Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homeschool week in review: Weeks 7 and 8

A few weeks ago, I asked you to ask me questions. For fodder. I keep procrastinating the answering of said questions. But I thought answering the homeschool ones in my week in review might be a good idea. That way those of you who could care less about this type of thing...well, you can easily move on.

From Trish: Why do you homeschool one of your girls but not the other? Or why does one of your girls go to public school while the other is homeschooled? When we first started homeschooling, it was not by choice. We lived in a horrible school district. And there was no way I was going to send Katie there. I looked at all other options. And none of them was "really" an option. So, quite reluctantly, I knew for first grade, we'd start. Then an aquaintance of mine suggested that I read Susan Wise Bauer's "The Well Trained Mind." I devoured that book. Read the entire thing. Even about how to homeschool the high schooler. And after reading that book, I was so empowered. I KNEW I could homeschool.

Now, Katie is rather advanced. AND she's an independent learner. She doesn't need a lot of hands on work. And she, with a planner and guidance from me, is practically self taught. And that is what works for her.

Madalyn on the other hand is a COMPLETELY different child. She is me. Stubborn. Willful. Argumentative. My way or the high way. If she was homeschooled, we'd just butt heads. And argue. I'd pull out all my hair. She would spend her days lounging in front of the television. Or hanging from the ceiling by her toenails. Crimes might be committed. Jail could be mentioned. BUT...all of these hijinx are reserved especially for me. She is a peach at school. I get reports about how sweet she is. How helpful. What a good friend she is. So, school is where she needs to be. It's what works for her.

Another really cool thing about having Madalyn in school is that as a second child, this is something that is completely her own. There is no prescendent set before her. No shadow of her sister's accomplishments. She can blaze her own path of glory.

From Tiffany:Have you always followed the classical approach to hs'ing?How long do you plan to hs your older daughter?If you weren't hs'ing, how would you spend your days? We have always homeschooled this way. If you want to read my attempt at explaining the Classical method, click here. At the moment, I would say we'll homeschool Katie through high school. We have managed to get so far ahead in certain subjects that I am not sure how she would integrate back into the system. However, our county has a special high school for students on a math or science track. And that is something I might consider.

If I wasn't homeschooling, I really don't know what I would be doing. Maybe I would go back to school. Get my PhD. Maybe I would sit here at my computer and blog all day. Wait...I do that already...

From Debbie: Do you and Katie have a strict homeschool routine? Or I guess my question is really, how do you manage your homeschool day? I am always curious about that with HS moms. We are ruled by the planner. I did a post about it when I first started blogging. I plan every three weeks - so Katie knows exactly what she is supposed to do on any given day. She can manage her own time. Do her subjects in whatever order she wishes. And then when she is done, she comes and shows me everything that she did. She cannot have priviledges until everything is checked off for the day - and that includes things like practicing piano.

Now, not all days are perfect. Sometimes I assign things for her to do that take longer than I would have anticipated. Or there are doctor's appointments that mess with our time. Which is why the planner is written in pencil. And why she does a lot of work in the car.

And this is what we accomplished over the past two weeks:

LANGUAGE ARTS: We are moving along with Daily Grammar. And I decided to stop Wordly Wise for a bit. She was getting a little overwhelmed with the volumne of her school work. I want to figure out a way to break up the assignments a little more before I work it back into her schedule. I have made writing her blog part of her weekly work. She has to update it at least three times a week. And right now she has posted the first two parts of a story. It's really good. Click here if you want to read it - I know she'd love some comment luv.

I also continue to be impressed with her work with Write at Home. They started out with just an assessment - to write about themselves. Then they went back to basics. With how to form sentences. How to make them interesting. Here is her post about one of those exercises. She had to write sentences using all different subjects and verbs. You should see the silly sentences she created for the next assignment. I'll have to get her to post those. This week her assignment is to write her first narrative paragraph.

LOGIC -- We finished her first book and moved into the second. It's the same activities she did in the first book, but it's stepped up the difficulty.

GEOGRAPHY -- We have spent the past two weeks studying Japan. We (we meaning Katie) read about the Shinto religion. She made a Japanese screen. Read lots of Japanese stories. Read about traditional holidays such as Children's Day. And in the middle of our week, we went to Japan Fest. Where the kids got to make lanterns:

Get a tattoo:

See bonsai trees (they had soooo many questions for the guys in this area. Wanting to know how they trained the trees to do that. How they got them in rocks. They were completely mesmerized. I knew they would like the festival. I didn't know that this would be one of their favorite parts.):

Eat Japanese food:

See Kimonos (oh, were they gorgeous):

And they even got their names written phonetically in Japanese:Here is Katie's version of the events. Next week we are moving on to study Greece. Because the Greek festival is this weekend.

HISTORY: We continued with ancient Egypt. Katie finished reading "Tales from Ancient Egypt" and "The Golden Goblet." And this weekend she is starting "Mara, Daughter of the Nile." We went to the library to do research on how pyramids are built. And did a section of different forms of art and recreation during this time period. I am trying to figure out when we can go see the Egyptian collection at the Michael C Carlos museum. I had planned to go next weekend...but Katie is going camping with girl scouts. So many things to do, so little time!

BIOLOGY: Katie has been reading about different protective measures animals use to survive. Things like: body coverings, camouflage, coloring, mimicry...

MATH: We finished our sections on geometry and tessalations and this week moved to volume.

LATIN: She is still reviewing materials from last year. And then this week moved on to learn about third declension nouns.

So...what about you? Have you been going to any festivals in your area? Did you like to write stories when you were younger? What time period was/is your favorite in history? Have you ever contemplated homeschooling?

