Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ramblings about Accelerated Math with My Little Man

I have been in a tizzy about math the past several days. I really try not to plan math too much other than to say that this is what we plan to do next. You never know when a child will fly through lessons and when he will need to squat on a topic. One of the benefits of home education is that I don't have to take into consideration an entire classroom full of students. Anyway, Duncan has used Saxon 54, Saxon 65, and half of Saxon 76 and I had planned to use Saxon 87 next.

With Duncan the problem, in addition to his sloppy 8yo boy handwriting making workbook type materials look really attractive, is that due to Kumon, Key to Algebra Book 1, Math Mammoth Order of Operations, and Hands on Equations he has jumped ahead of his current material in Saxon 76. However, I can't just skip him ahead through testing or whatever, because he hasn't worked with some of the geometry presented in Saxon and it is integrated into the rest of the program.

Another problem is that it is pretty clear that at Kumon Duncan will be hitting Algebra 1 topics by next fall at the latest. Even if I slow him down by requesting less work and stall by requesting more repetitions, he will be hitting Algebra topics long before he could complete the second half of Saxon 76 and all of Saxon 87. Kumon is implicit learning, so I want to explain concepts at home before he hits them at Kumon. It is unlikely that he will want to sit still and listen to the whys of a topic if he can already fly through multiple pages of the topic and come out with the correct answer.

Grayson, my middle son, used Saxon from Saxon 3-87 alongside Singapore Primary Maths. I wish that I had never moved him out of Saxon. I don't really want to be in this same place with the little guy, but the grass is looking greener and all that.

After banging my head against this dilemma for a few days, I have decided that next semester Duncan will be using Key to Algebra Books 2 and 3 while simultaneously doing Math Mammoth Blue Series Geometry 1 and 2 (all the sections with unfamiliar material and any other sections that interest him). Key to Algebra Books 2 and 3 cover the pre-algebra material included in his current Kumon level and Math Mammoth Blue Series Geometry will cover the geometry that is in Saxon. He will also continue with Hands on Equations.

After this is finished, I have several good ideas for math, but I am trying to resist actually planning it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Favorites of Classical Literature

What is your favorite classic? I don't really have a desire to discuss the definition of classic, so just think of classic as meaning whatever you want.

I wrote my high school senior research paper on Shaw, so I must have put high value on him at one point. Everyone should be familiar with Gilgamesh, Odysseus, and Beowulf, even if only in summary, because epic heroes are, well, epic. And frankly, Moby Dick is quoted too often to be missed. My boys have read quite a bit of Shakespeare, but while I have included the required Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, they are not my favorites. Oh, also, while I see the value of discussing The Scarlet Letter, I detest Hawthorne's writing! Basically, I am really girly when it comes to my favorites of classic literature. I mean I do adore Lord of the Flies, value the message of Animal Farm, think that Poe should be mandatory reading, and appreciate Great Expectations, but my favorites are just plain girly. So, while these all of the previously mentioned literature may be of value none are favorites.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is the work that leaps to mind as a favorite, because it is delightful. Everyone should see it as a ballet before reading and then after reading they should all memorize Puck's ending monologue. This should be done about 7th grade or at least before high school. (If a family enjoys bawdy humor, I also recommend Much Ado About Nothing. All boys should memorize at least one of Benedick's monologues. If a family wants a strong female character and to discuss the treatment of Jews and the trade of money lending in Europe, The Merchant of Venice is fabulous!)

Branching out from Shakespeare into my other girly favorites, I really like Alice in Wonderland and Sense and Sensibility. Along with A Midsummer's Night's Dream, these are the stories that I will read again, because I want to revisit the characters and the plot. How corny is that?

On the other hand, outside of what is probably considered classic into modern science fiction, if your family can deal with a lot of sex, Stranger in a Strange Land should not be missed. This is another that I have read again just because I wanted to watch the message in reruns. Hhmm- well, now I guess I must reconsider Poe, I go back and read him again and again.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday- Week in Review

Duncan is my 2nd grader.
Mei is my friend’s 5th grader.

Our poetry, language arts and history memory work.
Poem 2
The Tiger by William Blake

List the 8 parts of speech.
Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, Interjection

Tell me about Charlemagne.
In 800 A.D. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor of Europe.

Duncan's memory work for math.
What is the legal move when solving an equation.
Whatever you do to one side of an equation you must also do to the other side.

Mei’s memory work for math and LA.
What do we call the answer to a division problem?
The answer to a division problem is called the quotient.

Language Arts
Together we continued with MCT’s The Music of the Hemispheres and Sentence Island. Duncan tried Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He tried it a while back and couldn’t get into it. This week he finished through chapter 11, so that is going well.

At my house Mei read The Story of the U.S.A. Book 2 Chapter 1 and completed the comprehension work. I think this will give some of the comprehension guidance I was wanting.

We finished the noun side of our parts of speech lapbook.

Mei's completed noun section.

Duncan's completed noun section.

The plural noun minibook is the coolest!

We reviewed verbs (action verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs and verb tense) using worksheets from the Scott Foresman Grade 5 Grammar Book.

Mei has completed lesson 51 in Saxon 65, continued working in Math Mammoth Blue Series- Fractions 1, and finished lessons 3 and 4 in Hands on Equations.

Duncan did Kumon, continued Math Mammoth Blue Series- The Four Operations, and completed Hands on Equations Lessons 3-7.

In history Duncan and Mei covered Chapter 21 of Gombrich’s A Little History. We also read about Charlemagne and Vikings in SOTW2. We completed a minibook for Charlemagne and match books for Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson.

Outside of Duncan's left. Inside of Mei's right.

Duncan's inside green. Mei's closed pink.

We didn’t really move forward in science this week, but Mei and Duncan did watch the Moody science video The Red River of Life.

Both Mei and Ducan started Learnables Spanish 1.

Other Stuff
Cool Stuff
On Tuesday Mei and Duncan went climbing.
Mei is a spider. She moves so fast I had a difficult time snapping photos and keeping her in frame. She made it to the top on 10 of her 12 climbs.

Duncan is just a little too small and just couldn't reach quite far enough with his little legs and arms, but he gave it a good try. While he never made it to the top he made it a pretty good way.

On Friday Duncan, Grayson and I went to see the Impressionist exhibit at the Frist with Mei, her mom and the rest of our art class. Of course I couldn't take photos in the exhibit, but the all kids had a great time in the art project room after the tour.

Duncan's print.

Mei's print.

My print.

Not So Cool Stuff
This afternoon we had the thrill of taking Grayson to the doctor to get an ankle x-ray. His ankle has been wrong since sometime during volleyball, but the x-ray showed no problem with the bone so it is a muscle/tendon thing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Thanksgiving

My mom and I. She left Sat. morning, so this is how I look without make-up and jewelry and before using a hairbrush. LOL But, I got the photo.

The big guy upon rolling out of bed.

Grayson managing to open his eyes.

The little man squinting beside his Gigi.

Taking the big guy back to college I65 north through KY was inching along.

Yes, some people back there are switching drivers on the interstate. This wasn't the only time I witnessed this move.

The big guy read.

Grayson read some and slept some.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Curriculum, Method and Philosophy

There is a difference between curriculum, method and philosphy.
Here is my how our homeschool operates.

Curriculum: Eclectic- This is code for I use whatever materials I want.

•Math- Classical
Saxon, Kumon Drill Work, lots of extras- currently Hands on Equations and Math Mammoth

•Poetry, Grammar, Composition, Vocabulary- Textbook
MCT Island

•Literature- Eclectic
Sonlight books, Open Court Readers, history related, etc

•History- Weekly Unit Studies
Based on Gombrich's Little History

•Science- Trimester Unit Studies
Great Science Adventures- Space
Great Science Adventures- Human Body
Great Science Adventures- Tools and Technology

•Memory Work- Classical

I like to pull our curriculum together using several methods.

•a little bit of Waldorf- the part that emphasizes imagination and creativity in learning

•a little bit of Montessori- the part that emphasizes supporting a child's nature by allowing them self-exploration within prepared materials

•a chunk of Charlotte Mason style Classical- the part that emphasizes narration, chronological history, living books, enjoyment of poetry and short lessons

My overriding homeschool philosophy is adapted entirely from Charlotte Mason.

My child is not a blank slate, but is a whole person complete with his own personality and capacity for good and evil. I respect that he is born whole and that his mind is naturally designed to learn. I can provide the nourishment of education for his mind to grow healthy through a learning lifestyle where he is trained to be disciplined not in subject matter but in life for "education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

My child must be taught the difference between what he wants to do right now and his will to do what is appropriate/ right. He must also be taught to be careful not to rationalize something to be right simply because he wants it to be so. Along these lines, there can be no true happiness without first taking care of responsibilities. “…the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas. To help them in this choice we give them principles of conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them.”

"I am, I can, I ought, I will." is the place from which I instruct, because we achieve through diligence not through intelligence or imagination. I use habit training as a road to success, but I exercise this alongside the idea that “perhaps the business of teachers is to open as many doors as possible.”

Gotta love CM.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday- Week in Review

Duncan is my 2nd grader.
Mei is my friend’s 5th grader.

Is it Friday again?!
We have finished week 16 and next week we will be taking time off from school to celebrate Thanksgiving. Hopefully, Duncan will not be sick, but this week both Mei and Duncan had a pretty good case of the sniffles.

Our poetry, science and history memory work.
Poem 2
The Tiger by William Blake

What does the cardiovascular system consist of?
The cardiovascular system consists of blood, the heart, and the blood vessels.

Tell me about Muhammad.
At age 40 Muhammad received his first revelation from God. Three years after this Muhammad started preaching these revelations and by the time he died most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam.

Duncan's memory work for math and LA.
Tell me the order of operations.
Please excuse (my dear) (Aunt Sally)                        
parentheses, exponents,
multiplication/division from left to right,                                                           
addition/subtraction from left to right

List the 5 uses of a noun within a sentence.
subject, direct object, indirect object, object of preposition, possessive
Stuffy nose Duncan in front of the computer
Mei’s memory work for math and LA.
What is circumference?
The length of the smooth curve that makes a circle. Circumference is to a circle as perimeter is to a polygon.

Tell me about interjections.
An interjection is an emotion word.

Mei and her weekly Chik-fil-A face painting. It was supposed to be a bouquet, but it looks like an ice cream cone!

Language Arts
Together we continued with MCT’s The Music of the Hemispheres and Sentence Island. Duncan continued reading from Open Court titled From Sea to Shining Sea. He finished section one which wrapped up with a Thanksgiving story. At my house Mei began reading from Open Court’s Sound of the Sea. I like the stories, but I think that I would prefer to use something that has some guidance. I lean toward McGuffey, because I can get it online free. However, I would like to have a nice textbook like Glencoe or EMC Paradigm.

We reviewed nouns- definition, proper, plural, collective. They both began working on a parts of speech lapbook. We spent way more time than I had anticipated decorating the front of the lapbook.

Duncan left. Mei right.
Mei's minibook

inside Duncan's lapbook
Inside Mei's minibook

Mei has completed through lesson 50 in Saxon 65 and finished her Kumon multiplication workbook. She continued working in Math Mammoth Blue Series- Fractions 1. Duncan did Kumon and continued Math Mammoth Blue Series- The Four Operations. They both completed Hands on Equations Lessons 1 and 2. It is sooo nifty! I am so glad I finally worked up to spending the money on it.

Moving on to history, Duncan and Mei covered Chapter 20 of Gombrich’s A Little History. We also completed an Enchanted Learning worksheet on the Saudi Arabia and made a minibook on Charles Martel.
Duncan green. Mei pink.

This week we discussed the circulatory system in Great Science Adventures and looked over this section in DK’s The Human Body Book.

Other Stuff
On Monday we did the cub scout and Kumon thing. On Tuesday we went to Chik-fil-A's family night. On Wednesday Duncan went to violin, Grayson went to his math tutor, and we went to the library. On Thursday we took Grayson to his IEW composition class, Cici’s Pizza and 4-H. Then, Thursday night Duncan, Grayson and I went to see Harry Potter with Mei and Sarah (my friend and Mei’s mom)!