Middle Ages in A Homeschool Co-op

Crazy8 Homeschool Co-ops

middle-ages

So the first subject I  decided on for this Winter Spring Home school Co-op is the Middle Ages. We have done this subject previously about 3 years ago. I am using some of my previous lesson plans but I am also adding in some new stuff from the book: The Story of The World Volume 2: Middle Ages.

Our plans include studying:

  • Castles: which will also lead into studying the castles in our state and sketching them

  • Medieval Life: we will learn how to juggle as the jesters did

  • Mapping: we will be mapping out how different parts of the Middle Ages developed, such as the Roman Empire and the Spread of Islam

  • Building Castles: this is one thing we have done previously, we take lots of cardboard tubes and long boxes and create castles

  • Manuscripts: we will study what these are and then using tea we…

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The HOME in Homeschooling

Lot’s of changes here. Being without a vehicle has made homeschooling so much easier. It used be that we were fighting with outside activities for time but now we have so much time. The house is neater and the schoolwork is all caught up.  More on that in a minute. So our list of what we accomplished this week is different but more fulfilling.

What we did do this week:

  • Weatherized the house: well we didn’t, but a crew was here working on that all week
  • Church
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Costco shopping with a friend and our little ones
  • Orthodontist appointment: Artist got her braces off 🙂
  • Math drills
  • Read lots to the younger kids
  • Played around with water and our freezing temperatures outside
  • Church
  • Created a new cleaning system for ourselves

The HOME in Homeschooling

So many things pull us out of our homes. There are the lessons like music or foreign language, there are classes like a science co-op or drama group, there are sports activities like soccer or open gym, there are just so many awesome activities for us as homeschoolers, how do you choose?

Well, our choice was made for us with the demise of our latest vehicle. We were doing so many activities every week. Here is a list of things we did with the homeschool group before our vehicle bit the dust:

  • Science co-ops: ran these and participated
  • Drama club
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Singing at nursing homes
  • Ice skating
  • Homeschool meetings: set-up and lead most of them
  • Open gym
  • Yearbook: started and ran
  • and, and, and

That is just a partial list of our weekly things to do with/for our homeschool group. There are also field trips, the soccer team, talent shows, spelling bees, you name it, our group was doing it. Most of it was organized and run by us.

Now, these are all wonderful things to do. Really there are. But the HOME in homeschooling was becoming the, “get what you can get done in the time left” schooling. We were gone so much we wondered if our home was more of a motel than a house. My husband and I would laugh when saying this and then look at each other like, ” Really? Is this what we have become?”

We would spend our mornings preparing to be gone again:

  • Packing lunches
  • Collecting workbooks for down times
  • Final prep for co-op lessons to teach
  • Collecting supplies for co-op classes
  • Rushing to do our animal chores
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • And slamming that door behind us to a now empty house

That was a typical Monday. Don’t get me wrong, we would get all of our schoolwork accomplished but had barely any time to relax when we were home. When we got home we were exhausted. This was a typical week:

  • Monday: Co-op classes, Drama club, Yearbook all in the afternoon
  • Tuesday: Ice skating in the morning or Soccer in the afternoon, and Homeschool meetings in the evenings once a month
  • Wednesday: Field trips in the morning once a month and Homeschool Q&A in the afternoon once a month
  • Thursday: Open gym in the afternoon
  • Friday: Home

Now as you can see these are all taking up only parts of the day. Some were just mornings or just afternoons but I would have to plan out my week and figure out when we would get our actual schoolwork done. Each day we would get these activities and our schoolwork done but at what cost? There has to be a limit.

Someone once said to me, “If your not home is it really homeschooling?” Now there are many ways to homeschool, don’t get me wrong, but the way we were doing it was just was to hectic for us. We needed time to crash and not worry about the activities for the next day.

Helping to keep out homeschool group going for the last 3-4 years has been a blessing and a burden. We are a veteran homeschooling family and love to share what we have found works. This is our 22nd year homeschooling and we know a few things that could be helpful to a family starting out and love sharing that knowledge. We also know how to fit it all in since we have homeschooled for so long that it is just a way of life for us.  Homeschooling is the natural thing for us to do each day.

