Sunday, December 11, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
We use an Advent wreath, calendar, and a nativity. We use this book: Celebrate Jesus! At Christmas.
We also read a lot of books on St. Nicolas and on Dec 6th the children leave a shoe out.
On top of this, we'll continue regular school. We'll also have all the Advent activities at church as well as preparation for the girls who will be in the children's Christmas program.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
First, I had a lady approach me and tell me she's really amazed by how well we homeschool- that she can tell we're doing a great job and Sweet Pea is an incredible little girl.
She has grandkids Sweet Pea's age and older that she spends a lot of time with, so I take this as a massive compliment.
Brag number two- Little Bird is almost through her kindergarten reading book. She's four. :)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
My oldest is doing a sweep through American history this year. She's also studying Norse mythology. We're doing this with a lot of living books and reading time together.
My middle child is diligently working on reading and developing patience and listening skills.
My toddler is working on how many things he can possibly destroy in each moment.
Morning begins with breakfast and then free play time for the kids. I drink coffee and relax for a little while, then everyone gets dressed/teeth brushed, ect.
Then we sit together and I read to them. Sweet Pea needs to listen closely, the toddler doesn't listen at all unless it's a picture book, and Little Bird wavers between the two. Right now we are reading the Witch of Blackbird Pond. This book is about Puritans and has been a good look at the different way of life the Puritans followed. We've marked the time in Sweet Pea's timeline book. Today the places in the book that came up were Boston, and the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island. We brought out the map and found and marked the places.
After we did our reading together I made a snack for the kids. My kids love to snack. Sweet Pea took her snack and her reader- the Matchlock Gun- and went and read it by herself. Well, not totally alone- she snuggled with the cat who is always happy to keep her company.
While she was doing that the two littles and I read picture books while they ate. Once their food was gone Moose played with playdoh, then colored with crayons. Little Bird read me a short book. She colored me a picture then, too.
By the time they were done with that Sweet Pea was ready to come down and tell me about what she read. This is called narration when done a specific way and is part of our language arts approach. We alternate this with dictation. The dictation and copywork we do comes straight from the books Sweet Pea is reading. After she does her writing we dissect the sentences for their parts of speech and how they are put together. This is how we are doing grammar right now.
After that today Sweet Pea pulled out her math workbook and did four lessons.
I think she would have done more, but her father came home for lunch then and math can't compete with that!
After we have lunch together as a family, the girls went upstairs to play. They are making a play together and enjoy putting on costumes and coming up with songs.
The toddler practiced throwing a ball with my husband and I cleaned up lunch. We chatted about our mornings, and enjoyed coffee. Then he had to go back to work.
After lunch every day we have quiet time. The toddler usually sleeps for two hours. I will make a confession here- he often sleeps in my arms as I rock him. My 4 year old usually sleeps for 30 minutes or so and then she plays with her baby dolls or builds with her legos. I expect her to be quiet for 2 hours but I am pretty open to how she spends that time at this point. My 7 year old reads during this time. Sometimes she also works on a puzzle, does legos, or draws. She also uses this time sometimes to knit or make pot holders with a small loom.
When nap time is done I am planning on science. We are reading books about our planet and our solar system. We are also making a scale model of the solar system out of clay. So far we have made Mercury and Venus, so this afternoon we will be making Earth.
After that, it's more snack. During afternoon snack we do Bible and Catechism. The girls have piano practice to do, too, and then the rest of the afternoon is theirs to do whatever they want. At this time, too, we work on Latin and French.
And that's how our days go.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Guess it's time to start being more intentional with handwriting practice! Yikes!
Also, Sweet Pea has been cruising along rapidly in math. I think we may level up soon.
And so he's not left out my darling toddler now yells, "BOOM!" constantly. He loves to knock things over or fall on purpose so he can yell it.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
For a change, I'll go youngest first.
Moose. My sweet no-longer-a-baby boy. He'll be 2 by the time the school year ends. TWO! How is that possible? It shouldn't be. He's doing really well with gross and fine motor and right on track, so I hope he continues on there. I'd like to see him start talking a little more- he's a man of few words. I think a lot of that is personality, though- he likes to think things through and form an opinion before trying them.
Little Bird. She'll be a brand new five year old at the end of the school year! Hard to believe that I'm staring that down. I'd like her to be through basic phonics by then and able to read books with some fluidity. I'd also like her to begin properly forming some letters and numbers. I also have high hopes that she'll be able to tie her shoes by then, too.
Sweet Pea. She'll be eight at the end of this school year. We're spending this year working through American History, earth space science, Norse mythology, math, French, and Latin. I'd like her to be able to put together a well constructed paragraph by the end of the year. I'd also like her to be able to prepare a few more meals. I also hope that she has the whole catechism memorized. We'll see!
These goals aren't really fancy or hard or intense. I think they are realistic, though, and hope we achieve them!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
We also have a laminated map that we locate things in the US on. This works well for finding reference points like cities, mountains, or rivers.
