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Friday, September 18, 2009

And another September Begins...

So here we find ourselves again! I love September - the scents, the colors, all things fall. This year we have five children in our homeschool. All five! I have 9th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st graders this year. (!!) It is the first full year for Emma and this year she will learn to read in earnest. She knows her sounds, but we are working diligently at mastering it. I will be very happy when all my children are reading. It is a milestone of growth and development for me - like potty training! :+)

My two oldest are on the trip of their lives for ten days to Washington DC and Virginia with my mother and her husband. They are seeing places I have never seen before and their trip has been wonderful so far. It has been a joy to talk to them at the end of every day because their excitement and wonder at what they are experiencing is palpable. Today they will visit Colonial Williamsburg. I think it will be one of the highlights of their visit! They both loved Monticello and both purchased things to bring home from there. They chose things totally congruent with their personalities - one chose garden seeds and one chose a book about Jefferson's books. Those of you who know them will know which is which!

We have begun our homeschooling in earnest with the younger three. We are using some new curricula choices this year and so far they have been big hits. Writing Tales II is something John is using for writing and grammar and I am very pleased with the way the program is working thus far. I love the way the author communicates the information to the student and I really like the "Tales" she has chosen. John just finished writing, in his own words, the first one by Aesop, "The Bundle of Sticks." It is a very worthwhile program. John is also going to be using (as soon as it arrives from Rainbow Resource) Building Spelling Skills. This will be a "first try" for us with this program, but I loved the table of contents and I hope we love the book too. :+)

He is also using a cursive handwriting/copywork program from LightHome Publications. Since he is studying animals of the 6th day this year for science, I am having him do their A-Z Exotic Animals. He has really been enjoying it and I am pleased with the wide variety of different animals they chose for this book. The sample at the link gives you a good idea of what is included in the download. I discovered this company some time ago and really do love their handwriting/copywork books. I have used several of them thus far over the last year.

Land Animals of the Sixth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3 is the science source we are using for John and Abigail's science. They are making this lapbook to go along with it. We have really loved using Jeannie Fulbright's books--and we learn so much in such an interesting manner! Abigail and John will also be using the intermediate level from Science Excursion. This is the neat curriculum I told you about when I came home from Modesto this July. What a fantastic company!

Math U See
is still our staple for early math. Emma began her MUS journey yesterday and we have lots to learn together. She tends to have a fatalistic mindset about school until she sees she *can* do it. I don't even know where that comes from, but by the end of the lesson she was showing me place values and was very happy with herself. :+)
That can be a trickly concept to understand, but she is slowly getting it.

The Mystery of History: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations, (1455-1707) Volume 3 will begin once the girls get home. I cannot wait! I love this time period and am really looking forward to learning Ren/Ref with Linda Hobar. Her book is just beautiful! We have learned so much and have truly *enjoyed* our history study with her two previous volumes, Mystery of History, Volume 1 and The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages. I cannot recommend this series enough.

John has been joining Emma and Elizabeth on one of my "Ah HA!" journeys. Last year I was sharing with a dear friend Nancy, that if I could do it over again, I would do Beautiful Feet's Early American History. She pointed out that I *could* do it over again (so to speak) because I have two little ones! So we are reading almost all the wonderful books in this set and making their beautiful timeline and they are loving it! I am loving it too. So thank you, Nancy, for reminding me that some things can be do-overs. :+)

One of the best parts of our year is our weekly co-op. I am continually blessed by this group! We are studying a variety of subjects that at least our family always seemed to have a hard time getting to in the course of our homeschool life. Art and artists, music and composers, hymns, poetry, scripture, and geography are this year's subjects. You can follow our journey here as well find out all the resources we are using. Many of them are free online and ready to use! Our co-op is a small one, with only four families, but that makes it intimate and the children get to know each other well. I am also blessed to build relationships with the mamas!

Well, that is about all I can do for today. I just wanted to share a bit about our homeschooling this week. I will share more about what we are doing with the others in the future.

I hope your new year is going well!