Sunday, June 26, 2011

I love to combine!

I'm still working on that Lesson plan post! We have a valuation due soon (hopefully) so I have been amidst a very large cleanup project to make our house look as spiffy as possible!

And I got a pressie!....A beautiful big, on wheels, whiteboard. Sooo pretty! We are using it for OPGTR right now, instead of index cards.

I ended up scrapping my curriculum posts, as I figured out it gets changed A LOT before I actually start planning it lol.

So what do we like in a curriculum? Well, I found I am not good with choosing "one" curriculum, or am I good at making one up from scratch, but I am quite adept at combining them for our own needs.

We love stuff that is very interactive and multi-platform. A nice book as the spine, coupled with fun, silly activities, lots of projects, some fun lapbooks, as well as software and movies. We like the whole she-bang. I think if a child is exposed to a subject via a variety of formats (TV, workbook, books, hands on activities) they are more likely to retain that information, than if you just use one source for your subject. So ultimately, at least for the bigger subjects (history, maths, science etc) our only option is to combine and supplement.

A word about combining/supplementing a program. I NEVER fully combine a program unless that program is quite lax. Putting two curriculum's together and doing everything is likely to result in burnout, not enough time, or the kids end up hating the subject. What I DO, is use ONE item as the spine, anything I add is tiny supplementals. I get very picky and choose (even from upto 5 separate curriculum's) what stuff from the others we would like /get time, to do. I make sure the program at the end of my planning is cohesive. I also make sure each day IS NOT choc-a-block full of stuff to do for that subject.

i.e. I am using Story of the World Volume 1 as my spine for history. I have multiple extra reference books, library books, History Odyssey Ancients, Myths, Marvels and Maps, and the SOTW Activity Guide. I have meshed all these together. BUT we have been really picky of what we plan to use from each separate resource, and quite often there is a day or two (on a couple of weeks 3-4days) a week where there is no activities/extras. Just because you can/want to combine a program does not mean that you have to use "every last resource" of it to get your moneys worth. Had I been good at ideas, I could of gotten away with just the SOTW book, and come up with my own. Most of these resources I also plan to use the next time round through history.

Remember, in the end its all about making learning fun for your individual child, and spending some time just watching them grow up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Young 'Uns

They are a terrible lot!

I tried every which way of making the schoolroom work, but unfortunately they just kept making mega messes of it! (And I mean MEGA!)

I finally had enough, emptied the room.

Now there's the Persian carpet (we have hardwood floors, so something comfy and warm is a must), the 70's couch with pillows, a big lounge table (perfect for all the kids to do school/colour on) and two ginormous comfy foot rests (big square things that match the couch) against the table for them to sit on. There's posters on the walls for everything I need to explain and a hoops game attached to the school closet. That's it! NO shelves, books, toys etc. Just basic furnishings to be comfortable. day...when my kids are older, I will be able to have a couple of things in there for them to look at on their own, without them pulling everything down, ripping everything up, and drawing on every available surface.

One day....*sigh*

Monday, June 20, 2011

Maths might need adjusting....

I was originally told Singapore Math is usually a grade, okay. We've been through a couple of lessons (doing a lesson a week) and we had a break from school last week (a bit long than I intended, but I got a bit sick, and real life popped up and annoyed us as well :P ) so anyway A says she wants to do school today...I didn't feel like going through the whole rigmarole of the checked box daily plans, so asked her what she wants to do...

"Maths!" Was the reply "I love Maths!" so we duly sprawled on the hardwood floor (oh yeah we are so formal right now! Schoolroom adjoining is currently under demolition derby re-construction by me) and every few lessons I kept asking her if she wanted to stop " Nope, No, No, ...I want to do all of it!" I finally gave up and demanded a break after about Lesson 15-16, That's right, she did about 12 Lessons/weeks (3 months!) of math in one day.....and none of it was that hard for her, there were a few lessons where I had to re-arrange what the book told me to say, but once I did that, she understood and flew through those few....

So, since we are nearly finished the "preschool 1A" we have 3 more books to go, at this rate she could get them done in 10 days or less rofl. I looked up the scope for Primary 1 and noticed it was mostly about addition...and counting to 20. Is there something I am missing? She can already count for pretty much forever and can do math and visual guider (and sometimes mental) addition pretty I am worried I am not stimulating her enough in the area of Mathematics, but I don't want to skip in case we miss anything she doesn't know/needs help on.

