Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homeschool Curriculum 2014-2105: Second and Fourth Grade

On to our second year of homeschooling!  It was fun to plan out this year.  Well, stressful and hectic trying to decide what to do at first.  But once we got it narrowed down and decided, it was a big relief.  Then I had fun planning.  Hopefully it will be a fun year.




Our main curriculum choice was to use My Father's World Countries and Cultures.  It's a big expense, but after looking at the rotation of it and receiving our tax refund, we went for it.  It just fits in perfectly with what we wanted to do.  The kids wanted to study countries this year and the curriculum for the cycle in My Father's World starts with countries and cultures.  The 5-year cycle works perfectly with Scooter.  We'll be able to finish it by the time he's done with middle school.  We're hoping to homeschool through at least middle school, but we're taking it year by year.


Let's break down what the kids are doing:

Scooter - Fourth Grade

Bible - My Father's World
Handwriting - A Reason for Handwriting: Cursive C
Spelling - K12 Reader Fourth Grade
English (Grammar and Writing) - Bob Jones English 4
Math - Horizons Math 3 & 4
Geography - My Father's World
Science - My Father's World, The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series DVDs (I made up worksheets for them), Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series DVDs
Music - My Father's World included Wee Sing Around the World Music CD
Art - My Father's World included Global Art book
PE - our usual activites (biking, hiking, running, scootering, snowboarding, tennis, etc)
Extras - Once a week guitar lesson


Chewy - Second Grade

Bible - My Father's World
Handwriting -  A Reason for Handwriting: Cursive C
Spelling - K12 Reader Second and Third Grade
English (Grammar and Writing) - Bob Jones English 4 (not a typo, she's doing the same as Scooter)
Math - Horizons Math 2 & 3
Geography - My Father's World
Science - My Father's World, The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series DVDs (I made up worksheets for them), Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series DVDs
Music - My Father's World included Wee Sing Around the World Music CD
Art - My Father's World included Global Art book
PE  - our usual activites (biking, hiking, running, scootering, snowboarding, tennis, etc), plus figure skating
Extras - Figure skating lessons once or twice a week


That's pretty much it.  We'll have some other things added on.  Writing penpals, finishing our fairy tale, and I've added some nanoblock architecture sites to go with the countries we'll be studying.  Nanoblocks are pretty cool.  Have you tried them?  Super tiny, but fun.  I watch Amazon for good deals on them.  Maybe I'll be able to add some more as I find deals.  You can click on the photo and it will take you to the product on Amazon (affiliate links).  We're looking forward to doing these ones that I have already ordered:


Real quick, here's our school room this year.  It's a little more cluttered than last year.  We've added a bench with a cushion and bins under that.  We put in 2 shelves and a white board calendar with some corkboard.  I hung up 2 used disc brakes from a bike that we use with magnets to hang up art work and such.  We seem to keep adding things and the bookshelves have quickly run out of room!  We'll have to find room for our nanoblock models.



Thanks for peeking in.  What's your school year looking like?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homeschool Recap 2013-2014

We started school last week and I never recapped what we did last year.  What did we do last year?


I want to write all this down for my benefit, so it's somewhere.  Because obviously, it's going to get lost in my head. 


So I'll just copy and paste what we started with and add on my late night comments and absurdness.  I mean, changes that we made throughout the year. 


Copy, paste. Copy, paste.  Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v.  Gotta love it.  Dang, how old is my header?  Blog needs some serious love.  But it ain't gonna get it.  Sorry to say, the photography blog brings in the dough.  This one doesn't.  Dough = $10 a month.  Enough to pay for the hosting and such.  Yah, I'm rolling in it. 


Seriously, I'm getting off track tonight writing this.


2013-2014 School Year Recap.  You can go to this post to get links to the items and see our curriculum from last year.  I'm just going to tell about it here.


Chewy was in first grade.
Scooter was in second grade.




