Thursday, August 30, 2007


Last weekend, I put together some supplies and a few friends and I got together to cut, fold and tape. We explored a few projects in my Lap Book Handbook. It was a fun project to prepare. I thought it would help stem some of the Back-to-school shopping pressure. You know, the I've got to be ready! panic that the advertisements tell you you're feeling. Not so. I'm very easily pulled in.

Of course, our Saturday afternoon get-together was great. Good conversation, great company, lots of paper and tape.

But it got me to thinking about the whole Back-to-school shopping situation. If I'm not careful, I fall into the whole If I don't go shopping I won't be ready! trap. As homeschoolers, many of us don't do the back-to-school thing. Or at least, we say we don't. Some of us stay out of the stores. Some celebrate with a Not-Going-Back-To-School Picnic. Some of us mark the return to a school-at-home schedule. Some celebrate the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall.

Whatever it is each of us do, I think we would all agree that this is a time of change. Change I can deal with. I do find it annoying that everything is Back-To-School. But I can understand that it's easier to market to the masses, so I'll let it go. I can buck the system, but I'm not up for fighting the masses.

So, this is me, embracing the seasonal change. As I'm sure you've guessed from previous posts, I'm making a valiant effort to prepare for our school year. Part of me expects it to crash and burn, after all, we're not the most schoolish people I know. Another part of me is excited. The kids are reminding me of the work they're planning on doing. They're helping with the planning. So I'm going to assume an 'if I build it, they will come' attitude. To date, I've built Language Arts, 2nd Language, History/Geography, and Canada Studies. I'm halfway through a Reminder Read Aloud List (if I don't write down the books I think the kids will enjoy, I forget what I'm looking for at the library and they choose Pokemon and Babysitter Club books - which I refuse to read as read alouds). The last thing I need to build is a list of science resources to go with the custom-built science outline we've made.

Along with our new school year comes outside activities for the kids. And the updating of the seasonal wardrobes. But, I'll save those adventures for another blog.

Whatever the change we're preparing for at this time of year, I think it's important to keep perspective. Our perspective is to enjoy the time we have with our kids. To encourage them to be confident, independent little beings as they grow up, to enjoy exploring new things and to help them learn to work for what is important to them. If I can keep that in mind, then Back-To-School pencils and binders are inconsequential.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Fair Jeanne

Down at the waterfront this week, the Fair Jeanne was docked. Owned by a local gentleman with waterfront development plans, I thought the kids might like to go and see exactly the boat that is causing so much uproar in our quiet little town. The proposed waterfront development is not to the liking of everyone. It will, however, feature permanent docking for this lovely tall ship. So this is where we were found Thursday evening past.

In the above pic's background, you can see my brother-in-law's marina as well as the Boardwalk condominiums. If the afore mentioned development comes to be, the marina will get a facelift and the condos will be dwarfed. Lovely anchor on the Fair Jeanne, though, don't you think? I was also in love with all the ropes. This boat (should I be saying ship?) comes with even more rope than you would normally expect. As a training ship, the young sailors-in-training don harness and rope when scaling the heights of the masts to attend to the sails. Which is good to know. Because I am all gung-ho to ship the kids off to sea (river, lake, whatever) as soon as they're 14.

Here we have kidlets in the rigging with my Not-The-Triathlete brother. Brother has just returned from a summer holiday in Hawaii. He returned with lovely souvenirs for all, including the proudly sported tees the kids are wearing.

Did I mention that I can send the kids sailing for a summer on this beast? 5 summers to go before Kori sets sail. In all seriousness, she's a beautiful boat. A nice blend of modern sailing technology as well as a good dose of the way sailing used to be done. An interesting tidbit: Fair Jeanne had an unfortunate fire this summer while sailing in Lake Ontario. A big evacuation had to be ordered, Coast Guard - complete with helicopter support - needed to be called. Apparently a galley fire. Only one injury and that not terribly serious. But she was laid up in the docks in Kingston, Ontario for repair. $150,000 later and she's off sailing again, pretty and clean and rigged as if she was never damaged. Last tidbit: Fair Jeanne has been captained by a woman for a good many years. Captain has been on the ship since she was a summer student 19 years ago. Most of her senior staff is also female. I guess you don't come across too many ladies in the professional tall-ship sailor field. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Here's where I was 8 years ago today. It was a good day. Today, we're shipping the kids off to Nanny's for a sleepover and Brian and I are going out to dinner and perhaps a late movie afterward. Auf wiedersehen!

