Saturday, November 3, 2007

I'm not a blogger

I've decided blogging just isn't my style. So (as you might have noticed) I've stopped.
I'll keep checking in here if you have anything to say.
October's poet was Edgar Allan Poe and were doing Emily Dickinson now.
Sam loved the violin practice sheets. Thank you!

Best wishes and happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Meet our monthly friends

Our music appreciation, art appreciation and poetry studies are going to be done in a monthly format with one musician/artist/poet of the month and study done on both them and their work. This month we're studying Bach, Carl Sandburg and various artists (I know this is contradicting what I previously said but my explanation is coming).
We're listening to various Bach works during music appreciation as well as reading about him using Lives of the Musicians and Why Beethoven Threw the Stew which are both funny, well written books.
Our poetry is worked on during memory work time. I have both kids memorizing a poem by Carl Sandburg this month (although Jess will probably end up doings two). I bought the Poetry for Young People series at a school book sale 2 or 3 years ago and Jess read them all in one day set them aside for a year and only reads occasionally from them. Finally here is a time to use them. There are 1o books each about a different poet. We aren't doing them in any particular order I just thought one day: Sam should memorize Fog and so Carl Sandburg become our first "Poet of the Month". I'm planning on doing Shakespeare last to fit in with our history study but as for everyone else, it's a big question mark.
As for art we're using The Usborne Introduction to Art (Internet Linked) which is written in chronological order beginning with art pre -1400s. We'll skim through this section spending 1 or 2 months on it and then move on to the next section (1400-1600) and spend the rest of our year taking an in depth look at art and artists of that time period. Then we'll have artist friends too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day One

We are officially homeschoolers!! This day has finally come.
I must say it felt odd having Jess stay here while I watched other kids head off to school. Sam arrived at 8:30 and I talked to his mom Carol (my sister!) about what we’d be up to. Carol will help him with independent reading each night before bed as well as read the necessary books to him.
At 8:45 our school day began with grammar. Both kids have a daily grammar program which I think is a good idea (although Jess doesn’t agree). It felt so strange to be explaining grammar to my nephew!
After a quick 15 min. grammar lesson we moved on to spelling. I planned this to be 15 min. also but that didn’t quite work. Jess spent 5 minutes groaning (she’s good at spelling but hates it.) until I asked her if she’d rather do two lessons, then she completed the work in about 8 minutes. Sam is about average in spelling. I have both Spelling Workout B and C (I picked them up for free) so I had him try level C which was fine. I think we’ll continue using this and see how it goes.
Next was Latin. This was the first time any of us had done Latin and I found it an interesting experience. I think the texts both kids are using are great. Jess likes to work independently (she never wanted me to help with her homework) so I was not involved in her Latin lesson but I know Sam and I had a good time. We read through the story in Minimus and then tried introducing ourselves to each other. I asked same what he thought a word was before we looked them up in the “Words to Help” section and he got the majority right. We’ll review the lesson on Thursday.
I then gave Sam a much needed break (he’s a very active boy who can’t sit still for to long unless it’s for science). Jess (who can sit still) got out Wordly Wise 4 and spent 15 min. on vocab. I’d been planning on having Sam do vocab too but have had to drop it and a few other subjects. I think he’ll get enough through reading, spelling, history ect…. Jess knew many of the words she was “learning” already so I may have her skip around in this book and purchase the next level for after Christmas.
I called Sam back from his outdoor play for math. He’s using Saxon 2 which must have been a good choice because he said “This is a lot funner than Mrs.D’s math!”
Jess is using Teaching Textbook’s Pre-Algebra which I think is a good choice for someone as independent as her. I’m hoping she can get through a chapter a week especially in the earlier section which is very simple.
Tuesday would normally be our violin lesson day but the lessons don’t start till next week so we did Monday’s violin work instead. This means another break for Sam while Jess begins her violin practice. Jess is working on Suzuki Violin Book 5 but has stopped using the Suzuki method. She’s been playing for 6 years and currently is just playing whatever she feels like (her teacher said “Play whatever you want but make sure you play over the summer.”). Jess practiced for 45 minutes alone (she makes sure of this). After 15 minutes of free play I called Sam in to begin his half hour of practice. Sam’s been playing for half a year and is working through the Suzuki Book 1 repertoire using the method. He practiced “Go Tell Aunt Rody” with me and then did some not matching.
When practice was over Jess began BC history using “Far West: The Story of British Columbia.” She will do a chapter a month from this so it should be quite indepth.
Sam did a bit of independent reading from Go, Dog, Go and The Nose Book. I then read aloud to him from “The Thieves of Ostia” which is our historical fiction of the week.
For lunch we had ham and cheese sandwiches along with milk, apples and choclote chip cookies. Eating lunch didn’t take half an hour (which is the amount of time I have it down for on our schedule) so we had some time for running around in the yard
I let the kids play badminton while I set up for our history lesson. Normally we would have had a history lesson yesterday but this being our first day I’ve had to do a bit of juggling. The regular plan is for world history on Mon. and Tue., Canadian history on Wed. and science on Thu. And Fri. This week I’ve had to cut out Canadian history for world history.
Jess read aloud from Story of the World vol.2 and then I read to Sam from The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (Internet Linked) while Jess read from the Kingfisher Encyclopedia of History. Together we took a look at these sites:
I was hoping to take a look at a site with interactive maps of the barbarian invasions but it didn’t seem to work.
Jess and Sam each wrote a report and Sam’s included a picture. Tomorrow we’ll do the Activity Guide work.
I gave Sam a break and told Jess the plan for her religion study:
1. Read about selected religion (this week it’s Hinduism) from Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions (Internet Linked).
2. Look at 3-5 websites of your choice (she chose these:
3. Write a report on religion. Remember to include festivals, history, forms of worship, teachings ect…
She got started on this and I set up Sam’s memory/copy work. Because I’ve decided to not have him do handwriting (along with BC history, writing, religion and vocab) this is also his handwriting lesson. For Mon/Tue I’ll have him copy the given sentences and for Wed/Thu he’ll recite, then on Fri I’ll test. We missed Monday’s copy work but I think he’ll be all right. I have him memorizing a quote and poem. The poem will be for the entire month with weeks 1and 2 copying and weeks 3 and 4 reciting. It will also be by our “Poet of the Month” which is Carl Sandburg this time.
Quote: “Never, never, never, never give up.” –Winston Churchill
Poem: Fog
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbour and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-Carl Sandburg
Sam’s writing isn’t what one would call neat and I’m wondering if I should have kept handwriting, we’ll see how it goes. He did manage to get “never” looking quite good.
I think our next block was Sam’s favorite: P.E. We played soccer, more badminton, 1-2-3 home free, tag and Frisbee. I plan on going to the tennis courts next week for homeschoolers “Tennis Tuesday” which is once a month (although it will mean switching P.E with history.).
After P.E Sam’s free to do whatever he wants. His day was 3 hrs. 15 min. (not counting violin practice, read alouds and P.E.).
Jess and I worked on Jess’s memory work which is all verbal. She is good at memorization so I have her doing a lot:
History: The Roman emperor Diocletian decided to divide the Roman empire because it was too large for one ruler. He kept the eastern part.
Quote: “Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.”-John Wesley
Poem: Between Two Hills

