Friday, December 26, 2014

Year 2 - A Look At Our Homeschool



DS7 will be in year 2 this year. He has always been advanced so this may not look like your average year 2 curriculum. This is why homeschooling is awesome for him as he gets to work at his own pace and no one teases him because he can do freaky things with numbers in his head!

When homeschooling gifted children they become less defined by academic ability and more by character which is so important. We knew the day he got offered a scholarship to a prestigious school  that if he grew up in that environment that he would learn to define himself by his academic ability not who he was as a person. We chose homeschooling because we want more for our kids than just academic achievement - we want them to grow up to be people of integrity, compassion and empathy for others and with a strong sense of who they are and why they are here on this planet!

Literacy


DS7's reading list.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series 
  • Zac Power series
  • Abeka books
  • Pilgrims progress
  • The chronicles of Narnia

+ anything else that peaks his interest during the year.


We will use Writing with ease for writing as DS7 LOVES copywork. 

First language lessons also works well with this boy so we will continue.

Printing Power

We will continue with handwriting without tears for handwriting and also we will introduce keyboard power touch typing too.

All About Spelling Level 3


We will continue with All about Spelling  2 and 3 this year.


Maths



I use the same Singapore maths level for both boys so this year we will aim to complete 4A and 4B with some reinforcement on Skwirk and studyladder.

The Arts

DS7 wil continue weekly piano lessons which are one hour group lessons at the Yamaha school of his music. This year, I will also give him a 'private lessons' and help him to prepare to sit his first AMEB exam. We will also work on music theory and music appreciation. 

Science



We plan to spend lots of time at the zoo this year as we explore this science text! We will also do some hands on science experiments and explore any interests that arise during the year.

Geography



We are going on a 4 week Northern Territory adventure mid year! What better way to learn all about Australia!

We will visit Uluru, remote aboriginal communities, Alice Springs, Kakadu national park and finish up in Darwin. We will be travelling with friends who are experts in Australia history and Aboriginal culture so they will be able to help us along the way!

Australian History

In light of our travels we will also take another look at Australian history. A while ago I shared about my passion for teaching kids the truth about our Australian history with posts about "Telling our own stories to honour theirs" and "Teaching small children about Aboriginal history". 

Now, my children are older we are going to learn more!

We will use the DVD series: First Australians and First Footprints

These series contain adult content so best to watch them yourselves to decide whether you feel they are appropriate or not for younger viewers. I would also suggest watching it with them to answer any questions. 

Physical Education



DS7 will continue with Aussie hoops (intro to basketball) and auskick this year. He will also continue with weekly tennis lessons and we may consider trying cricket for the first time at the end of the year.

My parents have a swimming pool which we use a lot during the year too.

So...this is the snapshot of what "year 2" will look like for DS7. It is an absolute joy homeschooling this child who is just so persistent and diligent when it comes to learning.

I will inevitably follow his interests this year to add more exciting learning opportunities for him in 2015. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year 4 - A Look At Our Homeschool


Because I like a sticky beak into what other homeschoolers are doing with kids who are a similar age to my own, I thought I'd do this post for any other sticky beaks out there!

My nearly 9 year old will be in year 4 in 2015. His strong-willed, independent and highly innovative nature means he isn't the 'sit compliantly and complete your worksheet' kinda kid. This is exactly why homeschooling is such a great fit for him. He still has tasks to complete and persistence to develop but has plenty of time to explore his own interests and express his creativity. 


Literacy


DS9 is an avid reader. At the end of last year he decided he wanted to read The Hobbit. We managed to find a copy in two parts to make it less of an ordeal. As a follow on he wants to read the Lord of the rings trilogy. Certainly not my cup of tea but if he can read it and comprehend it, then hats off to him! 




In 2014 we read the chronicles of Narnia as a family read-aloud. We LOVED it. I want to continue this year with an in depth look into the Christian allegory.



