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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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:

1) Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock

Adele &ย Simon

Brother and sister story of little brother losing items as they journey home.

2) The Beastly Feast by Bruce Goldstone

Beastlyย Feast

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Starbuck's volcano

Here are your other supplies sans baking soda as it is already in the bottle.

other supplies

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Eruption

eruption

It’s over

it's over

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!!

back to homeschool week

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ I shared more in my Day 2 post.

This year we will use Math-U-See for math as referenced here. This program works for my daughter and it works for me, so we are sticking to it.

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.

back to homeschoolย week

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love homeschooling!!!! Seriously, I truly enjoy teaching and being taught and I absolutely love the closeness of our family and my children. There is a natural bond because they are family but it is special when they also form their own friendship. I just had to share that as I am convinced that this is what we are to do in our family.

Last night, I went to a homeschool meeting sponsored by a local umbrella group that a few friends are members…I wasn’t going to go because it was on the beginning whys/hows of homeschooling and we are already doing it and we already know why we are doing it but this will be the first year being “official” being that dd turns 5 in July. I also didn’t want to have a haughty spirit and think I knew all there was to know about being a homeschooler in my county. After prayer and consultation with hubby, I went and was glad that I did. The attendees were all over the board in the sense that there were a few with little ones like me, others looking to pull a teen out of the schools and more in-between. The spectrum didn’t necessarily fit the neat outline of the speaker but it worked. I did have some input about some resources and shared some web sites because the presenter was big on books and not everyone is going to go to the library (plus she had checked out all the homeschool books). ๐Ÿ˜€

One thing that happenned that is still unsettling for me is her discussion of the various methods of homeschooling – traditional, classical, unit study, living books/Charlotte Mason, Hebrew education, unschooling, etc. She provided examples for each and then there was the attack on classical and the praise of the Hebrew method. None of the other methods were attacked but the classical. Quite frankly, many of the other areas were praised and expounded upon except for unschooling which was shunned (Note: I think in a way all homeschoolers unschool to some degree). When I say attack, the presenter did acknowledge that there is a big classical movement in homeschooling and she went on to say that being based in Greek/Roman thought only leads to secularism and as Christians we should follow the Hebrew model proposed by Heart of Wisdom. She was a bit more critical than this but you get the point.

I had never heard of Heart of Wisdom and I am including the link so that I can make my point that the homeschooling tent is big enough for all of us and no matter what method you choose or what methods you combine, we are all still seeking to give our children the best. I really have issues when homeschoolers go to such lengths to define/justify why the use what they use and do what they do. There are a lot of great curricula out there and the beauty/benefit of homeschooling is that you have the freedom to design God’s school in your home as you feel He is leading you in order to bless your children and train them up in the way they should go.

I stopped reading one of the message boards that I was on because it was too competitive and made me think that my grass isn’t as green as it should be….I had to pray about that because if I know that this is what God has called me to do and I am trusting in Him with my preparation, materials gathering, etc. and my children are learning then I am doing what He would have me to do at my house. What you do at your house is great but I don’t live there and neither do my children. I don’t want to sound harsh but this is really how the Lord had to lay it out for me as I can be stubborn and hardheaded. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I read a post the other day that summed it up at From the Narrows, check it out.

As a disclaimer, I do like the thought process behind the classical, but I also mix it up with unit studies, living books and unschooling. In the end, the Bible is our main text book and God is our Chancellor. I think that as parents we have to look at all of the curricula to make sure it espouses the beliefs that we believe. I also think that kids (at the appropriate age) should be exposed to fallacies of the world so that they can be informed and stand for Jesus in a sound way to avoid being tossed to and fro.

Now, I did find out about an awesome planning resource that is FREE!!!! Home School, Inc has a free module that helps you with planning, organizing, and clerical (prints report cards too!). The module is decscribed in detail below:

Plan Educate Record (PER) is the first module. If staying organized and keeping good records has been a challenge for you that detracts from the time and energy you have to give to teaching, we want to help. We have created a comprehensive planning, recording and storage application that will help. You will not need to labor over paper schedule books or worry about losing all your information in a computer crash. Better still, because our application is delivered securely via the internet, a parent who works outside the home or is traveling can still be an integral part of schooling the children! A parent in the office or on the road can communicate in real time with the kids back home and lend a hand when they need help! PER also will offer a complete set of academic and regulatory reports suitable for your state that you print with the click of a mouse!

As an aside, I went to the thrift store today and it felt like a used book sale at a curriculum fair. I was somewhat good but I did buy quite a few. Monday is 25% off so if some of the others are there, that extra discount may make me buy them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy your day!

Planning – that one word can either send you into homeschool joy or homeschool misery. Right now, I think I have moved from misery to joy. I wasn’t completely miserable but I was a bit anxiety ridden as I poured over the various choices that are available and tried to keep in mind the homeschooling laws for my state. While dd is only entering Kindergarten, we have been doing ‘homeschool’ for almost 2 years now in some capacity and as a result, the recommendations of just continuing to teach reading/phonics and work on writing is not applicable as those topics are already being covered so I do need to develop a more inclusive curriculum that includes history, science, and the arts.

My state regulations indicate that you must teach what is being taught in the school system and even after having downloaded the curriculum framework used, I realize that there are some things that will be taught and others that may not be covered this year. So, where does that leave me….this week is our state curriculum fair so I am looking forward to my first attendance at such an event keeping in mind my list of needs and my list of wants if they are in the used curriculum area.

I have made some decisions:

Math – we will begin Alpha from Math-U-See (see link on sidebar for more details)
Language Arts – Continue Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and begin First Language Lessons and add in more copywork, memorization and other items

For History and Science, my plan is to develop 4 unit studies that roughly match the time periods from The Well-Trained Mind to give an overview prior to beginning the Ancients in 1st grade. I am working on a creation unit study which will be our first unit and then I will work on the others with a goal of having them outlined and ready to go by the end of June. Depending on the end product I am thinking of putting them on Lulu for free as I have been so blessed by so many others freebies.

I have a tendency to over-research so I am trying to keep in mind that this is Kindergarten and if need be we can revisit these unit studies later and delve more deeply. ๐Ÿ™‚

Art and music appreciation is a pretty easy one for us as there are several venues nearby to take advantage of the arts plus there will be crafts in the unit study. Physical education is important so between our big backyard, bikes/scooters, community park and city park..I think we will be okay in that area as well. There is also an inside facility that I heard is nice and has an open gym time so we may have to check that out during the winter months. We will continue our library visits and will reassess storytime in the fall.

I think I have made progress into the joy of planning and now the key is to continue fleshing it out and have it as close to final as possible in June.

Our Scripture

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. ~Psalm 1:3

Something to think about…

"I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~ Albert Einstein
August 2017
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