Thursday, September 09, 2010

Flying by the seat of my pants.

Every week I make a plan for the next week regarding our homeschool. I make a pretty detailed lesson plan including what we'll do every day in Language Arts, Math, Science, History/Geography and Extra/Life Skills/PE etc... I go through each of our textbooks reading the lessons, making copies of worksheets, deciding if there might be a field trip we could go on that would go with science or history. I usually try and plan some sort of art or craft project. I try and make sure there are plenty of outings and at least one day a week we get together with our neighbors.

I do all this, yet most days I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I use my lesson plan as a road map, but almost daily I'm finding ways to enrich our learning even more. See all my notes everywhere? :) I fell like we're learning good stuff, but it's just little spurts of information and then that's it, we quickly move on to the next topic. One of the things that always intrigued me most about homeschooling was the ability to really dive into a subject and truly study it. I'm not sure we're quite there yet. The curriculum I chose (for English, and Science especially) is mostly standard based. So, kind of like public school, you move through it rather quickly and I'm not sure how much of it is really retained. I like the idea of the short, concise lessons, but I also like the idea of lots of hands on projects and experiences so that you (your kid) really remembers the subject. I think I've done okay at adding things in, but I'm already thinking that next year I might look into a more comprehensive program, especially for science. (since both kids seem to enjoy it so much)
It's all a learning experience, right?
I did find this fantastic History through literature program. So far I am really loving it. It's from a company called Beautiful Feet Books. We chose the Early American History pack. The program is supposed to go through about 2 years of school. It IS Christian based material so our charter school would not fund this. {Religion is not my focus with our curriculum, I feel like my kids get a lot of it at home anyway, and of course at church and Sunday school, but I thought this particular program was really well put together and that's why I chose it} It's not cheap. What I ended up doing is buying the first 2 or 3 books on my own on Amazon along with the lesson manual. When I finish what we have, I'll go and order more books. Side note: have you tried Amazon Prime? it's 70 bucks a year and on most items you get FREE 2 day shipping. Ok so it's not free, but it pays for itself quickly if you use Amazon a lot. I bought all my Christmas presents last year this way and it was awesome. Totally worth the 70 dollars.
So back to Early American History..... We're currently reading the first book in the series, Leif the Lucky. This book is about Leif Erikson, the person believed to first discover North America about 500 years before Columbus. (I had no idea. See, I'm learning too!) Leif is a Viking, his father originally from Norway. The lesson materials don't really go into detail about Vikings, so I thought it would be good to study these people at little more in depth. I thought...wouldn't be cool to make our own model of a Viking ship? I looked up model ships online. Wow, they're pretty intense, even for an adult, and um...expensive! So I nixed that idea. I thought, ok....maybe we could just color a picture of a Viking ship. So I googled: free viking ship coloring page and found this.

I LOVE the internet!!
And can I just tell you, the Crayola Website is seriously awesome!! Where have I been?? There are free coloring pages GALORE. Free games and activities. VIDEOS. My kids love the videos. There are a lot of really great craft ideas. I've bookmarked it and I have a feeling I'll be using this website a LOT in the coming months. Especially for rainy days.
Anyway, I don't intend on making this a homeschool blog, but since it is part of our daily life, I will, from time to time, post about certain things. Especially cool things!


camport said...

Crap. My comment deleted itself. GR!

Anyways, you are awesome at this HS thing! The one thing I didn't like about it is that NO ONE tells you what to do! No one was able to point out the best curriculum. No one was able to tell you a schedule. I felt even more disorganized starting half way thru a school year.

Seeing your excitement really makes me want to do it again. Maybe. Some day. I don't know.

Love the ship!


nicole said...

you are so inspiring corey!!
i for one have to say i really enjoy your 'homeschooling' posts - first for my little bit of work i am doing with j&l - but also you make me excited about putting a learning approach to other things we are doing - because really shouldn't just raising kids be considered home schooling too :)

love that ship too!!

nicole said...

just reread that comment - and don't want that to come across the wrong way - obviously what you are doing is more than raising them - you are teaching them - what i meant is that a learning angle can come from the everyday stuff for any of us if we put forth the effort to find it.

Brown English Muffin said...

Thanks for the crayola tip!!! LOVE IT!!!