Friday, December 10, 2010

A Spelling Alternative...Sort of

I'm posting as part of Ordinary Time's Homeschool Resource Link-Up.

I have one not-so-natural speller (and so far, 3 VERY intuitive spellers).  For this one child, spelling just isn't there.  We've tried various spelling programs and most successful has been Sequential Spelling.  However, this year we've decided to take a break from that and I pulled out my unused copy of Vocabulary Vine. (read the review in this link at Rainbow Resource)

It's a roots program teaching both Greek and Latin roots.  Over the course of 36 weeks, at 3 roots a week, students will learn 108 roots (you do the math!!).

Students make their own root cards using blank index cards and Daisy does this program completely independently.  The root and the definition are given for the day and then about 5 words using the root are given.  On the root card, students choose 3 of those derivatives and define them using what they've learned about the day's (and past) root definitions.  The definitions are always blatantly obvious and some thinking (and a little stretching) might be necessary to see how the definition of the root relates to the meaning of the word using it.

She said yesterday, when I asked Banana Boy if he'd taken his antibiotics, "I know what that means!!!!"

My hope in using this with my non-intuitive speller, is that by breaking the words down into their roots and parts, she'll begin to see the patterns, learn the spellings of the roots and be able to put it all together to spell longer, more complicated words (without fear!).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Little Math Practice

Banana Boy has begun adding in columns without carrying.  His math book only had one page of problems, so I made up extra pages in the same style, only using family members and other objects.  For now I kept all the problems the same, which really doesn't build his word problem solving skills, but he still needed to focus on physically setting the problem up and writing it correctly, so I was fine with that.

So one of today's problems was:

Banana Boy ate 178 M & Ms.  Dad ate 21 more than he.  How many M & Ms did Dad eat?

The next problem was:

After eating 178 M & Ms, Banana Boy was really sick but he had 611 M & Ms left.  How many did he have at first?

After he had solved all the problems, I brought out the 2 lb. bag of M & Ms from the cupboard (because the reality is Dad DOES love M & Ms) and poured a big pile out onto the table.  We decided to see what 178 M & Ms really looks like.

In the process, Banana Boy got all sorts of practice counting to 20 by twos and practice counting by 20s and practice narrowing down his groups as he got closer to 178.  He made 5 piles of 20.  Then more piles of 20 until he had 60 more.  Then he knew he needed a pile of 10.  And finally, 8 more.
 2, 4, 6, 8, 10...

This is what 178 M & Ms looks like!

This is what I look like after I've eaten 178 M & Ms.

And no, the pile he actually got to eat was not the pile of 178!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World History Projects

Here are some random world history projects we've done this year.  Along with Sonlight's Core 1, Banana Boy is using Handle on the Arts core 1 go-along.  It schedules in hands-on projects with the core.

First off, regarding Handle on the Arts....  I like it.  No, really, I do.  A part of me balks at paying $19.99 for projects I could come up with myself.  And I tried this.  You can get the table of contents for free from HotA.  I searched and found most of the crafts online and copied and pasted them into a Word document.  I spent about 4 hours gathering the first 12. I enjoy this.  But after a point, I decided that it was just worth it to spend the $20.

And I'm glad I did.  While I could have done a better job collecting the projects with GOOD directions (sometimes HotA instructions are a little lacking), by purchasing the curriculum (which comes as an instant download), I got the SCHEDULE to go along with Core 1 (could have done this myself, but it would have taken forever!) and the ART STUDIES, which I didn't realize were a  part of this.

The art studies are my favorite part!  Could I have put this together?  Yes.  But why reinvent the wheel? (there's not a project on that, incidentally)  So far we've had a color picture of cave art with questions to go along with it, pointing out elements of the painting.  We've also looked at the Battle Standard of Ur up close and personal.

Additionally, there is a lapbook of Egyptian architecture.  This IS available as a free download from the site, so you could take advantage of it without the purchase.

So, for $20, I got all the hands-on activities with directions and materials lists, plus the schedule, plus the art studies, plus I saved myself hours and hours (AND HOURS) of time putting it together myself.  I think it was a worthwhile purchase!  Plus the activities are suitable for the girls, as well.  In fact, most of the time, they all do them together.

Archaelogical Dig--suggested in HotA, but this one was entirely of their own volition.  They were playing up in the orchard one day and someone spotted a bone.  Then another.  They all began digging and soon they had a wagonload of raccoon bones.  At least two coons, we figure.  Why were they there?  Who knows!

