Friday, February 18, 2011

Seat work

I think it's a pretty common question when people are thinking about homeschooling- how much time spent teaching? How much time doing book work?

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


In the form of standardized testing.

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

Well Trained Mind vs. the Latin Centered Curriculum

I'd like to compare and contrast the two, and then look at what I'm planning for next year. I'm planning 2nd grade and K4, for the record.

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?

2nd grade:

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
Christian Studies
Modern Studies- geography and biographies
Nature Study/Science

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.

Kindergarten 4:

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
Christian Studies
Modern Studies- geography and biographies
Nature Study/Science

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.

Doing the wave

The baby is waving, I mean. He also points and is taking steps! It's really amazing how quickly this first year has gone. And that my tiny new baby is nearly a toddler. And what a sweet, funny little boy he is!

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

Stress and "Me" time

I think one of the things people really wonder about it what homeschooling moms do to recharge and how they get time away.

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.


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