So what have we learned by being home more and not doing all those activities?

  • The homeschool group can survive without us
  • Our children are happier to just chill
  • We accomplish our schoolwork so much faster
  • We like to sleep in a little later
  • Our afternoons are ours again to do what makes us happy
  • The house is cleaner since we are here to keep it neat (kinda weird that is was so much messier when we were here less…)
  • I am a more relaxed mama
  • I have my weekends back: not planning 3 co-op classes for Monday has totally freed up my weekends

My advice…

Pick and choose what you children will participate in. We have 6 kids still at home and could easily make a legitimate excuse for every activity we were doing but how did those choices change us as a family?

Make it a point to be home with your kids. There will always be something else to participate in but for this time just choose home.

Socializing is a hot topic… make time to spend with others but cherish this time you have with your children. Too soon they will be graduating and you will wonder where all the time went.

What do you think? Let us know 🙂

Lastly a picture from this week… Artist got her braces off. A beautiful smile on a beautiful young lady.

no braces

Happy Homeschooling!

Week in Review & Life Happens in 3’s

WOW! That is the only way to describe this past week+

I will let the list speak for itself.

What we did do this week:

  • Did a Homeschool Q&A at the library: No co-op classes this week – I took the month off
  • Horse drawn carriage rides through town
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Made gingerbread houses
  • Orthodontist appointment
  • Math drills
  • Children entered their movie in a contest. Want to see it? https://projected.com/users/4292
  • Director: filming and editing at local TV station
  • Ice Skating at a friends house & stayed for chilli 🙂
  • Got over a foot of snow and the kids played out everyday
  • Went to the theatre and watched: It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Saw a model trains exhibit
  • Bid on wreaths at the wreath festival
  • Finished all my Christmas shopping
  • Church
  • #1 Well Pump broke
  • #2 Stove broke
  • #3 Car broke

Life Happens in 3’s

Now I am definitely not s superstitious person. I am a God is in Control kind of person.

My Grandmother and Mother always say that things happen in 3’s. They are referring to bad events never wonderful events. This past week was one of those 3’s weeks. I have had bad things happen and then thought to myself, “Will there be 2 more?”. I would wait but sometimes that was it. When these things happen in 3’s it is weird.

#1 Well Pump Broke

Last Saturday I was taking my morning shower and the water stopped. Of course my hair was full of shampoo…. I had Tech go around and collect all the water from cups in the house and pour it in a bowl so I could rinse my hair. Dh checked all the wiring, the power, the pressure switch, etc. It looked like the problem was with the well pump itself. Being the cheapskate that I am, I was not willing to pay the well pump guys the weekend rate to fix our pump. My daughter Gallop and her husband picked up some water for us on, so we were not without any water 🙂

The pump guys came on Monday morning. We were on the 3rd day without running water. We started to smell… On Sunday at church I suggested to my daughters in-laws that they not sit too close to us, they laughed. Anyway, that Monday morning I got up really early and decided that if I lived in another country without running water, what would I do? A sponge bath. I decided that if I did not get cleaned up I was not going to be in the best of moods that day, especially if the well pump did not get fixed. One gallon, that is all it took. One gallon of water and I was a new person: hair was shiny and I smelled way better. I felt awesome!

Our well is 750ft deep. The pastor suggested we should have our own natural gas line with a well that deep. I was dreading the cost of pulling that pump up and replacing it. The last one had cost us over $1500 with labor and everything. It takes a long time to pull a pump that deep.

BUT… It was only a broken wire. As they pulled the pump they saw a broken wire at about 250ft. YES!! A broken wire was way cheaper than a new pump. They fixed it and I had running water within 1.5 hours of them arriving. Lots of showers happened in succession. We smelled way better 🙂

At this point I thought, “Will there be 2 more things?”, but went on with life hoping this would be it.

#2 Stove broke

Monday the stove started making this funny buzzing sound up near the controls. It stopped after a bit but came back again the next day. Later that night my dh was up and smelled something funny. The stove was warm. He looked inside and found that the stove had turned the broiler on by itself. Great #2.

We now pull out and unplug the stove whenever we are done using it. Annoying but it still works.

Would there be a #3? and if so, how much worse than these two?

