*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Kind of Homeschooler Are You????

This is a question that I think is key when starting out as a homeschooler.  However, let me just warn you…your answer may change over time.  As you begin your homeschool journey and learn more, you may decide that what you’re doing isn’t working.  Therefore, you switch strategies.  In doing so, you move away from the type of homeschooler you thought you were.  At least that’s what has happened in OUR homeschool journey.
Here are some various types of homeschoolers…

  • School at home – You use traditional textbooks and worksheets and follow a structured curriculum program.  There are traditional subjects, lessons, tests, grades, etc.
  • Unit Studies – You pick a topic and cover that for a period of time. 
  • Relaxed, Eclectic – You use some aspects of several of the different types.  For instance, you may use a curriculum for some subjects, but you leave other subjects up to chance or personal choice.
  • Unschooling – You trust that learning will happen daily and there are no rules, lessons, etc.
  • Radical Unschooling – The ideals of freedom and choice apply to education as well as daily living.  Learning and parenting are not separate from any other life activity.
We are in our 5th year of homeschooling, and my style has changed drastically.  I started out as a  School at Home homeschooler.  Part of that is due to the fact that I have an education degree, and that’s what I was used to.  It was totally normal for me to use textbooks, worksheets, and planned curriculum.  I enjoyed making lesson plans and crossing things off my checklists.  I needed guidance in making sure that Caleb learned what he was to learn when he was to learn it.  I can tell you now…that didn’t work very well.  It was great for me, but it wasn’t what was right for Caleb.
Over the years, I have grown away from using curriculum for all subjects.  While I’d love to just drop all curriculum and give Caleb choices in his schooling, that’s not what is best for him or me.  So, now, I would classify myself as a Relaxed, Eclectic Homeschooler
I feel that Caleb benefits from having a formal math and Language Arts curriculum.  These are the two areas where he struggles the most, and I feel that throwing those to the wind and allowing him to grab them as he chooses would not be a good idea.  My gut tells me that he’d stray as far away from them as possible.  So, for his sake and truly mine, we sit together and work on these areas together.  It will not hurt him to do this, and it’s not something that takes a very long time.  We also spend time reading the Bible together because this is a huge part of our family life.
In regards to the other subjects…history, science, reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, art, music, etc…I’m fine with giving him the reins and letting him have freedom.  All I do is make sure that our home is full of things in those areas that will spark his interest and entice him.  There are lots of books for each area and plenty of manipulatives, games, learning kits, and arts/craft supplies.  I also ask him what he’s interested in learning about or take cues from the conversations we have, the movies/shows he watches, the books he picks up at his leisure, etc.  Then I spend time gathering books from the library, printing off lapbook/notebooking components, finding Internet resources, etc on the topics.  He gets to choose WHAT he learns and WHEN he wants to learn it.  I’m not dictating that he must study ancient civilizations in 5th grade or animal life cycles in 3rd grade…he gets to make those decisions.
This is how homeschool is approached in our house.  I’ll be the first to admit that it was not easy to hand the reins over to him.  However, he has shown that he is able and willing to learn and study topics that interest him.  Right now, he wants to learn about the Civil War, so that’s what we’ll spend some time studying.  I don’t know what he’ll choose next, and that’s okay.  I’m here to offer support and encouragement.  The rest is up to him. 
Our school day may look very different from what goes on in your house, and that’s fine.  Homeschooling is not the same for everyone…that’s what makes it such a good option.  You can customize it to fit YOUR family, YOUR child, and YOUR needs. 
This is where are are right now in our journey, and I feel confident that this is where we’ll stay for some time…at least in regards to Caleb. As for Micah – well, we’ll see what happens…LOL!
What type of homeschooler are you?  Have you changed your methods over the years? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Camp Twitch and Shout

Last summer, Caleb attended Camp Twitch and Shout.  Camp Twitch and Shout is a camp for children and teens with Tourette’s Syndrome.  It was probably one of the best weeks of his life, and he is so super excited about going back this summer.  He is excited that he will be able to see his cabin mates and all of the other friends he made.
He was in Cabin Blue 1 last summer, and they set up a website on Go Fund Me in order to raise funds to help send other children with Tourette’s Syndrome to camp.  Camp costs about $300 per child; however, that’s just what we pay…it actually costs much more than that, but that’s all they pass on to families. 
If you are able to help out Cabin Blue 1 by making a donation, they’d greatly appreciate it.  Click on this link to see a short video and go to their Go Fund Me website.
Cabin Blue 1 Go Fund Me website

