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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 4-recap

We are doing well in our studies. I am finding it is taking a little longer each day to get in all our studies. We really have to read a little in science every day in order to break it up more. (Or we end up spending a long time reading in science and the material doesn't really get into their heads.)

We finished Lesson 9 The Nervous System. Learning about the CNS, PNS, SNS, ANS, and endocrine systems.

Last week we finished our history read aloud "A Family Apart." On Monday we began "Rifles for Watie." I am still trying to figure out who Watie is, and we are on chapter 8. We have to read at least 2 chapters a day to stay on schedule-in order to finish in 3 weeks. So hopefully we will have it fnished before we take our first break in September.

For Grammar, I have decided to switch Peyton to Essentials in Writing.  I just felt that what we were using, Basics for Communicating Effectively,  did not have enough explanation for him, and really not enough for me to be able to help him. Then teacher's guide is very lacking and basically just contains answers. I saw the samples of Essentials in Writing, and really think that together we can figure it out. It is a DVD of an actual instructor teaching English. So it will be like having an English Teacher right here in our home each day. (And the price is really great.)

I really like Lexi's Doodle Definitions, She enjoys doing them and is learning the words.
We have been doing some journaling each day . Basically the kids and
I write a scripture and illustrate it or expound upon it.
But I wanted something a little more artsy, so Lexi and I both created art journals.
Here is mine. It is just a sketch pad that I embellished the outside of.
I plan to add some outside ribbons to dress it up some.
Here is Lexi's journal

Here are a few inside pages that I designed with scrapbook paper.
This will make it easy to add thoughts, poems, scriptures or other things.

On Friday, we joined some other homeschool families for a  picnic lunch,  backpacking essentials class, hike and creek play. We had a great time exploring and playing in nature.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Week 3 Update

We had a good week this week. We are managing through our lessons and curriculum.
We fnished up our 1st Read Aloud, "A Family Apart". We all really loved the book. The last chapter sets you up for the sequel book. The kids whined saying that we need to get the next book. I told them we begin Rifles for Watie on Monday, but they could read it in their spare time. (They weren't so agreeable.) I think they are getting a little too spoiled with me reading aloud to them.

We began The Nervous and Endocrine Systems this week. We made a model brain with clay, and did some notebooking.

We continued our Chinese lessons this week too. We learned how to say months of the year, days of the week, translate years, days and months into Chinses characters too. And we worked on some new flash cards.

The kids playing Wii Hasbro Family Game Night 3.
Lexi's 2nd week of Piano lessons

She also began Lyrical and Ballet this week.

We finished our Cartoon Art lessons with Inspirations from Mike Volume 1 DVD.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rx for a Manic Monday

Early this morning I woke up, with thoughts running through my mind. Things I have been pondering about homeschool, church etc. Decisions that have to be made regarding curriculum, direction to go with a middle schooler this year. Some anxiety over a new schedule that will require us to be out of the house every day except Fridays. I am really someone who really prefers to stay home and not have to run the roads-and have us running here and there. Other concern over friends, family and church members that are suffering with illness/ pain, etc. Concern for our nation and the direction we are going. Concern over family and friends that do not yet know Jesus.  So after laying in bed from 5:00-5:30 and praying over these things in my mind, I finally decided to just get up, enjoy some coffee and time in the word and take all these things on my mind to God.

There is great peace in bringing these concerns to God, knowing that I have entrusted these to his care, his providence and His perfect plan. There is peace in trusting him to guide me in the right decisions. Peace in knowing whatever the future holds for our nation, God is in control. It also helps to write these things down. (Well at least for me.) It is like once I put them on paper-and have prayed over them I have a record of those prayers. I can go back and see when I have had those concerns and can also say-Hey I took this before God on this day. (And I know I can trust him to be Lord over this situation.)

So for me-There is no manic monday. I am heading into the week, blessed, and at peace, knowing that God is my guide and that every thing that comes my way today and this week-God already knows about it. I don't have to be caught off guard-because God never is. He is God over my life, and over all my Mondays!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week 2 Tweaking a bit.