Winding Down and Wrapping Up

Here we have a rare creation: Raiden's play-doh dinosaur. He's not a child who is a 'creator' of objects using squishy stuff. He was quite proud of this little green number, though, so I was sure to snap a picture of it as soon as we got home.

Rai made his dino-buddy at one of the summer's last library programs. Soccer has wrapped up as well. Same with swimming. Kori will be off to her grandparent's this weekend to enjoy a 4-day stay. That is always a sign that summer is winding down.

School planning is coming along. I have a good idea of what I would like to cover in most areas. If it happens, great. If not, that's ok as well, as long as we're interested and busy with something. I've devised a daily school schedule in order to keep me on track. The kids are normally fairly easy going. If I don't keep them moving forward, they're happy to settle in and do nothing. Some days, that's ok. I'm hoping that with my planning, those days will be a treat - few and far between.

Now that I have a guideline (scope & sequence, if you prefer) I am collecting resources and making lesson plans. I have also started a read aloud list. I'm scared to delve too deeply into planned read alouds as there are not enough days in the year to get through even some of the books that we'd like to get to. But a few selections I don't want to forget about, so on the list they go. I'm only buying one pre-planned resource for a Canadian Studies. I'm well stocked with pre-planned materials for math and history and all things language arts. I'd like to focus most of my creative effort on pulling together activities/lessons for science, read alouds and language.

I am excited about area homeschooling events that seem to be in the works. It's always nice to be in the 'loop', even if the loop is of your own design. This weekend a few of us are getting together to cut and paste. Actually, we're going to try creating some of the ideas in Cyndy Regeling's book.

A great Homeschooler's Picnic is in the works for the day after Labour Day. I'm so glad someone (Thanks Lyn!) took up the reins of that project. The kids are very excited.

September's field trip will be to the International Plowing Match. It looks to be a huge production and I will say I am glad it will be a guided field trip. I could just imagine the kids and I walking through the displays. It would be the blind leading the blind. We are such city dwellers. I'm to be planning October's field trip which will be - hopefully - to the local newspaper. A couple of other ideas are in the works as well. I'll brag about them if they end up working out.

And so goes the season change. I know it's still summer, but it has been much cooler this last few days. Everywhere we go it's 'Back to School'. There are even Fall-looking hay-bales out at some of the area stores. I shouldn't even mention it, but the Hallowe'en things are out at the Dollar Store. Doesn't it make you want to go off the grid and just enjoy the seasons as they come? I'm all for looking ahead and planning for whatever is coming next, but let's keep things manageable, people.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Good & The Ugly

I had a lovely day yesterday connecting with two seriously cool ladies who form the core of my personal Homeschool Community. Meeting together and planning, chatting, venting, asking and taking notes is very grounding and satisfying for me. I always come away feeling refreshed and confident and motivated. Isn't it great to have friends who do that for you?

Today, on the other hand, not so much. Kori was in fine form (not!) all day. Her mood culminated this evening and resulted in her feeling awful and me feeling like a failure. Obviously some sorting out to do there. The frustrating part for me is that I remember being exactly in the same spot she is right now. You know, the spot with no friends, nothing to do, noone to talk to and mean parents? I recall how my parents dealt with me and I recall vividly how nothing they said or did made me feel one bit better. So, apparently, I know how not to handle this....

And, apparently, payback is a bitch. Don't tell my dad I said so.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Checking in...

I've spent my computer time the last couple of days working out some plans for this coming school year. Of course, it is all sounding very schoolish. I hope I've constructed it in a way that is flexible. If we get caught up in one particular area, I am happy to skip over a couple of weeks of planning in order to explore our interest. If we get to a particular topic and noone is enjoying it, we'll strike it from the list and move on. So on one hand, I have an organized, prepared list to guide me and on the other hand, I'm prepared for the flexibility we've enjoyed the last four years of homeschooling. Ask me at Christmastime how that's all working for me.

I've found a set of tables at Little Acorn's Treehouse that I like. I've used Jenny's Scope and Sequence layout. It's a great visual resource for myself. I can see a week at a glance and what's coming up in future weeks.