Ancient Cave Painting--suggested in HotA.  We modified it to the shower because our bathroom has no windows and we could make it completely dark.  It was hard to draw by torchlight!

Aboriginal Dot painting-- Suggested in HotA.  The kangaroo outline is available online. Under the supply list, click on "click here for printables"

Making felt--suggested in HotA

Cheesehenge.  Daisy's own creation.  
They made henges out of every available material for about two days after reading about Stonehenge.  We watched part of the National Geographic documentary "Stonehenge Decoded" on Netflix instant play.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ancient Egypt

We've been steadily moving through Mystery of History, the curriculum we're using to study ancient history. It's Biblically-based and divided into short chapters. A week consists of a pre-test, 3 chapters and a post-test, plus timeline figures (not included, although directions for making them are), maps (included, although we are using MapTrek) and extra reading. I think I'll put up our weekly lessons because, even though there are TONS of MOH schedules out there, I think it always helps to look at someone else's to see what they are doing. I also love to see what new resources I need to add are out there.

So right now we're continuing to move through history while doing some long-term projects on Egypt. Pepper is going to be doing History Pockets Ancient Civilizations, the Egypt pocket. Daisy is making a travel brochure about Ancient Egypt (you might want to sign up for her tour package once you see it!)

We made mummified oranges and a green pepper from  There is tons to explore here if you are studying Ancient Egypt.  We haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the resources here.

Anyway, here they sprinkling natron over the dead Pharaoh Pepperiti.

Here are all 3 pharoahs:  Pharaoh Pepperiti, King Pulphaman I, and King Frufru I.  Those are their internal organs drying out in the packets.

Daisy did some Egyptian math --most gladly, I may add.  She was thrilled to take a break from her regular math and even though there was some research involved, she enjoyed it.  Most of it was just the right level for her--just challenging enough.  A few I had to help her with.  I printed out the pages, rather than having her fill them in online.  The links to the "answers" are on the above page, below the links to the problems.

Pepper attempted some Egyptian wall art from Artistic Pursuits I today, but became frustrated.  Not sure if she'll continue with it or not.

And now we're going on a field trip/picnic to look at a local archaeological dig.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Praying for India

Sonlight Curriculum, which we use, is currently sponsoring a program called My Passport to India (Choose the video you'd like to watch from the tiny panels above the main video box).  It's a 5-week multi-media learning experience about India via video.  A pastor named Chris, from the US, visited India and filmed his experiences visiting children's Bible clubs all over India.  Mission India is the organization working there and, partnered with Sonlight, they've made this program available.  Kids here in America are encouraged to save up change to donate to the program while they learn more about India and the Bible clubs reaching kids with Christ.  Sonlight is also going to match the first $167,000 raised by students.

So we signed up.  The kids have enjoyed watching the videos and reading Chris's travel diary.  They received passports and stickers in the mail which they fill out each time they watch a new installment of the program.

Coincidentally, my mom also invited us to hear a gentleman who has worked in India the past 9 years speak at her church.  One of her former pastors is a colleague of this man and so we were already familiar with the program.  It was exciting to see his slides of their work and hear how many people they are teaching and reaching with the gospel.  One statistic he mentioned was that they currently have 90 seminarians!  He said many organizations would be grateful for 1 or 2 with interest in becoming pastors.  And they have NINETY!  (with 30 already graduated).

October 2010 - World Missions/India from WELS Streams on Vimeo.

I was really struck by the quote in the WELS video above that there are millions of gods in India, none of whom forgive sins.

If you'd like an excellent FREE curriculum to learn more about India, check out Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage.  You do need to sign up to access it.  It's a download, so you can print just what you want.  I planned to use it last year when we were going to do SL's Core 5, and still will, whenever we get around to that.

The population of India has topped 1.2 BILLION people.  Please pray for the people of India to hear the gospel and learn of the hope of eternal salvation.  There are many wonderful organizations working in India toward that end.  These are just two of them.

Field Trips

We've been trying to take some field trips this fall, now that Sunshine is in PS kindergarten and things at home are, um... easier!  (he is doing WONDERFULLY, btw).

At first we were going to visit the "Milwaukee Museum" as my kids call it.  We buy a membership each year because it's a good deal for us.  Not only is it paid for by two visits of our (large) family, you get discounts or free admission on other museums as well.  We haven't used any of these yet, but we plan to.

