Mar 30, 2010

Meet the Masters - Degas

KM enjoyed learning about the rather unpleasant artist Degas this week. Her favorite piece of his work was the Dancing Class -

She said that she really liked the candid nature of the painting. Since she really does not like to paint or draw people she opted out of this week's project. Though she is working on a few pieces that focused on techniques that were mentioned such as asymmetrical composition and perspective. I will be sure to post anything that seems to have been inspired by Degas's work.

Mar 28, 2010

Great Creations -

I was reminded, by a very frequent reader, that I hadn't posted the outcome from our Day With Clay sorry! is her masterpiece:

I love, love, love the texture choices that she made!

Mar 26, 2010

Glass Museum

Our homeschooling group went on a FANTASTIC field trip to an incredible glass museum today! KM had a great time and got picked to press the glass!

Mar 24, 2010

Home Again

We had a great trip! VERY relaxing and now it is straight back to the craziness that is our homeschool world! Before I start to conquer my ever growing to do list, here are some pics of some of the highlights of our trip!

Mar 17, 2010

Just our LUCK!

We are in the Sunshine state, but it seems as though we chased the sun away when we got here!

Today's hi temp was 66 here with a breeze that made it feel about 60 and was 68 at home with no breeze so it felt about 72 - That is our luck on this wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

The weather however, did not prohibit us from getting out and about today after KM finished up the last of her Newton's Laws Classes by Science Jim this morning. We headed over to the clubhouse for some shuffleboard and then KM went for a swim ~ luckily for her the pool temp was 83! Everyone loved that KM's hair was just the right color for St. Patrick's Day! I got some great shuffleboard pics, but of course I just realized that I only brought one of the camera adaptors ~ not for the camera that I was using today ~ so I will have to post pics at a later date!
Tomorrow we will be off to KM's second favorite Science Museum! I will be sure to take the camera that I can get the pictures off of!
Hope you had a very Lucky St. Patty's Day!

Mar 13, 2010

End of Winter Session - Time for a Break

So we have completed another session and are really in need of a break! Things have went really well during these transition times, but it has been QUITE A WHILE since we have taken a real break from things. But since we have a few weeks off we have decided to head down to visit my dad in sunny Florida!

So in closing our session I thought I would mention one method that we use that can be a bit of a sore spot for some homeschoolers. I know some homeschoolers are against grading for various reasons, but I think for KM it gives her some sort of grounding as to where she is and where she needs improvements. I am certain it is also largely a carryover from being in PS. I know other homeschoolers who don't do grades because they work through things until they get an A, but KM gets graded on a percentage based system based on the work that she has done. I do give her a second chance on things at times, like if she is completed her math exercises and she gets on wrong, I will have her try it again and then if she gets it correct she gets 1/2 credit for it.

Methods of homeschooling are totally personal choices, but IMHO if grades aren't introduced at some point and the kids are going to be attending colleges or any higher education facilities where they will be graded, then it could be detrimental to them to not have been intergrated into in some way. There are many schools of thought on grading and point systems and the such, so to each his own!

I brought this up though as it is the first session that KM earned all As and she was SO proud of herself. She recognized the progress that she had made from last session in some areas, bringing her grades up even a few points here and there. I think it gives her a sense of accomplishment as well.

As for our break we will be heading out to visit my dad next week, so it might be a bit quietier until we get back. - Watch for some fun pics though!

Mar 11, 2010

Science Jim Classes - DONE

KM finished up her final Science Jim Physics Ebook this week! She has loved them and the online classes that she has been taking are a huge hit as well! She completed the Force, Mechanics and Sound Books all in the last 9 weeks! Here is her last experiment with sound - water in crystal glasses - she had to listen for the difference in the sounds based on the water level and she also discovered that it makes a difference when you make the rim sing as well!


She has been taking a 10 week class on Newton's Laws and Science Jim really presents information in a fun way and so that it sticks. She likes him so much that she asked if he would be doing classes in other areas and she was EXTREMELY excited to find out that he will be doing Chemistry next year and has some other short classes in the works, like one on Einstein. This was one of the best curriculum picks we made this year!

On the customer service side of it - he answers questions in NO TIME! Both times that I have had to email him with something we didn't understand he got back to us in under an hour!

KM has one more live class that had to be rescheduled because of a snow day ~ so much snow in his area that the computer connections were down and causing lags in audio and video ~, but she is very excited that she will get to do it while we are in FL and Grampa can "see how high-tech" her classes are!

I highly recommend his classes as a core or supplement! They are totally worth the very inexpensive price!

Mar 8, 2010

Upcoming Geography Fair - Antarctica

Our local support group is having a Geography Fair at the beginning of April. KM decided to study Antarctica. After our wonderful Penguins unit we did a few months back showed the incredibly unique features of Antarctica she began to become really intrigued by it.

