September 24, 2008

Progress Report: E for Effort

Ok we started out a bit rough, but it is getting easier. JBug had some big trouble getting adjusted to her schedule and the new demands that homework placed upon her. She is still working out the kinks, but we haven't had every day melt downs like we did the first week and a half. To be fair, the classes started with a bang, and just overwhelmed her.

She started Biology, and the book is dense, a lot of extraneous information that she doesn't have to know for quizzes and tests. But she didn't know that. She was taking far too many notes, and freaking out, thinking she wouldn't be able to handle the class. She told me she would have to drop, and I said she needed to stick it out for a while. Sure enough, she has had two quizzes, that she has aced, and a chapter test she felt quite good about. And she loves the labs. So she is starting to settle down now.

Then there was Logic. The first day of class, she had an essay assigned, "The problem with Blind Faith." hello? I mean, as a college student that is a tough topic! And on top of that? It was assigned on Wednesday and DUE on Friday. 500 words, typed. A complete recipe for falling apart. I walked her through it,step by step.

How To Write An Essay
1. brainstorm some ideas, pick the best ones
2. write each idea on a separate post-it.
3. use the glass door or a wall, and move the various notes around until they are in the desired order.
4. write an outline that mentions each major point
5. throw in some filler, transitions, pretty up the sentences
6. 5 paragraph essay- done!

It wasn't easy, as I said, the topic was difficult to write on. She turned it in and received credit. Not even a grade (though I was glad to see that). So her first class assignment was trial by fire. She doesn't have another essay due for a while, and figured out she could do it, let's hope she remembers.

As far as other work, she hasn't done a ton. I am hoping she picks up soon. She is knitting well, and it is working to soothe her so I am glad. But she needs to make better use of her time. She also doesn't like it when remind her, so I am not sure what else to do. Will probably discuss this with the therapist this week.

Still, we are now in the middle of it, let's hope classes go well. I myself had a bit of anxiety at the prospect of all the places I had to be (I hate figuring it all out when it is so new and all), but that is settling down, too.

JBear is doing really well, though he hates the Aleks math. I am thinking of moving him to a book, but the problem is, he doesn't hate Aleks, he hates math. He doesn't retain things like math facts (or his phone number!) but yet he has an amazing memory for the things that matter to him. Spelling is going well, I am using a multi-sensory program called All About Spelling. I am planning a review of it soon. History is good, Science is not ready to start yet. We started grammar today and he is getting that, hope it continues. He is reading more and more, I pretend not to notice. That has to be his thing.

JazBean is currently enamoured with her Word Book, a spiral-bound notebook she writes new words in , especially when watching Word World. They are DVRd so she pauses to write the word, and sound it out, and spell it... love that. I have not pushed her too hard in the academics, she is very resistant, so for her I use "teachable moments" when they come up. She likes formal bookwork when it is her idea. We are going slow, she has that autism stubbornness. She started ballet, which she loves and I posted some pics.

All in all, we are off to a good start, and I will update more as we go.

T, who is optimistic about the year

September 3, 2008

With Apologies to Alice Cooper...

Yes, to pencils, yes to books, but no to teachers' dirty looks....

Tomorrow is our Last Day of Summer. That's right. Thursday we start band, and Friday, JBug starts her classes at the college. They aren't college classes, but are advanced-placement. She is taking Logic (as if she needs more ammo for being able to successfully argue!) and Biology. With a Creation bias. But we will supplement. Also, she didn't leave her brains at the door, she is discerning, and that is on both sides. No worries.

Here is her curriculum..still working on course descriptions:

  • Biology: Abeka, through the class program

  • Logic: through the Classically-based, class program she is attending

  • Economics: Thinkwell

  • English: Study Skills & Lightning Lit/Teaching Co.

  • PE: yoga, dance, 4-H, probably horse project

  • Latin: Cambridge

  • Algebra: Teaching Textbooks, 1st semester, finishing the book, maybe Geometry after that

  • Band: 3rd year, clarinet, Intermediate level

  • History: teaching co.

  • Bible, whatever she wants

  • handcrafts: she is currently teaching herself (!!) to knit, via books and videos on the web

  • piano: again, self-taught, and getting pretty good. Will probably have to chase down lessons for her soon, though. As soon as I know what her schedule will be and how busy she'll be

I still have to do a 4-yr plan for her.. and as I said, course descriptions...but tomorrow...

T, who doesn't push her, she does most of this on her own

September 1, 2008

Did the Bell Ring Yet?

So it's time to think about curriculum, since we are "officially" starting school next Monday. We have band on this Thursday, but JBug starts her classes on Friday, with a parent orientation.

Which is another story...this particular program, while a great program, is run by a Christian university, and they are very particular as far as dress code. Tank tops straps have to be at least 2 inches in width. Shorts have to come to your fingertips, when your hand is extended. And? no tattoos. Apparently, you cannot be a good follower of Jesus if you have ink. Or wear a tank top. I keep threatening her that I am going to get one, just to set them on their ear. I hate stupid legalistic rules.

A lot.

T, who wonders what kind of tattoo I should get...

You Made It!

This is where I am going to chronicle our daily school stuff. The posts are mostly for my eyes, and for a select few. So that's this. Welcome, for what it's worth. T.