Homeschool Christmas! 

All of our new curriculum has arrived and as a homeschool mom, this is like Christmas morning! 

Language Arts

STEAM

History and Science

Math

Thinking skills, Geography

I have to say that I am most excited about our Brave Writer journey (but if you’ve read any previous posts you probably already knew that!). 

Are you using anything knew this year? What are you most excited about? 

Summer School

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we will be homeschooling year round.  Our “year” is just about to end and then after a weeklong break, we will start up again.  I’m not a monster though so our summer schedule will be more relaxed and more of the fun stuff.

Here’s what I’m planning and why…

Science: workbook twice weekly, experiment once a week.

*I picked out a Kindergarten workbook because it is between the levels of my 2 girls.  There are 47 “lessons” listed in the workbook but each is a single page and many of them go together easily so I think it will be closer to 20 lessons for us.  During the school year, we do our science at our co-op but that has a very small focus for the year.  We will be doing this brief overview workbook to introduce the girls to more varied science concepts.

Art: twice weekly

*Art is something that I have a hard time organizing or teaching.  The girls have a free range art space where they are welcome to go and create anytime and they use it often.  We also do pinterest crafts fairly regularly but I don’t consider myself very artistic so I haven’t really done any “teaching” as far as technique goes.  We are going to be participating in An Art Habit which is a twice weekly online course put on by Rachelle of Tinkerlab.

Math & Geography: Once a week

First Language Lessons: Twice weekly

*These will just be once and twice a week to keep us on track throughout the rest of the year and so that we have more freedom to take breaks when we want them. I’ll be most flexible with these because I am really just looking to do enough over the summer to give us a head start and keep us from getting rusty.

Jot It Down: daily

*This is going to be our gateway into Brave Writer!  I am so excited to start and I was going over the project ideas with Avery and she is also excited.  I say “daily” but some of those days might just be reading relevant stories or poetry teatime or a quick 5 minute free write.

 

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Our summer “happy place”….we’ll also be taking a 3 week vacation HERE to rest & relax with family!

So what are YOUR summer plans? School wise or vacation??

 

 

 

Electro Dough

We are at that point in the school year where I am cleaning out the curriculum closet to make room for the new stuff.  I’m basically going through everything to see what I still want the girls to finish, what we never used and can sell/trash, and I’m even finding treasures that I had forgotten about.

One of those was the DIY Electro Dough Kit from techwillsaveus.com  I had ordered this at the beginning of last year in our Timberdoodle kit with the idea that the girls could do it with dad (he worked as an apprentice electrician for a number of years and his dad is an electrician).  The major problem with that plan?  I’m not sure I ever told dad about it or I might have mentioned it briefly but then stuck it in the curriculum closet where he never goes!  And here I was, wondering why he never did it with them….whoops!

We finally took it out today and played with it.  We had a ton of fun but the kit is seriously lacking in instruction/explanation.  The kit has the dough recipe and some brief examples of easy circuits you can make to get started.  No explanation of what the parts are or WHY it works so it helped that we had an electrician making with us, lol.  You can go to their website for more advanced projects and the manual which goes more in depth in the terminology and the WHYs.  So it really depends on your own personal knowledge of electricity and circuits as to whether or not you would need the manual—I need it to help me explain why/how you can turn the lights and buzzer on with play dough but dad didn’t need it.

The thing that I really love about this kit is that we can keep it and do this again as much as we like.  At their ages, the girls LOVED the novelty of getting the lights to turn on using play dough but they weren’t totally interested in the concepts behind it.  But as their curiosity grows or if they have a unit on electricity in their next science course, we can pull it back out, make a new batch of dough, and keep playing and learning!

So for now, this will get put back into the curriculum closet and hopefully not forgotten about this time…

Tinkerlab Art Challenge

Tinkerlab recently did a 5 day art start challenge in which we participated. It was free and used mostly we already had around the house.  There was a Facebook group to share, ask questions, etc. But each day, we got an email explaining the setup, materials, daily journal prompts, and extension ideas.

We are crafty people so daily art isn’t that far off of our norm. However, I did get some great new ideas and some guidance in how I can best foster the girls’ creativity. 

We had a blast with this art challenge and the girls loved the surprise every day of seeing what the setup would be.

Day 1 setup.

Avery’s creation with her painted coffee filters…a Hawaiian Hula Girl!

We will definitely be watching for anymore of these organized art challenges but until then, I will pull out my Tinkerlab book and schedule in different setups for the girls on a weekly basis. They love them and it is so easy to get a setup going (way easier than any Pinterest art projects we’ve tried!).

Brave Writer

Any Brave Writer families in here?

Like many homeschool moms, I was recently evaluating the curriculum we used this year and making a plan for what we will use next.  Almost all of the curriculum that we used, “worked” for us this year.  Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something else out there that might work even better. Something that might excite and intrigue us.  There are so many homeschool curriculum options that I just want to explore them all but, nobody’s got time for that.

I consulted the school principal (aka my husband).  I consulted the veteran homeschool moms in our co-op.  For the most part, everyone else said that they would stick with what worked because maybe next year or the year after, it won’t work anymore and that will be the time to find a new and better option.

Wellllll, I’m not taking their advice. I really did want their opinions and I do value them but once I stumbled upon Brave Writer, I just can’t get it out of my head.  Several of the things that we used this year that worked but weren’t anything special were our spelling, writing, and handwriting resources.  All of those can be replaced with Brave Writer.

I’m in LUST with these ideas and lifestyle changes to integrate “curriculum” into life.  I’m trying not to jump in blindly and buy a ton of stuff right off the bat (Hello, I’ve been on amazon finding THE PERFECT tea set for poetry teatime even though we already have a teaset….PUT THE CAR IN PARK, LADY!).  I’m trying to go slow, I’m reading the Writer’s Jungle right now and want to finish that before anything else.

So, are you a Brave Writer family?  Do you follow it all or just pick and choose components?

                   The tea set that I am currently swooning over!

Year-round or summer break?

Do you homeschool year-round or take a summer break?

I think we are going to be year-round homeschoolers. First of all, our summers are routinely 115- 120° so we don’t spend a ton of time outside. If we’re going to be stuck inside, we might as well get some work done, right?  Also, we’ve taken week long breaks several times throughout the year for vacations and we’d like to be able to continue to do so.

I am planning to wind down as Avery finishes each subject and then do a week break & celebration before moving her up to the next grade.  She is the type of person who needs or wants that clear definition of when she is done and moving up. She has already finished her geography book for the year and has about 3-4 weeks left of math and writing.  As she finishes each subject, I’m planning that she will just have less to do each day and focus more on any subjects that remain (we’ve apparently taken several extra weeks off of spelling because she has about 8-10 weeks left of that).  We should be done around the end of May when traditional schools are also letting out.

We’ll take a week off, bake a special year-end cake, and maybe visit an amusement park.  Then we’ll head right into our next year! 

So, how do you do it? Year-round? And if so, do you always just keep rollin’ or do you make a definition between the grades?