We're also learning to draw maps.
Above is Sweet Pea's first attempt at drawing the continental US. She did a really good outline of the country, keeping the shape pretty true. She added a few states. Next time, I'll have her add a few more and maybe a river. By the end of the year (and the end of our study of US history) I'd love it if she could dry a map of the US with some major points by heart.
Just for fun- this is Little Bird's map. Little Bird at 4 very much wants to follow in her sister's footsteps and can almost always be found with us during school time, trying her hand at whatever we are doing.
I'm so proud of them!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
My general method goes something like this:
I spend lots of time teaching the letters, their sounds, various ways they look, and getting the child really comfortable with them. This stretches from toddlerhood to about 3-4.
We spend lots of time reading out loud. Picture books, chapter books, anything and everything. We attend story time at the library for more oral reading exposure. Infancy- childhood.
I also spend time on oral blending games and rhyming. For example, "C AAAAA T says what?" When they can hear the separate sounds and blend them together, we're ready to move on. I also think that rhyming is very important. Lots of silly songs and nursery rhymes help develop the ear for this. We work on this from the time they talk well until it clicks- about toddlerhood- 3/4.
After they can do the above easily, without stress, we start working on reading words on paper. I start with short vowel words, specifically short A words. I also introduce a very few "helper" or sight words, but I also explain the phonetic sense behind them. I believe that too many sight words leads to troubles later on. This has happened between 3/4 for both of my girls.
When they can confidently read CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words, we move on to digraphs and more complicated words. This is the most variable part- Sweet Pea blew through phonics as a whole in less then a year and was able to read on a meaningful and good level in that time. Little Bird hasn't moved to this phase yet, so I don't know how quickly she'll progress.
After this I address reading a little differently- I enforce reading time throughout the day. This falls in three categories- books I read to them (even after they are fluent readers), books they read silently to themselves, and books they read out loud to me.
Having a child read out loud allows you to keep up with combinations that they are having issues with. It also lets you catch sloppy habits, mistakes, and can clue you in on vision issues. I think it also helps self confidence.
Reading out loud to a child who reads well allows you to read books together that they might not pick up on their own. It also allows you the chance to stop frequently and discuss vocabulary and themes, look things up on maps and check comprehension without tossing out worksheets.
Silent reading is important here, too. It lets you assign school reading, helps reinforce the idea that reading is pleasurable and a worthwhile use of time, and builds the volume of ideas that they carry around. A widely read child has images and vocabulary bouncing around that will benefit them indefinitely.
When is a child reading? This is pretty hotly debated. Some people say their child is reading as soon as they sound out or recognize that first word, others wait until a child can pick up a book, decode the letters and tell you what they just read. I fall kind of in the middle. I don't call a child who can pick a few words out or blend a few words a reader. That misses the nuances of being able to use language. I also don't wait until they are able to pluck a book from the shelves and use it meaningfully, either. I would say that my four year old can read- she can pick up an easy reader, sound through all the words, and then retell the story.
But this is the beginning, not the end.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Those ghosts are the pained footprints of each on my kids, filled in and decorated.
This week we covered more of the Puritans. We also went out of order and added Leif Ericson to our Book of Time. We read about him. I'm a little surprised he wasn't included in Sonlight's American history, but he was easy to include! Must not forget the vikings!!
Sweet Pea colors these, then we cut them out and write a sentence for her book to help us remember something about each person.
We're chugging along in math. We're almost 1/2 way through the book. The focus has been more on practical math then doing the workbook, though, which has slowed progress through the book but increased our enjoyment.
Here's a sample dictation from Sonlight's LA. We then go through it the next day and mark up all the parts of speech. The lengths of the dictations varies.
In science we are studying the planets. To go along with this we are building a scale model of our solar system. I'll put pictures up when we have more then itty bitty Mercury done. It's not too impressive on it's own!
The kids have been making various crafts and coloring. A lot.
Little Bird is working through a Handwriting without tears book when I am busy with her big sister.
Moose insists he has to color, too.
Sweet Pea's art is as sweet and quirky as ever.
The girls also practice piano daily. I shoot for 15-30 minutes from each of them per day.
Along with this we are doing Latin. Sweet Pea reads daily for school and pleasure. Little Bird is working through phonics. Moose is diligently babbling at us and practicing that toddler mind control that allows a nominally verbal little person to get what he wants and needs.
Things are good!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
It's easy to read to one child. They can sweetly nestle on your lap, or next to you on the couch. Alternately, you can snuggle in bed together and pore over that worthy tale.
As a family grows, though, children outpace available lap real estate or become to old (ha!) to want to sit on mom's lap.
We do a lot of reading out loud for school. Currently I have my darlings sit on pillows on the floor in front of me. I was inspired to this genius by the librarians at story time. Dozens of toddlers, sitting raptly and quietly and not elbowing each other! If they can do it, so can I.
