Are you looking for a writing class for a reluctant writer? Or do you want your child’s writing class to be different/better than the typical writing class? I was!
We have been through a TON of writing programs-IEW, Writeshop, Essentials in Writing…..They are all great and teach the basics of writing a 5 paragraph paper. The result was….well, a boring five paragraph paper.
My oldest just dreads writing. DREADS it!! However, he is a pretty creative writer and comes up with good ideas. Getting those ideas on paper is extremely tough and takes some work (this is the dysgraphic brain kicking in).
For years, I have been reading the Brave Writer blogs and using the book club packets from Brave Writer. I have the Writer’s Jungle Book and have done several activities through it, but that was about it until this year. I looked at the online classes and decided to take the plunge. The classes are pricey in my opinion which was my biggest hesitation.
Thankfully, the class was AMAZING! We started with an essay prep class even though he can write a five paragraph paper. I wanted my oldest to be completely independent with getting his thoughts down (I wanted to be out of the picture completely-although, I did keep up with the class on my own). The class had generally 3 writing assignments per week and reading everyday. None of the assignments were overwhelming or crazy time consuming. The best part for my oldest was using a timer to write. I have suggested this time and time before, but when it was actually part of the assignment, he loved it.
I am looking forward to the next essay prep class on research. He starts that one next week.
(FYI-I do not receive any compensation or anything for writing this. It is simply a review of a class that we took)
Whew! What a week. We are all feeling the need for a little break, but we aren’t quite there yet. However, we did fit some fun into the week to help with our need,
We started the week off at the Banff film festival. If it travels to your area, I highly recommend that you see it. The films are great even if you aren’t an avid outdoorsman.
Sims had a week off of geometry last week, so he was back to the math this week along with the rest of the other crew. Sawyer is still working through the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra books. She has one more book to go before the end of the year (I believe it is the Pre Algebra with Economics). Parks is working with fractions and decimals. He finished the Life of Fred series. I am debating whether or not to go ahead and let him start the Fractions book.
The older kids had their usual science classes on Tuesday; Sawyer and Parks had writing class as well. The weather is finally perking up around here so we struggled through the classes by spending every free moment in between classes outside doing our work at the picnic tables.
On Wednesday, we played hooky from our 4H class and went to the white water center. We wanted to get Nick a pass for his birthday, so we figured that we would enjoy some outdoor time while we were there. (I do hate that we missed 4H as they learned how to build a website, but my kids said that they have used the program before.). The kids all busted out some work when we got home from the white water center. Then we headed out for the art club that Sawyer started. Sims and I are using the time to work together on writing or what ever he needs some help with. It has been a nice addition to the schedule.
WWC high ropes
WWC high ropes
Thursday was work as usual and a fun birthday celebration (which required some extra home ec as Sawyer baked a pound cake that was delicious!!). Friday morning, Sims and I headed down to Atlanta where we will be for the weekend. He is participating in a climbing clinic. Back at home, Parks and Sawyer worked on their big projects for writing that are due next week!
Oh! I almost forgot! Some of the fun parts of homeschooling/unschooling. Remember our tadpoles that we scooped up last week? I haven’t mentioned them to the kids. I have just had them on the counter and have been taking care of them myself. I noticed a magnifying glass out. Obviously, the kids are enjoying them after all. I believe unschoolers call it seeding? Putting out books/games/activities that will spark interest. Through some casual conversations, I have learned how much they have observed our little guys!
I thought that I might get back to doing the weekly wrap up after February. HA! I guess that didn’t happen. We did finish up our block on Westward Expansion in the US and our book. Sims also started a class through BraveWriter. I struggled signing up for the class, because-well in my mind anyway, it is kind pricey. After two weeks in the class, it was worth every penny! Awesome, awesome class.
Book on westward expansion
This week, we started on a grammar block. You will notice the excitement on everyone’s faces while they sit at the table working on grammar.
We also met up for a much needed hike with some friends. It was more of our old school type of hikes. We bush wacked through the woods to find an abandoned house that the kids used to like to find when they were younger. Then we bush wacked our way a little further and found the creek. Finally, we made it back some how. I was pretty impressed that the kids still remembered their way through these woods since it has been quite a while since we have hiked there.
Through the woods
Creepy abandoned house found!
violets by the creek!
we found some tadpoles!
Beyond the hike, we had another exciting outing this week. We got to take a coding class at the local Microsoft Office. The kids enjoyed seeing a “real” office and where people work. They also learned about artificial intelligence and hacking. Then they used their coding knowledge gained from last week to hack a program. (This month in 4H is coding.)
Sims has also gotten to hit some more rocks outside the past two weeks as many kids are having spring break. We are also still loving the sunsets!
I promise-we are still around. It was February. February is a rough month for me so I don’t get to all of my extra stuff. I have to really focus to just get through life. February remained fairly simple.
Parks has been on the slopes this month
Competition season has begun
Competition season has begun
Spring is near!
Parks has also been at the skate park
The climbing wall is complete!
Sawyer started an art club!
