How long do you spend on LA each day?
What do you do with the vocabulary words?
How is spelling taught?
How is science covered?
How do you organize your notebooks and folders?
Creating a Portfolio for Assessments
How long do you spend on LA each day?
This will vary depending on how many books you read - how much discussion time you have.... I think you can control that a lot by the way you do school. (Peggy in KS)
We read the bible portion, key word outline the social studies and science, do the grammar assignment and work sheets, writing of some sort, and our math. That's mostly the day's work in about 2 hours. THEN, we watch related videos, do projects, computer stuff, and look through and read all the books we have available on the topics for that day. We read whenever, but every day and use the questions from LA as a springboard for discussion. So eventually we get everything in. (Donna)
I spend anywhere from 1 1/2 - 3 hours a day with an average day being about 2 1/2 hours. There have been a few days that longer and I divided it into 2 days. You can plan to do this however you care to as far as how many days a week. I do about 3-4 days a week as I always have interruptions. I am schooling a 2nd, 5th, and 7th grader with this. (Stephanie)
What do you do with the vocabulary words?
The vocabulary words before each daily literature selection are only provided because it is likely that those words will be new to your child (and some will be new to you, too!) It is simply a "heads-up" for your kids - they might hear some words they don't know, and these are the meanings. I would just read through the list of words and ask your kids if they know the meanings as you move down the list. If they can tell you - great! If not, tell them the meaning and move on to the next word on the list. These are not really meant to be mastered on the spot - they are only there to serve as an introduction to new words and their meanings, and to help you through the reading selection for the day. Although it is never good to have constant teacher-directed questions interrupting a good story, you may want to keep the list handy as you read, in case you need to refer to it again for a meaning that might help with any confusion or help you all to understand a passage better. The child will hear the word defined orally once before the story, and then will be exposed to it again within the context of the story. It would also be a good idea (but not necessary) to orally review the words and meanings they didn't know the first time around, AFTER your reading and discussion time. Then they are hearing the word and meaning a third time.
The key to really adding a word to your personal vocabulary is to USE it. Doing worksheets on long daily lists or memorizing lots of new meanings each day will only help with short-term memory of those words - unless you continue to do those same worksheets every single day. This will be almost impossible due to the length of the lists. Reading a lot will increase your vocabulary because you are in constant contact with words within a context. Using a word yourself in oral or written context is the BEST way to learn meanings of new words because it takes the learning process beyond just memorizing a meaning and forces the application of that knowledge. But you simply won't be able to have them do this with every word on the vocabulary lists. If you want to extend the vocabulary lesson in an easy way, here is my favorite approach. Choose a few words from the list that you really want to have your child come away with at the end of the day. Write them on a notecard and stick them on the refrigerator each day for all to see. Require each child to use those words (or a form of those words) correctly in context, in the course of their conversation with other family members - at least two times before the day is over. Use a tally system for each child on the card to keep track. By hearing each other use those words in context many times each day, everyone will greatly increase their vocabulary. The words can be used in regular conversation - or just used in made up sentences that have nothing to do with your daily conversation. You can require one sentence before or after lunch, and one before or after dinner, or perhaps one in the evening - or each child can report in as desired, whenever they think of a good way to use the word. You can give different words to different kids - or have a family notecard. Change notecards daily - or as desired by the parent.
Some of the vocabulary lists are EXTREMELY long, because many of the words in the chapters are new and/or difficult. It would unrealistic to require mastery of ALL the words on the daily lists! The point of each daily list is that when a new word is introduced, we need to take advantage of it then. It will pop up again and again as time goes by - and each time it does that word will be more familiar to your child.
