Monday, April 16, 2012

Homeschooling: The Extras (Part I)

I probably couldn't remember all the extras we've done this year, but I can give a quick overview! In terms of extracurricular activities, I would categorize us about middle-of-the-road. Now if I could drive, we'd likely be at the extreme end of busy, so it's probably good I can't. Gives us plenty of time to chill, sleep, think, and read.

The most valuable "extra" in our homeschool journey has been our co-op. We've been attending three trimesters a year, eight days a trimester since 2006. Besides the obvious benefit of enrichment classes (some of which would be impossible outside a group setting), we've been blessed to meet some of our best friends there. This year included drama, basketball (during lunch), the science class I mentioned, an inventions and technology class, strategy games (chess, Risk, etc. - taught by me), and art (also taught by me).  We were blessed to have a drama teacher who very kindly used a play written by Kylen.  I was an assistant and got to witness his work being brought to life under the hand of a truly gifted instructor.  It was an amazing experience for both of us!  Kylen would love to do more acting and is hoping for more drama classes in the future.  We'll see!

In addition, our co-op offers 2-4 field trips a month, of which we aim for one. This year we've toured Cabela's, a dam, and a frozen yogurt shop (yum!); watched high quality performances by two different children's Christian theater groups, and attended hands-on impressionism and soil exhibits at a museum. We also helped with our co-op's Christmas party.
The Shooting Range at Cabelas

Yogurt Shop

Impressionism Exhibit
 "PE" has consisted primarily of basketball, bike rides, LOTS of basement hockey, and recently a whole lot of rollerblading. A friend kindly offered us a ride to a once/month homeschool skate day, and it appears that may become a regular event on our calendar! During the summer, Greg's dad takes Kylen on weekly park outings for tennis and other activities.

Sadly, February marked the end of Upward basketball, since Kylen will exceed the grade limit next year. Between practices and games, it provided two solid months of exercise over the last 6 years. We liked how it was Christian based with a focus on good sportsmanship and values rather than competition. Next winter we'll have to look for something else!

Dribbling in Last Game

Can You Spot Kylen?  Smiling, Lower Middle
 I'll be doing one more post on homeschooling "extras," and that should wrap up my homeschool series!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

We celebrated in our usual way of reading the resurrection story just before an egg hunt (a few days ago). Then on Easter, we always decorate eggs and have Greg's parents over to share a meal. Rather than the traditional ham, we use more of a Romanian twist that includes raw veggies, cheeses, bread, and of course the eggs. Read about how we crack them in this old post.
Kylen has methods for getting Greg up (in this case, so we can start the egg hunt).
He was warned!

Kylen had a hard time finding this egg mostly buried in a box of LEGOs.

Time to find out what's inside!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homeschooling: The Secondary Core Subjects

This is our fourth year using Sonlight for history, a literature based curriculum. It's perfect for Kylen given his love for books, though he hasn't read a single one! Nope! Instead, he likes to hear me read, and I like to learn history alongside him. We're currently covering the Eastern hemisphere and have about seven books left (plus encyclopedia selections) which should give us plenty of time to finish before summer. In addition, I read other books throughout the year for fun. All this translates into a significant portion of our days spent with me reading while Kylen occupies his hands in various ways. He's able to concentrate better while doing something, and lately that something has usually been LEGOs.

Our favorite books this year have been: The Master Puppeteer, Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun, Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold, and Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde.

We decided to try science through our co-op, which has worked well. It's been nice doing note booking/experiments there and keeps us accountable in a subject that tends to get neglected. I've been impressed with the text: Apologia General Science. The author gives clear and thorough information while doing a fine job of presenting evolution alongside creation and then explaining why the latter is superior. The class has been beneficial in other ways. Kylen was struggling to keep up with the writing, and that inspired him to make a permanent switch to cursive. It's also helped improve his listening skills and the ability to record information in a quick and efficient manner.

Latin is a new subject and our first serious study of a foreign language. I went round and round about what to choose -- Spanish, French, Greek? In the end, I decided on Latin, because I felt it would improve his vocabulary and understanding of our own language. He's had an interest in word origins for years, and I figured Latin would play right into that (and it has!). Though we have a few complaints about the curriculum itself (frequent errors among other issues), he's doing fairly well and likes the subject for the most part. We'll probably continue with it next year using a different curriculum.

Well, that's about it for the core subjects! Join us right here next time for Homeschooling: The Extras!