Weekly Wrap-Up Weeks 2 & 3

I’m combining Week 2 and Week 3 for this wrap-up. Here are a few highlights from the last two weeks ~ I hope to take more photos in future weeks, if nothing else because they help jog my memory!

  • We started a Shakespeare study, centering around the ten-week introductory Shakespeare course from Music in Our Homeschool. It’s so much fun!

If you want more details on how we are doing this, see my post here:

 Shakespeare in the Homeschool

  • My 5th grader is using Apologia’s Swimming Creatures this year because she very much wanted to study marine biology. We are a secular homeschooling family, but this program still works for us: we just omit the religious comments. It is a very well done program, with lots of colorful pictures, experiments, and a science notebook to record everything in. We use the notebook a bit loosely — she just fills out whatever sections inspire her.

 

As part of the program, she is making an ocean box. Right now, it just has the ocean floor (saltdough!) and a few deep sea dwellers. But by the end of the year, it will be full!

 

For his lab last week, his siblings set up a mock crime scene for him, complete with a body outline, overturned chair, and a few select clues. His job was to come in and figure out what had happened. They had an awesome time with this one!

A few other things we did this week and last (off the top of my head!):

 

  • Dissected a frog for biology (10th) — and it actually wasn’t as intimidating as I remembered from high school! He has completed all of the dissections now for Apologia Biology. He started the program last year, but we’re going to take a little over a year to finish.

 

 

  • Got ourselves a trial subscription to Curiosity Stream, which I am so excited to try this coming week!

 

  • Played Perspective: the Timeline Game — this game is an awesome one to help cement the overall history timeline for high schoolers! I hope to review it fully in future (it’s available from Rainbow Resource if you are interested).

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Shakespeare in the Homeschool

I am super excited that last week we finally got around to doing something I have been meaning to do for years –  an in-depth study of Shakespeare! I am no expert on the Bard, and honestly…

I feel a bit intimidated by the whole thing!

But I am determined to make it work, and I’m also feeling pretty enthusiastic!

For the record, my kids’ did not have a very enthusiastic first reaction. However, by the end of our first session things were looking up, and they were finding the whole thing amusing if nothing else…so I’m hopeful that this will be a positive experience for us.

The plan is to spend around 45 minutes a day, a few times a week, on our Shakespeare study.

I’m pulling from a few different resources for this study.

For the foundation of our study, I signed us up for the self-paced course 10 Weeks of Shakespeare from Music in Our Homeschool. We are working our way through it a bit each day, so it will probably take us less than ten weeks since it’s designed to be done once a week.

We began Week 2 today, and so far, so good. I am grateful to have a helping hand to organize the start of our study! So far, we have viewed both animated and live-action versions of Act 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spent some time reading through the original script on our own, learned about Iambic Pentameter and how to read Shakespeare aloud, and lots more!

The course uses the two bottom books pictured above:

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

and

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

I was able to find both books at my library. We are using the Ken Ludwig book to memorize and analyze lines of Shakespeare’s plays. My kids are picking up the memorization much more quickly than I am! I was a bit skeptical about memorizing lines, but it’s giving us a real feel for the language. Plus, it’s pretty darn exciting when we hear “our” line in one of the video clips we watch! And the Star Wars book is a blast! My kids are super familiar with Star Wars and we have had fun reading it in Shakespeare-style.

I also have Simply Charlotte Mason’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in Three Steps) on hand and plan to use it to walk us through the whole play after we finish our introductory course.

An excellent companion to all of this is No Fear Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I found my copy at Barnes and Noble and there were several other titles there. It includes the full script of the play side-by-side with a plain English translation. We have been using it along with the above course whenever we are prompted to read directly from the play.

And then we have lots of other resources I plan to pull in here and there as we have time. We may not get to these until after we finish our introductory course.

They include:

We also have several titles from the Shakespeare Can be Fun! series.

There are several other titles available.

For listening/viewing, we have:

Shakespeare 4 Kidz Macbeth

and

Arkangel Shakespeare’s Macbeth

I have had many of these resources on the shelf for years — with good intentions and no follow through. It was exciting to dust them off!

And that’s how we are doing Shakespeare in our homeschool this year!

Homeschool Wrap-Up Week 1(continued)

We spread our first homeschool week over two weeks, to ease into things — so here are a few highlights from the second half of week 1!

We started Logic to the Rescue — a fun introduction to logic written like a fantasy/fairy tale and a new Life of Fred book. We’re using both for 5th grade.

