Our Journey Into Homeschooling

Thursday, September 12, 2013

World's Greatest Artists curriculum

Week two?  Check!  And oh how much better than last year.  We even finished early this week and no homework for the 2nd grader, which is amazing because she almost never completes her math on time.

I think the two main reasons this year is better (so far) is that Bridget is almost seven years old and I have a clear plan of what we are doing.  This year I wanted to include a curriculum on art and was delighted when I found Erica's unit study on the World's Greatest Artists.  You can find it on her site:  http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/arts-crafts.

I did have to find the World's Greatest Artist Series by Mike Venezia though.  Our library has some and others I managed to purchase from B&N or Amazon.  My daughter loves them.  Erica's suggestion of two lessons per week for 32 weeks worked well into our schedule.

We are currently on Lesson 4 of Pablo Picasso.  The books along with Erica's discussion ideas really get us talking about the artist, his paintings, his use of color, and the styles he incorporated over the years. 

Today was a painting day.  Bridget was over the moon!  Did I mention she loves to paint?  She decided she wanted to paint a "blue period" picture, but not what Picasso painted.  So using only blue paint and a bit of white, she created her Blue Apple Tree In a Window.

Blue Apple Tree In A Window

What I loved most about the lesson was the freedom to create.  That art doesn't have to "look" like something, but that it is a form of expression.  We can appreciate an artist's work even if it doesn't look real and find beauty in things that are different.

Erica's unit study includes lesson plans, printables for a lap book, flash cards, and art puzzles.  I'll review it again later in the year once we've had a chance to study a few artists.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tea on Tuesdays

Several homeschooling moms I know discussed having a tea day and reading poetry.  I checked out some of the other homeschooling blogs and there was some cool stuff about serving "tea" and reading poetry out loud.  In fact, I liked the idea so much that I ran with it.  Okay, okay...I actually created a PowerPoint presentation with a total of 33 lessons, which means we will have enough lessons for our school year.  (I can never seem to do anything off-the-cuff.)  I also decided to include a little bit about proper etiquette during each lesson.  After working on the curriculum for most of the summer, I'm happy to say that our first tea turned out quite well.

This is our menu from the 1st Tea.  And yes, I made it all from scratch.  The Vanilla Bean Scones are from a recipe I found from The Pioneer Woman.  You can find her recipe on her website:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/04/petite-vanilla-bean-scones/  They were soooooo good; however, it made more than we could eat.  I sent the extra with my husband this morning for his co-workers; otherwise, I would eat most of them myself.  And that would mean more exercise!

My daughter knew our afternoon tea was special since we used my Blue Willow teapot and drank from real teacups. 

I think Tea on Tuesdays is going to be a favorite for us this year.

Once we were set, I poured tea, offered refreshments and started our lesson.  We began with table manners during tea and then I introduced the types of poetry we would be discussing during the year.  We ended with a few poems from Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  Then we sat and talked and finished our tea.

Monday, September 2, 2013

First day of 2nd grade

The day started out great.  Coffee.  A little time to myself.  My husband managed to get our darling daughter ready.  She was waiting for me in our school room just before 8:00am.

We began with an "All About Me" handout, took our pictures for the first day of school, and slipped right into spelling.  This year we decided to go with "All About Spelling."  Last year was like pulling teeth to do any spelling.

Reading was next.  Always an easy subject for us.  Second grade will include two different workbooks with short stories followed by a question/answer page to determine her comprehension.  I am really looking forward to our new "Tea On Tuesdays" curriculum that I put together in a PowerPoint presentation.  We will be studying poetry and manners on that day.

Today, we did a science experiment from "The Magic School Bus."  Lots of fun seeing what would float and what would sink.  Tomorrow we'll switch to Social Studies.  I also put together lesson plans for this subject.

Then we were off to work on math.  Once again, we are using Math Mammoth.  She learned so much from it last year.  Unfortunately, she doesn't want to do math.  She can do it and once she fully understands the concept, she enjoys it.  The problem is that so much comes to her easily that when she faces a challenge, she doesn't know what to do.  We will be working on this issue throughout the school year.

