11 December 2013
04 December 2013
21 November 2013
|There were several options and combinations for covers, and I think I made the right choice with this one. I really, really love it!|
|I'm using small Post-Its for the tabs until I'm ready to print the permanent ones.|
|A great worksheet that will be perfect for keeping track of things like checking the batteries in the smoke detectors, putting rinse agent in the dishwasher, and replacing furnace filters.|
|As you can see, I have already had to make adjustments to my blog scheduling!|
Well there you have it... the beginning of my new home management binder. Do you have a household notebook to keep things in order? If so, which sections are the most useful to you?
11 November 2013
05 November 2013
I didn't get a lot of resistance about school, except in the IEW that I started with H. And that wasn't really resistance--it was more just that she's not thrilled about it. We are still just doing the key word outlines. She says it doesn't make sense to her, so I'm taking it really slow. I'm also trying to find the perfect spelling program for her, as she is not a confident speller and has never liked imaginative spelling. She would rather just not write than try to guess how a word is spelled.
The assignment books have been great at giving the girls a visual of what needs to be done. And in the few instances where we decided to move something to a different day, it was nice to not have to copy it over again. However, I did find myself wanting to tweak the organization just a tad.
Last week, I was blessed to have been able to attend a meeting where Joanne Calderwood was the guest speaker. She talked about how she prepares her children to be independent students as soon as they are ready. She sits down with them at the beginning of the school year with a stack of books. She guides them through the process of figuring out how many lessons have to be done before the end of the year, then by the halfway point, then by quarter. She allows them to come up with a schedule that will help them achieve their goals. They are given planners, which they use to keep track of what they have completed. (She also requires mastery of all school work, but that's not what my current focus is! There may be another post about that.)
While my students are not quite there yet, I do see the many benefits of passing the proverbial reins to them. Through much prayer, thought, and discussion with the girls, we have come up with what I think will be the first step in being able to make that happen. Instead of handing them their assignment books on a daily basis, on Monday I'm going to provide them with something (probably a file folder) containing all of their assignments for the week. We will still use the Post-It notes and the assignment book, as that system is working extremely well, but they will just move the assignment from the file folder to the assignment book after they complete it.
Not only will they be able to say, "I'm in a math mood today, I'm going to do three lessons," but they will also begin working on valuable time management skills and taking some ownership over their schedule and their school work.
H already sees one of the perks of this system: She wants to get all of the stuff she doesn't like done first, so that she can do the fun stuff for the rest of the week.
I think it might be a little difficult for me not to micromanage at first, but isn't the goal of homeschooling to raise independent learners?
What are your thoughts on letting your children take more control over their learning? Do you let them have a say in how things are done?
05 October 2013
30 September 2013
09 August 2013
In the interest of bringing better organization to my life, I typed "post it to do list" into Pinterest. (And, let's face it, I also wanted to play around with my brand new Pinterest account!)There were a lot of great ideas on there, including this one, which ended up being basically what I did, except that I put mine on poster board instead of a chalk board.
While I was standing in the middle of the Wal-Mart office supply area, a really friendly employee walked up and asked if I was looking for something specific. I told her I was trying to put together some sort of Post-It to-do list, and she gave me a couple suggestions. After brainstorming with her for about five minutes, this is what we came up with:
I color coded the main categories where I usually have things to be done: my blog, school, home, co-op, and misc. It's super easy to add new items and take down the ones you've done. If I do things out of order, it doesn't bother me, since I have the ability to move the Post-Its around. (I have always disliked having a #3 item crossed off of a list before a #2 item!)
I love that now I have a visual of what I need to get done. Having a list of things to cross off is helpful for me if I have things that need to be done immediately and in a certain order, but it doesn't help me to remember the things that need to be done at some point in the near future. Now I can have the best of both worlds!
08 August 2013
Welcome to the first Learning Outside the Box Blog Hop post! Let me start off by saying that I came up with six topics and put them down on note cards. I had my daughter draw one, and of course she drew the hardest one: home improvement/home organization projects. I didn't want to throw that one out there just yet, so I had my other daughter draw the next one. Sports it is!
Only one of my girls is actually in a sport, and that is K. She takes horseback riding lessons once a week in the summer. She has expressed some interest in eventually competing, but I've told her she needs to get past small jumps and trotting in order for me to consider paying for year-round lessons.
She did just try cantering a couple weeks ago, but only did it for about three seconds. Then she started yelling, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" She then informed me (Yes, "informed!" That's what she does. She decides, then informs me of her decisions!) that she's not going to canter again for a long time. She might do it when she's 10, but she might wait longer than that!