It has worked well.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I'm so glad.
Another positive is hearing Sweet Pea explain that history is interesting now.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I like to make something that has a little bit of lag time from preparation to eating. Today the menu featured homemade blueberry, banana, chocolate chip muffins.
Preparing them is a good reinforcer of math- especially since we live at high altitude and every single recipes needs altering. Every one.
Waiting as the smell fills the house is a lesson in patience. It also gives us time to work together on picking up or a cleaning project- something that can be hard to work in for some families. For us, knowing that a delicious snack is coming is a powerful motivator!
Eating together at this time is a good chance for the kids to chat, both between themselves and with me. So often we're working one on one or I am busy, but table time is a wonderful time to focus JUST on them. It's also a good chance to do fun things like practice French or use Latin.
Those are my meager thoughts.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
It can also be sitting around the table doing worksheets.
It can also be building a scale model of our universe (or at least the planets).
Best of all- it can be all of this, or none of this. Sometimes in the same day.
Homeschooling is being with your kids.
Friday, September 16, 2011
This school is our school, now. I'm so thrilled with how this year is going.
Little Bird's reading is really taking off. Sweet Pea meets each day eager to learn.
We are blessed.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I see the benefits both sides present.
We decided to skip Sweet Pea up a year in Sunday School. She's in with the 3rd/4th grade class this year.
I don't know what level we're going to put her in for other community activities.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Otherwise, carry on.
We did 1/2 of Week 1 of Sonlight Core D&E.
Sweet Pea's favorite parts of the week were her readings from Om-Kas-Toe and listening to On the World's Rim.
Little Bird's favorite part of the week was coloring with mommy and reading a book about a rat.
Latin was also a high note. When we tried Prima Latina a few years ago it was too much. Now we should be able to clip through it.
All's well 'round here!
And that's a relief.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
My toddler is a needy cuddlebug and my ability to get things done is really compromised. What things?
Cleaning, school, quality time with all the kids in a row.
I'm contemplating various schedule aids I've seen around, not for homeschooling so much as for my life.
I feel like I want a better handle on where our time goes.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I'm sure you're all glad.
Today has been the first toe dip into Sonlight. We are doing Core D&E- the condensed US History one.
I think it's going really well. Sweet Pea is into all the reading and read alouds, and Little Bird is happily along for the ride. So far there's been no bickering over what to do next, either!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
We've all had that happen, right?
It's especially tough when I'm trying to discuss homeschool plans outside the norm.
You'd think homeschoolers would be really open to the notion that things happen in fits and spurts, but I haven't always experienced that.
Sometimes we're an outlier, even in the homeschooling community.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I've been poring over it and... I love it. Sonlight has appealed to me for a long time, but the cost has put me off.
I don't have that excuse now.
It's a regular switch-a-roo around here lately, and I apologize for it. There's no consistency, although each step seems to be bringing us to something new and better. And more mainstream in many ways.
This really appeals to Sweet Pea's love of reading and my love of scheduling.
Anyone use Sonlight?
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
They mostly had comments about how weird it was.
Methinks Shakespeare may need a titch more preparation. Or different choices.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We (by we I mean me, of course) keep getting asked when we are starting this year.
I hate this question at the moment.
I don't know when we are starting! This grown up stuff is hard!
Last year and the year before I had all my supplies in hand far advance and I was READY. I was excited.
This year I have none of that. Well, I supposed that I am excited, but I can't claim to have all my supplies in hand. I can't claim to have stared at the calendar and picked a day that we will jump back in.
Anyone else in limbo? Do I just need to stop whining, make some choices, and begin?
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Instead, I am sending a letter to the effect of:
Intent to Homeschool
Sweet Pea Lastname (DOB such and such)
Our curriculum is sequentially progressive because it is provided by publishers who recommended these publications for the grade level and above.
Following is the curriculum:
1) Science: God’s Design for Heaven and Earth- Planet Earth, the Universe, and Weather and Water
2) Writing: Language Lessons for the Very Young Vol. 1 by Sandi Queen
3) Civics: This Country of Ours: The Story of the United States by H.E. Marshall
4) History: Child’s History of the World by V. Hillyer
5) Mathematics: Saxon Math Grade 2
6&7) Literature & Reading: Ambleside Year 2: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, Pilgrim’s Progress Book 1 but John Bunyan, Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty, Understood Betsy but Dorothy Canfield Fisher, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Robin Hood by Howard Pyle, McGuffey’s Readers
And that is ALL I am sending. Fin.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Well, she is.
This means, in the Mama's house, that it's time for more serious (LOL) preschooling. She's not attending a program outside the house, we're doing it here.
This will focus a lot of just readiness to sit and learn. And phonics. That's the other biggie.
