Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 3-31-10

Spring break is finally here! It's all fun and games for a few days!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week in Review March 22-26

Well, this week we're still battling the super cold, so school has been light as half of us are not clear minded. The Elders did math, science and history this week with no electives. Made for very easy afternoons filled with history videos and independent reading. Even my non-lover of books finished out a CS Lewis novel in his spare time and continues to prepare for my birthday concert. He's learning 4 songs on his guitar to play and sing for me :)
My Book Devourer finished everything on his nightstand. What a variety of books he reads and rereads all at once. He'll be the one who'll never need a tv...except for video games :) He's glimpsing into TOG Rhetoric stage by reading the core and literature selections, without doing the accompanied work. He says he is really enjoying the books. I'm so proud...he's every mother's dream. I am so blessed.

The Little League did math and computer work every day. I was very pleased with two of them, Darling and The Ax Man, as they finished up their math work early and finished the rest of their stuff on Thursday, so they are getting Friday off. I like the initiative. The Ant has been using copywork to memorize math facts all's working better than anything else has. I think by the end of summer, he'll be solid! I look forward to that!

Otherwise, since spring is in the air, we always try to be outside as much as possible before the pollen destroys our chances of enjoyment, so we've played outside every afternoon and took a lovely bike ride down the County Trail. We went to a local park on Thursday and really enjoyed the birds. We closed our eyes, let the breeze blow over us and just listened. It was beautiful. We also enjoyed the resident alligator. I was hoping The A-Bomb would go to sleep on our ride, but he was so excited he squealed for joy and said, "Hi, bird." to every bird we saw. He was adorable to say the least!

Finally, everybody got a little bit of ABC order practice....needed or they helped me put the new books (see other post) in the library. We're still not quite finished b/c I have made it an every other day project so I don't get too bored with it. What a blessing! I can't wait to check off books from my TOG lists as I discover how many of them I now own. How wonderful.

That's our week. Once I put it on paper, I feel better about it. I'm so used to long days that when they're light, I think we're slacking, but what joy to see how much we really accomplished. Thank the Lord for His grace!

Habits of Highly Effective Home Schoolers

This is my post, but by no means is it all my wisdom. I have gleaned this from either the grace of God or from really great home school people -- I say people b/c they go beyond being great home schoolers -- they really are great people. Hope this helps :)

I've home schooled every grade from K-8, so I've learned a lot, yet the high school years are already stretching me....lesson 1 --- stay humble!

You need proper sleep and good health. The adage, When Mom is happy, everyone is happy, is true. You don't need to obsess with Mom's night out, spa, etc, but you do need to eat well, sleep well and stay spiritually strong. Don't lose sight that your health, physical, mental and spiritual matters --- it MATTERS.

There is something amazing about starting the day with the Lord. Really, when we worship and pray first, the day is ALWAYS better.

Feed your children well. Brain food is legit....sugar makes for very whiny children.

Be organized. Not just with school, but with life. Being organized does not mean being a slave to the schedule, but it does help to have things on paper so you can keep the days goals in perspective. Be the first up and the last to will make a difference in those little tiny things that will drive you crazy if left undone.

Watch out for pride and idol worship in home schooling. Sometimes, we make the schooling part so important that we leave behind the opportunity for growth in relationship and trust. Home schooling does NOT guarantee your kids will be great teens or adults. It helps, but you have to keep loving, training and creating a quality relationship with your children. Talk, talk, talk, and be real with them...even when they're young. I guarantee it pays off later. Home schooling Is about academics, but it opens an opportunity for So.Much.More.

Don't over schedule. Two decades ago, people hid behind blinds to home school, now, some people are never home. Keep academics and outside activities in perspective and don't over schedule your dc. There should absolutely be time in your day to do nothing...every day....

Don't compare Johnny to Jill within your home or to little Suzy across the way. Each child truly is different. Don't get so consumed in finishing that you turn your home school into a mass production line. Tailor to their needs. It requires more from you, the teacher, but it will benefit you all in the end -- they'll be better students and you'll be a better teacher.

