Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Curricula Goals 2016-2017

Vocabulary: Wordly Wise Book 3 and 4
Handwriting: Zaner Bloser workbooks
Grammar: Finish First Language Lessons 3 and do all of FLL 4
Spelling: Finish All About Spelling level 3 and begin AAS level 4
Math: Beast Academy
     Early Bird: Work through level 3 and hopefully complete by the end of the school year
     Builder Boy: Work through both levels 3 and 4
Science: (Biology year) 3 weeks Intro to Biology, 18 weeks Animal Kingdom, 1 week DNA and inherited traits, 8 weeks Human Body, 6 weeks Plants
History: Story of the World Ancients
     Early Bird: Read chapter and answer questions from activity guide, do narration, coloring page from activity guide
     Builder Boy: Listen to chapter, outline history encyclopedia pages or paragraph
     Both: map work from activity guide, time line, SOTW chapter tests, occasional activities, additional reading

Writing will be folded into science and history until comfort level has been reached, at which point we will continue with 4 Square Writing and How To Tell a Story.

I am going to try giving the boys their very first assigned reading assignments and accompanying project starting next week. We'll see how that goes.

I would like to eventually add in Beginning Editing, Word Roots study, and Logic again.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

First Day and Week of School, Take 5

Another First Day of School happened this week. Our 5th one so far. I took pictures and then tried not to cry over the obvious differences in the boys' faces over the years of First Days. Despite Lady Bug waking me up at 2am and not falling asleep until 6am almost every night, I really feel like I rocked our first week of the new school year. And that's funny, because the me of 5 years ago would never have considered what we did this week for school as "rocking it." We didn't do a single project or craft! How is that good enough?! But we actually got all of our subjects done at a sustainable level. And that's key for me.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the idea of the crafts and awesome projects laid out in the Activity Guide for Story of the World. I want to do ALL THE THINGS and have fun! But I also want to homeschool consistently for more than a few months at a time. I managed to homeschool last year in a few big chunks with a multi-month break for the fourth move in four years. However, despite the very full school files, it doesn't feel like it was quite enough. And that's with unschooling the science and history that year.

The last two weeks of July we did morning subjects and a fun engineering project in the afternoon. It was a really good way to ease us back into out schedule. The first week of August we did morning subjects plus an afternoon subject. I am hoping that over the months we will find time to add in the less basic subjects like editing, word root study, and formal logic. Right now we're doing vocabulary, handwriting, grammar, spelling, math, science, history, and writing. And it feels really good to be getting things done.

And no, I didn't make a mistake on Early Bird's sign. He's been doing the same work as his brother in most subjects now for a few years and his lowest grade level subject is math which he is working on at a 3rd grade level. So he has officially "skipped" a grade even though he did all the work.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Logic Resources before the Logic Stage: Part 1

While we have been doing things differently than a strictly classical education approach in the last few years, I still like to "check in" with The Well Trained Mind to get an idea of what our goals should be close to. I started Builder Boy's 4th grade year with the goal of having him ready for the classical approach for 5th grade as laid out by TWTM. Not sure if we'll actually get there or not, but I do like the idea of introducing formal logic in 5th grade. But I didn't want to just dump it on him with no warm up, so this 4th grade year we have been having some fun with various playful logic resources to introduce him to the concepts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Does a Homeschooler Raise a Butterfly?

I love the homeschooler changing a lightbulb joke. You know the one:

"How does a homeschooler change a lightbulb? 
First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life. 
Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.
On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill.
Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed.
And there is light."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Overdue Update

In October my good friend babysat all three kids for me for several hours. When I went to pick them up from her house she asked me to stay for a minute and talk. She had been doing some random reading the night before about signs of autism in toddlers and she thought she saw some of the things mentioned in Lady Bug. She shared a link to the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (also known as the M-CHAT) and suggested I try the checklist and see what it said.
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