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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits...

We are now in our sixth week of homeschooling for the year. There have been, and continue to be, some adjustments as always. Some things are working very well, others need some work.

What IS Working...

We have definitely found a way of doing history that makes it work for us. Our two spine books - one on world history and one on American - are lovely read alouds, and the kids are really enjoying putting together their Books of Centuries. In fact, every time they add to them, they rush off to proudly show their dad what they learned about this time! After all the stress I had about history, I am so glad this is going well!

For The Girl the combination of Explode the Code and Reading Pathways (Dolores Hiskes) is marvelous. These two resources work very well together, and she is gaining confidence daily. I no longer have to lead her through each page of Explode the Code... instead she does it on her own and then shows it to me for any corrections, of which there has only been one recently, on the word "glass", which she spelled originally with only one "s", certainly an easy mistake to make.

The Boy loves a couple of his language arts resources: Soaring with Spelling & Vocabulary because it has fun activities, and Unjournaling (writing prompts) because they (the prompts) are both hilarious and challenging. I do need to work with him on drilling the spelling words, but that is a simple adjustment. I also really want to get him working on a Writing Project each month.

There are other parts of language arts that are working well - i.e. Grammar Land - and then things we need to get to, like poetry. I think what we'll start doing is alternating Mondays on grammar and poetry.

Math is both working and not working, or rather I should say parts of it work better than others. Once again, as was the case last year, while Teaching Textbooks is nice in many ways, The Boy and I miss that time together. I have next to no involvement in his math with Teaching Textbooks. So working through Life of Fred and some complimentary Math Mammoth has been refreshing this week. Of course, The Girl instantly wanted to know why she isn't doing any Life of Fred, which subsequently resulted in my ordering another copy of LOF Apples so that she and I can work through the elementary series together, alternating it with Math Mammoth! I firmly believe that after the prealgebra stage, LOF is very complete, especially with the Home Companion books, so if my kids enjoy and learn from Life of Fred now, they may be able to use it all the way through their homeschooling journey!

We're actually getting in a lot more nature walks this year! Instead of scheduling them for "school time", we're approaching them as a family late afternoon/early evening treat a couple of times a week, and then sometimes as a special trip on the weekend. I'm really enjoying this family time together, and we are all benefiting from the fresh air and exercise.

What is NOT Working and/or I Would Like to Adjust...

Our Afternoon Basket: While I love and am determined to use this idea, I need to adjust it. We're just not making the most of it! I have decided to add back in some books from the 12 month guideline in A Picture Perfect Childhood, and I may add in our Narnia study books after all. I like the cohesiveness of the lit plan I came up with, and there are many books on that list I would love my children to have some exposure to. Right now we're just kind of going here, there, and everywhere with books, which can be fun, but doesn't seem enough.

Science is very definitely a work in progress. Much as I love and adore Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, I'm struggling with implementation. I think for the remainder of this month at least, I will revert to my old plan: a documentary of their choice once a week; work from a living book once or twice a week; and something nature related the other day(s). Throw in a few experiments from books like The Irresponsible Book of Science, and reading from books like The Magic of Reality, The Story of Science, etc.,  and I think we'll be good to go!

Art and music need work as well, since we just are not getting to them. I did get a copy of a fantastic book called The National Gallery of Art: Activity Book, and I think this will really help! It has pictures to investigate, with a list of questions and prompts to work from, as well as hands-on activities. I have looked through it several times since getting it a few days ago, and am very happy with it. As for music, I think we may start utilizing the Composer of the Month again, with additional music from my own collection and the library. Nice and simple! We could read about the composer at the beginning of each month, and then listen to their music while working on art.

And finally, implementation of everything! I need to actually set aside "school time" as sacred each day, and keep the TV and computers OFF.

So now that we are getting well into the new academic year, what is working and not working in your homeschool?

1 comment :

  1. Completely agree with setting aside a dedicated school time every day. We are moving towards more of a year-round model, with 8ish-11ish set aside as "school". Some days we go even shorter than this due to appointments, nice weather, field trips, etc. Or we use those hours for projects. But if nothing else is going on, that's what we're doing!


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