Yesterday, I finished planning history and science. I used the scope and sequence at K1-12 for science ideas. The kids have said they'd rather skip all over the place instead of focusing on one particular area of study. I was all excited to do a year on Earth Sciences, but it wasn't going to fly. So, lots of experiments and demonstrations while exploring magnetics, matter, motion, energy, light, life cycles, profiling scientists, weather, habitats, forces, sound, measurements, classification and ecosystems. For history, I am planning to get through Story of the World and at the very least, use the maps, review cards (the kids' favorite parts of the SOTW workbook) and the timeline.

I'll let you know how the rest of my planning goes. I've got pretty concrete math, language and music ideas. I'm excited about working in some read alouds. Raiden is uncharacteristically interested in printing, spelling and language arts so I expect we'll need to be doing that come next month. I'm thinking of putting any language arts stuff on the back burner for Kori so she can concentrate on getting her book written. She's been trying for months and she's not accomplishing what she wants so I want to help her with that project.

In other, non-schoolish news, the kids and I are off this morning to meet up with some homeschoolers for a play at the park today. This afternoon there is one of our last library programs. This weekend we're looking forward to the local corn festival.

The dog is going crazy. She's burrowing into some very odd places and is not happy to sleep in her crate at night - something she's done since day one in this house. It's like she's lost something the way she's pacing and sniffing and cramming herself into impossibly tight behind the waterbed and in amongst the basement storage shelves.

So, thanks for stopping by...we're off to get going on our day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Scope & Sequence

I think that the layout of these "Idiot's Guide" (and equally the "Dummies" book) books are terribly amusing.

The "Running Start Checklist" made me giggle. It's a bright orange page tucked just inside the front cover. In this particular book, it's a how to list. As in, you've yanked your kid out of school today and you need to know what to do tomorrow, this week and this month in order to be homeschooling.

It was reading this first checklist that made me bring this book home from the library. It started out advocating a deschooling period, a child-led approach when determining interests and activities and observation, journalling and reading for the homeschooling parent - all advice I've heard from seasoned and confident homeschoolers I've had the opportunity to cross paths with.

The first part of the book covered background and basics of homeschooling. To my surprise, the author included what I'm assuming is the Canadian content she could find. Nice. These three chapters I would give to the sceptical, yet curious, grandparent. Also covered are the 'Beginner Questions' like What about Socialization? What about College? Can you afford to Homeschool? etc. So after reading about homeschooling through the last century, the legalities in North America, reasons for homeschooling, numbers of homeschoolers, and famous homeschoolers, I was feeling reaffirmed in our homeschooling journey. So I read on.

The author gave an explanatory overview of philosophies and approaches. She covered umbrella schools and other required hoops that many homeschoolers have to jump through. She went on to explain support groups. I like how she not only defines all of these things, but she also gives suggestions and ideas for the seasoned homeschooler. Like if, for example, I was looking to expand on the support group in my area. She gives helpful suggestion about things to consider that I would never have thought of until it was too late.

Then we got to the nitty-gritty of planning. The reader is led through an in-depth process of choosing a complete boxed curriculum. I found this process valuable as I could simplify it quite easily to a process of choosing a resource of any sort. After all, not all of us want a complete curriculum. But I imagine that all of us, at some point, are going to be wading through
book lists or catalogues looking for a special something that is going to click with one of our kidlets. With choosing a curriculum over with, I read on to find suggestions on planning your own curriculum. Again I was presented with starting points and principles - not a 'Do This...' but a 'Try Starting Here and See What You Come Up With For Your Kids..." approach.

As I read on, I was happy to see how easy the author made it sound. She repeated over and over that a strong academic focus was not necessary to be successful in homeschooling. She stuck to principles of child-led learning, alternatives to schoolish work and how to interpret your child's accomplishments into educationese. Ages 3 - 5 through teenagers as well as special needs kids were covered. Sections on assessments, other ways of measuring progress, record keeping, fostering self-directed learning, dealing with doubts and avoiding burnout and using the internet finished off the book.

It was an easy read, as these books are usually. I think that's the point. I've come away from the book with a better understanding of homeschoolers in general, in particular, those who don't have it so free and easy as we in Ontario do. As I said, some of the ideas in the book really helped to reaffirm for me the how's and why's of my views of homeschooling. The particular information I was looking for I had to go back and read a couple of times. I think I wanted it to be more complicated than it is. I have a good starting block, I feel.

