Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I just posted on this topic in a post called What to teach?! So go there real quick and then come back here. I'm going to add a little bit as I didn't really explain what I like about each curriculum.
This week’s theme is about sharing your 2008-09 homeschool agendas and plans. You’ve been preparing your plans for sometime and you’re ready to go. Or you’re still in the planning-stage and need some inspiration or tips on what to use. Because many use different curriculum and methods there is always something new to be gleaned from other homeschoolers. It’s always fun and interesting to see what other’s are using and the WWWWH as Robin Sampson suggests.
So this week I hope you will share what you’re doing this year for your homeschool agenda. Share the different curriculum you’re using. You can also include what age/grade you’re using it for, how long you’ve been using it, and why you like it. Please share a Bible verse that has encouraged you or inspired you during this planning-process, and how.
First of all, for the past 3 years we've used the AmblesideOnline curriculum plan. We LOVE AO! I've made very few adaptations to the curriculum as suggested and been very happy with the book selections.
We are just finishing up Year 3 and will start Year 4 in October. My boys are 10.5 & 9.5 and so far it is a perfect fit as far as reading comprehension etc. I think they could have been put a year ahead of where they are, but I didn't want to run into difficulties later on. My littles just kind of listen in on the boys' readings (they play relatively quietly nearby while we read).
I love the rotation of history (although we actually may do some tweaking with this this year as we may try to add Heart of Wisdom in as well... I'm working on this merger :). The kids love the history/literature/nature study... okay they love everything about AO! Me too.
So for Language Arts, Math, Science and Geography we use the following:
Spell to Write and Read - We've been using this for the last 3 years and will always use it! A k-12 curriculum that really has all I want for language instruction! I have a post about this curriculum, CLICK HERE. I have links to several reviews, going to a seminar, and about the sweet author.
Now the thing I like about this curriculum is how it really teaches the basic building blocks of language. Starting with phonics (70 basic phonograms) and summing everything up with the 29 rules. "With these simple tools you can explain 99% of the 1000 most commonly used English words and their derivatives. Contrary to the popular belief that the English language is riddled with exceptions and rule breakers you can now have a way to explain our language to your children so that they can understand and succeed." My boys are at a 3rd grade level because our our crazy last year, but we're going to catch up. I'm just starting with my 5yog to teach her the phonograms and Cursive First for writing.
I was taught using an early version of this curriculum 20+ years ago, and I am confident of its success! My boys are not naturally strong in spelling (yet :) and so this curriculum reinforces in an area where I feel is weak for them. They are learning a LOT and are building a strong foundation for language for their whole lives.
Math u see - I LOVE the man in this DVD! Math-u-see has a video for each lesson. Each lesson has about 5-6 pages of work. We spread it over a week, or if it's something they have a handle on, we've done as many as 3 pages a day! My kids are not those kids who love to do schoolwork. They'd much rather be building with legos or playing Narnia outside with sticks as swords. They do NOT love math, but they tolerate it with Math-u-see. I love that I can put on the video and if they don't understand it they can watch the video again. After the third time, if they still don't understand, :) I work them through it using ideas from the teacher's manual. This saves us a lot of frustration on both sides. I love the way Steve Demme explains things; both my husband and I have wondered that no one ever told us about these cool tricks! ;)
My 10 & 9 year old boys are using Delta this year. My 5 year old girl is using Primer
Apologia "Exploring Creation with..." series
by Jeannie Fulbright
I really enjoy reading these with my kids. I really appreciate the perspective that it adds from a strong Creationist point of view. Jeannie is continually giving glory to God for the wonderful things he has made, and helping us to see how God takes care of us by making things the way He did. I also like the projects, notebooking and narration activities throughout. I feel like it is a great choice for CM families. I would also highly recommend if it is within your budget to buy the Creation Sensation kits to compliment each book also recommended by Jeannie in the book (basically just a kit that provides all the materials required for all the projects explained in the book, all handy there so you don't have to hunt them down).
We have scheduled one book per year. We like this rate.
