Homeschooling, Fisk Family Style … our 90-day (or so) update

10842321_10206496319470622_6757116753718257349_oSo … now that we’re homeschooling, under SC option #3, we’re supposed to chronicle the kids’ progress every 90 days in case we’re called upon to give an accounting … and b/c, of course, it’s a good thing to do.

Originally, I set up a homeschooling blog for that purpose, but Jack wanted a Pirate Train blog, based on his long-term homeschool project (the kid has planned out seven books, ya’ll), so I’m having to consolidate for sanity’s-sake. Thus, every 90 days (or so), I’ll write a homeschooling update on this site and file it under “Homeschooling, Fisk Family Style.”

Last semester was our first “true” home-schooling semester, and we got a bit of a late start, since we started the Fall with Connections Academy (an online public school option). This was still public school curriculum, though, and became super-unwieldy fast with both a kindergartener and a sixth grader working from home and having a set number of (very different) lessons to complete for the day. It’s been much easier to go at our own pace and incorporate age-appropriate learning activities for.the.same.lessons when we can (e.g., the same history lesson / story for both, in a version Jack can understand + an activity that challenges Arina; or, you know, studying turtles — science! — we find at Nana&Pop’s lake house).

Here’s our plan, along with A&J’s “grades” so far. We’re using the BrainQuest books and some accompanying activities to divide up the kids’ 5K and 6th grade school year … and, when I say year, I mean year. We’ve planned out fall; spring; and summer terms, b/c this allows us a more flexible schedule year-round.

Fall 2015

Arina: Spelling&Vocabulary; Literature Comprehension; Multiplication&Division Fluency; Ratios and Proportions

Jack: ABCs; 123s; Shapes&Colors

I’m happy to say they both “passed”

… sometimes after much complaining from A., who hates re-dos with a passion.

Spring 2016

Arina: Research&Analysis; Writing; The Number System; Expressions&Equations;

Social Studies

Jack: Phonics; Spelling&Vocabulary; Patterns

In progress …

Summer 2016

Arina: Pronouns&Punctuation; Metaphor&Meaning; Geometry; Statistics&Probability; Science

Jack: Matching&Sorting; Time&Money; Community; Science

Coming soon …

^That’s just a guide of course … to give us something on which to focus … we have other stuff going on too, based on what interests the kids at the moment.

Here’s a highlights-reel of the unplanned stuff:

Books Arina and I “read” via audiobook on our commutes to Columbia: Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk; Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See; Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers; and Suzanne Collins’s The Underland Chronicles (a five-book series). Jack listened to some of these too (especially the Collins-series, but he doesn’t get to count them, b/c he also napped part of the time, whereas A. and I stayed rapt through all and discussed afterward).

However, Jack DID get his very first library card last semester, which is a really big deal in our family … and quite possibly the cutest first library card in the history of the world.

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Arina and her Dad enjoyed episodes from documentary series, like: America: The Story of Us (history); Cosmos (science); and The Code (math).

Arina and Jack have become fans of the Life of Fred math book series, which they enjoy with Scott — cause Mom doesn’t do math, even when those wily mathematicians write a story around it to make it more interesting to bookish-people. It’s still math, albeit sneaky math. There’s also this fraction-formula game that they love. My Dad even got in on the fun this week. I don’t play that one either, but — you know — I’m glad they’re learning math with their Dad and Pop, despite my aversion to it.

Fall 2015 field trips, with our fabulous homeschooling group (Carolina Homeschoolers) included: an overnight in Conestoga wagons; an overnight on the USS Yorktown; and a trip to the Body Worlds exhibit, where we got to see plasticized human cadavers (shudder). The photos, below, are from everything except the Body Worlds exhibit, which the kids&I kinda hurried through. Scott, as usual, read everything and filled us in afterward. I did read the poem displayed at the opening of the exhibit — about the importance of donated bodies (and the respect we should have for them) — aloud and in full. Yep. Leave it to me to make the primary lesson in the math&science exhibit an arts&humanities one.

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The science I was able to get behind last semester? Biology. Introducing our new pets / objects-of-study: Twitchtip & Goldshard (or Twitch and Goldie, for short) … named after characters from The Underland Chronicles, of course!

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My other favorite science? The science of cooking, courtesy of Scott, Arina, and the brilliant book Cookwise, that explains what happens, chemically, in our favorite dishes.

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And, finally, the ongoing homeschool projects that will no doubt last ad infinitum:

Jack’s The Pirate Train series. See this site. Apologies if we’ve been annoying with updates, but Jack is learning all about marketing.

Arina’s book review site: Arina Reads. Last semester, she “collected” the books she’s read on her Pinterest site … I’d catch her looking lovingly at them, on-screen, like I used to spread-out-and-look at my Nancy Drew collection, pre-Internet. The book review site is a just-hatched idea, which I think is brilliant. Jack and I know, from the emails we’ve sent&received from book reviewers re: The Pirate Train, that the demand for good reviewers — especially of indie titles — is going nowhere but up. And what better way to get free books / review copies?

That’s all for now, ya’ll. Till the next 90 days (or so) …

Thanks to Matt (of The Writings, Verse, and Reviews of R.R. Howroar) for the review!

unnamed (1)My favorite line: “This rhyming story from its highly educated author is a showcase in originality and precision.”

^b/c that decade of higher education *does* count for something! Ha! Thanks, Matt, for giving a shout-out to my grad degrees, says all those dear ones (mom&dad&hubby) who helped pay for them. 😉 You are a doll.

Read the full review HERE.