Sunday, September 29, 2013

Homeschooling, Week 11

     I can't believe it's almost October!  Autumn is in the air and the leaves are starting their slow descent to blanket our grass.  This is my favorite time of the year.  Pumpkin flavored or filled delicacies are displayed in every store, even bath shops (they smell practically edible)!  My daughter and I even made Paleo pumpkin custards.  I made Paleo Pumpkin Butter to make Paleo Pumpkin Lattes (there's no coffee, but it's a wonderful Autumn drink to relax to).  Oh, I could digress and wax poetic about pumpkin (and persimmons), but I won't.

     Week 11 was fantastic!  I suppose not being sick was a huge help.  We learned about the Crusades and mammals.  We even learned about parts of the food chain.  My favorite part though was when my daughter once again took it upon herself to do some work without being asked.  I usually have a form ready for her to work on for the Science part of Classical Conversations.  She decided to take a blank piece of paper and make the form and then fill it out.

     Pretty, isn't it?  She didn't label her pictures accordingly, which is what the form would have asked her to do.  Instead she just asked me how to spell the words so that she could put it on her sheet.  When she was done she did point to each word and its matching picture.

     My son is doing well also.  I may not be homeschooling him, but oddly, I'm able to blend a little bit of our homeschool curriculum with the work my son is doing in middle school.  In History, for example, both kids are studying Ancient Civilizations.  Also, my son is currently taking Spanish and is taking the time to teach his little sister.  My daughter listens in when I'm quizzing my son on his weekly vocabulary words and helps her big brother remember their meanings.  I love how they support each other.

     That was our week.  We've definitely found our rhythm and I'm learning what we each can handle.  Much like the runner in me, (runner turned CrossFitter, that is) I'm pacing myself.  I'm learning what I can and cannot do and that I cannot do it all.  I'm finding a way to balance it all and sometimes it means saying no or delegating more.  In the end, I want to make sure that my kids not just learn, but enjoy learning and sharing what they learn.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Homeschooling, Week 10

     Week 10 moved at a snail's pace.  (Ironically, in my last post I said every week passes quickly!)  This week was slow because both my daughter and I had a cold.  My daughter was feeling a bit under the weather Monday afternoon and when we got home from the park, she passed on lunch and slept.  The next day I awoke with a sore throat and immediately knew I was coming down with something.  I was able to go through school work on Tuesday, but come Wednesday I had no voice and my head was throbbing.  We took that day "off".  I gave her history and science copywork and called it a day.  We took Saturday morning to go over the day that we missed and now we're back on track.

     As I mentioned in my last post our Classical Conversations community began meeting.  When we had the opportunity to enroll our daughter midway early Spring, I was immediately hooked on how the kids were learning, what they were learning and the fact it had plenty of parent participation.  It is what opened the idea of me homeschooling my daughter.  I can't imagine it any other way.

     This was our second week of CC.  In Classical Conversations the kids learn what is referred to as a Timeline; points and people in history from Creation to Modern Times.  By the end of the CC year the kids will have memorized 161 events and people in chronological order.  There are fact cards that go along with each event or person listed on the Timeline.  The cards go into more detail about that occurrence or person.  Last CC year I purchased the fact cards but didn't really use them since we started so late.  This year I didn't buy any new cards because I thought we already had all of them.  Unfortunately,  much to my daughter's disappointment, I learned that I did not have the current cards and had yet to purchase them.  She wanted to practice putting the cards in order, as we do when our community meets.

     Since my daughter was so eager to work with them she decided to make her own.  They're like those fact cards of the U.S. Presidents that you see; with the picture and name on the front and the details on the back.  She wrote the name of the event and drew pictures to go along with it.  She made 14 cards because that is how many events we have covered to date.

     That very first card you see at the bottom is one for "Age of Ancient Empires" and she drew a Sphinx, which she remembered is on that particular fact card.  The next one is "Creation and The Fall".  She chose to draw Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

     I was delighted to see her take initiative and make her own cards.  To me it's a sign that she is enjoying what she's learning and is seeking more.  Plus, I get to see what she comes up with for each card.  I mean, what would you draw for "Babylonians"?