You need to teach. Don't expect your curriculum to do it all for you. Curricula is simply a tool...some are better than others and can teach you a lot, but remember, the true and best tool is YOU. Be better teacher every year. Practice your trade. Improve your knowledge. Consider yourself a professional and never stop growing as a teacher. You'll be amazed at the different teacher you'll be in the next 10 years.

Include in your life not only like-minded home schoolers, but also those who take a different approach. I have learned many things from unschoolers. We disagree on much, but they remind me to enjoy learning, to reduce stress and to allow my children to be individuals -- something *I* would easily forget in my desire to provide every moment to be academic, classical, and generally rigid.

Find someone you trust and be accountable. This goes 2 dearest friend makes me go to the beach each spring, but she and I also keep the history flow moving...we have played leapfrog for years, she's ahead, I'm ahead, but either way, we never get too far apart b/c we know if we separated too much, one of us is slacking!

Don't be afraid to make a mess.

I can't say enough.....stick with a curriculum that works. Switching from one good thing, to the newest good thing absolutely will create gaps. Trust's a real bummer filling them. If you love your Language Arts routine that involves 5 sources, it works, everyone is learning...stick with it all the way through. If you don't love it, find something else, but be careful. What Author A uses in Scope and Sequence may vary greatly from Author B and eventually, all the switching will create gaps. Gaps are the devil. Avoid them!

Keep asking questions.

Give back to the community. I spent a ton of time answering PR questions recently and it was worth every.single.second. b/c years ago, people were answering my questions too. Feel free to take, but be ready to share too. Together, we all make a HUGE difference!

Create a "Things to remember" 3-ring binder and print out good threads. Read them again and again...they'll be your encouragement for many years.

Finally, and very importantly get really fast at typing; that way, you're time on The Well Trained Mind Forums allows you to post and read more...and makes you very long winded like that Tina lady!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is TOG? Tapestry of Grace

Well, besides the lifesaver to a large family TOG is many things.

TOG is a multi-aged/level humanites program, from lower grammar all the way through a RICH, super rich, very solid high school design, that includes books from Classical and Charlotte Mason reading lists. The structure of the program follows the Classical Chronological timeline and includes all aspects of the humanities (history, literature, church history geography, hands on activities, and a writing program).

In addition to suggested readings, TOG includes Student Assignment pages with follow up assignments to work through for comprehension, as well as introductions to literary analysis in lower grades that gradually increase to in-depth and rigorous literary analysis in high school.

Complete geography study, as related to the historical studies per week.

Project ideas that incorporate small parts into whole understanding of periods of history, or simply a weekly activity that is related to study.

A ROCKIN' teacher's notes section that will fully prepare the teacher for a Socratic discussion in the Logic and Rhetoric stages. The teacher's notes also include complete answer guides to all questions, worksheets, anything the teacher will need to not only grade, lecture, understand, and add to the assignments of her students.

It is organized on every level, including a 2-page spread of suggested reading, an overview that includes famous people and vocabulary pertinent to the week of study, as well as, a timeline to tie the Tapestry of History together.

Honestly, I have found that TOG took the best of all the available history curricula and put it into a very systematic organization that is easy to use and rich. It is everything I would want to include in our classical/charlotte mason education, only it's all in one place for me. What I used to spend 6-7 hours every Sunday (honestly, no exaggeration) preparing for the next weeks history, TOG has already done for me, so I now spend 2-3 hours per week preparing to teach 3 levels of history (8 kids in our school).

It is the Mecca of humanities It takes care of everything for me, so I can focus on preparing as a teacher, and spend my time learning, instead of planning.

