Week Two-Life Long Learning

Well, we made it through the first two weeks of school.  The first week went fairly well.  The second week went about the same.  Nothing very exciting.  So far, I think that our favorite curriculum choice is Byline for the older two.  It is also tying in well with our block on civics.

This week, Sims had his first real test.  He is taking an online geometry class which has tests every other week.  It is moments like thee, that we realize how dysgraphia will continue to effect him through the years.  He writes well, but it does take him more time to write.  Geometry requires a lot of writing and planning.  Thus, his test took him three hours to complete.  Wow!  I was shocked that it took that long and amazed at his perseverance to get through it.  (and not that it matters, but he was very excited to get an 89-pre/94-final grade after corrections in his first real test).

Sawyer is moving through her work well.  She generally does not find school work challenging but this year, we found some fun stuff.  She is enjoying the writing with byline and the Visual Latin program.  She has a gift with languages that I love.  She finds them so easy! (This is a concept that boggles my mind because language is so tough.). She also started designing her Halloween costume this week!

Parks (I am scared to jinx myself here but…) is doing really well this year on his school work.  He wakes up and hits the books.  He is focused to finish his work-which can be good and bad.  Right now, I will take it.  Last year, he struggled with getting motivated to start his work and to complete his work with out A LOT of encouragement (insert-lots of frustration here..lol).  So far, he is completing his work and doing a great job with it!  He is also working on lots of projects such as rebuilding his drones, soldering, and making his own fingerboards.

I am teaching geology this month in our 4H co op.  I explained to the class that I am not a geologist but that I find the subject interesting. Thus, I decided to teach the subject.  Who knew that being a homeschooling mom would also make me an unschooler too?  Life long learning.

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Back to School Time!

I am still in denial that we are actually starting school which is why this post is slightly delayed.  We started school last Monday as a group.  Sims started an online class a few weeks ago.  As much as I would love to show you a beautiful back to school picture of the three of them smiling, I have nothing close.  I have pictures of the three of them steadily working and looking at their books for the year.

Overall, the week went well.  Monday, we spent at home.  Tuesday, Parks and I headed out for his writing class while the older two stayed home and worked.  Wednesday, we went to the park for the first day of our 4H co-op and pretended that it is still summer by hitting the lake for a swim afterwards.  Thursday, we hit the barn.  Friday, we finished up any unfinished work from the week.  We also celebrated Sawyer’s last allergy shot!!  (Five years ago, Sawyer found out that she is allergic to the five bee types that we have here in NC.  Over the past five years, she has gone monthly to get two shots-equivalent to getting 18 bee stings at once.  She is amazing.) The workload was light this week.  My hope was just to get everyone into a rhythm.  I think that it worked pretty well.

In addition to celebrating, Sawyer’s last shot, we also watched Sims compete in his first deep water solo rock climbing event at the US National White Water Center.  The competition was a lot of fun to watch!

Monarch Mania

About a month or two ago, we were excited to see a monarch in our butterfly garden.  We have seen several different types of swallow tails and moths, but we have been trying to attract monarchs for a while.  Well now we have tons of monarchs!  Not only do we have monarchs but we have eggs and caterpillars!  We have so many that we are sharing them with others.  So far, four other families are helping to care for some caterpillars.  In our family, we have already had one group of eggs hatch and morph into monarchs.  We have about 35 caterpillars now!  And there are a ton more on our milkweed in the back yard.

2018/2019 Planning

I am finding it tough to sit and plan for long periods of time this summer, thus the plan is coming along slowly.  I found out late this summer (like last week) that all three of my kids do not feel “as smart as their friends who go to school.”  This statement quite shocked me-not that I want them to be comparing themselves to others, but I do want them to feel confident in themselves.  This new knowledge is making me change my plan a bit.

I am also trying to figure out how to develop a transcript for high school that truly shows who my kids are.  We have never done formal testing or grades.  We go over information and apply it.  If the information is not understood, I find that the kids cannot apply it correctly, and we go over it again until it makes sense.  I would call this a mastery approach.  I have heard some people say that the kids should get an A after that, but I do not feel that a letter grade truly describes the knowledge.  I am looking into proficiency-based and mastery transcripts as a model for high school.

Sims Grade 10 

Theme: Perseverance

Goals:

  • Self-confidence in uncomfortable situations-academic and personal
  • Increased ease with note-taking and written communication
  • Demonstrate accountability to an outside teacher
  • Demonstrate leadership within his community
  • Challenge himself to use the knowledge he has to gain deeper knowledge in a subject

During Sims’s tenth grade year, he will be working through US history, writing and US literature, geometry, Latin and Chemistry.  I am sure that he will have more that he works on, but this is the plan for now.

Sawyer Grade 8

Theme: Personal Achievement

Goals:

  • Self-confidence in personal and academic knowledge
  • Learn to set personal goals and to develop a plan to work towards the goals
  • Design, implement and complete an eight grade project.

Sawyer’s eighth grade year has a lot of classes per her request.  She will be taking a high school level physical science course, pre-algebra, writing, and latin.  She will also have blocks in civics, US history, business math/economics, geometry and woodworking.

Parks Grade 6

Theme: Community

Goals

  • Independence with beginning daily work
  • Self-confidence in academic knowledge
  • Feeling a part of a community beyond the family

Parks is entering middle school this year!  No more elementary children-how did that happen?  Parks will continue with math and spelling/copy work.  He will also be taking a science class and a writing class outside of the home this year.  He will have blocks on Ancient Rome, business math, geometry and woodworking.

We are also starting a 4H group this year that will meet on Wednesdays.  We have planned many classes including-geology, PE, geography, Spanish, leadership, entrepreneurship, horsemanship, environmental science, cooking and coding.

 

Fun Photos in July

One more summer month down!  And as always, it was full of fun.  Lots of visits from friends and family.  Lots of playing at the lake.

More Monarchs!

We are a monarch loving family. Last year I planted a butterfly garden in my yard in hopes that I would attract monarchs. I was beginning to loose hope because I have not seen any this year. We have lots of other butterflies visiting but no monarchs-until yesterday! I pulled into my driveway and noticed something orange fluttering around. I went out to the garden and found monarchs bustling around the plants! What a nice surprise for us all!

June in Review

As with every year, June flew by and a lot happened in it!  The month started on a Friday which was the perfect way to start June.  I met with the lady who worked with Sims and Sawyer on writing this year to plan for next year.  Then like many of the days in June, we went to the lake to play in the water.  Sims got his driver’s permit.  Everyone went to camp-Sawyer to Rockbrook Camp for Girls, Sims to scuba camp to get scuba certified, and Parks to BMX camp.  Sims competed in the USA climbing divisional competition.  We ended the month kayaking with friends down the Green River in NC.  I do enjoy June!