On productivity and roadblocks

Today was productive.

I actually got up a bit earlier than usual to wake Alexander and begin our lessons. I am a single mother and law student, mind, so I tend to stay awake until the wee hours. Until 2 a.m., I might stare blankly into, oh, I don't know, a casebook or E&E on Copyright that will never see me again after May. But until May, me and the casebook are on an exclusive honeymoon.

But back to homeschooling productivity.

Today we covered: Latin, Spelling, Writing Strands, Structured Reading, Ancient Greek Civilization DVD "break" (1 hour, but Alexander wound up sneaking the DVD into his room later this evening. Total viewing time: 2 hours), Singapore Science, and Singapore Math. Free reading: Alexander's Pick. Today it was J.R.R. Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham. This past Monday it was a version of King Arthur that I picked up at the Strand, that Alexander read to its entirety in one sitting plus a subway ride.

Textbook rant: Before we could find a science textbook that would work for us, I naturally consulted WTM. The Bauers are big on "How the ___ Works" books. My undergraduate degree is in English and Biology. I can say with confidence that I hate the "How the ___Works" books because I believe that they don't work. At least, not as a substantive science curriculum. So I am using Singapore Science, which so far has presented a pretty methodical and user-friendly combination of textbook, workbook, and activity book. It is not activity- or projects-mad. Projects are great, as long as the student understands the underlying mechanism that makes the project tick. It does not happen by putting colored paper and thumbtacks together and exclaiming, "See?" (yes, much of scientific discovery turns on a "Eureka!" - but we are talking about untrained scientists here).

If I otherwise find a science curriculum I can shout about, I'll post it here.

Catherine phoned today and asked if she would be needed (See: "Snow Day"). I told her to come next week. She'll get paid for the day off. There was barely a problem due to the snowfall yesterday, Catherine wanted to work, and I have no idea why the NYC Board of Education kept the schools closed. Ah, well.

Alexander continued web publishing his two blogs this evening. I watched "The Apprentice." I know, I know.

Also this evening I had planned to instruct Alexander's next Art lesson, but as it sometimes happens, that lesson didn't go. It will go tomorrow. So far, his progress is absolutely amazing. I hope to link copies of his work soon.

Roadblocks: I hate scouting for homeschooling support groups. To date, I have not found one that I like. It has ranged from non-returned phone calls, to phone calls to homeschooling folks who live beyond the subway map and who sound like meatheads, or ultra-religious Christian groups (we're Jewish), to non-returned phone calls again. I think I'll call Connecticut.

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