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

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week One... Such a Good Week!

A glorious sunset

 In all my years of homeschooling (this is the seventh already!), I don't think I have ever had such an easy transition from summer to school-time. It has been such a good week, and I feel that we got a lot done... we're off to a very smooth start for the year.

A mere sampling of our books this week

Books themselves are now the backbone of our homeschooling efforts. And our books vary widely in topic! I'm using the 12 Month book guidelines from A Picture Perfect Childhood, along with various selections from the Core Knowledge trade books list. And so every day we sit down on the couch together, and I read. We have read books this week about everything from gravity (our BFSU topic of the week), to Queen Elizabeth I, to slavery, Native Americans, civil rights, microscopes, creation stories, apples, and more! When I sit down with a stack of books each day after lunch, the kids are eager to sit down too, and see the books (ah, the benefits of illustrated books!), to hear about what we'll be learning today, and I love it!

We're also about two thirds of the way through The Marvelous Land of Oz as bedtime reading. I decided that though we are loving the Oz series, we will switch gears a little when we finish this book, and read The Trumpet of the Swan, after which we may read the next Oz book, or perhaps something else entirely!

In the car, we're making good progress through The Lightning Thief. The Girl and The Boy are constantly comparing the book to the movie, and The Boy, having read the entire series, just keeps telling The Girl "Just wait!", or "You'll love this part!", or "They left this part out of the movie, so you really want to listen!"

The Basics
Math is going extremely well for both kids right now - neither has had a single complaint about their choice of math texts. The Boy skipped the first 7 lessons in Teaching Textbooks, but did take the first quiz, scoring 91%. He then decided to start with the next lesson after reviewing the second quiz, and hasn't scored anything under 95% the remainder of the week. He's working on carrying, estimating, and so forth. The Girl loves MCP Math. She does every problem on the front side of each page/lesson, and about half or more of the problems on the back--this was my choice since there are quite a few problems on the back of each page! She's worked on a review of addition and subtraction this week.

We also started reading through The History of Counting, and had a lot of fun playing around with body counting! We pretended to bargain for various items using this method.

The Boy worked on spelling this week, and will be taking a spelling test today. He also worked on several pages of word roots, and started Latin. He wrote a short story as well, and is thinking about topics for an essay we'll work on over the next month or so. The Girl has enjoyed MCP Plaid Phonics this week, mostly review work, and read several pages from Reading Pathways, and a couple of Nora Gaydos books. Next week I am hoping to get into poetry with them both!

Reading his favorite science encyclopedia

History & Science
We read another few chapters in The Wright Brothers this week, and several entries from The Dangerous Book for Boys Yearbook, which we now refer to simply as The Yearbook, as The Girl thought it was not fair that it says "For Boys", not "For Boys and Girls". Several of our picture books (see Books above) also gave us some historical insight.

In science, we read about gravity, microscopes, and Anton van Leeuwenhoek. We explored slides with our new microscope, and I taught the kids how to prepare slides, comparing water from the dog bowl (after our large dog drank some), the well, our faucet, and from a bucket that had been sitting a while. Today we're going for a late afternoon hike/nature walk, and I hope to collect some pond water for further comparison. We also watched documentaries-- The Incredible Human Machine, and Disney's Oceans. The kids noticed that some of the life forms we observed in our microscope work, and this book, were quite similar to deep sea life in the documentary... a great connection! There were a few episodes of Mythbusters as well, and we checked out NASA footage of a recent solar flare too.

Sorting some fabric squares for a doll's quilt she is planning

All the Odds and Ends
The Girl and I read The Talking Pot together, and then cooked the Danish Apple Pudding (more like cake) recipe from the back of the book. I am trying to make sure that each week at least one of our library books has a recipe for her and I to try out. We have a lot of fun with this - The Girl loves stories, and cooking, and we enjoy spending the time together! We generally do this on a Saturday or Sunday, when we have more time. The Danish Apple Pudding, with a healthy dollop of vanilla yogurt, made a fantastic breakfast, by the way!

The Boy worked on movie making and computer animation this week too. He loves to take videos and edit them, using iMovie or Windows MovieMaker, depending on which computer he is using. He's always talking editing terms these days, or soft body physics. He read a lot too, going back and forth between Spyology (he's big into codes and ciphers too) and Aliens on Vacation.

In art, we worked on a project based off this work, but we haven't quite finished... oops! Maybe today? I'm hoping these projects will turn out well enough to scan and include in our calendars, which will be gifts from the kids to all the relatives at Christmas.

Oh, and I almost forgot! The Boy started cross-country track this week. We met the coach, who we both immediately liked, and walked with everyone --parents and kids-- over the trails we'll be using for training. Mondays he'll be working on speed sprints (with M tagging along), Wednesdays are hill training, and Saturday mornings are distance training. I get to tag along on Wednesdays and Saturdays, since the coach highly encourages parents to participate alongside their kids. The Boy and I ran about half the distance this week, and he loved it!

All in all, an excellent week. There were a couple of things I would have liked to have gotten done, but after all, it was only the first week back, and I am very pleased with what we accomplished! Next week's goals: start the Narnia literature study (I've got two versions of the Snow Queen to choose from), and start our Book of Centuries. Other than that, I'm not making any changes, or adding anything else!


  1. Your week sounds like the kind we all envision when we first start homeschooling. It's nice to get weeks like that once in a while, isn't it?!

  2. Congrats on a great first week!

  3. Sounds Wonderful! Have you posted about how you schedule things? I'm going to be snooping around ...

  4. Sounds like a great first week! Have a great year!!

  5. A wonderful week, indeed! Isn't The History of Counting interesting? We had it for three weeks and couldn't renew it again--so I had t return it--and reserve it again. LOL

    It's so nice that you live in a community where your kids can be part of a team--and it sounds like nice, non-competitive, open-minded teams, too!

    Congratulations on Week One!

  6. Sounds really wonderful! Learning can be such joy!

  7. Looks like a wonderful week. I like seeing how others homeschool.


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