Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hey, Andrew

Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek, level 2, has been loads of fun. Five weeks into school and we've almost finished learning it. Not every page has been done, but most of the material has been learned. It teaches the alphabet, the sounds of the letters, and eleven basic words. All that's left to do is learn to spell those eleven words including their diacritical marks. We don't know what the marks mean yet, and there seem to be lots of them, but it is important to learn the marks along with the spelling of the words. There are accent marks above some letters and apostrophes above others, while still some have a backwards apostrophe, and yet others have a rainbow type semi-circle. I wonder how many more there may be, since these four are on the first eleven words we're learning.

My third grader came up with the idea to print out the letters of the alphabet, laminate them, and add velcro to the back so we could play a spelling game with the words. So we worked on it for a few days and came up with this.

The word spelled on the red mat is anthropos, meaning 'a man,' and has two diacritical marks over the 'a.'  We laminated the mats, so we can write the marks above the letters with dry erase markers. It only took us one day to decide that we really wasted our time with all the velcro because it is aggravating to pull back apart. We should have left the velcro off completely, or should have used magnetic squares so we could spell on a cookie sheet or on the magnetic white board. We will fix that as soon as I can get some magnetic squares to put on the back..

In the meantime, we are having fun spelling our Greek vocabulary words. We take turns calling out a vocabulary word for each other to spell on the mat. We even hint to each other where to place the marks. If you are learning another language, you might consider making a spelling game too. It certainly makes studying a bit more palatable.

Happy Schooling,

*Please forgive my shaky pictures. Hope to soon get a phone with a stabilizer built in the camera.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Third Grade Planning

Several homeschool friends asked me to share about our homeschool. So while I am planning this year, I thought I'd share what I have so far. Even the best laid plans get changed periodically throughout the year and no doubt this one will get changed many times, but this is what we are starting with.

We begin our day with CIRCLE TIME. This includes Bible, prayer, memory work, and read aloud. 

Bible is fairly self-explanatory, we read the Bible together and discuss it. We will start with Genesis 1 through 11 because we will be studying ancient history and starting at the beginning seems the proper place to start. 

Prayer. We have a ring with one inch square cards on it and each card has the name of a person or family that we want to prayer for. We flip to a new card each morning, so that all our friends and family get prayed for at least once a month. When we run into someone who asks for our prayers, after we pray for them initially, the student loves to rush home to make a card with their name on it. We love to play a few praise and worship songs on youtube also, but I have found that this is one place where we can lose our day. We can sing and sing and sing and then our day is gone. If we could discipline ourselves to stop at 2 songs, this would work better.

Memory Work is a favorite. We choose things we want to memorize and then we work on it together. We have a binder where we keep what we are currently working on and the past things we've learned so that we can review them. We have learned scripture, poetry, and several lists like the books of the Bible, the disciples, and the states and capitals.

Read Aloud is a time for me to read aloud great literature that we can enjoy together. I gather books from the 1000 Good Books list (, Newbery book lists (, and reading lists from curriculum providers like Sonlight ( I include living books about science, history, geography, and others.  We also take turns choosing which book to read next, so everyone has a chance to be really excited about starting a new book. This is a tradition that we continue all the way through high school. It is a special time of bonding and I think all my students have sweet memories of this time.

MATH is simply Math-U-See ( We work on math 4 days a week. We finished half of the Epsilon book last year (changing in January), so we will pick up where we left off in May.

LANGUAGE ARTS Again, because we started new books in January last year, we finished half of the books, so we will start out finishing the other half of  Writing with Ease and Rod & Staff grammar. We will do two lessons in each one two days a week. There is plenty of spelling, hand writing, copy work, dictation, and narration in this, but there will be more in the content areas also.

HISTORY This is our first time using a formal history course instead of reading living books about history. Not sure if I am going to like it or dump it, but here it is. I had slowly collected all the volumes of The Story of the World through the years before I found out that they are not implicitly Christian. I explained this to my student and told him he could help me look for errors that don't agree with the Word of God, so he is excited about doing that.

SCIENCE Previously, I had chosen living books about science and scientists to be included in our read alouds and he and his dad read from Jeanne Fulbright's Apologia series each night at bedtime. They will continue this special time of sharing science together and a new science avenue this year will be studying the principles of flight with Grandpa in the afternoons.

GREEK We studied Latin last year with Latina Christiana from Memoria Press. He loved doing Latin and learned quickly. However, I particularly feel led to get started in Koine Greek this year so that he will eventually be able to study the New Testament in the original language for himself. We will start with Level 2 of Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek. God has great plans for him and I am here to help guide his learning and preparation for that. We both want to still do some Latin as well, so we'll perhaps bring that back in later this year, or wait till next year.

JOURNAL WRITING A time of free writing. Students can write what they want in a relaxed atmosphere. I will help with spelling, punctuation, and formatting upon request. 

QUIET READING One of my favorite times of day. I call for everyone to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and then bring the book of their choice to the table. Then I set the timer and no one talks or gets up while we all get to read quietly. The exception is to ask me for help with an unknown word. The time allotted for this corresponds with their grade level. At the beginning of second grade, I begin with 10 minutes and then extend it by 1 minute each week or two until they can concentrate on their reading for 20 minutes. A second grader should be able to read independently for 20 minutes by the end of second grade. A third grade reads for 30 minutes, fourth grader 40 minutes, and so on. These times are guidelines and necessarily should be adjusted for each child's ability.

In an effort to lessen the school day and give more opportunity for personal responsibility, this year he will have an afternoon schedule (formally known as homework and chores). I will type a chart for him to keep track of his chores and piano and guitar practice times on his own.

Last, but not least, is FUN FRIDAYS. You may have noticed that many of our lessons are planned for four days a week. That is so we can include all those extras that there just isn't time for in the work week, but still an essential part of a good education. On Fun Friday, we get to learn a new piano lesson; a new guitar lesson; do some art and learn about great artists and their works; learn about music topics like instruments, genres, orchestras, and composers; do geography puzzles; and enjoy lots of online and youtube learning like Schoolhouse Rock and geography games and songs. Any of the Monday through Thursday academics that weren't completed then, have to be completed before Fun Friday can begin.

What do you have planned for the new school year? Does anyone have something unusual planned? God bless your new year and may you all grow closer to Him through your homeschool!