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How do we homeschool?
Such a loaded question that is…basically we homeschool like I cook – a little of this and a little of that. 🙂 For the most part, we are following the broad outlinesof the classical model of homeschooling but willing to veer off course and hop down rabbit trails if our hearts desire.
I am the type of gal that needs some sort of structure or I will hop down too many trails so for scheduling we use Homeschool Tracker. I do use the Plus program but there are few software programs that you can purchase for $39 with free upgrades and able to be used on more than 1 computer in your home. I find it a great help and being that my state requires a review, the reporting feature allow me with a few clicks of the mouse to have a summary of everything. Of course, first the information has to get into the program which is what I spent a large chunk of today doing hence my late posting. 🙂
Like I mentioned in the beginning, we are following the broad parameters of the classical method as outlined in the Well-Trained Mind (see sidebar). This year, I am going to do an overview of all 4 periods as exposure before delving deeper next year in the ancients. For this overview, I am developing my own unit studies that will cover history and science and I hope to share here in the near future.
For Math, we use Math-U-See. I absolutely love this program and so do my kids. A will be finishing up the Primer and starting Alpha come mid-September. We have both sets of blocks and they are in a fishing tackle box and they work well for my visual daughter and my tactile son. 🙂
For Language Arts-Reading, I use the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. I did purchase the combo pack and the kids love the magnetic board and will often just want to sit and make words with it without any prodding by me, which is just wonderful. Another item that I use to supplement is the Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists. I picked this up at Barnes & Noble with my teacher’s discount and it is a must for every bookshelf. Being that my daughter is very image driven, I find that books without images or few images work best and unfortunately many of the learn-to-read books have a lot of images. I downloaded the FREE McGuffey Eclectic Primer from Project Guttenberg. They work lovely and they are great for copywork as well. For her afternoon reading, I use some Dr. Seuss and early reader books because it is fun to read with your mom on the couch.
My son, while 3 1/2, is involved in some aspects of our daily learning but there are times when he must go have some structured play so I use ziploc bags and fill them with different things for him to do like mazes, coloring sheets, scissor activities, etc. He likes this plus it helps his skill development.
I do use some DVD/VHS tapes like Magic School Bus for further understanding and to this day, a how our food grows video has been their favorite and they know all about farm equipment. These tools have their place but they are not the bulk of our learning as they pretty much only get 1/2 hour of tv/video a day.
I use the library as much as possible to fill in other items and I find that thrift stores are often a treasure trove for books that can be used in a homeschool environment. We do field trips especially to the Smithsonians and I love the fact that they are free. 🙂
This year we are looking at a co-op for Fridays just because we are in the process of a church plant and our old church had a lot of activities for the kids and A is very social. I have not done our schedule justice but check out the archives for some other items and thoughts and check back in the future. 🙂
Many are winding down their homeschool efforts and we are going to just keep on going with a lighter schedule for the summer. DD needs to read daily and copywork 3x a week to help her with handwriting and we are going to throw in lots of fun and exciting things as the outdoors continue to beckon.
Today, was the first real day of introducing skip counting via MUS. I have been introducing the concept through books (most titles are mentioned in previous posts, check the sidebar) and other items in everyday life. I made some number lines that are for skip counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s and 10’s.
Also, I did a worksheet to supplement the book as a gentle introduction to skip counting.by 2’s worksheet
By happenstance, dd found another skip counting book at the library – Cat up a tree by John and Ann Hassett. It skip counts by 5’s and is a cute story that the dc both enjoyed.
We also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. The fornt of the book reminds me of our books growing up when your book cover was a brown paper bag. The book lets kids imaginations run wild with a rabbit and the different things that he imagines his box is even though to him it is never just a box.
The last book that we read today was A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson. My ds loves rhyming books and this was perfect plus it counts from 1-5 and back again. The frog keeps eating various things while on a log in a bog until a rather unfortunate event happens with a gator in which all of the food items leave the frog’s stomach (it was rather tight in there) and he no longer sits on a log. Great illustrations and a nice read.
I also liked these books because dd can read the titles and it enforces her reading skills.
