Thursday, August 30, 2012

Charlotte's Curriculum

Well, we are almost done with our first two weeks of school, and I finally have all of Charlotte's curriculum from our virtual charter school.  Today is a day off for us, because it is Eva's 8th birthday.  The girls are happily playing Wii, so I thought I'd take a minute to post the materials I have and the first impressions of the program.

For Art, I have:
Come Look With Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard
Come Look With Me: Animals in Art by Gladys S. Bizzard
Art K Student Pages
Art Prints, Kindergarten
Modeling Clay (Red, Yellow, Blue and Green)
Oil Pastels (12 colors)
Set of 5 paint brushes (fine to 1 inch)
Set of 9 tempera paints (black, white, yellow, blue, red, orange, green, purple, brown)

I don't have much of an impression of the Art stuff yet, since it just came in the mail today.  The student pages pretty much made me roll my eyes on first impression.  I'll reserve judgement until I see how it all fits together on the online school.

For Math, I have:
Math + Blue Lesson Guide
Math + Blue Activity Book
2D Shapes
3D Shapes
Linking cubes (can't remember their "official" name)

This program is way easy for Charlotte right now - we've spent two weeks on shapes, colors and sizes.  We are ahead of where we need to be already, and I don't really see anything in the book that will trip her up.  Mostly review for her, but she enjoys the games on the online school, and she likes the colorful workpages, so no real complaints here.  We've only used the 2D shapes so far, but the number of them is a little bit on the ridiculous side.  I needed an entire tool organizer for just the 2D shapes.

For Language Arts, I have:
All About Me (workbook)
Language Arts Activity Book
Tomie dePaola's Rhyme Time
Read Aloud Treasury
The Rooster Crows: A Book of American Rhymes and Jingles by Maud and Miska Petersham
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
A Story A Story by Gail E. Haley
World: Taking Care of Ourselves and the Earth (magazine)
World: Animals Around the World (magazine)
World: Amazing Places (magazine)
World: Our Busy Bodies (magazine)
Language Arts Lesson Guide Book 1 and Book 2
PhonicsWorks Basic Activity Book
PhonicsWorks Basic Assessments
PhonicsWorks Basic Lesson Guide Book 1 and Book 2
PhonicsWorks Basic Tile Kit with flashcards and readers

Language Arts is a bit of a mixed bag.  I like a lot of the literature selections (other than the magazines, which so far have been indoctrination that rubs me the wrong way...) but the literature portion of the lesson guide has you read and/or talk about the same story for three days.  Charlotte started rolling her eyes on day 2.  By day 3, I was finding alternate versions to read, but that still annoyed her.  So, after going through that twice, I decided to go through three days of lesson plans in one sitting.  That went so much better that I think I will continue that way.  So, I'll only do Literature and Comprehension with her about every three days, but since I read aloud literature to both girls everyday (we are currently on The Long Winter), I'll still count that time towards her attendance.

Phonics is going okay - it is a little difficult with Charlotte's speech articulation problems, so we probably take longer than suggested on each lesson.  She did pretty well on her first assessment, but not perfectly.  We may have to slow down, because she seems to have trouble identifying ending sounds in particular.

Language Skills she just coasts on - everything has been very simple for her in that department.  A lot of it is vocabulary, and she has a very large vocabulary for her age - probably from having to restate herself so often to be understood.

Still waiting on speech therapy to start, but I did have a conference call with her special education teacher, so I have a better idea of how things are going to work.  Basically, they hired an outside company to provide e-therapy, speech therapy over the computer.  I was expecting to have to try speech on the computer, and I guess I am sort of happy that it will be with a provider that specializes  in it, rather than a speech therapist doing Internet based therapy for the first time.  They supposedly started calling families this week, but I still haven't gotten a call.

