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Curriculum, Schedules, Checklists 2014 – 2015 5th, 8th, and 9th Grades

We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for five years, headed into our sixth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklists for 2014-2015. My boys are in 9th, 8th and 5th grades. Since Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes, we are now at the point where we are using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!  You will notice that their schedules have changed DRAMATICALLY from last year.  If you haven’t read my post 18 Summers yet, that is the best way to explain what has happened…

2014-2015 homeschool curriculum, schedules, checklists

That being said, we can’t change our stripes too much!  So, you will see on my boys’ daily checklist they still have a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And they regularly swap out chore lists to allow them to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship.  I just received my Lemonade to Leadership curriculum from IEW. We will be using it this summer. Gage’s business (Deluxe Clucks) is firmly established and he is selling eggs and starting to sell chicks.  However, Chase and Blake’s businesses still need to be identified and developed. So, we thought the Lemonade to Leadership study would be great to help kick their creative juices in! You’ll notice the activities associated with their business are built into their work plans as well.

Disclosure

Since two of my boys are taking high school classes, I created a High School Course List for the high school courses (required and some electives) recommended byHomeLife Academy for students who plan to attend college.  (NOTE: Be sure to check what is required for your state. These are for my state, TN.)  My boys are planning to attend Christian Brothers University in Memphis. So, I am also checking with the University to determine what they expect from incoming homeschool students, academically.  Many schools now have their catalogs online so you can see what is required.  Also, my boys will be taking CLEP exams to test out of some college courses. Each college allows a different amount of CLEPs… so be sure you know the maximum allowed to transfer in. CBU happens to be 30 hours.

So, yes, I have dramatically cut back their schedules this year. They are getting in their 4 hours of school required by the State of TN (plus some) in the mornings. The afternoons are for other pursuits. Their business endeavors, development of personal interests (photography, computer programming, etc.) and just being able to have fun and enjoy being a child still. Time to build forts, or ride their scooters or bikes, explore the woods behind our house or hangout with a great book… any and all of these do happen on a regular basis now and most likely will continue.

So, let’s get to their schedules, classes, curriculum, checklists, etc. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!

Chase – 9th Grade

Chase 2014

Chase is my oldest son, he is entering High School officially (although he earned quite a few high school credits over the last couple of years). I have attached his schedule in Word. If you want to modify it to fit your needs, feel free to! Work Plan Chase 9th b.  The boys like having a daily checklist and it helps me keep up with where they are. Here is one that I created (in Word) for his 9th grade year. Chase Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015

The courses Chase is taking are listed below:

Gage – 8th Grade

Gage 2014 e

Gage is my middle son, he is actually in 8th grade, but has been taking high school level classes since last year as well. He has earned a couple of high school credits already and this year, almost every class will be for high school credits. I have attached his schedule in Word so you can modify it to fit your needs also. Work Plan Gage 8th b.  Here is Gage’s checklist as well. Gage Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015.  You will notice that Chase and Gage’s class list is almost exactly alike. However, there are a few differences. Gage is early in Algebra 2, Apologia Biology not Chemistry, Lower levels in All About Spelling, Exercises in English and Vocabulary in Action.

 The courses Gage is taking are listed below:

 Blake – 5th Grade

Blake 2014 b

Blake is my youngest son, he is in the 5th grade. I have attached his work plan / schedule in Word also. Work Plan Blake 5th b.  Here is checklist as well. Blake Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015.

The courses Blake is taking are listed below:

I have a Curriculum spreadsheet that I use to track what all the boys are taking (and have taken) all the way through high school. Keep in mind, it changes regularly… but it does give me a framework to work within and helps me identify gaps.

I hope this article and the free printable documents will be a blessing to you and your homeschool!

Until next time…

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Homeschool Curriculum, Schedule and Checklist 2013 – 2014

Homeschool Schedules, Curriculum and Daily Checklists 8th, 8th and 4th Grades

Disclosure

We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for four years, headed into our fifth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklist for 2013 -2014. Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes so we are now using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!

So many people think Montessori homeschooling is akin to chaos or unschooling without structure… But that is just not accurate, as you will see with the boys’ curriculum and schedule! It is FAR from unschooling and nothing remotely close to chaos! I have included with each of my sons’ curriculum section, their schedules and their daily checklists (which includes their home chores). Montessori focuses on independence in education and the realization that we are life long learners. The tools we are using (schedules and daily checklists) are very effective at keeping them on track, holding them accountable and giving them freedom within their daily schedule. You will notice lots of study halls on their schedules. With the exception of those virtual or co-op classes that have specific times that the boys must attend at a specific time, we allow them to do their work at any time each day, as long as it is done that day. Thus the study halls sprinkled throughout the day allow for that flexibility.  

