Ethos Academy 2017-2018

We started our ninth official year of homeschooling with gusto.  I quickly learned that even if I claimed some normal pencils…that they would disappear…and had to resort to this.

This was Ceili Rain’s artwork on her assignment book. I giggled.  Public school kids probably have the same misconceived pictures of homeschool kids too…right?

Here’s the lowdown on what everyone is working on.  I try to buy all of my non-consummables used to keep costs down.  But, I’m including links that will have new curriculum.  Our Bible curriculum this year is PictureSmart Bible New Testament.

Emmie’s main “work” is to color, cut, and explore.  She’s doing a great job with it.  She’s also designated her self, on most days, as Malachi’s cheerleader.

Malachi is all set on learning to read. He started out in All About Reading Pre-Level but when I realized that he knew what all of his letters were (capital and lower case), I skipped over that and the past few weeks have been focused on letter sounds.  He loves it.

Bryant is working hard in Math Mammoth Grade 2, All About Reading and All About Spelling Levels 2.  In fact, he has worked so hard with his reading and spelling, he is about to move on to the third level in both!  I like the All About series because it works at the child’s pace.  When I feel they are ready to move on after mastering a skill, they can.  But sometimes, I can tell they aren’t, and we back up and work some more on it.  We weren’t getting that with any other curriculum we worked in and it’s really something that Bryant (and Silas) have both needed.

From Bryant to Liam, we are going through Apologia Land Animals on the Sixth Day, Zoology 3.  They love learning about all the different animals!

From Bryant to Ace, we backtracked from our history last year (Mystery of History Volume 4) and are doing Mystery of History Volume 3.

Handwriting goes from Bryant to Josiah and we use A Reason for Handwriting.

Ceili Rain is using Veritas Comprehension Guides for Reading.

Silas started out finishing up All About Reading and All About Spelling Levels 1.  He finished those in September and is now working through Level 2.  Some days are fast and some days are really, really slow.  It depends on moods and motivations.

Both Ceili Rain and Silas are working through Math Mammoth Grade 3.  They are doing an excellent job too!  Silas started out last year with pretty big delays in addition and subtraction and had to back track into some first and second grade things to catch up but now, he’s doing really good picking up on the third grade concepts.  Ceili Rain continues to tell us that she loves math!

Josiah is in Veritas for reading, IEW Continuation Course Level B for Writing, Math  Mammoth Grade 5 and all the other things mentioned earlier.  He’s doing a great job keeping up with his work!

Liam has turned a giant corner and for the first time in six years is not fighting me on school…most of the time.  He has a joyful attitude and, most of the time, works hard to finish his tasks.  He’s doing Math Mammoth Grade 6, Veritas reading and IEW with Josiah.

Ace’s last year before high school!  He’s in Apologia Physical Science, IEW Continuation Course C (with Zoe), Windows to the World and Introduction to Literary Analysis.  He finished up Saxon Math 8/7 and is now plunging into Saxon Algebra 1.

Ace is showing a big interest in architecture and graphic design.  We’re working on finding some introductory courses for him to take online over the next year that will help him see what direction God is leading him.

Our first high schooler!  Goodness ya’ll.  The time is going by so fast with our first born.  She is an amazing kid.  Most everyone knows that she has a gift and a passion for languages.  Which ones?  You name it.  I think I saw that she has recently taught herself the Korean alphabet.  She uses several websites like Duolingo and Memrise.  The past few years she has shown a bigger interest in learning Sign Language.  Last year, she took an online course but we were excited for this year when a local homeschool mom organized a class with an ASL interpreter.  Our pastor, also put up an offer to teach a class on New Testament Greek.  Zoe, of course, jumped at that chance.  It’s safe to say those are her two favorite courses this year.

She is also getting to experience the joys of high school in Saxon Algebra 2, English and Composition, and Apologia Biology (must get the dissection out of the way…neither of us are looking forward to that).  She took the SAT and PSAT this year and will take the ACE at some point before the year is over.

For her English and Composition, I’m combining English 1 and 2 from Excellence in Literature.  It’s been a good fit and she is learning even more about how to develop a thesis statement and support it.  Plus, she is reading some quality literature which is exciting for us both.

It’s been interesting as I jump from high school teacher to elementary teacher and then back to guidance counselor and career counselor.  I do feel quite teacher schizophrenic on some days.  The kids are doing great.  It’s always exciting when we see where God is leading their hearts to serve Him.


At the Convention

We sat through a lot of sessions and all of us learned a lot. And also got some silly pictures in. The treat was hearing Andrew Peterson sing on Thursday evening and hearing him speak on Friday morning. The most we saw of Cincinnati was the rooftops of several beautiful buildings near the parking deck.

The kids were thrilled to meet some new authors but also one that was familiar to us.  S. D. Smith wrote a book about rabbits with swords.  I grabbed it up for free on the kindle, read it to the kids aloud, and we were hooked.  We highly recommend The Green Ember and the whole series!  Seriously…rabbits…swords…who could lose.

The First Days

One of our first days of school was on fire.  Literally.

See ya’ll, this is what happens when you have five kids working on one experiment and another working on a different one…then you get confused on which eye on the stove you turned on only to smell burning plastic, metal and paper.  I toasted it good.

Ac thought for a second he wasn’t going to have to do labs.  Ha kid.  We do labs around here burnt paper and all.  Actually, my neighbor-friend (because she is a neighbor and a friend) heard of my plight and brought over the perfect binder for science journals. All set and the house is still standing.

Once we got over the shock of my experiment of trying to set the house on fire, we made rainbows with water and straws. And floated raw eggs in saltwater.

Everyone worked hard.  Regardless of what was left of our journals.

Zoe made a really pretty Franklin-ism for History.

