Eva Marina Homeschools

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review | Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World

While at the library, I came across “Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World” by Susan Hughes. I am so glad I decided to check it out. This 64 page book packs a punch! Ignacio and I both loved it so much, I’ve decided to buy a copy for our home library. This book was such an interesting read. It clearly shows that “school” is about the act of learning, regardless of the building in which the learning is taking place. I especially enjoyed the fact that the book did not limit itself to profiling just the schools, it also explained the children’s living conditions, and shared the stories of individual people that are truly making a difference. The book profiles 23 amazing schools around the world, devoting a two page spread to each. The wonderful pictures really caught Ignacio’s attention. The book ends with a map of the world, showing where each school is located, as well as a list of resources to help more children learn. I thought I’d share a peek inside.

Boat Schools in Chalanbeel Region, Bangladesh:

Shadid Rajaei Elementary School in Kalou, Iran:

Dongzhong Primary School in Dongzhong, China:

Mobile Schools in Cali and Popayán, Colombia:

Grand Oaks Academy in Paris, United States.  (I thought I’d mention that while I was happy to see a spread devoted to homeschooling, I’m not sure how I feel about their example.  While I understand that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to homeschooling, I don’t know how many homeschoolers build a school house in their backyard.  Also, the family profiled essentially prepared their daughters to attend public high school and are no longer homeschooling.  This was my personal observation, Ignacio made no comment on the fact.):

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kindergarten Update and Curriculum

I’m think I’ll review some of the curriculum we’ve been using. I’ll have more in depth posts in the future. Here is a basic list:

Math: Horizons - Kindergarten (abacus, flash cards, etc.)

Reading: Explode the Code – We completed Books 1 and 2, currently half way through book 3.

Writing: For most of the year, Explode the Code has doubled as our writing curriculum. We also wrote a lot of stories and letters this year. We recently began using How to Write Book Reports PK-K and Grammar & Punctuation 1 (both by Evan Moor).

Social Studies: Ignacio is a huge fan of Geography. We have many maps and globes. We recently began using Beginning Geography K-2 by Evan Moor.

Science: We have been using Teaching the Fun of Science to Young Learners PK-2 by Janice VanCleave.

Spanish: Teach Them Spanish! K and Everyday Words in Spanish by Usborne.

Art: He takes a weekly art class. We also craft a lot and have a variety of art books by Usborne.

Gym: He takes a weekly P.E. class and a weekly swim class. He was in a dance group the first half of the year. We also play a lot and take many walks.

Additional info: It is worth mentioning that we also read a lot of library books. The topics vary, but they are usually about science or geography. We also play computer games. Also, his art and gym classes are specifically for homeschoolers. How cool is that?

At five years old Ignacio can:

• Count past 200. He gets bored and chooses to stop, usually somewhere around 220.

• He can also count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, 100’s, and by 3’s if he uses his fingers to keep track.

• He is adding and subtracting single digit numbers and double digit numbers.

• Is beginning simple word problems.

• Can read! Just today he finished reading Little Bear all by himself. He has also read the entire Piggie and Elephant series by Mo Willems.

• He writes using basic sentences. Always uses upper case letters and ending punctuation correctly. He has recently begun using apostrophes as well.

• He knows all 50 states by name. He recognizes each by shape and knows where they are located on a map. He also knows some state capitals and can recognize a variety of countries.

• He knows more about the solar system than I do. He knows all of the planets and dwarf planets. He also knows some of their moons and can recognize some constellations. When looking at the night sky, he almost always knows if he is looking at a star or a planet and is actually pretty accurate at naming the planet he is looking at. This is without a telescope, judging by brightness and location. He likes to use my GoogleSky ap to see if he was right.

• He is understanding a lot more Spanish now. His accent has also improved a lot. He can recognize color and number words when they are written.

• He has always been afraid of the water, but last week he learned to float.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Where has time gone? When life takes over…

Oh my poor neglected little blog. It is hard to believe that I have not posted in over a year.

What happened? Life happened.

My baby was born October 2010. We decided to name him Francisco. I won’t go into details now, but in a span of thirteen months I had four surgeries. Four surgeries, while caring for an infant and continuing to homeschool Ignacio. I had to prioritize my life and when it came down to it, this blog didn’t make the cut. Also, did I mention the internet stopped working on my laptop? Or rather, it only works when it is plugged directly into our router, which happens to be in the basement. I have kept a journal though. I try to write in it weekly. It was nice to read through my older blog posts, see how far we have come. That was the point in creating this blog. I want to document this time in our lives. I’ll be back soon. I think I’ll just pick up where I left up, might have a few catch up posts.

I’ll introduce Francisco with this layout I made prior to getting sick. He was so tiny then. Are you familiar with digital scrapbooking? It was a major hobby of mine, haven’t really done that either. Note to self: scrap!