I promised you a new schedule so here it it. Just be warned we are still working out the kinks. The babies are not as regular as I would like with their naps. Imagine that!
Religion - We had a missionary wheel to cut and put together in religion today. The kids both colored their parts and we put it together. Then we got to talk about how Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young were converted to the gospel.
Math - Both kids did Xtramath and Chicklette did a few problems in her mental math section. I know Racer did his math workbook but now he says he can't find it so I can't really correct it. It was supposed to be about measuring angles and it was the first time that he has been introduced to this concept.
Science - We talked about friction today and figured out how that related to our Jitter-Critter experiment yesterday. They filled out some summaries in their workbooks.
Piano - Oh, man. What drama! Racer said he hadn't practiced one of his songs so he didn't want me to play it. I finally got him to play it and no, it wasn't perfect. So, like any other piano student, I started to take him through it phrase by phrase. "I can't figure it out! I haven't practiced it! I don't know how to do it! I feel like a bird in a cage because I can't go do what I want to do. (My personal favorite) You get to do whatever you want to do! I can't play because I'm not in the mood. I can't play because you're in the room. I don't want to do it because I don't feel like it and I don't want to. I feel like I'm your servant and I have to do everything you tell me to do!" All these and more delivered with tears and sighs of anguish. I am proud of myself that I was able to keep my temper in control and not engage with any of these tragic sentences. Well, except for the one about how I get to do whatever I want. That one I did tell him was false because I would dearly love to shut myself away with my new book from the library and ignore the world. Anyways, I did the brain-dead thing suggested by Love and Logic and just kept repeating my directions to him without raising my voice or showing my aggravation. We did finally get through the song, hopefully he will remember it this time for this week. I then gave him three minutes to collect himself and come back down for science. Chicklette's piano lesson went a lot smoother. She didn't pass off her song but we didn't have the gusty sighs that were likely to bring the house down.
History - We talked about Louisiana today. Tomorrow we shall have red beans and rice for dinner and I have a little bit of sausage I can throw in. Maybe I'll make some cornbread too.
Latin - The kids kept going on their review by answering some review questions and writing the Doxology in Latin.
Writing with Ease - Chicklette's story portion was from Trumpet of the Swan. She had to answer some comprehension questions and then give me one thing that she remembered from the story. Racer's dictation exercise was stepped up a notch because I was only supposed to read the sentences three times and then give minimal help to remember what came next. It's not his easiest subject but I don
Today went pretty well. We got through everything that we need to get done and got done a little early. I'm really glad I've built in extra time for math in our schedule and a couple other subjects. Not everything takes as long as it's budgeted for so we get to sometimes play games or have extra time in other subjects where we may need it. it's just like the Shupes say on their blog. I don't think it should take an hour to do math, but by budgeting it that way, no one is stressed in the morning and we are not slaves to our schedule. Without further ado, here's how today flew by.
Religion - Of course we started with our most important subject. We continued practicing the first verse of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and reviewed scriptures we learned last year and the year before. We read some stories from Joseph Smith's childhood and talked about the faith that Joseph and Lucy Smith had even before the First Vision.
Math - Racer worked on rounding to the nearest ten and he got all his problems correct. Way to go! There were only two he had questions on. Chicklette was reviewing adding ones, tens, twos and twenties and greater than/less than. She is also getting better at writing out numbers in words.
While Racer and Chicklette were busy with math, Turtle and I got a reading lesson done. He is getting much better at recognizing words. The one-on-one time is great for him. I answered a couple of Racer's questions and then Turtle, Sunshine and I did some Letter P activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We practiced counting pumpkins and sorted them into large, medium and small. Then Sunshine and I did color puzzles with our pumpkins and Turtle laced a pumpkin card.
Spelling - Chicklette and I started her spelling program first while Racer waited his turn. We are working on beginning blends with words like stop and trip. She got all her spelling words correct with the tiles. Tomorrow we will practice writing them. When Chicklette was done with her spelling, she went to do her piano practice. (Racer had already done his piano practice right after breakfast.) Racer took his turn for spelling. Yesterday we had done a review of all the cards in his box and today we had sentences to practice. I dictated four sentences to him, one at a time, and he wrote them on the spelling board. I had to correct one capitalization error and one or two punctuation errors. He also tried to get away with writing 30 instead of writing out the word and we had a discussion about which /er/ sound to use.
