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Lemonade Day

Category : Blog, Social Studies

LD_CityLogo-HoustonThis past year, one of the cool things that Noah did as part of his homeschooling was to participate in the annual Lemonade Day.

Lemonade Day introduces kids to entrepreneurship! This citywide event encourages kids to start a lemonade stand and sell their lemonade to the entire community. Schools, community groups and businesses get involved to make this all happen.

Anyone can sign up and pick up a free packet to participate in Lemonade Day every spring.  I had Noah’s Dad participate with him as a Father-Son activity.  I think they both learned a lot and I tried to stay out of the way (hard sometimes).

They had to arrange a location to set up a lemonade stand. They picked our nearest Kroger. But when they showed up on Lemonade Day someone had already beat them to their location. Turns out the manager had accidentally double-booked the location. Noah had to set up shop an the alternative entrance which had FAR less traffic than the other. They asked the other stand if they’d be willing to trade locations half way through the day but they said no :(

It turned out to be interesting to see how other families handle Lemonade Day. The other stand had two families working together with their kids in Boy Scout uniforms. They had quite an elaborate display that was clearly not child-made. The children didn’t appear to be doing much work at all. It really rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t imagine those boys learn much from the experience and they probably ended up earning some Boy Scout patch, too. Bah.

The manager agreed to let Noah come back the following weekend to make up for the mess up. So he applied some of the lessons he learned and came more prepared the following weekend. He also decided to earn money toward a cause – Japan Tsnuami/Earthquake Relief.  He had a great turn out and great reception. He also had Addy along as a helper so he got to experience paying someone to work for him, as well. He learned to manage money, prepare inventory, set up a display, deal with strangers, and give for charity. It was a fantastic experience.

Another year, another plan

Category : Blog

“School” starts this year on August 22. We follow the local school district’s calendar because my kids like to spend as much time as possible with their (public schooled) friends so they want to take days off when their friend’s have days off. Also, this year our youngest child will be attending public school Kindergarten (her idea, blah) so it makes sense to align our learning with her’s. I’ve been working hard to plan, purchase and organize everyone’s curriculum. This year there’s some added pressure. I have a child going into his final grade of highschool this year and another going into his first year of highschool. I had to work hard to fill in any learning gaps for my 12th grader and try to evaluate the last 3 years of homeschooling him to learn from any mistakes so my 9th grader starts his years of highschool on the right foot. Of course I also have a 4th grader to focus on who happens to have incredible gifts and also a few major challenges. Planning, this year, was harder than ever.

But I finally settled on the following:

4th Grade: we will still do a loosely structured school year since I believe in a mostly unschooled or at least highly hands-on approach to learning during elementary years. He is a total bookworm and loves projects so he’ll be reading a LOT and doing lots of experiments and projects. But the major goal this year is to work on his writing skills. He has some small motor weakness and challenges and although he’s reading at an adult level, it is challenging for him to write. Like the physical act of writing..not just figuring out how to get words from his head onto paper. I feel confident that if we can really work out the writing/small motor issues that he will quickly become an amazing writer as he does love to create stories.

Math: Teaching Textbooks - he’s been working on this over the summer and will continue next year, moving up to the next level as necessary.

ELA: Learning Language Arts through Literature: Orange. I’m excited to try this curriculum with my struggling writer. He’s already read some of the books but I figure that will leave more time to work on the writing/dictation. He also has an extensive reading list that I am sure he will knock out by Christmas :)

Science: NOEO biology II. Lots of experiments and great reference books.

History: Chester Comix. We are doing very laid back, fun-filled project-based history this year since none of us love studying history.

Piano: Simply Music Year 1 – we are already doing and love Simply Music. This has been such a good thing for my guy’s coordination

PE: TaeKwonDo. He started this over the summer and did not love it at all but, again, it will help with his large motor skills and overall muscle weakness. He seems to love it more each week so I’m hoping he’ll want to continue into the school year. We have a great homeschool TKD class, too!

We have talked about doing a World Religions course and joining a Robotics team, as well.

