Monday, August 31, 2009

Cleaning Schedule

We're starting our new year today. Mason starts Grade 1 and Mickey starts Senior Kindergarten. The kids have been helping out more and more around the house and I've been meaning to make this job jar for the last year. I found these neat sticks in Scholar's Choice. They're dry erase so I can change them at any time. Each day I'm going to put some jobs in the jar that need to be done that day. The flowers are for Mickey and the frogs for Mason. As jobs come up I can also add them to our collection. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Royal Botanical Gardens

We're hoping to spend a lot of time this year attending the homeschooling programs at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Programs are from 1-3 pm on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Cost is $7 per student. You must register at least a week in advance. For weekly topics go here. Homeschooling programs are on page 6.

New Art Materials

Yesterday I went to our favourite art store looking for watercolour crayons. No matter what the age, I believe that children should be using the real deal and I also needed something that we could take on hikes. The sales people at this store are fantastic and know their stuff. I mean, they REALLY know it! Anyhow, they recommended this product:

These are watersoluble wax pastels. You can buy them individually at $1.95 each or in metal cases of 10, 15, etc... They are not inexpensive but I'm hoping they'll have some longevity. They can be used in numerous ways (see company's website) but we bought them for the following uses:

1) Take wet watercolour paper and draw on top with the crayons

2) Draw on dry watercolour paper and use a wet brush to create your desired effect

3) Use a wet brush and take colour right from the crayon in the box (similar to painting technique)

4) As facepaints - they're non-toxic (although I don't see this written on the box)

Anyhow, thought I'd share my find and I'm sure that I'll be posting some of our artistic results in the future.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Interesting Video Interview

A friend linked to this blog and on it is an interesting video post. Check this out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Algonquin Park

We just spent a week in Algonquin camping. It was a week filled with adventure, challenges and new experiences. We enjoyed...

...a trip to the Algonquin gallery

...some painting on canvas, experimenting with watercolours and of course tie-dying

....many, many, bike rides through the forest

...the challenges of starting a fire with wet wood (and no stove...long story)

...a hike on the Lookout Trail

...a view that took my breath away and caused me to squeeze the life out of my children's hands

...interesting attire

...learning a new skill and enjoying new found freedom

...visiting with good friends

...dancing in the woods

...and sleep after a long hard day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop - Curriculum Week


Every summer I dread Aug. 1st. August signals the start of school for me. As a teacher I relax for July and then do my planning and classroom preparation in August. Now that I'm part time my planning is not nearly what it once was but I am preparing for three subjects, one of which is new. As a homeschooling mom I'm so excited about the new year. We're trying new things, and have a brand new crazy schedule ahead. Up until now I've never been completely sure about which homeschooling style suits me. I've spent a great deal of time planning out our year. As you'll see it's more structured than not. This is because I work two days a week (with 5 people helping me with childcare) and if I want to get anything accomplished I need to have a game plan.


- copywork (passages taken from Story of the World, jokes, books we're reading)

Reading & Writing:

Explode the Code 3x/wk
Progressive Phonics (I really like the simplicity of these online books. They can be printed or read on-line. The books focus on one sound at a time. Subsequent books build on previous knowledge). Thanks Karen.
First Language Lessons for Grade 1 (Mason only) 2x/wk
Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Mickey only) 2x/wk
Spelling Power 3x/wk
Spelling City (great website for practicing words of the week).
Reading Response Forms Grades 1-3 - occasionally


- finish Math 1 with Mason and start on Math 2. These are from Bob Jones Press. Daily
- Math 1 with Mickey
Side note: I love that the Bob Jones math books are so colourful. It makes a difference. In my opinion if a grade 1 math program requires a teacher's manual then there's a serious problem. It should be straight forward. With my grade 8s I cover Number Sense and Numeration each term and then one of the other strands. Each additional strand must be covered in two terms. Ideally there shouldn't be huge gaps of time between math subjects. While doing number sense and numeration you should also be covering some geometry, measurement or data management. Mixing it up also makes it more interesting for your child.
- clock unit from Currclick
- math games and math manipulatives
- supplement with Miquon for both. Miquon isn't thorough enough to use exclusively.

The Arts:

- Mickey just completed a summer camp in dance, story telling, art and music
- for Music we'll focus on one genre per month (classical, opera, folk, jazz, blues, pop, rock etc...)
- Art - we're doing Artistic Pursuits with a friend and I'll be expanding on the program in the book. We're doing one lesson per week. I'm trying to tie the activities into what we're doing in history or our nature study.
- Drama - we're hoping to take the drama classes again. The kids loved them last year.


- Story Of The World - volume 1 - 2x/wk
- Pioneers
- Family Tree - this will cover some family history, interviewing skills, writing & recording, & math (graphing similarities, comparisons, etc...)


- Canada study with friends
- geographical features
- map and globe reading
- Japan (for yearly Around The World Expo)
- as mentioned in SOTW
- study of Scotland with Grannie
- Standard Deviants DVD - World Geography


We're going to get a membership to the Ontario Science Centre and plan a visit to Science North in August. We will enjoy these centres and will follow up on any specific interests that come up during visits. We'll also explore animals in more depth, mechanisms (levers, pulleys, wheel & axels, etc...), magnets, weather and possibly astronomy (thanks to our new Galileoscope).
- a watercolour nature journal will be started.

Language Study:

German - I'm crossing my fingers that Daddy will teach the kids some basic phrases and words (counting, colours, etc...)
Japanese - Mason has shown an interest in Japanese (from exposure in an Aikido class). We're going to learn the words (50-100) he'll be hearing in class.
Sign Language - hoping to do this with some friends

Mickey's Extracurricular Activities:
- gymnastics - 3 hrs 2x/wk
- swimming (maybe)

Mason's Extracurricular Activities:
- piano lessons (1/2 hr once a week)
- Aikido (once or twice a week)
- Indoor soccer (winter)
- swimming (maybe)

As you can see we're following a variety of methods. A bit of Classical Homeschooling for Language Arts and History, some Charlotte Mason for science and geography, Ontario Curriculum and unit studies for math and unschooling for music, some math and science.