Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Playlists

Since I had this typed out elsewhere, and I'd been meaning to post it here, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (no offense to the ornithologists among us).

Most of this emerged two days before Christmas this year, so we just barely got to enjoy them, but they're all primed and ready for next year and many years to come.

Our Christmas iTunes Playlists:

Advent (coincides with our family Advent service)
1. Away in a Manger – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
2. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus – Azure Fields
3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
4. It Is Well With My Soul – America’s 25 Old-Time Favorite Gospel Songs
5. Joy to the World – Various Artists and Eugene Ormandy
6. O Come, All Ye Faithful – Various Artists
7. The Old Rugged Cross – Don Marsh Chorus and Orchestra
8. Silent Night – America’s 25 Favorite Christmas Songs for Kids

Christmas Worship (mostly contemporary Christian Christmas songs and traditional songs done by CC artists)
1. Joy to the World – Blind Boys of Alabama
2. O Come All Ye Faithful – Third Day
3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Bebo Norman
4. What Child is This? – Third Day
5. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Jars of Clay
6. O Holy Night – Third Day
7. Kyrie Eleison – Leigh Nash & Friends
8. Joy to the World – Third Day
9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - MercyMe
10. Angels We Have Heard on High – Third Day
11. Messiah Has Come – Bebo Norman, Cindy Morgan, Danielle Young
12. Silent Night – Third Day
13. Away in a Manger – Third Day
14. Here With Us – Joy Williams
15. The First Noel – Third Day
16. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - MercyMe
17. Go Tell It On the Mountain – Blind Boys of Alabama

Instrumental Christmas (this one needs fleshing out but will have to wait until next year, and the Auld Lang Syne actually has vocals at the end)
1. Jingle Bells – Glenn Miller
2. Babes in Toyland/March of the Toys – Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops
3. Parade of the Wooden Soldiers – United States Army Field Band
4. Auld Lang Syne – Guy Lombardo

Kids' Christmas (may add a few kids' versions of traditional songs to this one; overlaps a tad with "The Holidays" playlist)
1. White Christmas – The Drifters
2. Jingle Bells – The Brady Bunch
3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry
4. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Thurle Ravenscroft
5. Frosty the Snowman – Gene Autry
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jackson 5
7. Here Comes Santa Claus – Gene Autry
8. Feliz Navidad – David Crowder Band

The Holidays (secular Christmas songs, most done by the artist that originally recorded them/made them famous [thank you, Wikipedia])
1. White Christmas – The Drifters
2. I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Bing Crosby
3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) – Mel Torme’
4. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
5. Silver Bells – Bing Crosby
6. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – Vaughn Monroe
7. Twelve Days of Christmas – Christmas Tribute
8. Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby
9. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Perry Como
10. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
11. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
12. Home for the Holidays – Perry Como
13. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
14. Feliz Navidad – David Crowder Band
15. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland
16. Auld Lang Syne – The Drifters

Traditional Carols (I'm aware that a couple of these are actually more contemporary, but they have a traditional feel)
1. Do You Hear What I Hear – The Harry Simeone Choir
2. Here We Come A-Wassailing – Cambridge Clare College
3. We Three Kings – Most Excellent Vocal Manoeuvres Choral Christmas
4. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Cambridge Singers
5. Ding Dong! Merrily on High – Choir of King’s College
6. I Saw Three Ships – Cambridge Clare College
7. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – The Choirs of the Church of Our Lady
8. Deck the Halls – UCLA Madrigal Singers
9. Little Drummer Boy – The Harry Simeone Chorale

All of this was bought on iTunes (from a Christmas song list on Wikipedia), so it's available there. I did not exactly keep track of how much I was purchasing as I went along, and I was a bit shocked when I got the bill e-mail. Realistically, though, my family will be enjoying this music for years and years to come, and I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MA 2007-2008

Why do I have a list of current schoolwork for a 4-year-old who is technically only in Pre-K (and not a first-born, which would explain a complete curriculum for a 4yo)?

Two reasons:

1) She wants to do schoolwork. She is highly disappointed when it's not a school day. I would be denying one of her greatest pleasures if I did not give her schoolwork.

2) She's ready for it. Really. I'm not just saying that. All in all, I don't think 4yo's need to be doing schoolwork (and really, she doesn't do that much, even so). Just read to them. And play with them. And let them play. And give them jobs to do around the house. And involve them in what you're doing around the house.

