Homeschooling in the Desert...

Welcome to our homeschool! We've been homeschooling since April 2007 - over 3 years now! We have 5 children and we homeschool the 3 youngest. At this time, they are 13, 11, and 10. We're finishing up 8th, 5th, and 4th grades. The purpose of our homeschool blog is to illustrate to our family and friends our chosen lifestyle... what we learn, how we learn, when we learn, etc.
Please feel free to follow along, to ask questions, to comment on our progress!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I know it's September 30th, and it hasn't even been 4 full weeks since we started school, but....
the kids have already had a 'light' week, or two.
I went back to the east coast the 19th - 25th.  I left full, easy-to-read schedules for the kids and McGyver.  The younger two had a light history schedule, but full other than that.  Guitar Boy had a pretty full schedule.
McGyver had a full schedule too, and didn't get on the kids to check their work.
I had a massive case of jet lag when I returned, so ....
light week!
We topped off our week with a back-to-school breakfast with our new homeschool group, the Henderson Christian Homeschoolers!
It was fun to see new and 'old' faces alike.
Tomorrow we start week #5, and it's a full week. I hope.
Missions Boy (son #2, who graduated in May 2012 and is currently preparing to head to Cambodia on a missions trip) will be home the morning of the 4th till he leaves for Cambodia on the 9th. I am being hopeful that we can enjoy our time with him AND complete our schoolwork!
I am really enjoying our history program - Truth Quest History.
The Guides are just that, a guide, or outline, of events and people from the time periods we are studying. There is a commentary on a particular subject, then followed by lists of books/movies about that subject. Some of the books are resource - like Story of the World, Sweet Land of Liberty, Greenleaf ... some are biographies, some fiction.  I can choose what to stop and spend some indepth time on and what to skip over.
Guitar Boy is studying The Age of Revolution I.
Chicklet and Survivor Boy are doing Renaissance and Reformation.
The author definitely promotes a Christian world view... her thesis always that history is His Story.... God initiates, man responds.... how events in history are always a result of man's belief in God.  Has society decided to follow God and include Him in society or turn away from Him?
The 2 boys are enjoying Latin.  Poor Chicklet's Japanese program isn't working. It's Rosetta Stone 2, and we can't get it working. I will try one more thing with it to see if we can get hit going. She is very disappointed that it isn't working ;(
Other than that,,,, all is well!
How is your school year coming?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

There's a place here, in the desert, that offers Homeschoolers Ice Skating once a month.
2 Hrs, $5, includes skates and hot chocolate.
Guitar Boy has been skating, once before.  He had no trouble getting on the ice.
Chicket and Survivor Boy, well....  they did pretty good for their first time.
I didn't skate.  McGyver was out of town and would have been upset if I called him and told him I broke my ankle while ice skating!
Next month, I'm skating.
I did enjoy the nice cold arena though!

Here we are at the Da Vinci exhibit last week.
More than half of the exhibit focused on his inventions.

Happy campers!  No wonder Mona Lisa is smirking. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2 Down, 50 To Go!

Well, the first two weeks of our homeschool year are complete!
Did I mention my panic attack after our first day of school? 
Ok, so it was a minor attack. Nonetheless, it was a panic attack.
I realized several things...
- It was going to take me about 8 hrs to homeschool all three kids at the rate we were going.
8 hrs a day, 5 days a week. GULP!
- Guitar's science program wasn't going to work... the Solutions & Test Manual is no longer in print. The only one I've found is on Amazon, and the seller literally has a price tag of $599.00.  I emailed him to see if that was a typo... never heard back.
- I didn't have a science program for Chicklet. Nope, not a one.
- I can't find the 2nd year of Winston Grammar. GULP!
- Our Japanese program (Rosetta Stone) is an older version and we can't get it going.
- I was going to have to do spelling, writing, poetry, dictation/copy, grammar, and reading with  3 different people. At 3 different levels. GULP!
- The cool Latin program looked way more difficult than I thought it would be.
It took us 2 hrs to get through just Bible, math, and maybe reading?
Breathe.... I needed to breathe.
So I did. I bounced some ideas around.... went searching through boxes of curriculum I have hiding.  I found the Lifepac L. Arts 7th grade I had purchased at a used curriculum fair.  It seems to cover spelling, writing, poetry, grammar, and some reading. 
Ordered a set for my 8th and my 11th grader.
Chicket seems to be doing well with the Lifepac L.Arts, so I purchased the Science for her too.
Pheeeew... I am breathing.
I ordered the schedule for the Latin program.  The book breaks the Latin down into units, into weekly assignments.  I scheduled their first week over 2 of our weeks, just to give us some 'breathing' room.
We got through their first week's schedule in one of our weeks.
Breathing a little easier now.
I ordered Guitar's Science on a cd. It's the full curriculum, just for the computer. We are awaiting it's arrival.  It has the Solutions & Tests on it as well.
Big, deep breath. Aaaahhh.
We joined a new homeschool group this year...
next post will be from some of our gatherings.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's almost that time...

to start some school around here!

Woot! Woot! 

I think, lol. 

I was finally able to get the The Little Blue House in August for 10 days, preceded by a 4 day trip to Beaver, Utah with some of the kids & friends for the County Fair.  Chicklet and I just got home last Wednesday, and am struggling to find the discipline to get my rear in gear, as far as school is concerned.

