Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014-2015 Curriculum

Hanna – 9th Grade

Joe – 4th Grade

Jack – 1st grade

Jesse – 4K

  • Kumon math workbooks
  • Kumon ABC (upper and lowercase) workbooks (this will also be handwriting practice)
  • AAR Pre-Reading (We will work through this at Jesse’s pace only if he is ready for it.  I may end up putting this off until his 5K year if he doesn’t show readiness.)
  • listen in on history and science with his brothers
  • read lots and lots and lots of books with me and Jack
  • finish working through our letter of the week theme—we are on letter R

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Year In Review 2013-2014


Jesse – PreK

What worked:

  • Sensory play, learning games, Letter of the Week theme, preschool packs, printables and arts and crafts

Jesse has learned to recognize the ABC’s by sight, write many letters, write his name and count to 30 this year.

What didn’t work:

  • AAR Pre-Reading—he just wasn’t ready for this at all.  He wanted to use it so badly that it hurt my heart, but it wasn’t time.  It’s my desire and hope for him to use it this fall on a regular basis and complete the level by next school year’s end.
  • Story of the World
  • Five in a Row

Jack – 5K

What worked:

  • AAR Pre-Reading and AAR level 1, Handwriting Without Tears, Explode the Code Primers, Singapore Math and art lessons at home.

Jack’s learning took off this year and he learned by leaps and bounds!  He has had a wonderful school year!  He has learned to write beautifully, count way beyond 100, count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s, add and subtract simple equations, tell time to the half hour and count coins to make $1.  The most exciting thing this school year for Jack has been learning to read!!!!  He completed AAR Pre-Reading very quickly and we moved on to AAR level 1.  As of last week he has completed through lesson 18 and is doing so well.  I look forward to working more on his reading throughout the summer.  We will not stop his reading lessons over the summer.

What didn’t work:

  • Story of the World
  • Five in a Row

Joe – 3rd grade

What worked:

  • Daily journaling
  • Apologia Science
  • Easy Grammar
  • Evan Moore Daily Trait Writing
  • Singapore Math
  • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive
  • Art
  • Piano

What didn’t work:

  • Real Science Odyssey
  • Story of the World
  • Five in a Row

In summary with my boys—they all had a wonderful school year.  They enjoyed learning together and became closer in their relationships with one another. 

Using Story of the World History proved to be dry and boring for us and we won’t be going this route again.  I’m planning something else for next year.  I still want to keep them together in the subjects of history and science as long as possible.  To that end, we dropped REAL Science Odyssey halfway through the school year—not a good fit for us—and started Apologia Flying Creatures.  We are really enjoying reading this together and doing the experiments and hands-on projects in the book.  We will continue with this science for the upcoming school year. 

Five in a Row is just not going to work—at all.  As special as it is, I have never used anything as prep intensive and demanding on me in our homeschool journey, and I can’t put the burden of planning and prepping it on myself anymore.  I have to be thankful for the purpose it served and the memories we made while rowing and move on. 

Hanna – 8th grade

What worked:

  • Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 and Algebra 2
  • Apologia Biology
  • Advanced Winston Grammar
  • Write Shop 1
  • History of US
  • Computer Applications and Keyboarding
  • Youth Throwing classes

Honestly, everything I had planned for Hanna to use and complete this year worked well for her and was a good fit.  I’ve mapped out her high school courses and hope her first official year of high school will be a happy and smooth one for both of us. 

I am thankful for a productive, happy and healthy year of learning with all of my kids.  I look forward to our next school year and will share what I plan to use with each of the kids soon. 

We are coming up on the start of our 6th year this fall! 

*Post inspired by Michelle at Delightful Learning*

Hanna’s High School Road Map

Credits accumulated in 8th grade (2013-2014):

  • Algebra 1 ✔
  • Algebra 2 ✔
  • Biology with lab ✔
  • Computer Applications (1/2) ✔
  • Keyboarding (1/2) ✔

Total credits earned:  4

9th grade (2014-2015)

  • Geometry
  • Chemistry with lab
  • World Geography
  • Intro to Lit and Comp (English 1)
  • Spanish 1
  • Pottery—Throwing class
  • Greek Mythology (1/2)
  • Photography (1/2)

Total credits earned:  7

10th grade (2015-2016)

  • Pre-Calculus
  • Physics with lab
  • World History
  • Lit and Comp 2 (Englsih 2)
  • Spanish 2
  • PE
  • Driver’s Ed, Fine Arts or Elective

Total credits earned:  7

11th grade (2016-2017)

  • Calculus
  • AP Biology
  • US History
  • British or World Lit (English 3)
  • Spanish 3
  • Driver’s Ed, Fine Arts or Elective

*Possible dual enrollment TBD*

Total credits earned:  6

12th grade (2017-2018)

  • US Government and Economics
  • American or British Lit
  • Elective or Fine Arts

*Possible dual enrollment TBD*

Total credits earned:  3

Interest led volunteer and service hours will be added.  At least one year of LDS Seminary will count as an elective credit not listed above.

