Monday, June 29, 2009

Week in Review

Last week, we more or less stuck with all our regular activities. We did two days of math, two days of history, and one day of social studies. Colwyn is especially interested in the books we have about ancient Egypt, specifically mummification. I'm going to look up other activities we can do relating to ancient Egypt. Colwyn did a reading lesson each day and Lachlann did about four. Colwyn's really coming on with reading.. he can read a bunch of small words quite easily, and is slowly building up his sight words.

For outings we went mini-golfing one day at Richardson's and talked a bit about dairy farming and nutrition. We also had lunch at the mall another day. It was rainy for most of the week which made it difficult to get out. Unfortunately, this week is supposed to be much of the same, which sucks.

We had our big homeschool BBQ at our house on Saturday. There were 28 people, including our family. Everyone had a great time swimming, playing, eating, and socializing. Doug said it was the best BBQ we'd ever had, in part because everyone talked positively and supportively about things we're doing - gardening, chickens, homeschooling, homebirthing, etc. I commented to Jen at one point while surveying all our guests at how great it was to see so many people doing the same things we were. All the other moms commented later about how great it was for their husbands to get to see families similar to their own - us moms see that regularly, but the dads aren't so lucky.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Week in Review

This week we've done our usual 'lessons.' I call them lessons but they're totally optional, and Colwyn gets to choose which ones he does on any given day. His motivation, other than his natural enjoyment in doing these activities, is time on the Wii. I'd been hesitant to buy a Wii because I'm worried that the kids will spend too much time playing on it. But the boys were more than willing to make a deal that in order to play video games, Colwyn has to do two 'lessons' and Lachlann has to do one. Lachlann's lesson can count as observing or helping with Colwyn's, depending on what it is. They can choose between math, reading, social studies, and history.

For math, we're still working with the Singapore workbooks in addition to real life experience. Colwyn is about halfway through 1B and Lachlann is halfway through 1A. They're not expensive workbooks, but they'll add up over time and multiple children, so we use a page protector and a dry erase marker so they'll hopefully last for all the kids. They both have been breezing through them, doing at least five or six pages at a time. They did math on Tuesday and Friday; on Friday, Colwyn was up to learning about even and odd numbers, and skip counting.

For reading, we've been using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
. It's not the most fun, but it gets the job done and Colwyn likes that each lesson takes under 10 minutes. He's consistently able to sound out easy words. Lachlann has even showed some interested and on Thursday, I did the first lesson with him. He did the second on Friday and enjoyed it, even asking for more (though unfortunately, Fiona woke up before we could go onto the third).

We signed up for a great program through Highlights that teaches social studies. It's called Top Secret Adventures and because it's meant for kids 7-12, I have to help him with it quite a bit. Mainly, he needs help with reading.. the puzzles he can solve on his own when I give him directions. The first package was for Australia and we finished that on Thursday. Then We started the next one, which features Mexico.

We're using The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor for history, supplemented by lots of books from the library. For the prehistory section, we used Stone Age Boy and Everyday Life in Prehistory, among others. For the second chapter on early Egypt, which we just started this week, we checked Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt and How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt out from the library, among others.

This is all in addition to the regular stuff we do, like art, science, literature, etc, which are done more loosely as the kids feel like it and as topics come up.

Our homeschool group was comparitively inactive this week, with only a park day that we attended on Thursday. We went to Lynch and had a picnic, and the kids enjoyed playing on the playground equipment. We saw Alex and Mila, Simon and Satchel, and two new friends, Morgaine and Ronan.

The kids also spent quite a bit of time helping me in the garden, which not only makes my job easier, but teaches them about agriculture and life cycles of plants, and the niches that bugs and other critters fill in our local ecology.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Preparing for Official Business

The time to send in our first Letter of Intent to the school department is fast approaching. Colwyn would only be starting kindergarten this year, which homeschoolers don't normally have to report for, but he'll be turning six in the fall. Homeschool reporting doesn't follow the same cutoffs that school does, it's by calendar year -- so I'll be sending in our LOI and starting to be more diligent about recording our homeschool activities. Should we have to report his progress at the end of the next school year (it's not definite, many cities don't even ask for any evaluation), we'll do a narrative. I figure that if I blog regularly, it should be pretty easy to assemble a page or two about what we've done all year.

So I'll be posting a lot more regularly, and probably in more detail, than I used to. I'm looking forward to having a nice record of what we do, as well as the opportunity to write more, myself. :)