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Woohoo, the first 3 days of school are finished!! We started on the 15th and it has been an interesting 3 days. Overall, it has been good getting back to a routine and officially kicking off Kindergarten. Of course, the last 3 days have also revealed some necessary tweaks to the schedule as mom was a bit ambitious with her schedule and didn’t account for the split pea fog that had settled into their brains. 🙂
As for curriculum:
Math – Math-U-See finishing up Primer book
Language Arts – Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, McGuffey Eclectic Primer, copywork from these items and from History/Science
History/Science – Creation Unit Study, day 1 complete and prayerfully the weekend will allow me to post what we used/did
We read some fun books during our morning read-aloud:
Brother and sister story of little brother losing items as they journey home.
A delightful rhyming story with animals and foods, the kids loved it!!
Also, as a part of our unit study, we did do a volcano experiment today.
Here is our Starbuck’s volcano, named because that is my frappuccino bottle inside that paper and modeling clay. 🙂
Here are your other supplies sans baking soda as it is already in the bottle.
Yes, our grass is pretty dead, hubby rely’s on God’s sprinkler system and it hasn’t been working in our area this year. 😉
Next week is a full week of class, so off to tweak the schedule, secure any additional library books and review what needs to return to the library. Enjoy the weekend!!
It is hard to believe we are at the end of the week already of Randi’s wonderful Back to Homeschool Week and Tiany’s Homeschool Open House. Please join me in giving these 2 ladies extraordinaire a virtual round of applause for their efforts in coordinating these wonderful events that have afforded many of us to share what we are doing, what we have learned, how we do it and to glean the same from others…..bravo, bravo, bravo!!!
Today is about curriculum….it’s a dirty word in some circles and it doesn’t work for everyone so like with anything else, find what works for you and your family. 🙂 I shared more in my Day 2 post.
Reading – The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading combined with the McGuffey Readers, Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists, and heavy use of the library. I also have some books from Reading A-Z books during their free teacher appreciation week. I also use many of these items for copywork/handwriting.
History/Geography and Science – Unit Studies
We utilize the library heavily and like to use different library reads to enhance our current course of study and I hope to start sharing some of those items here in the weeks ahead.
I want to share some goodies that I have found in my travels that may help others and like I said earlier, I would do the social network/bookmark thing but I am just not there yet, so click on the links below. 🙂
Amy at Are we there yet? has a delightful idea of making a blog for her kids. I think this is just great and will have to implement this in a few years. 🙂
The Learning Umbrella has a wonderful idea about School in a Box. Well worth a try, possibly modified, to fit your family’s needs.
Scribbit has a fun box top maze that will have you scavenging for boxes during trash day. 🙂
Enjoy and if you have some goodies, feel free to share in the comments!
I am not a veteran homeschooler but I think that no matter what stage of homeschooling you find yourself at/in, there is something that you can share with someone else.
If I knew then:
1) My learning enviornment does not have to look like the government funded school systems. That is an eye-opener to many but especially to many in my extended family. Many are educators or former educators so they have a biased and often limited view of homeschooling.
2) Schedules are not masters but suggestions. In an ideal world, everything may flow via a schedule, but my world is not ideal and yours probably isn’t either (sorry to break that to you). Fact of the matter is that somedays thing need to be adjusted, enjoy your homeschooling freedom and just adjust, it will save you a lot of frustration and your kids will be happier because you aren’t in a constant state of being freaked out. 😀
3) The library is a treasure just waiting to be discovered. Even if you didn’t enjoy it as a child, it is a wonderful place, trust me, you will see. It if full of books for the young and the old and everyone in between.
4) If at all possible, review a curriculum before purchase and do not make impulse buys based on what such and such said. Such and such doesn’t live at your house and doesn’t have your kids. 🙂 I really recommend, reviewing and reviewing, praying, listing it out and putting the list away for 2 weeks to make sure that you still feel the same way and think it is the best purchase for you and your children.
5) In the end, remember why you are doing this because you will need to call on that often when days and situations are not as ideal as you hoped they would be but please don’t give up, keep perservering, the rewards are so worth it!!! 🙂
Today is Day 3 and it’s about getting out of the house and sometimes my hubby thinks that is all we do… 😉
We are blessed to live outside of the nation’s capital so historic places abound as do all of the free Smithsonian museums. Even in all of this richnes, we have a tendency to sometime not venture out which I am working on changing because I feel it is a shame to waste such great learning opportunities. Hence the borrowed Nike slogan as the title of this post. 😉
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to getting out is justifying it in the realm of defined education. The truth is learning doesn’t have to take place within the confines of the education system – that is why we homeschool….yippee!!! Everyday activities are learning opportunities and that is the binocular to be used as the kickstart to getting out of the house more often. Does it mean that sometimes work will have to be finished after school hours – yes it does but the learning and the memories from the fieldtrip last a lifetime.
