Monday, September 8

School Thoughts

School has been in session for several weeks now but we're still floundering. We missed 4 out of 5 days last week due to a nasty cold bug which only the boys caught. None of us can even remember Monday's lessons, so the week was a total wash. The 2 weeks before that just never found their groove. No groove!

I keep finding lots of great ideas at my friends' blogs and I am going to keep playing around with this until I find what works best for us.

I have Before Five in a Row for Honor's schoolwork but have never used it. I am going to start this week and will incorporate lapbook elements from Homeschool Share, which the lovely Shanna reminded me existed. I don't know why I can't link to you without calling you lovely, Shanna. What is with that?

I cannot find the original blog that led me to this site, but someone recommended Calvary Chapel for free devotions. I am STILL on the hunt for devotions for the boys. Everything I find has a crossword puzzle or a word search. Puhleeeze. A word search does not draw them deeper in love with God's Word. It teaches them nothing. A word search keeps them seated for an extra 15 minutes so the teacher can finish texting or drinking her Dr. Pepper and eating her Snickers in front of the poor students that don't get to eat for another 2 hours and even then, it's iffy since they only have 15 minutes for lunch and 13 of those minutes are spent in the cafeteria line.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah, devotions.

So, I'm using these pdf's, but skipping the stuff I don't want. I like these because they can be incorporated with different age groups. I am printing the pictures for the girls to color while Daddy reads the scripture verses after breakfast. The boys can then do the study pages; one level for Joel and another level for Ethan. We'll skip the puzzles. I'll let you know what we think next week.

As for reading, I've always required the boys to do a book page after reading a school book, but they draw this task out so much that I end up counting it as handwriting and grammar for the day. And since we have to edit so much, it is drawn out for a second day and counts as handwriting and spelling the next day. I'm too soft here. But Lawanda shared a great idea. She has her kids books up on a blog. She types while they narrate. We did narration and dictation when they were younger, switching to copywork as they got older. I promised the boys typing lessons once they mastered cursive. We're nearly there and I think that I will set them up with book report blogs to replace this torturous writing affair. I have them writing for their other subjects as well and they just aren't digging it. There's a line between a lesson in diligence and making them hate school. I'm not sure where it is though. If anyone has insight here, PLEASE share. You can't offend me, so speak up without fear.

Next: chores. Our Dave Ramsey class brought up great points with teaching kids about financial responsibility. We have the kids doing chores but have never believed in giving them an allowance. Dave Ramsey agrees, but encourages giving a commission. Keep track of the jobs done and pay accordingly. Not ALL of the jobs, just some of the jobs. There should still be plenty of responsibilities around the house that come without money but with the satisfaction of loving and participating in taking care of the home. So, we're brainstorming on this one. I'll let you know what we come up with.

The rest of our day is decided on, curricula-wise, but not routine-wise.

Math (both): Singapore 3 & 6 , tried them all and found this was best for us.

Joel's Grammar: Rod & Staff 3 , tried maybe half of them all and found this was best for us.

Ethan's writing/grammar: Writing Strands , new to this but liking it so far.

Spelling (both): AVKO I love this program. It's the first out of at least 5 programs that is working for my boys. They have sample lessons free for download on their website.

Latin (both)
: Latin for Children who, you might remember, have been very good to me. This series is so simple to follow, which is wonderful because I knew nothing about Latin before this program.

Science (both)
: Christian Kids Explore Chemistry I like this book a LOT. There are activities for hands-on learning, but they require only the most basic of ingredients. I love it because my boys are LEARNING. And it is simple to follow.

Geography (both)
: Homemade state notebooking pages, created with each state introduced in our history lessons.

Rod & Staff

Nature Journaling
: Homemade notebooking pages

Hahahaha! like I ever remember to schedule this! I usually slack off and count the nature journal as art. Or I let them work on their comic books that they're writing.

We are combining Hakim & Story of the World for our readings together and then I have the boys build a notebook with homemade pages and activities from Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveller CD. I love this. It covers so much and the boys actually enjoy doing it. It isn't busy work, cut & paste and make it look nice while not learning a thing. Not fluffy and not boring.

