Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thus Far...

The nitty gritty of our day is not so nitty gritty. I attempt to make J think he has done very little "school" each day. We read. We play. We listen. There is a war going on in me about how to set up homeschool. Half of me wants to just let school happen and the other uber-organized part of me wants to plan out every inch of our day. A compromise has been worked out. I plan general units for the week or month. Not specifics for each day. Just topics.

For the last two weeks we have been talking about the Revolutionary War. J LOVES war, guns, swords fighting...by talking with our local children's librarian we found a great series called "Dear America." We are reading one of the books in the series about the Revolutionary War called "The Journal of William Thomas Emerson." It is great because it is about a boy who lived during the time of the Revolutionary War in Boston, Massachusetts. We also picked up a Magic Tree House series book called "Revolutionary War on Wednesday" and the Magic Tree House Research Guide called "American Revolution." I like using fiction paired with non-fiction. Along with all of these books, we picked up multiple kids history books about the war; our favorite being "Liberty or Death: the American Revolution 1763-1783." I have a Netflix account and am able to access through it a series called "Liberty Kids." This was where J's initial interest in the Revolutionary War came from. He watched one episode and wanted to know more.

Before the Revolutionary War, we talked Pilgrims. We read "The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce" from the Dear America series, "Thanksgiving on Thursday" from the Magic Tree House series, and multiple non-fiction books about pilgrims and the Mayflower.

I try to work in some arty fun each week. Last month we hung a huge piece of paper and did a project each day with a letter from the word THANKSGIVING. Below the word we filled it with handprint Mayflower pictures, paper weaving of a piece of corn and pumpkin pictures. For this coming month we are going to attempt our first Jesse Tree. I have never done a Jesse Tree but I would love to learn more so here we go!

READING (teaching this scares me silly): J can sound small words out. He has known his letters and their sounds for awhile but he has no interest it learning how to read right now. I am trying not to force it but some days my brain freaks out that I am ruining his learning life by not pushing him to read. Then I remember to calm down and remember he is only 5. I have found a few great learning to read helps. Number 1: Starfall Number 2: Bob Books

We love science at our house. My husband is a biologist and I have a teaching degree for grades 7-12 Science (and English but that was more so I could read more fiction books during college). Right now I am using the "I Wonder Why" books as jumping boards for talking about science related subjects. Last week we made body prints by tracing each kids outline on a huge piece of paper. After reading about bones, nerves, and brains in "I Wonder Why I Blink" the boys were given free reign to fill in their body prints with bones. I had them feel for bones on their bodies and try to put those bones on their body print. It was a really fun activity. The boys spent at least an hour working on their prints.

Some other topics we have covered this year in science, sink or float, density of different liquids, cheetahs, Earth orbit, seasons, plants, chipmunks, squirrels, and snakes. The boys get a big lesson in ecology each summer while we are in Iceland for D's work. I am proud to admit that all of my boys love insects and spiders and have absolutely no fear of handling them. D has taken the 2 older boys out in the field with him collecting spiders multiple times.

And now for the what next in homeschooling...

Homeschooling Mama

Why homeschool? We move a lot. We have a boy with a summer birthday who still naps many days of the week. We spend months of the year in a foreign country. I have a teaching degree and am a SAHM. We have 3 boys close together in age who love to play together (and fight together). I was not ready to have our oldest gone for such a long part of the day. All of these things, and more, went into our decision to do school from home this year. It is a tester year. I am not committed for life. I am trying it out and some days I love what I am trying and some days I look forward to the day we send them all off to school.

This blog will chronicle ours days of school and some of the fun and frustration that goes into those days. It will also be a motivation for me to plan more for our days.