Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Japanese Exchange Students

We have the wonderful oppurtunity to host 2 Boys from Japan. They are here as part of a Homestay Program and are taking English/Culture classes. Here are some pictures of our Japense boys.

Friday, December 26, 2008

C&G's Syllabus

I did the other 2 before bed, but didn't post them last night. too tired. I still have few ideas for the Robotics Class. Brian will be helping with it, but I need some lesson ideas . Brian will be doing projects and Lego Mindtorms. The Lightwave annd Computer Programming will be totally NOT me. THe boys willl do a lot of indpendant and Brian will do someprogramming with them. I think I have the schedules in such a way I can get Ki started, leave him for 15 minutes or so to get Connor started on Robotics.- same with the afternoon classes. here are their schedules. You can compare the times to Ki's Syllabus posted last night.

Connor’s J-Term Syllabus 2009
Connor, you have chosen Light Wave and Robotics for your two J Term Classes. Dad is adding Computer Programming to the Light Wave Class.

9:15-10:15 Robotics
10:30-11:30 Robotics
11:30-12:30 is LUNCH.
12:30-1:30 LIGHTWAVE
1:45-2:45 LIGHTWAVE
Reading Done by 3:30 for Computer Time

DAYS OFF:Jan 16, Jan 19, ½ Day Jan 23, Jan 26
Tuesday PE Days:9:15-10:00 Robotics
10:15-11 Robotics
Go To PE~Jan 6 and 20 -we will come home after PE and Finish School (30 minutes more Robotics and 2 hours Lightwave)
Jan 13 and 27 -You can stay and play if you pre-arrange it.
5:50 on Tuesdays- Gymnastics

Gavin’s J-Term Syllabus 2009
Gavin, you have chosen Light Wave and Physics for your two J Term Classes. Dad is adding Computer Programming to the Light Wave Class.

9:00- Start your Physics. Do 2.5 hours by 11:30, taking breaks as you see fit.
11:30-12:30 is LUNCH.
12:30-1:30 LIGHTWAVE
1:45-3:15 LIGHTWAVE

DAYS OFF:Jan 16, Jan 19, ½ Day Jan 23, Jan 26

Tuesday PE Days:9:15- do at least 1.5 hours Physics by 11. If you can get all 2.5, that is great,
Go To PE~
Jan 6 and 20 -we will come home after PE and Finish School (remaining minutes more Physics if needed and 2 hours Lightwave)
Jan 13 and 27 -You can stay and play if you pre-arrange it.
5:50 on Tuesdays- Gymnastics

JAN 16-19 is a gaming Convention. Polycon- part of the Cal Poly Tech College engineering club. We'll be atending that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Looking Ahead---

I have been working on Ki's Syllabus. I wanted to have a Syllabus for J-Term to give each boy.
I just need to get Ki's Church History book from Amazzon so I can finish his planning and syllabus.

Here is what I have so far. I'll just add the Church History when I get the book.

Ki’s J-Term Syllabus January 2009
Ki, for J-Term you have Chosen Church History as your 2 hour class. For 2 of your 45 minutes classes you have chosen Peoples of the World and Theatre. In addition you will have 30 minutes of Daily Reading. I dropped math and extended your 2 chosen 30 minute classes to 45 minutes.

Here is our general daily schedule. (Subject to change as needed, but we’ll try to be consistent)

9:00-9:45 Church History
10:00-10:45 Church History
11-11:30 Church History
12:30-1:15 Peoples or Theatre
1:30-2:15 Theatre or Peoples
Reading Done by 3 for Computer Time

Jan 16, Jan 19, ½ Day Jan 23, Jan 26

Tuesday PE Days:
9:00-9:45 Church History
10:00-10:45 Church History
Jan 6 and 20 -we will come home after PE and Finish School
Jan 13 and 27 -You can stay and play if you pre-arrange it.
5:50 on Tuesdays- Gymnastics

Ki’s J-Term : SYLLABUS of Class by Weeks

Church History:
Peoples of the World: North America
Theatre: Introduction, Warm Up Exercises, Terms

Church History:
Peoples of the World: South America
Theatre: Improv, watch Danny Kaye, miming

Church History:
Peoples of the World: aSIA
Theatre: Set, Props, Costume

Church History:
Peoples of the World: finish Asia , Review, Make Meals
Theatre: History of Theatre, Practice our Skit, Famous actors and writers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I spent some time planning Ki’s Acting & Theatre class for J Term. The book I am using is an USBORNE book. http://www.amazon.com/Acting-Theatre-C-Evans/dp/0794522165

There is no way we can get through this in 30 minutes a day for 4 weeks. So I made 2 decisions. One is to drop math and extend both Theater and Culture by 15 minutes. Our classes never run on schedule and often go over anyway. The other is that I will just 4 topics from the book and we will do 1 of those each week and then if Ki enjoys it, we will continue the Acting & theatre class through out the next month or 20 until we are finished. But only 2-3 times a week.

