Wednesday, August 15, 2007

HomeSchool Open House 2007

Tiany over at Less of Me – More of Him is hosting the neatest Open House evah…”Homeschool Open House 2007”!! What a great idea…I can’t wait until I have a good chunk of time to sit down and visit all the open houses.

This is my post for the Open House…

I’ll start with a super quick intro for those of you all visiting me for the first time. My Name is Jenny and we’re just now starting our 5th year of homeschooling. I teach three chaotically creative kiddos: Nik is my 8th grader, Jake is my 6th grader and Belle is my 1st grader.

Being the control freak I am, I use a lot of different books for our curriculum. I supplement with printable worksheets and online projects and web quests. I have to be really careful that I don’t spend too much time finding the “perfect”printable or project…when I do spend too much time there’s a good chance that we won’t even get around to doing that “perfect” thing! Right now, our curriculum is as follows:

Nik the 8th grader:

Apologia General Science

Writing Strands

Easy Grammar Plus

Alpha Omega Math LifePac

Wordly Wise

For handwriting, Nik copies the Quote of the Day from the board.

I have several books picked for independent reading. Right now he is reading, The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Jake the 6th grader:

Exploring Creation with Astronomy

Writing Strands

Alpha Omega Math LifePacs

For handwriting, Jake uses a workbook I picked up for 60 cents at a local bookstore. I have no idea of the name of the book!

Easy Grammar

Wordly Wise

Jake is reading Dangerous Journey. I’m still compiling his reading list for the year.

Belle the 1st grader:

Alpha Omega LifePac Math

Explode the Code

Belle “drites” daily….she draws a picture then dictates the story to me…she draws and writes…drites!

For handwriting, Belle chooses 5 words from her word hats and writes them 2 times each.

Right now, I am looking for a copy of Big Susan to read to Belle. Until then, I’m using an old story book with wonderful little illustrations…again, I have no idea the name of the book! I’ll have to post about it later! Lol!

Exploring Creation with Astronomy

Wordly Wise

I do some multi-level teaching for Bible and History. Right now, I am just winging it for Bible. I would like to have an actual study but I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet. For History, we are using Story of the World book 1. This year, I’m using the corresponding activity book and we’ve had a great time doing the projects!

At 10:30, we stop what we’re doing and meet in the den for Read Aloud Time. Currently, I am reading poems from Poems Every Child Should Know. After the poem, I read from In God’s Garden. Our “big book” selection now is Peace Child. I let the kids color or play solitaire quietly as they are listening. And how is that working for me?? Ok, I guess….I don’t seem to be breaking up fights like I was when we first started this reading time! Lol!!

As far as a schedule, I create a master schedule and then weekly schedules. I use Donna Young’s typable 5 day planner to schedule the individual weekly assignments. I like this typable planner because I can print out two copies…one for me and one for the kiddo. I grade assignments as they are completed and I use my copy of the planner to note the grades. Everyday at 3:30, I glance over our plans for the next day and I finish up any grading I have left to do. I also use this time to plan the detail for the upcoming week…for example, this afternoon I’ll be planning for next Wednesday. By the end of the week, my plans for the upcoming week are already on paper and I’m ready to go. I try to stick to my schedules but my mantra for this year is “I am a Willow…I can bend.”….sooooo, I am really trying hard not to create a little god out of my schedules! lol!!

I’m still working on my master schedule for the family. I’ve been using the MOTH method and it has worked well for us so I’m sticking with it. I just need to make some changes here and there for this year. Basically, I get up at 6:30 to have my quiet time, drink coffee, get ready and do a few chores….I guess I should say that’s my goal…do I ever do this…no…but I am working on it! Lol!! I get the kids up at 8am. They have to make up their beds, get ready before they can eat…we eat at 8:30 at the table..unless I have a project that has taken up house there! Lol!! If you are not ready and your bed is not made then you don’t eat…I know that sounds mean but we have some real issues with that right now and food is a great incentive around here. Also, we eat at 8:30….not at 9:00…not at 9:15. We start school at 9am.

We break for lunch at 12. After lunch, we finish up our school day. I aim to have school finished by 3 so that I can have my planning time at 3:30. Some days we have to go past 3 sometimes not…it depends on the assignments for the day. For example, today we have an art project so our day is going to last a bit longer. It all works out in the end…remember, I’m a Willow!

We do most of our schooling as we travel…I’d like to say while we are traveling around the Virgin Islands but nope, we travel around the house! Lol! The den seems to be the favorite place….the back deck is good too. Belle seems to have found that the kitchen counter meets her needs!

This is where I like to do school...sometimes, I get my wish! lol!

I keep all of our homeschooling books in an armoir. I used to have a ton of books but recently purged a lot of titles that I felt were just twaddle. I keep just the books I think are delightful!! Though I use this armoir, I keep a lot of spines at my computer desk so that they are easy to reach as I’m planning our weekly assignments.

My tip? Man, there are several but I’m going to hand out this new one that I’m implementing this year:

I am very picky about neatness….I just hate to be handed a grubbed up piece of paper with smudges and marked out words….I really want my children to embrace the eraser!! This year I’ve told everyone that it will be an automatic deduction of 10 points if sloppy work is turned in. I’m over it!! I have seen a huge difference in the work that is turned in….I thought I might have to use candy as an incentive…you know, try to use only positive incentives but I swear, this deduction of 10 points threat is working beautifully!!

Oh, oh…I just thought of some more advice. Don’t compare!! Really, just don’t do it…and that includes comparing yourself to other homeschool mothers. I only say this because I struggle with that sooooo much! Lol!!

And one more thing…my family loves our “Daily Board”….I put a word of the day, quote of the day, interesting fact of the day and This Day in History on the board. We usually discuss these things throughout the day…I don’t really go over it or teach from it but I do encourage the kids to read it!

Well, that’s our day in a nutshell…if you have any questions please feel free to ask…I may need to clarify something!!
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Tina said...

Hello Jenny,
Thanks for your comment on my blog! The Homeschool 4-H is great in Elizabethton. They plan to meet in October. I will give you the name of the leader if you email me.

SimpleFolk said...

Hi Jenny!

Thanks for visiting my homeschool blog. I enjoyed your blog and open house! I was especially touched by Gus and his story. What an amazing boy...

You spoke of the air ambulances...we call it "Careflight" here. My husband is a parmedic and almost an RN (specializing in trauma)and it's his goal to be a Careflight nurse. The folks in that profession sure are special.

Anyway, please come back to visit me again, and perhaps stop by my main blog:

It was so nice to meet you! :o)

Anonymous said...

Love the counter picture! Thanks for sharing your school. :)


Melissa Markham said...

We also did a book purge this year. Over the last six years I have been given books, picked up books at yard sales...and there was no way we were ever going to use all of them and we go to the library weekly. So I gave about 1/2 away. Sold about 1/2 on Ebay and my homeschool shelf is neater and I no longer have the feeling of "We have to read all these books!"

Jammy said...

Thank you for sharing your homeschool day and workings with us!!