Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the First Week of School 2013

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Weekly Wrap-Up

Happy Friday! I hope your week has gone as well as ours has – and that’s a pretty impressive statement considering that we started school this week. If the whole year goes as well as this week has gone, I’ll be one happy homeschooling mama.

Don’t let me paint too rosy a picture. This week has not been without some grumbling and complaining, but there has been much less grumbling and complaining than I expected considering that it’s July and I’ve already called an end to summer break. I think that year ‘round schooling was such a success last year, though, that even the kids recognize that it’s worth starting now.

This year, it’s really just Josh and Megan and me. Brianna has a few more credits to finish up before I issue her diploma, but she doesn’t have a full day of school each day. She’s probably going to be attending a local cosmetology school part-time when classes begin this fall and she’s been working more, so she hasn’t been home much during the day.

That means it’s just me and my two middle-schoolers. I can’t believe they’re both in middle school! We’re easing back into things and won’t be at a full load until August (though our day is already pretty packed). I’ll be at curriculum fairs the last two weekends of the month, so I wanted to get those behind me before we packed in a full schedule.

I’ll be in Chattanooga next weekend for Geography Matters and Atlanta for Lexercise. I hope you’ll stop by and see me if you’ll be at either.

Anyway, here’s a peek at what we’ve been doing (I’ll be updating my curriculum page soon…hopefully this weekend):

07.12.13 Collage

We’re finishing up Paths of Exploration in our Trail Guide to Learning studies. We’ll be finished with it by Christmas and will start the next book in the series, Journeys to the Ancient World.

Although TGLS is an all-inclusive curriculum, we’re supplementing a few things. We’re adding in Write Shop and All About Spelling because Josh, with his dyslexia, needs more explicit writing and spelling instruction.

We’re also giving Apologia science another try (it wasn’t a good fit for Brianna) because Josh will be in high school before the high school level volumes of TGLS are published. If he chooses to go to college in Georgia, he’ll need four lab-based sciences. I want to make sure he gets those because that’s an area in which we got behind with Brianna.

With that in mind, we’re going to see how Apologia goes for Josh (and Megan) this year with some modifications (such as listening the the audio version of the book and doing science as a family, rather than independently). That way, we’ll know if we need to change before high school without getting behind.

apologia science

So far, it’s been great. The kids and I really enjoyed the experiments we did today. If you’re using Apologia General Science (or any Apologia science), DonnaYoung.org has some great resources.

We’re using those linked under “A Detailed Lesson Plan by Becca.” They’re great! There are worksheets available for each day that we’re printing out and adding to the kids’ binders. (More on that when I update my curriculum page.)

We’re also really enjoying the worldview study curriculum from Brimwood Press. It’s interesting, well-written, and hands-on – my kind of stuff. (More on that when I update the curriculum page, too, and look for a review in August.)

worldview curriculum

And, we’re enjoying another art project from See the Light. I really like this one because it gave me an excuse to go buy some beautiful artificial sunflowers. {grin}

In other news, this week Brianna and I met with a friend who tutors math (who just so happens to be the “Julie” I mentioned recently as one of the public school moms who is among my biggest homeschool supporters). That went really well and Brianna and I are both very excited about it.

Julie was able to explain some things Brianna has been having trouble with in a way that made sense. Always a good thing. They’re going to be meeting together in the next few weeks in order to help Brianna finish up some of those credits she’s lacking.

I love being able to turn that over to someone else for a few reasons:

1) Julie teaches high school math, so she understands it much better than I do. Even if I were to take the time to try to understand it, that would take much longer than just letting Julie explain it.

2) Julie said she always explains at least two different ways to work a problem so that students can do whichever way works best for them. That’s great for a right-brained kid who thinks about things differently! Brianna has already told me about one thing that Julie showed her that made so much more sense to her than the way her math program explained it.

3) Brianna won’t argue with Julie. If you have a teenager, that statement is totally self-explanatory.

So, a friend who can help Brianna understand her math, the curriculum that we already love, science that is going well with lesson plans that someone else created so that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel have all combined to make this an excellent homeschool week.

