Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What Are We Doing?

We have made lots and lots of changes for our new school year.  The kids are getting older (Squidy is in 7th grade!?!?!), things that worked for years aren't working anymore, and we seem to have (finally!) found a set-up that should work for the long-term.

First, our set-up.  The kids have been doing most of their work using storage clipboards sitting on the couch or chairs.  While this worked for some things, for others (like Geometry using a compass), it was not an easy way to function.    The kids had a table with their computers on it, side-by-side, and theoretically the keyboards could slide under the monitors and they would have a space to work.  But this really wasn't a lot of room.  We bought a second table to put on the opposite side of the living room and now each kid has a table that is 1/2 their computer and 1/2 an open workspace.  Much much better workspace for school.  Each of them has a 3 cube shelf next to their table to hold all their school books and notebooks.

I also finally have my own desk, where I can plan school, 4-H, Sunday School, science classes I'm teaching, and all the other fun stuff I do!

So, what kind of school are the kids doing this year?   We've made a few changes which resulted in a lot more of their work being done with textbooks (part of the reason a better workspace was needed) and less being done with worksheets.


Squidy is doing Algebra I (!!!) using Foerster's Algebra.  So far it's going well and he's finding it pretty simple.   We're combining it with Interactive Notebooks to use as a reference guide.  He's using the 7th and 8th grade notebooks, which covers most of his Algebra text.

He is also finishing up Hands-On Geometry, using Prodigy to practice math facts, and Code Combat to learn coding.

Vicki was really struggling with Math Mammoth last year.  The pages were too busy and the writing too small for her.  Even knowing she didn't have to do all the problems didn't help.  We ended up giving MathUSee Gamma a try since I thought she needed extra reinforcement with multiplication.   This ended up being too easy and she didn't like doing the same thing over and over and over again.  We are finishing up MUS because she does need the extra practice, but we are using Scott Foresman enVision Math as her primary program.  

We used the 4th grade workbook for a little while last year as reinforcement because we were able to access the textbook and videos through our local public school.  The set-up worked well so we're going to give the whole program a try this year.  I bought a used textbook from Amazon, as well as the workbook, and so far it's working great.  This program is colorful, spiral, and has good explanations.   The only hitch came when I forgot to tell Vicki that she didn't need to write in the textbook and she got upset at the lack of space to put answers.  

 I didn't even realize that there was a homeschool version of this program available.  

Vicki is also using Interactive Notebooks, grades 4 and 5 cover her text, and Prodigy for extra practice.


We are using Mosdos Press Literature again this year.

Squidy is using Jade, while Vicki is using Pearl.  This actually skips a level for Vicki but I decided she could handle Pearl, which Squidy did last year so we already had it, when it looked like Mosdos wasn't going to be available.   I decided against the workbooks this year and instead we are using a literature Interactive Notebook I bought from Teachers-Pay-Teachers, combined with going through the vocabulary in each story and a few questions from the end of the story.   Vicki loves doing the IN, while Squidy doesn't care for cut and color so I'm allowing him to just write the information in his notebook.

We are also going to try a literature unit from Moving Beyond the Page.  I bought the guide for A Wrinkle In Time, and we will go through it together when the kids finish their current reads.


For writing, we will continue with Write On! and do some BraveWriter projects.


We will continue with History Odyssey Ancients Level 2.  We will be adding some Great Courses to our plan.


Science is going to be units this year.   We are continuing with our 4-H STEM Club twice a month, I will be teaching other science classes that the kids will participate in, we have Spangler science club kits that we still need to work through, Vicki is going to do a Marine Biology project for 4-H, Squidy is doing a fish tank project (setting up the nitrogen cycle, water testing, etc.) for 4-H, we will be doing twice weekly nature study, and we might do some work from the Big Fat Science Notebook.


For health we are going to work on Internet Safety, nutrition, exercise, and development.


We are going to continue with Getting Started with Spanish, along with some Interactive Notebook stuff.

Physical Education

We are continuing with Tai Kwan Do and yoga.  We are also doing more hiking, and will try to go at least once a week to lap swimming.  We have stopped swim lessons since the kids weren't really learning anything new.