Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

My photo
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.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Please post....a PSA

"It's a blog....about meeee" whines Bard...Public Service Announcement: Bard and Book Devourer would like me to change his blog name to Spunk or Earl the Veloci-dragon. I decline, but I post herein.

Week in Review Aug. 23-27, 2010 History heavy version

I'll start with our big change. I rearranged the order I teach and enlisted the Elder boys in a timelier Gilbert Academy. In other words, instead of, "Here's your list of things to do, get it done," we went to 45-60 min. "periods" for each subject. It worked much better. It means an added responsibility for me, but hey, it's worth it b/c by the end of the day, they are finished with school and I don't have to be the nagging home school police. MUCH happier people and a much cleaner house, as we have time for chores b/c there's less homework. Diva is happier b/c she gets her teaching block over with earlier and since she does a lot of her work while in her bed at night (she's a night owl), she's finished by late morning...for the day! She continues Family Math with AtG mid-morning. Go, Diva!  Lil' Mother is left to her own devices b/c she ALWAYS gets her work done. The Little Leaguers practice independence via their checklist first thing during the day, which seems to have them better prepared for our lesson time; and I get to enjoy K with AtG, instead of trying to cram in his lessons wherever they'll fit. It worked out much better! Here's our M, T, Th. Friday; with independent work italicized:

Mom: Bible/Hymns , K phonics, UG Teaching Block (all LA, math); Grammar teaching block (all LA, math, memory work in 5 min. spurts between subject areas); Family History; Family Science                          

Little League: Bible/ Hymns, Reading; Computer drills; Math, Math, memorization, Language Arts, memorization, Bible video (Diva leads this and comes up with her own questions), History, Science

Elder Brothers: Math, Vocab., Latin, computer drill; science; writing; history; electives/FLVS (switched order so they can share one computer) with Gov't in the middle so they get a break from the computer.

I've also decided to do more of a rotating schedule with History and Science. We love both areas, so we tend to do a lot in both subjects, but too much is killing me on time and will eventually exasperate my sweet dc; so I decided we'll rotate daily b/t science and history so we can do our 20 min. of reading and some sort of concrete writing with what we've learned. I've found over the years, if I wait until the next day to write about what we're doing, we lose too much and we're at a place where they are learning to pull important information and either outline or generate their own sentences. I like reinforcing this across the board, so rotating will help us on time and also save any exasperation that comes from writing in LA, History and Science in one day. I will take a narration from their independent work if they have a writing portion from the other subject. If not, they will write from their reading. I have a goal: to produce solid writers. and I'm going to develop a reading list for their independent time that will cover each subject on our "off" days. In other words, if we have family History, they're independent reading will be science. If we do Science, the independent reading will be history. I'm blessed that all that time in Phonics Road has paid off and I have two solid readers who aren't afraid to ask for help if they don't know a word and PR has really improved writing skills in my younger children. My other dc didn't do this well, this early, at least not with independent writing.

Here's the jist of the week:

History, geography, church history:

Family Read Aloud, Across Five Aprils by Irene hunt
Family Projects: Cumulative Map Project of when states joined; President cards or mini-books; Memorizing the Gettysburg Address; D and R doing a Civil War battles project board.

Lower and Upper Grammar
We have begun our studies on the Civil War using, If You lived at the Time of the Civil War, by Kay Moore We made cards (copied from the book) of important persons during the Civil War.
We'll be making matching description cards to play memory and other matching games to help them put faces to names and to get to know the "famous people." Notice the red and blue matting to show Union and Confederate folks.

We colored a map to show secession and wrote a collaborated summary (I wrote their sentences, then they did copy work) of the Civil War thusfar: The Civil War started in 1861. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and so the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The South wanted to secede because they thought Northerners would end slavery and the farms would lose a lot of money. They thought they had the right to leave and make their own governments.
They started their first list of daily independent reading using the following books w/ a certain number of pages assigned daily. They are responsible for 3-5 sentences daily summarizing The Story of Harriet Tubman, Conductor of the Underground Railroad by Kate McMullan.
In the Beginning one topic area daily, about 1 paragraph
The Big Book of US Presidents or DK Presidents = T, Th one or two pages on one president
The Big Book of America - W, F only one state = 1 page
Civil War (A Libraryof Congress Book) 5 pages daily (at least 2.5 of those are great illustrations)
Upper Grammar:
Same map and cards as above, reading:
The Civil War for Kids is Dialectic selection and I couldn't go through this time period without introducing Great Expectations. She LOVES Little Women, so she's reading it for the zillionth time. The Civil War! book will be gravy for the next 7.5 weeks, so she's reading 19 pages per week. There are some great illustrations in this one, too. She's also reading SOTW 4 as assigned in TOG. The Lincoln biographies in the picture will be used to complete a 4-week Writing Aids assignment on how to write a biography.
Lil' Mother is also reading Civil War!, The Civil War for Kids, Little Women and Great Expectations. In addition, she's using Abraham Lincoln's World, Streams of Civilizations 2 and The Gift of Music. There's a lot of books to read for the next 3 weeks, but many of the books are only a few pages each week. It looks worse than it is :)
She's writing a letter to someone special with ink made from berries; cooking Civil War era food; and the same map work as LG and UG. She turned in her Core Reading Outline. She almost finished with her Constitution Workbook.

