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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Weeks In.

We have started our school year. And two weeks in I am counting my lucky stars that I have such wonderful student's of course but also that I purchased some curriculum to speed things along. Last year's disorganization is proving to be a thing of the past. No more messy stacks of paper that I am shuffling around during school having implemented the use of a file folder for any subject sheets, lessons and so on. Its divided into subjects and students so I can easily pull them out. I just have to make sure I take the time each weekend to prepare for the following week. On my printed lesson plan/outline for the week I make notations of what they need to improve, what we didn't finish etc...Then at the end of each week I type the file notes to the saved outline and then make up a fresh one using the same outline. Very much a fill in the blanks approach. I know I don't need to keep track because we have no reporting in the Province of Ontario but I like to do it for my personal reasons.
I love the Teaching Textbooks math I got for Ds and he loves it too. It's fun for him and lightens my workload a lot. I found though I am short when it came to Dd's math in the way of workbooks. So I have made up a workbook using pages from the free math program site. I find this site very comprehensive for math lessons.
Moving into the Canadian studies has been quite a challenge. We are starting with the provinces and looking at them in a superficial way. Where are they, what are the capitols, provincial flags, birds and flowers. Each week they take turns drawing a province outline and cutting it out. They stick a star on the capital and then label the province. We tack them up and when we are finished all the provinces we will use them as an abstract puzzle of sorts. I will have them lay them out in order to see how much information they have retained. Then when they are together we will likely add more information to our map land regions, major rivers, etc...
History with Donna Wards Courage and Conquests is rather dry so far. I am hoping it picks up the pace. We are going at a slowly so I started reading Anne of Green Gables to the kids. We will follow that up with the movie.
And science has been a huge headache. Robotics is one topic that you would think more homeschoolers would delve into. But it's sadly lacking in premade curriculum out there. You think you want a notebooking page premade on any major scientists/researcher forget it! I have been using the AI book from Scribd to make up notebooking pages to accompany the robots we are making for science class. It's been a second or third or maybe fourth, I've lost count, job for me. I spend the late hours of the evenings scrambling to get to read this weighty topic, make any sense of it and then create something meaningful to teach the kids. I was patting myself on the back the other day for managing to discuss lightly with funny illustrations evolutionary computation and genetic programming to a eight and six year old. And they understood it and were able to make diagrams showing the programming 'soup' that then trickled down into smarter successive generations. Whew! I managed to get through that week of science. Now to face this week. Luckily I realized Monday being our Labor Day hubby is home and I may just have him tackle robot building this week as it looks a bit more involved making an inchbot then last weeks rather simple bristlebot. I am NOT by any means a electronics guru. And so when the word solder appears I groan and look around feebly for some help...but as all my fellow homeschooling parents know when we choose to homeschool the pool of human resources is generally down to you.
In other areas we are finding french class fun. Art of course fun. Gym needs work to make it more interesting. English is expanding week to week as I discover the childrens' strengths and weaknesses in different areas. I have decided to haul out yet more binders to keep their English work in.
Our local homeschool association's annual kick off event is coming up. And I volunteered to organize it. I am really stoked to be doing this now that I visited the venue. Pickings were looking slim for somewhere with green space and washrooms. So I am very happy that the campground we choose is so obliging and helpful. And when we toured to check out the space and discuss it with them I was really happily shocked by the amount of trees and space. Virtually no one else was there so I can only imagine that in a couple of more weeks when we have the kick off it will be even quieter. We have a game of capture the flag planned for kids over 4 who wish to play amongst the trees. And crafts as well as a playground to entertain the younger kids.
If you are new to my blog and reading this please note that we have a HUGE amount of links some of which are very helpful. So do take the time to check them out on the other pages. And thank you for taking the time to stop in.



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