KnowledgeCornerstone » Ramblings from an educator and life-long learner

Homeschool Happenings- Worldy Wise

A former teammate (thanks Heather!) introduced me to Wordly Wise when we taught 5th grade.  The vocabulary program is NOT easy and I remember my parents (and students) COMPLAINING about how hard it was.  To give myself a dose of my own medicine, I ordered it for the girls.

My parents were right…IT IS HARD!

For Syd- each week there are 12 words and there is a different activity for each day of the week that has to do with the words.  I really feel like I am preparing the girls for the SAT instead of just vocabulary building!

The ultimate goal is to use these as spelling words.  We have not done any spelling tests yet.

Stacey’s really is a bit easier.  She only has 10 words, has to listen to a story and then follow the directions that I give her using her words.  Stacey begs for WW each day even though her schedule only does it every other day.  And when she begged for her spelling test that I had not prepared, I gave her an oral one…she only misspelled 1 word–nation.  She could not remember how to spell the “tion” part.  (Have I mentioned that she JUST turned 6 in June???)

The First Day of *Home* School 2011

Not really.

The girls have been working “lightly” all summer on some left over curriculum from Sydney.  (Thanks to all of her wonderful teachers over the years that have sent home unused workbooks…they came in handy this summer!)

We actually started our new curriculum last week on August 15.  It went…ok.  I decided NOT to listen to all the homeschool forums and dove right into every subject.  Syd was still working at 6:45pm each night.  Not because the material or content was hard (well…some of it was…and some of it we did not have the right resources…like a King James Version bible…I had to dig to find my old one for bible study), but rather she found her toys “too distracting.”  Yes, they do sit with me working, except when I am on a call, then they must continue working in the other room…which was obviously NOT happening.

Then the first day of “ps” (public school) happened.  I had very mixed emotions going to bed Sunday night.  We had just finished up a Girl Scout meeting where the girls were talking about which teachers they had.  Later that evening I asked the girls if they were excited they did not have to get up and go to school so early in the morning.

Sydney told me, “Not really.  I wish I were going to school because the first day is always so fun!”

I had to hold back tears.  The first day REALLY is fun.  There is something magical about everyone being in their new clothes with new supplies, new teachers and new groups of students, it just makes it fun.

But in my heart, I know homeschooling is the right thing for MY girls.  Not to mention I have enjoyed getting to make lesson plans again and carrying them out with the girls.  🙂

I printed off some fun first day of school puzzles and left them each a note.  I also made blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  I later heard Stacey whisper to Sydney, “We really have the BEST school ’cause we do what we want!”

Our annual first day picture by the door.

Bittersweet Day

Today is bittersweet.

For the 1st time in 29 years, I am not getting up and going to public school in some form or fashion.  I am sad that I will not be joining the friends I have made over the last 11 years at convocation to hear our superintendent tell us how wonderful we all are.  I won’t stand up indicating how many years I have worked for the district, or cheer as each school/department is called out, or get teary-eyed watching the program at the end highlighting last year.  (nor am I attending school as I have done for so many years in the past)

And it is not just me, but the girls too.  We did make a trip to WM to get school supplies and the girls got new shoes and new backpacks.

Today starts a different adventure.  One that will have its ups and downs, but Wade and I both agree it is the right thing for our family.  Not all is lost.  I was up until 11pm last night working on lesson plans for the week…something I have ALWAYS enjoyed doing.  This time it is different.  I am not tied to a test at the end of the year and I can implement any curriculum that fits the needs of my students.  A teacher’s dream!

I will let you know how our first official day of homeschooling goes. 😉

DH - During my commute this morning, I was thinking about how you may be feeling today. I have always felt that you were born to teach and that you have the knowledge, background, experience, and most importantly, the drive to constantly improve your craft. Hopefully, between your career, your home-schooling pursuit, and your position at HBU, your cravings to teach will be satisfied sufficiently. As daunting as some of this seems now, I am SURE that our children will benefit beyond belief. I am thrilled that we are now able to let you pursue this long held dream of educating our children. Love You…

Jean Frankie - I appaud you for taking this on and am anxious to follow your endeaver through the year.

