Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: January 2017

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Well, I'm a little bit late getting my January summary posted, but we're not to the middle of this month yet, so it's not too late, is it?

The new year got off to a good start.  It took some time to get back into a good rhythm that worked after the relaxed December and the toddler's new nap schedule, but it went better than I expected.

Eleanor just turned four this month, and although I firmly believe in play over academics at this age, she keeps me on my toes.  She *loves* all the workbooks and learning activities, but it comes and goes in phases.  She might go through a workbook phase for two weeks, then she was all about her Kwik Stix, which she still gets out multiple times a week.  I can't recommend these enough!  Now she's really into writing "books" and "lists."  The toddler . . . well, she's two and just likes to make a mess more than anything.

Language Arts and Math
The boys are plugging along in math.  I've finally figured out the secret to Elliott's math.  I go through each lesson right before he starts, and select the problems I want him to answer.  I typically choose almost all of the problems related to new material, and just a few of the review problems.  I just rotate which types of review questions to do, to make sure he practices a little bit of everything.  He still claims he doesn't "like" math, but seeing as how he's "good" at it, this has drastically improved our math time.  It gets done faster.  He's more accurate too, despite doing less problems/review.  I've heard that cutting a lesson in half would make a difference, and I don't know why I didn't try it sooner!

Emory's finishing up his current level of LOE Foundations, and his reading skills have exploded.  I am in love with this curriculum, and it is absolutely my favorite reading/phonics program.  I'm probably going to move him into a literature-based language arts program in the coming weeks when he finishes.  Or perhaps something more independent, like Language Smarts, which is what Elliott is using now.

History and Science
We continued Beautiful Feet Books - Early American History.  We started by reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Matchlock Gun . . . and then read a biography of Benjamin Franklin, to take us into the American Revolution studies.

We decided to set our science curriculum aside for the time being.  As interesting as it was in the beginning, it was nearly impossible to get back into a good rhythm with it after the holiday break.  I can see why Apologia is popular, but I can also see what people mean when they feel they get bogged down in one topic.

So for now, we have decided to do some Five in a Row units (kids requested to add it back in) in place of the science.  We rowed Lentil first for fun, and tied in some Homer Price and Beyond Five in a Row.  I'll have a full post on that soon.  That one wasn't related to our history studies, but it helped us do some state study, which is a required subject.  However, we're at the point now in American History where I can tie in more of the FIAR books and expand our studies.

We tried to row Madeline because they wanted to do a human body study, but we mostly just learned about the human body.  I know it's one of the most popular units from FIAR, but we just cannot do a real row of that book for some reason!  However, we read most of the poems in the book The Blood Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts, and the boys LOVED that book.  It's great for any human body study through middle school probably.  The poems are humorous, but factual.

To get some other science in, we were also reviewing a science experiment book for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  It's called Oh, Ick!  114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out, and it's definitely got that gross humor factor that boys enjoy.  We just spent a lot of time just reading through the science background before evening choosing any topics to explore.

Squishy Eggs that became "Eggs from Mars" but there are much grosser activities!

January Birthdays
Both the girls had birthdays, turning two and four.  As I mentioned earlier - Eleanor is so smart and inquisitive, and I expect her to really want to dive into school more seriously soon.  She's also bubbly and sassy and loving.  She is a people person, which is a huge contrast to her personality the first year and a half.  She had such extreme stranger anxiety and separation anxiety that she would scream if someone talked to me.  Nursery workers refused to keep her.  She was that kid.  Now she's quite the social butterfly!

Eloise is feisty and fierce, just like Emory, and also like her brother, she's a goofball.  That should be fun.  She takes awhile to warm up to people, but she's also very talkative and her favorite sentences are "I need that!" and "I can't reach it!" because she's always wanting things she doesn't need.  She's quite the busybody, and is the typical toddler tornado - I can't get anything productive done or keep the house clean!

I didn't realize that you can't tell those are "Frozen" cupcakes the husband made.  The girls are all about Let it Go and princess now.  *sigh*  Eloise hasn't quite got the whole puppet show thing down, but Eleanor loves doing an Old MacDonald show with the farm puppets.  Love it!

Homeschool Coffee Break

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  1. Yes, lots of fun during January! Glad you've found a way to make Math work out better for Elliott. Also, I'm cracking up at the Blood-Hungry Spleen! What an entertaining way to learn! Thanks for linking up at Homeschool Highlights.