Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ooooooh Workbox!

A friend of mine said she was thinking of doing the workbox method...I had no idea what she was talking about. So she pointed me to a few websites and I am hooked!
Here's an overview of the process:
You pretty much just set up a big box system where you put each subject in it's own container and they work through them 1-12 till the work for the day is completed. You also throw in a lot of fun activities. It supposed to help the students become more independent workers as well as providing a fun way to become more organized.

I really like this system. Obviously I wouldn't be able to implement the entire system right now. So I'm trying to think of ways that I could begin using it in small doses now. I'm thinking that I'll put the extra activities that we don't/can't do in a doctor's office into the hanging file folder crate I currently have (and don't use except to hold old papers now). I'll throw in some science activities related to what we're learning as well as possible history lessons and definitely fun art and music things.

I'll let you know as we get started and I will take pics to share!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Almost 5 months later....

Wow, has it really been nearly 5 months since my last post? I used to update pretty regularly. I believe I had intended to take the summer off from my homeschool blog since not a lot was going on school wise during that time.

However, since then we had a severe family illness that has shook our world. I had the school year planned out and it was working fine. We had started the beginning of August just to get a little ahead of the school board this year.

We ended up being in doctors offices nearly all day every day. The typical school work that I had chose was not working. There was no way for us to do the school work by carrying all of these books around daily. And There was no way that we would be able to do school after we got home. So I scrapped a few things. The textbook English that I had just began this year, is put aside for now. Instead I replaced it with a simple $10 workbook for 3rd grade English. It's not a big curriculum name, but it works for now. Maybe in the future we'll work back to the textbook. I also decided to place VA History on hold for a year. I am definitely going to keep the text until next year. But for this year I got a workbook of U.S. History. It's not fancy(just $10 each), almost just stories with no actually busy work.

The kids aren't minding the new history but they weren't retaining it very well, so I'm adding a few coloring pages that relate to what we're reading. Science has stayed, but I am using the workbooks that came with the books and my goal is going to be to read a lesson sometime during the day and do the workbook sheet afterward.

I seriously debated scrapping Saxon because there is NO WAY that I could lug that big teacher's manual around! So what I am doing for now, is cutting out the morning meeting (way too many manipulatives needed that I can't take) and we use the workbook sheets. To learn what we should for that lesson, I just take notes on what is being taught for that lesson. It's working pretty well so far.

So after all of these changes, I take a day a week (was doing it daily but weekly makes it so much easier) and put all of our work together for the week, stapled into daily packets. It is working for now. All is smooth. I also take along a little stack of books so that when the packet is complete, they can work on quiet reading time (reading to themselves).

Well, that is the majority of the changes we've undergone so far. Oh and we joined a co-op. It's funny but I already feel like we belong there. The ladies have been so welcoming and helpful with everything. I wasn't sure if we'd be able to continue because we kept missing at first for appointments. But we're getting into the swing of things so far.

I just packed away a box full of work that we've already completed for the year today! This is honestly the best work we've done so far, even in the face of tragedy. And I also realized today that we are about 1/3 of the way through our school year. Very cool. I don't know how much progress we've actually made. I know that they're learning though. That's the main point isn't it.....whether in a doctors office, a school room or at home.... my children are getting an education and that's the most important thing.

My goals: IMPROVING READING SKILLS! This is the biggest thing. I can tell that they have improved some because sis was reading a book last week that she could not even attempt about this time a year ago. Well, she had attempted and got frustrated and gave up. But this is the year for reading! We will come out of this year with excellent reading skills!

Math- just make sure that they are on-par for where they should be with math. I think this is very do-able this year! We're already to lesson 40 out of 140. Progress!