Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back from the Conference

Well, I am back from the CHEA conference and trying to wrap my mind around all of the information I have been given the past few days. Some of the information I already knew (being a product of Home School) but some was new. The best thing I came away with is confirmation - confirmation that we are doing the right thing and that Home Schooling our children is not only great for their education but their spiritual journey - and for Tim and I, we have much to teach our children.
We are so grateful to have the opportunity.

Even today, while we were eating lunch Tim said "I think we're going to learn alot home schooling." and I have to agree with him - this is going to be an exciting journey that I am sure will pass all to quickly.

Also, in exciting news, I ordered our Sonlight Curriculum this weekend --- we should get it within the next two weeks!! Yea!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pictures

I posted some pictures on my other blog (Humble Reflections) for some of the activities that we did described in this post!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sonlight

Okay, I said that I would post about the Sonlight curriculum that I am planning on using next year with Treyton - I don't know the official title of what type of schooling it is (classical, unit study, etc) but if I were to label it myself I would say that it is a literature based unit-type study. Now to be fair the unit-type study part may be more from how I plan on teaching it, but even still.

Now what I know about sonlight is only from my research on the preschool and kindergarten curriculum but I'm sure it's similar for most grades.

The whole focus of sonlight is on reading - which is what attracted me to it - I personally love reading and Treyton can't get enough of story time (what could be better?). They have selected a wide-variety of reading for the year, and when/if you buy the core curriculum you receive a not only the instructor's guide but the books you'll be reading as well (another reason I liked it - WE LOVE BOOKS). They give you a reading "plan" on certain days either a 4 or 5 day plan (depending on your preference) but they are also adamant on suggesting that you take it at your own pace - if your child wants to read a book 50 times in a row - do it, if your child wants to skip a book for now, go ahead, if they want to read a 3-day book in 1-day or 5-days that's fine... everything is meant to be customized for your family and child.

The book choices that I have seen, and the reviews I've heard from other parents regarding them is phenomenal! They have a great variety and touch on incredibly meaty topics at the child's level!!

As you read the books, you pay special attention to the detail of the story - where does this story take place (you may look up on a map where that place is), what is the timeline of the story (you may pull out your calendar or clock and discuss it). There are also some fun ideas to go along with the story, for example with a story about planes you may make paper-airplanes.
Once you get to the kindergarten level, the child has their own readers which they are meant to read on their own, while read-alouds are still done together. It is a Bible-based curriculum meaning you will be focusing on some Bible stories, have memory verses and more.

Jess at Making Home, who also uses this curriculum wrote a post on it a while back - I encourage you to read her post if this is a curriculum you might be interested, but I wanted to include part of her post here (just in case you don't click over):
Here's an example of learning history through good books, from our Kindergarten year-- Instead of memorizing the dates, places, and people of WWII, or doing a word find, or coloring a page with pictures of parachute men, we read an engaging, award-winning historical fiction novel written at a level he could understand about orphans living in an orphanage on the French countryside. Together, we experienced and discussed WWII through their eyes... learning about ration cards, Nazi soldiers, the scarcity of things like oranges and chocolates, where the Alps are, the role that clergy and people of faith played in assisting the Jewish people. These are all concepts that we discussed together and were not only grasped, but retained, by my then-5-year-old because we looked at the war in an emotionally-engaging way rather than through a coloring sheet or a list to memorize.
I decided to go with sonlight because for me, it seems like the best fit right now for Treyton - it takes the pressure off of me to convince Treyton to learn, he loves reading, and the little extra's really help him retain what he is reading so with the books and subjects that interest him I plan on pursuing with as much attention as we can and those that we aren't interested in we will move past.
For me, this is the beauty of starting with him now, I really feel like there is no pressure and that we can spend our time having fun learning... and if this doesn't work.... we'll find another way to learn that's fun for us!!

Sonlight can be pretty pricey, but for what you are buying it isn't a bad price, and you can buy it however you would like. If money is an issue instead of buying the complete set (with the books included) you can get the books from the library for free and just purchase the teacher's guide and aids (if there are any).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Loving Lapbooking

I recently stumbled into "lapbooking" - I actually ran across it while researching Tapestry of Grace, but then rediscovered it after visiting a recommended website from another home schooling mom. To be honest I don't really know how to describe lapbooking except to say it's a way to turn a unit-study type lesson into a hands-on method of reporting and reviewing what you learned. Primarily people use a file folder and re-fold it into a tri-fold, pasting memorabilia, notes, and things you've made inside.

Treyton and I are starting with lapbooking with a study on the book "Are you my mother?" I got a few of my ideas off of www.homeschoolshare.com but I came up with several on my own. I won't go into it all here but if you are interested I recommend that you visit the above website.

I plan on taking pictures of our finished lapbook this week and posting it. But wanted to get you started with this.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Catch-All Post

As seem to be my custom, it has once again been awhile since I posted... but unlike the last times we have too much to even remember to post it all here. So I will just hit the highlights and probably start a different post to include some of the stuff I have been learning.

~ We have started using Handwriting Without Tears and I LOVE it, we got some of the extra's which I think is why I love it so much. We are working in the Pre=K Book called "Get Set for School", we also bought the mat, the wood pieces for capital letters and the music CD, all of which I recommend. Treyton (obviously slightly tactile) loves the hands-on wooden letters and mat to make "mat man" (he keeps calling him bat man, despite my frustrations over it :)) We're going through the beginning fairly quickly as we have covered much of it already this year (colors, lines, etc.) but I'm planning on slowing down once we get to the letters and numbers, as I want to take our time doing maybe 2 a week.

~ Treyton completely on his own started drawing stick people - which was awesome!! But his people's legs pretty much came from their head, they had no bodies, which is normal for his age group - however, since we have started working with mat man - less than two weeks ago, he is already making huge improvements to his stick people!!

~ We have done a few crafts with a Bible Story - one of our favorites was the Story of David and Goliath. We went and picked five stones (just like David), we painted the rocks, each a different color and wrote a word from our memory verse on each stone "Trust" "in" "the" "Lord" "Proverbs 3:5" --- we then made a paper bag pouch out of a lunch bag (we punched a hole in the top and strung some string through it) which we also wrote our memory verse on. We then went outside and drew a square in the driveway, we put a big stone (to represent goliath) in the middle and used our five smaller stones to try and "push" the big stone out!! It was a lot of fun - obviously our stones got a little "scratched up" but it was totally worth it. Lots of fun!!

~ Last night I went to my first curriculum fair!! It was SOOO much fun, there isn't much about homeschool I love more than curriculum.... yea!! Anyhow, I had the chance to get a hands-on look at some of the curriculum I have been "knawing on" for a while. Some of my favorites (which I hope to elaborate on more in a later post) were Tapestry of Grace (this would be once Treyton was in 1st gradeish), Konos (same thing, I would wait until 1st grade I think), Saxon Math (LOVE this one), Sonlight (which was actually Tim's favorite before I went)

I will be doing sonlight with Treyton next year along with the Handwriting without Tears and a math curriculum of some sort - Saxon doesn't have anything for preschool so I will be waiting on using them. I also have a set of Christian Light Educators ABC series that I got for like $5.00 off of ebay that I may substitute in there for workbook stuff.

~ I am going to my first CHEA memorial weekend with my mom --- I am SUPER pumped!! I can't wait to look at even more curriculum and to have the weekend to do nothing but think school.... it'll be great!!

Okay, well that's it for this post, I will post more later, especially on sonlight - what I like about it and why we are leaning that way for the next year (or two) with Treyton!!