Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sample Work Pages From Our Curricula

I've had a few moms ask about the curricula we are using.  As I've said before, choosing curricula was, without a doubt, the hardest part of making the switch.  And, really, it doesn't end.  You pick something and then you continue to look at other stuff throughout the year!  LOL  But, I have to say, that having looked at several others I'm very happy with my choices and will only be changing some minor things for next year.

Thomas is completely on ABeka K5 and here are a few recent samples.  I honestly don't have anything negative to say about the K5 curriculum.  It rocks!  Keep in mind that we are only half way through the year.  We generally only have school 4 days per week and we plan to be finished by the end of August.  And we didn't start our curriculum until the end of September.

This was an Oral Eval...he had to pick a line to read across...he wanted three "A+" so he read all of the lines for me.  :)


Personally, I'm choosing to stick with manuscript and not attack cursive with Thomas yet. My opinion...cursive is rather outdated.  If you really think about it, how often do we really use it anymore?  So, yes, Genna is learning, but I was not about to pressure Thomas with that just yet!


Here are the last two pages from his second reading book.

And, here are some samples from Genna.  

ABeka Arithmetic 3:

I really have no complaints about the Arithmetic work.  It is our most time consuming subject because it is plentiful, but it isn't overwhelming.  VERY repetitive, therefore, I sometimes take the liberty of eliminating a problem or two if I know it is something she doesn't need to practice more than once or twice.  

Her most recent test...

I think she is going to remember 6x8=48 now...since if she had remembered it that day she'd have gotten an A!  LOL

Today's work

Shurley English Level 1

This one is also extremely repetitive, but for very good reasons!  I can't believe what she is doing in level 1...which Thomas will be doing soon!  

And I'm not going to lie...I've already been "reminded" of some grammar!  LOL

Jingles are a major part of this curriculum.  Really wonderful way to teach kids!  Even Thomas knows a few of them!

In a sentence she is classifying the following:  Subject Noun, Verb, Adverbs, Adjectives, Article Adjectives, Preposition, Object of the Preposition, Complete Subject, Complete Predicate, and Prepositional Phrases.

And now she is writing two point expository paragraphs every couple of days.

Since this is Level 1, we have gotten through it rather quickly and will be finished in 6 weeks or so!

Here is her test for tomorrow:

This one covers the following:  Sentence Classifying, synonyms/antonyms, parts of speech, matching complete subject with complete predicate, and identifying sentence fragments.

Last weeks test:  So, you can see what she does with the sentences!  

ABeka Spelling

I'm not crazy about this.  I think my dislike has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not using the Language Arts and Reading portion of the curriculum.  I often feel that some of the words are not really very important ones to learn.  I mean, I want her to know what an "antonym" is, but, honestly, I don't care if she can spell that word!  LOL  I do care, but I don't think it is more important than the word "because" or "elephant."  I don't know why I picked those words, but I hope you see my point!

So, I've found a better spelling option for next year at Barnes & Noble.  I like it for two reasons.  First, the words seem more relevant and second, because the book provides a few assignments for each list.  This will make spelling more smooth in our days.  It also focuses on vocabulary a bit more, which I like.

Coincidentally, since I am trying to decide which level to buy for her I ended up testing Genna for placement on spelling and she was a borderline 4th/5th grade level speller.  Woohoo!  Not bad for someone in the middle of 3rd grade.  Therefore, I'm going to get that 4th grade spelling book this week and start it now!  :)

Of course, there is more to Genna's schoolwork than just Spelling, English and Math!  For reading I use a comprehension book from Barnes & Noble...almost time for a new one!  And she reads chapter books and does book reports.  She is learning cursive with ABeka - generally it is one page per day.  And science and history are learned several ways...through teaching moments.  We are growing a vegetable garden (pics coming soon) and National Geographic movies are awesome!  Also, her reading comprehension covers different scientific and historical subjects.  We have a zoo/aquarium membership, too!  

Any questions?  :)

The Mark Kistler On-line Art Curriculum

Worth every penny...even without a discount!  Started it with the kids and did not expect that Thomas would really get much out of it.  He has really surprised me!  And Genna has impressed me, too!  :)  Here are some samples of the beginning work they've done...Thomas' drawings are on the left and Genna's on the right in each pic.

From top to bottom for Thomas (pencil, jellyfish, treasure chest, dolphin, mummy, hippo in water)....Genna's are a little more obvious.  ;-)

And here is Genna's beautiful canvas created with pastels.  :)

And, I'm also just a little bit addicted.  It's fun!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interesting Observation...What People Think

So, as you can imagine, homeschooling comes up on a regular basis.  With people I know and in public with strangers, too.  I've been entertained by the responses I get from people, or the perception I have of their thoughts based on their facial expressions.  LOL  I've categorized them into 3 groups.  

The first group is called "The Wishers."  Because, I fairly often hear, "Oh, you are so lucky, I wish I could home school!"  And that is usually followed by "I have to work," "My husband would never go for it" or "I just couldn't handle it."  All are very honest and I appreciate that!  :)  Although, I'd beg to differ with those who don't think they could do it themselves.  If I can do it, then most anyone can!  

The second group is the "Better You Than Me" group.  This group cracks me up!  They often even say "I'll pray for you!"  Actually, I appreciate the prayers, but I have a feeling they are praying for my survival (or my kids' survival).  But, hey...I need prayers, we all do, so I'll take them.  But really, the kids and I have fun!  I swear it.  We work hard, and there are certainly times when we all need patience.  But we find it and move on.  I LOVE being with my children.  And, yes, there are moments when I need a moment for myself.  But since I'm homeschooling I have not once thought "Wow, I miss my days without them!"  I'm with them nearly 24/7 and I honestly and truly enjoy that!  I'm not going to lie.  There are certainly times when I have to tell them that they must entertain themselves because I need a break!  

