Friday, December 3, 2010

What We're Doing

Maybe I'll make another blog just about this whole process.

A homeschooling blog... aka... what the heck is that lady doing?! blog (but I'm afraid it'd have to be invite only! I'm too fragile right now!).

Otherwise this might start to take over for awhile.

Hey, remember when I used to exercise?!

Except instead of watching me lose weight you'll probably be watching me gain it... I can't help it... cooking IS science.

Anyway, our curriculum...I'm going with Sonlight (yes I know that it's Christian... but it's literature & history based and we're not doing the bible study aspect... I just got the core component and am mixing in the other things I want). I liked the focus (kid loves her some history) and that the lesson plans are included. For me and my kind o'crazy perfectionism (and over the top need for documentation) I think this will help keep me in check.

We've got a science curriculum coming. I'm some what fearful of this. I just think adding experiments into my day... ugh... I don't know... is a lot to manage. Mr F said he'll handle it. But... ahem... Mr F says he'll handle a lot of things...

We're working our way through some Kumon math workbooks I got at Barnes & Noble. Once I can tell what level she's at (they've only been doing review of addition & subtraction up to 20 at the public school so far) I'll go in for an appropriate curriculum. But for now, better to be getting practice every day and slowly working up, then start out too hard and freak out in frustration and refuse to do it EVER AGAIN (Kid hates math did I mention that?). I also got her an abacus at IKEA the other day. Hello! She loves it. Last night she used it to add up all the cookies I baked for the Cookie Bazaar, and to figure out how many years until Mr F turns one hundred. So that's good. Learning should be interesting & fun. She uses that thing all the time.

I picked up some language arts workbooks (writing, spelling, reading comp stuff) just to flush out where it might be needed. And let me say this 2nd Grade spelling book... is a revelation... they were doing insane spelling words at school. This book is kind of too easy... but... again... my goal is to just start out a little BELOW (this is an anxiety disorder I'm dealing with here) and not challenge her right now... just establish a routine and what kind of work is stimulating and interesting, and THEN start slowly introducing more challenging work. Her number one trigger is frustration, so we need to keep things LOW PRESSURE and EXTREMELY POSITIVE. We need to rebuild self esteem, and feelings of self competency, and self worth. We're talking baby steps.

The good news is that you can cover a lot more material in a much shorter period of time at home than at school (believe it folks). So I will not be surprised at all if by June (should we still be doing this) she has not only caught up, but has moved beyond the schools curriculum goals.

I also found a great history program from PBS on Netflix, and she's been watching an episode a day and then giving me the synopsis. We then fact check in our big DK History of the World book (she loves that book... TONS of illustrations of beheadings!).

Until our curriculum comes and I get that sorted, she's been reading simple small chapter "Easy Reader" style books and then (and really I think this was genius) I copy the cover of the book with our scanner, and she writes out a book review on the copy. I told her it was so we could keep track of whether it was a good book or not, this helped cover both reading comprehension and a writing exercise and she was more than happy to do it.

For science, we're keeping a Weather Journal. I thought she'd like this and it would be another sneaky way to get writing in... but she's on to me... so I think this might be a weekly thing. She records the date, the weather conditions, and then draws a picture of something weather/nature related from that day. We also just found an awesome Chimp sanctuary's blog which has TONS of short videos of the chimps playing, eating, etc. I bookmarked that, it should be fun to check in and see what they're up to.

So that is that. In case you were wondering. Much less connect the dots, and word searches than school... but... I don't think that we're doing so badly for a random quickly cobbled together program.

And that doesn't even count our discussions on menstruation (fun! I enjoyed that... not), a prison's effect on property values, and why Dad working at a cupcake shop wouldn't provide a viable income for the family. Oh and coupons... SHE LOVES COUPONS... she couldn't believe that you could pay less if you had a coupon... which of course led to a whole discussion on marketing.

Other than that, I have a big spiral binder and I write down what lessons we did for each subject. We are not required to do that, but I think it will help me feel that I have actually *done something*, and could be helpful in lieu of a transcript should we end up at a private school.

(What is Baby doing during all this?... well, she spends an inordinate amount of time standing on a step ladder in the pantry lip syncing Christmas songs into a xylophone mallet... her favorite song?... Wham!'s Last Christmas)


STACI said...

I haven't commented in a long time but I've been reading. ;)

I'm so happy you are doing what works for KID. In my opinion that's what great parenting is all about. Who cares if SOME (whack jobs) think it's wrong. YOU know your kid & YOU know what will work best for her. KUDOS to you! :)

Heck...I want to come over & go to school with Kid! :)

katieo said...

I think all of that sounds great.

Supermom said...

Mrs F

I'm so proud of you!!!! I've been reading as well but not commenting!

I know that You are going to do a fabulous "job" at homeschooling because this is something you have been talking about for a long long time.

I know that Kid is in her best place at this time.

I'm just so excited for all of you!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry we haven't kept in touch but life gets crazy at times.

Tell everyone "hello" from us!!! xooxoox

Sandcastle Momma said...

It sounds like you're doing great!

One of my sons has a learning disability and the frustration that comes with that is horrible.
He gets so frustrated and then wants to quit so we start everything slow. I've set him up NOT to fail which means everytime he does really well he gets excited and is then ready to move on to something a little harder.
By starting her off on a level a little easier than she can actually do she'll feel very successful and then won't have anxiety as you move on to things a little harder.
And I don't test him on something until I know he'll do well. That way he doesn't feel like he's "failed"

We move at his pace and by doing that he's already moved past his grade level because there isn't fear and frustration involved and he feels successful at the end of each day.

And isn't it amazing how much you can teach a child by talking about cupcake shops and things like that?

She's learning all day and without having to spend hours on worksheets!

Torey said...

Can I come to your school? I need a college degree. You can do that, right?????

Seriously, it sounds like such an awesome learning environment. You totally rock at this. I love how creative you are, and in turn how creative Kid gets to be.

Which Way to Green? said...

Sounds like you've got a good curriculum going. I would LOVE to know which PBS series you're watching. I'm so excited that you said about PBS on Netflix. I'm making my queue now...

Mrs Furious said...

Which Way To Green,
It is called "Liberty Kids" and revolves around The American Revolution. It's action packed and Ruby really loves it. Yesterday's episode was about the British forces recruiting slaves and offering them freedom after their service... I did not know that! I also found a science program (Beakman's World) but we haven't watched it yet (there are 4 seasons of it on Netflix) I'll let you know if it's any good.

inkelywinkely said...

You should try story of the world.

It covers every bit of history from the earliest we can talk about until now, everything that has ever happened- IN STORY FORM. It also comes on cd and is great from vehicle rides. One of the best curriculum additives I have ever found.

Which Way to Green? said...

Wow, talk about a blast from the past. As soon as you said Beakman's world, my little brain said, "Waaaiiit a minute, that sounds familiar." A little Netflix streaming and I definitely used to watch this when I was younger. It's less appealing now, but I liked it back then. Unfortunately, I have no idea if that means it's a good science help!

Kiki said...

I'm so excited at everything you are doing, its all so cool and new and adventurous!!!!! If you start a new blog I hope you'll have me along...I think it'll be awesome!!!!

Alexandra said...

You may already have checked this out, but my teacher friend (2-4th grade) swears that Singapore Math is the way to go. Singapore consistently ranks top in the world in Math. The way he describes it, I think I would have liked Math a lot more.

Deb said...

I'd like to time travel about 30-ish years and come learn at your kitchen table. This sounds so much more interesting than school.

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