Tuesday, September 11, 2012

School for 2012-2013

reading lesson, photo by Ava

what school actually looks like at my house. . .

This is our fourth week of school!  Now that Classical Conversations (our homeschool tutoring group)has started, we will pull together a more serious schedule than our laid back summer schooling.  I figer (you know, like figure only cooler) we can do what we need to do in four hours a day, tops.  We'll git 'er done mostly in the morning and then still have afternoons for playing.  My kids are 5, 3, and 1, after all.  (By the way, people give me this look when I say my kids' ages, like "wow, I'm surprised your shirt is on the right way."  It's kind of nice actually.  I have just enough kids (and they are just young enough) to make people think my life must be really crazy, and they are all impressed with me for looking sort of normal, but not so many that I have truly lost my mind.  But really, three kids?  Pshh.  Try four, ages four and under like my friend Kristina.)


I've been reminded lately of how special this time is.  My children are old enough to take places, young enough for everything to be new and exciting, and also young enough to get in free in some cases.  We went to the annual homeschool day at The Oregon Gardens today, and experienced an unbelievably beautiful fall day.  My mom came with me and brought my niece, and the cousins had a great time frolicking all over the place, investigating pond water, animal tracks, and insects samples.  They got to card goat hair, dig for dinosaur bones, taste herbs on crackers, and roll repeatedly and wildly down a grassy hill.  Even the baby.

As I was asking various other homeschool moms if they would be attending, there were many answers of, "well, I wish we could but..."  Or "my kids just aren't interested in that anymore."  And so this week I have made a decision that I will incorporate as many field trips as I can this year, because 1) we are way ahead of the game.  Ava's only 5 and competently doing first grade work.  2) Sometimes the kids still get in free.  3) Academics will soon become more pressing and we might not have time.  4) My kids will *sob* grow up and not want to go places with me anymore.  Actually, that last one might be ok, because then I could go to Target and try on a shirt without having to chain Wyatt to the cart while telling Ava, "Go catch your sister before she eats that chunk of mud on the floor."  (True story, one time I was trying on pants at Kohls and I turned around to look at myself in the mirror and when I turned back around, the baby was literally gone.  So I had to send Ava out to get Charlotte who had crawled under the dressing room door and took off for the housewares section.)

ANYWAY.  Sheesh.  I will now list for you our scheduled plan of attack for the 2012-2013 school year.  It will sound like a crazy lot, but remember that not everything happens every day, and some of it is just for introduction and exposure at this stage.  

Faith/Spiritual Growth
The One Year Bible for Children
Telling God's Story (year 1)
The Jesus Book by Stephen Elkins
The Children's Book of Virtues, By William Bennett, Illustrated by Michael Hague
Selected resources around holidays, perhaps discussed here at a later date
Memorize Exodus 20 for Classical Conversations
Other verses memorized and reviewed with our Bible memory box

Classical Conversations
Ava is again enrolled in the Foundations program of Classical Conversations (CC).  We love, love this program and use it somewhat as the spine of our homeschool.  Since CC really encourages sibling and family involvement, Wyatt sits in with us and participates.  We have many fun extension activities for on deck for the CC topics.

You can check out my CC pinterest board to see my ridiculously over-zealous hopes for extension activities.


Literacy/Literature
Phonics Pathways.  This is for both kids.  I do not at all think that Wyatt needs to learn to read, but he wants to try, so we do some low-key easy lessons together.  Ava still needs some phonics skill practice, and the lessons towards the end of this book work great for that.  I also pull from those lessons for dictation for spelling and handwriting practice.
Ad hoc lessons from The ABCs and All Their Tricks.
CC grammar memory work this year includes prepositions, and linking and helping verbs.
Possibly using Teaching the Classics
Other than that, we will read read read, and write as often as we can.  I'm hoping to be able to post some Ava originals this year.  Knowing her, there should be a great story or two by October.  

Math
Singapore 1A and 1B for homeschoolers.  You might recall that we started this last year, and it turned out to be slow going.  Ava's sailing a long now, so I expect we'll easily finish the first grade books this year.
CC cycle 1, the kids additionally memorize skip counting up to the 15s, squares, cubes, measurements, formulas, and math laws. 

Geography
Map Skills for Today
Window on the World  (this is also a Faith resource.  I love this book for teaching about other countries/people groups from a child's perspective and learning how to think and pray globally.  The kids enjoy it as well).
A Child's Geography (we'll see how far we get in this one)

CC cycle 1: Africa and the World, map drawing and location memorization

History
CC cycle 1: Ancient civilizations
Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times
CC Acts and Facts History (Timeline) Cards

Science
Nature study via notebooks for sketching, observations, pressings etc.
Monthly challenge at Handbook of Nature Study.
Natural World, and Earth and Space, from Southwestern Publishing
CC cycle 1: biology and earth science (probably we will need to make a baking soda/vinegar volcano)

Fine Arts

CC cycle 1: Learning the tin whistle, orchestra and composers, and drawing topics
Drawing with Children, Mona Brookes

Latin
CC cycle 1: declensions (like I even know what that means. . .)

PE
perhaps gymnastics in the winter
bike rides, trampolines, hiking, ball handling, whatever their father happens to be watching on tv on Saturdays



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