A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp
Is a book absolutely beautifully written. If you have any doubt at all, go to Holy Experience and get a taste of Ann Voskamp's style of writing. I really appreciate the projects for application of what we're learning to life that she incorporates into each lesson. She also includes narration and notebooking throughout for a great CM style book! Her perspective is SO awesome, totally God-focused. I'm so glad we found this book!! We're halfway through this book and really looking forward to the Holy Land version as soon as we're finished.
Bible verses?! Wow. There are so many. Seriously. But I have this one hanging up in our schoolroom: maybe you'll notice a common theme :)
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
~ Isaiah 26:3
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
~ Matthew 11:28-30
These are particularly meaningful to me at planning time, but really all year long. I need an extra dosis of peace at the beginning when I'm particularly given to stress about how things are going to work out, getting my kids motivated (getting myself motivated for that matter), etc. Christ does not overburden us, we overburden ourselves, he provides rest. As we learn from Him, then we can teach our children.
This is a repost from the archives at my other blog: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/amada/567751/
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
We can name our school the happy homeschool and be yelling at each other all day. We could name our homeschool because we want people to think we're something special, something that we're not. Appearances.
But, on the other hand, maybe making a name helps us to focus on who we want to be.
And that is a good reason to have one.
And so, we call our homeschool Fisher Academy International ~ Teaching Home
The initials stand for FAITH; because without faith, we would never arrive at anything.
- Fisher because the Lord has called us to be fishers of men. It is our goal to raise up little fishers-of-people, who follow the Fisherman himself.
- Academy because without it we'd be FITH and that just doesn't work for me ;)
- International because we are American, but we live in Peru. But our real country is that whose architect and builder is God. So, we're sojourners. Sort of without a country... for now.
- Teaching Home because we do teach at home. We aren't necessarily of the type to think that everything 'school-ish' is bad, but I really love the term teaching home, because that's what we do. We learn at home. Life is all about learning.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I'd offer you some tea in honor of the event and your arrival, but you'll have to make your own due to distance :) The picture will have to suffice.
I started this blog a little while ago now, but haven't really had a chance until now to make the official beginning... So, welcome to my new blog!!
I'm excited about my new blog, but I'm also really excited that I get to have a contest in celebration! I have a year's digital subscription from the Old Schoolhouse magazine to offer as a door-prize, and you'll each get 3 chances to win!
I don't know how many of you subscribe to any homeschool magazines, but they are such an encouragement! Now, hold on a minute while I look through this magazine that one of you is going to win...
Okay, may I just say that this is no rink-a-dink magazine. We are talking the real thing! TOS digital magazine has the look and feel of a REAL magazine, only no paper. And you know what I mean, the colorful ads, the layout, LOTS of content, with a huge variety of relevant topics coming from lots of different perspectives, all with a clearly christian world-view. I looked over the cover, the first page, and am now scanning the contents... whoa. There's a lot here. I am impressed. Not to mention the table of contents is clickable! So, no pages to fuss with, one click and I'm instantly reading what I'm interested in.
One thing I'm noticing is that if you don't have a super fast internet connection, don't mess with viewing it online, download it to your computer or straight to a CD for easier viewing. There are some delays depending on how fast your computer is.
I'm really liking that I can change the view of the magazine, to zoom in or out. Wow, I am even able to pull up a little window with the table of contents without changing the page I'm on, and I just clicked the link to the next article I'm interested in, without flipping pages! This is really cool!
One of the ads for a curriculum that I've been interested in, had a link in it, and I clicked right to their website to enter in a contest for TOS subscribers to win their curriculum for free! Now you can't do that with a regular magazine! All the links throughout the magazine are clickable.
I'm on page 63 of the magazine, and I'm at least a half-hour in. I'm only a third of the way through, and I've only just skimmed over several articles. Content, content, content! Now I've just come across a familiar name! Being part of the HSB (homeschoolblogger) community from my very first blogging experience, I've come to know many other homeschool moms out there with blogs. It's been such an encouragement to me living internationally. Anyway, there's an article about a 'bloggy friend' of mine in the magazine!
I'm now on page 126 (2/3) and so far I've found several links to free e-books for subscribers and FREE is good!
