Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome Back, Kotter ;)

A year and a half ... that's a long time. I've updated the sidebar with what we are doing now. After our newest addition, I decided I needed to streamline our days a bit. Even though Mr. I and Mr. A are two school years apart, I am able to combine them in quite a few subjects including Latin, history, science, art, nature study, and parts of language arts. (For L/A, we do MCT series, Sentence Composing, and WWE-Mr. Popper's Penguins together; I just modify what I need for Mr. A, which isn't usually very much.)

I'm liking not using the WWE workbooks. I have had a love/hate relationship with them since we started. I loved the open-and-go aspect, but didn't like how disjointed they felt since the subject matter/book being used changed each week. It was also getting a bit tricky juggling Mr. I's dictations with Mr. A's narrations, and vice versa. I love reading to them from Mr. Popper's Penguins, doing some oral narration together (they both are pretty good at this), and then doing a writing assignment together. Some chapters, we do vocabulary using a couple of the sentences from Memoria Press's M.P.P study guide. What they do is copy the sentence from the book, underlining the vocabulary word, and then one of them looks it up in the dictionary. Then they copy the definition. They do two-three sentences, so they each get a chance to use the dictionary. One of these chapters, we'll use the thesaurus instead and look up synonyms and antonyms. Other chapters I'll give them each dictation sentences (usually Mr. A has one or two sentences from a paragraph and Mr. I will have the entire paragraph). I do a modified mash-up of the WWE way and the Charlotte Mason "studied dictation". I also write words on a small white board that I think they might need help with spelling.

We also just started Life of Fred: Fractions this January and it is a hit. I'm teaching Mr. I how to read the chapter for learning (rather than learning to read), and then to do his work on a separate piece of paper instead of having a workbook. We bought him a 70-page spiral notebook, and he's learning to write his name and date in the corner, and label each new chapter. I need to remember that slow and steady wins the race. :)

The past month and a half, we have been focusing on Latin, math, and language arts. Sometimes we get some history in there. But, with 38 weeks of school planned for this year, and the local school only getting in about 35 weeks with the furloughs, I think we're doing pretty darn well.

In the midst of everything else, I can say I finally cleaned up the homeschooling area (also known as the dining area and the only table in the house for meals!). I boxed up what we are currently not using, and organized the rest. It's not perfect, but with hubby's laptop and papers at work, someone could actually sit on the spare chair. ;)


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