#3 Car broke

It wasn’t just WORSE it took the cake for being the WORST of all three things.

Now, our car didn’t just break it is un-repairable. It is so far gone there is no hope for it to see life again.

What happened you ask? We pulled out of a parking space and…

  • the drive shaft fell out onto the ground
  • the yoke (in the rear end) broke
  • the differential broke
  • the axle twisted
  • the muffler fell off
  • the frame under the rear of the vehicle cracked

There was the most unbelievably loud grinding, scraping of metal, thudding, and then we dropped like 8 inches. It was dead. Now the car still was running. The motor was fine. It just could not go anywhere.

I called AAA to tow the car and then I called my mom and said, “I am DONE!” laughing I said, “This is #3 so I am done. We are all set for a while now.” I proceeded to tell her about my list. She knew about the well pump but the stove and car were a surprise.

My wonderful daughter came and gave us rides home in shifts since there are so many of us. My wonderful son and daughter have both offered us their cars if we need them till be find another.

BUT for now we have no way to go anywhere all together. We are laughing, just laughing that all this has happened. We get to stay home and that is a blessing. We have running water, plenty of food…

Blessings in all this? YES!!

  • we have gotten very resourceful when it comes to water usage
  • we have wonderful friends who offered us showers: we chose to wait instead of showering 8 people at a friend’s house, seemed like a lot to ask of someone
  • we are grateful for running water, should have heard the cheers when we turned the tap on and water came out
  • we have a stove that works, even if it is quirky
  • that my dh is willing to drive me shopping when the weather is bad, I almost went by myself then I looked at him and he said, “You want me to drive you?” as he saw me looking back towards the window at the snow falling
  • we are all safe after the car incident
  • we were not driving home at 50mph when the drive shaft fell out, dh said that cars sometimes flip over when that happens and without brakes it had the potential of being terrible
  • we get a lot of at home time
  • we have a reason to say no to all the outside activities
  • we had finished all our Christmas shopping
  • we had finished all our grocery shopping
  • so, so much more
  • He gave His life to save us from eternal death

God has blessed us beyond measure with all he has done for us. We are thankful and happy to be of service to our King.

How about a picture from this week?

car broke
All those bits behind our car are the parts of the drive shaft, axle, muffler, frame, you know various car parts.

 

How was your week? I would love to know 🙂

 

Week in Review & Yearly Assessments

We had a great week! Almost finished up all the schoolwork for November and we still have some days left to the month.  Can’t beat that. I have the schoolwork for the year all organized by month in my binder. The first week of each month I hand out the packet of paperwork to each child to finish for that month. (This is in addition to their computer school and workbooks.) This packet includes specific papers for each subject for the year. More about this later.

The Breastfeeding Jeopardy Game with the breastfeeding support group went well on Tuesday. We had a lot of fun with breastfeeding trivia, had some great prizes, and snacks. I decorated the room as a fall theme and bought everything at the dollar store. Lot’s of comments about how nice it looked. Yellow tablecloths, fabric leaves spread over them, leave plates and cups, and the prizes were wrapped with bags and tissue paper from the dollar store also. It was fun to do and cheap.

So I did get all the sewing projects accomplished for this week. I cut, pinned, and almost finished all the sewing on them. I made 5 large projects this week. All I have left to do is quilt them. I will be doing this at my moms house this next weekend. She has the batting for inside them. The seam binding is all made and ready to go and the fronts and backs are all ready also. Very excited about these projects. I have a little embellishment I would like to do to them before they are all the way done but I am so close. I will post pictures here if you want to check updates on these projects: Crazy8 Sews

The wood pile did get organized and all the wood is split. So nice to have that warm woodstove heat. It is such a different warmth than when the forced air heat turns on. We try and keep the house warm with wood during the day and let the furnace take care of it at night. Wood is cheaper here than oil so it helps with the cost of heating this huge house.

