The Classical Cat Corner

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. --Austin Phelps

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Health care costs

I'm not going to get on a tirade about the cost of health care. But let's just say that I'm not too happy about it right now.

I am very blessed that we have excellent insurance through Popeye's company and without it, who knows what we would do. We aren't a family who normally has a lot of medical bills, but I had something going on which I've been dealing with for over 2 years causing me a lot pain. I did something about it. I had some outpatient surgery on July 27.

The doctor fee was over $2000. With insurance and network discounts that they give him (or however that works), our portion was $168. But can I ask why no one at the hospital or doctor's office told me that we would be getting a bill from the anesthesiologist AND the hospital? I just didn't think about it and neither did Popeye. We had received a letter saying that we had to pay the $168 before X date when I did my pre-op visit. Okay, that's fine, we did it. Nothing else was said about having to pay anything up front to the hospital or that we would be getting a bill in the future from the hospital. We received the bill from the anesthesiologist today....$610 before insurance, $97.60 our part with insurance. YIKES! A couple weeks ago I received an Explanation of Benefits from our insurance company about the hospital bill and about fell OVER! The charges for the hospital for those 5 hours I was there and all they did to me minus the anesthesia was near $10,000. Thank God for our insurance even though I'm NOT pleased with having to pay the 20% that is remaining. That amount came in a bill to us today.....$655.

The following is the conversation between Popeye and myself:
He said, "I thought we paid it already." Me: "Yeah, I did too until I got the insurance explanation; that was the drs. fee." Him: "How much is the hospital?" Me: "$655. I guess that's better than the $10K that it cost without insurance." Him: "I need to take you back."

Decision made...

JAG it is! :) I'm excited and I was hoping it would get here in order to start on Monday. Nope. But when it does get here, we'll start.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Yep, I'm doing the UNTHINKABLE!

We are leaving Classical Writing and going with Tapestry of Grace's Writing Aids program. THAT means I have to find a good grammar program. So far Junior Analytical Grammar is leading that race over Easy Grammar that TOG recommends. I like the diagramming and review in JAG quite a bit.

If worse comes to worse, we can always go back to CW, but I'm not trying to create the next Thomas Jefferson. ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A long time coming....

Yeah, I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been "dry"; nothing much to say.

We did start our new homeschooling year and I declare the first week a SUCCESS!

We went back to the neo-classical approach this year and I'm finding it fitting us better than a more traditional classical approach (ala Latin-centered Curriculum). We still place a high emphasis on Latin and math, but we prefer a chronological history and teach English grammar within the scope of our writing.

Here's what Sweet Pea 1 is doing this year:

Tapestry of Grace Year 2

We are LOVING this curriculum this year and we're only one week in. It includes our Core history readings, literature tied to the time period, world geography, and church history (this year). Tapestry does include a writing component, but we're not using that because I prefer another writing curriculum. SP loves the map work, the reading is great and he can listen to some on audio or read the print copy. We have "threads" that we follow for the week and have a discussion about what he has learned at the end of the week. SP2 is not doing TOG with us this year for a variety of reasons but will probably be joining us next year or possibly mid year this year.

Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry I, God's Design for Chemistry Atoms and Molecules and Elementary Apologia's Botany

Real Science 4 Kids is only a 10 week course. I'm going to stretch it out by interspersing a few chapters from God's Design. Then in February we'll start the Botany course so we can finish it up in the Spring and move our "greenhouse" plants into the yard.

RightStart Geometry and Christian Light Education

We finished the RightStart Math sequence last year so I had to choose something to go to for SP1. He needed more practice with long division, fractions, percents, and decimals. I also wanted him to increase his speed in regular addition, subtraction, multiplication so I decided to try Christian Light. It is spiral in nature which normally I'm against, but I think he needs the review. We may go on to BJU Math 6 next year or stick with this. I'll decide and talk with SP about it as the year goes on. The RightStart Geometry is a fun program that will give SP a chance to use the fractions and some other concepts in his drawings. It is a neat program written to the student. He likes using the T-square and triangles necessary for the drawing.

Latin Prep I

We were seriously bored with Latina Christiana. We have worked through Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I (or almost through it). Latin Prep was getting REALLY good reviews from many on Well-Trained Mind. Latin is not one of SP1's favorite subjects, but this series should add some humor and fun to the difficult learning.

Spelling Workout

We have had enough of Spell to Write and Read. I need something more independent for SP1 this year and thought we'd give this a whirl. It works great for Zoomom's boys, so figured I'd give it a shot.

Classical Writing-Homer

We have done CW-Aesop A and B so it was time to move on the CW-Homer. This curriculum is one of the better ones out there for writing. I think I've expressed my dislike of Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), so I'll save you from that soap box. CW is based on the ancient way of writing called the progymnasmata. Our grammar assignments are included in this writing program. I like that when we study direct objects, we're doing it in the context of a story that has just been read and re-written in a student's own words. Homer gets into the next step of the progymnasmata using longer and more difficult narratives. It is excellent in that this program can be used across curriculum so I can choose something from our history studies to be written using what has been learned in Homer.

Typing (Keyboarding)

He's still just practicing typing (I like to call it TYPING vs keyboarding. :) ) I have a few different programs that SP1 has used, but so far he likes Word Wacker the best.

Other Geography

I decided to try this program, Maps, Charts and Graphs with both boys this year. So far it is a hit. It just hits on some basic skills they should have about maps and graphs and geography.


I went with the Well-Trained Mind recommendation of MindBenders. So far they are REALLY bending our minds. hee hee I bought all of Level A to work through this year. There are only 15 problems per book so doing 2 each week should get us through the year and ready for the next level.

Sweet Pea II is getting some new curriculum this year.

He is using the I See Sam books to practice his reading and increase his fluency. He has struggled with learning to read and we're looking into a few things for him.

We are also using ABeCedarian for his reading lessons. This is a good program for children who may be dyslexic.

Handwriting without Tears is the program of choice here for handwriting. I will be adding in some copywork this week also.

We also have several computer programs going on. One that is to help with some auditory issues is Sound Beginnings. The other programs are part of our at-home vision therapy. We go to Athens once every two months for SP2 to be checked by the developmental optometrist for his progress and assigned other exercises for homework.

I'm thinking of adding SP2 into our history studies with TOG in January when we start some American History. He says that SP1 gets to do "all the fun stuff" so there will be projects that SP2 can do and books I can read to him.

Math is still RightStart. It seems to work best for him since there are many manipulatives to use. I was really impressed with how much he remembered from over the summer with NO math work done since mid-May.

Oh, and I almost forgot....I bought MathShark for the boys to use to practice their math facts. They both LOVE it! It times them and they try to beat their previous scores.

We start an enrichment co-op in a few weeks which will round out their studies and add some fun. SP1 will have Drama, Science thru History and a REAL art class studying artists and doing projects similar to the artist. SP2 will have a craft class (some of that fun that mom won't do at home), health and a hands-on science class.

Homeschool PE, various other sports and Awana will be rounding out our year.

I think we're going to have a really great year!