Try right click.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Even more cards...

Well I have been in a crafting mood lately. My craft room seems to summon me. Perhaps it is because the remote is always unavailable now. (Due to all sports teams being on tv.) I like NFL football, but except for watching the Longhorns -I'm not much into college football.

A fall card.

An embellished card. I added the flowers and the wish embellishment.
I added the middle flower arrangement. The card was a blank card with the pretty pink background.
A Gel smiley face sun and hey there sticker.

More cards here just following the pattern, to cover up the thank you with some other embellishments making the cards useful for other purposes.

A masculine Birthday Card. They clear sticker embellishment at top says "Enjoy your birthday."

I added the three flowers, button centers, and sticker.
Of course it is always nice to have a stamped envelope too.

Homeschool Tuesdays

Yesterday was our first Oceanography class at the Zoo.

We learned what makes an ocean an ocean. (Salt content.)

We learned about the effect of the moon and sun on the earth. The moon and suns' gravitational pull effects the oceans.

We learned about low tides, high tides, neap tides and spring tides.

The kids did a hands on demonstration using blow up models of the sun, earth and moon.
We discussed different ways the moon would effect the earth's tides when it was in different positions from the sun. (What would constitute a low tide, a high tide etc.) It was a great visual for the kids. (I also love how big the sun compared to the earth. It really helped the kids see the difference in proportion. )

And here you can see he took the sun real far away (as it is in real life) and asked which one, the sun or moon would have a greater effect on the earth's tides.

We also learned about currents. (And saw a clip of Nemo, where Crush is riding the current.

We saw a neat experiment as food coloring was dropped into a still bowl of water. (Where it dispersed slowly outward.) Then as Jason (the teacher) swirled his hand around you could see the red part rotate around the bowl like ocean currents would.

We did another experiment where ice was placed in a glass of warm water and you could see how the water began to move around.

Since we did not have any hands on ocean animals to see, we looked at the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach-which is similar to the sea roach. You can also click here for a view of a large 2.5 foot sea roach (isopod) that attached itself to a submarine this past April. (I found it rather fascinating.) It was found at a depth of 8500 feet.

Just a note here of clarification from the actual teacher.- A cockroach is an insect, while the sea roach is an isopod, or underwater invertebrate. They are both decomposers and play a similar role but are not actually related.

Uh, well I just let the kids pet the roach. Ick!

This Week's Study-Japan

Monday we read a missionary story about Japan (Adventures of our World-Abeka), We read about the people and history of Japan in Window to the World.
We colored the flag and map of Japan.

Today was so much fun. We read a book called "The Way We Do it in Japan". We saw a dvd called "Families of Japan, " then we made pretend sushi rolls. It was part of the Turtle Bay activities listed in the unit-available at Homeschoolshare. (Even though we won't read Turtle Bay until Friday, I decided to do the activity today.) I halved the recipe, since there were only
3 of us and I didn't want that many sushi rolls.
(As it is I still had enough cereal/marshmallow mixture left for 3 rice cakes. )

Here are some pictures.

The ingredients, melted butter, marshmallows, fruit roll ups, rice crispy cereal, and gummy worms. We talked about what each of our items might represent in real sushi.
The cereal would represent the rice, the fruit roll up would represent seaweed. The gummies
could represent eel, shrimp, raw fish, etc.
This was an icky mess. But it was fun trying to put it on the skinny roll up.
It was globby, I am sure real rice would be easier to mold to the seaweed.

I think the kids did a little "rice" taste testing while putting it on.

Attempting to roll them up. I found it easier to do it by placing the roll up on the side
and rolling it that way. So the bar supported one side and I supported the other.
After we managed to roll them up. (The worms were scary looking inside it.)
But they added dimension and color.
Then I cut them into 1/2 inch slices.
And of course, we had to break out the chopsticks to give it a try. It was pretty easy
to pick them up, since they were so sticky.
The kids loved them. They say the love "Sushi" now. (Yeah, well "Pretend sushi" at least.
(Not sure we will be adding real sushi to our food list any time soon.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Curriculum change....

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can change things when needed. You have the flexibility to try different curriculum to see which best suits you and your child's needs.
Of course you don't want to spend alot of money and then find things aren't working. Thankfully I haven't made a huge investment in these materials, I have decided to set aside for now.)

