Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our New Year Begins~ What We Have Been Up to Part II

We homeschool year-round and over the past two years we had begun our new homeschool year in the beginning of March.

I thought I would share our new plans for the new year~ We are making changes in some areas and no changes in other areas that have been working well.

Listed by Subject & Child

In my last post (Part I) I talked about our Math and how we have decided to work through and stay with  and finish the Key To Series and also the Pre Algebra On-line course with the videos if needed. I also plan on using Kahn Academy and Hippo Campus as well as we move forward into Algebra. For Algebra this coming new year I believe I have decided on using Paul Foerster's Algebra I along with David Chandler's Home Study Companion.  Here is an EXCELLENT link to help someone like myself sort things out when it comes to learning Algebra. Maria Miller brings forth very good, solid points when it comes to math and I feel like we are making a very good choice here. 

One other thing I wanted to mention also is that I am planning on using this program as I did MOTL and what I mean by this is I am actually planning on slowly introducing new concepts (little chunks) while continuing to review past skills already learned ~ due to his need for a spiral for mastery approach to learning math I think this will blend very nicely by using the MOTL methods for teaching. 

Younger child
We will be working Math On the Level Program along with Abeka Math. Surprisingly he enjoys this very much and we will use this along with the math worksheet sites and also Math with Larry to name just a few things for supplement. I plan to incorporate many more online practice games since he is really enjoying these much more now.

Language Arts~
Since the fundamentals have been now learned in Elementary and his middle grades, I really felt it was time to spread out now and refine those skills~ Composition will be a primary focus of our Language Arts along with some practice with public speaking, interviewing and organization of writing skills.

There are a few things I have found to help us do this; we will start Analytical Grammar which I think will be great reinforcement to his already learned sentence diagramming and along with this he will be working AG's course "The Five Paragraph Essay" and also AG's " The Research Paper".  We also will be considering looking at "Meaningful Composition"  (scroll down for MC samples )for any fine-tuning that might be needed as well.

I think working these programs will be great help in preparing him for his SAT's and writing toward college.

He continues to do written narrations from his science and his history and I really believe this has really helped him increase his writing fluency. I have been very please at his progress and most importantly, so has he. :) 

Writing and reading more classical literature will be a primary focus for this coming new year.

Younger Child~
Not many things will change for our youngest. He has been working very well with his LLATL (Learning Language Arts Through Literature) and is has given a wonderful foundation for his skills in LA. I decided to go ahead and continue on with LLATL next level and also picked up Analytical Grammar Junior for him, just because this is such an area he enjoys. Working with grammar and usage is actually "a treat" for him~ I know what your thinking~ but he just loves it. I am actually thinking this is a real strength for him ( even with the dyslexia surprisingly) and I had been considering over the summer having him work Ellen McHenry's program called "Excavating English",( I think he will really enjoy it~ I would really like to encourage him more in this area to see where it might lead him.

For writing we have dropped the IEW program, his writing has really been very fluent and so I thought we would work "Meaningful Composition" 4 I and 4 II. I think having used IEW as our foundation he will do very well with this program and then I can bring him right into the next levels of this program while also using the two courses for AG in the Essay Writing and Research Paper later on. 

We will be working through AOP's Lifepacs~ as our spine and spin off from there with other supplements by Ellen McHenry and many other places that I will share about as we go along. We will doing experiments and also reading many more books for science. For this year, as we work through, I am hoping to be able to share more about our units and activities, books and videos as we proceed on~ Written narration will be aI am also going to incorporate a bit more lapbooking for him with science as a way of gathering and presenting information as well. Dinah Zike has a book for Highschool Folds that I plan on using for this.  Here is another site for resources for foldables in science.  We had gotten away from this and I really find that these methods really help certain learners retain, process and create better connections. 

Younger Child~ 
He also will be working as his sping AOP's Lifepacs~ we will be doing many lapbooks including some I will be creating (our first one is on cells) so I hope, when I am finished to be able to post and share these as I create them.  We will also be reading lots and lots of books on the topics as we move through the Lifepacs. He really enjoys doing so much more than just reading and answering questions so experiments, field trips, and lots of reading will be in store for him. As I learn of new resources and supplements for the lessons I will be sharing those as we move along. 

Part III to follow shortly ~


Anonymous said...

As usual, I have questions! LOL!

What do you do with all of the foldables that your teen will make? I guess I am SO PRAGMATIC sometimes, that I wonder "What's the point of making this? What will we do with it after it is made?" That's even happened with some drawings and posters the boys have done lately - what do I do with them? It's not like I have enough wall space to display everything they create! And some of these posters are too big to put in a regular folder/file box. Somehow, I have to put them somewhere for the school year and then take a picture for the files and throw it all away? Even dsR wonders "what's the point in making this?" I know he will learn more by interacting with the material, so I guess I agree with the process, but I question the end product's worth...

Are you going to do another post with your plans for history/social studies? I just don't feel like the boys are getting much out of our history right now, even with the Intellego. It has turned into me using the Intellego as an outline and videos resource, and then supplementing with several books I got from the library. I think I need to add some more "response" type work, whether it be summaries/narrations (they still won't "put-out" much on these), posters/collages (see comments in 1st paragraph above), or some other way. And how much should be done daily versus once/week? I am still struggling with this since they don't like history to start with!