But MA? Well, I realized with JW that he missed a lot of the fun, confidence-building learning-to-read books and activities, because I hadn't realized that he was learning to read. :-p

With MA, one day she wanted to play on the computer, so I thought I'd do with her. I knew she knew all of her letter sounds (from LeapFrog DVD's), so I thought I'd poke around the beginning reading level with her and show her how words are put together to make sounds. Um, turns out she already had that down and was actually reading the words. Hm, check that off my to-do list (teach MA to read: done). So, I pulled out the Bob books and had ML take the Explode the Code 1 book to the copy shop and away we went.

So, here's her list for this year:
  • Explode the Code 2 (and probably 3)
  • Sonlight's FunTales boxed set of readers (completed)
  • Bob Books and Now I'm Reading! boxed sets Level 1 (completed)
  • Bob books and "Now I'm Reading!" boxed sets levels 2-3
  • possibly get started on Sonlight's I Can Read It books
  • Singapore Earlybird 1A&B (I started these too late with JW and had to rush him through because he was below his capability level, so I didn't want the same to happen with MA.)
  • Usborne preschool workbooks (Opposites, Shapes, etc.)
She generally chooses what and how much she wants to do a day. Occasionally, I'll steer her towards a a book she hasn't done in a a while. This is anywhere from 2-4 days a week, depending on our schedule. She doesn't take schoolwork with her to meetings or visits, so this is just when we're actually at home for a school morning and I can sit down with her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

JW 2007-2008

JW is using the age-appropriate version of many of the things MS is, so I won't go into the reason I've chosen most of this, but here's his list.
  • Sonlight LA 1 (newest version)
  • Sonlight Intermediate 2 readers (old system)
  • Handwriting Without Tears Letters and Numbers for Me
  • Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 1A & 1B
  • Miquon Orange (and possibly beginning Red)
  • Rosetta Stone Arabic (like MS, if I ever get it set up)
  • Rod & Staff Beginning in Music 1
JW likes to work in one book at a time for extended periods (at least one whole school-time period), so he will work for a while in his Singapore book, then for a while at Miquon and then do handwriting for several days. I keep track of where I'd like him to be in each book and then, just make sure he's at or ahead of that point.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

MS 2007-2008, Part 2

Along with our Core 3, MS listened to the Geography Songs tracks that relate to what we're reading about (I left some for this year when scheduling last year), and has now moved on to the relevant History Songs.

For handwriting this year, MS is re-doing Handwriting Without Tears "My Printing Book." His handwriting is probably typical for a rushed, first-born 8yo boy, but I wanted him to get more concentrated practice on correctly forming the letters (he did not do a handwriting book last year). It's helping a little, but I think this is something that I'm going to constantly be reminding him about (and letting go of).

When I looked at the math curricula Sonlight carries way back when (and researched other math options, as well), their pros for both Singapore and Miquon options fit very much my desire in teaching math: introducing mathematical thinking (Singapore) and math self-discovery (Miquon). I also knew that the repetitive nature of several other curricula (like Saxon and Abeka) was not a good fit for MS.

So, this year, MS is working through Singapore Primary level 3 this year. We do the textbook pages when he hits a snag in the workbook or when it teaches a new mental concept.

He is also doing Miquon Blue, which is a decent amount below his level. I made the mistake of scheduling too few Miquon pages over the past couple of years for him, so he has not progressed in the books at the pace he is capable of. I don't want him to miss any of the concepts covered, so I have both stepped up the pace of what I've scheduled and offered him an extra incentive to complete the book quickly. I have the first few books in the Keys to... series for after he completes Miquon.

Continuing on the topic of math, MS is working his way through a second round of the multiplication memorization songs on the Multiplication Vacation CD. We also have the accompanying DVD. It is one of the lowest-budget, goofiest, 90's-feel, bad-special-effects productions I have ever seen...and the kids absolutely love it, and they're learning from it (geography and history concepts thrown in, as well), so I do not regret the purchase one bit. MS has a good deal of visual in his learning style, so I think having the images from the DVD as pegs to hang the song lyrics on helps. I put together a workbook of multiplication drills for each set (1-13 x's) from free options on the web, so the last day of each week, he demonstrates his knowledge from the song listening by doing those.

[Speaking of song memorization, I've made a note to post soon about the system we've settled on for making sure this happens.]

