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One thing I love about homeschooling is learning along side my kids, and I am learning a good deal right now. An area of interest of mine when I was younger was the oceans, and I think that passion of mine has led us to Winter Promise’s Sea and Sky. I have been debating about whether to use this curriculum for a while now, and I think one reason for my hesitation was that I could not see myself spending so much time on the sky part of this program. I finally realized that we could work through just the sea portion, and that we could do it in roughly three months. The kids and I finished our modern history this week, so I thought this would be the perfect time to begin this new program. I am so glad we did, for everyone absolutely loves it!
This program mixes science and history perfectly together. While we are learning the history of mankind in regards to ships (from the earliest of times through modern times) we are also learning about navigation, the oceans, and maps. In addition the kids and I will be reading some great books. We have already started The Revenge of the Whale, and everyone seems to be enjoying it. Next we will read Swallows and Amazons , and after that we will probably read Treasure Island. We are not following the schedule too closely, instead we are using it more as a guide. It is working out perfectly.
The great thing about studying all of this is that we live five minutes from the ocean, and we have many resources around us to make our lessons come to life. Over the next few months I will be taking the kids to the Long Beach Aquarium, the Ocean Institute (I can’t wait for the Tall Ships Festival), Whale Watching, out to Catalina Island, down to the tide pools, to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and other places. I am hoping that these field trips add even more to this wonderful learning experience, and I hope that these lessons stay with the kids for the rest of their lives.
It is great to be nearing the end of the school year. Tru is done with his state testing, and this always seems to mark the beginning of the end for us. We begin to wind down and go into summer mode. This year we will be learning all through summer, but we do switch gears. Mostly we will do some math, Latin, and reading. Everything else will start back up in August.
This week Tru continued learning about America in the 1950’s. He is studying about the culture of the 50’s, and he is learning about the civil rights movement. We read a biography on Rosa Parks that was very interesting, and we read about Martin Luther King Jr. It has been a great week in history.
Tru continued with Life of Fred Fractions and Singapore Math. He should be finished with both books sometime this summer. He is still enjoying Life of Fred, and I am sure he will work through this series until the end.
Tru has finished all his Language Art books for the year, so he is spending his time watching all the grammar videos on BrainPop and doing the worksheets and quizzes that they have. Decca watches the BrainPop videos with him, as they are so much fun. To see a free video on main idea click here.
My mom found a great book to read to Tru, and they are both enjoying it immensely. I haven’t read it yet, but I thought I would recommend it to everyone based on their enthusiasm. The book, by Ted Bell, is called
Nick of Time, and it is an action adventure book that takes place in England in 1939. The character, Nick, and his sister Katie live in a lighthouse on one of the channel islands. The book includes a time machine, a sail boat, and Nazis. Very exciting indeed!
Decca has been working hard on his school this year. He is on lesson 22 in Math U See, and is almost done with his Singapore 1B book. He moved on to Explode the Code 5 which he likes better than the ETC4, so I am happy about that. He has discovered a new series of books he loves and is reading them with my mom. It is called The High-Rise Private Eyes, and it seems to be a little more challenging to read than his other books. I am happy he has discovered it!
I love looking at other people’s school rooms to get ideas. Today I reorganized our area, and I thought I would post some pics. It isn’t ideal; there is very little wall space, but we make it work.
I haven’t had time to do a weekly report since I began student teaching. I have been very busy with student teaching, and it was a huge adjustment for me. I have had little time to think about the kid’s schooling. The last two weeks though I have been on spring break, and I have used this time to plan for next year. I have made a few changes, and I hope they work out how I want them to. (I have enough experience to know that they won’t, but it is nice to dream.)
Autry wanted to try public school this year, and it has been a very positive experience for her. She has grown in so many ways, and as a parent that is a wonderful thing to see. She took up the cello, and she is excelling in orchestra. I was in orchestra when I was younger too, and I love that she is following in my footsteps. She has had the opportunity to perfect her writing skills, which she has been so happy about. Autry is the teacher’s writing assistant, and she helps the other students with their writing. She has also learned Chinese from her classmates. She talks to her friends in Chinese and is even learning to write it. We are going to start a formal curriculum at home, so she can work on this skill. Even though school has been such a positive experience for her, she is unsure what she wants to do next year. I think the homework wears her out, and she feels that she has very little time for other pursuits during the week. She struggles with math at school, and her math homework takes at least an hour, and it often ends with her in tears. I am planning the boy’s school for next year, and I am assuming that she will stay in school, but if she changes her mind, it will be easy to bring her home. Tru and her, being that they are twins, will do nearly the same work. Math would be the only exception, but I could figure out what to do in math for her if she came home rather quickly.
Tru has worked through American Story 2 this year, and we have supplemented this with SOTW 4. It has been a great year. We just finished up World War 2, and we are studying the post WW2 world. I don’t think we will go much further in modern history. We will probably go through the civil rights movement and end there. With modern history there is so much to take in, and much of it is depressing. I think he has had about all he can handle now, and he is ready to move on to something else. We will be going back to ancients, and for this I have decided to use K12 Intermediate World History A. This class is usually taken in 7th grade, but I know Tru will enjoy it. He loves K12, and is looking forward to this. In addition to this class, we will also be using K12 for Language Arts. I am not sure how that will go, and I know some elements of it we will drop and add our own things, but I wanted to use it as a guide. I love their literature selections, and I am hoping the course will encourage Tru to write. For math we will continue working through Singapore, Life of Fred, and Time4Learning. That seems like a good deal of math, but somehow this combination seems to work for Tru. He loves all of the programs, and we have found that it does not take that much time to work through them. We will be continuing with our Latin studies and will still be working through Latin for Children, as we have not finished that yet. For science Tru will finish up the last two books in Singapore Science. He worked through cycles and systems this year and will be doing interactions and energy next year.
I wanted to involve Decca in the process of choosing next year’s curriculum, and he was so happy to help. We spent the week going over the new Winter Promise catalog, and he decided he wanted to do Hideaways in History. He has been wanting to do this for a while now, and I figured it was now or never, as he will be too old for this by next year. I am going to line up his studies with Tru’s, and we will only work through half of this program, but I am sure it will be fun for him. Winter Promise has a new book for the readings called Lets Hideaway in History, and I am looking forward to this. We will also read SOTW in addition to this book, as I love that resource. For math Decca and I have decided to go with RightStart Math this year, along with continuing in Singapore. Decca has been so bored with math, and he wanted to try something different. We looked over many programs, and RightStart seemed to be the best fit for him, so I have decided to try it. I have never used it before, and I am looking forward to it. I know it will take more of my time, but I think it will be worth it. We will be starting with Level B. I haven’t figured out his language arts yet or science. I am still trying to find the right programs for him in those areas. I will update everyone when I have it all figured out.