Sweet Pea was reading proficiently at 4.5 and ideally I'd love it if Little Bird was, too. I think she'll be able to- she's sounding out CVC words and really just needs some mom time and practice.
We'll keep slowly working through Saxon Math K with the goal of being ready to start Saxon Math 1 in a year.
I feel a lot more laid back about it. I took Sweet Pea's K4 year really seriously. Little Bird reaps the benefit of my experience, though, and should have a sweet, low key year.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
I have not filled them out.
They are requiring more information then I am legally obligated to give.
I am not a confrontational person, and this makes me nervous.
But I am not willing to send in what they want.
I hope to get this resolved, soon!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I am contemplating Sweet Pea's LA line up still. STILL.
Why, you ask? Because I'm an indecisive mama, sometimes.
Language Lessons for the Very Young 1
Learning to Spell Through Copywork, Book B
And one of the Queen homeschool copywork books- I think I'll give her a few choices
Classical Writing Primers
Rod and Staff Spelling3
Something else I haven't thought of
I think perhaps Little Bird would like Language Lessons for Little Ones.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
-Write a good paragraph
-Memorize multiplication tables
-Draw the US and locate all states
-Keep reading well
Around the house goals:
-Simple meal prep
-Wash her own clothes
-no longer screaming when angry (sigh)
-be more willing to deviate from a schedule
-Do more art
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I know a lot of new moms who dread that question. "Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?"
It's so loaded.
There's feelings of failure if the baby ISN'T sleeping through the night, and feelings of accomplishment if they are.
I'd like to stand up and say that my current "baby" can walk, talk, and is closing in on a year and a half old. He's charming and happy and deliciously sweet. And he does not sleep through the night. He never has.
It took my girls a long time, too, but they can do it now.
It's OK to have a baby or toddler who wakes at night. It is!
My response to the question has always been to smile sweetly and say, "My baby is a GREAT sleeper!"
And I mean it. Even though I haven't slept through the night in about... 7 years. :)
Friday, June 17, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This is from Homeschool Skedtrack. It's an online scheduling tool. It's free. And I love it!
I'm an organized person by nature and this lets me toy with things without creating my own spreadsheets or erasing a lot.
This is Sweet Pea's course list for next year, so far. If you click it I think it'll get bigger so it's readable. :)
I think that Little Bird may start slow lessons, as well.
I'm really excited because this is something that we'd really wanted to add in for quite a while and it really clicked.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Seriously- I had despaired of ever teaching her how. She could fall with training wheels!
A few weeks ago we tried without training wheels and she was so wobbly that I had to literally hold her up.
Three times of trying it this way and she's riding!
I am SO PROUD!
Also, I think it's kind of a classical approach.
Work on skills in isolation, then combine and reap the rewards.
I'm so proud. :)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
We also bought some small strawberry plants and a mint. Tomorrow we'll put them in and hopefully soon they'll take off.
Monday, May 30, 2011
I am using a combination of Hooked on Phonics K and the Ordinary Parent's Guide. I think I've said that a few times :) but I really like the combo! Neither program requires handwriting which I prefer at this stage.
She's also working on Cursive First. Right now we're working on properly writing numbers.
We are also slowly working through Saxon Math K. Little Bird has a good sense for numbers and increasing and taking away. We have a book from the library right now that uses M&M's for math- it's really cute!! She enjoys being able to eat the problems. :)
She also really enjoys the Little House on the Prairie (our current read aloud).
She's right on track for my goals for her pre-Kindy year. Go, Little Bird!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Latin Latin Latin Latin Latin
Math Math Math Math Math
Music Music Music Music Music
LA LA LA LA LA
French French French French French
English Modern Science Classical English
Studies Studies Studies Studies
Monday: English studies- Walter de la Mare 5 & 6, and Understood Betsy ch 1
Tuesday: An Island Story ch 23, Child's History of the World ch 47, 2nd half of ch 1 the Little Duke
Wednesday: Burgess Animal Book III OR Nature study OR other science
Thursday: Tree in the Trail ch 2 & 3 (geography) and Norse myths
Friday: Walter de la Mare 7& 8, second section of Pilgrim's Progress
Friday, May 27, 2011
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Latin Latin Latin Latin Latin
Math Math Math Math Math
Music Music Music Music Music
LA LA LA LA LA
French French French French French
English Modern Science Classical English
Studies Studies Studies Studies
Monday: English studies- Walter de la Mare 1 & 2, and Two Gentlemen of Verona
Tuesday: An Island Story ch 22, Trial and Triumph ch 10, 1/2 of ch 1 the Little Duke
Wednesday: Burgess Animal Book 1 OR Nature study OR other science
Thursday: Tree in the Trail ch 1 (geography) and Norse myths
Friday: Walter de la Mare 3& 4, first section of Pilgrim's Progress
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
We also went out after supper for ice cream with another family and then to the park.
It's scary and hard to think about friends and socialization when you are contemplating homeschooling.