CHEWY RECAP:
Math - Horizons 1 & 2, 4 days a week.  So, we did math 5 days a week.  Chewy got into the second grade book.  She liked it, I liked it, it all was good.
Spelling - K12Reader First and Second Grade, 4-5 days a week.  I liked it.  Chewy did well with it.
Language Arts (Vocabulary & Grammar) - K12Reader worksheets,
Curriculum Corner Worksheets, English For Everyone worksheets, and Mommy selected items. 90 lessons.  2-3 days a week.  Um, it was a lot of work to prepare.  But it went over well and was fun.
Language Arts (Reading & Writing) -
K12Reader worksheets, Curriculum Corner Worksheets, English For Everyone worksheets, worksheets from a Treasures book, and Mommy selected items. 90 lessons.  2-3 days a week.  Again, lots of work to prepare, but fun.  We still need to finish illustrating our original fairy tale.  Forgot about that.
Writing - Writing lessons with Language Arts (see above).  Journals.  Letter Writing. Prompts.  And bunches of other things as needed.  Every Single Day.  The kids especially loved squiggle stories.
Handwriting -
A Reason for Handwriting A, 4-5 days a week.  It went over well, it was short and sweet.  On to cursive this year.
US Geography -
Confessions of a Homeschooler's US Geography (we won't be doing the history part), 4-5 days a week.  Kids loved it!  So much fun!
Art - Mommy directed and related to other curriculum, holidays, or family events.  1 day a week.  I think we did stuff and had fun.
Artist study -
Confessions of a Homeschooler's Famous Artists (I'm doing an abbreviated version for half a year), 1 day a week.  The kids loved this.  They learned quite a bit, so did I.
Composer study - Confessions of a Homeschooler's Famous Composers (I'm doing an abbreviated version for a half of a year, after the artist study), 1 day a week.  We didn't finish this, but enjoyed what we did with it.  I selected some of the composers and we left out others (because I couldn't get the book from the library).
Science - My own curriculum.  I'm trying to write up an introductory science curriculum with 34 lessons.  It will have1 introductory lesson, 11 life science lessons, 11 earth/astronomy lessons, and 11 physical lessons that cover simple and easy things for kids.  We'll do some science reading, light activities, and worksheets about 2-4 days a week and then one lab/hands-on lesson once a week.  This curriculum is taking me forever to prepare, but it's fun. I may post my science curriculum for others to use, once we try it out.  Anyone interested?  Good grief.  I was gung ho in the beginning of the year and posted lesson plans and stuff.  I fizzled out towards the end of the year.  It was tough just keeping up and staying ahead.  So I never finished writing up the lessons to post.  You'll have to convince me to do that if you want them.  Not even sure if I can remember where I left off.
Music - We'll see where we can fit some basic piano or guitar playing in.  Daddy might be in charge of guitar!  Chewy started guitar lessons at a local shop.  She went for 7 months and then stopped to start figure skating.  We don't want the kids to be in too many activities.
PE - We're an active family, so this won't be difficult.  The kids will bike while I run.  We'll take family bike rides and hikes.  The kids and I will get out for kickball, baseball, trampoline jumping, basketball, and other activities in the yard.  We'll have trips to the pool and skiing/snowboarding in the winter.  Not a problem.  We even let the kids sign up for soccer in the spring.  I was an assistant coach and had zero experience with soccer.  I am not a team sport person, just sayin'.  But I tried to be really encouraging with the kids.  They did improve a lot, but they're much better at mountain biking.  I'm sorry if you're a soccer person, I just can't get into it.  But it's great that it's available for so many kids to play.
Spanish - The kids want to learn spanish, but we're not doing any curriculum this year.  I don't want to get in over my head.  We'll just do some basic vocabulary as we go along throughout the year.  That fizzled out too.  I think we may wait a year or two and then get into a better program that I don't have to teach.


