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serendipitous journey

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About serendipitous journey

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee
  • Birthday 10/13/1972

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    Northern California

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  • Location
    Northern California
  • Interests
    neuroscience; cooking; ethics
  • Occupation
    wife! mama! citizen!

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  1. Looks good to me! I find it helpful to use outside schedules/self-scheduling materials with my one who is more challenging ... along those lines, one change you might make is to plan on a certain amount of work each day and not the time-per-day. Time-per-day seems to work well with fairly self-motivated children or ones who are in the groove, but for my challenging child it just causes dallying and malaise. He does much better with daily assignments. If I think I may have assigned too much then I let him know that if he is clearly working hard and it takes him beyond a certain amount of time he can take a break (or stop for the day -- depends on the situation). Planning amount of work per day can take some refining, so I start out with reasonable guesses and only plan a day or a week, then tweak each day until I'm able to come up with a reliable schedule. Or use self-scheduled materials (as in, 1 or 2 lessons of a grammar book or a day's chunk of Singapore/MEP or whatever). ETA: in our house, the key to not-clashing has been an "us versus them" mentality: he & I are in it together against the program's work 😉
  2. What a day! got the boys out (with younger DS supplied with anti-inflammatories) and A Good Time Was Had but bad train delays coming home meant that at 9:15 we were still finishing our dinners. Tomorrow I'll check in with folks (read y'all's posts above) and, Lord willing, everyone here will: bathe!!! get some exercise; do some math/Latin/piano theory; sleep tons.
  3. Younger DS woke up with serious fever today, so we are grounded! He is not too unwell, thank goodness, so it is mostly a matter of rest and recovery. This week: finish drafting summer & next year's school plans. Try to get on a couple of outings, Lord willing and children cooperating. Exercise. Make sure that our lives are aligned with our values -- that seems vague, but I want to be sure that the little decisions I'm making line up with the larger picture. I'd also like to get some little gifts out to people who've invited us over for dinner, and ideally bake a batch of cookies for a teenager we know who is in the middle of high-stakes testing.
  4. Amp, I have been thinking about your question RE how one motivates oneself to put forth the effort. I have to say -- first off -- that I don't think everybody "ought to" teach Latin. I think it is a wonderful gift to give your child and has extraordinary intrinsic value; I also realize that not everyone can do everything, and there is much of value we don't do because we don't have the time, we don't have the resources, or we simply prioritize other things. Some of what I do & how I school relates to the mundane reality of where we live (quasi-rural), the fact that DH's mother lives in an apartment under the same roof as us, whether or not we have a good church community, the fact that I am not fluent in any language other than English, and so on. Some thoughts: First: When I am wanting motivation, I often google "value of classical languages" or something like that. I myself don't relate to a lot of what Circe says about these things (though they are a good place to start) and I find Susan Wise Bauer's emphasis on the SAT/vocabulary-boosting value of Latin to be off-target (there are much more efficient ways to reach these goals). I do like to re-read this article from the Guardian on "The Tragedy of Classical Languages Being for the Privileged Few." Second: The more I educate my own children and the more I see of other modes of education, the more convinced I am of the value of a classical/great-books/liberal arts education, rounded out with generous dollops of whatever enriches a particular child's life and rooted in the parent's value system. In the American/European tradition, knowing Latin really pays off as you read the great books: so many of the authors knew Latin and one feels included in -- sort of swept up in -- this enormous human endeavor that is the great books tradition (and lots of old-fashioned British children's books make references to studying Latin in school, which is fun). Upper-level Latin will teach a good amount of Roman culture, which helps one really relate to persons distant in time and space and better understand what the great books. Plus, knowing some Latin helps you read all the little Latin bits that authors don't bother translating. 😉 Third: There are academic benefits. Especially if you move beyond GSWL, Latin really does (I believe) help train the child to work diligently and pay careful attention to complex language. When people hear that the child is studying Latin they are often impressed, which I think is a nice little boost for the child. And for a variety of reasons, Latin is associated with more-elite education and it can be nice to have on the transcript -- not a good reason in and of itself to tackle years of Latin, but a nice thing to cheer one up on the days that studying Latin seems utterly useless. Much encouragement to you!
  5. Hello, all! Today is: just keep swimmin'; prep for the week ahead. We have three social moments this weekend, which is a LOT for us and especially the boys, but which are important 'cause we are only here for a short time and want to show up for the kind folks hosting DH. Well, two are important for that and we suspect that the third is b/c the host wants to network & lay the ground to move to where DH works, but it is somebody DH has known casually for a while so perhaps it is just general neighborliness. Yesterday I sketched out younger DS' general academic program for summer + next year. Today I'd like to do the same for elder DS. Elder DS's tummy is jittering betterwards, hallelujah. Also today, or maybe tomorrow, draft out our next week. We hope to do a lunchtime bus tour, visit two sites outside the city and finish off with a performance of "Henry V" one week from this Sunday. So I'd like to fit a reading of Henry V in this week, too. Hugs to everybody. 🙂 Critterfixer, so glad that the CT scan showed nothing in the chest & non-massive lymph node enlargement; also wishing that you didn't have to deal with this at all and hoping that things improve over these six months. MrsR & HSL: it is good to be following along with y'all. I relate so well to crises derailing things & to feeling very "done" with school! Hope the weekend goes nicely for everyone. ETA: Thursday elder DS had his last online Latin class of the year. His final exam is due Monday. I am so so glad we have this benchmark, and that we hung in with Latin despite a very rough start to the school year.
  6. MrsRobinson: hurrah on picking back up with school! happysmileylady: glad it is only poison ivy on your little one, but sorry she has the rash. And I relate so well to the longing for stay-home, spend-nothing days. We have a busier social calendar this month than I'd expected -- we're traveling for DH's work and kind people are asking to get together with us -- so I planned yesterday (Mon) and today to be fairly mellow. Hallelujah for that, b/c DS's tummy has been acting up a bit and grounding us in the AM. For today: general school, continue to troubleshoot AoPS with elder child, try to get some art going. Get out to the park, e-mail the folks who do the volunteer work to manage the park & ask if there are some garden/park chores we can do during our stay, couple of other e-mails. Also see if what can be managed to meet some goals I have for our trip: a Shakespeare play, a bus tour, and one or two other things. And make dinner earlier, so that older DS has a chance to let his dinner settle and make room for ice cream/gelato for dessert. His BMI plummeted b/c of his tummy troubles and in addition to keeping him nourished, we're trying to get as many calories as possible into him. His little brother is so big -- tall for his age, solidly built -- and my older one is so little and elfin and slim now. I'm grateful that we know of other families who have had similar challenges so at least I've given thought to how I want to approach it.
  7. Critterfixer, glad you didn't burn yourself; hope dinner didn't burn either; I wish your day had been more delightful. Everyone here plumb forgot Mother's Day until DH's mother reminded him about it 😉 . She still feels loved, thank goodness: she lives just upstairs of us & we're traveling so I don't think she was too surprised we dropped the ball; usually I'm in charge of all things Mother's Day. Elder DS's tummy is acting up this morning so we're grounded and I want a day to just enjoy and recover from business, which doesn't really include digestive issues that trap people in the bathroom. Nonetheless: his situation is gradually improving; all is well generally; and we'll aim to be productive and restorative. Today's agenda includes hitting our scholastic bases, maybe trying some new maths, catching up on our Bible stories. Also making dinner, scanning & submitting Latin homework for elder DS, ideally getting some exercise and reading something to stretch my brain.
  8. Well, here are thoughts. Ignore with impunity! and maybe something will resonate. If you are doing GSWL, don't wait until next year, start Monday. It just doesn't take that much time and what you need is to DO LATIN. Monday, first thing in your school, go over the first lesson with the child. Just knock it out of the way. Feel free to offer a treat. A cookie, bit of chocolate, stay up 10" later, get 5-10" more of electronic fun, a dollar a day toward something the child wants, whatever. The purpose of the treat is to get just a bit of emotional-buy in. In my house, when one child earns a "bribe/treat" the other one gets small benefit which really helps them encourage each other: consider distributing the booty somehow, if fits your situation. Treat yourself. Have a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa, a chocolate, do something you like on your own electronics for a bit, spend a few minutes reading something fun, get outside to putter for a bit in the middle of the school day, take a short walk. Get some nice bubble bath/bath salts if you like. Don't wait until you are already going, start being nice to yourself right away for this project. Every time you finish a lesson, celebrate: take a moment to just feel good about what you are doing. Thank your child for doing the work with you, no matter how sulky he was: find something honest to thank the child for, show that you appreciate him helping you meet this educational goal, and end on a positive note. ("We got through it! Go take a five minute break!" works for me, even on the worst days.) Then, Tuesday do the second lesson. Here is a general, no-frills GSWL daily plan that will lead to mastery: 1. Orally review older vocabulary. Eventually you'll have a ton and may wish to manage it differently, but for quite a while you can just flip through the book and drill on the definitions at the top of the lessons. We do Latin to English first, then English to Latin: Ask the child to translate "nauta" (from the first lesson) into English "sailor", then English "sailor" into Latin. If he forgets one, just have him say the definition 5 or so times in a row: "Nauta, sailor; nauta, sailor; nauta, sailor; nauta, sailor; nauta, sailor." You can easily tick each one off on a finger. 2. Read the new lesson together, or have the child read it to you. 3. Do any translations, Latin to English. 4. Then, I think you should have the child do the translations from English back to the Latin. As you get further in, you may want to do the first day from the Latin and the second day from the English. 