2013-2014 homeschool 6 week update

Despite starting school way back in July, we are only 6 weeks through. Why? Well, we took 4 weeks off to travel in the UK (primarily England and Scotland). While it was fun, we also managed to get some relaxed learning in. We saw one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, several castles and ruins including the WW2 tunnels at Dover Castle, Stonehenge, some geology, and even went bird watching on Scotland’s north coast. Not to mention learning geography, culture studies by immersion, and a little foreign language (Scottish). There were train schedules and subway routes to figure out. Oh, Richard learned to do a very good imitation of the sound peacocks make and we even saw some cute, fluffy, peacock chicks while we stayed at Pendley Manor.

So now we’ve just been back at the books for one full week.

How’s it going? Overall, I’d say great! We are on more of a fixed daily schedule. Last year our schedule kept getting thrown out as business problems arose even early on. This year we are doing much better. Today, we even managed to get in some art doing collages in the style of Klimt. We are finally doing the Collage It and Paint It art packs from Art Academy.

Also we switched our schedule earlier since returning from England. We are now getting up around 6am and bedtime is strictly 9pm for everyone. When hubby starts his MBA classes which don’t get out until 10pm, we’ll have to see how that goes, but for now this is working. We seem to feel we get more done each day when we get an early start despite neither of us being very early morning type people.

Yesterday we signed the kids up for swim lessons. They are very excited. It’s been 2 years since last swim lessons. Then it was just a month in the spring. Hopefully this year we can get more involved in activities like lessons. The swim lessons will on the 14th. I signed them up for Tuesday/Thursday. There were other families with kids their age & ability so hopefully Karen won’t get stuck with preschoolers again.

Our school day usually starts with science. Monday and Tuesday is geology. Wednesday and Thursday is astronomy. I read the sections in the books then help them with any activities and discussions. To my surprise, my daughter (4th grade) did better on the first test than my son (7th grade).

Richard is doing much better with Christian Light Education’s math 700. He’s actually enjoying math again! He even got mad when we told him he could skip doing math one day :LOL: He’s figured out a way to schedule his assignments each day that doesn’t stress him out.  He does a hard subject, then does an easy subject and then takes a short break. Repeat that 3 times and he’s done for the day. This is something he figured out on his own and so far it seems to be working.

Karen is doing American Story 2 from Winter Promise. She’s enjoying the readings like last year. Once again, I’ve substituted the book War Torn Valley for the civil war coloring book and paper soldiers. While the battles were an important part, it’s more important to understand how the common people lived and were impacted by the war. This is from an Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective so it is a slightly less known viewpoint, but one I think is very important.

Another thing that seems to be helping is we are eating more healthy. Breakfast is usually oatmeal with fruit. Lunch and dinners are home made with lots of veggies. Tonight is a bean and rice soup with the last bits of leftover rotisserie chicken. Snacks are fruit or veggies along with some protein such as a boiled egg, a small slice of cheese, a handful of nuts, a spoonful of peanut butter, or hummus. We have cut way back on processed foods, but so far don’t really miss them. I bought a box of Kids Z bars for Richard when he gets fussy due to low energy. However, we haven’t even opened them yet.

Catch up Friday

Today is catch-up day. The kids are supposed to have completed 10 lessons in all their subjects today. I checked and they are behind in a few things so are having to double up. They got behind partly because of me. My knee has been hurting so I’ve been taking a lot of pain pills which make me sleepy. I can’t grade their work if I’m asleep and they forget to ask when I get up from a nap.

The good news is that once all the academics are done, we will do an art lesson. We didn’t do much of that last year. I’m hoping to stay more on top of things so have time for art rather than always catching up on skipped academics each week.

Last night the Poker Flats Experimental Rocket Range had an open house. We didn’t get there until about 730 and it ended at 8. However, we were still able to see a automated helicopter and learn about how scientists use them. My son asked some great questions. (Why does an object like a Frisbee or football fly straighter/better when spinning?) Then we went to the control room. That was neat. There wasn’t much in it since no launches are scheduled any time soon. But we still got to see the timing computers and the counter where the scientists put all their computers during a launch. Again, my son asked many great questions and was told about a rocketry camp to consider when he’s in high school.

