I have always used MEP Math for my kids, but now that Lydia is in High School, we’ve deviated. I wrote about why in this post , but we’ve gotten a different book, and she and I are working thru it, together. Owen (4) is in a dollar store pre-math book, Aaron (7) is in a dollar store math book (Level 1), and Ethan (9) and Isaac (1) are doing the MEP Math , while Lydia and I are doing Practicing Algebra: A Self-Teaching Guide . On ‘Electronic Wednesdays’ we do Marley Math, Math Balls, Telling Time, and Kevin Bradford apps in whatever grade they’re in (sometimes doing the level lower, for a change). On ‘Flashcard Fridays’, we do addition/subtraction flashcards for Ethan, Number matching flashcards for Owen, basic addition flashcards for Aaron, and multiplication flashcards for Lydia and Isaac.
Owen is learning his letter names and orders this year with big foam letters. He also has a dollar store workbook where you ‘color all the letter A’s to make a picture, or circle all the capital ‘A’s… stuff like that. Aaron has a book where he has to write letters and put the correct vowels in the words, etc. He also is doing Reading Reflex with me, as his learning-to-read study. When he finishes that, he goes into McGuffey’s Primer, then two anthologies of Dick & Jane, then Mc Guffey’s first… before we launch him with level 1 reads from the library. Lydia, Isaac, and Ethan are all in free Scott Foresman Grammar books that I printed off the internet. This year, Isaac will be writing two-paragraph essays for each Dr. Who we watch, and Lydia will be writing a page-long research essay for each. They both also write on their blogs and do reviews on Goodreads of the books they read. Ethan, Isaac, and Lydia also correspond bi-weekly with penpals. On ‘Electronic Wednesday’, Kevin Bradford’s apps fit the bill, and they still love to play Grammar Ninja, too.
We start with the pledge, then sing a hymn and folk song, then do a chorus and rhyme. I have a schedule that I created years ago for these, and it’s just in the front of my teacher book, so each week we move to the next set. I’m in an AOArt group (on Yahoo!) that has prints from each artist, and I had them all printed up at Office Max, so we just work our way thru that for our art appreciation. We’re finishing up Waterhouse from last year, right now. Spelling is done every other day on magna-doodles off of a master list I printed of every grade’s spelling lists years ago.
Other table time stuff varies from day to day. There’s Book of Centuries, where we color and put pictures in our BOC that have to do with what we learned that week, there’s Nature Journal – we try to do a nature activity every week. I have a bunch of stuff I find on-line and print as people offer it up free, and I just pull it out of the file as we go along. Or it might be storm study, or plant/leave/flower identification… I have lapbooks ready… when we did Burgess (AO required reading) we did critter sheets for each animal we ‘met’. I try to do handicrafts from my Pinterest one day, for projects (mostly we send them to penpals).
And table time always concludes with copywork. Copywork comes from Proverbs… I just go in order, picking the poignant ones for them to write. When they turn eleven, they do a year of cursive along with the copywork – I printed and comb-bound little cursive workbooks from a site like this one, years ago. When they turn twelve they do DanceMat Typing on ‘Electronic Wednesdays’, when they’re 13 they do Peter’s Typing Course, and when they’re 14 they start coding. Since this year is new, I have to look at them, still, but I’ve bookmarked this one and this one. I’m thinking we’ll try Scratch first, and if it doesn’t fit, do Code.
