Thursday, May 28, 2009

A little update.

Poor little homeschooling blog. All alone and neglected. Waiting for me to update with any tiny little post. Waiting for a tiny nod of attention...

Things have been... ok. Justin is still doing great at homeschooling. He takes his work, does it with little complaint, and completes most of the work correctly the FIRST TIME through. We're using his math and spelling books from public school to finish out the year and he has done so much better on them than he was doing on his own. Having the ability to have things explained more than once and not moving on until the information is more secure is definitely good for him.

Evan... Well. Evan is still struggling. He and I haven't found the proper way to communicate regarding school work. I don't feel comfortable using an unschooling method with him or anything much looser than what we're doing. I just want some basic work to be accomplished at the end of the day. That's all! The arguments he has been giving me every morning are painful and only add to the stress of my already overburdened load. Seeing as how public school ends on Wednesday of next week, we are ending at that time, too. And seeing as how public school is usually review work and parties the last week of school, I can't say that our days will be much different, either. In that regard, I don't feel worried about Evan for the rest of the school year. I know that we will have to start from scratch come the fall, anyway, so I am trying to let this one issue roll off my back for now.

My plans for the summer and homeschooling will simply be to make sure that everyone reads every day, and to get some science experiments done. Just wait till you see the chemistry set I was sent to review! If it's anything close to as cool as it looks, the kids will get more science in the summer than most kids get all school year.

I hope to make at least 3-4 lesson plans each week to be used in the fall of next year. I'm hoping to do unit studies that the boys (and Corinne) can do together, but tailored to each child's level. We'll see how that works out. Some of the themes I think we'll be doing will be:

Marine life - sharks, fish, food chains, fresh vs. salt water..

US government - chain of command, bills to laws, what does "freedom" mean?

Human body - how does each part relate to the other, labeling parts, how does the heart work, what does living a healthy life mean?

Dinosaurs - knowing the different times of the periods and eras, how the Earth was formed, what animals evolved into animals we know today?

Civil War era - causes of disagreement, what does "slavery" REALLY mean, living situations of the different classes of people, were the arguments ever really resolved? (reenactment field trip)

Fractions - Having everyone in the family really REALLY understand fractions at their own level, how do we use this in real life?

Geology - how was the earth formed? What makes gems and stones different, what geological features are in our area? (field trip to natural geological formations - Starved Rock, etc.) (field trip to gem museum)

Local history - native Americans' history of Illinois, settlers in the 1800's, their lifestyles and how each side impacted the other.

Piano - I'd like to reteach Justin the piano and have Evan learn the basics on reading music and finger placements.

History of holidays - as each holiday approaches, provide the true history of each one: Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.

More will come to me and I'll update this list so that I can use it next year. If anyone has any ideas (small or big) please let me know in the comments. I would appreciate any help from anyone who has homeschooled the lessons, too!


  1. It sounds like a great list. I can't wait to hear about that chemistry set. Good luck with Evan. Maybe you can do some networking and someone out there who's been there can give you some ideas to try. I know there's lots of learning styles, keep trying, you're doing a great job.

  2. Wow, you have it all planned out!

    I decided to continue with spelling 5 minutes a day through summer because that is something we really need to work on. My boy keeps asking to do math (yes, I know) but secretly I hate math so unless he asks I am giving myself a break. The science experiments are an awesome idea! Review that kit quickly so I can decide if I want to get one!

    This week I have all the kids at home but school isn't out yet. So we are going to hit those museums in the gap between the school trips and the happy campers. I hope they will be empty. (With the two young ones along, I *really* hope they will be empty!)

  3. Something that may help (may not) is we show that fractions are used in every day life, EVERY SINGLE DAY. My child is only in second grade, but for the girls, I highly recommend using cooking as a guide for fractions. Fractions of cups and teaspoons work wonders on quickly recognizing and adding up fractions (especially if you double or triple a recipe). For boys (and girls if they're interested), a small carpentry project is another idea (like a bird house or a dog house). Measuring and cutting wood at specific intervals also helped my girl figure out how to cut a whole piece of wood in half.