Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Planning the Home School Year

Home School Planet

Planning.  It's where I fall short.  One of many areas I fall short, but probably the biggest area that I need to correct.  With as many schedules and grades as I currently have in my house, not to mention laundry, meals, barn chores, and 4-H, I finally had to come up with something that would work for the whole family.  We started with purchasing a 4 month whiteboard calendar.  Seeing 4 months at a time has helped us to know what is happening and when.  Next, I started using the whiteboard menu planner on the fridge and that helped with meal preparations.  That still left home school lesson plans.  I purchased the free trial of Home School Planet last spring and after having used it for several months, I can say it is well worth the subscription price.  I can input school, 4-H, chores and whatever else needs to be done.  I can assign one or more people to complete tasks.  I can print out checklists, or the kids can log in  and check off their lists online.  It automatically keeps a transcript and grade book that I can custom weight.  To me it pretty much handles all I need.  It even allows me to move lessons around when the stomach flu strikes and we need to move the entire year forward a day or two. There is a lot of chatter on the internet forums about online planners.  This is the planner I am using* and that we find works very well for our crazy, busy household.

In addition to this, I adore the Confident Mom's FREE Weekly Household Binder.
It's very cute!  She has all of the household chores broken down in to manageable chunks so you can clean a little a day.  She also has reminders to drink water, exercise, etc and even a space for menu planning.  I am sure hoping that she will have the 2015 year available for free later this year, because I have really loved the 2014.  I just put it on a flash drive or email it to Office Max and in less than 15 minutes they have it printed in color or black and white and spiral bound.  And I must say that I really <3 and="" as="" ast="" be="" bound="" by="" bypass="" can="" card="" center.="" counter="" directly="" email="" frequent="" gave="" her="" i="" just="" lady="" max="" me="" much="" my="" nbsp="" o="" of="" office="" online="" p="" printing="" said="" seen="" services.="" spiral="" stuff="" the="" there="" things="" think="" to="" too="" upload="" use="" week="" who="" whole="" works="" you="">
Happy planning,
Mrs. P

 *Note:  I still have a paper calendar (spiral bound, of course) to take with me to meetings as does my oldest daughter and we try our best to keep them all synced.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Latin is for everyone

I got on board the Latin Ship late in my home school career.  I read about the importance of Latin to a classical education early on and I sort of skipped over it and jumped ahead to chapters on writing and literature which are infinitely more fun.  When we started CC Foundations, we reviewed all of the memory work, EXCEPT the Latin.  I was lazy.  I didn't know how to pronounce the words.  I had a Spanish background and felt that one extra language was enough.  I didn't really want to learn a new language as an adult.  Somehow though, I have gone from avoiding Latin to teaching Latin.  When my oldest started Latin in Challenge A, I found that I had to finally face Latin head on.  I still didn't put much effort forward, but I at least confronted my fear of learning a new language in my late 30's.  Soon, I found myself directing the Challenge 1 (and later Challenge 2) class and tutoring a half dozen or so kids in Latin weekly.  That year, I sat down and began to work my way through the Henle First Year text.  And I learned!  I began to see Latin everywhere.  I began to understand English better because of my Latin studies.  I began to recognize derivatives and to decline nouns.  I drank the Kool-Aid!  While I am still no Latin genius, I do feel confident to teach my own children Latin at home and I am a firm believer that truly anyone can teach Latin if they will only jump in and work through a Latin text.

Above is "An Ideal Latin Sequence" that I pulled from the Memoria Press website.  I have learned all of my Latin through the Memoria Press curriculum and and guides.  There may be better resources, however this is what was affordable, easy to find, and easy to use.  I had a toddler and new baby on the way when I began to learn Latin, so I was working around sleep deprivation among other things.  There are other programs and you might find that others work better for you.  Now my own children are NOT at this level or pace with their Latin.  Currently, I have a 6th grader finishing up Prima Latina and moving into Latina Christiana I, a 7th grader starting Henle I for the first time, and an 11th grader going through Henle 1 again with him for a thorough review (She has had 3 years of Latin through the Challenge program and has met her high school foreign language credits).  My 4th and 5th born will be the first children that I can attempt to try the above scope and sequence with in Latin.  To me that sequence is very rigorous and I'm not sure I even will attempt it.  However, if they can do it, then I'm willing to lead them down the path.  Only the future will tell what Latin will look like in my house 10 years from now.

