Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Princess' snow angel!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly Report 11/17/08-11/21/08

It's Friday again, time for another weekly report! I don't know about you, but it feels like this month has just flown by. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week! We will be taking the week off to read Thanksgiving books and make Thanksgiving projects. It should be a fun week! Anyways, here's what we did this week...

LA: Princess read Oink and Pearl, she also independently read the story of Gingerbread Man from Treadwell's Reading Literature-Primer. I'm very proud of her, it's a big step to read a book on your own. We started back up with ETC again and I'm very glad we did! It seems to be going well, but more than that, it's what princess really needs to be focusing on right now.

Math: We finished our unit on length and did a review on all the concepts we have studied so far in 2A. Princess knew what she was doing, finally! We done a few reviews in the past where she had forgotten everything we had just studied, so we were back at square one again. Not this time, we will be moving on! I think what has really helped is that fact that she has almost all her addition/subtraction facts down. They really are important :)!

Science: This week was our last week with birds, now on to reptiles! Princess has decided that she wants to make an animal lapbook with all the animals we have studied. She's on a bit of a lapbook kick since we made our first one at the beginning of the week. She loves the idea of them, so we will see how the animal lapbook goes. For now, here's a picture of her narrations from this week...
History: We studied the early Greeks and made a Greek vase out of paper mache. It's currently a work in progress and I'll try to share pictures when it's done. For our read-aloud we read Usb. Greek myths which I'll put here because it's technically history. It's ok, but it's not our favorite read-aloud for the year. Which is alright, because you can't love them all!

Electives: We listened to Debussy's Claire de Lune, which is my favorite piece of his, princess was not as impressed. We also finished Nesbit's version of "A Midsummer's Night Dreams", we both enjoyed this. We actually spent time on her cross-stitch butterfly this week and now I would say that she's about 2/3 of the way done. Finally we did splatter stenciling, here's a picture of princess hard at work...
Hope you had an enjoyable week and thanks for reading about ours!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our schedule

As promised, here's the nitty gritty of our schedule. I have to have everything in one place, so each week I pull out all my teacher's guides and fill out my Weekly Assignment Sheet, seen here. I have included the bubbles for our memory work, here's what the sheet looks like...
Then, each month I put together a memory work sheet that has our verses, math, poetry, science, foreign language phrases and history phrases for that month. That way all our memory work is in one place. Here's what that looks like...

So, now that I'm all prepared, here's what we do daily.
  • First I get up before her to get my thoughts in order, look over my plans and set out our books for the day. I also make my bed and get dressed. (princess does hers later).
  • Princess gets up, we eat breakfast together and then we do our Bible plans for the day at the kitchen table (I hope to add hymn study from AO into this slot later this year)
  • Next, on to math also at the table, I find this works best because princess is fresh. I usually try to start with a game, then teaching time and she does her workbook, while I do the dishes.
  • Then we read our poem for the day(from AO) and move to the couch for reading, first she reads to me, then I read to her(read-aloud)
  • After this we take a break-some days we take a walk, some days we go to the library, some days it's close to lunch so we eat before we start up again. (If it's time for lunch, I will have princess work on LA-either ETC or copywork while I prepare lunch and we will do FLL together before we eat. That way the three R's are always done before lunch.)
  • When we come back we work on language arts--see above
  • Then we do science and history, some days we do this before lunch, some days we do it after. If we are doing a big project with history, I try to save it for after lunch, it's just easier for us to work on a project with a full belly! Also if our science for the day is the Outdoor Hour Challenge we will save this for after lunch.
  • We finish up with our electives, almost always after lunch. Mon-Artist/Composer Study, Tue-Tuesday Tea(we read our Sonlight poetry and Shakespeare or a fairy tale), Wed-handicraft/library day(hopefully!), Thur-Art Skills(Art Adv. @ Home), Fri-Friday Freewrite ideas from Bravewriter
  • After we are done, princess take a rest time and I catch up on my work and cleaning for the day.

