Friday, May 27, 2011

Recent Developments

Here's what we did today (and we squeezed a little Girl Scouts in between):

Untitled from Unlikely Schoolhouse on Vimeo.

Untitled from Unlikely Schoolhouse on Vimeo.

And here they are with their bling:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fourth Grade Is Starting to Take Shape

Now I know why so many people say they take the whole summer to plan. It's very difficult to plan AND finish off the school year! But we're plugging away. Science is going to wrap into fourth grade no matter what, so all I'm really feeling pressed to finish are math, history, and WWE, and we can make it happen. Anyway, next year is going to be jam-packed. Here's the Tall Oaks Academy curriculum for the 2011-2012 fourth grade year:

  • Logic: Logic Countdown and whatever I can squeeze in via this free resource I downloaded a long time ago (Brainy Acts, or something?)
  • Spelling: All About Spelling (Bella doesn't really need this, but Julie will enjoy, and Bella will benefit from listening in anyway)
  • Literature: Mother-Daughter Book Club (Bella and I will do mini-discussions off a book list that I still need to put together)
  • Bi-weekly or monthly artist and composer studies (very light, just for exposure--I already have a bunch of materials and picture study has been a huge hit in the past).
(Disclaimer: I'm not an affiliate for any of these programs; I just like links and find them helpful on others' blogs.)

I still have to pull together my Book Club reading list and the stuff for the artist/composer studies. I'm also currently trying to unravel the Gordian Knot that is Homeschool Tracker Plus in the hope that it will help me stay sane next year. I'll post more as I put those things together. For now, the list above is the culmination of hours and hours of research and decision making (and For Sale board trawling!).

Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It has been a very long three weeks

Julie's behavior has been absolutely horrible these last few weeks. For awhile I'd felt like we made a turnaround, and then things just slid back downhill. After talking with my mom for awhile about it today, I realized that she was on pink and purple liquid fever reducers for a few days, then pink antibiotics for over a week, then it was Easter (candy galore, even though I tried to monitor), and then we just made the mistake of allowing a few things we shouldn't have (tiny pink marshmallow bunnies, anyone?), and then my mom accidentally gave her Triscuits (TRISCUITS?! Why do Triscuits need food dyes?!) that had red in the seasoning. All in all, it has been a very, very long few weeks.

There have been a lot of studies on the effects of artificial food dyes on children, dating back to the 1970s. Some showed that food dyes could cause behavioral problems in children, and others didn't. But a few years ago, an analysis of 21 of the most conclusive studies found compelling evidence that, indeed, artificial dyes could contribute to hyperactivity, restlessness, and attention problems in some children – particularly those with ADHD. What's more, the studies suggested that removing dyes from those children's diet was a quarter to half as effective in reducing those symptoms as giving the kids Ritalin or other stimulants. In other words, certain kids with ADHD might not need drugs if the artificial dyes were removed from their diets.