Friday, January 31, 2014

Homeschool Week 8

Ahhhh....what a GREAT week!  Not only did we not pressure ourselves to get more done, but it was a regular week with the normal routine Monday through Friday.  Luke does MUCH better just knowing that he doesn't have to do more work.  Of course, we are both getting quite efficient at the way we work our day so that he has been done by noon each day this week.  Of course he loves this, but I'm feeling like that is a bit too early:)

~He read from his children's Bible several chapters mostly about Moses.
~I read to him from the ESV Luke 14:25-Luke 16:31 (throughout the week).  We had lots of great discussion about the things that we read.
~He is working on memorizing a passage from Romans.  He has Romans 12:14 and 15 down.  Memorizing this scripture has lead us to great discussion on how to put this into practice as well as how hard it is to actually do!  "Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep".  Such great practical application in here!!
~He learned and prayed for the Delaware tribe in his American Indian Prayer Guide each day.

A cool thing for Luke.  He has started reading through the book of John in the NSV each night before bed.  He had started reading this in the past, but got frustrated with his lack of understanding.  He went ahead and gave it a try and I encouraged him to just read a chapter each night (or less if he wants) and to just read it...even if it's not making sense.  He was so happy to realize that he is understanding much more than he thought he would.  Each night he has great questions or just points of interest that he wants to share with me.  He really thought a lot about the first few verses in the book..and especially John 1:14 "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us..".  I love that he is reading and asking questions...and adding his own reading to his daily Bible work on his own!

~We finished up the Incans, Aztecs and Mayans book.  A very informative book!
~He read a few pages of the Childrens Encyclopedia of American History and were able to spend a bunch of time looking at maps and the globe as well as adding quite a few things to his timeline book.  He enjoys both of these things very much.

~We are continuing in the book "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" which, for him, started slow...but he is starting to get into it now.  We read chapters 5-9 this week.  The chapters in this book are a bit long.  This is a book that I read to him, while he does some doodling.  He focuses much better this way!
~We also read 4 chapters in "The Tree in the Trail".
~He continued his reading to me from "Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims".  This is from the same author as the Pocahontas book.  He reads this level of book quite easily at this point, and he enjoys the stories.

~He has been much less frustrated now that he isn't just writing one letter over and over again.  He is now working on words, phrases and eventually an entire verse from the Bible that he completes using his best work on Friday.  He has started to find himself writing in cursive by accident and asking to do his work in cursive...which I highly encourage:)

~He did great with spelling this week.  After reading an article on spelling (I posted in on facebook), I was happy to see that the curriculum he uses for spelling really does seem to focus more on the understanding of the words rather than just the spelling.  He aced his spelling test today.

~He worked on skip counting by 7 this week.  I think he only has to learn skip counting by 8's (next week) to finish up his skip counting the numbers 1-10.  He has found this to be a great way to learn his multiplication tables.  He breezed through his math this week and aced the math test at the end as well.

He did come to the conclusion that some days he's just "on" as far as math is concerned and other days he has more struggle.  There are days when he wakes up and reads the word problems and can just answer them without much thought at all, and then other days when just reading the problem gets his mind in a tangled mess:)  Fortunately, he only had one day today when his mind was tangled...the rest went smoothly.

Language Arts:
~He learned about "hook" sentences and had fun coming up with some of his own.  "Once there was a zombie apocalypse..." was one of them.  He learned a little bit about how to properly use numbers in something that he writes.  As in, how to correctly write the date and when to use the actual number as apposed to the word for the number, etc.  He had to chose a main point that he found interesting from his science work, and write three supporting sentences as well as a "hook".  He put all of this work together to formulate a nice informative few paragraphs.  I learned this week that I have to tell him that he is going to work on his writing projects for a specified amount of time.  He was having a tendency to rush through, in hopes to just get it done.  His writing was slopping and his thinking was as well.  I finally figured out that all I have to do is tell him "you are spending 30 minutes on this project no matter what" and it has changed his thinking completely!  He knows he's going to be sitting there for that amount of time looking at it, so he might as well work hard and enjoy it.  I am MUCH happier with the results from this week's work!

