Friday, September 27, 2013

Homeschooling with Ants and Mad Libs!

I think my domain transfer is pretty much complete other than a few bugs.  Thank you so much for being so patient!  Hopefully everything will be 100% back to normal by this weekend.

We are slowly getting back into the swing of things with homeschooling this year.  You can read more about my plans here.  We are mixing some unschooling with some curriculum and so far so good.

I am using Math Mammoth for our math curriculum and both boys enjoy it and are learning so much.  The best part of Math Mammoth for me is that once Duke started to read, the math is almost completely self-teaching. I give him a few pages to do each day and he reads the samples and does his work on his own.  He circles problems he needs help on and when he is finished we go over them together.

Imp needs me there when we do math because he can't read yet.  He just started first grade and can write all of his letters and knows their corresponding sounds, but when I ask him to combine them into words he breaks out in a sweat and panics.  Duke was a "late" reader also (he didn't start reading until he was 7) but now he is reading above his level, so I am not sweating Imp's refusal to read, especially since he is four months younger than Duke was in first grade.  Luckily I am their teacher so I won't receive a conference call warning me that my son can't read yet.  ;-) I was a late reader, but once I caught up I was reading books like The Source at 12.

This week we visited a nature preserve and hiked 3.5 miles in the forest and studied hummingbirds, trees, plants, and ants.  We had peanuts for snacks and the boys noticed that the fire ants were taking the crumbs to their anthill.  It is difficult to see them in the cut-out above, but I took a photo of three ants helping each other drag a giant piece of peanut.  Once they got to their anthill they had help from their ant friends and they kept on turning the piece around until they could get it to fit inside.  We spend thirty minutes watching the ants try to force too-large pieces down into their home.  I think I saw a few ants stomping on the larger fragments and cursing in frustration as they tried to force them down!  ;-)

In our school we have a very loose dress code, and there are quite a few days that the boys do their schoolwork in their underwear.  Bad mom, I know...  This is a photo of Luke reading a Mad Libs the boys created.  I decided this year I wanted them to work on their grammar, so while visiting B&N I found the perfect grammar books for them;  Mad Libs.  I need to figure out my punctuation on that last sentence (does it need a , or a ; or a : before "Mad Libs"?). I also purchased my own grammar book: Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students and need to sit down and read it.  I shudder to think of all of the typos and dumbo errors I make on this blog...  I would blame the fact I majored in genetics rather than writing, but scientists have to write papers also so it is not a valid excuse.  :-)

After all of these years Mad Libs are still so seductively fun.  I copy the Mad Libs pages without letting the boys see them (so we can do them over and over), and then ask them the parts of speech, which I fill in.  Duke reads the story out loud when it is finished, and the boys roll around laughing!  This has been a brilliant way to make them think about using different descriptive words.  When we started the adjectives were simple like tall, colored, etc., but after a few days of doing Mad Libs they are really giving me some creative words to write down.

Another thing we are doing for school is listening to classical children's books.  I have most of them in print, but my voice gets tired reading and I have found that we can listen to free audio versions through my phone.  Right now we are listening to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it is so good.  This version even has different voices!  We usually have to listen to 2-3 chapters at a time, so "Alice" is going to be finished within the week.  I think we are going to listen to Nesbit's "Five Children and It" next, a personal favorite of my childhood.

I would love to hear your own personal homeschooling tips.  I know so many of you have wonderful, fun ideas to teach your kids (even if they go off to school), and I would be thrilled if you would leave comments on this post with your favorite links of homeschooling blogs, your blog, and/or creative ideas.  To post a link in my comments you just have to use the code I pasted below with your own links.

I think we are putting these together next week!  We love Halloween. What crafts are you doing this  year for the "scary" season?

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1 comment:

  1. Reading about your homeschooling and the boys is always enjoyable. You are one busy mom. My daughter-in-law homeschooled our grandson until high school; he's now 16. It was great for her schedule and his plus he still enjoyed the sports, etc. the same as kids that go to public school. I wish my daughter could homeschool her son. Thanks for sharing your world and your wonderful photography offerings.