Let me tell you, I am feelin' the love. I have gotten emails. Comments on other posts. Asking where are the Friday Follies. And even more importantly, asking where I am. Rest assured, I am right here. In my disaster of a basement. While I gather everything for my consignment sale. But more about that another day. And Friday Follies - tune in tomorrow for their new incarnation.
Both girls had great weeks - even after Madalyn's refusal to get on the bus the first day of school. All of the second grade is outside the school in trailers. Oh, wait. Excuse me. They are called "Learning Cottages." I am constantly corrected on that one.
Before I delve into what we did this week, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about why and how we homeschool. Hopefully there will be no snoozing. And hasn't this just been an educational week? Not a lot of flash. Well, except for the lightning. But then again, there is not a lot of flash in my life. I have to invent it.
As usual, I tend to digress. HEY! Are you all back with me? Good. Moving along. I did not want to homeschool. Not at all. I wanted to put my child on the bus. Wave good bye. And have some me time. A lot of me time. But that is not the way things worked out. We used to live in a horrid school district. Where the public school was so not an option. And the price of private wsan't an option either. I went to schools outside of our district to try and convince random principals how much they would enjoy having my child at their school. But no one was buying my stories.
And then, serendipity steps in. In the form of the book The Well trained Mind. I read this book from cover to cover. Including all the parts that were about homeschooling high schoolers. And I knew. I just knew that this was something I could do. Do well. And love doing.
The Well Trained Mind advocates for the classical method of homeschooling. Which is history based. So, in year one, you start at the beginning. With Ancient history. There is no seperate reading/literature program, because along with your history, you read stories from that time period. We studied ancient Egypt - so we read Egyptian myths and legends. We studied Ancient Mesopotamia, and we read The Epic of Gilgamesh. Can you believe that there are beautiful picture books of this story? There are. If you haven't read them...go to your library and get them for your kids. Or for you. (Gligamesh the King, The Revenge of Ishtar, and The Last Quest of Gilgamesh - all by Ludmila Zeman.)
There is a four year cycle for history - ancients, middle ages, Rennaissance/Early modern, and Modern. As well as a four year cycle for science - that corresponds with what the people of that period knew: biology (plants, animals, and humans); Earth Science/Astronomy; Chemistry; and Physics. What I love about this is that Katie will read Shakespeare three times. The first time more in story method. The second time, at a junior level, and the third time in the original. And it won't be scary. Or overwhelming. Because we will have done it before.
Also, central to The Well Trained Mind is learning to write. And learning to write well. It starts with copy work. The idea being that you know good writing when you read it. And when you write it yourself. Copy work moves into dictation. Which is an excellent precursor to note taking. And I will have a child that has been doing that since first grade. So when she is in a class with a lecture portion, she will be well prepared.
When she reads - for any of her subjects, she writes a narrative.(This is what she wrote for Bio today. Can you even read it?) A simple one or two paragraphs telling me what she read (in the beginning it might have just been one or two sentences - and now we are moving to outlining). This is a huge skill. To learn how to summarize. And pull out the most important pieces (instead of the strange or fantastical like she tended to do in the beginning).
So, this year for fifth grade, we are starting over our four year cycle. And we are going to dig a little deeper. This is what we learned:
BIOLOGY: We are using Noeo Biology II for our curriculum this year. And the lessons started with Usborne's Complete Book of the Microscope and learning about their history(since the 1600's) up through modern optical and electron microscopes. We even made a microscope using a piece of cardboard, plastic film, and a drop of water. (although it was more like a magnifying glass than a microscope...but still quite cool!)
HISTORY: We have not started on our History Odyssey curriculum because I wanted to back track a little. And go over some early forms of hominids. We started with Australopithecus and moved up to Homo Habilis, Erectus, Neanderthals, and then Sapiens. We finished off our week discussing the ice age and reading the hilarious book You wouldn't want to be a Mammoth Hunter. (This is another book series I highly recommend - there are lots of book - all by different authors. I am sure you could look up "You wouldn't want to be" as the series at your library or amazon)
MATH: We had not quite finished with Singapore Math's 5B last Spring...so we picked up where we left off: the chapter on Averages.
LOGIC: We started with the workbook Logic Countdown - which is listed for 3-4th grade - but after thumbing through it - there are a number of difficult problems. It starts with lists of items and you have to tell what they all have in common. Like: book, poster, tablet, envelope: all are made with paper; cup, vase, bucket, pot: all are containers. But the difficult one for Katie: salt, sugar, flour, soda. She thought of soda - like Coke. But when I told her it was baking soda, she decided that it was things in the kitchen. Of course it could be things you use to bake. Or, they are all white. Or how about this one: what do these have in common: peach, cherry, olive, and avocado? This one was tough for her!
WRITING/GRAMMAR: Our formal writing program does not start until after Labor Day. In the meantime, I have Katie doing a workbook called "Note taking." It's boring to her. As is the grammar. But it's good to keep up her skills.
GEOGRAPHY: This is now Katie's favorite subject. (She said it was a toss up between Geography and History) We started the week just reading about Europe - and then moved on to our first country : Denmark. I had planned to start with China - to go with the Olympics. But I accidentally put China in another week, and didn't feel like erasing it to go back to the beginning (I know...shocker...I use a manual planner...not a computer!).
Katie read a book about Denmark: city and village life; and another book about how the Danish King helped to save the Jews from the Nazis. We watched a short movie about the country. And we made a Danish recipe for Æblepandekager which is a Danish apple pancake (or cake, really). It was quite yummy.
That was our week. Pretty good start. What about you? When you were in school - what was your favorite subject? And do you want to learn how to make Æblepandekager?