Monday, August 22

Today's Table

I thought I'd do A Day in the Life based on this photo.

This is what my coffee table looked like today after our morning of school at home.  I swear that sucker was clean when we started.  However, it tells a pretty good story of what we did today.

When I came downstairs to begin with the kids I brought with me my tea (Green Tea Pomegranat), the book I'm reading, and the container of blueberries.   After I read Blueberries for Sal to S,  he had to estimate how many berries would fit inside the tablespoon you see there mixed in with the markers.  Then we estimated how many blueberries long a marker was, and counted how many would go around the perimeter of Sal.  Then we tested out how many we could balance on that wine cork -- he could do three. After that, he munched on the berries while he ripped and cut out his own construction paper rendition of Blueberry Hill complete with a Momma bear.  I also gave him four pictures from the story and had him sequence them and color them in for fun.  These last two ideas just came out of my head as we were going along.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic showed up next.  We're doing this fun read aloud to start the year and B is making the cardstock gameboard to go with the book (sneaking in some writing there).  The idea comes from Games With Books which you can see underneath the game board.  We've used Peggy Kaye's books over and over and over again.  I love her ideas.  (That's where some activities for Blueberries for Sal came from too.)

There's a Math Mosaics book there that got forgotten today because the game board took longer than we expected, but that's okay. While B was working on the game, S and I were on the floor with the Clifford math magnets .  He had fun with those.

On my clipboard are the pages of the Math placement test that B completed today.  Because I'm switching curriculum, I'm not sure if I should get him 3rd grade math or 4th grade.  He's good at math, but after this placement test I think he may need a pretty good 3rd grade refresher before we move on.  I knew I should have been doing math with him all summer. Underneath those papers is the Kindergarten readiness test I downloaded and completed with S today.  It just told me what skills to focus on and what he already knows. I can't remember where I found it, or I'd link to it.

Let's see, what else is there?  Oh, the stack of alphabet cards (the S is there on top of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle) were used when I found out that my Kindergartener really isn't sure what his last name is.  He does know it, he just doesn't know the first/last designation.  So we worked on spelling it out today and getting used to what it looks like.  We spelled it in capital letters but on the flip side are those very confusing lower case letters, so we spent some time on those.

On the floor up in the corner of the photo is the file folder game I had prepped for S last year.  But I pulled it out today just for fun.  I think he's beyond it now so it's time to make some more.  (Love that website!).  While he did that, B and I worked through You're Smarter Than You Think: A Kid's Guide to Multiple Intelligences  He took the quizzes for the first three intelligences and we settled on Picture Smart for him and found out what that looks like.  Tomorrow we'll read through some of the others and see if he discovers a couple more that fit him.  We're spending our first days on learning styles/ modalities/intelligences, et al. because I want my dyslexic son to know how he's smart and that "smart" looks different for everyone.

Here's how funny God is:
My child is an auditory/kinesthetic learner; I'm a visual learner.
My child is a concrete random processor;  I'm an abstract sequential processor.
My child is picture smart; I am word smart.
We are complete opposites.

Finally, there on the table intertwined among the colored pencils and markers is a homemade Indiana Jones whip.  Random.  But that's so commonplace.  At the end of every day there's several odd artifacts that have made their way into our learning space.  It's humorous.  And I love it.

The rest of our day consisted of lunch, grocery shopping, cleaning the fridge, LEGO building, and picking up J from school.  I dropped J at Taekwon Do, went to the gym, came home to the dinner dh had prepared and then had coffee tonight with a super fun new friend that I think I'll get the honor of spending more time with in the coming months.

Today was a really good day.
And, yes. The table is still a mess.

Friday, August 19

#300 and a Blog Hop

This is my 300th post. It's fitting that it's the first post of our 10th school year of schooling at home. Lots of round numbers there.

J:  My dramatic one. 

Here are our first day of school photos:

On Tuesday, my 12 yo began 8th grade at the charter school he attended last year. I had much less anxiety this year. I didn't feel like I was "sending him to the wolves" like I feared his first year. (You can read my thoughts about his first year in a brick and mortar school here.)  We both knew what to expect (same teachers for the same subjects) so it was easier.  I spent the night before reading to him selections from The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School because that's, truthfully, his demographic.  He may change the world one day, but he won't change middle school.

B: finally got that new watch he's been wanting.
S: my final Kindergartener!

My other two boys began school at home yesterday.  They were up before 7 waiting for the backpack fairy.   We got started at 8:45 and we were done at 12:00 on the dot.  How surprising and wonderful.  It'll likely never happen again.  Case in point:  it's now Day Two and at 9:00 they are both still sleeping.

We are doing a soft start for a few days.  Just getting in the habit again, playing learning games, doing some assessments to see where my 9yo should start in Math and Spelling, playing with letters with my Kindergartener and reading aloud.  After their grandma visits next week, we'll get going with our full unit study.

It's now 9:27 and I hear the other four feet in the house so I think we're ready to see what the day will hold.

Thursday, August 4

Blog Hop & Mixing the Old and the New

The Weaver Curriculum, Volume 2 (Weaver Curriculum II)
I'm planning to start my 10th year homeschooling in a couple of weeks. We have always used the Weaver unit study curriculum from Alpha Omega.  I love that it gives me age appropriate learning standards from K - 6th grade so I'm cycling back through it again without having to repurchase it.  I've actually unglued myself from its directives over the years and just used it as a skeleton to help me know where to go next, but it's still a solid, thorough Bible-based curriculum that's great for you if you don't need a scripted curriculum. (It requires some prep.) I was going to set it aside this year because it's my 9th year using it, but in the end I decided that it was just too valuable for my kids and I didn't want to have to learn something new.

Because EVERYTHING else is new.

Here is what we are adding this year for my fourth grader:

Spelling Power, Fourth Edition  Angling for Words : Decoding and Spelling Practice (Study Book)    Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)  

I have just a couple weeks to figure everything out.  There's a huge manual for Spelling Power that takes about 12 hours to read.  Angling for Words was recommended for my dyslexic child so I have to read through that teacher's manual too.  I haven't even ordered our full math curriculum yet and there are other manuals for Right Start to read as well.

The YWAM biography will be a nice break mid year.  We have used their unit studies before so it's familiar to me.  DH and I are hoping to take a trip to India in the spring, so we'll make it a unit study.

I still haven't quite nailed down what my kindergartener's directives will be this year.  Here's a few resouces I'm going to work with though:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons  Games With Books: Twenty-eight of the Best Children's books and How to Use Them to Help Your Child Learn-From Preschool to Third Grade  The Little Hands Nature Book: Earth, Sky, Critters & More (Williamson Little Hands Book)  Making Math Meaningful (Level K - Parent Guide)

I've already taught two children to read and I've never even looked at Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons until now.  I have borrowed this from the library to look it over.  It might be a good fit for S.  I've used Games with Books for years for all my young kids and we're at least going to start the year with some of these activities.  The Nature Book just inspires me to get outside with my child and make things with our hands.  Finally, while I used Making Math Meaningful all the way through with my oldest son, I never did the Kindergarten level which is scripted and has very little writing work.  Perfect.  Other than that, he'll be doing the age appropriate learning activities along with his older brother out of Weaver.  We start with the themes of Royalty and Respect.

So, if you need me I'll be buried under all my instruction manuals.

Not Back to School Blog Hop