SCOOTER RECAP (mostly the same, except for math and music)
Math - Teaching Textbooks 3, 4 days a week.  XtraMath as needed for practice (free).  Soooo...this was the biggest change.  I had Scooter doing math 5 days a week.  About a third of the way through this program, he decided he'd rather learn the lessons from me and not from the computer.  Hold that....the whole reason we got Teaching Textbooks was because he didn't like to learn from me.  So I did math with the boy.  I came to really dislike Teaching Textbooks for my boy.  Teaching Textbooks is multiple choice and multiple choice is not a good choice for a third grade boy learning math and trying to find the easy way to get the answer.  He would guess.  So when he finished Teaching Textbooks (it didn't take the whole year), I started him on Horizons 3.  We're currently finishing up Horizons 3 in fourth grade right now and he'll get into Horizons 4 sometime this year.  I find Horizons to be more advanced than Teaching Textbooks (comparing 3 vs. 3).  Plus, no multiple choice.  My boy has to work out the answer.  He gripes and complains, but he does it. 
Spelling - K12Reader Third Grade, 4-5 days a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Language Arts (Vocabulary & Grammar) - K12Reader worksheets, Curriculum Corner Worksheets, English For Everyone worksheets, and Mommy selected items. 90 lessons.  2-3 days a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Language Arts (Reading & Writing) - K12Reader worksheets, Curriculum Corner Worksheets, English For Everyone worksheets, worksheets from a Treasures books, and Mommy selected items. 90 lessons.  2-3 days a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Writing - Writing lessons with Language Arts (see above).  Journals.  Letter Writing. Prompts.  And bunches of other things as needed.  Every Single Day.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Handwriting -  A Reason For Handwriting B & C, 4-5 days a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
US Geography - Confessions of a Homeschooler's US Geography (we won't be doing the history part), 4-5 days a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Art - Mommy directed and related to other curriculum, holidays, or family events.  1 day a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Artist study - Confessions of a Homeschooler's Famous Artists (I'm doing an abbreviated version for half a year), 1 day a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Composer study - Confessions of a Homeschooler's Famous Composers (I'm doing
an abbreviated version for a half of a year, after the artist study), 1 day a week.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Science - My own curriculum.  I'm trying to write up an introductory science curriculum with 34 lessons.  It will have 1 introductory lesson, 11 life science lessons, 11 earth/astronomy lessons, and 11 physical lessons that cover simple and easy things for kids.  We'll do some science reading, light activities, and worksheets about 2-4 days a week and then one lab/hands-on lesson once a week.  This curriculum is taking me forever to prepare, but it's fun.  See Chewy's stuff above.
Music - We'll see where we can fit some basic piano or guitar playing in.  Daddy might be in charge of guitar!  Scooter also started guitar in January 2014 and is continuing it. He loves the guitar and picked it up quite quickly. He loves to practice, so we never have to tell him or ask him to practice.  He just does it.  Actually, practicing guitar is what he'd rather do than school.  He now has an electric guitar thanks to a generous uncle and aunt, so he's practicing even more.  The kid can memorize songs like you wouldn't believe.  I play along with him sometimes and I can't memorize the songs as quickly as he can.  Yes, I'm learning some guitar too, on my own.
PE - We're an active family, so this won't be difficult.  The kids will bike while I run.  We'll take family bike rides and hikes.  The kids and I will get out for kickball, baseball, trampoline jumping, basketball, and other activities in the yard.  We'll have trips to the pool and skiing/snowboarding in the winter.   See Chewy's stuff above.
Spanish - The kids want to learn spanish, but we're not doing any curriculum this year.  I don't want to get in over my head.  We'll just do some basic vocabulary as we go along throughout the year.  See Chewy's stuff above.


