It has indeed been a while since I last blogged. I’ve actually come to accept that this is how it is for me. Life has a way of getting in the way of little things like blogging ;)
Things have indeed gotten busy here. But, honestly, isn’t it always busy? I think it would be far more a surprise to suddenly have lots of time with nothing to do, eh?
We’ve received some seriously grave news and I might blog about that down the road. Right now, I am still processing.
On the homeschool-front, we’re still trekking away! My oldest is onto 6th-7th grade work right now and my two little ones who aren’t so little anymore are doing Kindergarten-1st grade work.
It does seem interesting to note that we’re apparently always teetering between two grade levels! Which is totally fine! Just found that interesting to note.
My oldest has added several subjects all on her own and I’ve added a few, as well. Here’s a run-down on what all we’re doing at the moment:
- ALEKS Math – Middle School Math Course 2 (which is 7th grade math)
- Critical Thinking Company Understanding Algebra
- Wordly Wise 3000 Online
- Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream (we put Mosdos off to the side so we could work through this – she requested we do this book!) – using this book and I found some free teacher’s guide online to help with discussing the book’s story.
- Duolingo for Spanish
- Critical Thinking Company You Decide - and playing this game for FREE! (this is part of Logic curriculum)
- Art of Argument (this is part of Logic curriculum)
- Elemental Science Logic Stage Biology – we are almost done!
- Writing with Skill Level 1 -halfway through the book!
- American History – on book 5 of History of US
- Will be starting to do Global History shortly (more on this later!)
- Astrobiology – ordered this book (which she devoured!) and she’s doing a Coursera class on the subject
- Economics – loving this book! Not too in depth -we talk about it together and I read the book so I can get a refresher course on how best to explain things. We have some good conversations on the topic!
- Rummy Roots for Latin
At co-op we’re doing a math class, art history, and mythology. Sadly, we only have two more classes for this school year.
I think overall, she’s doing well! Her workload has gotten heavier and she is doing school most days for a lot longer than what she was used to. We alternate some subjects and don’t do all of the above every single day -that would just be cah-razy!
As for the other little ones. We’ve been working on our 3R’s – Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.
One of them is struggling with pencil grip. I have tried several pencil grip doodats to help with this, but have had no luck. We are now trying the Ticonderoga Triangular pencils. They are much thicker than the typical pencil so it appears to be helping somewhat.
I’ve also noticed that due to the pencil grip issue, it is taking her longer to practice her writing. So that has led me to separate the twins and sit with each of them one-on-one so she doesn’t feel bad for taking longer.
With Twin A (who shall henceforth be known as T.A.) I am doing 100 Easy Lessons for reading. With Twin B (who shall henceforth be known as T.B.) I am using All About Spelling since the 100 Easy Lessons was just not working for her.
For Math I am using Singapore Kindergarten Math and Math Mammoth 1st Grade -really loving Math Mammoth and once we’re done with the Singapore books I am switching totally to Math Mammoth as it appears to be working for both girls!
We’re using Handwriting Without Tears but I have printed a bunch of paper (with big squares on it) to just practice more. Each one has letters they struggle with so we go over those letters each day and then move on in the book.
My girls also love Science so we pull out Science encyclopedia’s and all kinds of books and read a lot. For this age, it’s mostly exploring their world around them and they seem to naturally soak stuff up!
We’re wrapping up co-op for them, as well. They’ve been doing a science class, art history class, and a music & movement class. Sad to see the school year ending but we’ll be continuing co-op next school year!
I think that all brings us up to current. The days are truly zooming by and looking back to when we started the school year, I can honestly say that all three of my girls have learned and have grown a lot!
I had mentioned that we’d added some “fun” subjects during our winter holiday break. I thought I’d discuss what it was my daughter decided to study.
We picked up Art of Argument, the Teacher’s Edition. I did not grab the student book -just the Teacher’s Edition because she and I would be sitting together and reading and discussing it together. Didn’t want to make it a heavy writing subject for her.
I had family and friends wonder why I was teaching her how to argue better. That we were, essentially, going to regret it! ha! Well, I say more power to my daughter!
Setting aside the jokes, I absolutely love this book and my daughter really has been enjoying this as well!