After some discussion of desired field trips, however, we determined that we'd rather go to the Milwaukee Zoo instead while the weather was nice.  I checked into memberships online (because after checking into admission fees and parking, it was going to set us back $55 for ONE VISIT!).  So I bought a membership for $65.  We went to the zoo (saving $44) and were able to park for free on the street (if you get there early enough--saving $10 or $11) and we had a great time.  Because of the membership, we knew we could go again anytime within the next year, so we were able to see the zoo at a leisurely pace and even quit when we got tired, even though we hadn't seen everything!
 Hyena laughs are contagious!

 Daisy, I don't think that it's wise to take that from him!

 Pepper kisses the lioness

Look!  Cave drawings just like we made!

A couple of weeks later, on another beautiful Fall day, we visited the International Crane Foundation.  I've always wanted to go there, the kids were game AND admission was free with our Milwaukee Zoo membership pass!  FREE!  This is the only place in the world which houses all 15 species of cranes.  Their breeding program targets the very endangered whooping crane, with great success.  We read about the history of their breeding program, meet the 15 species of cranes, and enjoyed a walk through the tallgrass prairie.
 Check out our wingspans!

Grey Crowned Crane of Africa 
(makes me think of the Crowned Crane, Savannah, from WeeBee Tunes!)

Future trips on our list include the Missisippi River Museum, and the NEW Zoo, both free or discounted with our Zoo pass, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the state capitol in Madison, and selected museums in Chicago (a larger undertaking--who likes to drive in Chicago?? :P )  We also plan to visit some art museums and see some shows at the Overture Center in Madison.

Happy field tripping to us!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tuesday Teatime

In Bravewriter fashion, we have begun Tuesday Teatimes and they have proved to be HUGELY popular!  We haven't missed a one so far.

Each Tuesday, someone (usually Daisy) volunteers to bake something and at 2pm, we set the table with a table cloth, flowers and the good china.  I make the tea and everyone brings a poem to tea.

We serve the tea and snacks using our best manners and then, one at a time, we share the poem we've brought.

I gathered all of the poetry books we own (and which we've very seldom used in 15 years of homeschooling!) onto one shelf.  One week, Banana Boy even wrote an original poem and brought it to share.

So, like never before, we are enjoying poetry on a regular basis.  The kids enjoy choosing a poem to share.  I get to share some of my favorites.  We're sampling many different authors and types of poetry.

And the tea is good, too!

Hey, they took away my blog design!

The blog template I was using was from Cutest Blog on the Block, but apparently, they don't keep the designs indefinitely, because when I came here today, my background was missing!

Temporarily (which may become indefinitely) I've inserted some pink stuff from Blogger, but prepare for my blog to be ugly for a while.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday Art

We are studying world history this year.  Daisy and Pepper are doing Mystery of History and Banana Boy is doing Sonlight's Core 1.

Along with Core 1, I have added a craft/art package called Hands-On History for Core 1 from Handle on the Arts.  The first week's project was to do a cave painting.  The curriculum came with a printable art print of a cave painting with which you do a mini art-study.  We talked about the animals we saw in the painting and some of the elements the artist used when making the painting.

Then we got to make our own cave paintings!
Banana Boy and Pepper are here in the cave.  The wall is not very smooth, nor is it even. It slopes downward and has some big bumps. They brought along a hide to sit on and two torches so they could see.

Pepper's painting

Banana Boy's painting

One of the wonderful things about Mystery of History is how it ties Bible history in with world history so you get the whole picture.  We've been reading about Jubal and Tubal-Cain.  Their story illustrates that early man was not just a grunting caveman, but and intelligent being who lived in a civilization with the leisure time for music and the skills and wisdom for metal-work.
So while we study cave art, we don't by any means believe that all early people lived in caves.  Certainly, some of them did.  This project at least gave us an appreciation for how uncomfortable it is to draw in a cave in the dark!  Early man was a determined guy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Doin' a 180 (or a 90 or a 270...I Don't Know)

Remember a couple of posts ago (which was really a couple of months ago) how I posted we'd be doing an around-the-world study and Core 5's Eastern Hemisphere?

Well, people go on and on over at  the SL Forums about how difficult this SL year is and how you shouldn't do it with kids under 10 and how kids get so much more from it when they are older, yadda, yadda.

