Sunday, August 23, 2009

School Supply Shopping and To-Do List for this School of Sardines

*Buy sunscreen (we're out!! and we have two more trips to the beach planned - LOVE to go in the middle of the week during the school year)
*Buy new water shoes for upcoming camping trip to Garner State Park
*Buy ballet shoes for Camille
*Buy new tae kwon do pants (jules is wearing capris)
*Order Teaching Textbooks Pre-Cal for Ellie
*Order Teaching Textbooks 6th Grade for Jules
*Begin shopping for drums for Joel
*Shop for new amplifier for Joel
*Order English book for Joel
*Order Great Books for everyone
*Buy Ellie's government book (dual credit)
*Shop for dress for Ellie's upcoming solo recital
*Order baby chicks (the turkeys will be slaughtered in November - will have room for new chickens)
*Replenish face paint (Jules is running through it pretty quickly...lots of movie-making and his actors really dig the face paint)
*Look into astronomy studies to go along with our new Galileoscope
*Reorganize our co-op after having lost two teens to college.....what will our group focus on for this year?
*Begin forming Odyssey of the Mind teams
*Find a couple of workbooks for Camille and Jasper to explore on the days they want to play school
*Make some reading lists and hit the library!
*Hang out at the pool as much as possible before it closes
*Get a new phonics book for Camille? The current one seems to be malfunctioning.

Hmmmm.....that honestly kinda sorta seems to be about it. For us, the beginning of the school year is signalled by things like ballet and Odyssey of the Mind. A lot of our activities continue throughout the summer months so we don't have this big feeling of School Starting in that respect. And the boys actually do most of their math during the summer....they have less to do otherwise (Odyssey is a big time-sucker for them during the school year) they're finishing up their programs and will start in on the next ones pretty soon (before abandoning them for Odyssey sometime around November).

Ellie always gets a little busier with the school year due to dual credit classes. The Economics class she wanted to take was full, but she'll still be taking Government (via St. Philips College). She'll be performing a solo recital in November so her practicing will approach the 4-hours per day mark pretty soon. She's finishing up AP Biology and will be starting AP Physics probably after Christmas. She'll be taking the PSAT for real this year - so hopefully she'll be studying for that, too. This is the beginning of 11th grade for her.

Joel is going to undergo the biggest structure change this year. He'll be starting 9th grade, which is technically high school. So we're easing him into some more structured learning. With the exception of math - he's been pretty loosey goosey up until now. He is still considering college for his future (among other things) so he understands the necessity of preparing for it. He currently spends most of his time playing Rock Band, playing his guitar, reading history history history, making movies, and doing farm chores. We'll be adding in Algebra I (well, as soon as he finishes up Pre-Algebra), English, and Science. We're still trying to decide between Biology, Integrated Science, and Astronomy. We're lucky in that my dad enjoys teaching the kids science - and he just bought us a telescope - so Joel is kind of leaning towards Astronomy. Joel is a virtual pea soup of learning as will be a trial and error method of finding what works for him. I hate the phrase "disabilities" because he hasn't been disabled by his quirky little brain - he considers himself enhanced by it. I know that WE are enhanced by it! Learning with Joel has been a great adventure; often one of immense hilarity. Joel is mostly looking forward to Odyssey of the Mind, although I know that at some point he will say, "What was I thinking?" Our family has a love-hate relationship with Odyssey.

Jules is Jules. Jules spins, floats, and paces his way through life - and does so while paying very little attention to what month it is. He is starting 6th grade - and with his personality - I am glad he will be skipping a lot of jr. high drama and experiencing the familiar crazy world of home, instead. Right now he is into making movies and finding his own way in the world - navigating through the waters of boyhood more and more without Joel as his beacon. Joel has entered the turbulent tides of teenhood....and Jules is looking out at open waters....and swimming ahead. More and more he has Camille and Jasper in tow. Camille and Jasper happily follow along, very aware that the tie is tenuous, at best, and that Jules is very apt to tire of them without any warning - ejecting them from his room or his tree or his secret hiding place....only to invite them back in again moments later. They are the primary actors in his movies and are often being dressed up, painted, and directed. Jules reads a lot - we don't have to direct that interest - he chooses great books. Other than that - he'll begin Teaching Textbooks 6th grade math, continue with his activities in co-op, and possibly add his strong acting skills to whatever crazy skit his Odyssey team comes up with. This will be his first year to do Odyssey without Joel on his team (Joel is moving up to the high school team) and he's not entirely sure he wants to participate without him. I can understand this and he'll be the one to decide. Jules will be okay with whatever he ends up doing. Our big decision concerning Jules this year will be whether or not to have him officially tested for Asperger's. We're pretty sure he would qualify for the label - we're just trying to decide on whether or not it will do him any good (looking to the future) to have a label in his pocket.

Camille is beginning the 2nd grade. She is starting at a new ballet school. This is a Big Deal because it will possibly be twice a week and the studio is an hour away from us. I have spent the past few years spending very little time on the road - so this will be a big adjustment for me. Camille has been very happy taking dance with her beloved Miss Erin since she was 3. But Camille is infatuated by ballet, is in love with ballet, and wants to try out her toes in a more serious and disciplined environment. She asked when Miss Erin's "big girls" would begin dancing on their toes and was devastated to learn that they would be switching from ballet to jazz. "So I won't ever get on my toes? Ever? That is my lifelong dance on pointe!" Sigh. I tried to ignore it. But the truth is, when Ellie said she wanted to be a concert pianist (at the age of 11), we didn't ignore her. And last year she debuted with the San Antonio Symphony as a soloist at the age of 16. So - I have no idea whether or not Camille will stick it out to attain her dream - or if her dreams will merely change. But I feel I need to let her find out. Bleh. My carbon footprint is now the size of Rhode Island. Let's see....other than that? Camille is not interested in structured learning. She does enjoy working in her math book - and she is even "on schedule" in that regard. But reading still consists of "read to me!" and so we do. All the time. She likes Nancy Drew but especially loves the adventures of Poppy the Ballerina (duh). She is beginning to play more and more computer games that require reading - and when I watch her I can see that she reads a lot better than she realizes. She will be on an Odyssey team this year - one that actually competes rather than performs (last year she was on a primary team - they were adorable but non-competitive).

Jasper would be starting kindergarten. The thought of this cracks me up. He would be on Ritalin by lunch time. I am not kidding. This kid would not do well in a classroom. That's not to say he wouldn't do just lovely next year...or the year after.....but THIS year? Would be a nightmare. And I'm happy that I won't be experiencing it. Jasper does math (rather easily I might add - he grasps the concepts better than Camille). He likes to be read to but, like his sister, isn't very interested in doing it for himself. He loves Hank the Cowdog (kid has good taste) and falls asleep every night listening to the adventures of Lucy, Edward, Susan, and Peter as they live out their lives in Narnia.

I will be a busy mama in a couple of weeks. And I'm both dreading and looking forward to all of the excitement our "school year" is sure to provide. I will keep you posted on all of the (mis)adventures of our little school. If you're interested in our homeschooling journey, especially in how it began (I never thought I'd homeschool) you can read about it in the homeschooling series of posts I'm writing HERE.

Happy End-of-Summer to you all!
Sardine Mama


  1. You make it sound so organized, but yet unorganized at the same time. I always start our school year with a nice schedule and lists of what to complete, but we never get around to finishing them. And yet, the boys are still learning.

    And I am so going to order one of those Galileoscopes. Sure, it'll be great for the kids' education (but the real reason is that I always wanted one of these when I was a kid!)

  2. I need to write about my kids sometime! It was really good to hear an update on yours.