Another aspect of a Montesori education is a particular focus on life skills. You will see on the boys’ daily checklist a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And we regularly swap out chore lists to allow for the boys to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship. We realize our children will be part of the next generations’ leaders. We believe they will be the generation that gets America back on the right track, from a spiritual, economic, moral, government and academic perspective. So we are teaching them the skills they will need to achieve that goal! Each of our sons has their own business.  Their businesses focus on agriculture simply because we live on a farm (and it is a great, wholesome and healthy place to raise boys). So, it is natural for all of their businesses to be farm-based… thus we call it “farmschooling”. However, if we urban, they might not have these same businesses, but they would have some sort of business to teach them about capitalism!  

We have gotten a bit creative in how we encourage the boys to grow their writing skills… we allow them to blog about their businesses and our homeschool on our homeschool blog. All comments on our blog are moderated by me and all of their emails forward to me, so it is very controlled and protected (as much as they can be in this fallen world). The boys are really loving this new avenue of communication with the outside world called social media! It will be a part of their world when they are grown, so we might as well teach them how to use it responsibly now!  

All of our boys have a focus and desire to go to college, so you will notice they are pretty aggressive in their workload. This is primarily based on what they are capable of. Do not use our classes or our schedule as a model of a typical child in these grades. Children all learn at different levels and at different paces. Don’t ever prevent your children from running ahead if they want to. My yougest son wanted to do algebra in 3rd grade because he was chasing his older brothers.  So we let him. He has since just completed the Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra curriculum (in third grade) and has started the Teaching Textbooks Algebra before entering 4th grade. Let them run and only slow them down if they are setting themselves up for a huge failure that you know they would not recover from. Don’t forget what our founding fathers were by the time they were sixteen years old. Be sure your children research them and know their character!  We have got to realize, as a society, we have failed miserably in preparing the next generation. It’s up to us to turn this around!  

I can assure you, we don’t have homeschooling or child-rearing figured out, but we are in a pretty good place right now.  We are so very blessed and realize where this peace and prosperity originates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!  

Chase 8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English H (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action H (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Biology (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Photoshop via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing: Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and Teen Book Reviews (Psalm onenineTEEN Reviews)

8th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grades

Gage 7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English G (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action G (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Physial Science (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Illustrator via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and chronicals his business and homeschool at Deluxe Clucks

7th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

 

Blake 4th Grade Curriculum

4th Grade 

Algebra 1 (Teaching Textbooks)

Exercises in English D/E (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action D/E (Loyola Press)

Handwriting without Tears Cursive

All About Spelling

Study of Classics 

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Exploring Creation Physics and Chemistry (Apologia) 

Spanish (K-6) via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW) NOT REQUIRED

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com 

4th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

Curriculum spreadsheet for all three boys that we use as a GUIDE to keep us on track.  

Homeschool Daily Checklists

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3

POE Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3

 

Disclosure

As you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  This post relates to Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3.  If you missed lesson 1, part 1, you can find it here. and Lesson 1, Part 2 you can find here.  Lesson 3 focuses heavily on map and globe work.  We loved Part 3.  So, lets jump into the lesson.

Section A. Copywork/Dictation.  Focuses on “Language Skills.  As in Part 1 and 2, it is from the original poem, A Journey of Adventure, written by the late Debbie Strayer.  Today we had two areas the boys wanted to explore on the globe:  Cathay and Venice.  We never did find what Cathay, but they did find Venice!  Both words ended up on their spelling list.  

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills”.  There was more reading from our required books. Section B and Section C still seem very cumbersome and clumsy.  These sections seem redundant to me.  But, we will continue to do both through Columbus and re-evaluate before we hit Jamestown.  

Meet Christopher Columbus

Meet Christopher Columbus

 

 

Section C: Read-Aloud and Discussion. Focuses on “Language Skills”.  Today the boys discussed a section from our read aloud regarding what happened during a storm.  This

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

section asked for them to describe the storm.  Our Institute for Excellence in Writing really prepared them well for this section.  They are very familiar with “dressing up” a writing with descriptive adjectives. Again, There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus and the other is Christopher Columbus.  

Section D: Word Study. Focuses on “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”.  In this section, syllables were discussed.  They discussed some of the tried and true ways of identifying each syllable in a word, like clapping them out.  This is also how All About Spelling teaches syllable identification as well.  For those that love using hands-on learning to teach a concept, here are some free cards to print from Montessori For Learning to divide up words by their number of syllables. Have your students clap out the word.  I have to tell you, Paths of Exploration introduces a new way of teaching syllables to young students.  I haven’t seen it recommended by any other organization so I won’t share this technique in this post (you need to buy the curriculum because I would consider this proprietary information 🙂 ), but let me assure you it is really smart and so simple!

