Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 3, Day 3

We are moving right along, making good progress especially in Math & Language Arts.
We are starting a Poetry Unit in Language Arts this week and moving into some new concepts in Math. To this point in Math, we were mainly reviewing previously introduced concepts. In science we're starting the human body unit - nutrition, skeletal system, digestive system, etc. This is a lot more interesting than plants and animals. History is slow as we go, can't seem to dig out of the American Revolution. I think this is JW's least favorite subject, so the information doesn't stick as quickly. Overall, I'm proud of our progress and I continue to search out as many resources as I can to perfect our approach.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Week 3, Day 2

Well Classical Conversations was a real treat today.
JW was into every lesson. First the pre-algebra lessons were introduced, JW was able to solve problems along with the other students; second, was the Latin lesson - absolutely intriguing; lastly, rhetoric and history. Students presented reports on Asian countries for history - Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and China. Rhetoric consisted of each student reading aloud their paper comparing/contrasting the characters of Narnia to the "characters" in Genesis. All of this took place from 8:30 am 'till noon. I had to leave to see what the younger kids did in their session leaving JW to observe the lesson from 1 - 3 pm.
I finished filling out the application to participate next year during the lunch hour, that's how convinced I was that this group will be a great supplement to our homeschool next year. I am looking forward to learning as well. It's amazing for me to revisit the fundamentals I've been taught. All the disconnected pieces of information retained over the years began to connect and come to life.

This is truly a journey with so many twists and turns and exciting things around each corner. I really see how this is changing me, eventhough I was being prepared all the while. Hindsight is 20/20. Even my temperment is changing. I find myself being more patient with the children, eager to listen to all of their stories and details, loving and hugging them more. My motivation for what I do is shifting from doing things b/c they have to be done to doing things b/c I want to do them, it is a joy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 3, Day 1

I didn't blog on Friday as it was not a very good day school wise. But today was a good day. I like the Language Arts curriculum that I received last week. The math and LA resources I have make my mornings run easily. JW took her first Math test today and scored 99%. Twenty questions of which #20 was a 4 part question. She got one of the four answers incorrect. I'm thinking I should start to double up the math lessons to make sure we are finished with this book by the end of the "school year."

We are off to the Classical Conversations open house tomorrow. We will be able to observe the day to get a glimpse of how the program works. I'm really looking forward to this. I made a list of the goals I wanted to accomplish at the beginning of this experience, one of which was to improve JW's oral communication skills. This program works well with accomplishing this goal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 2, Day 4

This was a long day. The Language Arts book finally came today. To this point we've been reading good literature and having great discussions but hadn't incorporated vocabulary or grammar. Lesson One begins tomorrow in this book.
Love Saxon Math . . easy breezy. History is still a struggle because I'm piecing it together - homemade timeline, DVDs, Internet sites, and biographies of key people. It takes so much time to assemble what I'm going to do that by the time I do it I'm exhausted. I probably need to invest in a turnkey solution. I was thinking about Switched On Schoolhouse for History.

I went to an informational session for Classical Conversations curriculum this evening. It's an interested concept rooted in the Classical Education philosophy.
It's somewhat expensive but it would be a consistent 30 week program that meets several objectives to include positive socialization. The more I look into options and resources the more expensive things seem to get. I'm trying to keep it simple but there is so much to cover.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 2, Day 3

Today was a half-day for the younger kids so JW and I worked quickly through Math, discussed our latest literature read Shiloh and watched DVD 1 on the American Revolution. Because history is rather boring for Jasmine the DVDs will be used often to reinforce the lessons. After picking up the girls we had lunch and stayed at the library for the afternoon. JW had research to do for a Science paper and the younger girls took part in a library sponsored craft class.

We've been primarily reading fiction for Language Arts and I have a few nonfiction books lined up for History. The county curriculum suggests various works of literature to be covered in 7th grade to include poetry, short stories, etc. Since we are getting close to black history month I wanted to include works from black writers - Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois, Jean Toomer. I found a lot of their work in one book on the Harlem Renaissance to include their most famous writings. I hope I'm not getting carried away. In planning for lessons I feel like I'm being re-educated. I want to know more about everything I read. I know JW may not share the same excitement and appreciation I have for these "historical" writings but maybe just maybe I'm planting a seed for future interest. Some things just come with time and maturity.

