Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Book Discoveries this Week: Carry on, Mr. Bowditch January 16, 2013

Filed under: Books — kirstenjoyhill @ 7:00 am

bowditchI honestly wasn’t sure if Miss M and I would enjoy, Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham when I added it to our United States History Year 1 reading list for this year.   But given that it’s a Newberry award winner (1956), and it is a recommended choice from Sonlight’s list of American history titles, I decided to go ahead and give it a try — I’m glad we did!

Carry on Mr. Bowditch is a fictionalized biography of a real person, Nathanael Bowditch, who lived from 1773 to 1838.   The story opens with Nat Bowditch as a precocious young boy who shocks his school teacher with all the math he has learned to do all by himself.  He dreams of a bright future for himself as a “Harvard man” when he is old enough for college.   But instead of preparing for college, his family’s financial situation forces him to leave school and work in his father’s business. Then at age 12, he is indentured for a nine year term to a chandlery (a store that sells all the items needed for ships).

He took every opportunity to continue his education on his own during those nine years, and he is soon a master of several languages, science and mathematical concepts and all things nautical.   After his term in the chandlrey is completed, Nat Bowditch takes to the sea, where he develops better methods of navigation and eventually writes a book for which he is still famous — The American Practical Navigator.

Miss M appreciated the adventure aspect of this story.  Nat Bowditch’s travels on shipboard take him all over the world and Miss M was eager each night to find out how these adventures would work themselves out.    I found the details in Carry on Mr. Bowditch to be fascinating.  I always enjoy learning about a new subject, and nautical navigation was certainly a new subject for me!

As I was reading this book to Miss M I ran across a number of great quotes I thought I might include in a review of this book…but unfortunately holiday busyness got in the way of writing this post in a timely manner (we finished this book mid-December!), and I had to return my copy to the library.   It’s definitely a title I’ll be remembering to read to the boys when they get a bit older.  Nathanael Bowditch is a great example of a man who worked hard to make something of himself despite the obstacles in his path.

I’ll be linking up with Read Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!


Happy Blogiversary to Me! January 15, 2013

Filed under: News and Info — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:36 pm

I missed marking the actual one year anniversary of the first post here on Homeschool Discoveries.  I realized after I posted my weekly wrap-up last Saturday that my “blogiversary” is that day, January 12th.

I’ve really enjoyed the past year of having an outlet for my thoughts on homeschooling, a place to share books we’ve enjoyed, and once again having a record of our week-to-week homeschool life.

It’s been harder the past couple months to find time to write, but my goal is to get back in the swing of things with the new year.  We’ve finished several read-alouds, nearly finished two whole history units, and made a few curriculum adjustments — plenty to write about.  And while this is primarily a homeschooling blog, I might write about a few home-making things this year too.  I figure it relates….because homeschooling usually happens at home, right?  😉

Thanks to all of you who read and comment!  It makes me feel good knowing I am not just writing into empty space.  🙂


Collage Saturday: Returning to the Routine January 12, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 5:05 pm

Happy New Year!  I feel like we I am still recovering from Christmas, New Years, our holiday travel, and other post-holiday responsibilities.  We returned home late in the day on New Year’s eve from a  six-day trip.  I had started feeling sick that morning…and then I was sick for almost a week (I really regret procrastinating on my flu shot this year!).  Meanwhile, I still needed to take care of my family and try and get some work done on my quarterly editing deadline.

Miss M was sick for about 24 hours last weekend, but thankfully everyone else escaped this round of sickness.  In an effort to return to normal,  I started Miss M on some light independent school work last week, before returning to a mostly normal schedule of school work this week.  My throat was still pretty scratchy, so reading aloud was at a minimum.  Meanwhile, I still feel a bit behind the eight ball. I just finally finished my quarterly editing project this afternoon, my house is still full of Christmas decorations, and it took me a week after we arrived home from our trip to get everything unpacked! 😉

While it wasn’t perhaps the most “fun and exciting” week of schooling, we did accomplish a fair amount:


1. & 2.  Logic of English Foundations with Mr E and Mr K.  Okay, so this is a bit fun and exciting.  🙂 I purchased the pre-press/beta version of the Logic of English early childhood program, Foundations.  My original thought was to use this with just Mr. K.  He is really eager to learn his letters!  But as I read through the program I realized it could really be a good fit for Mr. E as well – a better fit than what I’ve been able to do in Logic of English Essentials with him.  Mr K really enjoyed doing lessons 1-5 of Foundations — we learned about voiced and unvoiced sounds, and he got to “squish” compound words together as well as identifying words that would segment. (i.e.  j – u – m – p …do what I just said!).

In trying to figure out exactly where to place Mr. E, I worked on some concepts from lessons 46-48 with him.  Some items in those lessons are review, while some are new. He seems to like it — I wish I would have bit the bullet and bought this product when they first announced the beta last summer!  Even though we could have flown through the early lessons super fast, we would probably actually be at a further point in his phonics/spelling that we are now. Oh well, live and learn!

Miss M did lesson 21 in LOE Essentials.  We’re over half-way through that book now!

3.  We’ve never tried to keep track of our number of days in school before this year.  It’s not required as a part of our state homeschool regulations.   But I thought it would be super fun to celebrate the 100th day of school this year, so we’ve been keeping track.  This is Miss M’s “100 Days” chart.  Only 17 more school days and we’ll have our 100th Day party!

4. With the new year our family has made a renewed commitment to read the Bible daily.  It’s a habit that slipped in the last couple months of 2012.  Miss M is reading 2 chapters per day starting in Genesis (she tells me she really wants to read through beginning to end — I told her she might want to rethink that plan once she hits a few of the harder-to-read books in a row!).   I am having the boys listen to audio Bible using the YouVersion App on the iPad.  They also wanted to start the year in Genesis and have been listening to 2 to 4 chapters each day.

5. Mr. E is still my math-loving boy.  The so-called “wall” in lesson 68 of RightStart B was no trouble for him.  We finished lesson 68 this week and worked through lessons 69-71 as well (including this long addition page pictured!).

Miss M worked on lessons 83-87 and started #88 in Right Start D.  We’re finally to the point where all the lessons all seem “new” and not like a few new topics mixed in with review.  However I am still not exactly happy with RS D, or at least how it is going for Miss M.  She still finds the presentation of the material in many of the lessons to be less than clear…and she really hates having to do a series of problems followed by a question like, “what pattern do you see in these answers?”  She finds it frustrating that she usually sees some other pattern other than what the lesson is getting at.

I think she would do much better with a math program that was more straight-forward somehow.    I’ve been browsing other math programs the last couple days.  Math Mammoth is an easy program to try out since it is a download…so I am seriously considering at minimum taking a break from RS and doing Math Mammoth for a few weeks.  Maybe it will be a permanent switch, who knows!?!

6. Back in December, Mr E. chose to start reading Cat in the Hat, and he finished it this week! It’s a long book for a new reader!  His next book pick is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish…another book that will take many 10 minute sittings for him to finish.  🙂  Both of these books have contained some new phonograms we haven’t covered in Logic of English, but having gotten through most of the LOE basic phonograms with Miss M, I am finding I can usually give a rule-based explanation on the fly of words that are new to Mr E.

Have a wonderful rest-of-your-weekend! I’m linking up with Collage Friday and the Weekly Wrap-Up!

Homegrown Learners