My boys and I live far from libraries, book stores, malls, outlets, museums, and homeschool conventions.  Actually we live in the middle of nowhere, it seems.  The “big city” closest to us is about an hour away and has miraculously just had open a McDonalds and a Subway at their shopping center.  This is big news for the middle of nowhere!

When it comes to homeschooling far from all the free and cheap resources available to many, I have learned to make-do, make-it-up, and often just do-without.   This past week we were on the island all week and I really wanted something exciting and unique to sort of jump start our second semester of school work for the year.  I browsed through my junk and shelves of books.  I went through my trunks and hunted on the internet.  Finally I decided on a little booklet that I had tried once a long time ago with one of the boys but never finished.

It’s by Zaner-Bloser, the cursive writing people.  For years I ordered their handwriting materials, spelling books and vocabulary workbooks.  I’ve probably had these folders for five years or more.  My oldest and I started this one once, but never got to the end.  So it was a real UFO = un-finished object!  In 2011 I’m working hard to finish crazy things that have never gotten done and been pushed aside.  Things that are worth it, mind you.  Some things should be simply “chunked.”

Let’s get back to the original topic of this blog – essay writing!  I’ve been wanting to really tackle all types of creative writing with the boys for a good while.  Time is slipping by and this seemed to be a good time to “run with the ball.”  Knowing that the boys’ time and attention would be limited on the island last week, I worked hard to decide what to take.  I chose the writing booklets and decided to ask them to give me just the time of the morning devotional service for the campers, about an hour.

The first day was a real hoot.  I absolutely expected all the negativity and plain outright meanness on each one’s part.  Writing is the ultimate, ugly school thing for them.  I set my ground rules and let it be known that this was what we were doing each day and it would be done!  And we did!

We got about half way through the pages and exercises that week at camp and finished up this week at home.  I had each one post their informative essay at Atha School Essays.  Every two weeks for the next two months, I’m going to have them work on another short three-paragraph essay of the informational type.  We will move on to bigger and better things after that.

Next week we get back into our full schedule of school work.  I imagine there will be some ugly moaning and groaning on Monday morning!  I scrubbed down the school room yesterday and tried to get things in good shape for a new semester.

Take care,