My laptop died on my birthday! How wrong is that? I'm using an old system I pulled out of the attic, but dang... I can't get into fb or do anything , and the laptop has well and truly met the sun... I'll need to pull stuff off the drive and move it somehow. SO I'm going to be very flaky for a while.
Maia- hang in there! The weather may not be much different, but different flights hub out of the different airports so one might be more "open" than the other or have fewer runways to clear or have a better de-icing system or whatever. It'll work out, hang in there!
birthdays- since I missed a bunch (and wasn't even able to check my own FB for birthdays since the darn computer died shortly after I logged into FB) HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND UNBIRTHDAYS TO YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
secular homeschool- a big ol sigh to this one. I think I near killed myself trying to find a pre-made curriculum that would actually work for everything I needed. But here's what I found. Oak Meadow is a complete curriculum, and it can be purchased either alone or with "backup support" from an Oak Meadow teacher. It's Waldorf based but secular, and matched to most state standards (especially in the older grades). I really like their middle/high school programs, it's fairly complete, and the price is about par for complete curricula. However, it's very "waldorf-y"/"artsy", it requires a fair amount of writing, it's not cheap, and it requires a decent amount of time/energy on the part of the parent (for example, a project that ends with "now take your child to the library and find 5 other books on this subject" or "now create a book for your child and lead them in a nature walk, helping record sites as you go"). Moving Beyond the Page is completely secular and a complete curriculum in most years (in some years you have to add your own math program), however I'm not sure how many grades they have yet. It's designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles but again there is a fair amount of open ended assignment that requires adult time/energy, and the illustrations in the provided material stink. Global Village is another mostly secular option... they lean towards Buddhist teachings actually, but it's just a literature list and schedule... you have to find everything and then create the lessons. Again, a fairly high price tag for not a heck of a lot. Calvert is a straight up school in a box that is secular, rigorous, has adapted lessons for kids with different needs, and has an optional teacher support line. It's also super expensive and kind of boring. Sort of like a volvo maybe? Straight up and solid, but nothing to get all hot and bothered about.
Then there are the middle of the road options... Sonlight is a complete literature based curriculum in a box, but it's christian. There is a yahoo group that provides "secular" hacks to convert the curriculum into a secular version. It's what we're using and it's pretty good. Timberdoodle is similar, with a primarily christian but "secularizable" program. There are also things like the Well Trained Mind, Simply Charlotte Mason, and Ambleside Online that provide a reading list and basic schedule for each year but require the parent to fund the materials and figure out how to teach it. There is a Secular Charlotte Mason support group too (since CM is essentially christian).
Have you been to the Secular Homeschool forum? It's a pretty cool place, friendly people, and LOTS of ideas for building or buying a secular curriculum. We will probably use Sonlight next year as well, then go back to Oak Meadow the following year.. I wanted a very user friendly, open the box and go, academically rigorous program for this year and sonlight secular has been that. And we're currently using year one of two so we'll probably continue with it till the end of the second year just to be complete. But I admit the need to customize is annoying considering the price and while the girls both love the program, I think OM will be a better fit starting around 3rd grade.
Ack! COmputer is starting to fade... battery isn't what it was.
Shared love and joy, laughter and light to everyone.... I'm giving thanks for having you all in my life!