~He wrote his dictation passage at the end of the week and is doing well with this.
~He wrote a letter to my aunt Peggy this week as well.

~We finished up the lesson on Venus.  Luke has seemed to enjoy each lesson from his Astronomy book.  We are both learning things from here for sure!  I particularly liked learning that Venus rotates the opposite way of all the other planets in our solar system.  It's interesting to me and proves Creation to me even that much more!

As far as the organizing part goes.  What I'm doing is not some special, crazy cool system...but it is just different than what I had started doing.  I have a binder with the entire Core D Instructors Guide from Sonlight.  I have full intentions to use this again, but for the first few weeks was just initialing (Luke's initials) in the boxes to check off what we have done.  We have a different notebook for each subject for writing projects and spelling words etc.

I finally came to my senses and decided that I would photocopy the schedule at the beginning of each week so that I can scribble in it all I want..and keep the original in the binder for future use.  I ended up using a separate binder to put his completed work week by week in.  Each week has the schedule, followed by the work that he did during that week.  (This does not include his math book, spelling book or handwriting book....which, for future kids I will likely photocopy as well, but we were already too far into those books to salvage for another kids so we are just gonna keep filling them!).  At the end of each week I compile his week worth of work and put it in the completed notebook with a paper clip holding each separate week together.  This way each week is easy to reference if necessary and is well documented.  This also gives a great sense of accomplishment!

I'm so glad that I am having this chance to homeschool just one child.  It will make adding Owen (next year) MUCH easier!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Homeschool week 7

We knew that we would not be doubling this week...but, the other kids had both Monday and Friday off so we did double a couple of days...the whole time looking forward to the next week where NO doubling would be necessary!

(I'm just doing a quick recap here to catch up on the last two weeks of updates!)

~I continued reading to him from Luke 12:35-14:24
~He continued reading from his own Bible
~He learned about the Inuit tribe in the American Indian Prayer guide.
~He has started memorizing a section of scripture from Romans!

~He continued his reading in the Incans, Aztecs and Mayans book..pages 108-144 this week.  Lots of discussion.
~The Light and the Glory (ch. 4)

~We started a book called "The Witch of Blackbird Pond"...chapters 1-4 during this week.
~Tree in the Trail chapters 10-14
~He started a book called "Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims".  He is enjoying this.  He read 5 chapters this week.

~Lesson 7.  He got one wrong on the test at the end of the week.

~He's finally through individual letters and working on words and phrases.  He likes this a bit better:)

~We started learning about Venus.  SO many interesting things to learn in astronomy!

~Another lesson in Multiplication.  He's doing well with this:)

Language Arts:
~He chose a story from the Bible and had to write an outline for it.  He chose the story of Noah's Ark.  It was a good exercise for him to think backwards and write an outline for a story that he knew well.  He also had to write an outline and then a paragraph as to why the settlers chose Jamestown to build.

I did get the new organizing system underway.  I'll post about that in the near future!

Home school week 5 and 6...and lessons learned:)

I mentioned last week that since we had a few weeks under our belt, that we would start to double up on everything in hopes to finish the curriculum.  We don't "need" to finish it, because he DID do the first several weeks at public school, so he will have done the required amount of schooling by May/June, but I really didn't want to waste the curriculum that we invested in.  

We went ahead and planned out a schedule that could allow us the doubling necessary to finish  and we did weeks 5 and 6 in ONE week.  Let me just say that it IS possible, but I learned quickly that we are not going to continue this way!  (I'm glad I went into this with the mindset of learning day by day and being willing to be change things as we go!)  

We were able to get everything we need to get done in a day, but it was overwhelming for both of us.  Not only just the part of figuring out just what we needed to do each day and then add in the extra reading...even I was tired of reading that many chapters of each book.  I think during that time, he started to feel overwhelmed which made everything just that much more frustrating.  We were both more focused on getting the list done rather than really being able to stop and discuss and spend time enjoying the learning.  

Another thing that I learned from doubling, is that when something comes up and we miss a day (like the rest of the kids having a day off from school) it makes catching up IMPOSSIBLE!  Again, not only with the work but just the figuring out what needs to be done.  

