Friday, August 27, 2010

Time for a review

It's the end of summer now and fall term has begun quietly. Now is a good time to kick back and tell you some of my impressions of the things we have done this summer.

Math-u-See: I still love it. I still believe he pirated it from Mortenson Math, but he has much better workbooks. I highly recommend getting the VHS version because you will spend much less money. Obviously the VHS version has been discontinued and turned into a more profitable venture by breaking each main category into its own level and has probably been changed somewhat, but the old way works very well. Math-u-see has a website with lots of review material right there--very nice, but I haven't used it much. If you can get your hands on it, the workbook with extra practice sheets is a nice addition. You won't always use it though. (At least I haven't.) If you don't have manipulatives, Math-u-see sells a small set inexpensively. If you have Saxon Math manipulatives, sell them. Mortenson Math manipulatives work very well. Another reason I believe he pirated it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Education made easy and even pleasurable!

One thing I learned last year was that the day after co-op is a total waste educationally. I wake up late and drained, often with a mutinous headache. Or is it me that is mutinous?

Every year, I get this marvelous catalog showcasing some fabulous video high school courses, and this year I caved into desire. I bought. Not only that, but I'm passing the word onto anyone who might stumble across this blog. The web address is The caps really don't matter; they'll convert to lowercase. Everything is 70% off until August 30.

Whether you homeschool or not, this is a big deal! Instead of planting your kids (or yourself) in front of the latest episode of whatever, flip this on. Many of the courses come in both audio and DVD so whatever learning style matches yours the best......

For us, among the myriad of courses I could have chosen, I chose World History and Early American history by Professor Linwood Thompson, from the Bellflower High School in Los Angeles, California. He is both historian and dramatist. That's how he presents the history--by introducing the watcher to people from those times, both actual and fictional people. He throws his own name into the fictional person's name so you can keep them separate from the real ones.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reading list

Working on our 4-year high school reading list and looking for help. I'm open to additions and recategorizations. Thank you for your input!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Just looked over my last blog post and realized I haven't progressed at all on most of those goals except one.


We're going fast and furious on it, and the kids are progressing well. That's about all I have to report. Most importantly, we still like the Math-u-see program. We're doing about a unit a day---given that he recommends taking a week or more on each, we're doing well. It's not a 15-minute a day item though. Normally I wouldn't suggest doing it this way but we have a really tight timetable and the kids are getting it.

Scout merit badge: Citizenship in the Community: Only 2 things to complete. Yes!

American Government: I don't like the text so this is not going to be easy.

Ancient Greece: Might be put on a longer hold. I really want to do U.S. History. It has been a few years since we covered that, and then it was mostly colonial and Revolutionary War with a little Constitution as well as Civil War. The boys learned about World War I and II last year, but there is a bit in between.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What happened?!

I'm going to stop blogging about what we're doing because it seems to curse us for a course change!

Seriously, we are going to be doing Ancient Greece, but life has been getting in the way. It may have to wait until August or September.

One item down: belt rank test. My sons have taken their black belt test and now await their results, given next Saturday at Nationals. My daughter has taken her blue belt test and likewise awaits her results.

Second item for the summer: Eagle. One last stinking merit badge and 2 projects (1 per boy).

Third item: Map out the American Government class I'm teaching at co-op next year. Moving has never looked so good!

Overriding goal: Math. Math. And more math. Yeppers. That one's happening and has not been derailed. Math-u-see. Got it at e-Bay--all the way to Trig via the older VHS curriculum. We have VHS capability and I'm all about getting it cheap! It is going well even with the other interruptions.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A look forward and another one back

Part I

I'm one step closer to our next unit which will be Ancient Greece. This time, we are using a lapbook study from In the Hands of a Child as the basic unit. I am curious to see how this goes. We will also learn a little bit of Modern Greek (as opposed to ancient.) If this unit captures my kids' imagination, we will use this approach more.

The only lapbook I have ever done is one on pirates which my son loved. We did a few of their Scout badges via the lapbooking route too. Because they take so much of my time to create them, I haven't pursued them as I probably should have so I'm willing to pay someone else to do the legwork for me.

When I ordered the unit, I purchased 3 premade kits but I'm hoping I can cancel that order. I'm too hands on to let someone do that much of the work for me especially when they include all the templates in the project pack! If I can't, I'll know better next time! Or not, if it doesn't work as well as I hope. They have a download option which I took for the project pack. I will be adding some assignments of course, and we will be doing some additional reading---The Illiad and The Odyssey come to mind---at least for my sons, but I fully expect this will go very well.

Part II (Follow-up to my last post)

The Notebooking study worked okay, although not as well as I had hoped. It's a little too sit-down and write for my kids to have fun with it. I think I'll probably work it into a lapbook study and it will go more smoothly and with fewer complaints.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pioneers unit study

We just started a Pioneers unit study by Amanda Bennett. It is a notebooking program. So far, it looks like it will be a good unit study although easy to get bogged down doing every exercise listed. I did that with her American Government unit study so I'm being much more careful this time around! Here is the outline of people and events we will study.

Daniel Boone
Thomas Jefferson, including Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and Sacagawea
The Monroe Doctrine
Jedediah Smith, including the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Mormon Battalion Trail
Davy Crockett
John Chapman
Zebulon Pike including the Pony Express
Jim Bridger and the Gold Rush, Trascontinental Railroad, and Homestead Act
Buffalo Bill
John Deere and the Manifest Destiny
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The village Blacksmith

The only major omissions I saw were Brigham Young, considered to be the greatest colonizer of the American West and the Mormon Battalion which began several major settlements in California and built a road through the southwestern United States used by settlers. We will study those as well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring is here!

Hello! Spring is here, and the temperatures are rising very quickly! We have a long-haired dog that needs to shed! Our kids are looking forward to summer and the freedom it brings to run and play without regard to coats and bundling.

Co-op is wrapping up as well. My daughter is dancing in the elementary grades' musical. She is very happy to stop listening to Parablelooza soon. My sons are still working on papers and worksheets for their classes. I think one forgot about a paper for Speech. Oops! Hopefully next week won't be too late.

I am busily studying Teaching a Generation of Leaders, A Thomas Jefferson Education for the Twenty-First Century, by Oliver Van DeMille. That will be my model for high school, I think. I have really been struggling with how to finish off with a bang that will prepare my sons for college and life, and I was led to picking that up again on Sunday. I have some work to do in preparation for it though!

I'm also going to be busy preparing for an American Government class I will be teaching this fall in co-op. Unfortunately, my sons aren't old enough for the class, but they will be studying with me here at home. I plan to use many of the TJEd principles in this class so it will be a natural fit, I think.

Now I must hurry and get lunch before we leave for co-op. Love you all!