Saturday, June 04, 2005

midnight ramblings...

I have been in heavy reading and researching mode lately. ALOT. Mostly internet discussion boards and groups and blogs of other homeschoolers. I have been looking up books on Amazon and reading reviews and excerpts and ordering a few things (and wishing I had a coupla hundred more bucks to spend on books for the kiddos). From all of this I am evolving in my thinking about our homeschooling plan. Sure, I know, I posted awhile back that I kinda thought I had it all worked out, but that was then...I've learned so can't hold me to it!
I am leaning towards really relaxing our homeschool. Especially for Superboy. Not to the point of total unschooling, but to a point closely related to that. And I am not sure that relaxed is the proper term for it either. It's more like, "funschool"? Let me see if I can describe it.
I have the "Story of the World"(Vol 1 ancient times) on CD. I like the idea of Superboy listening to his history-more fun. Along with that I am supplementing alot of high interest books including non-fiction, historical fiction and literature of the time periods. We will cover alot of history but really delve deeply into Ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India, and Rome. We will dig a little less deeply into the ancient cultures of the Americas and Africa this year. I got a bunch of activity and art type-resources (we will definitely get crafty this year!) as well as finding plenty of internet sites to peruse. Plus I mentioned before we have a gorgeous timeline book to keep it all in perspective. So, history is really more project-based, I guess.
Ok, sounds fun so far.
Science. As soon as Superboy gets back from vacation (Man, I miss that kid!) I am going to ask him to choose about 6 areas of science that interest him and he would like to learn more about. Then I will set out to find hands-on ways to learn it, supplemented by library resources. They have many more science books than I could ever afford. We like to get huge stacks of them.I also think he might enjoy tagging along with Modgirl in her science studies, of course at his level. But we will be certain to do nature study this year. Despite my best intentions it got pushed by the wayside this past year and I cannot let that happen again. Especially considering the following quote:

(said while Superboy and Mom sit in lawn chairs drawing a tree stump)
Superboy: "Mom, this is what I love about homeschooling. I can just sit out here and enjoy this beautiful nature. I am so lucky."
Mom: "Yea, me too."
So, I could kick myself a million times for not making sure we set aside time for nature study. Rest assured it will be priority one from now on.

Math. Superboy's nemesis. Doesn't have to be this way. There is some math he loves-the Marcy Cook stuff. I need to stick with that. We will also be doing some reading about math. I got The Man who Counted and it is awesome. He will love it. Also Penrose the mathematical Cat, and The Number Devil. I think we will still do the DK math workbook to keep his skills sharp, but we will drop the other and just do more math games and problem solving. I have on my wish list(hint, hint...) some books by Marilyn Burns and others that should do the trick. Perhaps in 6th grade we will work in the Keys to fractions and Keys to decimals. They are so straightforward I think he will like them.

Language arts. This has been a tough (gut-wrenching, really) decision for me, but I think we will drop both the spelling and the grammar workbooks for next year. We will focus on writing and address spelling and grammar within that context as it comes up. We will write from the content areas and in response to his literature selections. Every writing assignmet that he has enjoyed has been done this way. If it works, why not use it. I intend to make use of the Bravewriter website, list and tips for writing as well. I'd love to have the book, The Writer's Jungle, but I can't handle the $70.00 tag right now.

Geography and map skills we are keeping as is. He likes them so...

In conclusion, I want to share what I wrote and taped to my computer monitor as my mantra for the upcoming school year.
"Hands-On", or Hands Off!

I will save my ramblings regarding plans for Modgirl's education for my next post.


barb said...

Ok Theresa,

I am having wayyyy too much fun reading your blog this morning and posting comments even on a few of your older posts lol.

My son Josh (who is 11) and I also do an eclectic mixture of "unschooling" and structure. It seems to work for us.

We also include tv programs and videos that go along with whatever we are studying whether it's math, science history etc. He is very much an auditory learner. I also love to use picture books in our studies. You'd be amazed by the wealth of information in them and you can find them on just about any topic.

I really like your idea about letting your son choose various topics in science. You've given me a good idea here. Thanks.

My son is obsessed with birding lately so our nature studies tend to focus on that lol. We follow some of Charlotte Mason's ideas, use a little of the AO curriculum and then follow our own hearts. Nature study is one of our favorites.

Math is also our nemsis. I too like to read fiction books etc with a math theme with him. Which books of Marilyn Burns are you looking for? I have both her Collection of Math Lessons for Grades 1-3 and 3-6 that you'd be more than welcome to have if you want them.

I love Julie's Bravewriter blog and yahoo group. I was so lucky to be a brave mom and be the first to post back that I ended up winning her book for free. It is fantastic! We also used her Arrow subscription and had a great time with that. I am thinking of having my son do her Kidswrite Basic course hopefully sometime next year.

I absolutely loved your mantra!

Nice visiting with you.

Theresa said...

I am enjoying yours as well. The Marilyn Burns books I bought are "The Book of Think," ""Math for Smarty Pants " and " The I Hate Math Book." So far I've perused the first two and they are great. The last hasn't come in the mail yet. I've also ordered the book "Arithmatricks" which sounded neat. I'm also going to do the Tops science "Get a Grip" math lab with superboy. I think we will have fun.