Darth Vader: “What is thy bidding, my master?”
Emperor: “There is a great disturbance in the Force.”
Darth Vader: “I have felt it.”
Emperor: “We have a new enemy, Luke Skywalker.”
Darth Vader: “Yes, my master.”
Emperor: “He could destroy us.”
Darth Vader: “He’s just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.”
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Ah, but the Emperor knew what Darth Vader had not yet fully begun to grasp. The acquisition of knowledge is a powerful ally against the Dark Side of life.
Padawan Learner’s first year of high school is moving along, and I find that I need to cull the homeschooling shelves again. That can only mean one thing, a few more additions to the Watto’s Junk Shop page. If you see anything you’d like to claim, please just leave me a comment on that page and I’ll forward it to you promptly.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have received cheap and free curriculum from other homeschoolers over the years, and I’m glad to keep the generousity humming along. With this many books involved, a little help with shipping would be appreciated – if you can swing it. If you’re in a bit of a tight spot though, just let me know. I’ve been in that boat before and remember the relief that came when our curriculum needs fell into place.
Note: Comments have been re-opened on that page. Sorry for the mix-up.
JerJerrod: “I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.”
Darth Vader: “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.”
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
If any of you are using or considering either the Biology: Visualizing Life or Prentice Hall Physical Science: Concepts in Action With Earth and Space Science (with or without the Earth and Space Science component) textbooks, you might be interested in reading further. If not, I’ll turn my head while you click the hateful X in the corner… *sniff*
I love science and find it fascinating, but it’s not my background (“Boys and girls, can you spell English and Counseling Degrees?”) so I’m scouring the Internet daily for relevent materials to clarify these topics for Padawan Learner. It occurred to me that, since I’m keeping a log of our daily lessons online at The Jedi Academy so PL can start work independently as needed and for future transcript needs, there might be others who would be interested in following along as well – and saving themselves the effort (and occassional hair-pulling) of duplication.
Generally, I try to find materials and videos online, but I also include a few Netflix movies. Those resources fall more frequently in the History category, but there are a few science-related ones that we’ve put in our queue. They could, perhaps, be found through your local library, or simply ignored, depending on the library system’s depth and breadth.
This should also go a long way toward explaining why things have been so quiet here lately. I’m a rather poor multi-tasker.
So… if you’re interested, you’re welcome to follow along – either this year or in the future. To science!
“Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing. How embarrassing.” – Yoda, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
I went looking for a website today in the bowels of my bookmarks file. Oh, the tragedy.
There are approximately 9 trillion bookmarks in there because, frankly, there is just too much great stuff out there on the interwebs for a homeschooling mom to pass up. Is there a diagnosis for Bookmark Fever? And if so, is there a cure? To grab a few without looking I get…
You know how it is, I could go on and on. But, yes. I did eventually find that file for which I was looking. It was right there between The Great Magnet, the Earth and The Great Plant Escape. It became obvious as I was hunting around that PL has outgrown some of these bookmarks or they are simply no longer needed, so it looks like a little bookmark weeding is in order.
C-3PO: ”His high exaltedness, the Great Jabba the Hutt, has decreed that you are to be terminated immediately.”
Han Solo: ”Good, I hate long waits.”
C-3PO: ”You will therefore be taken to the Dune Sea, and cast into the pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlaac.”
Han Solo: ”Doesn’t sound so bad.”
C-3PO: ”In his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.”
Han Solo: ”On second thought, let’s pass on that, huh?”
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
Waiting is painful to me. Waiting for homeschooling to start each year is doubly painful. Toss in a new style of homeschooling – math, writing and history/science lessons in the morning and revolving topical lessons in the afternoons – and you’ve got a recipe for waiting disaster.
This is because I’m a planner by nature, no doubt I was born with a schedule book in one hand and a freshly sharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencil in the other. (My mother must have been in agony.) If given too much free time, I begin to “tweak” the homeschool lesson plan ad nauseum.
- Oh, this looks good. Add that in.
- Really can’t ignore that, it’s so interesting. Add that in.
- I never knew the library had so much on this topic. Add that in.
- Well, this exhibit just sounds fabulous. Add that in.
You get the idea. Before too long, I’ve got so much scheduled that Dad Windu and I would have to tag team lessons just to get any sleep. As for Padawan Learner, he’d get no sleep at all – let alone time for eating, playing, or taking a crap. On the flip side, his room would no doubt stay much neater.
