KnowledgeCornerstone » Ramblings from an educator and life-long learner

Homeschool Happenings- Cell Science

I have really struggled with finding a GOOD homeschool science curriculum that covers a variety of topics and that are not solely focused on creation.  (While we firmly believe in God, we tend to keep an open mind about certain things.)

I do have the state textbooks for the girls, but they have both struggled with some of the content.  I *think* the reason is that science is not integrated daily into public school and rather is taught at certain times.  (Like after the TAKS…now STARR is over for the year.)  Either way, the state text has been a struggle, and I cannot spend an enormous amount of direct instruction since I do work full time.  I found REAL Science Odyssey and so far this seems to be working.

I bought the digital version of it and then printed off the pages for each of the girls.  Then I used my handy-dandy spiral binding machine to make a workbook.

I can easily go over the lesson with the girls and then there is an activity.  This lesson had them making animal cells and plant cells out of jello.

The girls had an information worksheet to fill out as well as drawing pictures. So far so good…

Homeschool Happenings- The Bank, Gymboree and Math

When I first started homeschooling, I had this grand plan for a curriculum.  And like most other homeschooling parents, I have changed directions several times this year.  Math is one thing I have not changed.  Sydney uses Teaching Textbooks.  It is a computer based program.  There is a mini lesson and then she must answer questions in the program.  There is also a workbook that goes along with it and she answers those questions once she is finished on the computer.  It takes about 30 minutes each day and BOTH of us love the program.  Stacey on the other hand is just using a simple Saxon workbook right now.  I am NOT totally thrilled with it, it is really simple for her, but there is very limited resources for 1st grade math to do on a regular basis.

The thing I have to remember is that my girls are getting math ALL.THE.TIME.  We bake a lot and the girls do the measuring.  We are constantly building and measuring the wood.  The girls love to draw maps.  Not a day goes by that we are not incorporating math into something.

I had to run to the bank during lunch this week.  The girls spent days, DAYS, rolling pennies from a container we have.  (Yes, money and counting lesson there.)  I told them that what ever pennies they rolled, they could get the money.  So they brought the pennies to the bank.  Bad news–the bank (my teacher credit union) does not take rolled coins.  WHAT?!?!?!  My bad, I thought they had to be rolled!  So we spent 10 minutes unrolling coins.  Then the teller took the girls into the safe where they got to put the money into the coin counting machine and received a receipt for the amount.  While at the bank, we decided to open savings accounts for the girls.  The girls each got a savings register to keep track of their deposits and withdrawals.  (And yes, another math lesson there, adding and subtracting.)

Today, I set the girls up on the Gymboree site.  They had to spend $100 without going over.  That was interesting, but awesome.  The girls got to pick out clothes THEY wanted, so hopefully Stacey will wear what she ordered!  (Notice Sydney holding the calculator in her hand.  She was figuring out prices as she went along to see how much more she could spend.)

Jean Frankie - October,
Origo Education has some really good resources for Math, including the early grades (K – 2). They work on building numerical concepts, computational fluency, mental math, and problem solving. I recommend the Mathementals and Fundamentals workbook, but they also have products for gifted. They are not your traditional drill and kill workbook.
Just a thought.

october - Ooooohhh! Thanks Jean! I am loving some of the stuff I looked at on the website. I will let you know what I get.

Homeschool Happenings- Lions Getting Married

The girls are working on a research project.  Stacey has a long list and cannot decide on what animal she wants research.  While she was looking through a wildlife book, this was the conversation between her and Syd.

6yo- Look at this picture!  It is lion killing a zebra!  You know the female goes out and gets the food while the male lion stays behind.

9yo- How does the lion marry the female?

6yo- They don’t get married!  It is just that the lion fights another lion and then the female lion lives in the same house.

9yo- So what happens to the one he fights? Does he kill him?

6yo- Yeah, I think so.

Random comments as Stacey was looking through the animal cards:

I just LOVE looking at all these animals! This is so cool!

Some baby animals don’t have hair when they are born…that makes them kinda scary looking.

A BELUGA WHALE!  Wait!  I have to go get my Beluga Whale form Sea World!  (as she makes a mad dash through the house to find her stuffed animal)

The awesome school I pulled my girls out of

Here is another example of the awesome school that my girls went to.  I have explained why we chose to homeschool in a couple past posts…it had NOTHING to do with the school or the teachers.  This video starts and ends with the principal and includes every teacher in between.  When I first watched it (yes I have watched it about 5 times), it brought tears to my eyes, because I seriously do not know of a more awesome, caring staff.  (Not to mention that the videographer was my co-worker.)

Dad - Very, very cool!!

Jacqueline Haley - That was awesome!

Chris - I just linked in the real audio and color graded…they shot it themselves in one continous shot!

Homeschool Happenings- Growing with Grammar

I have gotten a ton of questions lately about my curriculum…how we decided what to use?  where we bought it?  did we buy it or does the school provide it?  (and yes some one really asked me) do you still have to pay school taxes if you homeschool?  (the answer is yes you do)

I am going to start with the program I am most impressed with–grammar.  We chose to use Growing with Grammar.  It is a pretty simple program.  There is a study book for Syd to read and then a workbook that goes along with each section.  The sections are short and she can read it on her own and do the work.  I usually go over it with her, just because I am so impressed with the simplicity, yet depth of the program.  And to confess…I actually bought Syd the 3rd grade set instead of the 4th grade.  I saw that it had diagramming sentences in it and I knew she had no knowledge of that, so I figured she could quickly move through this before starting ON LEVEL.Stacey’s is just as cool.  It does not have a separate study book…her lesson is at the top of each section with the workbook part underneath.  She is doing the 1st grade book and is moving just as quickly through it.  I have a feeling I will be ordering the next levels before the school year is over.