Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Homeschooling Update

 Our homeschooling schedule is still working. It's our 7th week of the new schedule and we haven't gone of the rails. I haven't gotten bored and Catherine is still engaged. I don't know if it's my ritalin, the schedule, the choice of programs, Catherine's (or my) new maturity or magical fairies that sprinkle happy dust all over our kitchen table at night but damn, something's going right. 

 Yes, the schedule has been tweaked but the foundation of it is still in place and even seems to be firmly embedded in our day.

 Math is first and we spend an hour on it, no more. The first 15 minutes are either work from The Intensive Practice 5A book or Challenging Words Problems 5. The next 45 minutes we spend with Primary Math 5A. All the books come from Singapore Math (for the Canadians, I bought them at Blue Mantle, the only supplier I could find that sells the old fashioned non-US and non-Standards editions) and boy, although there are times I want to chuck these books across a room I also absolutely love them. Over and over again they take Catherine and I to the edge of frustration but it always happens that with a night's sleep or the turn of a page it rescues us and not only that but rewards us with some marvelous insight. 

 The next 10 minutes is devoted to Peterson Directed Handwriting. How wacky. Who knew some old fashioned, rhythm-minded penmanship course would be the hit it is.  Harry has even been joining in as we write letter in the air and chant as if we're performing some cult ceremony. 

 Megawords follows and takes 20 minutes. We're still enjoying this! Both Catherine and I would take this program over a regular daily/weekly spelling list thingee anyday.

 Writing takes 30 minutes in the morning but often there are projects that Catherine has to work on in the afternoon. The progymnasmata approach is working although we're sort of taking a break from it for a week or two. Working through the steps has made me a little more confident in my ability to build a writing activity on my own so this week we're doing a piece of poetry. Sort of. 

 Catherine asked for a poem on unicorns. After much googling that resulted in horrible pieces about mystical pink unicorns that fart rainbows I settled on The Unicorn by the Irish Rovers. I know it's not exactly classic poetry but it's fun and the unicorns don't fart rainbows. Monday we read it and listened to the song and then talked about the descriptive words used. Today Catherine took the main verses and condensed each of them to a sentence so she could turn the lyrics into a piece of prose. She's got plans for grand illustrations and I want to play around with the parts of speech so this may actually carry into next week.

 And then we have French. Yes, French. Ancient Greek has gone on vacation while Catherine embarks on learning a language that actual living people speak (Greek will be back when I figure out how to work it back in). We're using a cute Canadian curriculum from Nallenart called L'Art de Lire. Again, it's a good fit (we started at the most basic level) and we're both enjoying it.

 Aside from violin practice that's it for the foundation of our daily homeschooling. That's what we manage to accomplish every day and I'm finding it absolutely amazing that it's still working. I'll post about our afternoon subjects another time. That's a little shakier and inconsistent but heck, we're making progress.


Jacqueline said...

Sounds like you are off to a great start!

Lynn said...

Are mystical pink unicorns related to invisible pink unicorns? :)

(...Actually, now that I think about it, IPU's could be a pretty good device for teaching religion from a skeptical pov.)

Btw, Dawn, thanks for recommending The Elements (chemistry) curriculum. We've been using - and enjoying - it. :)

molytail said...

ARGH! Dawn!! I read this earlier this morning and ever since, I've had that dang song stuck in my head on repeat. *goes nuts*

There were green alligators and long neck geese, some humpty back camels and some chimpanzees!...cats and rats and elephants, as sure as you're born, but the loveliest of all was the unicorn........

If I lose my mind by the end of the day, it's YOUR FAULT. ha. HA!