Thursday, July 31, 2008

Year at a Glance: Jessie's 4th grade

With only 4 days to go, I'm feeling a little stressed about trying to start school, clean the house, fix meals, and take care of baby Henry all at the same time. Part of the reason I'm so scattered is simply the difficulty in getting him to sleep for a decent nap in the afternoon. Luckily for today, DH is off so hopefully I can squeeze in an hour of work and organize my thoughts for next week. I am excited at the prospect of putting some structure back into our days. I just have to keep reminding myself to be flexible and take things one at a time. Here is an overview of Jessie's 4th grade year to the extent that it is currently planned out. I still have a long way to go planning history and science. I've decided to wait until mid-year to determine whether or not we will try to squeeze in a few weeks of CW Poetry for Beginners or hold off another year on that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Planning for Next Year, Status Check

  • 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 tentative schedule completed for school hours, will adjust as needed
  • Assemble my planner
For Jessie
  • math
  • grammar
  • spelling
  • critical thinking
  • Latin completed 5 weeks of lessons, will complete remainder after making sure the schedule will work for us
For Violet:
  • math
  • spelling
  • critical thinking
For Jessie
  • Classical Writing
  • literature
For Violet
  • grammar
  • literature completed 4 weeks of lessons, will complete remainder after making sure the schedule will work for us
For Benny
  • put together a reading list for the year
For all the kids
  • TruthQuest completed 5 weeks of lesson plans
  • science completed 3 1/2 weeks of lesson plans
  • geography

  • Create list of quotations for both girls for copywork/dictation exercises for at least part of the year
  • Create list of poems to memorize for the year
  • Create memory cards for poetry.
I'm not as ready as I'd like to be, but I have a little bit of time left. It's nice to see how much I have accomplished despite only working on things sporadically. My plan is to start up on Monday, August 4th with Bible, math, and memory work. That gives me a week and a half to finish pulling things together for most subjects. I'll have two and a half weeks for history and science planning, since I'll not be adding those until the third week. Geography may just have to wait until January because I don't have time to make lesson plans or time in the schedule to implement any plans.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Daily School Schedule for 2008-2009

It has taken me much longer this year to come up with a schedule that I think is possible. Although I have tried in the past couple of weeks to get baby Henry on a more predictable schedule, I have not been very successful. His napping is inconsistent so I decided to settle on writing a tentative nursing schedule with a tentative morning and afternoon nap for now with the understanding that it may or may not happen the way it's been written. Since his schedule will change the most over the next few months, it's not as important for now. Here's the preliminary schedule that we're going to try for the first few full weeks of school, and then we'll make any necessary adjustments.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

CW Aesop B lesson plans

This will be our second year using CW Aesop. Last year I purchased and used the instructor's guide and the student workbook with Jessie. It worked OK for us, but I often simply pulled out the student book to just wing it rather than taking the time for preparation. While we did make some progress, I just felt like I wasn't using the program to its fullest extent without taking time to set goals each week and then follow through with them. It felt some days like we were just writing for the sake of writing. The other issue I had last year was that Jessie never wanted to just rewrite a portion of the model. She always asked to rewrite the whole story. That made for some very long writing days when the student manual switched from fables to longer legends and fairy tales. We stretched a couple of the models over 2 weeks and ended up not finishing the whole student workbook before we stopped for the year.
This year I decided to go with just the core manual and make my own lesson plans. The appendix of the core has a sample 36 week schedule with suggested models. I made a list of all the suggested models that we didn't use last year. For the fables, I substituted and added a few titles to the list before typing up the models from the Aesop book that we own. For the legends, I stuck with the suggested list and printed the models from For the fairy tales, I found a few online and typed up a couple from library books when I didn't care for the online versions. Next I took each type of story and arranged all the models in order based on its length. Then I went through each model underlining vocabulary words. In typing the lesson plan, I've allowed an additional week for longer models and filled in a tentative schedule for discussing grammar topics. There is also plenty of room for me to make notes both when I first look over the lesson for the week and after I read Jessie's first draft. Here's a look at one of my planning pages.
For fables this year, we will be using The Goose with the Golden Eggs, The Fox and the Grapes, The Milkmaid and Her Pail, The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, The Boy Bathing, The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Eagle and the Fox, The Cock and the Fox, The Lark and Her Young Ones, and Mercury and the Woodman. For legends, the list includes King Alfred and the Cakes, King Canute on the Seashore, Bruce and the Spider, The Story of William Tell, The Sons of William the Conqueror, and The Story of Robin Hood. The final story will be spread over two weeks. For fairy tales, I have chosen Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Story of the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Gingerbread Man. All but the first two in this section will be spread out over two weeks because of there length. The results should be 21 stories written over the course of 26 weeks leaving us time to either add more models if needed or move onto the Beginner's Poetry book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Latin for Children A - Planning a typical week

The hardest part about starting a new program is figuring out exactly how best to plan it. Here is a look at my thought process for Latin. To start off with, I had absolutely no idea so I started searching the Classical Academic Press website and the archives of the Well Trained Mind boards. On the former site, I found the following two articles to be very helpful.

A Suggested Weekly Schedule

How to Teach Latin

My final schedule has ended up being a combination of the two articles. To the weekly schedule on day one, I have added making flashcards following the instructions in the second article. The flashcards will be color coded based on part of speech. On the front side we'll just list the first Latin form. The remaining forms and translations will be listed on the back. On day 3, when available, I've added an extra parsing or translation worksheet available free from the CAP website. On day 4, I decided to use the quiz in the Primer book for review and created my own test for day 5 based on the How to Teach Latin article. Basically, it means recreating the Primer quizzes but only listing the first Latin form in the vocabulary sections allowing Jessie to fill in the remaining forms and their translations.

