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Greeks and Surprise Visits – Homeschool Mothers Journal

2 Mar

In our homeschool this week… We have continued to learn about Archimedes and how he used math. Also, as part of our study of Ancient Greece, we have been learning about Alexander the Great. In science we have been studying Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch and Joseph Lister. We have learned about their groundbreaking discoveries concerning bacteria, the spread of germs and vaccinations.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… My husbands parents are currently visiting from the UK. It was a surprise for his 40th birthday next week! Next week is also March break here, so we will be spending lots of time out and about visiting places.

My favorite thing this week was… realizing how far my daughter has come on with her reading. She was a struggling reader for a few years and this year she has blossomed. Yesterday we came to the end of a chapter book she’s been reading to me. Afterwards I was reflecting, and I was so pleased with the number of new words she has learned to read in just this book. I can’t tell you how good it feels when your child has struggled so long in an area and suddenly you watch them hit breakthrough! No more tears! It’s so awesome!

What’s working/not working for us… I’m at the point of the year where I am considering next years curriculum. This year we have used Heart of Dakota. I have no issues with the curriculum, it has been great, but we will be returning to Sonlight this coming school year. My son will be in grade 8 and I think Sonlight is better geared for high school.

Questions/thoughts I have… My main thoughts now are on high school. Even though it’s 18 months away, I am already trying to think and plan a curriculum. I’m ordering a copy of Debra Bell’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens. I don’t know if we will homeschool all through highschool, but we will definitely go through until the end of grade 10.

Things I’m working on… Erm (cough, cough!) still that winter scarf for my husband!

I’m reading… Just ending Kisses From Katie

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… I love this quote that was posted by Proverbs 31 ministries on their Twitter and FB feeds earlier this week, entitled Simple Rest:

Such a great quote for many things in life, but very apt for homeschooling. It’s difficult, sometimes, when everyone is raving about a particular curriculum or  a method of homeschooling. A big part of you feels like you should try the new thing because you don’t want your kids to miss out. However, if something is working for your kids, it’s generally better to stick with that.

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Academic Earth

15 Feb

The other day, I came across a great educational website. It’s called Academic Earth. I’m sure some of you would have come across it before. It is an online study site that is full of lectures from various universities, including, Yale and Harvard. A multitude of subjects are covered. This is university level, so you might find your high schooler benefits from watching some of the lectures. My son, who is in grade 7, could definitely watch some of the history, computer science and environmental science lectures. He may not understand the whole content of the lecture, but would benefit from seeing it. H/T to Simple Homeschool for recommending this site.

Homeschool Review

2 May

I love this time of the year, the school year end is in sight, I can see the finish line! Only six weeks to go. In around three weeks our curriculum will really begin to wind down as we finish things off for the year. I’ve mentioned before, that I start out the school year all fired up and ready to go, but come February we are limping a little and needing a break (thank you for March break!). However, come April, with spring in the air, we are all pumped again as we aim for the finish line!

At this time of the year I begin to look at our curriculum and decide what has and hasn’t worked. Sadly, this year, my main curriculum hasn’t worked too well for my daughter. She is very much a kinaesthetic learner, so our mainly read together curriculum hasn’t worked for her. For me, there is both sorrow and joy in this. Our current curriculum is one I love and I hope to return to it for high school (if we homeschool then – I’m undecided on high school right now!). I have, however, found a new curriculum which I think my daughter will get a lot out of, as will my history buff son! We have decided to give Heart of Dakota a try and will be using their Creation to Greeks program. What I find very impressive with this curriculum is that they have included an extension pack, so that if you are schooling more than one child (using the same program) you have more challenging books for the older child. There seems to be quite a bit of hands on work (yay!), some of the books come as audio books (another yay!) and it follows the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, which is what we do.

I out my order in and I am looking forward to box day at some point over the next few weeks. There are two other changes that I am making too. My daughter will continue to use Math-U-See next year, but my son has decided that he would like to try something different, so after a lot of searching we have decided, between us, to try out Life of Fred Math. I am also using something with my kids next year which I never said I would use – Language Art textbooks! All Charlotte Mason educators would be horrified at this, but having tried a few sample pages with the kids from various LA curriculums, they both said they liked the textbook one the best. So, we are going to be using Lifepac Language Arts (don’t worry, I have plenty of back up books if it fails!).

After a lot of thinking, I will also be switching to year round schooling this coming year. I really noticed last September that my kids had forgotten so much (particularly math) that they had known prior to summer. I have decided on our exact plan but it will be one of the following (I narrowed it down!) six weeks school, one week off, then four to six straight weeks in the summer, or, nine weeks on, two weeks off, four to six weeks in the summer, or, work three months have a month off throughout the whole year (one month off falling in July or August). Over vacation, this summer, we will continue to at least have the math books out two to three times a week.

Well, those are my plans for the next school year, have you thought of yours yet?

A milestone reached

26 Nov

I’m thrilled this week to see that all of Grace’s hard work, plus a little help from me, has paid off. She is reading!! Learning to read has presented real challenges to Grace and finally at seven and a half the lights have come on and something has clicked!

I think Grace really suffered from the UK’s early age education system. She was in full-time school just a little over four and having reading books sent home to read from day one. Grace mastered phonics but had trouble remembering words. When we elected to withdraw her from school in summer 2007 her confidence was rock bottom. She would cry if a book was brought near her and refuse to try saying “I can’t do it, I’m stupid”

It took a long time to build her confidence up and over the past year we’ve tried numerous approaches. What finally triggered her reading (I think) was the good ol’ fashioned Dick and Jane books. She has lots more words to learn, but it’s such a thrill to see her eyes light up as she’s reading, knowing that she’s getting it right. Last night she spent a good hour reading her books to Jonathan. She feels proud and it’s good to see her exude with confidence. We had tears in our eyes. I am a very proud Mama.

Who says

27 Aug

that homeschooleers do no work? Box day has been and gone. Take a look at what we have to get through this next school year – and this is not everything! Now, I just need to find some place to store it all!

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