Thursday, February 3, 2011


Yesterday with all of the ice and the loss of power, we had a lot of opportunities to talk and to think.

We talked about how grateful we were that the girls would not be making up snow days and giving up spring break and part of the month of July.

We talked about how they miss their friends and made playdates for Friday (tomorrow).

We talked about how we love being able to stay up late reading.  I've decided to stop fighting this battle.  It's not worth it.  The girls are in bed by 8:30 or 9:00 pm with a book...P often falls asleep within a half hour, although now that she has discovered the Fudge books, she is staying up later and I hear her laughing out loud in her room.  She often comes in to my room to read me the funny parts.  A can easily stay up past 11:00pm or even until midnight.  We don't often have a reason to get up really early and they are learning vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, grammar, flow, good writing skills, etc.....

We discussed loving not having to wake up early or rush in the morning.

I got to thinking.  Others have mentioned that they check their public school websites to see what skills the school requires of which grade.  I knew that our school does not have those things listed on their website.  I have a good idea of what is required of third grade for P, from when A was in third grade.  But last night, I stayed up late, poring over the websites of the teachers that A would have had.  They are both wonderful women and teachers, so of course I did give in to a little wondering of what it would have been like for her to be in their classes...and then quickly realized we would not have had this time and I remembered all of the other reasons we made this choice (guns in our school, A may have been in Basic Skills again, further destroying her spirit and confidence, even though they always claimed she was in there just to boost her confidence, and there are more...).  I have not received either A or P's standardized test scores and, because I feel that how a child does on a day in and day out basis in class and what the teachers say is more relevant to their performance than any standardized test scores, I had not pursued getting the results.  Last night, I emailed the school system requesting a copy of the results, just to satisfy my curiosity.

 I forced myself to look through the teachers websites for ideas on what academics A may be missing. There is no doubt in my mind that A is reading and writing more than she would have been in school.  She is learning more about history and even without a curriculum, probably the same amount of science as she would have learned in school.  Math is probably about the same, although now she is learning for mastery.  The areas that I had not focused on were:  Vocabulary, Spelling and Current Events.

Spelling. We tried two different Spelling curriculum and I did a lot of research.  We have a word wall and word lists, this is supposed to be more advantageous to learning proper spelling than spelling lists and tests.  Also, through her reading A is learning spelling.

Vocabulary.  We've added words here and there.  Now that we are going to begin reading Lightning Thief I have a great opportunity to add vocabulary.  I found several awesome vocabulary websites, such as and Quizlet.  We are going to use Quizlet before each chapter to familiarize ourselves with the words.  In addition to playing the games, the girls will copy the words into their binders in cursive.

Current Events.  I seldom watch TV, but often put on CNN or The Weather Channel.  The other day, the girls came in from sledding while I was watching CNN and heard a little about Egypt.  They have a vested interest in Egypt after spending so much time studying Ancient Egypt in Story of the World and also, having three Egyptian friends from coop.  I am having them write their opinions and thoughts and summaries of all kinds of things, maybe not current events, but in the case of Egypt, my girls are asking several times a day for updates.

I feel as though we are on the right track.