Sunday, August 21, 2011

Start of Our School Year!!!

Monday is the first day of the 2011-2012 school year for my boys and I have once again added more Geography to our lesson plans. They will be using the Social Studies/Geography on their Time 4 Learning lessons but I always want to go one step beyond. This means adding it from several other sources. My older son is starting 9th grade this year so we are adding World Geography for him and my younger son is in 8th grade so I am concentrating on the USA.
I am mixing it up with some US States Games, some workbooks and some board game playing. My older son will be playing with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for his computer, some workbooks and a few World Geography games websites I have found. 2 years ago we did the whole United States where each of them had 26 States and had to research, write and learn about them. And while that was cool.... I try to switch things up each year so it isn't the same old stuff. Hey, that is the whole point of homeschool isn't it... we can adjust, change, modify and switch around things as we see fit and our kids are the winners(for the most part) from it!
So, as I complete last minute lesson plans, charts, schedules..... I am getting the groans, moans and stink eye because as the teacher... I am ready to start the new school year and they are not. I am hoping that despite their disgruntles, they find the new year cool, exciting and challenging!
So..when does your school year start?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What the heck are Dolch words?!

What are Dolch words?
As you go into your homeschooling year, you may see this and ask yourself WHAT?!
That is what I did!
Turns out, I already knew this.... just as a different format!
When my boys were little, they were called Sight Words.
And this is great, because as I am prepping for not only my boys school year... I am prepping for my preschool daycare kids school year and had planned to incorporate some sight words!
I stumbled upon Dolch while looking for things and I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks because I have learned what it means!
A list of English sight words, The Dolch Word List, was compiled by Edward William Dolch, PhD, in 1948. The list was originally published in his book "Problems in Reading". Dolch compiled the list based on words used in children's reading books in the 1930s and 40s. The list contains 220 "service words" that must be quickly recognized in order to achieve reading fluency.

So, as I plan our school year for 8th grade, 9th grade and preschool lessons..... I will be going through this list and using Dolch words to enhance our learning experience!

Oh and here is a whole list of the words:Dolch Word List

Friday, August 12, 2011

In the immortal words of Spongebob..... I'm Ready!

We are accidental homeschoolers starting our homeschool journey almost 3 years ago when my oldest son had barely started 6th grade at public school. The school sucked in my simplest basic opinion, they failed my child and they failed me. Pulling him and homeschooling was the best thing we ever did! This was to be a middle school thing and then send them back out into the world for high school.
Since the economy has made the local schools 3x worse than they were instead of better.... he will continue to be homeschooled through high school. This means that Mom aka me has to really come up with a good program for him that I know works for him. We used Time 4 Learning for middle school and he loved it. The animated lessons worked for him. He has ADHD and the attention span waivers. If he were still in public school, he would be labeled special education and put into the system. This was the problem before, he was lost and did not have help.
Since he has been homeschooled he has blossomed! He passed his required State testing with flying colors! Needless to say, we were thrilled when opened the envelope and saw his scores! We knew what we had been doing for him worked!
So... Mom has spent the better part of her Summer using any spare moment(and those of you that follow my blogs know those are few and far between!) to research online programs, curriculums and whatnot to find something that I know will work for him! And I have to say my diligence has paid off!! YEAH!
He was signed up for a program that is a lot like what he has been using this week! I signed up a week ago but it takes a few days to get our account up, so I did not get to play around with it and really check it out until this week!
I have to say a big weight was taken off my shoulders because not only did I have an easy daycare week which allowed me to get our 2011-2012 Preschool year planned out but I was able to get my 8th grader's Time 4 Learning lesson plans completed and my 9th grader's lesson plans! I still need to laminate their personal charts that I place by their workstations but they are printed out. Plus I cleaned out the 3 boxes of homeschool books, supplies and misc. papers I had and have been ignoring! Recycled a whole box of 2 year old papers! Realized how little supplies we needed and made a list of books to sell on eBay and craigslist that I bought and haven't used! And I hit the few places that had what supplies we were lacking and we are stocked up and ready to go!
I say bring on the 2011-2012 school year!!!
In the immortal words of Spongebob, I'm Ready-I'm Ready-I'm Ready........