Monday, June 30, 2008

Preliminary list of TruthQuest topics to cover

In going through the TruthQuest guides, I have highlighted the topics that I want to make certain that I cover by reading aloud and discussing with the children. These topics will get the priority for history time. Other topics can be assigned as independent reading, covered briefly in one day if time is available, simply mentioned by reading the TruthQuest commentary, or skipped. Some of the topics I have chosen because I feel that they are important. Others I have selected simply because I believe the kids will find them fun and interesting. I'll get a better feel for how much I can cover as I preread the books. (Sadly I'm only on those for the War of 1812 so it doesn't look like I'll have all of my planning done before starting as I had hoped.)

  1. The Constitution
  2. The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  3. The War of 1812
  4. Johnny Appleseed
  5. Davy Crockett
  6. Santa Fe Trail
  7. The Erie Canal
  8. James Monroe and the Missouri Compromise
  9. John Quincy Adams
  10. Headin' West!
  11. The Oregon Trail
  12. Gold Fever!
  13. Back to the West... by Pony Express
  14. Underground Railroad and Abolition
  15. The Election of 1860 - Abraham Lincoln Becomes President and the Confederate States of America
  16. The Civil War
  17. Westward Ho! and the Wild West
  18. Choo Choo! (Trains across America)
  19. War in the West
  20. Middle America... and New Ideas
  21. Aloha
  22. Panama Canal
  23. Peace? No! World War One!
  24. The Roaring 20s
  25. Hard Times - The Great Depression
  26. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Was his 'New Deal' the 'Right Deal'?
  27. War Clouds! (World War II)
  28. From 'Hot War' to 'Cold War' to 'Hot War' Again!
  29. The Cold War "Takes Off" (Space Exploration)
  30. The 1950s and 1960s
  31. From the 1970s... to Today!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Poems to Memorize for 2008-2009

Our poetry memorization went very well last year, so we'll continue with our current system. The poems are printed on pink index cards and added to our memory box. Each poem starts out in the daily slot and slowly gets moved back to odd or even, weekly, and finally monthly review tabs as a new poem is started. I'm estimating that the girls can memorize approximately 4 lines a week depending on the length of the lines. This year I have chosen a couple of Christian poems, a couple of poems just for fun, and a few poems which teach lessons. Here's the list in the order they will be introduced:

The Shepherd from R&S English 3
Don't Give Up by Phoebe Cary
True Nobility by Edgar Guest
Love Between Brothers and Sisters by Isaac Watts
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
The Captain's Daughter by James T. Fields
Obedience by Phoebe Cary
The Lamb by William Blake
The Coin by Sara Teasdale
The Parts of Speech by Anonymous for Jessie
Mr. Nobody by Anonymous for Violet

Now I just have to get some more index cards and print them out, and I can mark poetry off of my to do list. YEAH!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saving on used curriculum conclusion - The Final Results

The list below has been my shopping list that I have referred to while searching online for used curriculum. It doesn't include science or art since I didn't decide on what I was using for these subjects until I was at the convention. Here are the results.


  1. Singapore Primary Math 4A Textbook ($7.95) USED ($3.00)
  2. Singapore Primary Math 4A Workbook NEW($7.95)
  3. Singapore Primary Math 4A Intensive Practice NEW ($7.95)
  4. Singapore Primary Math 4B Textbook ($7.95) USED ($3.00)
  5. Singapore Primary Math 4B Workbook NEW ($7.95)
  6. Singapore Primary Math 4B Intensive Practice NEW($7.95)
  7. Singapore Primary Math 4 Challenging Word Problems NEW($7.50)
Total estimated cost for math: $55.20
Cost saving so far: $9.90 (18%)

Language Arts:
  1. Spelling Workout F NEW ($12.37)
  2. Spelling Workout G NEW ($12.37)
  1. Rod and Staff, Building with Diligence - Student ($14.90) DISCOUNTED NEW($14.16)
  2. Rod and Staff, Building with Diligence - Teacher ($20.20) DISCOUNTED NEW ($19.19)
  1. Finish Aesop with Core manual only ($0.00)
  2. Poetry for Beginners with Core manual only ($31.95) USED ($15.00)
Total estimated cost for Language Arts: $91.79
Cost savings for LA: $18.70 (20%)