I was pretty secure in my choice to do it anyway with Daisy (who will be 12) and Pepper (who will be 9-turning-10) and to do my own travelling-around-the-world thing with Banana Boy.  We've Sonlighted all along, which is a major factor in it being successful with a younger-than-average child (such as Pepper).  She's used to the format, the reading, the discussions.

But she's not an eager reader of books she considers too hard for her.  Or books she considers not interesting (meaning not full of puppies or ponies or kittens or child detectives solving mysteries).  And Core 5 is full of not-interesting-to-Pepper books.

So in a prime example of wishy-washy, second-guessing (and over-use of the hyphen) curriculum-hopping, we're shelving Core 5 for now.

Instead---take a deep breath----I'm abandoning Sonlight.  Sort of.

There.  I said it.

Now I've always considered myself a die-hard Sonlighter, even though in actuality, I use SL pretty LOOSELY.  I own all the SL cores up through 6.  I have all the catalogs back through 1998. (I think I even have a 1996) 

I love SL.  I love what they stand for.  I love the books they choose.  I love that it's all planned out and shipped in a box right to me.

But I'm a grass is greener kind of girl and I just can't HELP messing with it.  Er, I mean, Tweaking.

So, my plan was to do Core 6 World History and use Mystery of History instead of Story of the World (which I just can't stand.  I've tried to use it.  I've tried to like it.  It. Annoys. Me.  I don't like her style.  And then when people throw in the accuracy issues... I'm just done.  If you want to buy my SOTW collection, it's for sale.)

I have a schedule I put together when I did this same thing with Rose Bud several years ago, using MOH and Core 6.  Looking over it this summer, I realized it's not Core 6.  It's not SL.  It's MOH and many of the great books SL suggests (and many great books suggested by other curriculums).

So, reluctantly, I admitted to myself that I would not be using Core 6 this fall.  And I won't be using Core 7 next year.  In fact, I'm going to do MOH for the next 3 years with the girls.  They WON'T BE USING SONLIGHT.  (insert moment of silence)

After that, I'd like to come back to Core 5.  We'll have to see, as Daisy will be in 9th grade.  If I've learned nothing else, it's not to even bother to plan ahead.  Three years from now, I'll have all new ideas.

Anyway, I AM going to do Core 1 World History with Banana Boy as written, out of the IG, open and go.  NO TWEAKING!  I do like Hillyer's Child's History of the World.  I used that with Rose Bud long, long ago.

Ok.  I might tweak a little.  I hate the Usborne World History.  But other than that.  NO TWEAKING!

Funny, how it all works out.  I've never liked SL's science and this year we are completing Science 5.  I've always used SL's Cores and this year we'll be switching to MOH.  I feel a bit like a traitor.  It was Jimmie, who actually gave me the courage to say out loud what I was wanting to do on the inside.  Thanks, Jimmie!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Days

Summer is here and we are enjoying it.  The pool is up and the kids are swimming every day.  Rose Bud will be going to camp soon.  I'm having to mow the lawn about every 5 1/2 days with all the rain we've been getting.

And summer school is happening.

Actually, we've been at summer school since the beginning of May.  We finished up Sonlight's Core 4 and packed it away.  We made up our summer schedule which involves keeping up with math and writing in some way, finishing up any subjects that didn't quite get finished and SCIENCE!

Science: the bane of many homeschoolers' existence.  Why is it that so many hsers neglect this subject, myself included?  We've never finished a science curriculum in this house.  Many years we've done only a smattering. 

The kids like it.  I don't mind the reading.  I think it's the experiments.  I know my frustration is that so often they don't work.  You gather all the stuff together (substituting with a creative idea for that ONE item you don't have in the house) and the kids are left wondering how come the experiments never turn out.

On the docket for fall, however, was Sonlight's Science 5: The Human Body.  I did complete a chunk of this with Rose Bud many years ago.  The kids were excited.

Then I had the bright idea to do it this summer and get it out of the way.

So I purchased the few new pieces SL had added since we last did it along with a new instructor's guide (1/2 price, since I'd purchased one previously).  And I added Apologia's Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology.  Why?  I don't know.  I have yet to be successful with any of this series.  We own Botany and Flying Things.  Maybe my kids were too young when we tried them before.

So I don't know why I felt the need to spend money on yet another book in this series. Only I did.  And we love it!  It really would be excellent as a stand alone, but we are using it as a complement to SL's Science 5 and it is working beautifully.

