Archive for the ‘Goals and Accomplishments’ category

A Whole New Holy Family

July 20, 2013

I’ve been very busy and very exhausted for most of the past year.  I’ve started blog posts here and there, only to have them fall to the wayside in the midst of all of the chaos.  Some posts were even finished and just need to be proofread and published.  But I recently deleted them as they are no longer relevant.  I’ve just had other things to do, and blogging fell way down the priority list.

Since school let out at the end of May I’ve been catching up on as much sleep as possible.  I’ve been trying to have fun with the kids.  We’ve trudged through our summer school work.  It’s been a time to reorganize and declutter.  And we managed to make an extended visit back to Kentucky to visit with family and friends and torture the children with our boring stories.

Now the summer is half-over, and the new school year is only about four weeks away.  I’ve ordered Bailey’s lunch milk for the first month and a half.  Before long we’ll need to go shopping for new shoes and supplies for fifth grade as she returns to our local parish school.

I just finalized the homeschool plans for the other kids and have been busy getting everything in order at Holy Family Homeschool Academy.  We are trying some new methods and subjects this year.  We’re going to be doing more read aloud time, which I think will appeal to my 2nd grader more than workbooks.  I also hope that the younger kids will listen in and learn things at the same time.

I’m am also incorporating memory work for the first time in my homeschooling career.  While I still think it is as important to be able to find the right answer as to know it, I’ve begun to realize how much easier it is in the long run if kids don’t have to interrupt their studies to find basic information.  Piper needs to memorize a few things for our geography lessons anyway, so that is a great place to start.

The workload for both Piper (2nd grade) and Katie (kindergarten) is a little more than what I have done for those grades in the past.  (This is my second time teaching 2nd grade and my 3rd time with kindergarten.)  I am hoping that the “extra” work of Geography and Science will be enjoyable for both of them, especially since those are subjects they are doing together.

I am a little nervous about this new schedule which incorporates more cooperative work and less independent work.  The advantage of giving the kids a lot of independent work is that I can do things like fold laundry or load the dishwasher and just be on-call to offer assistance.  I worry that the house will become a bigger wreck than usual and about the difficulties of keeping the little ones quietly entertained as schooling eats up more of my time.  On the other hand, I think this can be a great opportunity to build knowledge and memories together with all of the kids.

So, here are the plans for the coming school semester:

Piper (2nd Grade):

  1. Math (5 days per week):  Singapore Primary Math US 2A
  2. Reading Practice (5 days per week):  Story of the World v. 1 (book and audio book), various library books
  3. Spelling (5 days per week):  Sequential Spelling 1
  4. Memory Work (4 days per week):  various lists of things from continents to oceans to books of the Bible
  5. Vocabulary (M/W/F):  Wordly Wise 3000 Book 2
  6. History (T/TH):  Ancient History (Creation-A.D. 400)
  7. Fun Read Aloud (T/TH)
  8. Logic (1 day per week):  Mind Benders A1/A2 Software

Piper (2nd Grade) and Katie (K) Together:

  1. Geography (1 day per week):  Learning to draw blob maps
  2. Science (W/F):  Behold and See 1

Katie (K):

  1. Math (5 days per week):  Singapore Essential Math Kindergarten B
  2. Phonics (3 days per week):  Little Stories for Little Folks program
  3. Phonics/Handwriting (2 days per week):  Get Ready for the Code A, Get Set for the Code B

Sabrina (age 3):

  1. Potty training
  2. Puzzles

Cassidy (age 1):

  1. New foods
  2. Walking
  3. Talking

This year we will not be studying our faith as a separate subject.  Our study of Ancient History will include some Biblical history with reading practice passages from the our children’s’ bibles.Our science text is from Catholic Heritage Curricula and relates some scientific concepts to Catholic theology.  Katie’s main phonics program is also from CHC; most phonics programs don’t have flash cards in which “A” is for St. Anne, “J” is for Jesus, “P” is for priest, and “R” is for rosary.

