Saturday, August 11, 2012

School Room Week

Not Back to School Blog Hop
It's week 2 of the NOT Back to School Blog Hop, and this week I get to share with y'all my school room. I'm so excited about it!

We don't have a "school room" really, but rather much of our school takes place in our family room. This room is the largest in our house, and serves as our family room, dining room, play room, library, school room, and probably a dozen other functions as well. It is open to both our living room and kitchen, and you have to go through this room to get to our backyard. In addition to all these other things going on in there, it is the room we entertain in when we entertain. Obviously, it's a busy place.

Here's what is used to look like. (As usual, click on any image to see it full sized.)
Here's what it looks like now, from the same angle.
 Sooooo, much nicer. SO MUCH! I took this on Saturday afternoon, with Lego's all over the place and other little messes, but it still looks so much nicer than it used to even when it was as clean as it could possibly get.

I have dreamed of built in cabinets and shelves since long before we even bought this house. In fact, when we looked at this house before we bought it we discussed that 17 foot long wall would be perfect for my built-ins.

My husband and I planned what we wanted, and we took that plan to Lowe's and ordered kitchen cabinets. It took five weeks for the cabinets to come in, but in the mean time hubby painted the wall (he chose the color too, but I love it). Then he installed the cabinets, making the wooden "counter top" and shelves himself. It took me longer to go through everything and fill up the cabinets than it took him to install them!

The result? Beauty and organization. ALL of my homeschool stuff, plus craft supplies, plus my vacuum, plus all of our board games and puzzles, plus all the books we own, plus more fits in those cabinets with room to spare. I am in love. I love it so much that here are some more photos from different angles just because.
All four Sonlight Cores we're doing this year are out on the shelves, but neat and attractive, along with some nicknacks and books from my childhood. Those wires are hook ups for our surround sound, whenever we get a new one, since the the very old one went boom the moment we turned it on last week. Notice the comfy chair in the corner there. By the way, that's a school book she's reading, yes on a Saturday afternoon while the boys play with Legos. Sonlight. It's that good.
This is what it looks like when we're doing school in there. Here we are doing art, recreating Van Gogh's Sunflowers using oil pastels. It's one of the lessons in Confessions of a Homeschooler's World's Greatest Artist curriculum (which is amazingly free!).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Curriculum Week - Long Answer

Not Back to School Blog Hop
I did a short and sweet post that hits the big things we are using for homeschool this year, but I really am a long answer kind of person (just ask my husband, he'll tell you all about my long answers Skype Emoticons). Anyway, I just couldn't let it go with such a short post that only mentions a handful of the numerous things we are using this year. So, here is the full list of curriculum for each of my kids.

10th grader - Auditory/tactile learner with strong Math and Science tendencies and more average in English and History. He wants to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he has recently started thinking about a dual major with Mechanical Engineering too (he learned that it is the Mechanical Engineers that build jet engines).
  • Bible - reading the Bible and the books: The Bible Jesus Read, The Case for Christ, and Pilgrim's Progress (the original). If we have time he'll get to Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. 
  • Math - Life of Fred: Geometry.
  • Science - Apologia Physics. 
  • English - Sonlight Core 100. The Literature in Core 100 is all of his literature (23 titles including such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Call of the Wild), and the Creative Expression in Core 100 forms the majority of his writing for the year, although I am the type of person to throw in my own ideas for writing on occasion too. For example, this week we are finishing a 3 week writing unit on the idea of the Monomyth (aka the Hero's Journey tale) using a short story retelling of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the movie Star Wars: episode IV (the first Star Wars), and finally another movie, tale, or book of my son's choice (it looks like he'll be using The Hobbit for the final essay). Anyway, this idea came from a Currclick product.
  • History and Geography - Sonlight Core 100. We are using all of Core 100's History, but I am also adding in Hewitt's tests for Hakim, am scheduling all the History of US Book 11 source documents, and am scheduling in the book What Hath God Wrought by Dr. William Grady for some Baptist perspective on USA history.
  • Spanish - Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish, plus talking with native speakers (aka approximately 50% of everyone that shares this county with us, so it's not hard to find native speakers)
  • Fine Arts - Listening to and Understanding Great Music from the Teaching Company.

8th grader  - Good all around learner, although with visual strengths. Loves to read and is a good writer. She has no definite future plans as of yet, but she's thinking maybe nursing school.
  • Bible - reading the Bible and right now she's reading The Bible Makes Us Baptist by Mary E. Bamford. I don't know what else I'm going to have her do this after this. Yeah, I need to get going on to that.
  • Math - Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra I with Biology along with Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 6.
  • Science - Apologia Physical Science.
  • English - Help for High School will make up the first semester of her writing, maybe a bit longer than that, and then she'll pick up the Sonlight Core H writing. She's also doing Winston Grammar Basic and will follow with Advanced. She will do All About Spelling book 7 sometime this year as well.
  • History and Geography and Literature - Sonlight Core H with Mystery of History III. Since Mystery of History IV still won't be published for another year or more, she'll use Story of the World IV to finish off Core H.
  •  Art - This girl is resistant to art, so I'll be bringing her into what the younger ones are doing. It might be "young" for her, but she needs things that won't cause her to be frustrated or upset by the process.