9th Grade: My 9th grader is academically gifted and extremely motivated. The name of the game this year is getting him to slow down and really balance his time and let go of his own internal pressure to compete with himself and everyone around him to finish and move on as quickly as possible.

Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2. He took Geometry last year through a virtual academy but he forgot most of the Algebra he learned the year prior. So we’ll revisit Algebra through Teaching Textbook.

ELA: Help for Highschool from Bravewriter. However he tested into College Comp so I’m pretty sure this will be a blow-off class. I still like to do a real essay/comp class for 9th grader anyway. He also has an extensive book list of classics he’ll be reading.

Science: Biology w/ Labs from LabPaq. I’m excited about LabPaq. They seem so much more organized and user-friendly than Labs-in-a-box. I almost feel as if we wouldn’t even need our spine (Biology: Exploring Life) but my 12th grader loved this spine so we’ll stick with it.

History: World History using Glencoe World History. I LOVE this spine for it’s fairly well-balanced, less Euro-centric approach to World History. There’s actually three whole chapters devoted to Asian history and several others to other infrequently covered areas of the world. Since my kids are (mostly) Asian, it’s nice to be represented :)

Electives: Spanish (Learnables), Piano (Simply Music)

College Courses (these are technically electives too): Intro to Computing and Image Design I (7 credits total)(first semester)

12th Grade: Last year of highschool! I’m proud of how far he’s come! His goal for this year is to simply stay on track. He’s a procrastinator by nature and he’s spent all summer finishing off Pre-Calc because he blew it off half of last year. I would like to graduate him in May so no blowing things off this year! Also he’s maxed out on courses and electives. He has more than enough to graduate so he was limited to one dual credit course. Next semester he’ll have to enroll as exceptional admissions (early admission) to take another course.  Had I known this I would not have added some of his previous electives to his transcript. Ah well, live and learn.

Math: Thinkwell Calculus (and an Algebra refresher so he can test into College level Algebra)

ELA: World Lit using Lightning Lit

Science: College Physics (Thinkwell) w/ Labs from LabPaq. Nervous about this since Calculus is a pre-req but, if necessary, we can switch to a highschool physics spine.

History: American History. This is a repeat course, per his request, because he feels like he learned very little from the history course he took 2 years ago. Did I mention we are history haters? So we’ll try again using the Zinn books and online supplements as an alternative look at US history.

American Government/Economics (Thinkwell for both).

College Course: Intro to Computing (first semester)

Advanced  Open Water Diver PADI course (possibly next semester)

Piano (Simply Music)

Green Schooling

Category : Blog

If you’re like me, homeschooling means piles upon piles of “stuff” – books, supplies, worksheets, notebook paper, etc. This year, though, I’m making it a goal to green up our homeschool classroom. No more unnecessary waste.

Our green goals for this year include:

  • Creating an agenda for all the kids in Microsoft Outlook. This will save tons of  paper and printed planners.
  • Recycle paper. Instead of throwing away scrap paper, if one side is blank it will go into a recycle box to be used again.
  • Library, library, library! If the library isn’t possible, look for a Kindle version or electronic version. Paper books – while lovely (and not something I’m willing to forgo entirely) are such a waste. I’m going to try to limit our paper book purchases to children’s picture books, reference books with beautiful illustrations and gifted books.
  • Incorporating nature into our early childhood curriculum. I have been terrible about this since we moved to Texas. The growing season(s) here are so different than the midwest. The soil is so different. Everything is different. So this year I’ll make the real effort to figure this stuff out so we can have a small winter garden. Even if it’s only a container garden. I am also eager to start a worm composting farm with the littles.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – and share! I’m making a real effort to share what I have with other homeschooling families. I have SO MUCH curriculum. I am going to go through it all and sell or give away what I know I will never use. If I can stay ahead of the curve with my planning, I can reuse for science projects and art projects much more efficiently. And anything we DO print out that we won’t keep will be going straight into the recycling bin.

So I think that should get us off to a decent start as we look forward to a greener 2010-2011 school year!