1920’s Day at co-op

In February we had a 1920’s festival at our homeschool co-op where we learned about some things that happened in the 1920’s in general, and in our area (Thomas Edison, who lived nearby, was actively inventing cool things; the Holland Tunnel between NJ and Manhattan was being built); we got to dress up in fun costumes, someone came in to teach us how to dance the Charleston, and we had a 1920’s themed feast. So much effort went into the whole event to make it a memorable and fun time for everyone. This is one of those posts where the photos will tell a better story than me. What a fantastic time!

(Photo credit: thanks to Russ Dubé for the last 8 photos.)

Co-op class pizza night

 

I teach a Narnia literature class at our homeschool co-op, which has been really fun. For me, anyway. Not quite sure what the kids think, seeing that it’s a discussion class and I make them talk. Which is such a hassle, don’t you think? :-)

In our class we’ve been reading all 7 chronicles and discussing them in light of Michael Ward’s book Planet Narnia. Actually, Planet Narnia is the adult version and is quite thick, we’ve been working through the simplified version called The Narnia Code. It’s a thoroughly Christian approach looking at (in a nutshell) how each chronicle is related to one of the medieval planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn). Lewis was fascinated with astronomy and with medieval cosmology (no, it’s not New Age, and no, it has nothing to do with the modern understanding of astrology). Basically, in medieval cosmology, each planet has a certain character and qualities that then forms the atmosphere for its associated chronicle. It’s a theory, and that’s how we’ve been studying it, but it seems pretty plausible to me. I’ve really enjoyed teaching it!

Earlier this spring I hosted a movie night of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at our house. The class is mostly made up of boys, so I decided that there’d have to be some sort of food magnet. What better food magnet for young teens than homemade pizza and ice cream sandwiches? They made their own pizzas. No surprise that the first topping to go was the bacon, right? I enjoyed hosting them — they’re a fun bunch!

What we’re doing in homeschooling this year

We’ve been back in the full swing of the regular school year for a few months now, and I must admit that I find it hard to make the time to blog. It’s great to have the routines of school, but it does leave very little time for extra things, like blogging and other fun stuff.

This post will probably not interest most of you, but for those of you who homeschool, or are interested in doing it, or have an interest in education in general might find it interesting!

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* Bible — We use Leading Little Ones to God,  and we memorize Scripture passages and hymns. I hope to soon add in some of these character building topics too.
* Math — Singapore Math. Marica is doing Grade 3, and Esther is doing Grade 1. To enforce what they learn, they play NumberShark on the computer.
* Grammar/Writing — Esther is doing the Sing, Spell, Read and Write program which also includes spelling and comprehension; and Marica is doing Shurley English, supplemented with some writing from the Logos curriculum. They also write in their Thankfulness  Journals every day.
* Reading and comprehension from the Logos curriculum (for Marica).
* Stories and an appreciation for literature is important to us, so I read to the kids from a wide range of books: I pick books from the Sonlight Read-Aloud lists;  and every time we drive somewhere we listen to audio books (so far since the summer we’ve covered Ralph Mouse, The BFG, Little House on the Prairie, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and a couple other ones I can’t remember!)
* Spelling from the Logos curriculum.
* Handwriting — Zaner-Bloser. Marica is doing Grade 4 cursive, and Esther is doing Grade 1.
* Typing — The kids do a touch-typing program called English Type, but we haven’t done that for a while.
* History — Story of the World. We all love it. I’ve learned more history doing this with the kids than ever before!
* Science — Noeo Science, Biology 1
* Spanish — Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition
* Art — Lessons from Deep Space Sparkle
* Music — Weekly piano lessons and daily practice. Marica is quite likely going to start on violin next year too.
* P.E. —  Running outside, jumping on the trampoline, and weekly homeschool gymnastics classes (in which all three girls are progressing very well! I keep being impressed with their various jumps and contortions.) Esther will be adding ballet to the mix after Christmas.
* Socialization (the ever-present worry of outsiders!): Our bi-weekly co-op where they are in classes with peers, and a weekly lunch date with friends after gymnastics class, plus playdates. On top of that we host a lot of people for meals and through that and church the kids get to interact with people of all ages. No, they’re not in a group with peers for 6 hours a day, and that is one of the big reasons why we homeschool! :-)

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Of course, we don’t do all of these things every single day! We generally do school from about 8.30/9am till about 1.30/2pm, with a short break for morning tea. By lunchtime I’m DONE and need a break! During the afternoon we take an hour of quiet time for reading or playing or crafts and after that the kids have free time to play, create, put on shows (Ben and I are regularly invited to shows of their creation, and they’re usually hilarious), etc.

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Marica making her own flashcards now that she knows all of her times tables

Some days we get a lot done, sometimes not so much — largely dependent on how Laurelin is doing and whether she’s entertaining herself or making a nuisance of herself!

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For someone who said that she’d NEVER homeschool, I’m grateful for the journey God has brought me on. I’m loving it (most days!), and so are the kids. Of course, there are days we all just want to quit, but that happens with kids who go to school too! For us, this is a year-by-year thing that we’ll keep evaluating, but for as long as this suits us and our kids, we will keep doing it. :-)

Homeschool field trip

One weekend in May we took the girls in to the Ancient Egyptian section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, because in our history program we’d been studying Ancient Egypt. It was great to see many of the things we (including myself!) had been learning about in real life, and the girls seemed to really enjoy it.

Seeing that the Met is right in Central Park, we spent some time there afterward until the rain started coming down.

A fun and informative Saturday morning, despite the rain!