21 September 2006

nothing in particular...

Has it really been this long since I posted anything? Between moving and keeping up with the other blog and the music blog, the time gets away from me I guess.

We're behind in math. We won't really be able to start getting caught up until the next week or so, once we're settled in our new place. There's a little bit of catching up to do in history as well. I'm not worried. Hey, at least we're not behind in EVERY subject.

12 September 2006

a book a day...

When I was nine years old, I was a voracious reader. It was not odd for me to spend the weekend on the sofa reading one book after another. I had this thing about needing to finish a book once I started it, so books were pretty much devoured. Which led me to need more books. The annual book fairs at school were to me what sample sales are to a fashionista. I just couldn't get enough. Part of the reason I have to wear glasses now is because I would read by the nightlight in my room when I was supposed to be asleep. "Just one more chapter and I'll stop..."

My son's not that way. I'm not really sure why. He's nine years old, and hasn't read much outside of what's required and the occasional comic book. He has an extensive vocabulary and can carry on a fine conversation with any adult, but this skill does not come as a result of being impressively well-read. He just hasn't seemed to want to pick up a book in his free time.

Until now.

All of a sudden, my son's reading the way I used to...well, in a way. He isn't gobbling up books one after another as if they are going out of style, but when he finds one he's interested in, he'll scarf it down in a day or two, ready for the next installment. He's not reading Lord Byron or Mark Twain, but he is reading. That's all I care about. I read somewhere that reading below one's level increases speed and fluency. It may also foster a willingness to read more, if my son's newfound reading appetite is any indication.

What's he been reading with such zeal? Time Warp Trio books and Pirates of the Caribbean novels. And I couldn't be happier.

09 September 2006

apologia astronomy.

I hate Science.

Okay, I don't HATE it, but it's never been near the top of my list of favorite subjects. I always did well in it in school, but when it was time to think about doing it at home with my son, it just always fell by the wayside.

I never felt bad about it, either.

I think it's the whole "experiments at home with easy-to-find household items" thing. Wonderfully fascinating and fun for him, too much work for me. I'd rather just read a book when it comes to this subject.

That isn't to say that we've never done Science. We have. We've read nature readers and done narrations on ants and spiders and worker bees. We've drawn pictures of insects. We've read books about different animals and we've read books about weather and we've read books about trees and leaves and we've read books about space. We've watched videos on different mammals. We've learned quite a bit about the human body. We've learned about electricity. About magnets. About the earth's layers. About Ben Franklin's experiments. We've read Magic School Bus books. We've watched the Magic School Bus.

For me, that's plenty.

My son is taking a science class at The HEDGE this year, and our book is Apologia Elementary Astronomy. He is enjoying it, and so am I. Wonder of wonders!

Astronomy is interesting anyway, and this book is very interesting and well laid-out, allbeit pricey ($35.00). It's divided into fourteen chapters, and we are on Chapter Two: The Sun. We enjoy reading and discussing the chapter, we do a few narrations, and he completes vocabulary and latin root words for his notebook. The book also lists a course website which gives links to help us find things in the sky and let us know of future events (meteor showers, eclipses and such). Each chapter also has its own set of links. It is an excellent website, chock full of information.

My son is getting a lot out of the class. They do experiments in the class (bonus for me!) and there are extra credit opportunities, which he has already taken advantage of. It may turn out to be his favorite class (aside from Sports).

All in all, I think this is going to be our best Science year yet.

06 September 2006

abeka math.

Why can't I get this curriculum from anywhere else but them? I've got a homeschool store not too far up the road from me, and I am within reach of two others. But I have to wait for this stuff to come in the mail. It's a drag. Especially considering we needed it two weeks ago. Luckily, the math teachers have had copies of the day's lessons on hand in each class.

All ordering frustrations aside, I must say that I like the Abeka Math curriculum that my son is using at the HEDGE Academy. I've always used Horizons (which I LOVE) with the exception of last year when we tried Saxon. Hated it. This Abeka seems like a happy medium between the two, and seeing as how there is no Horizons class offered, it's what he's taking instead of the Singapore math tutorial. That is for 1st-5th graders. Not sure how much in-depth they would go into concepts that a 4th grader needs to know. Not in a one-hour class.

I assume that the actual Abeka book is in color...I have yet to see it. I hope it is anyway. Colorful pages are just a lot slower than black-and-white at de-motivating my son to do his math. Though he hasn't had any trouble with the black-and-white copies; he's been doing his math with zero complaining. Perhaps color pages won't be an issue.

We begin each lesson with his 3-minute drill, then he does his two pages, which completes the lesson. Each lesson has an abundance of review of concepts previously learned, and the presentation of new concepts is clear and not confusing.

The real challenge for us will be staying on track and not getting behind in favor of other subjects. Having the accountability of the class at the co-op will help.