Working Through a White Chapter

One of the key aspects of Weaver is the fact that the pages are color-coded for the differing grades (K-6) and white pages are either for your own information or for all the students in all grades (such as the Bible lessons). This is a handy ‘visual’ for those new to using Weaver. Once you create your Teacher’s Binder it’s easy to know who-is-learning-what based on the colored pages. But then it happens: you come upon a “white chapter” and your first thought is “Whaaa?!?” Continue reading

Same Volume — New Grades

(This is a Throwback Thursday post, written in August of 2006.)

I’ve spent the past two weeks gearing myself up for school to start next week. Where did the summer go?! We’re continuing with Volume 5 since we didn’t finish it last year. Since this is a new school year, I’ll be moving my children up one grade level: my K will now be in 1st, my 2nd will now be in 3rd, etc. We’ll just continue on with what we were doing, using the new grade levels in the same volume.

Simple!

If we finish Volume 5 before the school year ends, I’ll rotate back to Volume 1. Since it will still be the same school year, I’ll keep them in the same grades we’re starting with next week.

If we finish Volume 5 at the end of this school year, I’ll start Volume 1 next year and move everyone up a grade at that time. This is a perfect example of the flexibility of Weaver that I love so much. I’m moving at my pace, and my children are learning at their level.

Where are you in your Weaver studies? Which Volume are you working through? Leave a comment and let me know!

Interlock or Volume 1?

Here’s the scenario: Your children are 6, 4 & 2 and you will be bringing the oldest home to begin homeschooling next year. That means you’ll have children in 2nd, K and pre-K. Should you start with Interlock or Volume 1? I suggest you start with Interlock, and start during the summer.

Or maybe this is the scenario: Your children are the same ages as above, but you’ve been homeschooling with workbooks because you’ve only had to teach your oldest so far. Now that you’ll be teaching two, you’d like to try the unit study approach so you’re switching to Weaver. Should you start with Interlock or Volume 1? Again, I suggest you start with Interlock, and start during the summer. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, if your oldest is going into 2nd grade or younger, start with Interlock!

I had thought of going straight to Volume 1 when I started, but I’m glad I didn’t. I had been told that if my children had a firm foundation in creation I could skip Interlock. I thought they did, because we attended church and they knew all the Sunday school stories … Ha! That was the problem. They knew them as “stories” and not as fact. Interlock helped to flesh out the information and make it real for my children and for me, too. Interlock laid a true foundation, which made all the Sunday school lessons make sense for my children. If you’re still not convinced to start with Interlock, let me just say that it’s a great program to “begin” Weaving with. If you’ve never used a unit study before, or never homeschooled before, Interlock will take you through the experience effortlessly and enjoyably. Start with Interlock!

Back Into the Swing of Things

(This is a Throwback Thursday post, written in March of 2007.)

Getting back into the swing of school after being off for a week is always hard. The children are usually thinking of where they were last week at this time (in bed, or outside, or playing a video game) and wishing they were there again this week. Even I struggle: if the phone rings, I’ll answer it instead of letting it go to voice mail; I’ll think about the emails I didn’t get a chance to answer and what I want to say in my replies; little things around the house will call for my attention like they did the week before when I was able to attend to them immediately. If I were going to work every day, and sending the children off to school, I wouldn’t have to deal with all of this! The whiny, mopey children would be someone else’s challenge to teach. My focus would be on my job instead of my home… But, that’s not where God wants me to be, nor where he wants my children to be–he wants us to be here, at home. And since this is what God wants, the best way to get back into the swing of things is to start with God. Start with the Bible lessons and move on from there. Placing God first really sets the tone for your day!

School Year-Round

(This is a Throwback Thursday post. It was originally written in February of 2007.)

My husband and I have decided to school year-round this year. This will mean less busy-time at the end of the year, and less review-time at the beginning of the year for the children. Our oldest will be a senior next year, and we have a few classes we want to squeak in before he graduates. Schooling year-round will help us achieve that goal.

I’m currently finishing up Chapter 8 in Volume 5 . Chapter 9 will be a 30-day unit, and chapters 10-12 are each 15 to 20 days. That’s 81 days… not going to get that done by the end of May! We’ll just keep working through the summer.