Of course, we will be at Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, living the liturgical year, and generally encountering and incorporating Christ in our everyday lives.

Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, model of love for every human family,

Please bring peace to this house and all who live here

As we work together to become the best versions of ourselves.

Holy Family of Nazareth, help us to know, love, and serve our Heavenly Father.

Mary, teach us patience.

Joseph, protect us from evil.

Jesus, you are the Truth we seek.



School’s Out! (Almost…)

May 2, 2013

It has been a doozy of a school year.  If I picked two words to describe my life since August, I would choose sleep deprivation.

I knew to expect it to a degree with baby #5 arriving on August 1st.  I just didn’t expect to the horrendous levels that have been achieved in the past nine months.  Part of this was exacerbated by the desperate decision to put Bailey (4th grade) in regular school in October.  It has been good for her, but terribly stressful and exhausting for me.  (Can we say 7 am wake-up after the baby won’t settle down to sleep until 1 am?)

There are only 5 more weeks of school left, 5 more weeks of waking up early and packing school lunches.  If Bailey were still being homeschooled we would only have three weeks left, since we used to follow my husband’s college teaching schedule.  But now Piper (1st grade) will have an extra two weeks of school since I try to keep her and Bailey more consistent with each other (to reduce the complaining).

So, over the next 5 weeks Piper and I will be finishing up her various curricula.  Some subjects, like history, will peter out early.  And other subjects, like logic, we will need to double and triple down on to finish.  Our math is a little bit up in the air.  Piper finished first grade math weeks ago, and we have started on our second grade math books.  She is at a point where she really needs to have her basic addition and subtraction facts down cold before we can start the next unit.  So, until she can finish a 5-minute frenzy with at least a 95%, we will be nothing but addition drills.  Then we’ll move on to subtraction drills.  Then we’ll eventually jump back into our math books.

Having Bailey away at school all day has been an adjustment for Piper.  Bailey’s work was always more intensive than Piper’s due to the difference in age, but Bailey was also very, um, high-maintenance.  As result, sometimes Piper’s bad habits and behaviors would fly under the radar.  This has caused some rough days in recent months.  I also just had to do a lot of tweaking since some of my original plans for the year included combined subjects for Bailey and Piper that can’t be done the same with only one student.

As I write this, we are expecting that Bailey will continue to go to regular school for the foreseeable future.  I will have two “full-time” students again next year, though, with Piper in 2nd grade and Katie starting kindergarten.  I’ve been busy, on my less exhausted days, putting together the plans for the fall, which can be a subject for another post.  I am also sure that it won’t be long before Sabrina (almost 3) starts asking to “do school”, too.

Right now, though, I am looking forward to summer.  Bailey has already had her dreams of a school-free summer dashed.  Her school gave her a reprieve on not knowing how to write cursive for this year, but she needs to be ready to write in cursive for 5th grade.  She will also finish up her 4th grade homeschool math book and math drills to keep that information fresh in her mind.  Piper will just continue solidifying her math facts and moving on in her 2nd grade math book over the summer.  And Katie will continue working her math and phonics books.  Our work loads will just be lighter and more flexible depending on the weather and opportunities for summer fun, but whether we do much formal work or not, I know that the learning will never stop.

Spring Semester 2013

January 13, 2013

All of my well-laid plans for the fall semester of 2012 went awry when we decided to put Bailey in school mid-semester.  There were so many adjustments to be made, things were so hectic, and I was so exhausted.   There were a few days when I literally forgot to do school with Piper.

But a new semester offers a chance to make a fresh start.  Now I’ve only got a first grader, a preschooler, a toddler, and infant with which to contend during the day, and only two of them do any formal schooling at this time.

Piper will be doing a little more work this semester than the last.  This will be her schedule:

Math:  We’ll continue with Singapore Math 1B, doing math five days each week.  I anticipate that we will finish 1B within the first six weeks and then start on level 2A around week seven.

