Monday, September 23, 2013

Map time

One on the fun things about homeschooling is all of the neat stuff you get to learn. Geography has never been a strong suit of mine. So I've decided to introduce it to my kids at an early age in hope of instilling a  knowledge of different countries and cultures. As an added bonus, I'm hoping for an improvement in my since of direction in the process!

One of the best bargains I have found was this world map at Wal-Mart.  I purchased it a while back, but finally got around to hanging it up this fall. If  I remember correctly, is was less than $5. A great price considering it's size and up to date information.

Did you know that in 2000 scientist named a new ocean? It was always there, but a bunch of smart people got together and named it, and poof, we have a new ocean for my kids to learn. If you can name what and where it is, you'll be as smart as my first grader :) For the answer you can click here.  See you learn cool stuff in home school!

The first day I had the map up Josiah goes over to explore it and responds,
"Look mom, Madagascar!"

 I call map time and send the kids climbing on the couch to find a place we're studying.

Eden finds Egypt!

and North Carolina.

So far it's been a big hit. The kids have enjoyed finding places. Eden has learned all of her continents and oceans. My since of direction is no better, but it's still the beginning of the year. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ancient Egypt

The first three weeks of our history curriculum focused on Ancient Egypt. I've been able to find lots of hands on projects to help the kids enjoy learning about this time frame. 

I let the kids wrap up each other like mummies

 We built pyramids with mini marshmallows and toothpicks.
 Josiah ate as much as he built.
Savannah joined us

Eden thinking about how to construct her pyramid

I just love the look on Josiah's face. 
I wonder what he's thinking???

 Still building
 Still eating :)

Titus wakes up from his nap ( that would explain his hair)
  and decides pyramids look yummy.

Out of focus, but oh so cute!

We made a salt dough maps of Egypt that I let the kids paint.

They love anything to do with paint.
The toothpicks hold the place for the cities to be mapped.

Eden also completed a lapbook on Egypt.
I'm sure there will be a blog post on those in the future as well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum Choices

After months of research, reading books like A Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer, and  looking over countless blogs and online articles, we decided to follow a classical model of education for our kids. Eden is a first grader, so this was the perfect time to start. As you can assume every year has math, and grammar that build with difficulty. In addition, this year we will study Ancient History and Biology. Eden will get an introduction to Biology through the lens of history, her grammar is also integrated into history lessons. Eden will attempt to memorize basic information that she will then repeat and study more in depth in 5th and 9th grades.

I appreciate this model for so many reasons. As the years progress in school, my children's education will build upon itself. It's logical, and repetitive so the kids can continue to built their knowledge through the years. Its also freeing for me, If they don't get a concept at this point, it will be repeated in more depth in the future. I know what I will be teaching all my children for the next 16 or so years. One of the other major benefits in choosing the curriculum I did is that Josiah and Titus will be able to join along when they enter school. We will be able to maintain the cycle patterns at a level that will include them. So I only have to teach one subject at a time, just at different levels to all of my children.

 This is an outline of our history and science from a Well Trained Mind:

 History                                                Science                                                  Grade
Ancients                                            Biology                                               1,5,9
Medieval  - Early Renaissance         Earth Science/ Astronomy                  2,6,10
Late Renaissance -  Early Modern   Chemistry                                           3,7,11
Modern                                             Physics                                               4,8,12

Tapestry of Grace is the foundation of our curriculum. It is our history, grammar, geography, and when our children are older, government, philosophy, and church history. It is Christian curriculum which was also a major component to why I choose Tapestry of Grace.

Tapestry is a huge program that can be quite intimidating to begin. One article I read said it's like going to an all you can eat buffet of curriculum. While the information is vast, you can do as little or as much as you would like. It is literature based, meaning you study your topics through different authors and perspectives from period pieces to fiction covering the topic at hand. It also has lots of hands on activities for the younger students.

So far we have completed 4 weeks. I have mixes feeling. I think the curriculum is great, however some of the material was a little to mature for Eden. But the benefit to this program is that I wan able to choose just what I would and wouldn't introduce to her and when I felt it was to much, I was able to back off.

Grammar and Reading
Before I purchased Tapestry, I purchased 1st Language Lesson and Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I have continued to use both with success with Eden. I plan to continue with each as I feel they are giving a good foundation to reading and grammar. I like these much better than I did the previous curriculum we used.

We are using Singapore Math. I am still undecided about it. There are things I like about it, and things that seem to be more complex than what I think a 1st grader should be able to accomplish.  However, Eden is strong in math and I have enjoyed watching her as she figures out problems in her head. We have almost completed the first workbook. At this pace she will complete both books in the early spring. At that point I will consider continuing with Singapore or moving to a different curriculum.

Apologia is awesome! I can't say enough good about this curriculum. I love the textbook and the Jr. workbook. The textbook is written to kids from a Christian perspective. It weaves scripture and logic into scientific information that explains in our case, biology. There are lots of great experiments and hand-on activities that help make learning fun.

I have another blog post planned for our Bible Curriculum. I hope to post that soon. We have just started Long Story Short. So far, we like it.

The Well Planned Day
This is my sanity keeper. I love this planner. It has helped me stay organized and keep accurate records of Eden's schooling.