In this section the boys also reviewed what “re” means.  We discussed a section from our read aloud that used a “re” word and what the word meant.    

re equals again 

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “History and Thinking Skills”. Today we discussed Marco Polo and traced his land route to China.  We looked at the water routes to determine if the water routes were quicker or not to China.  This was a great way to help them actually use the globe to think.  We used it as an opportunity to discuss various ways of looking at routes and the various types of maps and globes.  We will be making a Goode’s Interrupted Projection Map using an orange next week.  Stayed tuned for that project, I will make a new post for it!  

 

Goode map

 

Section F:  Writing with a focus on “Language Skills and Writing”.  We discussed Journals and what journals are used for in relation to an explorer.  As part of their study, they had to write a journal entry for today.  I am actually thinking of adding this as a rest of the summer project.  They used to journal when they were little (I would write what they dictated to me about their day).  They still love going back and reading them.  I think I have talked myself into it!  

Section G: Independent Reading.  As we discussed in parts 1 and 2, we modified this a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. I wrote a post to share what our library resources are, you can find it here. I am adding our favorite map and globe books below. These books will be a part of what they will read during their independent reading times.  

Maps and Mapping                      Maps and Mapmaking

Mapping skills           How to draw maps and charts

Map Keys Rookie Read about Geography          Types of Maps Rookie Read About Geography

 

Looking at Maps and Globes Rookie Read about Geography

 

In this particular lesson POE did NOT teach some points that would have been very beneficial and go right along with this study, especially for young students. I’m going to list some items below that would be great to go with Part 3 since it is so Geography oriented with a focus on land and water. Pick and choose the works that work best for you and your homeschool.  These are the activities that we added to Part three, although most of these are review.  I’ll be creating a new post to show you how we used some of these:  

I hope pulling these books and the hands-on lessons together for each part of the Paths of Exploration lessons are a blessing for you and your children! If so, please leave a comment of encouragement. Sometimes, us bloggers feel like we are writing and nobody is reading it! So, it is really so nice to get comments that let us know you are reading what we post. If you have other suggestions on activities that you are using for this lesson, please let me know that too!

Until next time…

 

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2

Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2

 

Disclosure

As you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  As we have discussed many times, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  Our plan is to do the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer and early fall!  This post is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2.  If you missed lesson 1, part 1, you can find it here

Section A:  Copywork/Dictation.  Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  As in the Lesson 1, it is from the original poem, A Journey of Adventure, written by the late Debbie Strayer.  We are enjoying this work and we are finding more vocabulary words to add to our list.  We work on these vocabulary words between classes.  

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills” skills.  More reading from our required books. 

Section C: Read-Aloud and Narration. Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  Today the boys had to retell specific passages of portions I read in their own words.  Again, There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus and the other is Christopher Columbus.  

Section D: Word Study. Focuses on “Spelling and Phonics”.  The words in Part 2 are the same vocabulary words in Part 1 and are too easy for even my nine year old. The boys “tested” (I asked them to spell each of these words individually and they all could) out of these and moved into more challenging words.  We did the new part of the section which provided the definition and you had to pick the word that best fit.  But, really it is still too easy.  Here are the words I added, if you would like to put some challenge in.  Unfortunately, they do not come from the reading… but we have used each of these words in our homeschool this past year.    

  1. frighten
  2. airtight
  3. birthright
  4. blight
  5. brighten
  6. delight
  7. enlighten
  8. insight
  9. knight
  10. nightfall
  11. plights
  12. weeknight

Another new part of Section D Word Study was to study the past tense of words. We were given words that we had to find the past tense from the read-aloud books from Section C.  This is still terribly basic, for middle schoolers especially.  Here is a hands-on work that could be used for a more advanced study of the tenses of verbs for the older students and a more well-rounded, hands-on lower elementary work can be found here.  We also did a study of the word “strange” and how it was used in the reading. The boys provided synonyms for the word according to how it was used in the different texts.  They all got it and used the word “strange” and its synonyms appropriately.  This section may end up being skipped altogether.  

Also in this section we discussed various cities and if they are situated on the Mediterranean Sea.  Again, I have no idea why this is in Section D when Section E is Geography.  But the boys absolutely love the geography aspect, so I’m not complaining!  

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “Thinking Skills”.  We studied what a bazaar is.  There are some discussion questions, but again, they are not terribly thought provoking.  We decided to take this section deeper.  We discussed what we might encounter at a middle eastern bazaar, the things you might see, hear, and smell.  We talked about the fact that they are usually open-air markets and what weather elements they might encounter and wondered aloud how they would protect the items they were selling… such as spices.  Speaking of spices, we wanted to experience what it might be like to walk into the spice tent at a bazaar.  Research shows the more senses you engage when learning new material, the more likely it will be remembered.  We made it a game, “Name that Spice Game“.  Be sure to check out that post.  It was fun (but there is a warning in that)!  