Guitar and Survivor have been doing math for 2 weeks, basically.
Chicklet has done some, but not so much as her brothers. 

I am excited to start TruthQuest. 
I sat down one day, before our trip, and made out a broad schedule for school. 
I listed the first 3 or 4 topics from each era (Ren/Ref and Age of Rev) and then wrote down books we are going to read while studying each topic. I ordered some of the other resources for Chicklet and Survivor, such as the Binder Builders and Notebook Pages. We'll see how they enjoy using them. My kids might be a little too old for that, maybe not.

The younger two are doing Math-U-See and Guitar is doing Teaching Textbooks Algebra II. 
I might check out Khan Academy for online drilling. 

We will start Winston Grammar review, and do the intermediate book this year. I think we'll spread it out one lesson for 2 weeks. It's simple, but I am just doing it to reinforce what we did last year, they came so far I don't want them to lose the ground we gained. 

Guitar will be doing lots of reading for Language Arts. I will have him do written and oral narration on his history and books. We are going to spend some time on vocabulary as we will be taking the SATS and ACTs this year. 

Guitar and Survivor will be doing Latin as well. I purchased Latin, the First Year by Henle. I am excited about how it works. I will be spreading the First Year over 2 years though. That's the plan. That can always change, lol.

Well, that's all the blogging for today. I need to get the books out and get organized for Tuesday! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012!

Summer is half-way over!

We haven't done much... or I haven't done much.  The kids have been off to camp, working, traveling overseas, leaving me.  I don't like that last one.

I have spent some time looking at curriculum, planning our next year, praying over these things.

Guitar Man is coming home for school again.

He will be starting his junior year.
Yikes, homeschooling a highschooler, that idea is a little intimidating. 

I have been tempted to use a boxed curriculum for him, like
Bob Jones or Christian Libery Press.  I know he'd be okay with those, and would get the work finished.  I want more than that for him, though.
I want him to be challenged, to think outside the box, to study history with a Christian world view, to read living books, to search for what he is passionate about and persue that passion.

Two years ago we used AmblesideOnline for our spine curriculum. We really enjoyed the books and scope/sequence.  Last year, we used Sonlight as that spine. We used  some of the books from AO as well.
We didn't enjoy Sonlight enough to fork out the money for it again.

While perusing the AO sight, the scope & sequence for my 11th grader, I came across a reference to
TruthQuest embraces the Charlotte Mason method, using living books.  What I read truly excited me. The author of TQ, Michelle Miller, views history as this...
God initiates, man responds, history happens.
She says History is His story...

The scope and sequence is similar to AO, and can be used together. What I like about TQ, compared to AO, is that TQ has somewhat of an outline to go by.  The Guides come with a Table of Contents, each chapter (if u call it that) consists of a commentary.  Along with the commentary is a list of suggested readings, resources and fiction.  We choose what we want to read from there.
I like that it has the outline to go by. I can read whatever commentaries I want, I don't have to read them all if I don't want to. But at least I know what and who I can read about, in that time frame we are studying, without having to do that research myself. 
The Guides are inexpensive as well, another bonus!

The younger 2 are doing TQ Renaissance to Reformation.
I think Guitar Man will do the Age of Revolution I, II, and III.

We inherited a pastor's personal library a few years ago, and there are some amazing history books in there, some from the 1800's.  Before 'those who know better' started changing history.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

I am ashamed of myself for not keeping this blog up-to-date. We've had a busy year, and are still schooling here in the desert.

Chicklet and Survivor literally just finished their grammar final (Winston Grammar). 
I am ready to call it quits, myself.
I told the kids they have to finish reading Story of the World - Middle Ages and spend three 30 minute increments on, working on math.
They are also going to read some biographies I have upstairs, that I can't bear to give up. They haven't read them yet, so I am going to make them read them before I pack them up.
Just 'cause I can and I am the MOM in charge here, lol!

Anyway... now what?

Guitar boy will be coming home for 11th grade this year. Missions boy graduated, and we really can't swing the tuition this year.  That's ok, because I really missed him when he was at school.
So... dynamics always changing.

I think Survivor and Chicklet are going to do TruthQuest for our history, geography, and language arts this year.  I stumled upon it and was soooo energized, excited, and impressed by the curriculum. It's a lot like Ambleside Online ( but has a twist. The Guide Books have commentaries, that give an overview. The TQ side of history explains how God initiates and man acts... how historical events and cultures are a direct result of man's opinions and beliefs of God.

TQ actually uses or recommends several of the same books that AO has as well.  And we loved all those books!

I will probably use it for Guitar boy as well.  I haven't really decided on that one though. I am going to go ahead and order what I need for the younger two. Can't wait to get my hands on it all.

The younger two will still be doing Math-U-See, The Write Institute, and also Story of the World Vol. Three w/ our TQ.  I picked up Rosetta Stone Japanese at a curriculum swap.  We will be doing keyboarding as well.  I believe they will have their own little lap tops this year, but we will be disconnecting the wi-fi on it.
I might also do a unit study on the electoral process. Good timing for that one.

So anyway... that's what we are up to. What about you?


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gilcrease Orchard

October 3, 2011

Our V&B Homeschool Group went for a little field trip to Gilcrease Orchard in the northwest part of the desert.

Acres and acres of pumpkins, veggies, apple orchards, etc, growing right here in the desert.  It was fun!
We've been here 10+ yrs now, and this is our first trip to G.O.