Some will want to keep copies of the vocabulary words and meanings in a vocabulary folder to review periodically. This is a good addition to the portfolio many of you are required to compile. You can also pop this folder in the car and take it with you for "mini-oral quizzes" on the road, or wherever. Others - those of you who are worksheet-oriented or have kids who like worksheets, will feel a strong need to "DO SOMETHING" with those words! Smile So, go for it if you want to! Smile There are some great ideas for crossword puzzles that I have seen shared on this group. Crossword puzzles do require that the student know the meanings of words, so this is a good vocabulary extension idea if you are into worksheets. You can also have your kids make their own matching games of words and definitions. If you are still in Egypt, Lori Imel has lots of great games that include the vocabulary words [see the group’s files] - so that is another fun way to help your children learn more of the meanings. Just remember, that the language arts section is already often very full in a day - and you are making more work for your child and adding to the overall length of the school day - especially if you are going by the literal daily plan in AWOA. There is nothing wrong with extending a lesson in any way, if it is VALUABLE, and if your children don't learn to hate learning new words in the process. (Dorian – Author)
…we do not write down the vocab words for the literature. The only vocab words we DO write down-are the Latin/Greek words that we put on cards and file away in box. These are the ones we go over daily and she learns. We do go over the listed vocab words listed for the chapter in each story. I ask her if she knows what each word means. She tells me "her" definition and we go from there. If she is way off-I just check the word in list and we go back over it the next day. (Debra)
I am still in the Egypt unit, but we use the vocabulary words as our handwriting practice. I have them write the words only (we go over the definitions orally). If the list is long, they do half before lunch and half after lunch. (Elaine)
We are using a program called Word Puzzler to learn these. It will make vocabulary lists, word finds, crossword puzzles and vocabulary quizzes easily. I downloaded it from: http://members.aol.com/a2zware/wordpuz.htm You can use it for 30 days free. The registration fee is $15 and you can register on-line if you want to (I did).
I have used the one at Ed Helper but Word Puzzler has so many more options and I don't have to be on-line to use it. But the URL for the Ed Helper is: http://www.edhelper.com/ The site has many resources! (Denise)
I know many on this list really study the terms and vocabulary: writing, praticing, gaming, testing. We do not elect to do that. I go over them with my children and, through discussion, make sure they have a good understanding of the concept. Occasionally, we investigate more about the meaning - finding examples and studying - but the only writing I assign from LA is the specific writing assignment given in the guide. (Margot)
There is a site at http://school.discovery.com/teachingtools/vocabularyquizwhiz/index.html
Where you can type in the vocabulary words and they will put the definitions in and then the children match them. If you search around on this site you can do other word puzzles too. We have used it for spelling words. (Catherine)
Just a note about the Desert Bingo game I just loaded in the files [in the Egypt section of the language arts directory]: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learning_Adventures/files/Language%20Arts%20Directory/Egypt/
There are nine different BINGO game cards and five pages of the vocabulary with definitions included. I plan to simply read the definitions in random order and let the children see if that vocabulary word is on their board. You won't be calling out B...or I...etc. The children will just look over their entire card for the word and cover it if it is there. Anyway, I hope you have fun with it. (Peggy)
I use couple of different FREE software program and I make matching pages and crossword puzzles with the vocabulary words (and any other "new words"). This give them the chance to use the new words and meaning without writing the words and meanings. I just print out the pages for the week ahead of time and hole punch them , slip them in my binder with the page that has the vocabulary words. Here are a couple of free software downloads that you can use. I just plug in the words and the meanings and you can choose between crosswords, word finds, matching and blank line with meanings or words. To print out from Hot Potatoes, just copy and paste it into a word file, or your child can just do the exercises on the computer.
Hot Potatoes http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/hotpot/
Worksheet Factory http://www.worksheetfactory.com/products.html
The Worksheet Factory only gives you 20 tries before you have to buy, but I make a bunch of worksheets at one time. They have a math and grammar program. (Janice T.)
How is spelling taught?