I'm very thankful that Eva is such a good reader and able to do so much of her school independently.  The balancing act of traditional, literature based homeschooling AND virtual charter is pretty complicated, but we are starting to get into a groove.  Hopefully in about a month, I have it pretty well figured out!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homeschool Organization

Getting organized for this school year has been more complicated than any other year so far.  Probably mostly because Charlotte is in a virtual charter, and Eva is still traditionally homeschooled. Our "school room" is our...well, I can't really call it a dining room, and can't really call it an eat in kitchen.  It is an old bedroom converted into an eating area off the kitchen.  It still has the bedroom cabinetry and closet.  So, along one wall we have a tall cabinet, which I use for Girl Scout stuff, then we have a shorter cabinet with drawers underneath.  This is used for office supplies, books Eva used that I'm saving for Charlotte, books I've picked up off Paperbackswap for future school years, hubby's work stuff for feed sheets (how he figures out what to feed the cows) and my Bible Study and CCD stuff.  Finally, we have the closet, which I use for homeschooling stuff, kids crafts and games.  I have a disaster of a craft room in the basement for myself.  So, onto the pictures!  At the top is a new crate I picked up a Target.  I used two crates last year - one for each girl, but I had NO IDEA that you could use hanging file folders in the crates until I saw it on a homeschooling blog.  It blew my mind, but I really can't remember what blog it was.  We recently got a new printer, and we had to change our setup, because our old (smaller) printer could fit on the top shelf of a bookcase.  The new one can't, so it is on the girl's sharing table - which was mine and my brother's when we were kids.  Eva and Charlotte are getting a little big for the kid's table, so for now it is a printer stand.  This blue crate slides underneath and has books that we don't need right away in it.  At the front, we have 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter science books, then units 2-8 in our history program, and finally, the COVA language arts and phonics books for second semester.

Here's the new printer set up - we even hung our college diplomas on the wall (they had been on the shelf with the old printer since we moved in this house!)  Keeping it real, I left the old printer and gift bag we found underneath the bookshelf in the picture.  I did clear the papers off the printer.  You can see my pile of "what do I do with this?" stuff in front of the desk...So, that's the computer station, on the far end of the kitchen.  On the opposite end I have the day to day homeschooling stuff.  Two more crates - this year NOT separated by girl. 
The white crate is full of our electives.  First we have history, with our unit 1 and core books and our history timeline books.  Then we have science quarter 1 books and Eva's science notebook (Charlotte mostly joins in for experiments and some read alouds, I don't make her do notebook pages yet!).  After that we have Charlotte and Eva's catechism books, then workbooks for Eva (map skills, etc.)  Next I have our Spanish materials, and finally Eva's art.  We still haven't gotten Charlotte's art sorted out!
The pink crate is Language Arts and Math.  At the front I have handwriting materials for the girls, followed by handwriting teacher's guides, then Fix-It and IEW writing for Eva.  Next language skills, literature, phonics and math for Charlotte. Eva's doing Teaching Textbooks again, so no book for her!
Here are the crates in the closet.  In the corner next to them is our PAL reading materials, which I am not sure if we will use this year or not.  The next shelf up holds crayons and pencil cases, mom's plan book and notebooks, and in the corner, dry erase and chalkboard materials.  Above that, stamps, roll of paper, markers (missing - in the girl's bedroom, I think) and magnetic letters and numbers, etc. in the corner.  Above that, drawing materials, craft materials and craft kits.  The top shelf shown has the cookie sheet we use for All About Spelling, math manipulatives and handwriting without tears manipulatives, and needlework in the corner.  There are two more shelves above that - one holds trays for each girl's work plus some extra supplies, and the final holds some of our family games.
Other side of the closet - hard to get a picture of with the table there - so sorry it's a little crooked and weird.  Floor holds big can of play dough, Charlotte's phonics tile kit, several over sized coloring books, some craft project materials for history, and usually both girls backpacks (one spent the night at her Aunt's house, the other at grandma's. I had them pack in their backpacks!)  First shelf has more coloring and sticker books, our collection of Draw Write Now books, our Read and Learn with Classic Stories collection, and several drawing books, plus the girl's "Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting."  Next shelf up has card games, flashcards and bananagrams in the basket.  Then a Discovery Toys set (I think it's called Match It) and finally our collection of Child Size Masterpieces.  Above that, kids games that I don't mind the girls getting out on their own.  Top shelf shown has our Young Scientist Club Kits and other science materials.  There are two shelves above: the next one up has two large plastic shoebox storage things.  One has painting supplies, the other has art supplies for the year.  And the very top continues with the family games.

