Monday, March 14, 2011

Homeschooling Update, Week 26: A day in our school

I’ve probably described our typical homeschooling day on here before, but I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of what we do. We are zooming along through the school year, with only 10 weeks left to go (at least by the schedule--I’m planning to fit those 10 weeks into 8, though :)).

My goal is to start school around 9-9:30 am each day, but in reality that rarely happens. Sometimes it’s more like 10-10:30; it just depends what time I get up and get moving, how early (or late) I exercise and get a shower . . . stuff like that. Anyway, at this point school usually only takes us about 2 hours or less, so it’s not a big deal if we start a little later.

The first thing we do is workbooks. These are done at the kitchen table, and we usually do them in the same order every day. We start with Reading. Sam is doing really well with that, and I’ve been so encouraged, especially when I compare this year to last year and all the struggles he had with reading. There are 231 lessons in the book, and he is on lesson 195, so we should easily finish it by the end of this year. Which is cool, because next year I get to start over with Julia!

After Reading, we move on to Language. Sam is on lesson 77 in this book, out of 100 lessons, so we will finish this one a little bit early. I love the thoroughness and gradual building of this book . . . it doesn’t take much time each day, and is quite repetetive, but I really like that because I can tell it’s sinking in. :) We’ve been learning about nouns, pronouns, and action verbs. We’ve also studied things like initials, periods, seasons, months, days of the week, address and phone number, and Sam has memorized several poems.

Language is followed by Math. We have just started into a unit about basic multiplication. Up to this point we have done lots of adding and subtracting of numbers up to 40. I appreciate that Singapore Math doesn’t focus so much on memorization at this point, as on understanding concepts. They use lots of pictures and manipulatives, which helps make it fun. It seems to be quite a different method from the way I was taught, so I’m learning as we go along, too. :) Sam enjoys it and is doing fairly well with it, so I am happy about that.

We save Handwriting for last, with good reason. This is still Sam’s most hated subject--not because he actually struggles with it, but because he perceives it as “hard” and just doesn’t enjoy it. For a while I was pushing him through the lessons faster, trying to do 2 or 3 days’ worth in 1 day, but I’ve decided to slow down again. My goal was to get through it early so we’d have some time at the end of the year with no handwriting, but I think it will go more smoothly if I back off . . . so I am. Speaking of handwriting . . . how many of you use an actual curriculum? I’m considering skipping this subject next year, and then moving him on to cursive a year or two later, but I just don’t know yet. Do you think it’s an essential subject or not? I think it’s good to teach him to be disciplined even in a subject he doesn’t like--and to write neatly (which he does pretty well)--but I am wondering if it’s worth it to spend the money on the curriculum when he already gets some copywork practice with Language. Just thinking out loud here . . . please share your thoughts!

Anyway, in this subject I think we are pretty much on schedule--maybe a little bit behind, but not much.

After we get the workbooks done, it’s our favorite time--couch time! Here is the stack of books we are currently working on:

We actually finished the Boxcar Children (Treehouse Mystery) today, and will start on the next one tomorrow. We have been working our way through these since the beginning of the school year, and Sam is still into them as much as ever. I think we will stop when we get to the end of the original series, and start into something else. I’d like to get him started on the Happy Hollisters, a series I loved as a kid. Just got to find a set for a decent price on Ebay! I was able to borrow a few from my mom and grampa, but I think there are around 30+ in the series, so if Sam really likes them I will have to find more!

We are enjoying all the other read-alouds, too. Tomorrow we will finish In Grandma’s Attic. At first the kids weren’t too excited about this book, but now Sam and Julia both really enjoy it. We have a few of the others in the series, so I might see if they want me to read those, too. Wild Places is a new favorite--we have been learning about jungles/rainforests, and Sam was fascinated to learn about Pygmies. :) He has now decided he wants to be a jungle explorer when he grows up. As long as he can drive a Hummer through the jungle. :) And in the First Book of Nature, we recently covered invertebrates, and now are learning about moths and butterflies. I’m thinking we might have to get one of those butterfly hatching kits and get to observe some up close this spring!

Well, I have made this long enough, and if you’re still awake, you’re doing good. :) I would love to hear how things are going for the rest of you who homeschool! Hope you enjoyed this peek into our homeschool day.

**For info on the curriculum we’re using for different subjects, check out this post. Just so I don’t have to re-link to everything right now. :)


Tiffany said...

We used Sonlight for kindergarten and first grade. It's a great curriculum. In Grandma's Attic is one of our favorites.

Carrie said...

Hey Tiffany! :) We love Sonlight, too. I am thankful that my kids really enjoy being read to . . . sometimes they don't want me to stop!

Mary Ann said...

Sounds like you are moving right along! I think the best part of home schooling would be the great review you get as you teach your kids. I could totally use some grammer & handwriting lessons :-)

Carrie said...

Mary Ann, that is totally true--reviewing all this stuff (without having to be tested on it ;)) is really cool. I'm not too sure if I'm looking forward to reviewing algebra & geometry someday, though . . . :D

Alicia said...

Looks terrific! We're reading In Grandma's Attic right now and Chloe LOVES IT! She's always begging me to read more chapters. I love to hear about sonlight -- I'm going to check and see if those science books are in our library or if I can request them. What's the language curriculum called? Is it Shurley grammar? How fantastic that you'll be done early!

Carrie said...

Alicia, the language book we're using is First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise (Peace Hill Press). It's really good, and I like that it's not consumable, so I'll be able to re-use it with the other kids.

I have heard good things about Shurley grammar as well!

Nikki said...

We just read the Grandma's Attic series too.:)My kids old and young enjoyed them so much.~Nikki

SarahBee said...

Hi Aunt Carrie!

I just read the homeschooling day and let me tell you, that is really interesting! I think it's cool that you're able to teach your kids without leaving home! Also Sam has really neat hand writing! :)