Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Homeschooling Has Begun

The second day of homeschooling is over and done, and I declare it to have been a success--though I'm not doing it the way I thought I would. I had grandiose plans of using Common Curriculum or some other lesson planning/class management software to organize my homeschooling day/week/month/year. I saw myself planing out the units and lessons for each subject for the entire year and logging them meticulously in my little organizer. Alas, I'm just not wired that way. Maybe with the perfect piece of software I could do it, but I just don't have the patience for ├╝ber slow servers, lack of critical features (a class scheduling software that doesn't let you put the vacation schedule for the year in in advance so lessons aren't scheduled on those days? Come on!), and the learning curve that goes along with any new software/process. Plus, I am not even sure how much to plan for a day as how long it takes to get through it depends on Jessie: her interest, her aptitude, her wakefulness...
So instead of a super-slick administrative and pedagogical set-up, I am using Google calendar and a broad-strokes approach. I know what I plan to cover for the year, I have back-up and drop-off units stacked at the end of each subject (at least in theory), and I am putting together the materials a week or so at a time. For example, we are finishing the History channel series Mankind: The Story of All of Us episodes that we had left over from last year for this year's initial Social Studies, and the daily content summary write-ups provide the core of the grammar, spelling and punctuation lessons in Language Arts. The rest of Language Arts this week is spent reading her book (The Maze Runner), and I do have all the books for the year scheduled with an average of 20 pages per day of reading assigned.

We are working independently through the Rosetta Stone Russian Level One course at a half hour a day--that one I don't plan how far J will get at all--she works for half an hour and then quits. The parts she had difficulty with she reviews again the next day and then picks up at the end of the last lesson. Sure, it's only been two days, but it seems to be working.

Science is all about taxonomy with a short report on Charles Darwin due next Tuesday. We'll keep working in taxonomy for the next couple of weeks till we get home, and we'll move onto human biology. I haven't found my lesson materials for that subject yet, but I have great confidence in TeachersPayTeachers and I know I'll find the material I need for 3-4  weeks of study there.

Art is the best of all as it is pretty much independent study. Yesterday was jewelry making, today was photography. For photography we read the intro and most of the first chapter of a book on color that interests her, and then we researched and tested what she needs to do with her camera to improve the shots of her jewelry and make them sharply in focus. For Friday's filmography course, I am going to have her script a stop-motion video and start filming it.

She won't get to continue her piano or archery lessons until we get back to Atlanta, but she can definitely use the extra time to make jewelry as she has both her Etsy store and an upcoming art festival (Yea! in September) to stock. Looking at the Etsy store I see she already replaced several of her original photos with ones she took today (on the tile and wood backgrounds). She is really working hard on that venture.

We even started the morning with family PE and a two-mile walk down the hill for coffee (hot chocolate for some) and back up. It was a Good Day.