Blog Archives

Looking Forward

Feb
2014
16

posted by on Schooling Resource, Update

I’m seeing threads pop up on forums I visit asking what all you’ll be using in the upcoming year.  I can’t believe it’s that time of year already! Time is zooming by!

A lot of what I’m using is working so we’re going to just keep at it and not change things up.

Other things -not so much. :(

For my 5th/6th grader:
Math: ALEKS middle school math
Language Arts: Growing with Grammar and Soaring with Spelling
Reading Comprehension:  Moby Max’s Reading section
Writing:  A good friend lent me her Writing With Ease and so we’re going to give that a go.
Science:  Elemental Science’s Logic Stage Biology (goal is to start in the Spring and go through Summer)
History:  History of US by Joy Hakim (continuing -almost done with book two)
Language:  Getting Started with Latin (we recently started this and kid is enjoying it so we’ll keep at it!)
Extras:  Logic Perplexors
Let’s Make Some Great Art
Meet the Great Composers
Girl Scouts
Co-op and the usual homeschool group field trips we attend

For my nearly 5 year olds:
Kindergarten Early Bird Singapore Math
A variety of books for teaching how to read: Alpha Phonics, 100 Easy Lessons, Hooked on Phonics, BOB books, Reading Game -seriously using all or none of these!  My girls like to jump around and as long as they are enjoying the process of learning how to read I am totally fine with it!
Lots of crafting:  painting, coloring (we’re HUGE coloring fans here!), gluing, cutting, etc.

Hope everyone is staying warm!  This winter has been harsh!  The girls are loving all the snow but this momma is so done and over it.  I am very much looking forward to seeing more color out there.  

posted by on Misc.

Mr. Nye;

As a long time believer in your general attitude about science and your charismatic presentation of the same, and perhaps most especially your recent debate with Ken Ham, I have to take a moment to speak out about your recent uninformed non-response to a question posed by a fellow homeschooler on the Facebook platform.

For your reference, here is the exchange:

Michelle Pippin’s question:

“The homeschool community is severely lacking in real science curricula. Will you give thought to creating a science curriculum for the ever-growing number of secular homeschoolers?”

Bill Nye’s response:

“Use your judgment. The rest of us out here, want your kids to appreciate society and the importance of working together in school and in life. A person working alone will probably not build the future 797 airplane, for example. It takes people who can work with and around people. Carry on.”

Firstly, I have 3 children.  We’re actively homeschooling one – a 10 year old girl.  We also have 4 year old twins who will follow the same path.  Having seen the state of what passes for public education in the K-12 bracket, I can say with certainty of myself and my wife that we are not only far more capable of, but also far more willing to spend the necessary time and effort to properly educate our children.  While I know there are always exceptions, K-12 schools of the present day seem to focus, almost morbidly, on the all-knowing, all-seeing standardized test.

Mr. Nye, let me share with you a graphic which I have on my wall to illustrate what I find perhaps the most compelling argument against the standardized testing model:

I realize that some measure of a student and their level of performance is required, however I do not believe that giving every student in every school the same test fills that role.  Just as I don’t believe that you can spend a finite, fixed amount of time teaching all the primary subjects and expect that every student will benefit.  Some students learn very quickly and become bored.  Others learn more slowly and need more attention or even just more time with a subject.

Setting even that aside, primary school state and government provided education these days has become far more about test results than about students learning.  Every school superintendent I’ve spoken with is under tremendous pressure to produce a high average test score.  I’ve never been told by any school administrator that they are under pressure to produce intelligent students.  Again, there are always exceptions, but you don’t plan by the exception, you plan by the rule.  Both as wise parents and as scientists.

So, off my soap box- I have to ask you- what has given you such a seemingly low opinion of homeschoolers?  Do you have direct experience with some that has perhaps colored your perceptions?  Do you simply have a lack of knowledge of the homeschooling field and how it works?  I’d truly like to understand what prompted you to answer the way you did.

You had what, in my opinion, was a wonderful opportunity to lend your considerable experience and knowledge on a subject that could have helped to shape the minds of the coming generation.  Instead, you chose to completely disregard the question and instead, in not so many words, chose to belittle the homeschooling community.

I’ll close by leaving the questions I’ve asked open to your answers, and also to recall your debate with Ken Ham- a man who by your own account was so mired in the rote memorization his holy book requires of him that he is incapable of entertaining a new, fresh idea.  I’d hate to place you in the same category as he.

Mr. Nye, be a scientist- if there’s something you don’t know, don’t understand, or are misinformed about regarding homeschooling, then do some research.  Check your facts before propagating an old stereotype.  Go through your history books and determine which of our finest minds have been homeschooled for their primary and secondary education prior to moving on to other institutions for post-secondary education.  I have and I was surprised.  Maybe you should too.

Signed:

Secular Homeschooling Dad & Secular Homeschooling Mom

Happy 2014!

Jan
2014
10

posted by on Schooling Resource, Update

Wow, it has been some time since I last posted!  So sorry for the eternal cricket sounds here.

Looks like my last post was around Halloween time -yikes!   I got swept away with just the normal crazy busy that happens around here.  And then before I knew it, the holidays were upon us and I was nursing a household full of sickies for about 3 weeks in December!

We’re back to our usual routine here and I am very glad about that!  As much as I enjoy a break every now and then, I much prefer our regularly scheduled program.

I have redone our school room a bit.  Added some really nifty interactive posters I found at Costco!  They are super duper cool -check it out here!  We got all three and finally got them up on our wall.  Absolutely positutely LOVE these posters, and so do my girls.  My little two are so fascinated with the space one that they now know the names of several planets.  The human body one is simply amazing, too!  And of course the periodic table of elements gets used quite a lot since we’re doing chemistry now.  Definitely check them out!  I truly highly recommend them!

We did change up our weekly assignments.  I’ve got the oldest doing the usual subjects, plus a few new stuff.  Since we finished Reading Detective before the holidays, I needed to find a new something to use for reading comprehension.  I am using MobyMax’s Reading (it’s free!) and we’re loving it.  We’re doing grade 6 since I noticed the 5th grade one was a wee too easy for her.

I am also going to begin teaching (and learning myself!) Latin.  We are using Getting Started with Latin.  I figured since we were done with Etymology we could start Latin -my girl understands that words in the English language come from somewhere and figured it might be a great time to jump into Latin.  Not entirely sure how it will go, as I will be learning this for the first time right alongside her, but we’ll see!  I think I’m looking forward to this more than she is HA!

As for the little monkeys -I have been doing the Handwriting Without Tears My First School Book but they are pretty much done with it.  Since they are loving it, I went ahead and ordered the next book and we’ll begin that next week.  I also picked up Singapore Kindergarten Math (and snap cubes) and hope to start that next week, as well.  They are just so eager to learn so I am taking advantage of that!

That pretty much sums up what we’ve been up to or plan on doing.  Will post an update with how it goes!

posted by on DIY Crafts, Update

Just a few of the things we’ve been up to!