Friday, August 15, 2014

Not Our School Area

This week in the iHomeschoolNetwork's Not Back to School Blog Hop is on school rooms or school places.

We have designated school areas. An area for working. An area for storage. Well, actually several of those.

They all look like a tornado went through them.

My big plans of organizing all the school stuff this summer went the way of the wind. In other words, I did squat.

So to save hubby from dying of embarrassment, I won't post our school area pictures right now.

Weekly Wrap Up

As summer winds down we tend to do more fun hands on stuff that doesn't really resemble school.

We watched Magic School Bus's "Gets Energized" and chatted for almost an hour about how various things worked. I had Brianna think about some things she needed electricity for and what she would do if she didn't have the power running through those items.

Olivia loves her Melissa and Doug alphabet stamps. After spelling Olivia, she had me write out her full name so she could copy it in stamps.


The girls had their Super Show for Park Leaders, a "year-end" talent show of sorts. All the parks in the city got together and put on a really cute show with all the kids. Our park was fairly disorganized this year, but they did pretty good for putting it together in only a few days! Olivia ended up not wanting to take part at the last minute, but Brianna had a blast

Brianna in the red dress
The girls decided to bake banana bread to take to the last day of Park Leaders. Olivia also created a "craft" that involved gluing sticks and leaves and flowers to paper to bring to their Park Leader. I missed getting a pic but it was cute to see her come up with her own idea.


Linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

We started something new. One of Brianna's oft excuses are "I didn't know where my work was." So I bought her a planner to write all her assignments in and a file folder system to keep all her work in. She likes this idea for the moment. I figured we'd start while we're still in the slower summer schedule as to ease into it.


It's permanent location will not be over the coat rack lol
Brianna learned to mow the lawn.

Our garden is doing fantastic.


Olivia planned and explained an intricate "secret plan"


The girls and I watched Magic School Bus's Get's a Bright Idea and read MSB's Makes a Rainbow and did some light travelling experiments with a worksheet I found. Going along with the topic of light, Brianna did a little research on Thomas Edison.

Brianna got all of her predictions correct

Olivia was fascinated with how the light bounced with the mirror
Brianna finished up Chapter 2 in math. Chapter 3 is decimals so she should fly through it!

The girls had a movie day and scavenger hunt with their Park Leaders program. Olivia's first all day program away from home!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Current Curriculum - September 2014

This post contains NO affiliate links

We school year round and don't really follow grades. Brianna started Nov 15, 2010 coming from 3rd grade in public school and will go until whenever of whatever year. Olivia started "Preschool" on Feb 6, 2012. We don't follow specific grades but Brianna is anywhere from Gr. 6-9 and Olivia is generally Kindergarten, some Gr 1. 

So, since we don't have set grades or set school years, I figure every 4-6 mths I'll post what we are currently working on. We use a mishmash of traditional homeschool curriculum, workbooks bought at teacher supply stores, stuff made up completely in my head and most subjects are supplemented by printed worksheets from various sites and of course, library books. In a nut shell, we're eclectic homeschoolers.


Olivia:

Olivia will now start daily school work. Previously we did school work whenever I thought to ask her if she'd like to, or if she asked for it. Now, we will do something every day. Certainly not 6-8 hours of school, but at least one worksheet or game or project or craft every day.

We bought a subscription to ABCMouse.com and Olivia loves it! It has all the way from Toddlers to the end of Kindergarten. We started from the pre-school path, only because Olivia has had very little use of the computer mouse before. She knows most of the activities they show her, but she's also learning how to control the mouse, so it's a win-win. She's roughly half way through the pre-school program right now.

For printables we mostly use 1+1+1=1 (there's also great tot school and preschool printables here!). Confessions of a Homeschooler also has great printables. I love 1+1+1=1 as they have a lot of themed units. They cover a wide variety of skills but under one theme (Olivia has done cats, pizza, Octonauts and more).

We'll start dabbling in Brave Writer's "Jot it Down" program which focuses on dictation for Olivia's age group. And we'll pick up 1+1+1=1's You Can Read program again later in the fall.

We have a stack of assorted workbooks but those are on a "if Olivia feels like it" basis. Some weeks she'll do 20+ pages, other weeks she'll do zero. As she's only "supposed to be" (by her age in public school) in Kindergarten, I don't feel the need to focus on so much seat work. I do, however, encourage her any time she's in the mood for it!

These are the items left on her "needs to know" by the end of Kindergarten list:

* Identifying all upper case and lower case letters (she knows approx 90% of upper case and 50% of lower case)
* Cuts simple shapes
* Phonics
* Beginning writing process
* Meaning of addition and subtraction
* Introduction to number line
* Calendar (I'll be doing a calendar board with her each day, full blog post later about it)
* Denominations of money (she's already very interested in what the coins are called so I don't see this being an issue)
* Basic chart and graph concepts

Olivia loves to help take care of Joshua, cooking and household chores (unless it involves cleaning up her toys lol). We, of course, encourage her as much as possible!


Brianna: 

Math: 
We really Math Mammoth. It's almost self-teaching once a kid can read. It breaks the new concepts down into step by step instructions in a way that really gets through to Brianna. Sadly we're on our last year and will have to find a new regular math curriculum. We're also slowly working our way through Khan Academy. Brianna really likes the videos explaining new concepts. Also, the math review in her daily binder. 

English: 
We jump into Brave Writer's "Writer's Jungle" this year! Brianna's especially looking forward to their Poetry Teatimes. We were using McGraw-Hill's spelling, but the site is currently down and there's no indication of when it will be back up. Brianna enjoys the curriculum though and it has greatly improved her poor spelling in the last few months, so I hope to be able to use it again. Generally though, I keep track of words she has spelled wrong in her general school work and base spelling practise off of that.

Daily Binders: 
Each day she has a math review (5 questions of varying math problems/vocabulary), handwriting practice, vocabulary (words that she has misread/mispronounced have to be looked up in the dictionary for their definition and a sentence with the word made), and journal (with various quick writing prompts).

French: 
We will FINALLY be doing Rosetta Stone! Life has just gotten in the way of using it previously but now Brianna is flat out asking to do it, so I know I need to *make* time for it. We'll be using Living Languages for extra activities. Brianna already knows more French than I do, so thankfully Rosetta Stone is a self-teaching course!

Arts: 
Brianna wants to learn guitar and we have a child's guitar and a great book - The Complete Guitar Manual, hopefully we can get around to that. She has also expressed interest in learning about some Shakespeare, so we'll  learn about him and read/watch some plays.

Phys Ed/Health: 
Brianna runs with a local MultiSport club. Her last run of the year is her Terry Fox run on Sept 14th. She actually bikes the Terry Fox run, but as she chooses to do the biggest route (10km), it's certainly nothing to laugh at! Once that is done, she's done until May. She'll spend that time doing training at least twice a week (running, yoga, strength training, cardio) and of course, we live in Canada, so there's always snow to shovel! We'll also be going over substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. 

Computer: 
Brianna was using Garfield's Typing Pals which focuses on speed and accuracy. Now that she has a cell and texts, her speed has gone up drastically, but her accuracy needs some work, so we'll go back to using that. She's also been champing at the bit for a Minecraft account, which is currently up for discussion, depending on work ethic of her school work. Up for discussion (between Lee and I, not Brianna yet) is Brianna getting her own laptop (that isn't older than her like her current one). As she gets older, especially her English work is getting to be more research intensive and she does much better "long" assignments on the computer as opposed to writing by hand.

Life Skills: 
Brianna is learning more and more grown-up tasks, like mowing the lawn and trimming shrubs/brush. We're working on her being more responsible for her time in order to get the stuff that she needs and wants to do done. She's starting to do more cooking/baking from scratch (great-grandma even pays her to make her favorite oatmeal cookies) but we're going to work on her doing some meal planning as right now it's just me telling her what to cook. She really wants to learn to sew. I am up to my ears in sewing for customers, I just don't want to look at my machine if I don't have to lol So we've signed her up for a pre-teen sewing class this fall/winter. We didn't get her basement room drywalled, re-ceiling-ed and insulated, but it *needs* to be done before my basement turns into an ice cube for the winter, so more learning there!


Both:

History/Geography: 
We're continuing to do Country Studies. The kids have really enjoyed them so far. We read about the countries, find them on maps, watch videos about them and make a bunch of food from that country. We'll be using History of the World and Geography of the World at home and whatever oodles of books we can snag from the library. World Atlas is fantastic for maps and National Geographic Kids has a bunch of videos and articles I made both Brianna and Olivia's country reports on Microsoft Word because I couldn't find anything I liked that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. If I can figure out how to share them here, I will.

