Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Off Roading in Week Seven

So here we are, in week seven of homeschool and at this point we are 3/4 of the way to being completely "off grid". Being "off grid" means to be utilizing another curriculum and set of standards other than the California State suggested (required) curriculum.

I think I knew somewhere around weeks 1-3 that we wouldn't last terribly long "on grid." It seemed as if both Gabriel and I were working to feed some faceless monster completed, perfected ditto after ditto after ditto. I felt pressured to plow through the material, and poor Gabriel felt pressure to understand the material as it was presented, which was dry.

Here's what we're working on now .....

Reading & Writing
This was the first subject from grid I threw overboard. The textbook was filled with boring stories Gabriel had no interest in, and was expected to answer questions about. I wanted his reading education to be based upon classic literature. So, we started reading "Little House in the Big Woods". I have based all his writing assignments taking cues from each chapter we've read. For example, he's written journal prompts about "My Favorite Day of the Week", "I Was Afraid but Didn't Need to Be", and "A Time I Got into Trouble."

We've also done a few cooking activities supporting our read as well.

Social Studies
This is a subject Gabriel is almost always interested in, but some days are hit or miss with his attention span. For the month of October, we've gone "off grid" to incorporate Gabriel's choice of Halloween costume (mummy) into a Social Studies lesson. We are exploring Ancient Egypt, Mummies & Mummification.

I have been excited to learn there are a few Ancient Egyptian exhibits floating around Southern California museums, one of which just happens to be held at our local Cal State University! This Thursday we will be visiting the "Art of Death in Ancient Egypt" exhibit. (many thanks to the Phoebe A Hearst museum of Anthropology)

This was our third subject to go off grid with. I was bored out of my mind reading the first two chapters of the book which dealt with "safety in science." I learned our school has several science "kits." The kits are complete with a detailed lesson plan, activity workbooks, and supplies to do an experiment related to the lesson plan.

So, we are currently working on our "Detective Kit" and once we are finished I would like to incorporate some lessons from the Core Knowledge series.

This just happens to be Gabriel's least favorite subject. (it was mom's least favorite too) Gabriel's poor understanding of math has placed him with a third grade level, and I'm OK with that. I would like for him to build a strong foundation in this subject before we move on. Unfortunately, there is no making math more interesting (that I know of) so we've stuck with California curriculum.

Our pediatrician told me about a book called "Math Doesn't Suck" and I might just have to check that out. For now, we'll stay "on grid" with math.

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