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.

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.