Posts Tagged ‘Swallows and Amazons’

18 More Days!

April 19, 2010

Of homeschooling for the year!  Wahoooo!  I do not understand the folks that homeschool year round. At all.  My happiest days of the year are when my job for the past nine months has come to a close…. End of May, June, July and half of August!  Freedom!  This is the first summer, however, that some summer school will be occurring for two of my three pupils.  One just didn’t get her act together to start Algebra when she should have…. and the other needs some remedial spelling work.  Come to think of it, my third pupil could use some review on multiplication tables to speed up the math process.  But still, I don’t have to wake up at a certain time and schedules are optional.  Ok, Ok, those who know me well are laughing loudly and saying, “She doesn’t wake up at a certain time now!”  It’s kind of true, but not entirely.  We almost always get school rolling before 10 a.m.  Stop gaffawing.  That means we had a hearty breakfast and the dishes are washed and put away…. we are all dressed (most days) …. the chores are done and some piano lessons have been played.  10:00 a.m. means we are all sitting at the kitchen table talking about the same subject together.

Today I tested the boys on the spelling for the year.  They both improved over a full year’s worth in eight months.  That is great!  But we still need to keep at ‘er for a bit longer.  Spelling is definitely a born skill.  Some have it and some do not.  Those who do not have a fairly good chance of improving their scores by rote memorization and rule learning…. but then again, there is spell check and dictionaries and editors if need be.  I’m not the best speller on the planet and sadly, two of my children follow in my phootstepps.  Compensation skills can be taught!  And they are being taught.  I never knew any spelling rules except “i before e except after c or in sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh.”  When I started homeschooling I found out that rule only applies about 1/3 of the time.  Great!  I have since learned other rules like “G and J say their soft sounds when followed by i, e or y.”  That one works 99% of the time, but I never learned it in school!  That would have been beneficial to know! I could bore you with more, but I’ll spare you this once.

book cover of   Swallowdale    (Swallows and Amazons)  by  Arthur Ransome

Anywho, 18 more days to sit at the kitchen table and learn together.  I haven’t announced it yet, but I plan to read a few novels aloud this summer.  We read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome last school year and the boys loved it.  I discovered that it is the first in a series of ten or twelve books!  So we began Swallowdale this year, but have been distracted by scientists’ biographies like Pasteur, Lister and Jenner.  Also grand architectural stories of Wren, Pippo’s dome and St. Paul’s Cathedral.  There are simply too many books and too little time.

Where’s Waldo?

May 8, 2009

around the house boys 001

Since everyone was so excited about playing “Where’s Vanessa McCallie” and she is now found, I thought I would provide a Where’s Waldo picture for you today … for your viewing pleasure and detective skills practice.  Here is a photo of the NE corner of our backyard.  (Yes, the oleander needs a pruning….)  What you are trying to locate is TWO of my sons in the picture.  No, they were not hiding from their homeschool teacher.  They were on the back wall with binoculars trying to see where a bunch of trucks were heading that just drove on the road behind the wall.  Behind our house is a canal and there is a place to drive along the top of it… and while homeschooling, 20-25 trucks went by.  This is highly unusual and not only set the dog in a panic, but the boys asked if they could go see what was up.  I suggested going upstairs and looking out the window.  But no!  Real explorers don’t do it the easy way… AND they use looking glasses and climb to higher places.

Recently I read Swallows and Amazons to the boys while we were studying ships and floating.  It is a lovely tale of a family of four children who talk their parents into letting them camp on an island in England by themselves while on summer holiday.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the story as it was filled with mystery, unusual vocabulary (ok, this interested me more than my sons), adventure, sailing and funny sayings.  There was a high place on the island for looking out and I’m sure this entered my daring sons’ minds this day behind the oleander bush.  I L-O-V-E reading good literature.


Good luck with Where’s Waldo. And there is no prize, just the internal satisfaction of locating missing children.