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Section F:  Art. In this section we discussed how many of the items at a bazaar are handmade.  The text showed some rugs and discussed their patterns and where you might find them.  Then the boys were to draw their own.  This was fun.  We looked at many google images of African rugs!  They are so beautiful and vibrant!  

 

 

Hula Hoop Rug by ChaseBut, again, we like to take it deeper so we creating some of our woven products. We made a Hula Hoop Woven Rug!  You can find that post here.  We will be making an art hanging.  Be sure to check those posts out as well, I will come back and link them to this post as well.  

If you are looking for something a little less bulky, here is another weaving using a paper plate and yarn.  The blogger’s three year old daughter was able to do this one!  It is so precious!  

 

 

 

 

 

Eat Your Way around the WorldOne final piece of the Geography study that will always go over extremely well in my house is the cooking piece.  Remember Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini is one of the required books.  We are to experiment with making dishes from Egypt and Morocco this week.  I will do another post or two about them!  

Section G:  Independent Reading.  As we discussed in Part 1, we modified this a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. I wrote a post to share what our library resources are, you can find it here.  

Thoughts thus far… there seems to be a lot of inconsistency.  I expected the sections to stay the same throughout the Unit… they don’t. I’m not sure this is a big deal, but it is not what I would have expected.  Also, I don’t understand why there is a section called geography, but some geography work is listed in other sections. Again, it just makes it inconsistent and a bit confusing… but NOTHING that you can’t work around or overcome. Thus far I can say I’m pleased with this product.  We will continue to augment the lessons with a more hands-on approach, but I am pleased and am really liking the idea of an all-inclusive curriculum.  I’ll give you more detailed feedback as we get further into the curriculum… but I’ll sum it with “so far, so good”.  

I hope the additional hands-on lessons are a blessing to you and your children!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking of this series… and if you decide to purchase it and use it… let me know!  I’ll be creating a blog roll for all of us with posts about Paths of Exploration sometime this summer!  

Until next time…

 

Orienteering Scavenger Hunts Using a Map and Compass

Orienteering Scavenger Hunts

Disclosure

This past weekend was Father’s Day and my middle son, Gage’s birthday.  What did we do?  We all learned how to use a compass! How? By Orienteering Scavenger Hunts using a map and compass. As you probably have already read, in our Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit: Lesson 1, Part 1 study, we learned about the compass. We did all the worksheets for the compass in our POE student notebook, we printed out a great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. We even made  our own compass… but we didn’t learn how to use one, especially when using bearings and degrees.  That’s where orienteering comes into play. On Father’s Day, my hubby David was busy setting up a scavenger hunt for the boys and their best friend, Austin!  Each received their own packet, which contained, a compass and directions to find a treasure at the end of their individual courses. 

How to use a Compass LessonWe started inside with a quick lesson on how to use a compass.  I found some great instructions here and here.  But, that inside lesson was not as effective as we thought it would be.    

Once outside, they each opened their packets and read through their direction. After studying their packet a minute or two, they all decided they needed another lesson that was practical instead of theoretical … good thing that is our educational philosophy. In our homeschool and on our farm, it’s all about hands-on learning, we learn it while doing it!

Chase was the first to finish!  They all loved this project and each found their treasure Finished Firstsuccessfully. More importantly, they loved learning how to use a compass and hunting for an object … see the smile on Chase’s face! For those curious, here is the compass we got for each of the boys.  They were not expensive and Silva is highly regarded in the orienteering world.  They all worked well and were easy to use and read.  

This was their treasure they found at the end of their scavenger hunt.  You don’t know what mini-figure you are getting and could find a Mr. Gold in their packet. (No Mr. Golds were in these though.)

Orienteering Treasures Found

 

Did you know Orienteering is considered a competitive sport? Here is a link to one of the Orienteering sites to teach you more about this fun sport. There are many orienteering teams around the US too, but unfortunately, none in TN or MS.  Here is a link to see if they have one in your area.  If you decide to do this with your children, please post a link to your post below!  The boys LOVED the scavenger hunt and my hubby loved setting up the course!  We will be doing this again and soon!  Here are a few more pictures of the boys in action:  

One final note, we learned today that one of the authors of Paths of Exploration, Debbie Strayer passed away over the weekend.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and the good folks at Geography Matters!!! 

Until Next Time…

 

Name that Spice Game

Name that Spice

Disclosure

Can you imagine how fabulous (and pungent) it would be to walk into a spice tent?  As you know, we are hands-on (Montessori-ish) Homeschoolers, so we decided to create a “Name that Spice Game” to experience that blend of spices smell on a small scale. In Lesson 1, Part 2 of our Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit, we studied about ancient open-air bazaars, such as the ones you might find in Middle Eastern countries today.  Explorers liked to bring home spices from bazaars to sell in their own countries.  

