Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Science is Cool and Hot!

Bill Nye the Science Guy has nothing on David Schott. He was the Science is so Cool it is Hot, guy last week when we had our Science Kick-off meeting with all of our home school families. We are up to 19 this year in our group, and these are just some of the anxious faces of the crowd.

Here he was showing everyone how matter is still matter no matter what size it is. This rock is still a rock if it is broken.
This was the neatest thermometer...it was a laser one! It got some serious oohs and ahhs!

Here we were adding heat to some really cold molecules and trying to make them get moving so they would spread out!!!! Melting ice in a Ziploc had never been so fun!

This is what happens when you put a bar of Ivory soap in a microwave and had heat to those molecules...they really move around....it turns into a pile of foam!

Outside we were going to witness fire....I missed the photo...but it was FANTASTIC! Like something in the movies!
And then the liquid nitrogen came out....and we froze grapes, hot dogs, balloons, and made a mess! Great fun!
So when the evening was finished, the kids were wound up with great expectations of science for this next school year! It will be one filled with great learning and lots of fun!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To celebrate!

This special surprise came at the end of our first day of school. A neighbor, Ashely, stopped by and the girls got to see her and her horse. They were both so hot, an apple was not even a treat.
We had this yummy end of year treat with some friends who came over to celebrate their last weekend of freedom before their school year began! Dessert kabobs!
And this is how we ended our first week of school. A little math measuring gave us the end result of Nestle Toll House cookies. It has been so long, but some of my fun baking times with my mom and grandmother....figured it was the time to share the secret with my little girls.

Yum! And the left overs were stored in the freezer for a little snack here and there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indulge me...with a little dose of nostalgia

AND IT WAS NOT SO LONG AGO....4 1/2 years ago!

Emma and Steph

Maddie and Liv

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A normal day (sorta)

I have had a number of people ask about how and what I use to home school. So, I thought I would share a skeletal map of our day. I also thought I would share about one of our greatest assests in our education: our Co-op group. But first let me include the majority of our curriculum.

Bible: The Young Reader's Library (biographies on missionaries)
God and Me- independent two-page spread daily lessons
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting (this is their memory verses too)
Vocabulary: Wordly Wise
Reading/Language Arts: Scott Foresman Reading Street and McMillian Florida Treasures (these reading components are used in the public school systems, and the consumable workbooks are available for purchase online through a variety of sites) I have found that teaching from these organized and sequential materials allows for a thorough coverage of skills.
Math: Saxon and weekly extension activities on BeeStar.org (vital for expanding critical thinking skills)
Science: Science by the grade
Geography: Evan Moore's collection of US workbooks and I love History Pockets
P.E./Art: We are able to use a City Park out of Ocala that offers classes for minimal fees.

Periodically we do monthly author studies, and it is great for searching the library for books and for learning about an author.

Testing: I require an annual test in some manner for the portfolio and for a measurement tool. I have used FCAT (released tests) and ordered The Standford 10 through BJUPress.

I really love the reinforcement that the site Time4Learning offers. It is a monthly charge, but it really helped in years past make difficult skills stick!

Our day looks a lot like this:
8:00 up and morning stuff, breakfast, chores etc.
9:00 school (bible, math, language)
10:30 break
10:45 school (reading)
12:15 Lunch
1:00 School (science, computer)

This is a group of home school families who get together and share in the teaching of a subject. We always work with a variety of ages. We have tried both approaches of using the group sessions as a pre teaching or a post teaching element to the subject and have found that post teaching works best. We have covered areas of world geography, animal habitats, colonial American, westward movement, world history, US geography during different years. Using centers or stations has helped us share the load of activities and skills being taught. This year we are doing Science. We have taken a subject by the month and then broke it down into two sessions per month. We use a community center on a bi-monthly basis because of our large group. In the beginning we just rotated in homes. The stations are organized for small groups to advance through three or four stations each week. We have a meeting large group time in the beginning and have a break with snacks. We finish by lunch time and go to a near by park to end our day. This is an incredible opportunity, and it only works with a great level of commitment of the teachers and planning.

If you have any questions, please ask me, I might be able to help.

I have found our success is greatly influenced by the support of the mothers/teachers around me. All of us have our struggles and victories and it is great to have someone to share it with. Lastly, having the support of our families and a great principal (Dad) is icing on the cake!

Monday, August 2, 2010

New school year

My second grader. Her favorite part of starting school was her new organizational cubbie for her pencils and junk. She arrived to her desk with a glimmer in her eye and a skip in her step in anticipation of the new year. She has become quite the reader and I look forward to all the fun we are going to have!
This is my fifth grader. It is difficult for me to even imagine this...my years teaching fifth grade to a classroom full of kids is now at my doorstep. Stephanie is ready for all of the academics, she speeds through books so fast, I told her I am done buying them, we will only check them out from now on! She is still very studious and self-motivated and will craft it up on any chance she gets!
Both of these girls are growing up so quickly, and I am admonished daily to offer them more than the typical textbook. One of the highlights this year will be studying the United States and taking part in a study through the young readers books from YWAM. With confidence we are going to be adding to our regular curriculum as well as opening up new worlds of opportunities!