Reading:  Last semester we did reading lessons three days per week; this semester we’ll be moving up to five.  Last semester Piper read about 2/3rds of The Elson Reader Book One, but she and I were both finding it a bit tedious.  She was also getting really bored with the Level B Phonics book by Pearson (used for 2nd graders by Kolbe Academy).

This semester we’re going to do a hodge-podge of reading activities.  We’ll still do some pages from the Pearson Level B, but not every page.  I’m going to try (yet again) some read-aloud time two days each week, starting with the book Ivy & Bean.   We may try some audio books, some library books, and some reading/spelling games and activities (like Boggle or having a spelling bee).

History:  History will still be two days each week, but we have A LOT of material to cover as we study events from 1900 to the present day.

Logic:  Piper will continue with Mind Benders Beginners Book 1, doing two puzzles per week.  She’ll probably finish the current book halfway through the semester, and then we’ll move on to Book 2.

Science:  Last semester, the extent of our science was watching one video of Bill Nye the Science Guy every Monday.  This semester we’ll continue with that, but on Wednesdays and Fridays we’ll be using the Harcourt Science 2nd Grade Text and Work books along with the corresponding Kolbe Academy first grade science syllabus.

Faith Formation:  We are still receiving monthly packets from the Family Formation program, but we will probably be using it in a limited fashion this semester.  Our most important goal this semester is to prepare Piper to make her first Reconciliation during Lent and her First Holy Eucharist sometime this spring or summer.  The first six weeks we’ll be working through The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism, solidifying her memorization of the basic prayers, doing an examination of conscience and walking through the confession process.

Katie will turn five in May and as such would be eligible for kindergarten in the fall (if we planned to send her to regular school).  Since Bailey and Piper both had late birthdays (right after the school cut-off date in August) it made sense to start them on kindergarten a semester early.  Katie already asks to do schoolwork, and I think she would benefit from starting a semester early also.

So, I’m going to make a real effort to sit down with Katie at least three days a week to work in either her Singapore Essential Math Kindergarten or her phonics workbooks.  We may also try a few Five in a Row read-aloud activities that I previously prepared  for the older girls at this age.

I’d also like to get in the habit of doing something fun with the girls each day:  baking something yummy, exercising, playing a game, or even just coloring and drawing together, something that I can incorporate Sabrina (2) into also.

We’ll just have to see how certain things go as the semester progresses.  No matter what happens, though, I know it will be a time of continued learning and development for all of us.

Homeschooling Plans Summer/Fall 2012

May 5, 2012

I spent most of last week working on homeschooling stuff.  We only have three weeks left in our spring semester, so it was time to start making final decisions about the summer.  And our fall semester is set to start a little less than two weeks after my due date with baby #5, so I definitely want to have all of my p’s and q’s in order for that.  And who am I kidding?  Getting that delivery from Rainbow Resource Center is like Christmas morning for me, and I can’t wait to dig into my new “toys”.

Our spring semester officially ends May 18th (the 17-year anniversary of my graduation from high school).  I’m going to give Bailey two full weeks of absolutely no schoolwork, and then we’re going to spend a week going through the Spectrum Practice Test for Grade 3.  The state of Illinois does not require standardized testing for homeschoolers, but I feel that learning how to take standardized tests is important for college preparation.  Next year we may do an official CAT test through Seton Testing Services, but I think the practice test will serve our purposes at this time.

We’ll officially start our light summer session on June 11th.  Piper will pretty much keep doing what she has been doing:  one math exercise on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and five activities on Explode the Code Online on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I’m going to have Bailey read one chapter from Life of Fred: Apples and do one math exercise from the Singapore Extra Practice 3 everyday.  I really don’t expect this to take her more than 30 minutes.  And if we miss a day here or there for fun summer activities, it really won’t be a big deal.