This game is a spin-off of a Montessori work, Scent Jars. If you have younger students that have not used this activity, I highly recommend using it with this lesson first.  Remember, all Montessori works are teaching a life-principle or concept that is much deeper than the obvious work itself.  For example, for the smelling jars, your child is not just being taught how to be able to identify a specific spice smell, the lesson’s goal is to help your child become aware of scents in their environment.  Another reason younger students should do the traditional work can be found in the WARNING at the bottom of this article.  

Over the last several years, we have studied why our olfactory system (our sense of smell) is important to us in our various Apologia Textbooks: Human Anatomy and Physiology, an elementary study and human anatomy is the entire second half of General Science, the first middle school science book.  The sense of smell is a way for us to gather messages about the environment around us. So, literally, with each breath we take, we are sampling our environment for smells that would indicate various dangers, food, or other individuals, etc.  

Since my boys are older and have already had the luxury of using the Montessori primary curriculum (including the smelling jars), we made an extension for our purposes.  Here is a list of spices you can use, the spices that are in bold type are the ones we used.    

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Celery Seed
  • Chili Powder
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Mustard Seed
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Poppy seed
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme

 

Materials:

12 Spices

Party Cups (Read the Warning at the bottom of the post)

Tray

Notebook paper

Pencil

Stickie Notes 

 

Directions:

1.  Choose 12 different spices.  

2.  On the bottom of each cup, prior to pouring in the spice, number the cups 1-12, with a sharpie.  

3.  Pour a small amount of spice into one cup.  Place a stickie note on the spice jar with the number that corresponds to number on the bottom of the cup that contains that spice.  

4.  Share one cup at a time and request that your children use their hand to wave the smell toward their nose.  It is called Spice Game Waftingwafting and here is a demonstration.  You will see why you should not put your nose over the cup and sniff when you read the warning at the bottom of this article.  

5.  Have your children number their paper 1-12.  As they finish exploring each spice, ask them to write the name of the spice they think each smell is.  I did not blindfold my boys, but this would narrow the senses being tested down to just their sense of smell (and, in the process, protect those eyes)!  Since I did not blindfold, my boys could see the color, texture, and features of each spice, which did make it a little easier)!

6.  Once your children have explored all 12 spice scents, reveal what each spice is, starting with #1. 

Spice Game Blake I was a little bit surprised with the results.  Blake loves to cook and is in the kitchen with me cooking most meals.  So, I expected him to do extremely well (and he did, 10 out of 12 he got right).  But Gage came in a close second and he rarely cooks. However, Gage has always seemed to have heightened senses, so maybe this was just further confirmation of that theory.  Chase was a distant third!  He needs more time in the kitchen cooking, apparently!  

Spice Game Warning

WARNING!!  When dealing with anything you are smelling, there is always a chance of getting too strong a whiff or getting it in your eyes. Therefore, I’ve always been taught and taught my boys that to smell an unknown item, you should do so by waving their hand over the item to draw the scent to you (wafting). Well, even with this lesson firmly established and us using this practice throughout this project, Gage, my 12 year old son, on the next to the last spice, got that spice in his eyes, not once but TWICE.  Gage decided he couldn’t smell the spice with just the light scent his hand was able to direct toward his face, so he put his nose over the cup of spice.  Well, he breathed into the cup accidentally and the Ground Clove flew right into his eyes. I’m still thanking our Father in Heaven it was only Clove… it could have been MUCH worse. So, if you have young children I recommend NOT using open cups with spices.  

See why we named the blog (and our farm) “Live and Learn” Farm? We are always learning…. sometimes, the hard way!  I’m not sure who learned this lesson more, me or Gage!  

Until Next time…

 

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1

Columbus Study

 

Disclosure

Launch Day!  We started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning today!  As most of you know, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  We are doing the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer, so there will be lots of territory covered in my posts!   As I post these articles, I will also be giving reviews of their product in a real-world, running review of this curriculum. This article is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1.

 

Steps for thinking

 

We decided to do the upper elementary section for all of Columbus first and then circle back and do the Middle School supplement curriculum after we finish Columbus Upper Elementary curriculum.  That way, all of the boys have the foundation that the Upper Elementary curriculum lays first before we jump into a more extensive Columbus Middle School study.  Besides, we are just figuring out the style of this curriculum and I’m already seeing areas that need to be refined and cleaned up! But we are going to do Columbus Unit pretty much as it is presented in both the Upper Elementary and the Middle School texts with a few minor modifications. After we have completed both texts, we may decide to modify our approach.   

Section A is Copywork/Dictation with “Language Skills” being the area mentioned as the target for this section.  I really thought I would skip this section before we started, but I decided to teach ColumbusHandwriting without Tears pretty much as it is presented and I am glad I did (at least for this section).  It is good for them to hear poetry and to try to transcribe it from my dictation. Any missed words become part of their vocabulary words for that week. It was fun and it is a great way for me to keep their handwriting skills up. All of the boys are excellent at writing (Thank you Handwriting without Tears!)… and yes, they learned how to write cursive!!  The dictation was from an original poem by Debbie Strayer (one of the authors).  

