Friday, September 30, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk9 - 1 day of 36) Woohoo, 1/4 of the Year!

Duncan is my 8yo. Woohoo, we are ¼ of the way through our official year! Tonight I plan to begin putting together a portfolio. I have never done such a thing and oddly I am kind of excited about it. Anyway, here is week 9 minus one day of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA 3 and LA extensions 3, combined- 2:09:04 (Agreement, Editing)
Math 4- 0:45:40 (Division)
Science 3- 0:47:17 (Energy)
Social Studies 3- 0:51:02 (Charts & Graphs)

So, 4:33:03 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week.

Classical Conversations
For Foundations Duncan listened to the week 1-4 memory work for English, science, Latin, geography, and timeline from a CD that was made here locally. From the Classical Conversations online tutorial he listened to the songs for history sentences from weeks 1-4.

Duncan continued studying Essentials of the English Language Grammar. This week he began nouns and continued reviewing the previous material.

In Essentials IEW composition this week, Duncan completed lesson 3 in U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 1. In this lesson he completed an IEW Key Word Outline from a paragraph about Jamestown. He then rewrote the paragraph and included a strong verb, an adverb, an quality adjective, a vocabulary word, alliteration. This is actually a rough draft. Next week he will be editing it as he learns about sentence openers and who/which clauses.

Math
In Foerster’s Algebra this week Duncan finished Chapter 4 section5 and started section 6. He worked at Khan Academy one day for 12 minutes and received a proficiency in negative number word problems. He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes doing Kumon math four days. This week he began looking at functions in Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold Jacobs.

Language Arts
In language arts he reviewed words from Spelling Plus and finished pages 32-36 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. He completed week three of Daily Language Arts Review, Grade 4. He read pp.247-285 (seven stories) in The Beginner’s Bible. Duncan finished the second chapter of Edcon Publishing’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (We totally forgot this last week!) He also continued Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Level 1 and completed two more poems.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 9 in Land of Liberty and continued George Washington by Cheryl Harness.

Science
In addition to T4L, in Classical Conversations we reviewed the scientific method and did an experiment about muscle types. Duncan also cut out leg muscles for a human body that we will be assembling at the end of the semester.

Music, Drama and Art
He practiced violin almost every day this week and his lesson this week went well.

Duncan’s art and drama classes were fabulous again. In art they discussed Vincent Van Gogh and it was such a nice day and that they took their sketchbooks outside.

At Classical Conversations we continued our six weeks of drawing with Drawing with Children. We completed some upside down images, reviewed circles, dots, lines, angles, and curves, and drew Leo the Lion.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk8 - 1 day of 36)

Duncan is my 8yo. Here is week 8 minus one day of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA 3 and LA extensions 3, combined- 1:54:43 (Main Idea, Sequential Order, Fact & Opinion, Subject – Verb Agreement, Nouns)
Math 4- 1:03:59 (Multiplication and Division)
Science 3- 0:29:59 (Nature of Matter, Heat & Light, Earth’s Neighbors)
Social Studies 3- 0:47:46 (Latitude & Longitude, Adaption to Environment)

So, 4:16:27 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week.

Classical Conversations
For Foundations Duncan listened to the week 1-3 memory work for English, science, Latin, geography, and timeline from a CD that was made here locally. From the Classical Conversations online tutorial he listened to the songs for history sentences from weeks 1-3.

Duncan continued studying Essentials of the English Language Grammar. This week he studied verbs.

In Essentials IEW composition this week, Duncan completed lesson 2 in U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 1. The lesson works on using adverbs and strong verbs in a fill-in-the-blank poem.

Math
In Foerster’s Algebra this week Duncan finished section 4. Twice he worked at Khan Academy- 5min on 1 day and 22min on the other. He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes doing Kumon math three days. This week he continued looking at geometric sequences Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold Jacobs.

Language Arts
In language arts he reviewed words from Spelling Plus and finished pages 29-31 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. He completed week two of Daily Language Arts Review, Grade 4. He read pp.216-246 (six stories) in The Beginner’s Bible and he read Thomas Jefferson by Cheryl Harness. We continued Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Level 1 and completed two poems.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 8 in Land of Liberty and started George Washington by Cheryl Harness.

Science
In addition to T4L, in Classical Conversations we did a demonstration of the human backbone using spools, card stock, and a rubber band. Duncan also cut out leg bones for a human body that we will be assembling at the end of the semester.

Music, Drama and Art
He practiced violin and his lesson this week also went well.

Duncan has another fabulous week at his art and drama classes.

At Classical Conversations in week two of drawing we looked at mirror images in Drawing with Children. We discussed symmetry and Duncan also did p.21 in How to Teach Art to Children.

Other News
A new puppy has joined our famiy via the animal shelter and she is so cute. Her name is Hidey, because she hides under things. It also works as a girl's name. For some reason googoo-ing over her ate up a lot of time this week. :-)





Monday, September 19, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk7 - 1 day of 36wks)

Duncan is my 8yo. I know I am so late, but last week was so crazy. Here is his seventh week minus one day of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA 3 and LA extensions 3, combined- 2:11:01 (Main Idea, Theme, Subject & Predicate, Friendly Letters)
Math 4- 0:29:11 (Multiplication)
Science 3- 0:35:17 (Physical Changes, Properties of Matter)
Social Studies 2 & 3- 1:02:22 (Map Skills, Geographic Terms)

So, 4:17:51 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week. In social studies he finished level 2 and continued with level 3. I am glad I let Duncan go back and do the level 2 science and social studies. They are just videos. Many of the other things he does are ahead a level, so it was nice for him to have something light on his plate.

Classical Conversations
Our Classical Conversations group started and it was a lot of work for me, because I am tutoring Foundations and Essentials.

For Foundations Duncan listened to the week one and week two memory work for English, science, Latin, geography, and timeline from a CD that was made here locally. From the Classical Conversations online tutorial he listened to the songs for history sentences from weeks one and two.

Duncan continued studying Essentials of the English Language Grammar. He copied the 112 Different Types of Sentences Chart. We reviewed parts of speech, types of sentences, and we came up with sentences of our own modeled after the examples on the Essentials of the English Language chart. He wrote sentences and changed their purpose by changing their end marks and/ or by rearranging the words. We also discussed transitive, intransitive, linking, and helping verbs.

In Essentials IEW composition this week, Duncan completed lesson 1 in U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 1. The lesson works on using quality adjectives in a fill-in-the-blank poem.

Math
In Foerster’s Algebra this week Duncan began chapter 4. He completed sections 1-3 and started section 4. This week he only worked on Khan Academy three days. For those days he averaged 19 minutes each day. He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes doing Kumon math three days. He continued Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold Jacobs with his math tutor. This week they discussed geometric sequences. One of the days he was on Khan Academy, he chose to watch Khan’s video on geometric sequences.

