Posts Tagged ‘teacher’

Arizona History has Ended. Period.

May 20, 2011

This week brought the close of my Arizona History class …. I’m happy and sad.  Teaching this class was the most fun of all the classes I’ve ever taught.  Let’s face it, Arizona History is a small blip on any timeline of history… we’re not even 100 years old until next Valentine’s Day!  So I was forced into my creative mode to keep these high schoolers learning!  We only had 18 classes and four of those were field trip days!  That is my kind of learning!

On Monday I finished writing the final exam and on Tuesday I packed all of my resources into a box… headed for the garage.  Yesterday was the last class and today I sat down and made a note to myself of all the things I need to fix and change when I teach it again in four years. Wondering all the while, why am I such a history-loving nerd???

This is a huge relief to not have any student papers sitting on my desk, staring at me, whilst awaiting grades.  I know how important it is for students to learn how to research and write a report, but by golly, I hate marking them!  It doesn’t even take that long, but I have a pre-report-grading phobia that causes me to procrastinate like my own high school days of old.

History is always more interesting when you can dig up the funny pictures and weird facts.  Here are just a few for your own Arizona-History-loving-heart: We studied two very influential men to Arizona… each one only had one arm.  Seriously, what other state can boast about that??  And where else can you find small towns with names like Bisbee, Bumble Bee, Globe, Tombstone, and Strawberry?  I know I’m probably underwhelming you, so I’ll end with my favorite picture… of my favorite General from the Civil War…. Gen. George Crook.  Imagine how seriously you would be taken sporting a beard like this?!?

BAM!  Believe it!

Tomorrow School Starts

August 29, 2010

The first thing the pupils will be participating in here at L.A.K.E. Academy is Lost and Found.  (Crosby homeschool… LAKE is spelled by the first letters of my kids’ names.)  I hear they have Lost and Found at schools throughout the United States and Canada, so I thought we would try it here too.  It’s more of a participatory activity here…. not like at schools where it’s a last resort event.  We are STARTING with Lost and Found. 

First we’re going to find our school books that were LOST all summer.  Then we’re going to look through them until the place where we last worked is FOUND! This may seem silly and trivial to those who send their children to classrooms where organized teachers work their wonders…. but here at the LAKE, it’s serious business.  Many prayers are sent heavenward by the pupils in hopes that certain books will never be located.  My youngest dislikes math.  My middle dislikes spelling.  My eldest dislikes history.  The teacher dislikes complainers.  It’s the circle of homeschool life.  Round and round we go.

After we finish Lost and Found, we’ll have recess and lunch and recess.  Then we’ll do geography (play Ticket to Ride) and then sociology mixed with economics (play Settlers of Catan) then we’ll have third recess.  We might set up the boys’ binders…. but that’s only if we get to it before fourth recess.  We’ll see.

AND… the kid’s favorite part of the new school year…. the annual photo in front of the schoolhouse house. (That picture was taken in 2005!) Their smiles get more mischievous as the years go on.  This will be YEAR TEN!!!!  I can hardly believe it. 

Let’s roll!

School Starts Today…..bahahahahahahah!

August 16, 2010

Yes, that was my sinister laugh. You see, we homeschool.  We don’t start today….but the rest of the kids who live in Phoenix do.  It’s 9:23 am and two of my three kids are still asleep…. happily dreaming of sugar plums and their favorite mother/teacher who doesn’t want to start school until September.  We are in a co-op for the boys that starts on the 31st.  So I guess we will be starting in August…. barely.  We’re studying Africa for four months.  Should prove entertaining.

My junior in high school starts this Thursday with one class, Economics (only on Thursdays).  That gets her warmed up for next week, when she starts Spanish 2 (only on Tuesdays). THEN the following week she starts Chemistry (only on Tuesdays, too.)  So she’s slowly starting her third year of high school….. not the cannon-ball style… the wade-in-slowly-while-you-get-used-to-the-water style.  Algebra is an ongoing force in her life.  And I still need to pick an English course for us to do together!  Yikes! (Hey, I have two more weeks!)

I’m not ready for school to start.  Usually by now (two weeks and counting down) I am full-blown into planning and gathering needed supplies and books.  Not this year.  I’m terribly distracted by our coming Colombian princess.  I knew I needed to finish her room before school started… and I finished last night!  Whooo HOoooo!  I asked the boys what they thought of starting school in November.  They smiled and thought it was my most brilliant idea EVER!  But it was a cruel joke.  My heart is in Colombia…. not Africa.  What doesn’t help my motivation is that we will travel to Colombia during the school year… which will wipe out about six weeks of school when my mind is mush.  I always thought I would have the kids bring at least math with them to Colombia.  I’m not thinking that anymore.  Spanish immersion is enough.


July 7, 2010

Today I read on a Konos loop that History of the World 3 will be available this month as an online download.  It makes me sad.  I hoped and prayed for several years that it would be available for this coming school year RIGHT when we needed it.  And it is.  My high schooler has done HOW1 (Ancient History – Founding of Rome) and HOW2 (Medieval World) ….. then when early Spring rolled around and we were making class decisions for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year, I realized that my Arizonan children do not need HOW3, or more specifically, they do need certain history requirements that don’t include four successive years of world history.  The gap in their education that I have feared for nine long homeschooling years has finally surfaced….. Renaissance, Reformation and Revolution.  Oh well. 

