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If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, April 14, 2011

History and more...

I have been running ideas past the kids left and right, in preparation for next year. We discussed and debated American history, world history, the history of science, cultural studies, etc., and finally settled on ancient times. In thinking about our approach to this, I thought of three things... 1) that I would like to give Pandia Press' History Odyssey (Ancient Times, level 2) for Cyrus; 2) that it would be a bit advanced for my Miss Cassia; and 3) that I would like to cover prehistory in more depth first.

I posted about this on a popular homeschooling message board, and found the following fantastic resources:
The links above got me all excited about getting going with this, so we have decided to mostly study prehistory for the remainder of the spring, with one day a week reserved for finishing America: The Story of US, along with these books. My children are way more enthusiastic about prehistory than American history, but I do think they should be somewhat familiar with it. And, as a bonus, moving on to ancient history now gets us back in the flow with classical education ala The Well Trained Mind (tWTM)

We're also excited (especially me, and perhaps geekishly so) because on this round, we're going to blend science with history (a little bit off from tWTM recommendations). I am really looking forward to being able to use The Story of Science over the next few years!

In the meantime, we are enjoying our insect and nature studies. We're planning on crafts to share at our next 4H science project, as well as more complicated ones to do at home. Cyrus's praying mantis egg sack arrived, and we are eagerly awaiting Cassia's ladybug larvae. The ant farm has been really interesting too, with more complex tunnels appearing every day.

We have been sticking with Math Mammoth, and they are making good progress. I am trying, really hard, to decide on next fall's math. M (and to a degree the kids) are very intrigued by Teaching Textbooks. I looked at the placement tests and I think the kids would be right on grade level with it. The cost is somewhat deterring, but then I can reuse all of Cyrus's for Cassia. And, with my school schedule, etc., in the fall, it might be easier to have a math program that teaches to them, not quite so much through me. However, I also liked the idea of using Life of Fred mixed with Math Mammoth for Cyrus... hmmmmmm........

Today, they started a really fun project - my sister is doing Special Ed credentialing and one of her assignments was a creative class project... she chose to have my kids make alphabet books. So we gathered all our alphabet books here, and at my mom/sister's house, and today they started their own books. Cyrus is doing his as a sort of "I Spy" book, and Cassia's is all about unique animals. I am trying to come up with ways to get Cyrus writing, including setting up his own blog for him.

So on to my next thought, which is of course writing instruction for Cyrus. I am debating three ideas: to let him write across the curriculum; to use Writeshop Apprentice; or to wait for Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Skill, which is due to be out by fall, despite the date on Amazon. I do know which grammar program I want to use-- Winston Grammar, Basic Level. I am going to test-run writing across the curriculum for now, and will let you know how it goes!

Other than that, all is well. I have actually been doing quite well in Statistics, and my Language & Literacy class is great. The kids are loving the long class day with my mom, now that they have gotten into the groove of things with her, which is good because they may have two longish days in the fall!

I think I dumped out enough thoughts all mumble-jumbled for now!

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Emerson

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