Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the New Schedule

Yes, I know. I’m sure you are so sick and tired of hearing about the new stinking schedule.

I apologize.

I’m just so dang excited!

OK, enough about the schedule itself.

We continued multiplication in Math U See.  In addition to the worksheets in the workbook, Babydoll also had game time at Multiplication.com.  She really loves this site.

Babydoll began reading Pippi Longstocking and absolutely loves it.  We’ve had a tiny struggle with writing proper answers to the questions, but I’ve now given her the option of typing it to make it more fun.  She knows the material, but it’s like yanking teeth to get her to write out three substantial properly formatted sentences.  Maybe it’s the age; maybe I’m expecting too much.  Dunno.

In grammar we’ve been working on personal pronouns.  Yep, that’s about all there is to say about that.

We continued our study of medieval China this week in history.  Learning about the Song dynasty and their various inventions was particularly interesting.

In spelling we continued through the various steps of Level I in All About Spelling.  Although the words are so basic {in, an, big}, the actual spelling rules and phonograms are things that were missed before, so Babydoll is really benefiting.

Babydoll also continued working on handwriting in her Handwriting Without Tears workbook.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we didn’t accomplish a great deal this week, but we got it all done and we got used to our new schedule.  Next week I’m adding a bit more to the schedule and will be working on utilizing the workboxes now that we’re not in a “Crap, we need to work on school-go grab the Language Skills book!” type of flow.

How was your week?  Be sure to check out other weekly wrap-ups at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal – 10

In My Life This Week…

I had a stupendous week.  We worked with our new schedule, went to soccer practice, and spent time together as a family.  Super awesome.

In Our Homeschool This Week…

While I don’t think we necessarily accomplished a whole lot, we got everything done that I had scheduled.  Do you know what that felt like?  Uber amazingness.  That’s what it felt like.  I don’t know that we’ve ever done everything on the lesson plan for a full week.

Granted, this was a relatively light week, but still…

Places We’re Going and People We’re Seeing…

We had a short park play date this week.  Babydoll had quite a bit of soccer practice as well.  She also had a game today.

Next week we’re going to the library, a dairy farm, and to a friend’s house for lunch.

My favorite thing this week was…

As silly as it may sound, I absolutely positively loved using our new schedule.  Not one single day did I feel stressed out that we needed to be working on school.  We worked out butts off when Vince was at work, and when he was home, we didn’t.

Homeschool Questions/Thoughts I Have…

We haven’t really concentrated on a foreign language thusfar, other than getting Babydoll on the waiting list for a Chinese school next year.  She was learning Chinese at her school in WA, and loved it.

That, however, is something I’m not really counting on as it’s really popular, and I don’t know that I want to spend my Saturday in B’ham.

Do any of you use {or know someone who uses} Rosetta Stone’s homeschool language programs?  I know Rosetta Stone is supposed to be super, and they allow you to make five payments on your program, but I have yet to know anyone {you know, “know”] that has used it.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Babydoll posted this on her blog a while ago; I love it.


K12 Overview

To kick off my little series on our curriculum choices for next school year, I decided I’d do an overview of K12.  I think it’s a great choice for many homeschoolers and can be incorporated with other curriculum to create a very well-rounded education.

What is K12?

K12 is a curriculum company that provides a fully accredited curriculum for grades K-12.  K-8 can be done as an independent, through at virtual academy (VA), or through the International Academy (IA), while high school is done exclusively through the IA.  I won’t touch on the academies here, since I do not participate and don’t have extensive knowledge about these options.  If you are interested, you can find information about the VA option here and the IA option here.

How to Use K12 to Homeschool

As a K12 independent, you essentially purchase the curriculum items from K12 {books, graduated cylinders, grass seeds, workbooks, rocks, etc.} and then pay a monthly fee {for one year} for access to the Online Learning System {OLS}.  You can purchase the entire K12 curriculum, which includes math, language skills {grammar, usage, mechanics; literature; spelling; vocabulary}, science, art, history, and music; or you can purchase only those subjects that you would like to use.  Pricing information can be found here.

The page specifically for homeschoolers on K12’s site is located here.  In a nutshell, K12 provides online and offline lessons, teaching guides, assessments, and planning and progress tools.

How Does K12 Work?

This is the K12 OLS home screen.  This screen lists courses begin taken, special announcements, and has shortcuts to various planning tools.
From here, you can choose to view all lessons scheduled for the day or week,
view each subject’s unit lessons,
check the student’s progress,
and record attendance.
You also have the option of setting up your schedule to include holidays and time off from school.

As you can see, there are a multitude of scheduling and planning options in the OLS.  I don’t make full use of them right now.  Since we switched up a good bit of our curriculum mid-year, I kind of just stopped using the scheduling, attendance, and progress tools.  I simply go to the lesson I need and we complete it.  It’s nice to know it’s all there if I wanted it though.

At the beginning of each unit, the unit objectives are displayed.
You can also view the lesson objectives
and the lesson materials.

What Do We Think?

K12 is definitely a lot to take in at one time, and it doesn’t stop at the curriculum choice phase. K12 is packed full of teaching materials. Some people view this as a boon to their homeschooling. I know as a perfectionist I struggled with the need to complete every last lesson for at least a year. There are so many, however, that it’s just not possible. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to pick and choose what you need.

