Monday, August 23, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Need This T-Shirt

While wasting time doing a little homeschool research today, I came across this t-shirt. I want it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pity Party Is Over

...moving on.

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. ~John W. Gardner

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. ~George Bernard Shaw

And that is precisely why we do what we do. Coffee with friends can wait.

Let's get started with year #2!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

True Confessions Of This OE Mom

School starts tomorrow in our town. My kiddo who is in the 10th grade starts back to school. I will start our new school year here at home tomorrow, too.

So here's my confession. All day long, I've been daydreaming about dropping Things 3 and 4 off at school and meeting my friends for breakfast. How I would love to have coffee with my girlfriends and then come home and clean my house and have it stay clean for a couple of hours. Or start one of the 486 different projects that have been on my to-do list for months. Or just sit on the couch and read a book with no interruptions.

The truth is, right at this moment, I don't want to start school tomorrow or the next day or the next week.

It's not that I don't love having my children around. I do. I love nothing more than when we're all home together. I've never been one of those moms who can't wait for the school year to start. However, I would be lying if I didn't admit that state funded child care was really nice to have sometimes. I'm envious of my friends who, for the next nine months, can plan a hair appointment without worrying about what to do with the kids. I'm envious of the girls who are meeting for the annual "Back To School Breakfast" tomorrow. I'm envious of people who will pick up their children tomorrow afternoon and bring them home to a clean house, and will sit and listen to all of their "first day" stories.

I've enjoyed our summer off. It's been so nice to not have the day to day responsibility of educating my children, of planning schoolwork and enrichment activities. I've enjoyed just being their mom. I'm not ready to start being their teacher, too.

Am I allowed to say all that or will I get kicked out of the Homeschool Club?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Curriculum Choices - Part 2

Big changes are also in store for Thing 4 this year, and I am very excited! One thing I discovered last year is that an unconventional child doesn't really do that well with conventional teaching methods. Workbooks and other "school-y" activities just sucked the life out of her and frustrated me.

Oak Meadow, Grade 3 - This is going to be where we focus the bulk of our time this year. This Waldorf-inspired curriculum will be perfect for my little girl who loves art, crafts, cooking, nature and spending lots of time with Mom. The third grade curriculum covers Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Art, Music, Health and Crafts. There are many activities and crafts included in the curriculum. It's very teacher-intensive, which might not work for some families. It's also a very "gentle" curriculum where children explore topics through reading, re-telling stories, drawing, experimenting, observing and investigation. We cannot wait to get started with Oak Meadow!

Singapore Math - I talked a little about Singapore here. While it's perfect for Thing 3, it's really not perfect for Thing 4, but I haven't found anything I just love yet so we're going to plug along with Singapore. We won't do it every day. I'll likely use Oak Meadow math and math games most of the time, but we'll work on Singapore a couple of times a week.

Handwriting Without Tears - We started this last year and will continue using it until we finish the program. I love this program because it is not teacher intensive, and every homeschool mom needs something like that.

Primary Language Lessons - This is also something that we used last year. Although it was written in the early 20th century, this book is still relevant today. It has wonderful, gentle Language Arts lessons that we work on together. I will use it to supplement Oak Meadow Language Arts.

Thing 3 will also work on her journal and nature journal. She will work through a reading list of children's classics, take dance, piano and maybe start a blog to practice writing and keyboard skills. She's looking forward to field trips and live theater, too!

We are ready to go!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Curriculum Choices - Part 1

I've made a lot of changes for the upcoming school year. I'm excited about our new curriculum choices.

Here is what I'm using for Thing 3:

Singapore Math
- This curriculum is different than the "drill and kill" math we are used to from our public school days. The goal of Singapore Math is to "teach our young to think creatively and apply knowledge innovatively"
and to develop "creative independent learners". It moves quickly and may not have enough practice problems for children who need more time on a particular concept. We used it last year, and it was perfect for my kiddo who enjoys math.

Life of Fred Math Series - I love this humorous, creative math series. It's self-teaching and requires kids to use their critical thinking skills. We will alternate Life of Fred with Singapore.

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts, Level 2 - I'm crazy about this Language Arts curriculum! I can't wait to start using it. It was written by an expert on gifted education with gifted children in mind. It covers grammar, vocabulary, poetry and writing. The text is both beautiful to look at and read. It's very engaging. I think we're really going to like it! (Hat tip to my neighbor, good friend and fellow OE mom, Mel, for turning me on to both MCT and Life of Fred.)

Lively Latin - We started Latin last year but used a different program. It was DVD based and just didn't work that well for us. I've had a chance to read through Lively Latin and I think it's going to be great! I like that it incorporates history, art study, and culture. It also has games and hands-on activities to make learning Latin more fun!

English From The Roots Up - This is just a fun, easy way to improve vocabulary. We work on four or five of these roots every day while the kids are eating breakfast.

Oak Meadow History and Science, Grade 5 - I have searched high and low for secular History and Science curricula. (While I am a Christian, I would rather teach History and Science from a secular view-point.) I finally found Oak Meadow and I really like it. It's a Waldorf-inspired curriculum, and it incorporates a lot of art, nature study, and projects.

Our Beautiful America Copywork Book - I use this for handwriting practice for Thing 3. We started it last year and he really enjoyed it. The family who wrote this book took a trip to visit all 50 states. Along the way, they recorded interesting facts about each state. This book has two to three information entries for each state.

Spelling Wisdom - We use this for spelling and dictation practice. The book is filled with inspirational writings from great authors, politicians, speakers, and some from the Bible.

Rosetta Stone Spanish - We started this last year, too. Thing 3 really enjoys it. I like that it's self-paced and he can do it independently. I'm not sure it's the best way to learn fact, I'm sure it's not. However, it works well for us right now. I anticipate having to find a real, live Spanish teacher one of these days. Until then, we'll continue with Rosetta Stone.

That's the formal "stuff" we will use. In addition to those things, both kiddos will journal, work on nature journals, work through a reading list of classics, and take music lessons. We will go on lots of fun field trips, and will continue to see lots of live theater through the Young At Art program. Both children want to start blogs, too. We'll see how that goes.

It's going to be a good year!


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