Next Years Plans

Our plans for next year keep changing, but I think I have finally gotten everything figured out. Our first major change is that Autry has decided she wants to be homeschooled next year. I was very surprised when she told me, but she thought it out and weighed all the pros and cons. She is going to spend the year at home working on her art and writing, and then she is going to try to get into OCHSA next year.

What this means to me is that I had to plan our year out differently because Autry is a different learner than Tru, but I finally have a plan, and I am quite satisfied with it. For LA we are going to continue with K12 LAs which I am very happy with. Tru has done a few weeks of it, and Autry will join him in the work. For math the twins will be doing Life of Fred as their main program. Many people use LoF as a supplement, but I have found it to be a very rich program that teaches all the math concepts. I look forward to using this program with the twins. Tru has almost finished LoF fractions, but I think we will review it with Autry and then move on to decimals. I am hoping that we can get through these two books and LoF pre-algebra with biology by next May.

The twins have picked out a science program from Winter Promise called Sizzle, Solve, and Survive. It sounds like a very interesting program, and I know I would have loved it when I was little, so I am excited for them to work with it.  From the WinterPromise website:

Learn to Use Sustainable Resources to Survive!

You are about to be stranded on an island, where you will need to learn to live sustainably using the resources available to you on the small island. To survive, you must learn how to harness the power of the sun and the wind as well as tap the energy of other physical forces. You will read the journal entries of islanders and build models of the same projects or conduct the same experiments right alongside them.

The program uses this kit from Thames and Kanos, and I am hoping that it keeps their interest all year. In addition they will be working through Singapore Science.

For history they are going to do K12’s World History using¬† the Human Odyssey along with reading The World In Ancient Times and The Medieval and Early Modern World.

Tru is going to continue his Latin studies using Latin for Children, and Autry will be working on Chinese. Together they will also be working on Spanish using Rosetta Stone.

Then they have their classes. Autry is in acting, homeschool choir, private voice lessons, and homeschool orchestra. Tru will be in homeschool orchestra, a p.e. class (either swimming or basketball), and Lego engineering. All in all I am very happy with our plan. Hopefully it will all work out…

Weekly Report

It’s funny how every year I start the summer off thinking that the kids should continue doing some academic work. The kids always readily agree to this, and I think the reason is that they know that I never stick with that plan. The kids know that I love summer as much as them! It’s funny, but I think my big speech about how we are going to continue homeschooling through the summer actually signals the start of summer for the kids. So as I give my big talk, the kids just nod and agree, and then they run off and celebrate. One year I think I will surprise them, and actually make them work through the whole summer ( That would show them!).

So what have we been doing? Well Autry is actually still in public school, but it is winding down, so even she feels that she is on break. Her last official day is next Wednesday, and I can’t wait!! It has been a great year for Autry, but I really need a break from getting her up every morning and packing her lunch everyday.

Almost 11

The twins birthday is coming up (they’ll be 11), and I am planning their party for next Saturday. We are having an old-fashioned outdoor party at a park. We are going to have a water-balloon fight, a limbo competition, and other games. It is getting harder to plan their birthdays. Autry wanted a dance party, and Tru wanted a Nintendo DS themed party (not sure how I would have done that). Tru very quickly nixed the dance party, and Autry didn’t want a DS themed party. They couldn’t agree on anything, so I just took it over and planned it myself. Sometimes I think it is a little hard for them to have to share their birthdays, but they are quite close. By the end of their birthday, they are always happy to be twins and to have each other.

The twins at 6

Autry had her end-of-the-year performance for her acting class a few weeks back. She played a turtle in Yertle the Turtle and Sylvester in Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. She was great!

As a turtle

As Sylvester

Decca decided to start his Hideaways in History program early, and he didn’t need anyone’s help. He found a box and made it into a sarcophagus. He decorated the lid with a picture of Prince Decca and added some hieroglyphics that he found in one of his Egyptian books. He then wrapped up in some cloth and also “mummified” his cat. He had so much fun! I am so happy with Hideaways in History already, and we haven’t even started it.

There is a mummy inside....

Mummified prince and mummified cat

I started a summer reading/writing program for the kids (is that school?). It is just my way to get the kids to read and write in the summer. They are working at earning gift cards to Barnes and Noble. My mom and I put together a little bulletin board. It is a summer themed scene. The kids read and write to earn beach balls, and each beach ball they earn equals a dollar from Barnes and Noble. At the end of summer they will get a gift card, and they can use it for new books for the fall. They are all working hard trying to earn their beach balls. Tru seems to be putting the most effort into it, but reading comes easy to him, and I think he already is planning what to do with the money he earns.

