Adapting in Homeschool

A couple months ago, I started thinking about what our homeschooling day will look like next year. Bubba is going headfirst into pre-reading preschool activities, Peanut will be advancing in her studies, and there will be a new little munchkin to cuddle, feed, change and love on.

One of the decisions I had to make was in the subject of Math for Peanut. I had heard about Teaching Textbooks from various web reviews and from a friend who uses it with her seventh grader. The thought of a computer program doing the teaching for math was very appealing.

The website has placement tests (most math curriculums do for homeschool) and Peanut did exceptionally well on two different tests. I was confused at her placement in the curriculum, so I gave the company a call. They were extremely helpful, and they also suggested using the sample lessons on the website to give my daughter a feel for the program. Peanut loved it.

I found a Teaching Textbooks Curriculum Sale group on Facebook, and purchased the appropriate level at a discounted price. When I told Peanut that it would be arriving in the mail this week, her eyes lit up and she looked so excited. I looked at my husband and asked him if he thought we should wait until next year and have her finish the curriculum she’s using (I mean, there’s only two months left in our school year!) He said, “Not with that look, just let her start it.”

So with that, she’s started Teaching Textbooks, and she’s loving it. She’s working at her own pace, the computer is checking her work, telling her what she’s getting wrong, telling her how she should be doing the problems, grading her work, and keeping track of it.

I loved our old curriculum, and it challenged Peanut, but she started getting bored with it. I would find her staring out the window, doodling in her book, and not getting answers right because she just didn’t care. This new curriculum is cutting at least an hour (sometimes two!) out of our school day. It’s amazing the difference a little change has made.

I’m not prescribing it for everyone- not all texts work for all kids, but I would like to encourage parents to not fear change, no matter how far along in your school year you may be. A little change may mean all the difference in whether or not your child is learning something!

Cold, Cold Monday

With the bitter cold temperatures, we have not ventured outside of the house much this past week. After Christmas and New Years, we stepped back in to school on Thursday. Friday, we slipped back into Holiday Mode.

Today was a little of both. This mama wasn’t feeling too hot, so I stayed on the couch while Peanut did some bookwork. Bubba got to experience his first phonological success, as we read the first book in the Progressive Phonics Alphabetti Series. The look on his face was priceless when I told him he sounded out the word “dog”. (Although, I’m fairly certain the retention isn’t there, and we’ll have to read this book a few dozen more times for him to grasp the concept.)

I also opened up an account on Khan Academy to make math skills a little more fun for Peanut. She enjoyed having goals, and seeing her progress. Hopefully we can make this a regular activity and encourage more joy in math.

All in all, I consider this day a success when Bubba is happily playing in his room with his Jake and The Neverland Pirates toys, and Peanut is sitting in her room reading Nancy Drew: The Bungalow Mystery.

What we’ve been up to

Life has definitely whizzed by. And a lot has gone on.

Party Time

Today we are getting back in to the routine of school. Tomorrow we are going to a Valentine’s/ 100 Days of School Party with our homeschool group. We are all excited about it.

Yesterday we made valentines:

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I gave Peanut full creative license on hers. She decided to add her own artistic touches with glitter glue and ball point pen.

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Bubba and I worked together on his. He loved the stickers.

Today, we counted out 100 goldfish and 100 chocolate chips for the group trail mix, and 100 crayons for show and tell. Peanut was shocked that we had 100 crayons, and was amazed at how small of a pile it really was.

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This afternoon we will be making cupcakes and cookies to bring to the party. (I’ll post pictures when they’re done!)

Random Projects

I have been working hard the past week crocheting a blanket for a friend who is about to have a baby. ┬áIt took me four attempts to get the width right, and I feel like it’s still shrinking. It could be the yarn I chose, but I think it’s the variation in my tension with each row. I should be done by now!

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Bubba thinks it’s his blanket, even though I told him it was for his friend’s new baby sister. He keeps taking it and wrapping it around himself, which pulls out some stitches. Ah, but he’s so cute putting the blanket over his little toes.

Success

I am so excited, however, that my dining room has FINALLY gotten the second (and last) coat, and I can hang my pictures back on my walls! I am so relieved that it’s done, and I can check that off my list!

Adding Worksheets- What makes a number?

What frustrates me the most with homeschooling is how I know how to do something, and I can’t find any material that teaches it. So I made what I needed.

Here’s a little something I whipped up to work on adding facts, and what makes a number. We’re currently working on subtraction and multiplication, and as I watch Peanut work through these I’m thinking we need to get back to basics. Just for a little fun, and to work on the skills.

To use: Have the children fill in the addends in each box. Then, using, stamps, drawings, stickers, or whatever else, have them put in pictures to go along with the numbers. Have them count the pictures, then have them read the equation. Feel free to use it with your own children. Or, if you’re not one for worksheets, take the concept, some bingo chips and make a game of this!

what makes 5-10

Oh, and before I forget- These worksheets were not designed with the use of zero as an addend. There are enough boxes to add 1 through the number before the sum. For example, for the 5 worksheet, there are boxes for 1+4; 2+3; 3+2; and 4+1.
Here’s the link to the .pdf file:
whatmakes510

Please, please, please let me know if you notice any typos or inconsistencies! Thanks!

Math Project- Addition Facts

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Ella is getting a little frustrated that she’s not catching on to her addition and subtraction facts as well as she could. Drilling her with flashcards is SO. BORING. I don’t blame her. It is. Let me tell you a little secret: I’m glad I’m not the one needing to memorize it. It would bore me to tears also. And, well, it’s the tears I’d like to avoid.

I have to say, I love the Internet. It would have taken me a minimum of three hours to open up Microsoft Word and create a Fact Family lapbook for Ella if it weren’t for the lovely search engines on the World Wide Web. The wonderful people over at Homeschoolshare.com already made one and posted for private use. I printed that .pdf out and spread it all over the living room floor.

What a mess

I started cutting out the pieces, and, of course, Bubba wanted to join in. So I ran over to my over-stocked craft closet, got out a pair of plastic scissors from my child care days, and handed it to him.

Bubba and scissors

I cut away, and Ella was bouncing with excitement. She actually started glueing and working on her addition facts before I even finished cutting out all the pieces.

Working Hard

I was pretty excited, as I was cutting, to glance over and see Bubba actually doing a wonderful job at cutting! He was so proud of himself, too! (Yay for fine motor skill practice!)

Bubba

Finding the pieces

Ella kept at it with the Number Families from 1 through about 6.

Happy Ella

Then she and her dad got into some kind of tickle/wrestling match on the couch while Bubba started having a Monster Truck Rally with his loud plastic firetruck and his wooden train next to me, and I just kept on cutting. Then I broke out my $15 laminator (from Aldi’s) and laminated the last pieces and it was done! That’s one set of flashcards we don’t have to break out again! This will be much more fun and engaging for her to work on.

To find the lapbook, go to: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/addition_facts_lapbook.php