This is the horse she rides: Lucy. She had just learned how to give Lucy a bath and then lead her around for a few minutes.
You're next in the blog hop! Grab the button code below the button and place it at the end of your post. Then link up to us below that!
07 August 2013
Kid's Shelves - K (blue shelf), H (pink shelf), J (learning toys)
Projects from co-op (coral, keepsake box, Native American headdress, Native American dart, flower from my toddler)
Supply boxes, magazine holders for workbooks and teacher's guides, school store items, newspapers for arts and crafts
06 August 2013
Our first day of school was an incredibly productive one with minimal complaints! We went over the new "daily binders" first, which currently contain calendars, an attendance sheet, "I Can" lists (whicht can be used as a general guideline of what to expect to learn over the next year), and temperature graphs. I also purchased 50-cent composition books to write down each girl's daily assignments, and I explained the use of these. I presented them each with a 5-color pack of highlighters to use to highlight the assignments as they are completed. (Highlighting the assignments throughout the day may have been their favorite part of the day!)
Once we had all of that first-day stuff done, they tackled their assignment list. After a little over an hour, they took a 15-minute break. They didn't even complain when I told them it was time to return. (This is usually where I begin to lose H's attention!) By the time lunch rolled around, all that H had left was her grammar assignment (her least favorite because she doesn't like to write a lot!), and all K had left was her cursive and her history. After they ate their lunch, I let them go off to play so that I could try to get Little Man down for his nap. (This didn't exactly work, but that's a whole different blog, I think!) When I called them up from the play room, they came up, again without complaint, and got back to work. (This is usually the part where I have pretty much lost them both, unless I turn on the threats!)
All in all, I really couldn't have asked for a better first day of school!
K's First Day of School Picture
H's First Day of School Picture
05 August 2013
I'm super excited to announce that I'm going to be hosting my first blog hop! I'm still trying to iron out all the technical details, but here are the details of the hop.
It's going to be semi-themed. The posts need to be about things that are educational for your children without being academic in nature, such as sewing, cooking, and sports. Each week during the hop I'll announce a theme. However, if the theme happens to be something like sewing and you have three boys who wouldn't go near a needle and thread, you don't have to stick to the theme! Just post something that they do like to do!
As I get the technical side of things figured out, you'll see this post change a bit. I'll send out a new post once I get things all set to go!
31 July 2013
21 July 2013
|V Planner V3 S Sheet|
18 July 2013
First of all, we school year round, beginning the first full week of August, which happens to be August 5th this year. My school year is then broken down into six-week segments of school followed by one week for a break. By doing our schedule this way, we end up with 42 weeks of school, or approximately 210 days. (We also take off two days for Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and most of July.) This works out well, because we don't stress too much if math doesn't get done on a day or if someone is sick for three days or if there's a birthday party on a Friday afternoon. Also, after about the 5th week of school, everyone seems about ready for a break, so if we can just make it through one more week...
During the week off, I plan ahead for the next six weeks. Planning any further ahead drives me nuts, since you never know what's going to happen during the six weeks. Sometimes we take longer on a topic than originally thought, sometimes we are ahead of where we needed to be, and sometimes we decide to completely switch direction with what we're doing. This particularly tends to happen with literature. The new six-week session is like a fresh start. I cannot stand having my lesson plan book all scribbled and moved around and on the wrong date, etc.
Which brings me to my lesson plans. I don't actually use a book. I tried that with K back in her preschool days when we were trying to follow Letter of the Week, and it lasted for like a minute. What I do now not only breaks things up into smaller time chunks, but it also breaks up the subjects. Having things smaller makes them more manageable for me. I think this will be my third year doing my planning like this, and I have made tweaks along the way.
I begin with Donna Young's Six-Week Planner. I made a master of this that has the planning boxes numbered to correspond with our assignment box. (I'll talk more about the assignment box in a later post.)
Once I begin getting subjects all planned out, I will add the assignments into the planner. My planner is an elaborate spreadsheet file created by Donna Young. It truly is the most perfect planner/record keeper I have run across. I will go into more detail about the latest version of this planner in my next post. In the meantime, here is my post about the version we used for the 2012-13 school year.
Next up: Planning Methods, Part II
17 July 2013
I sat down over the weekend and printed out all the pages. I did the teacher's guide two-sided, but I wanted to do the student guide one-sided, so that we didn't have to worry about anything going through to the other side or smudges getting on facing pages.
|It's impressive what 262 pages in a binder looks like!|
11 July 2013
For H, I wanted to include things that she was currently working on, in addition to the things that I hope to include in her studies later in the year. As a minimum, I wanted to have an addition table, Roman numerals, a chart of the colors of Math-U-See blocks, place value, coins, capitalization rules, books of the Bible, and months of the year.
I still had the saved files that contained the days of the week, months of the year, and books of the Bible that were done in Word format, so I printed those up first. Then I began a search for mini offices on Google, where I found tons of great JPG files and PDFs to download and print. I found some great, ready to use files on abcteach.com, and squidoo.com provided links to many more. For math, I was lucky enough to come across this wonderful blog post, where the author had already done all the work of putting together a PDF that coincides with Math-U-See.
Then, it came down to how exactly did I want to do the mini office. I had originally planned on doing one that had the folder flaps folded and then glued together like how we normally do a lapbook, but then I ran across a nice accordion-shaped one. I ultimately decided to go with what I knew, and I think it turned out well.
Armed with the printed materials, I set to work. The result was one folder of MUS references, one folder with additional math references (and the books of the Bible), and one folder with grammar references. I plan on getting these laminated individually before I attach them to one another, but first I want to get a copy of our cursive alphabet small enough to put in the empty space on the grammar folder.
|MUS folder including making 10, clocks, skip counting, and Decimal Street. (I'm pretty sure that H already has the colors of the blocks memorized, but I do not, so that chart is more for me than it is for her!)|
|Miscellaneous math items, including Roman numerals, money, thermometer showing both Fahrenheit and Celsius, Gallon Man, spelling numbers to 20, and an addition chart. A Books of the Bible list is also included on the right flap.|
03 July 2013
27 June 2013
26 June 2013
25 June 2013
17 June 2013
15 June 2013
We will be using Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History as our spine for the year. On Mondays, she will be reading the weekly topic page(s) in the spine text. After reading, she will write down several facts that she finds interesting about the topic. Then she will mark all the important dates onto a timeline and find the location discussed on a map. I am also ordering a geography coloring book for her to use for her map work.
On Wednesdays, she will do additional reading/research about something else that she wants to learn regarding the topic. For example, if the main topic was about the earliest farmers, she may decide that she wants to know more about the shaduf. After reading more about the shaduf, she will then use a short section of her additional reading to make an outline. At the 5th-grade level, TWTM suggests that the outline only needs to be a Roman numeral with a main topic sentence about each paragraph.
Fridays will be used to write a short summary about what was learned about the topic of the week.
In order to get our feet wet with the new method, we are going to be starting the new history course during our last 5-week session of the 2012-13 school year, which starts this coming Monday. I'm sure there will be some hand holding that needs to take place for a while until she gets the hang of the new history routine. I'm confident, though, that this will be the perfect fit for her learning style and that she will pick it up quickly.
03 April 2013
29 March 2013
The basic premise that is recommended for 5th grade science, or logic stage biology, is to spend 3 hours per week doing biology, broken up into two days. The first day, the student should spend about an hour and a half doing experiments using the scientific method. As they do the experiment, they should fill out lab sheets and make sketches. The second day is used for reading about the topic of the experiment and writing a short summary of what they learned. I think a paragraph or two is what is expected at this point. For the experiments, SWB suggests several intermediate and advanced science kits to choose from, including a blood typing kit, a small dissection kit that contains small critters such as worms, and a carnivorous plant biodome, just to name a few.
This approach to science looks like it's right up K's alley! She loves hands-on things, and she loves writing about what she learns! The only caveat is that if my ambitious daughter manages to work her way through every single experiment kit, which is quite possible, it will cost over $400. That's a little pricey for one year of science for one student, if you ask me! Especially since a lot of the kits are consumable and would have to be repurchased for H in a couple years.
I went to TWTM forums and asked about this and was pointed to Elemental Science. Some wonderful homeschooling parents, who happen to have degrees in science, decided to make a curriculum that closely followed TWTM approach to science. (You can read about them here.) After looking through the logic stage biology sample, I think I might be sold! As always, I reserve the right to change my mind a hundred times before purchasing, but at least I have a viable option.
So, here are the options that I think I have it narrowed down to for science for next year:
Option 1: Follow TWTM on my own, allowing K's interests to determine which science kits we start with. If we go with this approach, I found some experiment books at the library that look promising to use along with the kits to save some money.