A final math item that MS is working through is a Rod and Staff math drill tablet for 3rd grade. It begins with a review of addition and subtraction and moves on to multiplication and division. It is consists of 30 or so problems on each sheet with room on the back to re-work missed problems. I have him check his own using the calculator on the computer and circle and re-write those missed. He does these three days a week. Just a little extra practice for math facts.

Speaking of Rod & Staff, I'll go ahead and review what other products of theirs MS is using.

I purchased the 1st grade level of one of the R&S music programs (Beginning in Music) for MS to do in 1st grade, because it had the cut-and-paste aspect he enjoyed from some of their preschool books. I continued to use it basically on the it-can't-hurt principle. However, this year with the 3rd grade program, I am seeing that what seemed like mindless cutting and pasting actually had a very tangible purpose in slowly introducing students to concepts (the Do-Ti scale, which is called something like "sofedge," but I never remember seeing it written down, just spoken in high school choir, so I don't know how to spell it; sorry) that they would later cover in more depth. I am pleased I stuck it out and am seeing a little of what I'm missing out on by not being able to go to curriculum fairs where I could have thumbed through books and figured this out a lot sooner.

I also ordered MS the R&S Artpac 1 in 1st grade but abandoned it after a few projects as being too time-consuming for me and a little above his motor skill level. He is firmly on grade-level in his motor skills now, so I decided to give the line another try. However, I ordered the Level 2 pack, instead of jumping to the one for his grade level. I am very pleased with that decision and will to continue with the next couple using this series a year below grade level. Even for those on-par in motor skills, using a year below enables them to do the projects much more independently, something I highly value, since I am a project-impaired homeschooling mom. (There, I said it.)

This year, MS is working through the R&S 3rd Grade Social Studies textbook. I try to pick one R&S subject like this each year to the end of a goal I have: that my children will know how to learn from a textbook. Strange goal, I know, but I think it's valuable. Really, the rest of our learning is centered around authentic books, like SOTW and Usborne science texts, where they are engaged by the quality and layout of the publication. I have nothing against R&S's textbooks, because this could, in a round-about way, sound like a criticism of their textbooks in particular. I like them, as far as textbooks go. It's just that I'm not a fan of textbook-based learning in general. But I won't go into that right now.

The point is that, at some point, my children may have to learn from a textbook in a graded, classroom situation. It may be in college. Or it may be that at some point we choose to or need to put them in school. To that end, I am having them use a read-and-answer-questions (and, this year, take-tests-that-review-the-material) set to learn this skill. To boot, MS is learning a lot about a farm-based community (R&S is a Mennonite company :-). And last year, he learned some important facts about "health," such as how to carry a knife. I'm pleased with how the set-up is working.

In a world that is increasingly computer-based, I see typing as an invaluable skill, so I set out about a while back to find a typing program that would work well for our kids. For a while we used Read, Write and Type!, which is a phonics-based, combination reading and typing program. It was okay, but MS didn't need the phonics aspects of it, and the graphics were extremely dated. When we upgraded our operating system, and it wasn't compatible anymore, I decided to find another program altogether (everybody say, "I decided to find another program;" extra points to those that get the reference).

I wanted something game-based, because I didn't want to have to push this subject, and, bottom line, I just wanted MS to have fun. What we ended up with is Typing Instructor for Kids, and we recently upgraded to Version 3 (only available, as far as I can tell, as a download, unless you're running Vista; not available for Mac, unfortunately). MS absolutely loves the game. I need to get him to blog about it. It's amusing how enthusiastic he is. But the ultimate issue is: the kid can type. Correct finger positioning. Roughly 17wpm. 93ish% accuracy. Pretty good for a fun game, I say.

MS has been using Rosetta Stone Arabic, Level 1 for over two years now. Only this year did the vocabulary seem to be sinking in. However, that may just be the cumulative effect of him using the program. We bought the updated version of the software and brought it back with us this summer. It took a while to get the computer set up just right to install the software, and now we've hit a user snag. A mommy-user, that is. I need to sit down and set up the program to run and progress the way I think is best for MS, and so far, that hasn't happened. So, for now, his Arabic learning is coming from his lessons, and Mommy is going to get to that task soon. :-/

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MS 2007-2008

So, what are the kids doing individually this year? We'll start with MS, because, well, it's an oldest child thing.

