Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Money + Power + Control = Common Core

I think everyone in America needs to see this 39-minute documentary on Common Core, whether or not you have children.  Why?  Because it details what Common Core will eventually cause - a dumbing-down of America, more than we even have now.  Common Core will squash the passions, creativity and talents of every child to make them robots of the system, which is based on what someone else thinks that is best for YOUR child(ren).  Think communism.  Money can always seem to sneak things like this in and erase any dissenters.  Money + Power + Control = Common Core

Here is the trailer:

Here is the full documentary:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Homeschooling Isn't Just for the Child

You would think that I would know that Africa was a continent, how to treat titles of certain works in writing and the order of history, since I was on the principal's honor roll and even took honors classes in high school, but I didn't.  I find that homeschooling just isn't for my child(ren), it is also for ME!  My husband finds it humorous that up until I taught the continents in Kindergarten, I didn't know that one of them was Africa because I thought Africa was a country.  Up until today, I didn't know the reason why some titles are italicized, whereas others are underlined and then even others are put in quotation marks.  I learned that today in my daughter's grammar curriculum, which has been a real eye-opener for this "smart" mom.

Learning history in public school is atrocious, as a slew of facts and events are thrown at you in no particular order.  It is no wonder why I didn't 'get' history as a whole until I started teaching history in chronological order.  It is amazing how much better you understand the world and society when you learn history from the beginning to the current.  WHY does the public school system teach history in a way that leaves us clueless and unable to learn from history?  That is another conspiratorial blog post waiting to happen.

This isn't something that I just realized, I actually realized that homeschooling was more for me the first week I started homeschooling.  I have so many gaps in my public and private school education that I think it was needful in my own life!  I can't tell you how incredible it feels to be in my 5th year of this journey and what it has done for my life, even my spiritual life as we have been able to connect history with the bible.

So moms, when you think it is just too hard or you would rather be shopping - realize that this isn't just for your children, it may just be what you need!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

4th Grade History and Literature Read-Aloud List

We are still in Story of the World 3, so our list of read-alouds will be from history and literature during that period, so in a way, this a continuation of our 3rd grade read-alouds list here.

  1. To Swim In Our Pond - Vietnamese proverbs
  2. South Korea - True books
  3. North Korea - True books
  4. Far Beyond the Garden Gate - Brown
  5. Beijing - Platt
  6. All the Way to Lhasa - Berger

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Plans for This New Year

I've posted that we did a January start this year for 4th grade mainly because I took a LOT of time off for my pregnancy and the new baby last year.  Looking over our new schedule of doing school 5-days a week (before we only did 3-4 days a week), it will have us finishing a lot of 4th grade subjects before summer, that is even with breaks!  So what I'm planning on doing this year is going ahead and diving right into the next curriculum in whatever subject it is that we finish.

That means that this year of 2014 will actually be our 4th grade and 5th grade year but 5th grade will continue over into next year as well.  So I'm starting the planning for 5th grade materials and will purchase them probably next month or so to have on hand because some subjects will be complete in April and we will need the next level.

Things like history and science, which are we are not on schedule with, will help us get back on schedule by the end of this year, starting in January the history and science for 5th grade.

However........there could be some very big changes for our family this year and we don't know when they could happen but if they do, that changes everything!  That is one reason why I've decided to redeem the time the next few months and school every weekday to really get a lot done in the case that we may need a month or so off to adjust to some new changes. 

Those are my plans for this uncertain year - forge ahead until the detour comes up!

What People Think About Homeschooling

Monday, December 30, 2013

4th Grade Evening "Fun" Book List

Katie will be reading for 1 hour every evening and there will be no narrations for these books.  These are called "fun" books because they are at or below her reading level.

*I haven't finished compiling this list yet, just putting ones on here that I know I want her to read.

  1. The Family Under the Bridge
  2. The Moffats
  3. Matilda
  4. Mr. Popper's Penquins
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  6. Charlotte's Web
  7. Winnie the Pooh
  8. The Giving Tree

She will also choose her own from the library throughout the year.

*Possibly as a Family - The Chronicles of Narnia

Completed 3rd Grade Reading List

Here are the books that Katie read this past year for 3rd grade and also the read-alouds we read to her.

You will notice the fun book list is small this year because I lost track of what she was reading while taking care of my new baby and we also read a lot more read-alouds this year and that took some of her evening reading time.