Did a few experiments from Swimming Creatures from Apologia. We are a secular homeschool family, but I have really enjoyed the ease and layout of Apologia’s curriculum, even if we skip over some things. In one experiment, we put a slightly inflated balloon inside a soda bottle and then stepped on the bottle to see what happened with the balloon — a firsthand look at how pressure underwater can affect diver’s lungs! We’re using Swimming Creatures for 5th grade science this year.

Continued setting up stores with Simply Charlotte Mason’s Your Business Math. This week’s task was to decide on how much inventory to order and what it would all cost. We had planned to do this program once a week, but everyone enjoys it so much that we may increase that! We’re using SCM Business Math for 10th, 8th, and 5th grade.

Here’s a look at one of the inventory sheets… it was quite a challenge for them to figure out how much of each item to order!

 

My 8th grader wanted to study forensic science this year. His first lab of the year was a forged check lab. He had family members write out checks using their own names, then forge a “victim’s” signature. I chose one of the family to be the forger and handed him the check that person had signed, plus all the other checks. His task was to discover the criminal by comparing the handwriting! This lab is from Crime Scene Investigations, the book we are using as his lab book this year.

I’ll share some highlights from week 2 next week!

Homeschool Curriculum Picks for 2018-2019

It’s August already! I am not sure where the time went! We won’t be starting “school” till after Labor Day, but I’ve been working on plans.  I will have a 12th grader who will be taking classes at the local community college. And then I will be homeschooling a 10th, 8th, and 5th grader.

Here’s what we plan to do, and what we’re going to use to do it!

LANGUAGE ARTS

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th grader will use:

My 10th grader will use:

Everyone will participate in:

MATH

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th grader will use:

My 10th grader will use a combination of:

All three will use:

CRITICAL THINKING

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th & 10th graders will use:

Everyone will do:

LITERATURE & HISTORY

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th grader will use:

My 10th grader will use:

All three will use:

SCIENCE

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th grader will concentrate on forensic science using:

My 10th grader will use:

In addition, I am hoping to do nature journaling once a month or so with these references to help inspire us:

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th grader will use:

My 10th grader will use:

ART

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th & 10th graders will continue with:

All three will do:

MUSIC

My 5th grader will use:

My 8th and 10th graders will listen to:

And I think that’s it! It looks like a lot all typed out here, but I’m feeling excited!

Our Homeschool Foreign Language This Year

This is an ongoing series where I share how we have been doing different subjects in our homeschool this year. This is how we are doing foreign language this year with kiddos in 4th, 7th, 9th, and 11th grade….

11th grade: Our eldest is taking Spanish at a local community college this year. It has been a really fantastic experience for her and I will definitely take this route with my other kids if they have an interest. In my opinion, unless you have a convenient friend or relative who speaks Spanish fluently, a real live class is the way to go at this age. She has learned so much more than she ever did from anything we tried at home. She is currently on her second semester of Spanish, with plans to continue her study next year. She has class two mornings a week.

9th grade: For my ninth grade son this year, we chose Fluenz Spanish. We had tried Rosetta Stone in the past (with our oldest) and she got through two levels of it without really feeling like she retained or understood much. The reviews of Fluenz seemed more positive, so we decided to give it a whirl. There is no speech recognition software with Fluenz like there is with Rosetta Stone. So when he does Spanish, he is just listening and typing answers.  I have encouraged him to repeat after the speaker, but that rarely happens.  I do try to ask him most days to tell me something he learned in Spanish to try to get him speaking at least a little bit. This said, he enjoys the program and it is one of the first things he chooses to do each day (and he does do it most days), so in that regard it is definitely working! I only wish there was an easy way for us to each have our unique account with the program so I could try to do it along with him. 

Also with my 9th grader, and my 7th grader, we are doing Latin this year with First Form Latin. We typically do Latin 4-5 days a week. I love this program, and I reviewed it earlier this year.

 

 

7th grade: My seventh grader is puttering around with Duolingo French this year, in addition to his Latin study. He does French for for about 15 minutes, 3 days a week. Next year, we will probably choose something a bit more intensive, but I wanted him to have a light year this year since we are also studying Latin.

4th grade: My fourth grader is studying Spanish and Latin this year. We do Latin about 4 days a week, for 15 minutes each day, using Prima Latina ~ review here.

