HELLO

Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.

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Tuesday
Aug232016

2016-2017 Homeschool Plan

Done with day one of our home portion of our homeschooling! Don't want to get hugely behind on this, so... Rather than write out full reports on what's what this year, I'm just going to make comments on my curriculum list (as updated now over to the left under each boy's name). If you have questions or want more details, please just tell me...very happy to discuss. But, in the interest of time and preventing potential boredom, I'm gonna go shorter this year and just get it all out of the way in one shot. ;) 

First off, in general...continuing to homeschool both Asher and Micah. At present, Asher wants to just continue homeschooling with me through high school, so that's our plan. Micah wants to do high school at CEC like Noah but needs to wait till he turns 14. In our homeschooling, we continue with our mostly six weeks on, one week off approach...so six sessions throughout the year with a bit of a summer break. On a daily level, we tend to do independent work in the mornings (things like math and language arts primarily) and group work in the afternoons.

Now. For the specific plan...

MATH
- Art of Problem Solving, Algebra
Life of Fred: Fractions, Decimals & Pre-Algebra 
Beast Academy 5A, 5B (plus 5C and 5D if they get published in time)
Math for the Gifted Student: Grades 5 & 6 

So, for math this year, I'm splitting the boys up. I've tried various combinations of this over the years but decided last year that they're using each other as crutches too much so am separating them this year. :) Asher will be working on algebra with me (using the first item there--I've used it with Noah and like it) and Micah will be reinforcing middle school math mostly on his own (using the last three). I'm not married to this plan, so we'll see if this is still what we're doing in a month.

LANGUAGE ARTS
Wordly Wise, book 6
Reading Detective
Don't Forget to Write
Caught Ya: Grammar With a Giggle 
- self-selected reading 

Since we're "done" with a formal spelling curriculum, I switched to vocabulary (Wordly Wise). I also added in a reading comprehension dealio (Reading Detective). For that, I'm starting with the Rx workbook because I like how it tackles one specific thing at a time. Once they finish those, I'll see where things stand. I've not really done anything specific to reading after having taught, well, how to read (aside from lots of talking about things) but am realizing that maybe we need a bit more focus on that.

For writing, the main goal this year is to actually do it. ;) I found this book (Don't Forget to Write) at a used book fair and like that it simply has a collection of favorite lesson plans from classrooms. I'm going to pick and choose which interest us from the middle school portion of the book. I'm *hoping* that the less structured approach will be more likely to keep our interest. (We didn't do a good job of following through with any of the writing programs I tried last year, for various reasons.)

For grammar, I took a look at my long term plan and decided that next year is the year to really push grammar. (You may recall that with Noah I decided that grammar in general is very often just repeated year after year with not much new being introduced. So. With him, I waited until just before he started high school and hit grammar pretty hard for a solid year.) In the meantime, I'm planning to try the Caught Ya plan and see how that goes, just to keep up some practice and such. (The approach is similar to things like Easy Grammar...just a sentence or two a day that needs correcting. But, Caught Ya follows a silly story, making it much more entertaining.)

And, for reading, we'll continue with required but self-selected reading. Boys each need to read at least 600 pages per six week session on their own time. Usually they end up reading much more than that, particularly since I offer an incentive of $10 per 1000 pages. :) There are a few books for history that I'd like us all to read...I'm toying around with whether to read them aloud or have each boy read a copy of his own.

SCIENCE
The Story of Science: Aristotle & Newton
How to Teach Nutrition to Kids 

I feel like we've really covered middle school science already, both formally and through life. This year, then, I'm just reading from the Story of Science books...as they're fun and educational. I like that it offers a different perspective by telling the history behind the science.

Further, and especially since Micah continues in his self-directed cooking instruction, I'm going to cover nutrition. :)

Also, we're going to do Science Olympiad with a local group. I'll add more about that when I know more about that. 

HISTORY
- creating our own timeline for early modern & modern times
- supplementary readings, including Shakespeare 

Last year we worked through ancient and medieval times, creating timelines and picking out significant inventions or people or buildings or battles for each time period. We'll continue that this year with the next two time periods. 

GEOGRAPHY
Around the World in 180 Days 

This is another used book fair find and I'm pretty happy with it after our first day. We'll take a continent each session (our sessions are roughly 6 weeks on, one week off). Within that, there are lessons on geography, history, religion/culture, and important people and books.

PE
- Karate (twice a week throughout the year)
Karate demo team (1-2 practices/week plus roughly monthly performances) 
- swimming laps (once a week) 
- gymnastics (once a week for just Asher)

Um, yeah. We've got physical education covered. ;) 

ELECTIVES
Signing Online program to learn ASL
- US government (unit study) 
- cursive 

We're continuing our pursuit of learning sign language. Through a homeschool buyer co-op, I found this online curriculum and am pretty stoked. It nicely lays out lesson conversations, offers additional vocabulary and quizzes for retention. I know there are LOTS of resources out there (and many for free) but needed the structure of this so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

This US government thing is part of my "grand plan" to cover what I'm calling "skills" throughout the year. For this first session, I'm covering US government. Later plans include things like personal finance and household chores. I don't have any specific materials for this since I'm not planning a full course (that will be later during high school). I figure my bachelors in political science and Duke law degree and masters in public policy should do the trick, lol. 