And just where am I starting, you ask? I'd like to try my hand at planning our school year a little more concretely than we have in the past. So I am poking through some scope and sequence information on the 'net. I have found one I like, not for the content, per se, but the format appeals to me. I know that I will be picking and choosing and rearranging. I may even take the format and plug in our own content. An integral part of the finished product will be those areas that the kids want to learn about - whatever they may be.

In my search for various Scope & Sequence things, I came across Little Acorns Treehouse. A school-at-home family, I admire the organization that has gone into many aspects of Jenny's homeschooling life. I'm sure if I attempted that level of organization in our humble life, the fabric of the known universe would tear and all chaos would break loose as I tried to keep up with myself. That, and Brian would keel over with heart failure. And since I like having him around in my known universe, you can be sure I won't be upsetting the status quo too much. ;-)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Champs

One of our favorite parks has been transformed this weekend. It's Ribfest 2007.

I know, it sounded a little redneck the first time I heard about it too. But hey, that first year, it was free, outdoors and had entertainment. So I took the kids. Neither the kids nor I ate ribs, but we saw some friendly faces and had a great time just hanging out.
The next year, Brain didn't have to work and a tradition was started. We now go for ribs.
This year, the opening ceremonies featured - for the first time - a rib eating contest. It was a relay event. Each of the 4 team members was to eat a half-rack of ribs as fast as possible. The team with the fastest time won.
I was half surprised a week ago when Brian came home and told me he'd put together a team. They even had a sponsor so noone was out the registration fee. All we had to do was show up. As it happened, 12 teams were entered. The competition was fierce.

However, Brian never worried. For someone who eats as fast as he does - and knows it - he was pretty confident. He even anchored the event, pulling his team out of perhaps a somewhat slow start to an obvious first place finish.

We're all very proud. There is talk of defending the title next year.

The prize package was generous. A couple of gift certificates (Home Hardware and The Butcher Shop) as well as rib judging privileges. Can it get any better?

We spent the Friday night and Saturday's lunch- and dinner-times jumping the queue to go straight to the grill where Brian traded in his judging ticket for a basket of ribs and chicken. We ate a fortune worth of food, filled in the paperwork and handed in Brian's choices well before the deadline.

Then, as if we hadn't had enough of BBQ meat, we returned to Ribfest just before it ended for Sunday dinner. Kori really wanted ribs for dinner. We also wanted to see how the judging had fared. Brian's first choices didn't win, but that's ok. Kori and I ate ribs from his #1 choice and they were excellent. Messy. But really good.

There was no admission, lots for the kids to do and live entertainment all weekend long. The venue was packed with people and the volunteers and staff worked diligently to keep it clean. Heck, they even brought you wet naps at the most opportune times. Even the non-rib-eaters could enjoy themselves with fresh, roasted corn (even if it was ridiculously expensive at $3 an ear!) and fresh lemonade. This was a great family event....on a more local note, perhaps the Riverfest organizers could use a pointer or two form the Ribfest organizers....

Thursday, August 9, 2007

In Other News...

In other news, things have been enjoyably busy around here.

I made ribs for the first time ever on the BBQ and Brian says they were good.

We've done some visiting with both my extended family as well as Brian's. No, not together. Very time consuming.

Kori was sick briefly. It could have had something to do with the long weekend, camping out, late movies and 2am campfires. She's feeling better now.

The kids and I had a beach day. Then we took Brian to the beach on the weekend to show off Raiden's newly acquired swimming skills.

I have harvested and am drying some peppermint. Perhaps I'll be able to make a cup of tea by Fall. Brian's hot peppers are growing like weeds! A couple peppers are almost ready to harvest and there are flowers popping up all over the plants indicating a huge prospective crop...well, huge for 6 little plants being grown in a small container.

I've been haunting my favorite blogs - some very good reading lately, ladies! Kudos to those of you who also visit here. Pardon my lack of comments.

And, due to a late cappuccino, I am off to have a snack and a tv show before a late bedtime. Gute Nacht!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Back To School insanity Management

After a few days of freaking out and general anxiety over the upcoming school year (which leads to the re-evaluation of many of my parenting strategies because, after all, home education goes hand in hand with parenting in general) I have a proactive plan.

Are you waiting in suspense?

