Sunday, September 25, 2011

Peter is 6!

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And he’s as ferocious as a Krayt Dragon!

We’re having the whole family out for a party next weekend, but today we enjoyed a magic show performed by his big sister, Mary,

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presents,

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and, of course, cake!

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Can’t resist cake.

Hubby even managed to snap a shot of yours truly with the kids.

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Yes, it seems that Em is shirking clothes.

Happy birthday, Peter! You’ve come a long way, but you’ll always be Mama’s baby boy. ;0)

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: Religion

Now that I’ve told you all about the stuff the state will see in the kiddos’ portfolios…

I already mentioned our Bible studies in our All Together Curriculum earlier.  For catechism, we’ve been happy with the Faith and Life series by Ignatius Press and will continue to use it with all the kiddos. 

This year, Mary will be preparing for First Penance and First Communion.  In addition to whatever materials our parish will require for her preparation, we’ll also be using Faith Folders for Catholics.

We are also participating in a local co-op with a monthly Little Saints class (the children learn about a different saint each month and so some crafts), and Mary has joined a local Little Flowers Girls’ Club.

You might also be interested in reading about our other curriculum choices for this year:

All Together
1st Grade
2nd Grade
6th Grade

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Kid Pics

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Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: 6th Grade

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David is 11-1/2, a strong reader and interested in science, architecture and mapping.  In addition to our All Together studies and pursuing personal interests he will be studying:

Language Arts--- Write with the Best, Volume 1,  Grammar Made Easy,  and Editor in Chief, plus tons of independent reading.

Math---Life of Fred, Fractions.  David’s challenge area is arithmetic.  He has memory issues and slight spatial issues (keeping his numbers in columns, for instance---I love quad-ruled paper!), so in addition to Fred, we will be working hard on reviewing arithmetic procedures and cementing multiplication and division facts with Math-It and math games.

History and Geography---Mapping the World with Art

Reasoning---Narration and Mind Benders Book 3

Art--- Artistic Pursuits,, grades 4-6 Book 1

Languages--- Greek Code Cracker, he may start Latin for Children Primer A later this year.

PE--- Soccer

You might also be interested in:

Our All Together Curriculum

Our 1st Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2nd Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: 2nd Grade

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Mary is 7-1/2, a strong reader, and a lover of “workbook math.”

This year, in addition to our All Together studies and pursuing her personal interests, Mary will be studying:

Language Arts---All About Spelling Level 2.  Spelling is Mary’s one challenge area, so far, and her least favorite subject, so we’ll mix in interesting copywork for variety.  Lots of independent reading.

Math---Jump Math, grade 2.  I anticipate that she may finish this book far in advance of the end of the school year.  Skill-wise, she wasn’t quite ready for grade 3, but grade 2 has a little more review than she would like.  Supplementing with Math-It and math games.

Reasoning---Narration and Mind Benders.

PE--- Dance lessons.

Handicrafts----Needlepoint on plastic canvas, knitting, jewelry making and sewing are all skills she is enjoying learning.

Music---Guitar

You might also be interested in:

Our All Together Curriculum

Our 1st Grader’s Curriculum

Our 6th Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: 1st Grade

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Peter is a young 1st grader (he’s turning 6 tomorrow) and a beginning reader. We’ll be focusing on the basics this year and enjoying the ride.

Peter also has some special needs (he suffers from Lamellar Ichthyosis), which may impact his learning both directly and indirectly---we all know how much our physical comfort affects our ability to learn and retain information---so keeping him engaged can be a challenge.

In addition to our All Together studies, Peter will be working on:

Language Arts--- The focus is on becoming an independent reader. We’ll be using a number of resources (many free!), including Starfall, Progressive Phonics, and the I See Sam Little Readers. Handwriting practice will come from copywork.

Math---RightStart Book B

Reasoning---Narration

Speech---Super Star Speech (L’s)

You might also be interested in:

Our All Together Curriculum

Our 2nd Grader’s Curriculum

Our 6th Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: All Together

While each of the kiddos will be pursuing studies tailored to their particular level and interests (I’ll come to that in a bit), we also have a number of activities that we are sharing as a family this year.