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fourth Grade Week 30

We are finished with week 30 (only 10 more weeks to go I think…YEAH).  Here’s how our week went…
Bible – Our question this week was ‘Why did God make meat-eating animals?  Why are they not still plant eaters?’  We read Genesis 1:30, 6:13, Romans 6:23, and Revelation 21:1-4 to find the answer.
English – This week Caleb reviewed for a test, took a test (scored 94%), and learned about action verbs and direct objects.
Math – This week Caleb worked on dividing by 8, division with a remainder, radius and diameter, and miles.  He continues to do really well with the Christian Light Education math program. 
Classical Conversations Foundations – Here’s how week 18 went…

  • English – Helping verbs…may, must, might
  • Science – four types of ocean floor
  • History – the Mound Builders
  • Math – the area of a triangle
  • Latin – 2nd Declension Noun Endings (singular and plural)
  • Geography – Mesoamerica…Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Olmec Civilization, Maya Civilization, Aztec Civilization
  • Timeline – Cherokee Trail of Tears, U.S. Westward Expansion, Marx Publishes The Communist Manifesto, The Compromise of 1850 and the Dred Scott Decision, U.S. Restores Trade with Japan, British Queen Victoria’s Rule over India, Darwin Publishes The Origin of Species
  • Science Experiments – This week we learned about air having weight and the strength of atmospheric pressure.
  • Fine Arts – Great Artists – This week we studied El Greco.  The children did an elongated drawing exercise.
We are off next week, and I’m looking forward to getting my house in order.  It tends to take the backburner with all of our school obligations, so it’ll be nice to get caught up.  I’ll also spend some time prepping for Caleb’s Civil War studies that he’s looking to start when we commence.  Smile

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fourth Grade Week 29

We are finished with week 29, and we have one more week before our week-long break.  Here’s how this week went for  us…
Bible – Our questions were ‘Did Noah have to estimate how much food to gather or did God tell him?’ and ‘How did Noah keep the animals on the ark from eating each other and his family?’  We read Genesis 6:21, 7:5, and 8:1 for question 1 and Genesis 8:1, 1:29-30, and 9:3 for question 2.
English – This week Caleb worked on words that are not capitalized and giving directions.  He reviewed the Chapter 3 information in order to prepare for his test.
Math – Caleb worked on quarter and fourth; symmetry; adding fractions; subtracting fractions; kilometers; and when to multiply/when to divide.
Classical Conversations Foundations – We finished up Week 17, and here’s what we learned.

  • English – Helping verbs – was, were, be, being, been
  • Science – some parts of a volcano
  • History – the Aztecs
  • Math – the area of a square equals length of its side squared
  • Latin – 2nd Declension Noun Endings (singular and plural)
  • Geography – Southern Africa…Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar
  • Timeline – Napoleon Crowned Emperor of France, Liberation of South America, The War of 1812, The Missouri Compromise, Immigrants Flock to America, The Monroe Doctrine, Romantic Period of the Arts
  • Science Experiments – This week we learned about the effect of motion on weathering and how natural bridges stand.
  • Fine Arts – Great Artists – This week we studied Michelangelo, and we created a Fresco painting by using watercolors on plaster of paris. 
How did your week go?  Are you taking off next week for President’s Day?  We’re excited to have a week off, and I hope to get some much needed housework done.  Smile

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fourth Grade Week 28

We finished up week 28 last week, but I’m just now posting our review.  Here’s how the week went…
Bible – Our question this week was ‘How did Noah get two of every sea animal on the ark’?  We read Genesis 6:20, 6:17, :15, and 7:22 to find the answer.
English – This week Caleb worked on capitalization…all sorts of capitalization rules.
Math – Caleb worked on counting by 12s to 144; expressions with variables; rounding to the nearest dollar; estimating the answer; and dividing by 7.
Classical Conversations Foundations – We completed Week 16, and here’s what we learned.

  • English – helping verbs am, are, is
  • Science – four kinds of volcanos
  • History – the civilizations of Mesoamerica
  • Math – the area of a rectangle equals length times width
  • Latin – 1st Declension Noun Endings (singular and plural)
  • Geography – Africa (Waters) – Zaire River (Congo), Lake Victoria, Zambezi River, Orange River, Nile River
  • Timeline – Age of Industry, James Cook Sails to Australia and Antarctica, American Revolution and Gen. George Washington, Madison’s Constitution and the Bill of Rights, French Revolution, Second Great Awakening, Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Science Experiments – This week we did a stretch test using a balloon that we wrote on to show the effects of tension force.  We also did a spurt test to show what causes magma to move by using a tube of toothpaste.
  • Fine Arts – Great Artists – This week we studied Durer, and we made block prints.
***We did not get any of the lapbook work for CC completed, hence the reason for no pictures.***
I’ll admit…I’m losing my homeschool steam, and I think it’s time for a break.  Thankfully, a week-long break is soon approaching.  Smile  How about your?  Are you still going strong, or are you in need of a break, too?

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