Piper will technically be a first grader in the fall.  But we’ll see where she is academically by the end of the summer.  I’m guessing that she’ll be almost finished with the second half of her first grade math (Singapore Primary Mathematics US 1B).  Then I’ll have to decide whether to move her straight into second grade math or stall her a little bit with some extra practice.  It’s always that fine line between not holding them back when they are excelling and not pushing them in over their head.

Piper also just started workbook 4, out of 8, in her Explode the Code Online.  My best estimation is that workbook 4 is roughly equivalent to 2nd grade reading and spelling.  Our subscription expires at some point in August, but I think now they give you a one month grace period to decide to renew.  We’ll see how far Piper gets by that point, and then I’m going to have her start reading out of the Elson Reader Book 1.

The idealistic homeschooler in me would love for her to pick her own books to read at that point, but the realistic homeschooler in me knows that if given the choice she would just choose not to read at all.  There will be much less hassle if I just hand her the reader and explain that this is her school book.  I like that the Elson uses short stories from real authors (such as Aesop), not just lame things fabricated to be “grade appropriate”.  The first book might end up being a bit below her actual reading ability at that point, but I am hoping that easing in will make reading more enjoyable for her.

Piper’s course load for first grade will include three subjects per day for approximately 45-60 minutes per day, as opposed to her current 15 minutes.  She’ll have math four days per week (MTRF), reading three days per week (MWF), History two days per week (T, R), Mind Benders Beginning 1 logic puzzles one day per week (W), and Religion five days per week.  History and Religion will be combined courses with Bailey.

Bailey will be fourth grade in the fall.  (Fourth grade!!!)  She’ll continue doing math five days per week using Singapore Primary Mathematics US 4A.  She’ll be using Wordly Wise 3000 again for vocabulary three days per week (MWF).  Either it’s the transition from book 3 to book 4 or previously we had a different edition of the series, but the format is slightly different this year.  There are more units, so I really don’t expect us to finish all of it in one semester this time.

New subjects to Bailey’s schedule this year are typing, grammar, and literature.  All three will be done everyday.  For typing, we’ll be using Typing Instructor for Kids software.  For grammar we will be using three different books.  Prima Latina uses introductory Latin in combination with English grammar concepts, so this will really be a two-for-one program (three-for-one if you count the Catholic prayers that are part of each lesson).  Bailey and I will go through one lesson of Prima Latina three days per week (M, T, W).  On Thursdays she will do one lesson from Simply Grammar.  And then on Fridays she will do one page from Grammar Rules.  For literature, she will be using the Kolbe Elementary Literature Curriculum for grades 4-6.  It pretty much needs a post of its own.

This year in history we will be studying the modern period from 1850 to the present.  There’s a lot of important information to be covered, and I am slowly in the process of putting my course outline together.  We will continue to use the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History as a spine as much as possible, but, like most history texts, there are a lot of gaps about events of the past 20 to 30 years.  I’ll probably fill in those gaps with library books.

Piper will be joining us this year for history, and she will just start the cycle with modern history.  Next year we’ll be going back to ancient history.  I think it will be easier just to incorporate each child in to the existing cycle than have each kid on a different one.  Besides being easier on me, I think it will offer more opportunities for group discussion and exploration of the topics.

For this year at least, we will also be doing religion as a group.  I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to focus on this year, and, with the new baby coming, the idea of putting together my own course of religious study for two grade levels just seemed a little over-whelming.  So, I decided to shell out the money for the Family Formation program.  In August they will send me the first of nine monthly packets with weekly activities for multiple age groups that correspond with the weekly scripture readings at Mass.  I’m estimating that it will take us three days per week (M, T, W) to go through it.