Wordless Wednesday 3-24-10 Sick School is Cozy School

Thought and Recommendations for Elementary School Science

2. As for elementary science, I follow a 2-program cycle, whereby I rotate between Elementary Apologia (Jeannie Fulbright) and Noeo. I suggest the Flying Creatures or Marine Biology first b/c all children love animals, then using Noeo Chem 1. Then hit the other animal science and Noeo Physics I. Then fill in with the Apologia Botany or Astronomy (the least exciting of the lot) and Noeo Biology or Apologia Anatomy. Ultimately you then cover Flying Creatures, Land Animals, Botany, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and Anatomy over the elementary school years.
The Apologia books are Charlotte Mason in style, gentle read alouds, with suggestions for very simple experiments (generally using household items). We have found, b/c we are big readers, that we pick up books from the library on the same topic areas; i.e. if we're studying bears, we may pick up some bear books that are both fiction and non. The author suggestions total immersion and taking one year to finish one book...that proved a bit too slow and ended up causing us to be bored, so we've found that finishing one Fulbright book in 16 weeks works pleasurably for us. We then can complete a Noeo text by doubling up where possible, using the lesson plans Noeo provides.
Noeo is basically a lesson planned science curriculum that incorporates living books (Charlotte Mason in style and intent), and also follows the Classical Cycle so the child in even early elementary receives an education in Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The lesson plan book is only $20 and you can decide whether or not you want to buy the spines, or use the library. We have successfully used the library for all 3 Noeo levels, however I recognize I live in a very well supported library county. Noeo will incorporate experiment kits from several resources, those of course, you'll need to buy. In the middle school course (grades 7-9 actually), you can buy the Thames and Kosmos Chemistry kit at 50% off if you contact TK and get a "damaged" box, which in effect, means the box got bent up a bit, but the innards are undamaged! Great way to save $75! Noeo comes in 3 levels, the first ideal for grades 1-3, the second 4-6, and finally 7-9. I have found their book selections to be excellent, the program very easy to implement and enjoyed the experiments.
We enjoy keeping a solid notebook and re-reading "yesterday's assignment" as the opening to each day of science. It keeps the flow from day to day. We also like to lapbook as a review of each program. We spend the final week lapbooking, remembering and having fun. Both companies have excellent yahoo groups where you can not only find support, but many, many free files for ideas on notebooking, or simply supporting pages and suggestions on extra books for reading, movies, activities, and even for some of the Apologia, middle school lesson plans to go along with the elementary books -- you'll really appreciate that in a few years when you're big boy is really big and your sweet baby is just starting.
I encourage you, over time, to find materials that will lay out lesson plans for you in multiple grade levels -- eventually time will simple require you to do so. That's why we use and love Tapestry of Grace --- super solid history, outstanding high school, yet designed with the multi-aged family in mind.
That is my science plan after 6 years of creating unit studies on my own and being really happy to discover these. For what it's worth, we have used and did not enjoy:
My Father's World Science
God's Design for....
Real Science 4 Kids (I liked this, but find Noeo, in the Charlotte Mason approach, was more in-depth, and more enjoyable b/c it's less textbook (RS4K is very text book) and more living book)
Apologia Middle School and High School ---- Really boring, I'd encourage you to take a very hands on approach, even in middle school. We've switched to Noeo w/ increased lab work for grades 7-9)
Unit Studies -- while I worked my touche off to build great unit studies, I eventually found the other materials save me a ton of lesson planning time and help to reassure I'm completely covering important topic areas.

There is a program, called Essential Science (I think), might be Elemental Science (though I don't think so) that I hear spoken well of, but I refuse to look....I have no need to start all over again, I'm very happy with out Apologia/Noeo rotation :)

That's our plan! It took me a long time to find the kind of science that was just right.

DK, Usborne publish some Excellent resources. You do have to be mindful of evolutionary references, but only on occasion and you'll find in the end, you can train your children to recognize nonsense and appreciate their ability to do so, instead of just keeping a blind eye. I would never throw out the excellence you'll get from DK, etc. just b/c of a few ideological difference --- they're stuff is meaty and fantastic!

Don't be afraid to include science discover in your history time line, or throw in a biography or two (Noeo does this) as part of the science study.

Finally, HANDS ON --- HANDS DOWN! There is no greater joy than hands on science. Make the mess! It's so worth it!

Choose the Flying Creatures book in the Spring so you can enjoy all you're studying in real life! Do the Swimming Creatures book during a season where you may get to the beach. Spend cold winters indoors with Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy so you can enjoy the forced indoor time. Get a zoo membership when you do Land Animals, it really brings science alive!

HTH, holla anytime :) I LOVE, love, love to talk home schooling!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I may have gotten un-friended by a few people for this one

A friend from Facebook posted a note on his thoughts about the recent healthcare reform that was passed over the weekend. The following is my response to "reform," a word I use to loosely describe what has been passed into legislation.