I poked around and found some new-to-me websites. I though reading about curriculum planning and, more basically, how to homeschool would be helpful. Sort of a refresher, if you will. I thought staying away from the 'what backpack should I buy' and 'what does your school supply list say?' would be helpful in my present state of mind. I expect I will be spending even more time here:

Next, I went to the library and I picked up the very basic, very much for beginners, very orange Complete Idiot's Guide To Homeschooling. It has a chapter on planning the school year, which for some reason, I feel compelled to do. My ol' stand-by 'Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants' plan isn't leaving me with the warm fuzzies anymore.

For good measure, I also borrowed Building Moral Intelligence : The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids To Do The Right Thing. Part of me is curious to see if we're on the right track. Another part of me is looking for some pointers as the smaller members of this family are, shall we say, lacking respect, empathy and self-control in their interactions. Hmm...that's a juxtaposition of statements if I ever read one. But, I will leave the glaring obviousness of it there for your reading pleasure.

Finally, I made a list of general subjects that I have the resources for. I listed some areas of interest in each subject that the kids seem to be interested in. For example, I have quite a few things on the shelf that could be lumped together as Canadian Studies. Kori and Raiden both like Canadian Geography. Kori would especially enjoy some fictional read aloud based on Canadian History and Raiden likes Current Events. Both are quite interested in the whole election process and how the different levels of government work.

So, armed with my list and my reading, I feel I have some direction for my energies. Always a good thing when the alternative is worried obsession.

As it happens, wheels are turning in other areas of my homeschooling world.

A group of area moms would like to get together and spend a day with my copy of The Ultimate Lapbook Handbook. There has been talk of continuing with our infrequent Coffee & Chat evenings. It seems the Homelearners' Picnic last Fall was a success and there has been a request for it's return. As well, I think there may be enough interest to set up a Field Trip Club/CoOp.

So, here at home I dive into the upcoming unknowns found in various chapters and articles, looking for hints and hopefully a few confirmations. Life marches on outside and I am happy to be involved there too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

Sometimes I wonder about myself.

Today, while out of town, the kids and I stopped in to the Play & Learn. It's a lovely little higher end toy and teacher supply store. Do you see where this is going? After walking through the Playmobil section where we planned out our next $500 of Playmobil purchases, I meandered over to the school supplies.

I'm looking for a few things. Something Geography- or Cartography-ish, something Art Appreciation-y and something Values- or Character-based.

Being worried about planning and scheduling for the upcoming school year, I couldn't have picked a worse place to land myself. Everything is, of course, grade level segregated, task orientated, tested, standards based, paper producing, seat work intensive with copious amounts of regurgitation required.

I opened a Grade 3 Map Skills and World Geography resource book. I almost fainted when I imagined Raiden trying to read the assigned paragraphs, answering the review questions, completing the diagram and 'enriching' himself with the Things To Think About section.

That stuff is so not us. It is the opposite of looseleaf and large-squared calendar. I really should stick to the 'Play' side of the Play & Learn when I find myself in the midst of Back-To-School Panic.

So, I managed to avoid any stupid purchases. And I am officially open to suggestions as to what sort of not-schoolish things that you may be using for art appreciation, mapping or map skills (more so than geography) and such.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Outside In...

It's very hot. Our townhouse is heating up, slowly but surely. We have not used the air conditioner yet, which is good news for our hydro bill.

Soccer continues twice a week. This will be the first year that Rai has playoff games. His team's improvement over the course of the season is very apparent. That's all that matters to me: that he loves playing and continues to learn the game.

Swimming continues twice a week. Kori has advanced a level, much to her enjoyment. She's very proud of herself. Again for both kids, skills are improving and there is much enjoyment - what else can I ask for?

There hasn't been very much helicopter flying for Brian due to the persistent wind. However, Brian can distract himself a wee bit by watching his jalapeno peppers grow. They're doing very well. I foresee lots of cheese sauce, nachos and salsa this winter.

Corn on the cob season is upon us. I've been to the market a couple of times. Today, the kids and I drove out to a local farm and bought fresh corn, new potatoes, onions and a cucumber. I'd have bought beans as they are ready and lovely looking, but noone but me likes to eat them. I hope to make the fresh, seasonal produce a regular habit. It really does taste better. And besides, I'd rather have to wash off local pesticides than eat something shrivelled and foreign - which has been the state of much of the grocery store produce lately.

We have a new bird feeder in the backyard. It's a little close to the back door, but the birds are getting used to it. The small birds don't have a problem, but the starlings are absolutely hilarious to watch. They try to stand on the very narrow perch and have to resort to a mad flutter when dipping down to retrieve a seed. After a few tries, they hop over to the fence. I'm guessing they're waiting for the swaying feeder to settle down before they do it all over again.

