Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another School Year Begun

It has been forever since I updated this blog!

Life keeping up with and homeschooling 3 boys, moving across the country, settling into a new house, new area, new church, adding chickens to our crew... it's been too much.
We are now happily settled into Washington state and LOVE it here!

Last year we had a really unique school year because of all the major changes that were going on as well as the challenge of having a 1 year old to take care of. We learned a lot but in a much less traditional way.

This year I was really happy to try and get back to a more normal school year. This summer I read through several books and my favorite by far was The Self-Propelled Advantage.

Joanne Calderwood did a great job challenging me to let the boys have more control of their own education. I had always liked that idea in theory but had a hard time executing it in practice. It was well worth the read and gave me so many ideas on how to tackle this new school year. We're still working it through day-by-day, learning how to do it best as we go, but this is the general idea.

Both of the boys have a journal notebook that contains a calendar for the next few months, a list of books I'm recommending for them this school year, a page to write the books they've finished onto, a list of goals for the entire year then broken down into semesters and a blank weekly page with a column for each subject each day where they can write what they've accomplished. We've divided our school year into 4 9-week semesters and have divided their year-long goals down to fit that time so they know what they need to accomplish each week.

During the summer the boys and I sat down and talked about what curriculum choices we've made in the past and what they did and did not like about each of them. We chose new books for this year with the idea to finish each during the school year to a level of excellence in understanding. I check in with them and encourage them along the way but they are the ones responsible to decide what they would like to learn, when they would like to learn it and where. They no longer have to wait on me when I'm cleaning up a giant mess our now-2 year old has made. They can freely move onto another subject. It's been so freeing for all of us!

In case you are curious, the curriculum we chose for this year are:
Math: Each boy will finish a certain grade on the Khan Academy website
Science: Josh is doing Apologia's General Science and Jeremiah is doing Apologia's Chemistry and Physics
History: They decided to re-read The Story of the World, Volume 1 since they don't remember much from when we read it several years ago and would like to.
Language: They're going to be writing on our homeschool blog and finishing a Language workbook for their grade level as well as reading a set amount of time each day.
Jeremiah will be working on cursive and they are both working on several other pursuits I've chosen to not group in with structured school time like computer programming, perfecting the art of playing video games, cooking/baking, and taking on more responsibility with regular household chores.

Nathaniel has started a very easy pre-preschool as well, but that's another blog post for another day.
I hope this is at least a little helpful. We're only in our 2nd week of school so we're definitely still figuring it out. We're constantly finding what works best for each year and each boy. My goal is to always do what works best for them to love what they're learning.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Learning About News Firsthand

So this pretty amazing thing happened a couple weeks ago that involved Joshua being recognized for volunteering at the food pantry that is hosted at our church.

Hopefully sometime I'll get around to putting more on here at that. Having that experience gave me a contact I could ask for a tour of a local news station. He agreed! Kurt Williams from WTKR News Channel 3 showed us all around the news station and we learned so much and had a great time!

We got to see the news desk and even were able to watch them reporting the news live!

We learned about the green screen the weather guy uses and that it's  bad idea to wear a green tie when you're in front of it.

It's also very hard to figure out left and right to point to the right cities.

 The control room was pretty cool! I'm amazed that they're able to watch so much at the same time and make sense of it all!

The guys watched 

while Nathaniel and I hung out in the halls so we didn't disrupt anyone.

It was an amazing experience!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Day in the Life

Homeschooling this year has been different. With a vacation planned next month and a huge cross-country move planned the month after that, we knew we could not use a regular curriculum successfully.
The perpetually optimistic side of me realized that in spite of that we had a huge opportunity because of these things well be doing. We've been doing all sorts of research instead. We are learning about the things we'll see on the way and while we're at Disney World. We're studying states, countries, animals, foods... It's been fun! Overall it's been really nice to chill and focus on just one thing a day and let the boys learn mostly at their own pace.
This morning Jeremiah is reading with Nathaniel and Joshua is watching a video about Jacob Barnett and feeling not so alone in his love of challenging math. I think I'll go get some bread dough and then we'll learn a little about Georgia.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lego Quest

The boys were looking for something to do today and we ran across this blog:
It's 52 Lego building challenges. Perfect way to kill a little time! Here are their first creations:

You may be seeing more of these in the future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tooth #2

Last night Jeremiah lost his second tooth. He really nursed this one along so it literally just fell out as opposed to him pulling it.
Last night he wrote a beautiful note to his tooth fairy so I thought I'd share it. He has such a sweet heart!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

His Own Personal Ball Pit

Nathaniel has loved the couple of baby ball pits he's been exposed to. When I went to use an amazon gift card that was given to him I knew exactly what would give him a thrill. I set up his play pen when they arrived and put them in. Now even the big boys are having fun figuring out all the different what's to play with them!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chess Tournament

Today the 2 big boys competed in their first ever chess tournament. They both fell in the middle of the results somewhere but had a great time and can't wait for the chess club at the library next month!
Nathaniel didn't have quite as much fun.  He crawled around and generally tried to make a nuisance of himself... but that's what little brothers are for anyway, right?