Friday, February 13th, 2009


Our son, Christian, is in the fourth grade.  CJ has a dreadful condition.  It’s one that affects many boys… He seems to be allergic to pencils!  Gasp.  Can you imagine such a thing?

Part of the problem is the boy is a perfectionist.  Every bit of his work is incredibly neat.   How wonderful you think?  Not so much.  The boy works so hard to do it all perfectly, he’s pretty much wiped out with hand cramps by the end of a sentence.  This cursive thing is a royal pain, and despite years of saying, “I won’t do it.”  I’m doing it!  I’m switching to Italics and taking Elizabeth (age 7) with us. 

Italics Handwriting

Italics Handwriting

So,  I thought I’d run through what we’re using for the fourth grade this year.

Saxon Math

Saxon Math

 

I know what you’re thinking… Saxon.  BUT, let it be said their homeschooling kits are fantastic.  Everything at ease and honestly, I like it.  I’ve used Rod & Staff for years, but as they do not have upper level mathematics, we have to switch over sometime.  Maybe it’s just my comfort level, the familiarity.  Maybe it’s that I can check Math off my list everyday without effort or thought.  Maybe it’s that I’m simply lazy.  At any rate, Saxon works well for us.  We use Rod & Staff up until we reach 5/4 level.  We started Ana with 6/5, but I really like the additional speed drills, etc.  Yes, I know I can get them from Rod & Staff.  I love Rod & Staff.  But we’re taking Christian to Saxon this year. 

First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer.  Honestly? I can’t say enough good things about the program.  I love it.  I’ve tried a few and this is my favorite.  I wish she made a program that went all the way through middle school.  Love it!

FLL - Level Four

FLL - Level Four

Prima Latina is one of the least painful Latin curriculums we’ve used.  Ana has moved onto Latina Christiana.  We expect to finish up Level 1 yet this year and move onto Level 2.  We did invest in the flash cards.  I’m having them laminated.  Like they’d last as cardboard!  In this house?  The very idea makes me giggle.

Prima Latina

Prima Latina

And, finally, science.  Sigh.  Okay, let it be said that I haven’t yet found a science curriculum I love.  NONE of it just feels right… natural.  But, I do like the Apologia Creation series and I can live with it.  I wanted whichever science program we chose for the younger kids to institute notebooking a la Charlotte Mason, draw the kids in, have hands on experiments, be fairly interesting with great pictures.  Apologia does this.  Now, granted it doesn’t exactly fit in naturally, but we chose Botany as Spring is coming and I think we’ll get the most out of it.  We did own this once and I practically electrocuted myself making the Seed Starter.  Do NOT allow the aluminum foil to get caught up in the light fixture!  OUCH!

Apologia Exploring Creation - Botany

Apologia Exploring Creation - Botany

Most importantly, well beyond the scope of any curriculum, is our philosophy of education.  I believe in challenging my children.  More importantly, I believe they are capable of comprehending things well above and beyond what we think they can.  Kids need time and space to really try their hands at different activities.  Parents should be encouraging their children to find where God has gifted them uniquely.  How has he wired each child?  What is their gift?  How has he made them special?  They need free time.  They need to be doing narrations (putting their thoughts into a logical order and then speaking), they need to be writing and/or journaling, doodling, reading and be read to, asking questions, and being encouraged to seek answers.  They need hands on experiences, and time to build forts, and fresh air to breathe.  They need to have authority, rules, a routine.  They need balance in their little lives.  Curriculum is a very tiny part of what homeschoolers DO.  It is what we can provide that is invaluable.  We offer our children a life of learning, the gift of curiousity, and a true childhood where they have time to play, research, learn, and laugh within the structure and boundaries of a family.