We were given a LOT of helium filled balloons (5 each child). On the way home, our car looked like a clown car full of balloons. However, it gave us the opportunity to do an experiment we were told about. Observe which direction a balloon tilts when you drive around a sharp corner. Why does it go to that side? Made for a great discussion and he eventually was able to come up with the correct answer. Do you know? *Hints: gravity, centrifugal force, air density

Starting the school year early

Even though it is mid-July, we started our homeschool year this week. We are starting early this year because we are taking a month off starting in the middle of August for our trip to England. So far, it’s not going very well. My son is having trouble concentrating. However, that’s not too surprising since he often has trouble getting back to studying after a break, especially longer ones. I also hurt my knee badly 2 weeks ago so haven’t been able to get to the store for all their supplies yet. But we have enough for now to get started.

The curriculum is great! K is liking the American Story 2, except we don’t have supplies to do any of the activities yet so she’s a bit frustrated about that.

R is needing lots of review for math since we switched programs. That’s ok. He needed it anyway because the other program didn’t cover all these topics very well. The history is not a Sunrise edition. It’s still the original version so isn’t divided into nice daily lessons. Instead, there are just a list of topics and the questions. We decided to cover 2-3 topics each day, which should get him through the workbook in about 2 weeks. There are 10 history workbooks for the year, so that should be fine.

We haven’t started the science yet, but will next week. I wanted to wait to make sure all the other subjects were going well. It usually takes us a week or so to start everything so the kids aren’t overwhelmed the first week. I’ve figured out we need to do 1 lesson in each of the textbooks every week to get through the new material. I’m still trying to decide how much to do each time to finish up the physics, but have allowed 1 day each week for it.

Today is Friday, so I may dig out the art kits. I’d like to do them more frequently. It seems art and things like that always get left behind as the year goes along.

Homeschool order savings

I finally found the purchase order forms I need to order school materials thorough my homeschool program. Originally I planned to order from 4 companies. However, when I got to comparing prices, it turned out I could get many of the items I needed 10 to 30 percent cheaper on Rainbow Resource. That meant I didn’t have an order with Sonlight this year and the Veritas Press and Winter Promise orders were much smaller than originally planned. I didn’t figure it exactly, but I think I saved about $20. Even though I’m not directly paying for these items, it’s always nice to save money so I can buy other things later. So here’s how it turned out. Mostly this is so I can re-do the orders if they get lost. The abbreviation in parenthesis is the content standards the item will be used for.

Winter Promise Publishing ($15 & $12 shipping)

QMA-604 Medieval Activity Pack $15 (SS 7.7, 7.8)

Veritas Press ($81.71 & $8.23 shipping)

490750 Pompeii Buried Alive $3.99 (RE 4.16, SC 5.20)

190090 Great Physicists $6.73 (RE 6)

280630 Michael Faraday $10.99 (RE 6)

000751 Call of the Wild/White Fang Comp Guide $12 (RE 6)

000740 Fahrenheit 451 Comp Guide $12 (RE 6)

000733 Adv of Tom Sawyer Comp Guide $12 (RE 4, WR 3.6)

000766 Robin Hood Lit Guide $12 (RE 4, WR 3.6)

000745 Fairy Tales Comp Guide $12 (RE 4, WR 3.6)

Rainbow Resource ($165 & $16.50 shipping)