Rhetoric: In addition to their Civil War adventure, the Elder boys continue to learn about Europe's progress as well and completed a map on Italy's reunification and expansion.They turned in their core outlines. They're making progress on their Constitution Workbooks.

RoGD asked me to include this b/c he says all the highlighting and note taking make him look smarter than he is :)
Eyewitness to the Civil War is AWESOME! Great illustrations, captions and so well written. It's one to buy for sure! Great Expectations and The Age of Nationalism and Reform.  They're also referring to: Music: An Appreciation.
Lower Grammar: none history related; still finishing Farmer Boy as they read aloud to me
Uppe Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric: 2nd Worksheet on Tom Sawyer, Great Expectations, Little Women
One worksheet on Little Women

Physics: All grammar and Dialectic: We studied motion, acceleration, more on speed and velocity. Newton's 3 Laws of Motion.The girls continued with outlining, summarizing, and defining per their lesson plan. The Little League focused in on the 3 Laws via dictation and illustrations from DK Science Encyclopedia. We're very serious about science, as you'll see from our pictures.
Superstar science
Ninja science works too.

High School Honors Biology:
The boys finished up Module 2 and took their tests. They did well. RoGD got 38/39 and did a super job on his study guide. BBD is learning to actually complete his assignments in order to prosper fully on the test...lazy bones is getting a grip. After a 75% on Test 1, he came back with a 100% on Test 2.

Phonics Road - a complete Language Arts Program
Pre-level 1 added g to the mix this week via green gum, gamecube, and gun (boys will be boys). He blended well this week and read the words god, gad, cod, cad. You should have seen his smile when I told him he was reading. Brought real joy to my heart. 
To see more on how to facilitate an OG phonics program, check out these pages. I'll be adding how to blend soon!

Level 2: This week we carried on in Grammar with adverbs and verb tenses. In spelling, I slowed down and practice missed words in weeks 26 & 27. Now that the words are getting longer, I can see the ill effects of The Ants "whole language" training in public school K. I posted about it here.  You can read an entire thread on whole language versus phonics here.

Level 3: In grammar we continued with adverbs and added conjunctions. Using PR3, each time you add a part of speech, you dictate and mark sentences, preparing the way for diagramming. This program is so complete and so easy once you get the hang of it. Now that we're where I want to be, we're only doing one lesson per day and taking a total of 15-20 min. of teaching time, with maybe 10-15 more minutes of independent work. Retention is outstanding.
Our literature study in Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman was fun this week! Again, if you're wondering about writing, here's a sample of the exercises completed in weeks 12 and partial 13:

Venn Diagram
Specific details

Story Mapping and understanding parts of a story.
Using the book, we pulled each of these examples and saw how one might dully write as opposed to description. It was a great week. Diva's writing will bloom from this study, I am sure of it!

AtG practiced writing numbers, dot to dot, shapes, and made cookies to talk about a dozen.   Diva is the best math teacher ever :)

The Ant worked on number families some more and completed 5 lessons per day of Singapore 1A. Yup. Five lessons per day. He needs practice in this area and I want to familiarize him with Singapore. MUS is outta here. I liked it for fraction boot camp and for a nice and gentle intro. to Algebra, but I do not like it for anything else.
Ax Man had lots and lots of word problems as he learned to draw his own bar graphs and work through all the parts, wholes, differences and key words in word problems. He has a great mind for math.
DyD more decimals this week -- holding a 100% average.
Lil' Mother worked on exponents, order of operations, properties of real numbers.
Bard worked on square roots of square roots
ROGD did more with functions, graphs, calculating graphs

Write Shop we ended up getting behind in WriteShop, so we started over with lesson 9. No real reason, just busy doing other things, so we took the week off. The topic this week: describe an animal of your choice. Looking good so far!

The Latin Road to English Grammar- half way through week 12.

Logic and Editor in Chief...moving along as scheduled.

FLVS - HOPE - Bard is finally in the grade book; while RoGD is flying through both HOPE and Dr. Ed. He should be finished with Dr. Ed by the end of next week.

