This is how I blog….

Yep. I was doing great at a few posts a week for a few weeks and then …  2 weeks without any. :::sigh::: I’m trying!

Co-op has started and 2 weeks down. It’s been a good 2 classes and the students are getting the hang of oral narration. The high schoolers seem to get narration more than the jr high students, but that might just be an issue of maturity.

I’ve got a lot to share about how I’m doing these classes, from a form for lesson planning I created, the alarms on my tablet I set up, to figuring out what works and what doesn’t of the experiments from the books. Seriously, sometimes the instructions in the book make it way harder to do than it should be.

 

I’m not doing a schedule overhaul of our homeschool schedule, but I’m tweaking a bit to make it fit better. And making it prettier!

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And, of course, the week *after* his 1 year checkup, Mr Wigglesworth starts pulling up and is now cruising from sofa to coffee table. Oh, dear. Now, no surface is safe! He regularly clears the coffee table and has decided that board books just don’t hold enough interest for him. No, not at all. He must have the big books! So far, only 1 page has been ripped out of 1 book… but the bookshelf is going to move soon. This bibliophile can’t handle the rough housing with the books.

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It has always taken me 2 or 3 weeks to adjust to a new schedule. This new schedule has taken several weeks to fully flesh out in this full-on, school has started schedule. Hubby is teaching 2 full days a week, Wednesday night bible study/kids stuff at church has started and co-op is in full swing. We are working hard at being consistent with our daily routines and doing school.

And I’m down for the count by evening. It doesn’t help that Hubby and I struggle to get ourselves to bed at a reasonable time. When the boys are asleep, it so nice to veg… watch some old-school Doctor Who*, do some dinking, have a snack we’d never offer to Little Man (graham cracker with peanut butter and chocolate chips… yum).

Ah, life. Bring it on.


*We are into season 14 with Tom Baker as The Doctor. We are seeing that many themes of the new Doctor Who episodes are taken from these old episodes. So fun!

Class Time Routine

I have found, and heard from others, that a basic procedure that is followed for class time makes planning easier and then students just know what is coming and happening. Co-op classes start this Friday, so I gotta get my button gear and start planning class time. This structure should make it easy to plan several weeks out (which helps make sure I’ve got the supplies I need).

Each class is 50 minutes. And, of course, the very first class will be a bit different just because it’s the first class. But, in general:

  • 10 minutes: Group narration of the reading.
  • 10 minutes: Questions from students about reading and/or socratic questioning from me
  • 30 minutes: activity time. “Centers” style: 3 to 4 activities set up in different parts of the room that students can move between. OR dissection time!

I struggle with keeping track of time, so I’m thinking I’ll set up alarms on my tablet (since I ain’t got a smartphone!) for each transition. When doing an activity at home your time constraints might not be as tight, but to make sure we get to everything I’m going to have cut off narrations and questions after the 10 minutes. To make sure we don’t go too long on any one subject, here at home, we use a timer. Alarms means I don’t have to reset the timer and the specific time isn’t going to change week to week (unlike at home, where one day we start at 830 and next day we start at 845…)

There are weeks/topics that don’t have any sort of activity to take from the book (I tend to either use the activity from the book or upgrade it, not come up with some new activity). If I can’t come up with anything, we will spend the “activity” time discussing the topic, with structure in the form of a bit of extra reading, alternative viewpoints and questions.

Pam Barnhill of https://edsnapshots.com/blog talks about ‘procedure lists’ and even offers neat looking forms for writing out procedures for your subjects in the Plan Your Year set. She talks about using these in history, geography and all sorts of subjects.

If you are doing a more formal science course this year, at home or elsewhere, what procedures do you foresee needing? I’m planning to write out procedures for

  • activity stations
  • dissections
  • microscope use
  • cleaning up

And I’ll have that procedure list out for students to reference each week.

 

General Science Syllabus

Here is my syllabus for the junior high general science class. Remember that we meet once per week, September through April. There are a few weeks we skip due to holidays, but it ends up being 28 weeks.

The Apologia textbooks are all 16 modules. So, most modules get 2 weeks while 2 modules get only 1 week.

The Syllabus

1. Each week, I expect you to read the assigned readings before class, and narrate them, either to yourself or someone else. Here is a video that explains narration really well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ubrs3cSHpw

2. Your nature journal is an important part of your education. Bring it to class every week, as we will add to it every week. You are welcome to add to it during the week, on your own.

3. As you can, take a walk and work to notice how the world around you works. Work to NOTICE, its a practiced skill.

4. I will not tolerate cheating of any sort. There are times you will work with a partner, but you each must do the work. If it is something to be done alone, I expect you to do it on your own. If it is to be done without access to book, I expect you to respect this.

5. If something doesn’t make sense, ASK! I cannot read your mind, and I don’t know when you don’t understand. Exposing your ignorance is the best way to rid yourself of that ignorance.

6. For those students that are interest in delving more deeply into a topic: you may ask for an additional project to do on your time, based on your interest. Or you may propose an addition project/collection (e.g. insect, flower/leaf, rock). Participating in Science Fair will require a fair bit from you. I am available to guide and assist as needed.

7. I will post addition resources on my blog: mamarachael.wordpress.com. Follow the link ‘General Science’ at the top.

8. If you are late to class, there will be a consequence according to the frequency of your lateness, the extremity of your lateness, and the general effectiveness of the consequence according to your character and personality. In other words, don’t be late.

Book: Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd edition (by Wile)

Assigned reading (pages) Topic
Sept 8 1-15 History of Science
Sept 15 16-23 History of Science
Sept 22 24-34 History of Science
Sept 29 35-58 Scientific Inquiry
Oct 6 Scientific Inquiry
Oct 13 59-82 Doing Experiments
Oct 20 83-94 Science and Technology, aka Simple Machines
Oct 27 95-108 Science and Technology, aka Simple Machines
Nov 3 109-134 Archeology vs Geology vs Paleontology
Nov 10 135-158 Geology
Nov 17 Geology
Dec 1 Geology
Dec 8 159-184 Paleontology
Dec 15 185-214 More Geology
Jan 12 215-222 Life, what is it? Not merely DNA
Jan 19 223-233 Ecology of Life
Jan 26 233-240 Life, what is it? Could be just a cell
Feb 2 241-264 How do we classify life?
Feb 9 293-318 Life takes Energy….
Feb 16 Life takes Energy…
Feb 23 265-292 Human Physical Form
Mar 2 319-342 Human Physical Form
Mar 16 343-357 Human Physical Form
Mar 23 358-366 Human Physical Form
April 6 367-386 Human Physical Form
April 13 387-404, 417-418 Human Physical Form
April 20 405-416 Human Physical Form
April 27 418 Human Physical Form

General comments

Yes, this one looks a lot like the Biology one. Consistency makes it all easier for me.

Do you like my late policy? This gives me the flexibility I need when it’s not the student’s fault they are late, e.g. an older sibling is dropping them off and older sibling is the one running late.

I don’t list all the activities of that day because I found students don’t really read/remember those bits anyways. And this gives me the flexibility to set up each week as I feel is most helpful. This will change, likely, as the year progresses and I learn more of who these students are, their academic levels and personalities.

On the other hand, I do have a good idea of what activities we will do over this year. I will plan these out more specifically over this next week. Baby-steps!

I’ll cover how I plan to run class time in a later post. But please, feel free to ask questions!