The library is another place that should not be overlooked because you can truly travel the world. 🙂 Get to know the local business people in your area as they are often willing to share about their trade and who knows your child might like it and get an internship/job there and what’s better than some hands-on learning. Local farmers and co-ops are also open to visits and get to knows and many are willing to do it for small groups.
In my state, some churches serve as umbrella groups and many allow you to go on their field trips even if you are not a member of their co-op. Also, if you do not have co-ops or you aren’t a member, step out of your comfort zone and ask that mom that is in the library with her kids during the day just like you, she probably homeschools. 🙂
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. 🙂
The time is quickly approaching and while some are already ‘back to school’, others are preparing to go back to school. I am participating in 2 homeschool related weeks so I am combining them into 1 here.
Both weeks referenced above have a set of questions to answer regarding the 5 w’s and h of homeschool. I will primarily follow the schedule below for Back to Homeschool Week in that it anwsers all of the questions of the Homeschool Open House. 😀
Monday, August 6—What led to your decision to homeschool?
Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?
I have answered most of these questions in a Homeschooling Meme.
If you homeschool, feel free to join both of these homeschool weeks and make sure to link back and spread the love by visiting as many sites as you can as there is encouragement and inspiration abounding. 🙂
The schedule for the Back to Homeschool Week is as follows:
Tuesday, August 7—How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be “mom” and “teacher” at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc…
Wednesday, August 8—Getting out there…
Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc…
Thursday, August 9—If I had only known…
What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!
Friday, August 10—Curriculum
What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a “gem” that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?
Today’s Washington Post article – Giving Proper Credit to Homeschooled.
Interesting article that looks at how colleges are revamping their admissions criteria to make way for the homeschooled student.
Giving Proper Credit To Home-Schooled
With Applications From Nontraditional Students Rising, More Universities Are Revamping Evaluation Methods
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 11, 2007; B01
In the pursuit of a homemade high school education, Jay Voris played drums in Guinea, Colin Roof restored a 134-year-old sailboat in Ireland, and Rebecca Goldstein wrote a 600-page fantasy novel and took calculus at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The independent-minded Maryland students and two dozen others gathered at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis one afternoon this month for an alternative graduation ceremony that is becoming more common across the country as home schooling expands. Now the movement is gaining ground in a crucial arena: college admissions.
Goldstein, 18, of Ellicott City will be a full-time student at UMBC in the fall. Alan Goldstein said his daughter’s idiosyncratic education distinguished her from “cookie cutter” applicants from conventional schools and helped her gain entrance into honors programs and win a full scholarship. Others at the June 2 commencement are bound for St. John’s College, Hampshire College, the University of Rochester and other liberal arts schools.
Admissions officers accustomed to evaluating class rankings, transcripts and recommendations from professional teachers have long faced challenges in evaluating home-schooled applicants. How much weight should be given to student performance in a class of one or two? Or credits assigned for horseback riding or hiking the Appalachian Trail? Or glowing recommendations from Mom?
“Granted, everybody’s kids are great,” said Earl Granger, associate provost for enrollment at the College of William and Mary. “But it’s great when we can get an external source to really comment on a student’s progress.”
Colleges are finding ways to adapt to the growing market. Eighty-three percent had formal policies for evaluating the home-schooled in 2004, up from 52 percent in 2000, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Many rely on standardized tests.
At William and Mary, home-school applications have increased from 49 to 67 in the past two years. The college has a designated home-school admissions counselor, who advises applicants to supplement the regular SAT reasoning test with SAT subject tests. The counselor also encourages having a nonrelative write a recommendation.
Former Stanford University admissions counselor Jon Reider, one of the first to draft an admissions policy for home-schoolers, said such applicants often stood out for their maturity.
“There were things these home-schoolers had,” Reider said. “A certain amount of responsibility. They were in charge of their learning process. They were impatient with normal assignments and reading lists.”
When Reider left Stanford seven years ago, he said there were 36 home-school applications. This year, the university counted 104.
Reider said the rising number of home-schoolers means they will have to work harder to set themselves apart. “A lot of people in America are doing this,” he said.
Twenty-five years ago, it was illegal in many states for parents without teaching licenses to educate their children at home. But the number has grown as state regulations have eased. More than a million students — about 2 percent of the school-age population — were home-schooled in 2003, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Education Department. U.S. Census data show there were 350,000 home-schooled students in 1994 and nearly 800,000 in 1999.
Parents who were once forced to scour catalogs for textbooks are now backed by a nearly $1 billion-a-year curriculum industry that offers classrooms-in-a-box and virtual high school courses. Home-school networks also have proliferated, offering group classes, organized sports, debate clubs and social activities. All of that is helpful to college recruiters, who want to see extracurricular activities and high marks from online courses or community colleges to validate parent-designated 4.0 GPAs.