Here’s a peek at what we are studying together this year:

Classical Studies--- This is a new one for us. The idea of a classical education has always appealed to me, but somehow as great as everything sounds when I’m reading books like A Well-Trained Mind, I simultaneously feel hopelessly inept at possibly achieving that sort of an education for my kiddos. That, and I do see some draw-backs to it…but that’s fuel for another discussion entirely.

I finally came to realize that I needed to get my OCD-addled brain (you know, that part of me that has to absolutely do it all, whole hog, and get it all right, or nothing at all?) in check and simply start somewhere by implementing some of the aspects of a classical education that appeal to me and our principal (my dear husband).

I came across Memoria Press’s Introduction to Classical Studies Set, and hubby agreed we should go forward with it. In addition to the schedule which divides up the readings, the curriculum includes the Golden Children’s Bible, the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, and Famous Men of Rome. The schedule also includes discussion questions, vocab, maps, timelines, and topics for further study. We’ve been keeping it simple and following up our daily read-alouds with oral or drawn narration (depending upon the ability of the child). Intro to CS is meant to be repeated over 3 years, with discussion and research becoming more in-depth each time. We’re taking it one year at a time.

Art and Music--- Our art and music appreciation studies have been virtually non-existent up to this point, but I think I’ve finally hit on something that going to work for us, yeah! I may share more about this in a future post, but for now we are learning about another artist every 3-4 weeks (we’ll be adding composers to that rotation, shortly), reading about their life and exploring their work, using plenty of free online resources (I’ll share these as we go along). We’re even making a visual art/music timeline.

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Science---We’ll be concentrating on nature study this year, with the aid of Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenges. The children will also be encouraged to pursue their personal scientific interests through the public library, our family library, and experimentation.

History and Geography--- Not a year can go by without me writing/creating from scratch at least one part of the kiddos’ studies. This year we are learning about local history and geography.

Speaking as someone who has always had a very tenuous grasp on where and when I am in the world, I’ve always wanted my children to have a better understanding of the area in which they live. And as this part of the world is still fairly new to us (we just moved into our current home a year ago), the principal and I both agreed that having a concrete, hands-on course on our town’s geography and history would be ideal this year. As we move on, we’ll include the surrounding areas in our county.

We’ll be doing a lot of trekking around our neighborhood, visiting local museums, drawing maps of our area, and more. While much of this study will be specific to our area, I do plan to share some of the activities here as we do them, with suggestions on how you can incorporate them into your own studies.

Literature--- In addition to the children’s independent reading, we’ll be trying to fit in as many read-alouds as we can. Selections will come mainly from our own family library “shelves,” which include hundreds of ebooks on my Kindle. I’ll share what we’re reading as we move along.

Another new thing we are doing this year: allowing more free time for the kiddos to pursue their personal interests. We're also reorganizing all our educational "stuff," like science books, manipulatives and other fun stuff I always forget to use to make them more readily accessible and enticing to inquiring minds.

You might also be interested in:

Our 1st Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2nd Grader’s Curriculum

Our 6th Grader’s Curriculum

…And I’m Back!

After a 2-month hiatus from the blogosphere, I’ve gained a little much-needed perspective.

Hubby and I had a little talk.  We agreed that I needed an outlet.  Plus, my extended family and friends were a little disappointed about not getting the frequent kiddo updates and pics.

But, we also agreed that there would have to be limits.  And that I wouldn’t be allowed to do it if it wasn’t fun anymore. 

And that I had to give myself permission to be weird, and not worry so much about what other people think.  Because I am weird.  Aren’t you?

This is a little experiment.  We’ll see how it works. 

My hope is that by blogging on the weekend only, it’ll give me a way to step back and look at my week and see how we are doing on this grand journey we call “home education,” without becoming mired in the internet swamp.

Welcome back, family and friends!