The social thing has been a lot easier for us to figure out then the academic- my kids meet people everywhere. They are surrounded by friends and acquaintances.
Don't let a lack of social network dissuade you from homeschooling- you can work it out.
And it's worth it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Neither child has intuitively picked it up without instruction. I am a firm believer in phonics, so that's how we are addressing it.
I like teaching reading. It's fun seeing it click and how much opens up to your children when they can read!
I take some of my cues from how I teach writing- divide the skills.
First, we work on letter recognition. Names of the letters, different ways they are written, the sounds they make. Both of my girls learned their ABCs far in advance of learning to read.
Next, we play blending games. There are a lot of suggestions online and it's good to find a lot since it can take a long time for kids to make the leap from knowing letters to blending sounds! I think that this is one of the most frustrating and confusing parts of the process. Kids know their letters, so they should be able to read, right?
No. Not really.
I think that decoding and blending are developmental, and kids need time for it to all sink in. It's so hard sometimes when it seems like they have the skills and information but can't put it together. I think every mom or dad during reading lessons has listened to a tiny person say, "CCC AAA TTT" and been surprised or baffled that they couldn't put it together to make CAT.
It's easy for us, as readers.
Don't be frustrated, though. It'll happen!
My favorite way to practice blending is to NOT use written words for it. Looking at writing requires them to remember the letter, the sound, the order, AND to try to blend it. It's a LOT!
Instead, when we are in the car or playing in the yard, I ask Little Bird (my current phonics pupil), "What does CCC AAA TTT say? Can you guess? Listen to the sounds! Now, CCC AAA NNN. What's that one?"
At first, it's hard. But once my daughters could connect the sounds just hearing it, and do it well, then I brought it back to books.
It seems to be working well. Little Bird can read short words. Lessons are short and fun and once anyone is antsy or frustrated, we are done.
She gets the benefit of experience, there. I used to get upset with Sweet Pea and push on, even when she wasn't ready. I've learned my lesson, and it's made the process much lower key.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Classical Writing Primer (CW) is a consumable workbook. There is also a teacher help book, and a file to download with pictures for picture study.
-the lines for writing are single lines, no dotted mid line
-lots of space for illustration
-has around 7-10 sentences per day from what I've seen
-includes copywork, narration, picture study, nature study, grammar, and spelling
I think that the selections are really sweet. I like the length of the writing assignments.
Writing with Ease (WWE) also has a consumable student book. There is a separate teacher's manual.
-dotted lines, but large
-has pictures you can color, no illustration
-1-2 sentences per day
-includes copywork, narration, and dictation (at higher levels)
Overall, I really prefer CW's primer to the WWE level we used. I didn't feel like WWE contained enough writing and I wasn't really thrilled with the books the samples were drawn from. Both programs are similar in price.
I'm looking forward to working through Primer and seeing how we like the rest of Classical Writing!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I had the pleasure of talking with another homeschooling mother over the last few days and they are using Classical Writing. I toyed with this program last year and ended up not going with it, and here I am again!
I think it's a good, solid possibility.
I'm also looking at D'Aulaire's Greek Myths from Memoria. I think Sweet Pea would absolutely adore this.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Saxon Math K
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading/ Hooked on Phonics K
Booklist: Ambleside Year 0
Saxon Math 2-3
Reading: Ambleside 2
Language Arts: Shurley English? The modern speller?
Science: Earth Space
History: 1000- Middle Ages
French: Le Francais Facile
Thursday, May 5, 2011
About 6:00 am Little Bird runs into my room and wakes me up. I am not a morning person, so I lay in bed and grumble for a while.
6:15 I venture downstairs for breakfast.
After I eat I play with mt sister and brother for a while, then mom tells me it's time for school.
8:00 am I finish math and science.
8:30 I make a batch of chocolate chocolate chip muffins. Mom puts them in the oven for me, but I do the rest.
8:45 Copywork and a written narration done while muffins bake- then I eat two. Yum!
9:00 am Mom sends me outside with a pencil, box of crayons and a sketch pad. I swing, draw pictures of ants and leaves, and run around.
11:45 am I come inside for a drink. Mom is making lunch so I decide to do some playdoh with my sister. My brother pulls all the pans out of a cabinet and bangs on them with spoons. My mom puts on a CD in French and I practice phrases with my sister.
Noon Dad comes home to eat lunch and see what we worked on. My brother is grumpy and instead of eating lunch pores it on himself and then yells. Naptime for him.
1:00- 3:00 pm I lay in bed somewhat quietly and read. I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When I'm tired of reading I jump around my room and stare out the window.
3:15 pm Up from not so quiet time I run outside with a snack- more muffins, an apple, and a glass of water. I eat my snack while staring at the clouds and catch some ants.
4:30 Mom calls me in to read history. I narrate it back to mom and then run back outside until supper.
