Saturday, June 25, 2011

A great find in the Wal-Mart Clearance

My sister-in law and her family are in town for a few days. We headed to Wal-Mart for a few things last night and found ourselves walking down the clearance isle to see what great treasures might be hiding in there. I spotted this Wilton 101 cookie cutters set for $5. What a deal! This has kindergarten fun written all over it! Playdough, cookies, stenciling, and so much more can be done with cookie cutters. This set includes a complete alphabet and number set, animals, holiday, sports and transportation themes. How fun!?!?! They had about 30 of them left last night at the Wal-Mart in Cordova on Germantown Parkway. Head on down to the Mart and grab you a set!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Both Sides of the Barn Giveaway

Home Educating Family Publishing is hosting a "Both Sides of the Barn Giveaway".

Enter to Win
1. "A Journey Home" from Franklin Springs Media
2. "Beside Still Waters" by Tricia Goyer
3. Well Planned Day Planner, 2011-2012
4. 1 year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine

This prize pack has a value of over $70.

Contest Dates: June 23, 2011 through June 30, 2011.

Go HERE to enter the contest! Good luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Classical Method of Learning

Talk to any homeschool mom and one of the first questions she'll ask you is "what method do you use?". Well, here's your answer: we use the classical method.

I've always loved the classical method of learning. The classical method began in the Middle Ages and was the approach used to educate some of the greatest minds in history. This approach teaches the student how to learn for themselves. The five tools of learning, known as the trivium, are reason, record, research, relate and rhetoric.

In the grammar stage, (grades K-5) the students minds are like sponges. They soak up information and absorb facts, facts and more facts. Contrary to the modern disdain for it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an emphasis on knowing by heart and mastering important information during this stage of learning. Whereas it is dull and laborious later, young children can easily retain information and love to display their mastery of it. The students are basically taught the grammar (words, definitions, etc.) of the core subjects. They memorize math facts, history timelines, definitions used in various subjects. The idea here is to hammer in a 'peg' that they can come back to in the later stages to 'hang' further information on as they learn. Mastering the facts gives the student the foundation of further understanding.

During the next stage, the dialectic stage, also known as the logic stage, (grades 6-8) students will spend much of their time doing some serious reading, writing, studying and research. During the dialectic stage the student’s capacity for formal reasoning develops. So why not stick the peg where it fits? This is the stage when learning facts is not enough. Questioning and arguing is commonplace, and often even a nuisance. Children reaching this age are eager to challenge ideas and exercise their newly developing reasoning abilities. Learning formal logic and the correct methods of reasoning fit in this stage like hand-in-glove. Logic, as a subject, matches the structure of their developing minds. Amazingly, classical and Christian schools have been quite successful in teaching college level logic to eighth graders (including formal syllogisms, fallacies, truth tables, and digital logic)!

All of the tools come together in the rhetoric stage, (grades 9-12) where communication is the primary focus. They learn the skills of wise and effective presentation in language. Rhetorical skill is the culmination of the process of learning. It brings knowledge and understanding together to be expressed in a wise, persuasive form.

If you'd like to read more about Classical Education, I would recommend the following books:
The Well Trained Mind (Jesse Wise)
The Well Educated Mind (Susan Wise Bauer)
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (Douglas Wilson)
Teaching the Trivium (Harvie and Laurie Bluedorn)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Picks

For the 2011-2012 school year, Robert will be in the second grade and Andrew will be in Kindergarten. Here's what we have planned for our core curriculum:

Bible - Developing Godly Character in Children

Science - Apologia Exploring Creation through Human Anatomy and Physiology

History/Geography - Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times

Math - Math-U-See Beta/Gama (Robert), Singapore Math (Robert), Math-U-See Primer (Andrew)

Penmanship - Handwriting Without Tears (Andrew - K, Robert - 2)

Spelling - All About Spelling Level 2/3 (Robert), All About Spelling Level 1 (Andrew 2nd semester)

English Grammar - Shurley English Level 2 (Robert)

Reading - Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Andrew), Bob Books (Andrew), Great Illustrated Classics (Robert)

Five in a Row (Andrew Kindergarten core)

Memory Work - We will attend Classical Conversations on Thursdays and the boys will be assigned Memory Work each week in the following subjects: English, Latin, Math, Science, Histoy/Timeline and Geography. In addition to the memory work, the kids will participate in a fine arts activity/lesson, a science project and will have an opportunity to practice their oral presentation skills each week.

"What about extra-curriculars?" you might ask. We'll, I'm glad you did!