In an ongoing attempt to improve handwriting, I've got just a simple cursive workbook for each boy to work through. This year, I'm also requiring more written responses through geography and reading comprehension and vocabulary and such.

OPTIONS (one day a week enrichment program)

We just started our eighth year of Options and continue to be happy with the program and the opportunity for boys to see their friends regularly. 

And that, I think, pretty much covers our homeschool plan for the year. Whew.

Monday
Aug222016

First day

Whew. Olympics are over and boys started back to school this morning. :) I dropped Asher and Micah at Options then took Noah to Front Range Community College. But. First, of course, I took the obligatory first day of school pictures...


It was actually a pretty smooth morning with fairly happy, handsome boys. (Sorry, I didn't include the outtakes ala Asher, lol.) 

And, yeah. I haven't done my somewhat annual notes about my homeschooling plan yet. I know. I'll get to it... ;) 

Sunday
Aug212016

Peach Festival

Still here and almost ready to get back to "normal" (as in, the Olympics are almost over and our school year is about to start, lol)...in the meantime...

Yesterday morning, we headed to the local Peach Festival. We started out wandering the booths...Micah particularly enjoyed the Flip-a-Chick dealio...

...and visiting with the rowing crew...

But the big draw was the American Ninja Warrior Wolfpack. (For those unfamiliar, the Wolfpack is a group of northern Colorado athletes who compete on American Ninja Warrior.) They'd set up a warped wall for people to attempt along with a number of obstacle courses. Micah and Asher, as recent fans of the show, were happy (though a bit anxious) to give the obstacle courses a few tries...

(Each of the obstacle courses ended in a smaller version of the warped wall. They were harder to get to the top of than expected...primarily more difficult to pull yourself up once you'd grabbed the edge.)

While there, also, a couple of the Wolfpack members actually raced...

A fun morning for sure!

After that, we left to get some lunch on our way home...with the boys having an all new appreciation for American Ninja Warrior contestants.  

Sunday
Aug142016

New West Fest

Just a quick break from my Olympics binging to post these pictures of my boys performing yesterday with the Karate West Demo Team at New West Fest here in Fort Collins...

We were missing the two newest demo team members, who were both on vacation. :( These boys, though, put in a lot of work getting ready for this annual event. (I'm pretty sure this is Asher's fifth New West Fest.) They performed, I think, nine routines...

I have plenty of other pictures, but this is a decent representation. :)

Whew.

And then we got ice cream cones and took Nathan to lunch for his birthday and headed home to watch Olympics. ;) 

Tuesday
Aug092016

Tuesday thoughts

1. So. I kinda really enjoy watching the Olympics. As in, I go hermit-like and avoid leaving the house. Please don't take it personally if you don't see much of me between now and the 21st. :) 

2. Like during the 2014 Winter Olympics, we still don't have cable/satellite so can't access most of the coverage. This time around, rather than tapping into British coverage, we got a simple antenna so we can get broadcast channels. We actually did this way back at the beginning of the year so I could watch some of the NFL playoffs and such, but had in mind that it would come in handy during the Olympics also. Most of the time, we just have it sitting on top of one of our shelves and it's much less conspicuous (and we don't much use it). But. Because some of us *may* be a little less patient about potential interruptions and fuzzy reception, Nathan kindly rigged the antenna higher for just the duration of the Olympics. Like so:

I don't even mind the ladder in my family room. It works and is beautiful. ;)

3. In case you were wondering, the boys and I had our annual eye appointments yesterday. Noah's prescription needs a bump, Asher's needs a small adjustment, mine stayed the same and...Micah still doesn't need glasses. :) He was pretty excited since both Noah and Asher were 11 when they started wearing glasses (and Nathan and I were both about the same age when we started as well). He understands that this may still change (and probably will change), but is taking it as a win for now. 

4. Technically speaking, Noah's school starts tomorrow. Tomorrow!!! Fortunately for us, all of his classes this semester will be at the local community college so follow that schedule instead. Those classes don't start until the 22nd. Whew.

5. That same day, Asher and Micah will start the new year of Options and I'll start our homeschooling year. I'm currently finalizing plans for that and will try to post a summary of that plan here before it actually happens. 

6. Yikes!!! How did the new school year get to be less than two weeks away already?! (Plenty on the ol' to do list between now and then but it'll all have to happen while I'm watching Olympics, lol.)

Speaking of which... ;)