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The Joye of Teaching said...

You are a true teacher! As a public school teacher I often worry when parents pull their middle schooler out to suddenly hs. Normally it is a behavior prob they are trying to address.
I think next time this is mentioned I'll direct them here to see what all is involved in teaching a full curriculum.
When she is out of high school will you return to teaching Latin in a public school?

-Bridget said...

We have some friends that send their children to a school taught with the classical method. I think it makes a lot of sense. If that school wasn't too far from us we would consider it.

I think it's awesome you are able to do what is best for your girls, even if it means taking two entirely different approaches to educating them. I can't think of many people that would have the insight to understand the needs are so different and the dedication and determination to act on it. I've been following your homeschooling updates and read them with great interest. It sounds exactly like what my oldest daughter will need when she is school aged. Unfortunately, I don't see myself being able to give up my job in order to do it.

Jen said...

that is really cool. Thanks for the education into homeschooling. That is really cool. I like what you are doing.

sassy stephanie said...

Man, I don't know if I could. I do wish, though, that I had gone into education, to give me the option. I know that is not really a prereq, but I feel like if I had a background in education, I may be more comfortable with it.

We were private until a move this summer. Now we are in a teeny tiny public, which I am pleased with so far. But I do worry about the studies being guided by testing and sometimes testing only.

I spoke with a friend yesterday that started HS'ing her first and third grade boys. She said one huge benefit is there is no "afternoon rush" to get home, snack, homework and zoom off to after school activities.

Angie's Spot said...

We've been attending Fall festivals in our area, which include lots of pumpkin viewing, apple picking and general nonsensical fun. No cool events like your Japanese fair in this lovely city! Yet one more reason I need to move to your neck of the woods. LOL!

I loved writing as a youngster. That's where my love of journaling and writing began.

My favorite period in history to study are Medieval Times. The Middle Ages have always been fascinating to me.

I was sold on homeschooling while I was pregnant with my oldest and then I abandoned it. I have since picked the torch back up and am seriously considering it again.

BTW, hubby is seriously interested in seeing the ta-ta's pics. Hee hee hee...

Rhea said...

My kids love school too much to even consider homeschooling. Probably best.

I loved your response to why you homeschool one child and not the other. Very nicely put.

All these festivals! How cool. I need to see what we have going on around here. Surely we have some festivals somewhere we could go to...

My mom has a bonsai tree. My boys find it fascinating!

And, for the record, I could have made this into many, many small comments, but chose to do one big one. My restraint is amazing, isn't it?

I Love Purple More Than You said...

I had wondered why you homeschool one and not the other. I'm glad you explained, and it makes complete sense.

We homeschool for scheduling reasons, connected to my husband's work hours. My oldest (the only one old enough for school currently) sounds just like your oldest. Makes for a lovely homeschooling experience! But I'm not going to delude myself into thinking my younger two will be the same. Only time will tell... :)

Carletta said...

Hi Kat,

Great blog! I am collecting curriculum reviews on my homeschool website. Out of the 430 reviews I've received so far, I still haven't received one for Write at Home. If you have a free moment and want to share your opinion, you can do so here:

I like your blog and I'll definitely stop by again!

Insane Mama said...

I've thought about it but I don't think I am organized enough. You do such fun things.

Shannon said...

Have not been to any festivals lately... which is a shame since there is always something going on here...

I've always liked the "pioneer" era... always wanted to be Laura in Little House on the Prairie.

jennifersusan said...

I homeschooled for half a year when my second oldest was in the 2nd grade. We had just moved to the Chicagoland area (from an amazing school in St.Louis) and the teacher he got was a nightmare. She insisted he needed to be put on meds and constantly called me to complain that he talked in class (he was an 8yo boy, of course he talked in class!). So, after thinking about it a while, I pulled him out and homeschooled the rest of the year. I loved putting together the lessons, and being able to put the day together that fit him best. We only did it for a short period because the following year we switched schools (moved across town) and now we're in a fabulous school district. I think if I could do it over I would definately have homeschooled my oldest--he would have really excelled with it, and I'm thinking about homeschooling my youngest.
I love reading what you and Katie are doing--the boys love reading Katie's blog!

Lula! said...

I'm going to answer your questions:

1. Festivals? In our area. HA! OK, so we do have the Tobacco Festival the last Saturday of each October. Yeah, the Tobacco Festival. We celebrate cancer here!

2. I wrote tons of stories as a child. I still write stories. Bet your girls' are better than mine, though.

3. I'm not answering the time period one...'cause I'm blogging about this VERY same thing later on in the week. It's already half-written. I'll give you a shoutout on that post, though. Like I do on every other post as of late.

4. Yes...I homeschooled Libbey for pre-K. She was a dream student. Caroline? Not so much. But I'll probably have to home school her because she's so bad...she'll get kicked out of kindergarten on the first day. Sigh...

Rhea said...

I read Katie's version of the festival, and she did a good job!

Rhea said...

Did I tell you that Donny wants an iphone?

Rhea said...

He offered the deal that if he gets all A's, all year, then he could get one.

I'm thinking about it...but honestly, he loses his glasses, lost his little cell phone (that was free) and never can find things, so what am I thinking?!

Rhea said...

Now me on the other hand...I'd LOVE an iPhone.

Debbie said...

Kat, I just marvel at how rich your curriculum it. That is the one thing that I love hearing about when I read homeschooler reports like this. I told LRRH that Katie was going to have to go to JuCo for math at 10. She said "you mean high school?" I said "NO, Junior College." She gasped..."She is 10 and going to college." I told her that was how smart Katie was. We are both amazed! I will have her go read Katie's blog sometime.