Goldstein’s transcript was loaded with A’s from Howard Community College, UMBC and her mother. To fulfill state requirements, she also had a consultant from a private school, the Learning Community International, review her progress and grades at home. Most states do not require such oversight.
Her college application pointed out some unusual classes, including one she developed about Lord Nelson and British maritime history during the Napoleonic War as well as a logic and problem-solving course that she liked to take while “eating Hershey’s chocolate and listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata,” she said at graduation.
Since the 1980s, home schooling has gained widespread popularity among evangelical Christians. Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County, founded by a prominent home-school advocate, targets such students.
In Richmond this past weekend, a Home Educators Association of Virginia convention was expected to draw thousands of parents and students, with about 200 students receiving diplomas in a group graduation ceremony. At the convention, recruiters from Christian universities set up booths alongside vendors selling books on how to teach subjects from a biblical perspective.
Cynthia Hay of Fredericksburg, a home-schooling mother of two, was among many people attending a panel discussion on college admissions Friday. Hay said she recently took her daughter Katie, a rising senior, on an East Coast college tour and found a warm reception almost everywhere. Katie is planning to apply to William and Mary, but her first choice is Princeton University. She has good test scores and grades and is involved in a church band and Girl Scouts. This year, she started taking community college classes.
Hay said she will savor her last year as Katie’s teacher. “The saddest thing about her graduation is that I wish I could do it again,” she said.
For many this can be a loaded topic, but I do not think that it has to be. 🙂 My friend over at 5 Kids and A Dog, created a meme based on homeschooling. It started with a post from another friend MLBAH and that was prompted by MommyZabs. MommyZabs has also posted a few questions addressing the subject. In the meantime, OnlySometimesClever (I think she is quite clever more than just sometimes) took the topic and ran with it and then Just Enough has linked to that and Bloggerings has added her insight. I share all of that so that if you are remotely considered homeschooling that you will have several wise references in which to start your investigative journey.
Now back to moi….I will combine the meme and questions from MZ into one post.
I have 2 children and the eldest is almost 5 (in July) and the youngest is 3. I always knew that I wanted to stay home until my kids were 5 and then I would return to work. My dh, then fiance, was not keen on stay-at-home moms but God specializes in miracles and now he encourages others to figure out how to live off of 1 income as he thinks it is the next best thing since sliced bread. 😀 I have been home for 5 years and it all started with some health issues with our dd that arose 3.5 months after her birth.
1. Did you always know you would home-school?
Education is very valuable to me and more valuable is learning how to learn. My parents did not go to college yet at the time we were capable of a solidly middle class lifestyle. My grandfather didn’t go to college but he read the newspaper everyday and instilled that in me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. While my parents didn’t go to college they both had common sense and they used that to seek out the best for me. I went to public school but because of my parents and their involvement, I was encouraged to try anything and everything and told that I could be anything that I wanted and I believed it. That drove me and still does as I do not think that anything is too hard or impossible. God did bless me with a brain that took in information like a sponge and as a result I was in honors classes and was exposed to things that other kids weren’t because they were merit based. I had a full ride to college and my parents were very proud and still are and while not initial proponents of homeschooling they both now readily admit how well behaved and smart my kids are, of course some of that needs to be run through the Nana/Pop-Pop filter of they are so cute and can’t do anything wrong. 🙂
2. What led you to the decision to home-school?
As my dh and I looked at the schools in our community, we knew that we were not going to send our babies to public school. Our church had a lot of homeschooling families and I started researching the topic when dd turned 3. I was an eager beaver at that point and would buy all sorts of things that people recommended – good things but things that didn’t work for me. I really started praying that if God wanted us to do this that He would just show us the way. I love reading and had been doing storytime with the kids at the library and decided one day to see what kind of books they had on homeschooling. I was pleasantly surpised that they had a nice selection and I took out a few on learning styles (Cynthia Tobias) and started researching. I figured I needed to know how they learned and how I learned to figure all of this out.
During the same time, my church started a classical education structured school and it pretty much decimated the homeschooling family network at our church as well as the stay-at-home mom network because many of the moms were recruited to work at the school. 😦 The school averages over $6,000 and I told my dh that I thought that was ridiculous for the 3 r’s of reading, writing and arithmetic and they started at the age of 2. I saw a schedule of their day for the 3 year old class and 2 hours was nap/quiet time and then there was 45 minutes for lunch so 3 hours were spent not doing any learning. I really thought about that and how much fun I had being home with my kids and watching their new discoveries and just their inquisitive nature that I really didn’t want to ship them off for 7 hours.
Very important component to homeschooling – husband and wife being on same page if not husband willing to be supportive of wife until without a word wife wins him over. My husband is my biggest supporter. He knows that no matter the current trends that I have researched and prayed and researched and prayed about our purchases before coming to him and he is always wanting to know what I need to make it a success. I think that is very important.
