Went through all of my homeschooling stuff today to see what curriculum resources I already have on hand to use next year. Found an old PE program we barely used quite a few years ago that looks interesting, and The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. I like to think I’m a little more than just ordinary, but maybe I’ll give it a go. ;) Kind of funny how we’ve been homeschooling for so long that I can “shop” for stuff on my own shelves lol.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Dear Lord, is it really that time of year again? We are wrapping up the current “school year'’ and that means we must plan out the next one. Ack, ick, and ugh. Best to approach this like getting into a cold pool…just dive on in, honey. I’m going to first review all the resources we used for this year and decide what worked, what bombed and what I completely forgot I had. Sadly, that happens more than I like to admit.
Math: Both boys started off with the appropriate level of Math Mammoth, and worked together on the Clock and Money workbooks. We are finishing off the year with Abeka. Math Mammoth is great, and I would use it again, it’s just that there are too many levels and subjects. With Abeka there is one book covering a whole year in an orderly fashion.
Language Arts: Ds3 (12yo 6th grade) has been following a free program I found online, Scott Foresman Grade Six Grammar and Reading. It has been just what we needed, a simple approach to grammar and how to use it in writing. I bought First Language Lessons and All About Spelling for ds4 (8yo 2nd/3rd grade) and regret both. We did a few of the FLL lessons and enjoyed them, but they are SUPER repetitive and slow. I never even did one lesson with ABS. Too complicated! Index cards, little letter magnets, too much effort and learning on my part. I learned that ds4 did great just listening in on ds3’s lessons. Also used a word a day vocabulary program.
Geography: I bought Trail Guide to World Geography and the companion workbook for both boys to use. We got off to a late start with this as it is not terribly user friendly. I seriously couldn’t figure out how to plan our days and how to set up the notebook at first, but now we are in a good groove and really enjoy the series. (This is the one I forgot I had lol. Fortunately, the lady who owns the site gave me a refund when I purchased it the second time.)
History: Confession time. We did a few lessons to continue on with our SOTW series (book 2) but when our lives got a little hairy and I had to pare down the subjects I covered, history was dumped. I had the chance to pick back up with it earlier this year, but honestly we are all bored with the curriculum and the subject matter. It’s time to move on. Since it was an election year we did do a unit on elections and one on the Olympics.
Reading: As always, I pick several age appropriate classic books to read to the boys and we have casual discussion based lessons based on the books. I let the boys pick the last few selections themselves (Robin Hood and My Side of the Mountain) to round out the year.
Science: I had planned on doing a few themed units instead of following a prescribed curriculum. We did cover weather, dinosaurs and magnets but I did not plan ahead enough and when life got tough, science was one of the subjects we dropped for a while. I will plan more in advance this time.
PE: I purchased Family Time Fitness Basketball and we did about 10 of the lessons. It’s okay but still not the thing I’m looking for in a PE program.
I think despite the trials and tribulations of the past year, we had a pretty good homeschooling season. Time now to prepare for the next stage.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Well, we have returned from our big 25th anniversary getaway. We had a glorious time with all four boys. Great weather, lots of fun and memories, and no one got sick. A+!
We began the adventure by leaving my poor kitties behind at 5 in the morning and heading to Gainesville. Ds1 got tickets to the Florida Gators annual Orange and Blue Debut game. We were all pretty excited to see the campus and famous stadium.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I never thought cursive writing would go the way of the dinosaurs, but I really see it as a possibility. Computers, of course, paved the way for cursive’s extinction. Now that we text, email, etc. there seems to be no need to use cursive. There is a generation of educators in charge now that came up through the ranks relying heavily, if not solely, on electronic devices. As a result, cursive, and dare I say handwriting in general, is not a focus in many lesson plans these days. When I worked holiday hours for Target a few years ago I am sad to report that I had several instances where a teenager or young adult signed their names in print. Because they didn’t know cursive. Seriously, they could not sign their own name.
I am teaching my boys to read and write in cursive. I don’t want it to be a dead language to them. We are using Handwriting Without Tears, which is an excellent resource for all aspects of handwriting. Ds3 has actually completed the course and now I have him do various copywork to practice. He just finished writing America The Beautiful and as a bonus has it memorized. :) Poor ds has a few issues against him in his quest for decent handwriting. He is left handed. He is on the autism spectrum and writing is definitely a challenge. He has to go slow and really concentrate, but when he does he succeeds. Case in point…
Today I was a bit unprepared with his copywork so I had him practice writing his name and address. He has improved so much and I am proud of him for not giving up. I am also proud that ds4 has asked to join in with cursive instruction, even though he barely has a good grasp of manuscript! He’s only 8 but working at a 2nd grade level so I ordered him the cursive version of HWT and he has been diligently working in it daily. I know that the future is headed in the opposite direction of cursive writing but I want my boys to be able to sign their names and read important papers. Like this…
Monday, December 17, 2012
Well, we weren’t going to take our holiday break until later this week, but the ickies have invaded and necessitate an early release. Much to the boys’ chagrin lol. Hopefully the coughing and excessive use of tissues will subside in time for Christmas. Either way, we did visit a few more countries for our Christmas Around The World study.
A picture is worth a thousand words. ;)
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Today the boys and I began a study of the way other countries celebrate the holidays. We are using a unit I found on the internet of course, and I wish I could link to it but I’m not sure where I got it and don’t see any site or person to give credit to in the document itself other than “Holly.” Sorry.
The first country we “visited” was Italy. We learned how to say Santa Claus and Merry Christmas in Italian, how Christmas in Italy focuses a lot on the nativity and about the story of La Befana, the kind old woman who flies around on a broomstick and leaves candy and treats in the shoes of good children.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
My poor boys have had their lives upturned the past month, most especially the past week. Frequent trips into town for a quick kid swap with dh so I could visit with Mom meant many evenings without my company (and my cooking lol. I can’t believe they finally got tired of fast food.) When Mom took her turn for the worse it meant entire days without me and dh as he stayed by me through it all. There were entirely too many hours spent in hospital waiting rooms. And then reality hit and grief set in. At first I think they were truly sad because they were all very close to their Gran. They actually sat in my van crying and refused to go in when we drove my Dad back to his house…they just couldn’t imagine it without Gran. But then they rallied like kids do and went back to being their patient selves, playing their games and watching their shows while waiting for us to make all the necessary “arrangements.” When they did break down I noticed it was only when they saw someone they always thought of as strong, grieving. When my Dad, my brother, their cousins would get upset it would upset my boys to no end. They have never seen Uncle C.J. frown let alone cry.
It’s all done now. No more meetings, no more long days with relatives they will probably never see again, no more dressing up just to sit around. We’ve all been calling these days “the new normal.” Back to taking big brother to and from school every day, dh walking through the door in the afternoon, me making dinner every night. Our first little “test” will be this weekend. We always visited my parents on Saturdays. Will my Dad still want to? What will it feel like without Gran? And then Thanksgiving. The holiday where both my family and dh’s gathered at my parents’ house. Sigh.