RoGD played I So Hate Consequences by Reliant K for the YPD of several churches at a breakfast fellowship. I'm a proud Momma. The link is not him, I wasn't there to video tape it :)

Well, if you're still reading this, I thank you for indulging me, you may be a saint :) Next 2 weeks will be slimmer, as our history will be less info. and more "working through" what is here now. Hope you had a successful week!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home School File Sharing

Do you know about Homeschool Launch? It's a place where you can upload your own files for public sharing, as well as, use files from others. It's a great way to share your goodies and also save time planning!

If for some reason, the link doesn't work (I'm new w/ the site), just go to and you can find my stuff under Gilbert Academy Goodies :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toby is a lap dog in a big dog's body

Just don't tell him that. It might hurt his big dog ego. Spoiled puppy...just like the rest of them!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A sentence to make a mother proud

An excerpt from Lil' Mother's descriptive paragraph titled, Beautiful Nature One Step Away

"As they play tag in the tree tops, the brick-brown squirrels begin to chit-chat in their coded language, like morse code buzzing through the branches."

This is why I love Write Shop. It really pulls out the best of their abilities. She was at the end of 6th grade when she wrote this ~insert happy momma smiley~

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week in Review Aug. 16-20, 2010

Whew! This week flew by. I can't believe it's Friday, already. I even missed last weeks WiR. Too much to do, too little time! I miss my summer bloggathons.

History, geography, church history:
Lower and Upper Grammar
We rounded out our studies of 1800's China and Japan by reading about the lives of Children, fashion, shoguns, and really worked on geography. We completed some simple activity/lapbooks that we'll piece together next week and then I'll post pictures.  We also finished our biography of Hudson Taylor -- what a story filled with miracles. Truly incredible life for Christ and most inspiring. We also continued our study of Florence Nightengale.

Dialectic and Rhetoric
We talked about Asia: Japan and China, the Crimean War and how it ended the Concert of Europe; as well as, the geography of the war; the rapid expansion of the telegraph network (submarine cables are pretty cool and rather impressive); the presidency of Franklin Pierce the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Gadsden Purchase, and Ostend Manifesto. We're building up to the Civil War. I can't wait. It's a tragic time in our nation's history,  but most interesting and poses many opportunities to talk about humanitarianism. I'm looking forward to it.
We also finished up and wrote a summary on Hudson Taylor. It was a nice family read aloud.

Grammar: more poetry with Emily Dickinson
Dialectic and Rhetoric, including DyD read Tom Sawyer and studied the kinds of characters for literary analysis. TOG shines here and I LOVE IT!
All grammar and Dialectic:
We studied speed, gravity and velocity. We have a great experiment coming up with a sailcar we made, I just need to grab one little things to complete the project.

High School Honors Biology:
We had our first discussion over the intro., info. on bio, classification and cell types. Good stuff. We read and wrote a paper about Carl Linneaus with another in the works for Pasteur. Once a book arrives, we'll be starting a pond project which will count for Bio. and Boy Scouts :)  The boys are already enjoying Bio. much more than Gen. Sci. and Noeo Chemistry. They are also finding out Momma means business for high school. They're working their tales off so they don't lose privileges.

Phonics Road
Pre-level 1 still working through c, o, a, d and starting blending words this week: cod and cad. It's a slow process, but moving along nicely. AtG is an eager and pleasant student.

Level 2: In language arts, we sang what we dubbed, "Silly Songs with Mrs. Beers." You've heard of Silly Songs with Larry, no? Well, Veggie Tales offers such, and Mrs. Beers offers a silly song to learn when to use IE or EI. My kiddos can spell neither, weird, foreign, sovereign, forfeited, leisure, seizing, either, heifer's, counterfeit, protein -- pretty nice spelling list for 2nd and 3rd grade. Have I mentioned I love PR!?!  We also focused on adverbs and verb tenses this week.

Level 3: Finished up to week 10 in Robert Fulton using acrostic poetry, outlining, note-taking and paragraph formation. In grammar we studied nouns, possessive pronouns, and adverbs. We're waaay ahead in spelling still, so we have a few weeks before we start that again.

AtG practiced writing letters and did some addition exercises.
The Ant worked on number families and understanding parts, wholes and the Communicative Property in General (no, he doesn't know that's what it's called)
Ax Man reviewed much this week and moved forward in his understanding of place value.
DyD worked on multiplication of decimals.
Lil' Mother worked on decimals in algebra
Bard worked through Tri and Quad-nomials in LoF and started on square roots of trinomial equations.
ROGD did functions, graphs, calculating graphs, domain, range, linear equations, slopes, etc.

Write Shop finished up lesson 8 and started 9. Still loving the program.

We also made expected progress in Latin and Logic. We're doin' alright over here. Pushing my boys to be proficient is a challenge, but one I think we'll figure out soon enough. Quizlet and Purpose Games brought us the practice we need and hammered out those vocabulary words -- all bazillion of them!