And Ace drew silly cartoons to answer questions about Science.  Ya’ll, I know I shouldn’t allow this but I love the creativity!

Ethos Academy Resumes

We got a late start this year for school because we were waiting on Silas and Mark to come home.  And here we are halfway through and I’m getting to this post.   This year, I remembered and had time to actually do some fun first day pics!  Here they are with a little snipit of what we are using for curriculum.  Our altogether curriculum for most grades includes:

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics (Apolgia)-This is for grades Pre-K to 6th.  This volume is full of fun experiments and information and the kids all seem to be enjoying it so far.

PictureSmart Bible Old Testament-This is our Bible for the year and we all seem to be enjoying the general survey it gives us of the books in the Old Testament.

Mystery of History Volume IV-We skipped Volume 3 of history because the new volume came out and I got impatient waiting to do it.  I have to say it is my favorite volume so far and the most thorough.  We are loving it!

Our first grader is still working on learning to read.  We’re using Primary Arts of Language or PAL as well as All About Spelling.  Usually, when I have kids who need a little extra time learning to read, this one curriculum has helped reading “click” with them. So far, that seems to be the case with Bryant.  He is now reading words when we go out and about and I feel like he should be reading really well by the end of the year.  He is doing Math Mammoth Grade 1 for math.  He’s working on First Language Lessons of the Well-Trained Mind Volume 1.

Silas is working on 2nd grade Math Mammoth and learning to read using PAL with Bryant.  He is a hard working and I can’t wait to see reading click for him!

Ceili Rain is in 2nd grade reading with our Veritas Press comprehension guides.  She is working her way through Building Spelling Skills 2 and her Math Mammoth Grade 2. She is almost complete with her First Language Lessons… Vol. 2 as well. She loves math and can’t seem to get enough of it.

Our 4th grader is rocking the grade with his goofiness.  He is in First Language Lessons… Volume 4 (and is so sad he’s almost done…not really), 4th grade Veritas Press reading comprehension, Math Mammoth Grade 4 and Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Continuation Course Level A (IEW SCC Level A).

Liam is cruising through Math Mammoth Grade 5, Veritas Press comprehension guides, and is joining Josiah on his IEW SCC Level A for writing.  He is also doing Fix It Grammar: The Nose Tree.

Ace is stepping out of the Exploring Creation series by Apologia and is now in Apologia General Science.  He finished up Math Mammoth Grade 6 and is now working through Saxon Math 8/7 and doing very well.  He is also doing an IEW course but it is Level B instead of A.  He is doing the same grammar as Liam and is working on Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 7.  He’s also venturing into the world of foreign languages (although not with as much gusto as Zoe) and taking Spanish 1.

Last year, ya’ll.  This is the last year I’ll not have a high schooler!  Eek.  I think we are closed to ready for that.  Zoe has a general idea of what she wants to go to college for.  But prepping for that is adding even more gray hairs to my head.  Anyway, our polyglot-in-training (mutli-language speaker) is working on several things.  She is doing Apologia Physical Science, Algebra 1, Windows to the World/Literary Analysis, IEW with Ace and Spanish 2.  We found an ASL course online and she completed 50 hours for a course certification at the end of December.

That’s it!  All of the kids are working really hard and will be duly rewarded.  I believe this next nine weeks (our third of academics) we’ll have people finishing up several subjects and working on zoning in on the skills they need to master (read:  multiplication facts).  We’re already starting to look at next year and pray about what they will be learning!

A couple of notes:  None of the links are affiliate links.  I included them in case anyone wanted to know more about the curriculum.  Also, I purposely work to make sure a lot of our curriculum is non-consummable to help cut down costs.  And we “buy used/save the difference.”  So, while a lot of the curriculum (especially when you account for seven kids) looks pricey.  It’s not.  I make a spreadsheet of everything I need to purchase and how much it costs retail and then I work from March until the new school year searching for it used or at a discount price.  I get really excited when I see I’m saving three to four hundred dollars (which is about how much I can save)!


Large Family Lesson Planning

It only took seven years and six kids to get in to a groove in lesson planning.

Before I tell about how we do things, I will say several things.  I know full well that this planning is not for everyone. With Emmie’s trips to the doctor and our adoption, it has become absolutely necessary for me to plan out a good amount of school.  Yes, it is a lot of work.  Six kids.  All different grade levels.  All different abilities and learning styles.

But this is how we make it work.
IMG_20151010_151707667_HDR I start by planning nine weeks at a time.  That way I can get in our full 180 days of instruction (that our state requires for homeschoolers even though other kids are only required to attend 170 days).  The best way for me to do this is to take a couple of days when Mark is off and run.  Run, far away.  Okay, not really.  I go to Panera and sit and work.

I can only imagine what I look like with books spread all around me and buried deep in one book or my laptop.  The thoughts in those employees heads when I walked in trying to carry all of my books, laptop, and purse because the handle on the book bag just plumb broke from the weight of knowledge.

Anyway, I like to use Google docs spreadsheets because I can access it anywhere.  Each week gets it’s own sheet.  Each kid has his/her own section with our group lessons on top.  Each kid section has subjects listed out and I go from there. IMG_20151010_151712807 After I plan everything out on the computer, it’s time to get the hard copies in order.  Each week is a stack of papers and I use color tabs to separate each kids’ work and then clip them all together with binder clips.

This usually is a week long process since our school table is also our dining table and is usually occupied by a kid or two at any given moment of the day.IMG_20151010_151719391 IMG_20151017_231353400

And then, the glorious end.  When I can sit back and stare at our great accomplishment.  Another nine weeks ready to be consumed by eager minds ready to learn (that sounds so much better than reality).

Yes, time consuming upfront, as I said earlier.  But it has saved us a ton of time week to week and has helped us stay on track.