Language Arts
In language arts he completed word list 63 and started list 64 from Spelling Plus and finished pages 26-28 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. He completed week one of Daily Language Arts Review, Grade 4. He read pp.190-215 (five stories) in The Beginner’s Bible and he read Meet Benjamin Franklin by Maggi Scarf. We began Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Level 1 and completed the first two stories. Duncan also finished the first chapter of Edcon Publishing’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 7- The Road to Revolution in Land of Liberty and he finished the first chapter of George Washington for Kids. I think that I am going to look on my shelf and find another book on Washington. George Washington for Kids has fabulous activities that Duncan has no desire to complete, so they are getting in the way of reading the biographical material.

Science
In addition to T4L, this week Duncan pulled out the microscope and looked at random slides. He mostly looked at amoebas and paramecia, but he also checked out the mouth parts of a mosquito. He also read Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom. In Classical Conversations we did an experiment with finger prints.

Music, Drama and Art
He practiced violin every day again this week! I am starting to feel like the mom of a violin student. His lesson this week also went well.

Duncan’s art and drama classes were fabulous as usual. We have a friend who is attending a traditional classroom school this year and one of the things she misses about homeschooling is this art teacher.

At Classical Conversations we began our six weeks of drawing by looking at circles, dots, lines, angles, and curves in Drawing with Children. We also did p.11 from How to Teach Art to Children and drew a frog from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk6, minus one day, of 36)

Duncan is my 8yo. We took off a day for Labor Day and let me just say that 4-day weeks make me feel like we just didn’t quite get going. Anyway, here is his sixth week minus one day of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA 3 and LA extensions 3, combined- 1:23:48 (Setting, Plot, Parts of Speech, Sentence Types)
Math 4- 1:21:56 (Multiplication)
Science 2- 0:31:14 (Patterns in Nature)
Social Studies 2 & 3- 0:38:46 (The World in Spatial Terms, Wants & Needs, Work in Society)

So, 3:55:45 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week. Duncan completed the level 2 science, so next week it is back to level 3. In social studies he did some level 2 and some level 3 this week and will probably do the same next week.

Classical Conversations
Our Classical Conversations group begins this next week and in preparation Duncan recited the presidents and we listened to the week one memory work for English, science, Latin, and geography from a CD that was made here locally.

Duncan continued studying Essentials of the English Language in preparation for Classical Conversations- Essentials. He copied the 112 Different Types of Sentences Chart. We reviewed parts of speech, types of sentences, and we came up with sentences of our own modeled after the examples on the Essentials of the English Language chart. We also discussed transitive, intransitive, linking, and helping verbs.

Math
In Foerster’s Algebra this week Duncan wrapped up chapter 3. He has not memorized all the information, but he can look up the axioms and whatnot and find the correct name. He does the work well and the vocabulary is coming along. Right now I am calling that good enough. I know it may bite me later, but I just never needed to know the name for each step I was doing. This week he worked an average of 13 minutes per day at Khan Academy primarily laughing his way through Sal Khan’s videos on functions. He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes doing Kumon math three days. He began Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold Jacobs. He is doing this with a math tutor. This week they did chapter 2 section 1. It was an easy fun start.

Language Arts
In language arts he worked on word list 63 from Spelling Plus and finished pages 24-25 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. This week we narrated and rewrote the paragraph about dance flies from his Key Word Outline. He added an –ly opener. He read pp.140-190 (ten stories) in The Beginner’s Bible and he finished Sign of the Beaver. He also began the first chapter of Edcon Publishing’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 6- Life in the 13 Colonies in Land of Liberty and he started reading the first chapter of George Washington for Kids. In preparation for Classical Conversations- Foundations that will be starting the week after Labor Day, he recited his presidents and listened to the history song for this upcoming Tuesday.

Science
In addition to T4L, this week Duncan read Snakes by Jeff Corwin.

Music, Drama and Art
He practiced violin daily and I feel like we should receive some sort of award! I know this sounds silly, but it never occurred to me to just leave the violin out. Guess what, if it is out, he plays it. Yeah, I feel kind of silly. His lesson this week also went well.

Duncan’s art and drama classes started back up this week. He was so happy to be back.
Art and Drama Teacher

Out of focus, but Duncan and his drama teacher

Duncan in the left background, Mei in right foreground, and a close friend of theirs with the spectacular blond braids

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk5 of 36)

Duncan is my 8yo. Here is his fifth week of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA 3 and LA extensions 3, combined- 1:25:10 (Adverbs, Prepositions, Interjections, Conjunctions, Characters, and Setting)
Math 4- 0:44:48 (Multiplication)
Science 2- 0:32:17 (Sun/ Earth/ Moon, Life Cycle, Food Chain)
Social Studies 2- 0:35:23 (Our National Identity)

So, 3:17:38 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week. I don’t want to stray too far from grade level, because I am viewing T4L as standardized test prep. However, this week I did go ahead and just let Duncan move over completely to level 4 math. For record keeping, after he takes the test for a section in level 4, he can go back and take the test for the same section in level 3. I also let him go back and do level 2 science and social studies. I had him do the level 2 social studies section titled Our National Identity, but next week he will continue with the level 3 social studies. The level 2 science is pretty much just cute videos. There are only fifteen of them and six quizzes, so I think we will finish them all before continuing with level 3 science.

Math
In Foerster’s Algebra this week Duncan wrapped up chapter 2 and completed sections 3-1 through 3-4. This week he worked an average of 27 minutes per day at Khan Academy and received his Master of Pre-algebra Badge! He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day doing Kumon math. On Thursday Duncan took the Kumon level G test and passed. WooHoo! He is officially in Kumon Math Level H- Linear Equations and Inequalities.


Language Arts
In language arts he worked on word list 62 from Spelling Plus and finished pages 19-23 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. This week we narrated and rewrote the story of The Tortoise and the Hare from his Key Word Outline and he changed the judge of the race from a fox to a deadly shark. We also did a Key Word Outline on a paragraph about dance flies. Duncan continued studying Essentials of the English Language in preparation for Classical Conversations- Essentials. He copied the 112 Different Types of Sentences Chart. We reviewed parts of speech, types of sentences, and we came up with sentences of our own modeled after the examples on the Essentials of the English Language chart. We also discussed transitive, intransitive, linking, and helping verbs. He read pp.86-139 (eleven stories) in The Beginner’s Bible. In The Sign of the Beaver he finished chapters 10-19. He also read a couple of poems from Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 5- The English Settle in North America in Land of Liberty and Colonial Crafts by Bobbie Kalman. We also watched the DVD Colonial Life: Roger Williams in Rhode Island and Colonial Life: William Penn & Pennsylvania from Schlessinger Media. (Obviously, some of his literature is also tied to his history.)

Science
In addition to T4L, this week Duncan watched The Way Things Work- Sound. (Yes, this DVD series goes along with the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay.)

