We are doing the Muscular System this week in co-op which should be fun. There are a lot of fun experiments to try 🙂 Ice skating starts this weeks which is also the same day as Soccer for just this one week, busy but exciting. Apiary field trip on Wednesday. Looks like nice big chunks of schoolwork days this week, awesome! We are hoping to work on wood burning for art this week. We have the supplies except the word burning tool. In the organizing of the craft room I still have not found this tool. Hoping to find it this week.
I bought fabric last week for a couple summer dresses for Princess and a night gown for her. I might start these. I also have an idea for a sewn advent calendar that I am still forming in my head. I need to finish organizing the craft room before sewing. I am close but not done yet. (updates on this progress will be here: Crazy8 Gets Organized)
Out of doors
We still need to finish up the bulkhead before the snow. Not sure if that will work this week with the weather forecast 😦 The horses fencing needs repair and that will be first priority for this week.
In the kitchen
My goal this week is to try a new soup each day and bake a loaf of bread to go with it. This is huge for me because I always think I don’t have time for this kind of thing. Planning my menu today and will let you know how it goes.
A photo from last week….
We had a wonderful time at the Natural Science Museum this week. Here is a cute picture from our day. It was cold but we learned a lot about birds.
This was an awesome homeschooling week. We got so much accomplished. Lots of academics and also some other fun stuff.
Our field trip this week got cancelled so I thought I would highlight planning field trips in this post. First, our week in review:
Director got & started a bi-weekly editing job with local TV station
Open Gymnasium time with the Homeschool Group
Natural Science Museum
Kids Carnival tomorrow
It sure seems like more when I list it like that. Ok, planning field trips next.
Planning Homeschool Field Trips
Our family plans most of the field trips for our homeschool group. Our group wasn’t doing many field trips when we started attending this group years ago. I decided that if I wanted field trips to happen I was going to have to do it myself. Here is the process.
First I decide what my children would be interested in doing for a field trip. I look at what we will be studying that year. In 1st grade I usually do a “Community Workers” type of lesson so if I have a child going into 1st grade I will gear my field trips towards those occupations. I also ask my kids which ones they liked from last year and also if there are any they have thought of that they would like to do. I also ask them if there are any they would prefer to never do again 🙂 I make up a list of all the prospective field trips and what specific businesses would be called if we choose to do that field trip.
Then I ask around and see who would like to go on a field trip. I usually ask via email or during the monthly meeting or I just ask my friends that homeschool. I have found that to have a business host a field trip they like to have a group of people to make it worth their while. There are 8 of us and I can usually find at least 2 more people to join us for any given field trip. Most places require or ask for a group of at least 10 people for them to take the time to host a field trip. We have just gone with only our family, but still 8 is a pretty good size group. I don’t usually narrow my list down by these inquires into who would like to attend. But if your family is not as large as ours you may have to narrow the list down to field trips that have at least 10 people interested.
Once I know I have the 10 or so people that would commit to go I start to call and schedule the field trips with the different businesses. Usually people say they will go but you end up with about 2/3 of those people actually going, just a heads up, I usually call to schedule anyway.
The process of scheduling:
I have a calendar printed up in front of me with our families major commitments on it like: homeschool co-op, appointments I can’t change, church commitments, sport commitments, etc. I also list things that the majority of the things that the homeschool group will be doing like: open gym time, meetings, other events, etc. I figure that trying to host a field trip during the time that kids would normally be at say a soccer game might be a hard sell when asking for family participation in the field trip. Also, the families might be a little miffed that their child wanted to go do both events but I scheduled it during that time.
In front of me I also have an open email or Word document ready for me to type in the information so I can send it to the group when I am finished my calls.
I have made a list of the places of business for each field trip and phone numbers. When I call I write down the contact persons name, their direct line, and any specifics they give me like: no more than 25 people, no kids under 3yo, no open toed shoes, etc.
I almost always schedule field trips for Wednesday mornings. Why do I do this? I have no idea. Whenever I call I look down at my calendar and that is usually the only day free. It looks like it would fit nicely in the middle of the week. I really have no idea why I schedule them mainly on Wednesdays. But you should have some idea what day you would like to go on your field trips because the contact person will ask you, “When would you like to come?” I usually give the a list of the next 3 Wednesdays that are available. I also suggest to them that we usually do field trips in the mornings. Sometimes we have done them on different days and in the afternoon but for the most part they are on Wednesdays and in the morning hours.