We finished up our first two courses in 4H for the year-financial planning and sculpture. I wrote a blog on financial planning. The sculpture class turned out amazing as well. We (the administrators of our program) were worried about doing an art class because we did not have an art teacher. Lucky for us, one of the parents popped in. He casually mentioned that he has a degree in sculpture! He did an excellent job. We ended the block with a field trip to Davidson College. The college has a nice collection of outdoor sculptures. I put together a scavenger hunt requiring the kids to find each one and answer a question about it. I was a little worried initially, but it turned out perfect. Actually, it turned out even better than I had imagined. The kids took their time and studied each sculpture. They came up with some fantastic thoughts on each one.
Our next block in 4H was cooking. The kids learned about chemistry in cooking (fermentation and using bacteria), leavened vs unleavened bread, and how culture/geography influences cooking.
Cooking-New Orleans style
King cake in progress
Back at home, we started back in on US history looking at westward expansion. Everyone is working away at math, writing, and science individually. Maybe now that February is over, I can get back on track with the weekly wrap ups!
We recently finished our second business math/finance block for the year. As strange as it sounds, this was my third time going through this block and I still really enjoy it! I am far from business minded so I originally felt out of my comfort zone when teaching this block many years ago. However this time around, everything fell into place very nicely. We read a lot of books to go along with this block including “Whatever Happened to Penny Candy,” “The Year Money Grew on Trees,” “Bamboo People,” “The Not so Great Depression,” and “Striker Jones and the Midnight Archer.” Sawyer and Parks also worked through the Simply Charlotte Mason Pet Shop book to work on business math.
Overall, we covered a lot of topics! Needs versus wants. Entrepreneurship (which we still have a 4H block to do on also). Resources. Investments. Substitutes and Complements. Recessions. Revolutions. Inflations. The history of money. We also looked at how these concepts influenced US History to tie into our US History blocks.
Another wonderful addition to our blocks at home was a finance block in our 4H group. In the co-op, the kids used the USDA high school finance curriculum. Parks thought that it required way too much thinking, but Sims and Sawyer really learned a lot from it. The hands on activities at the co-op thoroughly solidified many of the concepts that we had learned at home too. I love it when things coincide without planning it!
We also have a block on entrepreneurship coming up in the spring with our co-op so I am sure even more concepts will come together!
Resources for business math
Last day of the week! Whoot! Whoot! If you are just now joining me, I document one week of every school year so that I can see how our weeks change from year to year. It is also an amazing way to see how the days are going and if we need to tweak anything as we head into the second half of our school year. If you want to read about the beginning of the week (or see past weeks), you can check out “A Day in the Life 2019-Monday” here. Today was not very exciting and I didn’t have much energy to write in all of the details, but the main points are here.
Early morning due to a vet appointment with the kitties.
620: Up and at ’em.
720: Attempted and succeeded after some help to wrangle two cats into their respective carriers and headed two towns north to the vet.
800: Vet appointments.
900: Sims and I got back home. Everyone was up and ready to start the day so we started our fifteen minute clean up and then headed to the sunroom to read and discuss what everyone will work on today.
1015 Everyone split off to work on their independent work and I went among them to help as needed. I mainly sat with Parks to help with his first big paper that he has coming up.
1145:Sims and I headed to Lowes to pick up some more boards for his climbing wall and then to clean the car.
100: Sawyer and I ran an errand.
200: I worked in the yard while Sawyer and Sims went to climb and Parks skate boarded in the driveway.
330: A couple of friends came over to play for a bit.
530: I went to pick up the kids from climbing.
Another week down! I hope your week went well.
PS-My husband noted that he was concerned about me taking pictures while I was driving. I typically have a passenger in the car with me who takes the photo so it is not me. Although, I have to admit that one of the pics this week I did take from my car. However, I only took the photo because the entire highway was completely stopped-I mean completely! When I looked around trying to find the accident or construction, there wasn’t any, but there were lots of people looking at the sunset. 🙂
Finally a day without a class!
715: I woke up with the kids moving a few minutes after I did. Breakfast, morning chores, and getting dressed.
The downside of the kids cooking last night. Lots of dishes left this morning!
Sims making breakfast
840: 15 minute clean up.
900: Reading and discussion in the sunroom followed by individual work. I worked with Parks a good but today while Sawyer worked on science, math and Latin. Sims worked on Reading Horizons and chemistry. Then he headed up to his room to finish up putting his new volume on his climbing wall. Last night, he and his dad got the ceiling piece hung.
Constant entertainment during group time
Sawyer working in her room
Sims and Parks working on the wall
The newest addition to the wall
1140: Sawyer and I discussed her work. Then I did some light cleaning and ate lunch followed by some work on the project I am presenting next week in co-op.
130: Sims headed to work with a tutor on his Geometry and chemistry. Sawyer, Parks and I went to the dollar store to get a laser pointer to play with the kitties that they are pet sitting. Then we went to check in on the kitties.
The joy of pet sitting!
245: I dropped off Sawyer and Parks and picked up Sims for another appointment .
400: Back home. Picked up Parks to drop him off at a friend’s house. Came back and picked up the older two for climbing. Finally made it to the grocery store (Terri from the Homeschooling Doctor- I actually heard your voice today as I. was shopping. We are in a tough spot right now and I am buying more “processed” food than I have ever bought! I heard you saying, “Maybe your food is contributing to your tough spot.” lol. I know that I will get back to more whole foods as the spring comes closer and my kids leave the house and I have time…….)
Another beautiful sunset.
615: Finally back home and prepping some meals with the new groceries! Parks came in right after I pulled in.