Morning/Challenging book list
  1. Robinson Crusoe - Dover Children's Classics
  2. Gulliver's Travels - Stepping Stone
  3. Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pilgrims
  4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Stepping Stone
  5. Les Miserables - Stepping Stone
  6. The Three Musketeers - Stepping Stone  
  7. Pied Piper of Hamelin - Browning
  8. Grimm's Fairy Tales - Classic Starts
  9. Little Pilgrim's Progress - Taylor
  10. Great Expectations - Stepping Stone
  11. Oliver Twist - Stepping Stone series
  12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Stepping Stone
  13. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Stepping Stone
  14. A Christmas Carol - Dickens (abridged by French)
  15. Alice in Wonderland - Carroll - Classic Starts
  16. The Last of the Mohicans - Classic Starts
  17. Moby Dick - Classic Starts
  18. East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Norwegian Folk Tales) - Asbjørnsen
Evening/Fun Book List
  1. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  2. Pocahontas - Rookie Biography
  3. Thanksgiving on Thursday - Magic Tree House
  4. Bunnicula
  5. Man in the Iron Mask
History/Literature Parent Read-Aloud Book List
  1. The Sad Night - Mathews
  2. Lost Treasure of the Inca - Lourie (just skimmed photos)
  3. Usborne Book of Treasure Hunting - pg. 60-61
  4. The Legend of El Dorado - Vidal/Laan
  5. Always Room for One More - Leodhas
  6. Katje the Windmill Cat - Woelfle
  7. Don Quixote and the Windmills - Kimmel
  8. The Flying Canoe; A Christmas Story - Kimmel
  9. Three Samurai Cats - Kimmel
  10. Japan ABCs - Heiman
  11. Our Colonial Year - Harness
  12. Colonial Crafts - Kalman
  13. An Early American Christmas - dePaola
  14. The First Thanksgiving - Whitehurst
  15. Sarah Morton's Day - Waters
  16. In the Time of Drums - Siegelson
  17. Little Mouse and Elephant - Yolen
  18. Turkey - O'Shea
  19. The Boy of the Three-Year Nap - Snyder
  20. Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain - Ray
  21. Liang and the Magic Paintbrush - Demi
  22. Rapunzel - Zelinsky
  23. Ancient China - DK
  24. The Hero of Bremen - Hodges
  25. The Paper Dragon - Davol
  26. Taj Mahal - Mann
  27. The Cat Who Walked Across France - Banks
  28. Look What Came From France - Harvey
  29. Crepes by Suzette - Wellington
  30. The King's Day : Louis XIV of France - Aliki
  31. Seven at One Blow: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm -  Kimmel
  32. The Wampanoags - True Book
  33. The Iroquois - True Book
  34. The Story of William Penn - Aliki
  35. Colonial Home - Kalman
  36. Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion - Gianopoulos
  37. Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment - Macdonald
  38. Farm: Eyewitness book
  39. A Farm Through Time - Wickes
  40. India - True book
  41. Welcome to Russia - Schemenauer
  42. Russia: Eyewitness book
  43. The Language of Birds - Martin
  44. Lives of the Pirates - Krull (only read story on Barbarossa Brothers)
  45. A Weave of Words: An Armenian Tale - San Souci
  46. The Fool of the World and The Flying Ship: A Russian Tale - Ransome
  47. The Contest - Hogrogian

4th Grade Subjects Schedule & School Times

The Well Trained Mind gives an average time of 5 hours and 45 minutes for 4th grade.  So I decided to do an estimated time that it will take to do each subject and then a total time of schooling everyday - this includes reading, which for 4th grade is 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes)With reading it is a total of 6 hours and 5 minutes and without counting reading time, it is 4 hours and 20 minutes.  I'm not counting art, music and home economics because we only will be doing those once a week, maybe even on the weekend.  So we are pretty much on target!

*I'm trying out doing history AND science every day this year to "catch" up and be on track for 5th grade with the WTM recommendations.

Estimated Times per Subject per day
Bible - 15m
Reading - 45m morning/60m evening = 105m
Spelling - 60m
Grammar - 20m
Writing - 15m
Latin - 30m
Math - 40m
History - 40m
Science - 40m
Art - 60m
Music study - 60m
Home Economics - 60m
Here is my schedule as it is right now, it will probably change as we start and get adjusted and find out what works best for us.
 We are doing school 5 days a week and doing all subjects every day with the exclusion of art, music and home economics, which are done once a week.  Spelling is going to be a tricky one because we are trying to stay on track with Spelling Workout but also aim to finish all of the All About Spelling levels this year.  I'm not sure yet if I will alternate days or books.