Dad - Good luck to you AND the girls, I know it will be a great experience!!! I have to ask one question about the WM trip. Backpacks – are they so the girls can carry their books from the bedroom to the study??? 🙂 Love y’all!!

Homeschool Happenings- Our Curriculum

I finally have all of the pieces of our curriculum (well, one is in the mail and should be here today) for the girls for the upcoming year.  Just like a teacher, I started searching in May and have been pouring over everything that is out there.  After reading The Well Trained Mind, I pretty much knew I wanted to combine equally a Classical curriculum mixed with a Charlotte Mason approach.

Luckily, more people are homeschooling and the resources are growing by leaps and bounds. I would love to create my own, but seeing as though this is not my full-time job, I have to find stuff that is ready to go. It would have been nice to use some of the state textbooks, but those are written for mass education and I am realizing it is hard (not impossible though) to transform the information for just one student. Hmmmmm…the reflection on that hit like a ton of bricks…

Over the next few weeks I plan on discussing each one but for now, here is the list broken down by subject:

 Subject Stacey Sydney
Math Nancy Larson- Saxon Math 1 Teaching Textbooks 4
Singapore Math 4
Spelling All About Spelling – Level 1 (AAS) (will start with level 1 but probably move through 4 by the end of the year)
Grammar Growing With Grammar 1 Growing with Grammar 3
Handwriting A Reason for Handwriting A A Reason for Handwriting C
Handwriting 2- BJU Press Handwriting 4- BJU Press
History Tapestry of Grace- Year 4
(plus some misc activities surrounding American Girls)
Writing Writing with Ease
Science Sonlight Science A Harcourt Science 4th Grade
Vocabulary Wordley Wise 3000 Book 1 Wordly Wise 3000 Book 4
Art Mark Kistler (online videos)
(plus whatever I put together)
Geography Combined with Tapestry of Grade
Critical Thinking Press Logic (a variety of books)
Languages Spanish- Rosetta Stone Level 1
Latin- Prima Latina
Bible Positive Action- Finding God’s Gifts 1 Positive Action- Building Life’s Castles 4

On a completely different note…check out Stacey’s math work from this week. Notice how she adds the money as she is going. It took me a few minutes to see what she was doing. This is a 1st-2nd grade book. (She is “technically” a YOUNG 1st grader, turning 6 a month ago.) Scary smart!

Melanie - October, you might like “words their way” which is a developmental spelling program. I use it in my classroom to teach spelling in small group just like I teach guided reading. Let me know if you want more information.
Totally jealous that you are getting to do this with your girls. What lucky kids!

Lee Allan Sanders - Hi October *:-)

Both my wife and I are degreed teachers, and although I needed to work outside the home to support the family, we home schooled our children completely through graduation from high school. Several different methodologies, school districts, etc., because at that time very few options were available. In essence, my wife and I were the teachers, with a cooperating teacher from the local district checking and approving lesson plans, assessments, etc., and coordinating field trips every so often with the other home schoolers in the district. Worked very well for us, and our children have gone on to become productive members of society, now with families of their own. Best wishes to you and your family on your learning journey *:-) Lee

It just makes me so sad…

I don’t care what anyone says, I want my girls to learn cursive. I want them to know how to write correctly and legibly. Is that too much to ask? There are a number of things that bother me about this article, but the biggest one is that handwriting is not in the “core curriculum” that 46 states have endorsed.

So what if it is a waste of time.  I know for a fact that every single grandparent LOVES to receive a handwritten note from their grandchildren.  Actually, I think most people enjoy a handwritten note.

And that is why we live in Texas (we are one of the 4 states that chose NOT to adopt the curriculum).

Which reminds me…Stacey has some thank you cards to write…

Sara Braker - October,
I am also teaching my boys cursive and expect good penmenship from them. When we have been to get stuff from the DMV they have had the complain that kids don’t sign their names anymore. – it is turning into a lost art.

October - Yay! I am so glad you said that! I bought the girls each a fountain pen (although a choked a little at spending $13 on EACH one). It forces them to hold the pen correctly or it will not write.