  1. Latin for Children A Bundle NEW ($99.95)

Total estimated cost for Latin: $99.95 bundled
Cost savings for Latin: $0.00

  1. TruthQuest American History for Young Students 2 ($24.95) ($23.95) purchased new before price increase
  2. TruthQuest American History for Young Students 3 ($29.95) ($16.00)
Total estimated cost for history: $54.90
Cost saving for history: $14.95(27%)

Critical Thinking:
  1. Building Thinking Skills Level 2 ($29.99) ($3.00)
  2. Mind Benders A2 ($9.99) DISCOUNTED NEW ($9.00)
  3. Mind Benders A3 ($9.99) DISCOUNTED NEW ($9.00)
  4. Mind Benders A4 ($9.99) DISCOUNTED NEW ($9.00)
Total estimated cost for critical thinking: $59.96
Cost savings for critical thinking: $29.96 (50%)

Total estimated curriculum cost: $361.80
Total actual curriculum cost: $288.29
Total cost savings: $73.51 (20%)

The used items were purchased at a local used curriculum sale, the WTM sale and swap board, the VegSource homeschool sale and swap board, and EBay. The used curriculum prices include the shipping costs that I paid for these items. The discounted new items were purchased at our state convention where a few of the vendors had convention specials. The new prices reflect the costs from purchasing through Rainbow Resource with the exception of the Spelling Workout books which I found to be cheaper if ordered directly from the publisher even with the cost of shipping.

Overall, I have to say that I am quite surprised at the amount of money that I was able to save. The time commitment was fairly minimal. It usually only took at most 10 minutes to scan through the various online sites even with my snail pace internet connection. If I had not kept forgetting to check my EBay bids at the close of the auctions, the numbers would probably have been slightly higher. The amount of used curriculum that I was able to find this year was also higher than in previous years most likely because I started searching in January instead of waiting until spring time. For me at least, the returns have justified the time invested since our budget is so tight. For others, it might be different.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Top ten things to do while nursing a baby

10. Check email

9. Talk on the phone.

8. Check the local weather forecast.

7. Try to eat one handed.

6. Finish drinking another glass of water.

5. Make lists (grocery, to do, etc.)

4. Jot down lesson plan notes and ideas to put in computer.

3. Read a book to Benny.

2. Preread a school book.

1. Watch the baby.

I could probably get more done if I didn't spend so much time doing #1, but then again he won't be this small for long.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Ready for Next Year: To Do Lists, Part 2

Here's a look at what I need to finish planning for next year.

For Jessie I need to make lists for math, grammar, spelling, critical thinking, and Latin. For Violet, I need to make sheets for math, spelling, and critical thinking.

For Jessie, I need to complete lesson plans for Classical Writing and literature. For Violet, I need to complete lesson plans for grammar and literature. For Benny, I need to put together a reading list for the year. For all the kids, I need to make lesson plans for TruthQuest, science, and geography.

I would like to have a list of quotations for both girls for copywork/dictation exercises for at least part of the year. I also still need to select a list of poems to memorize for the year.

That's all I can think of for now. I really hope that's everything. How I'm going to get it all done is something I haven't figured out yet.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Ready for Next Year: To Do Lists, Part 1

Well, I'm definitely way behind where I had hoped to be at this point in the month. Our newest edition doesn't sleep as much as my last two babies, and his preference to sleep in Mom's arms make getting anything done difficult. In an attempt to keep up with the laundry, the cooking, and enough of the housework to keep it from looking like a pig sty around here, I'm afraid I'm way behind in my preparations and planning with only 24 days to go until I had originally wanted to start school. In an effort to organize my brain and accomplish as much as possible, I though it would help to jot down what I still need to do.

Still to purchase: Singapore Math Intensive Practice 4A and 4B, Singapore Math Challenging Word Problems 4, and Latin for Children A Mastery bundle.
These put me very close to the $150 free shipping level from Rainbow Resources. I just need to pick another item or two to add to my list and place the order.

  • Copy the standardized test results to send in to the county.
  • Print and complete the Notice of Intent for the next school year
  • Create and print curriculum description to be submitted
  • Mail it all in to the county
  • Clean out school baskets and cabinet
  • Check general supplies and make a list of what is needed
  • Put new school books in baskets
  • Make a new MOTH schedule
  • Assemble my planner

Friday, June 6, 2008

TruthQuest topics that didn't overlap

Topic 51 is on pioneers which are covered in more depth in the AHYS2 guide, so we can either skip it or just have a few books for the girls to read for fun.