The boys participate in soccer, basketball and baseball throughout the year. They attend a kids fitness class each week (P.E.), play the piano and tin whistle. They have an opportunity each day to use the computer and the iPad as we feel that technology is important (after all, I am married to a computer programmer). They love arts and crafts and spend a time each day drawing or creating something related to what we are learning or something they've chosen for fun. The boys keep a journal that they write/draw in a couple times each week. They also enjoy cycling with our family and going swimming at the local gym where we are members. The boys will attend two classes each week with other children who are home-educated. On Tuesdays, we will attend a Co-Op with other families and on Thursdays we will attend Classical Conversations. These classes provide a time of learning and participating in a larger class setting. Homeschooling has given our children a variety of activities to participate in and they are certainly not "missing out" on any opportunities they would have in a typical school setting. We love homeschooling because it gives us the freedom to choose what curriculums best fits our family and we can focus on areas where our children are interested.

The Sloan Family

We are the Sloan Family. We are followers of Christ and living life in Memphis, Tennessee. We (for a variety of reasons) home-educate our children. We began homeschooling in the Fall of 2010 when Robert was in the first grade. He previously attended a local christian school. Now, we're home together sharing the ins and outs of life. Ultimately, we've seen that by having our children at home has brought our family even closer together and made us stronger. It has simplified our lives and I don't feel like a taxi-driver all day zig-zagging all over the city. We understand that homeschooling is not for every family, but it's the right fit for our family and we love it!

Three Reasons Why We Homeschool

One: Robert Michael Sloan
(born June 29, 2003)

Robert is what we call an "old soul" and we joke that he was born at 40. I have to admit: it is nice having a mature child, but there are times when parenting a mature child can be a challenge. He sometimes thinks we're on the same level and we have to remind him that he is not. Robert is kind, compassionate, a great friend, a rule-follower, a helper. He loves learning and is my eager scholar. He was reading at age 3 and hasn't put the books down since. He loves Jesus and is growing in his relationship with Him. I am eager to see what God will do with this kid!

Two: Andrew Lewis Sloan
(born September 9, 2005)

Andrew is a lover of life! He always has a smile on his face and he is genuinely funny. Andrew is always up for a new adventure. Andrew has a sweet heart like I've never seen in another child. He is kind and compassionate to others, especially towards those who are sometimes overlooked. Giving us a constant performance, Andrew keeps a smile on our face. Andrew is a kid with passion that I know God will use in a mighty way!

Three: Zoe Grace Eun-ha Sloan
(born October 28, 2009; home forever January 4, 2011)

Zoe is the newest member of the Sloan family. She was born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted through Holt International. She is full of wonder and is the smiliest baby I've ever seen in my life. Her laugh is contagious and although she's been with our family only 5 short months, we can't imagine life without her! God has an amazing plan for this girl and I can't wait to see how she'll bring glory to Him through her life!

To Be Educated

If I learn my ABC's, can read 600 words per minute, and can write with perfect penmanship, but have not been shown how to communicate with the Designer of all language, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can deliver an eloquent speech and persuade you with my stunning logic, but have not been instructed in God's wisdom, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I have read Shakespeare and John Locke and can discuss their writings with keen insight, but have not read the greatest of all books – the Bible - and have knowledge of its personal importance, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I have memorized addition facts, multiplication tables, and chemical formulas, but have never been disciplined to hide God's Word in my heart, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can explain the law of gravity and Einstein's theory of relativity, but have never been instructed in the unchangeable laws of the One Who orders our universe, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can classify animals by their family, genus and species, and can write a lengthy scientific paper that wins an award, but have not been introduced to the Maker's purpose for all creation, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can recite the Gettysburg Address and the Preamble to the Constitution, but have not been informed of the hand of God in the history of our country, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can play the piano, the violin, six other instruments, and can write music that moves men to tears, but have not been taught to listen to the Director of the universe and worship Him, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can run cross-country races, star in basketball and do 100 push-ups without stopping, but have never been shown how to bend my spirit to do God's will, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I can identify a Picasso, describe the style of da Vinci, and even paint a portrait that earns an A+, but have not learned that all harmony and beauty comes fro a relationship with God, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I graduate with a perfect 4.0 and am accepted at the best university with a full scholarship, but have not been guided into a career of God's choosing for me, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

If I become a good citizen, voting at each election and fighting for what is moral and right, but have not been told of the sinfulness of man and his hopelessness without Christ, I HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED.

However, if one day I see the world as God sees it, and come to know Him, Who to know is life eternal, and glorify God by fulfilling His purpose for me, THEN, I HAVE BEEN EDUCATED!