The Sacred Sprouts Schoolhouse

Archive for September, 2009

Enjoying Evan-Moor Supplementals

One of the things that I am so glad that Sonlight is not is an artsy-crafty kind of curriculum.  Oh, I am sooooo glad it’s not that.  I am not an artsy-crafty kind of person myself, and to have to assemble all these projects and activities- it makes me shudder just to think of it.   I wouldn’t mind a little bit of craft stuff, but a whole bunch is not my cup of tea.  Nor is it my kids cup of tea.  They always seem excited to start a craft project, but then about 1/3 of the way in, they’re tired of doing it.  I can’t tell you how many craft projects we’ve never finished, or how many unopened packages of craft projects we have…

Anyway, one of the things that I found highly recommend by other Sonlighters was using History Pockets to go with our core.  When I looked up what these History Pockets were, and saw that they were some kind of craft book, I quickly discarded the idea, thinking it was simply crafts.  While I was at our favorite school supply store though, I found these History Pockets and gave them a flip through, and decided they might not be so bad after all.

evan moor

There are many themes of History Pockets- we have three, and our current one is on Native Americas.  How they work is this:  Basically, one book is used to make your own little book of pockets.  Each pocket is devoted to one particular subject, and then things pertaining to that subject are tucked in the pocket.  For example, our Native American History Pockets are just under way.  Our first main pocket holds our master map and our picture dictionaries for the rest of our book.  Our second pocket, which we’re working on right now is for the Inuit of Alaska. This pocket holds a small booklet on the Inuit, a little fishing craft project, and a short story about Inuit -written on igloo-shaped paper.  Once we’re finished with the whole book we will have a total of nine pockets- each one devoted to a different region and tribe of Native Americans.

The kids are really enjoying assembling their first book.  There is a little more coloring than Zander would like, but he seems to be managing okay so far.  The History Pockets come in age ranges, and the Native American one is a grade 1-3 age range- so it’s a little beyond Zander, and a little below Abigail.  Still, they both seem to be enjoying working on it, and I like how it’s helping reinforce what we are learning about Native Americans.  I also have the Colonial American and Life in Plymouth Colony books to work through this year, and I’ll be picking up the North American Explorers for Abigail to do on her own the second half of the school year.  The 4-6 grade books have much more detail to the work, and is definitely for the more patient- I think Abigail is going to love the ones I’ll have her do.

As it turns out, there is more to Evan Moor than these History Pockets!  I also picked up a book called Exploring Space: Scienceworks for Kids Series which is for grades 1-3 and is tying in perfectly with our Astronomy.  The paper crafts in the Evan Moor books are lining up perfectly with our Astronomy study and are really reinforcing what we’re learning.   This coming week we will be learning more about the sun, and what do you know? There are activities and a mini book about the sun in this book.

Looking on the Evan Moor website, there are dozens of their supplementals that I would love to give a whirl.  I am really happy with the quality that they have shown in the two types of products that I have- and would also love to see them expand further.

I should mention one thing about all of these products- a photocopier is an absolute necessity for using them.  In fact, everything needs to be photocopied in order to use it- there are pages that you need multiples of, so you couldn’t simply purchase a book for each child and have them cut out of it.  If you don’t have a copier, I would think twice about them, as purchasing copies could get pricey.  If you’re interested in any of these things that I mentioned today- thus far, the best price I’ve found on them is with Amazon- and they’re usually in stock.

Once we’ve finished a set of History Pockets, I’ll be sure and have the kids model them for you so you can see how cool they are- but it may take a while, as we’re not progressing on them very quickly.

posted by Erika in Supplements and have Comments Off on Enjoying Evan-Moor Supplementals

Smooth Sailing

Here we are, just over halfway through our third week of homeschooling, and I feel like we’ve been doing this forever.  It just feels so natural to us, and it’s going very, very well.   I can’t even begin to describe everything that we’ve learned and discovered over these few short weeks…Because what I’ve really notice change incredibly is our family relationships.  We’ve always been a close family, but somehow, learning together is drawing us ever so closer.  Even yesterday, Abigail remarked how wonderful the day was, because her and Zander didn’t fight at all.  Both my kids have all the sudden realized that it’s a good thing to talk to Mommy.  I have received a thorough education in the last week about Pokemon from my daughter, who realized that Mommy does care about what she cares about. (I’m really not digging the Pokemon, but I am digging the time to chat, so I grin and bear it.)

We also noticed something incredibly remarkable with the kids.  We wake in the morning, eat breakfast while we watch something fun, and then tackle our schoolwork.  We’re usually done by lunch, so we break for lunch, followed by Life Skills and Arts & Crafts.  Life Skills is also chore time, and this week both kids have been so proud of their efforts- a topic for another day, to be certain.  It’s the time after that where we noticed the largest difference in our day to day.  In the past, after school time was down time.  You could just tell that Abigail was tired from her day, so most of her after-school time was spent playing video games or computer games. Sometimes she was outside or playing with her brother, but always with a rather tired expression on her face.  This year… this year is like I have a whole new daughter.  She isn’t exhausted after school in the least, and in fact the learning continues well past our school time.  She logs onto the computer and checks out the NASA website.  Or the two of them spend the afternoon making contraption after contraption out of legos and k’nex.  They’ve put on costumes and playacted favorite movie scenes, and they’ve spent time reading- just for fun.

It’s like a breath of fresh air has blown through our household, and we’re all loving it so much.

I’m also learning that I can be flexible with what we’re doing.  After doing a few days, I decided I’m really not digging the Horizons Health program.  So we’re ditching it, and instead we’re going to do our own study on nutrition and exercise.   Conversely, I also determined that the Language Arts from Sonlight isn’t quite enough of a challenge for Abigail, so we’re adding to it by using Easy Grammar 4 with it.  Both kids have expressed an interest in doing a music class, so I’m researching our options there.

Adding Zander in with our core has been remarkable.  That little man picks up so much more than I could have ever thought possible.  I’ve even managed to assemble a collection of readers that match up with Abigail’s readers, so they’ll be reading similar content- only his will be on his level.  Of course, it helps that my kindergartner is reading on a 3rd grade level- it gives us so many more options when it comes to finding books for him to read.   When it comes time for math, language arts, and handwriting, he does his own work on his level, and his confidence is just soaring! He’s zipping through his math at a remarkable rate, and I suspect that by the second semester I’ll be ordering the first grade level math for him.

I am so proud of my children.  They don’t complain about anything, and they just move from task to task joyfully and curiously.  Starting a new book is always an adventure, and they even manage to make a game out of washing the lunch dishes together.   We’re completely enjoying each other, and our journey with Sonlight.  I’m already looking forward to tomorrow, and what new discoveries that may bring.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments Off on Smooth Sailing