Other Stuff
He practiced violin, not daily, but his lesson this week was went wonderfully. He played very well. In preparation for Classical Conversations- Foundations that will be starting the week after Labor Day, he recited his presidents.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mei, the Cuppycake

Mei, the Cuppycake, is back! She is my friend Sarah’s 11yo daughter and I am privileged to have her with me about two days each week. Mei is in the sixth grade.

Mei's Chick-Fil-A face paint from this summer.


Here is what Mei did at my house this week:

Time4Learning

LA and LA extensions, combined- 0:52:43
Math- 0:17:51
Science- 1:39:41
Social Studies- 1:36:09

So, 4:26:24 is the total time that Mei spent doing the computer portion of T4L in the two days that she was at my house this week. The level 6 T4L Science and Social Studies are quite time consuming. Mei is working through the reading and filling out fill-in-the-blank worksheets that I have created. It really is quite a bit of material to wade through. The T4L math is just supplemental to the rest of the math she is using, so the time spent on T4L math should never be particularly high.

Math

In math Mei completed Saxon 76 Lessons 10 and 12. She completed pages 10-14 in Key to Fractions Book 3 and also worked 11 minutes on day one and 11 minutes on day two at Khan Academy. She earned a proficiency star each day and a Moon Badge on the second day!

Language Arts

At my house in language arts she worked on Sequential Spelling both days. In IEW this week Mei narrated and wrote a paragraph from her Key Word Outline about vulture bees. We also did a Key Word Outline of The Fox and the Hare. Mei began studying Essentials of the English Language in preparation for Classical Conversations- Essentials. She copied the 112 Different Types of Sentences Chart. We reviewed parts of speech, types of sentences, and we came up with sentences of our own modeled after the examples on the Essentials of the English Language chart. She also read a couple of poems from Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman.

Other Stuff

In preparation for Classical Conversations- Foundations that will be starting the week after Labor Day, we headed over to youtube and watched the first three weeks of the Lake Norman timeline song with hand motions. She also recited the U.S. Presidents. I wish I could blog that we did some cool art project or something, but alas that did not happen this week. IEW and Essentials of the English Language really sucked up our time this week.

This summer we made clay critters.

Week in Review- Duncan (wk4 of 36)

Duncan is my 8yo. Here is his fourth week of third grade:

Time4Learning
On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA and LA extensions, combined- 2:22:06 (Verbs, Adjectives, Thinking Skills & Comprehension)
Math- 0:47:11 (Addition, Subtraction, and Multiples)
Science- 0:54:34 (Physical Properties, Magnetism, and Relationships between the Sun/ Earth/ Moon)
Social Studies- 0:57:47 (Inuit, Geographic Tools)

So, 5:01:38 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week.

Math
Duncan barely looked at Foerster’s Algebra this week although he did finish section 2-8. We actually put this on the backburner this week so he could spend more time on Khan Academy. This week he worked an average of 26 minutes per day at Khan Academy. Duncan finally received proficiency in Units and received his Artisan Pre-Algebraist Moon Badge! We haven’t worked much with measurement. Consequently, he had never worked with problems that say things like: An alien rocketship is traveling at a speed of 0.023 miles per second. At this speed, how many inches will it travel in 1 hour? Round to the nearest thousandth. Not having completed measurement problems previously made that units exercise a real bugger! He was very determined to watch the videos and learn how to do those problems. That silly little moon icon motivated Duncan to work harder than I could have... even bribing him with real money. I began requesting that he look at least one exercise with the orange review icon before beginning to work on exercises where he hasn't yet received proficiency. He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day doing Kumon math.

Language Arts
In language arts he worked on word list 61 from Spelling Plus and finished pages 15-18 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. This week we narrated and rewrote the paragraph from the Key Word Outline about vulture bees. We also did a Key Word Outline of The Fox and the Hare. Duncan began studying Essentials of the English Language in preparation for Classical Conversations- Essentials. He copied the 112 Different Types of Sentences Chart and we came up with sentences of our own. He read pp.39-85 (eight stories) in The Beginner’s Bible. On Wednesday he started The Sign of the Beaver and finished chapters 1-9. He also read a couple of poems from Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman.

History
In history Duncan read chapter 4- Africans in America in Land of Liberty and The New Americans by Maestro. We also watched the DVD Colonial Life: Settling the New World from Schlessinger Media. (Obviously, some of his literature is also tied to his history.)

Science
In addition to T4L, this week Duncan watched The Way Things Work- Springs (Yes, this DVD series goes along with the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay.) and Disney’s Oceans.

Other Stuff
He did practice violin more than last week, but not daily. In preparation for Classical Conversations- Foundations that will be starting the week after Labor Day, we headed over to youtube and watched the first three weeks of the Lake Norman timeline song with hand motions.


Duncan in CC the end of last year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk3 of 36); Hasta Luego to Christian

Duncan is my 8yo. Here is his third week of third grade:

On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA and LA extensions, combined- 1:28:00 (nouns, verbs)
Math- 0:31:59 (subtraction)
Science- 0:56:29 (Scientific Investigation)
Social Studies- 1:31:29 (Inuit)

So, 4:27:55 is the total time that Duncan spent doing the computer portion of T4L this week.

In Foerster’s Algebra Duncan continued with chapter two and completing section 2-6 on Monday, 2-7 on Tuesday and Wednesday, and starting 2-8 today. He also averaged about 11 minutes each day at Khan Academy and spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day doing Kumon math.

In language arts he worked on word list 60 from Spelling Plus and finished pages 10-14 in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5. This week Duncan finished nouns and began verbs on T4L. Last week we watched some IEW and did a Key Word Outline for a paragraph about booklice. This week we narrated and rewrote the paragraph from the outline. We also did a Key Word Outline of a paragraph about vulture bees. He was scheduled to read Matchlock Gun this week, but he read it last month, so this week he read a couple of Encyclopedia Brown books and pp.7-38 (the first five stories in The Beginner’s Bible).

In history Duncan read chapter 3- Europeans Settle America in Land of Liberty and Exploration and Conquest by Maestro. He also read a couple of poems from The Oxford Book of American Children's Poems.

In addition to T4L, this week Duncan watched Bill Nye- Probability and The Way Things Work- Wheels & Axels. (Yes, this DVD series goes along with the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay.) He also looked through Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Creatures of the Deep by Mike Everhart. I say he looked at it rather than read it, because it comes with little 3D glasses and that is really the fun part.

It was another slacker week in violin. In my defense, I am pretty amazed that he finished as much as he did. We were packing up my oldest for his return to college and Duncan didn’t get as much attention this week in anything.

