I promise, they ARE really learning…

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A couple of months ago, my sister, Gwen, read my blog  and was quick to inform me that she wasn’t impressed with the academic value my kids were getting a home. “All you do is social studies!” she exclaimed. She was speaking in jest (I hope), but I’ve been meaning to blog about the topic just to set the record straight for anyone who might think it’s just a party zone around here everyday! (But I admit, sometimes I get so overwhelmed and feel so unaccomplished that I, too, feel like we’re not making much headway). Perhaps this post will help me feel better too.

So, here’s what we do academically:

Math:
-Olivia (my 7-year-old) does a 4th grade Teaching Textbooks curriculum where she’s currently learning division. We also use a 2nd grade Horizons curriculum as a review and practice for addition/subtraction/multiplication facts and to fill in the gaps.  We practice skip-counting and times tables facts everyday, and she has a good grasp on place value to the millionths, counting money (we’re working on counting change), telling time with an analog clock, fractions, and more. She uses her Kindle Fire for math drills several times a week, and she also plays math games on the computer.

– Farrah (my four-year-old) has learned to count to 100 by 1’s and 10’s, and we’re working on counting by 5’s and 2’s. We use a BrainQuest Kindergarten workbook (multi-subject), a dot-to-dot workbook that goes to 100, counter manipulatives and games on her MobiGo. I’m teaching her basic addition and basic time-telling (to the hour and half hour) with an analog clock. Her daily lesson time also includes Kindergarten-ready stuff like learning her address, phone number, etc.

– Callie (my two-year-old) is learning to count to 10. She attempts to say most of the numbers, but she’s really good at 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10! She’s speech-delayed, so I work with her a lot on enunciation. She seems to have the number pattern down. We try to count objects all day everyday, including the steps when we’re headed upstairs/downstairs.

Language Arts:

– I use Learning Language Arts Through Literature for Olivia. It incorporates copywork, grammar, vocabulary and literature all in one. She’s learning to write in cursive and is good at it! We also use the 3rd grade vocabulary list from WordlyWise3000 (online) to learn new spelling and vocabulary words, and a Daily Track Writing workbook to work on writing skills. She also gets a journal assignment a couple of times a week. We write as often as possible – from lists to instructions and more. She does most of her reading independently, but I still read her history and science lessons aloud and some occasional fiction.

– Farrah is one day away from completing her Kindergarten Hooked on Phonics curriculum, and I’m proud that my sweet little stubborn child is now a reader! We have the 1st grade Hooked on Phonics curriculum that we will start on next month. Reading is the most important subject, in my opinion, especially if you’re homeschooling because it helps them work more independently. I still read aloud to Farrah a lot, and we’re currently reading Little House on the Prairie every night and morning. Farrah also practices handwriting, writing lists of words, and does other random language arts assignments.

– Callie is learning her ABC’s. She enjoys saying them… although you can’t make out most of the letters she says, she knows the rhythm of the ABC song and loves to chime-in with the rhyming letters at the end of each break – “G, P, V, Z.” We also practice “pre-writing” which mainly entails scribbling with a crayon, trying to draw circles, and trying to draw her name. We work on speech a lot with songs, naming picture objects and more. We do puzzles everyday.

Other Subjects:

This blog post is getting too long, so I’ll condense the rest. For science, we use two curriculums – a biology course by Elemental Science that I use for Olivia and Farrah plus a Bible-based Zoology course (Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day) that I use mainly for Olivia. Science hasn’t gotten it’s fair share of face time around here, and this is a topic I plan to improve on going forward. When our tadpole died, I lost my enthusiasm.

For history, we use a fabulous Story of the World curriculum. We basically read and discuss, plus attempt at a project of some sort. For social studies, we discuss current events/customs/holidays/jobs/etc., and we read books on everything I think they’ll find interesting, but we don’t use a formal curriculum. We do art at least once a week. Sometimes it’s using clay to model people/structures; other times it’s painting or creating something with tissue paper. Here’s the turkey bread basket we did last week for Thanksgiving:

We were taking a formal PE class at the YMCA up until the week before last. The class ended because of the holiday season but will resume in January. In the meantime, we will be riding our bikes more, swimming in the YMCA’s heated indoor pool, and using the Y’s rock climbing wall (Olivia only). I will also do weekly yoga classes with the girls in December.

Extras:
As often as possible, we attend Toddler Time for Callie at a local library, Preschool Storytime for Farrah, and Art Explorers for Olivia. Olivia also has a Ballet II class and a Jr. Ballet Company class each week. Olivia and Farrah participate in a Discipleship class at church on Wednesdays, although we haven’t been attending religiously. Oh, and a few weeks ago Olivia started a fun enrichment class at the Training Center in Conroe.

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