Friday, December 30, 2011

We are Ready for 4th Grade!

Our school year runs from Jan-Dec, which means that we're starting our second year of homeschooling. Our first year (2011) was all over the place. Since the decision to homeschool happened from one day to the next, I had no time to prepare. This year will be very different. I've been working on our curriculum for several months now, printed up everything over the last month, and we're ready to go! Another big difference is that we're using quite a few store-bought books, which I know is kind of cheating on my only-free-stuff policy, but let me explain... We already had these books in the house. Most of them were given to us when our son was still too young to use them. I basically just went through all our books and fished out the ones that fit our 4th grade needs. I found much more than I expected right on our own bookshelves. Have you been through your books lately? You might find some useful forgotten treasures too.

Here's our schedule:

Chapter Books for Independent Reading:

We'll be working with this Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia
that covers World Regions, People and Society, History of People, Living World,
Science and Technology, Planet Earth, Space and the Universe.

I made worksheets for each chapter,
so he reads through and then answers questions.

Here are our Read-Alouds -
Myths and Legends from around the World,
Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attack (a 20+ year-old copy from my childhood),
and Aesop's Fables in Spanish (which we will also use for copywork/handwriting)


For math we're using several resources.
The Math Skills workbook is by Harcourt Family Learning (sent to us by a friend).
Glencoe Math - free downloadable 80 page workbook.
MEP Math in Spanish - free downloadable 175 page textbook.
And we'll also be using Khan Academy free online program.
If you don't know Khan Academy yet, you're missing out big time.

For Spelling, Vocabulary and Grammar,
I got 750 pages worth of free downloadable worksheets
from McGraw-Hill and Scott Foresman.
I also wrote up my own workbook on Homophones,
using a dictionary and
this site.

For Science in Spanish, we'll be using this Larousse book.
I printed out pages for him to come up with his own Q&A from what he reads.

For Science in English, we're using Mr. Q Science.
We're using the free Life Science textbook (the others are for sale).

And here's what it looks like all together!

I can't wait to start on Monday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Tree

I think funky is the best way to describe our tree.
We put it together with cypress trimmings from the mountain.
Son and grandmother did the decorating while listening to The Doors.
This little bird is a traditional Guatemalan ornament.
The Macaroni Bell is 31 years old,
and almost completely intact.
- I made it in kindergarten -


Presents are wrapped, cookies are baked,
turkey and tamales are on their way.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Greek Mythology Wrap-Up

A while back I wrote about the start of our Greek Mythology project.
We started in September, working on one story a week,
and just finished up a few days ago.

It was always the highlight of our week -
cuddling up together on the day bed to read,
drawing together, writing, editing, and typing.


Our first story -
He would write the summary, we'd edit together,
I'd dictate the final draft while he typed.


He did some of the drawings on his own,
but I'd usually help out with an initial pencil sketch.

I love how this one came out:

This one was my favorite story when I read the book at his age:

This was our last story.
We were both kind of sad for it to be over.


This was one of my favorites from the summaries:


And here they all are together:
19 stories in 16 weeks.
It was a great project for 3rd grade,
but I don't think we'll have as much time next year for quite so much drawing.
Each session (between reading, drawing, writing and typing) took around 3.5 hours.
A less time consuming alternative could be to do mini-drawings and/or skip the summaries.
We plan to bind them together in a book,
a treasure from our first year of homeschool.

I love that the stories are so obvious in how they are trying to explain nature and life.
This will help in understanding religions, when we start studying them.
For next year, we have a book of Myths and Legends from around the world!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spiral Mobile

Birthday mobile for our favorite dad, made by mom and son.
A windy vine, beads, stones, and shells.
Attached with very fine wire, a must-have in our arts&crafts box.
Son very proud of successfully "perforating" the shells himself.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Pair of Glasses

He started complaining about headaches a year ago, but I was in denial. I would zoom in on the screen and find books with large font, but we finally went to the eye doctor, and sure enough...

Yesterday we made the hour long boat ride to the town where we ordered his first pair of glasses last week. On our way home he fell flat on his face and scratched one of the lenses, not too badly though, and his face was okay after some ice. But man, I hope they last a while, he's prone to leaving things in places where they'll be stepped on.

Anyway, I think they suit him well, and he can finally jump into all the small-print books he's been so looking forward to reading.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coffee Pickin'

December is coffee harvest time where we live, so we went picking. Dad left a trail of sawdust leading up the mountain for us to follow. We went to a piece of land that he's developing as a food forest. It turned into quite an adventure, as 3/4 of the way there, Dad ran out of sawdust, so our trail disappeared and we had to find our own way (with some help from our mountain-loving dogs). We finally got there, tied sacks around our waists and picked away.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

End-of-Year Show

My son participates in our twice weekly afternoon art program. He's been part of this group since he was 2yo. Now, he's one of the big kids. Here's a little piece of our end-of-year show.

video