There are people out there who homeschool loads of kids. I don’t know how you do it! I could barely do two at once, so…bow down to you all.
(I know someone who has, I think 12 or 13 kids she homeschools and they wear uniforms. When I first learned this, I thought it was a leetle over the top now. But when I actually contemplated the possibility of educating 12 children in my own one-room schoolhouse, I thought, well, yes, of course. Uniforms. It sends a message: “This is school time.” It’s cheaper. It makes for less morning chaos. Smart, in other words.)
But my almost-11 year old and I are (I think) enjoying our year, so I thought I’d do a quick “learning notes” kind of thing to catch you up – and help myself stay on top of things, as well.
(I usually do all sorts of links with these posts, but tonight, I don’t have time. Sorry!)
(Oh, and I started this last night (Tuesday) but now it’s Wednesday night. So I’ve updated a bit.)
- Prayer: Our day begins with prayer based on some mash-up of the daily Mass readings and Morning Prayer. We use this book and this one to talk about the saint of the day – so, for example, yesterday, we talked about St. Bruno, which led to a little refresher on religious orders, monasteries and what reform of the Church means and how authentic reform happens and where it’s rooted.
- This week’s first readings are from Jonah, so he just went ahead and read the WHOLE BOOK yesterday, and I encouraged him to be proud that he’d read an entire BOOK OF THE BIBLE in one sitting. We talked about what the book meant, what it reveals to us about God and his mercy. We pulled out the atlas and talked about where these places were: Ninevah, Tarshish, and so on.
- Since the Gospel yesterday was Mary/Martha, we also looked at some art related to that narrative.
- Today (10/7), we talked about the Battle of Lepanto, read Chesterton’s poem, and prayed a decade of the rosary.
- Copywork: The schedule, from M-Thursday is: Scripture, Literature quote, poetry, Saying/Aphorism/Proverb. Friday, he illustrates his copywork from that week in whatever way he chooses. Monday’s copywork was the first couple of verses of Jonah, and yesterday’s was: He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. From The Call of the Wild, which we read last year as a family. Today, the copywork was a few lines from Chesterton’s poem on Lepanto.
- Cursive practice. Now he prints most everything, but the goal is by early spring to be writing most of his work in cursive.
- Language review. I use pages from Evan-Moor “Language Review” books, grades 5 and 7 – error correction, editing, etc. He does one “day” per day.
- One “day” of math review, also from an Evan-Moor book, this one is grade 6, I believe.
- All of that (from copywork through math review) takes about 15 minutes at most. Maybe ten.
- Math: We have been hanging loose with Beast Academy, waiting for word that 5A was coming. I saw on their FB page that they are finally sending it to the printers, so we are going to be starting up the last chapter of 4D (probability) this week. Up to this point we have been using the Pearson enVision program, grade 5, which I’m familiar with because it was used at their former school – I have some issues with some of it , which I’ll detail in another post – I think that as much as they trumpet being all about “number sense” (a good thing), they actually end up depending way too much on “number tricks.” But it’s useful for just starting grade 5 math. We’ll be through chapter 5 this week. Then start back on BA, and have that done by the time the new book arrives.
- Also working on Khan Academy Grade 5 at the same time. I like it, but I’m not sure how anyone could really use it as a complete curriculum, although I know some do. It’s a great supplement, though.
- Working casually through Latin for Children I. Emphasis on vocabulary. Finished up chapter 9 today.
- Poetry: We do random readings throughout the day from various poetry books. I have him read them aloud to me, as practice in, well, reading aloud. He does great. He also always has a memory poem in the works, and right now, he’s decided to go ahead and memorize all of Marc Antony’s speech from Act 2 of Julius Caesar – I had him memorize the first 6 or 7 lines or so, but he decided that he would go ahead over the next couple of weeks and try to memorize the whole thing. (We’ve seen a production in Atlanta, watched the Brando version, a big chunks of the fantabulous RSC version set in a modern African nation.)
- Adam of the Road. This year, we will be doing a lot of novel reading – aside from his already voluminous personally-driven reading. I want to do a bunch of novels that we can knock out in a week or ten days, max. We read this, as I mentioned before, and he has been doing comprehension/writing/reflection exercises from this study. We’ll finish that tomorrow. Had a slight delay because somehow, the book got…lost ( hmmmm) and we couldn’t go on until we’d checked another out of the library. As I mentioned before, it’s a very good book, and great for some interesting history and Catholic-y stuff. A glimpse into a time in which life was lived, not only be the earthly seasons, but the sacred seasons as well. Not sure what we will do next – maybe The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
- In addition, we’re doing this – Fable and Narrative from the Writing and Rhetoric program from Classical Academic Press. At this point, I still like it quite a bit. The emphasis is on teaching how to both condense/summarize and then expand, and I think the approach is quite helpful. One chapter a week. Today, he finished up lesson 2, which focused on the Parable of the Prodigal Son – the last exercise (he’s working on it as we speak) is to rewrite the end of the parable in the first person, from the perspective of the older son.
- We’re up to New France in history. We use the Catholic Textbook Project book From Sea to Shining Sea along with select chapters from Hakim’s History of US, as well as loads of supplemental library books. There’s just a lot of conversation and looking at maps and him telling me things he knows from other reading, which, when we were on the Spanish, was a lot.
- History update: Today he read the short sections on Henry Hudson from the Catholic history book, Hakim and from the Explorers book noted below. Tomorrow he’ll write a paragraph on Hudson based on all that. Writing Across the Curriculum! Sometimes.
- Two books that we checked out of the library are these:
They are very good, and I particularly like the second. (Click on covers for links) If you have a chance, see if your library has it. The maps are different, the information is good and it would be a great book for any home, homeschooling or not. I like it so much, I might actually purchase it.
- Science is botany. We’re pulling from this and this, as well as loads of library books and wandering outside and indoor experiments. More on that later in the week in a dedicated post. There. If I say I’m going to write a post on it, that means it’s going to get done!
- Keyboarding: He’s starting doing that – using some program we had around here. Whenever he wants, he can go back there and work through the lessons.
- Various videos from places like The Kids Should See This and Brain Scoop. We watch a few of those every day.
- The first disc of Bernstein’s Concerts for Young People came this week, so we’ll be watching that over the next few weeks.
- Boxing class on Tuesdays
- Birmingham Zoo class on being a “Junior Zoo Vet.” It’s a six-week class, and he’s enjoying it, although there’s not quite as much direct interaction with animals as he had hoped. They did see a blood draw from a goat today, though, so there’s that! (This class isn’t a homeschool class – it’s in the late afternoon.)
- Piano. Here.
- Thursday morning homeschool co-op class at the Cathedral – the two classes are drama and History of Science – he loves them both. So far, the science classes have covered Marie Curie and Newton, with Galileo and others unknown to come.
- The missing piece, in my mind, is art. He’s not taking any outside art classes at this point, and with the weather so great, once the school-ish stuff is over, it tends to be outside time. However, I realized just as I was typing that, he does go into the front room and draw every night – he is drawing these big landscapes of a fantasy world that he then spends ten minutes explaining to me. He’s also started making a shield for his Halloween costume, which is going to be a Mayan something.
- There are things coming up in the next few weeks at the various museums around town that I need to figure out and get organized for. I think there is camping this weekend. Maybe.
- Teachable moments of the week: The Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine – no, I don’t understand much of the research, but we dip in anyway and get a taste of what real research is all about and how it helps people. Also the line-up of planets – will try to get up before dawn (HAHAHAHA) and catch it, and have been given orders to wake him up if I do accomplish this.
- Why do I do this? Because I have a curious, open-minded kid who can get the basics in two seconds and flourishes when he’s challenged to discover more, talk about it, and write about it. And I’m at a place in my life at which I can do this. I would not mind more time to myself – not just to recharge, but also because I have work to do – but honestly – I’m 55, he’s my youngest, I have the means to give him this space to learn outside of a classroom, so no excuses. Next year (6th grade) things might change. It’s up to him. If he wants to go to school, he can. If he wants to keep doing this crazy thing we’re doing, he can. It will be interesting to see what he decides. I’m fine either way.
So…what’s my assignment for the rest of the week? Get to the Botanical Gardens, at least once, maybe twice and be all intentional about the nature observation.
Update: We did it! Got to the Gardens, wandered, talked about trees. Learned some things.
Oh, here’s a pro tip: If you do a watch-beans-germinate-while-ensconced-in-damp-paper-towels thing, be sure you do your observation before the beans have started turning brown and, when cut open, have maggots wriggling in them. Or not. There’s value in that, too, I guess.