Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Ta-da List, Rather Than a To-do List

When I was a new homeschooler and very anxious to do everything 'right' (and very stressed out when I perceived that I wasn't)*, a friend suggested that I make a ta-da list whenever I felt that we weren't doing enough in an educational way. A ta-da- list is a glance back at the activities and tasks that got done over a period of time. This process has served me well over and over again. Sometimes we need to look at everything we are doing rather than what we still have to do.

*(This is not to imply that I somehow have arrived at the life of peace and faith and no longer stress myself out. I still do that. But now I recognize it as a spiritual battle and treat it as such.)

So-- here is our ta-da list for the last three months-- months in which we left out composer and artist study more often than not; neglected copywork, dictation and grammar; got behind on several readings; registered little to no exercise/P.E. activities; and completely lost the concept of nature study.

I offer the preface because I know my tendency when reading a list like this is to think, "Wow. We aren't doing what they are doing. We must be slacking." Trust me-- you are probably doing exactly what you need to be doing, even if your list is shorter, longer, or otherwise different. I am putting my list out on my blog so that I don't rehearse it in the hearing of my longsuffering friends. (Getting a blog has been a boon in terms of conversational etiquette-- now that I have a place to vent my thoughts, I am less likely to dominate conversation. For some reason, I have to *say* something in order for it to feel real to me. This is my way of thinking things through. Out loud. Without annoying people. With this blog, I can say it here, and be a more thoughtful listener in social situations. In theory, anyway, lol.)

TA-DA LIST for December/January/February

1. Outside activities (I am listing these first because it seems that extracurriculars have dominated our life the last three months):

*Preparation for and participation in the homeschool science fair, which involved research, an experimental process, analysis of data, preparation of report and visual aids, and oral presentation for each child.

*Drama Club/theater troupe participation-- the older two went to rehearsals and took part in a variety show fundraiser, and all of us took part in publicity activities and ushered at a performance. Mariel has been working on the crew of an upcoming performance of Alice in Wonderland, and Aravis is taking part as a cast member. (Aravis is also slated to begin dedicated rehearsals as Charlotte in a production of Charlotte's Web to be performed at the end of April, but this is a ta-da list, not a to-do list!)

*Orchestra for Mariel. This has been such a great experience for her.

*Piano and violin lessons for Mariel and Cornflower and voice lessons for Aravis. They are learning piano/voice at home, and go to another teacher for violin.

*Driver's Ed for Aravis. She has completed the classroom portion, and we started the behind-the-wheel portion last week.

2. Books the kids are reading or have just finished (italics indicate books the student and I are reading aloud together). Note-- in CM method, many books are read at the same time, but stretched over a period of weeks or months:


A Child's History of the World by Hillyer
Da Vinci, a Landmark History by Emily Hahn
Marco Polo by Carol Greene
This Country of Ours by Marshall
Our Island Story by Marshall

The Landing of the Pilgrims by Daugherty
The Heroes by Kingsley
Caddie Woodlawn
Children of the New Forest by Merriat
Poetry of Sara Teasdale and Hilda Conkling

American Tall Tales
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Wheel on the School
Science Lab in a Supermarket by Friedhoffer
All About Famous Inventors and Their Inventions

Boy, Have I Got Problems by Kay Arthur


Beautiful Girlhood by Hale/Andreola
Augustus Caesar's World by Foster
Story of the Greeks by Guerber
Jungle Pilot by Hitt
Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Beechick
Jack and Jill by Alcott
Age of Fable by Bulfinch
Animal Farm by Orwell
Poetry of Carl Sandburg
God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
Along Came a Dog by DeJong
The Sciences by Holder
Archimedes and the Door of Science by Bendick


A History of the American People by Johnson
Letters to His Son by Lord Chesterfield
Common Sense by Paine
The English Constitution by Bagehot
Following the Equator by Twain
Mozart by Davenport
War of the Worldviews
The God Who is There by Schaeffer

Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
Expositional Theology by Holder (articles)
How to Read a Book by Adler
Essays by Jane Haldiman Marcet
Poetry of William Cowper
Poetry of Phyllis Wheatley
History of Rasselas
History of Henry Esmond
Essays of Elia
She Stoops to Conquer (play)
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Little Nugget
The School for Scandal

Books read as a group--

Trial and Triumph (Church history) by Hannula
Marcus Brutus by Plutarch (Anne's study guide which includes North's translation)
Macbeth (with Brightest Heaven of Invention as commentary)

3. Curriculums and other stuff:

*Math textbooks. Mariel and Cornflower both drilled math facts this past term as well.

*Map workbooks. Last year, I got some workbooks at Mardel, because I just didn't see the kids catching on to the more technical aspects of mapwork. They are still working through them at a page per week.

*Cornflower is working through Geography Songs and Grammar Songs, and she and I are also doing Considering God's Creation.

*Sketch Tuesday at Harmony Art Mom's blog. (The girls completed a sketch almost every week, but I didn't always get the sketches uploaded and sent to Barb.)

*Aravis is working through a logic program at home, and is attending a Biology class and a Spanish II class away from home.

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