So, I am feeling as though I might be able to start school on Monday morning!  Still don't have a teacher for Charlotte's virtual school, but I figure I'll just pretend I don't have to deal with one until we get  assigned one!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My Annual Curriculum Problem Report

So, it is that time of year again, when I have finished shopping for curricula (if I ever really finish the process!) and post it here on the blog so that I can point out to hubby next year that I did indeed spend that much on school last year...So here it goes!

This year Eva is entering 3rd grade as a traditional homeschooled student, and Charlotte is entering Kindergarten in a virtual charter so that she can get speech therapy services.  Thus, my purchases lean more towards Eva's school - Charlotte is taking Language Arts, Math, and Art (if we ever get it straightened out - they put her in P.E. instead...) through the virtual charter, and will be participating some in Eva's History and Science classes.  I did get some Religion books for her as well.

Teaching Textbooks 4 $60 Cathswap

Cost: $60
Savings: $39.95

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Handwriting Workbook $9.95 Rainbow Resource
Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Handwriting Teacher's Guide (3rd/4th) $3 Cathswap

Cost: $12.95
Savings: $2.55 (not including shipping)

Speech Therapy (Charlotte):
Toobaloo - a plastic tube to help her hear her own speech more clearly $4.50 RR

Cost: $4.50

Language Arts:
Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD and Workbook $169 IEW (teacher training)
All Things Fun and Fascinating $5.40 clearance
Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales $5.40 clearance
Fix-It (should last 5 years) $20 Cathswap
All About Spelling Level 3 $39.95 Rainbow Resource (RR)
Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation $9 Amazon

Cost: $248.75
Savings: $63.25

Who Am I? Teachers Guide and Kindergarten Workbook $15 Cathswap
Our Life With Jesus Student Book and Workbook $15 Cathswap

Cost: $30
Savings: $38.80

ARTistic Pursuits Book 1 (K-3)   $23 Cathswap
Child-Size Masterpieces Step 4   $10 Cathswap
Child-Size Masterpieces Step 5   $12 Cathswap
Draw Write Now Books 3, 6, 7 & 8   $28.75 Cathswap

Cost: $73.75
Savings: $67.20

NOEO Biology 1 Instructor's Guide $10 Cathswap
Usborne Pocket Nature PBS
One Small Square: Cactus Desert $6 Cathswap
One Small Square: Woods $5 Cathswap
One Small Square: Seashore $5 Cathswap
Pasteur's Fight Against Microbes PBS
Usborne Science with Plants PBS
DK Eye Wonder: Weather - Library
Usborne First Encyclopedia of the Human Body $7.50 Cathswap
The Boy Who Drew Birds $6.40 Amazon
Audubon Birds of America Coloring Book $3.50 RR
Ein-O's Smart Box Weather Science $12.09 Amazon
Young Scientists Club #10, #17, #18, #19, #20 (have kit #10 from last year)
Set 6 - #16, #17, #18 $17.68 Amazon
Set 7 - #19, #20, #21 $18.15 Amazon