Latin - All we had to do today was listen to the CD of our Prima Latina program. We reviewed our five vocabulary words with their definitions.
Finally it was lunchtime. It felt like a long time since breakfast. Everyone ate and had a little bit more than an hour to unwind. When we were done, it was back to handwriting for Chicklette and Writing with Ease for both Chicklette and Racer. Chicklette practiced the letter z for her cursive. While Racer and I did dictation with two sentences from Hansel and Gretel, I made chocolate custard. Then Chicklette and I did a narration exercise with a vignette from Little House in the Big Woods.
And that ended our school day.
So you've decided to homeschool or you have been homeschooling for a while and you need a way to keep your assignments organized. Let me share my favorite way to stay on top of assignments. I use a program called Homeschool Tracker and I love it.
When I started homeschooling, just to see if I could stick with it, Racer was in PreK. His birthday was 19 days after the cutoff date. It was a great time to try school with no pressure. If we couldn't hack it, he would just go to school in Kindergarten and he would be a little advanced. If we decided we loved it, we could keep at it. I think DH was hoping we would hate it, but I've only grown more passionate about homeschooling.
For the first year, we just worked on learning to read and basic math. When I decided that I wanted to keep doing school, I knew I would need something to help me plan my lessons and my schedule. I definitely wanted something to keep track of what we had done so I could show it to anyone who wondered what we did all day. In my state, I'm not required to show my records to anyone, but for my peace of mind and in case we ever moved to a different state, I have records.
We started out with Homeschool Tracker Basic. That was a free program and it worked well. It kept track of my attendance and my lessons. After a while and after adding in Chicklette, I wanted some of the features of Homeschool Tracker Plus so we spent the $50 and DH gave it to me for Christmas. Be still, my heart! (Really, the day he gave it to me, I spent several hours playing with the program and seeing what it could do. I was pretty excited.)
With Homeschool Tracker Plus, I have lots of reports that I can print out in case I need to. I also have three different assignment sheets that I can print out for the kids and for me. I've come to prefer the Daily Task List because I can enter in chores, memorization and appointments besides just the assignments I want to complete. That way I can see what needs to be done each day. I usually print the assignment sheets off a week at a time.
I love being able to enter lesson plans and reuse them as needed. For instance, I didn't have to enter in any of the Singapore Math lessons for Chicklette because I had already done it for Racer two years ago. I can also enter in all my history plans and use them for both Chicklette and Racer and Turtle if and when he participates. There are also multiple Yahoo groups that have lesson plans uploaded. I've downloaded a few of them, but often I want to tweak them and it's faster and easier to create my own. I also love the agenda feature where I can plan and see where everyone is supposed to be at any given time.
Homeschool Tracker Plus has a great feature to reschedule assignments. Let's say you get sick and don't do an assignment on the day you had it scheduled. You can tell Homeschool Tracker to select all of the math assignments for one child and move them to another day. You can tell it to only use Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, or just push them all back a day or two. It also has a great feature for repeating assignments. For instance, we go to the library every Tuesday for storytime so I schedule that in and mark it as language arts. I also have Racer, and soon Chicklette, practicing the piano every day. I schedule them under music and make it to repeat every day. I can put in what book they are practicing out of and what assignment they have after I have assigned practicing the piano every day.
There are lots of other features and ways to customize the program to how you homeschool. They also have a great support staff and discussion boards where you can post questions or search to see if your question has already been addressed. We have our Homeschool Tracker Plus networked on our computers and the kids can see what is assigned but they cannot mark it as completed or move anything around. The password-protected teacher is the only one who has access to the scheduling and lesson plans and other sensitive areas. Racer likes to tinker with programs (like father, like son) and I don't want him messing up all my hard work. This can be customized too and students can be granted access to other locations.
There are some things about the program that I think are a little clunky and it's not as pretty as some of those homeschool planners you print off. But the features and flexibility that I have outweigh a paper planner any day.