I had tried piecing things together myself from various sources. Which I mentioned in a previous post. The biggest problem was that my son was wore out at the end of the day from all the different assignments. So I decided to go back to LifePac's. I used them before for him in 1st-2nd grade and he did well in them. I really think I should have just stuck with them. They may not be the most exciting curriculum, but again nothing really excites him about school anyway.

Lexi spent alot of today in tears over the vocabulary in the Sylvan workbook. (Even though we have been over the words several times, she is still struggling.)
Some of this weeks words were "humongous, enormous, minuscule, inferior." So I went back over the LifePac Diagnostic LA test with her. I will start on a couple late 2nd grade lifepacs I have. (That I feel she might need some work on some of the concepts. ) Contractions, r-controlled vowels etc. Plus the spelling will be easier for her.) Then I will move her into 3rd grade lifepacs. Another great things is that most of them can be obtained free on Pbswap.

They are comprehensive and cover the same subject matter as many books I was using individually. So for now I have set aside the Spectrum Reading, and LA, Sylvan Vocabulary,
Just Write, Spelling workout and Just Write book. (We are going to see how he does with just one workbook a day in LA and Math. I am also setting aside the 3rd grade Sylvan Super Workbook.
Maybe at the end of third grade and over the summer we can do some of that.

This semester we are really going to devote 90% of our home-school day to the 3R's. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. I think these are the most critical things in elementary education anyway.

I was recently reading on the Singapore Math Yahoo group, that many people who use Singapore Math spend at least 50% of their day on math. (Which I have to say I found amazing.) We usually spend 10-20 minutes a day on math. (And I think it is time to really put more focus on it.) I want to add in more puzzles and critical thinking problems.

So for now -for math we will use Singapore Math 5 for Peyton and continue Lexi in MUS Gamma.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Current curriculum, assignments and daily operation.

Well I always try to keep in mind that curriculum is a tool. (We use different kinds of curriculum in order to meet different goals.)

So this year I am using a lot of different things. Many things I obtained free off of paperback swap so that saved us a a lot of money as well.

We used Time 4 Learning through the summer. (And it worked well for those purposes.)
I really like the way that the LA and math are laid out. They are fun and interactive and my children seemed to do well with it.

My son would occasionally get frustrated with the math though. (For instance, if you forget to type in a comma, the answer is wrong etc.) I really don't like the way the Science and History are laid out. It is boring. You just read about 9 pages of information each day and answer some questions. (They have added in a few recommendations such as make vocabulary cards or draw a map, etc.) At the end of each unit there is a quiz, but it is very easy for a child to skip over these things, and if you are not keeping close tabs on them, you will not know it. So I decided to return to workbooks that I could easily look over each day.

I also have a new system in place this year. Last year we did work boxes, but this year I decided to just list their assignments for the week. So, I have an assignment list each week for each child. I like it and feel it delegates the responsibility to the child for the whole week. (Where work boxes made me load them daily, this only requires sitting down once a week to get the whole week's schedule worked out. ) Of course, there are times I may have to tweak the schedule during the week, so every thing is done in pencil.

They must check a box off beside that assignment to show it is complete. Then they turn in that workbook/page/completed assignment to me. I look it over and correct, pass it off etc. I found 3 cute stamps to stamp their pages. They can receive "super job, please correct, or see me please." Then I return any work that needs correcting to them.

Sometimes, when scheduling assignments I may stamp the page ahead of time and say "See Me, Please, " before the lesson is done.

After the assignments have been done to my satisfaction I then check it off on their assignment page. (I also keep a record of this in my weekly planner showing any additional concepts I might be trying to work on.) I really like this planner, I got it free at a local homeschool book sale, so I thought I would try it out. It probably takes 1-2 hours a week to do all the planning, but I do find that I have a good, complete record of what we are doing, and concepts each child is covering.

We also do a unit study each week. Which gives us our History and Science. I usually take about 30 minutes - 1 hour to plan for this. I pull library books etc. One thing that really helps is having Galloping the Globe; since they have already compiled books, stories, videos and other resources are listed for the unit. (Also they include flags, maps, etc.) So that cuts down on my time of having to pull resources. The resources we use the most for these units are HomeschoolShare and FIAR V 1-3 and enchanted learning. We use HSS units more, just because we have done so many of the FIAR units there are not many left we have not covered.