It became clear very quickly that it just wasn't worth it.  Josh agreed that I should just go ahead with the curriculum as written and get through as much as we can by the time the other kids are out of doubling (unless we need to miss a day..and in that case, we know it's possible to double if it's only for just one day:).  

For weeks 5 and 6 (done in one week) it looked like this...

~He read several stories from his Bible.  He's not really on a schedule there, and just reads a few chapters  (which are short in his Bible) each day.  
~I read to him each day from Luke (NSV) ...we went through Luke 8:40-12:34
~He read two weeks worth of entries from the American Indian prayer guide, learning about the Wampanoags and the Seminoles.  
~He worked to refine his reciting of Psalm 8.  

~We read from the book "Incans, Aztecs and Mayans"...from pages 28-108 throughout the week.  I love how this book breaks each tribe down and really gives us a good understanding of the difference between each tribe.  
~We finished up The Very First Americans.
~Read a chapter of The Light and the Glory (which is not making the cut in our "favorites" list:)
~We started the book A Tree in the Trail and read chapters 1-9 throughout the week.  
~We finished up The Sign of the Beaver...we both loved this book:)  Chapters 10-25 were read this week.  
~He continued his reading in Pocahontas and the Strangers...reading chapters 12-26.  He also enjoyed this book.  
~He doubled up on this each day.  We won't be doing that again:)  ha
~He doubled on this as well.  It wasn't necessarily hard for him as he is great at spelling.  He's in the 4th grade book and usually only gets 3 or so wrong on the "pretest" that he takes before even working with the words.  
~Normally a "lesson" takes two weeks with a lesson twice a week.  We fit in a full lesson in one week, which wasn't bad.  He enjoys learning about astronomy.  We learned all about Mercury.  
~We had been doing extra in math all along, so this wasn't really a change.  He's just about finished learning his multiplication tables.  
Language Arts:
~He did several writing exercises in Language Arts, but I'll be honest, these suffered because of all of the reading.  He just didn't have it in him to really put in the time.  I noticed this right away, and recognized that it was not good.   I can't even remember (without looking back) what he worked on....haha.  

So there ya have it, a quick recap of that crazy's all a blur:)  We did do some fun projects, but in trying to fit it all in, I don't think I took many pics!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Homeschool week 4

After an extended Christmas vacation thanks to snow and ice, we are finally back to school!  We started week 4 this week.

Before we started this week, I had to sit down and map out the schedule from now until the end of the year.  Of course, this is something that should probably done before we start, but since our "start" came on rather quickly, I didn't have the chance to really sit down really plan it out.

Of course, the curriculum is all planned out for me, but because we started late I had to figure out if it was possible to get through the entire curriculum with the time we have left.  Because Luke went to public school for the first 2 months I don't really "have" to finish the entire curriculum but I really hate to waste it!  With that said, we are doubling up on a lot of things each week to try to accomplish this task.

His handwriting, spelling and math will be easy to get ahead on.  In fact, he's already far enough ahead with math that we can actually slow down at this point and still finish early in May.  This will be helpful as we start doubling on other things.  Science will be a bit more of a challenge to get through, but we are going about it by having science each day rather than only two days a week (like the guide suggests).

The hardest thing to double up on is the Sonlight Core...History, reading and language arts.  There is a lot of reading and writing here and it just takes time.  But, I think we can do it!  He has been getting up and getting started right at 7am so he gets his Bible, handwriting, spelling and math out of the way before we even start breakfast, so then we can spend the rest of the time working on the Core stuff.

We'll see.  I don't want to stress him out, or stress myself out.  But, if we do this, it will make next year seem like a piece of cake when we start at the right time with no doubling of anything!

This week an article was shared with me that I enjoyed.  I have to preface it by saying that I really have no idea what the background is on the "TED talks" or even what that is and that I also don't know anything about this boy and his overall "world view".  But, in this article is a video of a 13 year old who was pulled from school and he shares his insight on this.  I really like the way he explains home schooling and it's benefits...and my favorite is that he renamed it "hack schooling"....I kinda like it:)  If you have 15 minutes or so, I would recommend watching the video.

