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November 21, 2010

Weekly Report, Week 11

Remember these? Weekly reports? Do you like how I actually know what week of school we're on? It doesn't seem like Week 11, though. It seems more like week 92.

My biggest challenge in homeschooling right now is the fact that I am also working part-time. (I think I've said this before.) It's difficult to manage the job, the house, and the schoolwork. The upshot is that the younger children are not getting the academic attention from me that they need. Obviously, I have to fix that.

So, what did we do this week? The younger two worked in Right Start C and D, respectively. I wish I could tell you what lessons we're on, but we have this problem: when I'm at work, they grab the workbooks and do whatever pages they feel like doing. Then I come home and have to flip all around in the books to see what they've done, what lessons we SHOULD be doing, what I need to teach them, and where they're fine.

They're working very nicely through Handwriting Without Tears (Yes, Susie, can you believe it? I gave up and went back.) and their handwriting is improving. Finally.

Griffin and I did a little bit of Writing With Ease. Not a full week.

We did not do spelling.

However, they impressed me with how much vocabulary they remembered from Minimus. They are working in chapter 4 of Minimus, and have the conjugation of "sum" down nicely.

We did learn that we need to be paying more attention to the stories they are reading for Classical Studies. It is not enough to read or listen to these stories; we must review them if they're going to remember them for class.

The older children, it turns out, hadn't done math in the last week. Ahem. This week, in addition to their Latin and Greek work, they had an actual creative writing assignment from their humanities teacher. Connor dashed his off quickly, and hasn't let me see it. Aidan ... well. We have an extension for the Thanksgiving break.

We're reading Herodotus in Great Books, and we've made it up to the Battle of Marathon. I showed the boys a History Channel special on the battle. They were most impressed by the fact that the History Channel used Rome: Total War to model the battle. I'm really not sure that I'm teaching them much in this class; however, because of the class they're reading the works, comprehending, discussing, and moving forward. I keep trying to hang on to a bigger perspective. Yes, they could have a much more knowledgable teacher here and a much better class; on the other hand, the 9th graders have read the Iliad and Herodotus this year. Not excerpts. The real thing. And they understand what they're reading, and can talk about it. This must be good.

And the week was punctuated with lengthy dentist appointments, and orthodontist appointments, and D&D, and mom working, and ... I can't remember Wednesday. We did something on Wednesday. I can't remember what. And Scouts. Thank goodness fall soccer is finally over.

Whew. When did it get so busy?

Posted by lynx at November 21, 2010 1:51 PM

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I'm working and trying to teach great books too. I feel your pain! I tell myself that every week. They are reading these books and they are understanding them. How many high school aged kids have read Herodotus? I would really like to have the scope of knowledge that would make it possible to give the students the background and connections between books, but there is not enough time in the day to prepare that much. As it is great books takes me 10-15 hours a week and there is no more!

Posted by: Anissa at November 21, 2010 11:26 PM

Anissa, what do you do for prep?

Posted by: Stephanie at November 22, 2010 10:36 AM

I read the assignment, which is usually 75-100 pages which takes me forever, because I try to read it carefully. Then I look online for assignments and study questions that college profs. have posted to give me ideas about what types of things to ask the kids. I will also look at any study guides/cliffs/spark notes etc. Then I go back through the assignment and write out questions on the computer for each section and answers so I don't have to find them in the book again during class. During class I try to get discussion going and I ask the kids the questions, in a sort of Socratic way. If I could just have the time to read the selections again, especially the philosophy texts and read more about where each thinker fits in the grand scheme of ideas, then I would be able to lead them better during this discussion. As it is we get too dragged down by the details and we don't get to see enough of the big picture. I just keep reminding myself that they are doing so much more, and that hopefully they will read much of this again as they get older. I know that I have enjoyed every book we have read more as an adult, then I did as a college student. Perspective matters.

My computer crashed two years ago and I lost the electronic files from the year we did ancients, or I would be happy to send my notes to you. I do have hard copies, but they are harder to share. If you have a book or two that you want notes on, I could mail those, but my notes for the whole year fill a 4 inch binder.

Teaching great books is hard for me, but it is intellectually rewarding. Teaching Elementary Greek this year has the same sort of reward. I just wish there were more hours in the day!

Posted by: Anissa at November 23, 2010 11:49 AM

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