I've had a couple of visitors lately. I actually had a girlfriend come over one day for the simple task of chatting. It was rather nice. I had my sister come watch the kids last night and Brian and I had the Cheapest Date Ever. We went to see Harry Potter #5 at the theatre on half-price night. $8.40 was all it cost as there was no way I was going to have a drink and popcorn for $13. Who dreams up these prices?!? We were home by 9:10pm and Sister was able to catch the second half of her husband's soccer game. I really have to appreciate my sister. She comes to babysit, I don't pay her and it costs her $10. She very nicely treated the kids to some gelato at the new shop by our house. Nice eh? However, I do have a little suspicion due to her parting comment: Oh, it's not problem, Bonni...I like watching your kids. Don't worry, one day your time will come. As if she's going to one day employ my sisterly services in child minding. Hm. Wouldn't that be nice? If it happened before I'm 80?

Road trip tomorrow: Kids have dental appointments. It's always fun going to the big city. They have a toy store with schoolish stuff and good books. Oh, and the hobby shop where I must remember to stop as Brian needs more glue and some explosive things so he and Raiden launch rockets.

I have officially entered panic mode, Bonni style. This causes me to grind to a halt in most areas. It is normally preceded by a period of strict procrastination. True to form, I spent July buried in mindless paperback reading. Here we are, cresting August and I am tired of procrastinating.

Do you know that I now have children who are 'in' grade3 and 5!? When did this happen?? And who told the kids!? I'm a little undone at their proclamations, as it happens. This is a major factor in my panicking. You see, normally, I try to fight the Back-To-School madness with every tooth and nail I can muster. It's proving a bit more difficult this year as the kids are so excited. I'm in Grade 5 now! says Kori proudly. I'm doing grade 3, boasts Raiden. In our homeschooling career, I think I can count on both hands the number of times that I may have mentioned grade levels to someone who insists, incredulously, that the children must have a grade level. After all, what kind of homeschooling mother am I?!

I've enjoyed these past few years without grades. We read what is interesting. We write what we want. We practice that which we are motivated to practice. We don't particularly need grades. Or at least, I didn't.

I suppose this 'grades' talk comes from being around schooled friends who are focused on the final aspect of school. The all-important, self-defining Report Card. I suppose Kori and Raiden just want to have some aspect of the conversation they can identify with. It's not particularly exciting for them to announce their teacher come September. They don't have As and Bs to count and proclaim. So Grades it is. Apparently Grade 3 and 5. Honestly, I don't think it will last. So for now, I just smile and nod and outwardly rejoice with them over their new found grade.

Inwardly, I cringe. Can I teach Grade 5? Aren't kids supposed to learn cursive in Grade 3? What about Science Fair projects? They're both 'behind' in math. We're still reading Story of the World: Volume One. Kori's not done Public Speaking and Raiden thinks reading out loud is dumb. Arrgh!

This week I have begun to talk myself down. I've even started reading things I would classify as 'worthwhile'. The house is relatively clean and the school shelf has been decluttered and organized (<-- things crucial to my sanity, I believe). I will now focus my efforts at a bit of planning. There are resources on the shelf that we've not yet used, but they're ready to go. I am pretty impressed that I can mentally come up with a rough list of resources that I will need to purchase. So I am panicking over What and How to Plan for Grades 5 and 3. This is not my strong suit.

I will need to balance the family schedule of activities with my unschoolish tendencies with the kids' requests for schoolish work with my Type B personality. I need to compose a schedule that is not too ambitious, that is flexible, that I can stick with for longer than three days. Said schedule will need to consume the resources I have so I can free up some space because, after all, I have a kid in grade 5 and one in grade 3 now and I will need more appropriate material. (You read that with a wee bit of cynicism/sarcasm, I hope?). Said schedule will need to leave us with copious amounts of free time so we don't feel over-worked or deprived of our individual pursuits. I don't want to have to buy a System or generate amounts of paperwork in order to accomplish all of this. I've been pulled into that trap before. The only thing I want to have to use is looseleaf and my large-squared calendar.

So, that's an outline, right? I'm well on my way right? Please tell me I'm not doomed for failure because I missed the seminar on Planning The School Year at last Spring's conference.