It’s the middle of the third week of school. It’s going well, we have our super positive days and our complain-y days. A hard truth of homeschooling that goes along with the fun field trips and craft projects is that when your kids wake up in an anti-school mood and won’t stop griping about how much they don’t want to do school, you are the one that has to get them ready in the morning, work with them through their attitude to get the school work done, and then you don’t even get to send them home because you ARE home, and you have them for the rest of the day. That can make for some frustration all around. But on the whole, our days have been good.
We start each day with our “inspiration time”, which is either music, art, or poetry. This month’s composer is Bach, and we listen to a piece of his and then talk about it. If it’s a new type of music (this week was concertos) then we write down a definition it in our music glossaries. And by we I mean the girls. Sometimes the girls conduct the music or dance to it. This month’s artist is Mary Cassatt, and we look at a painting and then the girls draw their version of it in a sketchbook that’s specifically for those drawings. Sometimes the girls fight this and get super frustrated, and sometimes they really enjoy it. For poetry I read a poem aloud, then the girls each get a copy and they each read it aloud and then we mark the rhyming scheme and note anything else interesting about it. This month is Mary Ann Hoberman. Her poems are a lot of fun and really accessible.
Next comes writing and grammar. So far this month we’ve worked on parts of speech and how they work together to make interesting and evocative sentences vs. boring ones. We just started on descriptive writing, which flowed nicely out of working with a lot of adjectives.
Then comes Spanish. We’re using Getting Started with Spanish: Beginning Spanish for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age which is working incredibly well. The girls now know about 30 words and are fairly comfortable with them. I just made them flashcards that they can use to practice with, and today I had them make sentences with the cards and then the other girl had to translate the sentence. They had a lot of fun with it. The book breaks it down into little bit sized steps – on a number of days we did more than one day’s lessons at once. I really do highly recommend this book.
TEXAS! is next, and yes, that’s what we call it. 🙂 It’s a mix of history, social studies, government, and economy, all aimed at around 4th grade. Right now we’re working through the different regions of the United States and what makes them different from all the other regions (climate, economy, etc.) and how they impact Texas and the other parts of the US. The curriculum is fantastic, and the worksheets approach the information from a number of different angles. The girls have really enjoyed the mapping activities that require them to glue little icons for national monuments and such on their appropriate places on the map, using atlas, cardinal directions, and graphing notations to find the proper location.
We do science next. We did a fun experiment with eggs and vinegar last week, and this week we’re growing bacterial cultures in petri dishes (at least I hope we are). Each day we check in on our experiment and the girls keep notes on their observations and hypotheses. We were scheduled to do more than experiment this week, but when I scheduled everything I wasn’t really looking at how long the experiments would take. So we adjust.
For math we are still using Math U See, and I cannot say enough good things about it. Z just started fractions, and the manipulatives that they have and the way they present the information makes SO MUCH SENSE. I flipped ahead and the way that they teach finding common denominators made me understand the process for the first time ever. I knew how to do it before, but not why. And unlike some facets of Common Core that make sense to adults but are confusing for kids, I think this will make sense to Z too. Tiny is starting multiplication and it’s easy right now because it’s skip counting.
We’re using Words Their Way for spelling, and it is working SO well. The girls are noticing and understanding the spelling patterns and are actually applying those patterns to other words.
Starting next month we will be adding in cursive, and life skills (health, manners, and cooking, on a rotating basis). I’m still looking into extra curricular classes- Z takes aikido once a week, but Tiny doesn’t have anything yet, and they both want to start piano.
So that’s what we’re doing and how it’s going. Yay school!