Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why Homeschool Totally Rocks!

There are so many reasons I could share as to why homeschool totally rocks, but the best one in my estimation is FREEDOM. 
We are taking our messed up week of schooling on the road today.
Because we CAN.

Where will you take your schooling adventures today?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

American Patriot's Almanac...

We are reading thru our American Patriot Almanac book with our year-long study of the American Revolution (William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb...ISBN: 978-1-59555-267-9)

On this day, August 7, 1782:
George Washington created the Purple Heart, America's oldest military decoration. He called the award the Badge of Military Merit. See  

"The General, ever desirous to cherish the virtuous ambition in his soldiers as well as foster and encourage every species of military merit, directs that whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings, over his left breast, a figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with due reward."

The badge permitted the wearer to pass sentinels without challenge. Only three soldiers -- Elijah Churchill, William Brown, and Daniel Bissell Jr -- are known to have received the award during the Revolutionary War.
After the Revolution the badge fell out of use. In 1932 the military revived the decoration to help celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth. The Order of The Purple Heart is now awarded to members of the armed services who have been wounded or killed in action. The modern medal has a bronze heart bearing Washington's silhouette in its purple center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top.
Why did Washington choose purple? No one knows for certain, but for ages purple had been the color of royalty. In Washington's eyes, the common soldier who sacrificed for his country deserved as much respect as any king. As he wrote in his order creating the decoration, "the road to glory in a patriot arm and a free country is open to all."

Also On This Date:
1789.... Congress establishes the War Department, no known as The Department of Defense.
1942.... U.S. troops land at Guadalcanal, marking a shift by Allied Forces from defensive operations to an offensive campaign in the Pacific in World War II?
1959.... The U.S. launches Explorer 6, the first satellite to photograph Earth from orbit.
1998.... Al-Queda explodes bombs at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gearing up for the new Term

We have changed up the plan a bit again this year, not in terms of our Core/Spine, but in our approach to everything else in our school day. We have taken on a fairly CM style to our schooling, and it suits us quite well. Our Core remains with Rod & Staff...using their math and English curriculum, and occasionally other subjects blend in. 

Where we have departed from traditional textbook curriculum is in everything else in our daily routine. We read for every subject, we add in lap books and note booking components where the interest is, we do projects every few weeks, or plan a longer range project, to coincide with our area of study, and nature plays a big role in our school planning. Having 20 acres of timber, a varied homestead of animals, and plenty of places within a day trip distance is a big plus.

Yes, I have multiple 'grade levels' here, ranging from beginning levels to high school. We work together in our studies for most areas, with some adjustments, of course. While everyone is on the same 'chapter' in terms of open study...this year we enter into the Colonies and the American Revolution...we maintain different levels of our core (math, English) and free reading varies according to the level of understanding. 

I don't actually label my children with a "you are in grade X" and if you asked them, they'd probably look at you like you're talking Greek, LOL. We strive for a complete understanding of each concept being learned, a high level of mastery. Of course not each child is an 'A' student as understood by traditional grade scale tags, but they are an 'A' student in terms of their working to their best ability on each area. We work a math and English concept until it is fully understood, and can properly be applied in a variety of work examples. Science, American, and World History...these areas are repeated every few years, and with an increasing reference base and reading cycle, so these areas will also have a deeper understanding. If a child has a particularly strong interest in an area, we seek out additional resources for them. I'm not stifling the next Madame Curie :-)

This term, much like our adventures into the Middle Ages, will revolve around living books, lapbooks and notebooking components, arts, and crafts focusing on the Colonial and American Revolutionary War era. The resources available are wonderful. It was hard to choose the 'need to buy' list this year! (Another plus to homeschooling and a living books curriculum is the building of a great home library!)

I did try to schedule the coming terms on our calendar. Whether or not I stick to that exact time frame will be decided as we go along, but in general, it's a plan I believe works well. Each Term is 8 weeks long, and there is a 'free' week as a project week, a field trip week, a week of completing any assignments still open, etc. 
Term 1....August 5th - September 27th
     Break September 30th - October 4th
Term 2....October 7th - November 22, and December 3rd - December 13th
     Break after first part for Thanksgiving, November 25 - November 29th
     Break for winter holiday following the 2nd part, December 16th - January 3rd
Term 3....January 6th - February 28th
     Break March 3rd - March 7th
Term 4....March 10th - May 2nd
     Break May 5th - May 9th
Term 5....May 12th - July 4th
     End of this cycle, summer break July 7th thru beginning of August
**if I tallied right, we have 41 weeks of 'formal schooling' and 7 weeks thru the cycle for breaks, as well as most of July for a summer break.

Like I said, that's the plan ahead...but life is what is is at times, and I'm not chained to paper schedule here. It's a goal to aim for, but we are very flexible. Our breaks will hardly be idle times without is what it simply can't shut off learning just because the books are closed!

If anyone is still lurking about here, despite my hit and miss posting, I'd love to hear about your coming school cycle, your plans and schedules. Please do share your blog links in the comments!