Mr. Christian was excited to be back at college.
Christian, Grayson, Duncan in front of Christian's dorm

After a long day in the car, Grayson is getting silly



Monday, August 15, 2011

Home Education: Mules and Boulders and Self-Doubt

Duncan is so easy to homeschool. It would be really easy to take the credit and say, “Look at me. I am such a good homeschooling mom!” However, I have two older children and know that this is not the case.

My oldest hates confrontation, so he was all about the yes, ma’ams. This didn’t mean that anything that came out of Christian’s mouth correlated with what he actually completed. He is also 2E (mildly gifted, mildly dyslexic). Encoding and decoding, as it related to language, had been dealt with before I brought him home in fifth grade, but imagine my surprise and confusion when I found out that he couldn’t do math- at least not as well as I thought he could based on his grades, standardized test scores, and the little evening homework assistance that I had given him after working all day to pay for the private school.

Christian is a living-a-learning-lifestyle guy and the things he is interested in he knows about deeply. Unfortunately, his interests and the things he needed to have completed for college admission were not always the same. Only when he fully understood that he had to do something did he decide to work through the material. Trust me- he did this for himself and not because I asked him to. While I could revel in his independent reading and research, he was also very frustrating. You can lead a mule to water, but you can’t make him drink until he decides he needs the water.

My middle son, Grayson, can move so slowly you wonder if he is moving at all. As an elementary student, some days he could drag four hours of work into 12+ hours of work. He also doesn’t mind confrontation. He will look at a situation and determine how much going against what is asked will cost him. If he determines that not doing what is asked is worth the punishment, he will simply tell you that he isn’t doing it. You never have to guess or follow up behind Grayson. If he says it is done, then it is done. If he says he isn’t going to do it, go ahead and mete out the punishment, because he isn’t going to do it. Then, the next day try a different angle. Sometimes homeschooling can be like dragging a boulder through mud.

With Duncan I am finally blessed with a child who is easy to homeschool. He may not love schoolwork, but most days he will move quickly through whatever I say needs to be done. He clearly has his sassy, I-think-I-am-a-teenager moments, but, unlike Christian, he can’t keep a straight face and tell me that he has completed something that he hasn’t (although occasionally he will try.) In general, Duncan understands that the faster he completes what I say he needs to do the faster he can get to what he wants to do. Also, he enjoys having his free time without restriction, so he is rarely defiant like Grayson. My primary challenges with Duncan fall in the is-he-being-challenged, am-I-doing-enough, oh-no-am-I-rewarding-schoolwork-with-more-schoolwork, self-doubt category.

I just wanted to share that when I write about Duncan I know how fortunate I am, because I know what it is like to homeschool a mule and a boulder.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk2 of 36)

On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Science, and Social Studies. He completed at least two activities each day in T4L Math. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA and LA extensions, combined- 1:54:54 (suffixes, homophones, idioms, nouns)
Math- 0:55:32 (number theory and systems, addition)
Science- 1:39:50 (investigation)
Social Studies- 1:04:02 (Inuit)

5:34:18 may not be much time, but in our three weeks of using T4L it is the greatest amount of time that Duncan has spent doing the computer portion of this product. This week, after he finished the activities and quizzes for the number theory and systems section of grade three, he took the test over that section. When he completed the test, we discovered something fun. When you finish a section test in math, the star you click to enter that section says mastered across it. He went ahead and took the test for the level 4 number theory and systems section. Sure enough, not only did the section star have mastered written on it, but so did every activity within that section.

We added Foerster’s Algebra back into the mix. Duncan started chapter two and completed sections 2-1 through 2-5 without any difficulty. He also averaged about 18 minutes each day at Khan Academy. This week he received his Earth Badge for reaching proficiency in 40 lessons. I think he was more excited about that than any of the previous badges he has earned. One of the lessons he did was scientific notation. I am now supposing I should show him some science where it is used. I just don’t know that he will remember what it is if he doesn’t have any opportunity to use it. He did spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day doing Kumon math.

I guess I should note that, yes, Duncan burned the end of his nose. He was playing with his electric car track when I told him it was getting too hot. He asked how I knew and I told him that I could smell it. At that point he picked up a car to smell the bottom and burned his nose! All I could do was laugh at him.

In language arts we watched just a little bit of IEW’s TWSS, did a word list from Spelling Plus, 4 pages in Spectrum Phonics and Word Study Grade 5, and some grammar ditto sheets from the proper noun sections of the 2nd and 3rd grade free online Scott Foresman grammar texts. It is always bizarre to me what children trip over or forget. This week Duncan worked on nouns at T4L and acted like he had no idea when or what to capitalize, particularly in book titles and other multi-word proper nouns. I wondered if this was due to typing so much, but Word doesn’t always catch those sort of capitalization errors. (I tried several of the typical mistakes he was making.) This makes me wonder if he either just doesn’t write proper nouns frequently enough or if I always correct them without thinking about it. Anyway, it was nice to have a free resource with beginning level activities to do as a reminder.

In history Duncan read chapter 2- Europeans Explore the Americas in Land of Liberty and The Discovery of the Americas by Maestro. He also read chapters 8-26 to wrap up Pocahontas and the Strangers and read poems from The Oxford Book of American Children's Poems.

His science section in T4L this week had him looking at tables, charts, and graphs. The notebooking suggestions had him taking a poll and creating some of his own, so we did this instead of adding any additional science this week. I had planned to cover some oceanography while we covered explorerers in history. I also thought it would have been an appropriate follow up to the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, but it didn’t happen. I may see if I can work some in next week.

Violin this week was a disaster. I told the violin teacher that until the week after Labor Day our home was going to be too busy to complete much practice. Honestly, if I am short on time, violin is where I am a slacker. I really need to work on that.

This week we also went to Chik-Fil-A Family night. Mei was with us and both of them got balloon things and painted on bandanas.


Mei's kissy-face horse

Duncan's green shark

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan (wk1b of 36)

On Time4Learning Duncan completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Science, and Social Studies. He completed at least two activities each day in T4L Math. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA and LA extensions, combined- 1:45:59 (antonyms, prefixes, and punctuation)
Math- 0:39:23 (numbers)
Science- 1:07:06 (investigation)
Social Studies- 1:23:16 (finished Viking studies and began Inuit)

Another big total this week- not quite five hours.

In science we also did some of the off the computer T4L activities for science, so science ran a little longer than just the total computer time. Duncan also watched Bill Nye- Light Optics and The Way Things Work- Telecommunications (Yes, this DVD series goes along with the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay. They are not spectacular, but they are sort of cute in a corny way.) Additionally, we watched many shark episodes that aired on the Discovery Channel for Shark Week.

He also spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day working on Kumon math and spent 83 minutes on Khan Academy for an average of 16.6 minutes each day.

He read 30% of Alice in Wonderland on the Kindle and 6 chapters in Pocahontas and the Strangers.

He practiced violin and had a lesson on Thursday.