Once we finish Volume 5, I’ll move onto Volume 1 and keep going with school. In September I’ll move everyone up a grade as we begin the “new” year. With that in mind (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) we should finish Volume 5 around the middle of July (taking into consideration spring break and various days off between now and then).

If I continue to school year-round, I could take off one week each month, and even a few miscellaneous days here and there (up to 10 days) and still get 180+ days of school done each year. Since this would be our schedule, I could choose which week of each month we take off. If I need two weeks for a trip, I can schedule the last week of one month and the beginning of the next month. I may even decide to have half-days on a week off… the latter half of the day, so we can sleep in 😉 … and then we’re not really missing much school because two half-day weeks would equal one full week. This would come in handy for emergencies like sick days, or unexpected company, or spur-of-the-moment trips.

Isn’t homeschooling wonderful?!

(Author’s note: Year-round schooling didn’t work for us after this year was completed, and we have reverted back to the school calendar followed by the public schools–for the most part. But, it sure did look good on paper!)

Sample Supplement Day

After our Bible lesson (we always do Bible first, if we have a lesson), I usually move right into our History or Science lesson. We’re currently in Vol 5, Chapter 9 — almost finished with this chapter! (In 11 weeks we will complete Vol 5 for the second time — wow… where has the time gone?!)

For this day, we worked on the last activity for objective 3 in Science. My two remaining students are in grades 9 & 11 (again, where has the time gone?!), and the activities are often the same. When I plan out a chapter, I look to see if there are any activities listed specifically for the grades I’m teaching. In this objective there wasn’t, so both students were given the same assignment.

This activity covered thunderstorms and hurricanes. We’ve covered this often over the years, so I decided to just read the info from the Supplement and then assign the questions as homework. But not all the questions! Here’s what I assigned them:

  • Sketch and describe the three stages of a thunderstorm and include the following:
  1. Tell why hailstones only fall during thunderstorms.
  2. Is there really a “calm before the storm”? Why or why not?
  • Illustrate the six types of lightning:
  1. Streak
  2. Sheet
  3. Rocket
  4. Ribbon
  5. Pearl Necklace
  6. Forked
  • Report on hurricanes; include the following:
  1. Are hurricanes low- or high-pressure areas? Sketch to explain.
  2. Why do hurricanes need warm ocean water for food?
  3. What parts of the USA are most affected by hurricanes, and why?
  4. On average, how many occur each year?
  5. Why do scientists name hurricanes?

I assigned these three papers on Tuesday, and requested they be turned in by Friday. When we talked about earthquakes later in the week, we did our research together and discussed the info during class. Those were the only two days we had science that week, yet the papers I assigned kept them busy each day as they researched the info, made notes, and wrote their papers. For this assignment, they both chose to write their final papers by hand. I always leave that option up to them–one child prefers to write by hand, the other prefers to use the computer.

If you have a copy of the Supplement, you will notice that I left a few things out. I didn’t require them to outline the development of a thunderstorm. I didn’t assign any of the tornado questions/projects, and I left out some of the hurricane questions as well. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve covered these weather subjects often through the years. My goal was to give them multiple papers to do, to teach them about prioritizing their time and breaking up an assignment so it doesn’t overwhelm them.

The beauty of homeschooling is being able to tailor the assignments (in ANY grade) so that your students learn what you feel they need to learn at this point in their lives.

Making It Work

Recently, a conversation arose on social media about how I make Weaver more interesting for students in the 7-12 Supplements. My answer was simple: I don’t. I just make sure it’s educational. I encourage my children to follow any “Rabbit Trails” they find interesting so they can learn more, but it’s not my job to entertain them every minute. They are in high school, after all. I expect them to find ways to stay interested on their own. When they move out and begin their lives on their own, I won’t be there to entertain them. They may not always find a sermon (or their job, for that matter) exciting. THEY need to be responsible for finding interest in the world around them–they need to stay interested without someone else making it interesting for them.

So, how do I teach my high school students? We talk about our topics, we laugh and joke, and sometimes we get serious and teary-eyed. I use visuals as much as possible for science by hooking my computer to the TV. We share the reading when there are long chapters. Often, I give an assignment and they do the work on their own, after I’m done talking–much like a college course (Talk, talk, talk; here’s your assignment; blah, blah, blah; turn it in Friday.)

