Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our January Focus

Academically, January looks to be a light month, as we work on establishing educational rhythms.  We're going to read stories, let them sleep, then recall and draw them.  We're going to write more; after trying many different approaches to handwriting we are loving the simplicity of the penmanship books from Paper Scissors Stone (I have lots of Handwriting Without Tears to get rid of, LOL).  We'll be working on summarization, sequencing, and parts of speech.

I've yet to find a math program that I am really happy with.  Waldorf and Enki methods were fantastic for introducing mathematical concepts; since then we've worked with the Miquon Math Lab materials just a bit.  I just ordered the grade 4 math curriculum from Christopherus Homeschool Resources, so we'll give that a try.  In the meantime the boys are working in some workbooks they picked out, and they are looking forward to practicing their multiplication tables using Timez Attack, a computer game (yes, a computer game!).

For history we've been listening to The Story of the World: Volume 2 on CD, as well as reading and discussing the book When the World was Rome.  We just read about Pompeii, so we've ordered a BBC documentary, Pompeii: The Last Day from Netflix.  The boys also received a volcano kit for the holidays, so we have a bit of a unit study going on.

We've actually just started watching educational programs together on the television; last night we watched a NOVA program, Is There Life on Mars?  We are still very selective with what we choose to allow the boys (and ourselves) to watch, and we definitely limit the amount of time spent watching programs, but the boys are old enough now that I no longer worry about watching a limited number of quality shows.  We watch programs designed for adults that haven't been turned into edu-tainment.

We have basketball, our nature co-op, and home projects to round out our learning for the month.

Since I have to pull my own resources for the year and am just getting started I suspect that this doesn't look anything like Enki grade 4.  I'm okay with that; more important to me is to reconnect with the philosophy and methods.  We'll be moving into Norse mythology for our next language arts block; the boys have actually devoured a lot of mythology, but we haven't spent much time on the Norse myths.

For now, we're all really excited to be working with focused academics again.

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