  • Bible - together for 15 minutes
  • Reading - Katie reads independently for 45 minutes while I feed the baby, make breakfast, chores, etc.
  • *If it is NOT Zach's naptime - Katie does 40 minutes of math independently with the video teacher
  • *If it IS Zach's naptime - We do language arts for about 1 1/2 hours (spelling, grammar and writing)
  • Latin - Katie does Latin independently for 30 minutes
  • *During Zach's afternoon 2-hour nap - history and science
  • Katie reads for 1 hour in the evening after dinner

4th Grade Curriculum Index of Posts

Here is an index of what we are using for 4th grade.  I haven't added in a new science post because we are still fairly at the beginning of this past year's chemistry since we changed curriculum in the middle.  We may finish it by summer and then I will update a new post with what we will be using for physics.

4th Grade Math

Math is Katie's strongest and favorite subject and we love Saxon!  However, she wanted more math, so we started adding in some more with Life of Fred books and they are fulfilling her desire.  This year we are using Saxon Teacher video lessons.

Saxon 5/4

Life of Fred Elementary

4th Grade History and Geography

We are finishing up Story of the World 3 and continuing on with book 4 towards the end of the year.  We will also be doing state history this year for about 3 weeks.  In addition to memory work for history, Katie will be memorizing the 50 states and their capitals. 

We also purchased several games to go along with our studies this year!


4th Grade Art, Music and Home Economics

Art is sorely neglected but I want to actually do the curriculum this year.  Katie does do art, she does do coloring, painting and crafts but we don't do art study and learn new things, so this is the year to add that back in.

Art - Artistic Pursuits Book 1 and 2

Music - Story of the Orchestra, Great Composers Book 1 and Beethoven Who

Home Economics - Pearables Home Economics 

4th Grade Foreign Language - Latin

We are finishing up Prima Latina this year and starting Latina Christiana I both with the DVD teacher.

4th Grade Language Arts - Spelling, Grammar, Writing and Reading

3rd grade was a hard year adjusting to a newborn and we barely finished the basics, so we have a lot of things to finish in other subjects.  We also had to take some time off of writing because Katie was really struggling with dictation.  Some guidance I got was to go back to the Writing With Ease Level 2 book.  However, upon listening to Susan Wise Bauer in 2 videos she posted about dictation, I realized I was expecting too much for dictation.  You can give it one sentence at a time, you are just trying to stretch the child's memory capacity to see how much they can hold.  Katie can hold 12-15 words easily in her mind and then write them down, which is about 2 sentences.  So we are going to go ahead and do Writing With Ease Level 3 this year.

Reading - Morning Independent reading list and Evening Hour reading list, along with our history read-a-loud list as well.

Spelling - we will be finishing up the All About Spelling this year with levels 4, 5 and 6 and Spelling Workout D and E.  This will be the last year of AAS and we will continue on with SWO through to 7th grade.

Grammar - First Language Lessons Level 4

Writing - Writing With Ease Level 3

4th Grade Morning Independent Reading Book List

Katie will be reading from a list of classics in the morning for 45 minutes.  Upon completion of each book, she will do a full page of narration on the book.

  1. A Child's Garden of Verses - Stevenson 
  2. Kidnapped - Stepping Stone series
  3. Treasure Island - Audio by Jim Weiss
  4. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Stepping Stone series
  5. Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes - Stepping Stone series
  6. Heidi - Spyri
  7. Pinocchio - Classic Starts 
  8. War of the Worlds - Stepping Stone series
  9. The Time Machine - Classic Starts 
  10. Little Women - Stepping Stone series
  11. Little Men - Classic Starts
  12. Blue, Orange or Lilac Fairy Books - Lang 
  13. Secret Garden - Audio 
  14. The Little Princess - Audio 
  15. The Wind in the Willows - Grahame 
  16. Peter Pan - Classic Starts 
  17. How the Camel Got His Hump - Kipling 
  18. The Jungle Book - Stepping Stone series 
  19. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - Kipling 
  20. Just So Stories - Kipling; Audio 
  21. Laura Ingalls Wilder - all the novels
  22. Beatrix Potter Tales
  23. Walter de la Mare - poems 
  24. Poetry for Young People - Sandberg 
  25. You Read To Me, I'll Read To You - Ciardi
  26. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - Eliot 
  27. Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre - Ross
  28. Jane Eyre -Stepping Stone series
  29. Frankenstein - Stepping Stone series
  30. Phantom of the Opera - Stepping Stone series

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Free Printable Homeschool Yearly Goal Sheet

I'm working on the upcoming new year for us and designed this today, feel free to use for personal use.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ending Our School Year

We have just 5 more days of school and we are done with this school year!  It has been a year full of obstacles but we made it through and we are anxious to start our break.  After this next week, we will be off for 6 weeks and then we will start our new school year on January 6th. 

