Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homeschool at the Turbo House

School has been the major thing keeping me busy these days. This year we are filing a 'PSA'- private school affidavit (rather than schooling through a charter school like we have done the last three years). One benefit is that I can schedule our curriculum so that all of the kids are studying similar topics. So for example, we've been doing a unit on horses where the kids are each reading age appropriate horse literature, learning about equestrian science, and drawing horses. We are also studying history (Ancient Greece & Rome-that's a Trojan horse below) and bible (OT- Joseph right now) together.

Another benefit is being able to challenge and work with each kid right where they are at. Natalie and Henry are each learning to read at about the same level so they do all their phonics and math together. But Henry loves listening to higher level literature (and asking lots of questions!) so he's in on all of Carson's read alouds. Natalie is adamant about learning cursive now (not sure why she's so eager- probably because it's 'prettier'). Carson loves to read- he's been reading through Maguerite Henry's horse novels much faster than I expected so I keep adding more on. He's not crazy about math but is doing very well at it. Last week he had to memorize a poem and did a great job! In general, preparing the curriculum has been more work for me, but it also helps me to own the process and to truly feel like I'm teaching the kids. It's awesome to see progress and to learn with them.

One new thing we are doing this year is 'memory period'. We begin our morning all together singing songs (with some funky hand motions I come up with) that help us memorize information. We've been working on the Westminster shorter catechism, bible verses, and skip counting.

And what does Peter do? He has a seat at the school table with us and works on his dry erase work books- mostly just coloring (i mean scribbling) until he wanders off to play with his duplos. He is generally cooperative (although he does know what 'zip it' means since he is the most talkative person around the house). He loves when Carson reads to him and also gets to do starfall on the computer for part of the morning- one of his favorite times of the day.

For anyone who cares, here's the curriculum we're using:

Math: Saxon1 and Saxon5/4
Phonics: Veritas Phonics Museum
Grammar: Easy Grammar 3/4; Primary Language Lessons
History: Veritas Ancient Greece and Rome
Bible: Veritas Genesis to Judges
Science: unit studies (horses right now, will do plants)
Spelling: Spelling Power

And i still need to come up with a name for our school by the time paperwork is due in October... any suggestions out there?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Swimming at the Pool

Irvine is famous for its swimming program and pools. We don't have any aspiring Olympians yet, but each of the kids has been improving as we go to the community pool at least three times a week. Carson can do flips underwater and touch the 8 ft bottom. Henry made huge leaps of progress when we got him a snorkel- finally got the hang of swimming with his face in the water. (And notice his missing teeth just growing back in.)Now that Natalie has recovered from a series of ear infections, she's been eager to put her head under water and been jumping off the side of the pool. And Peter will also put his face in, as long as you aren't the one telling him to do it. There is also a 1.5ft baby pool where Peter loves to play 'fishing' with his big sibs.

It's nothing compared to the kids in the local classes where 3yos have to swim the butterfly 50 yds before they can sign up for the class (!), but I'm happy with the improvement- and it's alot of fun. Our weather still isn't feeling fall like at all- so hopefully we still have many days at the pool to come.