I’ve got the Watto’s Junk Shop page back up for a limited time. There is an assortment of free curriculum items available to whomever can make good use of them. Feel free to spread the word.
I’ll have a listing of new, never used curriculum items for sale sometime this week so check back again to see if there’s anything else I send your way.
Darth Vader: “What is thy bidding, my master?”
Emperor: “There is a great disturbance in the Force.”
Darth Vader: “I have felt it.”
Emperor: “We have a new enemy, Luke Skywalker.”
Darth Vader: “Yes, my master.”
Emperor: “He could destroy us.”
Darth Vader: “He’s just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.”
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Ah, but the Emperor knew what Darth Vader had not yet fully begun to grasp. The acquisition of knowledge is a powerful ally against the Dark Side of life.
Padawan Learner’s first year of high school is moving along, and I find that I need to cull the homeschooling shelves again. That can only mean one thing, a few more additions to the Watto’s Junk Shop page. If you see anything you’d like to claim, please just leave me a comment on that page and I’ll forward it to you promptly.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have received cheap and free curriculum from other homeschoolers over the years, and I’m glad to keep the generousity humming along. With this many books involved, a little help with shipping would be appreciated – if you can swing it. If you’re in a bit of a tight spot though, just let me know. I’ve been in that boat before and remember the relief that came when our curriculum needs fell into place.
Note: Comments have been re-opened on that page. Sorry for the mix-up.
Watto: “Hi chuba da naga?” (What do you want?)
Qui-Gon: “I need parts for a J-type 327 Nubian.”
Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
If you’re studying pre-historic migration or creative writing, there are two things for the taking on the Watto’s Junk Shop page that you might be interested in.
JerJerrod: “I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.”
Darth Vader: “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.”
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
If any of you are using or considering either the Biology: Visualizing Life or Prentice Hall Physical Science: Concepts in Action With Earth and Space Science (with or without the Earth and Space Science component) textbooks, you might be interested in reading further. If not, I’ll turn my head while you click the hateful X in the corner… *sniff*
I love science and find it fascinating, but it’s not my background (“Boys and girls, can you spell English and Counseling Degrees?”) so I’m scouring the Internet daily for relevent materials to clarify these topics for Padawan Learner. It occurred to me that, since I’m keeping a log of our daily lessons online at The Jedi Academy so PL can start work independently as needed and for future transcript needs, there might be others who would be interested in following along as well – and saving themselves the effort (and occassional hair-pulling) of duplication.
Generally, I try to find materials and videos online, but I also include a few Netflix movies. Those resources fall more frequently in the History category, but there are a few science-related ones that we’ve put in our queue. They could, perhaps, be found through your local library, or simply ignored, depending on the library system’s depth and breadth.
This should also go a long way toward explaining why things have been so quiet here lately. I’m a rather poor multi-tasker.
So… if you’re interested, you’re welcome to follow along – either this year or in the future. To science!
“Pass on what you have learned, Luke.” – Yoda, Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
I’ve been reading Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America by Jay Parini and I’m finding it to be quite an interesting look at both our nation’s history and the role that reading has played in our national consciousness. Dad Windu has also picked it up and is in ever-present danger of over-taking my bookmark. At this point, I’m planning to require highly recommend that Padawan Learner read this book along with the books it references.
“Remember: Your focus determines your reality.” - Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
In the end, it came down to the Pre-Algebra programs from Thinkwell or Chalk Dust. They’re both strong, content-intensive, video-based programs, which appeals to Padawan Learner’s preference for learning things visually and auditorially.
We borrowed the Chalk Dust Algebra I tapes and book from M-T’s Mom and both Dad Windu and I were impressed by how thoroughly and clearly the instructor presented the materials. I was especially impressed by the number of examples that Dana Mosley uses to really drive a point home. He is, however, a tiny bit dry (fine for me, but less so for PL) and the lessons seem to drag on a bit (because of all those great examples). The biggest drawback is the price. Chalk Dust is almost prohibitively expensive. That said, I would say that I think that they’re probably worth every penny in quality of instruction and the extent of material covered. The price wouldn’t have been a make or break deal, especially since there is a huge market for used Chalk Dust programs (for just this reason).
Thinkwell’s program is based online, with the option to buy CDs for additional offline use. This is nice as there is no delay in starting the program and you can access it from anywhere. You also aren’t without your program completely if you lose or break a CD. Because of the internet-based nature of the program, it can be produced and distributed less expensively as well. I was very, very impressed by Edward Burger’s teaching style, which incorporates a lot of humor. Essential, for a lot of kids. The lessons are very engaging, the material and examples are top notch, and the individual units are short and to the point. You can tell that he absolutely loves math and loves teaching math.
After letting PL watch both demo videos, I left the choice up to him. We talked about the pros and cons to each program and he had a little bit of a hard time choosing. In the end, he chose the Thinkwell program, preferring the humor-laced instruction and the unit by unit layout. He also liked being able to track his progress through the online program and doing the chapter reviews online. We signed up and he started yesterday afternoon.
“Use the force, Luke.” Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Today was our first day of the 2008-2009 homeschooling year. Yes, we’re a bunch of traditionalist homeschool scheduling ninnies. Unschooling dropouts. Evil curriculum slaves. Creativity squelching automatons. Or are we?
Here’s your quick answer: Actually, we’re not.
Yes, we do keep to a roughly traditional school year, but we push back the start a bit to enjoy the nice September weather a bit longer (It was cold and rainy all day today. The perfect day to start. Score.) and end at July since June has for the past several years been cold and rainy here and no fun to play outside in. BUT we do M-F lessons for 7 weeks, taking every Wednesday afternoon off for other fun stuff, and then we take a week off to relax and recharge.
We think unschooling is a great way to learn – and deep down might even consider ourselves to be closet unschoolers, since learning is never forced on Padawan Learner. He has a full say in what we cover, our schedule, and if he does or does not want help from moment to moment, day to day, and topic to topic. If we’re really screaming along on something and don’t want to stop, we don’t. Other things just get pushed back for another day. If something is just a brink wall, though, we move on to something else. No sense in making ourselves crazy. However… Dad Windu and I also have a full say in these things. We all bring ourpoints, concerns, wants and wishes to the planning table and figure it out. Maybe not all at one time or in one place, but everyone gets their say eventually. For example, I have been gently suggesting piano lessons for 5 years. Padawan Learner has not been interested, but this year when I brought it up, he said, “Hmmm,” and decided to give it a chance. After his first lesson, he was hooked and I couldn’t get him off the keyboard for a week straight. It was finally the right time. He might never have considered the piano on his own since we don’t own a piano and neither Dad Windu or I play the instrument (we ended buying a keyboard after his first lesson), but I’ve watched how he moves his fingers and his body listening to music and I had a feeling it would be a good fit for him.
Yup. We use curriculum. Some of it is homeschooler intended, some of it is schoolroom intended, some of it was never intended to be used as curriculum in the first place. WooHoo. We pick and choose what we want and need. We ignore pages that are irrelevant. We add items that we think are missing. We skip the idiotic. We mock mercilessly all busywork.
As for being creativity squelching automatons. Well, I guess you’ll just have to figure that one out for yourself.
Happy learning, everyone, today and everyday.