Advertisements

The weather has gone from a high of sixty, to today…  Expected high of 32 degrees.  Oh, yes, and 2-4 inches of snow.  Sigh.  This wouldn’t be so incredibly disappointing except Mark and I were going away!  We were leaving the children with my folks and going to see Tim Hawkins!  Do you know him?  We find him wildly hilarious, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself.   Homeschoolers, beware.  If you can’t laugh at yourself, do not watch his Adams Family parody!  And, yes, he’s  a homeschooler.   Funnier than that is Cletus Take the Reel.  Unfortunately, we’ve found the hard way that unless your family is “redneck” and you know country songs, you won’t find it very funny.  HOWEVER, considering that we meet both of the former criteria, we were laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our cheeks. 

I’ll admit that I absolutely CAN’T wait to see him.  Although, the concept of just getting to spend 15 hours alone with my husband is thrilling!  What will we do?  We’re coming home that night so that we can milk Cinderella in the morning.  A bit of a bummer.  Cinderella however, has amazed us with her drive to be near people.  As a matter of fact, she cleared a 4.5 foot fence yesterday.  How does a goat do that?   It’s amazing.  So, we’re working on a new fence for her this weekend.  She gave a whopping full gallon on Wednesday!  I was so impressed.  It made her prison break a little more bearable. 

Half of our new homeschooling books came yesterday!  WooHoo!  Nothing like opening a huge box of shiny, new books!  What a thrill!

Legend is doing beautifully.  He has had zero accidents so far and Karen tells me that he was not potty trained.  She did tell me to get a large crate, but with a divider to make it smaller. I’m sure that made all the difference.  She sent him home with all sorts of goodies, but his absolute favorite is a little blue fleece blanket, covered in brown puppies, that smells like home.  What a thoughtful gift to give a pup!  He goes to the veterinarian this morning for his physical and to meet her.  We told her we were homeschoolers and that we’re using it as a field trip, so she’s preparing a little package for the kids!  How thoughtful is that? 

So, Ana is absolutely in love.  She is convinced that Legend is the smartest, sweetest, most beautiful puppy in the world.  I’m not sure she’s wrong.  He can sit like a good boy.  He isn’t fearful, jumpy, timid, or hyper.  I think he’s the perfect fit for us.  He just seems to be energetic, friendly, and the perfect velcro pup.

Ana, Dog Whisperer

Ana, Dog Whisperer

Legend loves being near us.  Everywhere we go, he goes.  He especially seems to love Mark.  But Tim loves him best I’m pretty sure.  Legend has not quite figured out steps yet.  And he thinks he’s a big dog.  He tried to convince me yesterday that he doesn’t need to use steps.  He thinks he can just hop on the porch like a big dog.   Maybe someday Legend!  Right now his front half can get up there, but that back half is just weighing him down!

I Think I Can

I Think I Can

And, of course, one step behind,  is Tim.  “Need help Boy?”

Legend will meet Bear this weekend.  Bear is my parents’ dog.  She is an Akita mix and really should have been a lap dog.  She’s getting old, but she’s the sweetest, quietest dog.  And she likes other dogs.  Well, maybe.  Actually we’re not sure Bear likes or dislikes anything.  She’s just okay with everything.  With the exception of her lawn chair, which she loves.  It is really odd to be sitting out at Mom and Dad’s, everyone in a lawn chair around the fire or whatnot, and Bear in her lawn chair. 

I was thinking the other day about how all three of us kids have dogs.  My brother and his wife have two, Baby and Precious.  One is a German Shorthair, the other a Lab.  My sister and her husband have Jeep.  All are spoiled dogs, though well behaved.  Jeep is exceptionally talented.  I, no kidding, watched the dog open his own Christmas presents this year!  I wish I had had it on camera, I would put it on YouTube for all of you.  It was amazing!  Sean (my brother-in-law)  has spent a huge amount of time with Jeep.  Dalmatians aren’t well known for their trainability to say the least.   Sean has apparently deeply influenced Tim.  I found this out yesterday as Tim tried to explain to Legend how to “High Five.”  Hmmmm…  I think “Down” might be easier.

Have a wonderful day!