We read through the SL readings in one or two days.  The third day we read the corresponding chapter in Apologia.  The kids are also making their insides using the pieces from My Body, so they color and cut out livers and intestines and brains and hearts.  They glue them down on the life-size models we traced of their bodies on newsroll end paper I got for a dollar from our local newspaper printer years ago.  We also do a few of the simpler experiments from the various books.

At this rate, we are able to go through about 3 weeks worth of the SL schedule in 2 weeks.  I'm hoping to be able to finish the first 18 weeks this summer, assign the next 6 weeks as independent reading and then work through the History of Medicine book in the fall.

Banana Boy is doing the human body as well, but I made up a seperate schedule for him using books I had on hand.  These include The BFC Young Book of the Body (a used-book purchase I got YEARS ago) which is our spine.  We are following the topics in order of this book.  We also read from DK's Picturepedia Your  Body on the same topic (another long ago garage sale purchase).  For experiments we use Play and Find Out: Human Body (rather preschoolish, but we don't read the text.  I just use it for experiment ideas), and Healthy Me, Sense-Abilities, and Watch Me Grow for more experiments.  I'm actually managing to keep his schedule simple and use books I already had on hand.  I'm so proud of me!  LOL 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Indonesia for Youngers -- Go-Along with Core 5

I've been working on plans for Banana Boy to go along with Sonlight's Core 5 for next year.  He'll be a 2nd grader and I just want to do a country study with him.  I'm trying REALLY HARD to keep it simple--always a challenge for me!  So here's what I've got going so far.

I'm trying not to spend any money on this (or at least, very little), so I'm looking for free resources online and utilizing things I have on hand.  There is nothing special about the books I've chosen, except that I already own them.

Mission Friends-Indonesia
Children Just Like Me
Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book (SL Core P4/5)
Lion Storyteller Book of Animal Tales
Animal Friends from Around the World (Dover)
From Akebu to Zapotec (SL Core 1)

Spend one week on Indonesia:

Map from Mission Friends
Cooking from Mission Friends: Make Pisang Goreng
FolktalesLion Storyteller Book of Animal Tales “The Clever Mouse Deer” and “The Wonderful Bird”; Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book “The Mouse Deer’s Wisdom”; Gift of the Crocodile: An Indonesian Cinderella  I haven't read this yet, but it is possible to find a Cinderella story from many cultures and I thought it would be fun to compare them.  I'll be including one from as many countries as I can.

Flag from Mission Friends or Crayola
Language from Mission Friends (phrases and counting to 5) 
National Symbol Krakotoa  (OR geographical features: volcano and archipelago)

Beliefs from Mission Friends (also do Shadow Puppet Nativity from Mission Friends) 
Prayer Needs read Mission Friends; also From Akebu to Zapotec: Osing people 
Clothes read Children Just Like Me: Subaedah 

Music Gamelan Music and Gamelan Music; sing "Jesus Loves Me" from Mission Friends; Indonesian National Anthem
Crafts  from Mission Friends: Batik and Smells of Indonesia (mace, nutmeg, coffee, etc.) 

Games from Mission Friends: play Gamet Orang or Gajah or Badminton; Traditional Indonesian Children's Games
Animals Komodo Dragons and/or Orangutans
visit zoo
Print a collector's card Komodo Dragon  Orangutan
Coloring page from Dover's Animal Friends From Around the World (#9 Orangutan)
Passport Stamp  Passports and stamps are available to download for free from many sites
Mission Friends  stamps only, but passports can be ordered
Time for Kids download and print
GC Kidz Club click on the passport.  You need to order this passport, but you can get as many as you need and they are very nice.  This is the one we will be using.

Extra Mission Friends activities:
Vocabulary words
Word search
Crossword Puzzle

Other activities I may have Pepper do:
GeoScribe Geography Terms: Archipelago and Volcano
Narrate the Cinderella story or
Make a chart to compare and contrast Cinderella stories

Internet links:
Balinese Shadow Puppets on YouTube
Javanese Shadow Puppets on YouTube
How to wear an Indonesian men's sarong
Traditional women's dress: the kebaya
In-depth explanation of batik

A Story, A Story!

Daisy wrote this lovely little story today.

Her writing prompt was, "Jonah had always wanted a dog, but there was something strange about the little puppy sitting on his doorstep..."

she continued (without any help):

"He ran into the house and found some scraps from lunch to feed to the puppy.  It ate and ate.

