WELCOME!

Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Friday, January 31, 2014

Miscellaneous School Project Photos

In November, JJ and David went on a field trip to a local college to visit the TV/Radio Station.

JJ practicing his skip counting before beginning to learn his multiplication facts.
 
EL making a model of an insect.

Making Christmas cards to give to family and friends. (Note: This is a good way to recycle all your old Christmas cards!)

Learning about metamorphosis and demonstrating how a caterpillar emerges from a cocoon.
 
This Winter, we have had fun watching the Cardinals and other little birds eat from the bird feeder we made earlier in the year.

Painting with sponges after learning about sea sponges and other creatures of the sea.

Learning about the art of Chinese papercutting. These fragile pieces were given to me and David almost 20 years ago by a college-age foreign exchange student from China. We hosted him and another young man from Korea in our home for a weekend.
 
Our own version of Chinese papercutting. EL and I did the one on the left, JJ did the one on the right.

Learning about Taxonomy - what Scientists do to classify plant life into different groups. We used JJ's bouncy ball collection to see what its like to classify things into groups. 
The Kingdom = Rubber Bouncy Balls
The Phylum = Colors
Class = Solid Colors / Not Solid Colors
Order = Same / Different Patterns  

Trying a version of Johnny Cakes - often eaten during George Washington's time-period. They were normally eaten warm with applebutter or molasses, but leftovers would also be eaten cold as a snack. Made with cornmeal, water, butter, and a bit of sugar and salt.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

K5 Learning REVIEW

It has been awhile since I have posted on this blog. Life has been keeping us busy. But, the Holidays have come and gone, and our free trial of the K5 Learning program has come to an end, so it is time to post a review.

K5 Learning is an online Reading and Math program for kids in grades K through 5, or for those with learning delays. After giving it a try for 6 weeks, I have seen some pros and cons.

PRO's:
1.  I love the online assessments. Before beginning our lessons, each of my kids took an assessment in Math and in Reading, to give an idea of where to begin. It helped to not have to "guess" about where to place them.

2.  It was easy to communicate with the K5 staff via e-mail and have my kids levels increased or decreased where necessary.

3.  The lessons are short, and easy to understand.

4.  The program gives complete instructions for learning new materials, so its not just for review purposes.

5.  The lessons are animated, and there are some games that help challenge the kids. However, the entire program is not a game. It is animated instruction exhibited in an appealing way for kids.

6.  The animations are well-mannered, modest, and are shown in various nationalities.

7.  It is easy enough to accomplish new skills, but challenging enough to keep the kids engaged and learning.

8.  It keeps track of each child's skill levels and shows how much progress they have made.

CON's:
1.  I wish there were parent controls available to increase or decrease the levels on my own, so I wouldn't have to "bother" the staff, and could have more immediate success in the changes.

2.  If a student is trying to think about the answer to a particular question, the computer doesn't give them much time to think before explaining the instructions or asking the question again. This was sometimes annoying or stressful for EL, who needs more time to think without being interrupted.

3.  The program only goes up to 5th grade level, whereas other online programs (such as Time4Learning) goes through 8th grade or higher.

4.  It only covers Math and Reading skills, unlike other programs that have ALL major subjects.

You can see there are a lot more Pro's than Con's. Overall, I am content to continue giving it a try.  Both of my kids have made progress with this program in just the short time they have been using it. They are learning and are not bored with it.  EL is not a fan of the computer, but I think it is good for her to use it, as it has been challenging her in new areas. I asked JJ if he wanted to continue with this program, or go back to the workbooks we were using. He likes this online program. So, we paid for an annual subscription for both kids, to at least get us through the rest of this school year, and into the Summer. We will, then, re-evaluate as to whether or not we will continue.

The cost is comparable with other online programs, listed at $25.00 per month or $199.00 for a full year. For additional children, the cost is discounted to $15.00 per month, or $129.00 for a year.

You can get a 14-day free trial of your own by clicking below (contains affiliate link): 

http://www.k5learning.com/subscription/trial/?k5ref=sonsetacademy.blogspot.com