What We’re Up to in Our Homeschool (Gr. 2, 5, 7)

This week I’m changing our “Thoughts on Teaching” series up a bit to write about how our homeschool days flow in general.  Each day is pretty different from the one before and is usually a result of what we didn’t get to (or got to only minimally) the day before.  But I keep a general running tab (mentally if not by checklist!) of what we’re doing in each subject.

So much changes in a couple of weeks!  I started this post a couple of weeks ago… but now we’re on to other things in some of our subjects. 🙂 I’ve added in other thoughts with a comments area, but that has made this post pretty long. 🙂

Math:

• LD (Gr 7): PreAlgebra
• DD (Gr 5): Fractions & Geometry
• ED (Gr 2): Easy multiplication, general arithmetic practice

Comments PreAlgebra: Last year LD used the Art of Problem Solving PreAlgebra along with other math books. That book gave him such an amazing introduction to the rules behind pre-Algebra. This year he is using more traditional math textbook by Pearson: Prealgebra (4th Edition). (affiliate link) (There is a more recent edition, but he’s using this edition.)  There are a great selection of problems and I like the way the concepts build.  My son has a great background already and the practice problems are at the perfect level for him. He’s moving through the book reasonably quickly without being overwhelming. (He’s not a great fan of math, but does fine.)

Comments Math Grade 5: DD is doing a huge unit on geometry in addition to using her math book. She is working on fractions in her Spectrum math workbook (Spectrum Math, Grade 6affiliate link).  And for geometry she is using, Geometry, Grades 6 – 8, (affiliate link). Each page has an explanation at the top with practice problems below. It introduces basic geometry terms well.

Comments Math Grade 2: ED is also working her way through a Spectrum Math, Grade 3 workbook, but she also plays games with me and has homemade math worksheets she does most days as well. She is just starting her 4s in multiplication.  (She’s done 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11… yes, I know not the typical order, but it worked for her!!)

History:

Comments Middle Ages Unit: We have been totally laughing our way through Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives (affiliate link).  We have one more episode to go (there are 8) and have gotten a lot out of this fun/educational series!  We also have continued with our main textbook.  We just finished the chapter on the Crusades in  Early Times: The Story of the Middle Ages(affiliate link) by Suzanne Strauss Art. Our family really likes the style of her books (this is the third in her series that we’ve used).  I supplement this with our own materials and use this as a read aloud, so the lack of photos/maps (as you’d find in a “traditional” history textbook) doesn’t bother me. We also have some very colorful resources we use like the The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Encyclopedias) which we pull out regularly.  We started reading the first couple of chapters of Dante’s Divine Comedy: As Told for Young People and have had some wonderful family discussions so far. We will probably be using the children’s book Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the coming week or so, but want to read and review it before recommending it here (because Chaucer can be kind of off-color!)

Science

• Chemistry Unit for my 2nd Grader: While ED did participate in all the activities my older two did, she also did her own unit on Chemistry.  I talked about some of the chemistry activities she did here: Chemistry Activities for Kids
• We are starting a new unit on Earth systems again.  We just reviewed the 4 main Earth Systems (atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, hydroshere).  Last year we did a long unit Earth Science (ie the geosphere).  This year we’re covering the biosphere (individual, population, community, habitats, ecosystems, biomes, climate zones, etc.) before going on to a big unit on oceans (ie. the hydrosphere). More details about those coming soon!!
• My youngest is reading through our Horrible Science magazine collection.  She’s really enjoying those!!

Literature

• We’re continuing with the main subjects — Writing Workshop (which includes literature reading), spelling (for ED and DD), grammar (we covered capitalization, but really need to go over the use of apostrophe’s for ED again and also cover comma rules again before tackling some new grammar), vocabulary (the kids like the vocabulary books, we just don’t get to it often enough). See our Language Arts Update: Literature, Spelling, Vocabulary, and Grammar
• Earlier this week we started a new read aloud novel: A Wrinkle in Time (affiliate link). This is the first time we’re using a literature guide and I am really enjoying that! I ordered two different guides, but am really liking this one: Instructional Guides for Literature: A Wrinkle in Time (affiliate link). I’ve had my older two doing some writing most every day with suggestions from this guide.

German

• We have made SO much progress this year.  We’ve been flying through the packets I’ve made, still use children’s stories (and accompanying CDs), and the kids really are enjoying DuoLingo this year.  We also sing songs in German (which the kids sing *all* the time!); I select song that go with the topics we’re covering.
• We have mostly finished our German unit on clothing, though we’ll continue to practice that regularly (still almost daily) even as we continue on.
• At the moment, we have just started doing house/home type words… so the kids are busy learning words like bathroom, bedroom, living room… and typical items you find in those rooms.
• I just found some new resources that would be great for any foreign language study. Hope to share those soon.

• The kids all read a lot.  I don’t talk about this as much now, but they all have lots of books going… LD is finishing the last book in the Giver series.  DD, well, she reads anything and everything all day long. She and I read Hatchet together earlier this semester.  ED has been pouring through the books I got her this year.  I’ll try to write up some of her books in a separate post soon.

Art, Music, Drama

• We’ve done a lot with Music this semester thanks to the music curriculum/plans I pulled together this summer. Having it all planned out has made it easy to add in that 10 minutes a couple times a week.
• DD and LD sing in a choir. ED is learning pieces on the piano. She recently performed the New World Symphony (and did an awesome job, says proud Mama!). It’s from 42 Famous Classics for Easy Piano (affliiate link) which is just perfect for her.
• DD and ED still are doing a weekly 2-hour art class. They adore their teacher!
• DD is in the musical production of Narnia (in the chorus) and is having a blast with that!

Sports

• LD does boys gymnasatics, so is at the gym a lot (4 days a week/4 hrs).  ED does rhythmic gymnastics so she also has a lot of practice (3 days a week/4 hrs).  DD and I have been walking and hiking a lot (3 days a week). We both recently got an activity tracker (the Garmin vívofit 2 Activity Trackeraffiliate link) and really love comparing our steps.  DD got one for her birthday and I got one for “Christmas” (but couldn’t wait!!).  We love those! I wanted one that had a normal watch function (and date) as well as tracking my walks. Plus, I really wanted the light function so I could check the time at night. That’s why I opted for the vivofit2 rather than the earlier version.   It’s fun that DD and I can compare our steps each day! I just love my new Vivofit 2!!

This post has gotten pretty long.  I had intended to just list our our subjects and then show the reality of our homeschooling. We most definitely DO NOT cover every subject every day.  But we typically do hit the “basics” every day. For us right now that includes math, German, writing, and reading.  Some days we’ll spend a 30–45 or so each on a lot of the other subjects… other days we’ll find that we’ve just spent an hour reading and discussing something… or a long time watching a video… Really most every day is different from the one before.

One more thing before I go… one morning, ED insisted that Boomer wear these socks.  Poor Boomer was not impressed!

Here are some related posts you might be interested in:

You might also be interested in how we choose the various topics we study.  These are checklists of topics I hope to cover in the elementary and middle school years and some other similar posts:

That’s it for today! See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to subscribe our newsletter! ~Liesl