In her introduction to spelling (day 2 of the Egypt unit), Dorian suggests several methods: lots of reading and writing, the use of a word processor with a spell checker for immediate reinforcement, concentrating on frequently misspelled words ("keeping track of misspelled words for each child and adding them to the spelling list"), and learning basic spelling rules ("we will be reviewing some of the major spelling rules and word groups"). (Gail)
Yes, there are spelling lists in LA - we cover all the basic spelling rules (i before e, except after c) etc. and the spelling words apply to each of the rules. There are also lists pertaining to the topic you will be studying (example - some of the spelling words during the time you will cover the astronomy unit are: Mercury, Venus, telescope, etc.) There are also several groups of spelling words on "words commonly misspelled in today's world" in addition to lists of how to use the correct spellings of words within the context of sentences (example - I will ACCEPT your gift. I told everyone EXCEPT Bill). In addition to this, we STRONGLY encourage you to keep track of each of your children's misspelled words from their daily work and add these to the regular spelling lists (this would be the individual list that Debra was talking about). Spelling lists are not usually given every week, so a really good plan is to use the lists provided on the weeks they are given, and concentrate on each child's individual list during the weeks that formal lists are not given. We USUALLY trade off with spelling and grammar, so that you won't have spelling on grammar days, and you won't have grammar on spelling days. However, this is not always the case and MANY times the spelling assignments are interwoven directly into another skill we are covering, such as dictionary skills, writing - or even punctuation and grammar assignments. (Dorian – author)
There is some spelling included. There isn't tons and tons of it.... but there are lessons and they teach some spelling rules that really seem to go well with whatever we are studying. (Peggy in KS)
Regarding spelling words:
Yes! Add words to each child's individual list that he/she spells wrong - in any subject - or however you may want to do it. These are really the words your child needs to work on learning to spell. The lists I provide only pertain to that one rule each time and, while it is important to know, understand, and then USE the rule in their own writing, the words that they continue to spell wrong should be the ones they have on their individual lists. You will have to use your best judgment here. Some children will spell SO many words wrong that you will completely discourage them by giving them 40 (or more!) words for their spelling list each week. The idea of adding words with the same letter and sound pattern is EXCELLENT - the very BEST way to teach spelling! Just make sure that the words you add really apply in letter and sound. For example, if a child gets the word COUGH wrong and is having trouble with the GH ending saying the F sound. Good words to add to his list would be ROUGH, TOUGH, or LAUGH. Do NOT use the word THROUGH, because even though it has the GH spelling at the end, the GH does not make the F sound in this case and does not apply to the sound/spelling pattern. This is a rather obvious example so that you will all see what I mean, but as you add words with similar patterns, please be aware of this. When your child has tested correctly on a word, you may cross it out until he spells it wrong again (hopefully he won't, but don't hold your breath), or you may make a check by it on his master list so that you can review it again orally on an informal basis. That will be up to you. If your child is a very poor speller be careful not to burn him out with too many spelling words each week. It is better for him to conquer some of the rules and patterns with confidence than it is to spread him too thin and not learn any well at all. Spelling is SO INDIVIDUAL with kids - and adults! We all have our own little hang-ups when it comes to remembering the correct spellings of words. That is why I SO FAVOR individualized lists. I am a very good speller by nature, but I always have to stop and think when I come to the word ATTACH. I always want to spell it ATTATCH, which makes so much more sense to me! So, I wonder if we ever REALLY conquer spelling completely. We just have to keep reading a lot, writing a lot, and doing our best to be accurate and keep on learning the rest of our lives. (Dorian – author)
Spelling is not done every week. On the weeks when there are no prepared lists, Dorian suggests that you use words that they misspell often. I have started doing this with my younger one. I give him no more than 5 words at a time (he is in 3rd grade now). We work on those 5 words for a day and then I ask him to spell them the next day orally. If he can spell them they get taken off his list. If he can't we keep practicing every day. I see no need to keep practicing words he knows. When he gets a word scratched off his list we add another one. This is working well and I plan on implementing it with my 4th-8th graders also. (Stephanie Proctor)
Regarding grammar and spelling - and the question of whether to supplement or not - our approach is that children can master skills by doing grammar and spelling exercises each day, but when they cannot speak or write with clarity and accuracy - all the grammar and spelling "exercises" that they have done every day have not been put to good USE! Children need to WRITE every day so that they can practice USING spelling and grammar. This is why we provide grammar and spelling rules and exercises, but try not to over-emphasize their importance in and of themselves. Instead - we try to emphasize the WRITING part in LA - by providing daily opportunities for the student to write and then edit his own work. (Dorian – author)
See http://www.learning-adventures.org/Sample_Lesson_Plans/sample_lesson_plans.html for examples from the sample lessons.