5:00 pm Supper with dad, mom, and my siblings.
6:00 Back outside to run more. Mom lets me play until it's time to come in for a snack.
7:00 Snack. Mom reads another chapter from the Little House on the Prairie.
7:30 pm I lay in bed and read for a while, then fall asleep.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
She is currently working through the Explode the Code primer A. We also have B and C for her, and when she's done with those I think we're done with the series. She's slowly working through Hooked on Phonics K and the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I'd like her to be fluently reading CVC words by Christmas.
She's in the early lessons of Saxon Math K. We'll work through that this year and hopefully finish by spring.
Once I find the box ;) I'm starting Cursive First with her. She knows all her ABCs and is starting to write letters and I want her to have proper form.
She listens in on big sis's science and history.
She's doing really well in French.
Bible and Catechism- this year is the New Testament and continued memorization.
We'll also read through the Year O books from Ambleside as found here.
Cost of new curricula for the year? $0. :)
I call that a Pre-K year well planned!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Reading about Charlotte Mason and reading Charlotte Mason's actual work- wow. It's really amazing and quite different.
I like Ambleside and Tanglewood and Simply Charlotte Mason, but they just don't have the same verve or rigor.
I'm intimidated by what she had her students do!
In related news- next year is still heavily being planned and obsessed over. Decisions, decisions!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Over the last few years I've been asked by family, friends, acquaintances- anyone who really hears we're homeschooling- about how long we're going to do that. Do we have an end in sight?
At first people thought we'd just homescool preschool. Weird, but not everyone goes to preschool, so Sweet Pea would probably turn out OK and not too bizarre or socially maladjusted. Then we did Kindergarten. This seemed much less alright with people- Kindy is a real grade and skipping it meant that Sweet Pea would... what? Not know how to line up? To raise her hand to go to the bathroom?
I'm not sure exactly what she was missing out on since she learned to read fluently at 4 and do basic arithmetic. But she was missing out. And lots of people kindly took the opportunity to inform us and her of this.
Now we're coming to the close of 1st grade and Sweet Pea is now 7. 7! She's quite the woman of the world at 7, right?
We're going to come to our senses and send her to school any minute so she can do all the stuff she's not doing, right?
I have no clear or immediate plans of sending Sweet Pea or Little Bird to school. They are happy and thriving and learning and engaged and loved and safe at home- if it ain't broke, I'm not fixing it.
Opportunities do change and every moment I evaluate and reevaluate where we are and what we are doing and why. And if it's working.
And it is!
Sweet Pea is starting piano (and organ) lessons soon. Little Bird is going to take a dance class. They have little friends they see and places they go- and the world keeps turning.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Everyone has been so kind and supportive of our wacky homeschooling ways. I'm really glad!
One thing I've heard over the last few years is from people is that they could never homeschool and I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I used to be that way. I think I'm an unlikely homeschool and it's not something I thought I'd do before I was doing it.
And yet we love it (most days, anyway). It's really become enmeshed in the fabric of our family life and now I can't imagine NOT being a homeschooler.
I think that there is a lot of support out there for new homeschoolers, if you get tapped into the community. That's vital, because without it it's daunting and tough- and something many of us wouldn't be able to do.
That would be my biggest piece of advice to someone considering homeschooling- look for support. You probably CAN do it- if you want/need to. :)
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I had finally fully wrapped my head around Minnesota's homeschooling statute and what was required. I was comfortable. I knew what to do and when, and where, and why. This is good!
I'm a list-maker, and I like having a firm grip on as many of the details of a situation as possible.
This moving thing is throwing a giant monkey wrench in my well ordered homeschool world. We haven't done a full school week since this has started.
Subjects hanging in the wind! Chaos!
I know we'll get back on track and fortunately we had already finished a good deal of the work for the year. We'll be OK on this front.
I am now trying to look into all the things I need to do to legally homeschool once we are settled in our new home. I'm a little befuddled. I'd had years to look at the previous material and now only months!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
We're moving to Wyoming, so we have a whole new set of laws to learn!
The kids and I are taking a small break from regularly scheduled schooling. We're researching our soon to be new home. Sweet Pea is working through an Evan Moor science workbook. She's also reading the Leminy Snicket series and really enjoying them!
The rest of us are packing. A lot. I'm remembering how much I dislike packing.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Some things I've noticed already vs. Singapore:
- parental involvement
Time seems to be less right now. Teaching and Meeting book don't really take long, and the workbook pages are so well covered before they are assigned that it's not difficult for the child to finish. We're doing both pages in one sitting, all the problems.
Review. This is one of the biggest reasons we switched and something I am really happy with. Something is introduced and then constantly revisited and refreshed. Sweet Pea was really frustrated with Singapore that topics would come up, she'd learn them, and then we'd leave them. I was spending a lot of time (and ink) finding or making review sheets for her. I didn't like that- I want a curriculum that has it all together for me.
Manipulatives- I really like all the hands on parts of Saxon. It's not all manipulative work like Miquon (which we tried and failed with) but it's not all book work, either. Singapore did have suggestions for hands on stuff, but as the parent you had to locate materials and plan it out and that can be really hard to do.
Level. I did not take Ewe's advice and go a level up. I should have. Sweet Pea finished Singapore 2a and 2B and I put her in Saxon 2. It's all really easy for her but it is building her confidence up so we'll just go through at a quicker place and move into Saxon 3 by fall. Singapore does seem more advanced then Saxon, but Saxon seems far more thorough. It kind of felt like Singapore was advancing at the cost of mastery.
Friday, February 18, 2011
It's not quite up there with the questions about socialization but it is a big concern, and one that people ask for a few reasons.
First, there are the people who think that homeschoolers are never doing enough- that by the very nature of homeschooling it's never sufficient. It's usually pretty easy to suss out if this is the reason that people are asking and that no matter what you say they are going to fault you. If your kids are doing poorly it's because you aren't doing enough and if they are doing well they'd be doing better if you did more. This would also be the, "There's no right answer" people.
There are people who are just being polite. Homeschooling is obviously a big part of a homeschooler's life, so asking about it is natural. They probably don't want a lot of nitty gritty details, though, but it can be a good opportunity to plant some seeds about homeschooling.
There are people who know someone homeschooling, have seen it on the news, or have other casual exposure to the ideas. They are probably genuinely curious and wondering how it pulls together, and if everyone does it the same way (we don't!).
There are the people who are homeschooling themselves, or considering it. These are my favorite people to talk homeschooling to, because less time is spent in apologetics and more in shop talk.
No matter the reason for asking, it's a tough question to answer. How much time?
It depends what you count.
Does Sweet Pea's reading time count? She spends about 2-3 hours a day reading books, some by her own choice, some that I've suggested because they match with science or history.
Does art and project time count? Time spent with an instrument?
I think what most people want to know is how much time is direct instruction in a typical subject and how much time it takes to chug through all the subjects for the day. It's still a variable answer, but it's a little easier to pin down for me.
We spend about 2-3 hours a day on Sweet Pea's school. This does not include reading, homework, helping around the house, art, or anything like that. I'm not personally in the camp of counting every little thing we do as school, although lots of valuable learning happens outside the books we use.
Right now the biggest chunks of our day go to math and language arts. How it divides up really changes by the day and Sweet Pea's cooperation, but my general goal is to be done with the important stuff by lunch so she can spend the afternoon reading, doing legos, playing, ect.
This might not seem like a long school day (or maybe it seems really long!) but we accomplish a lot. Sweet Pea is on level or ahead in all current subject areas with this amount of work, so it's a good balance for right now!
Little Bird spends significantly less time on school and as soon as she feels done we are done. In this time I try to do a little phonics and a little math. Otherwise I read to her. The rest of her day is play time.
I hope this helped a little with the scope of how long school takes.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
A few weeks ago Sweet Pea took the CAT (California Achievement Test) as part of our yearly wrap up. I wanted to see how she'd done for the year and if taking a test in that format would throw her since we don't spend any time bubbling answers in.
She did really well! Really, really well!
By really well I mean that she answered every question on the test correctly!
I suppose this means we can call first grade a success. :)
Monday, February 7, 2011
Also- a quick google search for Latin Centered Curriculum 2nd grade didn't really turn up any blogs with a detailed listing! I'm actually pretty surprised. All you LCC bloggers need to put more out there, OK?
Well Trained Mind subject areas
Language- Spelling, cursive, reading/notebooking, grammar, memory work, fun reading
Writing- writing and dictation
History- medieval-early Renaissance
Science- earth science and astronomy
Religion- world religions and family faith
Latin Centered Curriculum Subject areas
English Studies- Phonics as needed, reading, copywork, recitation
Classical Studies- Norse myths
Modern Studies- geography and biographies
Looking at it I see about 14 subject areas for the WTM plan and 10 for the LCC. That's really not as big of a difference as I thought it would be since the LCC is so often referred to as pared down.
Neither one includes foreign language (well, outside Latin) at this age, and that's something that we are already doing and won't be dropping that.
My 2nd grade plan falls somewhere in the middle of the two.
So far I have a rough line up ready.
Language Arts/English Studies- Writing Tales 1, Rod and Staff Spelling 3
Reading- Books tied to the history and science rotation
Mathematics- Saxon Math 2
History- Romans, Reformers, and Revolutionaries, Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia
Science- Earth/space science
Latin- Prima Latina
French- Le Francais Facile
Religion- New Testament and Catechism
Art- Artistic Pursuits
Music- piano lessons
I plan to do dictation and memory work from History and Religion. My time goal is about 2-3 hours a day, doing History and Science both twice a week and the rest of the subjects daily.
