Monday, February 29, 2016

Musings and notes

Basic goals/philosophies
Right off the bat, I have tried many kinds of homeschooling. Philosophically, I love Unit Studies and their many variations. Unfortunately, they just don't work for us. This means a lot of different homeschooling methods and curricula are automatically removed from consideration. Same for CM unfortunately.

I like the idea, basically, of the online programs that control progress and do the grading, like CTC (buy through Cathy Duffey Reviews and you can get a big homeschool discount). This seems to best insure the right balance between drill-and-kill and not-bogging-down.

Games do this quite well, especially the ones with logins so progress can be saved from day to day or computer to computer.

Next, workbooks work best for me. They keep me on track and cut out my having to plan the day by day stuff (I just can't be the expert in every subject).

And free is always good.

Now I'm reading "The Core." A lot of what she says rings bells. I really don't feel like we are doing enough. Classical is good and logical. But I've spent all my money for the year. I need to use what I have and free resources. 

And in the past I have started all enthused for classical but I get part way in and don't know where to go :-/ pitfall of no support group and a bad ps education my self. How am I supposed to teach them grammar, latin, logic, when I don't know it myself?  

I don't do good with open ended things, or boring texts. So taking all that into consideration:

(Sorted by subject)
  • Bible
    • Private Prayer- Make sure each one has a prayer journal if they want one.
    • Private Bible-Make sure they all have Bibles and reading charts, 15 minutes/day.
    • Foundations-12+ must go through this book at least once. It was written by Grandpa.
    • Together Proverbs
      • Joshua Trace
      • Jane, Jackie, dictate
      • Jennifer and up, own words
    • Bible Story - Draw a picture, give a caption. Ideally, I would have any famous pictures plus a couple of children's Bible pictures of each story, but that's work I know I won't always get to. I am assembling this at   
    • Memory Verse- copy into a notebook, practice each day
    • Trivia/Catechism I need to add more memorization. Books, tribes, apostles etc. Maybe some map work and a timeline. 
  • Language Arts
    • Phonics/reading- Joshua is the only one still doing phonics. 
      • I will start him on Noah Webster Reading Handbook, Bob's Books, and McGuffey Primer this spring. He is doing good here. Starfall is really helping. 
      • classically, learn the abc's, then sounds each letter makes, blends, words.  
    • Penmanship- This year I had a book printed for each of the five youngest with the alphabet done as I want it, plus their name. They were to trace than copy. Jane hated it. The others liked it OK. Josh ignored it. Jess is only half done and she is farther than anyone else. Jane is trying but I don't know what to do with the others :-(
    • Came to me last night, have everyone practice a letter each day, all the way across the page IN CURSIVE.
    • Typing-,, or!game Create an account and practice 15 minutes a week?
    • Spelling
    • could I use the Bludorns Encoder to eliminate AAS? And with SC I am having them alphabetize their lists, identify parts of speech, define. I should do that with 3x5
    • So, copy a rule in to the notebook, copy/find? words to put on 3x5's, alphabetize, add parts of speech, definitions, Morse code or braille? to card. 
The biggest problem is the money. Though these books are about average in price ($27 for the teachers book/answer key, $14 for a workbook), when you begin multiplying them by four children, well, it adds up. I do have a few of the answer keys left over from previous uses with older siblings (EG 3 and 5, and DG 3 and 6), so if I place them according to that more than age/grade level, I can save some money. Still, I'm not happy with the potential cost.
      • Jane is easy. She will go ahead and finish 2nd grade, then go on the the 3rd grad books, both of which I already own the keys to, so $28 if anything."If anything" because she won't be finished with 2nd grade for some time, so could just continue with this until tax time 2017. Similarly,
      • Jackie is doing DG3 right now and isn't even close to finished (I just started them in it a month ago). She is in grade 6, will change in July. So, I could get her grade 6 in both (boosting her confidence) and only have to buy one answer key. EGgr6key $34.95, DGgr6workbook $13.95 for a total of about $49 for one child. :-( Alternately, I could put her in EG5workbook (have the key) at $13.95 and DG6workbook (also have the key) for $13.95 for a total of $28. Or let her continue in DG3 and add EG5workbook for $13.95,
      • Jenn is doing DG6 right now. I could just buy her EG+ ($34.95 designed for Jr high) or the EG6 to go with what she is doing (same $34.95)  It would be cheapest to just go with Ugr8 ($26.95) which is what she needs by grade. Or even just add EG5 workbook $13.95.
      •  Jess is doing EG5 now. Pretty much ditto Jenn, but with different numbers. Jess would be in Ultimate gr 10 by age $26.95  I could just buy he EG6 to go with it ($34.95) or EG5 which I already have the key to ($13.95) and call it even (she would be doing EG5 with DG3 in other words, costing only $13.95). $54.85 total
