Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Lesson Planning for M2 (April/May 2010)

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Sorry about that! If you’re waiting to see what we’re doing for the next 6 weeks (well, 5, almost 4, now that the first week and a half of M2 is over!!), we have some new things that we’re working on that we started this week.

One of the new sites I found (courtesy of FreeHomeschooling101’s blog – link in sidebar) is EnglishGrammar101.com. It’s a fully lessoned-out plan of attack that your kidlet can do online, or you can print lessons out and. The site will score the lessons, and you can keep track. Neat-o! You know me; I’m all about record-keeping, lol. LittleBoyBlue is breezing through 100 Easy Lessons – I knew he would; he’s reading very well (surprisingly well sometimes – he recently finished the Halo graphic novel and a Zelda GN, and started on The Fall of Reach (which is a full-length Halo novel) and 100 EL is very, very basic. We started EnglishGrammar101 this week with Unit 1, Lesson 1 (and have completed Lesson 2). It’s good. I like it, at any rate. Since the first part is verbs, I found the Grammar Rock YouTube video of “Verbs” and we watched that. Fun, and it brings back good Saturday-morning-cartoon memories for me. When you click on the link, look in the left hand menu and choose “homeschooling”, then you can click the plus signs to expand the menu and you can choose a unit and lesson from the drop-down box. I let LittleBoyBlue do the lesson, then click “score” at the top (though you can click the question mark boxes at each line as you go if you’re reviewing or learning) and then write down the percentage (grade) and then print. We’re using the printed work as a review and reference to reinforce what we learned in the lesson.

Another is AAAKnow.com – it’s a math site that is divided into grade levels and subject areas. Again – it’s all online, fully planned out lessons and worksheets. PeaGreen has completed his other workbooks, so I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find him something (I was about to go buy a workbook!!) when I found this site. He’s actually quite good in math, and we’re coming up on May where he would have ‘graduated’ to 2nd grade, so I think we’re going to finish out this mod and the next and start him in “2nd grade” in M5, which will come up starting in July. LittleBoyBlue is also very good in math (though he lacks discipline as evidenced by the 2 hours he spent on 20 problems today; some of that was my fault for not paying him enough attention) and as soon as he finishes the Math Minutes book, he’ll start on Saxon 3, but we’ll supplement with AAAKnow’s lesson plans as well. One thing I will mention is that the ‘practice’ portions will go on indefinitely – at least past 50, so count as your child does them as you go and limit it to whatever number you want to work with. We did 50, but could have stopped after 25 or so, once he demonstrated that he clearly has grasped the concept. I do like that there’s a printable progress report form so you can keep track of which lessons as you go.

We’re also using Multiplication.com quite a bit this mod. LittleBoyBlue is getting into multiplication tables and they have a nice little video that uses “cookie math” to explain the concept. It must work; he’s up to the 3’s already, and can figure out most of the problems I give him. They also have worksheets, pre- and post- tests to print and use.

I also found (again, thanks to FreeHomeschooling101) is a flash sight words site. It’s based on the Dolch sight words and many other resources use that as well – we actually had flash cards and sticky-notes with these words on them already, which makes it super easy to supplement with hands-on materials. I haven’t looked through the flash site fully, but what I saw, I liked. PeaGreen is having some difficulty with reading – I don’t know why. It seems like he was doing quite well in his classroom with the leveled readers that his former teacher was sending home, but for some reason he seems to have lost that confidence. He’s doing very well with the phonics lessons in 100 EL, but when it comes to spelling work (not the spelling itself, but the reading of directions or spelling sentences) or independent reading, he’s stumbling more than I am thinking he should be. I am hoping that drills of sight words will help reinforce his skills.

Another new development in our school is a return to handwriting as a subject all its own, independent of journaling and copywork.  Both boys still have their handwriting books from school (McDougal, Littell’s Handwriting Connections for grades 1 and 2)

so we’ll continue to use them until they’re done, then we’ll have to find something to supplement that. LittleBoyBlue will be moving on to cursive writing soon!