We told our children early on that public school is NOT an option. My husband and I try to model an attitude of acceptance: we do things we don’t like because we have to, and we don’t complain– we just deal with it and move on with life. Once the children are in 11th grade they can attend the local tech college daily to get a start on their college credits and life skills. But, if they can’t do the work I ask them to do, I will assume they won’t work at Tech–and then they don’t get to attend.

I also add in electives, like LIFEPACs, to allow them to work independently (e.g., 
Accounting, Art, Astronomy). My job is to educate my children. I cannot force them to feel happy or to be interested in something. If they don’t learn this now–to find joy in life–they’ll be miserable adults.

The A to Z of Using Weaver (part 4)

Over the past few days we’ve covered letters A-S. Today, we’ll complete the series.

Teacher’s Binder — Unless you purchase Teacher’s Friend (or talk to another Weaving mom), you won’t know about this little gem. Designed as a “quick start guide” for those new to using Weaver, the Teacher’s Friend will walk you through how to set up your own teacher’s binder. This will become your lifeline for using Weaver. Instead of working from those huge binders each day, you’ll have everything you need in one smaller binder — it will, literally, become the most valuable school supply you own; and it will go with you, year after year after year, through this adventure called homeschooling.

Units — This is what Weaver is all about: separate units that are all focused on one thing — the Bible. The Weaver Curriculum is a unit study approach to learning. That means each section starts with the topic being studied (found in the Bible chapter you are studying at the time) and weaves in history, science, art, etc. Everything you’ll study in all the subjects will point back to what’s being studied in the Bible lessons. And that’s really how it should be! Everything we do in life should be a direct result of what we are studying in our Bible. Remember: if you start with the Word of God, everything else falls into place!

Volumes — There are five official volumes that make up The Weaver Curriculum. Each one is color-coded the same way (white for everyone, or teacher papers; goldenrod for Kindergarten; dark pink for first grade; light pink for second grade; blue for third grade; yellow for fourth grade; green for fifth grade; and salmon for sixth grade) and broken up into nine units covering anywhere from 180 to 220+ days for teaching. If you follow the Day by Day, and take breaks for the usual holidays, you will finish the first three volumes in one year each. Volumes four and five will each take a year and a half on the same schedule. That means you will get through all five volumes in a six year period. After that, you start over using the 7-12th Grade Supplement that corresponds with each volume. As you can see, this is a very cost-efficient curriculum!

Wisdom Words — This is the grammar program written by the author of The Weaver Curriculum. It is designed with the idea that you have already taught your children how to speak properly, so now you want to show them what proper speech looks like on paper. You are encouraged to have your student write for 5-10 minutes each day. From that writing, you will pull examples of nouns, sentence fragments, predicates and more. Wisdom Words is color-coded the same way the volumes are, plus it contains all the manipulatives you’ll need to teach the concepts. The suggested course of study for Wisdom Words is included in the Day by Day for each volume.

X-tra Help — Homeschooling is not always easy. Support from other homeschooling moms is important! That’s why there is a huge network of extra help out there for those using the Weaver curriculum. If you desire to purchase new materials, you can shop at The Unofficial Weaver. If you’d rather buy used, you can find items listed at the Buy/Sell Board — or, you can see if anyone has posted anything for sale in the Facebook group or …

Yahoo Lists — Before there was Facebook, before there was a Buy/Sell Board, before there was a store, there was a single Yahoo list. Over the years, that list has grown into multiple lists, and this blog was developed. The goal of these various helps has always been to glorify God by helping other homeschool families. If you have a question about Weaver, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Zulu Time / Zoo — Weaver can be done anytime, anywhere! Whether you live in the USA or in Australia (or anywhere in between) you can use Weaver. You may have to find a different history program to suit the needs of your country, but it can be done! Weaver can also be done at the kitchen table, on the couch, on a blanket in the back yard, in the car or at the zoo! Weaver will open your eyes to the world around you, and every opportunity will become a teaching opportunity.

I hope this list has given you a better understanding of The Weaver Curriculum. I cannot stress enough that this curriculum is a tool, not your master. You are the teacher. You decide how, where and what will be taught. You want what’s best for your children, and nothing compares to the goodness of God’s Word. With Weaver, that’s exactly what you’ll be giving them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you start with the Word of God, everything else falls into place!