Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our Fall Schedule or How I Plan to Fit it All In

*I had just published this post when I found out about the Homeschool Open House. I couldn't resist joining in the fun. To add your homeschool schedule to the list go to

A new homeschooling mom asked me at park day last week how we fit everything in our homeschool day, the answer was, "we don't."

Here is my plan for the coming "school" year:

8:00 - 8:30 Get up!
note: I am a night owl, so this is sometimes hard for me. The girls get usually get up around this time. Sometimes they are up earlier, sometimes later. They are pretty self sufficient in the mornings, so I don't have to get up with them anymore :)

8:30 - 9 Exercise
Remind girls to do morning chores: "Have you made your beds, yet?"

9 - 9:30 Shower
Remind again:"Did you brush your teach?"

9:30 - 10 Breakfast and computer time for me
Final reminder: "Are you dressed? Did you eat breakfast?"

10:00 School Time (about 1 hour)
Each day we will start with one of the following: learn a word from English From the Roots Up, do a Mindbender, learn a spelling rule, read a scripture story, learn a saying from the Core Knowledge Series, etc.

Then we will read books and do projects based on our current "topic". Topics include areas of interest from Science, History, Art, and Music. We do one topic at a time. When we are done, we move onto another topic. This works so much better than trying to fit everything into a day or even a week. By the end of the "school" year we seem to have covered a balance of each subject.

Copywork 3x a week / free writing 1x/week (5 - 10 minutes)

Break until lunch

Lunch around noon

After Lunch, More School (30 - 60 minutes)
Math - every day
Spelling/Grammar on alternating days
Phonics for 4 year old.

Afternoons - free play

In an effort to encourage independent learning and responsibility for my 9 year old, I plan to make a chart for her to mark when she has done the following: Practice piano 5x a week, typing CD rom 3x a week, and Rosetta Stone Spanish 3x a week, Math computer game 1x a week.

I plan to take a nature walk or have a poetry tea time at least once a month during the afternoon.

We listen to books on CD in the car and I read bedtime stories, sometimes picture books and sometime chapter books.

Dinner around 6pm

Free Play

Clean up Rooms starting around 7:30 or 8pm depending on if it is bath night.

8:30pm Bedtime Stories

Bed time 9pm

Younger girls can read in bed until 9:30
Oldest can read until 10pm.

I usually go to sleep around midnight and then we get up and start all over again...

Note: We are involved in a co-op that meets on Wednesdays, so this is our M, T, Th, F schedule. Also, we have a Park Day on Fridays, so we will need to get any school work done by noon on Fridays if we want to go to Park Day.

I am planning to post our curriculum choices after I get my stuff ordered. It's like Christmas in August!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why no pictures?

I am sure you have all been laying awake at night wondering why I have no pictures in my blog posts. Well, here's why. For the past 2 years I have not been able to download pictures to my computer. I didn't know if it was my computer's fault or my camera's fault... I need a new camera and computer... (and dryer and couch and kitchen table...) Thanks goodness my hubby is almost done with grad school!

Anyway, I finally realized that I was not going to be getting a new camera or computer, etc. for a while, so I did some searching and figured out why it wasn't working. Something about needing to reinstall a driver. I did that and now I can download pictures onto my computer again - yeah!

Now I just need to get around to doing it. Until then, here is a picture of my brave 4 year old holding a Hissing Cockroach during our field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion. Her older sisters were hiding in the hall way...

Monday, July 16, 2007

If I had unlimited homeschooling funds

I would buy:

a microscope
a telescope?
Primary Challenge Math
Real Science 4 Kids - Chem, Bio, and Physics
Holling C Holling books
Geneveive Foster books
Jeanne Bendick books
Joy Hakim books

Wow it's really not that much. Maybe there would be more. These things are from my list of stuff that I plan to buy eventually, which has been narrowed down to keep me from overspending. I guess if I had unlimited funds I might consider Sonlight, but then again I don't really want something that tells me exactly how to schedule everything, but I suppose I would be more tempted to buy many of the books from the Sonlight.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh the choices!

So, now that I have my gigantic books lists, I need to narrow them down to the best choices. In the past (before massive book lists), I would get an armful of books about each topic we were learning about and lots of times we would read the information more than once. For example, if I had several books about butterflies we would read many times about the proboscis and the metamorphosis process. Often times I would skip a lot and just look at the pictures of the subsequent books, but I never checked to make sure the first book I read was the best. For early elementary it really didn't matter they were short books and very similar. But now in late elementary and looking forward to early middle school, the books are longer and it would be overwhelming to get repetitive books. So, now I am trying to find the "best" books from my lists.

