Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Diving Back In

Yesterday was our first day of both our elementary morning co-op, as well as Rivendell.  I think we were all not really ready to get back, but here we are--another year is starting! 

I keep telling myself that this year can not possibly be as stressful as last year.  I'm not pregnant, and we're not doing AP chemistry.  But still--last year was sooooo busy and stressful.  I'm not convincing myself, LOL.  I didn't even teach chemistry yesterday!  The boys just read the first chapter on their own!  See-easier already!  Also, the boys are going to be watching video lectures from DIVE, so I will mainly be facilitating labs and answering questions, utilizing that newly popular concept of the "flipped classroom".  Ha--we homeschoolers used that even before it was cool!  We will be prepping for the SAT II chemistry subject test, so I am going to be doing a lot of reviewing to keep the concepts fresh for the boys. 

Megan, our friend from church, is teaching literature/writing again for the high schoolers.  One of the books Nathan and Luke had to read over the summer was The Cherry Orchard, by Chekov.  They are not big fans of Russian authors, LOL, but they do enjoy discussing literature with Megan and the others!

Christine is finally teaching what she knows--economics!  She's teaching AP Microeconomics this year, and hopefully AP Macroeconomics next year.  Her first class got rave reviews from Nathan and Luke, who think it will be really fun and interesting.

Luke is taking Spanish III from Neissy, like Nathan did last year, and Nathan is FINALLY done with languages!  He is most happy about this!  Siri is teaching French II, but neither Nathan nor Luke are taking French.  We're going to start Caleb and Jonathan straight into French though, I think.  Siri can take them through AP French!

Due to some unexpected changes in Rivendell, Nathan and Luke will be trying out their first online class--US History with the Potters School.  We've heard nothing but good things about TPS classes, so hopefully this will be a good experience!  I'm a bit worried about the technical aspects.  Next Wednesday is their first class, so we'll see how it goes . . . 

Nathan is also taking AP US Government and Politics on his own.  I submitted the syllabus, and I planned out all the projects, but I'm not really teaching it, per se.  I've heard it is one of the easier APs to self-study, so we'll see if that is accurate for us!

I'm also "facilitating" a classical astronomy class this year using Jay Ryan's Signs and Seasons.  There is a small textbook, but most of the program is field exercises, where you really become familiar with astronomy you can see with your naked eye--what everyone used to know, like in Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.  I think and hope it will be a practical and interesting course.  I planned out a basic schedule of what exercises to do each month.  I just hope the weather cooperates, and we have enough clear nights!  Unfortunately we live in an area with an obscene amount of light pollution, so some things are going to be very difficult to see.

Going back to Rivendell classes, I'm again doing memory work for the younger kids in the afternoon--the last year where I actually had to come with it all, since we're working on a 4 year cycle!  Next year I'll tweak year 1's stuff, but I won't be starting from scratch!  We'll be memorizing Phil. 2:1-18 and 4:4-14, and we'll be reviewing the timeline, kings and queens of England, and US presidents, as well as learning the books of the Bible.  Science facts are from chemistry, as well as some earth and space science mixed in, since those never get covered.  For poems, we'll memorize "In Flanders Fields", "A Visit From St. Nicholas", "Jabberwocky", "A New Colossus", and "High Flight".

Another lady from our church has joined, along with her 3 boys, and Michele is taking over the 5th/6th grade literature/writing class that Theresa did for us our very first year.  I was listening to her first class yesterday, and I can tell she is going to do a fantastic job!  They are starting out with From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which was one of my favorite books when I was a girl!  I still remember my wonderful 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Freeman, reading it out loud after lunch.

One very exciting thing about this new year is we got Rivendell t-shirts!  Christine found this cool cross with crossed swords image online, and we picked the motto of "Omnia ad Dei Gloriam" ("All things for the glory of God"), and of course we have our theme verse of Prov. 27:17.  They turned out so well, and we got an AMAZING deal from, using a groupon deal, as well as getting 50% off and free shipping by entering the site from   Now we need to get some field trips scheduled! 
So the new year has started . . . I'm teaching at TNT for the next 2 weeks, so I'll have to teach chemistry in the afternoon, then go straight into memory work.  Those will be tiring days, but at least I'll get the TNT teaching out of the way early this year.  And my unit doesn't have a 5th week activity!  Woo-hoo!  We're relying on the Lord for strength to get us through another year.  He was so faithful to us last year!

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