This past semester I made saying the Rosary our religion work on Thursdays.  Each week we either say either the Introductory prayers and the first two decades or we say the three remaining decades, completing each set of Mysteries within a two-week period.  I use one of my free CD’s from the Mary Foundation to lead us.  There have been so many educational and spiritual fruits from this; I can tell that the younger girls have been soaking so much up just from being around while Bailey and I say the Rosary.  When Piper joins us in the fall, this will be a practical way to make sure that she knows some of the basic Catholic prayers (Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Apostles Creed, and Fatima Prayer) in addition to the major events of Jesus’ life.

On Fridays I’m just going to slap together something a little extra to round out our week.  I did work up a few lessons about the different prayers that we say as part of the Rosary (history and meaning).  I figure we can read a Bible story or saint story, or we can discuss some of the Little Teachings from Little Catholic Bubble or other interesting Catholic blog posts.  Or we might end up needing an extra day for Family Formation.  I’ll probably kind of play it by ear.  And eventually, we’ll have to start hardcore preparation for Piper’s First Holy Eucharist in the summer of 2013.

So, those are the basics of our plans for the summer and fall.  Of course, what is the old saying about God laughing when we tell him our plans?  I suspect we’ll be doing a lot of “couch schooling” if I’m dealing with a newborn when our fall semester starts.  And if #5 decides to come late, things could get really interesting.  I’ll just have to trust that even if all my well-laid plans go kablooey everything will work out right in the end.

Wrapping Up Fall 2011

December 26, 2011

Wow, another semester (and almost another year) is over.  We’re officially on two weeks of Christmas break.  We finished up most of our semester on December 16th, but then Bailey had a light week of math and spelling.  We’ll do another light week of math and spelling before officially starting the Spring 2012 semester on January 16th.

I feel like we got a lot accomplished this semester.  Bailey did very well on writing complete sentences and getting her capitalization and punctuation under control in her journal writing.  She read about Mozart and George Washington and a junior edition of Gulliver’s Travels during her independent reading time in addition to other history selections from Story of the World (v. 3).  She did 85 spelling tests within Sequential Spelling.  And in history we covered the time period between 1650 and 1800, including the American Revolution.

Bailey also completed Wordly Wise 3000 level 3, and next semester she’ll be moving on to Vocabulary from Classical Roots level 4.  And having completed the CD-ROM for Mind Benders A3 & A4 for her Logic, she’ll move on to Mind Benders B1 & B2.  It’s made for grades 7-12, so we may have to do a slower pace with it if it becomes too over-whelming

Religion was a little bumpy since we lost her catechism for about three weeks.  I had to wing the instruction with a review of several important prayers.  Her Achilles heel this semester was division, specifically the long variety.  There were many, many tears shed.  But she is starting to get it, and I know that by the end of next semester it will be no worse than subtraction is for her now (unpleasant but not seemingly impossible).

Piper is doing really well with her kindergarten work.  She has almost completed the first two workbooks on her Explode the Code Online.  Her interest in it has waned some as it has become more challenging, but at the same time she was excited to see how well she could now read some little primers I had tucked away.  She is just breezing through first grade level math, and if she had her preference she would do math every day.  I don’t want her to completely neglect her reading instruction, though (especially since it’s a paid subscription with a time limit).  I also don’t want her rushing through her math and getting so far ahead that she suddenly finds herself in over her head.  Next semester I might consider expanding her schoolwork to doing both everyday.

I feel like I have kind of let Katie down.  When things started being set in motion for my mother-in-law to move in, our daily story and activity time kind of fell to the wayside.  But now that Granny is here she has had another person who likes to read her stories.  She also likes to spend hours just looking through books lately, so I have been trying to get her some stuff she might be interested in from the library.  For instance, when she took an interest in space I borrowed a few easy readers about the solar system.  I’m really hoping in January to incorporate a little workbook or other activity work with her each day.

Sabrina is having a language explosion as she has started saying new words, mimicking her sisters a lot.  It will be interesting to see how much she grows and developments over the next five months.

