Homeschooling Notes, October 2013

Well, we survived another month of homeschooling at our house and lived to tell (write) about it. As usual, most of this post refers to second grader Agent E, with a quick update on awesome kindergartener Agent J added at the end.


For October we continued with division (although we haven't gotten to those pesky remainders yet . . . just problems that work out evenly). We also learned more about money and indulged her newfound fascination with Monopoly. We haven't addressed making exact change with coins a lot . . . partly because we have "play" paper money that I don't care about Agent A destroying but he still tends to try to put the real coins in his mouth. Ugh. She wanted to start studying geometry, but I'm still trying to discern what exactly would be useful to teach her at this point. She learned how to find perimeter of a few basic shapes, and we talked a bit about why knowing the area of something could be useful, but really we didn't get very far past that.

Up for November: Fractions, decimals, and percentages; plus a review of addition and subtraction (up to three digits with carrying or borrowing).
Library book sale stash

As usual, Momma's arms nearly fell off transporting library books this month. Agent E's reading list included 19 American Girl books, 8 Magic Tree House, 5 Disney Fairies, 3 Cam Jansen mysteries, a handful of Star Wars leveled readers, and a random collection of other titles, including the abridged versions of Oliver Twist and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. That's not counting any of the books we used for school subjects, or any of Agent J's books (because of course she reads all of those, too).

Up for November: I'd love to get my E-reader more interested in writing. Not sure exactly how I'm going to go about this. As much as she loves to read, writing is not her thing. Hmm.

We studied botany this month, per Agent E's request. We read several books about plants, seeds, trees, pollination, life cycles, etc. And, of course, got TMBG's Photosynthesis permanently stuck in our heads.

Up for November: Insects, bugs, butterflies, spiders, and other creepy crawlers or fliers.
Lego math fun
Social Studies

We seem to study the United States all the time, just adding new depth and layers each time through. We've already covered basic geography, map skills, capitals, fun facts about each state, even a bit about Washington D.C. and presidents. We also talked/read a bit about the original thirteen colonies. Now she's been asking more about history (thank you, American Girl books) so we're going to likely keep the United States as a primary social studies topic for a while.

(Funny side story: We printed a map of the United States from and the instructions were to color the states you've lived in red, states you've visited green, and states you want to visit blue. Agent E did the red/green part and then simply colored the rest of the map blue. She wants to see it all, ha!)

Up for November: More US history, focusing on the American Revolution.


Our plan to do art every day for the entire month of October was an epic fail. All of the Agents draw/color a lot each day already, but I had this grandiose plan of actual, organized "art time" and it never happened. Oh, we did a lot of play doh mixing and both J and A were frequently covered in marker (intentionally self-inflicted) but . . . eh. We do still listen to classical music in the car every day by request. Even Agent A will tell me, I like Mozart in the car

Up for November: I think we may go back to studying composers for a while again. Agent E seemed to enjoy that before, so we may give it another go, and get more in-depth this time, with more books about individual composers' work/lives. Also need to score some Beethoven and Bach CDs for the car. (Don't ask me how we own a whole stack of composers and are missing those two.)

(Side note: I tried to fool them with the Baby Einstein Beethoven CD, and Agent E told me, this is not real classical music . . . it's that baby stuff that Andrew watches.)
Dressing up for the YMCA
(Leia didn't want to wear her wig in the car)
Kindergarten Fun

After kind of reluctantly deciding to participate in Lego math (which Agent E is all over), Agent J discovered that it is in fact quite fun. Also, she knows way more than what she lets on. Reading-wise, Agent J had a pretty impressive list this month, 35 books total (although hers tend to be a lot shorter than Agent E's, obviously). Mr. Putter and Tabby and Curious George continue to top her list of favorites. Discovered a love of Arthur books this month as well. She has recently developed her own "copy work" (which we don't even do, really) by writing out names of the characters in the Star Wars Encyclopedia. Spelling has been a bit of an obsession around here, too . . . I am pretty much constantly rattling off strings of letters. Of course, she continues to "sit in" on a lot of what I do with her sister, but I haven't really considered making a specific curriculum "plan" for her beyond math and reading. I think I will still hold off until first grade before I do anything more formal with her, but I'm not sure.

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