Our way of learning

Recently on a Facebook homeschooling support group for my state this question was asked:

I decided to piece together my curriculum because that is what I believed would be best for us as we are on a tight budget and the kids are at different levels than they maybe in public schools.

This is only a part of the post but this was me this last July! I second guessed myself, I didn’t know what I should be teaching him, and worried about what if he went back to public school and would he be left behind.

First thing, if he goes back to public school they will test him and put him where he needs to be. Plus, he is working one on one with me and we are moving at a much faster pace then the public schools. He is not being left behind.

This is how we put together our curriculum.

I bought the books What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know and What your sixth Grader Needs to Know.

I bought teacher planner and I went through and marked the days we would not have school. We don’t go to school on Fridays and we are taking Thanksgiving week off and two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break is two weeks, and what not. I write everything in pencil in case things change

I then opened up the What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know book and I started with one subject and started filling in the days.

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This is last week’s lessons. I highlight when we did something, that way if we didn’t get to something I can figure it out easier.

I use Khan Academy for math and some science.

I subscribed to Brain Pop to help with other things. Math, Science, History, Health, and Art.

We also found matching Magic School Bus episodes to help with subjects.

I found free spelling lists here.

I bought one of the grade level Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks and use it for math, lang. arts, reading comp, and a bit of science.

I use a site Schoology to make computer tests and as a digital planner.

We use Duolingo for our Spanish, Flashcard Stash for our flashcards, and Timemaps for social studies.

Please let me know if you have questions!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Rock Candy

The joys of homeschooling is that you can be learning about one thing and all of the sudden is spirals into another subject all together.

We were learning about Erosion and the Rock Cycle a few weeks ago. This sparked a conversation about crystals which lead to us making Rock Candy.

We used the Science Bob method for making our Rock Candy.

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I let him do most of the work, but I was always close by.

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Having the candy thermometer can in very useful. It helps when mom went to culinary school.

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We even flavored our rock candy! This one was bubble gum!

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We watched as the crystals formed. It was very cool, I mean hot!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Chores of Life

I am the family historian for both sides of the family. I found this book written by one of my great uncles. We looked through and my son and I decided that these were life lessons that he should know. It is now a weekly study. It talks about daily chores and how they go back to a much slower time. It has bible references.1016714_10152262613381710_4484099900437415568_n

Here is section on the fall harvest.

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There are a couple on Amazon if anyone is interested. Hope you can find a copy if you want one.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

The MesoAmericans

We recently learned about the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. IMG_20140923_103751

We watched a Magic School Bus episode on it and several programs from the History Channel about them.

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We learned about the Mayans calendar and how it was not the end of the world, but the end of the calendar for them.

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We learned that each of them had very fierce religions that usually involved someone dying. He thought the whole ripping the beating heart out was cool and a bit disturbing. Remember he is 11 years old.

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We learned that Mexico’s flag is from the Aztecs.

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We also learned that the Mesoamericans gave us CHOCOLATE. The fruit of the Gods, as he would say repeatedly. So, let’s bake us some cupcakes!

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I got the recipe out and he made them all by himself. I stood back and supervised. I was very impressed with his math and culinary skills. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk with 1 tsp of vinegar in it

Preheat oven to 350 and get your muffin pan with liners ready.

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Sift together dry ingredients.

In a mixer beat the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.

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Add in the egg and vanilla until combined.

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Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the water and milk until just combined.

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Mix until smooth.

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We use a large scoop to divide our batter evenly into the liners.

Bake  for 18-20 minute, let cool completely on wire rack when finished.

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Lick the spatula and enjoy being a kid again!

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Last decide that they are far to horrible to have the rest of the family taste them and eat them all! Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

We have to have order…….

I see all the time of homeschoolers that have a very free schedule and do homeschool whenever.

We tried this! It didn’t work with us. We learned back when Monster Child was 3 years old that he need structure and rules to function. Without this we are in the fetal position in the corner, rocking back and forth, and banging our head against the wall.

We do our differently notebook first thing, usually in the 8am hour. This includes our writing prompt, weather journal, current event, and reading log.

Next we move onto math, now math can take us up to 2 or more hours. We are playing a huge game of relearning and catch up. We move onto Language Arts and spelling followed by Science, Social Studies, Art and finally Reading.  We got in this order everyday, it makes for a peaceful day. If we go out of order he just can’t handle it.

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I finally got my act together and made a control command center on my fridge for my very visual children. The left side of the fridge is for my public school high school daughter and the right side is for my home schooled son.

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A few years ago I found this weekday sticker. I didn’t really use it until a few weeks ago. Now I write everything down that we are covering that week. This way he can see our week and doesn’t get freaked out over  things. We have our flashcards of weekly concepts on the fridge, his chores, and chicken info.

I know a couple of people posted asking how you keep the house clean and homeschool. Here is our system, we break it up into manageable chunks. I give each kid a list too. These sheets are laminated, so we use them again and again. I also learned that if I waxed my bathroom sink every other week with car wax, the sink stays cleaner longer.

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This is his chore chart, I found it at Hello, Cuteness. They have tons of great things there.