How is science covered?
I think the science is appropriately balanced with the other material in this unit for the 4th-8th graders. (Dorian says that older kids [grade 9 and above] will need a different science option.)
We just finished the Ren/Ref unit, which focused on astronomy. The main thrust of the unit is for you to read a bit every day (this makes sure all the basics do get covered) and the kids then can read from the science books you get from the library. There were a ton of books to choose from at our library, easy readers for my 1st grader, and on up. Periodically experiments are included.
One day we used a lamp and 2 thermometers to see how the temperatures differ from the same heat source depending on distance. A few days later we are to make a booklet of phases of the moon by observing it for 28 nights, and label etc. There are a couple more experiments/projects and we keep reading.
Towards the end of the unit we are to make an astronomy game...a good project for bringing together everything we have learned along with art skills, design, planning etc. There is PLENTY to do!! I think you will really like the balance of history/science here. (Cindy in Kansas)
I can't imagine supplementing the science at all. We have learned more science with LA than we did with any of the other programs we used. That's because there are no boundaries! (Margot)
In answer to the question about science projects in LA - yes, the science portions of the curriculum are just as wonderful as the other subjects. Dorian has done lots of research about the science subjects and has included her own instruction in addition to her recommendations for reading in supplemental library books. There are many simple science experiments included, with lists of supplies provided. A huge thank-you to Dorian for finding simple experiments. If they were more complicated I'm afraid I'd never get around to buying the supplies or doing the experiments. (Kristi in VA)
…we believe science is best learned through grade eight - through real books, experiences in nature, experiments, and projects - not through the use of science textbooks. (Dorian – author)
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learning_Adventures/message/3584 for the rest of this message.
As for science - and whether or not a child can move into a formal text in 9th grade after having used a unit study approach before that time . . . it really does work! Ryan had such a good background in REAL books and hands-on science using only the unit study approach and the "open-ended" science method - with library books, nature study, and projects up through the eighth grade, that he went SMOOTHLY into Jay Wile's high school biology textbook in 9th grade - and did VERY well.
If you are doing the science as provided in LA and are requiring plenty of class time (not just 15 minutes a day, for example) for it - you absolutely do NOT need to "supplement" the science in LA until NINTH grade - and then we suggest that you replace the science in LA with a formal science program - unless you can work the textbook(s) in with the LA lessons in some way. (Dorian – author)
See http://www.learning-adventures.org/Sample_Lesson_Plans/sample_lesson_plans.html for examples from the sample lessons.
How do you organize your notebooks and folders?
I have modified the idea of notebooks from the Well Trained Mind. Keeping track of several different notebooks for each child was just too much. Sometimes I have to take school on the road (when we travel with dh) – and that is just too much work. I compromised and have one large notebook with dividers - and a smaller notebook with dividers for the "rules" that they are supposed to memorize. That's where spelling and grammar rules go – math formulas - Bible verses - Latin/Greek words (though I may change that now to the card system LA advises) etc. The other large notebook contains all their "work" in the different subjects.
Other people do notebooks on sections of their study (for example with LA you could have one for Egypt, one for Greece etc). Some even just have one notebook and just put everything in from beginning to end - no dividers or anything.
Some people who have portfolio reviews do one large notebook for themselves - and a separate sample notebook for "show & tell". You can keep records in your notebook on books you have read, games you've played and videos you have watched as well. Take pictures of projects that won't fit in your portfolio/notebook (like the miniature Egypt activity) – and possibly even insert cassettes of your children's memory work - or songs they have sung.
I do suggest keeping the notebooks in a prominent place and sharing them with visitors often. This accomplishes two things - the children work harder to make sure it is presentable - and other people see how hard your children are working and what they are learning - a great way to help educate others on the positives of homeschooling. (Peggy in KS)
I'd like for my children to have written details of the experiments they perform, and what results they find. For instance, when we did the experiment about cloud covers and water evaporation, they recorded what they did, the eventual results, and how that applied to deserts. I also took photos of them holding the full jars, and then holding the jars at the end of the experiment, and will add those photos to those notebooks. We hope to add photos of each significant experiment, to add some visual fun to their notebooks. (Liddy)
I am doing a notebook, similar to how it is outlined in The Well Trained Mind. My daughter just turned eight and we are still doing a lot of narration, some of which I type out for her to put in her notebook. We use a lot of the Dover and Bellerophon coloring books. We use maps quite a bit, so we trace or print them out, color and label. I search the web for fun puzzles and things that we can add. I also create wordsearches with newly encountered words. We do one or two handwritten paragraphs per week, usually for history or science. We work on these, edit and revise, until we are satisfied they are our best work and then they go in the notebook. Also, I am using one large 3in binder with plastic tab divider sheets for our notebook. Everything is in this notebook, including our community service and special projects. It makes it so much easier to deal with, rather than having notebooks for each subject. At the end of the year, I will transfer these pages into History, Science, Language Arts, etc., notebooks. My daughter enjoys looking at and talking about her notebook. As we add more to it, she is able to see all the progress she has made. Also, it will be an easy and convenient way to present our work to our evaluator. (Francie)
This is what we have decided to do with notebooks. I bought each child a 5 subject notebook with pockets. They put their Language Writing in one section, spelling in another section, History in another, Science in another and so forth. We are using the alphabetical vocabulary list one of the other ladies made up. We copy 2 words per day into our science notebook, Other things that go into it are pictures they color etc. All the writing assignments are in there too. I started looking them over after only 2 weeks of actual work and and it looks like they've been at it longer. My daughter puts lots of extras in it as she has been coloring up a storm. (Stephanie)
For four days beginning on day 24, Dorian lists desert words you should know. I've compiled and alphabetized these lists and plan on having my kids write out a couple of definitions each day to make their own glossaries for their desert booklets. I'm including the list below in case anyone else is interested in doing something similar. (Glenda)
Here's the list:
Alluvial fan - fan shaped deposit of gravel, sand and silt. It forms when a
stream flows into a plain and slows down, depositing its load
Annuals - plants that last only one year or season. They start growing from seeds each year.
Aquifer - underground layer of rock with holes where water collects
Aridity - A long-term lack of moisture.
See message #146 for the rest of the list
Just wanted to put in my $.02 on the notebook thread. WTM suggests a notebook for each subject and many dividers. This is great if you have 1 child, but with hs'ing 4 of them and a toddler, I had to come up with a better plan...so... I took Dorian’s advice and bought a whole case of folders from Staples (I got the ones with the tabs to put 3 hole punched paper in and also 2 pockets.) Then I also bought each child one 3 ring binder to use for reference, i.e. spelling rules, grammar rules and math formulas. Then for each unit in LA I gave the children a folder. On one side they put all the history narrations, research, drawings etc. On the other side they put the Science research, lab sheets, diagrams etc. When we finished the unit, I had the children organize their research into a book with a table of contents and their unit work. We put their maps, drawings and other non- 3 hole punched stuff in the pockets and now they have a nice keepsake of their studies. I also gave them a writing folder, a Latin folder and a math folder. These keep their work much neater, easy to store in their school boxes and they take up much less space in the closet. (Faithe)
Each of my children has a notebook where they put their drawings, writing, etc. They both use Saxon and we have those black and white composition notebooks for them to do their math. That way it stays in one place, I can grade it easily and know at a glance if they need extra help with a concept. They also have a Rubbermaid storage box that holds their pencils, folders, etc. We've had these since we started homeschooling....my kids know all their school stuff belongs in their boxes when not schooling. BTW, we are also learning about today's Egypt as we go along. It is interesting to see what is different and what is the same. (Robin Poppy)
In our notebooks, I have had the girls write the words and definitions, especially from the science (desert) sections. That is a good idea about illustrating these definitions. (Lori)
Illustration is always a good idea, although it can be time consuming. My kids have some notebook papers in their notebooks under History entitled "Vocabulary" "Class Notes" and the same under Science. This way, they can write down any of the very important facts we come up with so they have them at their fingertips later. I'm reading Elizabeth Payne's Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt book (a Landmark) to the kids right now, and so yesterday they wrote up a bit on the Rosetta Stone in their "Class Notes". Today they made note that Menes was the first Pharaoh.... stuff like that.