     I've ordered the cards and they're on their way.  While I know she wouldn't mind creating all the cards herself (and she still might do so) and this is a great way to reinforce what she's learning, we'll need the cards for when she gets older and the details on the back become more significant.

     That is our week.  We're starting Week 11, cold-free (mostly) and ready for Autumn!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Homeschooling, Week 9 and CC Week 1

     Week 9 went by with a blur (they all do these days).  This happened to also be our first week of Classical Conversations, which my daughter thoroughly enjoys.  There are seven subjects covered in a short amount of time, not including the Bible scripture they're memorizing.  It goes by quickly.  Ask my child what the 1st conjugation endings, present tense, are in Latin and she'll tell you.  I kid you not.  The children learn A LOT in the short three hours we're there (once a week) and the rest of the week us parents are reinforcing those subjects every way we can.  Through song, play, reading, coloring and drawing...anything we can think of!  It is a wonderful process.

     One of the things we took away from the History part of CC was about Charlemagne (or Charles the Great, a.k.a Charles Magnus).  As suggested by Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood  I recently purchased The Story of The World:  History for the Classical Child to go along with the history we're learning in our CC curriculum (I actually purchased all 4 volumes.)  My daughter LOVED hearing the story of Charlemagne and was excited to hear the part that tied in with the history fact she learned in Classical Conversations.  I love when I can see the dots connecting!

     Even if you're not a homeschooler I highly suggest The Story of the World books.  They teach History in a way the kids can relate to and the stories are long enough to hold their interest and keep them wanting more without be drawn out and boring.  When we finished up the chapters on Charlemagne my daughter was disappointed there wasn't more.

     Our week ended with a project for my daughter that had her name written all over it.  She's such a performer and I knew she would enjoy this one.  We were to watch the news together and I was to point out all the different ways the reporter conducted herself; from the way she clearly spoke to her composure to her eye contact.  Then my daughter had to come up with something in her life that she wanted to report on and deliver it the same way she saw the news reporter do it.
     When we finally got the news turned on we happened upon a piece on eating healthy, where a chef was being interviewed.  She too wanted to do a report on eating healthy which ended up turning into an instructional presentation on how to make a smoothie.  Afterwards though, I asked her to think of an event that she wanted to report on and what she wanted to say so that it would be presented just like the anchors on the news.  She chose to report on my husband competing in the Scottish Highland Games in Long Beach back in February.  She took some time to think of what she was going to say, grabbed a mike and began.

     I didn't record it.  I wanted to, but she was ready to go and I didn't want to interrupt the creative flow by saying, "Wait, wait!  Let me get the camera."  Next time, I'll have it ready and going.

     Anyway, her "news report" was flawless.  She knew exactly what she wanted to say.  She kept herself still (no fidgeting!) and she kept great eye contact.  She spoke clearly and at the appropriate volume.  There were no pauses, no "ums" or "uhs".  It flowed beautifully.

     Like I said, it had her name written all over it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Homeschooling, Week 8

     This week was uneventful yet busy.  Well, I say uneventful but we had one big event:  my son started Middle School (gasp).  I have a Middle Schooler.  Goodness!  I'm very proud of the work he's done.  While there is still more to go, he's making progress; slowly but surely.  We're praying that this school and school year is a good and safe one for him.

     This was my daughter's first week of homeschooling without her brother.  I have to say she handled it very well.  Since The Principal took the day off, he was my assistant during class.  He oversaw recess and even participated in art class.  Here she is using acrylics.

     Soon we're going to play with pastels.  During the webinars I received an e-book on using pastels with kids.  I've never used them, so I'm excited at the prospect.

     Other than that, we're moving along with our curriculum.  She's enjoying all of it, though she likes it most when I read to her during our Bible studies or story time.  She asks intriguing questions and I love how her imagination comes out in those questions.  We were talking about Machu Picchu and how high it was.  She asked if it was as high as a giant!  I explained that giants aren't real, so there's no way for me to know.  I pointed out that if she were to compare the tallest building she's ever seen to Machu Picchu, the mountains would be taller than that.  She seemed satisfied with that answer.  I hope she always, much like me, asks questions.  Not that I question everything.  I just like to learn.

     Next week we start our Classical Conversations class (I'm so excited!).  I get to share that experience with you as well.  Until then, have a wonderful weekend!