Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rethinking Some Choices

So, I thought I had my year all mapped out for both my kids for this upcoming year. I was feeling very prepared and quite pleased and settled. I was going over my chosen curriculum (if you will) with each child: Isabel said, "Ok," but Logan's response was a little less enthusiastic. He told me that he would prefer a different approach to both history and science. I was shocked! Since it was my idea to go over our "goals" and plans for the year, this was not the response I expected. Logan went on to tell me that the history we have been doing (Bob Jones) is great, but he really knew most of what we were covering (he is a history fanatic) and that he would prefer a more auditory method of learning history.

For his US History this year, we are doing something TOTALLY different and I feel very insecure with it! He knows the basics of US History already, so I should really calm down. Logan is going to be watching documentaries, movies, and reading historical fiction (stories and journal style). No preplanned lesson for me to follow...scary! I think he will get so much out of it. He loves going in depth into most things history.

Now that we had history taken care of, I was free to focus on science. Since I have no real science background, I had no clue where to begin. I was on the lookout for something at the Homeschool Convention I attended a few weeks ago. I am sure that I looked through every single science textbook that was there. I looked at lapbook type programs (he really does not like that sort of thing). I looked at science from different homeschool philosophies. Then I looked at online and software science courses. I finally decided on using the K12 Advanced Life Science.

Logan was an early reader, but did not like chapter books at his comprehensive level, as they seemed too overwhelming. He loved DK Eyewitness books because they were filled with bite sized pieces of great information, wonderful photographs and advanced vocabulary. The K12 Advanced Life Science seems to be a similar approach. There is a small amount of text on each 'page' accompanied by visually appealing graphics and photos. *sigh* I am so happy to get that figured out.

While I was on K12 previewing the Advanced Life Science, I decided to have a look at the 5th Grade Science for Isabel. I loved it too. Similar set up and lots of labs and experiments (which is what Isabel loves). I am really excited about getting this year started.

One of the biggest advantages of homeschool is the ability to change your curriculum or method if something isn't working or if something could work better. Even though I am very aware of this benefit, I have a very difficult time making changes like this. What if the change I am making is the wrong choice? What if it would have been better if I had stuck with what we were doing before? What if I spend the money to try something new and it fails? We will see how it goes!

The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner

Are you looking to get more organized this year? The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is a must for any homeschooling family. This new planner includes homeschool and household planning sheets, as well as various miscellaneous educational forms.
Many calendar features are included in this planner. Several one page yearly calenders dating from 2010-2013 are great for a long term guide. There are two printable month at a glance calendar options, one has space to type in your plans directly onto each date and the other has lined days to write in your own plans after printing.
An amazing Homeschool Forms section is packed full of planning forms for any of your homeschooling needs. There are forms for everything from daily planning to a 12 year plan. Do you use lapbooks? Nature studies? Unit Studies? Are you an unschooler? Want to keep up with your Bible studies? There are lots of organizational options for you!
Need to organize your home? This section includes meal planning, four monthly recipes and grocery lists. Garden planning, chore charts, birthday and anniversary reminders, car maintenance, and household budgets are just a few of the many forms to help you get your year in order.
The Miscellaneous Education section is a wonderful reference for kids and parents alike. Here you will find things like: Historical Timelines, United States Presidents, States and Capitals, Countries and Capitals, Kitchen Conversions, Greek and Latin Root words, and much, much more!!

You can buy the e-book planner for $39 or you can get it in cd format for $44.

*Disclaimer* I am an independent contractor for TOS and have used this product in order to write this ad.

E-Book: Travel the World -June 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Planner - June 2010 Module - $7.95
My first review for The Homeschool Crew was an e-book from The Old Schoolhouse Planner - June 2010 Module titled, "Travel the World!".

This e-book is a great study on Geography. The first portion of the book is geared toward Elementary and Middle Schoolers and the end portion toward High Schoolers. It has study guides, lapbook pages, coloring pages, lots of activity pages, copywork and tons more.

Isabel (10) learned more from the well put together study guide on geography than she did using a geography workbook in the past. It was fantastic for her. There were tons of great links throughout the text to further clarify a point or to give an example. Next she moved on to 'travel' all 7 continents, again full of wonderful links. All of the content is very visually pleasing and doesn't appear to be an overwhelming amount of information. That said, a lot is actually covered. The links led to map games, articles and videos that kept her engrossed and just plain having fun. In this section she happily spent the most amount of her time. We will be revisiting these links frequently in the future.

Logan (12) had already covered the content in the study guide portion in a High School geography textbook and knew that section’s information, so we skipped to the High School expansion. He did, however, spend some time on the map games in the main section. In the High School expansion, he chose a few of the projects to work on. In one of them, he made a newspaper type project about the Czech Republic. He had so much fun putting it together, he didn’t think of it as school work! Another activity was researching how you would use geography in a home business. This actually inspired him to do a “Home Business” project this upcoming school year.

This colorful, 56 page e-book is priced at $7.95. If it only had the links and nothing else, it would be well worth that price. Add the engaging text and pictures and this is a great buy!

*Disclaimer* I have received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Isabel at Camp - June 2010

Isabel just got home from her first summer at camp. She went to a Girl Scout camp with a herd of 45 horses (her favorite thing in all the world). She had a wonderful time.

She is 2nd from the left.

Her home away from home. I think she really enjoyed the independence she had at camp. She was SO happy to see Mommy and Daddy when we picked her up though!

Getting ready to go riding. Apparently, you put on your helmet before you put on your jeans.

Izzie and her cabin mates...

She can't wait to go back next summer. She will be able to do an overnight trail ride.

Country Life

Inspired by our move out into the country, I am beginning a fresh, new blog.

We are so happy to be further out from the city and very excited to make life a little more simple. There is a lot of lawn and garden to take care of now, but we are enjoying being out in the peace and quiet of country living.

Our garden had several things planted in it when we moved in. We have a handful of herbs; thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. I still need to add basil to the herb garden. The veggies in the garden so far are three pepper plants. I am not sure what variety yet, but our family loves peppers, so we are looking forward to them. I am going to be getting a tomato plant or two and some cucumber, zucchini, bean, pea and pumpkin seeds this weekend. It will be nice to have some of our favorite foods fresh for the picking.

The week we moved in, we were happy to discover wild blackberry bushes. The kids spent so much time out picking. My son, Logan, listened to a book on his MP3 player and picked for 3 hours. They harvested enough for me to make my first batch of jam (which had too much pectin). I would have made more (corrected) batches, but the rest of the berries dried out before we made it out to pick them.

My daughter, Isabel, has thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of getting on her bike all hours of the day and riding until she can't ride anymore. The neighborhood we previously lived in was not conducive to bike riding, so she is really taking advantage of the privilege.

Evenings have been so wonderful. My husband and I have been outside weeding the garden and the kids running through the sprinklers. Needless to say, bedtime is a lot easier with tired out children!


Transfer Blogs

I am currently working on getting my exsisting blog transfered over to Blogger!  When I get the layout as I want it, I will work on getting my posts moved over.
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