Between two hills
The old town stands.
The houses loom
And the roofs and trees
And the dusk and dark,
The damp and dew
Are there.

The prayers are said
And the people rest
For sleep is there
And the touch of dreams
Is over all.
-Carl Sandburg
Religion: Real happiness of heart cannot be attained without giving up the ideas of “I” and “mine”. – Tulsidas

Like Sam her poem is for the entire month.
Jess’s final subject is Critical Thinking. I would have liked this to be earlier in the day but it didn’t fit and in observing Jess’s learning habits more closely I realize that she concentrates better in the late morning to late afternoon.
Anyway, she wanted to work independently on this too but given that she is constantly correcting people’s logic I’m sure she had no problem. She doesn’t like to tell people much about her thoughts so when I asked her how she found it she said “Quite good, not too hard, I kind of like it.” and that was all! Sometimes this kid drives me crazy!
Her day was 5 hr. 15 min. (also not counting P.E. and violin practice) and I guess fairly good for a first day!
All in all I think it was a good educational day for everyone. Next week we’ll see how all our activities fit in. Jess does quite a bit of dancing as well as music lessons for both kids. Jess also has a writing class starting in a few weeks (thank you moms on the WTM boards for the idea to send in some of her writing, it worked!!!)
Wow, that was long. If you’re still here congrats!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

An Introduction

Hello everyone!!
I'm Karen(42) mom to Jess (12) and wife to Dave(45) who I've been married to for a fantastic 13 years. We live on Canada's west coast in the province of British Columbia. I love history, reading, cooking and ,of course, my family. I'm very happy to (starting tomorrow!!) be homeschooling both Jess and my nephew Sam(7) using the method of Classical Ed. described in The Well Trained Mind (WTM). That is what this blog is about.
I've never blogged before so I'm unsure as to whether or not it will be a success. The thing I'm quite certain of is that I won't have much time from posting. My plan is to do weekly reports of our homeschooling journey as well as a few other posts along the way.
I'm not forcing you to read my blog so if you don't want to read it don't!
I'll post more soon.