Upon graduation an estimated 28 credits will be earned.

South Carolina graduation requirements:SCGrad

Monday, May 26, 2014

Q is for Quail

I’ll be completely honest and say I was not at all excited to put a weekly theme together for the letter Q.  So…we just made a couple of Q crafts for Jesse’s ABC book, read several books, did the Q letter maze and pattern block page.  photo 1 photo 2I’m ready to get back on board with a weekly theme for letter R—R is for Rocket!  I hope to blast off with Jesse soon :).  Just taking a short break to enjoy the start of our summer break first.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bee Trail Farm

We visited Bee Trail Farm this week.  We’ve been studying about insects in Apologia Flying Creatures lately and are currently reading the chapter about social insects.  Honeybees are social insects and Jesse has had lots of questions about how bees make honey, so this was the perfect opportunity to go see in person.

Bee Trail Farm is a local honey farm about a half hour from our house.  They are also a homeschool family.  The husband, Danny, is a 3rd generation beekeeper.  I found out about them through a produce market last year and have had this on my field trip to-do list ever since.  Some of our friends met us there and it was a very fun and educational experience.  OurGroup (1 of 1) Listening (1 of 1) We learned:

  • about the different types of bees in a hive and what each of their jobs are
  • the bee life cycle
  • how you can tell the difference in a queen, worker or drone bee cell when they are larvae waiting to hatch
  • how a beekeeper can produce queens by removing them as larvae, placing them in a plastic cell, feeding them royal jelly and then introducing them to a new hive once they’ve hatched—this was SO interesting!
  • how to split a hive to make new, starter hives called nucleus hives
  • how honey is extracted from frames in a machine using centrifugal force
  • that you can take your hives from state to state to get different tastes of honey—depending on what kind of flowers the bees get pollen from. 
  • Almond farmers in California have a bee shortage.  Each year they contract beekeepers to come and pollinate their almond trees.  This was sad to me, but at the same time interesting.
  • the fact that bees make their cells in the shape of a hexagon to maximize space in the hive.  Think of how it would be if a bee made circular cells instead.  So much wasted space.  This is amazing that these little creatures have this instinct.  HoneyComb (1 of 1)

We learned much more, but these are the things that stick out most in my mind.  I also want to note one of the books we’ve read about bees.  We read many, but this one in particular was fascinating to me—Flight of the Honey Bee, by Raymond Huber.  This book was so good.  Filled with facts I never knew about the ways bees make honey.  All of the work that these little bees do is fascinating.  The most interesting to me was the fact that they actually spend time fanning the cells with their wings to help nectar turn to honey.  HBeeHere are a few more pictures I got of this and that.Bellows (1 of 1) TypesofCells (1 of 1)BeeBox (1 of 1)BeeBoxFrames (1 of 1)Here is a video that a local news station did on location at Bee Trail. 

**There are also some very, very cool extraction process pictures on Bee Trail’s Facebook page.  I am going to include some here just for educational purposes (and because they are SO neat!)**  The following are not my pictures.

These are the frames with capped cells ready to be scraped and put into the extractor to get honey.HoneyCombs And, here they are scraped and ready to be placed in the extractor.  Notice how the frames are different colors, one even multicolored?  Different flowers produce different colored/tasting honey.  This particular honey is made from South Carolina Wildflowers, so you get a wide range of colors in your honey.  I think that is really neat!HoneyExtraction I loved this little field trip!  I am obsessed with insects right now since we have immersed ourselves in them and I can’t learn enough!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jack is Reading!

About eight weeks ago Jack read his very first words:JackFirstWords I was so excited!  Over the next few weeks I thought he would just fly.  It didn’t quite happen like that though and I began to be concerned.  He was doing the following every single time we’d have a reading lesson:

  • reversing/confusing the letters b, d, w, m, f, t
  • reversing whole words—pam/map, pan/nap, pot/top, etc.
  • not remembering anything at all from one minute to the next and nothing from day to day
  • couldn’t comprehend how to blend sounds to form a word

Our reading sort of came to a halt while I researched, regrouped, prayed and thought of what I wanted to do to help him.  I could tell he was definitely ready to read.  He knew everything he needed to progress, he showed all of the reading readiness signs and he wanted to read.

Since All About Reading Pre-Level 1 worked so well and almost instantly for Jack when he couldn’t understand rhyming, I thought I’d finally give in an try All About Reading Level 1 with him.  I’d really hoped to avoid buying this program any further.  Honestly, not because I don’t like it.  I love it!  It’s easy to use, all planned out and fun.  But…it is SO expensive!  I’d hoped Happy Phonics along with the Explode the Code series would be enough for him. 

I ordered AAR Level 1 and got it ready for him.  Within two weeks of using the program he was taking off and fast!  The progress was instant and so was the boost in his confidence level (and mine).  This program is worth every single penny and more and I plan to use it for the long haul with both Jack and Jesse.  I also plan to add in All About Spelling down the road.  222AARSheets (1 of 1)We’ve been using AAR Level 1 for eight weeks this Friday and Jack is now blending words quickly and easily, reading well, with confidence and loving it.  We are moving through it at his pace.  Some lessons take days to cover and others we move through in a single day.  I can’t express how happy it makes me to see and hear Jack reading.  It is wonderful!  He is so proud every time he reads one of the stories in his reader.  I’m so excited for him to open up this new world that reading will give him.AARsample (1 of 1) AARsample2 (1 of 1) Here are a couple short video clips of Jack reading.

He’s doing great in Singapore Earlybird Math.  Math seems to come pretty easily for him so far.  We finished his Kindergarten book last week and are going to use a couple Kumon workbooks on time and money over the summer.  He’ll start Singapore 1 this fall. 

I am happy with Handwriting Without Tears for him and will continue to use that also.  He enjoys it and it’s really helped his handwriting.image(15) HWOT (1 of 1)Jack has had such a good school year.  He has learned SO much!  I am very proud of his hard work.  He’s matured a lot this past year.  So much that it amazes me.  He’s really a different ‘student’ than he was last year or even six months ago.  It makes my heart so happy to see him learning and especially learning to read.  I am so thankful I get to homeschool him.

Friday, May 9, 2014

This week with Jesse

I don’t really have many pictures to share from our last week or so of school.  I haven’t taken too many and we’ve just been doing the basics.  Trying to spend as much time outside while the weather is pleasant.  It will be 100+ degrees very soon and that means only outside if there’s water involved!

I’ve continued to work on pencil grip with Jesse.  He’s improved by leaps and bounds.  At first he was fisting it.  After a short bit—maybe just over a week—of me working with him consistently he drastically improved.  After another week, I currently don’t have to remind him to use proper grip—he’s remembering on his own. 

I ordered a few Kumon workbooks for him.  I’d hoped having his very own school books would make him more enthusiastic about learning to write.  It worked!  He loves his workbooks and asks to do them.  He’s working through Kumon uppercase letters, numbers 1-30 and two of their maze books.  JessePencilGrip2 (1 of 1) JessePencilGrip (1 of 1) Jesse loves writing on the dry erase or chalkboard.  He will fill the board up with letters he writes.  He likes to copy the letters from our All About Reading tiles that are at the top of the chalkboard.  As he picks one and writes it I ask him to tell me what letter it is.  He’s getting so good at recognizing the alphabet.  I think his handwriting looks great!  He’s only been writing letters for two weeks and he’s doing so good!  I forgot to take a picture of his full chalkboard—I’ll make sure and do that soon. 

He wrote all of these on his own except the large X.  He is right handed like everyone else in our family.  I thought at least one of the kids would be left handed like me, but nope.image(16) He loves any little game I make for him.  Here, we are playing ABC Shark.  It’s a shark made from a letter size envelope, a googly eye, grey crayon, some yarn for gill slits and felt for the teeth.  I’m using Homeschool Creations lowercase ABC cards for the shark to eat.  Jesse picks one up, tells me what letter it is and then the shark (me) gobbles it up.  He just laughs and laughs.  So sweet.  I love this learning time with him each day.SharkABCs2 (1 of 1) SharkABCs (1 of 1)I am excited about the progress Jesse has made lately and the enthusiasm he’s showing all of a sudden to learn new things.  I look forward to teaching him so much more and watching him learn.

**Any ideas for Five in a Row, Before Five in a Row, ABC’s, learning games, arts, crafts, etc. can be found on my Pinterest boards.**