Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Week of School

One of the most exciting things (for me) is this year we have our own homeschooling room! We want to paint and make some changes but we haven't had the chance to yet, so we will make do this year. We got it set up just before school started.I've added a couple of posters and pictures since we took these pictures, but for the most part this is how our room looks.

In geography we read a little passage together and learned that the United States has 50 states, with 48 of them being contiguous (new vocabulary word).
We read about our nation's capital, the US flag (what the stripes and stars represent), the Pledge of Allegiance (what it means), and the Statue of Liberty. We added the little booklets to our geography notebooking pages.
The beginning of math is always a review of last year, so we flew through the first few lessons in math. Every day we have a "math meeting" where we fill in our daily math strip, discuss the date, weather, etc.

 She learned how to tell time to the hour this week!

 Jayden reviewed place values this week.
In history we read about the rise and fall of Ancient Rome. (We still had a couple of chapters left to read from our old history book SOTW 1- Ancient Times before we could move on to Medieval Times next week. Sorry, some of the pics are sideways!) The Christianity portion brought up great topics about religion and morals.

Mid week we went peach picking and came home with nearly 10lbs of peaches. We ate a few and made a delicious peach pie for dessert and peach jam for sandwiches, french toast/pancake topping, and homemade pop tarts!


Friday, August 28, 2015

New School Year!

School has officially started! We submitted our letter of intent to the superintendent last week. Wednesday was our first day of school here. A few people have asked about our curriculum choices this year so I am finally sitting down to post what we are doing.

This year we will be homeschooling a 4th grader and a 1st grader! Math is the only subject that they will be doing separately because of their learning styles.

For math, Jayden will be doing Math in Focus 4A & 4B. He decided he wants to complete the 4th grade level and begin 5th grade math before the end of the school year, so we may be continuing on to 5A.

Although Caitlin is technically a 1st grader, she completed all of her 1st grade requirements last year. This year we will be moving on to 2nd grade work for her. Caitlin will be doing Saxon Math grade 2. It is a completely new to us curriculum (we have been using Math in Focus for a couple of years now), but I think it is better suited for her learning style.

For Language Arts we will be using Brave Writer's "The Arrow". This is a big leap for us because it isn't a curriculum that is ready to go. Both of our children love to write but hate being confined to learning just the structure and format of writing. Instead of killing their mojo we've decided to focus more on building their creativity while using a more gentle approach to teaching spelling and grammar. Jayden will be doing Partnership in Writing and Caitlin will do Jot It Down (Brave Writer programs). Both programs have a weekly and monthly guide of projects that they will complete. 

As part of the "Brave Writer" curriculum we will continue our dictation and copy work, but we will also implement "Movie Monday", "Tea Time Tuesday", and "Free Write Friday" into our schedule as well. Once or twice a month we will have "Movie Monday", where we will pick age an appropriate movie and discuss plot, setting, themes, and other literary elements that will help us become better writers. "Tea Time Tuesday" will consist of tea or hot cocoa, candles, desserts, and poetry! "Free Write Friday" will be the day they can work on whatever writing piece they would like. They can write a story, a letter, or even a poem if they want. 

For a few weeks in the beginning of the year the children will be practicing their penmanship. They will be doing Handwriting Without Tears and practicing their print. Jayden can already write in cursive but both of their print work needs some improvement.

We are continuing on with R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey- Earth & Space for science. This is one of their favorite subjects and the labs are a lot of fun.

History will be Story of the World, Vol. 2 (The Middle Ages). We will also be using supplements such as the SOTW Activity Guide, Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, Medieval Life to help us grasp Medieval Times.

We are learning geography this year with Confessions of a Homeschooler's Road Trip USA. There is a little bit of history in it as well. We would like to complete half of the curriculum this year and save the other half for next year, but we will work at their pace. We are coupling this curriculum with our United States Atlas for Young Explorers.

We will continue with MusIQ (keyboard) and Real Homeschool Spanish (at home with dad). 

Apart from karate, Jayden will be doing flag football and Caitlin will be taking ballet and tap classes. She will even have a recital at the end! They may also do floor hockey again. We are part of book club and an art/science co-op. We have several exciting field trips tentatively scheduled as well. 

This is going to be a great school year!