Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time for Curriculum Choices and Decisions!

I have been thinking about curriculum all year but it is starting to get close to buying time.  The final countdown.  This year I had curriculum for one.  Next year I need curriculum for three.  I am trying to not get too overwhelmed. 

This year I quickly realized that if something doesn't work it is easily changed.  We changed Science curriculums early on.  We tried several language arts books.  We tried two math programs (completed both of them). 

The research for curriculum is actually fun.  I enjoy looking through catalogs and websites to see all of the different options.  Maybe I am odd but I have a feeling that most homeschool parents enjoy it too!

I think that I have come up with our curriculum for next year... this may change .... several times. 

MFW Exploring Countries & Cultures (includes Bible, Social Studies (Geography and International Cultures), Science, Music, Art, and Read-Alouds)  and can be used for all three kids!  WooHoo!!

Singapore Math 2A/B  4A/B and 6A/B
Additional math workbooks (B loved Mind Benders this year.  He actually was disappointed when we finished one and wanted the next book right away.)

Language Arts ... not completely sure about this.  We tried the books that MFW recommends and they didn't work for us.  Might try Abeka Language Arts ... maybe something else... still looking.  I am going to get Spelling Power though.

Spanish - Rosetta Stone for LV1 Latin America Spanish.

I am also contemplating adding an Apologia Science.  We really loved our Apologia Science (Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology) this year! 

Getting finished with our current books!  And yes, we have Lego Stormtroopers protecting our books.  Don't you?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Silly String, Shredded Paper & Peanut Butter Pie

My oldest turns 11 today.  I am amazed at what an incredible kid I have been blessed with.  11 years ago, early in the morning, B was born 6 weeks premature at a tiny 4 1/2 pounds.  You would never know it by looking at him.  He is strong, athletic, smart, and probably about to overtake me in height.  Ok, so that last part is not too tough.  I was never known for being tall. 

This morning we woke him up ... at 6:30 ... by singing Happy Birthday and then attacking him with silly string.  We each had our own can and luckily he woke up with a smile and laughed.  I was hoping that we wouldn't terrify him.  I thought of dressing up as clowns and waking him up ... but that idea scared me too much.  I don't hate anyone and try to remember that all people are God's children but ... I hate clowns.  And I don't feel bad about it.  They are just asking for it with their scary makeup, honking noses, and big shoes.

I asked B what he wanted to do for his birthday.  Since he is homeschooled, his birthday is a school holiday and he had off today.  Do you know what my newly turned 11 year old wanted to do?  Yep, go to the office with his dad and shred paper.   Just like every other 11 year old, right?  Ok, I never said he was normal.  But who wants to be normal.  Normal is boring.  I think I wrote a post about that a couple months ago...

And who could forget peanut butter pie.  This was B's other request.  He wanted breakfast for dinner and peanut butter pie for dessert.  Nothing like pancakes and syrup then a little peanut butter pie... YUM!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And the Results Are ...

So I got B's PIAT-r test results back today.  I think he did well?  I'm not really sure?  Our evaluator sent a detailed explanation of the results I just can't seem to wrap my head around them!  It says that B did better than 70% of kids his age that took the test.  That seems OK.  Maybe I am expecting too much?  I guess I wanted him to do better than 90% of kids his age...  Too much?   :-)

It also says that his scores were consistent with the scores of someone who was 11-10 (11 years and 10 months old) or grade 6.5.  He is 11.  Well, he will be in 2 days.  :-)  And we are about 3/4 of our way through 5th grade.  Does that mean that 30% of the kids do better than this?  I guess that makes sense.

Does anyone out there have experience with the PIAT-r standardized test?  I guess that next year it will be easier because I will have prior tests to compare scores with.  All I have from the past year are PSSAs. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Standardized Test ... done!

Yep, B took his standardized test this morning.  I don't have the results yet.  Am I wondering how he did?  Of course.  But I keep reminding myself that it really doesn't matter.  He isn't the best test taker.  I don't feel that the PSSA's ever showed his ability.  Why would this be any different?  In fourth grade he was kept out of the top math group because of his PSSA score ... even though he had the grades (all A's) and prior teacher recommendation.  Why a PSSA score whould matter that much is beyond me ...  but that is a whole other story.

We were lucky enough that our evaluator administers this test and actually came to our house for him to take it.  I wasn't sure what it would be like but B didn't seem to mind it at all.  He didn't even need a pencil.  It was a series of questions that he answered verbally and was mostly multiple choice.  At least that is what I could tell.  I tried to stay out of the room (but of course listened at the top of the stairs - I'm only human!)  B is shy and I was a little nervous about him taking a verbal test but he seemed comfortable and spoke clearly.  I could even hear him at the top of the stairs where I was cleaning the spindles of the railing.  Don't judge me ... they needed cleaning! 

While our evaluator was here, we scheduled our evaluation day.  Now I can start putting a portfolio together over the next two months.  Thankfully, the evaluator seemed really nice and B seemed comfortable with her.  This is the first time that we all have met face to face.  Next obstacle ... portfolio.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Schoolwork Helper

Our dog, Trooper, was helping B do his Grammar work today. 

B was impressed that Trooper was pointing to the correct answer.  He is thinking about using his help for his next test.  :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

... and more hockey

I am starting to get so excited for next year!  All of my kids will be home with me and I am starting to look into curriculum and wondering how much more difficult it will be with three at home.  Is it exponential or only a minor adjustment?  I am guessing that it will be exponential ... Especially since I have been spoiled with my oldest (10 years old).  He can do a lot on his own and I realize that that probably won't be the case for my 7 and 9 year old.  Has anyone used My Fathers World?  I am looking into their curriculum and I really like that I could use it with all the kids. 

I can't wait until next year!!  I am really looking forward to the flexibility.  The boys had a playoff game last Friday at 5:00pm (2 hours away) so I had to take C and E out of school early.  We have the same situation this Friday at 4:00pm and it is even farther away.  I always feel a little guilty pulling them out of school.  I know that I shouldn't.  They are my kids, right?  But I can't help feeling like I am getting judged or looked down on for having my kids miss school.  Ah ... next year ...

As I mentioned, we are deep in playoffs for hockey right now.  Last weekend we went into the playoffs in third place and finished in first place.  The boys did so well!!  Although, they kept the games way too close for my comfort, winning both in overtime.  We now will be going to the finals next weekend where we play another team (the team rank first in the league) three times to see who will be the league champions.  I don't know if my heart can take many more nail biting games!!  At least then the season will be over ... then lacrosse starts ... then hockey tournaments start ... It never really ends does it! :-)
I am so proud of these boys!  :-)