I first agree that the cries of partisan peoples have oft' times incited fear and panic, but also ask that you and your readers reflect that while many shout out extremes, it is in the small truths that their fears rear their ugly heads and in the message beyond the aggression that come around later as truth.

Not far from the time of the Emancipation Proclamation a born-free widow to a free black man, Mariah Stuart, not only fought for abolition, but followed her fight encouraging her black brothers and sisters to uplift themselves. She did not intend for the gov't to follow behind the emancipation and take care of them, but asked instead if her "African Brothers" were "soulless" and willing to allow their white masters to rule their lives. She told the people she spoke to, which was unheard of at the time for a woman to speak, much less to men, to stand up and do it on their own. Speak out. Act out. She considered it her calling (from God btw) to stand up and speak out so she might encourage others to take their lives in their own hands. Abolition was long and hard fought, not just for individuals, but for the benefit of a great nation.

As an independent woman, my studies of Women's Suffrage would be without balance if I did not note that our freedom as women, while certainly bringing new heights to the recognition and success of women and the acknowledgement that women can conquer many of the same mountains as men, has been without balance and brought about many undesirables to our society. A dramatic increase to homes without fathers. The current statistics represent 7 out of 10 African American children are born out of wedlock. STD's amongst white women on the rise and either 1st or 2nd in growth. The freedom is great, but sadly, the attitude that often accompanies the freedom of many is simple *I* can do whatever *I* want, without any thought or concern for the outcome of ones actions and how they may affect society as a whole. Our generation is none too happy about being latch key kids...our generation of women are not always happy about the sexual freedom with which we so greatly "received" from our female foremothers. I point these things out and then refer back to Mariah Stuart...where is the personal responsibility? We have the freedoms we have so that we may benefit society, add to the great nation of America our gifts. Each gift one receives should be shared, not perpetuated for personal gain. Just b/c we are free to do anything, doesn't mean we should and in the name of "me" we have brought about a huge burden on the gov't systems that were not created to carry such a heavy load.

Medicare and SS are failing, P. Broke financially. Our generation is told, "Don't depend on it." I also watch many members of my family, who relied on the great plan, living in poverty. Again, expecting legislation to be the Savior of an entire generation -- where is the personal responsibility? Anyone who will rely on the gov't to take care of you in your senior years....I hope that all of your independent time has fostered a greater community around you who will love and take care of you. I hope you have shared your wisdom with those younger than you and have taught people to depend on people, not depend on gov't. Without sharing that love, you will be left alone.

I am no alarmist, but I tell you this much, although my elder relatives have medicare, the quality of care is Poor and they are forced to rely on the charity of others to get by. It's not the golden ticket they were promised. They wished they had been more personally responsible.

I am on board with understanding the bk rates b/c of medical bills are insane. The cost of medical treatment is criminal. Really, criminal. However, I would also ask this nation how much personal debt do you hold? Go back to your grandparents and ask them about charging clothes, eating out, the pair of shoes they must have, whatever else they charge so little Johnny can have the newest hand held whatever...oh yeah, they didn't. They were hardly able to charge bread and milk. They couldn't imagine collecting the acceptable debt you, me or our neighbors think is normal b/c every other 30 something is driving such and such, so why shouldn't they have a $300-400 car payment? We like to cry foul about bk and health care costs, but how many of those 62% also have credit card debt? Vehicle debt? The debt per person ratio in our country is $40,000+. Um, with 40K I can go and visit the doctor and pay cash for normal health care. I acknowledge that in case of detriment and debilitating, that $40K won't touch the expense, but that leads to the cost of living, which has, btw increased significantly over the last several decades...why? b/c we want more stuff, so we need more money, then the prices increase...we're working harder, longer, and for ultimately more stuff, but a poorer quality of life.

Finally, P- (who I respect and enjoy our FB visits), what you find comical, I find sad. There is NO NATION on Earth that outgives the USA. No nation. There are no people in the US that outgive the conservative sector, either...yet here we all stand, in a country that now has greater debt than what can be paid back, whose now consists of consumers instead of manufacturers, whose nation simply does not produce enough money to fulfill our debted obligations unless we raise the debt ceiling, whose welfare recipients increase in number as we read our FB posts, and who is foolish if they believe other nations give a rats a$$ to help us.....

All that to say, the individual freedom Americans have taken for granted have led us to a nation where we believe the same gov't we have fought so hard to make unique in form, different from our European ancestors, turn right back into a nation now reliant on government. Surfs, where an upper class (politicians) are now deciding what they believe is best b/c those they represent don't know what's best for them. Taxation without representation. All the examples you gave, P-, to make for better life, have instead led to a new kind of enslavement -- our nation has stopped living under personal responsibility and now expects our gov't -- broken and divided by BOTH parties -- to pass legislation to correct the err of our ways. The old adage, money makes the world go round, is true. As a nation, we no longer have the $$$. That's what it all boils down to. We can no longer afford to fund all the great ideas that come forth from this nation. We have instead created a HUGE welfare state, reliant on the gov't to take care of our basic needs. Since many of us here, already are displeased with the gov't leaders regarding war, healthcare, insurance, debt, and few of those leaders are regarded with respect or seen as persons of integrity, I ask this, how on Earth does anyone think the gov't can fix anything?

You want to change the world, readers, YOU must do it one step at a time. Until people return to a society where personal responsibility is the norm and measurable by the fruits of ones lives....we're all screwed. It wasn't politicians that created the free society we lived in, it was those whose sweat and toil, blood and tears; those who survived a Wisconsin winter in the 1700 and 1800's; those black and white who fought against the British for freedom b/c they were being taxed without being represented...those who took the personal't can't fix jack....the independent struggle, relying on oneself and ones neighbor or family...that will create the turn around. Relying on gov't is not the answer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inheritence b/c I am my Beloved's and He is mine!

Through the years God has blessed me continually and provided for my needs when the bank is empty and it seems there will not be money for school, in He comes like a rushing flood, filling every crack and crevice and filling my cup to overflowing. Here is a portion, not the total lot, of a fantastic Classical / Charlotte Mason educator's collection after many years of home schooling, that has been inherited by yours truly. I literally danced and cried out as I recognized so many wonderful titles....I am so SET! God is so Gracious. I thank Him for his might provision and can't wait to share the blessing with my friends :) TOG ladies in the area...we are in pretty good shape!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week in Review March 15-19

Well, this week was pretty nothing...all 9 of us have a cold and are congested, irritable, tearing, coughing space cadets, so we decided to keep to the basics. Everyone did math every day, about 20 minutes of silent reading and computer work. Our history included watching the DVDs on Slavery in Amercia and just trying to keep the house clean amongst the naps this cold has demanded. We've been the flightiest bunch I'll tell you! That glossy-eyed, mouth opened, "Huh? What you say, Momma?" kind of blank stare that histamines rush to the surface and more mucus than I ever thought was possible to gather in one place has surely been in my home this week! So, we enjoy the freedom home schooling brings and drink a ton of hot tea, wrapped up by nighttime cough suppressant, which finally allowed for a full night of sleep for us all. We're not a medicine or pill taking family, but this one called for a trip to OTC aides....try feeling like crud and standing at Wally World trying to figure out whether or not Cough Suppressant comes in 5-gallon buckets. It doesn't, but the generic brand does come in a 2-pack. Yeah for the little things. I have been feeling the urge to slow down a bit, and although I would much prefer to have enjoyed the time off fully, I can say I have almost finished up Sarah Palin's book, finish 2 home school magazines, watched Mall Cop (very funny), and have enjoyed our new games from Beall's Family Learning Games. Good stuff. So, I must go as I've been approached, "Momma, can I have that medicine for coughing?" from the cutest blonde in the house, who looks fabulous with his big brothers tight little striped hat. Handsome boy :) Well or not, it's on like Donkey Kong come Monday...I don't have any more time to give! I want a full summer vacation! Hope ya'll fared better than we did!

Friday, March 12, 2010

An early review of WriteShop I

After reading an excellent, vivid, enjoyable piece written by a friends 7th grader, I realized what was missing from our writing - style. We got the structure of writing, so it was time for more. Her blog post led me to write shop.

You will get a variety of opinions on this. Many find it too teacher intensive, and some do not enjoy the step by step b/c they find it overkill or they feel too boxed in.

I am not of that opinion.

We just finished lesson 4, that's 8 weeks into the program. I am very pleased with the results already. The program does assume basic paragraph writing abilities like capitalization, punctuation, topic sentence (in idea if not in good use ) and generally that a dc can write a sentence.

The things I enjoy about WriteShop I:

  • The systematic approach makes sure dc or I do not miss anything in the writing process. It takes the dc through the steps via a daily routine (you choose the pace of the routine as teacher).
  • Very explicit teacher instructions not only give ideas on how to teach, but a great outline of common errors and ways in which to approach their correction. I feel like I'm really getting the benefit of experience from home school moms who have taught a great many students about writing.
  • Word lists to expand the vocabulary, which has blossomed style in my writers.
  • Encourages self-checking, via checklists, to ensure the student is owning his work, improving by recognizing common errors and has a coupled list for the teacher so she can be sure they're following the program.
  • Most of all, I see results. The Elders were solid in basic writing like formatting paragraphs and writing essays, reports, factual sort of stuff. Now, in just 4 lessons, their topic and closing sentences have blossomed, they have eliminated boring verbage and are using a lovely variety of adjectives. I'll say their writing is almost...really close to being pleasant
  • I appreciate the ready made dictation and copy work.
  • I like that each student can have their own notebook and I'm not living in the land of making copies (sometimes convenience matters enough to claim a place in even my frugal budget!)
To be fair, if you use the 2 week/lesson (or 1 year to complete WS1) there will be to days at the beginning of each lesson that will require teaching. Spending time writing a paragraph together, constantly reinforcing the weeks objective and those already learned. How to do this is laid out plainly in a sequenced, well organized Teacher's manual. I think we accomplish this, as a group of 3 students and I, about an hour on the first day and maybe 45 the next. The rest of the week, we have alittle time together for dictation (15 min once per wk.), however I spend about 20 minutes each going over their drafts (2 days of this, or 3 if their final is not really the final, in the 2 week span), following thoroughly the recs from the program. Some would find this time unavailable in their schedules.

I do hear IEW is outstanding, I'm just stopped b/c of $$ this time.

We did not enjoy Writing Strands at all.

I like Writing Aids, but felt like *I* needed a more systematic approach to ensure I was staying on task and not missing any styles or vital elements. I feel like WShop is improving my skills as a writing teacher.

If all this crumbles, I'll let you know...but for now, I'm a happy teacher, momma, college counselor and prospective high school english prof. :)

I'm rebelling against winter

So, for the first time ever, I feel like it has actually been a real winter here in sunny FL. It was a refreshing change...but I'm over it! So, I moved the winter clothes out and the spring ones in and changed my blog background to encourage spring to come on...I need some beach time! Hope it works...pray for spring...think good spring juju...whatever, just make the cold and rain cease, please; and be enticed by my easterish blog background!

Week in Review 3/8--3/12/10

This week in Noeo, we're focusing on Calcium. We read, notebooked and completed the old egg in vinegar experiment. Funny how something so simple can bring such pleasing results. We had to cook the egg, of course, so the children could see how the flavor of the vinegar penetrated too. They learned the word osmosis, which I have always thought was  a cool word and process.

Level 2 read for enrichment from our personal library, b/c the book they needed for Noeo was not available. I ordered it online and am still waiting :(

Level 3 worked on  solids, liquids and gases. Much notebooking in science this week!

I decided to spend an extra week on linking verbs. It always seems to be more difficult to understand than action verbs, so I've decided to spend the week, slowly going through the grammar lessons from week 19 of PR1. We continued on with the spelling and literature for this week, as scheduled; however, next week, I'll catch up the grammar and simply review spelling lists 1-20, 5 weeks per day on and allow extra time for free reading, instead of moving forward in literature. This will keep us in equal weeks; review nicely as we're a little more than halfway through the spelling lists; and enjoy some reading time for fun! I like to make reading a treat, if you kwim?

We took the week off of Latin so I can actually learn it before I teach it. I'm a wee bit behind in lesson planning Latin....too bad I feel cruddy from a cold b/c I must do it this weekend...too bad for me.

Vocabulary added 4 new words for the middle schoolers and a review in spanish from our studies.

Math continues with making 10's in addition and subtraction for both boys, although they use different materials. Ax Man works more on mental math in the hundreds, while The Ant is just beginning borrowing. Not been a good week for him. The idea seems to go right over his head, so I've decided to follow a great idea of copywork for math. The Ant Man is very language oriented, so I think this will improve his memorization. Until he knows all his + and - facts, we're no longer moving forward. I can't take the blank stares. We continue to drill on MUS and with Holey Cards.

Bard and Book Devourer continues forward in Life of Fred. He loves it and is finally feeling like a math master! Rockin' Guitar Dude moves to the end of MUS Alg. He'll head back to the middle of Doliciani when he's finished, or perhaps we'll switch to Chalkdust instead (and compare table of contents) so he can have a DVD professor. I can teach Algebra, but time is not on my side!  Lil' Mother has finished her pre-Algebra study, so she started MUS Algebra. She's a math ace, too, so she'll move through it rather quickly. She'll follow Guitar Dude's plan.

History this week will be to finish up a few things on South America for the Little League, while UG focused on Texas, Andrew Jackson, the Abominable Tarrif, the Trail of Tears, and the forced migration of Native Americans. We'll be working toward this over the next couple of weeks, as we finish up TOG, Year 3, Unit 2, Weeks 10-13. I'm hoping to combine 12 & 13, as many suggested, we'll see. The Little Leaguers and Darling, yet diva, have really enjoyed lapbooking. It's a nice break for me too :)

For P.E. we've run basketball drills all week to compliment the fundamental league three of my students are playing in. R.O.M. is great if anyone would like a non-competitive environment to help children learn how to play, and how to really need the first to enjoy the latter!

The middle schoolers worked through lesson 4 this week and will continue to do so, as they describe a circus performer. Although the aren't happy b/c Write Shop makes them daily accountable in writing, as opposed to once a week, we all realize the methodical approach and encouragement to be stylish has improved their writing already. I found I corrected and suggested far less this week than the previous three. YEAH! They'll be ready for high school writing, I'm sure.

Finally, we began our Time Managment Series for Middle Schoolers. I read a few books and instituted the meat of each to develop a master planning system for us all. If Guitar Dude doesn't get organized, I may lose my mind. It has helped for certain b/c there have been fewer late days and my house has been cleaner! Praise the Lord for that alone!

That wraps up our week. We continue on in basketball and Boy Scouts outside of school, as well as, "how to care for a child," as all of my children are learning so much have little ones around. It's an answer to prayer. They'll learn what it means to parent small children so they'll at least have a beginning when they get their own!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 3-10-10

Accelerating Phonics Road

Your mileage may vary, but here's how I was able to get through PR at an accelerated pace so all of my children could reap the benefits. Hope it helps :)

Phonics:b/c they were rock solid in grammar, just had a few spelling holes, we spent the summer learning the phonics and rule and grammar tunes. I'd sing a rule, find the matching building code, then do them one page at a time, using my completed teacher's notebook (Foreman's Guide). After we wrote down a word (I dictated the word to them for the BC), we'd sing the song. We'd end up singing the same song at least 10 times that day. They, at that age rolled their eyes at me for singing, but like I've said b4, I hear them mumbling the melodies very often now!

Spelling: I used the spelling review lists from Y2-4 (at the beginning of each level) to practice word markings, after they learned all the phonics. Once they showed me mastery in marking, we stopped with year 2 and went straight to the lists in Y4 b/c it suited their vocabulary better.

Grammar: we skipped for them, other than using the Grammar tunes b/c many of them cross over into spelling.

4th grader:
Phonics: We went through the phonics in Y1 through memorization, games and as we applied them in words we knew.

Spelling: I began the spelling list b4 she memorized all the phonograms and used the envelopes (as Mrs. Beers teaches) to pull letters and focus on vowel teams in the spelling words by designing the words, similar to the tiles in AAS. By the time we got through the year 1 spelling lists (one list per day) we had memorized all the Rule Tunes and phonograms, marking, everything.

Grammar: Very little in year 1, so we just did that as it came up in BC. We ended the year with a review by looking over every building code. 

This took us about 16 weeks total b/c some days we skipped one part, so we came to it the next.  A day a week does take some time, more than you'll use when you go to the regular schedule. The bonus is getting through quickly and that the pace makes a regular PR day seem like nothing!

