Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ringing the School Bell, 2011-12 Edition

After a short break we are back at the books here at Magpie Manor.

I think Birdman would be fine to have most of the actual summer "off" from school, but I know from experience that left to his own devices he can think up far too many ways to provoke my wrath.  So he's back to Saxon Geometry - LOVE the D.I.V.E. cd-rom. And today he had a Biology test, on which he missed ONE question.  Next week after he returns from Cincinnati he'll have the first Quarterly Exam.

He's working on the US Presidents app on my Android smartphone - each of the kids has an app to study and as they finish up they will rotate to a different one.

I got everyone a shiny new composition book for writing journals, and am continuing with this.  Sometimes I give a prompt and other times I just allow them to write about whatever.  Birdman's first entry is an essay about his experience at CAP Encampment.

We also have brand new book list notebooks.  I'm keeping all this stuff under my direct supervision so hopefully we don't have things misplaced like last year.

Velvet has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in picking back up with Saxon 6/5.  She was doing so well that I had her doing a lesson and a half per day before we went to Indy, but we're back to just one lesson AND the proper worksheet for now.  She just doesn't have Math Brain. She enjoys writing in her journal, and I don't have to remind her to read or update her book list.

She likes helping with the garden, although she's still not very good at deciding which is a weed and which is an actual garden plant - although if I'd (a) planted more to begin with and (b) wasn't so busy with work that it got ahead of me weed-wise, she'd do better.

She's studying the Power Vocab app on my phone; it has a definitions quiz and should help her with spelling.  I looked for a free spelling app but there wasn't one that met our needs.  She'll continue with her 4H projects again in the fall (I'm quite happy with the job she did on both her exhibits for the fair, btw).

Lightning plowing through Saxon 7/6 like nobody's business.  Next week he goes to 2 lessons a day (read both lessons and do the lesson practice in both, and do half the cumulative practice problems for the second lesson, if that makes sense)

He's not a kid who naturally wants to read, so I do have to remind him to read every day (truth be told, he's not a kid who naturally wants to anything except eat and play video games, but I digress).  He's got a Countries of the World app that has trivia facts, a map, a picture of the flag and basic information like population and voting age of each country all over the world - even the Tiny Nations!  He'll keep going with his 4H projects this fall as well, and will be showing his poultry at the fair.

For group study, I've decided to continue and refine something we did a couple of years ago - the World Tour of Foods.  The first time around we had one dinner each month for seven months with the menu consisting of foods from one of the seven continents. (Antarctica's menu was granola bars and hot chocolate eaten around the chiminea in the back yard; we were pretending we were polar explorers!).

This time we'll choose a country each month and have a main dish, side dish, dessert and where possible a beverage from that country.  I haven't quite decided how we'll choose the countries; I kind of like the idea of putting all the countries on one continent in a bowl and drawing one at random, but the method of letting one of the kids choose a country also appeals to me.

We're also going to continue working on learning some songs from our Church in Slavonic (I have a Russian alphabet app I'm studying; I hope to teach myself to read Old Church Slavonic). And watch movies occasionally (some people may not 'approve' of my choice in movies, but I have a specific EDUCATIONAL purpose in mind for each and every movie we watch (except for maybe Speed Racer, but there's even a lesson to be learned in that one :)  )

So, let's get started!


  1. I've thought more than once about homeschooling. The public school system just doesn't really fit my kids. But I don't know how I could ever get ANYthing done.
    I admire you!!

    (and I'll also confess, I just found the fishies at the bottom of your page and spent the last 5 minutes playing with them...hahaha)

  2. Aren't the fishies fun? I got the idea from another blog where there is a hamster you can play with. :)

  3. Don't you love the freedom of homeschooling to "think outside the books"...!! ;o)