Topic 1 is all commentary and can easily be added.
Topic 2 on the new capital fits in with topic 50 of firsts.
Topic 7 is composed of biographies that can be read independently.
Topic 8 covers the industrial revolution. We will probably just read the commentary and stick to reading about scientists and inventors related to the industrial revolution.
Topic 9 has no library books available so we can only read the commentary.
Topic 10 cover pioneer life and should be covered.
Topic 11 on Indians is optional to me. We can either just read from the Holling book or skip if necessary.
Topics 12-14 all deal with specific Indians so we may be able to just assign biographies.
Topics 15- 18 are biographical.
Topic 19 will depend on available resources.
Topic 24 is also biographical.
Topic 26 has no library resources so we can only read the commentary.
Topics 30-31 can be skipped.
Topic 32 needs to be added because we'll want to cover the Pony Express and its riders.
Topic 38 looks at the confederacy only. I may be able to just assign a biography of Jefferson Davis if I can get one with a balanced viewpoint..
Topic 39 is an overview of the civil war. These resources can be spread out over several chapters dealing with specific events.

Topics 2-3 cover the movement west and the wild west and should be covered.
Topic 5 can skip or simply read commentary.
Topic 6 can simply read from Holling book.
Topics 10-12 will need to decide whether to include.
Topic 13 is biographical and can be assigned.
Topic 15 is only commentary.
Topic 16 is biographical and can be assigned.
This is the point at which the Guerber book ends, so all topics beyond here will be scheduled in order of the TruthQuest guide as much as possible.

All the topics in green can be used for the girls assigned biographies. All the topics in purple I will most likely want to cover and will need to fit in the outline. All the remaining topics in black, I'll have to look at the available resources before making a decision.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rearranging TruthQuest topics

Based on the Guerber chapters listed in the TruthQuest guides, here are the overlapping topics between TruthQuest and Guerber's The Great Republic rearranged to follow the sequence of the Guerber book. I was a bit surprised at how many TruthQuest topics do not have corresponding chapters in the Guerber book, so I guess the next step is to see what topics I'm missing and figure out how they fit.

Guerber chapterTruthQuest topic
3-4AHYS1 49
10AYHS2 3
58AHYS3 1
604, 1

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Planning Multiple TruthQuest Guides, the method

To accomplish our goals for history these year, I've set up the following planning steps for myself.

  1. Purchase AHYS2 and AHYS3
  2. Determine the availability of books from the library for the topics in AHYS2
  3. Determine the availability of books from the library for the topics in AHYS3
  4. Chart which Guerber chapters are covered under which AHYS topics
  5. Rearrange AHYS topics to line up with the sequence of the Guerber chapters
  6. Select topics to read together
  7. Select topics best suited for independent reading.
  8. Begin making lesson plans using the following steps
  • Preread available library books
  • Select books to read aloud
  • Select books to assign for independent reading
  • Make a list of any other books to be included as optional reading
  • List the objectives for each week of history
  • Make notes of where to include booklet, maps, timeline figures, and any other activities
9. Find, print, and file appropriate mapwork, timeline figures, and directions for activities. Gather any necessary items in bags for the other activities.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Planning Multiple TruthQuest guides, the goal

The kids and I have enjoyed our leisurely pace through the explorers, colonial America, and the Revolutionary War using most of TruthQuest AHYS1 this year. Unfortunately, in order to stick to our four year history cycle, we will have a lot of ground to cover next year starting with the Constitution and continuing through the present. The material to cover spans 3 TruthQuest guides. We'll need to finish the last few sections of the AHYS1 guide and cover the material in both the AHYS 2 and 3 guides in one year. To accomplish this goal, we're going to change how we do history just a bit for next year.
We'll start by keeping the parts of history that worked well for us this year. These include spending time reading aloud, doing narrations, and making lapbooks. In addition, I'd like to have the girls do some assigned independent reading as well instead of merely offering them additional books if they are interested. My current thought is to go through the guides and pick the major events we want to cover together. Next I'll go through the sections that highlight different people (ie. scientists, inventors, writers, artist, etc.) and select biographies from these sections that the girls can read independently. In addition Jessi wants to read Guerber's The Great Republic in conjunction with history next year so we'll also be rearranging the order of some of the TruthQuest chapters to match the order of The Great Republic for the first semester. I'd also like to plan a few more hands on activities either once or twice a month just for fun.