Here is my current dilemma: For our second round of history (yes, I know that is at least 3 years away), I am looking at supplementing SOTW with either the Genevieve Foster books, The Story of Rome/Greece, or Famous Men of Rome/Greece. All of these books are on several lists. Right now I am leaning towards the Genevieve Foster books. They are on the Ambleside and Sonlight lists and Melissa Wiley's 12 yo is reading the Augustus Caesar's World. I may save the others for high school.

To sum up, I have now decided that less is more. Of course, this is after spending hours making massive book lists... The time was well used, however, because seeing certain titles on many lists helped me to see which books are well liked by many people.

My ebay addiction

I have always been afraid of ebay. It just seemed too dubious, but a week ago someone mentioned seeing Right Start Mathematics used on ebay, so I went to check it out. Two hours later, I had bid on 11 items... So far I have won 5. I haven't won Right Start, yet, but I did get a bunch of stuff from my list and a few things not on my list. It is so addictive. I have been trying hard not to be tempted to buy things that I was not already planning to buy. It took me a while to figure it all out. I am now "watching" a bunch of stuff to see if they go out of my price range before I decide to bid. Here is what I have gotten, so far.

Reader's Digest Children's Atlas $4.94
Rod and Staff Grammar Reg $19.44 ebay $10.19
The 3r's and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully Reg $19.25 ebay $13.25
SOTW2 Activity Guide Reg $19.77 ebay $15.80
Latin's not So Tough Level 3 Reg $18.95 ebay $8.00

So far, I have saved. $19.62 on stuff I was already planning to buy. I wasn't planning on buying Latin's not so tough until after we finished Minimus, but it was too good a deal to pass up.

Right now, I am watching a Right Start Level B, some Genevieve Foster books, a Holling C. Holling book set, some Singapore books, and a History of US 10 book set that is at $30 right now.

Update: Almost everything I was watching went out of my price range :( I am still watching the Singapore Math books. But I did find Right Start levels B (for Arwen) C (for Kali) and E (for Sierra) on some used curriculum websites really cheap!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

the cost of homeschooling

So, in my extreme guilt over how much money I have spent this year on homeschooling stuff and over how much I plan to spend this year, I decided to look at how much I have spent each year since Sierra was in Kindergarten. My guess was K -$50, 1st -$100, 2nd - $200, 3rd - $300. I thought this pattern wasn't too bad. Yes, I will probably end up spending $400 next year, etc., but I started out schooling one, then two, and soon three kids, plus each year they should be learning more, so it makes sense that learning supplies will cost more, right?

Here is what I found out. (Amazon has a nifty feature where you can look up you past purchases!). When Sierra was in Kindergarten I spent $45. I bought Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons, 2 levels of Now I am Reading and the Comprehensive Curriculum K. First grade, I spent $50. I bought What your 1st grader and What Your Kindergartner Need to Know, 2 easy readers and Comprehensive Curriculum 1st. Nice and simple. Then I joined our local homeschooling group and found out about the wide world of available and interesting homeschool curriculum...

For Sierra's 2nd Grade and Kali's K year, I spent $175! Purchases included What your 2nd Grader Needs to Know, Comprehensive Curriculum 2nd and K, Story of the World Activity book and CD, The Well Trained Mind, Discovering Great Artists, Usborne Science and History Encyclopedia, and Handwriting without Tears. Still not too bad. Other than the Science Encyclopedia, they were useful and used purchases.

This year is apparently when I go nuts. Although not all at once, I ended up spending $328. I think I started to get nervous. I bought some useful stuff, but, because I was freaking out about Sierra's bad attitude toward math, I also bought 7 math products that I have not really used. And I bought a 2nd reading curriculum and a spelling/phonics reference book that I don't think I really need. I really should just sell some of this stuff, but I wonder if they might be useful for Arwen, so I will wait.

You would think I would have learned from this year and not need to spend as much, but I have $350 worth of stuff on my list already. And that is my pared down list. I have thoroughly analyzed each item and feel they will be useful. I guess it's not so bad if I consider that I could be buying Sonlight curriculum. PreK for Arwen $308. Core 2 for Kali $645 and Core 4 for Sierra $643. And that doesn't include Math...

OK, I guess I don't feel, so bad now. $350 doesn't seem, so bad compared to almost $2000 that some people might spend.

Coming up... My new ebay addiction.