.....then I took a breath....calmed down and thought....We're homeschooling, calm down, its one day of her being excited about a subject, if she naturally learns ahead of it, that's fine. This is an introduction year for us after all! Its just to get a feel for us on things. I already have a few different programs for next year that we are planning to merge together, so if she completes this lot of SM books, I'll just order another lot.....I'm homeschooling, I don't need to be tied down by following the rote-d lesson plan. My kids are happy, healthy, and having fun "doing school" what more could I want? And I went blissfully about the rest of my day.....using the broom to sweep up the kids crumbs with an idiotic smile on my face....Welcome to homeschooling! :)


Miss E.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SOTW Correlation Chart

As promised

I originally had the Usborne & Kingfisher bits listed, but since they are listed according to pages in the Activity Book, I decided to pass on doing it.

I also originally had Biblioplans Crafts & Cool History Supplements I was going to add, but it was too hard and too confusing to secularize these, and would of left only a little amount of crafts/ideas left. We will use their stuff (since I already now have it) for Bible Supplements & Extra Activities.

So, for the correlation we are left with:

- Story of the World Volume 1 (by chapter) (SOTW)
- A Child's History of the World (by chapter) (CHOW)
- A Little History of the World (by chapter) (LHW)
- History Odyssey Ancients Level 1 (by Lesson) (HO Ancients L1)
- Myths Maps & Marvels - with Prehistory (By Bringing Up Learners) (by Week) (MMM)

I noticed there was no real correlation charts, and when they were, they were based on the spine of another program rather than SOTW being the spine. So, hopefully,this will help someone out there.

Its all done via resources from other sites, looking at the programs myself etc. There may be inaccuracies (gosh, I hope not, since I am using it myself!) and some parts referred to more than one chapter of SOTW, so I have put in the best chapter to suit the overall picture. Thus, I suggest you re-check these yourself.

I did the file in Google Docs as a spreadsheet, then saved as a pdf, it looks absolutely shocking, but it gets the job done lol. Just warning you!

Here's the link:

Feel free to make it prettier, then maybe you could go one extra and send the pretty file back to me LOL! One day I will download OpenOffice (150mb!) and then I will make uber-pretty files!


Miss E.


I know I said I would fix up my file folder/planner post and add part 2, but time has gotten away from me!

I spent Saturday quite sick, and today I had to clean up the mess that had happened whilst I was out of action.

BUT...I do have a surprise for everyone! I have spent the afternoon finalising our History plans, and since I needed it anyway, I decided to start doing up a correlation chart.

The chart uses Story of the World Volume 1 as its spine, and I am correlating them up with the following:

- A Child's History of the World
- A Little History of the World
- Maps, Myths & Marvels with Prehistory Option
-History Odyssey Ancients Level 1

So when I have finished this, I will link everyone to it! Hows that for a fantastic surprise?

Miss E.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lesson Planning

To be honest, figuring out how to do this and what layout for next year is giving me a headache!

BUT....I thought I would tell you how we currently organise our plans we do have. We currently use Sonlight P3/4 & P4/5.

P3/4 IG - Is just a little book advising what stories to read, separated into 3 terms I think it is, and a big list, with lots of people thinking back "yonder" in speech bubbles about what they did with their kids. This IG may work for some people, but for me it was higgledy-piggledy, and overwhelming to look at. So what I ended up doing is opening the very simple "word pad" program. I made 36 "pads" each named Week 1, Week 2 all the way to week 36. Then within those I put Monday down to Friday (my mistake, if I ever did it up again, I would put day 1-5 in each pad instead, I don't like "naming" days) Under each day, I put a Story and an activity to do from the list in the IG.

Here's an example below:


Goodnight Moon (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics) w/ Lapbook Activity


Baby Says (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics) w/ Build with Blocks


Noah's Ark
Ask Questions about the book. Count, Name & Make Animal Noises.
Blanket over table and "save" the animals.


If you give a Mouse a Cookie (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics)
Bake Cookies and give them with milk for a snack.


