Agent Homeschooling 2015-2016: Week 2

We just wrapped up our first full week of the 2015-2016 homeschooling year. This week we added in an additional subject (history), although we are still taking things pretty slow. That’s the beauty of year-round, relaxed schooling; we can pace ourselves and not worry about “catching up.” There is always more time.

We’re trying to settle into a pattern of “morning school” and “afternoon school.” Mornings include the two subjects we tackle daily (math and language arts). Afternoons alternate the subjects we cover a few times a week (geography, history, science, health, art, and music). We don’t have a precise plan worked out. I anticipate we’ll be spending more time on science and history, as those tend to be favorites, but I don’t want to short-change the others. This is part of the reason we decided to go with spine books this year. 

The Amazon order with the remainder of our spine books arrived yesterday
Math: Agent E continued to work on finishing up the math sections of her Brain Quest 3 workbook. Our copy of the Brain Quest 4 workbook arrived and she admired it but didn’t start it. I ordered a new 2nd grade math practice book for Agent J as well. In the meantime, we’ve been using some free printables to review addition and subtraction (without regrouping). Both Senior Agents have been enjoying the Life of Fred elementary series; we have three out of the library right now and several more requested. 

Language Arts: This week’s main topic was adjectives. We read a few books and did some basic worksheets for practice. Agent E is working her way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (we’ll all watch the movie when she finishes) and Agent J continues to feed her love of books about unicorns and mermaids. Agent E is also finishing up the reading/writing sections of Brain Quest 3. (We had some math and LA left from last year because we didn’t discover her love of these workbooks until part way through the school year.)

Physical Education: We aim to be outside at least two hours a day (usually broken up into two one-hour-ish segments). A lot of times their “morning” PE session is just enjoying the sun and coloring with sidewalk chalk or chasing bugs or lying in the grass. Sometimes they ask me to create obstacle course for them. The point is really getting outside a couple of times a day, not always vigorous activity (although they enjoy that, too). I downloaded a running app I’m hoping will be useful as the Senior Agents continue on their quest to start a running program. Right now it mostly involves a brisk walk followed by a light jog around the neighborhood after dinner a few times a week. In addition to running, Agent E likes to jump rope and they all like to play random games in the back yard. We recently bought Agent E a baseball mitt and she likes to throw a ball around with Dear Hubby.

Science/History: Our science and history studies are a bit blurred this year because one of our chosen primary topics is human evolution, which is really both. (You can read about why we decided to study this topic here and here.) We’re currently making our way through the book Lucy Long Ago by Catherine Thimmesh. We also began reading our history spine book, History Year by Year

Kindergarten: Still working on early readers with Agent A. He’s a big fan of Biscuit and Henry and Mudge (although the latter I mostly need to read to him). Of course Elephant and Piggie are still a hit around here, and we’ve been kind of obsessed with the Basher ABC and Basher 123 books. We tried some Lego math this week, but he didn’t seem terribly impressed. 
Agent A came up with the creative "replacement" letters all on his own
The thing with “teaching” kindergarten, though, is there is so much that happen over the course of the day where learning takes place (because it’s pretty much all learning at this age) that’s it’s impossible to even draw a line between school and not school. To some extent it’s this way with the girls, too (which is pretty much the whole reason for doing this homeschooling stuff to begin with) but it’s much more pronounced at four. For instance, does putting together words with letter blocks count as spelling? Is drawing letters in the driveway handwriting? If we’re in the middle of a book and he asks what’s this word? am I teaching him reading? It all kind of the same now.

Budgeting Side Note: Last week I tried to calculate how much we spend to feed three kids lunch each day, and how it compares to what it would cost to pay for school lunches five days a week for them. I was painstakingly figuring out the exact cost of each slice of bread, each piece of fruit, each pat of butter. By Thursday I was up to a whopping $6.00 and gave up. There is simply no way that making lunch Monday through Friday for three extra small people adds as much to our monthly food budget as paying for school lunches would ($13 per week, per Agent, or $39 per week, or $156 per month). And even packing lunches would cost more than eating at home, because I know we would succumb to at least a few convenience/prepackaged items and those would add up over time.

And now I feel better about all those school-related impulse items I picked up at the Target dollar section last weekend.

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