Here are some of the resources we will be using -

If anyone else has any other suggested links or resources, PLEASE let me know! I will be sure to post our final project when it is completed!

Mar 6, 2010

Spring Session Choices -

KM has finished a lot of her programs VERY quickly this year. So we will be beginning some new things for the Spring session.

Math -
Science -
  • Chemistry of Matter ~ we tend to stay away from "textbooks" but I came across this series on Paperback Swap and I really like the setup of it. Of course we will be supplementing with other resources to make it come alive, but this text is a great outline.
  • Brain Pop
  • Adaptive Curriculum
  • Dynamic Earth ~ we will be using the above things when we get to this portion as well.
Writing - the bain of my homeschooling mission!
History -
Geography -

I have updated the links in the side bar so you can always check what we are working on now at the top of the screen to the right. If you have any useful links to share PLEASE do!

Mar 3, 2010

Winter Session - Coming to a Close

We are finishing up our winter session over the next week and a half, so I am looking towards the spring session to get it in order before we head off to Florida for a well earned and much NEEDED vacation.

We have been going pretty hard core for the last 2 years since we started homeschooling. I can't believe how much she has gotten done and after looking at some of the state and national framework outlines she is a good bit ahead of schedule at this point. We also have A LOT of things going on with our local group over the next few months that will be taking up most of the Mondays and Fridays with some great extra trips and events!

So for the spring we are going to be doing a lighter approach to things. We are sticking with our new schedule, but of course we are tweaking it just a bit!!!

We will be doing this great 3 day a week schedule. KM will be working on her Math daily, but otherwise we are sticking with the one a day core subject schedule. This has made such a HUGE difference in the amount of work that we can get done and the depth of information that we can get covered in one day. With her new sleeping schedule on top of this, we have been doing more electives in the evenings and she is really able to focus and enjoy what she is learning.

For the Spring session we will be moving on to some different resources and I will be sure to post those over the next week as I finish collecting them.

Mar 2, 2010

Visiting with the Littles

Scratch Art

After our Valentine post I got soooo many emails asking about the paper. Here is the best least expensive selection that I have found. I figured I would share some more of what has been done with it around here -

Mar 1, 2010

QOTW: Your Decision to Homeschool

On one of my many yahoo group list subscriptions, a homeschooling mom posts a Question of the Week. Sometimes I respond and sometimes I just giggle at the incoming rhetoric that follows. This week however I couldn't keep my fingers from typing and instead of posting a HUGE response to the list, I sent a shortened version and pasted the rest here!

The QOTW was: What did people first think when you told them your decision to home school?

Here is my response -
I was EXTREMELY fortunate to have a super supportive family, right from the get go! Quite a few of them actually said things like, "What took you so long?" and "I had a feeling this was coming."

Now you might think that is because we have other homeschoolers in our family, but we don't. I didn't even know any homeschoolers and had a hard time at first finding local homeschoolers when I pulled my daughter out of PS - mid 5th grade year. I knew it was the right decision though and my family respects and trusts me enough to know that I know best for my daughter. Since then they have seen that my daughter has changed in incredible ways and hear from her all the wonderful things that she gets do because she is homeschooled.

I did have one sister that said "Are you sure this is the best thing to do?" and still continues to ask me things like "So is she going back to school next year?" but truly 1 out of 7 siblings really isn't that bad.

As far as my friends - especially those that I had made through working and volunteering in the school system - had mixed reactions. Most of them were quietly supportive, NO ONE said that I shouldn't do it. Even her teacher at the time said that she thought it would be a great fit for my daughter.

Some of them, you could tell, were hesitant to say much because I was flat out going against what they were doing, but I tried to stand my ground as PS not being a good fit for MY daughter. I tried to not BASH the system in front of her friends and mine. Once in a while something would slip out, generally the parents would agree with what I was saying and then I would get the onslaught of "I could never be with my child that much," " I don't know how you do it," "I don't have the patience," etc, etc, etc...I am sure you have heard the mantras of the masses.

But as with any other change in lifestyle ~ moving, a new job, having kids, getting a new hobby, ~ your friends change and those that stick by are the ones that you know are the true friends, not just passing acquaintances.

I have also come to find, through this crazy journey, that I have found MORE true friends, that have the same principle values as I do. They cherish their families above all else, enjoy their children, love learning, respect their children, think of how things effect others, and appreciate the little things. Not to say that all homeschoolers are saints, by ANY MEANS, but I don't find myself hesitating to express my opinion as much because I know that it will be respected and not crushed if it is different from others.

For those that get the "You're crazy," "That is the wrong thing to do," "How are you going to homeschool?" responses from people, STAND YOUR GROUND! Only you truly know what is best for your child(ren). Hopefully time will prove them wrong and they will get to see how right you were!

Homeschooling is not for everyone, but for those that take this path it is truly an adventure like no other! Here are some great articles that might help you with responses to some of those kooky questions we all get -