists...I LOVE the art Brynne created!!

    I hate it when I think a book or curriculum is going to be great and it ends up not being for us!

    Good luck!

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  5. I so enjoy your blog! You tell it like it is. We all have had weeks like this! I'm sure the changes you are making will be of help for Dawson and you you'll get your groove back : )

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  6. I love the art projects. (Apologia and Saxon never worked for us either.)
    Janet
    http://homeschoolblogger.com/wdworkman/

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  7. I love the wave pictures!

    Nicole, in your last few posts you seemed very frustrated (I have definitely been there on a few occasions!, so I'm delighted on your behalf to read one that seems more optimistic. Here's hoping it smooths out for you and you start to enjoy yourself again!

    I really enjoy your blog and I appreciate your honesty when you post. It's great to see the bad weeks as well as the good.

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  8. Thank you for keeping it real. Why do all of us compare and have to try the curriculum "everyone else" is using?? I am so proud of you for ditching what didn't work and not trying to force your child to fit someone else's mold!

    I love the art, too! :-)

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We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!