Monday, September 12, 2011

School days

So we've been doing school for about a month at our lovely little home school.

When we started a few weeks ago, we started with basics: math, reading, writing. Every day. We have slowly been expanding. This is all new, crazy, fun to us, as until now we haven't used textbooks or done worksheets, or even done "school" every day. My girls are rock stars though and we have done 6 days of school pretty much every week so far.

The 11yo just finished reading the Mockingjay trilogy. I can tell she enjoyed it because she read the last two books in just 3 days! A book report is coming in later this week so we'll see what she tells me about in that. She also just finished a rough draft of a report of England. Writing is not her favorite subject and we sometimes butt heads when it's time to write, but we are getting through it. She did write one report last spring, and I have to say, for her first report? I don't think she did bad at all! We also just invested in a writing book for her that along with just more writing reports in general, will help to strengthen her writing even more. She is about half-way through her grammar book {and she's getting through it so fast I already ordered the next book because we will be in sooner than we think!} and she is doing some sentence diagrams.

{This brings me back to my 7th grade English class, where I learned about diagramming sentences. I don't remember my English teacher's name, but she looked like ET and we all called her that when not in class. One day she told us ET was one of her favorite movies when somehow we were talking about Drew Barrymore in class. I now wonder if she knew what we called her and said it just to get our reaction!}

Math right now is multiplication. Yes, just multiplication. She is learning it quickly, but remember we've never done textbooks before, so if it sounds like she's behind, the truth is, she is, however, it's not from lack of understanding! We are also doing major work on fractions right now. I do not think her book is teaching fractions well enough so we are actually supplementing with another workbook that also includes decimals and percents and how to go back and forth {I should note, this could be because fractions come in the next book, which we won't be using, so I need to supplement}.  She is about 1/3rd of the way through her math book. When she finishes, we will actually skip the next book in the curriculum and jump ahead 2 books. This may be confusing or not make sense, but it does make sense for our goals and will work based on the preview I've seen of both texts!

The (brand new as of yesterday) 9 year old is also ticking along. She is rocking her math book so far! The suggestion is 1 week per lesson. She's getting through her lessons in 2 days right now. In about 10 lessons I predict we'll slow it down and get more towards the week per lesson, but it's nice to see that so far is easy for her. {Truly, we could do a lesson a day, however, each lesson comes with 4 worksheets and I think 2 is more than enough each day!} Right now she is half-way through her math book. Good thing I already have the other book here for her to work from!

She just finished reading Arthur Makes the Team and is now on Stanley, Flat Again {for school}. It is awesome to have her reading books to me. This child struggled so hard to learn to read. She tried. And tried. And never gave up, but reading just clicked for her in the spring. So this reading thing is a BIG thing. On her own she is reading a bunch of the Amber Brown books. Her. Picking up books. On her own. And reading them? Just amazing!!

She is also working through a writing, grammar, and spelling book (from the same company as Miss A}. We just started this with her last week. I am loving this series of books so far. They are perfect for her. However, writing, and especially spelling is definitely her weak area. But we are working through it and most days she jumps in full steam ahead and just works. Seriously, if effort and desire was all it took, this kid would be a better writer and speller than me!

She also does geography (just a mini-lesson) each day and we've discovered she LOVES it. I think definitely science/math/geography are her strong suits and definitely where she shines.

Coming down the pipeline: As soon as treatment for me has slowed down, I want to add in science and history. Also, at the start of the new year (which isn't all that far away!), the girls will be taking their first standardized tests. Can you believe it? They've never filled in bubbles before or done a scantron or anything like that! So today I purchased some test prep books for them. Here's where I add, in general, I'm not at all about teaching to the test or putting much pressure on test prep at this age. However, given they've never taken a standardized test, I think it's important that we do practice ... not for content, but just on taking tests in general. But oh my, I really struggled to buy those books today! I just kept thinking we homeschooled so we wouldn't HAVE to do this test prep stuff! LOL! But really, it's all good and it will all work out in the end!

Anyway, that's where the homeschooling stands. I'm glad it's going so well. I won't lie. We struggled over whether to keep them home this year {mostly wondering would I be up to teaching, would I be healthy enough, would they cooperate enough and be okay with this transition from informal to formal learning, etc, etc}. So far though? It's going very well. We have the occasional not wanting to do work because "my favorite tv show is on!" or "I want to play" but really? I feel that way some days too LOL! =)


  1. I hope the test prep books help - standardized tests have a language of their own, so it's fantastic that you're helping them learn that before they take the tests.

    Your younger daughter sounds like my Joseph - spelling, writing - not so much. Math, science, geography? Holy cow, makes me feel dumb. ;)

    Glad you're moving along well - sounds like treatment isn't effecting school as much as I would have expected (or I would have been effected, yeesh, supermom!), which is fantastic. :)

  2. OH - forgot to add - I LOVED the Hunger Games books. Just fabulous!

  3. That is awesome. I love how they're reading and loving to read now. It's amazing the books they'll choose.

    And that English teacher? Yeah, she knew exactly what you called her. Fortunately it sounds like she has a sense of humor about it!

  4. I remember our conversation from about 2 years ago where we were talking about how children who hadn't had any formal education could learn math in about 4-6 weeks instead of the 5-6 years of traditional education. It sounds like they're proving the theory correct!

  5. Question...if you don't mind. Does your son go to a traditional school? And if he does, why and how did you come to that decision?

    I'm happy that your treatment is going well enough that you can still home school your girls.

    P.S. My 7th grade English teacher was Mr Barr and he only owned one tie and wore it everyday! Funny the things I CAN remember and the simple things I forget.


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)