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This is what you get when you mix two toddlers, two border collies, a Shetland pony, two cats, a gaggle of turkeys, a former construction worker, a former lawyer and the family cattle ranch. Thanks for visiting. All images copyrighted. Do not use any text or image without permission.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wrapping up School

Well, we finished our first full year of homeschooling in May.

I would say it definitely went out with a whimper, not a bang.  We just sort of transitioned into summer without any formal end of school.  It's been a really interesting year.  We began the year using some Montessori for math and language with Five in a Row for everything else.  I loved Five in a Row.  The way it works you study the same story all week, with different aspects everyday, for instance the illustrations with an art lesson one day, the science in the book the next.  This went pretty well but I didn't really feel like our math/language was going forward in any sort of organized progression.  So we tried All About Spelling and added Life of Fred for math.  The kids loved Life of Fred.  I was still feeling disjointed, so I got a comprehensive curriculum, Moving Beyond the Page along with Singapore Math.  We hated it!  I got to see firsthand how the term "bellyaching" came about because as soon as we brought out their math books they'd start complaining that their stomachs hurt.  They cried and complained, turning it into torture.  

So we took more of an unschooling approach and joined up with some other unschoolers a few times in Boise and Eagle.  While I love the idea of kids just learning from their environment, I felt like there are just some things we need to work on.  My friend Kate got a job at the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville and I looked into their materials, ordered a bunch.  I read Amanda Ripley's "Smartest Kids in the World", some Montessori books, a couple homeschool organization books, and many more.  I have read enough books about education to have my master's degree - but I was still feeling lost. 

 The kids are smart and are doing well, but I loved their experience at Montessori Academy and I want them not just to move along, but to be thriving academically.  So, when another Montessori mom visited in July I got remotivated and started reading and organizing the next year.  I'm going to use the Scope and Sequence of the Core Knowledge Foundation to make sure we're addressing things, and we're going to do a literature based program called "Build Your Library" that was written by a homeschool mom.  It's basically a secular Charlotte Mason approach - lots of reading and writing, some nature study.  We'll see how it goes. 

While we're not "doing school" this summer, our lives are so full of learning every day. 

Clyde caught a salamander in Eagle in the Spring.

Alice is a reader like me, so many books, so little time!

We made 3D geometric figures out of marshmallows and toothpicks. 

This summer we're collecting and identifying wildflowers.

Alice's handwriting isn't great, but she figures out how to get the point across.

We made a lot of potions and did a lot of kitchen chemistry this spring, 
it was a favorite of both kids.

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