Homeschooling "seems" to be an easier way to school. There are times I could flog myself for saying that! But for the most part hanging out on the couches reading a good book together doesn't seem all that hard. Of course, it's not all couch-work. We do have our share of desk-work, but when I consider that there are no couches in traditional classrooms I have one good reason to count my homeschooling blessings. Or at least the kids do. ;)
There is also the issue of time spent. No homeschooling family has escaped the question of how we can get by with so few hours compared to traditional schooling. The simple answer is that it takes less time to teach a couple of children to their precise level of learning, than it does to teach 25 children to one or two levels.
However, at the end of the school year I am always torn between feeling like throwing a party for the freedom of summer!!!! and stressing, because I hope we have accomplished enough this particular year.
Friday was our last day of school, and in light of my fear - did we get enough done? - I decided make a list this year. What did we accomplish anyway? I keep a record book for each of our 180 days, but I've never gone back and made one complete list at the end.
So here goes - my list for our little homeschool for the 2008-2009 school year:
BIBLE Old Testament - Genesis, Daniel Ch 1-6 New Testament - Acts, John
HISTORY This Country of Ours by HE Marshall, Chapters 29 - 63 (1636 to 1782) George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster Poor Richard by James Daugherty Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin Corresponded history readings with a time line Current Events Daily
GEOGRAPHY Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling Pictures of the Day Weekly Map Drills
SCIENCE Exploring Creation With Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day by Jeannie Fulbright Nature Study
Poetry Various Poetry readings daily
Literature Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson short works: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Memorization The Kind Moon by Sarah Teasdale Preamble to the Constitution Paul Revere's Ride (first 3 stanzas) Psalm 1 Little Things by Julie Fletcher Carney Psalm 23
Copywork / Handwriting Daily Copywork Lizzie and Mary: Cursive Instruction
Phonics Mitchell: TATRAS, Explode the Code Mary: HeadSprout Gracie: started Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Explode the Code
Dictation Weekly From Copywork
Art Appreciation Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) Florentine Renaissance Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) German Romantic Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) Dutch Post-Impressionist
Composer Study Johann Sebastain Bach (1730) (Baroque) Franz Liszt (1855) (Early Romantic) Gustav Mahler (1895) (Late Romantic)
Handicrafts Wire Sculpture Basket Weaving Knitting Mini Scrapbook Soap Making Homemade Bows and Arrows Cooking: Cheese Making, dough making Marshmallow Guns
Folksong The Drinking Gourd My Grandfather's Clock The Old Oaken Bucket
Hymns Shout to the North All the Way My Savior Leads Me (Fanny Crosby) Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (by Bach) Jesus Shall Reign (Isaac Watts) A Mighty Fortress is our God (by Martin Luther) Day by Day (Karolina W. Sandell-Berg) Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
PE 120 minutes/week Mitchell: Baseball Ronnie, Lizzie and Britany: Soccer
FIELD TRIPS Western NC Nature Reserve Williamsburg, VA Yorktown, VA Jamestown, VA WCQR 88.3 Christian Radio Station Hands On Museum Squid Dissection and Hissing Cockroach Program Appalachian Caverns Tri-Cities Airport Intercity Ballet presentation of the Nutcracker National Gingerbread House Competition Production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" Symphony McCain Presidential Campaign Rally Food City Grocery Store Rocky Mount Living History Museum Appalachian museum Blueberry Picking Bays Mountain Nature Preserve Lizzie and Ronnie: Niagara Falls
Ronnie: Cricket in Times Square by George Selden Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks
Lizzie: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Cricket in Times Square by George Selden Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois Sarah Whitcher's story by Elizabeth Yates Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz and Margot Tomes
Britany: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Silver Chair The Horse and His Boy The Magician's Nephew The Last Battle The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Mitchell: Little Britches series by Ralph Moody: Little Britches Man of the Family Mary Emma & Company The Fields of Home Shaking the Nickel Bush Dry Divide The Home Ranch Horse of a Different Color The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit Flushed by by Carl Hiaasen Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
...it turns out, we accomplish a lot! :) Big Smiles! Now I can celebrate freely!
We've mentioned before that we are in charge of teaching and coordinating the handicraft at our coop. In September we took on the task of teaching the moms and kids of the coop to knit. Although I had taken knitting classes more than ten years prior, I had never finished a single project. It took some brushing up, a visit to grandma's house, and quite a bit of help from Britany, but in the end I got my basic facts straight and taught everyone what I had learned.
I really enjoyed knitting this time around, so I kept at it though the winter. I finished my first scarf sometime in January, and then finally this weekend, I finish my first shawl. (The weather got cold on us, which was motivating.) Anyway, everyone else in the family gets to show off their accomplishments on this blog, so I though I would too this time! :)
During story time we all do different activities. Each day we pick a new activity to do. We have a lot of choices. Britany and I normally prefer to color or stamp. Sometimes the little girls will play a computer game so they won't distract us, but it doesn't always work. Ronnie and Mary prefer to just sit and listen. Mitchell does unique things with wire and sometimes paper. It's really fun, but we do have to pay attention.
Gracie (above) and Alli (below) playing the Zoboomafoo Creature Quest ABC Animal Adventure.
Teacher's pet. ;)
Mary thinks the best thing about homeschooling is learning while on the couch. :)
Mitchell wire sculpting.
The little girls are drinking tea. Frequently in the winter we make a hot tea to drink during story time.
Ronnie - We went to White's Mill in Abington, Virginia for a field trip. We went on a hike and were shown the river and mill pond that used to power the mill. When we got back from the hike, we went inside of the mill and saw all of the milling equipment. The stones that were in the flour mill weighed over 1000 pounds and were imported from France at around 1790. We learned a lot about milling on that field trip and it was really fun.
We took a short hike up to the mill pond where we ate our lunch and visited with friends.
The mill pond is up behind Alli. The dam has broken, so the creek runs right through it.
This picture shows the broken part of the dam. Previously the water was diverted from the mill pond down a side creek to power the mill.
The little kids really enjoyed the creek. The saw lots of little black snails.
Lizzie, Alli, Mary and Gracie sitting on the front porch of the mill.
From inside the building you can look down over the mill wheel.
Mr. Price showed us three different milling machines that have been used at that mill over the last 200 years.
This picture above shows how the building was constructed.
Above is Braden standing in front of the gears that propel the old mill.
We bought some corn meal that was ground there and made corn bread the next afternoon. Our favorite!