Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Italic Writing on a penny

I think one of the harder things about homeschooling on a penny is that you have to do more footwork. When you buy a pre-packaged curriculum, even for one subject, it's usually laid out for you. More than once, I have been discouraged when looking for something in particular and being told that a curriculum is free, only to learn that it in fact requires me to buy a workbook or CD. I mean, I will admit, there is a lot of good, inexpensive stuff out there. But ONLY $9.99 is not only when you don't have the money.

My older kids have been through public school and they simply did not learn to do cursive well. Thing is, they would much rather print. This is strictly from a preference point of view. Problem is, they can't print fast, so thus their work is very hard to read. I considered simply drilling them on cursive, but realized that is not going to help. So, I decided that italic writing would be the best next step. So, I went looking, and of course found lots of stuff, all with a price tag. This actually caused me to cry.

I will say that if I had the money, I would probably go with the Getty-Dubay system. Though the one by Christopher Jarman is a close runner up (and would be good for our UK visitors). Honestly, I think there are some things that if you have the opportunity and means to purchase, you should. Certainly it will be easier for you if you have a workbook and teacher's guide. But, since I don't really have the money, I had to piece together a system on my own. As promised, I will share my journies with you all in the hopes someone else can benefit.

Here is what we are using:

Jarman Site - This is the site of Christopher Jarman, who developed an italic writing course for schools in the UK. There is lots of good general information on this site, as well as downloads of his Jarman and Jardotty fonts, which can be used to teach your children italic writing.

12 Rules of Good Cursive Writing - This page can be of benefit to anyone, italic and standard cursive alike. It is good for kids to review since it graphically give some general rules that should be followed with respect to all writing.

Jarman Parent's Guide - This is not really meant as a substitute for the program, but if you really need some guidance, there are some excerpts from the parent's guide for the Jarman series that can give you some guidance in instruction.

Jarman Fonts - This is the page where you can download the Jarman fonts. More significantly, you can also download animations of how to make the italic letters, which can be very useful in your instruction.

Italic Writing - This site has a lot of information on italic writing in general. Lots of examples and general information on how to teach it. This site also a zip file of numerous italic worksheets.

Italic e-Book - This page offers several e-books on italic writing. Not really textbooks, but they could be incorporated into a program using the other resources listed here.

Handwriting Success - This is the resource page of the Getty-Dubay website. It has some free resources that may help.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Lessons

A lot of my family is central Louisiana. When Katrina hit, my cousin who was 9 months pregnant, ran to the attic of her house to escape the flooding and was trapped there for 3 days until a passing boat rescued her and her fiance. During Gustav a couple weeks ago, he lost power for a week and had minor flooding. However, as Ike comes ashore, while he is not in Texas, he is in a path that will be hit shortly after landfall. Needless to say, we are very worried and watching things closely.
Tess was in public school when Katrina hit. She literally spent hours glued to the t.v. and reading everything she could on the internet about hurricanes. She knew so much more than her classmates, simply because she was interested in it so much.

As we start homeschooling, I wanted to incorporate hurricanes into our homeschool. I found several lesson plans I am linking below. They are for older children, but I am sure can be modified for younger children too.

Note, I just want to stress I am not being insensitive here posting this. Again, we have family members who are in harm's way. I don't mean to sound callous by posting lesson plans when there are people in serious danger.

Hurricane! - Lesson Plan for 6-8 from the Discovery Channel. Offers an experiment kids can do.

Handle a Hurricane! - Lesson Plan where you are a fictional mayor who must make decisions based on an oncoming hurricane.

After the Hurricane - A lesson plan that deals with the aftermath of a hurricane, including sensitivity to displaced residents, etc.

Short Story - This is a language arts lesson plan using hurricanes as the theme and backdrop.

Printable Hurricane Tracking Map - Nice page you can print and have the kids track the current hurricane, or a fictional one they make up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A New Journey

A few months ago when the idea of starting a group blog at for Homeschoolers, I honestly never thought I would be a member of it. I have always dreamed of homeschooling, and actually got my feet wet in it a couple years back when a transportation issue forced me to homeschool my kindergartener. Little did I know that 2 years later, yet another transportation issue would have me bringing several of my children home. Of my 8 kids, 3 are homeschooled right now. Though I don't know what the future holds and the timing, I have to assume they will all come home eventually.

This blog is a place where parents of large families who homeschool can come and share some of the particular challenges of schooling lots of kids, as well as simply trying to juggle life and housework. We hope you will find our journey enjoyable.

We are looking for people to join our blogging team for this blog. If you are a mom of many (4 or more kids--natural/adopted/blended) and are interested in being a contributor, drop me at line at lotsofkids123[at] for more details.

A special thanks to our Lotsofkids team member, Melanie, to pointing us to the site where we got this template. It's very cute.