We then went to Y2 and continued on the accelerated pace. We actually decided to the literature study first. DD loved this part, so we did every bit of the study first, then went back to finish the grammar and spelling.

Spelling: continue on the week/day schedule, adding and learning Rule and Grammar tunes where applicable.

Grammar: week/day...until about 23 or 24. At this point DD needed additional time on grammar. We began school Aug 1, 2009 and were finished with PR 1 & 2 by end of Jan., 2010. That was slowing down to regular pace halfway and easing through the spelling and grammar. I took almost a month off so she could rest from all her hard work! We have begun PR3 and I am pleased at the jump in requirements, her retention, and of course, the great program :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week in Review March 1-5, 2010

This week was a different kind of week for us b/c we just finished our TOG Unit 1, so we allow The Elders to study for a unit exam. It's a great review, by using their notebooks, writing, outlines, summaries, and projects, they are able to hit areas one last time before moving forward. We created a list of what to study on Monday, then I let them go for the week. By Friday afternoon, they answered 15 multiple choice, filled in 15 timeline blanks, labeled all of South America, early USA, including the Lewis and Clark expedition, 10 questions of literary terminology, and a one page essay on any individual they chose from their famous people collections.

D. and the Little League reviewed by creating lapbooks/activity books on South America that included: Layers of the Rainforest song, map, word r, booklets on topography, animal fact cards, snake book, flags, cards to play Concentration, Go Fish, or if they combine 2 sets, Rummy, and a Simon Bolivar board game. We combined activities from HomeSchoolShare, SOTW, Enchanted Learning, and some general scrapbooking! Good, fun, easy review and something we don't do very often.

We completed Week 19 in PR1 and Week 2 in PR3.

Everyone kept moving along in Noeo Chemistry, all 3 levels. I got some pics of an experiment in science this week. We tested Helium and Hot Air and the how and why they help balloons float. Pics are not ordered and I don't have any more time for blogging! Later, I'll fix it!

Helium and Hot Air Experiment
No longer floating!
The Ax Man has the force
It floats!
still heating
Heating with the lamp
Materials 1

We progressed normally through math (too many to list) and had a great week in Holey Cards.

We moved along in Spanish and Latin, too and the rest of our computer work.

I finished The Read Aloud Handbook and That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Thursday. I also reviewed WTM latest addition on Logic Stage. I'll be starting Rhetoric (gulp) next week!

I got to order some curriculum that I didn't pay for! A double bonus!

And finally, a personal favorite, we saw The Little House on  the Prarie, the Musical, starring Melissa Gilbert as, Ma. It was awesome! Not only do I love theatre, I love this story, and we all, even Lil' Axel, had a great time!

We're still trying to get all 4 smiling at the same time!
The Ax Man
The cast
Hot Mommas dig Little House!
My sweet girl waiting on the cast
Urban Girl (I think)
, Lil' Mother, me, The Ax Man, Darling, yet Diva 2
Lil Mother, me, The Ax Man, Darling, yet Diva

Monday, March 1, 2010

School area...kinda

Really, we school everywhere. We read aloud on couches, in chairs, the backyard swing, butterfly garden, even on the trampoline, but as for teaching time, the dear children (dc) sit at the table and I stand at the door. I hang helpers around the area, as best I can with the walls I have :) 

 I also spend a lot of time teaching from my that I have such a wonderful work station. You can see pictures of everything below. It's all pretty messy at the moment, since we have not done our chores yet and we're still kinda spread out everywhere! I thought I'd go ahead and give a real world cleanin' up yet, so know you all know how trashed we can make our day!(Notice the computer screen. Hey, we all have our priorities!)
my wonderful desk!
my work station where I keep my manuals, library books and other needs for daily teaching
the children's desk and supply area
dining room/school table
bulletin door

We also have single desk space in each bedroom. If they need more privacy, there is a den where they can set up a tray or table. The eldest just got his own little area near the piano, where we moved a desk and his cubby. He needs a focused, quiet, but still where I can have eyes on him, little spot. So far, this is helping him stay on schedule. 
That's about it. It ain't much, but it's home and we're gettin' smarter all the time!


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