Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wonderwood Academy 2005-6

Jelly – 3rd grade
Doodle – 1st grade

Hooked on Phonics
Dolch Sight Words & Spelling
Hogwarts Correspondence School Yr. 2
Science Around Town & Country
Story of the World, Vol. 1
Learning Adventures – A World of Adventure
Horseback Riding/Swimming
LOTS of library books on LOTS of topics,
always just because we can’t not!

This was a year of transitions. We tried lots of different things, both topics and methods. It took until the end of the year, but we finally found our “groove”!! It’s still a bit eclectic, but more Charlotte Mason; less school-at-home, and a more relaxed structure; quite scheduled, but not rigid.

We began the year with a study of the United States, but after just one state (Delaware), I changed my mind about the order and timing that I thought we needed. So, instead, our study of world history began with a study of the Creation of the World. We started there, and notebooked and project-ed our way through Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. As usual, we did these topics unit-study-style, so we got language arts, social studies (history and geography), and science covered. We had so much fun with rainbows and color!!

We took time out from our world history to have our first experience with Hands of a Child (HOAC) co-ops. Wow! So much fun, and so cool to know you’re doing the same thing as others, but with your own twist on things. It does take some effort to get your assigned job done right, but what you get in return more than makes up for it!

We did co-ops for two HOAC lapbooks, but there was so much information that I got overwhelmed and we didn’t finish either Thanksgiving or Pilgrims. We are planning on finishing them another year. No worries. Everything is tucked away in ziplock bags and folders, and will be ready for us when we are ready for them.

After Christmas, and our holiday/family activities, we went back in time to finish: Ancient Mesopotamia. This was our first purchased lapbook project that we completed all at once. We had only made one lapbook previously that we kind of made up as we went along. (The Little House one.) It was SO wonderful to have most of the work done for us! We used the guide, reading and discussing it a bit at a time, and then doing the minibook project/s that went along with that section of the guide. It had been a LONG time since I’d even thought about Mesopotamia, and I didn’t remember much. We really enjoyed doing these projects, though we ended up putting them in our notebooks on cardstock rather than in a lapbook. We also added paper dolls (from EMC 3701 – History Pockets, Ancient Civilizations) because our girls really like to pretend that they are living history.

The girls still hadn’t had enough of pioneers, so when I found about an online Wagon Train experience, “Westward Ho!” in January 2006, we decided to join up. We made Oregon Trail journals, and assumed pioneer identities. All the pretend was right up our alley! Plus, the girls already had such a good background on pioneers that they REALLY got into it. It was fun that Auntie Neighbor and SwimChick were “making the trip,” too!

After finishing our virtual Oregon Trail Trek, and while we waited for our new curriculum, we had some fun with holiday studies (St. Patrick’s Day) and Hogwarts classes. Then we got ancient history going again with the Story of the World, Vol.1. The girls had fun testing their skills as archeologists at a “dig” and investigating cave paintings.

We were really busy (all year!) with some great field trips for science – gardening in Santa Barbara; Rancho Los Alamitos; Discovery Science Center; Natural History Museum in L.A.; Knott's Berry Farm; IMAX; an Amtrak trip to Texas (Remember the Alamo!) - across the desert and back again; and lots of beach trips.

To celebrate her birthday, Jelly chose a Harry-Potter-themed sleepover party. We were able to use a lot of the ideas we got from our Hogwarts Correspondence School classes. We had a magical time! I'm including a picture collage of some of the things we included in our Hogwarts weekend.

Our main course of study for the last month of the year, our new curriculum:
Learning Adventures – A World of Adventure. We absolutely LOVE this! It includes everything except math, typing, and Spanish, (which we want to get into more formally soon). The author is great to answer any and all questions, too. We love that the studies are based on living books, and reinforced with notebooking and LOTS of hands-on activities.

Our study of Ancient Egypt began with the story of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. We started one HUGE lapbook, combining four from Hands of a Child into one, (Ancient Egypt, Pyramids, Mummies, Desert Habitat) using two folders, with flaps and extensions. We just barely got started on this unit, so we continued it in 2006-7. Check that post for more info.

By the time this school year was over, I finally felt like I really had a handle on what works for us. Sometimes homeschoolers speak of having to de-tox their kids for a while after they are pulled out of public school to be homeschooled. The longer the exposure to public school, the longer the time required for de-toxing.

Apparently, the same phenomenon affects those of us who have been teachers in public school. ;o)

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