Section B is Reader with “Language Skills, Thinking Skills, and History” listed as the areas targeted by this work area. This is where everything was terribly mixed up!  There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus Meet Christopher Columbusand the other is Christopher Columbus.  Since the names are so close, it would have been helpful if they explained which one to read from (maybe giving the author each time).  

Section C is Read-Aloud and Discussion and the targeted areas for this section are “Language Skills, Thinking Skills and Writing”.  I have no idea why there are two sections both with a focus on reading aloud.  This is why it was confusing.  In Section B it says “read one or two pages aloud” but in Section C it states “listen as your teacher reads pages 1-6 aloud”.  The boys JUST read pages 1-2 aloud and now I’m reading these same pages again? I thought maybe I had the boys read the wrong book aloud, but no, it’s the same book Christopher Columbus.  So, this was confusing.  We have two hard copies of both these books for us to use but I also purchased a Kindle version of Meet Christopher Columbus and the boys all downloaded it onto their Kindles for Christopher Columbustheir read aloud sections.  I had all three boys take turns reading paragraphs.  The Bennie Rhodes book was not available as a Kindle download.  Anyway, they really enjoyed being able to read it from their own Kindles (and even figured out how to have their kindles read to them… LOL)!  The discussion question was terribly basic for this age group (What do you think Christopher Columbus’ dream was when he was a young boy?”.  Both books we read aloud provided the answer.  If you were paying half a second of attention, you would have this question answered.  Maybe that was the point for the first Lesson, but the boys could have handled a much more thought-provoking question!  

Section D is Word Study. The areas focused on with this section are “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”. For this one the authors discuss “long I” words from the original poem that were part of the copy/dictation work from Section A.  This was very basic also for upper elementary students.  We did it but we will augment the next lesson to add more challenging words!  There was also a discussion here about the prefix “un” and how it was used in the reading from Sections B and C.  They provide an area for the students to list 6 words that start with “un” and define them.  This was pretty fun for them, but still very basic. 

un equals not

globe

Also as part of Section D we located cities in Italy on the globe. We loved this part and the boys did great… just one thing, the next section (section E) is Geography.  Why did they put this under Section D, Word Study?  I have to assume it was a mistake.  They also had to identify port cities in the US after defining what a “port” is.  With the help of the globe, they listed out several from both coasts.  That was a fun activity as well.  

Like I just mentioned, Section E is Geography with the area targeted being listed as “Science”.  Here we are learning about a compass.  We did the worksheets for the CompassRose-MPScompass but we also printed out this great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. Since we love hands-on learning, we decided to create our own compass. Here is that post.    

Section F is Writing with “Thinking Skills” being listed as the area being targeted. The boys were to list the details of Columbus’ birthday as described in the text.  Then list the details from a typical birthday for them.  In the student notebook is a Venn diagram where they would list the individual traits for each and the common traits.  Great exercise!  

Finally, Section G is Independent Reading.  At the beginning of the provided student notebook is a reading list. The independent reading section is meant to be just thirty minutes of fun reading. However, this is exactly what they do every night already, so we have modified this a little bit so they can read anything about Christopher Columbus for thirty minutes on Wednesdays and Sundays. We have quite a few Columbus books in our library from coloring books and picture books to exhaustive studies … so they should not run out of material to read for a while. I wrote a post to share our library resources, you can find it here.  One other modification I have made is I added in an art component.  All of my boys took Drawing this past year as an elective, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are going to spend thirty minutes each day drawing something that is applicable to the subject we are studying.  They do not have to complete their drawings the same day or even the same week. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  

We are year-round homeschoolers, however most of the curriculum the boys were working on during the year they have completed.  So this curriculum is a great way to keep many of the skills the boys have acquired over the year fresh and to dive into a new subject.  In addition to this curriculum, the boys are keeping their math going all year.  So their workload is dramatically reduced during the summer.  I know some may be wondering why we do this.  Well, we quickly realized after that first summer off from homeschooling that it was quite hard to get back into the routine.  We decided (with the boys) that we would have a dramatically reduced schedule, but would keep going during the summer months.  For me, this curriculum is an experiment.  I have been toying with the idea of using an all-inclusive curriculum for a couple of years;  one where all the subjects (with the exception of Science and Math) are covered and are integrated.  This curriculum may or may not be the right one for an all-inclusive, but this was a great one to test the concept with.  I’ll give you more feedback on that as we work through this curriculum.  I hope these posts will be a blessing to you and your family!  If so, leave me a note!  

Until next time…. 

We are connecting this week with the Ultimate Homeschool Link-up.  Be sure to visit them and the other bloggers linked there, they all have GREAT posts!  I especially love the Firefly one!