But ILLUSTRATIONS are a wonderful idea. They are all over the house right now looking up desert animals that they have chosen to study up on for their desert books. It has been music to my ears, hearing one say "Who had the kangaroo rat -- here's a good picture of one!!" LOL. (Rebecca)
What I did was get binders (3 inch) that I had picked up at a yard sale. They were the kind with the clear view pocket on front and back. I let the kids pick a picture on the Internet according to their interest (eg. airplanes, horse, fishing, dog & koala ) and we copied it enlarged it and put their name and year (2000-2001) on it (I did this in Word) and printed them in color. A simple concept, but they really loved them and have taken special care of them.
I put dividers in labeled Language Arts, Spelling (I know this is Lang. Arts, but we also do another book so I wanted this separate), Science, Social Studies, Memory Work. The oldest three also have a section for Spanish. The only other notebook they have is a Math notebook with graph paper pages (the younger kids have workbooks), so essentially all their school work (except Math) is there in the binder. The map work we put under Social Studies.
I pre-filled the binders with loose leaf paper and blank white paper for drawings and maps, so there is no need for the work to ever leave the binder. I copied the passage of Scripture we are working on for LA on the computer enlarged, as well as any other verses, and or memory work that I want them to memorize. The younger ones have days of the week, months in the year type fact sheets, multiplication tables, Spelling bee lists, etc. The older ones have US blank map, world map to name continents, Spelling Bee words, whatever I want them to look at when they have time to do memory work (most printed from the web).
The Kindergarten student does not do a binder but the 3rd graders on up keep one. The older kids just read more and higher level books and are expected to do a higher level work. I take that into account.
I also bought a file card binder that I write the Latin/Greek root words on, and their English derivatives, so I can review these easily as a group with the kids. I also printed our Bible verses there also so I could have a ready reference when they were prepared to recite. I plan to photograph our events and important hands on projects so by the end of the unit, I will have a ready made record of what they learned (not required by my state).
I am only doing 1 file card box for all the kids, btw. And I will be adding a Grammar section as we need extra help with that this year (never got around to much before), and I feel we need an extra book for that. (There is grammar in LA, I just have a special situation). (J'Aimee)
You might consider using loose-leaf notebooks. I have a big ol' box of page protectors that the kids can just insert into the notebooks wherever they need to and they just slip their artwork, etc. into those. (Rebecca)
Yes, we do notebooks (we all enjoy creating these). My children have drawn maps, adding to them as we study the different pyramids, cities, etc. Today they sketched the Great Pyramid along with the two temples, causeway, Queens' pyramids and all. Then they sketched the pyramid on the inside (like a cut-away view) showing the different chambers. This goes along with a paragraph they are working on about the Great Pyramid. (My assignment, not LA.) They have sketched a shaduf and wrote a few sentences explaining its purpose. I also include color pages from Life in Ancient Egypt coloring book (by Dover). They will do summaries of the different pharaoh’s (a name and their accomplishment), hopefully with a picture of something applicable. They also did a fact wheel on Ancient Egypt. (A page where you turn the paper wheel and a fact shows in a window on the top page). They picked six important facts and wrote them down. I also include any postcards or brochures from museums, photos of projects, and vocabulary also goes in the notebook.
I find that creating these mini-booklets helps them to retain the information, and it certainly creates a wonderful notebook that they enjoy showing to people. They regularly pull notebooks they have created during the past several years off the shelf and re-read them, (providing an instant review of material, by the way.)
Science notebooks work the same way. (unknown)
Dorian gives easy to follow instructions for making your timeline on day 11 of the Egypt unit. She suggests using note-cards mounted on the wall chronologically, or pages in a 3-ring binder.
