Sunday, September 7, 2014

How Do We Know Our Kids Are Getting a Good Education?

One of the first questions we hear from non-homeschoolers is how we can be sure our kids are getting a good education.  

For us, it's because of what THIS post shows, that's how.  We research, plan, and then throw away the plan and move on to something else if it doesn't work. Some families don't follow state standards (or common core standards), we try to in general, as I want to always be sure that if something happens and they HAVE to go to school, they will step right in with their grade.  But that isn't a requirement of homeschooling.  As far as I'm concerned about homeschooling, the only rule is that you do what works for you and leave others to what works for them.  

Here is this year's plan (subject to change at a moment's notice or no notice at all, really, because we can).

I am trying out an app for the iPad this year to organize the lessons and then print weekly lessons.  It still needs massaging, but so far, rather than an entire Friday night to work, I seem to have been able to do this week’s in under an hour!  WOO HOO!  The app is called Homeschool Helper. 

Without further ado, here is the Mascot Manor Academy curriculum for this year (for now):

Math- Both kids are using an online math curriculum called Aleks Math.  Signa’s used it for a few years now and it keeps her moving, but stops her when she needs extra help.  This is Will’s first year with it, as they start with 3rd grade.  He’s doing great on it, as long as he reads the directions and doesn’t just guess what the QUESTION is…

Literature- Each kid is going to have assigned reading and we are going to start a book that I read aloud at night before bed.  We’ve done that before and I love it because we have a book in common, but I go to bed earlier than they do, so it makes it hard to remember to do!  SIgna’s starting with Huck Finn and Will with Charlotte’s Web.  Charlotte’s Web is way young for him, but I still think he’ll like it and he’s helping  me do an evaluation of a literature program called Novel Thinking.  So we wanted to start very easy.  We are also doing a Shakespeare project in 4-H with crafts and we’ll learn some of Shakespeare’s works, as well.  For grammar, Signa is reading Elements of Style and Will is doing Grammar Minutes.  Later as things calm, we’ll go back to Warriner’s for both of them.  For vocabulary, we have Words and Their Stories, an online program for Signa and some workbooks for Will.  We need to get to spelling for Will, too, but I honestly hate all spelling curriculum I’ve tried. I may just have him write more and see if it helps.  He seems to learn from his mistakes better than just writing the same boring words over and over again, as the curriculum seem to do.

Writing- With the friends, the kids are in a writing program called Druidawn.  The rules are far too complicated for me to understand, but they seem to enjoy it and I’m super thankful for other mom’s getting it and helping mine!  They also write essays and prepare reports throughout the year.  This week Will is going to write a report on how to brush your dog’s teeth.  We will then turn it into a presentation he can give for 4-H.  I don’t know what Signa’s first will be this year.  She’s really having a good time creating videos for the  YouTube channel she and her friend created for making loom band charms.  I may ask her to turn that into a how-to.  We’ll see. 

Social Studies- Homeschool Minecraft has a class this first session on poverty.  The kids will learn about world poverty and then work in groups to find solutions via their Minecraft worlds.  We also participate in many social activities through 4-H, including community service and leadership activities.

History- We are doing US History this year and using Story of Us, Crash Course, and Adventure Tales of America.  And general movies and things we find along the way, including integrating our family history 4-H project meetings.

Science- Science is with our friend who teaches science for a number of children. We are using REAL Science Odyssey, Biology 2 and then each week, Jenny goes over it and does the labs with them.  This is so fun that the kids don’t even know this is school.  Shhhhhh.

Art- For art, we are doing Meet the Masters online series where we study an artist’s life and work and then have a craft around that.  The kids each also have a musical instrument they practice and have a lesson on- Signa is guitar and William is piano. 

PE- Both kids do karate 3 times a week.  In addition to this, Signa is in the 4-H archery project as a junior leader.

Computer Science- Signa is taking a 3D modeling and printing class and Will is taking a game design class.   They will start these classes this week.

Field Trips- There are a gazillion opportunities for field trips that we will also try to take advantage of this year.  As usual!

Other- Things like home management, time management, project management.  There are also a gazillion other things we do that I should list here, but can't think of.  So I'll leave Other open as a category.


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