We started history this week. Duncan read chapter 1- The Earliest People of the Americas in America’s History: Land of Liberty, finished the picture book- North American Indians by Douglas Gorsline, finished at least one poem each day from The Oxford Book of American Children’s Poems, and listened to about 2 hours total of Johnny Tremain on audio.

I definitely feel safe in saying that between this week and last week we completed 5 full days. Next week I know that we will add math and spelling. We may also start listening to IEW TWSS or looking at Essential of the English Language in preparation for Classical Conversations Essentials, but this depends on how emotionally draining it is to add the math and spelling. I am so thankful that I am home educating, so my little guy can ramp up into full days instead of jumping into being in a classroom all day.


First Day of Third Grade- 08/01


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week in Review for Duncan (wk 1a of 36) and a Little News about Grayson

This is the week for my 8yo, Duncan, and a small brag for my 17yo, Grayson.

We are beginning to ramp up into fall schoolwork. Next week we will begin more materials and I hope to add the hours from this week and next week together to count as 5 full days. Our first full day is scheduled for 8/8. Then we will have a whole month to find our groove before activities begin in September. The goal is to be able to complete 90 days by Friday, December 16th and still take off Labor Day, a Wednesday- Friday in October, Halloween Day, and the entire week of Thanksgiving.

T4L Page

This week Duncan began using Time4Learning. He completed at least one activity each day in Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions, Science, and Social Studies. He completed at least two activities each day in T4L Math. Here is a breakdown of how much time (hours: minutes: seconds) he ended up spending on T4L this week:

LA and LA extensions, combined- 1:54:27
Math- 0:44:58
Science- 1:36:01
Social Studies- 1:19:05

As you can see this is a whopping total of just slightly over five and a half hours. I am viewing it as test prep for third grade standardized testing. I hope that after we start Classical Conversations this fall that there will still be enough time in the day to squeeze in T4L.

This is from the spring, but it is Duncan at our Kumon Center snarling at me to back off with the camera.

This week in math outside of Time4Learning Duncan spent between 20 and 30 minutes each day working on Kumon math. The little man also spent a whole whopping 29 minutes on Khan Academy for an average of less than 6 minutes each day. :-/


Khan Academy's Exercise Dashboard.

He read Encyclopedia Brown #3 and Landmark Books The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway. This week he began looking at Vikings in T4L, so this book seemed the obvious one to grab at the library.

He also practiced violin about 15 minutes each day and I am so proud of myself for managing to get that done.

Proud momma brag on my 17yo: Grayson finished his very first course at the community college. He took United States History 2 in the second short summer session and made an A!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Is Flying By... Can I Make It Fly Faster

Duncan is 8yo and will be beginning 3rd grade in the fall. Grayson is 17yo and will be a senior this year. Christian is 20yo, home from college and hanging out with us.

I dislike summer greatly. I dislike any temperature above the low 80s. Don't get me started on how I feel about humidity. The short response is that I dislike feeling out of breath from trying to breathe liquid air. Of course, I can't forget the joys of grass pollen. I don't sleep well and I'm grouchy. So, there!

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

No school Monday as we were celebrating July 4th. We barely made it to our local fireworks. When we arrived, there was no music! Arghh, this happened last time we went to the local fireworks and I had just forgotten! Next year I will remember to bring my own i-pod full of patriotic tunes.

This week Duncan read The Chalkbox Kid, Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. These are on the 3rd-4th grade Kumon reading lists. Our Kumon center is doing a raffle for reading program this summer and thanks to the immediacy of receiving a raffle ticket Duncan is motivated to read.

Even with taking off for several weeks, the little guy is rolling along in Kumon math. He may actually finish this level before we start back to school.

Last week was Duncan's last lesson with our violin teacher, Aaron. He moved back to his home town and will be sorely missed. Last week we also started with our new violin teacher, Jessica. We will see how it goes. Aaron will be a difficult act to follow.

Duncan also watched a couple of science videos from the library.

In the last week of June, Grayson began a 5 week summer session American History 2 class at the local community college. So, while cramming a semester into 5 weeks, he is pretty much just doing American History. I wouldn't have considered it a good idea to take a short summer session class, but my oldest had this professor and absolutely loved her. When I saw that she was the instructor, I was all for it. This week he made a 94 on his first test. Some smarty britches made a 99. The class received a 1 point curve, so his finally score was 95. He was satisfied. Monday he has a paper due and there is another test next week. Whew, those short sessions are crazy fast.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Little Tree Hugger

Mei with her monkey.

Manly Motorcycle

Duncan with his bike.

Handsome Husband

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Week in Review- Duncan

What have we done this week?

Math
The little man is wrapping up chapter 1 of Foerster’s Algebra 1. Next week I think we will review and take the test. He finished MUS Geometry lesson 1 (for which I located the DVDs hiding in my homeschool closet) and will be moving on to lesson 2 next week. He is also working through his Kumon without a bump in the road.

Language Arts
Although Duncan is still reviewing the cycle of Classical Conversations English grammar, there was no official grammar again this week. He did, however, manage to finish a few pages in Plaid Word Study D and a few lessons in Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter. Duncan is cruising along through Spelling Plus. The teaching extensions and covering every homophone presented allows us to spread some of lessons over more than one day. This week he finished the third grade level D word lists. I know that so far the lists have been easy, but we are reviewing all of the spelling guidelines and phonics as we go. Owning this knowledge is very important to me, so I do not feel like we are wasting our time by spending a few minutes each day discussing the material. Also, Duncan seems to be enjoying it!

On the other hand, I had a horrible feeling this week that I have failed the wee one by playing to his strengths and allowing him to become inexcusably lopsided in his education. Duncan strongly prefers math to reading. Like many eight-year-old boys, he prefers activities that he can complete in one sitting and he doesn’t like sitting still for long. This means chapter books that would increase his reading level or vocabulary cause such griping and moaning that they are seldom completed. While evaluating this dilemma, it suddenly occurred to me that I should have him read a classroom literature book. So, this week he began reading an old 1994 Prentice Hall Literature Silver. He read four short stories aloud to me including a science fiction story by Asimov and The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Science
We studied light, based on our Classical Conversations science memory work.

History
We studied history based on our Classical Conversations history memory work.

Other
Duncan practiced violin and went to his lesson. On Friday, he went to drama and art.

Week in Review- Mei

Mei‘s mother had a birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Math
Mei finished through lesson 96 in Saxon 65, wrapped up Math Mammoth Division 2, and almost finished Key to Fractions Book 1. We also read Life of Fred: Fractions, chapter 1. Mei’s math skills have really taken off this year… to the point where I actually heard her say that her Saxon lesson was easy! :-)

English
Mei worked on Classical Conversations English memory work, completed four pages in Megawords book 1, and read a chapter in The Story of the U.S.A. book 3. She has also been flying through Future School’s grade 5 language arts and only has six lessons left to finish the whole year. The plan is to do two each week for the next three weeks, but she is on such a roll she may finish sooner.