I’ve played the piano since I was five (majored in piano in college, was church pianist three times over, did weddings…) so I teach my kids piano lessons, myself. They practice minutes per age… meaning Lydia’s fourteen, so she practices every day for 14 minutes. Aaron’s only 6, so he practices for six minutes. This year we’re doing music theory from Opusmusic.com and Guitar lessons from JustinGuitar on Youtube. I bought music flashcards from Amazon that we do on ‘Flashcard Friday’, and on ‘Electronic Wednesday’ they play Whack-a-Note until they’re age twelve, then do they do Music Tutor. This year we’ve added Music History and Music in Cultures from EasyPeasy. Oh, and Sunday nights are going to be watching musicals, to replace the Faerie Tales that we did, last year. Oh, and if you’re looking for folk songs, I found this really fun channel called ‘Wee Rock with Heidi‘ at YouTube…
In addition to our art appreciation picture that we look at every day during table time, we have Sketch Tuesday, from Harmony Fine Arts (I work from her archives, so the link is her older stuff). The kids bring their charcoals and blending sticks to dance and work on their sketches, there. It works really good, because they have NOTHING else to do while waiting, and that alone encourages them to spend more time making it REALLY good. As I said earlier, we do handicrafts from Pinterest for penpals. We also are starting EasyPeasy’s Art History lessons, this year. On Sundays we do ‘Chalk & Cocoa’, where we choose a poem from the AO list, read and consider the theme, and then do a picture of what it brings to mind for us. Free art is for them to follow their whims (art should be free!), and then we also do a LEGOquest every week – last year we did it from here, but this year there are Minecraft Activities (which translate to LEGO activities!) that go with our Dr. Who History. Which brings me to…
Our BIG exciting history thing this year is that we’re doing an on-line Dr. Who course… off-line. Meaning I’m taking the on-line lessons, organizing them, and putting them into a Word.doc for us to use off-line as a study. Which also means we’re several weeks behind the class, but we’re okay with that. It’s actually BETTER, because everything the other moms find to go with the lessons (videos, projects, interactives) and all of the pictures of their stuff/blogs about what they did are put together for us to draw from! We’re also continuing Story of the World (activity posts are too numerous to mention, but I post my activities here, usually). Dr. Who takes the place of we FINALLY finished An Island Story, although we’re still plugging along at History of America, too. Mapwork is done on Electronic Wednesday… last year they did the United States and Europe, this year we’re going to add to them.
Every other year we do either Signing Time or Bill’s ASL… this year (because Owen is starting school) we’re back to Signing Time. We finally finished Salsa Spanish, so this year we’re trying EasyPeasy’s Spanish lessons. And I’ve printed off a book of reading lessons for Hebrew here (there are 20 lessons), and have a book of Hebrew copywork that… I’m sorry, I don’t have the link, anymore. I’m also dabbling (personally, but the kids are interested, so they’re watching, too) Chinese with Emma and German for You.
I know that all of this seems like a lot. But we do little bite-sized pieces of everything, and break it down to once a week for each thing, so it’s really not as bad as it seems. As I said, I have a schedule for it all, and know which morning/night we do what… reading included. First, the kids get one free-read book of my classics shelf each month that they need to finish by the end of the month… and there’s 15 minutes of free read, every day (they can do more, if they want). We also have a lunchtime read… a classical book we’re doing as a family, and then we watch the movies, later. Right now, it’s ‘Treasure Island’. I just read while they’re finishing eating. They usually are begging for it before my food is even gone. Then two nights a week, we sit down and do family reading time… and split up the lessons between people (or my mouth would fall asleep!) Brian reads Myth/Legends (which right now is the Narnia books) and Lydia gets Laura Ingalls (Tales/Literature). Ethan read the FlyGuy books last year as his readers, and…
… Isaac read from Burgess books, but we’ve FINALLY finished them, too… so he’ll probably take over something else (SotW). As for science… it’s hodge-podgy, and I don’t like it, but it sort of works… hrm. This year we’re starting a book on geology, biomes, and the earth sciences that I read. I’m supposed to be doing astronomy with them, too… but we finished our book over the summer, and so I’m not sure if I’m going to just Nature journal it this year, or what. Chemistry is finishing up our Discover & Do videos, and Health is finishing those Jiminy Cricket shows that we watched, last year. And we have Science Central videos to tackle, if we get there (I haven’t yet). We also have ‘True Fact’ videos from ZeFrank to watch and as they went free (all last year), I got the e-books of animals by ‘Look and Learn’.
As I mentioned yesterday, we’re doing dance, karate, chess, hymn sing this year for our electives. Luckily they’re once a week… and our field trip group and homeschool humanities group is once a month. We also count Mr. Rogers as our ‘character study’ (be calm and kind like him, learn the lessons taught in the World of Make-Believe)… and every Monday we update our calendars, and that counts as an elective, too. I also try to get them in to bake something once a week, if I can… or at least help with supper one night. OH! And Bible study!! We read our Bible lesson after supper every night – straight from Ergermeier’s. And Brian and Lydia are doing my Romans study/journaling every Sunday night.
MOST of this was already in place. If you think it’s crazy, you have to understand that we had eleven years to build up to something similar to this year’s schedule. ((For example, here’s last year’s schedule.)) We’ve just added a little to what we already were doing. But anyhow, that’s what we’ve got going on. Mainly I’m worried about all of the extra-curriculars… but we’ll see.