Author Archives: tinderbox

Colin explores past ways…

This week in Five in a Row, Colin is studying Cynthia Rylant’s lovely picture book memoir, When I Was Young in the Mountains. The text and detailed illustrations show what life was like in rural Appalachia fifty or so years … Continue reading

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“The Kitten Who Thought It Was a Duck.”

“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler. Alex is having a hard time with the jump from writing a few sentences to … Continue reading

Posted in language arts, writing | 5 Comments

The rest of Colin’s week with Lentil.

Science was definitely the highlight of our Five in a Row study of Lentil, but we packed lots of other great things into the week as well. Colin was a story detective, looking and listening for clues that would answer … Continue reading

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Captain Obvious’s Homeschooling Tips

I’m trying something bold and innovative in our fourth year of homeschooling: Planning. No, seriously. I haven’t so much done that before. We school year-round, so there’s no pressure to “finish the school year” at a certain point and thus … Continue reading

Posted in policy & planning | 6 Comments

Return to Five in a Row: Science with Lentil.

The other night, rocking in Daddy’s lap in the darkened bedroom, Colin looked up at Michael and said, “You know what, Daddy? I think Lentil is fiction. The things could have happened in real life, but you can usually tell … Continue reading

Posted in five in a row, science | Tagged | 3 Comments

Attack of the evil sorcerer!

Colin is pretty good at sounding out words, but I’ve noticed that he has a lot of trouble telling the difference between lower-case b and d. He usually has to guess. Today a sorcerer visited our house to leave a … Continue reading

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Third grade writing, part II: Alex’s first paragraph.

As promised, Alex’s first paragraph: The Stream There is a stream in the forest at the end of our street. Where the water is shallow it moves fast, but in the deep parts it moves slowly. The water is muddy … Continue reading

Posted in language arts, Uncategorized, writing | 2 Comments

Third grade writing, Part 1: Writing Strands.

In kindergarten, first grade, and second grade we required virtually no original writing from Alex. No daily journaling. No creative writing. No descriptive paragraphs, expository paragraphs, persuasive paragraphs. Just narrations (brief verbal summaries of readings) and dictations, plus occasional short … Continue reading

Posted in language arts, writing | 6 Comments

Lesson in decimals, lesson in metacognition.

Alex has really been enjoying her first exposure to decimals in MEP 4b, so I didn’t expect any trouble today, when the lesson introduced decimal addition. That was my first mistake. As often happens in MEP, the first step was … Continue reading

Posted in math, philosophy and politics | 2 Comments

All cursive, all the time.

Alex is obsessed with cursive. She’s been tearing through the basic book that’s languished on the shelf all year (I don’t value cursive, so it’s always been optional) and writing her spelling and dictation assignments in a hybrid of cursive … Continue reading

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Cursive and the perfectionist.

Let me tell you, when a perfectionist starts to learn cursive it is fun times. “Augh! Look at this y! It’s horrible! Look at how messed up it is!” “No, Alex. I’m not going to look at your messed up … Continue reading

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Wordless (almost) Wednesday

The Farm Experience program is going swimmingly.

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Big news…

I’m quitting my job this summer. My academic research psychology position just isn’t making me happy… to put it mildly. Instead, I’m going to strike out on my own. Seeing a gap that needs to be filled, I’ve decided to … Continue reading

Posted in policy & planning | 18 Comments

Looking ahead to third grade.

Our new school year starts on June 1st. One of my goals for third grade is that Alex start to take a little more ownership of her education, so I asked her what she would like to accomplish this year. … Continue reading

Posted in art, five in a row, math, policy & planning, writing | 7 Comments

Soil is a filter.

We’re studying soil now in earth science, which dovetails nicely with the farm program that I wrote about in my last post. Today the kids spent a surprising amount of time playing on a soil website, watching little animations and … Continue reading

Posted in earth science, experiments, science | 4 Comments

Kayam Farm experience!

This week the kids started a new activity through the Baltimore Homeschool Community Center: a “Farm Experience” at Kayam, an organic farm north of Baltimore that focuses on environmental and Jewish education. (The homeschool program is secular.) For the next … Continue reading

Posted in BHCC, excursions, field trips | 2 Comments

Latin and the little brother.

Sorry for the break in posting. I’ve had a lot going on, which hopefully I’ll be able to post about soon, and Alex has not had a lot going on – she had two weeks off for spring break, including … Continue reading

Posted in languages, toddler world | 2 Comments

Alex’s rock museum.

We’re finishing up the Intellego Geology chapters on Minerals and Rocks this week, just in time for Alex’s spring break. The curriculum encourages doing some kind of response activity at the end of each section. For rocks and minerals, Alex … Continue reading

Posted in earth science, science | 4 Comments

Snow candy!!

All winter, ever since I read Little House in the Big Woods to Colin, Alex has yearned to make snow candy the way Laura Ingalls did. All winter we’ve had no more than an inch of dirty snow at a … Continue reading

Posted in experiments, language arts | 1 Comment

Accelerating without a net.

Sushi is our traditional reward for finishing a math book. On Thursday, Alex finished MEP 4a, which is theoretically the first half of fourth grade math. I looked ahead in math to see what our likely sequence might be. On … Continue reading

Posted in math, philosophy and politics, policy & planning | 18 Comments