No sooner did I finish writing our Curriculum Choices post that we (of course) made some changes! All summer I’d felt pretty good about what we were doing, but as soon as the school year hit it all felt more “real” – more serious and harder! I felt like I couldn’t get my head around all the different subjects together.

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I took a little time to regroup, reread other peoples’ blog posts, took the plunge and purchased the Keys of the Universe albums. Oh my goodness! They’ve made such a difference! The only issue I have is that they are a little religious in the Great Lessons, and we are not, but it’s nothing I can’t work around. For the quality of the albums, the number of blogs out there that are using them and are helping to guide me, and the included online community, I can make the adjustment.

I gave myself a couple of weeks where we just ticked along as before to read through the albums and make my plans for the rest of 2020. I started with the areas we didn’t have, Geography and Botany, and worked out how to integrate those. They’ve added to much to our learning time! I then worked through the Language and Math albums to see what needed adding into the plan I already had – and how my thinking about the work needed to change! I’ll admit I haven’t been through the Geometry album for Meatball yet – but that’s been ticking along just fine anyway.

We are also adding History Quest: Early Times, but with a Montessori twist. This year, it’s just beyond my capacity to be able to pull together all the intro material and stories I’d need. We’ll be using this curriculum for their stories. The suggested student work may or may not be pulled in and we’ll talk about the stories presented through the framework of fundamental needs,the history question charts, and lots of the additional suggested reading books.

So – I’m feeling much calmer about the year now, and our homeschool has become so much more interesting the last couple of weeks and we’ve even had a few self started projects going!

This week the girls started out doing all their work together, which was adorable, and they were certainly more focused working together. It doesn’t always work out: Meatball has to be in the right mood to work down to Cheeseball, and it can be hard for Cheese to follow along with what M is doing.

First of all, we made binomials together with the sensorial decanomial. Then, they moved on to grammar command cards – working on the pronoun and parading around the room together! C is working through sensorial fraction work, and was challenged to find as many ways as she could to fill half the fraction frame. They decided to trace some of the pieces into Cheese’s maths notebook.

Later in the week I gave the girls the liquid and gas parts of the States of Matter lesson, which falls under Geography in the KotU manuals. The main takeaway from this lesson is that solids press down, liquids press down and out, and gasses press in all directions. To show that liquids press down and out, I drilled some holes in a plastic jug, and covered the wholes with blue tape. The girls were thrilled to see the water pour out of the hole. We had to repeat that part several times! Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the gas demonstration, which finishes with a full upside down glass of water, the water held in place by a the pressure of air pushing up on a piece of paper!

To prepare ourselves to start History Quest, we reviewed the fundamental needs of humans, which we briefly covered back in April. The girls discovered a booklet I had to discuss their own needs, and we spent the next hour talking and filing it in. Last week Cheese discovered how to use the index at the back of her favorite book, My Book of Very Important Things, and she grabbed it to look up some of the flags. Later in the week we listened to the first chapter of History Quest – about the Paleolithic Era – and Cheese grabbed her book again to show us pictures of cave paintings!

What else did we get up to? Cheese worked on some subtraction strips, had a dot game lesson and was thrilled to see the numbers she picked add up so quickly…and get a sum of over 10,000! She also worked on some short bead chains, and looked through a set of puzzle words, confirming that she knew them all.

Meatball completed her cubes layout follow up work, and has been investigating the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle. She also reviewed some suffix work and did a little sentence analysis.

This all happens in the mornings. After lunch, at least three days a week, we write. Cheese is working on writing pattern books – which we make sure we’re also reading! and Meatball is writing longer informative writing pieces on “expert topics” – things she already knows about.

Other items fit in whenever. We try and take our learning outside once a week, so this week we collected leaves on a long walk around a lake, then compared leaf types. We listened and discussed our history chapter over lunch at a park, and we did our writing lying on a blanket with some HUGE white ducks right behind us!