I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

2011 Convention

I received the FPEA homeschool convention catalog a few days ago and was going through it this morning.  I am really looking forward to going in two weeks.  There are several lectures I plan on attenting too.

Friday
Free College Can Happen to You
Bringing Computer Science to Your Classroom
Becoming an Author
Evolution Doesn't Work for Sea Creatures
Binding Books Beautifully
Experience Excellence in Writing
The Well-Planned Day: Yes, It is Possible
How to Teach Music and Art

Saturday
The Delightful Family
College De-Classified
The Apprentice: Getting High School Credit for Internships
Tips for Teaching a Houseful
Lapbooks: Hands-On Education Made Easy

Some of the lectures are at the same time, so I'll have to see if I can get some of the audio recordings.  I am particularly looking forward to going to the one about planning your day on Friday.  I need to start keeping Michael's high school records in order, and this vendor has some planners that look really great.

The kids love going to the convention.  They get to meet lots of other homeschoolers and often make friends, plus they get to stay at a nice hotel for the night and swim in the big pool. 

I was surprised to see some of the old speaker names missing from the roll this year.  There seems to be a new generation of young speakers that I need to become acquainted with.  It's surprising to not see all the pioneers of homeschooling there:  Doug Philips, Dr. Jay Wile, Little Bear, the Mc Donalds...  I know some of them still speak at homeschool conventions, but they aren't coming down to ours this year.  They will be missed, but I know their stories and what they teach well, so I'm looking forward to hearing what these new folks have to say.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Questions

This morning, Emily (6), asked, "Mom, how do we taste things in our mouth?"
I answered, "how do we hear things in our ears? How do we smell things in our nose?  How do we see things in our eyes?"
 
Her answer, "we have eye bulbs!" 

High School - Course Descriptions and Codes

 This year, since Michael is finishing 8th grade, we have to decide whether we want to enroll him in an umbrella school or simply continue enrolled as homeschoolers with the county.  If we chose to do it ourselves without the help of an umbrella school, there will be a transcript to work on and a list of high school requirements to fullfill for college admissions.

I think at this point, I'm leaning to just going forward as we did with Gabi.  The cost for the umbrella school (~$800/year) and the inconvenience of all the paperwork they require, plus the travel back and forth to Orlando, are the main reasons.

In order to put together a transcript to use for college applications, one of the most important things I need to do is record the Florida high school course codes for the classes he'll be taking in the next four years.  The course descriptions will help me pick which courses match the objectives of the courses we have chosen. 

For example, Michael will be taking an art class this summer which focuses on drawing.  Under Visual Arts, I found Drawing I.  The course description for Drawing I includes most of the topics that will be covered in our art class, but I notice a few that aren't.  I will print out the description and go through it, making the few additions to our class topics.  This course description will go along with all the work he does for the class in his high school portfolio.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kinetic Books

I discovered a new math and science curriculum today - Kinetic Books.  I think I'm sold on them and can't wait till Michael takes Physics and Algebra II now!  The website says they are coming up with a Geometry curriculum "soon."   So, we'll see if we can use that next year.

4/29 -- Update!  I received a response this morning, they WILL have the Geometry book ready by beginning of this Summer.  I'm happy!  And, I'm impressed with their quick response too.

AP Testing

I found information about AP testing at the College Board site.  They have many more tests/subjects than I realized. 

I'll be looking into having Michael test on some at the local high school during the next four years.  At USF, they didn't accept too many CLEP test credits, but I think they are obliged to accept AP credits, so that's an advantage over CLEPping.  The fee for the AP test is about the same as for a CLEP test.
By March, homeschoolers must be in contact with the College Board - check their calendar.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Planning for Summer: Music, Art, Cooking, and Sewing School

I have found that it is beneficial for us to not take a long summer break from school; but rather, to change the subjects we are studying and take a more relaxed and casual pace with them.  The break in routine and change of pace is fun for us and starting something new is always exciting.  This approach offers the flexibility we need to join in other summer fun activities, when and if they present themselves. It also makes my school year a little easier, if I can just concentrate on the more academic subjects and not worry about these areas that are more time consuming.

I am working on getting my curriculum for music, art, cooking, and sewing in order.  Investing time organizing everythings, making all photocopies and gathering supplies ahead of time will help things go a lot smoother.  The kids all like these subjects.  Part of my plan is to pick up where we left off next summer and add to what they've learned each year. 

MUSIC

Even though all our children have taken piano lessons from an early age, and we touch on music periods during our history studies, I like to spend some time learning about the composers that have shaped our musical heritage.  Familiarizing ourselves with their history, biographies, and music is important in developing a sense of what good music is, especially in the world we live in today.

Classics for Kids
Provides a list of composers by period and also sorted by country with brief biographies.  The classics for kids site also has sample music from each composer to listen to.

The Voki Lesson Plan database has several lesson plans that use their tool to enhance lessons.  I like this, especially for Michael.  He will use it to make a Power Point presentation of his projects by the end of summer.

Homeschool in the Woods
I am using the lapbook unit study for structure. These are the topics covered:

* Periods of Music
* Keyboard Vocabulary
* Composers Collection
* Pieces with a Purpose
* Composers Timeline
* Music Appreciation


ART

I'll be using Masterpiece Art Instruction's The Phonics of Drawing course.  I ordered the art materials from Blick Art Materials.  After shopping around I found they have the best prices and everything we need is there.  The prismacolor pencils, my favorite, were more expensive at JoAnne's even after a 50% off coupon! 

One convenience to shopping at Blick's was that the Masterpiece's site has each course's required materials linked to the Blick site, so all you need gets put in your cart automatically.  We did an inventory of all our art materials last Friday, so I deleted those things from the list that we already owned.  Easy!

COOKING

Michael loves to cook, and eat, so he will also be doing this subject with us.  I will be focusing on making individual, organized notebooks (cookbooks) for the recipes they have learned. 

We will be using Sue Gregg's cookbooks.  They are written with the idea of teaching children in mind, though that is not their main purpose.  Here is a quote from their website:
    Recipes written by the numbers help avoid confusion. Nutrition questions for discussion highlight the value of key ingredients. Help your children discover how to satisfy appetites with quality alternatives to refined flours, sugar and hydrogenated shortening. 
I like the idea of using Sue Gregg's cookbooks because she is health conscious and teaches the importance of using a variety of nutritious ingredients.  She has sections in her books describing the properties of differeng foods and why we should eat them, so it's not just a cookbook but a book about nutrition as well.

SEWING

The girls are very excited and looking forward to learning to make their own clothes.  Perhaps by the end of summer, they will each have make a skirt with the skills I hope to teach them.  Michael, of course, has no interest in sewing, so he'll be off doing something outside while I teach the girls.

I'll be using Sewing School, 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make.  It comes with all the patterns needed, and I like how it touches on the basics. 

It teaches how to make 21 projects including:

*Pillow
*Apron
*Coasters
*Skirt

I like that the book is both product and process oriented.  It emphasizes hand-sewing skills, which is what I want at this point - basic sewing skills.  We will use the sewing machine a few times, just to familiarize them with it.
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