### Homeschool Update.

We've just finished The Odyssey, but will be doing some fun activities on this book in a bit. Emperor has been working and working on a blog post, but it's been hard going for him as I'm making him do most of his own typing. It's been almost two weeks since he posted. He loves putting things on the blog, but not the work that goes into it!!

We've started reading Pippi Longstocking. Pippi, as I remember her, lived in an attic with a suitcase full of money and dressed strangely. True, but what I forgot was the fact that she lied and behaved in a most unlady-like fashion quite often. But what would one expect from a child whose "mother is an angel and whose father is a cannibal king?" She's lifting bulls, horses and large boys off the ground with her superhuman strength and Emperor wants to know... is this a fiction or non-fiction story? Yes, he asked the same thing when we were reading The Odyssey. Just in case Zeus, Apollo and Athena are really real and Mom has been teaching him this "Jesus" instead all these years...

Science we've put off for this month so that we can get cracking on Social Studies, although we did read a fair bit about bats this month. We're seeing some improvement in knowing the names of the states. Both boys can now name over 20 of them each, but the spelling is rather... interesting. By the end of the year, I'm hoping for all fifty with capitals. That might be a bit ambitious if I want it all spelled correctly as well. I have one child with a very *interesting* way of spelling everything.

Math

We're back to working on what a decimal really means. That .1 is way more than .0099999 even if the 9's are usually bigger than the 1. I'm trying to tell the boys that it's just like dictionary work, place value is... you look at the first number and its "worth," then move to the second and so on to determine overall value when we want to know which is bigger. And another trick is to LINE UP the decimals. Write the numbers again carefully one over the other and see what you think.

We think we get it, and then we move on... and then the subject comes up again and we don't really have it. Meanwhile, the children forget other stuff they've learned. This is one of the reasons we've chosen a "spiral" curriculum, so that we go over the same concepts over and over and over. But it seems like a spiral to the pit o' hell sometimes. AAArgh! We just did that.... for a month... and you don't remember how to do it... AAArgh! Then... later... all of a sudden they understand. I couldn't tell you why. I've been teaching it forever. Sometimes I honestly think it's because the pressure is off and I've given up trying. Has that ever happened to anyone else??

English

We keep writing and revising, and learning spelling. I know over the long haul we are making great progress, but it is difficult to see day-to-day. The reading is becoming more fluent with both boys. Stay tuned to the kids' blogs for something fun in the next few days or so. It's an Art tie-in to social studies and reading.

### Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK.

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series.

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

### Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap!

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D!

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics:

### Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…