Learners at Home said...

If I do any file folders for the teen I know that my younger son most likely will do them another year. I can see your point that at times certain things are not worth it if you cannot use it again. ~ I have a younger son so because of that it makes more sense for me. :)
I will be posting about our science and history/social studies. Still getting over the bout of the flu bug so it has taken quite a while.
Will be sure to get that going :)


Anonymous said...

I think I wasn't clear about my questions about foldables. I wasn't concerned about not being able to use them again - most of the foldables resources are not a lot of money, so that isn't my concern. What I am wondering is, you have the student create these foldables, do a file folder, lapbook, or whatever, and then what? They complete the project and then what do you do with the completed project? You wind up with all of this "stuff" laying around the house that they created and what do you do with it? Store it in a filebox somewhere? How long do you keep it? Does it ever get seen again?

I guess I need to get over what appears to me as a waste in creating school projects - be it lapbooks, posters, collages, whatever - and just embrace it more. I think even though the boys often protest about doing "cut-and-paste" stuff, especially R, I am going to have to make them do some more of it becuase they are not mature enough yet to fully embrace notebooking itself. They won't put any real effort into any of their write-ups (narrations), so I am going to have to require them to CREATE something tangible just to get them to spend time on the subject and process the topic. They are just glossing over so much stuff right now.

Learners at Home said...

Anything I choose to create and use as file folder games would be something that they need to practice like math facts, grammar or perhaps something in science~
I wouldn't choose something that we would not use again. The whole reason behind file folder games is to use what you create for practice instead of drill and rote learning.
Some kids are not into things like this, my youngest like to do them my older son is in the middle, many of his lessons cannot be adapted to be used with file folder games either. But in certain areas like some math area and grammar I still can.
My boys enjoy collages, posters etc.. we do some lapbooks my youngest likes them the very most. He enjoys seeing how it builds on to itself and can be used as reference later on also. We put these thing in their portfolio of work.
I like it because it gives meaning and teaches that there really is a reason for doing these kinds of things with wonderful results~ ! :) HTH's,



Anonymous said...

Ah, so the foldables you were talking about in the post were file folder games? I thought they were something else - like parts of lapbooks. I can see how file folder games could help with stuff like that, but that means someone has to *play* the game with the student - something my boys can't do together (they fight too much) and something I can't do with them because of time constraints.

I am being really dense today - how does doig collages, posters, or lapbooks give meaning or teach that there is a reason for doing these kinds of things? Just because the end product looks cool and they get a sense of accomplishment?

Learners at Home said...

Your too funny Cindy~ :) As far as the collages and posters ( we have done these (posters) in place of quiz's and also in place of a study guide for a test if we wanted btw) they actually have told me they do. lol
They explained that by seeing it and learning about it and then bringing it all together helps to understand it more. :D.
They also like the way it looks but my boys like to have it look good and have a reason for doing it.. they like being able to look back at it if they need to for referral if we are doing something.
For example, we are starting a unit on cells with my younger son. I am making lapbook folds for him and this way he can go back and "see quickly" in his mini books or fold what a particular cell might look like a vocab word we are using.. my boys are very visual ~ :) clear as mud? lol


Anonymous said...

I think I am going to try adding a lapbook to our American Revolution study and ignore the initial gripes and complaints that I hear about doing it. I might try the Hands of a Child one unless I see something better at CurrClick. What I have noticed about the posters/collages they have done thus far is that they do just the minimum it takes to "be done" and won't put any real time into it. But on the other hand, they still want to show off what they did to me, even if it was a so-so job! Since we don't use grades, they don't see a reason to do a good job. Maybe having a lapbook where the framework is all done, but they have to do some cutting/pasting AND writing/filling in the items (not just cut/paste already created lists), I will get better results. Maybe just the act of handling the items during the cut/paste and having to make lists or write other things on the items will give me a better feel that they are internalizing this stuff. Because having them write narrations or even answer discussion questions in complete sentences is only getting minimal results. They are just too interested in being done so they can play (on the computer, watch TV, or read their pleasure-reading books.)

Part of the problem with this unit study by Intellego is that there are so many links we go to that have SO MUCH reading, or long lesson plans online at places like PBS! I was home Friday (snow day from work) and we did the lesson together so I could see what it would be like doing it that way, and I had to just quit reading after a while! Things like "read Thomas Paine's Common Sense at this link". Well, considering it is in "older English" style, and that it is LONG, I was putting them - and me - to sleep! LOL! There has to be a better way to talk about Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence than reading them in their entirety and not understanding even half of what is said. (I would have to read it silently and slowly to actually try to digest it - not something that 12-yos can do.) So I am trying to find a better way to cover the material.

The one good thing I think we are doing it using 3 books they read from during the week, plus a book I read at night, to get the majority of the information needed at this level. But I don't want to go back to just the books w/narration because they bore of that quickly. So maybe books and hands-on lapbooks and the like is what it will take.

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