Whew.  Done.  I think.  Now I've just got to get another post ready with the curriculum we're using this year. Plus I'd like to recap our first week of school, before we finish the second week.  Maybe I'll just have to recap 2 weeks at a time.  I plan our schedule out 2 weeks at a time, so I guess it would make sense to recap them like that.  Done.  That's what I'm going to do.  Hopefully.  Don't count on it.  I seem to get busy with who knows what.  And this post doesn't have many photos.  I'm tired and it's time for me to go to bed and get ready for another fun-filled day of homeschooling.  What's on your agenda?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Vacation 2014 Recap

So I've been neglecting this blog this summer. Since today is the first day of school, I thought I should catch up on some of our summer happenings.  It went fast.  We had some vacations and lots of fun.  I don't know where time went.  Biker Boy was sick practically the whole month of July, so that was a bummer and cut down on some of the stuff we usually do.  I tried to have "Fun With Mama Day" with the kids once a week.  Sometimes I would surprise them with things and other times they would get to pick. 


I thought I would quickly post some photos of our trips, with captions on some of them.  Hopefully I'll catch up on homeschool stuff soon.  I've been busier than normal with photography, so that blog takes preference.  (Plus it makes me a little money to cover some expenses, so that's a bonus!  I may have to raise my rates for sessions, so I get a little less business!  Kidding...kinda.). 


First was a trip to Florida to visit family.  That was a real highlight of the summer.  The kids loved getting to spend time with their little cousin!  And we're anxiously awaiting some new ones! 



That bird seriously loves kids.  It will sing to them and fly on their heads.  It doesn't do that with adults.

The kids got lots of pool time!



We even got a trip to the ocean!  It was wonderful!






The beach was full of shells!


Someone was about to lose her first top tooth!  She's now sporting a big gap where two top teeth are missing.  That is going to make for some adorable school pics!

Cupcake baking with Grandma!


Next was a camping trip.  Biker Boy was sick before this and had signed up to do an endurance mountain bike ride.  Well, he thought he was getting better.  He wasn't.  He cut his ride short and we cut our camping trip short.  Poor guy.  Luckily, he seems to be getting back to himself now.  He did an endurance ride near us (the shortest one he could) and did just fine.  Plus, he's keeping up with me running again!  Here's highlights of our Southern Colorado camping trip. If you look at my photography blog, you may have already seen these ones.  So I'm not going to comment on them.  Saves me time!





I love this one!












With Biker Boy feeling better, we finally got in a camping trip.  We hit a state park with a lake.  It was super low and there were fish hooks everywhere, but it was fun.  We did some biking and hiking.  After 2 nights we moved on to a place north of Pagosa Springs, CO.  It was so beautiful!  There were wild flowers everywhere and we had a camping spot on the creek all to ourselves.  We mountain biked and hiked.  On our last day we took the kids to the hot springs for a treat!  We dipped in the hot pools and swam in the big pool.




Full moon, almost!


If the water level was higher, we would have had a campsite on the lake!

The water should have been closer to these pillars.  This is from our campsite.


A vacation with water is the best!



Suspension bridge on our hike!

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Creek by our second campsite.




Epic ride!  The longest one for the kids and my longest one in awhile, offroad!  We did 20 miles!  It was suppose to be 15, but somehow we  messed up.







I thought it was cute how he would help her across the deeper areas and the areas with more current.  So sweet.


It rained a wee bit on our way to the falls, but was sunny once we got there.  We only added an extra quarter mile on to our hike with walking in circles looking for the falls.



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Our third campsite of the trip.  Right on the river.

This fire made up for all the ones we tried to start with wet wood!

 An extra bonus this summer was finding some caterpillars on our dill plants in the garden.  We collected the caterpillars and put them in our butterfly keeper from school last year.  Those things were tiny to start with, but ate a ton and grew huge!  I ended up having to buy parsley from the store to keep them fed!  We did our research and discovered we had Swallowtails and they'll eat dill and parsley.  We raised about 16 caterpillars.  About 12 went into a chrysallis.  When we got home from our trip, we had 7 butterflies!  We released them into our butterfly/hummingbird garden and left the butterfly keeper outside (and unzipped) so that the rest could fly free. 











Today is the first day of school for us.  I'm sure I'll have photos later.  Plus updates on what we're doing for my own benefit of keeping track of stuff.  Hope you all had a fun summer! 
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