Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer School....

Yes...we're taking *gulp* summer school! Since we had missed a little extra time and there were some thing I don't feel happy moving on and "leaving behind" then I decided we needed to have summer school.

I originally had the idea that we could do our full curricula for the next school year, but quickly saw a few areas I wanted to work on and polish first. So the school work for next year has been shelved for a few more weeks and we're doing a very light but productive day.

First, we finished up our Liberty's Kids DVD series for history. I have to say that I enjoyed this cartoon series about the American revolution as much as the kids did. And now that we are finished, we'll be moving on to Story of the World which is a chronological approach to history that (hopefully) we'll be working on for the next 4 years before we move on to high school social studies classes. But enough about that since it will not begin until next month (I will try to refrain from talking about "next years" work in this post).

Our day now (having finished up history) consists of math, spelling, reading and writing. For math, I want the kids to work on memorizing their multiplication/division tables more so we're doing Timez Attack (an online computer game), flash cards, timed worksheets, games and songs. It doesn't quite feel like school if you're dancing around the living room singing "One times any number equals that same number..." lol! :)

For spelling, I thought we'd go back and just do a basic review of some spelling concepts. I especially thought this would be needed since the children both tend to spell phonetically still whenever they write. However, after going through a big huge list of words, turns out that they can spell most of what I've given them, they must just choose not to use this skill. Maybe I'll have to get a little tougher on my "grading" (oh who am I kidding, I don't give either learn it or you don't....if you don't then we'll go over it again). I guess I mean I'll have to be more stringent in making them correct and re-do their spelling errors themselves instead of me just pointing it out and spelling it for them.

Moving on from that, we're continuing our quiet reading this summer. I was really hoping that the kids would be to the point of WANTING to read for themselves for fun by now...but I know that takes time. Until then, quiet reading remains a part of our summer school (as well as regular school) schedule. This house is filled with so many books that one of these days, when they do chose to read for fun they will discover a vast treasure trove!

A big reading step we're taking this summer is assigned reading. So far, if it's not part of our curriculum (as in reading aloud Bible lessons, science chapters, etc) then we've only had quiet reading. I chose the Children's Illustrated Classics version of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" as a good jumping point. So far they seem to be enjoying it and I'm aiming for one chapter per month.

Well, that is what we're doing right now. It seems like a lot, but just math, spelling, assigned and quiet reading. That's typically enough to be finished in just a few hours. Although my typical workday usually takes at least 6 hours whereas other hs'ers can do theirs in 4, lol...don't think we'll ever get to that point. Although most, I think, is due to the kids procrastinating with their work and taking so long to get it done.

We'll soon be taking a week or two off at the beginning of August to relax before plunging into 4th grade. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our heartbreak and loss....

It has been a while since my last post (not counting the time4learning post). I had refrained from posting about what was going on in our personal lives about this time last year until the present.

I think I delayed in posting it to my blog because I was thinking that if I don't write about it, it doesn't have to be true. However, it is time that I write and share what we've been going through.

It was almost a year ago that my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was at stage 4 and had spread into his back and abdomen as well. We went through a very aggressive line up of chemo following a successful surgery. My husband, Dwayne went through so very much in such a short amount of time. I won't go into all of the details here but cancer is definitely a life changing event.

On February 1st of this year he was told that the cancer was gone and that his chemo was over. He would only have one final scan to see that it was all gone. Two days later we lost my husband, on February 3rd, to a heart attack. I am thankful that my husband at least passed away peacefully in his sleep and didn't have to suffer. That is a small comfort.

As you can imagine, the last 5 months have been a roller coaster of emotions for our family. We've had deep dark depression. We've had lonesome sadness. We've had joy in feeling the Lord lift us up and support our needs. It still seems like only yesterday that I lost my best friend and my soul mate. When Dwayne and I met, it was love at first sight. God whispered to me that he was the one. :)

I still don't know how we'll get through life without him. It's been a big adjustment and parenting alone is definitely one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I can feel Dwayne with me, and I can feel God's gentle assuring hand on my back as I attempt to carry on.

People continue to tell me that I'm an inspiration. I am not the inspiration, I am just doing what I have to do. I know God is with me and that is the biggest help of my day. I also know that I have to get up and take care of the kids and provide what they need. There have been many days when I would have preferred to lay on the couch where I continue to sleep at night even now, and not get up all day. And in all honestly there have been a couple of days when that did happen. I am not stronger than anyone else, I am just relying on God. Really, during a time that this that's all we can do.

I wish so much that more people had known Dwayne as I knew him. He was truly my best friend. A lot of people say their spouse is their best friend, but he honestly was. We spent 24/7 together. We shared all our secrets and had most of the same likes. Our personalities were similar and opposite in ways that complimented each other. I never had girl's night outs, because I didn't need them. My best friend was my husband and there was no other person on earth that I would have chose to hang out with.

I will post soon on what we've been up to homeschool wise but for now I wanted to share a little bit of our lives and the greatest loss we've ever experienced.