Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to School

We started back to school this week and so I thought it would be a good time to ressurect the blog. This year Princess K is in 4th Grade, Little Dora is in Kindergarten, and Bubba is still terrorizing the school supplies. I have spent the last month trying to get things together, copies made, and more books ordered. My choice of curriculum really hasn't changed, we are adding in more library read alouds and readers, and projects from Story of the World vol 2 . That along with Mystery of History 2 and our library system are where I got book lists for our library read aloud additions. We are switching things up a bit with our history though. I decided to do history more in units rather than choronologically. I find that the skipping around confuses Princess K and she doesn't keep interest. I am also correlating Geography studies with what history we are on. It took more work in planning as I had to rework our Sonlight Manual, but I think it will be well worth it.

This week we are exploring New Zealand and Australia. I thought it would be appropriate since we were there, and Princess K really enjoys learning about the land down under. History is mainly about the Maori and New Zealand during the middle ages, but Geography covers both countries. Here are some of the things we are including in our week (which is how long we are on our journey).

New Zealand/Australia
SOTW Ch 10
MOH (Mystery of History) Lesson 44
Maori Coloring page (SOTW Activity guide)
Australia Map Exercise (SOTW Activity guide)
Make Moth Mix (SOTW Activity guide)
Take Journey of Maori (SOTW Activity guide)
Extra books:
1000 Years ago on Planet Earth
The Legend of Rosy Dock
The Pumpkin Runner
Dingoes at Dinnertime
Geography Songs: New Zealand and Australia with accompanying coloring pages.

Since we are in our first week "back to school" we are going a bit light. Really we are only doing: Bible, Math, History, Geography, Spanish, and Memory Work review. Next week we will add Spelling after we finish the placement tests, Latin, Vocabulary, and Handwriting. Then after that it is Art and Grammar. I have gone ahead and scheduled out assignments through the end of November in Homeschool Tracker. In September and October, the history units take about a month... then some 1 week units start up in November. Here is our planned out schedule.

August: New Zealand?Australia & Kingdom of the Franks
September: Vikings
October: Knights and Castles
November: Mongols, 100 yrs war and the Plague, & the Russians and the Ottoman Empire.

I really hope this will work. I am not really a unit study kind of person, but this seems to be a natural flow for Princess K in regards to History and Science. We are still doing a timeline. I have decided to just print it out and put it in a notebook. As we go through the unit, she will color and place the figures on her timeline. Since Bubba kept ripping the timeline figures off the paper when I hung the timeline on the wall, we had to change our strategy.

As with anything in Homeschooling, I will probably have to adjust things. I have learned that homeschooling is not something that remains static. It must be flexible with the changes of the child.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Due to our adventures in Australia... I will be taking a short break from blogging. I will pick it back up this summer as I plan for the next school year.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thinking Out Loud : Love in our Homeschool

My yearly planning treck has taken me to reconsidering our Language Arts curriculum. Someone on the Sonlight forums told me about the Bravewriter program. But I don't want to go into detail about that so much in this post. I am still working things out and wrapping my head around the ideas presented in the program. What I did want to think out loud about is this post from the author/creator of the Bravewriter program, Julie Bogart. This post has sent my mind on a journey thinking about what do I really want our homeschool to look like. What does the Lord want our homeschool to look like. When Jesus taught, the basis of His teachings was love.

The Greatest Commandment

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:34-40

So what am I doing to show this foundational teaching to my children. Am I making them "buck up" for the sake of doing work and checking off boxes. Do I take time out to hear Princess K when she says something is too hard, or gives me an attitude because she doesn't like a particular assignment. My love and wish for homeschooling was that the children would grow up loving and knowing how to learn. I want them to "experience" learning and not just keep information in their minds till the test comes around. I fully believe that we have the curricula that could foster such an environment, but am I using it that way. I don't believe entirely. Am I approaching school like a dictator or a mentor... I would like to say mentor. I do need to work on fostering an environment of less box checking and more understanding and compassion. I didn't grow up with a lot of compassion in my home, but I want to change that for my children. I believe great progress has been made in this arena, however this post by Julie Bogart has me thinking it is time for me to take it to the next level. If love is so important to our Lord and King then it should be the foremost item of our homeschooling day.