My original impression holds true, this magazine is truly professionally done! There were interviews with well-known homeschool people, free products, spiritual encouragement, Creation science support, and even a unit study! My favorite all time favorite homeschool author even wrote an article.
I say that this is a top-rate production, and I highly recommend it at a price that you can't pass up. $16.95/year and you get the four quarterly issues plus the 19 Free International/Digital gifts.
They also send out a monthly 'Teacher's Toolbox' that is FULL of cool practical stuff and free downloads. The send out a paper magazine as well, but I find the digital version perfect for us!
There is just so much content, enough for several sittings. Which means lots of encouragement!
This is the only homeschool magazine I subscribe to, and though there are many good ones out
there, I feel that this one meets all my needs and expectations.
So, now that you're convinced you want it...
Are you ready for some fun?!
If you'd like to win the door-prize of a year's subscription to the Old Schoolhouse digital magazine, (if you already have one, give it to someone as a gift) here's how...
Chance #1 -
Leave a comment anywhere on my new blog between now and September 5th! Mention something about the blog-warming contest. If you comment over HERE about my new blog I'll throw in an extra chance!!Chance #2 -
Copy and paste the banner and text down below here into your blog, and leave a comment and link to your post, right here at this post in my blog. (If you don't have a blog, don't worry, you can still enter by leaving a comment and a way to get in touch with you) ... and take a picture of yourself WHILE standing on your head!!Chance #3 -
hahahahaha... just kidding!
On your blog write about your 3 favorite things about homeschooling, and one thing you'd like to change about your homeschool.Your name will be entered for chance you participate in for a total of 3 chances. Contest ends Sept. 5! I'm just so excited for whoever wins!
Leave another comment with a link to your blog post. (you can combine both posts in one)
AND thanks for coming to my blog-warming party! Feel free to have a peak about my blog, and I hope to see you around again soon!
Here's your posting info: Copy and paste the image and text below and link them back here.
or you can enter the following code into your html editor:
<a href="http://fisheracademy.blogspot.com"><img src="http://tuttlekids.com/Gallery/albums/album08/TOScontest_white.jpg">
Click here to visit amada's blog-warming party and enter to win a year's subscription to the Old Schoolhouse digital magazine! or copy and paste: http://fisheracademy.blogspot.com</a>
I wonder how many other moms find it difficult to know where to begin when writing about themselves. Boy, I do. I can write about my kids, I can give advice to younger moms, and I can always think of something to complain about, but tell a little about myself is hard! Where do I begin?!
Well, ever since I can remember, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up, was a wife and a mommy. I wanted at least 4 kids (preferably boys). I spent hours picking out names and dreaming of what they would look like and who they would be. Funny, how when you actually have everything you've ever dreamed of, you can still sometimes find yourself less than satisfied.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my life. But sometimes I forget and have to remind myself, when I'm having one of those days, or when I just can't see the positive light on matters, "Amy, you are living your dream life! God has given you everything and more than you ever asked for... This is what you've always wanted! Cheer up!" ...and that helps. :)
I married my high school sweetheart, and love him more then ever. My husband and I were married almost 12 years ago, we have 5 kids and I'm still 30! We've lived our lives in a kind of fast forward mode as we've been on the missionfield for 5 years. We've moved innumerable times, which means we've packed and unpacked a LOT. God has been SO gracious to me, and I am so thankful to be His bond-servant. I am a total work-in-progress. I have so much to learn, and I love that God is making me more like Christ.
We strongly desire that our family and home exemplify what a real working relationship with Christ looks like. This means dependence on grace, transparency and a lot of forgiveness. We're still learning. We've made lots of mistakes. We keep on making them. But we're trying to do our best! May God bless the work of our hands.
We originally decided to homeschool way back when we first came to Peru. Our oldest 2 kids were 1.5 and 2.5. We were planning to work in a small town in a remote part of the jungle (this remains a possibility), and the school there was not even a consideration. So, we decided we'd homeschool. I was excited about the idea, I love learning! As we've gone along, we homeschool for so many more reasons. I LOVE having our kids around. I love discovering who they are, what they love and helping them develop their God-given talents. I can't wait to see what God has in store for them.
Friday, August 22, 2008
For us, the e-book option is also SUPREMELY helpful because we don´t have to buy and lug all the books from country to country as we travel. I can read the books wherever there is an internet connection or access to my laptop, where the books are also saved on my hard drive.
Now, keep in mind all this is coming from someone who LOVES books. I especially treasure the feel of pages in old books that are very delicate. I love the smell of an old book, I love libraries, I love bookstores, I especially love little bookstores with lots of old books. I own many books, and want to buy many more. But the simple fact of the matter is, that I can´t bring them all down here. Postage is atrocious, and books are heavy for luggage where these days every pound counts. If I could, I would much rather read a hold-it-in-your-hand-turn-the-page-put-a-bookmark-to-hold-your-place, kind of book.
But necessity has created another kind of beast... So, now I also love and collect e-books! hehehe. My hard drive is full of them :D
But what I have come to learn about e-books is that basically, you have several options. You can read the book right off the screen, or you can print the whole thing off on your printer. I have done both. I have read many long discussions on the AO yahoo group about how to print economically. I won´t go there. However, it is a toss up for me. I don´t like to spend the ink on printing, but I do like to hold the book in my hand.
We´ve found that the cuddle factor doesn´t come in for us, because with my laptop, we can cuddle almost just as well as we would with a book in hand.
What we do, is we read about half off the screen and half from books that we have. I find this a comfortable amount. I don´t print any books anymore. We used to read a lot more from the screen. That was fine too. This year I´ve ordered quite a few used books that I found cheap and my mom will graciously bring many of them down when she comes to visit us NEXT MONTH! (woohoo, I am SO excited!)
So, I have not yet answered the question whether or not to print your e-books... I think what I´d say without knowing everyone´s circumstances... I would say no. Instead of printing, save the money it would cost in printer ink to buy a used copy of the book. If you can´t afford it at this moment, read it from the screen of your computer, and if it was one of those books that you´d love to read again, buy it used the next time around. I kind of think of reading it off the screen as my preview of the book and if I just LOVE it, someday I´ll invest in the real thing.
I´d love to hear your comments on this one. What do you do with e-books, and why?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
this is a close up of the right half of the shelf above...
I can´t figure out why all my picture look dark and dinghy... it´s either my camera´s flash is annoying, or else my house really is dark and dinghy! hahahahahahah!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Well, one of the awesome things about AO is that everything is online... just a click away. So, really I just need my reading schedule for the term and I'm set.
But... I am a binder girl. I LOVE three-ring binders, maybe a little too much ;) I have 2 binders for my AO stuff. An AO reference Notebook (has pretty much anything I find and print off the AO website, or other resources) and the AO term Notebook (has all the information I need for the term if not for the entire year). This is divided by subject: History/Timelines (I put the term's timeline figures here to use as needed), Art/Music (prints for the term, Music selections), Nature/Science (resources that I will use for the term), Copywork/Hymns (pre-printed copywork selections and the lyrics to the hymns for the term which we also use for copywork), Shakespeare/Plutarch (nothing here yet), Poetry (term's selections printed from the website) Memory/Recitation (passages we're working on or will work on), and Handiwork/Life Skills (any ideas I find I stash in here).
Normal people would have no need for AO reference notebook because they have reliable internet. I keep it because where we used to live the internet and/or electricity was not always reliable, and I needed to have the info in case I needed it (I also downloaded all the e-books and online content into files on my computer and burned a DVD for each year in case emergency).
How I keep records:
I do not keep records other than the boys each keep a personal notebook/portfolio (kept accessible) every year for their loose papers, and we periodically sort through it, keeping only their best work as a reminder to them of what they've studied (& in case anyone asks). Every year, before the new school year, we empty out their notebooks and store only their best and favorites. We put all of this into the BIG binders (these are gigantic 3" binders kept in our office for periodic reminiscent perusal) that have the samples of several past years' work combined. We get rid of everything else by sending artwork to grandparents and throwing the rest away.