The basic plan;

Day 1 - Go over the maxim, chant, and vocabulary in the primer. Discuss derivatives. Watch the DVD lesson. Make flashcards.

Day 2 - Review the maxim, chant, and vocabulary. Go over the grammar pages in the Primer and complete the worksheet page. Complete one page in the activity book.

Day 3 - Review maxim, chant, vocabulary, and grammar as needed. Complete a free parsing or translation exercise if available. Complete the remaining two activity book pages.

Day 4 - Review and complete quiz in primer.

Day 5 - Test

I'm going to start by allowing 30 minutes a day for the lessons, but I don't expect days 4 or 5 to actually require the full time. We do have the history reader to begin using when we reach chapter 18. It could be done on day 4 or on day 3 in place of the free exercises. We'll make a final decision at that point.

For now while we test out this schedule to see how well it works for us, I've only charted lesson plans through lesson 5 in a Word table. That way I can make any adjustments necessary without redoing my entire year. Here's my current lesson plan page.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WW: Growing like a weed....

3 weeks old - Snuggle time

4 weeks old - Ready to play

6 weeks - Getting stronger

7 1/2 weeks - Yummy hands

Schedule for Singapore Challenging Word Problems

After struggling our way through CWP 3 at the end of last year, I've decided to spread out the word problems over the course of the year this time. Jessie will start at the review section of CWP 3 for the first few weeks before moving on to CWP 4. That should keep up from reaching a topic in the word problems book before covering it in the textbook. My basic plan is to do 2 regular problems or 1 challenging problem a day for most of the sections. If all goes well, we'll stop CWP 4 next spring when we reach the review section and save it for the following year. I put this schedule on a separate page for two reasons. First, I didn't want to have to squint to read the text or put fewer weeks on a page. Second, this allows us to go through the CWP books at whatever pace works best for Jessie. If we need to repeat, I can back her up just in the word problems book without having to make a bunch of revisions to the regular math schedule.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Schedule for Singapore 4A and 4B

We spent K-3rd with Jessie covering Singapore 1A through 3B. This will be the first year that we actually covering a full year of Singapore math on grade level. It will also be Jessie first year with only one math program now that she has completed the Miquon books. She'll be using the Singapore textbooks, workbooks, intensive practice books, and challenging word problems. I schedule the intensive practice book after the completion of each section of the text. This year I've decided to schedule the Challenging Word Problems books separately. More on that in the next post. Here's part 1 of our schedule for the year.

Monday, July 7, 2008

School time already!?!

OK. I may have underestimated how disrupted a new baby would be on my ability to get things accomplished around the house. Based on the nap lengths of Violet and Benny as babies, I expected to have plenty of time to get my work done while the baby was sleeping. Alas, baby Henry simply does not sleep for large chunks of time. He has been much more sporadic sleeping 15 minutes here or 30 minutes there. I was hoping to start trying to keep him awake for longer periods of time last week so he would nap longer. The fever and increased spit up made that impossible. Henry's still running a fever, but it's lower so he's in a better mood today. We made a bit of progress in keeping him awake this morning, and he did get a good morning nap. Hopefully by the end of this week we'll have made some more progress. I've managed to keep up with the laundry and meals. Housecleaning has been hit or miss. School planning... well let's just say I'm only about halfway done. So the official start date for school gets postponed another week.
In the interim, I decided to take a few days this week to reassess where the girls are at overall. This morning we focused on math. I wanted to make sure that the girls remembered what they had learned last year before starting new material. Violet did an addition math drill page and a few other problems involving carrying and borrowing. The math drill took forever. The addition with renaming was excellent. The subtraction with borrowing took several minutes of thought. She remembered how to do it, but she wasn't confident about it and couldn't tell me conceptually what she was doing. So for the first couple of weeks, I'll have Violet concentrate on memorizing her addition facts and reviewing borrowing before we move on to the 2B book. Jessie did an addition drill, a multiplication drill, a couple of problems multiplying larger numbers by single digit numbers, and a couple of large division problems. She still needs to work on memorizing a few of her multiplication facts, but she had no problem with the rest of her math. I'll start in the 4A book on the first day of school and just continue working on the multiplication drill on the side.
Hopefully, tomorrow morning we can find a few minutes to assess handwriting. For Violet, I want to make sure she is still forming all of her manuscript letters correctly since I haven't watched her write for awhile. If so, we can jump right into cursive. If not, we'll do a few weeks of manuscript copywork first. For Jessie, I want to see if she's ready to transition from using lined handwriting paper to regular wide ruled paper for her dictation work this year. I'll also check her cursive letter formation. I think she may need a little bit of review on a few of the capital cursive letters that aren't used often like Z.
Lastly, I'd like to take some time Thursday or Friday to assess their reading and comprehension skills. I think I'll have each of the girls take an online test to determine their current reading level. Then I'll give each of a chapter to read and have them narrate back to me orally. This will help me make sure that the books that I assign to them for history and literature are appropriate.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Assignment Schedule for Rod & Staff 4 English

In an effort to actually accomplish something that I can check off of my to do list quickly, I spent the last few days making the semester assignment sheets for Jessie's 4th grade subjects. Since Jessie struggled a bit with grammar last year, we're going to spend more time working on it this year. I went ahead and scheduled all of the lessons, worksheets, and tests found in the program. I'm not sure we will need all of them, but it's always easier to cut than it is to expand. Here is what our year of grammar will look like...

If you'd like to print these plans, I'll add a link to the Excel file over under lesson plans.