Last year (2006), when we were in the States, I brought back this year's (2007) school books. We already had our 2006-2007 books, because a group of volunteers had brought them for us. I just knew that if I came back with school books over a year ahead of time that we'd end up evacuating, and I'd have to haul them right back to the States (think I've had similar things happen too often? :-/ ).

This, fortunately, did not happen. We only had one small repercussion from buying so far in advance: SL re-vamped their Language Arts program. So, I had to re-buy 3 levels of LA, 1 & 3 for JW & MS for this year and 2 for JW for next year. (We came back this summer with our 2008-2009 books, hoping that our "no evacuation" "luck" will hold up.)

So, MS is doing the new SL LA 3 for language arts this year. We got off to a late start, because FedEx made a shipping mistake and had to send our SL order here to us in the Middle East (shout out to SL customer service; they were great in helping us get this figured out).

That left us playing catch-up. We were almost caught up when I had the bright idea for the kids' school blog, which I've been using as MS's creative writing assignments for the past couple of weeks. I guess we'll catch up again at some point.

I pulled the Grammar Songs assignments from the old LA 3, because I wanted him to work through those, even though I'm assuming they're included in the new Grammar Ace program. With all of the "Songs" sets that we're using (Addition, Multiplication, Geography, History, etc.), I'm hoping to have the kids review them at least once after the first run-through to shore up the information.

MS is also doing the Core 3 Adv. Readers. We do our readers a bit differently, though. We don't read them as scheduled. I put their level of readers on their shelf along with all of the extra period-related history readers that I've bought for them and let them have at it. I keep a checklist of the readers, and I put one in their independent assignment folder (guess I should explain that; I'll do that soon). Occasionally, I sit down and ask them which books they've read. We don't do comprehension questions, but I usually hear enough about the books in casual conversation to know that their comprehending what they're reading (I don't let a kid loose on readers without being confident of their ability to read for comprehension anyway).

He reads these books during our daily "rest time," for at least 45 minutes and at night after the other kids are in bed if I feel like rest time has been too disjointed recently or if we've missed rest time for a day or more due to other activities. [Side note: after his 45 minutes and at bedtime, MS usually does "free reading," which is reading one or more of the myriad of other books we have in our house for the kids.]

For those interested, here is MS's checklist for his readers. We've added some period-related readers since then from a shipment of books we received (RIP M-bag service), mainly several books from the Mandie series, and a few of the Core 3 read-alouds, but this is most of what he's reading.

For Bible, our tradition has become to buy kids their own NIrV (the NIV with vocabulary changed so as to be at a 3rd grade reading level) Bible once they reach independent reading. [MS received a "Super Heroes" Bible in which major Bible characters are highlighted as heroes or villains along with their powers/downfallings.] I then have them read the daily Bible readings from the SL core themselves. I make a spreadsheet (of course) with the year's readings divided into six different columns. I put a small column to the left of each list. Cut apart, these become a bookmark for their Bibles where they can keep up with their reading by making checkmarks in the small column. Here is MS's Bible reading sheet for this year. I blacked out all put what appears on SL's website on the sample IG pages.

[I'm going to add a post at some point for what we do for art and music appreciation, because I just realized that I didn't include that in what we're doing for all of the kids.]

I just realized that this post is going to get really long, and I should have just gone ahead and put it up when I stopped working on it the other day, so I'll put it up now and probably get the other half up tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What we're doing this year

Some of what I have to say about the organization of our school day/year relies on what it is we're actually covering, so I thought I'd go ahead and lay that out. I'll save what each child is doing individually for separate posts and just focus on what we're doing together.

For the past two years, we have been following a modified Sonlight core schedule. We did Cores 1 & 2 but I rearranged them around the timeline of Story of the World Volumes 1 & 2, rather than Child's History of the World that Sonlight uses. I prefer the tone of SOTW and it has an Activity Guide and tests available for each volume, which we use to varying degrees.

My plan for this year was to use SL Core 3 and overlay SOTW 3 on top. They cover roughly the same time periods, but I wasn't going to bend over backwards to get them to line up perfectly. I did re-arrange Core 3 where we were alternating reading a read-aloud with a history read-aloud (the novels, not the Landmark text) so that we were reading larger chunks of one at a time, rather than having two going at the same time, because we prefer it that way.