I noticed early last week that I was moving into crazy over planning mode, so I took drastic measures. I walked to the library and checked out every last Agatha Christie mystery that I hadn’t read yet. I have a goodly stack (arranged by order of publication because, yes, I am that tightly wound thank.you.very.much) and have been working my way through them at a pretty good clip.
PL expressed concern at first about me reading so much, so feverishly, until I explained my reasoning. He has been almost throwing books at me now whenever I get within 20 pages of a book ending. “Keep reading, Mom.”
“Pass on what you have learned, Luke.” – Yoda, Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
I’ve been reading Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America by Jay Parini and I’m finding it to be quite an interesting look at both our nation’s history and the role that reading has played in our national consciousness. Dad Windu has also picked it up and is in ever-present danger of over-taking my bookmark. At this point, I’m planning to require highly recommend that Padawan Learner read this book along with the books it references.
“Don’t worry. The Force will guide us.” - Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
Bookkeeping would probably have been a perfect fit for me. I like column A and column B to line up in neat little rows, with matching totals at the end. I enjoy doing our taxes. Planning our annual budget is relaxing for me. Here’s the total minimum income. Here’s the annualized, regular expenses. Here’s what we can reasonably expect to spend in the following categories, based on the past several years’ average. Here’s what we must put away in various savings categories. And the rest is gravy (sometimes a pretty watery gravy, but still gravy). Ta Da. I stand with arms upraised in victory and all around me cheer.
Then again, when I travel or have time to just relax on a weekend, I like to go into things only minimally planned. I hope we do these things this weekend. We should try to see that while we’re here. There’s so many interesting things in this town, I wonder what’s close to our hotel?
Unfortunately, I sometimes try to force a bookkeeping mentality too firmly onto our homeschooling journey. Give me an annual planning book and a dozen, sharp No. 2 pencils and I become a methodical, planning machine. The Schedule, developed in late spring, decends into a mathematical formula. There are 129 lessons and 31 quizzes; that’s 3.7 math lessons and 1 quiz a week to finish on time. One group of vocab words a week to finish on time. Forty-five pages a day in Robinson Crusoe to finish on time. One drawing lesson, three times a week, to finish on time.
On time, on time, on time. It is a haunting refrain that begins to lull me to sleep each fall. I become the White Rabbit who appears muttering, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” The Schedule is in ever present danger of dominating our homeschool life. It’s written down on orderly blocks in My Planner. It’s The Schedule. Of course we must finish this lesson today, it’s on The Schedule!
Yes, I struggle with my natural planner personality and have to actively remember not to only have “output-focused” days. How many pages were written? How many problems worked out? How many minutes practiced? The Schedule gremlins whisper cloyingly.
Get this done.
Move onto those.
Finish before lunch.
Don’t bother with that, it’ll take too much time.
Put it away.
Fight, fight, fight.
I’m making myself let go, albeit slowly, of the “and onto the next thing” mentality. I am striving to maintain the real goal of a few things done well each day, rather than several things marginally. What’s that line about “the sins of the fathers”? I’m sure any theologian worth his salt would say that it applies to mothers too. What’s a secular equivalent? Monkey see, monkey do? That sure is what it seems like right now. Padawan Learner has developed a real clock focus since we started back up this fall, to the detriment of his enjoyment and (sometimes) his actual learning of the material he’s using. Thankfully, I’m getting better at catching myself and at noticing when he starts to put The Schedule ahead of actually learning anything too.
Maybe, instead of playing music, my alarm clock should say, “Your planner is a great tool, but it’s only a tool.” No public or private school teacher, nor any homeschooling mom or dad, has ever stayed perfectly on schedule. Kids get sick. Adults get sick. Mishaps happen. Relatives arrive. Stuff comes up. Learning is slower than you thought it would be. Learning is faster than you ever thought possible. The materials you spent so much time researching are wholly over their heads, despised or woefully inadequate. The project you just knew was going to be hit holds less enthusiasm than a teenage girl’s, “What.ev.er.” Life happens whether we plan for it or not.
Ultimately, I believe that simply by lovingly and consistantly doing whatever I can to help Padawan Learner learn and love to learn, he will still learn more than if he was one of 25 kids in a classroom dictated by everyone else’s pace, a few kids needs and high-stakes testing. I believe that would be the case even if I chucked it all and returned to complete and total child-led unschooling. Play. Build. Read aloud as long as he’ll let us. He would still learn a ton, but probably not sentence diagramming or Latin.