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Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Photos

I snapped this picture one day in April when the daffodils were in bloom.
It really turned out great!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weeks 8, 9 and 10 Canada

For the last several weeks we have been studying Canada.
We read Marja's Skis, Honk, Honk, Goose, Mission Stories with the Millers, 
and watched Paddle to the Sea. We also learned about Moose.

Here are some pictures of our lapbooks. 
Labeling the Provinces and Territories

Peyton's Draw Write Page on Canadian Languages

Lexi's Draw Write page on Beavers.

The Food Chain (CGC)

Peyton's Draw (trace) Write Page on the Moose.

Lexi colored the flag of Canada

Canadian Cookies from the Multicultural Cookbook.

Boiling the milk, sugar and butter.
Mixing it with Sugar, Coconut, Cocoa and Oats.

Licking the beaters

Pretty gooey.

Dropping it onto wax paper.

We shared them at co-op the next day.

Midwest Homeschool Convention-Writing Helps

Another thing I bought at the convention was a book that goes into the paragraph process called Just Write.

I also got another book with great helps called Kids Write! (fantasy & Sci Fi, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure and More by Rebecca Olien.

I also attended a session called the Natural Stages of Writing by Julie Bogart. You've probably heard the saying, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear." Well she was exactly what I was looking for. 

 I really went to the convention with "Writing" being my top priority this year. Since getting the paragraph mastered is pretty much my goal with my son this next year. I really was blessed that I heard what I needed to hear, and found what I needed to find to help me in this process.

I started implementing some of her recommendations this past week, and plan to do it once a week as she recommended.

Here are a few tips she shared:

The next time your child comes running into the house to tell you something, Stop what you are doing, grab a pencil and paper and start writing it down. (I'm sure your kids will think you are crazy.) But keep doing it.
Tell them that is a great story and you want to capture it on paper. (Being a scrapbooker, this really appealed to me because I am always capturing moments in pictures, but I never thought to capture their words like this.
She said that this communicates to the child that what they have to say is important and that writing is just communicating your thoughts on paper.

Another thing she shared was that the writing process is like a baby eating. When they are very little they need to be spoon fed, and you are the one in control of the spoon, food etc. But as they get older they begin to grab for the spoon, and want to learn to feed themselves. At this point things get pretty messy. (You can picture food all over their face, their hair, the floor etc.) Well that is the same with the writing process.
When the child begins we are usually writing down their stories for them.(We are in control and it looks pretty neat.) Then they begin to take the pencil, and it gets messy. The are learning to write their letters, learning how to structure a sentence, how to put words together correctly etc. When this happens we don't want to 
get on them about missing a period or not capitalizing, we want to encourage them and offer a little constructive criticism at a time. Not all at once. 

She said that writing is a process and no matter where a child is in the process they can learn where they are and go on to be effective writers. Another thing she shared was that most people will have to write an essay or term paper in High School and College and for the SAT or ACT. But unless they actually plan to write a book or novel, they really don't need more extensive writing knowledge. She said for the most part...Kids need to learn how to write an effective email that can communicate to others. Because that is where we most use the writing process in every day life. (I really never thought of it that way.) As I have been pretty concerned because I, myself am not a skilled writer, and English was not my favorite subject or even one I excelled at.

She shared a technique called Timed Writing. She said to set the timer for 3 minutes, 1 day each week.
Tell the kids to write something. (Anything.) It can be about what they did yesterday, what they plan to do today, about an animal etc. The only catch is the pencil must stay moving at all times. (So if they get stuck and cannot figure out what to write, then they need to write "I can't think of what to write.." She also said that this is NORMAL. Even she gets writers block.  She also said that the parent should do it too, along with the children.

So we did our first timed writing assignment this past Wednesday.

She said to do this for 8 weeks in a row. Then let the children pick their favorite one. This is the one that they will revise. This is where we begin helping them with editing. She also mentioned questions to ask the kids taht will help them think more about what they wrote and draw out more details. She said to underline great sentences that show good description and praise them (Act as a coach that is there to HELP them.) Not just pick apart what they did wrong.

In the editing process, the will work on spelling words they may have spelled incorrectly, they can capitalize and punctuate properly, add more detail, etc. In this way they learn how to revise their work. Then after revision, they go on to make a final draft. (This process may take several weeks to complete.) But that is okay, they are learning. 

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at what both of my children were able to get on paper in the three minutes.  Lexi misspelled a lot, but she knew what she was trying to put on paper, and it was longer than Peyton's. I realized that Peyton was hindered more because he was worried more about spelling and the nuts and bolts of what to write. (Which kept his paper shorter.)

I will share more in another post on their timed assignments and how we are implementing this process.

A Record Of the Learning Lifestyle

Thursday night we drove up to Cincinnati for the Midwest Homeschool Convention. At the dinner table, one of Celia's friends passed around a planner she had purchased. It was called "The Record of the Learning Lifestyle."
I really liked the layout and how it was something you use during the week or after each day instead of trying to plan ahead.

This is my 2nd week using it, and I really do like the ease of using it. It also seems to add a feeling of a daily journal. (Writing down what we are leaning as a family, as individuals, watching my children learn, and change and grow in character, etc.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Midwest Homeschool Convention Bible Devotionals and Curriculum I liked.