My kids will be taking Government and the History of Arizona for their junior year of high school.  We found a YMCA government class where the kids actually participate in AZ government.  Sweet!  And I plan to teach History of AZ.  Both are one semester (although we’ll have to dig deep to come up with a semester worth of AZ history…. the baby state)… and necessary…… buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I’ve heard that HOW3 is Jessica Hulcy’s best work.  Her magnum opus.  I’m tempted to get it just to use it as a literature course.  The books chosen for all of HOW are amazing, giving the student a well-rounded view of history with samplings from so many great works… the classics…. the books I never read in high school, let alone in college.  Books that my husband has never heard of…. but I digress.

For the school year 2011-2012 we will be doing HOW4 – American History…. and get this…. I’ll have TWO high schoolers!!!  Where, oh where, has the time gone????  Weren’t they 7, 4 and 2 just last week when we started homeschooling?  Back in the good old days when it seemed like reading was going to be the missing gap.  Oh, we’ve come a long way, baby.

A Reader Will Read No Matter What!

May 27, 2010

I have not been feeling well for over a week now… stiffly nose, sore throat, annoying cough, weariness and general lethargy.  If that isn’t bad news on its own, I don’t have a quality piece of literature to take me away from the here and now!  Of course, I’m still reading, but nothing that grabs my interest and sucks me in while hours dissipate.  Oh, for an orphan story of rags to royalty and lost parents to found love…. on the docks in a new country…. ….. …. 

As you may or may not know, I’ll be teaching History of Arizona next school year and I’m searching for biographies for the high schoolers to report on.  I proof them all first, so as not to assign steamy wagon stories of lust gone bad on the lonely, dusty trail in the desert.  I’m currently speed reading These Is My Words, a collection of diary entries from a pioneer woman.  Thez onlee sew much badd gramer n spellin’ I ken tak in won sittin’.  Good grief.  The stories are thought provoking, but as a English-loving teacher, I don’t think I can assign this book in its entirty to anyone who may mention my name in association with the book.  Maybe I’ll read excerpts to the class for brainstorming journal writing ideas. 

Bulletproof George Washington is the other book I’m making my way through.  It’s a short read and if I was not incapacitated it would sincerely be an hour-long at most.  But I’m on day three.  I have to put the book down to blow my nose…. I may have above average manual dexterity, but I cannot blow my nose singlehandedly.  History books of REAL history that has been systematically removed from government text books and encyclopedias makes me want to shout for joy… and proclaim the truth from the roof top.   (I’m not sure I could get up on our roof, however….)  This book is written from five or six different sources with genuine stories of God’s hand of guidance and protection on our country’s first President. And God, himself, is even mentioned in the pages for all to see!   The book discusses daily happenings in young George’s life that are not common knowledge thanks to our liberal school systems. My kids will be reading this when we study American History… next school year… 2011-2012.

My name is at the top of the Reserved list at the library for two new books that are on order…. one from one of my favorite authors, Allison Pittman titled The Bridegrooms.  I’ve read everything Ms. Pittman has published and have not been disappointed yet.  Her books make me giggle out loud…. GOL.  The other is Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers.  Francine has caught and held my interest in the past, but has also let me down a few times…. I’m hoping with all hope for Her Mother’s Hope to be a keeper.  I pray at least one of these comes in before we head away on a two-week road trip!


And can I just make a plug for Cepocal?  It is by far the best cough drop on the market!  Really!

School Starts in the Morning! Aaaack!

August 23, 2009


This is a picture of me a few years back, teaching Keeve at the chalkboard.  OK, back to reality.  I’m so thankful to be able to teach my kids at home.  I love it.  I love them.  I love being at home. I love learning.  I love watching them learn.  It’s the best.  I can’t imagine sending them away all day.  (I CAN imagine what I would do if they did go, but not the actual sending them part.)

However, school starts in the morning and I am nowhere near as ready as I’d like to be.  Oh well.  We’ll still take our first day of school picture on the front porch (in front of the school house.)  We need to clean out the boys’ binders from last year and test everyone to see how much smarts seeped out over summer.  There won’t be a general cleaning of the bookshelf this year.  First time in 9 years.   Again, oh well.  Worse things could happen….  and probably have.

Yes, this is year number NINE!  Wow!  We have lots of field trips lined up already for the boys with a great group of families.  That is new and exciting.  We are starting a new math program, VideoText, for Larisa and possibly Austin… that is ALWAYS fun with a capital F.  AND we’re starting with breakfast at the table together each morning.  You’re probably asking yourself, where did they eat before?  We didn’t all sit together.  We slipped in and out of the kitchen chairs at our convenience all before 9:00 a.m. Not no more.  (Ain’t that great grammar!?) 

I bought a Christian worldview curriculum, Thinking Like a Christian, that we will be going through together to figure out what we believe and why.  It’ll be good.  I promise.  Right after the Wheaties.