I'm really looking forward to this school year.  Less stress, more confidence.

Here are a few more pictures of our little schoolroom:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Farm Unit: Cheese

Around the 3rd week of homeschooling we were studying a unit on Farming.  We had been talking about what life was like on a farm a long time ago and that they would make their own bread and butter and cheese.  So we decided to make our own.  We invited another Mom and her daughter over to enjoy the experiment with us. We all had a great time and enjoyed some good food.

Here are the girls stirring the milk to make the cheese.

Watching the thermometer reach the correct temperature.

Once it's reached the right temp, strain it through cheesecloth.

And then...cheese!

We made mozzarella, goat cheese, butter, and whipped cream.

The girls had a great time and so did we.  If you want to try it and I highly recommend it, then I suggest http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/07/making-fresh-mozzarella/  website.  I found it to be very helpful.  All photos by Amanda Ford.

School's Out

Well, we muddled our way through our first year of homeschooling.  Lots of ups and downs and finding our way through what worked and what didn't work.  I'm glad we are finished and I'm happy to say we have a second grader!

I certainly didn't write as much as I thought I would.  (cough, cough)  Let's try not at all!  After my last entry, my mother passed away.  She had a long illness of Lewy Bodies disease.  After that we went on our Disney cruise, then we had holidays, and then...well you get the picture.

I plan on posting some of the highlights of our school year and then we will look forward to next year.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Wow!  We have had a great first 6 weeks.  We finished our unit of study "The Community" and Bridget had her first real math test.  She made a 100!  She was so excited.  It was on the 1st chapter in Math Mammoth and included sums to 10 and comparisons.

She has also learned to spell 60 words.  She receives 10 new words on Mondays and takes a spelling test on Friday.

One of our topics included farming.  We took a virtual tour of a dairy farm and egg farm.  Quite interesing.  We also made our own butter, whipped cream, and cheese.  That was fun!!  I'll post pictures soon.  My dad is a crop farmer.  One of his main crops is cotton.  Last year, we took a field trip out to one of the farms and watched the tractors in action.

This is a picture of some of the cotton.

We will be interrupting our little school to go on a Disney Cruise.  Bridget made a paper chain with numbers on it to help us count down.  Every morning she removes one of the paper links.  We will be participating in a Fish Extender Gift Exchange.  This is where a group of people meet on the DISboards and create a list of cabins that want to exchange small gifts.  It sounded like a cool idea.  The FE is suppose to be 8" wide and should have a pocket for each family member.  Here is a picture of ours:

Hopefully, I'll have more time when we return from our trip to give more details on some of the fun activities we have done.

Until then...Ahoy maties!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1st Day of School

Well, we did it!  Bridget started 1st grade yesterday.  We both did great!  She loves our little "school" area that I set up in the family room.  She is using an old school desk that my grandfather gave to me when I was her age.

Our Little School

After spending the summer talking to other homeschooling moms, I realized that sometimes less is more.  I spent more time browsing free curriculum sites than I did playing Bubble Safari on Facebook.  However, it paid off because I believe I found some really good curriculum.

We are using Math Mammoth for math.  It was fairly inexpensive and I like the author's approach.  She not only tells you how to do it, but why you do it.  I'll post more about it later once we have used it a bit, but Bridget likes it so far.

I found a free phonics curriculum http://www.progressivephonics.com/~suzettew/ and although she is reading very well (I suspect she is at a 2nd grade level), I want her to have a better grasp of advanced phonics.  She has difficulty with annunciation sometimes and I am thinking this will help.  And it never hurts to read more...right?

1st day of 1st Grade.  Spelling

All the other subjects she is learning such as reading comprehension, social studies, science, grammar, spelling, and fine arts...well, I'm pulling from different areas to suit our needs.  We are following the Texas guidelines although we actually go beyond most of them because she is ready.

Time wise, we are spending about half an hour per subject with some topics only twice a week.  No school on Friday!  As per my homeschooling sister-in-law Aimee.  She is my go-to person whenever I have a question.

I would love to hear about your first day of school so leave me a comment if you stop by.