Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review- more then half done!

I haven't put a review up in a few weeks, but we're still merrily chugging along.

Little Bird is getting closer and closer to doing a real school week. It's really exciting to see! She's working solidly through Get Ready for the Code A. Once she turns 4 we'll start Singapore. And possibly Cursive First.

This week Sweet Pea finished Unit 3 in math. She's now a total pro at adding and subtracting double digit numbers with regrouping, and pretty good at triple digit numbers.

For writing we are still free writing, although we did do a lesson from Maxwell's this week.

We've almost finished Sweet Pea's spelling book! She's spelling so well right now that I don't think we'll start the next level right away.

In science we did amphibians and reptiles. The girls were really interested in frogs because they see so many of them in the summer. I think it'd be neat to do one of those tadpole kids- but I don't want to have to keep the frog once it's grown, so that probably won't happen.

History- we are winding through the Greeks. Sweet Pea can locate different parts of Greece and the Persian empire on the globe with pretty good accuracy. We're also working on geography in relation to our home and country.

I've uploaded some pics of two lapbooks we made this week- Sweet Pea made a 10 Commandments one to go along with Catechism and Little Bird made one for the letter A.

Little Bird's.



And Sweet Pea's.

Inside with flaps closed.

Inside with a few flaps open.

View from the back.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How much is enough?

I struggle as a homeschooling mom with how much is enough. It's across the board for me. How much math practice? How much time on spelling? How much time on school, on free play, with other kids, with other teachers?

It's easy to feel like it's never right, and never enough. I've been thinking about this a lot specifically with math and writing.

Math is something that I think should be done frequently, without big breaks for primary students. We do math five times a week, and sometimes it's more then that. We are using two math programs together as well as extra practice sheets I print off online. I fall under the, "Deep, not wide" wisdom here- we are cementing math facts until I am nearly dreaming them. I'm fairly certain Sweet Pea is, as well. This is good, though. I know when we move on (gulp, multiplication) that we won't lose the ground we've already covered.

I think it's a fairly widely talked about fact that most homeschooled kids write less then their public schooled peers. It's not all a bad thing. Sometimes kids are pushed into churning out volume before mastering quality, and that's not how it should be. It's also easy to go to the opposite extreme and I'm always a little surprised when I hear so many kids Sweet Pea's age described as writing reluctant. How can you really know if you like writing or not when the process is still so new?

I expect 10-20 sentences a day. It's usually a combination of writing across history and science and doing a writing assignment I've made or or from Maxwell's Primary Lessons.

I know it's more then a lot of homeschooled kids in 1st do- but is it enough?

I guess we'll see.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Curriculum changin'

We are going to be dropping a fairly major part of our curriculum for next year. I feel badly about it. I've been trying and trying to make it work, but it's just not right anymore.

I'm dropping Story of the World. I'll say it again- I'm dropping Story of the World.

I've had some complaints and things that didn't fit well through the first volume, but looking at samples and reviews of volume 2 solidified for me that it's not going to work. Volume 2 covers 300- 1600 and leaves out parts of history that I think are important.

I've also grown uncomfortable with the slant and presentation of certain historical people. I also think it's very Eurocentric. Amazon has some reviews that share some of my concerns. It's interesting to note that people are complaining about the massive amount of church history omitted as well as secular people complaining there is too much. It seems like both sides dislike this volume.

It's like saying goodbye to a friend. I really loved SOTW. I really wanted it to work. I liked the idea of it.

It's something that bothers me, too, because I've so enthusiastically reccomended it to people as the be all, end all in elementary history. I'm removing my unconditional recommendation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Future planning

It's that time again- we're midway through the year and that seems to be the normal time to start mapping out curriculum paths and even purchasing items.

For Little Bird- we bought the book, "What your preschooler needs to know" and we are using it with her current preschool program. When she turns 4 I will introduce Earlybird Mathematics. This will be all that I really want her to do book work wise. Other skills to work on for her include things like being quiet when asked, continuing to work on narrating skills and coloring.

Sweet Pea is a little more involved. :)

Language Arts

Spelling- we are on track to finish Rod and Staff Spelling early 2011. After this we will go through more lessons in McGuffey's Eclectic Speller and the probably start level 3 of R&S's program.

Penmanship- the Well Trained Mind calls to introduce cursive in second grade. We did Cursive First in Kindergarten, so this year we will do the opposite. Sweet Pea can write in print but has some letter formation and neatness issues. Spot correcting should solve this, we're not going to use a special program.

Reading- we are not using a reading program and don't plan to introduce one next year. Sweet Pea is an excellent reader and we discuss her books as she's reading them. This will continue on next year.

Grammar- I don't know what we are going to do for grammar. I have some ideas knocking around but nothing for sure. We could do Rod and Staff English 3, Growing with Grammar (although I have no idea what level), or some other program. I don't know. I don't know at all.

Memory work- we are currently doing no school memory work outside of Bible/Catechism. I'd like to introduce other memory work things this next year, probably tied into both LA and history. I haven't narrowed down lists or anything yet.


We are between writing programs. We will probably follow the WTM outline on this for second grade- writing letters, dictation 3 times a week, and writing across the other subjects.


I expect to begin Primary Mathematics 2A at the beginning of next year. We'll continue to supplement with Math Mammoth.


Second grade is medieval- early Renaissance (400-1600). I think at this time we will continue with Story of the World. This summer we are going to go out of order and do US History.


Basic earth science and astronomy. I plan to start working with Sweet Pea on outlining chapters this year.


We will be going through the New Testament. Sweet Pea should have a good portion of the Catechism memorized by the beginning of the year, so we'll continue to hone and improve her comprehension.


We will continue with Le Francais Facile. Once both girls know all the vocab we will work on usage more.


We will continue working through Artistic Pursuits. It's easy for mom- which makes it a winner.


We have been listening to classical music. I'd like to have Sweet Pea start piano lessons this year.

Obviously this is a work in progress, but it's good to start looking. And planning.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

E-reader schooling

Thanks to a thoughtful early Christmas/birthday/anniversary gift from my dear husband I am now the proud owner of a Kindle.

Of course this means I've scoured Amazon for all of the free classics and other books I can find and uploaded them. I've also looked at how to put PDFs on.

Would anyone be interested in a compiled list of free homeschooling resources for e-readers?


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