A Mother's Account of Learning to Teach Her Children At Home
I am a SAHM and teacher of six beautiful daughters. I decided to create this blog because I needed somewhere to write down what I was and am going through as I learn about the wide world of homeschooling. I figured why not share that process, in case there was anyone that found it as overwhelming as I did! I hope you enjoy your stay and perhaps find something helpful in your own journey!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brer Rabbit Goes Back to Mr. Man's Garden

Rebekah has been reading Trickster Tales in her current unit of literature.  This has meant a lot of short stories about the infamous character Brer Rabbit.  One of her recent assignments was to act out the short story she read that day for the family.  So, with the help of Rose, she put together costumes, a script and charged right in.  Here is the result:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

K12 Disappointments and Pleasures

Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Life has been hectic.

But, onto school news.

K12 is definitely not the answer for my oldest daughter’s language arts. Rebekah understands the majority of her assignments and works through them steadily. Yet each day, it takes her close to three hours to complete the work! I do not recall spending three hours steadily working on any one subject while in school (the only times we spent three hours on anything was if the teacher was dealing with the lowest denominator or unruly students). And she is expected to cover all the language arts subjects (composition, grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary and literature) every day. I think this is ridiculous for a homeschool course! By the time she finishes math and science, she is spending 5+ hours in straight school work; this is not counting breaks, meals, etc. She has no time for being a child or extracurricular activities like sports, art, music, etc.

Part of the reason the K12 language arts lessons take so long is that the individual parts do not relate to one another at all. A streamlined program would base the spelling, vocab and composition assignments/tests on what was being studied in literature. In the K12 program, each one is completely separate and has no relation to each other. The spelling lists and vocabulary lists do not even relate.

Then there is the fact that I was misled by the local Utah K12 school on Rebekah’s language arts program. She is slightly behind in her comprehension skills (according to testing results), so it was recommended that we start her in one grade lower’s program. It was explained to us that when she finished the fourth grade program, she could immediately begin the fifth grade program and work on it through the summer. Not true. She has to finish the fourth grade program before mid-February to be allowed to start the 5th grade program before the fall of the next school year. To do this, she’d have to do double language arts lessons each day. Obviously, by the fact that each lesson is taking such an exorbitant amount of time, that’s not a feasible option.

So, Rebekah will be finishing the language arts program with K12 this year but will starting a new program next year.

Thankfully, the K12 language arts program for Rose (second grade) is not nearly as intense. But I also plan to start her in a different program next year. I don’t know when the K12 program gets so intense and don’t especially want to find out.

On the other hand, I greatly enjoy the science programs that have been provided by K12 for both children. The lessons are straight-forward and full of interesting information. There is an experiment or hands on activity for each lesson to reinforce the lesson. My kids love hands on science, so really get a kick out of this. And K12 has provided all the materials I need to complete the experiments (minus some basic household items).

We have not really had time to delve into the history program provided by K12, simply because the language arts lessons are taking up so much time. I have decided not to push it for this year, but plan to implement a history program next summer and continue it in following school years.

Math is a breeze for both of my school age children. It seemed at the beginning of the year, their math lessons were way too easy. So we decided to start simply taking the tests with the plan that if they got 100%, they could skip that chapter. If they got 80-99%, we would review the lessons that the problems they missed correlated to and retake the test. If they got below 80%, they did all lessons for the chapter. So far, Rose has skipped 45 days worth of lesson and Rebekah has skipped 25. It has been quite the eye opener for our family on just how much time is wasted in review every year in the public school system.

To help the girls develop strong math skills in the basics, we also do math fact quizzes every day. These quizzes are designed to help them memorize addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables, among other math skills. For every 20 problems they do, they get one minute to complete them. If they can finish them all correctly in the given time, they move onto the next quiz.