It’s that time again…

Posted on September 25, 2011. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yep, back to school.  We actually started back in early August, so we have been at it for about 6 weeks now.  I think we’ve finally gotten our feet under us.  We changed quite a few things this year – the biggest being our start time.  Extra curricular activities have been keeping us out in the evenings more and more, so we gave in and moved bedtime back to 9:45.  Of course that means wake up time gets moved back too (necessary to minimize grumpiness, trust me).  So this year instead of starting school work at 8:30, we are starting at 10.

It isn’t as lackadaisical as it sounds.  We do chores before school starts, and chores have expanded this year.  We now have a mini farm on our property (more about that in another post) so chores include feeding all the animals.  And feeding ourselves, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.

Anyway, on to curricula!  We added Latin this year, and started a new spelling program as well as a new logic program.  Oh, and another big change – we are using an online math program!  So far everything is going well, and we stuck with a few favorites from last year too so we have some familiar items.  Here’s our list:

  • math – EPGY online
  • spelling – Megawords and Spellquizzer
  • language arts – MCT island level
  • science – living books, Education Exploration, and The Happy Scientist
  • history – Story of the World 4
  • logic – Logic Countdown
  • latin – Songschool Latin and Latin for Children A
  • piano – lessons with dad
  • ag – swine, poultry, and rabbit study guides (borrowed from 4H)
  • pe – karate

We are really enjoying the online aspect of school this year.  EPGY has a great interactive math program.  Spellquizzer gives me the freedom to customize spelling word lists, even to record my own sentences to go with them, without all the games and extras of SpellingCity that were sometimes too distracting for my little guy.  Exploration Education is a series of dvds with experiment pack, so all the lessons are done on the computer, and The Happy Scientist is a website with awesome science videos that we use to supplement lessons (and sometimes just for fun 🙂 )  Our ag study guides were downloaded from the 4H site, so we view them online as well.  It has really helped reduce our paper waste, plus the little guy likes using the computer – his non school screen time is restricted – so he is more enthusiastic about a lot of his lessons this way.

Overall we are really enjoying school so far this year.  As we progress through the year I plan to review the different programs we’re using too, so stay tuned!

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Some Curriculum Changes

Posted on January 15, 2011. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, Karate, kids, Money | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The end of 2010 was a time of change for the munchkin and I.  He finished his spelling program and his science program well ahead of schedule (like in 1 semester instead of 2).  At the same time, we slowed down in math to consolidate multiplication and division facts, so we haven’t finished our 1st semester of math yet.  No sweat, he started the school year 2 years ahead of grade level in math, so if he finishes it 1 2/3 years ahead…well, I think he’ll be fine.

So here’s our updated curricula:

  • Math – Singapore Math 3A, followed by flashcards/worksheets/computer games to solidify facts, then moving into 3B when he’s ready
  • Spelling – we have started Megawords 1 and will be learning rules of syllabication, this will probably last us the rest of the year
  • History – still Story of the World 3, no changes there
  • Science – we finished The Elements and are now using living books about chemistry and watching videos from The Happy Scientist website, and in the spring we’re going to do a science project
  • Language Arts – still plugging away with MCT Island level, we find it to be a great program
  • Logic – he finished the Mindbenders logic puzzles book and has moved into a Critical Thinking Academy brain teasers book

He still goes to the public school one day a week for their gifted pull-out class.  And we are still doing piano lessons, martial arts, and painting, and we have added scheduled ‘outside time’ and home ec projects as well.  Home ec has been fun – often we do a cleaning project, but sometimes we cook something, or repair something, or work in the yard or garden…mostly just whatever needs to be done around the house.  I think it is good experience for him to see what is involved with keeping a household running.  As he gets a bit older and has more of an allowance to work with, I plan to add budgeting as part of home ec as well.  Right now he only gets $2 a week for chores; it is hard to budget when he doesn’t even have enough to buy a Happy Meal each week, lol!

 

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Back to school!

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We started our new school year last Monday!  Yes, we started early.  One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can set our own schedule, and we like to take an extra week off for the little man’s birthday, so we start a week early too.