Homeschooling 2011

June 8, 2011

Spring 2011 Wrap-Up

We finished up our spring 2011 semester on May 27th.  Bailey completed Wordly Wise Book 2, Mindbenders A2, and Brain Quest workbook grade 2, as well as an introductory year of Medieval history.  Sadly our lessons on the recorder flute kind of fell by the wayside; it was just too hard to do with the younger children around at this time.  During her pre-K session, Piper completed Explode the Code prep books B and C as well Singapore Essential Math Kindergarten B.  She also completed  all of packet 1 of my home-made reading worksheets and about ten pages of packet 2 so far.

Summer 2011

We took a two week break at the end of our semester.  Our lighter summer session will start this Monday.  Bailey will work through some grade 2 extra practice workbooks by Singapore Math.   Bailey and I will also be going over some geography.  We touch on geography a little bit through our history lessons, but I wanted to focus a little bit more on the language of geography as well as more general and modern information.  This summer the plan is to study the continents of Asia and Europe.  I’ve decided to switch tactics with Piper, at least for the summer, and try a light version of Before Five in a Row with Piper and Katie.

Bailey is finishing up her softball season and is signed up for guitar lessons.  Piper is signed up to take gymnastics.  I’m also hoping that we can take advantage of a lot of cheap and fun summer activities around town.

Bailey Fall 2011-Spring 2012:  Third Grade

In third grade Bailey will move up to 1 hour and 30 minutes of formal work per day on average.  Five days a week she will have math (Singapore 3A & 3B) and spelling (Sequential Spelling 2).  She will also continue to have 15 minutes of assigned reading everyday.  She’ll continue to study vocabulary 3 days per week (Wordly Wise 3000 Book 3 in the fall and Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4 in the spring).  However, I’m going to have her start putting together a dictionary of all her vocabulary words.  Logic will still be once a week, but she’ll do two puzzles each time instead of one.  As a result she should complete levels A3, A4, B1, and B2 before next summer, and the company has switched their format from workbook to computer disk which should make things interesting (as well as easier to reuse with the other kids).

Our history studies will still be twice a week, but this year we’ll be focusing on Early Modern History (1600-1850).  We’ll be using the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (which I finally broke down and purchased) as our spine, but Bailey will be reading corresponding essays from The Story of the World volume 3 during some of her independent reading time.  I also plan on supplementing our lessons from The Story of the World volume 3 Activity Book.  We will probably finish our history study mid-Spring, so I am adding some small research projects on the first 12 presidents and statehood through 1850.

In third grade Bailey will be doing more formal study of her faith again.  We’ll be using the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 1 three days a week.   We’ll be doing a combination of read aloud, copy work, and discussion.  Bailey will also pick one saint to read about from my old copy of Picture Book of Saints.  We will actually be integrating her “saint of the week” into a new activity this year:  a daily journal.

I’ll be giving Bailey four journal topics each week (including her saint) about which she will be expected to write a minimum of five complete sentences.  On Fridays she can write about a topic of her choice.  I originally didn’t intend to have her start doing this until middle school, but I felt this was a better way to trouble-shoot her writing/grammar abilities without starting a formal grammar program just yet.  Also, combined with her independent reading time, it should keep her occupied while I spend time with Piper and Katie.

  1. Monday: Independent Reading, Journal Writing, Math, Spelling, Vocabulary, Catechism
  2. Tuesday: Independent Reading, Journal Writing, Math, Spelling, History, Catechism
  3. Wednesday: Independent Reading, Journal Writing, Math, Spelling, Vocabulary, Catechism
  4. Thursday: Independent Reading, Saint Reading, Journal Writing, Math, Spelling, History
  5. Friday:  Independent Reading, Journal Writing, Math, Spelling, Vocabulary, Logic

Piper Fall 2011-Spring 2012:  Kindergarten

If Piper were in public school, she would be starting kindergarten in the fall.  When Bailey was in kindergarten we did 30 minutes of formal work two days per week.  I think, though, Piper and I both need the consistency of daily school time.  What makes things interesting is that due to a combination of factors (the biggest one being a difference in temperament), Piper is actually quite a bit ahead of where Bailey was at this age.  So, I can’t just repeat what I did with Bailey for kindergarten.

