Enjoying Explode the Code

Since we started homeschooling over a year ago, we have been using these amazing books.  I read about Explode the Code online, and thought it seemed like a good way to go.   And I was right.

The books are easy to understand and are laid out nicely. They all follow the same basic pattern, so once you finish one and go to the next, it’s easy because you already know what to do, the content is just a little more challenging.

Turner started out with Book 1 and is now using Book 3, at the beginning of his 2nd grade year (he technically should be on Book 4, but there was a 2-3 month span last year where we didn’t use them… oh well).

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Lilly started out with Beyond the Code Books A, B, and C in Kindergarten. She really liked them. She is now on Book 1 1/2.

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Yes, I have had my kids use the 1/2 books as well. I have mentioned before we like to work for mastery in subjects before advancing, so I wanted to be sure they were where they needed to be. However, Turner is such a better reader, and we may just go straight to 4 this time around.

We use these books 4 days of the week and they do 2-4 pages each time.  They like to listen to classical music while working on them. It’s takes about 15 minutes for this, so it’s quick and fun.

*They do offer an online version, however, I wanted my kids to have that extra handwriting practice and less screen time, so we opt for the workbooks.  I also order mine off Amazon with Prime Shipping, but I see deals on them all the time through Homeschool sites.

Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on Explode the Code:  how they did or didn’t work for you.

*There is a short video of my son using Book 3 on our Facebook page.

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2nd/1st grade — 2014-2015 year

For this year, we are going to try to be more un-schooling than we had in the past, more relaxed, more interest based learning.  I guess you could call it relaxed-schooling. My kids love the idea and my son dragged me to the library to get 5 books on the Titanic, both non-fiction and fiction. I LOVED the excitement on his face and am going to surprise them both with a trip to the  Titanic Museum in Branson, MO, when we finish all those books 🙂

I really like to think of our school as 1/3 Un-Schoolers, 1/3 Classical, and 1/3 Charlotte Mason.  We pull things from all three and use the ideas that work for us. We like the laid-back, interest led learning from Un-schoolers, the organization and planning of Classical, and the Living Literature of Charlotte Mason.

Turner will be a 2nd grader, and Lilly a 1st grader. However, we have them working what is comfortable and challenging to them, not based on grade level. Generally, they are a little ahead of PS kids in most subjects.

Math: Khan Academy and Miquon. I have my eye on Beast Academy once they finish up Miquon. They both work 1 grade level above where they need to be, Turner will be 2 grade levels above by next summer.

History:  Story of the World Ancients and A Child’s History of the World (they LOVE these books and find them very interesting). *Update: I am actually starting with Child’s World History and when we finish up we start SOTW. It was too confusing to try and match the 2 books, so I think CHW will be nice to introduce all of history and then start diving in deeper.

Science:  Easy Peasy for this year (Biology, The Human Body, and Zoology).

Spelling: Explode the Code, Love these books for spelling and reading concepts. Have used them since day 1.

Reading:  We keep a reading and audiobook log. The kids each read to me daily. We also have a CLASS BOOK that I read aloud.

Foreign Language:  Turner asked to learn Spanish, so I just signed up for an online program, PetraLingua. *Update: Used for 3-4 times, Turner and I don’t like it, boring and not really retaining much. Lilly, however likes it, so I will continue to let her use it until she feels the same. Searching for another option for Turner.

Critical Thinking Skills:  Both kids are using products from Critical Thinking Company a few times a week. They really enjoy them so far: Spider Riddles 1 and MindBenders.  I also just purchased Building Thinking Skills from the same company that they will do 1-2 times a week.

Code: Turner will start Scratch this year, and Jason is helping him with his own website.

Music: Both kids take weekly piano lessons. Practice on our keyboard almost daily.

PE:  Turner is active in BMX; Lilly in ballet.  Both kids run and bike with us almost daily. We all compete in 1-2 competitions a year. The kids do Youth Triathlons and seem to really like them. Find one in your area, TRIFIND

Other: BrainPop Jr. (Kids love it!), misc. documentaries, Chess, Magic Tree House site, board/card games, online typing (2015)