3. What age were your children when you decided to take the home-school plunge?
I started homeschooling with dd was about 3.5 with some easy basic stuff like colors, alphabet recognition and the like. We played, did storytime and took it easy. When she turned 4, we created a bit more structure (if I have none, I am capable of getting nothing done), and started using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and other things that I was finding on the internet. I came up with different scripture for memorization and off we went. Storytime was still 1x a week and we would load up with books at the library. I still didn’t feel completely at peace that I was not doing them a disservice being that I hadn’t purchased a box curriculum set and the like. So, I read Home Sweet Homeschool by Sue Maakestad. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone considering homeschooling.
Now,mind you the whole time I am teaching dd, ds is right there so when he was 2 he knew all of his colors, alphabet/number recognition, scripture verses, etc. so he caused me to do some re-thinking once again. Yes, re-thinking/retooling is a key part to homeschooling. Homeschooling for us is not a thing that we do, it is how we live. I can now turn just about anything into a learning opportunity. That has rubbed off on my dh and he does the same thing. It rubs off on our kids that they immediately start to think about something and then come the questions. At this stage they are naturally inquisitive so encourage that and don’t try to squash it.
4. Did you have any fears? What were they? Were they realized? 6. If you could name one thing that inspired you most to home-school, what was it? 8. Are some of your children easier to home-school than the others? 9. Lastly. Do you feel anyone is capeable of home-schooling? And do you feel every child is capeable of home-schooling? What would be an exception?
I still have fears about homeschooling but I don’t live with a spirit of fear. God has moved me to a place in which I can rest in that this is what He has called me to do and therefore know that He will give me what I need to get it done. This is my inspiration for homeschooling – knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do. It is a sacrifice but as in the Word – obedience is better than a sacrifice. I think that any mom who is led to homeschool can homeschool no matter what her educational background. I say led because if you are not led to homeschool it is like anything else in life, you will not enjoy what you are doing and you will not give it your all. Half-stepping at work will still get you a paycheck but half-stepping at home with the education of your children can have generational impacts far beyond what the eye can see.
As for children, I think all children can be homeschooled because at the core of anything and everything in life is obedience. I have a SIL that was an elementary principal and she would comment how her teachers had to spend 15-20 minutes calming children down. If your child does not obey you at home then he/she will not obey their teacher in school. It is really that simple! Teaching obedience, respect for others and their property, is the responsibility of the parents not teachers.
In terms of some children being easier to homeschool, I would think that if you have a child that has the same learning style as you do then it is easier to teach them because they learn like you and thus your job is easier. However, like Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, Ruth Beechick and Susan Schaeffer Macauley, we should strive to teach via all learning styles not just the dominant. My ds is very auditory, like me, so even if he isn’t looking like he is paying attention, he hears everything that you say and can repeat it back to you. Whereas my dd is more visual/kinetic in how she gathers information and I love how God uses her to stretch me outside of my comfort zone because I want to make sure that she undersands. Is it frustrating, at times, but when she gets it, all the frustrating moments are gone. 🙂
5. Do you know a lot of other home-schoolers in your real-life community? (cyberworld does not count for this question!)
As mentioned earlier, the homeschooling community at my church was decimated but there are few women that still homeschool and I consider them dear friends. Their children are older than mine but they still provide good counsel and serve as great sounding boards. Also, I attend a monthly support group jsut for moms, kiddies are left at home, and our group is on summer break. It is a group of all Christian women and there is a different topic each week. There are quite a few homeschool groups in the area and co-ops and the like and we are in prayer about joining a co-op this upcoming year.
7. How do you choose your curriculum?
Research is key to homeschooling. You will find that homeschool is not as narrowly defined as some would think and that their are anomalies within all of the subsets. I recently went to a homeschool fair for my state and while there were Mennonites, Catholics, Baptists, and a host of others and we all looked different. Nonetheless we were all there with the common goal of giving our children the best. There are choices upon choices for homeschooling and I think defining your educational goals and seeing where they line up (classical, CM, literature based, etc.) will help define your curriculum choices. My advice is to not be swayed that the grass is greener at someone else’s school because of this and that. Each of us is uniquely made as are our children, so keep the uniqueness that is a joy to homeschooling.
While, I could probably go on, I will end here. There are a plethora of homeschooling moms out there and while I do not want this to be a meme, I am going to name a few and if they are so inclined, I do hope that they will share their thoughts and even if they don’t, you have some sites to check out of some awesome homeschoolers – Mother Crone, MuddyBoots, Satisfied Housewife, Classical Reading and Writing (she has authored some awesome copybooks form the classical perspective), From the Narrows, and HiddenArt. There are more, lots more, so tag it and go reading.
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.