Homeschooling Notes, September 2013

Following is a summary of what we did in our homeschool with Agent E (2nd grade) for the month of September. A quick note about our Star Kindergarten Student (aka, Agent J) is included as well.

We decided to do something a little different for September, and not add as much new stuff in. I think we were trying to tackle too many things at once, and it was getting overwhelming. For me.
A little bike time attitude
Seriously, I felt myself getting frustrated because we weren't "finishing" enough, even though Agent E was interested in the material, learning a lot, and having the time of her life.

So, we slowed down and had a bit of a review month, and here's how it went . . .

Math

We reviewed addition with carrying and subtraction with borrowing. We also continued to work on multiplication and basic division (numbers under 100, no remainders). Legos, FYI, are perfect for learning division. We intended to review measuring as well, but didn't get to much of that.

(Side note: When teaching math, I tend to go with a teach it and let it sink in, then come back to it a few days/weeks later method rather than a teach it and then repeatedly drill it method. This seems to work well.)

Fun with goop
Reading/Writing

Lots of reading going on around here as usual. American Girls continue to be a favorite. We gave the Little House series and Nancy Drew a try, but decided they might need to wait another year. While she can read the text and understand most of the vocabulary, they are written for older grades and the comprehension required is a bit more complex. 

By request I printed out lists of all the books in the series of some of her favorites so she can highlight them as she finishes them. So far we have checklists of all the American Girl books, Boxcar Children, Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, and Disney Fairies. I think she would like to completely finish at least a few of these before the end of second grade.

(Side note: There are 27 Junie B. Jones books and Agent E has read 26 of them. I'm kind of glad she's almost at the end, because after she started reading—and liking—this series I realized Junie B. is kind of a sassy pain in the butt. Anyone else less than pleased with her?)

We also talked a bit about the parts of speech using these fun books as our main resource.

Agent A took this picture of Agent J
Science

We didn't add anything new this month, but instead tied up some loose ends from previous topics, including animals, weather, and the body. I think this is one area where trying to do two or three different main topics at once is too much. So, going forward (at least for now) we will stick with one primary science goal for the month.

Social Studies

We gave Spanish another go, and this time the Agents seem to be more interested than before.

We also continued some of our world geography/landmarks studies from last month, specifically focusing on the countries in Epcot as we prepare for another Disney adventure. I created a book about the eleven countries using free materials from Education.comWorksheet Works, and the Crayola site

Art/Music

We did not add in any new art/music topics, although we did find an interesting book at the library called Star Wars: Visions . . . a collection of Star Wars inspired art (some based on the movie and some more interpretive). Both Senior Agents enjoyed this very much.

Crayon melting is always a big hit
Miscellaneous

This month we talked a bit more about safety (both in and out of the house), although I still feel like we have a lot to talk about there.

Both girls have also expressed interest in learning more about their own bodies and so we've been reading and discussing books like Your Body Belongs To You and Your Inside-and-Out Guide To Growing Up (a bit mature for them, but we look at it together).

We also celebrated a few special days (Labor Day, Teddy Bear Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, First Day of Fall, Johnny Appleseed Day).

Ready for our special day
Kindergarten Fun

As before, not a whole lot of structured anything going on with Agent J this month. She still spends a lot of time practicing her writing (by choice) and we read together every day, but honestly that's about it.

I tried to get her interested in doing math with Legos, but she'd rather color and play.

However, my only real "goals" for her were that by the end of the school year she could read simple texts and do very basic addition/subtraction. (I don't even divide what I "work on" with her into any other subjects; just reading and math.) So, I guess if we are on month three and she already has the reading thing covered, we're good with taking our time on math.

Told you I fit in here
Sneak Peek at October

Some things we already have planned for next month . . .

Math: Continuing with division and venturing into basic geometry (E's idea)

Reading/Writing: No specific plan here other than to read a lot per our usual and maybe try to encourage more journal writing

Science: Botany (E's idea)

Social Studies: United States (again . . . we've done this once before, but plan to add a few more layers of history/geography), US presidents, more Spanish

Art/Music: art every day (a plan to do some type of creative/messy art time every single day for the entire month—painting, play doh, chalk, crafts, etc.)

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