Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pros and Cons

One of the good things about homeschooling is that I have control over my daughter's curriculum and how and what she learns.

One of the bad things about homeschooling is that I have control over my daughter's curriculum and how and what she learns.

I have spent a lot of time this summer researching curriculum, not to switch from Calvert, but to supplement it, as she wants and needs more info and more depth than is offered in any fifth grade curriculum. I have been purchased a bunch of stuff, but passed on a lot more. I have looked in depth at many different things and I have found a disturbing trend, but I am not sure if it is in what is available or in my reactions.

I have reached the point that as soon as I see the words "from a Christian perspective," I quit reading. I don't know if I am missing something that may be really good, but so many of the things I actually looked at before reaching this knee jerk reaction pushed stuff that is not based in reality. Sorry, but the world is not 5,000 years old. Man and Dinosaurs did not live at the same time. Evolution happens every day. Change is the nature of the world, not stasis. Science is not the place for religious education, and with all the revisionist history that is out there, I don't trust the history texts either.

Some stuff I have looked at I can use and leave out the fallacies, but with so much of it, especially the free stuff, there is no way to eliminate it all. This makes me sad, as I am not opposed to moral lessons or philosophy intertwined with facts--looking at not only whether we can, but whether we should. I think Literature is a wonderful resource for this, but attributing evil intentions to a character because it is other than Christian makes no more sense than assuming that every character portrayed as Christian is always right and good. This is especially important when looking at historical figures. Is it right that American Indian tribes were wiped out because of Christian missionaries bringing discord and disease? Were the Crusades, called for by the Church, a good and right thing, or were they political maneuvers promoted for personal and political power? I want my daughter to make moral decisions not by limiting her world view, but by expanding it. I want her to see cause and effect, both the good and the bad. I want her to learn to research and make her own choices and decisions, not accept something as true because it was told to her by an authority figure. I want her to argue with me when she disagrees, and be able to back up her arguments with documentable facts. I want her to be able to think and analyze and not be blind to manipulations. This is why I agree with the Bill Nye video I posted. I think it is dangerous to the future of America to teach our children nationalism as opposed to patriotism, religion as opposed to science, mythology as opposed to history.

And as a Homeschooler, I can't blame anyone but myself if I fail.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Stuff!!

It has been like Christmas around here with books coming in for 5th grade. I have a number of books that are for History extensions, like Build a Tee-Pee village and Build a Pueblo Village, 3D movable maps, and other things that she can either build and display (egad, am I nuts! The child will never get rid of anything and where am I going to put a paperboard pueblo!!) or that we can adapt to notebooking pages. They look fun! I am still working on pulling together the genealogy stuff I want to tie in to her history course. I wish Ancestry had a way to sort by military page, but even after I suggested it and told them why, they haven't done it. Even to be able to sort by year would help! At least the famous ones will be easy, I can pull their info by name, but it is the not so famous ones that I think are more important. These people from your family lived here at this time, what do you think their life was like? How do you think they survived when they were captured and marched off to Canada in an Indian raid? (That one will include a field trip--the town is not that far away) Why do you think they became Mormon and left their families behind to travel west? Your (insert relation) died in the battle of the Crater at Petersburg, he had 3 cousins in the same army but not in that battle, how do you think they handled his death? How long do you think it was before they found out? I have learned that the more personal, and the more hands on I make things for her, the better she learns and remembers.

Her first two Life of Fred books came in today! Fractions has 32 lessons, Decimals and Percentages has 33. There is no reason she can't finish the two of them before Christmas, and then we can start Pre-Algebra with Biology in January. I think the style of these books is really going to appeal to her. Everything is tied into real uses in Fred's life. It is silly in the way she is silly with lots of wild and weird descriptions, tie ins to things that a normal person would never think about--I certainly didn't think of Shakespeare and Euripides being quoted in an elementary math book, let alone tied into fractions!

I have been printing and laminating and setting up notebooks and generally going anal in getting organized, but after jumping into the deep end last January with no prep, I am hoping that being prepared will ease things a bit. It is going to be a roller-coaster of a year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Stuff!!

Two boxes showed up from Calvert this morning, and the child was excited to open them and paw through all her new stuff. She was really excited to see that this year's history does *not* have a workbook like the 4th grade history did--she really did not like how that was set up and we had a few disagreements over getting it done.

