I had every intention of being better at this consistent blogging stuff.
And then summer came and it hit like a ton of bricks and I once again succumbed to that phenomenon that hits towards the end of June when we hit the height of baseball season. You know...that overwhelming feeling that I'm treading water just fast enough to keep from drowning.
I know it sounds like a very dismal prospect, but I have to clarify that when I'm in the midst of it, I'm actually loving it. It's not until I've had a week of no baseball and I begin to process the previous 6-8 weeks that it hits me, that "Wow, this is what those weeks were like. And I made it through them once again."
Now I'm sitting on the shore and I get to breathe and relax and essentially turn off my brain for a while. I don't have to run anyone anywhere if I don't want to; I can park myself in front of the TV/computer and binge-watch whatever is the latest obsession (it's Poldark, in case you're wondering); I can plop down in my favorite cozy chair and lose myself in the other-world of a good book.
What I'm Reading
If you're connected to me on GoodReads, you'll see that I've spent a good deal of time reading. Part of beauty of travel baseball is that although you're at the whim of the baseball schedule, you tend to have a decent amount of "down time" and not nearly the number of distractions of home (you know, like housework, LOL). Here's a list of the books I've gone through this summer (note: there are some affiliate links following):
- Uncle Tom's Cabin
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of the Island
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
- Sophie's World (I finally finished it!!!)
- Holy Warrior: A Novel of Robin Hood
- Fingal's Quest
- The Summer of the Danes (a Brother Cadfael mystery)
- Fahrenheit 451
- The Falcons of Montabard
I am also currently reading the following:
I like to have a few books going at once, since I never know what kind of mood I'm going to be in. And if you're a keen observer, you'll see that about half of the books on these lists are related to the medieval period in history. Which leads me to my next thought...
Planning for the new school year
So I've taken some time to just chill, but that's not to say I haven't been thinking. Baseball season officially finished last weekend for us as a family and I gave myself several days of no-thinking before I turned my mind to planning for the new school year.
Actually, there are several things I need to wrap up from the previous school year before I can move forward for real. One major thing is getting the kids' assessments done. I think we will be using Ohio Homeschool Assessments again this year. We did assessments through Becky a few years ago and it was a really positive experience--a learning experience for me as a homeschool mom. If you're in need of an assessor, click on over an give Becky a try. She gives great, thorough feedback!
I've also really been considering stepping up our game a little bit here. I really would like us all to dive into studying Medieval History and since I have the pertinent guides from RC History, it would be a shame for them to just sit on the shelf. I have been making some changes, since I can never, ever seem to use a curriculum as it's written: I've switched out some books (I prefer to use secular texts for the core readings) and have looked up some fun/interesting videos and movies to watch.
I've even started working on a Medieval/Renaissance music history plan to go with the history units. I hope to publish these amendments and lists before we start back to school.
Science is another topic I've been thinking about a lot recently. I'm torn between using a textbook approach for Biology with supplementary work from Biology Corner, and a more "living books" approach as suggested here and here. I had come up with a multi-level life science unit for K-8 several years ago, so I might tinker with that and include some high school stuff so we're all on the same page. What I'd really like is a relaxed, meaningful (mindful?) approach that implements a health dose of nature study along with some serious lab work.
And, of course, planning means actually planning...not just thinking about planning! After many years using the Homeschool Tracker Plus software to help keep track of the kids' learning and generate transcripts for those who have moved on to bigger and better things (oh, do I have a story to tell you there...but...wait!), I finally took the plunge and purchased an online membership. It's very similar to using the software (in some ways it's easier), but what I like the most is that the kids will be able to access their assignments online! And if you are assigning things that are online, like YouTube videos or Khan Academy or some other educational website, the links are clickable from the assignment page. No more wasted paper! Hooray!
Preparing for College
As you may know, we now have two high school graduates, which means the next several weeks will be devoted to getting them ready to head off to college. Julia, our oldest, will be starting her junior year at Bowling Green State University. John was supposed to be heading off to play baseball at the University of Akron, but those plans have changed.
We were hit with a devastating blow about two weeks ago. The head coach e-mailed all the parents of the U. of Akron baseball team to say that the president of the college was eliminating its baseball program. We're still incredulous that a Division I school would pull such a trick. Thankfully as an incoming freshman, our son has had plenty of options. After much consideration, John is going to take advantage of playing JUCO (jr. college/community college) baseball in California. He's flying out to meet with Glendale Community College next week for orientation and to meet with the coaching staff.
As he put it, he wouldn't want to spend the rest of his life wondering "what if" if he didn't take advantage of playing baseball in a warm-weather area. If it doesn't work out for him, he can come back home and start over...but at least he will have tried it. We're praying this whole thing is a blessing in disguise and that God has bigger and better plans for our son! I just could've used a good 6-12 months to wrap my head (and my heart) around a cross-country move. Such an enormous leap of faith for all of us. We are so incredibly thankful to the baseball community who have been so supportive of John through this process. Baseball family ROCKS!
So, I think that pretty much brings you up to date. Baseball is done and we have a few weeks' reprieve before we ship the two young adults out. I'm sure the time will go by in the blink of an eye, just like the past two months have. Hopefully this means I'll be a little more consistent with posting and sharing documents that I have created.
Please remember, that although I don't always post and share here, I do try to peek into the blog's Facebook page a couple of times a week to share new and interesting things relating to homeschooling. Be sure to follow me there!