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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Transition Day 4

Honestly, I don't feel like I'm handling this change very well.  We still haven't picked back up all our subjects.  I've just made sure that we have completed our math and we're still working on Lil Bit's project for her brothers. We finally got our letter draft done, along with all three pictures.

We're only on day 4 of cursive and she is doing so well with it.  She is left-handed and has some evidence of it in her print, but her handwriting is so much cleaner.

Here she is reviewing letters we've already learned.  We take on M, N, O, and P today.

We also have been trying to build an art lesson out of her pictures for her brothers.  We worked on forming larger shapes out of simple shapes.  The body of the soccer player is a circle, triangle, and circle.

Here's Tiff's finished project...

Then we used Illustration School: Let's Draw Cute Animals by Sachiko Umoto to draw a panda for her youngest brother.  She originally wanted to do an elephant, looked at the steps and got a little overwhelmed. Oh well...project for another day!

Here's the finished picture of the panda...

Today we jump into square roots, do the final draft of her letter, and learn four more letters in our handwriting lesson.  Guess it's time to get a jump on it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Transition Day 1

Ok, so we are undoing all that we have done for the past year.

We're giving our homeschool schedule, method, and just about everything a new look.

Since I don't have everything in place, but don't want to wait any longer to move ahead, we had a very lackadaisical day.

I did take us to the library to try and keep us on point and give me the opportunity to gather materials.

We did our math lesson and then busted out our first cursive lesson!

I had some dry erase books that I purchased years ago that were perfect for her to practice.  Plus I didn't have to print anything out!!!  Bonus!

Lately Lil Bit has been missing her half-brothers [that live with her dad], so we decided to incorporate them into our daily work.  For Language Arts, she is writing them a letter.  We are going to work on our form, grammar, and content.

For art she is drawing them each a picture, but is using a resource to help her.  The oldest of her three brothers is obsessed with dinosaurs, so we used "How to Draw Dinosaurs" by Rob Court.

Sorry for the blur.

Here is her draft and the finished project.  She's really excited.  She hasn't figured out quite yet what to do for the other two.  We're going to try some other illustration books and watch her surprise herself with what she is able to do!

Another idea I have is to let her make a poster for each brother that says, "Sissy loves [and their name]."  Then take a picture of her holding the poster and send them a developed copy of the picture to keep.  Just to let them know that she is thinking of them.

So, what did you do today?

Saturday, October 20, 2012


So many changes happening at one time!

We are completely changing directions in our schooling.  I was a great student in the public system.  I still tutor collegiate students through prerequisites   My own child did her first four years of schooling in the public system and excelled.  She became a master at checking off the items on her list and being grilled and penalized for what she didn't know.

By the grace of God, we were able to start homeschooling a year ago.  I spent $350 on our starting curriculum because I was not going to be responsible for my child being "left behind."  We didn't finish much of the curriculum and many-a-day I had to lay out Lil Bit's options...cooperate in homeschool or go back to public school.  I am actually ashamed of my scare tactics, but we did manage to get through the year.

Here she is, now a fourth grader, and I've tweaked some things.  I am enjoying the advantages of a character study and creating my own curriculum for her health and science studies.  She is confident and cooperative in her education no matter how mundane it may get.  However, something still doesn't feel right.

I adapted the brilliant ten-drawer system introduced by Sue Patrick.  This system allows Lil Bit to know where she is in her day and eliminates the dread of not knowing when she'll be done.

I only spent $100 this year on curriculum...a number that I hope continues to decrease as I master utilizing all my resources.

I currently keep a grade book, as this makes me my child more comfortable.  And I follow the basic setup of the curricula that we have.  Also I write out my lesson plans daily in a planner for her in checklist form with any additional instructions that the worksheets/etc don't provide.

Her usually work day takes 2 to 3 hours.

However, it still feels like school at home and though we both know that homeschooling is a blessing, there is still a negative shadow that seems to diminish the glories of this opportunity.

So NEW approach!!!!

We've watched the video and heard the testimonials!  We've talked about it and *drumroll please* we're going to try NOTEBOOKING!

What does this mean you ask?

Well, I'm not exactly sure.  You know homeschoolers...boldly venturing onto new paths.  I know that others have done it successfully for years with multiple children in all grades.  I know that I may be tossing much of the curriculum that I have purchased/accumulated.  I know that it is a refocus on what she is retaining rather than not.  I know that it is not busywork, but expressions of her knowledge.  I know that it may just be what we need to restore some of the joys of homeschooling.  

Now, I know that there will be hard days no-matter-what, but I still feel that there are some windows that haven't been opened yet to help us enjoy something so wonderful!

Have you used notebooking?  If not, how do you setup you "lesson plans?"  Do you have any suggestions or warnings as we turn this new corner?