Monday, February 27, 2012

It's a keeper!

Today my 13yo and I finished reading K12's The Human Odyssey Vol. 1.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to start volume 2!  This is one textbook I plan to keep. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yes!  I'm so happy. : )

For years I have saved textbooks for my youngest.  And let me tell you, Rod & Staff student books and teacher manuals take up a lot of space.  I have longingly looked at the shelf space taken up by the Rod & Staff books and dreamed of the day I could put other things there.  It is a few years later than I had expected, but we are finally to the point we can bless someone else with a few of our R&S textbooks.

Going, going, gone...

Bible Nurture and Reader Series 1

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doing the right thing?

In December I went into panic mode.  Since then 9yo and I have been slaving away trying to prepare her for standardized testing this summer.  We've been doing two levels of math (Rod & Staff Math 2 and 3).  Math 2 focuses on learning the addition facts. DD didn't know them, so that is where we started. When I introduced multiplication to her I decided to add in Math 3 for exposure. 

Two math levels with lots of review has almost been too much.  I began to question my decision.  Why do two math levels when  Rod & Staff is known for review?  Wouldn't it be more efficient to focus on Math 3 and use addition flash cards every day?

I'm sorta shaking in my boots here.  I can't believe I'm even considering this when she is so far behind in math and the test is looming.  I may regret this decision but I'm going to drop Math 2.  If I see she still needs help with the addition math facts, I'll have her do parts of Math 2.

I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Surprise! It's the little things...

Step 1 of All About Spelling level 1 is to learn all the letter sounds.  Seems easy enough, right?  E has two sounds.  A, I, and U have three.  O has four.  And then there is Y.  It has a consonant sound and three vowel sounds.  We took our time and worked on learning the sounds rather than jumping ahead like I wanted to.

Recently I decided 9yo was ready to move to the next step.  It seemed to be a breeze.  Step two - check.  Step three - check.  Step four.  I scheduled one day.  Um, several days later and we're still on the same step and probably will be for another week.  It seemed so simple.  Say the sound(s) of a letter and have the child write that letter.  She had problems with letters like c (two sounds /k/ and /s/) and k (one sound /k/).  When I said /k/ and /s/ she got confused and wanted to write a K rather than a C.  It's the little things that catch you by surprise.

But, this is good.  It's good to know that this is a struggle.  And, it's good to take the time to master it before we move on.  Once she masters this she will be able to move forward with more skill and confidence.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Using what's already on the shelf

Due to having my head stuck in the sand, I recently realized that there isn't any money for new homeschool books.   We have plenty of books here it's just that I can't buy the new ones I want to currently use.  I've spent the morning trying to figure out how to make use of what we already own.  It has left my brain feeling "blenderized."   I finally had to ask myself what my basic goals are. 

  • Be able to write.
  • Strong foundation in reading and math
  • Core Knowledge
  • Basic foundation in Latin (wishful thinking!)
Since they know how to read, it boils down to math and writing plus whatever else I can get to stick in their brains.  Not very exciting but that's the way it has to be at the moment.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

All Over the Place

On The Well-Trained Mind message boards, a favorite activity is to discuss curriculum plans for the upcoming school year.  I know it is only February but homeschooling moms are already posting their plans.  The threads are usually by grade level (example: "Who has started planning for 4th grade?").  I rarely add to those threads because my kids are all over the place.  I don't have a fourth grader.  I have a 9yo who is technically registered as a third grader but who works at a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade level depending on the subject.  If you had asked me last year this time I would have said that she was probably on a K-1st grade level.  I'm thrilled with the progress she is making, however I doubt we'll ever have all of our subjects on the same grade level.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I've blogged about flash cards before: "How We Do Flashcards"

Today I am adding to our Rod & Staff Math 7 flash cards.  It's tedious.  They aren't very neat.  However, I have found that my 13yo does better when she has the constant review.  Here is an example:

Rules of divisibility:
2 - ends with 0,2,4,6,8
3 - add the digits, divisible by 3?
4 - last two digits 00 or even, divisible by 4?
5 - ends with 0 or 5
6 - even? yes, add digits, divisible by 3?
9 - add the digits, divisible by 9?
10 - ends with 0

So far I have flash cards for things like: place value, rounding, how to read and write Roman Numerals, estimation, mental multiplication and division shortcuts, casting out nines, how to find an average, etc.  I have many more chapters to go, but I know it will be worth it in the long run. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Memory Notebooks

Making memory notebooks for 9yo and 13yo.  I have tried using three prong folders in the past, but adding papers isn't as easy as a notebook.  We have papers floating all around and then kids "forget" to work on memorization since they can't locate their papers.

For now we have:

Latin vocabulary (Lively Latin)
Poetry (IEW)
The Living Christ
US States
Canadian Provinces
Divisibility Rules

Multiplication tables
Poetry (IEW)
US States

More to come...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I struggle.  I struggle with the decision to follow through every day.  I am lazy.  I procrastinate. 

But, I know it isn't right.  So, I keep trying to be a better homeschooling mom.

Recently there was a thread about academic rigor in homeschooling (or the lack of it in homeschooling circles).  Honestly, we will never be there, but I came across some quotes that I hope will continue to inspire me to keep trying for our best.

"Here's a challenge: This year, refuse to lower your expectations. Instead, raise them. And then exceed them. Enough of the whining and complaining and self-indulgence. Teach, **** it. Lead. Coach. Motivate. Inspire. Give your students the best that you have to offer every. single. day. Remember: The goal is a lifetime of excellence, not a day or two here and there. A lifetime. Begin, then, with raised expectations -- of yourself and of your students. " (Mental Multivitamin)

"If I am reading you correctly, though, I know exactly what is the type of person you have in mind, I know them IRL. Run away from those in big leaps. Talk about these issues with people who will lift you higher rather than drag you down. Keep your children, in their formative years, as away from those attitudes as you would keep them away from morally very questionable choices. Surround them with people and ideas who will lift them higher, to the maximum extent of your possibility. Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family." (Ester Maria)