August 31, 2010

Cool Finds

We had a leisurely lunch out today at LaRosa's, and a chance to have a homeschool meeting about what each of us wants to learn in our home school this year.  After a yummy lunch, we decided to head to our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store (love that place!)

We found a whole set of Baby-Sitter Club books - A-Doll found some that she didn't own yet -- so we picked up about eleven books.  We also found two great games (at thrift store prices) - The 20 Questions for Kids board game and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Board Game).  I walked out having only spent $9.32 - sweet deal.

What bargains have you found lately?

August 28, 2010

Not Back to School Picnic

Our annual Homeschool Network Not-Back-To-School Picnic happened yesterday at a local park.  It was really fun.  We had a picnic with fried chicken provided by the homeschool network, and every family brought side dishes to share - yummy!   I truly enjoy getting together with other homeschooling families to share a meal and share plans for the year.

My children had a blast, too.   My son hunted for snakes with a couple of his buddies.  They found three - he asked to bring them home, I said NO.  They were returned to their homes.  My oldest daughter had some girl talk with a couple of her friends.  Young S-Doll had some cool playtime with pals on the playground. 

Also, as a fun addition to the evening, we had a white elephant exchange.  Basically anyone who wants to participate brings something from home that they don't want anymore.  For each item you bring, you may select an item that someone else brought.    We took 3 books, 2 coloring books, 2 stuffed animals and  a CD game.  We brought home a Volcano Kit, a Thin Ice game, and 3 books.  Oh well, so much for clearing out.

August 27, 2010

Back to school... eventually

So, this week was supposed to be our first week of school - it hasn't gone exactly according to plan.  We did have lessons on Wednesday - other than that we've been distracted, busy, lazy, I don't know.

I think part of the problem is that our school room is our living room and now it's busting at the seams.  My plan for the weekend is to revamp a bit and start up slowly next week - our goal is to be in school mode by the day after Labor Day. 

The other problem is that the schools around us aren't starting school until Sept. 7th, so it's tempting to play when other kiddos are still on the street.  It's okay -we'll work around that.

Here's to starting school soon...

August 26, 2010

Back to Unit Studies

Our homeschool journey veered far off course last year - we ended the year with a lot of downtime, maybe we burned out - I'm not really sure.  We followed My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures, and although I loved having everything laid out for me.  I loved the selection of books.  I loved traveling the world in our living room.  We were bored.  I'm not sure what the reason was - it just wasn't working for our family.

So, I'm back to designing my own unit studies for our family, based on their interests (and a dose of "we really should learn this" - from me).  So, here is our tentative plan and order of unit studies for the year:

Measurement (heavy on math, but also some history of measurement terms)
Ancient Greece / Greek Myths
Ancient Rome
Chemistry overview (lots of experiments and intro to terminology)
Literature around the world (plans to create our own story)
People around the world - a study of different cultures

That gives us a game plan, right?

For my unit studies, I plan an outline which we loosely follow (so as to allow for rabbit trails).  I try to incorporate the following items in each study (as appropriate):

  • Books (love my library)
  • Videos (if applicable)
  • Field Trip
  • Internet resources
  • Hands-on projects (necessary in our house - I have three hands-on learners)
  • Tie-in to fine arts, if possible
  • A writing menu (especially geared for my 7th grader who HATES to write) - for more info about implementing a writing menu, see The Writing Menu: Ensuring Success for Every Student at Amazon.  I highly recommend this book, it's changed my daughter's attitude toward writing, because she has the ability to pick what writing she wants to complete.  It's reduced some arguments at our house.

Stay tuned - I'll let you know how it's going very soon.