We do Spanish 3-4 days a week, for 20-30 minutes each time using La Clase Divertida, which we love. I am hoping to get a review of this program up soon to share how we are using it. But basically, we take two weeks to cover each lesson. We watch the lesson on DVD multiple times and use the practice CD a couple times during those two weeks. She also completes two workbook pages per lesson, then we wrap the lesson up with a fun project.  Each lesson has a craft, recipe, or puppet show to watch. We are having a ton of fun with this program and we will definitely be using Level 2 next year.

And that’s how we’re doing foreign language in our homeschool this year! I’m happy to answer any questions; just leave me a comment ~ and thanks for stopping by!

 

Our Homeschool History and Literature this Year

This is an ongoing series where I share how we have been doing different subjects in our homeschool this year. This is how we are doing history and literature this year!

The short answer: We use BookShark (or Sonlight).

The slightly longer answer: I love both programs because I am a dedicated box checker and I love having everything neatly laid out for me each day. In my instructor guide I have book summaries, questions to ask the kids (plus the answers!), vocabulary words, and suggestions for timeline and mapping work. There are also lots and lots of notes. I love the notes in the early years because they add a little extra layer of understanding or clarification. Starting at about Core 100, the notes get very long and are often overly opinionated for us. So we tend to mostly ignore the notes starting at that level. We don’t use the language arts portion of either program, but we do use pretty much all of the history/literature as it is written. We started using Sonlight about 9 years ago and have used it pretty much ever since, with a short break when we tried Oak Meadow. When BookShark started selling secular versions of the Sonlight cores, we switched to primarily ordering from that company, except when Sonlight has a product we need and BookShark doesn’t (case in point, Core 300).

Here’s what we’re doing:

11th grade: My 11th grader is using Sonlight Core 300, which is 20th Century World History. The history spine for this Core is the The History of the Modern World. I would rather have seen a more engaging spine, like my younger kids have this year, but it serves it’s purpose. It is a very comprehensive encyclopedia and I do like how it is divided up by year. Basically, she just has assigned pages to read each day and we discuss them once or twice a week. I started out the year trying to read ahead of her so that I could more properly discuss, but have found it difficult to keep up with. To go along with the spine, there are several biographies and historical fiction novels. This level also has included mapwork and timeline work, but we mostly keep it simple and just focus on reading and discussing. Here’s a little peek at some of the books used:

She also uses the Core 300 literature. I try to read some of these before she does in order to better discuss them, but I don’t always succeed! There are some great titles here, though there were a couple she didn’t enjoy overmuch ( like Kon-tiki) and one she ended up skipping because she just couldn’t get through it (Cry, the Beloved Country). She’s going through this program a bit more slowly than previously planned because she’s also juggling a couple of dual enrollment classes right now, but she should still finish by year’s end. This will be her last Sonlight core, which I cannot believe! She plans to take history and English at the college next year.

Here is a sample of the literature books for this level:

 

9th grade: My 9th grader is using BookShark 100, American History, along with the literature. In general, I am a fan of this level. I love the spine, Joy Hakim’s History of Us. I love many of the literature selections. I love that this is the first year when he has his own guide so he can see what’s on the schedule and what we will be discussing. We don’t stick strictly to the schedule though; he just has “work on your BookShark reading” on his daily list and he gets to what he can. This is the first level that has no scheduled read-alouds, but his dad and I have read several of the titles aloud with him anyway. He isn’t a big fan of fiction and he seems to process it much better when read-aloud. It’s fun doing it this way too! We tend to read with him in the evenings, and we each have a book from this level we are reading with him. I also read-aloud from his assigned poem book with him, because I just think poetry is better read aloud.

I haven’t had to skip much from this level, though I did skip the book World War II because it is very opinionated and I just didn’t feel it was appropriate as a “history” book.   Like I mentioned above, we also skip most of the notes in the instructor/student guide. The instructor guide has daily suggestions for dates to add to the timeline book. We pick and choose from among these and add them in. His timeline book is getting quite full! You can see my review of the Timeline Book here.  I still love it! This level also has separate mapwork, where the kids are supposed to plot various locations on black and white maps.  We found this too time-consuming, so we gave it up pretty quickly. Instead, I have him look up the locations on a globe or map. Here’s a selection of history books used in this level:

And a peek at the literature titles:

 

 

