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Tag: Story of the World History

We are now well in our Kindergarten Spring 2010 semester so I feel qualified to muse on Satori’s progress and to reflect on new curriculum choices. I want to start off giving myself a pat on the back for staying on top of our homeschool schedule and getting most lessons done by 11am everyday, considering my spontaneous personality. Huge hugs to Satori for participating with such joy, and for going along with some lessons that I know aren’t the most exciting.


We’re using Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and the more I read about other homeschoolers and books on reading, the more glad I am to have chosen this book as our main reading program. It’s so systematic and thorough. Within our allocated 20 minutes, we easily cover a lesson a day, and a thorough review of recently covered lessons and then touch a few lessons covered months ago. Every 7-10 days we take a thorough review day, although our reviews are already thorough, so we’ll be stopping review day. We’re on lesson 118 now, in Section 13 “Common Spellings for Other Vowel Sounds” like AW, AU, OO, OU, OI, EA and so on.

Aside from the 20 minute lessons five days a week, I do not push Satori to read on her own. I want her to learn to enjoy reading and am afraid if I push it, she might get burned out or turned off by reading. Only until last month did I encourage her to read off her easy readers, which are totally below her level, but gives her the confidence of reading. So we do try to have Satori read a few books, then mama read a read-aloud, but I haven’t been consistent.

One milestone we have finally reached is Satori’s eagerness to read books. Monday night (2/8) Satori just could not get enough of her Nora Gaydos books, and read an entire set in one sitting. In 24 hours, we read both Level 1 and Level 1 Advanced sets of Nora Gaydos. She loves the stickers and laughs at the stories. (Ah, the simple things…) We’ve started Volume 2, with sentences like “The gray ape places the cake to bake on a tray.” and “The crazy snakes danced into the lake.”  This is more her level. She also started reading the Biscuit books. I’m so glad that we got this far in our reading program, it has given her the confidence to tackle beginning reading books with ease. I’m afraid she might be getting a bit too over-eager, as she sometimes wants to try to read “my” books, lol!

On a final reading note, last week Satori went gung-ho with her online reading subscription, which we recently renewed after several months. I think she went through several maps in one day! She does this completely independently, which is a nice break for mama. She’s now on Level 2, Lesson 64, although at this point, I think she could get through all of level 3 without learning anything new that she hasn’t already learned through OPG. She is using her math skills to earn her eggs. For example, she wanted to purchase a piano for 84 eggs, but only had 24 at the time. So she worked extra hard and saved up all her eggs until she could purchase her piano. 🙂


Again, I think we chose the perfect program for ourselves. We’re on RightStart A Lesson 39 today. Recently she’s been learning how to estimate, add, write equations, money, even/odd, and dozens of other things. She is not using the abacus to add things like 7+3, but she doesn’t have it memorized either. I’m trying to get her to use the abacus, but she’s doing her addition fast and without mistakes, so we’ll see how it goes. Last night we revisited a Memory Game from Lesson 9 and she wanted to do it over and over. She has a great memory, so she kicks my butt.

I love how learning our coins – penny, nickel, and dime, it reinforces the concept of grouping things in 5s and 10s. She has no problem paying me for an apple worth 87 cents, in several different ways.


Last week I posted about a handwriting emergency, letters getting sloppy/careless. We hadn’t been focusing on handwriting at all for such a long time. My mistake! As I posted a few pictures of Satori writing, I noticed a weird pencil grip. I then launched myself into researching grips and discovered I myself have an incorrect grip. I use 2 grips, both are incorrect. Satori uses a combination of Quadropod Grip (which HWT says is okay) and sometimes something totally incorrect. So both mom and daughter have been practicing using the more commonly suggested Tripod Grip.

Satori knows exactly how each letter should be written, right down to its shape and  how to write it. When people write lowercase “e” wrong on TV, she’ll catch it and tell me how they wrote it wrong. If I forget the tiniest little detail on a letter, like forgetting to come back down on lowercase “u”, she’ll point that out and correct it for me. So daughter does teach Mama sometimes!

To get back on track, we’ve started Handwriting Without Tears First Grade book, and are using StartWrite software to make practice handwriting sheets, and are constantly checking our handwriting grip. HWT has a few tricks on  how to get a correct grip, and we’re working on those.


