Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ye Old Home School Post

Some may be wondering why you've not seen back to school photos or school posts from our family. We school year round. We DO mark moving from one "year" to the next....but this year is a bit complicated. Our unexpected 7 1/2 week summer trip added a bit of chaos to our school.  The books we ordered as we want to spend this year studying Japan's history were returned and had to be reordered...and I think we'll wait until they are here to have our "back to school" festivities..... 

BUT we ARE in full "rolling start" mode. This means we're doing language arts, math, science and a ton of crafts. I've recently restructured MY life and that has opened up the hours to work on the crafts we put aside last year in the craziness of being a PWOC regional president, a PWOC local president and teaching weekly Bible studies.  It's a great thing that our books were sent back to the us time to do all the fun Greek/Roman hands on things I'd set aside....and for THAT the younger two are very happy. 

Our School as it looks this week: 

Arielle (10th) is doing Year 3 of Tapestry of Grace (as a high schooler this time - was middle school last time) and will be covering the 1800's; classic lit, government et al. She also finished Secrets of Great Communicators (speech), spelling/phonetic zoo, and logic in the last few weeks. This year she will continue on Japanese, use Family Chemistry, Culinary Arts, Foundations of Personal Finance by Dave Ramsey, Geometry, Computer Essentials (still looking for a text - considering this one).  For Japanese, we'll continue to tutor with Akikosan, she is also working through both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.  It is NICE to have walked high-school five previous times....many of the choices are basic. We did switch science for Arielle. Yes, we are aware of the controversies surrounding the publisher. We love Apologia but the chemistry course just hasn't worked well for many of our kids....I'm not a science geek and Michael doesn't have the hours to answer the friend, Chris, the Chemistry teacher has previewed this and says it's the first high school level course she's been excited about since Apologia and she learned things from it. 

Nolan (8th) will study Japanese history along with Zander, Stacia and I. We'll use a variety of books for the spine of the history, add in historical novels set in Japan or dealing with Japanese history (may do some on the American internment camps though I know they cover it in Year 4) and go on as many field trips and cultural experiences as we can fit in in the next 11 months. He'll have his own grade appropriate novels and history book.  He'll  take Pre-algebra, we're tailoring a writing program using the writing assignments in TOG but the books and topics he's studying,Phonetic Zoo, Apologia General Science

Zander (4th) will do the above for history. We'll continue to work through Explode the Code, Gamma in Math U See (moving to Delta), and science. Our really big goal is to finish all the readers from I See Sam.  This is probably unattainable...but I'm challenging him. He's currently on set 3 and there are 8 sets.  We're finishing up Land Animals and I'm still praying about moving into Astronomy or Anatomy. We won't really need to make this decision for a few more months. I'm leaning towards catering to Zander's current obsession with space.  He'll also write at least one Scripture verse a day. A few notes on Zander....he's on the spectrum and for some kids reading comes along just fine. For him, it hasn't. He's reading at about a late first grade level. We were told to teach him sight reading as he'd not make the connections for phonics...but he IS connecting. So the phonics, explode the code etc is not what a typical 4th grader would be doing....BUT he's learning to read and we'll get there. He's smart. He's doing fine with math. He loves computers. He love science. He does not love language arts and phonics. Social skills continue to be an area we train. 

Stacia (1st) will do the above for history.  She'll work on Explode the code 4-6, continue in I See Sam (she's about to begin set 3), Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting series, write a verse daily, Alpha Math U See, and do science with Zander. 

Astute readers will quickly see that Stacia provides motivation for Zander. She's actually further academically than our first graders are typically, she has loved to simply sit and listen to Zander's lessons for the past 3 years. You can pray for this dynamic....motivation is good, I foresee her passing Zander in a few months unless God blesses him with one of his learning spurts where he learns a years' worth of material in a month.  This will provide great character training for Stacia.

I did mention I'm restructuring my life (another post ::snort::) and have created more time to focus on school with Zander and Stacia this year. Stacia doesn't seem to need it - Zander does.  If you've read this far - WOW - mostly this serves as a road map for our school year for my failing memory. ::snort:: It's about the only scope and sequence I'll do and I'll add what we ACTUALLY do to the record of the year as we do it. 

Now for some glimpses into our day....Zander surprised me by asking me to make sourdough pancakes. I was agreeable as I had starter about to take over the kitchen. I set a double match of English muffin dough going and made pancakes. He blew me away by asking me to read the recipe as I cooked so he could write it down and learn to make them himself. Come to think of it he's been running with Arielle and they have a nutrition contest going on - I wonder if I SHOULD go with anatomy..... so this was handwriting and I was proud of him. I did finally give him the ipad to copy from. 

Logic/Explode the Code....frustrates Zander.....this is write after he read, "You will put the kettle on the stove...." and he said "NO - I don't drink tea."  It struck me funny - I told him to mark yes. 

No day is complete without stopping phonics to watch the GIANT dragonfly! 

We are adding lots of drill this year. Stacia was 3 when we moved here and I suspected I should be sure to teach her American money. Yep - everything was "25 yen" etc. We'll make all our drill into games. 

I was SO impressed when we were in our Science text and I read, "How do you think you tell the difference between a monkey and an ape." I didn't expect them to know. Stacia informed me, just a bit condescendingly, "Monkeys have tails and apes don't." I was so pleased. I ruined it by asking them how they knew these facts. Here Stacia tells me, "Simple, Donkey Kong doesn't have a tail and Diddy Kong does." VERY condescendingly. 

There you have it - proof that the wii can be educational? Sorry kids - still limiting your time - and no, you can't count it as science. ::snort:: 

Arielle REALLY IS doing school. She's knitting while she listens to Japanese tapes. 

Nolan wonders why Mom is stalking everyone with the camera but he gamely poses with the Phonetic Zoo.

We were determined to start working through some of the planned hands on activities we set aside last year.....Today we made mosaic place mats.....starting with a "plan". I warned them to keep it simple....Stacia's only had 2 mermaids and 2 and 2 palm trees......

The conversation was fun as they  began to realize the time it takes to put all the little tiles together. 

Zander with waves, tree and sun....

Stacia gave up on the mermaids and made a flower, tree and sun instead.

Thus ends another day of school....and the afternoon play began. It is so refreshing to take a couple of hours to swim at the beach before dinner and evening routines. 

They had a lot of fun with this log and are convinced it is covered with hieroglyphics.

Great sand fortress. 

Michael was out again until around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. We were discussing what to do for dinner.  When Stacia showed up.....

"I know what you can cook for dinner, Mom."

"OK, what?"


"THAT is not vegan. Ok, I'll cook it tomorrow."

I think tomorrow will be a test of willpower as the roast slow cooks.  OK - let me remind readers, I decided to give the vegan plus lifestyle (no sugar, no caffeine, no soy, no preservatives/chemicals)  a 6 week whirl. Michael joined me. We did NOT make the kids switch. They ARE eating meat and dairy and plenty of honey.  I simply haven't wanted to cook one of Michael's favorites while we were abstaining from meat....but there you have it. I am guessing he will have to work late Thursday to get admin details for Sunday done as the weekend is supposed to be off and he'll want it maybe he can avoid the whole roast temptation.

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...