010085 Geology Rocks $9.75 (SC 3.14 & 5.16)

033417 Volcanoes & Earthquakes $11.50 (SC 5.22, 5.16)

023838 Science Detectives $7.50 (SC 5A, RE 6)

040531 Great Ancient Egypt Projects $11.95 (SS 7.7)

017774 Our Planet Earth $19.75 (SC 5.16 & 3.12)

048004 Our Planet Earth Teacher Supplement $7.95 (SC 5.16)

017808 Our Universe $19.75 (SC 5.17 & 3.15)

048005 Our Universe Teacher Supplement $7.95 (SC 5c, 5D)

017457 Heaven & Earth Student Supplement (SC5 c &5D, RE6.9)

046013 The Fallacy Detective $17.50 (RE 6.13 & 6.19)

041452 Cool Stuff and How It Works $14.50 (SC 5, RE 6)

005262 Magic School Bus Lost in Solar System $5.25 (RE 4.16, SC 3.15)

009891 Lit/Sci Guide Magic School Bus Lost in Solar System $7.95 (WR 3.6, SC 3C)

016218 Magic School Bus Inside Earth $5.25 (RE 4.16, SC 3.12)

009888 Lit/Sci Guide Magic School Bus Inside Earth $7.95 (WR 3.6, SC 3C)

013669 Planet Earth $4.25 (SC 5.15

Plan for 2013-14 school year

It’s that time again. Time to think about and plan curriculum for next school year. We have the added complication this year of going on vacation from mid-August to mid-September. That means we need to order at least the items we will use at the start of the school year in time to have them by July so we aren’t a month behind when we get back.

So here’s what I’ve come up with. I will be ordering from several different companies again including Sonlight, Veritas Press, Christian Light Education, Winter Promise, and Rainbow Resource. For science I want to finish up the physics programs from last year then move on to geology and astronomy. They will continue with Christian Light Education for Bible, Reading, and Language Arts. Richard needs some basic geometry so I will take a break from Math-U-See and do Math 700 from Christian Light instead. That means both of them will be using CLE for math. Richard will be using a few of the programs from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

SCIENCE will be the same for both of them this year. Start off with physics finishing Exploration Education from last year. Geology and astronomy will be 2 textbooks and several fun add-ons.

(God’s Design for) Our Planet Earth: Rainbow Resource: $19.95 textbook, $8 guide

(God’s Design for) Our Universe: Rainbow Resource: $19.75 textbook, $8 guide

Heaven & Earth worksheets: Rainbow Resource: $8

Pompeii Buried Alive: Veritas Press (3rd grade), $4

Cool Stuff 2.0: Sonlight science G, $25

Bell & Science of Telescopes: Sonlight science E, $9

Planet Earth: Sonlight science C, $5

Magic School Bus Inside Earth: Sonlight science C, $7

Magic School Bus Solar System: Sonlight science C, $7

Geology Rocks: Winter Promise, $13

Volcanoes & Earthquakes: Winter Promise, $16

R: 7th grade

MATH- Math 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $6.70×2 answers

LANGUAGE ARTS- LA 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $7 guidebook, $3.35×2 answers, But Not Forsaken (novel) $9

READING- Reading 700: Christian Light Education: The Road Less Traveled (reader) $10.50, $2.75×5 workbooks, $2.75×2 answers

HISTORY- God’s World His Story: Christian Light Education: textbook $25, $2.75×10 workbooks, $2.75×5 answers, Illuminated Lettering: Winter Promise $18, Ancient Egypt Projects: Winter Promise $15, Medieval Game Pack: Winter Promise $15

BIBLE- Bible 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $3.35×2 answers

LITERATURE- Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein $6 Veritas Press (grade 7), Science Detectives $9 Veritas Press (grade 7), Michael Faraday Father of Electronics $11 Veritas Press (grade 7), Call of the Wild/White Fang Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 7), Fahrenheit 451 Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 6)

CRITICAL THINKING- The Fallacy Detective: $22, Veritas Press (grade 7)

WRITING- “Teaching the Classics” and “Fix It! Grammer and Editing made easy with the Classics”: Institute for Excellence in Writing. I have the workbooks but need to figure out how to order just the DVD’s.

K Grade 4

MATH- Math 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $6.70×2 answers

LANGUAGE ARTS- LA 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks

READING- Reading 400: Christian Light Education: Beyond Bridges (reader), $2.75×5 workbooks

HISTORY- American Story 2: Winter Promise

BIBLE- Bible 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks

LITERATURE- Tom Sawyer Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 4), Robin Hood Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 4), Brothers Grim Fairy Tales Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 3)