Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nose back to the Grindstone

After spending so little time on school since our October visit to England, we are back to the grindstone.  Only with changes.
As each new year arrives, I consider it time to evaluate what we are doing as a homeschool, and make any necessary changes.   I know I am not alone!

Today, however, marked some biggies.
First off, I made a strict schedule for Rebel.  This covers his entire waking life, from getting up to going to bed.  I have a feeling it is necessary, because he is one that thrives off of such routines.  M'Lady doesn't have such a schedule (yet) because she is not so needful of it, although I would venture to say she likes it just as well as he does.

I also ditched the creative writing curriculum we were using.  Although I love Classical Writing and think it is a great curriculum, this is one of those instances where the child in question just did not do well with it at all.  I am pretty sure most of his issues are sheer laziness.  But be that as it may, it doesn't mean that it is the right one for us.  Instead, I will eventually start him on something else.  I am hoping to use the Institute for Excellence in Writing's Teaching Writing: Structure and Style.  I think it will be an interesting change.

I am thinking of putting a time limit on how long each lesson takes.  Yes, this comes after a 4 hour mathematics lesson....

Rebel is not the only one who had some changes made.  M'Lady had her reading book switched around.  Many years ago I bought Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for Rebel.  It bombed big time with him and I set it back on the shelf and used The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading instead.  This time I started with Ordinary Parent's Guide... M'Lady was forever complaining that it was too boring/too hard or something else...  Today I decided to switch to 100 Easy Lessons.  And it worked.  She definitely preferred the structure of that lesson to the OPG.  Apparently the kids are polar opposites.

The biggest change though, would be something fun.   You can see it here in the picture I took just in case there was a yarn along last week (there was not).

See that there?  The thing on top of the book?  THAT is a Nook Color.  My Christmas present and new e-reader.  Oh how I love that thing. 
I discovered, quite luckily, how to put Project Gutenberg e-books on it.  There are two ways- you can download to your Nook, or you can download to your hard drive and import it into your Nook Library.
So why did it make it into this post?  BECAUSE it is the perfect homeschool tool.  Not only can you quietly browse the web/email etc. while schooling, but you can also use it for the numerous e-texts you might use say, in the Ambleside Online curriculum.
We actually use several e-texts, and I am grateful to have a readable screen and less to print... plus it is a pretty good motivator for reading :)  In fact Rebel, read the entire history chapter I set for him today- so well, that he picked up on something the author left out of the story (namely WHAT Cardinal Wolsey had predicted).  I am satisfied that he read the text today ;)

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