I plan on doing a lot during these 6 weeks off - planning for the next school year, decluttering my house and storage, organizing, cooking and just plain ole' anything I want!!  I hope to blog more during this off time and share what we will be doing new this next grade.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Look Around....

Loved this post about homeschooling, here are some quotes:
So I’ll send my child to public school during her formative years, watch as her attention starved peers attempt to tear her to emotional shreds for the next decade, and then, at the end of it all, she’ll be “socialized”? Really?
What’s next? Should I soak in a tub full of sewage and hepatitis for the sake of “health and hygiene”? Thanks, but I’ll pass, on both counts.
“Oh, but you don’t want to be too protective of your kids,” I’m told. “You don’t want to shield them.”
Yes. Yes I do. That’s my job. I will shield them and I will protect them, because they are my children and that’s why I’m here. Again, I understand that not everyone can home school, but it’s truly insane, and dangerous, and appalling to pretend that a child benefits from the sort of bullying and social torment that is rampant in modern public schools.
Good Lord, look around you. Are you surrounded by well adjusted, mature, “sociable” individuals?
Where are they? Where are these “socialized” people I hear about so often? I don’t see many of them, but I do see a lot of narcissists, and substance abusers, and people on psychotropic medication, and people who have never been in a healthy relationship in their entire lives. I see a lot of dependency and insecurity. I see a lot of desperation and confusion.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Homeschooling With a Crawling Baby

We learned to homeschool during nap times but since my soon-to-be 10-month old is napping less now, we have had issues with homeschooling while he is awake.  We can put him in the pack n' play but it only lasts so long because it is such a small space.  We can also put him in his room with the gate at the door, but we have to check him a lot to make sure he isn't chewing the diapers (which he has done) or getting something else that we didn't think he would get into.

So, I needed a solution - some way to keep him in the homeschool room with us, but without access to the bookshelves.  There are too many openings between the kitchen and the living room, so gates wouldn't work and then I came across the SuperYard XT!  I had only seen pictures of it in an octagon shape but then I came across another mom who used it as a rectangle near her dining table.  AHA!  We got it today and even though it isn't secured on the ends, I think it will hold up to keep him in this space by the table while we school.  I do plan on taking down those posters and tacks on the wall.  It also folds up nicely and is portable.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Little Pilgrim's Progress

My daughter finished reading Helen Taylor's Little Pilgrim Progress and she loved it!  It is a simpler version of John Bunyan's classic, Pilgrim's Progress, written for children 8-12 years of age.  The first half of the book deals with a boy named Christian and the rest of the book is about Christiana's journey.  Katie was so excited as she read through the book and most of the time, she didn't stop after her 30-minute assigned reading but begged to read "just one more chapter!"  She was also able to understand the allegories and it opened up deep conversations about the Christian walk and living for God.

We also got Little Pilgrim's Progress Adventure Guide by Deanna Conrad, a homeschool mom, and it helped with discussion about the book.  It included scripture to look up for each section to bring out the allegory even more with God's Word.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Foundation of Latin = World of Possibilities

"In one century, we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college." ~ Joseph Sobran  

I've received a lot of scoffs since my daughter started taking Latin last year.  The normal response is why learn a dead language?  When I would try to explain why Latin is important and that English was based on it (80%), I still can't seem to convince some people that it is a worthy endeavor.

The path we are doing with our program is taking Latin for 10 years and at that time Katie will have reached scholar-level in Latin.  However, it doesn't stop there, there is a greater purpose for this FOUNDATION.  Not only will Katie have a full understanding of Latin, but she will also be able to learn many other languages easily because they are 90-95% based on Latin, such as: French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian and even Russian will be easier to learn.

There are endless possibilities when you have a Latin-scholar - multilingualism is an asset, not only in our world, but also for the cause of Christ!  I plan on also teaching my son in this path and who knows, maybe he will be able to be used by God to preach in many languages and countries!  I'd say that is a worthy endeavor!

Why Study Latin
10 Reasons for Latin - Part 1
10 Reasons for Latin - Part 2

Sunday, August 25, 2013

4th Grade Bible Curriculum

*This is the start of many posts to come on what we will be using for 4th grade.  I plan on doing an index of posts at the end, so you can easily find each subject.

