Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Home School

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I have had four people ask me about what we use for homeschool in the last week. Either friends or readers, so I am going to give you the list. I always said, no computer school for us except what cannot be taught without one (IE typing program). Then they got older, more advanced, and life got much busier. So now we use some! We have an armoir and 2 shelves that house homeschool items, they are neat and organized. We have free use of art supplies and coloring books (we buy dover-educational and lovely detailed pictures.) We have extra notebooks, neat piles of paper, extra pencil sharpeners etc. One shelf is entirely dedicated to French, workbooks, story books, CDs, DVDs, and flashcards.

Now for our schedule, we do these things every day:

Reading-Mcguffey readers. Nathalie is in 2nd reader, Tad is almost done with 3rd but has read ahead in much of 4th and 5th. These are not necessarily grade level as it only goes through # 6 and I know some highschool students that wouldnt comprehend one page in the 6th reader, it is a great and proven series. They read their lesson to themselves, then aloud to me and spell the words.

Spelling-spell quizzer on the computer, I enter their words from sequential spelling about 2 x a month. It tells me how they are doing as do they.

Math-singapore. Both kids in 4th grade in singapore. Singapore runs a bit ahead of most other homeschool curriculums and we like it very much. Nathalie is ahead (8 yrs old) and Tad is where he belongs grade wise in these books. I present math on the board, they do the work with help if needed, I grade it imediately to have them fix problems before they are out of math-mode.

History-Story of the World on disc. They listen to a chapter a day, answer the questions in the student book and we do projects and timeline that correspond from a friends curriculum that she wrote. I cant keep up with all of it, and dont enjoy unit studies but STO is a good program. It costs about $15 to buy the reading text, and I paid $33 to have it read to the CDs already-it was worth it time wise.

Typing-Mavis Beacon on the computer. The original no frills typing program, very few games or annoying, distracting, sound effects. In a very short time, Tad was able to type 30 wpm with a 2% error.

-free geography download for maps. They do whatever map they are on 3 x or until they get 100 % and then move on to the next.

French-Rosetta Stone on the computer, they do this unassisted and I already speak through level 3 of 5 on Rosetta Stone. I only have through level 2 (I used to have all before tornado) and I need to buy 3-5 for me. They also use Professor Toto and Muzzy, while these are for younger children my kids do well with it and remember it. They have a lot of other French learning items.

Geography and History with mama- I have this stuff in my head because my mama taught me. I teach them from my brain, from google and from tons of library books. We do unit studies and projects that I make up. I answer questions that a lot of people wouldnt IE the Holocaust. I tread lightly here, they dont get gore or depth but they still know.

Science-this is pretty much Tad's department. He has several DVD sets that Frank purchased such as Planet Blue. That covers a lot of biology, plant life, temperate zones, mountains, oceans etc. Tad has all 6 discs memorized. My mama bought the Planet Earth DVD game for him, we all play it, he knows it all. He checks out books on experiments, biology and chemistry. He likes electricity and he can fix cords that I cut, and understands wiring better than most adults. I let him lead our science program because he is a sponge. No curriculum would keep up and keep him interested, so we let him dictate. Nathalie and I learn from his research and projects, Nathalie does projects with them. They have children's books on anatomy, plant and animal life and many other science aids.

Handwriting-cursive, I have lined books and I write out their words nightly.

Music and art- purchased books to learn drawing, we work on these a few times a week. Music is guitar and piano right now. Nathalie was doing violin also but wasnt enjoying it so just piano for her now. Tad goes to guitar lessons weekly and he is performing very well. Nathalie takes lesson from me and I can teach her for a couple of years. We also learn music theory, music history and some latin.

I present math, hear reading and some spelling and see computer grades. Some computer school isnt boring, typing and map skills are quick, timed things that hold their interest. They love spelling so the computer program is fun, and anything French is fun for both. School takes us about 3 hours more or less. Nathalie struggles with reading speed though not level, so we are working on that this year. Other than that we have no problems to deal with. The kids will be tested this year, they will take IOWA tests. We have done only practice/prep and placement tests (purchased) in years past, nothing official. They test well above grade average, and we make sure we learn all state requirements. I check over our curriculum thoroughly to make sure we will meet and exceed these standards, it isnt hard to exceed them but I also dont want to miss some requirement for this grade level. So thats it! Today we did school downstairs, we have a similar set up both up and downstairs (computer, TV for CD/DVDs) though we usually work upstairs due to the need for a desk. I want them to have good posture. We will do the same curriculum next yr, just the next level in all areas.

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