I am still working our history program for next year. I have weeks one and two scheduled out, and I have decided on many of the books we will be using. I will post our schedule up in a few weeks for anyone that wants to see it. I am happy with what I got so far, and I think this will turn out to be a great year. You can see my book choices here.

Some of the books for next year

Ancient History – Continued

I am still working on our Ancient History Studies, and I think I am getting close to finalizing what we will be doing. I have decided to add The World in Ancient Times Set to our studies. This is a wonderful set put out by Oxford University Press for students in the middle school grades, and I think it will be a wonderful addition to our studies.

I am excited about getting this series in the mail. After I read through it I will post my thoughts on it. It is quite expensive, so I am going to review it for anyone thinking of purchasing it. In addition I am adding three books from You Choose Books: Historical Eras to our studies as I think the kids will enjoy these. I am hoping that these turn out good as they have no reviews, and I can’t look inside them.

Once I get all my books in the mail I will begin working on the schedule. I will post it as soon as I have one. In the meantime you can see all the books we will be using here.

Weekly Report

This week has been great. We are starting to switch gears from doing school work all day to doing other things, like spending time outdoors and working on fun projects.

Decca is now finished with his MUS Alpha book, his handwriting book, and his Language Lessons book.It is such a great feeling to get to an end of the book. He is still working through ETC 5, and he is reading everyday. I discovered a new series for him called Usborne Young Readers. These books are perfect for the child who is past early readers but is not yet ready for long chapter books. He read The Fairground Ghost and Monsters this week. He was very interested in the topics, so he read them with no complaints. I think he is on his way to becoming a strong reader.

Tru is still working through his Singapore Math and MUS. We will probably be working through Math during the summer. He has started his K12 language arts for 6th grade, and he is doing great with it. I am very impressed with the program and love that it includes so much reading of classic works. He will be working on this through the summer, but only for a little bit each day. I am trying to get him to write (our constant struggle), so that is what we will be focusing on for the summer.

Both boys are still working on their Latin, and we have continued reading Sea and Sky.

Other things we did this week –

I am working on shooting a little video with the kids that I am hoping to have up on here sometime. We have been having fun with that.

A toothless Decca in front of our lights.

Setting up the equipment

In front of the green screen

We have been taking walks and studying birds.

We have plenty of finches at our house.

We spotted these two in a neighbor's yard.

Decca chased the crows.

Tru found this feather and

immediately started tickling Decca.

Autry did not appreciate being tickled!

I have also started working on Tru’s history program for next year. You can read about that here.

And that is our week in review.

Ancient History – Second Time Through

I originally had planned to use K12 fro Tru next year, but I have decided against it. We are already doing K12 Language Arts (which I love), and I don’t want to be tied to the computer all day, checking little boxes and completing assessments. I am having a hard time finding a program that I want to use for him, so I have decided to just put my own program together. I figure with five years homeschooling experience and all those classes I took in history in college (not to mention all the education classes I have been taking over the last year and a half) that I should be able to put together something.

I have just started the process of putting his history together. I know some of the books we will use, and I have also created an Amazon store to keep a list of our choices. (Check it out if you want to get some ideas). I have begun a very informal schedule, and hopefully it will become more formal before the fall, but honestly , planning is not my strong suit. I am trying to change that though, and I want a schedule for Tru, so that he can see what he needs to do each day.

Anyway, I have decided our two main books that we will use for this program is K12’s The Human Odyssey and A Little History of the World. I am also going to use History: The Definitive Visual Guide as it looks so visually appealing for kids. I am going to add some readers and other non-fiction books to these three to add to Tru’s studies. I want to choose books that add to his learning and understanding. I am not going to have a list of twenty readers though, as my goal for him is not to have him read for hours a day, but instead I want him to dig deeper in history this year and make meaningful connections to all that he has learned so far.

I also want him to learn the skill of outlining, and we are going to work on that all year. I remember outlining as a kid, and I loved to do it. I started around his age, and I outlined throughout high school and college. Outlining is a great way to organize the reading and helps prepare a student for note taking and studying for tests. I am debating whether to get a workbook on outlining or to just teach it myself. I think I will just teach him as it is a very straightforward skill . I am afraid reading a text on how to outline will just make a simple task complicated.

That is all I have so far. I will update as I add more books and get a schedule going. I also hope to link other websites and videos that add to our studies. If you know of any good books or other resources let me know. I am always on the lookout for great resources.