16 April 2008

Homeschool Snapshot


Thalia decided she needed to work on fractions, percents, and decimals before moving into a pre-Algebra program. We got the Key to. ... series for her to work on, and she's been going through the books on her own. She likes the incremental pace; I think she also gets a kick out of how easy some of it is. I don't think she's learning anything new, but she's getting plenty of practice on concepts. RightStart was great on explanations, and then gave just a few interesting problems to work on -- Thalia apparently needed gobs of practice problems, which she's getting now.

In the meantime, I've been looking over pre-Algebra programs, and have decided that some of the main features of them are working on fractions, decimals, and percents, and making sure those are solid before moving on to Algebra. I think we'll plunge into Algebra once she's done with these books.

AnnaBeth continues in RightStart C. We are at about lesson 95. She's doing well with memorizing multiplication tables. Not that RightStart calls it that -- at this point she's just learning to skip count really, really quickly, according to the program. She's working on 4 digit subtraction, which seems to be going smoothly.


Thalia continues with Latin for Children, which she adores. She eagerly awaits Greek for Children, convinced that the people at Classical Academic Press will put together the Best Program Ever since they have the magic touch in language programs.

AnnaBeth was doing Prima Latina, but ... oh, lordy, those Memoria Press language programs just kill me. I dread getting out the book. And AnnaBeth wasn't exactly pushing for it. At first she was so eager to learn Latin that she insisted, and I just sort of went along with her enthusiasm. But bit by bit that enthusiasm eroded with the onslaught of B.O.R.I.N.G. lessons. Latin seems to be on hold for this child for a few more weeks.

Foreign Language

Thalia also continues in Rosetta Stone Spanish. She's bored with it. I've been looking for something else to mix it with, but so far haven't found anything that seems appropriate. What she'd really like if Spanish for Children by Classical Academic Press, since she considers them the source of all Perfect Language Programs. Maybe we'll take a look at it when it's published.

AnnaBeth is taking another try at French. A couple of years ago we tried The Easy French. Since she didn't yet know how to read we simply listened to the tapes. Not much stuck, frankly. We just started the program again, this time with reading and writing. AnnaBeth is excited about this. I'll be interested to see how well we learn to read French with the little Spalding-type phonogram cards they provide.

Reading and Writing

We just got our copy of Lightning Literature 7 last week, and Thalia immediately started in. I got a copy of the Harold Bloom's book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children from the library so she could read Riki Tiki Tavi. She keeps taking the book and wandering off with it, reading other things. Sheesh, that child loves to read. She also likes Lightning Lit, it seems. I think she likes having a mental checklist of what all needs to be covered, and being able to see how she's progressing; having a workbook provides that.

Analytical Grammar is on order. Right now she's not doing any other grammar program; way back when we dumped Rod and Staff 5th grade and never replaced it with anything. It's time to focus on grammar again. Simply doing dictation and looking up rules as needed really didn't seem to help with usage rules, either. I think Analytical Grammar gets into some usage. I hope so. We'll see.

In the meantime, AnnaBeth is 4 lessons away from completing First Language Lessons. She's very excited. We already have a copy of the Level 3 book and workbook ready to start next week. And she's very excited about that, too. Yes, both my kids are excited that their new programs contain workbooks.

AnnaBeth also is working on cursive in the Handwriting Without Tears workbook, which she really enjoys. She does this pretty much on her own. Every so often I'm supposed to come up with a list of words for her to write in cursive. That's pretty much the extent of my involvement.

No one works on spelling on a regular basis.

We are in the final week of Ambleside Year 1, which we've been using for read alouds. We continue to slog through all of the LIttle House books. We are currently in The Long Winter, with its continuous blizzards and continuous discussion of whether or not the train can make it through the Tracy Cut. Why did these people ever move from The Big Woods? Life was good back in The Big Woods; they should've stayed there.


Science is a motley assortment of classes at the Science Center, the zoo, and Girl Scout badge work. We're trying to come up with something more systematic for next year for Thalia. She'll be too old for Science Center classes, and the Cadette Interest Projects aren't so science-y (insert snide comment here about how Girl Scouts comes up with what to put in their books -- use your imagination). So. Middle School science -- the bane of so many homeschoolers. Umm. Well. Ahem. Moving on.


Let's just call our history program "interest led". "Erratic" would also be a good word to use. Thalia is interested in Greeks and Vikings. AnnaBeth is interested in Egyptians. So sometimes we read about these things, or listen to audio books, or watch programs about them. And sometimes we don't. Okay, moving on.

Oh! Wait! Those Ambleside readings have a bunch of history! Okay, then, we've been doing history of Britain, as well as some Vikings and some early Christian church.

Other Stuff

Piano. We have an excellent piano teacher. The kids are learning so much from her. Heck, I am learning so much from her.

Phys Ed. Last week feature workshops with John Carey. Who'd've thought we'd be doing workshops with a World Champion who starred in Lord of the Dance. Irish Dance is so weird. AnnaBeth also continues to work her way through the YMCA swimming program.

Hmm, I think that's what we do for homeschool these days. It's hard to say -- the homeschool stuff is so embedded in life that you can't really say "okay this is school" and "this over here is just living our lives". But these are the things I keep track of in our notebooks in order to comply with Missouri homeschool law.


km said...

Okay...WOW. And I know that's not why you post this. But looking at the list that upper grades keep is so dizzying. I know Kindergarten is easy. As long as we learn to read and add/subtract then we're good. And I'll be repeating next year (not with the same kids, but with kid 2). I have been looking ahead some though. And we've bought the first Apologia science book. Science came easy for me...thus the Architecture decree. Anyways, I was super impressed with the jr.high and high school science they have. Just thought I'd mention it if you haven't heard of it yet.

kitten said...

The kids and I have got so behind on schooling taking care of my mom. My Aunt from Arkansas gave me this web site. http://www.freeworldu.org/static/index.aspx
I have been sitting down with the kids making sure what they know. I haven't figured out how to keep up with the score on the site, but I'm there, so I know. They really have enjoyed. What they are having problems with or don't know, the next day we study.
It says to set up an account with each child, but if it's not going to keep up with a score I don't see why we should. I did anyways.