4th grader - Dyslexic, strongly visual learner. He is 4th grade by age, but working on a 3rd grade level pretty much across the board.
  • Bible - Egermeier's Story Bible with memory verses from his Sunday School class (I'm his Sunday School teacher too). Here soon our Wednesday evening Bible class will be starting to use a Patch the Pirate curriculum that will have assignments to be completed at home as well.
  • Math - Miquon Purple. He is nearing the end of the last Miquon book, so he'll be starting Singapore Primary Mathematics 3A in the next month or so.
  • Science - Apologia Astronomy with A Journey Through Learning's lapbook to go with it.
  • English - The Sonlight Grade 3 Readers, Handwriting Without Tears 3 (he's learning cursive), and All About Spelling book 3. For writing he is doing a mix of Language Lessons for the Elementary Child volume 1, Brave Writer's newest book Jot It Down, and things I make up myself. (For example, this week he had the idea to write letters to two sisters whose graduation ceremony we are attending this weekend. Our family is close with these girls, so he felt he had something important to say to them and I thought it was a great idea for this week's writing.)
  • History and Geography and Literature - Sonlight Core C. Oddly enough (for me), I'm doing Core C pretty much as written, well except for Bible as I am reading Core A's Bible with Core C. 
  • Art - I'm really trying to get to Art more this year (as opposed to the not at all last year). I've gotten set with Artistic Pursuits K-3 book 1, lots of Pinterest ideas, and I bought a beautiful art project idea book at the convention last month, called Amazing Art Projects for Children. I'm also going to work through Confessions of a Homeschooler's World's Greatest Artists units.
2nd grader - Also dyslexic and behind in reading, but ahead in all other areas. He is a visual learner, but does well with auditory learning too.
  • Bible - He'll be doing everything that his 4th grade brother does, only he finds memorizing easier even though he is two years younger.
  • Math - He is quite the little mathematical thinker. He is less than a week away from finishing Miquon Green, and will move into Miquon Yellow. That equates to him being a full year ahead in Math.
  • Science - see what the 4th grader is doing above.
  • English - All About Reading level 1. At the rate he is working, it may be January before he finishes this level even though he started it in March or so. He often takes him 2 to 3 days to make it through a single lesson. He is making improvement, but reading does not come easy for him. Anyway, he is also doing Handwriting Without Tears 2, Language Lessons for Little Ones volume 2, and Brave Writer's Jot It Down. 
  • History and Geography and Literature- Sonlight's Core C. He is especially loving the mapwork with the Geography Songs workbook and CD.
  • Art - see above.

Kindergartner - I'm still not sure yet if this one favors visual or auditory learning, but she is surely kinetic. This girl moves all the time. She also has the attention span of a gnat.
  • Bible - Sonlight's Core P4/5 Bible, the Family-Time Bible, along with memory verses from her Sunday School class and the Patch the Pirate workbook when that starts later this month.
  • Math - Singapore's Earlybird Math.
  • Science - Sonlight's Core P4/5 includes Science, but she is listening in on the Apologia Astronomy book too.
  • English - All About Reading level pre-1, with Handwriting Without Tears K. 
  • Social Studies and Literature - Sonlight's Core P4/5. My 8th grader is actually reading this aloud to her sister. It's our compromise for me to keep reading aloud to my 8th grader, but I think it's good for them both too.
  • Art - She joins everyone else for arts and crafts and has for years now. She loves to do it, but speeds through it (see comment about her attention span above).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curriculum Week - Short Answer

Not Back to School Blog Hop
It's that time of year again. It's the NOT Back to School Blog Hop. I have so much fun with this every August, posting what I'm doing and reading what everyone else is up to. What a great way to get motivated to ramp up our homeschool year!

I'm officially homeschooling 5 kids this year, grades 10, 8, 4, 2, and Kinder. Considering each kid is using an average of 10 or so different curriculum items... Well, do you all really want to see the whole list of 50+ items? Yeah, I thought not.

So, here's the short answer. We are Sonlighters.
Sonlight Curriculum

This fall will be 10 years since we started using Sonlight curriculum, and while everything we use doesn't come from the Sonlight catalog, it does form the core of our homeschool. This year my 10th grader is using Core 100, my 8th grader is using Core H, my 4th and 2nd graders are using Core C, and my K'er is using Core P4/5

Notable non-Sonlight things we are using this year include Life of Fred for Geometry and Pre-Algebra, All About Reading level pre-1 (my review of it) and level 1, and Brave Writer's Help for High School, The Writer's Jungle, and Jot It Down.

If you want the long answer, the detailed list of what I'm using for each subject for each grade, check out this post.

Stay tuned for next week. I now have my dream homeschool room and I'll have great photos to share!