Finally, we joined a church this week, St. James AME. Small and, yes, mostly black. I have a love for the passion of black folks. It's something you either understand or don't. We all feel at home and are so pleased to be a part our new church family. It's a lovely little place full of passion for Jesus, love for community, and waiting for the Holy Spirit to move and move and move. It's happy to find a home.

See ya'll next week. Hope you had a wonderful one too!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's Cookin'? Meal planning made easy

Mealtime can be a real time sucker around here. We try and rush through breakfast and lunch so we can get back to school and then allow for a long and slow dinner so we can talk and enjoy mealtime. In order to save a few minutes here, a few minutes there, I plan a month's worth of meals and follow a boring schedule of the same foods weekly for breakfast and lunch, with the same "main idea" for dinner. Before we start school, the dc are allotted a toast/bagel/croissant and a fruit serving and with lunch a serving of veggies, and always veggies and salad for dinner. Two snacks daily provide more fruits and veggies and probably some Ramen noodles and pbj. Here's our school meal plan:

Mon. - Sunday; breakfast; lunch (L.O. means leftovers).
Mon - burrito, L.O.
Tues - Momma McMuffin; spaghetti and meatballs
Wed - Muffins, hard-boiled eggs; tuna-veggie-mac-n0cheese
Thurs - oatmeal; beans and rice
Fri - hot cereal; burgers and fries
Sat - cold cereal; sandwiches
Sun - jumbo breakfast :) waffles/pancakes/french toast, sausage/bacon, eggs, fruit, juice; snack b/c we eat dinner early on Sundays.

Our main ideas for dinner are based on the night of the week and my gumption :) so we have:
Mon - pork
Tues - beef
Wed. - frozen casserole (lasagna, mac-n-cheese, pot pies, etc)
Thurs - chicken
Fri - fish
Sat - taco
Sunday - spaghetti

I often get in the mood for vegetarian, so if I feel like it, we'll skip a meat night (or two) and have something with beans or lentils.  I also make sure one main meal is some sort of salad with meat as an ingredient. Dh likes meat. I gotta make it for him :) Having the general idea allows me to shop sales b/c I know I'll use 4 chicken meals a week, etc. I also incorporate left overs wherever possible, so I can drop any old meal in any old day.
I am looking forward to trying some recipes from TWTM forum, especially those breakfast bars and cookies --- they sound really yummy!
What's your favorite recipe? I'd love for you to share!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My parents

I am blessed with 3 sets -- you know, the whole divorce thing. Then I even ended up with what, are for lack of a better term, foster parents. They are all loving and work hard at being grandparents, but still do something more. They still have that, "you're my little girl," sweet and loving tone when I talk to them. I love it, admittedly. There are few places I long for more, than laying on their beds while they stroke my hair (like I did to my baby tonight). This week has been an emotional week for me b/c of some hushed issues and wonderfully enough, all of my parents felt it. My mother called me (I usually do the calling). My daddy (yes, I still call him, Daddy) asked me if I was alright when I called; he usually doesn't b/c he knows I'm usually alright. My foster mom had a weird feeling about me the other day and so they're coming up for breakfast to give me some lovin' (they pretend they're coming for the kids, but I know better). I am sitting here, honestly amazed at how a parent just knows. I "just know" when it comes to my children. How much more our father in heaven knows our hearts. I am simply grateful that He has given me so many people who love me, for me, despite of me, and who always seem to feel me, even if so far away. To my parents and their respective other halves, thank you. I love you all and am grateful to God for each of you and the parts you've played in my life. xoxoxo

Friday, August 6, 2010

A little home school humor

I'm all about labeling boxes with words and pictures. Well, there's a lovely blue box and I labeled it the EMPTY box. Here's the rub, as I find little school supplies under the table(s), in chairs, in books, on the tv, next to the computer, just think of a place and know I find school supplies there, I put them in the EMPTY box. The dc have to empty it regularly. The joke is, the box is supposed to be EMPTY, but never is b/c having 8 children kinda guarantees that. Here's the empty box after 2 months of summer....not exactly EMPTY!

Week in Review Aug. 2 -- 6, 2010

Our first week back was a great success. We actually accomplished all of our goals and fit in a field trip and sleepover. How 'bout that?! I'm surprised, but pleased. I blogged about our first day specifically here.
The worst part is...I'm bushed. I've got some other things in life draining me emotionally right now, so I'm hoping those things are the source of my exhaustion and not our school Schedule.

At first glance, my physics program is way too super. I planned a heavy course load, so I'm gonna skip about half of everything with the lower grammar students. I don't have the energy or the time to do quite so much with them. I'll have to find balance there for sure.