And the third group...sigh...this group is my favorite.  LOL  This is the "She's Certifiably NUTS" group.  For example, I encountered a lady at the deli counter a few weeks ago.  My kids were being silly and entertaining everyone while we waited.  I'd imagine some people may have thought they were not behaving, but they were giggling with each other and staying near my basket (and not asking to buy anything!)  In my book, that is grocery store success!  I'd rather they be silly and having fun, than be miserable and driving me crazy.  Anyway...Genna ordered my deli items for me.  This is something she loves to do and I think it is great for her!  :)  A lady commented that she was impressed.  She then started talking to Genna and I.  Then she asked where Genna goes to school.  When she heard "We home school" I could practically see the words "I've met my nut for the day" run through her mind.  Her face was a complete give-away.  I've seen this reaction before, so it didn't phase me.  Then I asked her daughter (same age as Genna) where she goes to school.  HAHAHA  When I heard the answer I was NOT surprised.  I will not mention the school, but I will tell you that it is my least favorite school in our area for many reasons.  The biggest reason being that they tend to strip kids of self esteem on a daily basis!  They actually don't even make it a secret that you are placed into a certain class each year based on your performance the previous year.  Must feel awesome knowing that you were placed in the "C" class and not the "A" class, right?  I'm not trying to be nasty.  I'm just telling the truth.  And, while I don't personally  like that school, I don't think it is a bad choice for every child...if you are in the "A" class it is probably great.  

I don't mind hearing what other people think and wonder.  I love to answer questions.  I do, however, wish that everyone could "think outside the box" and realize that homeschooling is not something that is strange or weird.  It is AWESOME.  There are well over 2 million students being home schooled in the USA.  And that is more than doubled from 10 years ago.  For it to be the fastest growing trend in education, there must be something good about it, right?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yep...we learned in Disney World, too!

Well, first of all, I have to give credit to Nana and Huckie!  They spent yet another EXHAUSTING day at Magic Kingdom to celebrate Thomas' 6th Birthday!  Huckie is a champ and still manages to carry Thomas around, and Thomas is happy to let him!  LOL

We were lucky to spend the night and day with my beautiful and adorable Goddaughter.  She works at Disney World!  Can't share much, but I can tell you that she is incredibly good at her job!

The above pic was taken on the boat ride to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue!  A favorite of mine!  :) 

So, here was the educational opportunity was because of that show that Genna learned this:

It took her a few weeks of practicing, but she was determined and she is AWESOME!  I love this kid!

Have you ever gone to the Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom?  Well, I hadn't, and this time we did!  This was educational opportunity #2 and a history lesson for the day!  :)  It really was amazing - I even got a little teary eyed!  If you haven't seen the show recently, it has been redesigned.

Well, that is all for now!  Just wanted to show a couple of ways that even a trip to Disney can be turned into FUN education!

Oh, but how can I close without sharing our time with our favorite mouse?  Minnie is very special to us and the kids were thrilled to get some special hugs from her that day!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sorry...I'm still struggling with "time management" LOL

I wanted to check in and share some stuff about how our first year is going!  We are still loving life!  However, I'm not going to lie...I always take as much time as necessary for my kids schooling and everything else takes a backseat.  Therefore, I'm still struggling a little with time management for work and chores!  But the struggles are worth it and I know that in time I'll adjust and things will flow a little more smoothly.  One thing that keeps the roller coaster ride going is the fact that we are so much more available and we CAN spend time doing things like going to Florida to see Nana and Huckie, spend a couple of nights in Disney, and weekends at Papa's camp!  :)  If we have schoolwork to do, we can do it on the road and have school while we are there.  Nana's dining room table works great and the view is fantastic!  And, nothing makes the kids happier than hanging A+ papers on a grandparent's refrigerator!

We are nearing the end of our 2nd quarter of lessons, but I've not yet shared the kids "report cards" for the 1st quarter.  And, so far, the 2nd quarter is very nearly the same!  STRAIGHT A's!!!  And, trust me, the work is NOT easier.  It is more difficult!  Especially for Genna!

Math    96
Language  100
Reading   96
Handwriting   100
Spelling  105
Social Studies  100
Science  101

Math   100
Language  99
Reading  100
Handwriting  97
Social Studies  100
Science  100

I'd like to give you some ideas of the work that my kids are doing everyday.  :)  Here is one picture of the board for part of class one day a couple of weeks ago when I happened to have my camera sitting right there.  This is just a small sample!

On the left is Genna's spelling list for that week.  On the right was the "story" that Thomas had to read that day.  He has learned to read via phonics.  A much different experience from Genna's kindergarten year filled with sight words.  No offense, but I not a fan of sight words and Thomas currently only has three or four of them.  Amazingly, in just the past two weeks, since this photo, his reading has increased dramatically.  He has moved on to words like pond, band, bent, quick, quit, etc.  He impresses his daddy regularly at dinnertime when we often "show off"!  

On another note...for those of you with younger kids, Thomas was given a Leapster Explorer for Christmas from his M'amy!  :)  HE LOVES THIS TOY!  AND, to make it even better, he has learned a tremendous amount of math, reading and even geography from his games!  It has amazed me.  As a mom, there is nothing better than an awesome toy that is worth every penny spent.  Just FYI.  :)