This is how I manage to keep the papers
under control around here:
Friday, August 15, 2008
We usually have a rough sketch of what we'll be doing for a 3 month period at a time, occasionally we have things on the calendar as much as 6 months or so in advance... but always tentatively :) As we go along we usually have a pretty good idea of what the coming month will hold.
We travel within Peru relatively often with ministry related trips, or have people staying with us, or are hosting short-term mission teams or whatever else. These things all would be quite difficult to school through without missing a beat. So, we school year round and take breaks when we need to.
How I set up my year:
Each year, several times a year, I have a homeschool planning day. This means that we figure out someone (or several people in shifts) to stay with the kids, and I go away to the library, Starbucks, Panera, or somewhere that has wireless internet. During this day, I do what I need to do for our homeschool. (yes, I found a place here in Trujillo, Peru with wireless... woohoo! no library though, and no Panera...)
Sometimes it is actually breaking down the books into what we will read each week. Other times it includes researching library resources or curriculum on the internet. I always work out what we will cover for each term (see below) and what we need to do each week to accomplish that. Some planning days have been more intense than others.
We use AmblesideOnline as a guide to our reading and curriculum choices. One of the most awesome things about AO is that some wonderful ladies have posted many things including beautifully formatted schedules on the yahoo groups for FREE. I have used these from the beginning and they are of immeasurable worth to me in my planning.
The year is separated into 3 terms, each 12 weeks long. From there the reading selections (living books) are divided up over the weeks so that I know what I need to read each week. Booklists and schedules for each year are also found on the AmblesideOnline website. On my homeschool planning day, I look this over and gather all the materials that I will need for the term (composer music, art selections, hymns printed off from online, etc.) If we do have guests or have to travel then I just leave off and take up the next weeks' plan where I left off.
I generally buy all the books I need during the year ahead, and take the year one term at a time. Because we school year round and so we don't stress out when we have to take a week off here and there because of ministry, travel or visitors.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
So with that said, here's how I plan...
I SO love the Charlotte Mason ideals. I love the ideas of nature study, living books, narration, dictation, copywork, art and composer studies, book of centuries... it's ALL so great! We try to do all these things in our homeschool. Every year we manage to do a little bit of everything, and every year we get a little closer to doing everything we'd like to do. For the last 3 years or so, we've still been figuring out who we are. I've been learning about the learning styles of my little people and finding out what inspires them.
How I decide what to teach:
Let me just say, that there are WAY too many options for homeschool curriculum these days! It is WAY overwhelming! But praise God we've found something that not only works for us, but that we LOVE!
For the past 3 years we've used the AmblesideOnline curriculum plan. We LOVE AO! I've made very few adaptations to the curriculum as suggested and been very happy with the book selections. My boys look forward EVERY day to reading their 'AO books' as we call them. Our Island Story, Children of the New Forest, The Little White Horse, The Princess and the Goblin and Little Britches: My Father and I were Ranchers were among some of their favorites this year. But, really, they liked ALL the books! hahah.
As far as math, language/phonics and science we do use recommended curriculum in all these areas except for Spell to Write and Read which I use simply because it is by FAR the best curriculum available :) IMHO. heheheh.
Well, I guess everyone chooses to teach what they think is the BEST, so this is a little bit subjective, but here are my best curriculum picks for language arts, science, math and geography...
AO yahoo group
Spell to Write and Read info
(this is my mentor, Britta's site. She sells the curriculum and fun things that can be used alongside) http://www.morningstarlearning.com/SWR_home.html
SWR yahoo group
Math u see
MUS yahoo group
Apologia (elementary) Author Jeannie Fulbright's website
A Child's Geography
I will be posting some more CM planning tips in the days to come.
Until the next time,
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- Free Children's books!!
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- Tips for a successful school day
- What's in a name?
- Win a subscription to TOS Homeschool magazine!!
- Fisher Academy Beginnings ~ A memoir
- E-books: to print or not to print
- Our schoolroom
- How I keep plans: Well, one of the awesome things...
- Year round school - How I plan it
- What to teach?!
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