It takes me several hours to do all of this modification at the beginning of the summer, and I lay it all out in a spreadsheet that I refer to each six weeks when I do my lesson planning for that period (more on those later). You can see that spreadsheet here. I've blacked out what I think is the only copyrighted info, the pages of the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History that we read which correspond to each chapter of SOTW. These are listed in the SOTW AG, and I wouldn't want to just give away what they put a lot of work into. As a plug, reading those pages, with their extra information and great visuals (as is typical for Usborne) lend great extra depth to our SOTW reading. Plus, the boys will actually pull out the UILE to just browse (as do many guests in our home :-).

So, with our school year all planned out for us in a format that's worked great for two years, we plunged in.

Only, the read-alouds from Core 3 were just not doing it for us. The boys were following the storyline, but were not that enthused about it (JW's been in on read-alouds for the current Core since the last bit of Core 1). Hm, maybe I should have listened to the chatter on the SL boards about there being a big jump to Core 3. I was prepared to address the mature issues; I just wasn't quite ready for them to be so ho-hum about the books. Especially since a friend had gone on and on about how this was the favorite Core she'd done with her kids. At an older age, of course.

I was already contemplating making a change of sort. The clincher: MA said to me one day, "Mommy, remember when I used to sit with you guys when you did read-alouds, and I got to listen to what you were reading?" Back to the drawing board forthwith! (This really surprised me, because read-aloud time was when MA got to play on the computer, one of her favorite things to do. For her to suggest something different was a big deal.)

Around this same time, we were doing some storage juggling (when you have no closets and all of your out-of-use things are in trunks that you use when you travel, this has to happen at times) and our Core C books were out. I had been contemplating pulling some of the higher level read-alouds for us to use, and as I looked through them, I realized that there were a lot more meaty books than I'd remembered. Between that and the new books SL had since added to Cores B & C that I'd purchased this year (haven't looked at those cores since Core A was introduced, so I'm sure there are plenty more now), I had enough read-alouds to lay out the rest of the year.

So, I added a column to my spreadsheet (because life revolves around spreadsheets, right? or is that just my life...) for Core C read-alouds. We dropped the Core 3 ones, some of which I added to MS's readers for the year, some of which will become read-alouds at some later point, and some of which I'll just let the kids read on their own as they get older, so none are wasted, just reassigned.

In addition to the read-alouds scheduled on the spreadsheet, I laid out the chapters/sections of Hero Tales and Grandmother's Attic from Core C for us to read daily and weekly respectively.

Our read-aloud times since then have been precious. MA joins us, everybody's loving the books, and we're all commenting and discussing much more now that the boys aren't struggling to just keep up with the storyline. Of course, I'm having to fight them off of the read-alouds for independent reading, but that's a problem I don't mind having.

Oh, and MA still gets her computer time when we read history and science after the Core C read-alouds, so it's a win-win situation for everyone. :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Allowance system

I thought that, since I'd posted comments on a couple of other blogs, and people might actually come and look at my blog, that I'd probably better start making posts. :-P

[Sidenote: this is a perfectionistic tendency, putting off an overwhelming task, because it can't be done perfectly all at once. Now, you know even more about my perfectionist self.]

Of course, I get here to post and discover it's too late. Trish beat me to my blog. :-) Oh, well, here goes.

I decided to start with my most recent project that I undertook and decided I might want to share, our recently re-vamped and so-far-working allowance system. I stumbled upon a blog one night that had a listing of blog entries by about 30 moms relating how they handled chores and allowance in their home. I had recently come up with a new "family responsibility"/chore system that was working for me (to be expounded on in upcoming posts), but I read with interest about the various allowance set-ups. [I had full intention of linking to this informative blog listing, but I cannot figure out where it was. If I find it, I'll come back and add that.]

We have tried a variety of allowance systems over the years since MS turned 5 and started receiving one. They've included sporadically giving the money when we remember, dropping the whole thing for periods of time, printing charts to record amounts and forgetting to record them, etc. Obviously, we had yet to find a system that worked.

A little background first, though: in our house, chores are chores and allowance is allowance. Chores are done because of membership in our family and service to one another (and if not done...well, that's another post, too). Allowance is for the purpose of learning financial responsibility and to be able to purchase "wants" above the "needs" and gifts Mommy and Daddy purchase.