I set up with them the date, time, and special requirements for that field trip OR I leave a message. In the message I say, “I would like to set up a school field trip to your place of business,” and leave my contact info and sometimes possible dates for the field trip. Some people still do not know what homeschooling is but they understand if I say “school field trip” so I usually word it that way. Leaving a message is kind of a pain because I was hoping to set everything up right then when I call. I am appreciative that they are willing to host the field trip but waiting for that return phone call can take weeks.
In my email or Word document that I have open I list: the date and time of the field trip or I if I haven’t gotten ahold of anyone I write TBD or “left message waiting to hear back” just so the other families know that it is in the works.
In the email to the homeschoolers I also ask that whoever is interested in coming to the field trip to let me know that they are interested.
As emails and texts come in from the homeschoolers interested, I start a list of people wanting to attend. Some field trips only allow 25 people so when I hit that number I don’t stop, I continue adding names till I get to 30 because I know some won’t show up on that day, happens every time. BUT the opposite can happen. I have had field trips where people just showed up without telling me and we were way over our number allowed. The business still let us have the field trip but had to split us into two groups and it was hard to reschedule with that bank again. So try and emphasize nicely that you need to know who will be attending.
When I have reached my limit for field trip participants I send out an email stating that that particular field trip is full.
I also set up an automatic calendar update to come through the group to remind them that the field trip is coming up.
The day before the field trip I call and remind the business that we will be coming.
The day of the field trip I try and be the first ones there. This is not always the case but I try. I find my contact person and let him/her know we are here.
I thank them at the end of the field trip for letting us come.
I try and remember to send a thank you note to them for allowing us to come. I am terrible at remembering this. Not sure why it is that way. I very much appreciate all they do/did but I totally forget. But you (and I) should send a thank you of some kind.
Here is a list of the field trips we have taken in the past just to get your thoughts going on what you could do:
Community Television Station
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Natural Foods Co-op
Here are some pictures from our Fire Department Field Trip last week.
For this week: Skeletal System Co-op class Monday; soccer Tuesday; Field Trip to the Apiary on Wednesday; Natural Sciences Museum Friday (a friend gave us tickets); and Free Kids Carnival Saturday. Looks like we will be doing a good chunk of sit down schoolwork this week. Still working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a shelter for them.
In our state we have to report our progress at the end of each school year. I never like to be searching at the last minute for what to send in. This week I am focusing on making sure I have a paper I could send into the state in each of the required subjects. That means I need a paper from Math, Language Arts, Science, Health, Art, History, and Health for each of my school age children. I believe I am all set for Septembers work. I just need to have a page for each of them from this month.
Out of doors
We will be having an outing to the Natural Science Museum on Friday which should be a treat. We have bulbs to plant and more brussel sprouts to pick. Soccer may be cold and too wet to do this week.
In the kitchen
We ended up making pumpkin pie (Tech made this) and potato and corn chowder (Mechanic made this) to bring to the Barn Dance on Saturday. Also, we were given about 25 lbs of meat in exchange for harvesting grapes so I need to figure out what is in there and organize the upright freezer again.
A photo from last week….
There were so many pictures form this week it was really hard to choose…. Here is Tech with his best friend this week when we carved pumpkins.
This week was not as productive in the academics as I was hoping it would be. I am not concerned because we school pretty much year round and this school year started in July. According to our state I have a 2 month jump on this current years work.
This week we had our regular co-op classes on Monday. This session of classes are:
Human Body Systems
The system of study this week was the Digestive System. Here is a picture from the class.
I am going to focus this post on how our co-op works. But, I will finish my week in review first. Here is a quick list of what we accomplished:
Attended a friends soccer game
Some Easy Peasy
Math drills each day
Reports written for the month (we try to do one a month)
Soccer (my son Gamer coached, photo above)
Dinner at a friends house (also helped her with her homeschool paperwork)
Fire Department Field Trip
Pumpkin Carving for the Nursing Home
Loading, unloading, and stacking fire wood
Dinner at another friends house
Jewelry party tomorrow
Barn Dance tomorrow also
Our homeschool co-op is really a homeschool class because at this point I teach them all. I have tried to have others take over the work of running a class but this has not worked out. I love teaching these mainly hands-on classes, so I don’t mind at all. My daughter Director has been a great help in the Choir class.
This year I tried something different. I had families sign-up and pay a very small supply fee to take the K-6 classes. In the past it was hit or miss whether students came to the classes. This year with that small supply fee and a registration portion we have had a wonderfully full class each week. In past years it has also been very expensive for me supply all the items for classes. This year is so much better.
