We started a few little things the first week of August and then Alex Rider went to the Northern Nevada Boy Scout Jamboree Thursday through Saturday (they were celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouting.) I also had a horrible bout with hay fever allergies, even causing me to miss some work (going in for about 4 hours/day instead of 8 for several days.) Alex Rider then came back on Saturday from the Jamboree, and it was his turn to be miserable! This is the second year in a row that he has been affected pretty severely by allergies in July/August. We have all started taking a tablespoon of raw local honey once/day to see if we can build up some resistance to the local allergies. My normally bad season doesn’t start until later August through October when the sagebrush starts blooming, so it’s a bit odd for me to be having problems this early in August. We got a pretty good rain shower that Sunday so we did get a little reprieve for a week or so. But we are still struggling with it off and on.
The next week, we added some more things to the schedule, though Mondays they are still going to Wild Island (water park with a bunch of other homeschoolers.) That will continue through Labor Day weekend, so basically they still get Mondays off until then. In the evenings, we started working on Italic “calligraphy” as a way to work on penmanship, since they don’t do much writing otherwise (most of their work is on the computer), and we focused on typing last year. I am doing it with them until I feel comfortable that they are working for form and neatness and not hurrying up to finish like they would if I had them doing it during the day on their own. We also started our evening read-alouds again as part of our new year’s curriculum. We will be focusing on the formation of the United States this year, studying the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, formation of the government, and then later in the year, covering the Civil War and the “wild west”. We feel that these topics have become even more important in our current political and social climate. While the boys may not totally understand how it all relates to current events, at least they will have a good foundation of how our country got started and the original intentions of our founding fathers. We will pepper this with family discussions of current news events as we go and help expand their thinking around these topics – as much as a 12-year-old can comprehend. This provides our history core around which our literature, composition, and geography revolve. We then will be adding my home-grown physics/astronomy course for science and some grammar and word study to the mix.
The third week, we added in reading and discussion of the languages arts books which for now focus on grammar and word roots/affixes. That went pretty well last week, though we are still trying to get into a good routine of finishing the day’s work on that day.
Friday night, I insisted that we have a family movie night and watch the coming-of-age movie “Empire of the Sun”. It is a highly-recommended movie for boys that includes history (the Japanese attack on Shanghai and its affect on the British living there), character development, and adolescence. The boys weren’t too thrilled the first hour of the movie but did admit that it got better later.
Next week, the boys and Dad are going to take the tent trailer up to a Thousand Trails campground in the Lake Tahoe area from Monday through Saturday. I will drive up Monday and Tuesday after work (going to work from there Tuesday and Wednesday morning), then stay home Wednesday night (I have a Boy Scout Parent meeting), then drive up Thursday after work and stay until Saturday. My company has added Friday of Labor Day Weekend as an additional day off! This summer has passed by so fast and we haven’t done any family camping at all! So we will finally get a mini-vacation out of this!
Never fear, though, we have many vacations scheduled for the next 10-12 months! We have not been able to take as many vacations as we have in the past with airfares rising as high as they are now and our lack of planning in advance. So we have all of this time at our timeshare exchange (RCI) that we are going to lose if we don’t use it. Thanks to The Dad, we now have a bunch of trips setup that are drive vacations. In October, it’s Yellowstone in autumn! Then in December, we will travel to the San Diego area and do the theme parks with the boys – mostly animal-based parks! At the end of January/beginning of February, the boys will be up at Incline Village hopefully getting the chance to do some snowboarding that week while I will commute back and forth to work from there – providing we don’t get a bad snowstorm that week, in which case some nights will be spent at home! In May, we will be heading up to Oregon where none of us has ever travelled! We will be on the Pacific Coast and get to see what the Northwest U.S. is like! And then in August we will travel to Calaveras County, CA to a lodge in the mountains and tour the old gold rush towns and possibly head down to Yosemite! We also want to make a trip to Cancun next year, but are trying to figure out when the best airfare prices will be to make it feasible! Apparently, you can’t plan for flights more than 6 months out! So I guess you could say we are making up for lost time! The problem we have been having in the past is looking at things we could do but never committing to them in time – you have to plan ahead with timeshares and not wait until the last minute! Since Dad and the boys don’t have any schedules to follow, they can take advantage of traveling! I will just have to pick and choose which trips I want to spend my vacation time on!