Monday, October 1, 2012

Homeschooling: September Review

Hello, October! It's good to see you. October means pumpkin patches, birthday celebrations (mine & Sammy's), a getaway with Andy, and fall decor. Why do I love fall decor so much? I just can't get enough of hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins. Growing up in South Carolina, October also meant the State Fair, leaves changing, and a fresh crispness in the air. Now that I live in California, there's a little but not too much leaf changing and it seems that one of our hottest months of the year tends to be October. Kinda different, but hey, California makes up for it with all of the rad pumpkin patches and apple farms!

Ok, so here's a little review of what's been going on in the Wood Academy of Awesomeness during the month of September...

We covered two major units discussing the Moon and Leaves.

One thing I love about the "My Father's World" curriculum that we are using is that it teaches foundational truths for life as a follower of Jesus in ways that kids can understand. Every unit has "Words to Remember."

For the Sun unit the phrase was, "Jesus is the light of the world." We talked about how Jesus gives light to all of mankind in a similar way to how the sun gives light to the earth.

For the Moon unit the phrase was, "I am the light of the world." We discussed how the moon doesn't have any light of its own, but rather reflects the sun's light. In the same way, we can be a reflection of the light of Jesus to those around us.

We learned the phases of the moon. 

We built a spaceship and took a trip to the moon. 

We even had a supply list of what we thought we'd need on that trip.

I read "Goodnight Moon" to the boys and gave Caedmon the assignment of writing a "going-to-bed" story. This is what he came up with. (My only involvement was transcribing his words.)

I thought is was a pretty cool story. 

For the leaf unit, the Words to Remember were "I will live and grow in Jesus." We talked about the importance of staying connected to Jesus in order to be able to grow into the people He wants us to be. We pulled some leaves off of a plant and watched them wither and die over the course of the unit since they were disconnected from the source.

We did all kinds of stuff with leaves: traced them, leaf rubbings, pressed leaves, etc... Below, Caedmon and Sammy are painting the outline of the leaves.

We read the story "Leaf Man" together and then collected leaves outside to create 
our own versions of Leaf Man.

I made one, too, and had to share it because I was so impressed by my creativity. 
It's amazing how smart you can feel when you compare your level of competency 
to that of a 6 year old all day! :-)

Caedmon is doing fantastic with reading. Today we are on lesson 90 of "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." (We started this last year.)

We are using the Math U See Primer book and it is probably too simple for Caedmon. We typically do 3 lessons a day just to get through the easy stuff. I think it will get more challenging pretty soon.

We also started learning Spanish using a Spanish DVD from Language Tree. This is brand new for the boys and pretty tough. But we're just getting our feet wet right now.

I gotta be honest, the "newness" of school kinda wore off by the end of September and I found myself with a rather uncooperative student on my hands occasionally. When that happens, it's pretty tough and discouraging. One day towards the end of our planned activities, Caedmon said "I'm not doing that," laid down on the ground and pretended to be asleep. It had been "one of those days" and I was so frustrated that I just left the boys in the playroom, went up to my room with my computer, and started Googling articles about homeschooling uncooperative kids. Thankfully, not every day is like that.

Also, occasionally I feel a bit envious of other moms whose kids are in school 6-8 hours a day. I think of the "freedom" I would have to run errands or get certain things accomplished if we had gone the public school route. But then I have to remember how much freedom homeschool actually provides. For instance, I fit our curriculum into about 2 hours a day 4 days a week. That allows us to go on awesome field trips and have family days every Friday. We've been to the Children's Discovery Museum, the playground, and this past week to an apple orchard. So cool.

Everything in life has it's perks and it's difficulties. I'm learning to fully embrace the perks without feeling guilty about it, and at the same time not to begrudge the commitment that homeschool requires. 

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