All of a sudden, the puppy started growing.  It grew 1 foot tall then 2 feet then 3 feet.  He thought it would never stop growing.  When it finally stopped growing, it was 5 feet tall!

He had no idea what he would do with a 5 foot tall dog.  He noticed it was panting so he decided to try giving it some water.  But where would he ever get so much water?  

He decided to bring it to the swimming pool.  It drank and drank.  Then it started shrinking.  First 1 foot, then two feet.  It finally stopped at its normal 1 foot height.

He decided to keep the puppy and he named it Giant.  Whenever someone asks why a tiny dog is called Giant, all he has to do is give Giant a bowl of scraps and they understand.  He always carries scraps and water, just in case!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

1, 2, 3!

Sunshine has begun working in his new "school book," Counting With Numbers, part of Rod & Staff's preschool series.

He had been working through the 1st book in the series for about 2 years now and FINALLY finished that one.  He has an attention span at least a year behind his age, likely because his family age is only about 2 1/2, and prior to now he had not been interested in academic work of any kind.

Which is fine by me.  I've never been a preschool-pusher.  Ok, yes, I was when RoseBud was little, but that was because I didn't know any better.  I learned my lesson with her.

Anyway, he has finished the 1st book, Adventures with Books and is now in the counting book.  And surprisingly, he's working very well!  The first two pages had him tracing the numeral 1 and counting one object.  He could already count, with one-to-one correspondence up to four objects reliably and sometimes 5.  And he could make a reasonably straight line, so this first section, learning "one" was easy for him.

The second page spread jumped right into the number "two" and this was a little trickier, but he persevered through it and even began writing some 2's on his own (without having to trace them!).

I brought out my old preschool-standby favorite, "Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills, Preschool" which I've always picked up at Sam's or Costco for $5.95 and found him the corresponding numeral pages.  He did some more practice with ones and twos.

And now he's up to 3.  "Around the tree, around the tree, this is how we make a 3," is the rhyme in Counting with Numbers and he's making lovely little 3's!

He astonished me the other day in the car by counting up to 11 correctly!

And this boy just LOVES books!  I'd forgotten how much fun it was to read to a preschooler.  Banana Boy has never been a book boy.  Sing to him, yes!  Read to him, not interested.

Sunshine has worn out our voices reading all the My First Little House books about "Lawla and Mary."  He has them all memorized and if you change a word, he'll let you know.

His latest passion is Richard Scarry.  We began with Richard Scarry's Mother Goose, which he called his "kitty book" because of the big cat on the cover.  Now he has discovered that we own almost every Richard Scarry book ever known to man and we are reading through them.  Needless to say, he really enjoyed Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (one of my very favorite books from MY childhood.  We are on our 3rd copy in this house.  Sadly, they don't seem to hold up well)  Can YOU find Goldbug on every spread?

We do our reading before naptime.  It seems to be the only dedicated time I can carve out EVERY day to read to him without interruptions.  We try to read one storybook, one poetry book (focusing on Mother Goose right now) and the Bible.

We are reading the Rhyme Bible For Toddlers together and are going through it for the second time.

And for science, he obsessively watches Sid the Science Kid.

There you have it: my accidental preschool curriculum.  All my past planning was wasted time.  It just goes to show that no two kids are the same.  I don't think I've done anything even remotely similar for any two of my five kids. 

Live and learn...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beginning to Plan for Next Year

Starting to lay out plans for next fall.  Daisy will be in 6th grade, Pepper in 4th and Banana Boy in 2nd.  Sunshine will go to public school kindergarten and Rose Bud will be a Freshman in PS.

For Daisy and Pepper:  Sonlight Core 5

I'm excited to go through this core again.  It was fun and interesting to read about so many cultures so "foreign" to us.  We'll be studying countries in the 10/40 Window such as the South Pacific, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, India, the Middle East and in Africa.

For Banana Boy, I think I'm going to use a combination of Mission Friends country packets and Voice of the Martyrs Bold Believers series.  Both sets are available as free downloads and will provide a nice framework for a simple country study from a Christian perspective.

(in case the Mission Friends link doesn't work, Google "Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Mission Friends" and you should bring the correct page right up.)

If anyone knows of any other similar resources, I'd love to know about them!

