Archive for August, 2011
We’ve finished four weeks of school already. It seems like the school year is flying by to me
I’ve started a new math program with my son. I was trying to find a pre-algebra program for him online. There isn’t a textbook like there is for algebra and above. There was one online course but it was very incomplete. It might be great when they are done, but it’s just not there. But I got an email announcing Master Math and we tried it out. It is 6th-8th grade, but it is only a combined 110 lessons. But, it might be just what we need for this school year.
My son has already finished pre-algebra on Khan Academy, but he isn’t ready for algebra. Master Math has a video, worksheet and quiz for each lesson. Since my son knows most of this stuff, he’s just doing the quiz. I told him if he gets one wrong he has to go back and watch the video and do the worksheet.
If you get one wrong on the quiz, it tells you right away and shows you the answer worked out. It gives you a score at the end. It currently does not give positive feedback, like “correct,” but he said he would add that in. He is also working on putting the answers to the worksheets on the site.
The biggest advantage over Khan Academy is that there are lots of word problems. Khan Academy is all computation. An advantage of Khan Academy is that it makes them review. Both put together are going to be my year of pre-algebra. If my son gets stuck on a topic, he can use that other course to do another lesson on the same topic.
Why not just move on to algebra? My son is young, and it doesn’t come easy. He gets things right, but he asks a lot of questions and isn’t confident in some of these topics. I’d rather him go forward confidently than quickly.
We’re a week and a half into our new school year. So far so good. The kids have found some links that didn’t do as expected, but of course, I’m right here and it’s not been long since I put them up so I got them fixed up. The great thing about the curriculum is that I can adjust easily as we go. I realized that two subjects both had lapbook pieces to cut out on the same day, so I took a peek and switched around two days to split it up. I’ve put up so many links this past year, I’m quick at the draw. Anyone who someday uses this with us can know, this is really what my kids do each day. Read my last post if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
The days are a little bit quicker right now because they are doing poetry so their readings are short. We have short “official” school days here right now: first grader–1 hour, fourth grader–1 1/2 hours, sixth grader–2 hours. Their days do their at the computer work will stretch a half hour to an hour longer as they get a bit more into school. Their readings will get longer and they will do more writing and we get a bit farther into the year. We always do poetry first because I don’t like poetry and so my kids aren’t thrilled with it either. We get it done while we’re all fresh and excited for the new year.
Here’s how we’re working sharing the computer:
after breakfast 4th grader does his fourth grade work — when he’s done, he calls the first grader — they do the elementary level “year 4″ work together — that’s history, Bible, science, art, music, PE/health (not all every day) — then the sixth grader does all her work — then she calls over the first grader and she stays with him while he does his first grade work — finally I read with the first grader, trading sentences or paragraphs back and forth in the novel he’s reading — they are done around nap time so either myself or my husband can get on the computer then — working out so far
What are we studying?
For history it’s 20th century though we’re starting at the transcontinental railroad. I’m matching science to the history as best as I can, so for science they studied how steam engines worked and then the states of matter to learn about steam. They learned about Bell and watched videos and did experiments for science on sound. They are putting together a timeline with lapbook type pieces for each person/event to put on their timeline papers.
They are also making lapbook pieces for the chemical elements. The first grader is drawing pictures in his and putting them in a lapbook. The fourth and sixth grader are writing in theirs and the one is putting his up on a wall poster and the other is putting them on notebooking pages. So, I’m still trying to keep everyone together and linked, but they each get to do their own thing as well.
I’m not going to post the links we’re using because everything is a link and I have them all posted on the school site. Most are also on the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers site as well. I’ll give you the timeline pieces when I’m done with the whole thing. I can give you the elements lapbook now. My camera isn’t working so you’ll have to take it without seeing it first.
Elements Lapbook — I think there are 20 some elements here. I picked ones that would be common or found in common things. I’m introducing them one a week. There are extra ones in the back to match them up as molecules. You know, like H2O