Friday, April 27, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As I reviewed how this "school" year has gone and plan for next year, I started thinking about what curriculum and other things I bought for school purposes were well used and which ones were not.

Useful things I bought this year:
China Treasure Chest
Egypt Treasure Chest
Fraction Set
How Children Lived
Handwriting Without Tears
First Language Lessons
Natural Speller
Adventures in Science Light experiment kit

Sort of useful things:
Abeka (after I decided to just use it as a guide)
Startwrite if it would work...

Not very useful:
Ordinary Parents guide to Teaching Reading
Abc's and all their Tricks
Mia's Math CD rom

Didn't get to this year, but will hopefull be useful later:
Games for Math by Peggy Kaye
Domino Math book
Geoboard book (used a little this year)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A 4 year old funny

The other night after I had put my children to bed, I was straightening up upstairs when my 4 year old came out of her bedroom with a book in her hand.

AE: Mommy, will you tell me what it says on this page?

Me: Honey, it is bedtime. I am not reading books right now.

AE: No, Mommy. I'm going to read it by myself. I just need you to tell me what it says.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Earth day

I like to take a break from our regular studies to read books that make us think about taking care of our Earth each year during the week of April 22nd Here are some we enjoyed this year:

The Lorax
Wump World
Trash, Trash, Trash
The Wartville Wizard
When the Earth wakes
One World
The Earth and I
And the Turtle Still Watched

Recycle by Gibbons
Where Does the Garbage Go?
Earth Day: A True Book

Monday, April 9, 2007

Ah, Math

It's 12:30am and I am up with a sore throat. I drank caffeinated pop at 9:30 because it was cold and made my throat feel better, so that doesn't help either. I guess that makes this a good time to blog.

Math, in our homeschool, is kind of a bugaboo. Math is not my favorite subject, although I did get A's in high school. My oldest understands it well, but finds it pretty boring. I am torn between trying to make math more interesting for her and just telling her to do it because it is part of school.

I bought Abeka Math 3 for her this year after using the Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks for K - 2. This year is a testing year for Colorado homeschoolers and figured I had better use a "real" curriculm to get her ready for it. I picked Abeka because TWTM recommends it and it was cheap. Mostly, because it was cheap. I didn't buy the Teacher's Manual and spent $20 on the workbook and speed drills.

SK hated it after about two months. I knew Abeka had too much drill and so I only made her do a couple of problems in each section. She still hated it. Finally, I bought an addition and subtraction book, a multiplication book and a fractions book and I use Abeka as a guide for what else to teach. She still doesn't love math, but doesn't hate it as much.

So, on to what I really wanted to blog about. The other day, SK was making multiplication flash cards (her dad's idea. She doesn't hate it and seems to be learning the facts...) I had mentioned to her about books I had seen that have stories to go with the facts like this website and this book and this book I gave her the example " Door times Door is Sick Queen. She thought is was pretty cool and has now decided to make up her our rhyme/stories. Here are some examples:

mix and hive is birdie
6 x 5 = 30

door and gate is birdie shoe
4 x 8 = 32

She is planning to make a book with pictures and has already made a list of words to go with other numbers. Yeah, a math success!

Another math success has been the introduction of games. I borrowed a friend's Right Start Math Games book (I really want to buy the 4th grade curriculum, but I am not sure I can afford it on a grad student salary...) Anyway, the girls have been ASKING to play double memory and go fish. Friday, I introduced Addition War and SK and KE had great fun playing it. So we shall see, perhaps math wil no longer be our bugaboo subject.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Nature Studies revisited

As I have become more interested in using a Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling, I have reintroduced nature walks into our schedule. We have taken many nature walks in the past, especially when we were studing the seasons. But I recently realized that we hadn't gone on any walks since we moved into our new house last May - yikes! As an excuse, I will say that we have been going to park days regularly with our local homeschool group.

So the motivation is back and I decided that Monday afternoons would be a good time to go on our nature walks. I also purchased sketch books for all four of us and put them in a bag with colored pencils and field guides - yeah me!

The good news is our first nature walk in our new neighborhood was lovely. The weather was great and we stopped several times to draw in our nature journals. The bad news is that was 3 weeks ago and we haven't gone since... The weather cooled off and we had a dentist appointment. Oh well, we will keep trying.

A friend of mine said she won't consider herself a Charlotte Masoner because she won't go out when it is below 50 degrees. I say ba humbug - it's the effort that counts.