Let’s see… I also bought A Short History of the World by Alex Woolf to use for History/Geography. It’s not comprehensive, but it does cover a heck of a lot – skims the surface of history, which I think is enough to get us to an area that one (or both) of the boys finds interesting – at which point we can dig in a little deeper. we’re still chronologically in pre-history and ancient history (here on the timeline – and can I just reiterate how much I LOVE the online timeline at HyperHistory?!) and the book is not strictly chronological, but we can supplement as needed.

I also have been looking for a way to assess where the boys are in reading – are they “on track”? Ahead? Lagging behind? I found several assessment tests – some more for “Language Arts”  and reading speed/level, and some to give you a ‘grade/month’ number. I think the first one is probably more ‘accurate’, but the second one is fast and easy to use. According to it, PeaGreen is reading at 1st grade, 6th month (which is on-target for him) and LittleBoyBlue is reading at 3th grade, 6rd month level, which is ahead of his actual grade (2nd)…  and I read at 12th grade, 8th month and beyond, in case you were wondering. {smile}

I’m planning on doing the other test at some point during this mod as well, which will give us an idea of which “level” books to give them when we’re choosing leveled readers. Right now I’m giving LittleBoyBlue level 3 books, which are chapter books, and PeaGreen is getting between level 1 and level 2 books, depending on the series. He’s harder to choose for; I want him to be challenged, but not frustrated. we’re reinforcing his skills with 100 EL as I said, so I am seeing small improvements – I think that will improve as we continue through this mod’s reading, phonics and grammar lessons.

Here’s something fun: BOOK IT – Pizza Hut’s reading incentives program for 2010-2011 school year (deadline June 30, 2010) http://www.bookitprogram.com/Enrollment/homeschool.asp Your kidlet can get free pizzas for reading. How awesome is that?!

Another freebie (thanks, yet again to FreeHomeschooling101’s blog – if you’re not on their FaceBook page, you REALLY need to check them out.) History Lesson plans  – August 2010 DVD    http://www.history.com/images/media/pdf/TDIH_Guide.pdf

If you’re looking for Earth Day lesson plans, check this out: http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/earthday/index.php There are lots of options, depending on your grade level and how involved you want to get. Of course, if you’re local to Southeast Texas, then you’re going to want to come out to The Barking Dog to support the Farmer’s Market that opens this May!

And one more thing… Lesson Pathways website is now FREE!!  http://www.lessonpathways.com/Home They have TONS of info, including COMPLETE curriculum outlines by grade. You can pick and choose lessons, units or use their entire plan. So cool! I haven’t explored it fully, but there are some things I am pretty sure we’ll be using in the math section – I am sure I’ll find more awesomeness as I browse.

Overall, I’m feeling very good about this mod’s beginning. It always takes a few days to get back into the routine after a break, but now that we’re back, it’s going pretty smoothly. I think the boys are excited to have some new things to work on, and I know they both like doing computer work. Having the option to print is good, but paperless is definitely cheaper, and between the Homeschool Tracker program I use and online lessons, I’m using less paper and ink than I thought I would be. That’s a good thing!

On another note (for those of you who have been keeping up with the progress of out garden), we have definite PLANTS now – not just seedlings. From seed, we have tomatoes, onions, pumpkins, radishes, watermelons, avocados, jalapeños, basil, coriander, tarragon, radishes and cantaloupes coming up. It’s SO NEAT to watch! I’ll post pictures soon.

I hope that you find some of this useful when planning your own lessons and activities!

Warmly,

~h

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One response

  1. Thanks for helping to spread the word that LessonPathways.com is now free. 🙂 Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions.

    We also have a Facebook Fan page, if you’d like to pop by and say “hi”.

    -Christina S.
    LessonPathways.com Team Member

    April 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

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