We are going to continue using Memoria Press Christian Studies for our bible curriculum, along with the KJV bible.  I think that this curriculum is the best that I've come across for grades 3-7.  It is intended to use along with The Golden Children's Bible but since Katie finished reading all of that in 2nd grade, we use the KJV as our text now.  Katie is also memorizing all the books of the Bible and what category they fall under and she is learning the timeline of the bible as we go.  She also does maps of the Bible times and takes a test after every 5 lessons.  It really is increasing her knowledge of the Bible in a thorough way with the maps and memory work.

We will be finishing up Christian Studies 2 in 4th grade and also plan to start an in-depth study on the feasts and festivals of the bible using A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals by Susan Mortimer.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science

We got Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science experiment kit for when we start physics next year, but Katie just couldn't wait until then to explore magnets! 

I would recommend this kit because it is very good quality and definitely not like some that are cheap and fall apart and don't have good, thick magnets in them.  I can see this lasting for many years and for Zach when he is old enough to use them and any future children.  Katie spent about an hour exploring and reading through and doing some of the experiments and games in the book provided.  You do need some extra materials that aren't included in this kit for some of the experiments.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finishing Up 3rd Grade Plans

We won't be starting 4th grade until January as I laid out in this post, Homeschooling With a January Start.  We are finishing up some 3rd grade materials and then going ahead into the next level before our "official" start because Katie is ahead in some things and other things she needs more practice.  One of these she needs more practice on is dictation, so thanks to advice from Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum advisors for Writing With Ease, Katie needed to go back through WWE 2.  They stated that if the child can not get the dictation after just 2 recitations - you need to stop and go back until they can.  I know several that just forge on ahead and they find themselves ignoring the rules and their child hits a wall around 5th grade.  Even Susan Wise Bauer's own son, Dan who was 13 at the time, had to go back to WWE 4 because he also struggled with dictation.  Katie also had some issues with spelling but is advancing with All About Spelling (AAS) and we really love this curriculum!  She also does Spelling Workout (SWO) on the side as extra practice but the meat of our spelling program is in AAS.

Katie is very strong in math and science, and we do hope to advance further ahead and eventually and even skip a level if need be to feed her love of math.  With science, I needed something more scheduled, so we recently switched over to Elemental Science's Chemistry and it is a good fit for us but we won't finish it until next summer most likely but that is OK because science (and history) are content areas.

Here is what we have left and what we plan on starting early for 4th grade and when we will complete what.  We have 15 weeks left of schooling until Thanksgiving and we don't plan on taking any weeks off, so that we can take off from Thanksgiving until January 6th.

Christian Studies 1 - finish September 20th
Christian Studies 2 - start September 23rd

Prima Latina - finish by Thanksgiving
Christiana I - start January 6th

First Language Lessons 3 - finish by Thanksgiving
First Language Lessons 4 - start January 6th

Writing With Ease 2 - finish by Thanksgiving
Writing With Ease 3 - start January 6th

Saxon Math 3 - finish October 18th
Saxon Math 5/4 - start October 21st

*At this rate we are moving through Math since it is Katie's strongest subject and if all goes according to plan, she will start Algebra 1 in 6th grade - finishing up high school math with Advanced Mathematics by 8th or 9th grade and able to go on to the higher maths for her high school years in Calculus, Physics & Trigonometry if she chooses, but I will probably hire a tutor lol.

All About Spelling 3 - finish September 13th
All About Spelling 4 - start September 16 & finish January 24th
Spelling Workout D - start August 19th & finish January 24th

*You can see with spelling that we will finish AAS 3 & 4 mainly in "3rd grade" and then finish AAS 5 & 6 in "4th grade."  We will also finish SWO D in 3rd and E and F in 4th.  Giving us only SWO from 5th grade on because we will have completed all levels of AAS by the end of 4th grade.  So less time in spelling comes in 5th grade!

History & Science
*We aren't really concerned when we finish these because we like spending more time than just a year in Story of the World and we love doing science kits, etc..  However, for planning purposes, I went ahead and gave an estimated time of completion but we have a lot of detours due to interest in a certain topic or time period almost always!

Story of the World 3 - finish March 21st
Story of the World 4 - start March 24th
Elemental Science Chemistry - finish May 9th
Elemental Science Physics - start May 12th

There is my plan and how everything is flowing currently.  I like to do this every so often to gauge our progress in various areas.  I do plan on doing a 4th grade curriculum post to show you what we are using for the next levels in all subjects.