Daisy will also be doing:
Teaching Textbooks 7 for math
Sonlight LA 4 grammar and writing (yes, we're a year behind)
Spanish for Children and
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Sonlight Science 5
Piano lessons
Art class
AWANA and working through Luther's Small Catechism

Pepper will do:
Singapore Math 4
Sonlight LA 4 grammar
6-Trait Daily Writing grade 3 (or maybe 4)
Let's Learn Spanish grades 2, 3 & 4 (depending how far we get) and
KidSpeak Spanish and
Hola Amigos Spanish
Art at home
Science....ah science.  Yuck,  I hate teaching it.  The kids love it.  Maybe will find something for Pepper and BB to do together.

Banana Boy will be in:
Singapore Math 2 and
Miquon Math (probably Blue & Green)
6-Trait Daily Writing grade 2
KidSpeak Spanish  and
Hola Amigos Spanish
Art at home
Science--see Pepper

My goal:  Keeping it SIMPLE!  (never has happened yet!)

New Math

Daisy has finished Singapore 6 and begun Teaching Textbooks 7.  We got a good deal on it from a friend who was finished with it.

So far, so good.  She likes working on the computer and does her computations on scratch paper before entering the answers into the computer.  She looked over the topics and pronounced them easy-looking, which is good.  She's only in 5th grade and this is 7th grade math, so easy will be ok.  She can use the review before hitting Algebra.  And if it takes her a little longer, that will be all right, too.

Beginning, Middle and End

Today Banana Boy's writing assignment was to write a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. (the focus of this is organizing a story).

Here is his story, more remarkable for what happens in the story (which is true, btw) than for his writing prowess...

"I was chewing my flaverful gum.  I was playing with it.  I got it stuck in my hair.  Daisy had to cut the gum."

A testament to Daisy's ability to think on her feet, since I was not home at the time (ran Sunshine to preschool).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back on Track

Now that I'm back from my trip, we are fully back on track with school.  We've finished our Canada/Olympics study, with the exception of filling in the medals charts.

We are back into Sonlight Core 4 and are on, ummm.... Week 13.  Well, that's the first week that we have entirely completed.  We are jumping around a bit and going at our own pace in the read-alouds, so we're ahead in Caddie Woodlawn.  Pepper needs to read about Thomas Edison.  We listened to Old Yeller twice already, the last time being about 2 years ago and the girls don't want to hear it again, so we'll skip that.  It's not a book I can read aloud (it's actually scheduled as a reader, for them to read to themselves) so we've always listened to it on CD.  I hate sobbing while I'm reading aloud.

Daisy has read all the Core 4 readers months and months ago in her quest for "something to read, Mom!"  Pepper, a more reluctant reader, is going to be plowing through a pile of them in the next week or so.

It's not that she CAN'T read them.  She's an excellent reader.  She just CHOOSES the more fluffy stuff.  Pony Pals (gag) for instance, are her latest passion and she can read two a day.  I gave her the stack she needs to read Monday and she's already blown through The Toothpaste Millionaire (took less than a day) and We'll Race You, Henry Ford.

So in her pile, still to be read, are George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller and Shoes For Everyone.

Pepper just walked into the room where Daisy is busily (and happily) making electrical circuits for science and muttered under her breath, "I hate science experiments."  This on the heels of Banana Boy, who stomped through the room shouting, "I NEVER get to do anything FUN!  I NEVER get to do experiments!!!"

I offered Pepper the chance to trade with BB (even though TOPS Electricity is really too hard for him) and she jumped at it.  His response to her: "SURE!  But then you have to finish my puzzles." (Lauri crepe rubber preschool puzzles). 

However, once Pepper discovered that today's experiment involved burning up tiny pieces of steel wool, she was all over it.  Now she is determinedly completing her work sheet.  Daisy, who has finished the sheet, is burning up more wires.

Olympic/Canada Projects

Pepper made a TV to display what she learned about Canada and the Winter Olympics. We used a kleenex box (well, ok, Target brand facial tissue, if you want to avoid trademark infringement) and I made "screens" on half-sheets of paper. She drew or wrote her information in each screen and then we taped them all end-to-end and rolled them up on dowels. You turn the dowels to advance the screens. It turned out very cute!
Pepper proudly shows off her TV
The Canadian flag

Ancient Greek Government (the line of guys in the bottom left corner are standing in line to vote in their democracy!)
Ever wanted to see inside a TV?
The ends of the screen-strip are taped to the dowels.  We poked a small hole, just big enough for the dowels in the top of the box.  The bottom end of each dowel sits inside a large paper clip taped to the inside bottom of the box.  This keeps the dowels straight and in place and keeps the screen roll near the front of the box.