7th grade: My 7th grader is using BookShark 6, World History 1.  This is my second time through this level, so I am getting to read books again, which I always enjoy. The main history spine is The Story of the World, which I at first thought was a bit too easy, but I find it actually works really well when read at this age. The simplified information is easy to digest and he tends to retain it pretty well. Volumes 1 & 2 are used at this level; volumes 3 & 4 are read at the next level. The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia is also used at this level, along with plenty of historical fiction. The poetry book for this level is Favorite Poems Old and New, my favorite poem book of all time ~ it’s huge! I love all of the read-alouds for this level; the readers have been a bit more hit and miss with my guy.   He could not get into Mara, Daughter of the Nile or Black Horses for the King, so I ended up letting him skip those. He is not usually a fan of fiction however, so this isn’t necessarily a reflection on the books themselves. The instructor guide for this level includes locations to find on the included map (it’s hole-punched and fits right in the instructor guide, which is great). This level also includes timeline figures to add to his Timeline Book. Here’s a peek at some of the history and read-aloud titles for this level:

 

And a preview of some of the readers:

 

4th grade: My fourth grader is using BookShark 3: American History 1. This is one of my favorite levels, and it’s my third time through it since my older two did the Sonlight equivalent, Core D. I love re-reading these books with her and she is my bookworm child so she is really soaking it all up. We have a few different history spines with this level, which is nice. We read from The Landmark History of the American People, Beginner’s American History, and The Children’s Encyclopedia of American History. We are usually assigned one to read from each day. Like the other kids, she has a lot of historical fiction, a good poetry book, and a set of readers. There are two choices of readers for this level: regular and advanced. We went with the advanced because she loves to read and goes through books quickly. She also does map work most days with the map included in my instructor guide and keeps a timeline book. Because she loves reading more than anything else, she often asks me to read more than what is scheduled and reads ahead in her readers. She makes me feel accomplished because we are usually right “on schedule” or ahead!

Here’s a peek at the history and read-aloud titles:

And a few of the reader titles:

 

And that’s how we’re doing history and literature in our homeschool this year!

Homeschool Photo Journal Part 2

A few photos and memories captured from our last week of homeschool life…

We are slowly wrapping up TOPS Radishes (a science selection from BookShark 3). It has been so much fun! I highly recommend this resource if you are looking for a hands-on way to learn about plants and don’t mind committing to around 30-45 minutes of work each day for three weeks. Here are the results of our “toxic stress” experiment. Rose put some seeds in vinegar, some in salt water, and some in freshwater. She correctly predicted that the freshwater ones would grow best, but was a bit surprised that the others didn’t grow at all. This experiment really brought home the hazards of acid rain and too much salt in soil!

 

She also did a neat experiment on phototropism by creating a foil “radish” and bending its leaves the way she thought a radish seedling would react to light. Sure enough, both seedlings were tipped towards the sunlight coming in through the windows within just a few hours.

Here’s another neat experiment where she placed a little seedling on the inside of a damp cup and traced over it with marker. Within a day, we could see how the seedling had moved, the roots slowly tipping down and the unfolding cotyledons, or seed leaves, slowly starting to unfold.

And now our radish experiments are done! I just need to figure out some way for her to store all of her lab papers and little notes ~ we may hole punch them and create a little booklet. She didn’t want to get rid of any of her fledgling seedlings, so we spent the morning planting them in various containers because it isn’t quite warm enough for them to be outdoors. Here is our laundry room radish garden in all its glory….

Hopefully we will get at least radish or two for salad! We are scheduled to do TOPS Corn and Beans next, but we’ve decided to hold off for a few weeks so that we can hopefully plant those seedlings outdoors afterwards.

In other news, my boys build this awesome squirrel lounger. I think we may need to get some proper yellow corn for it and move it a bit lower because we haven’t had any squirrel visitors yet. But isn’t it cute? This is a project from The All-New Woodworking for Kids, which they are using for their art curriculum this year (little review here).

Nothing to do with homeschooling, just a cute dog picture….

Three of my four took the National Mythology Exam. They report that it went well. This is something we have been doing for years and that I hope we will do for many more.

My boys and I started Unit 3 of First Form Latin, which I was super excited about, because I get excited about things like that. We are focusing on nouns, which is nice for a change. I reviewed this program here. I still love it.

We’ve been making maple syrup, too! This is our first batch and we’ve been adding to it all week. We usually get about 2 gallons of syrup from 10-12 maple trees. Sadly, two jars from our first batch got broken in the freezer and I am not sure we will be able to make up for it. The weather has been unseasonably warm so I’m expecting a short season.

Finally, some pretty hyacinths and a read-aloud James and I are finishing up, one of my favorites from BookShark 6!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a wonderful homeschool week!