Our family read aloud was on Hudson Taylor. We'll continue this for 3 weeks during lunch each day.
Nature Journal Wednesday. So sweet.
Memorization of Presidents song, Matt 10:21, Doxology, and an Emily Dickinson poem (varied among ages)
Add Millard Fillmore to president cards and mini-books (pictures to follow in a few weeks)

Lower Grammar started using a checklist, instead of cards this week. They did well. Tony really took off with it. I guess he's a checklist kiddo like me :)  Axel is showing his lazy bones, so we've got some work to do with his attitude (bleh).
5 math lessons (The Ant: composing 5's and 10's; time; Ax Man: fractions, area, review lessons)
5 bible videos
Memorization: Lines one and two of The Caterpillar
All their computer work (see sidebar)
In science we began our physics study with an introduction, some copy work and our favorite part, hands on fun! Here's a photo or two of our fun, followed by the summary from the Little League. We practiced photo journaling by captioning each picture in our notebooks.
We made a potato trap and used a plumb bob to see where it should drop. We had a small and big potato.
The small potato landed onteh matchstick and went about a centimeter.

Then we dropped the large potato. It went much farther down the matchstick because it had more mass and gravity pulled it farther. 

I plan on using photo journaling a lot this year with science. It helps them remember better to see the steps. Each time, they'll dictate to me, I'll write their sentences on the board, then they'll copy them into their notebook. I was pleased with the results.

History brought us to mid 19th century China and Japan and their relationship with European and American countries. We read about the cultures of both nations and discovered the location on the map of Asia, each country and the Pacific Ocean. It was nice to see them understand the wrapping around of the Pacific Ocean. We learned about the Unequal Treaty, the Sepoy Rebellion, The Taiping Rebellion an intro. to Florence Nightengale, Hudson Taylor. We also used our dictionary skills to look up the many different cultural words we came across. We colored China's flag and completed a map of Asia with countries and major bodies of water.
We also read a wonderful book about Emily Dickinson. So sweet. As history memorization, instead of our usual history leanings, we are learning,
The Phonics Road brought us review of spelling lists 1-24 this week. I had them stand up and write on the chalkboard and white board and write the words I called out. They did a great job and this gave us a chance to sing our Rule Tunes for the first time in a month. We also reviewed all the Building Codes to date, singing songs and making sure they were ready to move forward. Since they've already finished the literature portion of Y2, we are reading aloud Farmer Boy, well, the boys are reading it to me. Using the skills learned in PR, we outlined and took notes in history and science this week and also did some copy work as handwriting practice.  We also started week 25 in grammar and spelling with a focus on adverbs.
Ax Man also started Typing Web. He's very happy about that.

I spent this week reviewing letters O, C, and A for our letter of the week plan. We also added D to the mix. D for dime, dinosaur, dog. We also started using a white board on the wall for writing practice. We need to take letters one at a time for a while. He struggled with the 3 sounds of A. I should have stuck with my original thought of one sound per week. I'll return to that next week. We read Moncures's My "o" Sound Box and My "a" Sound Box, then the Flanagan books, Cats The Sound of Short A, Hot Pot The Sound of Short O, Dogs The Sound of D.

DyD introduced AtG to Family Math. They had fun and she did a great job. She will grow into a wonderful Momma and teacher some day :)
Upper Grammar/Dialectic
Speaking of DyD, she was not happy this week b/c I have graduated her to planner, versus logging her work. She doesn't like to plan ahead, she prefers spontaneous activity.

History: She started Dialectic literature this week with an abridged version of Tom Sawyer. I'm so happy she's hitting on this! I love this story and I am so pleased that 4 of 5 dc will be familiar with it now. She also dug into China and Japan and had an awful lot of geography. I printed out some extra "fill in the blank" type maps from Enchanted Learning DyD loves worksheets. She read Shipwrecked and completed a crossword puzzle for it, via TOG. She finshed Japan the Land by Bobbie Kalman and Ch. 39 of Trial and Triumph. She enjoyed an afternoon of origami. For her Writing Aids assignment, she had to summarize an encyclopedia article on a favorite animal of her choice. She chose cats. She also read the Dialectic lit study, Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickenson. She'll be doing most of the D lit. selections this year. She read Medicine Encyclopediea: Florence Nightengale.

She fiinshed 5 days of math in Singapore 4B. Mostly, it was full of reviews this week, but we did have a heavy lesson in metric conversions, using decimals. I can't believe I'm already there with her. Seems like a day ago we were skip counting.
She's pictured above in science. Her course of study includes reading DK encyclopedia and outlining this week. She also completed vocabulary study and a crossword puzzle of her vocabulary words. She did  a great job following along her lesson plan and working independently in science.
In Phonics Road 3, we worked on Verb Forms (present, pres. participle, past, past participle, base verbs). In addition to reviewing last year's work, she practiced verb forms and plenty of sentence marking -- something I love about PR. Each time a new part of speech is introduced and learned, it is applied via original sentence writing, complete with markings. The markings are the way into diagramming. I am so confident in their abilities after teaching from this program. The best part for me, is they are truly learning and they have left the over practice of other programs. It's a world of difference between working hard and hating language arts. I love PR ;)  We completed week 6 of the Robert Fulton literature study. Since we're a little ahead of this era in history, it makes for a tender review and a great lit study. She continued in typing web and enjoyed Family math with AtG.