Janice has posted photos of their timeline in the files (misc. folder) - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learning_Adventures/files/Misc.%20Directory/Timeline%20Samples/
The following sites have examples of different types of timelines:
Also, another timeline idea -- I apologize if this has been mentioned -- is to put timeline events on index cards. Put the person/event/etc. on one side and the year(s) on the backside. These can be filed in a file box, and then as a pop quiz - you can pull out the cards, shuffle, and have the kids lay them out in order... not as readily visual as a timeline on a wall, but it is a bit of a spacesaver! I think we may do both, although we aren't to day 11 yet, and I haven't talked to the kids about what they prefer. (Rebecca)
We bought a spiral bound timeline book from Sonlight several years ago. Each year we just add too it according to whatever we are studying. I also put photos of grandparents, parents, in the book so the kids can see where they fit into history.
You can use your favorite computer encyclopedia or do a web search for people's pictures online.....simply print out and WHALA!! you don't have to draw the timeline figures. (Robin Poppy)
A friend of mine made a neat timeline by taking pieces of card stock and taping them together to create an "accordian-type" book...she had BC on one side of the timeline and AD on the other side....I liked this idea...but, stuck with my book idea because I like the idea of having it in a binder...I can add pages at any time if we run out of space!... (Trisha)
Someone asked about making timelines so I thought I'd chime in. This year we have 2 different types ,one an accordion style that I made by taping cardstock together with packing tape and another for each of my older children in a spiral bound sketch book. For the accordion one I began at Creation (4000 B.C.) and used the Bible to date the Patriarchs to the Flood (1653 A.C. after creation) then to Abraham. I use 1 inch for each 100 years. For main events( Creation, The Fall, Cain and Abel, The Flood, Tower of Babel, Abraham and Isaac on Mt.Moriah,etc.) I had my 6yo ds make a sticker label with a small drawing then tape it on. This way if he made a mistake we could just make a different sticker… In the sketch book timelines I had the children date each 2 page spread for 50 years. At the to we ran After creation and at the bottom B.C. and A.D. for ex. Creation to 50 A.C. at the top and Creation - 3950 B.C. at the bottom. On this page we put drawings of the 6 Creation days and 1 of rest. We are filling the lines with dates as we come across them and since my children love to draw I am just having them make pictures as timeline
figures. I will also photocopy book covers to paste in where they belong or pictures off the net as I come across them. These books are turning into a sort of scrap book for the year.
Oh Yeah, I also put us on the line so they would have a perspective where in history we are. (Faithe)
I basically took a 3 ring notebook, and using top loading page protectors and heavyweight card stock paper, labeled each sheet at the top for a 100 years, like 1000 - 1100 AD(early history) Later years, you might want to only have 50 or even 20 years to a page. I only labeled the pages we were entering items for. Then, for each entry we used a half of a 3 x 5 card and wrote the date and drew a picture. For instance Leif Ericson @ 1000 AD and a picture of a Viking ship, and then used tacky stick stuff (don't remember the real name) that is removable, to stick in on the page and then placed it in the sheet protector, in the notebook. This way, if a page gets crowded we can move stuff around, add new pages etc. I got the idea from a website that I don't remember...too many ideas...too many websites. We call it "Our Line Through Time" Super simple, super flexible, just my style Smile (Diana)
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learning_Adventures/message/5228 for more information from Dorian on timelines.
Creating a Portfolio for Assessments
I wouldn't worry too much about documenting bible - as your district won't give a hoot if you did it or not - and YOU will know in your heart the benefits that your children have received (in their hearts) without having to document and "prove" it in writing. For those of you implementing the WTM notebooking approach - or for those required by law to present a portfolio of work - here are a couple of ideas:
Have your children each write down the books they have read (for each subject separately) - and if you want to impress the district rep.- have it done neatly and in bibliographic format - in your own child's handwriting or typing (if age and ability level permit). Have children write brief summaries of selected books read - and illustrate with appropriate drawings/paintings that apply to each book. For younger students – use narration to incorporate their summaries - they can add the illustrations.
Include a list of vocabulary words from each topic (compiled by your children). Many - if not MOST of the non-fiction books you read each day include a glossary that would be VERY easy to draw these terms from – and it would provide reinforcement for your children in each of the topics.
