a week of ticky boxes

We made it through the week and checked everything almost everything off the list!

Just that pesky unfilled triangle on the end there.

So I’ll read that tomorrow, that’s the next chapter of Hatchet, our book club book. The kids are really enjoying it. We read Minecraft: The Island last month, and it’s been fun to compare the two. Hatchet is written at a higher level than M:TI and Gloria was having a little trouble with the writing style more than anything. (Especially at the beginning, when Brian is feeling sorry for himself and furious with his mother. Later, after the plane crash, he gets less emo.) Anyway, that means I’m reading it aloud, and I missed today.

Gilbert is chugging along in American History, as am I! Abby had a headache for a few days, most likely allergy related, so she didn’t start yet. I want to make a timeline for the wall like we had when we did World History. It was fun to put the folks we learned about on the line. I’ve been jilted by the seller of the old Oak Meadow I bought, so I’m requesting eBay get involved. Bah. I know I can do this quite easily without a curriculum, so that’s what I’ll do. I asked the battle-scarred homeschool parents list I’m on for middle grade AmHist book recs, and man, did they deliver! Many that I knew and had planned but quite a few that I hadn’t thought of or didn’t know. I’m still planning that out.

Tomorrow is Batman Day at New World Comics, which is fun. A couple of the kids are sniffly, but I think it might be doable anyway. And now it’s bedtime, goodnight.

Self-led, but mother-pestered

I just joined a radical unschooling group. For those not in the know, unschooling is at its heart learner-led learning, uncoerced. Radical unschooling is life uncoerced, even for little kids.

We aren’t radical unschoolers. But we are unschoolers. I know that in a world without school my children would thrive and learn what they needed when the time was right. But I don’t live in that world so I encourage the kids to stay at grade level for math. They naturally stay at grade level or above for everything else without any input from me. The reason I don’t just let things be is I think it’s important to have that cushion in the event they do go to school. The kids agree with that logic and do the math uncomplainingly. (Well, generally uncomplainingly.) I don’t ask anything if them until they’re 10 or so, now. I tried when Faith and Abby were younger and it was so unpleasant. Waiting until double digits made it faster and easier, rather than teary. 

That said, some people would say that means I’m not an unschooler. But frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. 

So today, drum roll, we checked off all our stuff! Math, history and a read aloud. Boy, did we feel official checking off the things we usually do anyway, heh. Gilbert is the only one doing history right now, but Abby will start with us soon. I hope Faith wants to as well. And maybe, just maybe, one or both of them will try forging ahead with Saxon Algebra. 

Trixie mathed, but I don’t have social studies really going for her and Gloria yet. Last year we read Paddle to the Sea. This year it will be Western Civ, sorta. Greek culture and myths.

And we’re all reading Hatchet and comparing it to Minecraft the Island, which works well.

So if the rest of the year goes as well as these first few weeks we’re gold.

Some scribbles and commitments

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Plan, already edited since photo

I’m getting things together this year. I didn’t last year, because I was hugely pregnant with Perry and then dealing with a newborn with failure to thrive. I finally started actually encouraging schoolwork around March. They all did just fine anyway, of course. (The only thing they really need me to remind them to do is arithmetic, the study of which really does benefit from regular exposure.)

I’m going to have a sheet of paper each week with the bones of what we’ll be doing up where everyone can see. That was useful when Faith and Abby were my middle graders, so I think it will be the same for Gil, Trix and Glo. It’s fun to check things off!

I ended up getting an older used copy of Oak Meadow Year 5 for Gilbert for a song. He liked OM4 when we did it for a month or so, and would have liked to continue (but it was too much prep for me, with two babies at the time.) The Oak Meadow levels, especially in the older editions, don’t correspond to grades as much as ranges, so I doubt he’ll feel babied by Year 5 as a seventh grader. He really wanted American History, and that’s the middle grade year for it. He should be able to do most of it by himself with a little help from me.

Homeschool Connections are going to be where Faith and Abby are. We signed up for the unlimited recorded lectures, and I’m asking them to listen to the American History so Gilbert and I can discuss it with them.

Dorothy is so close to reading. I got her a Brain Quest Kindergarten workbook, just so she could have something, but honestly those things are so writing centered it’s mostly useless. I think actually Gloria nd Trixie will enjoy “teaching” her with it and that will be the value. In the meantime, the phonics section is okay and it has loads of stickers. As Dorothy’s fine motor skills progress she’ll be able to do more in the book, but right now she would be so frustrated and saddened to try and fail that I’m not even attempting it. It’s always been strange to me that the general approach to reading is to teach writing at the same time, when you needn’t. I got her a bunch of little wooden letters which we’ll Montessori it up with.

I think Trixie and Gloria will wander through ancient history and culture of Greece and Rome this year. That’s really great for all the subjects. And everyone will be doing nature study, and also whatever they want, because I’m really bad at interrupting them when they are doing something valuable to impose what I want them to do. But they like it, when I do. Amazing, they like my input and care, me being their mom.

Goodness what a meandering post.