Our gameroom on a homeschoolin' afternoon.

Science
We studied light, based on our Classical Conversations science memory work.

History
We studied history based on our Classical Conversations history memory work.

Other
On Friday, Mei went to drama and art. She has also started piano lessons again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Classical Conversations- Pros and Cons

This semester we joined Classical Conversations. Ultimately for our family we decided that Classical Conversations would be a postive addition to our home school experience by providing a supportive home education community and by scheduling the survey topics of science and history so that I can focus on the mastery subjects of reading and math.

There are numerous reasons for and against joining Classical Conversations, but here are my top 6 reasons for and against joining a CC community.

6 Reasons to Join Classical Conversations

The Support Group- If having a group of people working on the same material helps you to stay on track, then CC may be for you. If having a group of people to support and encourage you while you all travel a very similar homeschool journey makes you feel more confident and comfortable, then CC may be for you. If you want to be able to ask questions of a veteran homeschooler who has BTDT with the exact material that you are wanting to teach, then CC may be for you. There are a number of if, then statements related to a support group that can be a real help to a homeschool family.

Schedule of Topics- If you have other things going on with older students and would like a schedule of topics for your younger just to remove some of that responsibility from plate, CC may be for you. If you are burned-out on hs and need a year to get yourself energized without losing ground academically, CC may be for you. If you have a family member with medical or other issues going on, etc and want your child to continue on a classical education path, but don't have the time to devote to planning and scheduling, then CC may be for you. If for any reason you would really like a schedule of topics to follow, then CC may be for you.

Inexpensive Tutorial- I keep hearing about the cost, but, when compared to other tutoring services like Kumon or Sylvan, a private tutor, or even the other mom taught tutorials in my area, $13 a week for Foundations is cheap- dirt cheap.

Motivational for the Child- A child can't complain that he is the only child in the world learning XYZ if every week he sees a whole group of kids learning the same material. Also, if you have a competitive child, he will really be motivated to know the material.

Presentations- Every week your child will have the opportunity to stand in front of a group and speak. This is a skill that is best learned young, so that the child doesn't develop an irrational fear of public speaking.

Classical Material for a wide range of learning styles and abilities- Unlike TWTM, CC is doable even for children with reading delays, lower IQ, and a myriad of other learning differences. Auditory learners will really enjoy all the songs and memory work chants. Kinesthetic learners will enjoy all the movement in the timeline song and the speed of the class with all the getting up and sitting down (sit and draw geography, up for science, up to front for presentation, down for snack, move around for arts). Visual learners have not only the material presented in class, but tons of printed material that they can read at home.

6 Reasons NOT to Join Classical Conversations

The Group- If having a group of people working on the same material causes you to continually compare yourself and/ or your child to other families in such a way that is detrimental to your or your child’s home education experience, then CC may not be for you.

Schedule of Topics- If you are the type of person who loves to design and schedule your own materials, then CC is going to be frustrating. At first this was one of the deal breakers for me. When CC first began in my area, I couldn’t fathom letting go of one of my favorite parts of hs in order to follow someone else’s schedule of topics. After all, couldn’t I do it better? Didn’t I have a better handle on what my child needed to learn and when? Isn’t this a huge factor in my decision to hs especially in the K-6th grade years- the same years as Foundations?

Tutorial, Cost vs Participation- Although I do not think of CC as expensive, for some people it can be a real turn-off to pay for tutoring that they (the parent) then must also attend. For me, I tend to think of CC material as being like Kumon and Suzuki violin. My little man does Kumon and violin, and I must be there with him. My involvement is crucial to the way these programs are designed. It is my role to continue with and build on what has been presented by the CC tutor, but I know that for many families the thought of needing to be at a program for which they have paid someone else to teach is a real deal breaker.

Upsetting for the Child- If you have a child who feels overwhelmed by the amount of material, the group setting, having an instructor other than you, or being in a classroom for several consecutive hours, then CC may not be the best option.

Memory Work Issues- Initially another deal breaker for me was the CC memory work. Most of my issues with the CC memory work fell into these 3 categories:
  1. Out of context- Unless they find it interesting or useful my children simply do not remember things learned out of context. They may as well memorize a list of random names from the phone book, because unless it is interesting, useful, or in context they will not remember it the day after they stop reciting it. When we started CC this semester, I knew that I was going to need to spend time at home doing further exploration of the material or resign myself to the fact that we were wasting our time.
  2. Choices of memory work- For example- Why in the world would a child need to skip count for 6 or 7 years unless they had no idea what they were saying therefore it was out of context and they didn’t remember it?!?! Also, for young children I find it more appropriate to memorize things like Mother Goose and other poetry that exposes them to a broad range of vocabulary and syntax.
  3. Accuracy of memory work- I am not a scientist or historian and looking at a few of these makes me scratch my head and feel the need to explain, alter, or add.
Classical Material- Unlike TWTM, CC is light classical. CC just doesn’t have the meat that you will find in other classical programs, particularly in 5th through 8th grade.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday with Mei

On Thursday Mei, who just turned eleven (Happy B'day, Mei!), and I discussed operation words and 2-step word problems and together we finished two exams on Future School. I covered Saxon 65 lesson 92 and a Math Mammoth Division 2 lesson on divisibility. She completed 14 pages in Key to Fractions Book 1, reduced a page of 30 fractions, completed the practice section problems and 12 of the problem set problems from Saxon, finished the Math Mammoth divisibility pages, and read Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.

We didn't sit down in one spot and do all of the math at once. It was broken up by other subjects and room changes, but I don't think that math took over an hour and a half. Of course, I don't know for sure, because I don't time it. Why would I? Math is fun! We have extra time this week, because Classical Conversations and our other activities are on spring break, so of course we used that time for extra math.

Mei began at 10 and we were through with school by 2. During those 4 hours she also did 2 pages in Megawords 1 and a spelling test, finished a lesson on suffixes through Future School, completed a Story of the USA reading comprehension lesson, reviewed 21 weeks worth of Classical Conversations memory work, chomped on a granola bar and two clementines while I talked, moved from the living room to the hearth room to the gameroom, and we hopped in the car and ran something to a friend's house.

I am always baffled when people complain about middle school math taking over an hour. I am baffled, because middle school math often/ typically takes that much time and because why would someone want to cut short such an interesting and foundational subject!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Winter Quarter- Duncan

Are we there yet? I am ready to play with new curriculum! I admit it. I have had the winter blahs this quarter and have not been updating my blog regularly. However, we have been chugging away at our studies. So, a big thanks to Beth in SW WA for typing her Winter Quarter Wrap-Up and kicking me in the pants.