After being inspired by another MUS user, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a fishing tackle box to store all of our blocks. Now, they are all organized and it is compact and portable in case the beach or the park calls us. 🙂
So, dd comes to me and tells me that she wants to learn Spanish and sign language. As I plan for next year, I hadn’t really thought about putting both of those in the schedule but if they ask, I think you should oblige (my unschooling side is showing). 😉
At the library, I picked up Eight Animals Bake a Cake by Susan Middleton Elya and we read it today. I had begun teaching them Spanish but stopped to spend more time on the 3R’s. Susan Middleton Elya has some other books that we may check out as well and make a path into more formal learning Spanish program.
We also read The Greatest Gymnast of All by Stuart Murphy. You have to love all of the Math Start books as they are fun to read, nice pictures and there is a topic for just about everything. This one is about opposites and ds really liked it as he is into opposites and rhyming words at this present moment in time. Any word you say he is trying to figure out a word it rhymes with and if possible its opposite.
A few dear friends are a part of the sign language ministry at our church and I have to assume that is where dd interest has been piqued. So, I will be sitting down with 2 books Learn to Sign the Fun Way and Teach Your Tot to Sign to come up with a plan.
All in all, we moved forward in MUS. We are on doubles (up to 5) and addition +1 facts so since her workbook is finished for those lessons, I am going to get some additional worksheets to provide additional drill for the rest of this week as next week it is onto skip counting. I made some timelines that I laminated for skip counting 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s and they are cut like rulers so I will also go over that on Friday and Monday with some magnet fish game. Yes, I made a bunch of different fish and attached magnets and made fishing poles out of small wooden dowels and she can use the timeline to pick up only the fish listed…we will see. Also, I need to hit the craft store for some foam as I had an idea about making die to further the addition stuff…still thinking it through in my head but may post a pic when the project is finished.
As for reading, we did the first few lessons in the free McGuffey Reader and did 2 copywork sentences from that for dd and ds reviewed -at, -ad, -ap, -an, -am words. He also did some matching stuff and connect-the-dot worksheets.
Today was a good day at Firmly Planted.
Well, good plans are made to be changed…I had planned to attend the homeschool curriculum fair on Saturday but changed my mind and went today. It was approximately 1 hour from my house so I left early because Friday rush hour starts at about 12 noon around here. My mom came with me as I did have the dc being the dh is at the men’s retreat. I was pretty excited about attending my 1st curriculum fair…I had my list of what I wanted to buy, what I wanted to look at and purchase if the price was right, and I had my checkbook. 🙂
Well, we arrived and the place was already quite packed. My mom was like “wow, there are a lot of cars here.” There was a Mason-Dixon knife show at the location but it is fair to say that the majority of people were there for the curriculum fair. 😉 After entry, I made my way to a map to jot down locations of my must visits – Math-U-See and Rainbow Resource. Okay, now off to shopping. Purchased the Alpha curriculum for dd math and the completer set of blocks. Had on my list the skip counting cd but forget to purchase it in all of my excitement and did not realize it until I got home..kinda bummed but I moved on. Also purchased the Usborne Internet-linked History and Science Encylopedias. A few other items – Aesop’s fables, Charlotte’s Web, Aladdin story reader, writing pads for dd penmanship, a shapes thinking game, and 2 maze books.
I was able to check out SOTW and was tempted to purchase but will wait until 1st grade. Looked at First Language Lessons and do not think I will need this until Novemeber-December so I will order when that time approaches. Of course there were more goodies than you can shake a stick at but I have resolved myself that I will not purchase a lot of curriculum to keep up with the Joneses but I will purchase what I have researched and prayed over with dh.
The kids held up well even though it was quite a bit warm and having mom was a blessing. All in all, I feel that I am good to go and will finish designing a few unit studies for history/science and we will go from there. I also discovered a decent used bookstore on the way home from my parents where I picked up The Trumpet Swan, Stuart Little, a Bill Peet book and a few other items. I will definitely add it to my rotation and tomorrow is the library sale. Yippee!!
Today we did hundreds and dd did wonderful with her place value. I need to make/laminate the hundreds house because she is very visual/kinetic in terms of learning styles but I had to share my excitment. My other blog has more on our place value journey.