What we did do this week:

  • Co-op classes “Cells & DNA”
  • November packets almost finished
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Re-Certified in: Neonatal Resuscitation, CPR, and First Aid
  • Doctors Appointments
  • Math drills each day
  • Kids edited their new movie
  • Director: filming and editing at local TV station
  • Ice Skating
  • Tried three new recipes
  • It snowed so we watched: It’s A Wonderful Life
  • More wood burning
  • Free gym time
  • Bible Study
  • Church

Monthly Packets of  Schoolwork

I usually use the information from this site to decide what I will be sending in at the end of the year: Worldbook Course of Study

In our state we have to inform the state education office about what we did for school for the year. We have to show that there was progress in each area of study. This is our 23rd year homeschooling so I have this down pretty good. Here is what we do to accomplish this particular goal.

I have  each of the grades from that course of study link above printed up, stapled together, and in my Mom’s Schoolwork binder. In this binder I have a tab with each of my children’s names for their worksheets to go behind. Using the course of study lists I pick about 6 -9 topics I will be studying for each of my children.

For example here is what I choose for Pilot this year. He is in 5th grade but is now on the 6th grade topics in the course of study that I linked to above. (I will continue using his paperwork as an example throughout this post just for continuity.)

Language Arts:

  • Spelling
  • Homonyms, synonyms, antonyms
  • Concepts of noun, pronoun, verb, adjective
  • Types of writing
  • Writing letters, factual matter, creative prose
  • Organization of a book
  • Types of literature
  • Reading silently and skimming
  • Poetry

Math:

  • Exponents
  • Interpreting graphs
  • Customary and metric measurement
  • Concepts of similarity, congruence, and symmetry
  • Identification and measurement of angles
  • Properties, identification and construction of geometric figures
  • Fundamental operations with fractions and decimals
  • Relationship between common and decimal fractions
  • Problems in percent

History:

  • Native American Cultures
  • World geography
  • Map and globe skills
  • Citizenship and social responsibility
  • Transportation and communication
  • The Roman Empire

Science:

  • Human body
  • Oceans
  • Solar energy
  • Sound, light, & heat
  • Scientific theory
  • Climate and weather
  • Simple astronomy

Health and Safety:

  • The heart
  • Substance abuse
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Dental health

What do I do with this list?

I know I will need to send examples of work from throughout the year for each of these topics. I go through the workbooks and curriculum books I have, and also search online for worksheets for each of these topics.

For an example: I found a worksheet for each of the topics for Pilot in math. I took 9 sticky notes and wrote a month on each of them from September through June (I just reuse the sticky notes each year). I put one sticky note on each of the math sheets and put them in order in my binder behind the tab for Pilot.

  • September – Exponents
  • October – Interpreting graphs
  • November – Customary and metric measurement
  • December – Concepts of similarity, congruence, and symmetry
  • January – Identification and measurement of angles
  • February – Properties, identification and construction of geometric figures
  • March – Fundamental operations with fractions and decimals
  • April – Relationship between common and decimal fractions
  • May – Problems in percent

Then I go through for all of the other subjects and find a worksheet for each of the topics I choose. I divide them by month and place them behind this math sheet that has the month sticky note on it.

For Pilot I ended up with these worksheets behind the September sticky note:

  • Exponents
  • Homonyms
  • Native American Cultures
  • Human body
  • The Heart

I also included other worksheets that I wanted him to accomplish:

  • Report form: he chooses his topic
  • Math facts sheet
  • Book report form
  • Spelling test forms
  • Reading log
  • Experiment sheet

At the beginning of each month I hand out the packet of papers for that month to each child. They complete these and place them in their hanging folder. This way I have at least one useful piece of paperwork for the yearly assessment for each topic. 😉

Before I implemented this way of doing things I would search through all the work they did for the year trying to find useful paperwork that showed the varying topics they had studied. We do lots more than this packet of schoolwork. This packet just gives me something that is specific to the personal course of study that I make for each of my children each year.

Hope you find this useful.

What do you do in preparation for reporting at the end of the school year?

Happy homeschooling!

 

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

This week we are doing Cells & DNA during co-op class. It is going to be so fun!! I lead a Breastfeeding Support Group and it meets this Tuesday after Ice Skating. Out topic this week is a Breastfeeding Jeopardy Game I made a few years ago when I worked for WIC. The rest of the week is Free & Clear. Yahoo!! Hoping to get all the schoolwork finished up early and work on some sewing for Christmas.