Science as above, with Kingfisher encyclopedia and outlining, vocab work, and crossword puzzle.

History: TOG weeks 19 & 20 Westerners in Asia and Franklin Pierce and the Crimean War. Abraham Lincoln's World, The British Empire and Queen Victoria, Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Medicine Ency: Florence Nightengale, Tom Sawyer, Church in History, Streams of Civilization 2Invitation to the Classics. Our cycle requires her to fill out maps, read cores, supplements and literature and outline the cores this week. She did her vocab on quizlet. She was assigned the famous people  She also continued her constitution study using Our Living Constitution

Write Shop I lesson 8, days 1-3. Here's a blog about that great lesson. For her topic, she picked cookies, so she had to make some (aw shucks) and photograph her journey. Can't wait to see the finished product!

100 Algebra I problems :) (20 a day)

She began her study in Art of Argument and Chapter 10 of The Latin Road 1. Also, Editor-n-Chief.

All of her computer work (see side column)

She gets the super star student award for the week. She just gets it done. Nobody works as diligently as she.

Rhetoric (doing Dialectic lit still)
History: TOG weeks 19 & 20 Westerners in Asia and Franklin Pierce and the Crimean War. Imperialism: A History in Documents, The Age of Nationalism and Reform, The Civil War: 1850-1895 Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Medicine Ency: Florence Nightengale, Tom Sawyer,  Our cycle requires the boys to fill out maps, read cores, supplements and literature and outline the cores this week. They do their vocab on quizlet. They were assigned the famous people  They also continued her constitution study using Our Living Constitution and began the Gov't elective in TOG looking at the Fugitive Slave Act and beginning God and Government by Gary Demar. I'm looking forward to the gov't/bible study of this book.

Write Shop I lesson 8, days 1-3. Here's a blog about that great lesson.

ROGD: 100 Algebra II problems :) (20 a day) via Dana Mosely and BaBD moved forward LoF Alg.1 (a lesson a day)

They began their study in Art of Argument and Chapter 10 of The Latin Road 1. Also, Editor-n-Chief.

All of their computer work (see side column)

  Bard started the "Write Your Own Series"

For science, they began our Honors Biology Course. This was their work for the week from Apologia Biology and living books:
Apologia Bio: read intro and 1st 20 pages; read bio on Carl Linnaeus; Microbe Hunters Ch. 1; and Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie (3-weeks)

They also took a field trip to the post office for boy scouts and a sleepover for a dear friends b-day. They both had a slow start, so already...Sat. homework YUCK! They have a heavy courseload, but if they'll give it their all, they'll be alright.

RoGD really spent a ton of time on his guitar this week. He's coming along so very nicely.

BaBD spent a lot of time sleeping. He's in that puberty growth, grumpy, sleepy time. He is also spending too much time reading the Harry Potter books, too late at night. I finally took it away from him this afternoon. I love my teenagers, but I sure can't wait for them to be past the stage.

Finally, they both began their first online classes via FL Virtual School. They are both enrolled in HOPE (Health Opportunities through Physical Education) and RoGD is in Driver's Ed. As you might imagine, he's attacked that head on! Bard's too busy being sleepy to care, but he did get started. If they apply themselves, I'm hoping they'll knock these our relatively quickly, then they can have a lighter year.

WHEW! I'm tuckered out putting that all down. It took far too long, I'll have to find a way to cut that shorter. I hope you read this might be asleep by now. If not, thanks for reading ALL THE WAY DOWN!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let me let you all in on a little secret.

Many of you know I keep three brothers M-F while their mom goes to college and tries her best to make a brighter future for her family. I call them my dgs (dear grand sons). I get lots of praise for this because having eight kiddos seems like a lot, but let me let you all in on a little walk with Jesus is better because they're here. As much as I help them, they help me more. It is a precious wonder and gift to raise a child up in the ways of the Lord and I am blessed greatly to share the gospel with these precious souls. Their mother holds another tender heart and she has been a welcome and loving addition to my own. You never know what the Lord will send your way, and it sure is amazing how differently he does things; but when His gifts arrive, you feel that shekhinah glory and you are so grateful. For this family, I am grateful and eternally blessed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good times with Write Shop

Today we began our first Write Shop lesson of this school year. We are on Lesson 8, Explaining a process via Informative Writing, specifically, Arranging in Time Sequence Order. As the practice paragraph, the children were told to write explicit instructions on making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What a riot.