Another thing I tried this year was just having an 8 week session for each season. We have the Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions. Here is the breakdown of the classes per session:
The Human Body (K-6th)
Choir (all ages)
Career Readiness (7th-12th)
Exploring Weather (K-6)
Drama Club (all ages)
Dissection 101 (4th-12th)
Beginning Botany (K-6)
Garage Band (all ages)
The classes that say K-6 are really geared to all the way up to 11th grade but not 100% of the time so I listed those grades instead.
The classes I teach are things I would be doing with my children anyway. These classes are an extension of our learning at home. The children really enjoy doing the science projects with a group. The science classes are all hands-on with a small bit of talking in between projects. There is always a snack also.
The classes run for 3 hours on Mondays at the local library. The library has a wonderful meeting room that they let us use. The room has a full kitchen, complete sound system, full video projector and computer access, and it’s own bathroom. The library also provides chairs, tables, cups, plates, and serving tray and bowls. It really is an amazing space. This meeting space is also free to use.
I have a regular blog where I post what our homeschool co-op is doing each week: Crazy8 Homeschool Co-ops On that blog I will post the rest of the pictures from this weeks classes and helpful info about running a co-op type class.
Our family is in our 23rd year homeschooling and with Princess only turning 5 next month we are in this for the long haul. I think families feel comfortable with me teaching and I hope they see how much I love doing it 🙂 Families come up to me each week thanking me for teaching the classes and I am glad they appreciate it.
For this week: Digestive System Co-op class Monday; soccer & Princess’s dentist appt. Tuesday; Pumpkin Carving @ nursing home, Tech’s dentist appt, & Fire Department Field Trip on Wednesday; dh Dr apt Friday; and Homeschoolers Barn Dance Saturday. Looks like we will be doing sit down schoolwork on 5 mornings this week including a small bit on Saturday. Working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a new shelter for them. The craft room organizing is ready for the next step.
My oldest daughter Gallop and her husband are expecting their first child in May. I would like to sew a layette for them. I need to look at what I have for patterns and figure out which on to do. I would like to only sew useful things for them but also a couple just cute things. They will be finding out what they are having so that will help with picking the material color out.
Out of doors
It looks like a beautiful week this week except for Monday. Hoping to focus on finishing up the bulkhead repairs before winter sets in. We have a friend who is willing to let us use a backhoe to finish the job. Maybe this is a good week for that.
In the kitchen
It will be chilly out this week so maybe a few soups will be on the menu. I know for class tomorrow I am planning on making edible intestines, sounds gross, but should be yummy. Also, on Saturday is the Homeschool Barn Dance and we need to bring soup or chili to that for the pot-luck part.
A photo from last week….
Here is a photo from out our front door. We sure do live in a beautiful part of the country.
We had a very productive homeschooling week this week. We were able to actually stay home Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Guess that is why we got so much accomplished.
Our homeschool days fluctuate between a day of workbooks and a day of Easy Peasy online school. The workbooks we use will be for another post. Today I thought I would share how the Easy Peasy computer school program is working for us.
This week we were able to spend two days just on computer school and the other two days were on workbooks. Mondays are taken up by co-op classes. This weeks co-op Science class was the Respiratory System. We also had co-op Choir and Career Readiness.
Princess (Kindergarten) She does a little bit of Easy Peasy “Getting Ready 1“. On that program she learns her letters with songs, worksheets, and the starfall program. She knows her letters very well and just has fun with the online learning. The sounds of the letters is what she is learning now so the starfall program is useful. There seems to be a lot of coloring pages with this Easy Peasy level. She does like some coloring but she, like my other children, detest busy work. She liked the project this week that involved making a movable animal for the letter of the week. Below is a link to one kind of project like that that she did recently. We do tend to just skip over the busy work stuff though. So she focused mainly on her workbooks this week and the computer program Reading Eggs which she really loves.
Collector (3rd Grade) He does Easy Peasy Third Level. This week he worked on xtramath to practice his math facts speed and knowledge. (Easy Peasy suggests the use of that program.) In Math he worked on adding +10 and +11 and adding one more to a large number. In Language Arts he worked on poetry. This weeks topic in poetry was rhyme and alliteration. He understood the rhyming but the alliteration didn’t sink in, I don’t believe. No big deal. He worked on a spelling with the worksheet below (the first picture will show a larger image and the second picture links to the worksheet itself online). He really enjoyed it. He enjoys spelling anyway but this worksheet was fun to him. He worked on current events in History. He read an article online and then rewrote it in his own words. His choice was the clean-up from a recent hurricane in the south. In Science he played an online game about the states of matter. It was fun and really brought the point home. In PE he worked on learning how to stretch properly. All in all it was a great week. This program works all right for Collector but I do prefer that he does most of his work away from the computer screen. He enjoys it but the reading is more difficult on a screen than in a book that is in his hands. Overall he seems to be learning a lot from this program.