One more Step left in All-About-Spelling Level 1 and we’re on to Level 2.  I couldn’t ask for more from a program, but I think I talk about AAS enough so I’ll leave it at that.

Satori has been writing books about 10-15 pages long. The classical education model doesn’t start “creative writing” until Grade 5 (the Logic stage), but this kindergartner sure loves to write stories. Using her phonics and spelling she knows so far, these are fun (and funny) to read. I really need to take a picture of these books, they come complete with cute pictures! She’s been writing a story about a cat named Liz and her adventures with Gest her friend, and her babies. Here’s a few pages of one story (some misspellings corrected):

Liz met a male. The owners of the cats are mad. (picture of happy cats with collars and mad owners)

Liz saw her owner and she ran fast. The 2 cats got home. The people left Liz and Gest home.

Liz and Gest had a idea. They ran to the cat bed. (Hmmmm….) In the mornin the 2 cats be friends.

Gest and Liz got mayed (married). (Picture of Gest with a top hat and bow on. Liz with a fancy gold collar.)

The End


Not much to say about Writing, Grammar, and Logic except they’re going well and only take a few minutes a day. Nothing too exciting about these subjects, but there are some Logic problems Satori loves of which she cannot get enough. Satori wants to do several lessons of vocabulary a day. She picks up on unknown words all the time and demands a definition. She attempts to use new vocabulary in her conversation. So cute!

History is amazing, I talk enough about that, so no big updates here. I did plan on going much slower in history, but we are doing one chapter a week, which is what’s recommended. Love SOTW audio CDs to listen to in the car so we can review stories already  covered. I had no clue Satori would enjoy history so much.


We just started using Discovery Education streaming Elementary Spanish which rocks! Satori actually asked for Spanish videos so she can learn on her own, so I simply introduced her to these. They come with a teacher’s manual PDF file. We are only on our first week, more to say about this later.


Science and Art big-time. I think the prep-time of these is daunting to this perfectionist mom. We have however, been watching lots of science videos on Discovery Streaming. I keep meaning to spend an entire day to pre-prepare lessons in these 2 subjects, and then doing several in a week (I schedule these once a week).

I’ve added a new page to our blog for our Kindergarten Spring 2010 curriculum plans. You can also go straight to it via the menu.

We’re adding more subjects, ditching a few, but what I’m really excited about it starting our classical education style, including history and tying in related art, literature, music and more.

Today was our first day back to school after winter break and it went well! Satori loves some of our new subjects, which I’ll go over in more detail later this week.

This week I added a new page to the blog, our official Kindergarten Curriculum. Once the schedule is tweaked to everyone’s liking, I will post that too (how much time a week we spend on a subject).

Kindergarten Curriculum

Kindergarten Curriculum

As this is our first year homeschooling, I expect a few hits and misses. I am an avid researcher and a bit of a curriculum junkie, but I try my best to pick what might work best for Satori’s learning style and my teaching style. Satori’s curriculum is an eclectic mix of several styles. We started “preschool at home” in February 2009 with unit studies with Five in a Row, then added the 3 R’s, but went very slowly in the spring. Over the summertime I fell in love with classical education, and we will follow a classical education fairly closely. This fall I will be researching Charlotte Mason methods and mix that in as well. I will talk about the various homeschooling “styles” in another post.

If you’re a homeschooler and want to be a free beta tester for a very awesome curriculum website, hurry and sign up now! Everyone who has checked it out is amazed at how detailed it is. There are currently 672 Pathways in Science, History, Reading/Phonics, Math, and Language Arts.

Lesson Pathways

lesson-pathwaysClassical homeschoolers (like us) can pick and choose from the pathways to correspond for the appropriate lessons in history/science and such. There are fun activities, projects, learning tools, go-along books and more for each pathway, it is so thorough I cannot believe it.

For example, for their Unit on Egypt, your child will learn about King Tut, the Nile in Ancient Egypt. Activities include crafts like Crown Yourself, How Big is a Pyramid, Design a Sarcophagus, Mummy Experiment, Egyptian Death Mask. It includes links to free learning material like “The Importance of the Nile”, “Sarcophagus Images”, “Print your Name in Hieroglyphics”, Games, Videos, Books, and so much more.

I do not know how much they will charge once your free year is over, but I can already see that this site will save me weeks, perhaps MONTHS of planning time, so it will be worth it!