Babydoll and I enjoy the variety of activities in most K12 courses.  We did not enjoy math, much of the language skills lessons, or music.  These seemed much drier than the rest of the courses, full of mainly worksheet type activites.  Babydoll loves worksheets, but these were so basic and boring that she totally lost interest.  This is in stark contrast to history and science, where they are rich with multimedia content.

We used K12 for all subjects our first year of homeschooling.  I was in a rush to move across country and had no idea other curriculum choices existed.  Given this fact, it was a great choice for us at the time.  I know of others who have various family circumstances that make an all-in-one curriculum a good choice for them.  The fact that you can purchase only the subjects you like through K12 is a great plus in my opinion.  We love their history and science, and will continue to use them for these subjects.

In addition to great content, K12 does offer quite a bit of support in the form of blogs, an online homeschool community, online training seminars, seasonal activities, and much more.

You really need a few hours to sit down and evaluate K12 to see if it would be a good choice for your family.  I’d be happy to answer any questions I can; this is our second year with the company.  You can also register to receive a two week log-in account to preview the format for yourself.

Stay tuned as I break down several of the individual subjects in greater detail so you can get a feel for how each subject is presented; many are vastly different from the others.

Have any of you had experience with K12?  Do you know others who use it?

Disclaimer:  The above statements are my own and not those of K12, Inc.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  We use K12 in our homeschool and I wanted to let others know how it works and what we think about the program.

Photo credit:  Images are from http://www.k12.com/.


Our 2011-12 4th Grade Curriculum

Quick note:  Yesterday I outlined my current attempt at lesson planning.  I’m satisfied with it so far {then again, I’ve only been using it a few days}, and think I’ve devised a way to deal with any lessons that don’t get completed the day they’re “supposed” to.  However, you never really know until that problem arises.  At any rate, I recently read this post at Learning How Much I Don’t Know about the way Shonya {another “frustrated perfectionist”} is now doing her lesson planning.  It addresses this very common issue in homeschooling.  I like the idea, but I prefer my stuff on the computer.  If I find my way isn’t working {which is quite possible}, I might look at devising a way to use Shonya’s idea on the computer.  Anyway, you should go read it; it’s super awesome!

That wasn’t really quick…  Well, on to the main event!

It’s that time of year when many of us start researching curriculum for the coming year. Even if you’re sticking with what you’ve been using, there’s still some level of planning that goes into the process.

I know curriculum is an extremely personal matter, but I know I’ve enjoyed seeing what others use {and have even copped a few ideas for myself} and thought that I would post our curriculum for 2011-12.  Quite a few people post this at the beginning of the school year, but I thought I’d post it now in case anyone would like to use any of the information in making their purchasing decisions.

Without further ado, here is what we’ll be using next school year:

Language Skills
(Grammar, Composition, Wordly Wise)
All About Spelling

I can’t wait to start next year!  I’ve learned over the past couple of years that for our family, a one-size-fits-all curriculum doesn’t work.  We love K12 overall {we are K12 Independent, so we don’t have to worry about the Virtual Academy stuff}, but it wasn’t working for music, spelling, and math.

Midyear we switched to Math U See and All About Spelling, and Babydoll and I have both enjoyed them.  Quaver, Audio Memory, and Top Secret Adventures will all be new to us, but I’ve read and seen a lot of great things about each of them.

In the near future I will be posting a little bit about each curriculum/subject:  what my experiences have been, if I haven’t used it yet-what I’ve read about it, and any other useful information.

Who else is excited about next year?  What will you be using?


New Lesson Plans

In a previous post I discussed our need for a new homeschool schedule to work around my husband’s work schedule.  I promised I’d write a post detailing my new lesson plans/schedule, so here it is!

This might only make sense to me {I have a habit of doing things in a way that is perfectly sane to me, but seems rather ridiculous to others}, but maybe it’ll help somebody out there.

You’ll need to click on the images to make them large enough to actually see; I’m not sure how to make them big enough without them spilling over into other columns.  Then again, maybe this is how it should be…

Current week’s lesson plan

Above is our current week’s lesson plan.  As you can see, we’ll do school on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’ve listed each assignment for the day, and if we had anything else going on that day {field trip, doctor’s appointment, etc.} I would have listed that directly underneath the date, so I’d know how to proceed with teaching that day {Do we need to get all work done in the morning?  The afternoon?}.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, composition, Wordly Wise, music, geography, and art have nothing listed because we’ve either finished with the year’s work or we’ll be starting anew with new curriculum next year.

Next week’s lesson plan

The image above {remember to click it to enlarge} is next week’s lesson plan.  We’ll be doing school Monday – Thursday next week.

There’s nothing earth-shattering here, and I know some things will have to be pushed to another day if a concept isn’t understood, but I think this gives us a much better framework for getting through our school year than what I was previously doing.  I’m so excited!

You’ll notice than one thing this isn’t is an hour by hour schedule/routine.  There are a few reasons for this.  One, I can’t live by a rigid schedule.  I am not a morning person and I can’t say I’ll wake up at 6 am, computer till 6:30 am, walk till 7:15 am, etc.  Doesn’t work for me.  Instead I’ve tried to focus more on routines for our day.  With that said, I’m revamping the routines as well.  It makes no sense to include them on the lesson plan because they’re ever-changing and still being formed.

One thing that helped me was mentioned in one of the links in my previous post:  coming up with basic necessities that must get done each day.  Knowing this, I can fit them into each day the way they need to fit.  Hopefully.  Any suggestions are appreciated!

Have you had to come up with new ways of scheduling and lesson planning?  Did it take you as long as it took me to let go?