Remember - in a unit study - so much of the work overlaps, that it is difficult to ''separate" it into subjects. If they require you to do this - and you have an abundance of writing and language arts papers already (which you probably will have) - you can place some of those into other categories. For example, the assignment on writing about living in ancient Rome normally falls under Language Arts - but it also fits PERFECTLY into the history section - so include it there if you want to have more in the history category. The key-wording writing assignment on smoking being dangerous to the lungs can be placed just as easily in the science category as it could in the language arts category. Start thinking about which assignments can "cross-over" into another subject very naturally. Same thing with the Joseph writing assignments - you could include them in the bible section if you have plenty of language arts stuff already. When I include an assignment, such as in the Middle Ages unit about researching London Bridge, include a summary in the history category instead of in the Study Skills/Language Arts category.
Include any maps, illustrations, charts, or graphs your children have drawn to go along with each of the units.
Include timelines of each period - and if your child has done one on the wall, have them make one that can be placed in a portfolio by creating one of their own based on the ones we include in AWOA for each unit. Or - include a photo of each appropriate section of your wall timeline for each unit, and include photos of the kids making and adding to it.
Include summaries of each experiment, activity, or projects – preferably done by the child.
Include any nature journaling done by your child in the science category - if you are Charlotte Mason fans you should have some good stuff to include here. If you aren't already doing this, you can apply it to each unit by (for example - having your children draw examples of desert life/reptiles for the Egypt Unit - or plants and flowers in their backyard or at the park for the Middle Ages Unit - or different rock samples and types for the Rome Unit - or ocean scenes and sea-life if you live by the coast - or if you can get to an aquarium easily for the Explorers Unit.)
ALWAYS keep a camera handy! Keep a wonderful pictorial record of your school days - working on assignments, projects, plays, and activities - cooking together and the finished products - your family unit celebrations - costumes created . . . all of this is GREAT stuff for including in a portfolio. Think - "SCRAPBOOK" - and have your kids add summaries and descriptions under each photo as a part of the documentation. Date all photos and entries for further credibility. Make sure you get a photo record of any field trips and include summaries of each by your kids. If you take LOTS of photos - you can separate them into different subjects as well. For example, the photos of the Passover celebration apply to history and bible - so create a document for both subjects - using different pictures for each as they apply best to each subject.
Include any notes or outlines your children have compiled from non-fiction books read. Those of you doing keyword outlining on anything – include them topically - not under language arts (for writing) exclusively.
Make use of any extra pages you have printed out from the internet on related topics - I have seen literally hundreds of web sites shared among this group - there has to be LOTS of good stuff you could add to your portfolios - just make sure you have covered it with your kids and are not just printing it out to "pad" your portfolio!
Can you include audio and video tapes in a portfolio? If so - have tapes of children reciting memory work, performing plays, carrying out projects and celebrations - cooking unit foods, etc.
Does the assessment take place in your home? If so, can you have your children work together to make a favorite dish from a particular unit – or have them re-create the platter of Egyptian fruits to serve? Would this be considered "bribery" or could it not be considered a "simple offering" presented with a servant's heart from some enthusiastic learners? Each of you will have a different situation, but this might add a personal touch - if it is allowed!
Lastly, if any of you want to include a scope and sequence of A World of Adventure in your portfolio, there are three versions available to those of you who have already paid for the book:
1.) The complete scope and sequence is over 30 pages long and includes a DETAILED summary of each day of the year (with all spelling and vocabulary words listed). It is in a daily format.
2.) The condensed scope and sequence is about half the size of the complete version and is broken down by unit and then further by subject (a PERFECT addition to your portfolio - by the way). It, too, includes spelling and vocabulary words covered in each unit.
3.) The ultra condensed scope and sequence is a 2-page brief of the year. It is broken down by subject and includes general skills and concepts covered, but does not include individual vocabulary and spelling words. [see scope & sequence above]
(This third ultra-condensed version is available to anyone on this group, regardless of whether you have paid for the book or not. It will give you a good idea of what is covered in AWOA if you are still deciding if this is the right curriculum for you.)
If you are interested in us e-mailing you one of these scope and sequence documents, just (and he's gonna really love me for this) let John know and he will take care of it for you. (Dorian – author)