Ice

 

Rory and I took a long walk this morning.

 

Yesterday everything thawed when the high was over 50 degrees, only to refreeze as the temperature dropped nearly to the single digits.

 

The nearly snow-less ground today.
Nearly snow-less ground today
Snow on the ground two days ago.Two days ago.

 

It’s important to tell you about my walks. I don’t like traveling the same roads again and again. I love circular walks, new walks, walks filled with adventure and new sights. However, the neighborhood in which we live wasn’t made for circuitous rambles. So, I usually find myself trekking through the woods at some point rather than turn around and retrace my steps.

 

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I’ve never heard leaves crackle underfoot quite like this. The thaw yesterday left them damp and they refroze, so each step was like the breaking of a hundred tiny sticks.

 

Today I decided on a new journey I was hoping would work. Our neighborhood is bordered by a beach and I was fairly certain a new route would take me down to one part of the beach. That should  connect to the beach in my area thus I could probably walk from one part of the neighborhood to the other.

 

At the end of the road I stepped into the woods.

 

As I walked down through trees, I came upon this:

 

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With the choice to cross the river or walk back up through the woods and retrace my steps I, of course, decided to find a spot to cross the river.

 

Unfortunately it only widened itself to either side as far as I could travel. There were brambles that kept me from moving in either direction.

 

I nearly turned around.

 

And then Rory took a step.

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He didn’t fall in, so I investigated the ice (I have never claimed to make particularly good decisions). Luckily I am here to tell you about it instead of…  I don’t know what.

 

I crossed safely, and we found the river opened up into a tidal pond.

 

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We tramped through the woods and headed to the beach. On the way I found a bridge over the river beyond the brambles.

 

Oops.

 

At the beach, I saw a sight I’d never seen before. Ice, floating on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

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The Homeschool Review

My first homeschool review was scheduled in early January. For those of you who don’t know the homeschooling rules in Maryland, we have the choice of either being “reviewed” by someone from the county we reside in or we can join a homeschooling “umbrella group” where the group reviews the instruction of your children(there are various methods for this). Essentially it is like choosing public school over private school; you have more freedom in how you choose to school your children with the second option, but you pay for it and you need to research your umbrella group well to make sure they will be supportive of your methods.

 

I chose to complete my review through the county I am living in now. I believed I could demonstrate my methods were providing instruction as required by the state of Maryland, without compromising my own homeschooling goals.

 

The state requires parents to demonstrate instruction in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health Education, Physical Education, Fine Arts (Art, Music) and Other (Technology, World Language). Parents can show the instruction through:

  • text(s) or equivalent
  • reading materials/list
  • writing samples
  • worksheets/workbooks
  • tests/quizzes
  • creative materials
  • field trips
  • other

 

I chose to create a document for each girl where I could enter in our activities to show our reviewer what we had done. Below you can see Ari’s and Abby’s charts.

A spreadsheet divided into subjects with activities Abby completed in each this semester  A spreadsheet divided into subjects with activities Ari completed in each this semester

I made a list of all of our field trips, the dates and which child participated.

 

I had pictures of many of our activities, assignments and field trips so I organized these into subject areas and also into Unit studies, as Ari has been completing most of her work through various units.

A screenshot of the albums I had prepared for the HS Review

A lot of Abby’s Language Arts work was done in a spiral 11×14 sketchbook, so I brought that along.

 

An example page from Abby's ELA "Good book" a spiral sketch book Abby used for writing/drawing

Finally, I had a 3-ring notebook for each girl. Abby’s was divided into subjects and assignments; she has a tab for math, letter practice, number practice, assessments and awards and one for writings and stories. Ari’s notebook is divided into math and then a tab for each unit.

All of this preparation not only made the review easy and a positive experience, but it really helped me to reflect on what we had done so far this year. I am happy with what we have accomplished and the learning and growth I have seen in both girls. We were given a paper that showed we had “Clear Evidence of instruction throughout” our portfolio and we will return again at the end of the year.

Abby's HS Portfolio Review Reflection Form
Abby’s HS Portfolio Review Reflection Form
Ari's HS Portfolio Review Reflection Form
Ari’s HS Portfolio Review Reflection Form