This is our third year homeschooling – I can hardly believe it!  We still haven’t added Latin to our curriculum (Latin is a must for any well-rounded classical education) but we did add a precursor to logic in the form of Mindbenders puzzles from the critical thinking company.  So far they are a hit.  Actually, he liked the look of them so much that he started working his way through the book over the summer.  I’m going to have to move up to the next book soon!  Anyway, for any interested parties here is our list for this year:

  • math – Singapore Math 3A and 3B
  • language arts – MCT Island level
  • spelling – Spelling City
  • science – The Elements, plus classes at the Florida Aquarium
  • history – Story of the World 3
  • music – piano lessons
  • art – painting lessons and art history
  • logic – Mindbenders logic puzzles
  • foreign language – still looking for an affordable Spanish teacher
  • PE – karate (and maybe swim team in the spring)

I have my excel spreadsheet with our schedule broken down by day, with the assignments all laid out to finish on time by the end of the year.  Of course, a lot can happen in the next 9 months – that is why I use a spreadsheet instead of a pen and paper, it is so much easier to adjust.  But back to that benefit of homeschooling – we adjust our schedule to life, rather than trying to adjust life to fit a schedule.

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More Adventures in Homeschooling

Posted on September 6, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, Karate, kids | Tags: , , , , |

We have been back to school for a full month now, and so far things are going pretty well.  We are learning about the Middle Ages in history, Earth and Space in science, parts of speech and such in grammar, phonics rules in spelling, italic style handwriting (we finished basic italic this past week and are ready to start cursive!), and multiple column addition and subtraction in math.  We are also about to start a very basic introduction to multiplication and division, which is very exciting!  On top of that, coop classes with our homeschool group are starting in a few weeks and I am going to be leading the geography class.  We aren’t sure what Jonathon is going to be taking yet as we are still waiting for the final schedule of classes, but we should know soon, I hope.  Oh, and we are trying to sign up together for a class on basic art techniques at the local technical school.  They have short (usually 6-12 weeks) classes geared for adults who want to continue their education without committing to a degree or certification program, and the professors tend to be pretty flexible, so hopefully they will allow us to take the class together.  Jonathon is still taking karate – he is now a green belt –  and is signed up to start tball in a few weeks.  Needless to say, doing all this in addition to my 2 part time jobs has kept me pretty busy!  But I think we are set up for a good year, and I’m looking forward to learning so many new things together.

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Another Adventure in Karate

Posted on March 26, 2009. Filed under: Karate | Tags: , , , |

After much debate over whether he would be allowed to or not (his behavior has been pretty rough the past 2 weeks), my little guy successfully tested for his next belt in karate last night!  He is now a neon orange belt (he is a Dragon right now – all their belts are neon to distinguish them from the full belts the older kids get in Eagles and the adult belts – we’re not sure how Sensei is going to manage neon brown when we get to that level).  He had a great time, and most of his friends tested also, so they all got to sport new belts together.  We didn’t get any good pics of the test itself, but here is the little guy proudly posing after the test:

orange-belt

I decided to wait until next testing cycle to test for my orange belt, since I still need to work on double roundhouse kicks and shoulder rolls (where you throw yourself into a roll along your shoulder and back, then jump back up – I think I’ve finally got the roll, but the jumping back up is not as easy as it looks 😉 ).

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Butterfly Adventures

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, Karate | Tags: , , , , , |

We went on a field trip with the local homeschool group yesterday to see a local butterfly exhibit.  The kids had a great time and learned a few new things about caterpillars and butterflies.  Actually, I learned a few things too – did you know that caterpillars actually shed their skins as any as six times in the few weeks before they form chrysalises?  Well, now you do.  Anyway, here are some pics (try to be understanding…I’m a terrible photographer AND I was using my cell phone to take the pics):

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Sadly, those were the best of the bunch.  On the bright side, I took pictures at sparring class this week too:

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My little guy is the one in the red helmet.

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Adventures in Karate

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Karate | Tags: , , , |

Well, my little guy started sparring class in karate last week. I forgot to take my camera, but I will take pictures at the next class on Friday. It was very cute, seeing all the little kids wearing their pads and helmets, like a miniature version of American Gladiators! (I know, not everyone remembers that show, but those that do will know exactly what I mean!)

He did pretty well, but I think he is shy about actually making contact when throwing a punch, especially since his first match was with one of his best friends, who also happens to be a girl! We have talked about the importance of not hitting, and only using karate in class or to defend himself from bullies or bad guys, so it was hard for him to go from that to punching someone. I do want him to learn though, because he has already been picked on at the playground by an older boy, and he didn’t know what to do.

Testing for new belts will be in the next 2-3 weeks, and he is testing for his orange belt! (I may be testing for my orange belt too. I think I’m ready, but I just tested last time, and usually students only test every other time, so I may have to wait another 2 months!)

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