Piper also has a less compliant attitude and is already complaining about how much she hates her schoolwork.  So, I thought this summer would be the perfect time to try a different approach with the Five in a Row.  If that works out, we may continue into the fall with the occasional use of reading worksheets and math workbooks pages.  Probably after Christmas I’ll have her start working on Singapore Math 1A.

Katie:  Preschool

Katie is three-years-old and technically a preschooler.  For right now, though, I am not planning any real formal work for her at all.  Most of her learning will continue to be interest and opportunity-led.  But I’ve been a little concerned that in the busy-ness of my day she hasn’t been getting enough of my attention, so we’re going to try some Before Five in a Row just to give us something nice to do together.  If she starts asking to do more formal schoolwork, I will pick her up a few workbooks to work through at her leisure.  Of course, the most important thing I hope that she learns before the end of the summer is how to use the potty!


I have no doubt that Sabrina will learn all kinds of things in the next year and I will be able to take very little credit for it.  It will be interesting to hear what she has to say about it all.

Fall Semester Wrap-Up 2010/Spring 2011 Plans

November 28, 2010

Well, in this post I broke down all of our homeschooling expenses so far in 2010.  I really did not anticipate buying anything else during 2010, but the need arose.  I knew that I needed to get an instruction booklet for the recorder flute (as well as a new recorder or two or three) for the upcoming spring semester.  I didn’t really care for the grammar/vocabulary program we tried out this fall, and I decided to try something else (Wordly Wise 3000).  And I realized that Singapore Math 2B isn’t quite as intense as 2A, and we will probably finish it up before the spring semester is over.  Therefore, I need to have some time to prep for level 3A.  I also needed to pick up the next volume of Sequential Spelling.  So, after placing an order with the Rainbow Resource Center, my total amount spent on homeschooling supplies for 2010 is up to $427.08.

As we start the last three weeks of the fall semester, Bailey is almost finished with Singapore Math 2A, Mindbenders A1, Grammar Practice 1, and Ready to Read Music.  With the music (as with most of our subjects) I haven’t really been concerned with mastery, but Bailey has had a nice introduction to musical symbols and definitions.  When we start working on the recorder flute come January, the abstract of it should become more concrete.  What we’re looking at for the spring semester is math and spelling five days a week.  History, music, vocabulary (Worldly Wise 3000 level 2), and Brain Quest workbook will each be covered two days a week, and logic will continue being once a week.

With the start of our spring semester in January, Piper will start a mandatory pre-K session.  Up until now all of her schoolwork as been optional.  My goal is to keep it at about 15-30 minutes of mostly math and reading.  Basically we’ll work towards finishing the assortment of unfinished phonics and numbers workbooks that she already has.  The point of the session is less academic and more about all of us (but especially me) getting into the groove of incorporating a new student to our formal homeschooling.

I’m hoping that we can arrange Bailey’s school work where she can do a portion of it independently while I work with Piper, who will need more hands-on instruction.  Obviously, Bailey will still need more hands-on from me for history and music.  I did decide to grab an extra recorder flute for Piper in case she wanted to join in on those lessons.  So, things should be very interesting as I wade into the waters of multi-level teaching.

Of course, I’ve mainly been talking about the things that have been formally studied.  Bailey has been investigating sites like Wikipedia and YouTube (with lots of supervision and parental advisory) for information she wants.  She’s also been experimenting with Microsoft Word to write stories and make signs. And there are a billion other little things that Bailey and her sisters have been absorbing from their environment, the computer games and television shows they enjoy, and using their imaginations.  I have no doubt that this will continue no matter what else happens in the spring semester.