5. If the child has struggled, then just make your next day's work doing those same exercises. Repeat until he's doing pretty well. 6. When life truly prevents you from getting to Latin for a few days (which will almost certainly happen before you finish the book), then pick up by re-doing the last lesson. If the child struggles, figure out how far back you need to go and pick up from there. I really, really suggest beginning right away if this has been so hard to do. Also, and even if you don't start it right now, do it through the summer. Even if it is the only school you do. Maybe don't call it "school" call it "culture" or something. Reward/treat the child with summery stuff, favorite foods, whatever. You don't have to get the child's co-operation to treat him: I often announce to the boys an option of treat/bribes, and let them know they have to do the work anyhow and so they might as well get something nice out of it. Hope something is useful 🙂 and: good luck! Above all: be kind to yourself.
  9. MrsRobinson, a hug and a hope for some peaceful or joyful space in your day. Today we did a museum visit, with Various Adventures which we came through gracefully, so hurrah! It is nearly time for me to make dinner here, and we haven't done any school; it is not totally necessary but I have a short list of stuff I really want to make sure we finish this year, and the boys enjoy their free time more when they have some structured school. The goal for school: SoTW reading/oral questions and All About Spelling for everybody; math all around; Anki and a bit of Latin. We'll see. 😉 Then dinner, clean up, catch up with DH, figure out the weekend. Ideally get some exercise. PS: how it actually went: in the event, it seemed more important to me to do something less head-heavy and more topical than my original plan, so we went to a nearby park & I read Andrews Matthews' great little retelling of Shakespeare's "Henry V" and the boys narrated. There is some chance that we'll be able to see the full play done by a very energetic & talented cast, so I'm trying to get the storyline in the boys' heads. All I'll ask from them for the rest of the day is Anki.
  10. Today: hang out in the AM a bit for the fellow who is supposed to come look at our broken doorknobs (one is in chronic danger of trapping DS younger in his room; we keep a spare pair of his undies 'round the doorjamb to ensure it doesn't close); go in to the center of town & see DH give a talk; try to hit the British Museum on the way back. I also want to keep up with our SoTW reading plan and ideally troubleshoot some artist/composer study plans -- that could merge nicely with the museum, but no guarantees. Happy Thursday to all 🙂
  11. happysmileylady, hug! I am so glad you got it out, and sorry that your dentist didn't. Good grief, that is no fun: I hope your healing goes well from here on out. Critterfixer, hoping for the best spin on the test results. The best-laid plans do often face-plant on Actual Life. Sometimes it is having a plan that gets me through (even if we end up so far off it that we leave Plan B far behind and end up on Plan Triple-Z), sometimes it is having a sense of my priorities that does it, and sometimes it just trucking along and trying to leave space to detect what the priorities are. Unfortunately I've never found a sure-fire way to figure out WHICH of these strategies will be best ... (do you like the Hitchhiker's Guide series? I think there's some quote about Trillian having learned that there are occasions when forget your glasses and you really ought to go back and get them, and occasions when you really ought to just leave them behind and keep going, but not knowing how to tell which is which) We made it to London, which is just a very Good Thing. DH's work is covering room & airfare, which is why we can do it, and we are getting a grip on dealing with some constraining digestive issues that older DS has so that we can get out and about and do stuff. Today was a sort of mellow recovery day, with some school & an outing to a cafe and a bookstore. I want to use our time here to rest & restore the family and get a grip on my school goals for the year, and refine my approach heading into next year.
  12. I'm so glad you relate! My experience echoes yours. Solid retention requires more-focused study/drill, and retention is often not the best goal. I don't fret about "retaining" the Shakespeare or great books we read together, for example, because I am wanting to build reading skills and a sort of mental patina. Right now I'm trying to pull out the things I really want retained and throw them into our Anki review. ETA #1: fwiw, the retention was abysmal and that caused me to re-orient. As in, the child couldn't recall the general thread of the chapter previously read. Zero, zilch, nada on the recall. ETA #2: Farrar, you reminded me of this quote from Rene Daumal's "Mount Analogue", with retention being a bit like seeing: “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”
  13. Good Tuesday morning 🙂 We are off this afternoon, so: packing & staying civilized and sane are the order of the day. If we leave the house not-a-mess, that's a big bonus. Thanks to you guys I actually got the garden chores done yesterday!
  14. Hugs while you hang in there! 4 and counting, then ... 🙂
  15. This would be easy, even without SoTW. If you want more structure you can use the SoTW activity guide (for, say, Early Modern or Modern) and just use the schedules there for encyclopedia readings + supplementary readings (in other words, skipping SoTW itself). I like having the guides around to help plan library requests (though this requires either a good local library or a good inter-library loan system) and I like having readings scheduled for me for when it all hits the fan. Another option would be an American History year using the Joy Hakim History of US books. There is a year-long schedule from Sonlight/Bookshark, and Build Your Library schedules them over two years.
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