Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Show and Tell

Here's what Bella's learned lately:

  • Spelling words are easy
  • Grammar is about pluralizing nouns (irregular and regular), digraphs/blended sounds, types of sentences and how to write a sentence correctly (capital letter and punctation), capitalizing proper nouns...I think about half of the lessons are review for her and the other half are helpful concepts.
  • In literature, she's learning about different types of stories: fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction; recognizing other writings like magazing articles and talking about the authors and illustrators. She's read the following assigned stories in addition to books of her own choosing:
Clara and the Bookwagon
Several of Aesop's Fables
Independence Day
Sam the Minuteman
George the Drummer Boy

  • We work on handwriting in each lesson, which was much needed.  I see progress. 
  • Bella has to turn in a writing sample every month or so, and her first assignment is a narrative.  She chose the topic: If you were granted one wish, what would it be and why?  Guess what Bella's response was? 
Rockstar Wishes
If I could be granted one wish I would be a rockstar.  I like wishes when they come true.  It would be my wish because I love when they sing on stage.  People cheering for me, dancing, and the lights are awesome!  If I were a rockstar I would play the drums.
  • With our curriculum, we also have the option of joining interactive class sessions online.  Last week, Bella presented a book report this way, and I thought it was cool.  She got to decorate a page with pictures and text to help her share her story with a teacher and students online:


  • Bella's still flying through this subject as most is still review for her.  Counting money, using dollar symbols and decimals, telling time to the nearest quarter hour, understanding a.m. and p.m....  I have to skip activities when I sense she knows a lesson and move on, or I lose her attention.

  • We both love history!  We're learning about Ancient Rome, legends, the government, gods and goddesses, Greek influence...After each lesson, Bella draws a picture and describes something she thought was interesting that day.  Here's a sample:


  • These lessons take us a little longer, because of the experiments we dive into.  It's probably the most challenging of all the subjects for Bella, since she has to be exact and memorize terms that she doesn't use regularly.  Last week we talked about the scientific method, making a hypothesis, and testing it by seeing which rubber ball would bounce the highest.  She liked that :-)
We do the bulk of our lessons on Mon, Wed, Fri mornings while Brody's in preschool.  The rest of the week, we try to fit in what we can.  So far, I think it's working.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Supplemental Activities

With our current homeschool curriculum, we try to hit certain subjects a couple of times a week: Math, Science, and Language Arts.  We're also given 12 more hours to do other learning activities not provided in the curriculum.  For us, that's Bible, cooking, music, field trips, and art (when we get to it).  We're racking up the hours in P.E. with Bella's cheerleading season in full swing.

I'm seeing the most rewards, not from the assigned textbooks, but from these supplemental activities.  Bella is memorizing about 3 Bible verses a week for her AWANAS club every Wednesday.  We were lucky to memorize one verse a month last year when she was in traditional school!  Training our kids in spiritual matters was one of the big reasons we considered homeschooling while they're young.  There is so much more time to talk about God stuff now!  And she has tons of questions.  I'm so glad that I can be available to help her answer them.

As parents, we have to remember that our children need growth in other areas besides the one-dimensional intellectual academics that schools generally offer.  Our kids have spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical needs as well.  I can already see a sense of peace in my daughter as we are spending loads of time together talking, reading, resting, praying, and hugging.  During this time at home, I hope that Bella finds confidence, security, and purpose before we send her back into a world of harsh expectations, confused morals, and misplaced priorities.  That's the kind of education I'm concerned about.

Don't worry.  She can still read, write, and solve math problems too.