Pilot (5th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Fourth Level. I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he also worked on xrtamath to practice with his math facts. (As Easy Peasy suggests.) In Math he worked on estimating to the hundreds place and adding the estimated numbers. He also did online timed division facts which he enjoyed. The Reading was a crazy huge amount this week. All the reading this year is from McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader. I even have a hard time figuring out this book. The language is not easy nor are the stories. I spend so much time explaining these stories to him that I think I am going to reconsider him doing the reading with Easy Peasy starting next week. For example yesterday we was supposed to read 5 different stories. Now the vocabulary he does with this he likes very much and he enjoys learning new words. Also this week he learned about a Limerick and wrote one. In Science & History he learned about Alexander Graham Bell, did an experiment with sound, and watched a video on Bell. He also did Bible work, learned about junk mail, and looked at the life of the composer Pfitzner. This program, except for Reading, works really well for Pilot. He is having fun and learning as he goes. There is never a complaint to have to do school. The picture links to the video he watched this week.
Tech (7th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Sixth Level. Just like Pilot I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he worked on xrtamath to practice his math facts also. This year he is working on Language Appreciation. He watches a video with part of the voices in Latin and the rest in English then he has to make his best guess as to what the Latin words mean. He has a lot of fun with it. Next week he will use this list to look up the French and Spanish words for these Latin words and look for similarities. His Math is Khan Academy and this week he worked on negative numbers and comparing absolute values. I like that on Khan Academy I can look and see what each of my children is working on right from my “Coach” page. He is enjoying his Robert Frost poetry this year. He also worked on Bible, Alexander Graham Bell, and Pfitzner, but at a higher level than Pilot. This program does not seem challenging enough for Tech. Not sure what I need to specifically change yet but something needs to change. He is kinda bored with it except for the games. Here is a link to a History game he loves. It is actually from Directors school lessons but he enjoys playing when he is done his schoolwork.
Artist (9th Grade) She does Easy Peasy Eighth Level. Just like Tech I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year.This week she worked on xrtamath to maintain her math fact skills. This year she is taking Sign Language and loving it. She laughs throughout the video as the teacher is just a fun guy. She has Vocabulary, Reading, and Writing. I never hear complaints from her. She is able to do all this Easy Peasy work on her own without me really. Her statement to me was that this was her best homeschool year yet. As an artist she enjoys the Art section of Easy Peasy so the link below is from her art lesson. For Math she is doing Khan Academy also. She worked on complimentary and supplemental angles, circumference, and multiplying decimals. She did Bible, History, Science, and Health. In Science she is working on chemistry and the periodic table. This program is an excellent fit for Artist. She enjoys this curriculum and seems to be learning so much. I am so glad she has found something that fits her so well.
Director (11th Grade) She is doing Easy Peasy High School. She is doing lots of classes from this site. Here is her list: xtramath, Literature and Compostion, Biology with Lab, US History 2, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, PE/Health, Spanish, and Khan Academy. Her favorite subject from Easy Peasy is Music Appreciation. She says she likes this best because, “I think I am learning more in this than in any other subject. I also like that I can watch the videos of all the instruments.” She also likes Literature and Composition because, “I learn new words and their meanings. There is this site that you go onto that has a story and you then answer questions about it.” She feels that for her Easy Peasy is a good fit, “There are some boring things but most of it is interesting.”
I hope this review of Easy Peasy was helpful. Have a great weekend.
Busy week this week with Respiratory System Co-op class today, soccer Tuesday, and dentist appointment on Wednesday. Plans are for school each morning except today cuz of classes and working outside each afternoon except Tuesday cuz of soccer. We should be able to get our workbooks all done on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and then work on Easy Peasy computer school Thursday and Friday. Passing out the monthly papers on Wednesday also. Finishing up the garden this week and hopefully do the last mowing of the fields this week.
Scheduling and how to fit it all in. Trying to organize the upstairs fka (formally known as) the computer room. It is now just called the “stupid room” not sure why but it will eventually be an organized craft and activity room.
Out of doors
Lots of project to work on outside: bulkhead, gardening, mowing, fencing in birds, and planting bulbs.
In the kitchen
Cleaned out the garden this week and ended up with lots of cherry tomatoes to snack on with lunches. We did our monthly shopping at Aldi’s for meat and now our freezer is full.
A photo from last week….
We had a wonderful time at the Children’s Science Museum this week. This museum is one of our favorite places. Here is Pilot’s creation using massive building materials. It is a huge marble factory.