Yes, indeed, we are still homeschooling. As life goes on, our homeschooling becomes more relaxed, and I’m more amazed at what the kids are learning. This last week, I think we got a little too relaxed with Wild Man, so I need to add a little more structure to his life. And Rosie Girl got a little off schedule, so she’s going to have to get back onto her schedule that’s already been planned out, but I think they’ll be fine. The short version is that the kids are getting educated. The long version is:
- Social Science – This is where we are the most relaxed. I’ve had him watch some videos about Mesopotamia and Sumerian culture and then look at some websites. We did the same thing, but in more depth with Egypt. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve repeated this with Ancient Greece and next week we’ll start Ancient Rome. When Wild Man starts learning about a culture, he often goes back to Weapon and Warrior that he used last semester to look up some of the thing he learned about then. I want to do a quick overview of the major cultures up to the time of Christ by the end of the year.
- Reading – He finished Hittite Warrior this week. I’m finding that he reads one chapter a day unless I assign more, so I’m going to need to be proactive on his reading assignments.
- Writing – This is so frustrating for us. Wild Man has great oral communication skills, but he has a hard time translating that to written/typed communication. I told him to write a paragraph on any subject he wanted 2 weeks ago and gave him two days to complete the assignment. In one day, he researched and did probably three paragraphs worth of information into a Power Point presentation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a paragraph with the topic sentence and supporting sentences that we had discussed. I was really pleased with his ability to research and do Power Point, so I wasn’t very negative about it at the time. However, next week, I am going to go back to basics and have him copy a paragraph so we can then move on to writing a paragraph and not get sidetracked with bells and whistles.
- Spelling – Wild Man enjoys Spelling Power more than All About Spelling, but I find that it’s good to also have him use the online SpellingCity (we paid for the premium version) for added review. I was quite concerned that the Spelling Power would “let him off the hook” if he spelled a word correctly and then he wouldn’t see it again until the review a week or so later. By having him review on SpellingCity as well, he sees whether he really does know the word. I understand, though, that he likes that All About Spelling moves along faster.
- Bible – Wild Man is happy with his reading through the Bible and writing about what he read. The only problem I’m having is that he wants to give me a complete one page summary of what he read when all I want for his journal is 2 sentences about what he read – something he thought was interesting or something he learned. He’s having to learn to read and then interpret and not just summarize. Definitely a higher-order skill. I know he can do it, but now he also has to write it.
- Math – He is doing math facts and fractions with PWM several mornings a week. When he goes up to the shop with PWM in the morning, he also gets the register ready and counts the money, etc., so he’s learning some real world math skills as well.
- Music – Oh, so much music in this house!! Wild Man played at Solo and Ensemble today. He got a “2” on his timpani solo and on the mixed percussion ensemble – Yippee!!! He’s been spending a lot of time after school practicing by himself and with the other percussionists. He’s also been staying after occasionally to help with music department fundraisers. The church youth band has now been split into middle school and high school bands, so Wild Man is the middle school band leader. He plays drums and percussion most of the time, although bass guitar occasionally. He’s also getting some voice lessons to help with his leading skills because his voice is changing so he’s not quite sure sometimes which octave to choose when he’s singing. And, at home, he’s playing acoustic and bass guitar for hours on end!! I’m not complaining – except when I want him to do his other schoolwork or chores, of course!!
- Life skills (AKA chores) – I’ve been having the kids cook one meal each week. Wild Man is relatively adventurous when it comes to cooking. One week, he made a Cajun Chicken pasta dish from the Food Network site. Other times, it’s spaghetti. Being an extrovert, Wild Man is also very active in the Children’s Ministry at church. He has to be there at about 7am on Sunday morning to get everything together and he helps run things in both Sunday services. Once a month, the Wednesday night Children’s activity night is Family Night, so Wild Man does that instead of his usual Junior High group. Yeah, he’s never met a microphone that he doesn’t like!!
- Social Science – Rosie Girl is studying 20th century history this year, which is interesting because PWM and I have actually lived through some of it. Rosie Girl has been studying some of the events of the 70s, so we’ve had some interesting discussions.
- Literature – Her reader this week is The Old Man And The Sea. I haven’t read any Hemingway, although I did try a few years ago and just didn’t find it to my liking, but since I grew up in South Florida, I heard a lot about “Papa” and his life in Key West. I’ll be interested to hear what Rosie Girl thinks about the book. (And I realize that not having read Hemingway makes me a completely uneducated clod. Especially since I was appalled that there are people in this country who don’t know where the fertile crescent is! Alas. Maybe I’ll read it when Rosie Girl is done and my life will be complete.)
- Writing – Rosie Girl is taking a research paper workshop through WriteAtHome, an online company that provides writing classes and workshops for homeschooled students. We’ve had great success with all of her previous classes except the research paper workshop. So, she’s doing it again. The issue is that she never really understood the process for doing the research, making source cards, making research information cards, and then writing the paper from the information cards. Rosie Girl writes quite well, but we’ve had a stressful week with her struggling to master this new set of skills and finish the first draft on time. But, it’s done and sent in!!
- Bible – I love to read Rosie Girl’s take on Paul’s epistles. She comes at them very straightforward and isn’t afraid to give her opinion!
- Math – She’s working her way through Algebra 2 and hoping to finish by summer, otherwise she’ll be doing math during the summer!
- Japanese – She’s about halfway through her Japanese semester. I’d like her to be done by summer and start the next one during the summer so she can be done well before the end of her senior year. In any case, we’ve been happy with doing these courses through BYU.
- Music – More music . . . . She’s still taking her piano lessons at Lawrence, which include some intense music theory, even though she’s not taking the music theory class. She’s also been playing her guitar a good bit. I haven’t heard her clarinet or ocarina much lately, but she’s been pretty busy. She will be playing ocarina for the Good Friday service. She is arranging some Lord of the Rings music for her guitar. She’s an introvert and more of a behind the scenes music person. She also tends to turn to music when she’s stressed or doesn’t want to do schoolwork.
- Life Skills (AKA chores) – When I ask what she wants to cook each week, her answer tends to be along the lines of whatever is easiest. I don’t think she’s going to be our gourmet cook. But I’m really glad she has her driver’s license because she’s been driving Wild Man to church for all of his activities and not been fussing about it.
Don’t expect quite such a novel every week, but I figured I’d catch you up since I hadn’t blogged on our homeschooling in so long.
Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others are up to!!