In addition to the 5th grade curriculum, I got her the Adventures in Reading, Grade 5 set, which has a number of additional books, most of which slot right into her curriculum. I also got her the Adventures in Art set. We had a difficult time with Art in 4th because I couldn't always envision what the assignment required, and didn't always have the materials needed. With this set, we get a separate lesson book and all the materials needed to do all the projects--including printmaking! I am hoping we can not only use this, but incorporate the lessons in the set with the lessons in the Learning Guide manual. We shall see how it works.

Looking at Calvert's suggested schedule this year, it looks a bit easier to follow for us than last years, and has a nice slot already in it where we can add the Latin and Logic. Gotta love scheduled independent study time :)

We are still waiting for her Math program to get here, but it was ordered from a different company. She is excitedly waiting for that now, along with the extension stuff I ordered from them like a build your own paper tee-pee village and other things like that.

Sadly, I didn't win the drawing for six months free tuition for S-H-I-N-E Middle Grades Collaborative , and I can't afford it this year, but I am making plans to budget for it next year--it looks like a supplemental program in which she could thrive, and would serve the same purpose her Gifted program did in VA.

Plans for the Disney trip in the spring are also underway, and as soon as Disney Youth Program updates with their spring schedule, I am going to see if there is anything in their classes that she might want to do. Among her current career goals currently is the idea of being an Imagineer, so seeing them in action could be pretty interesting for her.

Once I go through her science book for the year I am going to see if any of the Disney Imagineers videos fit what she is doing, or Bill Nye, The Science Guy ones. Hopefully I will be able to get a good price through the Disney Movie Club on them. I know they have some of the Bill Nye ones.
I am starting to print notebooking pages for her now that I have her books in front of me so I know what exactly what she will be covering. I am still trying to figure out what style timeline I want to use, but I think the one from NotebookingPages will let us warp them to what we envision the easiest.

I still need to pull the ancestors I want to include in history for her, but now that I have her history book, I know what time and places to pull.

Ok, I guess I am excited about the new curriculum too. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Waiting for the mail

I got the notice from Calvert this afternoon that our 5th grade curriclum has been shipped, and they have already added her fifth grade stuff to her learning portal. She has been glancing through the stuff on line and is getting excited! I have been informed that when the box comes SHE gets to open it and see everything first!

I ordered the first two Life of Fred books yesterday, but I am not sure how long it is going to take for them to come in. They will be here before Labor Day though, and since we aren't starting schooll until after that weekend, I am not worried.

I am glad I am getting stuff in with time to look over it and plan extention stuff this year--I scrambled through trying to find things more in depth for her with 4th grade because we jumped into it the day after we got the box in January. I am hoping I will be abled to be more prepared this year. I have got a lot of things pinned, and a lot of things on my wishlist at Currclick and other places, once I get to see the books and lesson manuals I will be able to decide what I need.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Well, I emailed copies of the paperwork in to the school district today. I have to drop off the physical copies later so they have the actual signatures on file, but emailing got the info in before the deadline. It looks like we are off to another year of excitement, and I don't have to take the kid out of school in the spring for the bi-annual trip to Disney. I wish I could talk the family to going at Christmas time some year, or back again for a fall trip, but the girls love going for their birthdays.

I do need to look into whether Disney has any classes going on while we are there that she might want to take--and then fight with the rest of the family over which adult gets to be the one who accompanies her! Right now they only have listings through October so I will have to keep an eye out for updates.

With actually moving into the planning phase again, I am going to have to get back into reading the DIS boards--they saved me last trip! I have to make my ADRs Oct 21, so I have a bit of time to figure out where we want to eat and how many credits of what kind we will have on the dining plan, and then start searching for reasonable plane tickets, and.... And I don't even have a travel agent this time to help me out! Aarrgghh!! I wonder how much of the planning I can make a homeschool project for the kid? Hmmmm.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Family Reunion

We are on our way home from a week in Myrtle Beach with hubby's side of the family. Sunburned, tired, and ties renewed for another year. I was really bummed that one of our nieces couldn't make it, but I am proud of her that she lived up to the responsibility of being a section leader in her band and gave up a vacation where she really wanted to be. It was a very mature decision.

We have stopped for the night in Virginia, and are going to go to Petersburg National Battlefield in the morning before continuing on to PA. I know we are not going to have time to see everything, but at least it will give a physical memory to the Civil War when we study it this year, and I really want to see the site of the Battle of the Crater, as I had an ancestor die there, and the Pennsylvania Monument. There is also a Jr Ranger program, and she loves to do those--and it will count for history! :)

Off to do more research on the battlefield so I can field questions tomorrow!