Friday, July 31, 2009

Book lists

This is the area I'm still searching to solidify for fall. There's the Ambleside list, the Sonlight lists, MFW has a list- and I like all of them but it's over kill then.
How on earth does anyone pick a list- or do most people end up combining, tweaking, and making their own?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On absence

Sweet Pea has been in VBS all week, so we've been busy with that. More homeschooly stuff to come early next week- including my fall plans for Little Bird. I think I have it set what I'm doing with her (obviously it's mostly fun).
See you soon!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Little Bear

Sweet Pea read the first story from the original Little Bear tonight. So proud!

She also appears to have grasped the rules for short 'c' and 'g' pretty well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Online Classes?

I don't know how I really feel about these in the context of homeschooling. But I've noticed that more and more vendors are offering them.
Some of it seems contrary to the point of homeschooling- learning at home at the child's pace, with parental involvement. It brings in outside deadlines and teachers and expectations.
Is that really bad though? I don't know.
I just know that it's different and part of the evolving world of technology and homeschooling. I'll be watching with interest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two new masterpieces

At least to me. Above is a cow and below is Detective Dog.

Phonics wise we are on Lesson 78. Going has been a little slow because I have been ill and took a break. We've covered the soft 'c' sound and next is the soft 'g'.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Yes, we had a moose cross the road. We also had a red fox and a wolf cross the road, but no pics. The moose was kind enough to stop and pose. Wasn't that kind?

Actual homeschool related post to follow later. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pic spam!

We went to Paul Bunyan's Animal Land over the weekend. They had a lot of baby animals, and a huge deer enclosure where you can feed and pet deer. They also have this exhibit- a spaniel who lives in the same cage as a spotted leopard! They apparently have been friends since birth and sleep together.

This fawn was very friendly- it ended up licking my camera!

Our tomatoes. They are starting to turn yellow. I need to get a cage to prop them, that little wooden stake isn't enough.

My pumpkins are beginning to bud! I hope that they have enough time before frost sets in again to grow and mature. We'll see. These are Jack-be-Little pumpkins.

I love the color my irises are- it's this vivid orangey red. So pretty!

Monday, July 13, 2009

More reading

I may need to turn this into a reading only blog- it seems like that's all I post about right now!
Realistically I know that's because it's summer and we're waiting to start everything else, it's just getting a little redundant for everyone else I'm sure.
Sweet Pea has now finished the 1st grade Hooked on Phonics. I still have the Ordinary Parent's Guide from the library and I'm now 98% sure I want to buy it.
I'm planning on taking the next week or so to power through the rest of the McGuffey Primer and playing catch up in the Ordinary Parent's Guide. According to Peace Hill Press's website lesson 140 in the Ordinary Parent's Guide is when you should begin the First Language Lessons, so we have some more to work through before beginning grammar this fall.
It's a little hard- I want to jump in feet first all at once when we reach our fall "start date" but I think it's going to be more beneficial, long term, to delay grammar a few weeks until we are at the appropriate phonics lesson. Does that mean I should also delay starting the Writing With Ease? I don't know. I'm not clear.
If our start date is somewhere in early September like the local public schools that gives me another 7 weeks or so. There are 60 lessons or so to go, many of them review.
Looking at that if Sweet Pea grasps the material quickly we could do 10 lessons a week and be on track. We might not need to delay at all!

Question for anyone who sees this- when will your first official school day be this year?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hooked on Phonics vs. the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading

I own the Hooked on Phonics K-2nd grade kits and I just got the Ordinary Parent's Guide from the library. I've lined them up and done a little comparison, trying to see where we are and if it's worth it.
At this point, I think it will be once we finish HOP 2nd grade.
We have now completed K and 1st grade and while it doesn't line up completely (the scope and sequences are different) it look like we've worked through section 7- out of 25 available sections. The next kit will get us further- how much I don't entirely know since I'm not familiar with all the word lists yet, but it won't get us through the end of the book. I believe that I've seen around that the Ordinary Parent's Guide goes through about a 4th grade level and looking at it that seems about right. It's also very reasonable.

So far I've had the following learn to read programs- Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Hooked on Phonics, McGuffey's, and now I'm borrowing the Ordinary Parent's Guide.
My current favorites would be the Hooked on Phonics, the the Ordinary Parent's Guide, the McGuffey's.
I completely dislike the 100 easy lessons. I'm not getting rid of it, I'll keep it in case it meshes with the learning style of a later child, but it's way too scripted and I strongly dislike the annotated alphabet. I think that it could be an awful transition once you drop the marks, and beginning it with a child that knew the letter sounds introducing the marks was unpleasant, as well.
I'd like the McGuffey's better if it had more phonetical instruction. I think it's more of what we now call incidental phonics- but I could be confusing that. They are currently mostly useful to us as readers and extra practice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Initial plug

We got the Early Reader's Bible from Zonderkids today and as far as I've seen so far I am very impressed. There are 64 stories and they use words that are right at Sweet Pea's level. There's a short comprehension question section at the end of each story. Sweet Pea likes it and I like it- two votes of yes!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Math on the go

While out on a walk Sweet Pea requested that we bake banana bread when we got home. I told her that we couldn't because we didn't have enough bananas.
It went a little like this.
"We only have two bananas and the recipe calls for six. How many more bananas would we need?"
Sweet Pea thought about it for a few moments, then, "Four! We'd need for more bananas!"
"Good! How else can we make six?"
Sweet Pea came up with 3+3 and 1+5.
Looks like something is sticking. :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Secular curriculum musings

Mostly because of some threads I've been reading in various places. I think that there is an outside conception that religious homeschoolers use a lot of religious curricula, or only use the Bible to home school, or that they are sheltering their children from the full sweep of ideas. I'm not sure exactly where this idea started- maybe it was more true earlier in homeschooling but in my experience this is less and less true.
Personally, my family qualifies as "very religious". My husband is a pastor, after all, and a conservative one at that. We're probably on the strict side of the spectrum but looking at our curriculum choices it's mostly secular.
The only religious program for a core subject, or really anything other then religion, is Prima Latina- a Catholic program for Latin.
Everything else is secular- from the history to the science to the LA products. And it's mostly on purpose. Some of it is my experience with reading through religious curricula for history and science is that the publishing group's biases and views leak through in sometimes insidious ways. I don't want to have to run everything through a filter to see if we agree with it or not- if I wanted that I'd be devising my own curriculum. And I'm not.
Amusingly, this was one of my thoughts when we were first seriously considering homeschooling- only from the other side! I thought it'd be nice not to have to deal with the public school bias. And now I've discovered that there are biases all over and it's nearly impossible to get away from it.
Susan Wise Bauer has written an interesting post about this here:


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