Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homeschool 2013

Well we are well into the throes of homeschooling and I made some changes this year I wanted to blog about.  I LOVE seeing how other people spend their homeschool days so why not add ours into the blogosphere?

First thing I'm doing differently:  Sabbath schooling.  Sabbath schooling means you homeschool for 6 weeks and rest the seventh week.  Last week was our seventh week and the timing could not have been better.  I honestly thought I'd spend the week getting caught up on gardening, sewing, and house cleaning but instead I used it to relax.  I played games.  I pinned.  No projects.  No big dejunking sprees.  I just let myself and my son take it easy.  It was very rejuvinating.  He had a harder time getting back into things Monday, but overall I think it has been helpful

The other thing I'm doing is accountability.  I'm not nagging any more.  It makes my son feel lousy and makes me cranky.  He needs me for science (2x/week) and spelling (3x/week) and everything else he can do on his own.  It is his responsibility to learn and I want to make sure he knows that.  It is harder for me to let go, but we are both less stressed this way.  It's not like I always get all my stuff done as soon as I wake up.  Why should he?

So here's what we're using this year:

Math:  I switched away from Singapore Math to Math Mammoth.  Not only is it cheaper, but I belive the curriculum to be superior.  I felt like all of last year was a waste.  He doesn't remember a lot of what he learned because there just wasn't enough practice. From talking with other parents, this is pretty common for fourth grade math.  Still, I wanted something with the option for more review.  So we are reviewing right now.  We reviewed 3rd grade so everything is really understood and now we're reviewing everything from last year and practicing what isn't fully comprehended.  I feel a lot better about things now.

Language Arts: We did heavy grammar last year so this year we are taking a break and working on writing and spelling.  I am using Excellence in Writing and can see why everyone is obsessed with it.  After 6 weeks I am already seeing an improvement AND he doesn't hate writing anymore!  From the same company I am also using Excellence in Spelling.  I decided I prefer the Orton-Gillingham method for teaching spelling rules and have really liked this program.  I was never really taught spelling rules, I just had to see a word and could memorize it.  So I am really liking learning the WHY behind some rules along with Jack.

I also have created book lists for my kids.  I bribe them to read the books on their lists for their required daily 30 minutes of reading and when they finish the list I get them a small toy.  I'm thinking I should put the lists on here.

Science: Germs, Polymers, Electricity and more!  I'm using Magic School Bus science kits (I  heart MSB) and Switched on Science which i am also falling in love with.  No text books here.  This is science the way it's supposed to be done!

History: So far it's been the American Revolution and Greece.  We'll see what he's interested in after that.

Electives:  Swimming lessons for PE and Drawing, Sculpting, and Animation for art/tech. This is an online class Jack is enrolled in where he uses a Bamboo Splash Pad to create digital drawings.  He will also learn how to do some stop motion animation.  He's eight, by the way.  Homeschooling rocks!!!!

There you have it.

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