Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Plans and Goals of the new school year.... homeschooling our way.

I have been thinking a lot lately about our style of homeschooling... I don't even know what I would call ours.  I find so many different styles fascinating. One style I am not, is super strict. Due to working part time I have had to learn to be very flexible. I don't believe I have to create school at home.  Yes we do the three r's.But there are many ways to accomplish the 3 r's then in a sit down school environment.  I love when she has such a love for learning that she starts to look up stuff on her own, or watch history type shows or just picks up a book to start reading.  I love the nature based creative part of Waldorf style, the imagination part of waldorf, working with the child at her level of development,  the hands on approach of Montessori, the copy work and living books of Charlotte Mason style and doing unit style studies tying everything into one. (I don't think I explained Waldorf that well)  But I do love the natural part of its learning method, to bring rhythm into our daily lives.

So here is my goal for the 2014-2015 school year grade 4:

For me to be more relaxed in our approach. To not compare everything to what others or public school are doing. For Samantha to complete fourth grade with the skills of a fourth grader.  To foster the love of learning beyond the text books.  To bring the outdoors more into our schooling.  To embrace who Samantha is and and help her mature into who she is meant to be not who I thought she would be.  To show compassion for her struggles. To adjust to her learning style not enforce what others think it should be.  To bring more hands on learning experiences to Samantha's day. To keep looking outside the box more.  To keep the wonder and magical part of her life in our every day lives longer because before I know it she will be grown. To keep God a big part of our daily lives. To help Samantha to be kind and compassionate.

So here is a schedule I hope to follow loosely.

Monday- Five in a Row, math, spelling, Grammar, science and history (Heart of Dakota).  get out into nature
Tuesday- (hockey season time) Homeschool skating time, FIAR, math, spelling, grammar, Heart of Dakota, get into nature- when homeschool skate is not in session to use that time to explore something like yoga for children or some form of physical fun activity.
Wednesday- Spindle City Co-op science class, Math, Spelling, Grammar, music,  get out into nature
Thursday- FIAR, Math, Spelling, Grammar, Heart of Dakota, Health, History project, get out into nature
Friday- FIAR, math, spelling, grammar, Heart of Dakota, States learning.  get outside

My ideas of getting out of the house and into nature more:
doing school work outside in our backyard, doing a nature hunt in the woods, go to the beach, go bird watching, nighttime star gaze, art projects using nature things to make creations, bring school work to the park, woods or beach, go to the playground, study nature, or simply just get outdoors and enjoy it.  Enjoy each season for what it brings to our lives.

History project: in history she started learning about people immigrating to America. She is going to research her roots and do a mini report on it, trace our ancestors travels on a map, learn about the culture she is a part of, cook a meal from one of her nationalities. There is so much more I will add to this. I plan on it being at least a 4 month project.  I want a poster board done with her drawings of anything to do with our ancestry.  My mother has already done a book on some of her side of the family ancestry. This will make some of it easier for Samantha, I want a timeline for one branch of our ancestry. I expect her work to be done at her level.

Art & Gym- Heart of Dakota does art woven into the history. I might add some hands on projects like learning to weave, knitting, kite making, wood building(with Daddy) sewing, embroidering, and well other fun things I can think of.
Gym is all her physical activities- baton, ice skating, running around, and gym class at Calvary bible church.

I will also look into other opportunities like she had last year. Sam visited my great Uncle in the nursing home weekly. Well he has passed on. I need to find something else to help her keep on learning compassion and kindness.  Maybe some kind of volunteering opportunities.

I know this all seems like a lot but when you actually break it all down its doesn't take too much time to complete. Her spelling curriculum said it shouldn't take her more then 10 minutes for the written part of the work.  Some things aren't done every day.  Heart of Dakota we only follow the history, science, geography and art portion of it.  That doesn't take long as you don't do all each day... science is each day and some part of history is each day.  Some things like reading is done on her own time.

I am sure I will add to this and take things away.  But this is my goals.  Once school starts up again for us I will do a few post of this ... a day in the life of our homeschool .... I will try to document each day once a week through out the first month of school.

Stay tuned for Samantha's view of our goals and what her goals will be

Our Summer fun times...

Here is a picture post of all the fun we have had so far this summer.... Its almost over so hopefully we get to make a few more memories before we start school....

Friends and fun times.

Church Service in the park.

fun at the wading pool

Daddy Daughter dancing at Grandparents 50th anniversary party

Movie in the park.  Can you guess the movie??? Yes that is snow in July.

playing in the down pouring rain... so much fun

July 4th

pool time with Charlene

planting day at the Scattering Gardens.  Always doing it in Memory of Abigail Lynn

Playing with her young cousin Aaron.

Alien story time at the Library

Summer ice theater show The Lorax she was the nice Oncler

Her solo at the Summer Show doing the song Popular
 Last field trip of the school year to Lego Land Boston

 VBS at Calvary Bible Church 

First day at VBS Calvary Bible Church

VBS at South Swanse Baptist Church Theme of the day a Super Hero.. She was Super Mom because I am super mom she said

Wear Gold Day at South Swansea VBS

American Stonehenge New Hampshire 
At Stonehenge.  We had so much fun together.
being a human sundial.  She loved it.  

 Fun at Soulfest New Hampshire she was a little scared but she did it

Listening to her favorite singer Britt Nicole! She was in her glories.

showing off their ity bity little cup of Italian Ice

 Beekeeping 101 demonstration we went to

Our Trip to NC visiting Mike and his girls. Sam and Selena being silly

 Fun sleeping in the living room sheet tent.  Fun summer memories.  Look at how Evee sleeps her hands above her head so adorable

Sam and Evee

Beach time with friends.

I didn't think we did so much this summer until this post.  Glad we are making memories.  We are so lucky to have such great family and friends to enjoy our times with.  

I hope your summer was as fun as ours.

Thoughts on homeschooling..

I posted about this before but... I find it funny what others think about homeschooling.

I find it funny how many people will quiz my daughter on what she is learning.  Sadly she is just like her public school peers if asked what did you learn today most kids will say nothing. My daughter is no different.  If you really want to know ask her it differently. You might want to ask me first and I can tell you all about our learning then you can engage my child in a discussion and she will tell you more then you want to know or maybe not.

At dance class a new mom found out we homeschool and she commented on how she could never do that she would kill her kids if she had to be around them all day long. That I find very sad. Sad for the mom all she is missing out on.  Not saying homeschooling is for everyone. BUT to feel that way.

At her other dance class one mom commented on how we do so much. she turned to her daughter and said well that's how homeschoolers keep from being so isolated and unsocialized.  Yes I bit my tongue on that one. I really wanted to say Since we homeschool and Samantha is not in a school for over 7 hours a day and then comes home with 1 - 2 hours of homework we are able to pursue her interests.  We have the time.

I do love the support I have from some friends who thought we were crazy when we started and now they sing my praises. I even have a few friends who have come over to the dark side of life and are beginning their own homeschool journey!  :)

but mostly I find it funny what people think.  Mostly those who have no clue what they are talking about and don't want to know.  Just look up on the internet and you will find all kind of false information about homeschooling.

I do find it sad when parents of public schooled kids get defensive and put down homeschooling just because it makes them uncomfortable.  Its sad that in today's world people who do things differently and lets face it we all do things differently people tend to put down what your doing.  Its like that with anything from schooling to parenting to what kind of clothes you wear.

I love that we homeschool. I love that I am the one who will teach my daughter. I also know that its not always easy. That we have those moments where I wonder if I am screwing her up for life.  Then I see her get it and know we are on the right path for my family.  I also love that through homeschooling we have meet so many wonderful people from all walks of life and my daughter is able to grow an open mind and hopefully wont get judgmental to others choices even if they aren't the ones she will choose.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Its that time of year again

that I in planning mode for the new school year.  I tend to follow when the public schools start. Its easier that way.  We will begin in September 1.

After a lot of thinking, praying and thinking some more I think I know what I will be doing for the fall.......

Fourth Grade school year 2014-2015 (Shedding a few tears that my baby is entering the fourth grade)

Five in a Row Volume 4
Heart of Dakota for History and Science - finish off  Bigger Hearts for His Glory then move on to Preparing
Math workbook from FlashKids and Easy Peasy All in One homeschoolimg
Grammar- workbook and Mobymax (internet)
Spelling You See Level D
Health- The Care & Keeping of you: The Body Book for Girls and the go along lap book

Outside the home classes and groups:
Calvary Bible homeschoolers - art and gym
Spindle City Co op science class
Life Homeschool Group for field trips
Newport Country Childrens Choir (Hopefully they will do it this year again)

Outside the home extra activities:
Baton at the rec center
Ice skating lessons
Free homeschoool ice skating at the Abby

Looking at this list it seems like a lot.  But really its not.

Some of what we are using this year is not what I originally planned. But life has a way of changing things up when we least expect it.  My job is no longer.  My client lost her medicaid due to turing 65 and no long qualifying for it.  That who paid me. So until they decide if they will still allow me even if she no longer has that insurance I will be collecting until I can find a new part time job or get my old one back.  But this threw a wrench into my plans on buying the rest of my curriculum.  So I looked for what fit our needs the most.  So Math u See was out for this year instead I picked up the workbook at the bookstore and will supplement with the internet.  Same goes with the grammar I didn't even begin to know what I wanted to use but no money.  The rest I already had.

I am meeting up with the leader of the Life group and we will be planning how we will co lead this group.  Then after this year I will take over leading it.  I am nervous and excited to take over this group.  Over the last few years enrollment and participation has been very low.  I am looking forward to trying to grow this group and taking it to a different level.  More internet connections will help.

Along with 2 good friends we also started Spindle City Co-op.  We are starting with only one class for each level and see how that goes.  We are hoping its a great success. I would love to add one more class per group.  We will see.  Praying it all works out.

*Edited to change what health program I will be using. Thanks to a friend who told me what she is using this year for health I realized I had the same book and decided that I could use the same with the lap book.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How we do Five In A Row...

There seems to be some questions on how people use Five in a Row. Here is how I use it with my daughter....
As we finish our row I am already looking to see what will be our next book.  Once I pick a book I then look at all the manual has us doing.  Since my daughter is on the older end of using FIAR I try to do most of the lesson the manual has to offer.  Then I look on pinterest to see what other fun stuff people do. I look on You tube for anything to do with a book we are doing.  Example: Wee Gillis I found videos on bag pipes how they make them and to listen to people play them, videos of the highlands, of Scottish dancing, of Kilt making and a farmer shearing a sheep.  Then I look to see if there is any hands on crafts and lap books.  I even found fun videos of vacationing in Scotland on Netflix.

Each day we do a few activities.

When we lapbook I don't use folders I put it all on card stock and then into our binder...
This is where I put the story disks. I don't have the room in my house for the wall map so we do look at the map to where we are studying. So we kind of use them as our table of contents.

Here are examples of  2 books we have rowed.
title page

 She does this for most books

 some lapbooking and a story about flying

Title page
 science experiments
 some art
 story elements
 some basic math (this book we did early on our adventure in FIAR)
 art lesson

along with what you see here a lot of the lessons in FIAR is verbal.  We both love a mix of types of learning. after this school year is over we are moving on to the last volume in FIAR.  After that she will move onto Beyond FIAR.   I hope you have gotten some good ideas from my blog post.  One little secret I will let you in on I don't do a whole lot of scheduling FIAR.  I love to let it all fall into place.  Our lives are on the crazy busy side so each day I do what seems to fit best instead of having the whole week or 2 planned out for us.  Some rows take 1 week and others take 2.  It seems to work for us. 

Peep Science Experiments....

Following a blog post on Facebook I was excited for Samantha to do some Peep Science. The blog is Lemon Lime Adventures.
She wasn't too sure at first as that is one of her favorite Easter candy. But I convinced her it would be fun. She kept trying to lick them. So at first she described the peep in her science journal. She measured the control peep. She guessed what she thought would happen if the peep was put in the microwave.
Then the fun began. In the peep went. He was never the same again.  At first he was very gooey then became very hard and crusty. 

Then Nick came out he wanted to know what crazy stuff we were doing and he joined in the fun.
I asked Samantha to think of what we can use to dissolve the peep completely.
Her idea boil it.  We boiled the water first and dropped the poor peep in. In 60 seconds this is all that was left of it...
NOTHING but yellow water.  

Still thinking She thought maybe vinegar...
only made it a little gooey.

Then Nick suggested bleach
No it only took away all the yellow color and the part that was in the bleach it shrunk.

Now the gross part not sure who thought of it but We peed on it. Yes we did.  That didn't do a thing besides make it a little gooey. Yes we did it in the toilet. We didn't flush the poor peep.  We took it out and put it in the trash. 

Nick then said what about flash freezing it. Out came the can of compressed air. Didn't take long to completely freeze it. then when picked up and dropped it broke into pieces.  Interesting we did put a peep in the freezer forgot about and in a little more then 24 it still wasn't frozen, just cold.  Still edible.  Samantha did  enjoyed it.  
2 videos of the flash freeze peep

The peep in the microwave.