Category: Teacher

You Asked, I Answer – Questions On 2017-2018 Homeschool Classroom

I tend to be wordy. I also tend to lose interest quickly. (Explains so much why I have such trouble homeschooling sometimes.) So I must have started 5-10 posts on various questions people ask me, or questions they post online in FB groups, but I never finish. Because as a reader, I like to skim and think, “What’s the point of your post again? Just get to the point!”

But I have so much to say! So today, I’m going to try a Q&A format instead! Hopefully I can keep the answers short.

Q: What does your homeschool classroom look like?

Our homeschool has gone from the lovely pic I have online at my FB Page to this after downsizing to a 1000ft apartment last year.   I only just unpacked and reorganized 80% last week.  You can click on the pics for a close up.

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Monthly Summary Oct 2017

You know homeschooling is getting to you when it’s taking more than a month to post the monthly summaries.  The funny thing is, October went super duper well.  But came November, I started losing steam.  It doesn’t help matters that we can no longer sit at the sofa because it’s piled up with homeschooling crap stuff.  I start losing my mind when my environment is messy.

But, “Onwards and upwards!” as they say.  Here’s what the kids did last month.

Thumper

  • English – 
  • Chinese – 
  • Math – factors, LCM, GCF, division worksheets, research measuring temperature and report, decimal place values, geometric solids

    Carved a pumpkin while I took a nap
  • Geometry – solids nomenclature, 5 types of angles
  • Science/History – What plants need to grow, Parts of plants (roots, stems, flowers, leaves, fruits), Clock of Eons
  • Others – violin book 2.5-2.7, Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, made Deviled Eggs, Pomegranate picking fieldtrip, made Greek Pasta, carved pumpkin

Astroboy

  • English
    • Reading – All about Reading #29-#41, Charlie and Glass Elevator read to, Seuss books, Magic Treehouse (audiobooks)
    • Grammar – nouns vs pronouns, articles, ./?/! command review, capitals, periods, sentences, pronouns, apostrophes and contractions, adjectives,English – 
  • Chinese – zhuin writing, started on Sagebooks characters writing #1-#5, 怪傑佐羅力 40 books, 神奇樹屋 #1
  • Math – tally, calendar, multiplication memorization, division by 1 digit, 2 digit subtraction review, long division introduction, Chinese math work book first grade, building decanomial poster project, equivalent fraction, geometric solids nomenclature
  • Science/History – same as sister
  • Others – Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, carved pumpkin, carpetry class.

Changing it up once again, I want to post pics of some of their work this month.  But of course first I must talk about it a bit because my eyes glaze over at these lists.  (I basically give this list to my ES.) (more…)

Homeschool Summary, Sept 2017

September was mostly a wash.  There was 5 weeks in the month and we only managed to work completely one week.  The rest was taken up by two trips to LA and testing.   Because we couldn’t have a complete work week due to traveling, I ended up giving the kids some evaluation tests in the morning, then they were free to play.

The following is what they did in that one week plus whenever we were in the car and they had nothing to do but read or listen to audiobooks.

Thumper

  • English – Wrinkle in Time (AR 4.7) audio and read, Black Stallion audiobook, Harry Potter 4 movie, Writing with Ease Weeks 4-5, plural nouns,
  • Chinese – 小主播看天下, 及時的呼喚 (Wrinkle in Time) not completed, 小學生童話字典 chap 5, 怪傑佐羅力, 精靈迷宮 (read to), 二年級問題多
  • Math – litter/mililiter, decimals & fractions review, line/angle nomenclature review
  • Science/History – Plants vs animals, needs of plants
  • Others – violin book 2.3, autumn festival lanterns
  • Circle Time – 土星環 & 星座(songs),  Space Oddity魚仔, 演員

Astroboy

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Homeschool Summary, Aug 2017

Such a great month I had. We worked hard and played pretty hard.

Really, it’s going so well I want to talk about what’s been working for me and what I learned, not the kids.

Thumper:

Astroboy

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Our Work Plan 2016-2017

This post is only about one whole year late.  But since I always document our workplaces for my own future reference…….

For the 2016-2017 school year, I had 2 different work plans, one during GYA16 and one for Spring 2017.   Here’s the Spring 2017 work plans.  The travel work plans is a modified version that we very very loosely followed.         

Thumper

We try to study English, Chinese, Math, History, Geography, Arts, Science daily with focus on English/Chinese/Math.

In 2015-2016, I started by planning how many times an activity had to happen each week and planned what she had to do every day.  So in a way, she ended up with a “todo list” in a grid format, of subjects she was to study daily.  She could have choices within the subjects, but the subjects were fixed.  This was my way of ensuring all subjects were covered.

