Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Well, we're back at school! We had a good first week last week, starting off the year with a trip to Marine Land! But then we got down to business again! Every year it is a little different. This year is busier in some ways than others, but easier in other ways. We follow a classical model of homeschooling, where the entire school career is divided into three basic sections. The first section (roughly grades 1-4) is called the grammar stage, where the student takes in a lot of information, but doesn't act on it too much. The next stage (grades 5-8) is called the logic stage, and here the student is expected to start thinking about and analyzing the information they take in. The final stage (high school) is the rhetoric stage, and that seems so far off right now!!

The big change for us this year is that Emmi is moving into the logic stage! (Grade 5!!) She is becoming a much more independent student, able to do a lot of her schoolwork by herself. My role is changing with her from direct teaching, to coaching, and marking. She is also able to help me by teaching the younger boys some of their lessons. And she seems to have taken over lunch duty of late, which lets me get in "just one more" lesson with someone else, or small household job.

Tim is in Grade 3, and is moving towards greater independence. But for him, Grade 3 looks a lot like Grade 2, just a little more of it and a little deeper. Ben has started into the grammar stage, he's in Grade 1, so he is starting to study in a more serious way than in Kindergarten, and he needs a lot of one-on-one help. Pip does not want to be left behind! He is asking for phonics worksheets, and loves his math lessons! The great thing about a younger sibling is that they learn so much from the older ones. Pip works on a phonics question beside Ben, and Ben shows him the right answer. I don't know how much Pip really understands about what Ben is telling him, but it gives Ben a chance to use his knowledge, and it can't hurt Pip's ability to learn to read! Emmi loves to play school with the younger boys, and she teaches them all sorts of basic math and reading concepts!

Our history studies follow a 4 year cycle (you do one cycle with each stage), and last year we finished off history (aren't you glad to know there's an end? Just kidding!) with the Persian Gulf War. This year we are back to ancient history, to great rejoicing from all the children! Our very first history lesson was about archeologists, and how we can know what happened so long ago. Acting on the suggestion in our activity book, I staged an archeological dig in the sandbox!

The archeologists are examining the site:

Looks like Emmi has found something!

Pip is pretty happy to be digging!!

The archeologists examine their findings, and try to draw some conclusions about the civilization that left the artifacts.

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