Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thoughts on school stuff and Friday reviews-

SO I have been missing for a couple of weeks...or I have just named the Friday posts different than what I had planned with "review." Looks like I may be doing some actual reviews of Children's DVD's in the coming week/months. So I guess I will have to reserve that word for that? Oh who cares, here I am and I am sharing, ready or not!
This might be a boring post for those of you who don't do this homeschool thing, so I will tell you now. Sorry, catch you next time :-) But, I promised I would post some bits here. I have also seen many new moms on our ramble yahoo group that are feeling as lost and unsure as I was a few months back. So, If you are on this homeschool journey with me, then I hope this may help you or that you can at least relate.
We have had a few breaks in there recently. There was spring break, that we just took like our public school did. I think I may follow their schedule. At least for now. AND last week- I ended up staying in the hospital with my son, so there was a break those days too. But you know, that is life and it would have happened no matter what right?

I have had a few people ask which curriculum I bought or decided to go with. And I am very very happy with Ambleside Online. It is a completely FREE online curriculum that is based on the beliefs of a woman named Charlotte Mason. The lessons come from books of literature, or "living books" and it is truly an enriched approach to learning that does not have the sterility of text books. I think, that in life, once you are passed all your "schooling" anyway, that IS how we learn. So I am really loving it. And My daughter seems to be blooming with it. The first few weeks, I was sort of feeling my way, and I like to "follow the rules" once I commit to something. But I have slowly learned and decided that although that is the curriculum we are going to stick with, I do not have to follow it exactly. So maybe I do have a little rule breaking in me ;-)
There have been a couple of books or lessons that I have felt are either irrelevant to us or just too dull to even focus on, and have come to learn how easy it is to replace or just skip all together.

Ah, Ha moment. This is why we so homeschooling. What works the best for our children, and ourselves as their teachers! There really aren't any real rules! Other than providing the best possible education for your child, and not dying or becoming a complete uptight-wad in the process!

I have also fallen in love with (as I have said in an earlier post) the Core Knowledge series. "What your __________should know". I have been using it extensively. Breaking up the lessons a chapter each section per week. AND since the internet is so CHOCKED full of just about anything, I can usually type a subject and have unlimited options on things to use, print, learn with. For example I typed John Muir and found an entire lesson packet to use. There we go,
another example of how we don't have to use the book and will just do the packet with her this time instead.

Okay. SO what tools have I used to keep us on track? Keep us organized? Productive?
I have made up the weekly sheet that I fill in to have it all laid out for us each week. I have a binder that we use for the week, and another GIGANTIC binder that I move everything into once we've completed them. (This is to show our county, and since I am new at this, I am keeping everything just to be safe).
I have seen a lot of posts about timelines. I have never been able to find the timeline links mentioned on Ambleside. But I have a very smart home school mom who posted about a timeline binder on her blog lightning igniting. That has been a great help for us. Right now It is all grouped together in this giant binder by time. Every Friday we make up a sheet for anyone we studied that week that deserves a spot in history. They range from Queen Elizabeth, Kublai Khan to Georgia O'keaffe. My Daughter enjoys it, and it is definitely a great way to place the person in the right spot of reference in your mind.
Other ways we have been breaking up our learning is lapbooks. I did a post last month on the statue of liberty. We have a couple going sort of simultaneously that we are adding to a little bit more each week till we are finished with those subjects. Which currently are "animals that work together" for nature studies science and Greek mythology.

Okay- so if you are doing the Ambleside along with me. Just know that you can ALWAYS sub out a book from your library on a topic if you want to. I use it as a guideline. And follow the basic philosophy. And mostly follow the topics too.You do not HAVE to do it exact.
{I was surprised to learn how modern most libraries are now too. You can go online, find your book and reserve it. Just like that. Awesome right?}

There are many ways to approach something right? Don't sweat the small stuff. I have learned it will drive you to insanity.

Alright, I am done now. Enough rambling. ;-)

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