Saturday, September 01, 2012

To Begin is Half the Work

Tuesday we will begin the new school year, I hope.  One or another of us has been sick with a virus almost the entire month of August. Two of the girls have horrid coughs, and the Warrior Poet is still suffering some effects of the virus.  It is currently my turn to deal with fever.  I usually recover more quickly than anyone else in the family.  I think we may actually begin school on Tuesday.

The fever that comes with this virus tends to disappear and then return.  I am using a fever-free moment to update the blog.

The quote in the title is from some Roman person.  Different websites attribute it to different authors.  I think Mary Poppins said something similar:  "Well begun is half done."  I have researched and planned and thought and prayed, and being that we're down with this virus, I have had much time for reflection.

Bible:  Last year we got bogged down in commentaries.  A kind preacher disrupted our descent into commentaries about halfway through the year.  This year I hope we will continue to do more Bible reading and less commentary reading.  Commentaries can be helpful, but one must be careful.

English:  I'm sort of dreading language arts this year.  The three girls are doing three completely different things and I know that will be hard on me.  Also, I can't shake the notion that Cornflower needs more of a challenge in this area.  I went through the same angst when Aravis was her age.  Aravis has started a rhetoric and critical thinking class at the college.  It looks like it will be good for her.  I am excited to get back into Lost Tools of Writing with Mariel by herself and see what happens.

Geography: I'm feeling ambivalent about geography.  We are going to use the Sheppard website for mapwork, which looks good, but I wonder if it will be too little, too late.  How much do my kids know about maps already?  Living geography is easy for me, and I can point to a spot on the map when we are reading. We have two big ones-- United States and World-- on our walls.  But beyond that, I feel a lack.  I'm not sure the Sheppard website will help with it.  I'm not sure what we are lacking, actually.

History:  The kids are each reading their own thread of history, which means I keep up with three time periods.  I love this.  I get excited making connections from different eras.  Aravis is studying Ancients this year, which I think will stretch my thinking, too.

Civics:  Again, I'm not sure how much they know and where they lack knowledge in terms of government and economics.  We follow the AO/HEO suggestions and have read through the Constitution.  Mariel will read through it again this year, and we are all taking the Hillsdale Constitution 101 course during our group time.  I feel like they need more, though.  Texas government, of course, but also knowledge of the political process, such a strange animal to me.  Four years ago we studied the political process, but I'm not sure how much they retained.  It's another election year, but I haven't geared up for it.  I need to think more about election year lessons or at least make watching the process a requirement.  Aravis signed up to help register voters in our area.  That will be a good experience for her.

Science:  One word.  Biology.  It will be our life this year.  (Get it?  Life/biology.  Ha.)  Aravis and Mariel are both studying different levels of biology.  Cornflower is reading natural science and learning the laws of physics.  We'll get through this just fine, I think.  I'm thankful none of our science this year contains math.

Life Skills:  I always feel lacking in this area.  Life skills can't usually be taught as step-by-step lessons.  They have to be experienced.  The girls do their own laundry and can clean the house and make a meal.  That's good.  This year, Mariel is making dinner two nights per week with Cornflower as her assistant.  Aravis just reminded me to drink lots of water, so she knows how to prod sick people.  Almost every situation has the potential for teaching life skills.  We did sign up for cotillion so the kids could learn etiquette and social dancing.  The older two girls have leadership roles in drama club this year.  Mariel is taking driver's ed at the end of the school year, and Aravis is studying personal finance.  If they don't grow in life skills, it won't be for lack of opportunity.

P.E.:  Oh dear.  P.E. is the red-headed stepchild of our homeschool.  I don't know how often we will make it to the Y this year, but it is something they need on their transcripts.  That's as far as I have gotten in the P.E. area.

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it...
 That is from Goethe.  We will, we will, if we can rid ourselves of this virus by Tuesday.

UPDATE:  I just realized I completely skipped math.  Oh well.  I think I need a nap.  I'll think about math later.


Aravis said...

Math: Nothing necessary for Aravis, because she has happily clep'd out of her last math until college proper. :)

Laurke Denise said...

Hey - I don't see a way to subscribe to the blog - am I missing something?

Katie said...

There isn't a way unless you become a follower using your Blogger account. :( I'm sorry about this. I know it's a problem and I've tried to solve it, but haven't so far. I'm not very tech-savvy.