I also got to see some new curriculum up close and talk with the people that wrote it. I also went up knowing what I needed and really didn't deviate too much from my list. My priority was looking for something that would help me with my children in the writing process. I feel like I really was able to accomplish this goal at this convention.  I'll write another separate  post on this later.  

A few new things I really liked were:  Positive Action Bible Curriculum -These are very colorful workbooks.
Also it looked like it would be easy to implement 3 days a week. (If you want a more formal curriculum.)
We do devotions each morning and then both children have bible devotional type things to read at night, but this is an actual curriculum. I wouldn't order the teacher manuals for 2 different grade levels, but it looks easy enough to implement just using the student texts. You can learn more at

I also bought 3 Bible Champions Games. Since my son loves to play games anyway, I knew these would be great for fun as well as learning.

I also purchased this book

 His Mighty Warrior: Treasure Letters from Your King, Sheri Rose Shepherd (Hardcover)

I have God's Little Princess (Treasured Letters from your King.) And my daughter just loved it.
I also used it in our God's Girls (Keeper at Home club.) So I know my son will enjoy reading these with his dad.

I got my daughter Lexi Gotta Have God for Girls ages 6-9. We will use this as a summer devotional.

Midwest Homeschool Convention


A couple weeks ago I was able to attend the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH.
So I thought I would share some of it with you.  First of all I was really excited to be able to go.

I have only been to one other homeschool convention and that was in Knoxville Tn. I went the June before my son entered 1st grade. Which was in 2006. I'm one of those future planners that pretty much had my curriculum choices made out for the whole 18 years. Well at least through Jr. High. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do etc. Then I actually got a chance to look and touch, and ask questions about curriculum up close. I must admit, after seeing so many different curriculum choices you really start wondering if you have chosen the best curriculum for your child etc.

So I decided on a few things, and pretty much stuck with Five In a Row (Which we had begun in Kindergarten.) Then I began to build my own unit studies around other literature books. (But I loved the FIAR concept, of pulling all subjects out of one book or out of several related themed books.) Since that convention, I have tried several different things, some working better than others.

So back to the Midwest Convention. It was really different. First of all, this was the first time I ever left both children over night with my husband. Can you believe that? My oldest is 10 and my husband has never had both kids overnight by himself. (Someone is really spoiled!)  But I was really okay with the much needed break.

I went along with two girl friends, we left Thursday evening and drove up. We had plans to meet for dinner with some other ladies from the HomeschoolShare Forum. (People I have only known online for the past 5 years.) Ami, Celia, Edweena and Marcy. I really enjoyed getting to eat out and have some girl chat time during the couple days we were up there.

It was great to finally get to meet them in person. I wish we would have had more time to really connect in a way that wasn't so rushed. (And I have to admit that most of the weekend felt pretty rushed.) And I am a pretty laid back type of person. There were sessions with speakers on a variety of subjects. ( I hit the ones I felt were most pertinent to my situation and what I needed to hear at the time.) I am one of those people that needs the speaker when I am ready to hear it.(When I am looking for the answers.)

One thing that was pretty overwhelming was the number of people. (I am not a crowd person at all.)
I don't even go to WalMart on Saturday's because it is too crowded. So that really went against my comfort level. After a day I was really ready to head back home though. I heard all the speakers I wanted to hear on Friday.On Saturday I went ahead and sat in on another session. A very crowded session at that, but it was really good. It was called Creatures that Defy Evolution. I really liked what I saw and heard. I will probably get the cd set next year.


I also had a great time at the Tim Hawkins event. Tim had us holding our sides in laughter.

 It was nice to get away for a few days. I'm glad to be back home now, and also glad I found some of the answers and direction I was looking for.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Briarwood Ranch Field Trip

Today we went on a field trip to Briarwood Ranch. It is a drive through safari in Bybee Tn. We met there with other homeschoolers. It was a great time. We rode through on an open wagon. We had feed buckets and were able to get up close and personal with many different exotic animals.
A wallaby.

Is your mamma a llama?
on the wagon with buckets of food.

a little zebra slober never hurt anyone.

The emu's and ostriches were pretty pecky about the food!

The girls singing on the trip.


        Not sure what this thing is called, but it wouldn't come very close.

The whole gang.

    The animals would follow the wagon through much of the park.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My baby boy turned 10 today!

This is the kind of cake he wanted.

Gifts from Mom and Dad and Nana and Papa

Opening Mom and Dad's gift, another gift inside.

A Nintendo DS

A Bakugan game from Nana and Papa

Lighting the cake, eating Pizza

Singing Happy Birthday

Blowing out the candles

Celebrating with friends.

I have to mention what I heard in the huddle.
"OK boys here is our problem...None of you can actually catch the ball."
Hee hee...But they had fun trying.

Friday, April 2, 2010

5 Things I Learned About Genetics

We have been attending Zoo classes once a week. The last unit we went through was a Study of Genetics.
I made Peyton write a paper about what he learned.

Here is his report.

5 Things I Learned About Genetics

Your genes determine what you look like. 
You get your genes from your mom and your dad.
Genes determine what color your eyes are, 
and if we did not have genes we would be girls aaaaahhhhh.
You have 23 pairs of chromosomes.  

I knew the teacher shouldn't of said that about everyone starting out a girl.
But it stuck with him!