Check it out now! The free membership is open to Monday, August 10 at midnight only!!!

As you may know, I just have one young girl, who is 4.75 years old now and this spring was an experiment to keep her home and an intro to homeschooling. Obviously it was a success and everyone is on board with it now (husband, Grandma/mom, etc…). This summer I’m in no rush for a strict schedule yet, but I’ve tried to make sure we get at least a few minutes of lessons in each day. This fall (which we’re calling kindergarten) we’ll extend that to perhaps an hour give or take a few minutes.

By now you’ve maybe heard me talk about classical education, or you’ve heard me talk about it on homeschooling forums. I just got done reading the book, The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, for the 3rd time since February, not to mention all the times I’ve peeked inside for a quick reference. This is the homeschool style that has influenced me most. I will be writing a separate blog post or page about the classical education method for those folks who’ve never heard of it.

The Well-Trained Mind

There’s been a lot of talk about The Well-Trained Mind (WTM) in all 3 forums I frequent on a daily basis, so I’ve been a bit rejuvenated on the classical education style. I mentioned earlier that we are in a big learning/growing stage, and life has changed so much that David and myself are so excited about how much Satori is learning. David said to me, that at 4 years old, he was really good at playing in the sandbox. 🙂 Here Satori is sounding things out at the grocery store, writing titles on her Bare Books, trying desperately to type in “scooby doo” on her computer to watch YouTube videos (I’ve chastised David about introducing YouTube to her multiple times.) I can’t imagine what she’ll be like when she turns 5 this November.

Here I am copying one of my posts regarding my plans for the upcoming school year. The curriculums in purple are all written by the same women who wrote The Well Trained Mind – Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. The curriculum in orange is recommended in WTM.

Fall 2009

Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

We’re on lesson 46, this is going super fast now, Satori catches on to the new sounds immediately and is blending effortlessly. I’m moving to 2 lessons a day instead of 1.5.

Story of the World with Activity Guide (maybe follow History Odyssey)
2-3x week
1) Read the “text”. 2) Read extra go-along books. 3) Do activity.

First Language Lessons
We’ve already started this, though according to WTM, we should’ve waited until we got to OPG’s Lesson 150 or so. But it is easy and simple and fun, and she’s ecstatic that she memorized her first poem! We’ll just do 1 lesson a week until we get caught up with OPG, which should be near her birthday when she turns 5.

Handwriting Without Tears
We’re just wrapping up “Get Set for School” and starting “Letters and Numbers for Me”. It thrills her to be able to write, even though she only knows capital letters right now. She’s eager to learn lowercase, and copies my writing a lot so she knows a few lowercase letters already.

The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease

We won’t start this until next year, but I have it lined up ready to go. We have to learn our lower case letters first.

Math is very important to me and DH, we were both very good at it. So I geeked out and got like 4-5 curriculums, although I want to just stick to one primary curriculum, hehe.
Math-U-See (wrap up Primer and start Alpha this fall)
Singapore (Earlybird B this fall, but just lightly, as MUS is our main)
RightStart (just to use their games and other manipulatives for some variety)

We’re surrounded by nature (bears and fox walk up on our deck often), so it is easy to study our surroundings. Not sure if I will follow WTM’s suggestion to start with plants, animals, human body for the first year… I haven’t quite decided on what to use for science, but have lots of science activity books lined up and have purchased this:
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2


All About Spelling

Using Artistic Pursuits, Meet the Masters and lots of books. Just 1-2x a week.

She is always drawing. We study the illustrations of award-winning books, and she LOVES trying to emulate the artist’s illustrations. (Five in a Row is a big influence on this.)

Still researching this, although probably not do any official studies this year. I would love to start teaching her piano. We also listen to classical music a lot.

We took a class this spring, not sure what I will do to continue to teach her, I can’t afford classes anymore. I majored in Spanish in college, so I’m not too worried, and we are heading to Mexico probably a few times this summer/fall as DH has a client there. WTM strongly suggests learning Latin or Greek, so I’m pondering whether to teach Latin now (and modern languages later). Yes, this is a hot topic  in the forums, with the majority of classical homeschoolers teaching Latin.

We read TONS and TONS! During the day we calm down with our current read-aloud chapter book, as well as at night. We do Five in a Row rowings every now and then and also do lots of related go-along picture books for anything we do (FIAR, history, art, science, etc…)