ScholasticNarnia.jpg

We use DS9's reading interests to spark creative writing and grammar lessons in an organic way. He is keen to enter writing competitions so we will encourage that as we find some through the year. In fact, this is one way to get him motivated to correct his grammar! 

We will also continue to use sequential spelling. 

We will also start a keyboard touch typing course and possibly cursive through HWT


The Arts


DS9 will continue his weekly piano lessons where has an hour group lesson and half hour private lesson at Yamaha school of music. He will be preparing to sit his first AMEB exam mid year!

I will continue to teach him trumpet and music theory and appreciation.




Maths



We will aim to get through level 4A and 4B of Singapore maths this year! 

Science


We will supplement this exploring creation zoology course with lots of trips to the zoo!


Geography





We are going on a 4 week Northern Territory adventure mid year! What better way to learn all about Australia!

We will be visiting Uluru, remote aboriginal communities, Kakadu national park and finish up our adventure in Darwin. We will be travelling with friends who are experts in Australian history and Aboriginal culture so they will be able to help us along the way! 


History

In light of our travels we will also take a look at Australian history. A while ago I shared about my passion for teaching kids the truth about our Australian history with posts about "telling our own stories to honor theirs." and "teaching small children about Aboriginal history". 

Now, my children are older we are going to learn more.

We will use these DVD series: First Australians series and First footprints .

 These come with a warning that they contain adult content so best to watch them yourselves alone to decide if you feel they are appropriate or not. I would also suggest watching it with them to talk through some of the difficult questions.


Physical Education


DS9 will continue playing district basketball which includes training once a week. He will also continue weekly tennis coaching and play his first season of competitive tennis at the end of the year. 

We will continue to use Skwirk and Studyladder online for reinforcement across all curriculum areas.

So.............

this is a snapshot of what our year will look like with plenty of excursions, group activities, holidays and events thrown in along the way! There is also the amazing flexibility of homeschooling to follow my kids interests....so who knows what else we will explore and discover in 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why I Chose Skwirk For Homeschooling



Over the years we've used a few different online learning resources but I'm particularly excited about trying something NEW for 2015.

Skwirk has had a make-over and quite frankly, it's awesome. There is nothing quite like it around at the moment and it has some great functions that work well with homeschooling. It provides animation based lessons for younger ones as well as great options for independent learning for older kids all the way up to year 10.

As an educational tool it is aligned with the Australian curriculum so if that's important to you, or you just like to occasionally see where your kids sit in relation to their peers (like I do) this is a good thing.

The subjects it includes are maths, English, science, geography and history.

My plan was to use this for my 5 year old who is 'technically' in his first year of school next year. However, once I learnt all the features of the program I'm thinking it will be a great resource for encouraging some independent learning for my older boys who are nearly 9 and 7.



And here's why.....

You can use the new teacher tool and set lessons even to the detail of date and time. But they aren't just set lessons. You can add YouTube clips or other videos and images making it a more exciting and complete lesson. It also gives YOU control over the lesson as you can add to the information, change it around, cut and paste and highlight important bits. You can also print out or set worksheets if you so desire and even create your own quiz to test knowledge of the topic. I feel this element of control over the information presented makes it appealing for us homeschoolers as one of the benefits of homeschooling is flexibility.

The way that we use online resources in our homeschool is as a supplement to our lessons. I also use it for one child while I work with another. However, this new Skwirk opens up a whole new way to use these resources. You can set lessons for each child for them to complete each. You can also keep online records of their progress to show your local friendly homeschool inspector (that's what we call him) when he pops by.

If you are looking for something new for 2015 or hunting for an online learning tool that is different to the other online programs out there then Skwirk is worth a look.

So, what's the deal?

The price per year is usually $350 per family they are offering 50% discount for homeschoolers. Just click on this link - 50% off deal 
and use the code: mummedia

There is also a homeschool tutorial available for more info!


Disclaimer: I recieved a subscription to Skwirk in exchange for this review.  As with all reviews, I only share my true and honest opinion.