    • Composition-Honestly, what we are doing is fine. Writing on blogs daily. May add weekly assignments ("What I did this weekend" on Monday, comment on the news on Tuesday, etc.) but probably not. There is just something wrong with telling a child "You have to quit writing your book until you do your composition ("learn to write") assignment." We'll continue the same with occasional reports?
    • Poetry- Same o. Maybe require to write some. I have an instruction book.
    • Modern (Spanish)- Duolingo. Is Rosetta Stone better? Yep. Is it $200 a year better? Nope. Duolingo is free, has individual logins, contained totally on the internet, so your place isn't lost if your computer crashes, a problem I had with Rosetta Stone. They solved it by moving to cloud based, but that makes an annual subscription cost (the $200 mentioned above). And that's only for 5 kids.
    • Classical (Latin) - English from the roots Up (I have. Would have them copy each root onto a 3x5) supplemented by the Latin web site More indepth program?
    • Alternative Languages (Signs, Morse Code, Braille, flags, Klingon, Elvish, Minion, Eperante)
  • Math
    • CTC- We are using this right now. I am really liking it. One year's subscription covers video lessons and assignments for ALL grades for ALL children (up to 5). It also keeps all the records. Josh should be old enough to do it on a touch screen, though i don't think handles a mouse well yet. Might do a dollar store book for a bit.Should I add back calculaddars?
    • Mental- Saxon  The only thing I like more about Saxon is the mental math at the beginning of each lesson. So we are doing that part, one lesson a day, with the three middle girls. I'm going in circles here. Jackie would probably do better with something else, workbook format. Jane too because of age?
    • Copy work would be copying the tables. same for memory work. What if I tried to teach Jackie without a book? Maybe used rays as a guide? Had her do copy work everyday. Then some word problems? Back to calculaddar? Like Saxon mental math. Seemed to help her. 
    • Let's approach this a different way: If I had to teach math with only what I already have on hand, or even with only pen and paper, how would I do it?
    • Josh: 100 chart added to daily, daily counting practice, low level adding.
    • Jane: first fill out a 100 chart, than an addition grid, then addition lists (1+1=2, 1+2=3, etc). Then we would do subtraction the same way, then start multiplication. What else is covered? Measuring? time?
    • I guess Jackie would be the same, just to make sure she knew it. 
    • Jennifer I would start with multiplication tables. then division.
    • Jessie maybe do rays fractions? Don't know. CTC is paid for for a year, so, whatever. 
    • Logic - Games/links on minimum of 15 minutes a week, Mind Benders, Fallacy Detective, Thinking Toolbox, Youtube classes. Have Logic Primer.
  • Social Studies- I think I will just require everyone to be reading or researching something in this category at all times. This allows everyone to pursue their own particular interests.
    • World History- Streams or Abeka or SOTW Maybe I should do a timeline study, everyone together?
    • US History- Light and the Glory series or abeka
    • Economics- Biblical economics in comics and economics in one lesson are the best
    • Geography- games on the internet or phone.Draw the world. I think book tells how.
  • Science- other than the notes below, require each to be studying something. blahh blahh blahh. Never been able to satisfactorily figure this one out. Need to do something, maybe together.
    • Health and Nutrition- Edit Masterpiece with an eye towards making a child's book, emailing each bit as I do it to them?
    • Astronomy- Weekly, Wednesday night lessons?
    • Chemistry-
    • Physics-
  • Art- Goal would be to understand the connection between art and religion. Also that they would be able to express themselves and communicate in picture/drawing.
    • Appreciation/history- "How Then Should We Live" is good for art history and philosophy as is the Rick steves book with naked David. Do they really need more than that?
    • Drawing- Drawing textbook each year.
    • Painting
    • Sculpting
    • Crafts
  • Music- Goal is to be able to play piano, guitar (or other string), and recorder (or other wind) in church. To have enough basics to be able to learn anything they want later.
    • Appreciation/history- "God's Gift of Music" plus Wikipedia might be all they need. Assign according to age. This before Art App, if only one per year. Jr high?
    • Theory/reading- apps? good application for kill and drill. Theory book, maybe, for olders, but really, the games would do best teaching note recognition.
    • Rhythm- apps?
    • Voice-iPhone app- blobs.
    • Piano-I think I just need to teach this straight and monitor it better. Maybe look for a better instruction/lesson book? Look at instruction books at dads plus fake books.
    • String- JD guitar for worship book plus ditto above. Could use Fake books, actually.
    • Wind- I can teach recorder, need a better book. Ditto the fake books. 
Plus, I want to increase physical activity all around. 

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