 The Homeschool Village

Review of Excellence in Writing Geography-Based Writing Lessons

My review of

Disclosure

We are about to wrap up the 2012-2013 school year.  That means it is time for me to assess what is working and not working in our homeschool and to do some reviews on the curriculum we used.  So, this is the first of many reviews coming!  Let me start by saying, this is not a paid or sponsored review. I will be doing reviews in the future on products that were given to me in return for my honest opinion, but this review of Excellence in Writing Geography Based Writing Lesson is strictly just me speaking from my own opinion and experience on a curriculum I purchased.  

I had been hunting a writing curriculum for a couple of years and we’ve experimented with a few that were pretty lackluster (I’ll write reviews on them later)!  I had been hearing great things about Excellence in Writing (IEW) for years but, I’ll be honest, I was too intimidated to try it!  It took me three years of homeschooling experience under my belt to build up the fortitude to try IEW.  Even then, I tip-toed into the IEW waters with their Geography based writing lesson using Beautiful Feet for Geography and a few of Holling Clancy Holling’s books.  

Foundation for the review, our Homeschool Environment:

I think it matters the ages and gender of the children that were taught the material.  So, my experience and opinion is based on the success with my boys, ages 13, 11, and 9 years old.  Since this curriculum is recommended for children in Grades 3 – 7, it is the exact range of my children!  

We had not read these wonderful books by Holling Clancy Holling, so even without the IEW curriculum, these were such a treat in and of themselves!  The boys loved them!!  They would read the homework assignments and would regularly read ahead and usually go ahead and finish the book in the first sitting.  This was fine because we also read the books out loud in class and these readings were inline with the homework as it was assigned.  We did Literature/Writing one day a week for three hours a day, plus homework.  They probably spent no more than five hours a week on this topic.  

IEW Geography Review:

I will give you details about the first book we read Paddle to the Sea in this curriculum and provide details step by step of what we did.  The first lesson in Paddle to the Sea was using keywords to outline various texts from the book.  Once they had created outlines of the keywords, they then had to paraphrase the paragraph back using one of their brothers’ notes!  This was so much fun for the boys to figure out how to identify the key words in a text and they loved creating  symbols instead of words to get to the most basic outline possible!  We quickly realized there is an art to using symbols to understand and relate back the text.  You can find some common note-taking symbols online by doing a simple google search but I challenge you to go further.  It will make it so much more fun for your children!  

In Lesson Two, we learned all about the “Banned Word List”.  This was another extremely fun activity for the boys.  They had to figure out words to use instead of the common words listed on the banned word list.  Here are the banned words that could not be used when reporting on Paddle to the Sea (and the rest of the books from here on out):

IEW Banned Words  

They took great pleasure in catching each other using one of the banned words!  The IEW PDF download provides a form for these banned words and ideas of words we could use to replace them.  

IEW Composition Checklist

Lesson Three is writing from notes.  The boys wrote a one paragraph report on the Marsh Animals in a Thunderstorm.  They started with a keyword outline summarizing the text they read.  They then were assigned a one paragraph report based on the keyword outline.  They used this checklist which is part of the IEW Geography Course.   

In Lesson Four, the boys are introduced to “Dress ups”.  The first set are the quality adjectives and strong verbs.  This concept is practiced through Lesson Five.  In Lesson Six the boys were introduced to the next dress-up which was -ly words.  Of course, “ly” words are adverbs, so they are adding adverbs into their writing now.  

We have now reached Lesson Eight in our review and we are at the climax of the Paddle to the Sea.  So you can see, it has a nice progression of stepping into the writing assignments and giving our children lots of time to get comfortable with the material before moving on to the next concept.  

IEW Story Sequence Chart

Now, in Lesson Eight, we move into the first big writing assignment, a three paragraph report.  We are provided with a Story Sequence Chart that guides students to outline the sections of the story so they can write their own version.  The IEW manual provides several questions for each section and actually provides the story sequence outline for two different sections to give students help in starting this critical piece of the lesson and the final one introduced in Paddle to the Sea.  

With each book after Paddle to the Sea, IEW added more Dress-ups and more ways for the boys to express themselves in more complex ways.  The other three books that are read as part of this curriculum are:

We LOVED this curriculum!!!  I honestly cannot say enough good things about it.  It gets the highest rating on my scale, a 5 star!  I highly recommend Excellence in Writing period!  They have a yahoo group for questions you may have and the moderators usually answer the questions that day (if not within a few hours)!  They also have a yahoo group for used curriculum.  They do not penalize you or make it difficult for you to purchase their products used.  I can tell you though, they have an unconditional, no time limit, FULL GUARANTEE on their products.  If you teach it and don’t like it, you can return for a full refund! (NOTE that only applies if you buy it directly from them).  They stand behind their products!  