The American Adventure Series and lots of extras. The boys try to sneek Star Wars books in as reading assignments. I love this because I can get them to read lots of stuff without complaint with the rule that they can't read the Star Wars book until they've read half an hour in whatever book I pick for them. I'm so mean.

Piano lessons with Mama, using Daddy's old lesson books from the '80's.

Unit Study:
There is always something else we want to cover and one day I'll be brave enough to suspend all other lessons to fully focus on these rather than fitting them in as another subject. Until then, we cover extra subjects seasonally. We just finished the Olympics and are now beginning Pirates. Guess what day is coming up?

I'm pulling out my hair and about ready to just write my own. Any ideas for me?

I found this Meme from ages ago and if you didn't participate then, I'm begging you to do so now. Or just share what you're doing and love. I would really like to see someone else's homeschool day in action. I need some inspiration!

I think I've linked my brains out.


Jessica said...

you, my dear, are the show off--blowing us away with your wonderful singing voice yesterday. :P i love that song and your version was divine!

Jenn said...

Thank you! Ya know, a LOT of prayer went into getting up on that stage. I can't believe, as shy as I used to be, that I can even do it. Even still, all I'm thinking on my way up the steps is "Please Lord don't let me have gas while a microphone is pointed my direction." Once on stage, it's all about Him, but the trip up there is a doozy. lol.

Christy said...

I wish I could have heard you sing!!!

I am way impressed. I would get up there and croak. I have a decent voice but in front of people I morph into a frog.

I am of course not homeschooling (even though your post makes my heart hurt because I really want to) BUT when it comes to your boys... I tend to go along with the school of thought that says perserverance and diligence are taught sometimes by doing the unpleasant. I remember HATING math with a grand passion but I had to force myself to stick with it and work on it for hours just to finish my homework/pass a test. In college and in the workforce they will have to keep working on projects they hate with a passion!!! But (and this is coming from a mom with younger children) I think that the only way we learn to do this as adults, the only way we learn to stick with what is hard/boring is by our parents encouraging us/forcing us to.

Just my two cents and believe me, I am fully aware I will be struggling with this in the future!!

As far as devotions-Laura Grace uses a series that has fun little activities at the end of each one but they are optional. The devotion is very quick, has a Bible verse and applicable questions. It is called God and Me Devotions for Girls. They have a series for boys as well and a different book for each age group.

I struggled with coming up with Bible Lessons and crafts for the elementary aged children at our past church because it is hard to really make them eager for God's word. I found that studying a certain verse/story for several days (or in your case week) and then having them write a story/create a play based on the lessons learned/theme/ect... really made them think about the material, apply it to their own lives plus they had a blast dressing up in sheets and towels for robes LOL.

Your an awesome mom. Just had to share that. And that concludes my novel!!!

Lawanda said...

We use Rod and Staff English too! We are using Keys to Algebra, and Walsch Chemistry for 6 to 8th grade. I got Matin Latin this year because the book I had already was too difficult for them. I did not research it as much as I could have, and this one was on sale. I haven't even looked at it yet! :)

Shanna said...

I think "the lovely Shanna" has quite a nice ring to it. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of requiring everyone in the house to refer to me in this way.

Well, maybe the kids can call me "the lovely Mommy".

I add unit studies on as an extra subject, too. And I'm less then thrilled with the Devotional curriculum that we are using. I hope you tell us if you find something that works!

Jessica said...

a comment on christy's comment: at least once a day i hear from my students about how much they hate my class or another and why do they have to do things they're not interested in. my sage (ha!) advice is that they learn to do things they don't like because life is full of stuff like that. i didn't enjoy every single college class i had but i worked hard to pass anyway. i don't like all parts of my job but i do them anyway. i certainly don't relish paying bills, but i do it anyway. i have also repeated this to david, who has quit several jobs because they weren't "fun enough" or something treated him badly.

just my two cents. :)

lol at your no gas prayer. i do that at school, except my version goes something like this, "please, god, don't let me fart near a student's face when i walk by." :P

Mike said...

That Latin for Kids thing? Totally buying it for myself. I totally am. And when I learn the Latin root for totally, I'm totally using it all the time.


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