Cost: $91.32
Savings: $58.70

Connecting With History Volume 3 Syllabus $40 RC History
How Our Nation Began $15 Cathswap
A Grain of Rice $4.25 RR
A Medieval Feast $4.95 RR
A Story of Saint Germaine $6.95 Adoremus
A Story of Saint Hyacinth $5 Cathswap
A Story of Saint Louise de Marillac $6.95 Adoremus
A Story of Saint Rita $5 Cathswap
A Story of Saint Sanislaus Kostka $6.95 Adoremus
A Story of the Infant Jesus of Prague $5 Cathswap
A Story of Saint Joan of Arc $5 Cathswap
A Story of Saint Isaac Jogues $6.95 Adoremus
A Story of Saint Charles Borromeo $6.95 RC History
A Story of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary $6.95 RC History
Blessed Kateri Tekakawitha - Library
Our Lady of Guadalupe $1.39 Sacred Heart Books and Gifts (SH)
Saint Francis of Paola $1.39 SH
World's Greatest Artists: Bruegel $6.95 Amazon
Da Vinci PBS
El Greco $6.95 Amazon
Giotto $6.95 Amazon
Michelangelo PBS
Rembrandt PBS
Velazquez free (4 for 3) Amazon
Chanticleer and the Fox PBS
Columbus (D'Aulaire) $11 Cathswap
Leonardo and the Flying Boy $8.99 Amazon
Marco Polo Overland to China $8.95 Amazon
My Path to Heaven PBS
Peter Claver: Patron Saint of Slaves $8.95 Amazon
Rumpelstiltskin PBS
Saint Francis of Assisi $6 Cathswap
Saint Thomas Aquinas for Children $12.95 some vendor at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference :)
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea $6.38 SH
Castle - Library
Castle Diary - Library
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Classic Starts PBS
Adventures of Don Quixote $1.75 RR
The Apple and the Arrow $6 Cathswap
The Empty Pot - Library
The Great Wall of China PBS
The Making of a Knight - Library
Medieval Projects You Can Do! free (4 for 3) Amazon
Minstrel in the Tower $3.25 RR
How to be a Samurai Warrior - Library
Turn of the Century PBS
Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? $3.75 RR
William Shakespeare and the Globe - Library
The Stars - Library
Francis Xavier and the Samurai's Lost Treasure DVD $13.68 SH
Juan Diego Messenger of Guadalupe DVD $13.68 SH
Shakespeare for Children CD - Weiss $11.50 RR
Three Musketeers/Robin Hood CD - Weiss $11.50 RR
Cathedral Stained Glass Coloring Book - found in house (no idea where it came from!)
Knights in Armor Coloring Book free (4 for 3) Amazon
Life in a Medieval Castle and Village Coloring Book $4.99 Amazon
Life in Old Japan Coloring Book $4.99 Amazon
The Story of Christopher Columbus Coloring Book $4.99 Amazon

Cost: $292.83
Savings: $134.89

Misc. Books and Supplies:
Maps, Charts and Graphs Level C $5 Cathswap
Reading-Thinking Skills Level C Free off Cathswap (with an Easter present purchase)
Spectrum Test Prep 3 $6.95 RR
Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum $13.98 Amazon

Cost: $25.93
Savings: $21.46

Total Cost: $840.03 (well under $1000 budget!)
Total Savings: $426.80

So far, the only thing that I meant to purchase that I didn't was Reading for Comprehension C from Continental Press.  I may end up buying it from Seton midway through the year when I order Eva's CAT test.  Usually, I buy the Spectrum Test Prep when I buy the test, but I had the foresight to order it ahead of time this year.  I may just skip the Reading for Comprehension book, anyway.  Of course, there are always some craft supplies, tests, etc. throughout the year, but I think I did pretty well this year, all things considered.  As for Spanish, Music and Homemaking, those items are getting carried over from last year.  My highest priority subjects are Math, Language Arts, and Religion.  Next come History and Science, and at the bottom of the priority list are Art, Spanish, Music and Homemaking.  Hopefully we will have a little more time for those lower priorities since it looks like we will be trying speech therapy via webcam (I think!)  Once I get Charlotte's classes straightened out (and get the Art supplies in the mail) I will do a post about what we got through her charter school this year.