September 30, 2013

AO Year 3, Week 8

I can't believe we are over halfway through this term already.  It has been full of changes and adjustments.  Our foster kids left, at different times for different reason, but they are gone, and we made the decision to close our home for now.  Its been easier, but routines have "gone to pot."  I know we'll get a new groove going soon, perhaps after our fall break next week - we are heading for the beach.  DS really loves the beach!

We are enjoying the books this term.  We will finish Leonardo da Vinci this week, and start Michelangelo after break (both by Diane Stanley).  We finished a children's version of Marco Polo, and will start a more challenging version (by George Towle) of that after break as well.  Other than that, we are following AO Year 3's booklist to a "T"!

Reading in "the fort" with Goosie the cat
Out of the books we are to read this week, he chose Shakespeare today.  I'm amazed by what he enjoys.  Reading aloud to him is his favorite part of each school day, other than breaks.  Typical, LOL!

He struggles with reading and writing on his own - he can do it, but not as much as I would like.  I'm having quite a time determining how much to expect from him day to day, as his mood changes.  His OT told me he likely has dysgraphia in addition to SPD, so I've been learning more about that, and trying to adjust my expectations.

We started a new math program to use in addition to what we did last year.  I'm taking our old math book more slowly, to break up the days we do the new, computer-based program (A+ Interactive).  Its going pretty well, although the emphasis on terminology and definitions took me by surprise.  I don't think he really comprehends wordy definitions right now, but the actual math he has no problems with. He's doing third grade math right now, and is in chapter 3 currently with A+ and Lesson 54 in Graded Work in Arithmetic (which we started last year).

In addition to freshening up math, we have started Creating a Masterpiece for art.  I haven't really done art instruction with him, and am certainly no creative-type myself, although I'm working on that with my new free time.  Due to my lack of confidence in this area, I was glad to find this great DVD program at the Teach Them Diligently conference back in May.  We have completed one project and are now working on a clay turtle.

I will try to be more diligent about updates here, as well as what I'm learning apart from school.  At the moment, I'm reading Waverly, by Sir Walter Scott, along with other ladies on the AO Forum.  I'm also trying to finish the latest Game of Thrones book before leaving for vacation, and its over 900 pages!  I think I can do it :)

September 2, 2013

Our First Week of Homeschooling

*This post was written 8/14/2011 on my first, now defunct blog, but was popular so I wanted to share it again!*

As you know, we are using the free curriculum guide provided by Ambleside Online, which follows the Charlotte Mason method of education.  I'm starting DS off in Year 1, since he is already beginning to read and will be 7 in December.  (He would also be in 1st grade in public school, but the Ambleside years don't necessarily correspond to grade levels.)

Here are some school room (dining room) pictures.

 The shelf containing scripture memory box, readers, Peter Pan (bedtime story), Bible, and field guides
 The Year 1 books we are working through for literature, science, history, geography and poetry.
My new-to-me chalkboard! (Thanks, Robert for not throwing it away like your mom said to, and to DH for hanging it)

I followed my planner and got almost everything done that was scheduled (although a few things out of order, but that's what freedom is for!).  It felt easy and natural to teach him with this method, and I was pleased with our beginning.  He had a couple days where resistance led to tears...probably because he was expecting to not actually have to learn at home.  The first day he couldn't understand why I didn't want him in pajamas all day, but he did comply.  Hopefully, these things will work themselves out as we continue with the plan.  As we get used to this way of learning, I will slowly lengthen the math lessons, which is currently 12 minutes of Funnix lessons followed by computer games or hands-on activities to reinforce adding and subtracting.  I will also increase the amount of time he will be reading to me.  While he can read many words that surprise me, he has no love of reading and is very resistance to reading out loud.  Thankfully, he does like me to read to him, since that is the core of the Charlotte Mason method in the younger years, along with lots of outdoors time.

As the summer heat subsides, I will be increasing the outdoor time as well.  We did "walk" the baby turtle each day and create a terrarium for him, and purchase a new ball to toss around the yard.

We hunted for sticks to make this nature journal.

We captured grasshoppers and even a dragonfly, which became our nature notebook entry for the week.  The Handbook of Nature Study blog has the pond as the August focus, which worked out great for us!  I need to figure out how to dig deeper with the nature notebook than only examining the creatures we find, and this website tells me how.  Now to apply what I learn...

For handicrafts, we are learning sewing from my mother-in-law.  She is a former home ec. teacher, and I am needle-challenged, so this worked well.

We watched Spanish videos on Speekee and Salsa, using the immersion method before using some conversational software we have from The Learning Company.
We did some phonics and learned some new words, using Free Reading, which I found through Lesson Pathways.  (I'm also using Lesson Pathways to supplement math, science, and other things in the future.)

At our trip to GenCon earlier this month, DS fell in love with the ocarina, so we purchased an inexpensive plastic one for him to learn on.  This week we learned finger placements and practiced a scale.
We listened to Mozart, the composer for this term.  Listen here.
The only thing I didn't get going was art and artist study (Fragonard this term), as my printer is out of some toner colors, but I will get that started soon!