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Mine is from Happy Money Saver. I do one area a day, I have tried all sorts of things and this works the best for me. I had to learn to let the kids do things and know that they would not be mom perfect. I let them clean their rooms and only go into mom clean if people are coming over.

He does his chores after schoolwork and before he is allowed on the Xbox. I do my chores here and there during the day.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Trip to the Zoo

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We live just outside St. Louis. The St. Louis Zoo is an amazing zoo and it is FREE! The zoo has  more than 19,800 wild animals.  Located on 90 acres in beautiful Forest Park, the Zoo is home to more than 600 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. It is one of the few free zoos in the nation.

Since its inception in 1910, the Zoo has been renowned for its beautiful naturalistic exhibits and for its diverse collection of animals from the major continents and biomes of the world. It is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education.

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We get there when it opens so we can go to the Children’s Zoo and Stingray Cove, free. After the first hour it cost to get in there.

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Inside the Children’s Zoo they have a petting zoo and you can pet goats and chickens. Chickens are not really petable, we own them and know.

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This goat looked like he was smiling, little creepy! Not going to lie!

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We went through the zoo deciding and listing where the different animals where from we were also deciding if they lived in a Rain forest or Desert biome since we just learned about that in Science.

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We visited the Hippos and reaffirmed our want to have a Hippopotamus for Christmas. Yep, we need one.

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We went and visited the Pumas and this girl decided to get up close and personal with us. Yes, she is really THAT close and yes I did almost pee myself when she jumped up.

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We spent hours reading about each animal and watching videos using the app the St. Louis Zoo has to go with your visit. He even tried to convince me we needed a ball-Python for the house. He doesn’t realize that will eat our beloved chickens whole!

He took lots more pictures and will be working to put them into a video slide show or scrapbook shortly. We will post when it is finished.

All in all it was a good day and the crowds did start to get to him later in the day when the foot traffic increased. But at the end of the day he found his happy place, getting a bag of rocks.

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Love. Peace, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Wind Walking

A few weeks back I had to be with my high school daughter while she was in the hospital being treated for MRSA.

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I give my dad one job, watch the boy. Understand my dad is a pilot and flies for a living, he also has a small private plane. This is the photo I received while in the hospital with my daughter.

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Now he is training to be a wind walker. How do I fit this into my homeschooling?

Science – aerodynamics, wind speed, how to properly fall from 10,000 feet up

Health – first aid, how to properly bandage broken limbs

no more ER visits 101

Psychology – how to drive your mom crazy and into a home in 1 easy step.

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I guess we look at this as a unique learning experience for two days!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Don Quixote

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Shocking as it seems …………….. we do NOT use a curriculum for our schoolwork. I know shock and horror, right? A few of you might stop reading this now and judge us for it, that is ok we don’t mind. How we do our homeschooling works for us. What we do is follow along with the book What Your Fifth Grader Needs To Know and What your Sixth Grader Needs To Know. There are plenty of  free resources out there to help us out. This works for us, it also follows closely to what our local school district teaches.

In our Reading Unit, we are trying to read some classic works. We tried to learn about Romeo & Juliet, the basics of a tragedy. That went over well, NOT.  Next we read Tom Sawyer and he loved it. We are about and hour and a half south of Hannibal and will go up there in the spring, once we read Huckleberry Finn.

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One of the works that What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know suggest is Don Quixote. Now, I never read this book but I read the excerpt from the book and thought he might just like this. We put in a reserve at the library for an unknown copy of the book and waited for it to come in. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was it the complete works but it was a graphic novel style book. Anyone who has a son that is between 9-14 years of age and is into graphic novels knows this is a huge draw!

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Now the book was not light, it was a bit thick. But he powered through it and finished the whole thing in two days. In fact when we got to the end he was a bit disappointed. He didn’t want to stories to end. I asked him how he would have finished the stories, which led to a three-day storytelling adventure.

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Last Friday we watched a movie I happen to find at our local library a movie about Don Quixote. It was actually a very cute and funny movie, go watch it!

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Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Math makes us cry

I remember as a child learning and memorizing my multiplication tables. It was something you just had to learn and you HAD to memorize. Now in the the public school system they say they don’t have time to make the kids memorize and it is not that important. NOT THAT IMPORTANT? It means the world, I can fly through 5th grade math problems, because I have memorized and retained that information from 4th grade. It drives my son crazy that this is easy for me and hard for him. We have had complete meltdowns at the kitchen table over this subject.

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We work with Khan Academy to help explain the concepts better than I can. We also use a white board to work out the problems. Experience has shown us, it doesn’t matter if you get the problem right you have to show your work. Our oldest son could work the problem in his head but failed to show his work and failed many test in high school for this simple reason.

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Now I can’t explain it, but the child can solve for X or Y like it is nobody’s business. I don’t understand it, it is basically multiplication with letters. This type of math makes me cry. I want math to get over her X and not worry about finding it. But this to him makes sense. My dad said it is because this is the way his mind is wired.

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My husband and I were talking about this last night on the way home from the ER and we both agreed when it comes to math he is very smart. We both agreed, we can see him working in a cubicle making video games or inventing things. English is not his thing and writing is out of the question but Math and Science are right up his alley.

So, while simple math makes us cry we will continue on. We will continue to learn and memorize multiplication tables, Maybe Legos will help?

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon