Monday, February 21, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal - Week 1

In my life this week...

I'm continuing to organize and de-clutter the home; and have two more garbage bags filled with donations to give to the local second-hand store. 

I put away the Valentine's Day decorations and brought out the spring/St. Patrick's Day decorations.  The girls and I agree that the nature table needs a few more items since it is rather bare at this moment.  I'll be crafting an item or two for the table as well as looking (with the girls) for interesting natural items that can be added to the display.

For Harvest Moon by Hand (my shop), I want to:
- list at least 7 new items that I have waiting to be added at to the website
- finish sewing the bags I made from vintage children's books
- create another PDF pattern for either felt food or a children's toy
- make a "friendship" theme item for the HandmadeMN team challenge
- make a "green" item for the UWIB team blog hop

I need to file paperwork in my office as well as start working on taxes.  The latter task is so time-consuming and is something that I don't enjoy.  My goal this week is to get everything prepared for my CPA so she can do the forms and email them in.

In our homeschool this week...

With over 6 inches of snow already and more on the way, the main focus over the next few days will be on digging out. From a homeschooling perspective, a fresh snowfall is a great time to do snow-related activities in different subjects (science, math, literature, physical education, etc.).

Winter on the Farm
Winter on the farm

In addition to the standard/core curriculum for language arts, history, geography, and science (using Sonlight Curriculum) and math (using Rod and Staff Curriculum), I have a variety of other activities that I'm doing with the girls:

- Work on another paper quilt for February using the book Easy Literature-Based Quilts Around the Year by Mariann Cigrand. 

- Finish the rest of the Aesop's Fables stories and hands-on projects using the book Literature Pockets - Aesop's Fables by Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. (Olivia is doing this only.)

- Do another Outdoor Hour Challenge using the book Handbook of Nature Study by Annna Botsford Comstock; and have the girls add to their nature journals.

- Study about and do activities related to George Washington (the anniversary of his birthday is February 22nd).

- Do two more art lessons using the Atelier program as well as do a new type of Waldorf painting that combines wax crayons, oil, and aromatherapy.

- Learn about the next country in the ABC Journey Around the World that I've been doing with the girls for a couple years now.  We're on "U" - Ukraine - now.  I have a variety of books and activities related to Ukraine that we'll be reading/doing this week. We may skip ahead and do some activities related to Mexico for "X" (since no countries in the world start with "X").  I'm waiting on doing "W" - Wales - until March 1st when St. David's Day is celebrated there (St. David is the Patron Saint of Wales).

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

Depending on the snow and how everyone is feeling (we've been sick over the weekend), ideally we'll be going to 4-H, choir practice, speech therapy (Olivia), and to the libraries (public and local school). 

Olivia with her speech therapist (Laurie)

The girls and I also are going to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to donate two bags of 6"x8" newspaper that we cut for their cages (we did this as part of the 52 Weeks of Giving activity).
The homeschool co-op was cancelled today due to the snow/weather conditions - so the girls won't have their normal weekly activities in ceramics/pottery (both), home economics (Sophia), piano lessons (Sophia), computers (Olivia), and American Heroes (Olivia).

My favorite thing this week was...

As I look back on the past week, my favorite thing was doing science activities with the girls.  When I was in school, science was my least favorite subject since the majority of the time was spent just reading about subjects rather than doing activities. 

Sophia figuring out her lung capacity.
This is an experiment that is part of
studying about the human body.

I'm much more of a hands-on person when it comes to learning - as are Sophia and Olivia - so the science experiments that are part of the Sonlight curriculum coupled with the Outdoor Nature Hour challenges - are something we look forward to doing.

What's working/not working for us...

After the holidays, I had a hard time getting back into the routine of homeschooling and following the detailed schedule of Sonlight's curriculum.  This is the second school year that I've used Sonlight.  Prior to that, I was creating my own curriculum by piecing together activities and curricula from a variety of sources and philosophies.  This was very time-intensive, yet extraordinarily rewarding because everything was custom-fit to the girls' interests and where they were developmentally and academically.

However, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and I realized that the time invested in curriculum development would be affected.  So, I searched for a new curriculum that would be a good fit.  I liked Sonlight because it is literature-based and there's a daily schedule to follow.  Easy...straightforward. 

Learning about mold for science.  As an experiment, Olivia is growing mold. 
One bag of each item has water in it; the other does not. 
She's going to see which bag grows mold first and
then will look at it with a magnifying glass to see what it looks like close-up.

What I've realized that I miss is the creativity and spontaneity of homeschooling.  So, I looked through my bookshelves and chose a variety of activity and resource books.  I've been using some of them and the girls have been having a lot of fun doing the hands-on projects.  We've been ordering lots of books from the library again which has been exciting!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I met with the special education team at the local elementary school a few weeks ago, and signed papers that approved having an assessment done of Olivia to determine why she is having a lot of difficulty with reading and math.  Her visual-spatial skills are strong and she clearly gravitates towards activities using them.  For some reason, though, she's struggling with a couple core subjects.  Hopefully the testing begins this week so that it can be completed by the time of the homeschool conference.

I'm looking forward to going to the conference this year because there are several workshops regarding special education, and how to adress it in a homeschool setting.  It will be interesting to see what resources are available from the vendors there. 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Planting bean seeds for an experiment.

One of Olivia's science activities last week (and that will continue into this week) is exploring how seeds grow.  In the picture above, she's planting some bean seeds into 3 different pots.  Once the plants grow and have a couple sets of leaves, one container will receive water and sunlight; one will receive water only (no sunlight); and one will receive sunlight only (no water).  She'll see the difference between the 3 containers within a week or so. 

She also has seeds soaking in water which she'll open with a knife today; and seeds next to a wet paper towel that hopefully will sprout soon.  She'll see how each seed sends out a shoot and root.

The Homeschool Chick

1 comment:

Mama Know Best said...

I did the same thing up until this year with customizing curriculum for my daughter. I decided to give a pre-packaged curriculum together for math. I've been really pleased with my choice (Teaching Textbooks) and it frees me up more time to devote to our littlest member of the family.

I love all of the hands on experiments for science, they look fun!