Here are some additional resources  (other than those listed above) that I have found very helpful in my own study of Latin.  I hope it is helpful for others learning Latin as they teach it, like I have been doing.

English Grammar for Students of Latin

Wheelock's Latin

Latin Tutorial on YouTube

Cassell's Latin Dictionary

Quizlet Henle 1 Online Flash Cards

Articles by Classical Conversations on Latin in the Challenge Program.  Lots of great reading here.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Milk: The Nutrient Power House

Image from Midwest Dairy Association

Miss A had to present a 30 minute workshop on Making Butter at our local 4-H Chef Day Camp.  Making a bit of butter for a group of kids takes about 10 minutes.  So she took the extra time to enrich her Making Butter class with nutrition facts and a tasty recipe for ice cream.  The above graphic really puts the nutrition in milk in perspective.  Sadly, milk has had a bad rap for years and butter has fared even worse.  Let's just say that when I began to research I couldn't find any mainstream research that cast butter in a favorable light.  So here is her schedule of events.  This is a great workshop for a beginning 4-H member to present for leadership experience.

9:00-  Mix up ice cream recipe, while pointing out that the milk is a liquid state of matter.   To cut down on mess, she chose to use my electric ice cream maker.  Alternatively you can have the kids make the ice cream in ziplocks with ice, rock salt, etc.  See directions here
9:10-  Add whipping cream to mason jars and pass around for the students to shake.  Again, point out the liquid state of matter.  While the students shake the jar, teach the students the above 6 nutrients that are in milk.  Quiz frequently to see if they remember the nutrients.
9:20- Serve up butter (not a solid matter) on saltines and ice cream (also now a solid) in dixie cups.  Continue to quiz the facts or let them color taught while they snack.
9:30 Clean up and dismiss.

Dairy Coloring Sheets
Dairy Facts and Information
Ag in the Classroom Phase Change: Butter
Ag in the Classroom Phase Change:  Ice Cream

Friday, August 15, 2014

chores for children

What age can children do chores?  I've seen a lot of cute charts on pinterest.  Today I realized that 4 year olds are great at mopping.  Yes, mopping.  I walked into the kitchen to find my 4 year old son happily mopping the kitchen floor.  He was grinning from ear to ear. And barefoot.  Of course, I pointed out that I usually mop in shoes.  I quickly realized the floor was wet and asked him where he got water.  He points to a nice glass from the cabinet. The blue ones that match and I use for company.  They are in a high cabinet. Luckily, he is a good climber!  He can reach the water on the fridge, so now my kitchen floor is mopped with chilled, filtered water.  The best part was when he looked around and said, "OH NO!  I'm trapped!"  He is quite spunky though and he immediately slipped under the table in the center of the room, runs to the other room and comes back with his mud boots on.  Why have I never thought of this?  Mud boots are PERFECT for mopping.  And now at least a portion of my kitchen is mopped and I have a very happy 4 year old that is "a happy helper."

Now, maybe I can put all of the kids in mud boots and give them all a mop.  The downstairs will be sparkling in no time!

Mrs. P

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014-2015 School Year

This year marks my 11th year as a home school teacher.  This is also the first year that I have had FOUR kids to teach academics.  Even though the youngest is 4, we are still planning on giving him a K4 year because he is so ready to start school.  Below, is the main plan for my family.  The 4 year old will focus on his CC Memory Work and Phonics with a lot of hands on crafts.  He will tag along with the olders in the other subjects.

Subject Area:  Bible & Character
Curriculum:  Veritas Press Genesis through Joshua,  AWANA (for littles)

Subject Areas:  History,Geography, Worldview, Church History, Fine Arts, and Literature
Curriculum: Tapestry of Grace Year 3  The 19th Century

Subject Area:  English Grammar, Writing, Spelling and Phonics
Curriculum:  Essentials of the English Language, Our Mother Tongue, Phonics Pathways, Recipe for Reading

Subject Area: Foundational Memory Work in Latin, Science, English Grammar, History, Geography, Timeline, Weekly Fine Arts and Science Experiment

Subject Area:  Math
Curriculum:  Math U See, Abeka, Xtra Math online, Khan Academy

Subject Area:  Science
Curriculum:  Apologia Chemistry, Nature Studies, Challenge A, Foundations

Electives:  Home Economics, 4-H, Latin
Curriculum:  Training Daughters to Be Keepers at Home, Home Ec for Home Schoolers level 2, Henle Latin 1, Prima Latina