We are also ALL taking Spanish(except the principal.)  Watch, right when I get all these great ideas rolling along merrily, we’ll get our referral call and all my planning will be blown to bits.  But that’s ok with me!  Bring it on!

Happy schooling, for those schooling!

Studying the Hebrews

March 4, 2009

There are three homeschool high schoolers who are digging their way through Ancient History with me on Tuesday mornings.  I give them a Weekly News sheet that gives the details of our study for the coming week to keep them on course and make sure they are using both sides of their brains.  Immediately upon getting the Weekly News in their hot little hands, their beady little eyes go directly to the section titled ‘What We’ll Do Next Week.’  I enjoy making their lives interesting so I put little hints in there like “bring your dancing shoes” and “wear grubby clothes” and “bring sunscreen.”  I do it for my own entertainment… and it works.  I smile every week when they read it and ask what it means.

They are strong.  They are brave.  They are smart.  And it was all put to a test this week as we learned about when the Hebrews split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah.  During this time, for your historical information, the Children of Israel built walls around their cities to fortify them.  What better way to learn about building walls…. than to build a wall???  My thoughts exactly! 

Wandering around our yard, I couldn’t find a place for a block wall flowerbed that didn’t require major sprinkler line running.  So I phoned my parents and asked it they needed a block wall.  Well, boy howdy!  They sure did!  Bring on the cinder blocks and the mortar.  Here I give you a photo essay of the HOW Wall.  (History Of the World = HOW) 

Here is my daughter sifting dirt while the men look on…… (hmmmm).


Again, the GIRL using the heavy tramping device that probably has an appropriate name, but I don’t know what it is. Good posture!


They mixed the mortar.


They laid the blocks.


They leveled every single block side-to-side, front-to-back, and vertically.


This is Mortar Man Matt.  He perfected the art of mortar patty-cake pancakes that could be easily rolled onto the tops of the blocks.


They even drove rebar (which stands for RE-enforcement-Bar) into the corner blocks.  Vocabulary and masonry all mixed into one delicious lesson.  Oh, that makes my motherly homeschooling heart pound with glee.


Ta-Da!  The 3 1/2 hour block wall flowerbed…. constructed by three 15 year olds.  My dad plans to put red brick along the top for a decorative edge.  Mom wouldn’t stand for open block holes…. heaven forbid.


I’m so glad these kids have the opportunity to learn life-skills outside of the classroom.  They laughed.  They played ti-tac-toe in the wet mortar.  They sprayed each other with the hose.  And they learned how easy/hard it is to lay block.  On the way home we passed a block wall that crossed about 12 backyards.  The kids were in awe of how long that must have taken to build!  Fine job, my pupils!

There’s Snow in them thar Hills

February 12, 2009


A rare sight for sure from our Phoenix, Arizona backyard.  We’ve had a cold snap of late, it was 38F yesterday morning when I awoke.  Freezing for here!  These were the temperatures we moved AWAY from.  I’m not trying to illicit sympathy from those in frigid winter conditions.  I’ve heard our cousins in Winnipeg haven’t had school this week, as the city is covered in ice. 

I remember those days in northern Alberta when I would scrape the ice off the kitchen window in the morning in order to view the thermometer on the porch…. hoping for -37C… and no school!  I always hated -35C and -36C… it just wasn’t fair.

One cold school day when I was teaching kindergarten in LaCrete, Alberta, I left for school in freezing weather.  During the day, the sun came out, warmed things up and the meltdown started.  By the time I came home, however, it had dropped below freezing again.  I arrived home to find our screen door covered in ice.  Using the snow shovel, I pounded on the ice until I broke through and could open the door.

I told that little story to say that I DON”T MISS IT AT ALL.  :o  I’m sorry if you live under a sheet of ice at the moment.  Know that you are welcome in sunny Arizona!

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

November 21, 2008


It is in view.  Tonight we have our homeschool Egyptian Night of Phood, Phun and Pharaohs.  Tomorrow there will be exhilarating photos of costumage, international eats and happy kids.  Y’all come back now, ya hear! Then we don’t start another unit until January.  It is blessed relief.  Not that I don’t enjoy the units, I really do.  BUT, come the end of November and looking to the next page on the calendar, it is always a relief to have a lighter teaching load.  We still do the basics (reading, math, spelling, grammar and writing) but not the in depth studies involving science, history, geography, etc.

I love being able to set our own pace for studying.  Arizona is one of the best states to be in if you are a homeschooling family.  There aren’t a lot of restrictions and that proves beneficial to those of us who seriously take teaching the kids.  There are many choices of support groups to join for the extras like field trips, socials, outreach opportunities, and the like.  This is our first year with Keys of Arizona, a group that meets in a church twice a week and offers classes that moms might not be able to teach.  There is everything from lab sciences, higher math, languages, writing, music to Scottish dancing.  You never know when that might come in handy!

Anyway, tomorrow morning a smile will be on this face as I awake to less responsibility and visions of festive activities in store for the next several weeks…. gingerbread men, dipped pretzels, hand-cut snowflakes, gifts-in-a-jar, family games and caroling.  Yippy Skippy!