One last thing: I want to share a quick deal with you before I close. It ends today, so hurry! Vistaprint is offering custom t-shirts for only $6 with free shipping! For a long, long time, I’ve wanted a shirt that says, “This reminds me of a Friends episode” because I say that all. the. time.

Really. Ask my husband and kids. They groan and roll their eyes just about every time I say it.

Anyway, I wanted the shirt, but not bad enough to pay $20+ dollars for one. Vistaprint has, literally, thousands of designs to choose from. It took me less than two minutes to design my shirt once I chose a template (search “text only” if you have specific text in mind). Now, it’s on it’s way for only $9 (it was $3 more because I wanted women’s cut, but men’s and kids’ shirts are only $6).

If you’ve been wanting some custom shirts just for fun or for a family event (like a reunion), click the image below before the day is over and get a great deal!


That’s it for me. Have a great weekend!

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  1. Experience is a wonderful thing and it must feel good to be able to apply what you learnt with Brianna to your younger two. As a mum with three older ones the same age, it is a constant battle against the worry I’m doing enough, or the right kind of enough. I’m sure it will be easier with my younger two.
    So glad you all enjoyed your first week back!

    1. Yes. I hate that Brianna had to be the poor guinea pig, but I definitely think things are going to go more smoothly the second time around. 🙂

  2. I remember doing that density experiment a couple of years ago with my oldest. I’ve been thinking about Write shop for him this year (Enter 9th). Looks like you’re off to a good start! Kudos to you for getting started now. I’m busy obsessing about next and picking up the last odds and ends we need for curriculum.

    1. We all thought the density experiment was cool. We’ve only tried Apologia biology, so this is a first for us. So far, so good!

    1. Yes, I am perfectly happy to let someone else do the hard part. 😉 I paid for lesson plans when we did biology because I liked them better than the ones that were available at Donna Young’s site at the time (and would gladly pay for the ones I’m using now because they’re so well done). I hope the lady who did the general science lesson plans/work sheets that we’re using has kids a few years older than mine who went with Apologia all the way through high school. {big grin}

  3. We started school this week too! I think some people around think we are crazy to start in July but I love being able to be finished by May when it’s cooler outside and having the days to do other things throughout the year when we want too. Hope you have a great year and thanks for the linkup!

  4. Thanks for the t-shirt info! I don’t know if I’ll get any but, on that note, my husband and I were at a yard sale today and my husband saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said, “I’m silently correcting your grammar.” Hahah!

    1. Unfortunately, the t-shirt offer has expired already…but I would totally make one like your husband saw today. That’s hilarious!

  5. It’s great to hear that you had a successful first week back! We still loosely follow the public school year. I would love to school year-round, but living in a neighborhood with many publicly schooled kids, I think my kids would not like that! We will start the year earlier this year though. Coincidentally, our local public school is starting a new annual schedule and will begin earlier, too.

    Anyway, I’ve gotten some useful info on Donna Young’s site, too, but never looked at the worksheets for the Apologia General Science. We started using that book last year, but quickly stopped. It was just too much. I would like to give it another try, so I’ll definitely look into the worksheets. 🙂

    I’ve looked into the art program before too, but kind of forgot about it. That’s something else I’ll be looking at again. Sometimes, I think I should just order the stuff right off rather than spend so much time trying to make decisions, only to not make any decisions at all and not getting anything. Can you relate?!!

    Cheers to a great week! Hope it continues! 🙂

  6. Hi Kris,

    I stumbled upon your blog in a frantic search for any help with Apologia General science. Thank you so much for sharing the detailed lesson plans by Becca. My ds is the 1st born so he’s a huge learning curve. I struggle with the “am I doing enough or am I a good enough teacher” syndrome:) You have eased some of my personal concerns and I appreciate it immensely:))

    1. I understand the firstborn learning curve. I’m feeling much more confident thinking about homeschooling high school again next year with my middle child. 🙂 Those lessons plans are great! I would totally pay that woman to write them up for the other science books.

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