August 05, 2010

Back to School

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to go shopping for school materials.  Aaaah, I absolutely adore the smell of a new eraser!  In our case however, new school materials means new text books.  On occasion, I will buy a new eraser just so I can give it a quick sniff.  At the end of the school year last year, I had bought new books for the kids to use this year but upon further research, I decided that it wasn't going to be challenging enough for them or me.  When we aren't being challenged, we get bored.  When we get bored, we start to argue.  When we argue, we get put in our rooms to reflect on what it means to get along with each other.....even me.  This week, while Natalie is away at Girl Scout summer camp, I thought I would take a moment away from entertaining my son and research school materials.  The hardest thing I find about homeschooling is finding secular material, not to mention a secular homeschooling group.  Even the so called "secular" groups have a few in the bunch who feel they need to "save us".  Needless to say, I have not found a group that I want to be a part of.  So, in the meantime, it's just the three of us.  Which seems to be perfectly fine for me and the kids.  So, you ask, did I find the material I was searching for?  Why yes, thank you for asking, I did!  Let me share them with you.

Math - We are sticking with Saxon for math because I love Saxon Math.  I like how it tells me exactly how to teach it.  I am horrible at Math but since I started homeschooling, I have learned so much!  I know, it's sad in a way but I think I could totally, happily (instead of begrudgingly) take the Beginning Algebra class that I had dropped when I decided to homeschool the kids.  Although, I don't need to go and spend $1000 dollars on the class now because I am learning it right along with my kiddo's.  Luke is going in to sixth grade math Saxon 7/6  and Natalie is going to finish her last half of fourth grade math Saxon 5/4.  She was in third grade last year but the third grade material was very boring for her so I purchased the fourth grade and she loved it.  She loves being challenged.  She's as stubborn as a mule and it's nearly impossible for me to "teach" her anything since apparently she was born knowing everything!  That's another challenge I deal with daily and I won't get in to it today. For everyday math, which I will try to fit in once a week, we will be working on Checkbook Math by Remedia Publications.

Science - Again, I bought material at the end of the school year last year for science.  However, I was surfing the St. Louis Science Center website and they offer programs for homeschooled children once a month. Their August class is Physic Phun.  Well, that seemed interesting so I reserved our tickets.  This in turn led me to start researching Physics material which in turn led me to the great Sir Issac Newton!  Oh my, what a psychological mess!  I absolutely love a psychological mess.  I mean, people in general are interesting but when you come across someone who is a complete psychological mad genius it's ever so intriguing to me.  When I grow up, I want to be a psychologist.  I know it will never happen though because I can't seem to separate other peoples behaviors from me and my own.  I like to observe from a distance.  I don't want to be the one helping and listening to their everyday torture.  I would end up being admitted.  I don't even read the news.  I don't like depressing and negative media.  It brings me down, man.  Don't rain on my parade.  Oh yeah, so back to Physics. I purchased Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (For Kids series) and Isaac Newton: Giants of Science (Giants of Science (Viking))  I can't wait to read these!  I hope my kids find him as interesting as I do.  For text books, I purchased Real Science-4-Kids, Physics Level 1, Student Text, Real Science-4-Kids Physics I Laboratory Worksheets and I also purchased the teachers manual but I can't find a link for it.  I also purchased a book for Physics experiments Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices aren't you glad you aren't my neighbor!  I hope we don't burn the house down.  One more book for shits and grins is The New Way Things Work.  This book had such wonderful reviews I had to get one for our home library. 

English/Grammar - I thought I would get Luke started on some Vocabulary this year so I purchased Vocabulary from Classical Roots - A.  It's a thematically organized vocabulary program based on Greek and Latin roots.  Since our English language is derived from Latin it makes since for him to understand how our language was formed.  I don't know about you and your family but we find ourselves having a conversation, when we strike upon a fancy word, wondering where it came from.  For English, as I mentioned above, it's very difficult to find secular material and that was the case for English last year.  I had purchased Following the Plan : Grade 5 : Student Text : Building Christian English it was an excellent book and I was able to edit the religion out but my son didn't really like it.  This year, I purchased Shurley English Homeschool Kit: Level 5 Grammar Composition .  I have heard excellent things about it and I am really excited to break open the shrink wrap and get started.  For Natalie,  I purchased First language Lessons level 4 Set--Teacher's Guide and Workbook (First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind) .  Again, good reviews.  Fingers crossed that these books live up to their reviews.  We will continue working on our Mcp Spelling Workout 2002 Edition, Level F for Luke and Spelling Workout: Level C for Natalie.  We got about halfway through these last year and I want to finish them up before moving on.

History - I am sticking with The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition (Kindle)and The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child; Activity Book One: Ancient Times, First Edition I like the way the stories are told.  It's entertaining for the kids and History should be entertaining.  We also use The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, and The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World. We also go to the library almost once a week and check out books relate to the time period we are studying.

Foreign Language - We will continue working on our Latin.  Last year I purchased Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age.  I need to be more disciplined.

Music - Luke is going to continue piano lessons and Natalie is going to continue violin lessons.

Art - We made an art room in the unfinished part of the storage room this summer.  What else would we do in this unbearable, humid, St. Louis summer heat?  We will let our creativity run wild down there!  We will also be visiting the art museum's in Forest Park.

We plan on going to Eckerts this year for apple picking.  Hopefully, we will visit Farmer Carl over at Lakeview Farms where we will pick raspberries for yummy concoctions developed in the kitchen and of course we will dig in his mulch, sand and dirt piles for hidden treasures.  Oh man, on my way over to link his website, it looks as though the Japanese Beetles wreaked some havoc on his plants this year and they have shut down for the season.  Oh man, that makes me sad and the kids are going to be majorly disappointed.  I guess I will have to take that opportunity and teach them about the Japanese Beetle infestation.

Luke will continue his adventures in Boy Scouts and Natalie, her adventures in Girl Scouts.  The Scouts program is so awesome!  

I think I covered everything.  I knew when my fingers hit the keyboard this was going to be a long post.  That's what I get for waiting so long to blog though.  I will leave you with a picture of Natalie on her first day of Summer Camp!  I can't wait to pick her up on Friday!  I also can't believe we didn't get a letter from her!


  1. Time for a new one, it's been 3 months.

  2. Anonymous29.6.13

    I love everything you have to say about the life of school.


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