Duncan is wrapping up the winter quarter of second grade. He is terribly asynchronous in his subjects. His math ability is way ahead of his language arts. I have high hopes that sometime in the next year and a half he will suddenly decide that he likes books, because my mother has reminded me that while I read early I didn’t read for pleasure until somewhere between 9 and 10.

He is also asynchronous in development. Although he is academically ahead of his age-level peers, his emotional development is right at his age level and his motor skill development (both large muscle group and fine motor skills) may actually be below his age level. So, he may figure the tip on the dinner bill, duck down because the waiter embarrasses him, and then fall out of his chair because he has no sense of balance. He went from being a tiny middle schooler, to a normal second grader, to a giant preschooler in the span of a few minutes.

The biggest change for this quarter is that we started Classical Conversations!

Math: Duncan wrapped up Key to Algebra books 1 through 3 and the geometry section of The Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry.

This week we began Foerster’s Algebra with the Math without Borders lectures. About two weeks ago Duncan pulled it off the shelf and brought it to bed. After perusing it he informed me that he already knew everything in the first three chapters. While I think that he is familiar with the material, I want him to go through the lectures and problem sets in order to become familiar with the format and to work with the more challenging problems at the end of the sets.

He really wants the Teaching Textbooks Geometry that I have borrowed from a friend, but I am leaning towards Math-U-See Geometry first. (If I can just remember where I put the stinkin’ DVD set!) Patty Paper Geometry is out of the running, because his lack of fine motor skills would make it more frustrating than educational. However for now, while we get into a flow with Foerster’s, I am having him use Math Mammoth Geometry.

Last night I pulled out Jacob’s Mathematics: A Human Endeavor. Although I know I shouldn’t plan too far ahead, I really think that he will enjoy this book. Maybe, it can be a Friday/ Fun-day book next year.

Reading: Duncan can read. He just doesn’t like to sit still, quiet, and alone. Last night he was reading Percy Jackson on his Nook, but he has started that book before and not finished it.

Around Thanksgiving my extra student began using a reading comprehension book, so in February Duncan started Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book D. I wanted to start him where he already had complete mastery of skills in order to just work on this type of answering the questions format. When he is finished with this, I plan to go directly into Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book 1.

Writing: Duncan has a fabulous Classical Conversations tutor who has scheduled topics for presentations each week. I know that some of the other tutors/ groups/ classes are not as organized about or excited over the weekly presentations, but Duncan’s classmates are fabulous with this. So, our writing and typing this quarter has been built around Duncan’s presentations. I have used IEW with my older two children and in preparation for Duncan to go into Essentials next year I have been introducing him to some of the IEW material through his presentation work.

Grammar: Grammar this quarter has been very minimal. I have been writing sentences on the white board from the beginning of Practice Island for review, but this isn’t happening regularly. Where is the embarrassed emoticon? I hope to get back on the ball spring quarter. On the other hand, Duncan wanted to go back and learn the Classical Conversations English Grammar memory work from first semester, so he has had some grammar through that.

Spelling/ Word Study/ Phonics: In February we started Spelling Plus! This is the first spelling program that Duncan has used. He is also plugging along in MCP Plaid Word Study D.

History/Geography: Duncan memorized the history sentences and geography for Classical Conversations. He also went back and memorized the first semester history sentences (but not the geography). We used our handy Kingfisher History Encyclopedia to further cover the information. (As a side note- my pretty red cover has fallen off of my old handy Kingfisher that my college age son used many moons ago and I am sad.) He has given presentations on Robert Fulton, William the Conqueror, his favorite Bible story, how to build a catapult, the Black Plague, and the Colossus computer. He memorized the Presidents song.

Science: We are using the weekly Classical Conversations science sentence and exploring it using Sciencesaurus and The Usborne IL Science Encyclopedia. He also went back and memorized the science from first semester. We covered astronomy first semester and half of the first semester of Classical Conversation's science covers astronomy, so this wasn't a big stretch. This quarter Classical Conversations did weekly science experiments from Van Cleave’s 201 Awesome Experiments. I didn’t think they were particularly awesome, but they were completed experiments that focused on the scientific method! Also, Duncan’s fabulous tutor is very enthusiastic and in part thanks to this all the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Music: I must say that music just isn’t our thing. Although Duncan likes his violin teacher, music isn’t where his heart is. Classical Conversations covers a little bit of orchestra and music history the last six weeks and so we pulled out the old Calvert music videos and are watching them again.

Drama/ Art: The third six weeks Classical Conversations covers some art history with projects. That was so quick and fun and easy! On Fridays Duncan attends a drama and art program. He loves drama. Art isn’t his favorite thing. Like music, his heart just isn’t in it except unlike music there is also a getting dirty aspect to art that is unappealing to Duncan. LOL

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday- Week in Review

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

Over on The Well Trained Mind forums there is a thread about what you are doing consistently. I thought I would do a weekly update talking about the things that Duncan and Mei are doing consistently.

The Well Trained Mind is a history/ LA focused curriculum. The Latin-Centered Curriculum is of course focused on Latin. We do math, math, and more math. Is there a curriculum that has math at its center? If so, I probably ought to check it out.

Duncan
The little man is wrapping up Key to Algebra book 3. I had pretty much planned on using Art of Problem Solving beginning in the fall… until I saw Foerster’s Algebra. Now I am the proud owner of the Prentice Hall Classics Edition of Foerster’s Algebra 1. I want to order the Math without Borders lectures to go with it. Instead of waiting until fall, when this arrives, we will go ahead and start Algebra.

Duncan still has quite a bit to go before he finishes the geometry section of The Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry, but this week I pulled out Patty Paper Geometry. I am debating whether or not to do this or MUS Geometry. I own them both and need to look through them to decide where I want to go next. Duncan doesn’t have fabulous fine motor skills and he isn’t very patient with origami, so I am leaning toward MUS.

Duncan is chugging through Kumon Math level G, but we are only doing a few sheets a day and doing multiple reps, so this level may take until next fall.

In language arts we are plugging away. Duncan is still working through MCP Plaid Phonics D. Towards the beginning of February he started Spelling Plus. I started at the beginning doing it orally just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. A couple of weeks ago he started Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book D. I wanted to start him where I felt he would already have complete mastery of skills in order to just work on this type of answering the questions format. When he is finished with this, I plan to go directly into Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book 1. He finished his beginning cursive book and I don’t really want to start a new one this year, but he is asking for handwriting. Although we are on hiatus from MCT, I am still covering a couple of sentences each week.

Mei
Mei is plugging away at Saxon 65. She has completed through lesson 78. She was working in a Kumon division workbook, but this week she began working in Math Mammoth Division 2 and completed through page 16. She also started Future School Grade 5 Mathematics back in January. She will not finish this by the end of the school year. However, through its exams it is a good testing tool to determine if a skill has been mastered or as a quick review of topics that are not covered in this level of Saxon.

