Big Brother is a fantastic writer. He's won a couple writing contests. He wows the other parents at the "read your research paper day" at his enrichment program. He's got great organization. He uses vivid verbs and descriptions. He'll usually throw in a simile or a metaphor for good measure. But...he doesn't enjoy writing. Not.At.All.
So, we are going to try some new things out this coming school year.
Julie Bogart's Brave Writer Lifestyle is going to be the "core" of our language arts philosophy. Some of her ideas we will be incorporating into our school: Poetry Tea Times, Friday Freewrites, Word Games, and lots of Read Alouds. We might also be using her language arts programs The Wand and Quiver of Arrows. I'm still exploring these two last options!
We are also going to be using:
Igniting Your Writing: 24 Sessions to Enliven and Inspire Young Writers was recommended to me by a long time homeschooling veteran mom. It looks so simple and fun. I've already bought it and have started planning out our lessons. They are SHORT. And can be stretched out over a few days if you want. I think this alone will help with writing not being a battle at our house. I think it's going to really help with the quality of the writing that's produced around here! There are three different levels for each lesson - lesson one for the youngest writers and level three for advanced writers. I think most lessons we will use level one for both brothers, but there are a few lessons that I think Big Brother might enjoy doing level 2.
I hope my kids' are as excited with the change as I am!
There are so many choices! I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm somewhat of a nerd (but that I mean, definite, absolute nerd) when it comes to researching and reading anything to do with education, teaching, learning.
I think we'll stick with some things we've used in the past, but we'll end up with some new as well.
I personally like to use "spines" for each subject area and then add in supplemental resources, projects, and units. This helps me to have an overall picture of where we are going and some overall structure. I also really like creating my own lessons, adding in fun activities, and following whatever rabbit trails my kids encounter. This approach won't work for every family, but for us it does!
I'm also certainly not afraid to change things up or completely discard something during the year if it's not working out. So, the current plan for next school year may or may not be what is actually used. The beauty of homeschooling - doing what works, changing when change is needed!
I've always been fascinated with other countries - their people and their cultures.
I also really like Jamie Martin's blog, SimpleHomeschool.net.
So when I saw she had a new book out with a summer reading contest, I was excited. We already finished the summer reading contest at our local library, so this will be perfect to add into our summer plans. It is going to be fun (lots of new book ideas!) and give us new reasons to look at our globe. I can't wait for my copy to get here! If you'd like to check out the reading contest, here it is: http://simplehomeschool.net/read-the-world/
Here is Jamie Martin's new book:
Once we start, I'm planning to give a little update on what books we read each week, along with any activities that we did. So check back soon! As I update each week, I'll link to the schedule below.
Mon, June 27th – Multicultural Week
Mon, July 4th – Africa Week
Mon, July 11th – Europe Week
Mon, July 18th – North America Week
Mon, July 25th – Middle East Week
Mon, Aug 1st – Asia Week
Mon, Aug 8th – Latin America Week
Mon, Aug 15th – Australia/Oceania/Polar Regions Week
Mon, Aug 22nd – A global link up for all families to take part in
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I'm not surprised. Not even a little bit. We always have one last snow (or two) after a little bit of warm spring weather. And in the winter, I LOVE snow. It was one of the reasons Dustin and I decided to move to the small mountain town where we now live. But snow, after a string of days with spring weather, is hard. The last day of school at our enrichment program was also a snowy morning (a week and a half ago.) Today is our last day of school (#172) for this year. It's snowy and still snowing. Woohoo, for summer break - in the snow!
One of the nice parts of homeschooling is that we could've had day #172 two weeks ago. But we didn't have to. We chose to play outside all day on those warm spring days. Because I knew (sigh) we'd have a at least one snowy day to stay inside, curl up, and read/write/math. And another handful of days that were just breezy enough with chilly mountain air that our playtime outdoors would be short. Those snowy and chilly days were perfect for finishing up our school year.
Another, fun homeschooling mom side note...
We homeschool year-round. So while our official day today is #172 (the number of days mandated by Colorado law) we are still going to be learning, doing, and living a life of education this summer. We will probably start our official day count for the next school year the end of July or Early August.
In the meantime, because we've established a family culture of learning all the time, we'll continue to:
- Read like crazy people (yes, the librarian and staff at our library know each of us by name and we have our own special shelf for "holds.")
- Watch documentaries and fun math shows we found on YouTube.
- Do science experiments.
- Build biomes. So far we've used this TOOB to start our arctic biome. The boys are excited to build all the biomes. The next two they want to work on on African grasslands and the rainforest, so we'll piece together our biomes using these TOOBs.
- Write a couple "books."
- Play board games. A couple of our current favorites are:
This is one I'm hoping to get and try out this summer since I have a couple map lovers!
- Cook and bake together (not my specialty, but thankfully my husband can easily step in here, since this is an area the boys love and want more of)
- Play Prodigy Math (most loved math game in this house!)
- Visit museums, parks, playgrounds, the pool, and the sprayground.
- Spend lots of time outside - once the snow is gone!
My youngest son just had a birthday. My oldest is about to have a birthday. Because of the birthdays, this time of year always makes me think about how fast they are growing up and getting bigger. It's bittersweet. It reminds me to enjoy the little things. Not to stress so much. To relax and cherish. This YouTube song has been circulating my Facebook news feed like crazy the past few days and it seems to be fitting for this time of year.
Lover of learning, books, coffee, traveling, and the great outdoors. Homeschooling mom of two funny, crazy, sweet boys. Wife to one wonderful husband.