Our 2013/2014 Curricula

Curricula

Curricula

Well the school year is about a third over, but I’m putting this post up anyway. You never know when someone will stumble across it and find it useful.

I know when I started homeschooling I wanted to know what anyone and everyone was using…

MATH

Life of Fred – We’re sticking with what works. I can still say that this is hands-down the best math curriculum around.

HISTORY

myWorld Social Studies

GRAMMAR

Growing with Grammar

ART

Artistic Pursuits

WRITING

WriteShop Junior Book D

SCIENCE

Interactive Science

GEOGRAPHY

Road Trip USA

LITERATURE

Classic Literature Unit Study

HANDWRITING

Digital Teaching Tools

EXTRAS

I set several goals for the year, things that I’d like Babydoll to learn. We’ll be systematically working through those.

Homeschooling as a Night Owl

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I thought perhaps it was just me that was a raging mean person in the morning, thereby making waking up early and homeschooling by 8 am a virtual impossibility.

After a quick Google search, though, I found that I’m not alone.  I was actually surprised at the depth of some of the discussions I stumbled upon on the subject.

In my ongoing quest to bring attention to the road less traveled, I decided it was time to discuss homeschooling when you’re not an early riser.

Here is a rambling of a few things I’ve found helpful in our situation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A “FLOW”

Each day has its own progression.  Soccer practice and getting the neighbor’s children from the bus stop always happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Most of my “day job” is done Monday-Wednesday.

There might be a few more things, but basically this means that everything else flows around these things.

Babydoll knows that in the mornings on my workdays she is to do all the schoolwork she can do on her own until lunch.  After lunch, we come together to finish those things we must do together.

There is no set schedule for any of these other things, just a general outline for when they should take place.  Add my husband’s crazy work schedule to the mix and we just don’t live in a house where we can always do math at X time and science at X time and so on.

We all know the flow.  We all know the must-do items.  Other than that, we kind of fit it all in as each day requires.

How do I keep myself on track?  I have a digital Post-It on my Chrome home screen.  I *heart* Incredible Start Page for Chrome.

The yellow Post-It is where I record the must do things for each day.  This isn’t the note where I list “clean the bathroom.”  That doesn’t have to be done.

Picking the neighbor’s kids up from the bus stop has to be done.  Paying a bill has to be done.  Getting certain work done by a deadline has to be done.

Another colored note will hold the “I’d like to get this done” things.  Another holds the blog to do items.

This has worked amazingly well at keeping me organized.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A SELF-SUFFICIENT CHILD

I am one of those mean mothers that forced my child to learn to fend for herself as soon as she could.

Of course, I take care of her generally speaking, but if she happens to wake up before I do, she knows how to get her own breakfast, do her chores, and get herself ready to start her day.

I’d admit: I wasn’t into this idea when Vince first suggested it, but it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

She doesn’t need me to take care of her, she knows how to get herself started each day.

Heck, even if I am up, I don’t do breakfast for anyone…

This also helps me get the stuff done each morning that I need to, and then we come together at lunch.

RECOGNIZING WHEN YOU NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE

This is a huge one, and one that I’m still currently fighting.  I despise waking up early, I always have.

I remember the first thing my baby sister would tell people about me is that I was a cranky person in the morning.

She was four.  That’s how bad I am in the morning.

Add to that the fact that we go to bed anywhere from midnight to 3 am every night, and I’m on a crazy schedule.  Rolling out of bed at 5 am just ain’t in the cards.

And this wasn’t a problem, until I started working from home.  In addition to the “fun” of my blog, I’m working as a social media maven and trying to write books, start e-courses, and other awesome stuff.

There’s only so much time in the day.  There’s only so much time left after working and homeschooling and soccer and…

I’ve started thinking of ways to tweak the flow a bit.  If I want to achieve all my goals, I might need to wake up earlier, which means going to be earlier.

It’s a sacrifice and I have to figure out if it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR HOUSEHOLD

I realize quite a bit of this may apply mainly to my household and our unique circumstances, but the meat of the issue can apply to anyone.

If you’re a night owl, you can make it all work, it just takes some out-of-the-box thinking and an open-mind toward adjustments that may need to be made.