Here is Banana Boy's not-quite-finished lapbook:
"Canada and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games"
Canada/British Columbia section

Olympic section (a little sparse)
Individual sports.  BB wrote a little about each sport inside the little books.

Daisy made a similar lapbook, but of course put much more time and effort into it.
Ancient Olympics section.  Booklets are a combination of the two lapbook kits mentioned here.

Modern Olympics section.  It includes a calendar of the dates of the 2010 Olympics, a map of the torch relay, a tri-fold brochure of British Columbia, a booklet about the torch, the Canadian flag, a chart showing distances from our area to former Olympic host cities, a booklet about the opening ceremonies, an Olympic acrostic poem, a medal count, map of participating countries and a report on an outstanding Canadian.  Inside shots of some of the booklets are below.

Medal-winning countries in selected events

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympics and Canada

Part of Sonlight Core 4 includes a study of Canada.  I think it is scheduled near the end of the year, but when I began to plan for studying the Olympics, I had an aha! moment and pulled out the Canada book to tie in.

So we've been making lapbooks.  We've learned about Canada using Sonlight's book A Unit About Canada.
This has been a very nice study.  We were fairly choosey about which pages we did.  I copied off many of the pages with fill-in-the-blank answers and after we'd read about the topic, I had either Daisy or Pepper do the writing while everyone chimed in with the answers.  I didn't feel it was necessary, nor productive, to have each one complete their own sheet.  Between the reading, the discussion and the worksheet, I think they all got a good grounding in the topics.  I also had whomever hadn't filled out the sheet check it over for accuracy.

This book was also nice in that I was able to find activities within suitable for Daisy, Pepper AND Banana Boy.  He enjoyed the maps.  We also did some extensions with him about tides when we read about the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy.  He chose to read about Michael J. Fox when they each chose an "Outstanding Canadian" to report on.  Why would he know MJF?  Mr. GT and the kids are movie addicts on the weekends when I am at work, and they've seen all the Back to the Future movies!

After a general overview of Canada, we focused in on British Columbia because that's where the 2010 Winter Olympics are, in Vancouver.  There's a page in the book with 6 different province-study topics and each of them took two.  We checked out a bunch of books from the library on BC and the kids set to work investigating.  Daisy and Pepper were able to find answers to their questions and record notes pretty well on their own.  BB and I worked together to explore natural resources, crops and manufacturing and food, sports and attractions.  He made a little book about logging with coloring pages I found on the internet and colored a picture of salmon for his lapbook.  I think I'll have him do a hockey page, too.

Finally, for the Olympics study, I bought two lapbooks from CurrClick.  CurrClick is a wonderful place to buy e-books and instant download lapbooking sets.  They have a nice selection of freebies and often have sales, plus they carry products from many different companies.  If you get on their weekly newsletter mailing list, you get a new freebie each week and it's a good way to sample each company's product.  I've definitely found I don't like all lapbooking kits. Some companies are much more to my taste than others.

We used A Journey Through Learning's 2010 Winter Olympics lapbook and Live N Learn's Winter Olympics lapbook.  AJTL's lapbook was a nice fit for Banana Boy, with much simpler, broader activities.  LnL's kit contained very specific and deep projects exploring the olympics and was a good match for Daisy's skills.  Pepper worked a bit from both and I selected just the projects and booklets we needed and tossed the rest.

If you are considering purchasing either, the Live N Learn kit is not year-specific and could be used as-is over again for another Winter Olympics.  The Journey Through Learning set is specific to the 2010 Olympics, but only in a few places (mascots, themes, map of the torch trek).  Much of it could be used again another time and it's on sale right now for only $3.75!  It would be a great value to purchase now and use again next time.  You could adapt the year-specific activities to the new olympics fairly easily with a little internet research.

A few other online things I collected from

An Olympic acrostic and a Distance to Travel worksheet

I'll post pictures of the lapbooks when we have them finished--hopefully that will be by tomorrow, since Grandma and Grandpa are coming!

I Was Going to Make Them Come Down and Do School

after lunch.  Daisy has some things in her Olympic folder to work on.  I was going to read Caddie Woodlawn to them.

But when I went up find them, they were in the attic and Daisy was reading The Boxcar Children to Pepper and Banana Boy.

ah, homeschooling.....  :D