Oh, did I mention that this curriculum was such a huge hit in my house that it has inspired my 13 year old son to write a book (unprompted by mom)!  Yep,  I’m sold, it receives 5 Stars from this happy homeschool Momma for sure!

 

IEW Geography 5 stars

 

A couple of final thoughts about when I purchased this curriculum:

  • I WISH I had not been so intimidated by this curriculum and would have just purchased it earlier!  There is so much value in this curriculum that my boys could have been using earlier!  
  • I started with Geography instead of purchasing their core and foundational product Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS).  I really wanted to get to know the product before I invested a significant amount of money in it.  Once I purchased Geography, it clearly stated in the instructions that TWSS was a pre-requisite, but I still didn’t listen.  By lesson eight, I was regretting not having TWSS and so I bought it then.  I had to reference that curriculum multiple times and watched several parts of the DVDs.  I used it as a resource through out this year’s Geography curriculum, but TWSS is what I am teaching for the first half of 2013 – 2014 and Student Writing Intensive Group A (SWI-A) for the second half of 2013-2014.  

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!  

Until Next Time…. 

 

 

 

 

Paths of Exploration Supplemental Resources

POE Supplemental Resources

We will be starting Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning in April of 2013.   We homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori) approach to education, so I am creating a Paths of Exploration Supplemental Resources pages for those that want to take this curriculum in a bit of a different, more hands-on direction with your children.  Most of these resources are free resources with a few exceptions.  I hope this resource will be a blessing to you and your family.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  

 

Supplemental Hands-On Resources

Supplemental Hands-On Resources

Please note, I will be adding resources to each Unit before and during our study, so be sure to subscribe to the site to continue to receive the updates.  We are really looking forward to this curriculum!  

Volume One  – Columbus Unit 1:

Required Reading Resources:

Optional Supplemental Reading Resources (We added these books in our homeschool library):

 

Lesson 1 Supplemental Resources can be found here:

Lesson 2

 

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Jamestown Unit

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Pilgrim Unit

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Volume 1 

Required Resource List

  • Meet Christopher Columbus by James T. de Kay
  • Christopher Columbus by Bennie Rhodes
  • Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey (2nd Edition, Christian Liberty Press)
  • Stories of the Pilgrims Answer Key
  • Squanto, Friend to the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier by Gail Karwoski
  • Profiles from History by Ashley Strayer Wiggers
  • Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock
  • North American Wildlife Guide published by Reader’s Digest
  • Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini
  • Intermediate World Atlas published by Rand Mc Nally
  • RealEarth®GlobeMap™
  • Large-Scale U.S. and World Outline Maps
  • Student Notebook pages (printed from CD-ROM included or available separately)

Volume 2 Required Resource List

  • Daniel Boone, Frontiersman by Janet and Geoff Benge
  • Daniel Boone, Young Hunter & Tracker by Augusta Stevenson
  • Munford Meets Lewis and Clark by Jamie Aramini
  • Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark by Gail Karwoski
  • Trouble for Lucy by Carla Stevens
  • Johnny Appleseed by David Collins
  • 1911 Boy Scout Handbook
  • United States History Atlas
  • Lewis & Clark Hands On by Sharon Jeffus (©2009, Geography Matters)
  • Going West!: Journey on a Wagon Train to Settle a FrontierTown, a Kaleidoscope Kids book
  • Student Notebook pages (printed from CD-ROM included or available separately)

 

Note:  A  few items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that I make on Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from  Amazon.

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum

 

We have homeschooled now for four years.  This is our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum.  Prior to homeschooling, our boys attended a small local private Montessori school, where I was on the board for the school. Our boys have reached the point of thinking and working abstractly, so most of the Montessori materials are no longer used in our curriculum. So what do we now?  Come & see!!

I am very thankful that we stumbled blindly into a Montessori school! It has been a complete blessing to our family and continues to be … it is how we approach learning, education and life in general. So, although we have very traditional homeschool material now, our approach is still firmly grounded in the Montessori pedagogy.

 

#1 (oldest son) 7th Grade:

Exercises in English G
Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English G
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action GVocabulary in Action G
 
Algebra: Video Text Algebra II (CLEP when complete!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia Physical ScienceApologia Physical Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

 

(Middle Son) 6th Grade:

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English FExercises in English F
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study Guide Cat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action EVocabulary in Action E
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Algebra: Video Text Algebra I (CLEP when completes II!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia General ScienceGeneral Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

#3 (Youngest Son) 3rd Grade

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English DExercises in English D
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action DVocabulary in Action D
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Teaching Textbooks Pre-AlgebraTeaching Textbooks Pre Algebra Montessori Measurement (EDUTC)Edutc Measurement    Montessori Area and Volume from Houston Montessori Center
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Zoology 3Exploring Creation Zoology 3
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

Note:  Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from Amazon.

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