I found a 2 person skit for Ki and me to do. I want him to rewrite it though. Using information and people he knows. http://www.buckskin.org/Resources/Fun/skits_2.htm it is # 49. Brain Shop. I’ll have it out the 2nd week sometime and we’ll discuss it and he can work on the rewrite over the next week.

Week 1 will be the basics and some terminology and some basic warm up exercises. Week 2 is improvisation and mime. Week 3 is set, props, costume. Week 4 we’ll rehearse his new skit, discuss set, props and costume for his skit, and talk about theatre history & important people.
I have a few activities planned and hope to get some fellow homeschoolers to help out with the Improv Exercises.

That’s all the planning I am doing for that class right now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Choice has been Made

I gave my kids choices for school. Gavin chose Physics and Lightwave(CAD modelling). Ki chose Church History, Theater and Peoples of the World (and wants to do cooking, too). Connor chose Robotics and Lightwave.(Lightwave being the Your Choice option) *These would be the only school classes the month of January)

I think that is a bit too single focused.Connor's defense: "It's just for 1 month and I'm going to do ONE job when I grow up (robotic engineering) so why do I need to other stuff?"

At first I thought I'd veto the Your Choice Connor made. I did specify it would need to be approved. But then I decided Connor is right. It is just one month and both classes he wants are for the career he wants- so why not? As the teacher I can add a little reading and history (or whatver else ) into Either one of those classes if I see fit.

So the Final Results of JTerm Class Choices are:
Gavin : Physics and Lightwave
Connor: Robotics and Lightwave
Ki David:Church History, Peoples of the World and Theater

Sunday, December 21, 2008

JTERM time plan and choices

I loved High School J TERM! I wished all high school could be like that. We just had 2 classes a day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. I felt like I learned more with a couple hours instead of taking 10 minutes to get the class ready, 10 review. 20 minutes new material and then 10 -15 minutes examples or seat work- then I had to switch and do it all with a different subject. I loved choosing my subjects and having the time to really get into the studies each class. (yes, some kids actually do go to school to learn and not to socialize....)This year my oldest child is in high school. I decided I wanted to try a J Term with him and my other 2 boys. Each at different intensity levels of course. (I love homeschooling my kids!)

So here is my Plan for Times.

Gavin will choose 2 classes to study for 2.5 hours a day (with breaks of course) and do 30 minutes math (Unless he chooses a math for one of the 2 long classes)

Connor (14 in January) will do 2 classes that are 2 hours each and 30 minutes math and maybe a 30 minute his choice)

Ki (12) will do 1 class that is 2 hours (wow, this could be a huge trial with his Sensory Issues, we'll just see how it flies), then 4 classes that are 30 minutes (1 math, 1 reading, the other two he'll choose from a list)

I like trying new ideas and then incorporating what works into our 'normal routine'

My List Of Class Options so far:
GAVIN: Physics, World History, HTML, Spanish, Astronomy, Econmics, Mythology, Yoour Choice (must be approved)

CONNOR: Zoology, General Science, Spanish, Sports, Jewish Holidays, Your Choice (must be appproved)

KI: choices for 1 hour class: Spanish, Theater, Church History, Peoples of the World, *NEED 1 MORE*
choices for 30 minute class (some overlap the 1 hour list): Peoples of the World, Mission Story Time, Zoology, Spanish, American Sign Language, NEED 1 or 2 more. some sort of history. Early American History maybe- or Medieval History. .... I dunno...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bacon in the Toaster Oven

I have been on the phone for almost 2 hours. all with different medical providers and to my insurance company 2-3 times- 2 different dentists, 2 different medical doctors......and I still have to call the Otolaryngologist (ENT). and I am DREADING that call. I am SO embarassed! I totally forgot about his last appointment b/c I forgot to put it on my calendar---- and 2 appointments before that I totally forgot!! this makes the 2nd time in 3 weeks I have totally spaced and forgot his ENT appointments!!!!I think I'll have some chamomile tea before I call.

Halfway into my phone calls I hear Connor YELL Gavin's name like he's mad, but Gavin's response was not one of fighting brothers- it sounded concerned- so I called to them to see if everything was fine. Connor said they were fiine, there was just a fire in the kitchen,. I hear commotion and ask Gavin if the fire is out yet and he said no- so I went to the kitchen to see how bad a fire it really was )notice- having 3 boys for 12 yrs I no longer run and jump at the first 'FIRE"- how sad)It was out by the time I got down the 6 steps and into the kitchen.Gavin had decided to cook bacon n the toaster oven. I made sure all boys knew exactly where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it...... (which I know I have pointed out before- but you know boys.."Huh? we have a fire extinguisher?" )

**OH- and I found out there is a difference between "Accepting our Insurance" and being an actual contracted provider! I asked the oral surgery place if they 'accept' our insurance and they said yes. when I called our insurance company they guy there said they are OUT OF NETWORK so the coverage will be less. I told him I had asked the Oral Surgery Office and they said they did accept our insurance- and he said to me that they do accept money from them (my insurance company), they are just not contracted providers. so next time I need to actuallly ask "Are you a contracted provider with my insurance Company?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What makes SCHOOL FUN?

Brian's parents have left. It was a nice visit. Sallie often has visitors. I don't know how she does it. Maybe it is something one gets used to. I am SO VERY VERY VERY TIRED from our week. Or maybe some people are cut out to handle it well and some just aren't and need more practice.

I did learn a few things. The most important is that we need more bath towels. We have just barely enough for the 5 of us. Which is fine for day-to-day living, but not good when there are guests. We were on the short end of towels when Dynasty was here, but I forget to get more for when Brian's parent's were here (that was actually 3 extra people since his Grandpa came, too). The week after Christmas we will have 2 students from Japan, so I guess I better go buy more towels.

Another thing I learned is that my pantry is poorly stocked and I am not good at having a week long menu with all needed items at the ready. Something else that I need to work on having in place. I think I need to plan 10 days of meals and then make sure I have everything I need... then I will have multiple options for meals if we need them. We just don't do well with having a week long menu and sticking to it, because we never know if we will be home for dinner or not. I get all defeated if I have a menu or schedule in place and then it doesn't pan out. This makes it easier to not have any plans OR menu or schedule at all...... but that leads to confusion and messes. I am doing better at having 'optional plans'; a list of 2-3 different schedules to choose from which will work that day.

I have found that I really enjoy hosting kids at our house. We had Manuel for 7 months and then when we moved here we had Dynasty for a week and I am really looking forward to having Kento and Yuji here from Japan. And I am already really bummed they are only going to be here 6 days and I really look forward to the next Student Exchange and hope it's 2-3 weeks at least!

Hosting Kids is one way we make school FUN! It's such a great opportunity and learning experience for us and the kids we have at our house. These are the kinds of things my kids will remember and learn life-long lessons from- not from reading a book on Honduras and writing a report or doing worksheets on Growing up in Japan. Plus, helping others and serving others always feels so good for everyone.

Gavin is doing work with HTML and webpage design. He has dabbled in it before. Brian met a friend at work that does Webpage Design as a side job/hobby and Brian plans on having Gavin be an apprentice. To learn about HTML/Web Design while helping out the business owner. I think It'll be great for Gavin and has the bonus of looking good on a High School Transcript. Gavin loves this type of thing. Yet another way to make learning fun!

Sometimes the best way to make school enjoyable is to make the TEACHER happy. Like the old Saying: "If mamma's not happy - NOBODY is happy!" One way I make sure my homeschool needs are met is to have some scheduled/ planned out events and classes. I am going to try a "J-Term" this January. When I was in High School we had J-Terms. During January we just took TWO classes. One was the 3 hours before lunch and the other was fort 3 hours after lunch. with breaks of course. I loved J-Term! My kids may or may not. I dunno. But it is something I want to try with them. So I will make a list of classes (things they enjoy/things I'd like them to get interested in learning) and have them choose 2 to do during January. I think I will have it set up that Ki spends 2 hours each day on each and Connor and Gavin will do 3 hours each subject each day. I like our 'Unschool' approach to life and learning, but I also need that occasional super scheduled time. It might be fun to have J-Term and I will plan a couple days during the month planned for just FUN outings!

Gavin and Connor both have Facebook Accounts now and have fun challenging each other to different things. All 3 boys play online multiplayer games. They are not as active as I'd like. I bought a Kids Yoga DVD for us to do together. I'll try to have Yoda Class on M/W/F I think. We also have been talking about getting 60 minutes of physical activity daily. I'd like to get Connor into some running. He likes to run and is kinda good at it. I'll look into what I can do there. Maybe have goals for him to reach or find other kids to run with him. I think we can use the track at the local community college.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Today I picked two avocados and placed them in the window sill to ripen.

The beds are ready for our guests. The towels have been washed. The floors swept.

Soksey decided he likes Ki's bed in our room and has been sleeping there most the day.

Brian's parents and grandfather arrive later today. Brian arrives later this evening; around midnight. My van needs a new battery. Yesterday while at the 2nd pet store looking for pinkies for Connor's snake, the van battery died. No lights had been left on or doors open or anything. It died under the same circumstances last week. twice. I didn't have my cell phone with me as it was home charging. Brian was in Colorado. It took an hour before I found someone to jumpstart the van battery. Then the darn snake didn't even eat!

I need to run to the Post Office to mail a Birthday Card. I'll atually bike, not run.

I'm getting excited about After Christmas. We will have 2 exchange students from Japan. Then it's a new year! My new calendar should be coming in the mail soon! We'll be starting new school session. That's always fun!!!


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