To this end, we want to provide an amount of allowance that allows for a decent accumulation. We want our kids to see that saving actually allows them to purchase the items they want, not get discouraged and just squander it on candy and trinkets, because that's all they can afford (not to say they won't do that at one time or another, just that we don't want that to be their only viable option).

We operate in a different currency, but our kids get roughly $0.28/year of age each week, starting at age five. That means, MS is currently getting $2.26/week and JW is getting $1.69 (thank goodness for the currency converter on my Mac dashboard!).

Okay, so none of that is new. We decided on that amount a couple of years ago. What I gleaned from the blog round robin was using allowance checkbooks.

Basically, you create a checkbook, with register, for each child. They record their allowance and any other deposits, like birthday money or payment for extra jobs, in the register and write a check for each purchase they make. This means, that when they go (physically) shopping, they must have their checkbooks with them. When they shop for something on the internet to have someone bring over or to download (and MS has quickly learned that this is the cheapest way to go over buying expensive imports in-country), they just write me a check when I make the purchase that they've chosen.

No money to lose, and they are responsible for recording their weekly allowance deposits (it's on their weekly chore list on Fridays to remind them, and I am still helping JW record his). I've taught/am teaching them how to use the calculator on their computer dashboard and MS is learning the currency converter, as well.

So far, two months into the experiment, it has worked *very* well, and I think we've *finally* found a solution to the allowance system dilemma.

To make the checkbooks, I looked high and low on the web for a template or existing option. I didn't find anything that really fit what I wanted, so I just looked at what I had found and made my own mock-up. I did this in Word and customized it to each child. I used made-up addresses, because we don't have street addresses here, but if we'd lived in the States, I would have used a home and a business (ML's) address for the checkbook holder and the bank respectively. This familiarizes the child with their address, which they may not know that well in this electronic day and age. For the router number at the bottom of the check, I some other numbers that I'd like the kids to be familiar with, but I won't share what numbers, in case some stalker is reading my blog and happens to be in the Middle East where he/she can go through my trash. :-/

I printed out pages of the checks, cut them apart with my paper cutter, and had them comb-bound with a cover sheet on top and two folded check registers in the back. The comb-binding includes a clear plastic cover and a cardstock backing.

Oh, and I also searched for some images to use in the corner of the checks that I thought the boys would find fun. MS has Link from the Legend of Zelda game (please wait before judging me on that one; I'll explain later), and JW has Sonic the Hedgehog. For the bank insignia, I used our family crest. Pretty nifty, I thought.

I've posted the checks on Google Docs, minus any personal information. And I've put up the register I made up, too. You should be able download and modify the documents for your own use, if you'd like. The checks are in Word. The register is an Excel file.

- MS's checks
- JW's checks
- check register

Please, feel free to post any questions you have about the system (once anyone reads this blog :-), and I'll either add the answer to the post or answer with a comment.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I recently learned something about myself, I'm a perfectionist. One would not have known that by looking at my room (or my school desk or locker) growing up or by living with me in college.

I have been reading Kevin Leman's The New Birth Order Book, though, and in his chapter on perfectionistic first-borns, I found myself (and my husband, too, much to my [and his] surprise). I'll save the various other specifics as to how I am a perfectionist later, but the one related to this post (and this blog in general) is that I like lists. I like to make lists. I like to check things off of lists. And I like to assign lists to other people, so watch out.

Usually, though, the only people I assign lists to are immediate family members, and usually just the ones younger than me. For several years now, that has been just lesson plan check lists (with boxes for actual checks, of course), which has worked well. What has elluded me, though, has been a system for chores, or "family responsibilities," as we like to call them.

I have recently found what I think, at least in some evolved form, is going to be a good system for our family in the long run. Hum dul Allah (and I really mean that, in case anyone thinks I'm being sacriligeous).

What does this have to do with this blog post? Is it really so important as to be my very first blog post?

Yes, actually it is. It's one of the reasons I finally decided to create a blog, to have a place to share my lists with others! :-/

Seriously, I get asked occasionally for some list or another, some form I've created for schooling or parenting or, well, one of those two things, because those are the things I do.

So, I'm hoping to post those kind of things on this blog so as to be able to refer people to them more easily.

What remains to be seen is whether blogger allows for Word, Excel and/or pdf attachments. If not, I may be searching for a new blog host. If so, I'll be back to put a few things up.

Until then, happy listmaking!