When that still didn’t quite work, I severely cut back what she had to do by ended the year by having “must dos” daily and the rest are “do one from this list.  So English she must do All About Spelling, then choose amongst Story of the World, Writing with Ease, or writing a diary.

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Homeschool Summary Jul 2017

Wow, it really helps to have monthly summaries even though I never manage it for half the year.   I never think we accomplish too much but re-reading the summaries it’s not too bad.

Here’s what the kids did last month.  It may look like a lot, but this is what we did the whole day, not just during our work period.  Also, something I’m trying this year is only doing the item once a week.  I’ll talk more about that in my yearly Workplan post.  Having a revised schedule also helps in us having more downtime to do activities like reading and practical life.

In general, we had a very good 2+ week homeschooling and another 2 weeks half homeschooling half playing.  The changes I made to schedule and workplan has resulted in a little bit less frustration on my end and I like that we’re covering the materials I think we need to cover.

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Summer Reading and Listening for the Homeschooling Teacher

One of my favorite jdrama is Long Vacation.  The main lead is an aspiring pianist who is in a rut.  There is a scene in the drama the main characters are talking about how he is no longer entering in piano competitions and contemplates giving up altogether.  Rather, he’s just floating by giving piano lessons to kids.  The female lead suggests, maybe, he is just in a long vacation.

I’ve always loved that concept of long vacation.  Maybe you’ve falling off the exercise bandwagon, or the eating well bandwagon, or the homeschooling well bandwagon.  But you haven’t failed, just taking a long vacation.

Or as I like to tell my children when I’m feeling lazy, 休息是為了走更遠的路。

This year, we’re staying with my parents for 6 weeks while I help my sister with her sitting month.  The kids stayed with their other grandma the first two weeks.  I spent my kids-free time doing mostly brainless activities, waiting for my 3 meals to be served, not tidying or tackling the huge list of things I’d wanted to accomplish during my time here.

Finally I got bored enough to get off my butt and do some stuff.  Stuff like:

Reading Raising an Emotional Intelligent Child.  The author, John Gottman, is a researcher who studies marriages and his conclusion is that we all need to be emotionally intelligent and learning this skill starts in childhood.

We all know the drill of acknowledging children’s feelings, but he goes a step further.    How do you guide them when they’re having a moment, be it a tantrum or being sad or angry, and help them during those moments to be aware of and to process their emotions.

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Homeschooler Profile: Eclectic Unschooling

For my second profile, I’ve asked a fellow homeschooler in our co-op group, the one I used to call Super-prep Co-Op Mama.   I’ll be calling her Eclectic Mama (with her approval) here even though she says she’s a Fake Unschooler because when we looked up the definition of unschooling, it didn’t quite fit.  I understand why she wants to call herself that, but her curriculum method is really more eclectic.

Almost Unschooling Mama has 2 kids,  6.1 girl in kindergarten and 2.0 boy. I would sum up her philosophy as Reading, Math, and social skills is non-negotiable, for everything else follow the child’s  interest.  

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Homeschooler Profile: Outsourcing Schooling

This year, I met so many new parents who are considering homeschooling in the upcoming school year.  I have so many things I want to tell them.  But then I refrain because I know a lot of how we homeschool reflects our own personal experience growing up, how we think our children ought to be taught, our own children’s personality and their academic level, etc.

For me, I’d already chosen the Montessori curriculum years ago.  However, I’ve since learned that Montessori homeschooling is different from a Montessori public education, you get to be more fluid and  you can customize and tailor.  Now that I have a better understanding of what the Montessori curriculum actually means, I’ve relaxed and started looking at other curriculum.

So I thought what I would do is to interview people who have different educational philosophies and highlight how they’re homeschooling, the curriculum they use, their daily routines, etc.  Basically be nosy and get answers to questions I always want to know whenever I meet a new homeschooler!

Hopefully this series will be helpful for people who are just starting to research homeschooling.

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Easing back into a new semester

640px-Darjeeling-tea-first-flush-in-cupMonday morning, I woke up at 8am to a just made cup of oolong tea and the children having already eaten their breakfast of heated milk and scrambled eggs, cooked by Thumper.   Right now, both kids have been quietly working by themselves for at least an hour, the first in many, many weeks.

It’s so good to have our routine and normalized classroom back.

Ever since we got back from Christmas Break we’ve been having a hard time getting back into the routine of things.  The children often woke up at 8:30 and didn’t start work till 10am.  It culminated with Astroboy getting sick and for two to three days, both kids were waking up at 9:00, 9:30am.  He didn’t go to school those days.

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