Friday, September 12, 2014

Kaminski Academy

Like so many of my friends I also posted photos of our first day of school on my Facebook page. Admittedly, the night before I was scrambling to get the room pulled together after the end of last school term. I didn't even have their old curriculum packed up. Yep! Me who usually never procrastinates.........procrastinated!

So here is what many of my Facebook friends saw. Empty desks the night before.
Then my token photo with the kids at their desks. Since I was so ill-prepared for school I completely forgot to get a photo that morning. So after lunch I made all of them pretend we were beginning our day. Notice Mariah's lack of glasses? She was on her way up for her nap when I snatched her to the basement.
To a few my school room looks impressive. Please don't be fooled! We are in the basement with no windows in this room. It is cold here all year round and the lighting is less than desirable. Ben's spelling and reading happen on the floor in front of my white boards. 

School can be quite chaotic for us. I am teaching 10th, 8th, 7th, and 5th grades. It is a little unique as I am learning how to teach Selah. She speaks English very well but the sentence structure is tough. We are also working on her social etiquette and world view. We use a variety of textbooks. But before I share our current curriculum (which I have been known to throw out part way through the year and begin all over) I want to share how my children "use" our school room!

 Most of the day this is where Kyle is found. On his bed.
Micah is not even in his own room. Here is Ben's bedroom......two floors ups from the schoolroom!
Don't they look ready to study histroy? This is how we learn in the afternoons. Right on the couch in my family room. We are comfy!
Selah struggles with the idea of homeschool. She is often found at her desk.
Typing does require a more traditional approach.
I came down from the kitchen and practically tripped over Ben as he was playing Candy Land with Mariah. At least they were getting along, right? 
Mariah takes after her mama. We love books! She chose the living room to "read" her books.
Now for the meat of their studies. We have come to love the unit study approach to homeschooling. This approach allows me to include all of the children in 8th grade and below to study Science, Bible, History, and Literature together.

My sister graciously has allowed us to borrow her curriculum as she is one year ahead. We use My Father's World. What a wonderful way to teach! We love our couch time during Mariah's nap time. We purchase all of the student worksheets for each child, a Language Arts curriculum, Math curriculum, and additional Science for the 7th and 8th graders. 

By the time the kids reach 9th grade, My Father's World has done a fantastic job of preparing the kids to be mostly independent in their studies. This is preparing them for college. I honestly know that a few of my other kids will not be using the same curriculum as Kyle for their high school years. They learn very differently. 

During the first three weeks of school Kyle has already read Julius Caesar. He has quite the book list. 
He will read all of those plus his Chemistry which is on back order until October. This may be a clearer photo of his extensive list, a lot of English Literature!
Selah, Micah, Rebecca, and Ben are using the final year in MFW.
This is really neat that Selah's first full year of schooling she will learn what has made our country so great. I'm not sure how she will take that but we will press on. I am learning how to teach Selah. She speaks English very well but the sentence structure in English is tough. We also will work on social etiquette and opening her world view.........not an easy task!
Selah is not thrilled to have her photo taken but she was a good sport...sort of! She will use My Father's World for much of her studies but we will also work on the 4th grade level of grammar. She needs the basics and we'll start there. Selah is very strong in math and has completed 3/4 of a Pre-Algebra book in just 4 short months. She also will be working on translating some Chinese memory books of adoptees for their families. We sit together and work on it. We laugh a lot as the translating is tough. We are still working on some bonding adn this seemed like a great opportunity.
Micah: The Story of the World (History), SOS Science, The World of Science, LifePacs for Language Arts, MathUSee and many read a louds. This curriculum includes reading many missionary biographies. We do this after dinner as a family. I look forward to it!
Becca's is much the same as Micah's but a grade below.
Benjamin will use My Father's World (History), MathUSee, The World of Science, All About Spelling, and All About Reading. There is much reading and other books included.
Here are some more of the books we will use later this year:
So far we have covered the first 14 presidents but most of them we learned last year.
We have learned patriotic songs such as America the Beautiful and The Star Spangled Banner.

Schooling happens all over the house. As a result my house is never clean. EVER! 

Our schooldays are interrupted many times. This week we had an orthodontist appointment that lasted too long. We have a doctor's appointment for Kyle tomorrow. Mariah also has speech therapy on Fridays. 

The kids are at their desks to begin their day by 9:15. They all do their independent work such as Math, reading, and typing. I can bring Mariah to the schoolroom to play while I work with Ben on spelling and reading. All while Mariah's "playing" usually involves disappearing and getting into paints or closets or something she is definitely not allowed. The life of a three-year-old is quite eventful!
It took her all of 2 minutes to find paint. I took a few things up to my bedroom and this is what I found when I returned to the kitchen. I had already changed her pants and wiped her face off then took this photo. The kitchen floor bore a remarkable piece of Mariah's artwork.