Recently, the company added an online option for the Homeschool Tracker program. I have been tempted by that because there are times where it would be convenient to access Homeschool Tracker from a location other than home. However, it's $50 a year and I like having the program on my computer and backed up on my hard drive. If our internet doesn't work or the phone line goes out, I can still use my Tracker. With the network capability I can access it from any computer. Racer can be on his computer and see his assignments and I can be on my computer adding his grade in or checking on where Chicklette is supposed to be working.
So if I have convinced you to get organized and keep your homeschool plates spinning, here is a link to purchase or look at the programs. Or click on the buttons and use the referral code FFY4D.
I've been working on a schedule for our time in our next school year. I've heard the idea often from the Maxwell's book - Managers of their Homes - but then I found the Shupe's family blog where she breaks it down into how she actually makes a schedule. We had a schedule last year and though we didn't always follow it (I'm looking at my 7 AM wake-up time and exercise time) it was a good start and it was nice to have an order to the subjects we did. It's been difficult and I'm not satisfied with it yet. I'm sure that I will change some things in the first two weeks and I know by November I'll be revamping a good majority of it. In November I'm pretty sure the Bubbers will be down to one nap and I also think they'll be done nursing. So here is the final rough draft of my schedule. Click on it to see it larger.
I'm not satisfied with the amount of time I don't have with Sunshine and the Bubbers and I don't have any real exercise built in. I have given a whole hour to math and a whole hour to history. I don't know that I will need quite that much time so we may get done earlier than I have planned, which would be great. I just decided to give them an hour so that if we had interruptions or we were late on other subjects, we wouldn't be stressed. As I've said, the Bubbers schedule will probably change by November because they will be one. (I will have one-year-old twins! Ahh! That was never on my radar growing up or while getting pregnant.) So I will have to change the schedule a bit.
I am pretty firm on the order of most of the subjects. I especially need to do history during Sunshine's naptime and I need to have him occupied for at least the beginning of math so that I can teach the concepts and Racer and Chicklette can start on their practice. So those two things will work out. I'm not sure about where Turtle's reading lesson is and I'm not so sure about where Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons are. I keep thinking about getting a grammar program that is less teacher-intensive, but I think First Language Lessons is a really good program. We'll see how it goes this year.
So, what's the vote? Am I crazy or what? :) Wish me luck in September.
I've been working on this history plan for a very long time. It's not totally refined but I figured I would share it here and then I would feel like I could move on to other subjects. I still need to add it to Homeschool Tracker and I need to make up lesson plans for our physics program and our Prima Latina. Well, I just need to tweak Prima Latina because I found a lesson plan on the Homeschool Tracker Yahoo group.
Okay, back to history. I am pretty sure I have too much in here, but this is where the plan is right now and I have a couple weeks at the end of the program to play with. So, as I said we are going to be doing American History and Utah History. I hope to take a bunch of field trips with the kids for our Utah History section. I found a great website that gives a good overview of Utah History with lots of links. It is called I Love History and is located here. I will also get a bunch of books from the library. I have three lists of American History books and one list of Utah books. So I'm a little worried that I have too much and I'm excited to get into this subject. So, without further ado, I present to you our history plan for the year.
For my own sanity I will be combining as many subjects as I can, but there are some things that simply cannot be combined. Here is my list as of now of what subjects each child in school will be studying.
Doctrine and Covenants/Church History
Singapore Math 4A/4B
Grammar level Physics with Elemental Science
American and Utah History/American Geography
First Language Lessons 4 (grammar)
Writing with Ease 3
All About Spelling 4
P.E. classes at the community recreation center
Doctrine and Covenants/Church History
Singapore Math 2A/2B
Grammar level Physics with Elemental Science
American and Utah History/American Geography
First Language Lessons 1 (grammar)
Writing with Ease 1
All About Spelling 1 and 2
Doctrine and Covenants/Church History
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
I also expect he will listen in on many of our read-alouds and other lessons. He and Chicklette have a special and very close relationship and love to work together on her lessons.
I know it looks like a lot. If we get moving in the mornings, we should be done by about 3 PM. The first four subjects plus the Prima Latina can be done all together in a group and the notebooking and discussion will be done on each child's level. Well, okay, math can't be, but I can teach the concept fairly quickly and let them practice on their own at the same time the other kids are practicing. The other subjects will have to be done separately. For Turtle and maybe for Sunshine we will continue with some of the activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler as needed and desired.