Well now that we are in week 2 I have a better idea of how things are going.

Listening Skills-This is something I decided to incorporate this year. I guess I just assumed since I read aloud so much that the kids had good listening skills. When I had Peyton tested last year-it was the only thing he scored grade level on. (Everything was above.) So I really thought we could use some work in that area. These are the two resources I am using. I really like both of them, and the kids are always asking to do them. We usually do the Mini Mysteries on Monday and the Developing Listening Skills on Wednesday or Thursday. (This way we do this 2 x a week.)

The Mini Mysteries are short stories about Dr. Watson and his dog. They go on adventures to find clues to problems. Then a questionaire follows the story-to see how well the kids listened, and also to understand inferences, and deduct other things from the story.

Today was our first day using "Developing Listening Skills'. While many of these activities seem to be classroom centered, I just tweaked the lesson for 2 kids. Today they were given a sheet of paper, Peyton's had "Tools" written on it. Lexi's had "Toys" written on it. I told them I would recite a list ot items. They were to remember those items that would go on their list. But they could not write it until I said. So I called out a list of about 15 things. (This was already a prepared list.) Then I had them write those things down from memory. Lexi got 4/5 right. (She just ommited 1 item.) Peyton got 3 out of 4. He actually added in something that was not on the list. (But the other three items were correct.)  So I really felt this was a good exercise to do.

Science (Apologia Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology ) is going well. But it is taking 2 weeks per unit instead of the one. Mainly because it just takes 2 long for us to cover a whole chapter. We read a portion of the text each day, but only notebook and do experiments 2 days a week. At this rate it will take us a full 4 days of notebooking to complete a lesson.

History-We are reading through a book called "A Family Apart". It is about children who were on an orphan train. We really like the book, it keeps the kids engaged. We are continuing our state and presidents notebooks, and doing our mapping activities. We are also learning about Agriculture and Agronomy.

Bible-I am happy to say we have almost fnished our Dangerous Devotions (The Old Testament) and will begin Dangerous Devotions (The New Testament) next week. We also write a daily scripture and journal it.

These other things the kids work on independently at their own levels.

Math-Lexi is doing Key to Fractions Book 1
Peyton is doing Key To Decmials Book 2.

Peyton is using Spelling Skills Practice and Apply-I really like this for him. It has really given him a challenge over last years choice. Vocabulary is interwoven in this. So he learns many new words, and is learning to spell harder words. (It comes pretty easy to him.) I do tweak some activities. On Monday, we go over the words and he gives me a sentence with the word. (If he doesn't know the meaning we mark it.) Then he looks those words up, gets the definition, makes a sentence, finds the antonymn and homonym of the word.  We usually do a pretest on Tuesday so he can focus on the words he doesn't know how to spell. (Which usually is only about 2-3 words.)  He does a couple other word building exercises. Then on Thursday we do the final test. (Usually orally.)

Lexi has been using "Building Spelling Skills Grade 5. She has been struggling a little with it. But she is actually doing better in it than I thought she would.  I think some of the presentation of the words is confusing. So I am going to stop and go back to Phonics Pathways for a while to make sure she gets the basics down. We will see how that goes. (I hate that I am once again stopping curriculum.) This is the 2nd time I have stopped a spelling program with her-and it is frustrating.

Lexi is also doing "Doodle Defnitions". She likes to draw and is really getting the words down too. She does one word a day. Peyton's vocabulary is already included in his Spelling program.
They also get new words in Science and History that we go over orally.

Peyton is using CLP Applications of Grammar. I like this book, It has short lessons. It teaches a concept, provides a few examples and then lets the student have a chance. Last week Peyton did realy well it in. (But it was things he had learned before.) This week they introduced some things that are new to him.  One lesson was on Predicate nominitive and  another on Predicate adjective.) I must admit, I don't recall any of that. So I am going to go searching for some extra worksheets and stuff to help him understand this better. He has also struggled with helping and linking verbs.

Lexi is using Spectrum Grade 5 LA. She is doing pretty well in it. It focuses on one short lesson a day. She has been working on capitilization, abbreviations, quotations, and periods this week.

Chinese-Our lessons are going well. We have been using some flash cards, as well as a CD with some children's songs. (And our instructor usually has a prepared worksheet for us.)

Piano-Lexi began private lessons this week. I love that they begin her with the right and left hand right away. So she learns the treble clef at the same time as the bass clef.

Art- Here is what we did in art today. Doing another portion of the Cartoon Lesson 1. Using Mike's Inspiration DVD's.
  Peyton's Cartoon Eyes
 Lexi's Cartoon Mouths
Peyton's Funny Faces

Monday, August 6, 2012

Art with Mike's Inspiration Station

Last week there was a special promotion that I took advantage of. It was for Mike's Inspiration Station DVD set. If you buy Volume Set 1-6, you get Volume Set 7-12 free.

We usually take art classes from a local teacher. (But this semester we are pressed for time with all our other activities, so I decided we would do art at home.) I thought this set would really be beneficial since I am a highly visual learner, and my son is as well. Plus we could pause it whenever necessary.

Today's Lesson was cartoon characters. There are many facets in this study. We only did the first two today.  Using the basic pear shape.
                                                                     The DVD Lesson

Lexi's completed cartoons.

My completed cartoons. The bear was a boy on the DVD but I made it a girl.
Yes I love learning right along with the kids.

Peyton's Cartoons.

The DVD lesson on Using Basic Shapes. The bird was made using the number 2. The clown with a triangle. The detective began as the letter Z.

Peyton's attempt

Lexi's attempt

My attempt
 Mine after coloring them in. Coloring is not taught here, we just wanted to brighten them up.

Lexi's colored in.

Peyton's colored in.

So far so good, I think we will do this in little segments. The next lesson (Part of lesson 1) Is cartoon eyes, then mouths, and other features. I will post more as we work on them.

Nature Studies

We started back to doing our nature studies. Here the kids are examining a mushroom and drawing it. I saw the mushrooms in the yard, but it was a couple days before we got to it. (and by then, most were gone, and these weren't really looking good for drawing.) So much for procrastinating.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grammar/Writing Curriculum on DVD Giveaway.

Wow this looks so exciting. I have been saying for years that they need to make a Grammar/Writing program on DVD. (Sinilar to Math U See.)

Well now they have one. (I only wish I had known about it prior to buying my curriculum this year.)

The program is called Essentials in Writing. When you go to the site you can check on the grade level you are interested in and also see a sample video.

You can click here to enter the contest for a free giveaway.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Math Dice

Along with our math program, (Key to Fractions for Lexi, and Key to Decimals for Peyton)  we are also using math dice. I obtained these from Greg at Gateway Homeschool Academy (They are an umbrella school out of Memphis.) Anyway I met him last year at our local homeschool conference and got a couple sets then. We used them and liked them, so this year I bought the algebra set.

Lexi is working with the basic "Addition/Multiplication" set. It teaches fast regrouping, fast adding.
Here she places the rolled dice in sets of 10 or 20, or would do fast adding to get to the total sum.


Peyton is working with the fraction set, and will then progress to the algebra set.

Regrouping fractions to make wholes.

Starting School

This week we began our 2012-2013 school year. (Well the kids actually have 3 weeks logged, for camps and things they attended during the summer, that will count toward school days.)
But we began our new grade levels this week.
Lexi is now in 5th grade, and Peyton is in 7th grade.

They are growing up so fast.

Here are some pictures of our week. From time to time I will mention things we are using and tell you what I think of it and how it is working.

First Day of school. I moved the school table out into the main rec room downstairs. I know we all really enjoy being down there now, since we have the window view. Yesterday we saw a beautiful red cardinal outside the window, and this morning we watched a bunny eat.

Here the kids were working on building a model of the heart. (Using graham crackers, marshmallows and icing.) They loved it, especially eating it afterwards.
We restarted our Human Anatomy -Apologia and we are on lesson 8. I figure we will do 1 unit every 2 weeks. Since it really takes us 4 full days to get through the reading, projects, and notebooking.