Monday, September 26, 2016

What we're reading now

We're gearing up for a week of road-schooling, so this is probably the first time I haven't used up all my library hold allowances (our library system lets us put up to 15 books on hold at a time) in a long time. We're reading the rest of what we have checked out to return before our trip; some books and audio books will join us for the journey.

Here are some of the highlights from last week:

If I Ran the Horse Show
I'm glad I bought this book on Amazon instead of borrowing it from the library, because it will take us a while to learn all the horse facts it includes. Oh, how little I knew about horses! There are seven of these Cat In The Hat science books on our bookshelf, and all have been terrific so far. I am using these books as "spines" for A5's kindergarten science plan.


The History of Counting
I heard about this picture book on one of Pam Barnhill's podcasts. It's a great read, and I'm learning alongside the boys. The pages have many words, so even though it's only 45 pages long, I think it will take us two weeks to read it.


BOB Books Set 3
A5 sure does love these easy readers. I plan to continue through all of the sets.


 Count on Math
This math guide for teachers of kids ages 3-7 is one I revisit frequently. I want to get more deliberate with R2's early education as he gets closer to his 3rd birthday. It's good for me to re-read this and plan for R2. The first eight weeks or so for him will be about exploration of materials.

This is My Home, This is My School The hilarious illustrations make this book such a worthwhile read. I think this is a good one to bring out every year as friends go "back to school" to celebrate how our family chooses to educate.

Those are the highlights from last week. More to come!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Reading 2

The kids are tracking as many reading minutes as possible for our library's summer reading program. It's the final week of the program, and our bin full of library books is overflowing. Here's a link to some of what we read last week.

Here are some books we are enjoying this week:

How Do Apples Grow?

On a whim I bought one unit of Deana Jump's Guiding Readers on TPT. We're skipping to the fourth book, How Do Apples Grow?, and will read it as much as he wants before we go apple picking in a couple of weeks.

The Snatchabook

The kids picked this out themselves, and it was an entertaining bedtime read.

School Bugs

Our librarian gave this book to A5 since he is starting kindergarten, and the pop ups really are impressive! Am I the only mom who is scared to buy pop up books? The only one I have is What Makes a Rainbow, but the paper pop-ups don't seem like they'd hold up around R2.

The Green Ember

We're finally starting this book that, it seems, everyone is talking about. I'm reading a chapter at a time to C18 and N18.

Fast-To-The-Freezer Cookbook

I'm re-reading this book of make-ahead meals. This week I have plans to make three of her recipes. I haven't done a freezer cooking session all summer and I'm completely out of freezer meals!

Those are some of our library and Amazon picks for the week. It's almost time for traditional schools to start back in our area, so we'll be adventuring more to our favorite parks and museums as the weather cools and crowds shrink.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Reading

The kids are tracking as many reading minutes as possible for our library's summer reading program. It's awfully hot outside this month, so we're going outside in the morning and evenings. The middle of the day is for playing with wooden trains, painting, and snuggling on the couch for read alouds. Here are some books we are enjoying this week:

You are a Lion And Other Fun Yoga Poses

R2 loves to act out books as we read, and that's encouraged with this beautifully-illustrated book. Easy yoga poses are compared to animals, and I enjoyed participating with the boys as I read aloud. 

Henri's Scissors

This was on my list of books to borrow from the library, but I don't remember where the recommendation came from! The story of Henri Matisse is one I didn't know, and now we are eager to learn more about him. Warning: have scissors and construction paper ready. Kids are sure to be inspired to create their own art after reading this story book. 

Press Here

This one never gets old! This is my new favorite book to give to little kids for their birthday. 

100 Cupboards

The big boys, C18 and N18, are listening to this audiobook and already ordered the next in the series. 
Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bb and Dd reversal

Handwriting without Tears (and All About Spelling) uses strategies to help prevent Bb and add reversals, but A5 still sometimes gets them mixed up. Since he's not yet ready for AAS, we're supplementing our favorite handwriting program with an iPad app called BD Bakeoff. 

Oh is this game fun! 

There is a practice activity where b, d, p and q get put away in their correct kitchen cupboards. 

Then two players can compete to build the best looking cake by tapping the correct letter (choose b, p, d and q) and the fast pace makes for great drilling. 

Two kids focusing on different letters can till compete, choosing their own letter or "cake."

The sound effects are slightly annoying now, but not to A5. He finds the bakers comments hilarious. And he's improved the Dd/Bb reversal in a short amount of time. 

Search for BD Bakeoff By Teacher Tipster in the App Store. These strategies from All About Spelling can also help. His big brothers use AAS. Even though A5 isn't ready to begin All About Spelling level one, their website is a terrific resource for free articles and ideas about common spelling and reading struggles. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

High school math OnTheRoad

C18 uses Math-U-See for Algebra2, but when we go on a road trip, he takes a break from Steve Demme's videos and workbook, and instead uses his free Khan Academy account to watch videos and do online math exercises.

Our road trips are usually 2-4 weeks in length. Homeschool continues on the road, though most subjects, like math, happen differently.

With four kids in the van, every cubic inch of space counts. Our family is more comfortable along the ride if we minimize the stuff we bring, so even three math books and a DVD usually get left at home. His iPad and my wireless hot spot are already coming with, so C17 doesn't need any extra supplies for math. 

For about 45-60 minutes each day of roadschooling, usually on a boring stretch of highway, he can get in some math practice and pick up where he left off with Math-U-See when we return home.

Last Fall he was still wrapping up Algebra 1 when the school year began, so he needed a new plan to cram Geometry into three months. In order to be ready for the SAT on May 4, we agreed he must begin Algebra 2 the first of January. With no time to waste, he used Khan Academy to complete Geometry, and I only added two "math lab" sessions at the kitchen table each week.

Our most recent week-long road schooling session was in DC, and he spent most of the van ride each way and the little kids' nap time each day to watch Geometry videos and answer online math problems on Khan Academy.

For our next road trip, he'll simply take a Math-U-See break and schedule 45-60 minutes each day on the road to continue reviewing Algebra 1 and 2 skills online. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Planning for a new TOG unit (Year 4 Unit 3)

We are wrapping up week 18 and I'm still trying to carve out quiet blocks of time for planning. Each unit of Tapestry of Grace gets easier to prepare, now that we have completed Year 1 (Ancient Times), Year 2 (Middle Ages), Year 3 (the 1800's) and soon the first half of Year 4 (1900-today). 

I'll post more about how I plan a unit of TOG later, but for now, here's my favorite way to print the Teacher's Guide. Since I also use my iPad to view Teacher's Notes each week, I only print the "Threads" pages and Reading Assignments pages. I print two pages on each sheet of paper and staple each Week separately. In this photograph I'm just getting started, highlighting items and making notes (about ways to involve A5 and R2, field trip ideas, resources that can be added).  

Tapestry of Grace, self-described as an educational "buffet," can seem daunting, with thorough Teacher's Notes and assignment suggestions for all four learning levels. I'm glad to discover this curriculum as a digital edition, without those 4" binders I've seen other moms use! Printing just the "threads" and reading assignment pages, and viewing the rest online or on the iPad, makes planning a little easier for me.