Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
It's been over two and a half years since he started affecting our homeschooling, first with the pregnancy, then with his wonderful self and it's been a battle to find our homeschooling groove. More so this year because he's more mobile then ever. Add in a Grade 10 student with the extra work that demands and a boy in Grade 6 that's prone to focus problems and I've been on the edge of crazy for far too long.
How to make it work?
Well, after some talking with the kids we think we've found a solution.
We dispensed with scheduling and replaced it with routine. I had been using Scholaric (an excellent planning site for homeschoolers) to schedule the kids' work. Once I started doing that I started micromanaging my daughter's workload. Where she used to just do the next thing, I was dividing up her work into specific blocks, adding videos and assignments to be done on specific days and taking away all her discretion. I also began to control subjects that had previously been led by her interest. She prefers days spent with school work but she does not like that work when it's dictated by someone else and turned into a joyless grind.
So although I still use Scholaric, it's much looser. Some subjects are back to being led by her interest and any assignments, like papers, flow out of the discussions we have about those subjects. What this has meant is that she has a little more time in the day that I can add into our larger daily routine.
Once that time was freed up we came up with the following plan:
7am to 8am - breakfast and chores.
8am to 9am - Harry plays with Lauchie. I do housework and prepare. Catherine practices fiddle and does her Latin.
9am to 10am - Catherine looks after Harry while I work with Harry.
10 am to 12pm - Catherine does her math, Harry does all his independent work and Lauchie has some time with me and then goes down for a nap. I get time to myself and am available if either child needs help.
The afternoon stills remains to be sorted but so far Catherine has retreated to her room after lunch to work until supper and Harry and I hold down the fort, maybe do the odd activity together when Lauchie is occupied with blocks or Mary Poppins.
I think this is probably a strategy that requires older kids but it's been wonderful for us. Hope it's helpful to someone else out there.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Another school year and lots of stuff to plan and do and record. More then ever in fact because I have a high schooler in the house and university to think of. So without further ado, here's the run down.
Catherine, Grade 10
Planning for Catherine was a roller coaster ride this year. I posted some time ago about how we were going to send her off to school for science. Ha ha ha! Didn't happen. Putting a part-time student in an institution designed for full-timers is challenging to say the least.
Geometry 2nd edition, Harold Jacobs. I choose the second edition rather then the third because it's heavier on proofs.
CK-12 Chemistry - Second Edition. I know I had chosen Zumdahl's World of Chemistry and I do have the answer key on my bookshelf but the actual text never arrived so I just decided to cut my losses and go to CK-12.
A Brief History of the World. I've abandoned the 4 year history cycle. We're doing a survey course of history this year with supplemental readings.
English Composition I.
Poetry. We'll use the Norton Anthology of Poetry with this.
Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma.
Study is Hard Work
Fiddle lessons, Home Ec. skills, Art.
Harry, Grade 6
Knowing Mathematics, Singapore Primary Math.
Classic Science, Elementary Chemistry
Story of the World 2
Grammar Voyage, World of Poetry, assigned readings.
Philosophy for Kids
Piano Lessons, Art, Home ec.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Well, in the space of a weekend our homeschool has changed radically.
In June, Catherine attended a science retreat put on by WISE, Women In Science and Engineering. Despite her usual introvert misgivings about spending the day with a bunch of public school kids she didn't know, she had a great time and came home talking about possible careers in molecular biology or computer science. Eep. My plan for grade ten science had been Zumdahl`s World of Chemistry with labs from a book by Robert Bruce Thompson. The lab bit was doing my head in in regards to planning and cost but no big worry, right? After all, she wanted to be a writer or linguist so science wasn't a huge deal.
Now science had to be rigorous. Not just that but Catherine wanted more structure then I generally provide and wanted to be taught by someone who, "knew what they were talking about." The nerve of that child. We talked and high school was an option we were both willing to explore.
Fast forward a bit and now my little girl is registered for two courses in the fall semester at the small local high school. One is an integrated General Science course (foundational for the next five semesters of science) and the other is a visual arts course that she thought might be fun.
She'll be fine. She's got the kind of confidence and self assurance you don't often see in teenagers today. And she was adamant that she still wanted to do the rest of her subjects on her own or with me. I think she'll have fun and hopefully meet more of the local teenagers. It's just me that has to adjust. I need to remember that she's capable of this and that choosing to homeschool is not a choice that means always schooling at home but rather centering the decisions about education in the home.
Besides, is only one semester.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Besides, the cover is prettier, don't you agree?
Also...*sigh*...Robert Bruce Thompson is no longer selling his most excellent lab kits to those of us in the Great White North. It is an understandable considering shipping costs and cross-border paperwork but Istill want to cry. I will now have to put together my supplies all by my lonesome and the prospect is NOT thrilling.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
Geometry by Harold Jacobs.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
So what to do? Get a good look at the brine shrimp for one.
Now that the tadpoles are out we had to examine them as well. We scooped a bunch of eggs out of the ditch in front of our property and deposited them in an aquarium. Then we took out a couple and examined them before returning them to the water.
This was an especially nifty discovery because just a week before, while doing some spring cleaning in the yard, we found a Spotted Salamander under a bit of debris. I previously mentioned the find here.
Activities: Observation, drawing, setting up aquarium.
Resources: How to Hatch Frog Eggs at eHow
Egg Mass ID at Field Herp Forum
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I was browsing the Well Trained Mind forums when I found a reference to Aha! Science. I went to the website, took a look around and decided that it looked interesting. Harry really likes Creativity Express Online, his art program and another online subject, so I thought it might be good to try him with Aha! Well, it's only $15 for a year and turns out it's right up his alley. He enjoys it, retains what he's learned and I have the added bonus of having a website that tracks his progress and grades so I have something to stick in his records. Wonderful!
But that wasn't the only change I made. We own a little over 2 acres on the edge of a forest. We have laying hens and raise meat chickens and turkeys in the summer. We have a large pond that hosts everything from toads to a muskrat. Certainly we can do a fair bit of science just by walking out our front door, no?
So the kids are starting a blog where they'll record observations, pictures, experiments, etc. that have to do with our property. We have some microscopes, a water test kit, fertilized chicken eggs, an old aquarium and other tools to help in that. Over the next 12 years they'll record a year in the life of and on our land. I'll post the blog as soon as they get it up and running, hopefully by next week.
Meanwhile we got a start last week taking some pictures of the pond and today we were outside again playing around with some of the remnants of yesterday's work and enjoying the beautiful weather.
First order of business when cleaning up rural property is the burn pile.