Of course, it seems that a lot of these articles seem to "bash" public schools and teachers...and while I do think that there are frustrations there, I don't think that it is the school staffs fault.  They do their best and I do think that they try to implement some of the "TLC's" that are talked about here, but that having to do it for 20 kids in one classroom is hard and they can only do so much!  I really don't want to be that type of home school mom who bashes public school...because for many (most), it's the only option and I'm glad that the school staff is there to provide that option!  I think most of the educators out there have the same frustrations with the government as we do, and I just want to be sure that it's clear that I don't blame our teachers:)  

Here is the article and the video:

So as far as week 4 looks a whole lot like the previous weeks:)

Bible:  Luke has continued to read through his Adventure Bible.  He read about Joseph and has started learning about Moses.  Over the week I read to him Luke 7-8:39.

He learned about the Aztecs this week in his American Indian Prayer guide.

He finished up learning Psalm 8 and can recite it..for the most part, with a one word reminder here and there:)  We will move on to a verse in Romans for next week, but I will continue to have him recite Psalm 8.

History/Geography:  He read from the Childrens Encyclopedia of American history and the book "The Very First Americans".  It's a continuation of learning about the different tribes and how they are similar but very different according to where they live and their environments.  He got a globe for Christmas and he really enjoys looking at it and getting a great visual of all of the places he is learning about.

Reading:  He started the book "The Sign of the Beaver" this week and is really enjoying it...I'm really enjoying it too:)  We also finished up "Lawn Boy".  For some reason this was not his favorite, but really it is a great book.  I think maybe in a few years he will be able to relate more to this story.  He is continuing the book "Pocahontas and the Strangers".  He enjoys this one as well.
(For now, and probably for a few years, all of the reading he does is out loud to me, or me reading to him.  I can tell that he needs this so that we can stop every now and then and discuss it.  He is great at reading the words, but needs practice and really understanding what he is reading.  It's ok though, because I love spending the time with him and so far the books are great!)

Spelling:  He worked through lesson 4 in his workbook this week.  At the end of the week he got 2 wrong on the test.  I let him work through that more independently this week, but I think next week will spend slightly more time really making sure he is getting it right.  Not that he has to get 100% every time, but I think it was just a matter of focus this week and we can remedy that!

Handwriting:  He worked on a new letter each day this week and will be finishing up the alphabet next week so he can working on the lessons that are writing words.  He still doesn't love writing in cursive:)

Science:  We finished up the lesson on the sun and learned some great things!  We had some interesting discussion on where color comes from and how color is really different waves of light from the sun, bouncing off objects into our eyes.  It is our eyes/brain that translates the color waves into an actual color.  This brings up the question, if you are not looking at something, does it have color?  We've gone around and around with this concept.  He learned what a solar eclipse is and made a box that will allow him to be able to look at the sun and not hurt his eyes...although, we haven't tried it yet because we haven't seen the sun for a few days!  This week we also watched the Louie Giglio video's called "Indescribable" about how BIG our universe is and how much BIGGER our God is who created it all.  Luke enjoyed this video.  He has a science journal that he works through along with the lessons.

Language Arts:  He worked on dictation passages and also learned about synonyms.  He had to use a picture (that was provided) and write a story about it remembering to use some of the concepts that he has been learning.  He also worked on a letter that he sent out on Friday to Mark and Kirsten.

Vocabulary:  We made a list of words that he didn't understand throughout all of the reading that we did.

Math:  (I almost forgot about math again!).  He worked through two lessons this week.  We are now at the point where we can slow down as I think we've caught up enough in that book.  He is doing very well with his multiplication.  It's funny because he says he hates math...but it totally comes naturally to him.

Typing:  This really isn't a class for him, but he loves to play Typeracer on the computer.  At school they started learning using the correct keys and fingers for typing.  I was surprised with how well he types and encourage him to play Typeracer whenever he wants:)

I think that pretty much summarizes our week here.  Next week I would like to work on a different system for keeping and organizing his work.   As I go along, I realize how I can do things differently.  I just took a guess at how it might all work at the beginning and am totally learning as I go along!  If I manage to get the new organizing system down next week, maybe I will share what it looks like.

I don't have a lot of pics from this week...