Mei began doing language arts grade 5 through Future School in January. I don’t think that it is unreasonable to anticipate that she will finish the entire year before the end of May. She is reading The Story of the USA for reading comprehension and to cover some of the US history that may be included on the 5th grade standardized test that she may take. She has completed Book 2 A Young Nation Solves Its Problems and is now working in Book 3 America Becomes a Giant. I hope to be well into Book 4 Modern America before the end of the school year. Mei is also still working in Evan Moor’s Daily Handwriting Practice: Contemporary Cursive. She is on hiatus from Winston Grammar, but we are still looking at a couple of sentences each week.

Both
Both Duncan and Mei are using Classical Conversations as the spine for their history and science. This has been an easy to accomplish thing. I write the history sentence on the white board and we go through it many times while I erase sections of it until they can say it with the entire sentence erased. Then, we read about the topic in one of the many reference books that I own. We do the same thing for the science. Whenever we are in the car, we listen to the audio CD. I like taking the focus off of these subjects and placing it squarely on math and language arts. (alright, I admit it: primarily math)

The weekly presentation at Classical Conversations on Tuesdays has been great. Mei and Duncan are both talkers and a weekly presentation where everyone must listen to them is just fabulous. This past week Mei had to do a presentation on a prominent historical figure from somewhere around WW2. She did her presentation on Eleanor Roosevelt. Duncan had to do a how-to presentation. He had his class build simple catapults from Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. (We have been enjoying this book. Thank you, Karen in CO!)


Mei sending a small marshmallow into our common area.

Duncan's marshmallow flying.
All our memory work is now from Classical Conversations and this too has been fabulous. This time the fabulousness is for me, because I no longer need to figure out memory work!

On Friday they both went to their art and drama classes which they thoroughly enjoy.

Duncan went to his individual violin lesson on Wednesday and went (for the first time) to a group lesson on Friday afternoon. Monday wrapped up school year swimming for Mei.

We also do a number of things inconsistently, but I guess if I cared about those things they wouldn’t be inconsistent!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday- Week in Review

Yeah, I haven’t posted a week-in-review since before Christmas. This is partially due to the blahs that I go into this time during the school year and partially due to needing to begin the college search and application process with my second ds, Grayson. So, what have we been doing and where are we now?

I spent Christmas looking at schools/ tutorials for my youngest. I was a little panicked about Grayson and was feeling like I needed to free up some time to work with him. We ended up visiting and enrolling my youngest in Classical Conversations- Foundations. I was looking for next year, but my little man loved it. They didn't have space for my extra student, but she will now be following some of the Foundation material as well.

Anyway, back to our week. We picked up Foundations in Cycle 2 week 12. Our group meets on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoons I have my extra student Mei and review the material from that morning for her benefit. Duncan has a fabulous tutor and I like to see how she covered the material and reinforce that at home.

I have decided to introduce new Foundations material on Thursdays. I do this on Thursday, because Mei is here and I want her here on the day I introduce the new material. Yesterday, I introduced week 16.

Our director gave me the list of the Kingfisher 1999 pages that coordinate with our history statement and I cover these. I have been using the Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia to go over the science memory statement, but I think that I will use something else next year. (This is just the science encyclopedia that I had on my shelf.) Right now we are on the art history portion of the arts rotation, so we look at the artist that will be covered on Tuesday. I also go over the rest of the memory work.

Either before Mei arrives on Thursday or after she leaves I discuss with Duncan his presentation for the upcoming week. I have not been doing very structured composition lessons with Duncan, so now I am doing a lot of modeling of IEW methods to prepare for the presentations. However, as next week he is just needs to read a favorite passage from the Bible, we haven’t had to do keyword outline or anything like that.

For those who don’t know- My dh was raised Muslim. I was raised Christian. I am completely aware that CC is a Protestant organization. Anyway, Duncan is going to read excerpts from the NIV Bible’s story of Noah in Genesis. Noah happens to be one of dh’s favorite prophets and he was the one who chose this passage.

We review memory work, blob maps, and other CC stuff the rest of the week. Currently this is taking some time, because the little man wants to memorize everything he missed first semester. He is not doing the Veritas Press timeline (I don’t want to spend the money on all those cards right now.) and I see no point in going back to do the Latin as they repeat the same material second semester. Duncan would love to do this too, but there are only so many hours in the day and if he wants to do this he will need to do it independently.

He is almost caught up in everything else except geography. I can’t tolerate memorization out of context. History and geography are taking some time, because I am not giving him new memory work until he understands the material. And argh doing it this way is not ideal. I have no idea how much he will retain.

OTOH- Duncan really wants to be able to compete in the weekly reviews. There is also a quarterly jeopardy type game where our entire CC group is divided into 4 teams that compete. We watched this when we visited and Duncan thought it was fabulous.

In addition to CC Foundations we are continuing with our own math and language arts. This week Duncan completed Key to Algebra Book 2, worked in the geometry section of the Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry, and did some Kumon. Mei worked in Saxon 65. Duncan, Mei, and I are continuing to read MCT’s Sentence Island together. We will be finished soon, but I may read through it again. They were missing things that I thought they should know, so I decided to back up in both Practice Island with Duncan and Winston Grammar with Mei. Duncan is still working through Plaid Phonics C and this week Mei started ElizabethB’s phonics lessons. Duncan also practiced violin.

This is long and without exciting pictures, but I think it gets me caught up.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Shout out to Miss Mei who has pointed out that I have not really started back to blogging after Christmas break!

Here is Mei's cow from Chik-fil-a last week. This week's was so cute- a face full of hearts- but I didn't get a photo of it. :-(


OTOH- this week I did get a photo of Duncan with his face painted! Mei gets hers painted every week, but Duncan has always refused.


LOL! Here is Duncan with his moustache and goatee. I wish the photo was better, but he wouldn't stop jumping around.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Read-Aloud Thursday

This week my 8yo read me The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. This is a Caldecott Award winner and the illustrations are just fabulous. The story has a daydream quality that really ties into a child playing pretend- like when a child decides that he loves elephants and spends the afternoon pretending to be an elephant. In the book the girl loves her tribe's horses. One day when she is with the horses a storm comes up and when the horses run off in fear of the thunder she gets lost with them. In the end it is implied, though never stated, that she may have become a horse. We really enjoyed it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Read-Aloud Thursday

We read Jumanji by Chris Van Allsberg.
I must confess that (gasp) although I saw the movie I never read the book! The book is really very cute- a good read. Duncan and I really enjoyed the drawings.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Snow Fort

Mei and Duncan (well mostly Mei) used our movie theater popcorn bucket to build a snow fort last night. We needed photos, because this may be the one time in their childhoods when we have enough snow to do such a thing.
Can you see the gum in Duncan's happy mouth?

Their fort had snow bucket pyramids on 3 sides.

Mei was pretty pleased with her work.

Finished with the last bucket still in place!