Fall Schedule  

Posted by: Laura Delgado in

July 27, 2009

I don't know how well it will work yet (we'll need hands-on time for that), but I have a tentative "what to do when" schedule hammered out, complete with color-coded bullets. The first bullet is for independent student work. The second is for work with me work, and the third is for all together work. Of course, the twins, being four, do not actually have to participate in history, art, and science :) Everything after handwriting, phonics, and math is optional for them!
Sadly, I am a computer illiterate, and I can't post my schedule. Sad, sad day. At least I have one!

Preparing for School Again  

Posted by: Laura Delgado in , , , , ,

July 24, 2009

I have to confess that I have not loved our mini-vacation. If one cares about the children's grade levels, than I feel that we stopped just short of finishing their prior grades. To a Type A like me, that feels like we're starting in the middle, never mind that we are just taking three weeks off for summer (one more week to go!). Still, I guess it will help me to organize my thoughts as to where we will be picking up. It seems as if I do that quite a bit. So, the kids' curricula will be as follows:

T - turning eight and starting 5th grade
Language Arts - Saxon Grammar and Writing 5 and Writing with Ease
Math - Saxon 6/5
Latin - Latina Christiana (but I'm still awaiting a recommendation from an expert on that)
History - Connecting with History (a Roman Catholic history program) VERY loosely, but
mostly my own devising. We'll spend at least a couple of months in Egypt (more if the kids want to), aided by a WEB interactive unit study by Brandenberg Studies. We'll then spend as much time as we want to in Ancient Greece. If we get to Rome this year, great. If not, we'll continue next year. Along the way, I'll document what we do and what we read, because I still feel very called to write a curriculum.
American History - Joy Hakim's books will be our spine here, but I plan to use many OOP books available on Project Gutenberg (and pray that a Kindle drops into my lap) to really make this a living books, read aloud subject for everyone except T (about whom, ironically, I am writing now). Again, I am going to document how and what I teach as I go.
Science - Exploring Creation with Astronomy. I really think the kids are going to enjoy this one, especially once we get past all of the young earth nonsense.
Religion - Our Holy Faith 5 - Living Like Christ, in Christ. I'm really happy with this series. T likes it, too. It's comprehensive, meaty (but not on Fridays), and highly readable. We'll also continue with Fr. Laux's Chief Truths of the Faith. She *really* likes that book. I'm trying to figure out how I can work in Bible History. Maybe I'll wait a few years until I get get all four together.
Handwriting - cursive practice combined with copywork/catechism on magistra-created worksheets with the aid of Startwrite.
Art - Meet the Masters online edition

I'm really excited about the Saxon Grammar. It starts with Grade 5, which is just right for us. I can tell that much of it will be repitition for us (thanks to the awesome work of FLL), but I can't skip her to 6 because of the writing lessons, which look really good. The format is just right for her learning style, so she's happy about it, too, although she was originally skeptical. I think this year will work really well for us. I bought her an assignment notebook, and every day I will write the assignments that she and I have to do together in one color of pen, and those that she can do alone in another color. That way, she will always know what to do, and she will never have any "dead" time.

N - just turned six and starting second grade
Language Arts - FLL 2 and Writing with Ease
Phonics - Explode the Code 4
Spelling - Spellwell Aa
Math - Saxon 3
Latin - Prima Latina
History/American History/Science - same as above
Religion - listening with T and bible stories
Handwriting - my creations with Startwrite
Art - same as above

M and M-C - four years old and starting K
Phonics - ClickNKids
Math - Saxon 1
Handwriting - Startwrite worksheets
Spelling - All About Spelling One
Religion - Bible stories
Any part of any other subject to which they want to listen.

How do I plan to schedule all of this you ask? Good question - I have actually been doing most of it prior to now. I'll post my schedule in a coming update. I am blessed with independent workers (mainly T, obviously) and all-around great kids.

As for me, I still work for edHelper, and I love what I do for them. I also review materials for The Old Schoolhouse and for Teacher Book Bag. Further, I am rolling around a plan for a business of my own...it's just all about the time! N started coach pitch this year (he sort of had to "try out" for his team, and they've already started practice, even though sign-ups don't even end until the end of September! I can't believe how competitive they are already at this age. M is still in t-ball, so we won't even know his team for at least a month. Thank goodness! I expect to be at the field five days a week this fall! T has dance for 1 1/2 hours, and M-C for an hour. I should get a lot of knitting done once the year begins in earnest :)


Posted by: Laura Delgado in ,

July 19, 2009

Just a brief post. I've just started rolling an idea around in the back of my mind. T and M-C were going to be in Little Flowers this fall, but due to a change in the leader's schedule (a baby!), that seems to be off the plate. I could put them in another group, but more and more I am wondering what they would get out of it. Everything that LF does, we do here at home: saints, virtues, and catechism. My main goal would be for the (ahem) socialization, and that primarily for T. However, at eight, she would be the oldest in the group, and she doesn't really interact much with girls younger than her. She is so darn old. Hence, I am faced with a dilemma, and I must make dilemmonade.