Remember that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing in their homeschools.  Work at what’s right for your family.

Now let’s chat: what type of risers do you have in your home? How do you make it all work?  Have any secrets to share?

Sweet Critique: Reading Horizons

I, fortunately, began homeschooling after Babydoll had learned to read.

Of course, I helped her, and I went into her classroom each week and listened to all the students in the class read to me.

But, actually having the responsibility of teaching her?  I don’t know if I could have handled that.

Then again, I also didn’t know about programs like Reading Horizons.

Reading Horizons is a web-based program that utilizes a multi-sensory approach to teach the “42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills.”  It also makes use of the Orton-Gillingham approach, which utilizes all three types of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

While the program seemed intense to me at first, I actually came to love how much the program teaches.  Even though Babydoll has been an excellent reader for years now, she still learned quite a bit.

The core skills of phonetics and alphabet sounds are a great foundation for any reading program.

I enjoyed all the information and delivery of the opening video to the program, and it has an excellent user interface.  The program utilized a fun font, and I thoroughly enjoy that they describe the child’s dashboard with the reports and stats.

If you have a child who needs to learn to read, one who is a struggling reader, or just want to hone their skills even further, this is a great program to use.

Reading is one of those subjects so personal and different for each child, that it really can be hard to determine if something is right for your family before trying it.  Reading Horizons gives you a free trial so you can test-drive it.  How sweet is that?

You can visit the Reading Horizons site, linked above, or learn more about them on Facebook and Twitter.!

True Confessions:  I was provided with access to the Reading Horizons program in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Back to School 2012!

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Today we started our fourth year of homeschooling.

I’ve said it before:  I never thought I’d see this day.  I thought for certain that Babydoll would be going off to school by now.

I also didn’t think I’d enjoy homeschooling this much.  I can’t think of a better way to enjoy my child…

To kick things off, we made our back-to-school yeast doughnuts, complete with a “5th” for pictures.

I know this isn’t a “good” picture, but a} had I taken the time to get the lighting right and the focus and the plating-it would have been awesome {but we were too hungry…} and b} it’s still cool!

This is our third year doing the doughnuts as our kick-off breakfast {we were transient the first year}, and let me tell you, we’ve perfected these…

After we devoured our doughnuts, we went outside for first-day-of-school pictures!

We documented Babydoll’s fifth grade interests.

And she filled out her fifth grade back-to-school booklet.  It took me about two hours to make this thing, but it’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  I totally heart KPM Doodles & her great artwork!

I wanted to show you what was inside the booklet too.  Each successive page was slightly longer than the one before it, so she had a nice little tiered booklet.

You can take a look at it below, but please keep in mind that due to the conversion into SlideShare, some of the spacing is slightly off and the markers on the cover are not displaying properly.

And finally, a look at my student over the past four years.

We’re so excited for this year to start!  Hope you have a great one too!

Our 2012/2013 Curricula

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I am so excited to start this school year!  We start tomorrow, as a matter of fact.

This will be our fourth year homeschooling, as as each year passes, I’ve felt more and more comfortable with a more eclectic approach to curricula.

Some of what we’re using I was fortunate enough to receive as a review product last year.

I know what you came here for, so I’m going to stop talking and give it to you:

Math

Life of Fred {I’m taking a leap of faith and trusting in the author.  We’ll see if you really can just use this for math.}

History

myWorld Social Studies Grade 5

Grammar

Growing with Grammar Level 5

Art

Artistic Pursuits Book 3

Writing

WriteShop Junior Book D

Letters to family members

Science

Hands-On Archaeology:  Real-Life Activities for Kids {So excited about this one!  I’m pretty much using this as a guide and developing an archaeological dig for us this year.  More info to come!}

Typing

TuxTyping

Geography

Top Secret Adventures

Which Way USA?

Creek Edge Press Geography and Culture Task Cards

Letterboxing

Letterboxing North America

Cooking

Our Best Bites

And to organize it all, the My Well Planned Day software.  Loving. It.

What will you be using next year? I wanna see!

Be sure to check out what others are using at the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop this week!