Paper Tie – Wordless Wednesday

What’s a child to do when he finishes his lessons early?  Perhaps design a tie by folding, coloring, and taping the paper art to his shirt?


And the reverse must be a different pattern…


Created by the now ‘Sharp Dressed Explorer’, 6.  😉


First Quarter Review – Week 9

Fall 2013

In between all the Lego construction happening around here, we’ve also been doing a little work.  The time has come to reflect upon our first quarter of school.  With both the struggles and joys of the first nine weeks, I focus on where we’re headed and how far we’ve trekked down our intended trail.  What have been our favorite curricula, and what’s been my approach when planning our schedule?

The Artist, 13:

For Language Arts there have been a few changes since last year in Latin.  We are now using Wheelock’s Latin, 7th Edition, and the Artist has made it through the first six chapters.  Though much of it is review for her, we are still getting used to the new format.  The Rod & Staff English 8, Writing Strands 6, Vocab from Classical Roots, and Writing With Skill are a continuation from last year’s program, and this combination seems to work well.  Starting in November (today, actually), she will participate for the first time in NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program.  She’s set her goal and is excited!


For Math, she’s still seems to enjoy using the Art of Problem Solving texts.  Currently she is doing the Geometry book, but she recently finished Counting and Probability at the end of the summer.

Her favorite subjects this year: Writing and Computer Programming.

The Investigator, 11:

His Language Arts are similar in that he is doing Rod & Staff 6 and Vocabulary from Classical Roots.  But for Writing he’s been doing IEW SWI B – which I’ve not been thrilled with.  Perhaps it’s that the videos seem to take too long to make a point, or maybe it’s just not a good fit for us.  But he is going to be doing a few lessons in Writing Strands 4 while I decide whether to keep IEW or not.  For poetry this week, he’s memorizing The Eagle, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


He also uses an Art of Problem Solving text, Pre-Algebra, which seems to have caught his interest.  No, it’s not easy; and, yes, it really makes him think.  I’m careful to not be too rigid about moving through the book quickly.  Sometimes tossing concepts around for a day or two makes all the difference.

When asked what his favorite subject is this year, he said that it’s either Reading or Math.

The Architect, 8:

Language Arts includes some new curricula: All About Reading and All About Spelling.  The All About Reading especially has been a hit with the Architect; it’s games are engaging and seem to reinforce its steps to reading.  He also does Rod & Staff English 3 along with Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing with Ease.

Math includes Singapore Math with the Intensive Practice Workbooks and the Challenging Word Problems along with Beast Academy Level 3 for lively reinforcement.  I think both of these programs bring a ‘think outside the box’ perspective to his math time.

Working in Beast Academy with polyominoes.

The Architect’s favorite subject thus far is Typing.

The Explorer, 5:

One thing I can say about the Explorer is that he loves school. All About Reading has also been a blast for him.  You know a program is fun when you see a big smile on your child’s face while you are working through it!  The games make learning to read more interesting than previous methods we’ve used, and he looks forward to the readers.  For handwriting, he continues to practice with Cursive First.

Reading game time.

In Math he’s completing Singapore Math Intensive Practice.  He also does math fact practice sheets (not timed).  To reinforce math concepts at this age, I think it’s helpful to do hands-on activities.  Our Cuisenaire Rods and place value activity kit get plenty of use.

So far, the Explorer’s favorite subject is Math.

In addition to the above, we also cover a few subjects in a group setting.  For example, we’ve progressed about nine chapters in History.   My goal is usually to cover one chapter per week.  History has been more of a challenge for us this year time-wise, so I pushed it back to later in the day to allow for plenty of time to cover the more basic subjects.  Or, on some mornings, I read a little history while we journal to get some of it in early.

All Science and most Art is outsourced.

For more detail about what we’re using or reviews, see Our 2013-2014 Curricula Page  or Curriculum Review.

How have things been going so far? Well, there are some things we can improve on, and there other things that seem to flow smoothly.  I strive to keep my focus on our priorities and work towards maintaining those.  It’s helped me so much to sit down and write out our goals and what I consider our most important subjects.  There is only so much time in any given day, and so I set up our schedule to allow for our more important ones earlier in the day.  Overall I am happy with what we’ve done so far, but I continue to stay ever alert and aware of where we’re headed.

And with that I’ll leave you with this insightful thought:

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson