Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Easy Peasy is Easy Peasy for the Parents

M has been working through an online curriculum called Easy Peasy All in one Homeschool. I like how everything is planned out day by day and we just go to the computer and look at what the day's subjects and tasks are.

The curriculum is set out with the subjects divided into two sections on the website. First you work on a 'level' (not a grade or school year but level). In the level, you have English, Math, Computer and Logic (Thinking). English is divided into Reading, Spelling, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, and finally, Speech and Speaking.

The second component of the curriculum is the program year. There are four years (three of which are complete) and in those years you have History, Science, Music, Art and PE. A daily Bible passage is also included in the year program. The program year is meant to be used to teach multiple grade levels/ages together. The program year has two levels in it, Level L which is for elementary (Grades 1-4 or Years 2-5 in the British system) and Level M which is for Grades 5-8 or Years 6-9).

As the program year is intended to be used with multiple levels and ages there are times when it is too advanced for M and if I had a child in the Grade 4 age bracket there might be times where it would not be advanced enough. I am not particularly worried because I can either explain it to her, or we can skip over it because I know it will be covered again if we are working at the upper level in a few years from now.

Easy Peasy is easy for the parents because all of the planning is done and it's very easy to access everything, and at the same time it challenges the children and is fun for them.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy

We started working through the Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool curriculum which can be found here. It is a 180 day curriculum that has subjects laid out in a nice format.

We are working on Year 1 which is a programme of study for History, Science, Music, Art, PE and Health along with the main level which has English (which includes reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, speech and speaking and grammar), Math, Thinking/Logic and Computer.

I do find that some of the History and Science is a bit advanced because it is meant to be covered with multiple grade levels (1st Grade to 4th Grade) but as I am working 1:1 with M it just means that I have to explain things when she doesn't understand them.

Yesterday we did a reading test and M who is not yet 7 has a reading age of 12 (Grade 7 or Year 8)! I find that fascinating. I looked at the list of high frequency words that children in British schools are expected to use and know by the end of Year 5 (age 10 or Grade 4) and she knew those words at the age of 4. Her reading age has come up two full years this year.

Given that this curriculum is more advanced than what they are doing in schools, I think her reading age will come up again by the end of this 180 days (however long it takes to complete the 180 days).

We have finished all of our lessons for the day and we are off out to the playground just because we can. Enjoy your day!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Exams Are Done and Happy Canada Day!

This year we have been very focused on L's exams. She did five exams in three subjects. Now we wait for the results which are released in August.

Happy Canada Day! We are going to be celebrating Canada Day by making a flag cake, which is what we did last year. I need to get the necessary berries to make the maple leaf and red stripes.

I will be taking a different route with M and I am working my way through it all now. We are using a new curriculum that is available online for free. Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. We are trying this out to see how M likes it and so far so good. I will be tweaking the curriculum to suit us. It is a Christian curriculum, however, if you are so inclined, you can chop and change it to go with your religious belief system (or lack thereof).

We are also going to carry on with our lapbooks as she loves those. We are finishing up our nocturnal animals lapbook which is not yet available to the general public via Hands of a Child. I took the plunge this year and bought a Super Membership and I get two lapbooks from them every month in my account. We are working through May's lapbook which will be made available to everyone in another few weeks.

We have some projects on certain nocturnal animals such as bats, beavers, and owls from Hands of a Child and we will work on those and then do something on princesses and oceans. I have enough material on oceans to sink a ship!

Another publisher whose materials I like to use is homeschool bits. This publisher makes some really good lapbooks that are called 'Speedy Lapbooks' and they are easily completed in one session. I use these for my new lapbooking group that I started up. I send a link to the file on Currclick, the other parents purchase and download the file and then we get together and work with our children in the same room. This is done via a Facebook group.

At first I taught and led the group, however, I think it works better if the parents are teaching their children and explaining because they are working to the child's pace. We started off with some really big projects in the lapbook group such as a lapbook on Egypt and a unit study on Ahmed's Secret. I read the storybook Ahmed's Secret and then I showed some of the parents how the templates work and then they worked with their children. After we were mostly finished, I taught them a song about Tutankhamun. It was delightfully cheesy and the children loved it!

This project ended up being a really big project and it took us two sessions to complete it. The next project we did was on camels and that was also from homeschoolshare. I did some research in order to help fill in the lapbook templates and taught that lesson too. This was also a big project and took two or more sessions to complete.

The third project we started was on oceans and continents which was at the request of one of the families. Again, that was a big project and we are going to finish that on our own.

I decided to go with the Speedy Lapbook series by homeschool bits as that means that if the family only come for one session, the lapbook is finished and there is no missing out or catch up. The children who come can complete the lapbook there and then and have a sense of accomplishment at the end (as do the parents!).

We have done two lapbooks so far, one on Animal Parents And Their Offspring and another on Animals And Their Needs. At our next session we will complete Human Skeleton. This week will be our last session for the term as group we share the building with are finishing up for this school year.

I am looking into other options for September both a new venue and a day of the week to meet.

Have a great Canada Day, eh?