In addition to this book, I have also added a bit of Philosophy introduction. Instead of finding a book to teach this, I decided to do my own research and print some notes and papers to go over with her. We talked about Socrates, Plato, Descartes, and several others. We even discussed, at length, about the Socratic Method and came across quite a gem that you, too, can download for free!
We’ve really been enjoying this subject and have decided that even though we’re back to our old routine, we will be continuing Art of Argument together.
Another added extra is You Decide! Applying the Bill of Rights to Real Cases. For this I did get both the student book and the teacher’s instruction guide. At first I only grabbed the student book but I fast realized that I would be doing an awful lot of looking up and researching things without the guide. So yah, I highly recommend the guide!
With this added subject, we did not and are still not writing the answers down. We discuss the cases together and have a nice conversation on how we feel about the case and what she thinks about the outcome, etc. It’s really a neat subject to add and I feel that the way we’re doing it is really allowing her to enjoy the subject! I didn’t think she’d take to it but she loves this and has insisted we continue even after our winter holiday break is over. So yup, this has been added to the rotation of subjects we do each day!
As for my two five year olds -we’re still not very structured here, however we are doing a lot more “school-y” stuff. We do practice reading daily. We do a lot of logic games which they find enjoyable. I also lay out a bunch of paper, tape, glue, scissors, sequins, etc. on the table and let them go to town with it! They get to practice their cutting skills and fine motor skills, etc. They just have an absolute blast!
I try (keyword here is try) to do math and science 5 days a week. One of the twins loves science and is always asking for more more and more! I pulled out my first grade (eeek!) science book that I used with my oldest and have started reading it to her. We stop to do experiments when possible. It’s fun! Her twin sister listens in most of the time and is slowly getting pulled into it by her sister.
For math, I downloaded a free trial K-1st grade app that the girls really are enjoying. So much so that they begged I unlock the other levels and I have done so. They have picked up the basic concepts of addition and subtraction after I sat with each of them and explained how to play the game. They beg to play the game now almost daily!
So basically, with the young’uns I am trying to follow their interest and letting them be kids! I realize the older they get, we’ll need to buckle down just a wee bit but for now, let them play, create, do math and science if it pleases them!
All in all, I think we’re doing just fine :)
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!! For us it had been an absolute whirlwind filled with busy activities and lots of family time. As much fun as it was, I am glad it’s all over and we can get back to our old routine!
We do school throughout Summer and it paid off for my oldest -she got quite a lot of time off between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. We did a few subjects here and there, but it was subjects she thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to doing. More on that later!
For now, I would like to reveal to you what we finally ended up doing with all of our posters! We had a big blank wall and dear hubby really didn’t want a bunch of holes in our newly fixed and freshly painted wall so we took our time trying to figure out how to display our large posters.
My biggest issue was having SO MANY posters to display and not enough wall space! What I wanted was a way to easily rotate posters as they were needed. So, for example, if I were working on the table of elements, I wanted to display that poster and remove the earth science poster that was not currently needed. See? Easily changeable as needed without adding a ton of holes on the wall due to different sized posters.
Hubby and I came up with a few ideas and we dismissed them after much going back and forth. We thought of velcro, of strips of magnet like the valance idea we had. But none were quite right.
In the end, we decided to go with thin magnetic panels called MagPanels. They come in all kinds of neat options (like rounded corners, several color options, customized size, etc. – NOTE: if you order through them, try to get smaller pieces to put together to save on shipping!! You do not want to pay freight prices!)
We absolutely postitutely love love our MagPanels!
For magnets, we ended up purchasing some neodymium magnets and glued them to simple glass gems (can be found at any craft store!). I picked mine up at WalMart for very cheap. We tried Super Glue and Gorilla Glue but maaan those magnets are strong and whenever I went to readjust a magnet, the glass gem popped off the magnet! In the end, we got some cement adhesive and that has seemed to bond really well without coming off.
The magnets are so strong, that when the kids run down the hall I know the posters won’t fall off! Which is why I highly recommend using neodymium magnets!
Our school room has undergone several tweaks since its reveal. We ended up needing more bookshelves for, well, books! And our school room is now also our legos room! Due to the way we organized the space, we now have a great open area that works really well for the girls to spread out and build and create their lego creations!
Here’s how the room looks now:
I’ll be posting more about what we’ve all been doing school-wise in another post! For now, I wish you all a very wonderful 2015!! And I am looking forward to sharing more on our homeschooling journey with you through 2015 :)