We started with Rockin' Out Guitar Dude. Although they don't really need to include the detail of opening the jars, I did give them a good laugh and used the spatula to pound all over the jar. He neglected to direct where to spread the peanut butter (on the second piece of bread), so I spread it over the jelly...that doesn't work well. We all giggled.

Then came Bard and Book Devourer. BaBD said to place both condiments facing down, so we ended up with a sandwich, jelly side to the plate. Hilarious.

Finally, Lil Mother instructed to spread the peanut butter, "Not long after, spread the jelly on the other slice of bread." Well, she was trying to use transitional words, bless her heart, but "not long after" was too funny, so I had to walk around the kitchen whistling for a short time, did a little dance, then got back to the sandwich. It was pretty funny! We all cracked up.

Anyways, I thought I'd share how we can enjoy a lesson and how nicely Write Shop facilitates a little joy in learning. If you're looking for a great instructional program for both teacher and student, Write Shop is wonderful.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Emily by Michael Book Review

Emily by Michael Bedard, pictures by Barbara Cooney is a lovely read about a little girl who befriends her reclusive neighbor, Emily Dickinson.
"What is poetry?" I asked.
He laid the wilted petals in his palm. "Listen to Mother play. She practices and practices apiece, and sometiems a magic happens and it seems the music starts to breathe. It sends a shiver through you. You can't explain it, really; it's a mystery. Well, when words do that, we call it poetry."
 While reading this book, even the five year sat still and quiet, listening to the warm and steady breathing. It was captivating and delightful.  Definitely a book we will revisit and enjoy many times over.

Breakfast anyone?

Time is truly of the essence in our house, so I thought I'd cook ahead a bit and knock out some breakfast meals. Alicia (my adopted daughter) came over and helped me out. We made 4 weeks worth, 2 days out of each week in about an hour and some change. It will be so worth it on school days!

Here I am rolling breakfast burrittos while Alicia laid out some Momma McMuffins. She said she definately Never work at McDonald's after working with so many english muffins.

It was very easy to pepare.
48 tortillas - I used some small for the Little League and the large burrito ones for the Elders.
4.5 dozen eggs
4 pounds breakfast sausage
3 bags frozen peppers (red, yellow, green)
small jar taco sauce
1-2 cups of shredded cheese, your preference on amount and flavor (we used taco cheese from Wal-mart)

Begin browning the sausage and keep breaking it apart so its crumbly, not chunky
spray or oil 2- 9x13 casserole and 2-brownie size dishes
Put frozen peppers in strainer to thaw
While you're browning the sausage get to crackin', the eggs that is!
Sprinkle the peppers first, then add the sausage (worked out to 2 cups per lg. dish and 1 per small if I remember right)
Add beaten eggs, same portions as sausage, again if I remember right
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min, or until the eggs are cooked.

While the eggs are cooked, you can begin assembly of the tortillas by speading a teaspoon of taco sauce and sprinkling your desired amound of cheese per burrito. Add eggs (about 1/4 cup), wrap and freeze.

To eat, you can microwave or re-heat via oven or toaster over. I served with salsa and sour cream. Delicioso!

Momma McMuffins
4 dozen whole wheat english muffins
4.5 dozen eggs
30-48 slices of cheese (not everyone here will eat cheese)
3 pounds of bacon

Cook bacon. Place 1--1.5 slices on muffins.
Lay out muffins and place cheese slices.
Crack and scramble eggs. Place cooked eggs on top of sandwiches.
Wrap and freeze.

Reheat via microwave or toaster over in the morning.

Don't forget to take everything out of the freezer the night before!

Bon Appetit!

Some other easy to freeze ahead items are muffins, breads, pancakes, get the picture.
Quick breakfasts include oatmeal, cream of wheat and other hot cereals. Of course, cold cereal too, but it never seems to fill the dc well enough.  We always serve fresh fruit with any breakfast we eat. Since we dine around 8:30, I allow a piece of fruit and a slice of toast or bagel every morning before school starts--- you don't get up and get it --- you don't get it. School starts promptly at 7am. Hope this helps ya'll as much as it does me!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Fly By First Day, 2010-2011 Begins

WHEW! We did it! We started on time, although nothing else seemed to fall according to schedule. No worries, though, I expected as much and ended the day with a smile on my face, even if the day was 2 hours longer than hoped for.  Much of today was explaining how new things will work and familiarizing the children with their materials. So, there was no real science today, just "getting to know you." I also spent more time with the Elders, whom would barely see me on most Mondays. We also spent a lot of time filling in planners. Usually, we'll do this on Sunday nights, but last night I spent the evening cooking breakfast for most of the month, so we had to do it this morning. It is nice though, to have so many assignments already in their books. They might not enjoy it, but they do appreciate the organization. Darling yet Diva is using a planner, instead of a log, for the first time (big girl now, ya' know).

