Homeschooling, spring 2017, age 8

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Reading

I don’t do anything official for this at home beyond encouraging her to read for pleasure, which she does (quite happily). Her interests are mostly nonfiction, books about friendships, gentle mysteries, and animal stories, though she has a good interest in historical fiction too. I don’t put much stock in Lexile numbers, but I’ve found that ~700 she breezes through very comfortably, but she can stretch above that easily too (when the book is interesting enough).

I, once again, briefly used this “reading level assessment” and she could once get through the 6th grade words but got hung up on the 7th grade list.

The local co-op has a literature class that she participates in which uses classics and other books. They’re encouraged to read them at home before class, though the teacher reads them aloud as well, and then they discuss and go through some basic comprehension. While she’s grouped in the lower elementary and the reading level is well below what she is capable of, I think it’s a great practice for this sort of work, and next year she’ll likely be in with the older kids at the co-op based on age/grade.

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Writing

There is also a writing class at the weekly co-op where they cover different topics like types of words, haiku poems, how to count syllables. They have free writing in class, and two homework assignments each week–creative writing (literally anything goes), and formal writing where she writes a paragraph from an outline that she makes.

Math

We’ve been pretty much just using Prodigy Math, an online game that I know a lot of families use as a supplement, but I’m comfortable using it exclusively for now. It automatically assesses her math level (which the home screen is currently telling me is 4th grade). She’s proficient in any-digit addition/subtraction, conceptually understands multiplication/division and is beginning to memorize those facts naturally (I allow her to use a multiplication chart instead of being limited by lack of rote memorization), basic metric conversion, fractions, and more that I’m just not remembering.

I love the reports that are available from Prodigy, and even just quickly logging in shows me how many questions she’s answered each day this week, and what topics have been covered. I’ve created my own account and play at the highest level of math and we “battle” each other, which she enjoys. She mostly loves all the extras in the game–pets, clothes, decorating her home–but she tolerates the math that’s involved, so I’ll take it.

We also continue to play math games such as Math Dice Jr., Balance Beans, and Mobi Max. I’m hoping she gets confident enough for Sumoku soon, and regular Math Dice.

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Science

We’ve continued to slowly work through REAL Science Odyssey – Earth and Space as a formal curriculum, and have made it mostly through all of the planets, and after that it’s stars and the book is done. I really like the pick-up-and-go aspect of this curriculum…there’s very little that I have to prep in advance. Typically when I know our schedule will allow for science I look at the book the day before, make sure we have any supplies required, and that’s it. I plan to do their Chemistry book next, and likely Physics after that. In my head the idea of cycling through those three for elementary school makes sense, but we’ll see what actually plays out.

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Other science-y stuff continues to happen informally and with much curiosity. We continue attending nature class with our homeschool group, and though we took a break over winter from the Jr. Naturalist program, we just signed up for spring again at our local nature center.

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Art

An art class is also included in our weekly gatherings at the library, and they vary from painting to drawing to repurposing recyclables. She also enjoys crafting a lot of miniatures for her dolls for play, as well as drawing along with the Art Hub for Kids YouTube videos.

History

She still has Story of the World Volume 1 and 2 (ancient times through middle ages) on her little iPod and listens to them mostly while she relaxes in the bathtub (LOL). She likes historical fiction books such as Little House on the Prairie, and has started reading a new series, Goddess Girls. I’m unsure of that series’ educational value, but it’s making Greek mythology relatable, and for an 8 year old that’s good enough for me.

Music

Lily continues to play violin and is working on completing the final song in the first Suzuki book. The goal is for this song to be her recital piece in a few weeks!

Physical Education

Also tied in with music is her ballet class. They’re currently preparing for the spring recital which she LOVES. She also takes gymnastics classes through the park district. We’ve recently started wall climbing indoors at a gym together and she excels at that with all of her monkey-bar-upper-body strength!

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Miscellaneous

Her Girl Scout troop at the local grade school is having fun being Brownies this year. They meet at least monthly and her troop leader is kind and creative with their activities.

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She has also started attending an independent learning center for ~4 hours a week. Now, this place is difficult to describe. The director is trained in Montessori and gifted education, as well as child psychotherapist, who decided to create this amazing space for homeschooled kids. We use it as an enrichment activity, like how kids in public school would have pull-out gifted services, but some use it as a bridge to eventually enroll in a brick and mortar school again. It’s a magical place that collaborates between director-led and child-led goals in a small community setting, and we are so lucky to have found it and for Lily to be able to participate.

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We just wrapped up Lily’s 8th birthday week of celebrations and I am so incredible proud of the kid she’s growing into. She seems to be shedding most of her little-kid qualities and I just absolutely love parenting her.

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