A parallel track of my mind has become increasingly preoccupied with the notion of modesty. I have always been preoccupied with this notion, particularly where my daughters' dress is concerned. Thanks to the influence of my dear friend, P, however, I have become even more conscious of my own modesty (anyone who knows me probably thinks this is kind of funny; I don't even wear shorts). Still, modesty is an inherent part of femininity (such a better term than "Godly womanhood". We Catholic ladies simply must coin our own term here), and it is nothing less than a strict responsibility of all women. It is a lesson that they have to learn as girls. I could write forever on this subject, but I'll cease temporarily. Let's just say that all of my thinking on what it means to be a young lady is tied up in modesty of all kinds. It's not just about dress; modesty of manner is crucial. Boasting and self-aggrandizement are ugly on anyone, but I think that humility can be taught to young ladies in the context of modesty.

Finally, the culmination of all of these seemingly random thoughts is this: a tea club. Rather than Little Flowers (we'll just continue to learn Catholic girlhood at home and by example as we have been for the last eight years of T's life), I'm thinking of starting monthly teas for T, M-C, and maybe other girls as well - T's friend S, for example. At said teas, little girls can practice being young ladies (have I already written on the subject of my girls not being teenagers, but, rather, young ladies? We're skipping the teen years altogether). They can dress up, discuss relevant girlhood issues (determined ahead of time by yours truly), and (at least in the case of my girls) prepare the tea and tasties ahead of time. You may wonder what this has to do with LF - nothing directly. Further, it likely won't introduce my T to girls she doesn't know. Rather, the dissolution of her LF group before it started was the genesis of the idea, or, more correctly, the nudge to get me moving.

As I said, just ruminating right now. Hmmm...thinking about that word...if it relates at all to ruminants, I'm not sure I love the connotation.

Review of E-Book: "I Want to be a...Doctor"  

Posted by: Laura Delgado in

Within the past several months, The Old Schoolhouse has introduced many new entries into its “WannaBe” E-Book series. Until being presented with the opportunity to review “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor”, I had never read one of these books. Now I want to read all of them! While I concede that the editors have found a catchy name in “WannaBe E-Book”, I regret the fact that the name does not truly convey all that these books have to offer a homeschooling (or even an afterschooling) mom.

So much more than just an E-Book, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor” is in fact more of a unit study on the career of medicine. It begins with a biographical sketch of a family that practices medicine, which I rather naively assumed would comprise the majority of the E-Book. I actually would have loved to have read more about the Drs. Atwi, but the editors of this E-Book had so much more in store for me! After reading about the day-to-day doings of the Atwis, the E-Book continues with the all-important salary information for the medical profession, as well as with a reading comprehension style quiz.

Then the real fun begins! The next ten pages of this E-Book consist of optometry-specific information. How do our eyes work? What is a lens? What is color blindness? Activities including vocabulary, a diagram of the eye, and a test to diagnose color blindness are included in this section of the E-Book. While all of the text is written at a level that is easily understood by children, there is much in this book that can benefit parents as well. After all, for many of us, it has probably been several years since we have studied these subjects ourselves!

One of the preeminent features of this E-Book is its versatility. In addition to providing solid information for students who might seriously be considering a career in the field of medicine, the E-Book also contains plenty of material for younger siblings, who might merely be along for the ride on this particular lesson. A hidden pictures activity (a favorite with my preschoolers) and coloring pages are included for the youngest scholars, while a crossword puzzle and a word search are included for slightly older students. Copywork and handwriting practice are incorporated for all age levels. Finally, end-of-unit activities and games round out the student portion of the E-Book. For mom, the E-Book closes with several pages of resources that can be used for further study, including books, videos, and websites.

This E-Book has much to recommend it. I must confess that my favorite part of the book is the story of Dr. Atwi and his family. I think it is this kind of personal narrative that is likely to draw students in, and to make them truly consider what it means to have a career in the field of medicine. Any student who reads this E-Book has, most likely, already expressed an interest in a medical career. Reading about a faith-filled man, who is committed both to God and to his patients, is likely to deepen that interest. The activities that follow can then be used to hone a student’s focus on the “what next” aspect of his possible career path in the kind of fun and hands-on manner to which most homeschoolers are so well accustomed.

As a first time reader of a book in this growing series, I was very pleasantly surprised by how comprehensive and interesting, while still compulsively readable, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor” was. Many elements combine to make this book well worth the nominal monetary investment. My only suggestion would be to create a separate E-Book entirely entitled, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be an… Optometrist”, and separate out the optometry material from this E-Book. In this way, students who are specifically interested in eyes can be directed toward that profession, while students with a general interest in medicine, an extensive field in its own right, can focus exclusively on the broad-spectrum discipline of medicine, exclusive of optometry. Overall, however, this E-Book is a welcome addition to the WannaBe E-Book series from The Old Schoolhouse.