Tuesday, March 1, 2011

homeschooling {moonpie}

*this post picks up my series on how our day works. for the beginning go back to part 1, part 2, part 3.
a photo by Ryan Price capturing our sweet sissy

Like I mentioned in part 3, Buddy's day, after circle time we all head to the table for Bible study (look back to part 3 for the curriculum we use).  After Bible, Buddy grabs his supplies and we begin working. I call this time "guided learning" because, for the most part, I am guiding his learning during this time.  While Buddy and I are working, Moonpie begins her independent lessons.  Moonpie loves workbooks, especially Explode the Code.  So she starts her time doing a couple of pages out of her current book.  

After that she moves to her copy work.  We use a copy work book based on animals- her most favorite thing.  This makes copy work more bearable for her.  Let's just say she doesn't love it.  I however do!  I feel like copy work is a gentle way to incorporate reading, handwriting, spelling, vocabulary and grammar.  The more she experiences properly formed sentences, the more likely she is to form them correctly herself.  I allow her to stop at any time in her copy work.  I don't want her to feel bogged down by it.  She generally works to the first period of the paragraph and then moves on to independent reading.  By this time, Buddy is usually ready to move onto blocks.  But if I'm I still working with him, Moonpie has some free time.  Which she generally spends drawing.
When I am ready to work with her, I check over her work.  If there are any mistakes in her ETC, I usually just point out one and discuss it with her.  Then I have her fix it.   Next I look over her copy work.  I ask her to show me which letter or word she feels is her very best.  Then I tell her which one I think looks great too.  I usually put a big heart next to it.  She likes that!  Then I may point out one thing that needs working on.  Like a capital letter in the middle of the sentence.  We discuss why capital letters don't go in the middle of the sentence.  Then we move on to guided learning.  

moonpie loves to cook.  she helps with most every meal, and often likes to make up her own recipes.  when i ask her how she knows how much to add of each thing, she tells me she uses her "baker's eye"!  love it!

Moonpie's guided learning consists of reading, grammar ( a few times a week), and math.  Right now she is reading on her own, but is lacking endurance.  And a lot of time, desire.  Reading is still work for her at this point, and she doesn't like that!  So during reading I choose a reader that I would call a challenge book.  She reads it with me listening and helping.  Then we may do some word work activities or sometimes we just move on.  I try to feel out where she is and how she is feeling.

For math we use the Singapore math program.  She really likes the pace and I like the conceptual teaching.  This is our first semester to use SM, and I would recommend it at this point.  

Up to this time, we have done more "real life" math.  She helps me cook daily.  She knows how to read an analog clock.  She is becoming more familiar with money.  Those kinds of things.  However, she was showing some signs that it was time to move to more of a lesson format in math.  And I needed help!  I am great at playing games to teach math.  But I'm not so great at teaching (or even knowing myself) the concepts behind a lot of math.  So I looked for something that would help us with that.  So far, I have found that in SM.

On the days we do some grammar work, I use the book First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise.  This is read aloud to Moonpie.  There is a lot of memorization work in the book and some written work- but very little.  I really like this resource.  It helped me remember to teach Moonpie our address and phone number.  Because for some reason I had failed to do that!  I also like that I don't have to do any planning for this.  I pick it up and read the script.  So easy!

moonpie in the garden, helping me prepare beds.

After her seat work is done, we have some free time.  This is usually spent outside for the kids while I fold laundry or start on lunch.

After lunch we read from our current literature selection and then start with history or science.

For history I just follow along with the Story of the World series.  This takes the guess work out for me.  Like I've mentioned before, I am not super strong in history.  This series helps me know what happened, when.  The readings out of this book are very short.  I just mainly use it as a springboard.  I then gather other resources based on whatever we are studying.

For science, we mostly do a mix of anatomy, zoology and botany.  These are the things my kids are interested in and our library is full of books on these subjects!

Two areas I would like to be more consistent in are handiwork and a true nature study.  Not just being outside- because we do that a lot!  But being more consistent with their journaling.

That's it for our day.  I'd say in total, homeschooling takes about two hours of our day.  The rest of the day for Moonpie is spent playing with her brother, creating with paint, clay, pencils, or fabric (she is super crafty), and being outside.  At this point in her life, this seems to be a good balance for her.

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