Monthly Updates: September 2015

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While we are still learning about the process of homeschooling, last school year was a steep learning curve.  It’s become more like a normal routine and my new work schedule is also making a big difference in giving us more quality time together.

Kate is really enjoying the classes offered at the homeschool co-op in our area.  She chose cooking instead of a music class this semester.  We are also part of the book club and are enjoying the first selection, a book about ancient Egypt, The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.  What an awesome way to learn history.  We complete the reading assignment together using Learning Ally audiobooks. She’s not always happy about completing reading assignments, but she is beginning to understand that to be a part of this group, she needs to come prepared.  I am getting less resistance and more interest as we get into the book.  She will often stop me to ask about words she doesn’t know.  For example, today those words were: sarcophagus and monotonous.  Sometimes we’ll do additional research online about interesting things that come up in the book about Egypt.   It’s also wonderful to see her interacting with the other students as they discuss the themes of the book.  We decided to put aside the other novel we were reading (Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale) and really focus on this one as our main read aloud to get the most out of the book club experience.

Grating cheese for pizza during cooking class at homeschool co-op.

Learning to safely use a knife during cooking class.

Learning to safely use a knife during cooking class.

I am very thankful for the homeschoolers co-op, however, it is a long morning and she comes home completely exhausted.  I also feel wiped out. Is it all the socializing or the free Muay Thai class that I take while Kate is in her cooking class? Yes, I am a student, too, of a martial art.  I bought my first pair of boxing gloves and shin pads and I’m learning how to use them.

Another super fun addition to the homeschool this year is Art.  I struggled last year with how to incorporate art and even put her in classes at the community center.   I can’t believe how easy it is to have art lessons at home with the Atelier homeschool program.  You just read a description of the project, gather materials, watch the DVD and do the projects.  So far we’ve managed to do a few projects and it has been the highlight of our week.

Creating a "Stormy Day" project using watercolors.

Creating a “Stormy Day” project using watercolors.

We are using a few new computer based programs this semester which we are really enjoying and may review them in more detail in later posts.

Keyboarding-Keyboarding without Tears (they also make Handwriting without Tears, which we love)

Spanish- Middleburry Interactive Languages

Math- CTC Math

We are also enjoying some more traditional curriculum this year, such as additional Touch Math products, MCP Phonics  workbooks and Learning Palletes.

Being able to mix it up is important to keep the energy flowing.  I think that I’m figuring out how to integrate all these different curricula to accomplish our learning goals while not feeling overwhelmed and burdened by these programs.  Consequently, planning for each week is much easier now.  I also started to give Kate her own to-do list with the activities we want to accomplish each day, including reading time and activities she needs to do independently or with minimal assistance from me.  I give her a daily to-do list so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and can feel proud of herself for completing her work.  Each activity counts as a point and at the end of the week we count the points, which she can use or bank for rewards, i.e. going out for frozen yogurt.

Our current Read Aloud: The Golden Goblet

Books read this school year: 17

First Field Trip: Flamingo Gardens (SOS Save Our Swamp Educational Event)

What we have coming up: Restarting our family garden for the school year and hopefully an awesome Halloween (possibly Egypt inspired costume).

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