Archive for April, 2015

Big Brother’s Homeschool Status

Super Hero Peg People

Making Super Hero Peg People

I just realized I never really gave an idea of what “school” looked like for Big Brother this year. As usual, we have had ebbs and flows. A major challenge to getting Big Brother’s schooling done beyond having a little brother was Mom’s choice to take on Chairing our States Inclusive Homeschool Conference. It was a busy summer selecting a keynote and featured speaker, a busy holiday season preparing the conference schedule and starting registration and then increased dedication to the conference until it occurred in late March to the point of it being a full time job and having to put homeschooling virtually on hold. It was a very rewarding experience and I feel so good that I did my part to make sure this amazing gem of a Homeschool Conference continues in my state for all homeschooling families. We had around 900 attendees. All that said, I’ve had to pass the baton because it was just too distracting from my first job of caring for and schooling my boys especially as a special needs mom.

Big Brothers Subjects (age 8-9):

LANGUAGE ARTS – Brave Writer’s “A Quiver of Arrows” – Wonderful gentle Language Arts program that I would say is rather Charlotte Masony. It has exposed us to some great literature that we’ve listened to via books on tape and covered handwriting, grammar and spelling. This is Big Brother’s subject he finds most challenging yet he has been very happy with this gentle approach. I hope to get at least two more books in before next “school year.” Each book is covered over four weeks.

CURSIVE – “Handwriting Without Tears.” Big Brother wanted to learn cursive and he really enjoys this program. I wish I would have used it for printing. Great systematic and gentle program. I have also found that cursive comes easier to my son then print and I really do feel cursive is important to learn. It is used more frequently in other countries and lots of adults still use it (my writing in cursive is the reason Big Brother wanted to learn to be able to read what I write). It is also good for fine motor practice. It actually bothers me that cursive is not taught in many schools now.

HISTORY – “History Odyssey Modern Times.” Big Brother wanted to continue “Story of the World” which can be done with the History Odyssey level 1 Curriculums and I wanted to switch things up. I was getting bored with the “Story of the World” Activity Guides and liked the idea of a curriculum that is written to the child to start transitioning to him taking more ownership of his work. He loved the idea of being completely in charge of getting his work done but the reality was that it was too much for him to do it completely. I helped a lot but it has helped him go in that direction. He really has enjoyed this curriculum. His only complaint when we were reassessing over the holidays was that it required too much writing so we reduced the writing in the new year. I hope to finish a few more sections but don’t expect to complete the curriculum before summer. When summer starts we will just listen to the “Story of the World” chapters we have left like we did last year. I find that works well. Gets the closure I like but casually.

At our Homeschool Co-op, Big Brother attended a winter class on the Alaskan Dog Sled Race, Iditerod. History in the making.

A highlight in History experiences was the Homeschool Medieval day we attended in the Fall that included historical interpreters, print making and storytelling by Big Brother’s favorite storyteller, Jim Weiss (his audio stories are a major supplement to our history lessons).

SCIENCE – “Sassafras Science Adventures: Anatomy.” Big Brother really likes the Sassafras Science Adventures. We read the first one on Zoology this past summer and then adopted the full curriculum for the school year for Anatomy. He has enjoyed the added curriculum with activities (he loves to do projects and activities) and continues to learn about the twins adventures. The coolest project has been the life sized tracing of his body we have on the wall that he has added parts to as we cover new parts. I do feel like the story has gotten too drawn out going at the pace of doing the curriculum as well as the breaks we’ve had to take as I worked on the conference. I’m considering reading the next book on Botany this summer and then doing the curriculum in the fall after we read the whole book. We are still working on Anatomy.

In addition to our at home science, Big Brother has done science at co-op each semester. It is one of his favorite subjects. In the fall, I taught a Vex IQ Robotics class Big Brother attended. Then, this winter and spring, I started an elementary chemistry series using “REAL Science Odyssey: Chemistry Level 1” that Big Brother has been attending. In the fall, he attended a Scientific Method Class. In the winter, he also attended a LEGO class (LEGO’s and Pokemon are his favorite past time).

MATH – “Math on the Level” continues and remains a good choice. We have gone a little more casual with the five a days and have incorporated a game/activity day once a week. Things were getting a bit tedious so adding an official math fun day has been a great addition to maintain enthusiasm in my math loving boy.

ART – Big Brother’s Homeschool Co-op’s “Famous Artists” Class covered art for the fall along with crafting gifts over the holidays (hand dipped beeswax candles) and art related activities for History. We will be starting the spring semester next week and Big Brother plans to do a clay molding class taught by one of his friends teen brothers.

PE – Tae Kwon Do with dad continues. They attend twice a week. This spring semester will also include a PE class at our Co-op.

MUSIC – Private violin instruction continues. Big Brother switched back to Suzuki Violin classes that include group classes. A more affordable suzuki studio then his original studio and a little more laid back while still focusing on quality playing and ear training. A great balance and Big Brother is doing some fun stuff including group fiddle and improv. He happily played Brahms’ Waltz at the Conference Talent Show with his dad accompanying on guitar.

The past two weeks Big Brother has been completing the CAT test for Grade 3. It went well and he actually looks forward to it. Next week between enjoying spring time weather and planting, I hope to get back on track to get some school work done. While in someways I feel like we have catching up to do, I also look at Big Brother and realize that he has come such a long way and is doing well.


My Hydrogen Atom