So here is what we are using this year. All links for these items are in my side bar under Our Curriculum.

Here is what I am using for Lexi -grade 3 this year at home.

Grammar - I am reinforcing what we are doing at Co-Op, where I teach Grammar Punk.
So usually during the week she is working on whatever homework assignment I have given them for the week. I also pull some extra sheets from a 3rd grade grammar book I have.

3rd grade Reading Success by Sylvan-this book covers, spelling, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Math-Math U See Gamma

Handwriting -Handwriting without tears Cursive Success.

Pianimals Book A

For Peyton I am using:

Singapore Math- Grade 5, along with McGraw Hills Math Grades 5-6 for extra practice.

Sylvan Vocabulary 5th grade

Spectrum Reading 5th grade

Spectrum Language Arts grade 5

Spelling Workout Book E

Just Write Book 1

Writing Super Sentences and Fabulous Paragraphs

I also have another 5th grade Comprehensive Curriculum book I can pull pages to reinforce what we are working on.

Pianimals- Piano curriculum Book B

He also has Grammar Punk Homework and Civics Homework each week. He always has a book he is reading, and once every quarter I schedule a book report.

After seeing the Sylvan Vocabulary book, I ordered Lexi's. (If I had known there was a super book, I probably would have done that for Peyton. That way 3 things would have been covered in one book.) He has been complaining about the number of workbooks he has. (And I cannot blame the poor guy.) LifePac LA would cover all that we are doing in Spectrum reading, LA, Sylvan Vocabulary, Spelling and Just Write, and Super Sentences. (Though we don't do all the books every day.)

But I was able to get them free-all except for the Sylvan book, Just Write and the Spelling workout. He is now begging for LifePacs. We did then a few years ago and he complained that he had to do more than one page a day. (So now he is doing about 5 pages a day with all the different books.) I hate to change now-so late into the school year-that would put him 6 weeks behind. I do think though, that what he covers this year in these other books will be much more comprehensive than what we would have covered in the lifepacs in 5th grade.

I told him we can use them next year for 6th grade.

From the teacher's desk.

This week (September 13-17th) in home-school we have been studying Korea.
We watched a DVD called "Families in Korea." It was very informative. I love the way the children tell about their lives. It isn't like a boring documentary.
We read in Windows to the World about the state of North Korea.
We looked at North and South Korea on a map, and discussed what a peninsula was.
We will be coloring the flags and labeling on the map both North and South Korea.
We also learned that Korea is very hilly. (And if it could be ironed flat it would be almost as big as Texas.

We also visited some websites to learn more about Korea. This was interesting.
It was something to see how much money has been spent on roads, but there are so few cars actually on the roads.

We read: My name is Yoon, Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong, and The Trip Back Home.

For Zoo class we finished up Paleontology.
For a field trip we went to Down Home on the farm at the fair.
And Thursday we went to co-op. Getting in Grammar Punk, Vocabulary, Civics, God's Girls Club,
Tennessee History and Chess.

In other concepts; Peyton is working on punctuation and capitalization in grammar, and fractions, greatest common denominator and least common multiple in math.

Lexi is working on compound words in spelling and on genres in reading comprehension.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Down on the Farm at the Fair

Our fair has a program each year called Down on the Farm at the Fair.
We can schedule a home-school group to attend this event.
During it we go around to stations and the children learn about Tennessee Farm
products, animals, etc.

Our home-school group.
The clown painted their faces.
This is how much one cow eats in a day. They would also drink one bathtub full of water.
A milking hookup.
Farm products.
All kinds of fur were in this blanket, including himalayan cat fur, collie fur and human hair.
Petting and learning about bunnies.
The girls and the clown.

Lexi got to milk a real live cow.
Peyton roping a fake steer. From the front!
Feeding the goats at the petting zoo.
Chicks only a few days old.
Incubator where chicks were hatching every few minutes while we watched.
A silver fox, I had never seen one before.
I thought it was funny that this tortoise was in the middle of all these goats.
My first time every seeing a Zonkey.
This was soooo cute. These little ducks would swim over to the stairs and climb up.
At the top the feeder was a little stretched in front. So they could nibble for a few seconds.
But another chick in the back would always push the front ones down the slide.
A Highland Cow.
These goats were butting heads.

Finally a funnel cake and then we were ready to leave! It was a warm day here in TN.