06 October 2008

Homeschool happenings

I know I've been scarce and not blogging a lot, but I'm busy homeschooling. I have a new and huge appreciation for parents who homeschool many children of diverse ages. I'm just doing Kindergarten, with a 3 year old tagging along, and it's time consuming! Not in a bad way...I'm learning much more than I ever did when I was in school. I hope the kids are learning a small portion of what I have in just the last month! Now that I'm really "doing this," I can't imagine sending my kids to school. I just really like it. That isn't to say it's easy and some days I don't want to just find a sitter, but in the big scope of things, I feel most comfortable and pleased with it.

We are doing much of the usual Kindergarten stuff: phonics, reading, math, poetry, art and music and we are doing history. Right now we are learning about Mesopotamia and the people who lived there, like the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. And we are learning about Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and currently Abraham and Isaac. We are using the Connecting with History (RC History) program. I really like it because it ties in our Catholic faith so well. And it emphasizes literature. It took a little planning, but I would say that 90% of the book list mentioned for the Ancient History portion I can get at the library, and the core books I purchase...since they happen to be bibles and other good resources to have on hand.

Ancient history is broken into 10 units. I took our school year by weeks, figured out how long I expected each unit to take, then split out the units over the year (with each unit taking 3-4 weeks). Then I split up the books I planned to use for each unit into how many days I had. Not too rough at all. Sonya Romens, who authored the series with Andrea Chen, has a rough breakdown too that can be used to portion the readings and such over the time alloted for the unit.

I went back and looked at Story of the World today and I was glad I picked CWH. I know many homeschoolers use SofW and like it and use it as a spine, but as a Catholic I really appreciated the Catholic backbone of CWH and thought SofW was a bit soft (one reviewer on Amazon called it condescending, but I wouldn't say that). But, comparing SofW to a history text used just a few generations ago, you find that what a 5th grader is learning today is what a 2nd or 3rd grader learned back then.

Sonya mentioned that her series is based on literature, which I know is another thing homschoolers like for a classical education (and along the lines of a Thomas Jefferson Education). I use books and other resources too that aren't in the book list. Since I have a son who can't sit still and doesn't do well if I do a lot of reading at this point, I like the activities in the book Sonya calls out in her book list - Old Testament Days.

Above are the kids dressed as people who lived in Mesopotamia. My daughter hated putting on her dress and cried non-stop while it was on, so I was lucky to get this picture of a fairly calm kid. My son isn't too thrilled with his tunic either, but I told him he only had to wear it for the picture. He did have fun making it, which is why I try to do hands-on things with him -- he's all boy.

Next we are creating a clay tablet with Grandma and Grandpa's name in cuneiform. And, we are learning about Sargon the Great...had never heard of him until this summer when I began planning the homeschool curriculum. By the end of the year, I almost think I could pass high school history!


angie said...

They both look so cute! I think I'd like to take a look at your RC History curriculum sometime, maybe a playdate? I don't plan to start history until next year, but am still on the fence between RCH and SOTW. Thanks for sharing your experience!

swissmiss said...

No problem letting you see my CWH guide. Am sure my kids would love a playdate! I do think you can do SofW with a Catholic flavor, but CWH has it woven throughout the curriculum. At this level, I basically read from the bible each day and then there are other books to read or activities to do. A lot more to do for older grades like notebooking and stuff, but for Kindergarten, it's really just learning about people and places and doing some activities to reinforce what we learned.

Kit said...

Sounds like you're off to a great start!

The way things are going (downhill fast) in both my girls' schools, coupled with the fact that the oldest will be leaving for college when the baby is K age...I am very likely going to homeschool him. So keep us posted - I will be following along avidly!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Swissy: Have them read Genesis 1-5! :-) I just started the Cavins' Great Adventure Bible Study at my parish and our first assignment was read Genesis 1-3. I thought of you and smiled. You know why.

I'm beginning to think Father is very wise. The study has made me see many meanings in the text that I missed due to their complete misinterpreation by the feminist scholars I was taught Scripture by.

I know this is OT (LOL!) but I can't help myself AND I miss you. We should have another dinner with L.

swissmiss said...

Mumof6kids does such a nice job...love the things she does with her kids. Since you have time, you might want to start checking out the different curricula that are out there...as there is a LOT and it can be overwhelming. Kindergarten isn't too rough and I get school done, even with the projects, in less than two hours a day.

We blew through Genesis in the first week. Reading the bible out loud to my kids is kind of profound...at least for me. Father would be happy to know I'm reading and re-reading it. Right now we are about to see Abraham's faith tested by offering his son, Isaac. Plus, learning about Ur and Mesopotamia where he came from puts things in context and really makes it so much more interesting. And, seeing what is going on in the secular world instead of learning religion and history separately, is so helpful and eye-opening. I'm a homeschooling mom...homeschooling the mom and the kids!

I LOVE Jeff Cavins' studies. We are doing Catholic Scripture Studies of Revelation and I so wish we were doing Jeff Cavins', but we need a year-long program and his Revelation was only ten weeks or so. Personally, I'd have done his any way :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Jeff Cavins and Father Corapi are two men I could listen to all day.