George Shrinks (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics)

This list was then printed and put into the appropriate weeks folder (more on that in a minute). This enabled me to have it a bit more organised since I have more then 1 child (I have 3 under 6). I try to keep the activities quite simple, I do a quick google, and if nothing appropriate comes up after a quick search, I leave it "activity free"

P4/5 - We are using this as a Kindergarten program, so we added Language Arts K, and some other books from other publishers (like H/S Aust Social Studies, Singapore Math Preschool year). What I did was have the big giant binder set-up exactly how they tell you to set it up...looked at it and went "ahhhh p-shaw" it was MASSIVE. Looking at it makes you want to go eat grass or something else not requiring brain-age LOL. Since it was already separated into weeks, with the answer keys at the back, I then found Dawns File Crate System WOOHOO. I liked the general gist of it, but not the "naming" of months. She uses Seasons, and general ideas and makes up her own things as time goes along, she also is quite involved with the community and events like Lent, none of this applies to us, we homeschool year round and just concentrate on a 36 week formal curriculum, and after that if we have had much breaks, then we finish bits that go on longer than the specified 36 weeks (like next year SOTW goes for 42+ chapters) before moving on to the next 36 lot of curriculum.

So I got 18 hanging folders, the cardboard archive boxes (they are cheap and we needed them for a couple of other things, plus you could also make decorating the outside of them a craft for each year), and 36 folders. Each hanging folder has two weeks in it (Wk1&2 all the way to Wk 35 & 36) and then appropriate labelled weeks folders goes in.

Then all I do is put the appropriate Core Week in, the printed P3/4 schedule, any other loose bits I have and the answer keys for the appropriate week (yep I also put the answer keys in there.....I really hated that binder ROFL, the only thing left in it is the divider pages and some phonics keys that apply to mutiple weeks). Once the whole kit and caboodle of stuff was in those folders (all loose, no order to it, just in the appropriate weeks files) I set down to the next task at hand.

Since Sonlight is already "planned" the next bit is as hard as it would be to others whom plan on a daily basis lol. Next I have 2 more archive boxes, each has 20 hanging files in it, first box has D1 -D20, 2nd box has SD1-SD20 (S-econd D-ay, yep not very original) in each of those is another folder named the same as the hanging file.

Still with me? lol. Next I take the Weeks 1-8 folders & hanging files from my original archive box. I place Week 1&2, and Week 3&4, still in their hanging files, to the back of the first box. And 5,6,7 & 8 into the second box.

Then I start the real planning! I also have Handle on the Arts Supplements so I print these out for the appropriate weeks I am planning for.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 (I'm outta oomph and need some caffeine!) I will put up some pics over the next few days too!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We're on a Winter Holiday

Well not really....We're taking a break from schooling right now as the house is in an abysmal state. All those well-meaners turn round and say: "Oh, forget the housework, it'll still be there later" Well they were is.

And its shocking. If it were somebody else's house and I walked in, I would think there had been an earthquake...or some sort of Underground explosion. Its all right for people to say "Oh forget the housework, concentrate on the kids" umm....okay? But sooner or later, you do ACTUALLY have to clean. No Magic Fairies are going to come and do it for you (unless you call those dial-an-angel people, and even then, if you have waited long enough, they are just liable to scream and run away).

About 3 months ago now, we moved to a new house, before we did that however. I purged, big-time. I don't think people understand HOW MUCH we got rid of, we easily filled up three 3x3 skip bins, countless trips to the tip as well, and about 20 Van loads given to Charity on top of that.

So you wouldn't think theres anything that could actually be made into a mess right? Wrong. My children will make anything into a mess, not to mention the 4th child (DH). So yeah, I am telling you from 6 years of experience, no matter what the nurses at the hospital tell you, you must clean.

Rambling on a bit, but I remember one nurse saying those exact quotes to me back yonder, and then .... she came for a home visit. I swear, the house was tidy, there was just about 3 items of clothing on the far corner of the room, and the bed was unmade....and this nurse shrivelled up her nose in distaste.

So the lil Demon inside me came out to play, as it does occasionally, and I threw a hissy fit last night. And it achieved nothing to the ears of the other house occupants. But I meant what I said. I shall be purging ANYTHING that is not absolutely necessary to the wellbeing of our family.

Today I started in the kitchen, decluttering, purging, cleaning and scrubbing as I went. I only managed to get half the big kitchen done, but already I filled up 3 garbage bags and half a huge moving box!

Today the kitchen, tomorrow the world! mwahaha.

Miss E.

Our New Bloghome

Welcome! I'm so glad you could follow us here to our new Blog Home!

I realise I started our other blog not that long ago, but I had bookmarked it for ages, and when I finally got around to "blogging" I realised it didn't really suit us that much anymore.

In the near future I will transfer my old posts from our previous blog to this new home, I also plan to update at some point with drop down Menus.

I have been playing with the template a bit, so if anything looks funny (weird fonts funny borders etc) please tell me and I will endeavour to fix it!.

Miss Edumacated