Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Light Dawns

So many things have been clicking in regards to homeschooling the past couple months I am amazed. These are things I have been looking at and thinking about the past few years. But there was never any clarity.

It started with understanding what narration was all about and how important it is to the process of learning composition skills. (Thanks to Chapter 4 in Susan Wise Bauer's new book entitled Writing With Ease:Strong Fundamentals due out next month.) That led to understanding the true purposes of copywork and dictation thanks to Simply Charlotte Mason's website.

I was searching for literature to add to our ancient history studies this coming year. That brought me back to Ambleside Online and An Old Fashioned Education. I have visited these websites before but for some reason it always resulted in brain freeze. I couldn't even look through the AO site without major chaos reigning in my brain. But for some reason, this time around things became clear. (And their Year 7 lines up exactly with what I need in 2009-2010, which was exciting.)

So having the chaos cleared up, I had to learn about using online books. This led me to The Baldwin Project and Project Gutenberg. The Baldwin files seem like they will be pretty easy to read from online. But the Gutenberg books caused me another roadblock. They are in text format and can take an incredible amount of time to reformat. So I was stuck once again. Then I ran across a Yahoo loop called 3RHomeschooling where a member passed on how she formats text ebooks. It worked great. So I was back in the business of incorporating ebooks into my curriculum.

Another thought process my brain has taken is to think through what I would do for school if there was a minimal amount of money to spend. So I was looking at the curriculum schedule for An Old Fashioned Education and was trying to determine how many of those resources I could make work for me. Solving the ebook formatting situation helped a whole lot. Then I went to revisit the CIMT math program which had confused me in the past just like the others. And low and behold, I get it! (Maybe it's the new vitamins that are making my brain stronger.) So now I have an inexpensive math option that is still quality material. This is in addition to the numerous history resources available online.

It has been quite a journey, but it is nice to have some of these unknowns disappear.

I almost forgot about the neatest find of all. There is a program called Fine Print that allows you to print multiple pages onto one page. Then I was informed that Adobe does this as well and so I started investigating that further. I have that mostly figured out and am able to save at least 50% on paper use depending on the text size of the document. And my laser printer (thanks to FreeCycle) works well in duplex mode so I print most documents 2 pages together then double-sided for a total of 4 pages per piece of paper.

If you are looking at Ambleside Online, make sure you check out the Notebook Yahoo Groups. It has all the books formatted and categorized by week. There are files for Years 1-5 and 7.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

School is Done

We are officially done with school for the year. Dd12 will supplement with Math Mammoth 7A this summer just to keep her mind sharp on the pre-algebra concepts. Dd11 will continue with her Christian Light math.

Dd4 has moved onto spelling words that have blends at the end: fast, land, went, soft, left, last, and, hand, help, best. She had no trouble segmenting the individual sounds. I will be going ahead and teaching her some of the additional phonograms as she is ready to keep speeding ahead.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spelling Success Continues

Dd4 has now mastered the sounds for "th", "ch", and "sh". She successfully spelled the following words from dictation (not having seen them written):


There are two ways that we drill the phonograms. One is where I show her the phonogram and she tells me the sounds that it makes. The other is that I dictate the sounds to her and she tells me the phonogram. She can do both fluently for A-Z, th, ch, and sh.

Not only is her reading and spelling doing really well. Her enunciation is getting clearer with each step we complete in her spelling program.

She also knows the following:

The vowels are A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.
A consonant is any letter that isn't a vowel.
Every word has at least one vowel.
A vowel's first sound is short.
Names start with a capital letter.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cream Puffs are Served

Thanks, Auntie Brenda, for the wonderful aprons!

But, Daddy, I Just Know the Tire is Flat!

May 2007
One year later
Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide