Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Homeschool Channel's Live Webcast!



For those of you who don't know about The Homeschool Channel it is an interactive social network that not only displays visual media about and for homeschoolers but it also has blogs, forums, and groups for support of homeschool families. I have been a member since it 1st got started. Just recently they made some major changes to the format of the programing. They went from a playlist of shows played continously throughout the day to including interactive webcast every Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:30pm(eastern) where you can chat live with the presenter. I liken it to attending a mini Homeschool Convention in the privacy of your own home. If you are constantly trying to stave off burnout or need a little information or direction than I would definitely check them out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Curriculum Changes- Grammar



When we first started formal grammar lessons with my oldest we began by using First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer at Peace Hill Press. Back when we purchased it they had the combined level 1&2 book. I learned later they started using 2 separate books for those levels. I am glad I was able to purchase it together when I had a chance cause I saved some money that way. I loved FLL(First Language Lessons) for those 1st two levels. It was a gentle yet thorough start in grammar basics.

The problem came in the program for me when looking into the 3rd level. While I was looking into the scope and sequence and even some sample pages I began to get the impression that it was going to be more of repeat of the last two levels with just a little jump in difficulty. The only big difference was the introduction of diagramming. I just think at this stage in my child's development it was just moving way to slow. So I began my search for another program that would include more rigor and also introduce diagramming and not break my already tight budget. That is when I found Rod and Staff English.

Rod and Staff is published by the Anabaptist Church which are Mennonites. They have conservative Christian views and believe in a solid no nonsense no fluff and glitter approach in there curriculum. I was able to get the 2nd and 3rd grade textbook(non consumable)  and teachers guides at our local homeschool conference used book sale for very cheap.  I also can find them used at local homeschool bookstore as well. They come with test booklets and worksheets sold separate  but I didn't bother with those.

 I thought over the summer I would do a few units in the 2nd grade level to get her used to the R&S method before starting the 3rd grade book. It proved to be a good thing cause unlike First Language Lessons R&S requires more sentence writing in the lessons which is something I loved for this particular child. Keep in mind that if your child is not strong in handwriting and gets frustrated very easily I would either choose a different program or if you do decided on R&S English that you might consider letting the child work the problems on a dry erase board rather than keeping a notebook.

Now with FLL there were elements that we had become accustomed to being included every few lessons that R&S does not appear to include in the same way thus far and that is Poem Memorization and Parts of Speech Memory Work. So I added those in myself just to bridge the gap between programs. R&S will eventually have a unit on poetry but its not a part of the lessons throughout like FLL. I also wanted to continue to create those grammar memory pegs so we have our grammar memory on flash cards now and we review them every week and add in more as we are introduced to a new concept. She is also getting some of the extra grammar practice in our latin curriculum that we started this year as well. We are using Prima Latina through Memoria Press. I will do a review on that at a later time. For the poetry I have the children pick a poem book from the library each week and the select one that they want to learn. We have them copy it down in a notebook for copywork and then make an illustration. I also have my oldest learning a famous speech. We try to memorize at least 2 each year. Last year she memorized and recited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have been to the Mountain Top" and Emperor Halie Selassie"s(Ethiopian King) Speech to the UN. I selected an excerpt from both cause they were obviously way to long to do in its entirety. We learned a few lines each week. We just keep adding on till it was all learned. And then we would have her recite it in public. She recited in front of a Sunday School group and once at a Homeschool Group Park Day.  You can find up to 100 different famous American Speeches at American Rhetoric. This year we haven't decided on one yet but I was thinking of having my son and my daughter do the last part of the Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech together. And that still leave one more. I was thinking maybe learning the Preamble to the Constitution.

My son started FLL level 1 this year as well. I am hoping to follow the same pattern with my son so he can use all his sisters books. That is just one more way I can save money in our homeschool. If there is one thing I have learned through our homeschool journey and that is to stay flexible. I can change whatever needs to be changed to help my child grow best. I don't have be stuck with any particular curriculum.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Supercharged Science Course!



Two months ago we had the privilege of joining in on a web based Free Astronomy Class hosted by Aurora Lipper at Supercharged Science. It was awesome to say the least. Ms. Aurora went through the entire solar system starting with the sun and including nebula's, black holes,  major constellations, and even the best times of day to view the sky for certain things without a telescope.  What I liked best about her teaching style is that she is very interactive and instead of dumbing things down for a younger audience she just explains thoroughly to bring kids up to her level. So I recommend her eclasses for all ages even adults.



Now she does offer a Trial 1 Month Membership to the site after the free class. Its just $1.00 for the 30 days. It cost more after that though. We went ahead and signed up for the trial. For signing up we received a free DVD with lots of great information on how to use the site and easy to do at home experiments to help get your feet wet into the Supercharged Science way.

The Site set up hits many different learning styles. In each unit she includes an article of text, a instructional video with step by step experiment, and a pdf file of downloable printable textbook  and lesson plan materials.

Although my 7yr old and I thoroughly enjoyed our Supercharged Science experience I have to say that I think that a middle school or high school level child would gain the most benefit from the program.

Even if you are not able to sign up for a membership at this time don't forget to sign up for the free weekly newsletters chalked full of great information and sometimes a heads up on a free presentation of webcourse offer.

As far as worldview from what I can gather from the one live class that we took and the experiment videos and articles I cannot see an overtly creationist nor darwinistic worldview. She seems to be just shooting straight science. But do not quote me on that please call and ask yourself if you have a particular worldview that you want to make sure the curriculum would be a good fit for.

Its been a while!

I know it has been months since I have updated my blog here. But really I have been adjusting to life as a new mother of 4. Now that baby boy is almost 6 months now I feel like I am back in the swing of things. He is a very good baby its just that I have had a harder time getting my routine back then I have with previous births. His temperment has help the adjustment though. I can say he is more of an arm baby than the others were. But you know what I notice is that he seems to be more secure than the others as well. I really wonder if wearing him and holding him and not letting him cry it out has anything to do with it. lol!





Well anywho I wanted to just give a couple updates on how homeschooling has been going this year. We have has some curriculum changes and I am still trying to get my schedule to run smoothly. I have wrote our a schedule based off tips I got our of Managers of Their Homes by the Maxwell's. I am going to try to give a review of that when I get a sec. It was a good tool. I also recently bought Large Family Logistics last week for my birthday so once I get that one read I will give my take on that one as well.

I can say that even though this year has been full changes and adjustments the children still seem to be thriving academically. It goes to show that no matter how we may feel we are not doing enough or doing it right the children will still learn. Learning is happening all the time. Education is not exclusively held in textbooks and workbooks. Having all that being said. I am going to post some pics for schooling moments this school year thus far.




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