Thinking about

Trying to finish up all my Christmas stuff up by the first week in Christmas so I can just enjoy the month of December. This week is sewing projects. I will be getting the projects organized, cut, and pinned together. This most likely will not be done this week but might as well try.

Out of doors

This week we will finish stacking wood and splitting what we have. Later this week we will be getting some more wood to cut down and split. Busy week outside.

In the kitchen

I would like to make a decorate a pile of cakes this week. Why? I just love to decorate them. Hoping to find families to eat them 🙂 My youngest daughter turned 5 this weekend. I made her a Hello Kitty birthday cake and remembered how much I love it.

A photo from last week….

Here is a scene from the movie the kids made this past week. The grandmother is discussing something with her grandchildren. They are all at a party.

IMG_3132

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

Can’t believe it actually looks like a slow week this week. We only have Co-op classes today, Ice Skating tomorrow, and Bible study Wednesday. We have the November packets of schoolwork to finish this week. The main focus this week is making a video for a contest the kids found.

This weekend they started with talking about all the movies they wanted to make. I finally said to them that they just needed to do it! I told them they could have a good chunk of time this week to work on one if they could find a contest to enter. There would have been 4 movies being worked on if they didn’t have a main goal 🙂 So, they found one and are having a planning session today and start filming tomorrow afternoon.

Thinking about

I was able to finish up neatening up the hallway upstairs. I still need to organizer it. I have containers to spray paint to match each other. I bought the spray paint and have the containers (in varying colors). The containers will go below each child coat and snow pants. The containers are to hold that particular child’s ice skates, hats, gloves, and helmet for skating. Trying to cut down on the number of hats, gloves, and mittens around the house and get the hallway organized.

Out of doors

Brrr, it has been so chilly overnight. Tomorrow looks like a perfect afternoon to get outside and do some filming 🙂

In the kitchen

Hmmm, what to do, what to do… We have so much time home this week. Trying to use the oven and get the house warmed up on these chilly days. Lot’s of cookies being made. Thinking we should change our focus to muffins and quick breads to have in the mornings for breakfast. Love to make these in bulk with our commercial size muffin trays that hold 2 1/2 dozen muffins. That should kill two birds: warm up the house and have breakfast all set.

A photo from last week….

This weekend we had a great time just hanging out with some friends after church. Here is a  cute picture of both of our family’s youngest children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Week in Review & Our Classroom

This week wasn’t as great as I thought it would be for school. We got things done but I was hoping we would get more accomplished. There is always next week. What we did do this week:

  • Co-op classes “Nervous System”
  • End of Year Soccer Party
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Math drills each day
  • Homeschool Parents Meeting
  • Ice Skating
  • Chiropractic Appointments
  • State Police Field trip
  • Orthodontist appointments
  • Monthly shopping
  • Blogging
  • Wood burning
  • Worked on the mending pile
  • Boys did their brothers brakes and axle on his Subaru
  • Free gym time
  • Bible Study
  • Church

Our Classroom

This year we have an actual classroom area. Some years we have only used the dining room table or desks in their rooms. This year we are doing the Easy Peasy online school which requires computer use. It was a pain to put away and take out all the laptops each day so we changed things around a little bit.

Our living room now is also the classroom. Each child has a desk with his/her computer on it and also their respective school books.

The only child without her own computer is Princess. She uses Directors computer when it is time to do her schoolwork. I try to have her done and off that computer before Director is even reading to do school. Doesn’t always work but I try 🙂

20141023_101104
Princess doing her Reading Eggs Online schoolwork. Director is waiting to do her schoolwork 🙂
20141023_101113
Artist doing Easy Peasy Online Schoolwork
20141023_101224
Pilot is working on XtraMath Online Math Drills
20141023_101235
Collector doing XtraMath Online Math Drills. You can see his knitting is ready to go for when he is done 🙂
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Tech starting up his really slow laptop. He is opening his Easy Peasy online schoolwork.

Do we like it this way?

I like that they have a place for all there things and the put away take out each day is gone. They like it because they can use computers each day and their schoolwork is right there for them.

We don’t like that it takes up over half of the living room. The pros out way the cons though.

 

How do you do school? Do you have a classroom set up? Leave a comment and let us know.

Happy homeschooling!