Science:
For the most part, science is done through day to day life with no set curriculum. We'll be doing a lot of interest based topics. One thing we'll be doing is identifying everything in the yard. Plants, animals, bugs, rocks. It'll take us a few weeks, but with the help of the library and internet, we should be able to identify everything! Both girls want to do the human body. We'll have to do a refresher in a few years for Olivia, but with the random stuff she picks up on of Brianna's school work, I'm not worried about doing a joint class with them.

Arts:
I want to work on art some more. Brianna loves it but is fairly terrible lol So she wants to learn little ways to make her art better. Olivia on the other hand, has this idea that her drawings aren't good enough. No telling her otherwise changes her mind :( So for both girls, we'll be going over simple art techniques.

Joshua:

He will to continue to be cute and get into stuff and steal school work *wink*


Linking up with the iHomeschool Network


Monday, August 4, 2014

Mowing the Lawn

Lee decided that Brianna needed to learn how to mow the lawn. Since I do it majority of the time, I'm not sure why, but hey, why not! Brianna, the sick puppy, thought it was great! She did a pretty decent job too, for her first time.



The crop circle is where our pool goes lol

Friday, August 1, 2014

Week Wrap Up

Ok, so it's been a little quiet around here. Things are picking up with my home business, like really crazy at the moment! We're also trying to enjoy summer as much as we can. So far we've only knocked mini-putt off our summer's bucket list but bowling and a full picnic are probabilities for this weekend!

This week at Park Leaders the girls had to make presentations of something they liked. Olivia, in her 5 year old glory, picked Goldfish. As in the cracker. Well, at least she was kind enough to want to bring a bag of Goldfish to share with the whole group!


No surprisingly, Brianna chose Hannah Montana. (for the record, it's the show she admires, not Miley). Seen here showing off her pink and blue hair.


Olivia's been working with her hands a lot lately. Isaac got her some moon sand for her birthday, she got playdoh from another friend (*shudder*) and clay from Brianna. Most often her creations turn into a big ball of mixed color, but lately, she's been actually working to create things. Sure, it's just stuff like snowmen, but hey, she's 5!

Brianna continues to plod her way through her Gr. 6 math. At her current speed, provided she continues with the *much better* work ethic she's had lately, she should be almost half way through by summer's end. Which is good, since by age she'd be starting Gr. 7 in Sept, but on the other hand bad cause that means I'm running out of time to find a curriculum for Gr. 7 math. I DO have the Golden Series for Gr. 7 (pre-algebra) from Math Mammoth, but I'm not sure it will provide a complete curriculum for the year.

Brianna has expressed interest in poetry. It seems perfect as we'll be using Brave Writer for her English after our summer story is done and they encourage Poetry Teatime. Brianna hates tea, but we'll pretend with iced tea! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4 Ways to Ease Curriculum Planning

Tis the season! Even year-round homeschoolers like myself, spend at least part of the summer planning new curriculum (watch for my current curriculum post come Sept). Here's some of the ways I don't lose my mind.

1. Do not try to do it all at once.

Spread it out over a few days or even weeks. It ain't gonna go anywhere. Sure, I'll get into spurts where I'll spend 2 hours looking over various English stuff, but if my eyes start glazing over or I'm getting easily distracted, I walk away.

Spreading it out also makes it easier on the pocket book if you have several new items to purchase.

2. Look at what you already own before researching new curriculum.

Who's a curriculum hoarder? *raises hand*

If you're anything like me, there's a good chance you've already got at least some of what you need for the following grade/level. Especially for the younger set. Whether it's hard copy paper books or PDF files or stuff bookmarked on the net, I bet you've got a lot of what you need.

Even if you aren't a hoarder, go through what you've already got any way. Chances are, you can find at a few things you can use for at least supplementing and it won't gather dust any more.

3. Break it down by subjects/goals/children.

What do you need for English? What grades are you covering? Do you already have any usable curriculum? Are there trouble areas (spelling, grammar, ect...) that you should look for supplements in? Did you and your kid(s) enjoy the last curriculum that you used? Do you need something less detailed or more intensive? Now how about math? Science?

By spitting it up by subject or goal and even each individual child, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. If I sat down one day and said I need everything for both Brianna and Olivia *right now* I'd be in the looney bin.

4. Keep track of your plans.

Whether you're a paper and pencil person like me or want to fill in a fancy spreadsheet, keep track of the planning you've done. That way you aren't researching the same science curriculum you just looked at 3 days ago. Or even worse, actually ordering and paying for the same history text you just bought.

Linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Real Life at Home


Hip Homeschool Moms