I never quite worked out memorization with the first round of elementary school, so this year, we're really adding that part of school to our day. I handed out a year's worth of hymns, bible verses, poetry, and a semester's total of history memorization. Not too many smiles about that, but once they got started and saw how easy it will be, Lil' Mother already knows her bible verse, they seemed to be fine with it. 5 minutes a day for 5 subject areas, twice a day, yet spread out is really very easy. It also makes a nice 5 min between larger subjects. I'm pleased with how it worked out.

I had a math lesson with the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th grader, while the oldest two do math on their own, and Darling, yet Diva did a lesson of Family Math with Alexander the Great, our very happy K5er. That's the plan for a while. I want him to get a nice introduction, at his level, and begin to teach DyD "how to teach" so she's ready to home school her own children one day (fingers crossed). I sat with her first, so she could understand the book, then she went out and did it. Piece of cake!

Everyone completed piano....unusual, someone always tries to skip out! Lil' Mother will give instruction to her two little brothers, twice a week each. She's already better than I on the instrument...yeah! I'm not that great, so I'm so happy she's surpassed me!  The A-bomb (2yo) even played a little. He was a sweet boy and managed to avoid dropping bombs today -- praise Jesus!

Using SOTW (via TOG), History read aloud went well as we learned about the Opium Wars and completed a summary with noted "important" points of the Unequal Treaty. It sure was unequal! I showed the Little League how to find important points in reading and how to "take notes "from them. It was a nice review of what they have practiced in PR (Phonics Road) and I used the summary and notations as copy work for the day (heh, heh, I'm all about cross over!). I'm sad that DyD doesn't really like to listen to me read aloud. She says it's too slow :( I like to snuggle and read to her. Why does she have to grow up?

All elementary kiddos reviewed previous spelling lists and grammar rules. The users of PR are kinda across the board right now, so our plan is to get all subjects on the same week by the end of our first 8-week session. That means Diva reviewed spelling, did a 15 minute grammar lesson (I love PR's quick lessons), and won't need to do any literature for a few days.  While the Little League read aloud Farmer Boy to me, and only reviewed spelling and grammar. I gave each of them a "Handbook" of terms, which is really just definitions of all the "grammar vocabulary" they've learned previously. They like being able to refer to it as we remembered definitions. It's certainly easier than flipping through Building Codes (a part of the PR program).

We started a family read aloud on Hudson Taylor. We only have to read one chapter, about 12 pages, per day, which will be a breeze as there are lots of pictures and the pages are tiny. It took about 10 minutes at lunch. We love the Young Reader's Christian Library biographies -- oldies but goodies.

Since both of my Little Leaguers are reading well now, I have added a daily independent reading to their schedules. This time around, we'll use history books for a period. At some point, I'll change to science or bible; whatever floats my boat, really. Today they read, A Visit to China by the Roops

My big boys spent some time with me going over the Biology course. I was surprised that there was no whining. They see it as "TOG meets Biology" and they're okay with that. I can't believe my babies are in high school. They were both thrilled to begin their first online high school class. Rockin' Out Guitar Dude finished his first assignment for Driver's Ed in a few seconds --- he really wants to drive. Then he moved on to his Health/Nutrition/Life Skills class and said it was gonna be a breeze. Bard and Book Devourer wasn't as thrilled, but I think that's b/c he just wants to sleep all day right now. I wish I could let him sleep in, but we tried that and he didn't get his work finished until 7pm or later then and *I* do not want to be in school that late. If he progresses well each day, I will let him nap after lunch for a bit. He has to earn it, though.

I guess the last school part to report was handing out all our TOG stuff. This is old hat at this point, so it's no biggie. The only difference is the boys heading into Rhetoric level. They are pleased to write in their spines for notation and not as pleased to see how much more intensive the thinking questions are. I planned out the next 8 weeks or assignments for the LG/UG kiddos in my planner and I'm ready to roll.

The worst part of the day, once 2 of my dc got over the "I'm so tired" nonsense, was a computer virus. I'm on the dc's computer now. Mine is hurting. My virus protection has an order placed and I should get a call w/in 48 hours...48 hours?! Don't they know my science lesson plans are in there? Oh well. I choose not to be mad about this and instead be blessed to have a second computer. Thank God for the little things. If I didn't have this second computer, it would really hurt our schooling. Computer time will be tight until mine is fixed. Not optimal, but it is what it is.

So, after all that...I am long winded...we had a great first day. The only thing I didn't get to was a reading lesson with AtG. That's okay, though. I plan on 3/week, so I'll just pick it up some other day. He did do science, history and math; not bad for his first day of K.

Thanks for all the prayers and love. They worked!


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