Thursday, August 5, 2010

Want to talk about homeschooling?

For a blog that was originally supposed to be primarily about homeschooling, I sure haven't posted about that topic much lately, have I? Maybe it's summer. Maybe it's my mood. Maybe it's the overabundance of real-life schooling that keeps flowing around here. Whatever the case, I haven't said much about our school plans.Which had you worried, right? LOL!

Trust me, we're still homeschooling. This summer was a bit of a flop. Our normal approach (unit studies mixed with some math to give our days a little definition) just never fully took shape. Being pregnant, doing adoption paperwork, processing visa information, etc., took precedence. Oh, and there was that bed rest thing, too. At any rate, my kids devoured the books on architecture that Mr. Blandings so helpfully brought home from the library. We did a couple of days worth of drafting exercises, explored some of the finer examples of architecture from history, built some really cool Lego models, and moved on. All the while, we managed a handful of read-alouds and math about three times a week.

I am calling this a rousing success, despite expectations not being met. Everyone is happy, lots of summer freedom was felt, and we were all ready to settle back in to a routine at right about the same time.

I pulled together a few loose weeks of school to get us rolling during the middle of July, and was able to have a lovely kick off just before August started. I haven't had the need to sit down and schedule things out in detail for several years, since I was primarily using SL. This year has taken on a different shape, however, and I needed to be a bit more on top of planning.

Jo is continuing in her studies using Veritas' Omnibus I. We purchased this last year at her request, knowing full well that it would take her a solid 18 months to digest the heavy reading required in this course. For her part, Jo has remained committed and enthusiastic. I think we can call the experiment a success. Scheduling the Omnibus is no large task; it's broken down into manageable bits on a helpful CD, and for the most part, Jo works at her own pace. Since Omnibus covers history, literature, and more writing than I did in some of my college classes, I only have a handful of other things to schedule out for her. She studies French in the early morning hours with her Daddy twice a week, and guitar with him on the weekends. I am leading her through one last grammar review to make sure that I haven't missed anything along the way. Together, she and I are using Polished Cornerstones as a combination Bible study/life skills/home economics/mother-daughter time. She does the normal round of Latin word study, math, and Logic. She works on her own creative writing, but I may ask her if she'd like a bit more direction there this year. I will most likely leave it up to her; Nothing is worse, in my book, than having someone come in and take over a hobby and passion.

I decided to use a combination of SL Core 2 and Story of the World volume 2 for Atticus and Logan this year. They're combined there, but each has a different LA (Learning Language Arts Through Literature purple for Atticus, First Language Lessons 3 for Logan), readers, vocab, math (TT5 and Singapore 3B, respectively), and spelling (though both are in Spelling Power this year). Logan also does guitar with Daddy, and both are using Rosetta Stone Spanish.

Then there's the "together" stuff: Bible (we use the Veritas cards as a visual as we read through the Bible, along with the fantastic Victor Journey Through the Bible), science (we're starting the year with Apologia's Swimming Creatures, then doing Apologia Land Animals, then moving to God's Design for Science Chemistry around Christmas time), Greek, and art and music.

Soooo .....

After I did all the legwork of combining the eighteen million bits, it was a good weekend's worth of planning. Bed rest is helpful that way! I decided to stay with the old fashioned "on paper" schedule and used a color-coding system to allow me to use only one planning book: Jo's assignments are in red, Atticus' are in blue, Logan's are in green, and lessons we all sit in on are in black.

Part of the schedule from our very light first week back.

A couple of years ago, a friend who was finishing her homeschool journey shared a tip with me on learning to create a portfolio for high school painlessly over several years' time. In essence, you create binders at the beginning of each year, then train your children to file everything--
absolutely everything--into the binders. I took her advice, and have been pleased with how thorough a record I'm able to keep simply by having access to everything in one spot.

To do this, I simply buy heavy-duty binders:Logan's Staples binder ... which will take the heaviest abuse, I promise you!

And use dividers to create filing spaces:The tabs in Atticus' binder.

At the end of the year, you'd be shocked at what those binders hold ... and how ragged they are from the constant use!

NEXT UP: My version of "preschool" ... with a special-needs 3.5 year-old!


Anonymous said...

I love your planner book, where do you get it and what is it called? I am a "lurker" on your blog. We have also adopted and plan to again. We love large families.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Just stopping by on my blogwalk this week. Your blog looks great and I'm planning to come back and read some more!!

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

Love the binder idea! I've done this in the past when my children were younger but over the years we've gotten away from it. Thanks for the reminder!

I'm stopping by and following from the TOS Crew Blog Hop. This is my 1st year on the crew but so far it's been a lot of fun.

I wondered if you could share the architecture books that you mentioned in the beginning of the post? Were they appropriate for older students? My son will be starting an informal architecture study and I do have a couple resources selected, but of course, I'm always on the look out for more.