Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How I relaxed and didn't relax about the new school year

Actually, I just want to share some things that are really working and a rough outline of what I'm doing this year,

Sam read Of Mice and Men recently and then asked me to get him The Grapes of Wrath. He started reading it, but now has paused. I asked him if he was interested in the Great Depression in general. He was, and so that set him down a trail for history and literature. I wanted him to understand the period just prior to the Great Depression so I am having him read Only Yesterday. It was written in 1931. It is an interesting read looking back on such recent history at the start of such a bleak era in American History. He is reading the Great Gatsby as well. So am I. Actually I am about to finish. Can you believe I never read it? I love it. Beautiful language. When he finishes he will read The Great Depression. This is a narrative history. He will also read King of the Hill. This a memoir of the era set in the Midwest. He will also read Cinderella Man. This is an autobiography (yes, like the movie) of a Depression Era boxer set in New York/New Jersey. He will also pick up reading The Grapes of Wrath again. So will I. By the way, Sam is 16 years old, technically a Junior.

The other thing that is working is ancient history. I outlined a course for Carmen to follow. This is the part where I didn't relax. She plays travel soccer and wants to play for UVA. I am a little anxious about her High School years. They need to be intentional and thorough. I cannot guess and mumble my way through a transcript for her. In any case, I like the course I have created for her. I can go into detail in another post. What I am enjoying is my decision to mostly pull along her siblings. We are still reading lots of just plain picture books. I am trying to structure these either seasonally or by author studies. But it is nice to have a history spine that is the same for this group. Even my kindergartner is enjoying the topics.

And. Khan Academy. Oh my goodness. My kids are all working through math at Khan Academy. Every single one of them loves it. Loves. They don't love math. They ask to do math. Wow. I supplement with worksheets or exercises and drills when I need to. Sometimes I watch with them, pause, makes sure they've understood, and then keep watching. So well done. Free. Amazing. This makes me love the Internet. Also awesome, the Art History and Science courses. I wrote Carmen's biology course based on their Crash Course:Biology. I can even track their progress and get reports.

Something new. I just ordered the very first Life of Fred book to start with my Johnny, my kindergartner. I think he will love it. I have wanted to try these books for a very long time. I may even use some for my older kids. We'll see.

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