Well Trained Mind line up:
Latin Centered Curriculum subjects (It should be noted that there is no K4 line up, this is the general Kindy suggestions):
Latin Centered Curriculum Subject areas
English Studies- Intensive phonics,nursery rhymes, copywork, recitation
Classical Studies- Aesop's fables
Modern Studies- geography and biographies
Our actual plan:
Phonics- Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, Hooked on Phonics
Writing: Cursive First, copywork as desired
Math- Saxon K
Latin- Prima Latina
French- Le Francais Facile
We'll also read through Aesop and she'll listen to as much science and history as she wants.
There's been quite a bit of waffling on my part on some of these, and there may be tweaking of some choices still to come, but I'm rather pleased at how it looks so far.
Little Bird is at that in-between point with phonics, now. She knows the letters and sounds really well, but hasn't made the developmental leap to blending seamlessly. While we wait we're just reading to her and having fun.
Sweet Pea has been doing really well. The last few weeks of school have been quite pleasant. Last week we did our first standardized test and I'm eagerly awaiting the results in the mail. It'll help with planning next year.
Otherwise, we are planning light weeks this week and next week since we will be attending a conference as a family. I love field trips like that, though, so it's good.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Where I live my local options for getting out are kind of slim, and I don't regularly go places without my children. My husband and I rarely (as in a handful in the last 5 years) use babysitters.
So how do I do it?
There are some things that I try to do daily and I really notice a spike in my stress levels if I get away from it.
I've found it's important for me to get up, get dressed, do my hair, ect, even if I'm not going anywhere or expecting company. It seems that if I get into a rut of slowly getting out of my pajamas that it impacts my mood. And how I perceive what I've accomplished for the day. I also strive to have some daily time to do my own devotionals, exercise, and quietly sip coffee.
My house isn't perfect- I have three small children and a dog. But I do like my bathroom and kitchen to stay clean and reasonably orderly. I feel stressed if I notice them get out of hand.
My husband and I do a lot of dates at home. We put the kids to bed and spend time playing games, watching movies, or just talking. We talk about our days, books we are reading, politics, religion, or whatever else is on our minds. I really treasure the time that we spend together and if he's gone I really miss him.
I think everyone has a different balance and need for outside social interaction. I'm very blessed by the people around me who come to visit or that we visit.
Friday, January 28, 2011
It seems like once you are on a site for a while you begin to see how mean and nasty people can be. I don't know what it is about the internet that lets people be so cruel, but I'd like to know why people tear others down to make themselves feel better as opposed to just seeing if there's something that they'd like to change.
Not that I've always avoided cattiness or meanness. I'd be dishonest to say I have. I do try my best to think before I post on forums about how the other person would feel reading my response and I've actually completely removed myself from a once loved forum because it was encouraging me to be unkind.
It seems like a lot of homeschooling mommy wars center around housework and doing enough school.
That people with clean homes aren't spending enough time with their kids and people with messy homes are slobs.
That having little school actually happen is realistic because life happens or doing too much is hotboxing.
Wouldn't it be better to just assume that everyone is doing the best they can in their circumstances and each of us are on our own road of success? Some further then others, some rounding back to the beginning to start fresh.
I like blogging because it lets me share. I don't only share our roses, I try to share our messes and mishaps, too. I hope everything that I say is received in a spirit of kindness and everything that I write is intended in charity.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Just because Sweet Pea is capable of doing something- should I have her do it? Expect it? Let her read it?
There's no easy answers, and it's a somewhat disparate question.
The should I have her do it right now is math. Sweet Pea has done all of the concepts for our year's worth of math work- and there is a LOT of school left for the year. So what do we do? Move forward? Move horizontally? A little of both?
I don't know.
Expect is right now is writing. Sweet Pea can write really well when she wants to. When she doesn't it's the single biggest area of contention in our day. She can drag an assignment out almost indefinitely just for the satisfaction of asserting herself, or she can do it in five minutes. So do I push it and daily expect a high output, or only when she's willing? Especially since most kids her age are writing a few short sentences and working on spelling?
I don't know.
Let her read it is that hardest part right now. Sweet Pea is a voracious reader. She's read the first two Harry Potter books and has 2 more books to read to finish the Chronicles of Narnia. She'd love to read the rest of the Harry Potter books, but some of the content concerns me based on her age. Emotionally I don't think she's ready to face all the themes, but she's ready from a reading level perspective.
So what to do?
I don't know.
Try my best. Be grateful to have such an eager student. Try more. :)
Friday, January 21, 2011
Time goes too quickly.
I am pleased that the same strategies that worked with child #1 is working with child #2- lots of reading, lots of playing with letters, and lots of patience.
Go, Little Bird!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
For some reason I'm not on the internet quite as much right now. School is going well, but I'm not working up the verve or zest or whatever to come type about it.
It all seems so general sometimes- did math, did writing, ect.
Something to ponder.