Off to Missionettes . . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 2, Day 2

2nd daughter stayed home today with a stomach ache. She was real curious about how homeschool works and hung in the background to observe (as if she had to see if I really knew what I was doing. But today started a little differently than most . . .

Because the kids attend Sunday School and Wednesday night missionettes I don't include a bible curriculum in our studies. However, as a part of a "Read Through the Bible in a Year" sunday school class hubby & I are apart of, we've been doing our daily reading together as a family. This morning started with an impromptu character lesson which I was able to draw upon our daily readings for support. This was totally unplanned as I was helping JW navigate an issue she was having that was causing her a lot of emotional distress. I was holding back my impatience with how much time this talk was taking as I had a lot of academic work to cover. However, I started to realize there was another purpose at work. So many start homeschooling because they want to instill Christian principles and character within their children. This was not the overall reason for my decision to homeschool as I felt these lessons were already being taught even though my children were in traditional schools. However, the 30 minute character lesson was just a teachable moment that made me grateful that I have this opportunity to homeschool. You know there is a place for tradition and doing things the way we've always done it but I am coming to realize that it's so much more important to be doing the will of God for your life.

Why is my youngest at this very moment complaining she doesn't like her school, asking me to homeschool her? She says it's the same routine everyday and the teacher (a temporary sub, as her regular teacher is on maternity leave) teaches the same thing for a long time. She says "I got it already, can we move on."

OMG . . what is going on here?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 2, Day 1

MLK Day!

To my surprise my kids didn't know much about MLK. My 5th grader didn't even have a discussion about it in school. Are you serious?? The only thing my 3rd grader could remember about her class discussion was Ebenezer Baptist Church.

So the History Channel aired a documentary that we all looked at for an hour. Afterward, I had them write a few sentences about what they learned. Jordan (3rd grader) took it a step further and did a worksheet I provided on describing her personal dreams and the steps she can take toward reaching those dreams.

This exercise really made me realize how much I've taken for granted as a free African-American living in America. So many others paved the way for me to live the life I live. They died and suffered so many injustices so that African-Americans and other racial groups can enjoy the freedoms we now enjoy. I've often wondered if its really beneficial to teach the next generation of the painful American History we all share but the exercise of this morning shed some light on the significance of remembering. Often it's painful and can stir up a lot of emotion but it causes you to remain humble, grateful, and self-aware. I think it also helps to bring more reconciliation and peace between the races when you observe how far we've truly come as a nation.

What an awesome man Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was. He sacrifaced so much personally for the cause. I believe he was doing God's will - a Moses for his people. Today started like any other day. I'm sad to say I had no plans for the observance of the day but I'm so glad we took advantage of the opportunity to teach the children about the significance of Dr. King's life and his ministry to the world.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 5

The day started with mall walking for about 30 minutes this morning. Then we did 30 minutes of Saxon math. I really like this curriculum - daily math drills, practice tests. I have one more curriculum to buy to guide the language arts lessons. I've decided on Languare Arts through Literature as I like using real books to guide our lessons. I got lesson plans done at the library this afternoon so I feel a little more organized for next week's lessons.

The whole family joined in for some scrapbooking fun during the evening (Art class). Well everybody except hubby. However, I must give him credit for cutting pictures for us.

I think I'm enjoying this.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 4

JW says I'm a good teacher with all my worksheets and stuff. I think its more that I'm an overachiever and want to make sure she gets better than what she's been getting. It feels like a 9-5 job because I'm constantly researching, planning, reading, preparing. I'm sure it won't be as intense when I get my flow going. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this either. It just kind of snuck up on me. Is snuck a word?? But there is something to be said about jumping in the deep end of the pool and going for it. I'm putting in the long hours now. By the time I'm ready to start 8th grade (did I really just "say" 8th grade)? I will probably have the first 6 months all planned out.

I took an afternoon sub position today so I have a lot of independent work lined up for JW for the afternoon. This will give me a chance to see if she can stay on track and how she retains information she has to do on her own. To this point we've been reading lessons together and discussing. This approach will be a little different. She has a story map to do on "Second Cousins;" a science lesson to begin in LifePac 3 of Alpha Omega; notes to write from the Animal Classification lesson from yesterday; a computer assignment; and a worksheet on the 13 colonies.

Day 3

This entry is actually for yesterday (Wednesday). Stayed up late finishing our literature pick "Second Cousins." I was in a rush to finish before JW. We spent a good 20-25 minutes at breakfast discussing the author's use of words to convey meaning in the text. Discussed clues in the text that pointed to the time in which the book was set. I forgot how it feels to read for analysis instead of fun. I was eager to see if Jasmine picked up on the foreshadowing technique the author used that lead up to the climax of the book. She noticed the clues but didn't label the technique. She'll be doing a story map today of the book for more discussion. I like the freestyle approach we are using for Language Arts but I really need to find a curriculum for guidance. I'm constantly referring to the County curriculum for guidance but I still need something a little more concrete.

Science curriculum arrived today (Wednesday). Started with animal classification system. Combining BJP curriculum with Alpha Omega, making sure I hit the subjects listed in the county's curriculum. Doing plant and animal behavior tomorrow leading to the study of DNA and genetics. OOOh. . . fun, I rather do history.

We spent 2 hours on Math today. Did an overview of Associative, Commutative, Distributive, and Multiplicative Properties (I'm going on memory not sure if I got them all or spelled them right :) Completed a worksheet sent by former Math teacher (he keeps us on his email list with worksheet attachments)on solving for x in Percentage math equations. She got them all right! I'm still waiting on Saxon math curriculum.

I think that's everything. Today is really Thursday so yesterday's events are not as fresh in my mind. I got everything written in my planner - the good record keeper I am ..(laughing).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 2

Lots of US History & Geography today. I'm more excited about this subject than JW. She thinks I'm going into too much detail but I think it will help her to learn the information and connect the dots when studying other subjects in US History. I found an interactive US Map on so I could reinforce the lesson and she was interested in that. She is really a high-tech learner and I'm a traditional learner so we have to find some middle ground.

Went to the library and got US History on DVD. I'm thinking we will look at the video first then do a "traditional" lesson and see if she is more interested in this approach.

Started the second literature book today as well. I'm going to read this one with her as the language is a little complicated, then we can discuss it.

Waiting on my Math curriculum to arrive. I hate the idea of not doing Math everyday but I'm sure she will be OK.

The journey moves on . . . .

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010
Well today was Day 1 and I'm exhausted. A lot of the homeschooling books say don't rush in feeling like you need to recreate traditional school at home but that's easier said than done. Jasmine expects a tight structure so I feel the need to live up to that expectation.
Summary of our day:
9:15 - 9:45 am - We did a half of an hour walking the mall for PE this morning waiting for the library to open.
10 - 11:20 am - Learning the layout of the regional library, checking out our literature books and black history bio books.
12- 12:30 Lunch
12:30 - 2:45 - working math problems from her Saxon assessment test. I have no idea why this took so long. I had her rework problems she got wrong but knew she understood. I explained some concepts she didn't have down (order of operations, multiplying/dividing fractions, decimal placement when dividing and calculating percentages).

I left her to read for an hour one of our literary picks while I left to pick up the younger kids from school. She finished the entire book in two hours! We will do a story map of the book tomorrow for language arts and discuss. I think this wasn't too bad for our first day.
I meant to post a picture of our first day but just didn't get around to it. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Beginning . . .

I've done homeschool research over 3 years ago but we always made a different decision for JW - private school to public school then a different private school etc. So when Jasmine got into the car after school last week fed up with the watered down academics she was receiving, I knew we had to change things.

Since last Wednesday I've been up 'til after midnight researching Virginia laws, attending a homeschooling seminar in Richmond and making the decision to start homeschooling JW starting Monday. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. I believe the last 3 years have been leading to this point. I'm excited about all the many opportunities that are now open to us - extracurricular activities, field trips, etc. Living in the state of Virginia alone makes US History come alive- Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, & Washington, DC! I can't wait to take our lessons on the road.

Younger sister is already wondering why JW is the only one being homeschooled because she is bored as well. Do you see where this may be headed?? I'm just open to whatever God wants to do.

I haven't shared this with anyone as I want to stay focused on our goals without having to explain to others what I'm doing. This blog will serve as a place for those closest to my family to keep up with our journey.

Keep us in your prayers.


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