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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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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The FPEA Covention

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Homeschool | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yes, I did go.  And yes, it was several weeks ago and I’m just now getting around to posting about it.  What can I say?  It’s summer. 

Anyway, I wound up going by myself since hubby had to work and my grandmother had guests come into town unexpectedly, but the experience was certainly still worthwhile.  The convention itself was huge, with what appeared to be well over a hundred different vendor booths.  I learned about a lot of different curriculum options that are available, and a lot of local booksellers that have great prices.  I also learned about educational programs at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and the Florida Aquarium– both of which are not too far from me.  They each have monthly classes during the school year geared toward different age groups.  The aquarium (of course) has classes on various sea life topics, and MOSI has all sorts of science classes.  MOSI also has a huge science library that members can use.  ***I wanted to put  a link in for MOSI as well, but apparently they are having issues with their site – Google popped up a warning that there was malware infecting computers from parts of the site.

As Marie from All About Spellingpointed out in her reply to my previous post, they did not have a booth at the convention.  I have looked more at their materials, which seem very thorough, but for right now we are taking a different approach to spelling.  My little guy seems to be a natural speller much as he is a natural reader, so we aren’t going as in depth in spelling as we would with most spelling curriculums.  Instead we are using a website called Spelling City.  It has Dolch list words for each grade level already entered, and you can input your own spelling lists or vocabulary lists as well.  Then the student can be taught the words by the program, and can play various games with each list to reinforce the words.  I will probably take him through all the Dolch words for each grade, then start adding vocab lists based on our reading in other subjects.  Actually, he likes the site and has already started on the lists of Dolch words.

One curriculum I found at the convention that I really liked was La Clase Divertida.  It’s a Spanish language program that is geared for elementary students.  It has videos to go with the lessons, as well as a workbook, and it is designed so that the whole family can do it together if desired.  I was on a pretty tight budget and had not planned to purchase any language curriculum, but when I am ready to do so I will probably get this one.

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Spelling Curriculum

Posted on May 13, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool | Tags: , , , , |

I sometimes hang out at the Well-Trained Mind Forums(there is a homeschool book/guide called The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education – the authors set up the forum for homeschooling parents following their program to communicate with each other) and get tips about various school related topics.  It is a great place to learn about new things in the world of homeschooling, and about how to deal with your kids when you are with them ALL THE TIME.  Seriously people, it is great, but it provides a whole new set of challenges you non-stay-at-home parents never have to deal with.  Anyway, I dropped in on a thread about spelling curriculum the other day.  It turns out that my ambivalent feelings toward Spelling Workout are pretty common.  It isn’t bad, it’s just boring and sort of busyworkish (and yes, I know that’s not a word).

The main recommendation from the parents of early elementary students was a program called All About Spelling.  I looked it up on the internet, and liked what I saw.  It uses multiple teaching methods to reinforce learning, including tactile for those kinesthetic learners out there (people who learn by doing – they use letter tiles to form the words).  I’m not sure if it is right for my little guy since it seems pretty intensive and he is already a good speller, but when I go to the FPEA Homeschool Convention next weekend I’m going to look for a vendor selling the program so I can see it up close.  I’ll post what I find.

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