This is how our day works for us. Normally, we are done school by 1pm, 2 at the latest. The basic idea of our schedule is to get the necessary basics done first, that way if something unexpected does happen, we can handle it without losing out on the important parts of school. Hope that this post helps you as you seek to plan out your day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (with a few words)

My dog was so cold, that she dug her way into this blanket and ended up like this. Maybe we need to turn up the heat?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How we get it all done...

Recently I have seen on the forums I visit that several people are asking, how do you fit it all in? As a homeschooler and stay at home mom, it's hard to find that balance between overloading and underloading, but it's also difficult to figure out how to schedule your week so that you get done what you need to and don't get side tracked. So I thought that I would share some tips that I have gathered from other vetern homeschooling moms that have helped me to get it all done.

Tips to help you get it all in...
1. Plan, plan, plan~I plan my meals, plan when I clean certain parts of the house and plan what we are going to do each day in homeschooling. If I don't plan, it either doesn't get done or I am left frustrated because I feel rushed and disorganized. Can you tell that I don't function well with chaos? Here's a look at my meal planner/cleaning schedule...

I leave the bottom blank so that I can write up my shopping list at the same time, then just tear it off and take it with me.

And my homeschool planner, I have little bubbles to color in or check off for those pesky things that I always forget, such as math drill and poetry work.

2. Protect your school time~I heard this from many vetern homeschoolers when I started and I have learned the value of what they were saying. If you want to get school done, don't let other things interupt your school time. Don't answer then phone, my hubby has his own ring tone and I do answer his calls, but noone else, sorry guys, I'll call back when we take a break. Also try not to schedule appointments when you would normally do school.
3. Have breaks and rest time~I know this sounds counterproductive, but breaks help you, the teacher, to refocus and prepare for the next thing. We take a break after reading in the morning, I use this time to gather our books and supplies for the next several subjects. We also have rest time in the afternoon, I use this time to catch up on my work and emails, clean the house and get a head start on dinner.
4. Get up before your kids~I know it's hard, I'm not a morning person, but I've found that the early morning hours are a great time to get things done! I wake up with my hubby and make his lunch, then when he leaves, I have my quiet time. I follow that with some work, either for my classes or working on my next curriculum. Next I look over my schedule for the day and set out the books for our first block of work. Then I get on the internet and catch up with emails, forums and blogs. Pretty soon after princess gets up. Getting up early has been such a help because I'm able to get all my stuff done before she gets up and I'm not left frustrated about all the things that I need to be doing.
5. When things aren't working, re-evaluate~Sit down and think about why things aren't working. Will another program work better? Do you need to take some time and just work on habits? Does your schedule need rearranging? Are some of the things you are doing unnecessary? Are your expectations realistic?

I hope that these tips will help you as much as they have helped me. Check back here on Thursday, I'm going to share a bit more about our daily/weekly schedule.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #39

This challenge was about fall weather. Yesterday we happened to have alot of wind, then lots of clouds and then snow showers later in the evening, allgreat fall weather to observe!. This morning I woke up to about an inch of snow, not much, but it still seems early to have this amount of snow!
Back to the nature study, I ended up purchasing Hearts and Trees Weather Lapbook and I was very pleased that I did. Princess and I enjoyed putting it together yesterday. I would like to mention that this is my first lapbook, ever. The kit was easy for me to use, except one part which princess easily figured out. There's nothing like being shown up by your 6yo! We discussed all topics that were presented and filled in what we could. Here's what the lapbook looked like...

We made a prediction of what the weather would be outside, put on our coats and headed outside. We happened to have an outdoor thermometer, so princess recorded that. Then, we went for a short walk, it was really cold! We observed the clouds and then headed back inside. I forgot to take the camera and it was too cold to go back out, so no pictures, sorry! Once we were back inside we filled in our observations in our weather lapbook.
Later that night after princess had gone to bed, we looked outside and saw snow. Since I am such a good mom and nature study is so important to me, I woke princess up. Here she is outside in her pj's and a jacket in the snow. I love homeschooling!

Our plan today is to continue our fall weather nature study with a snowball fight, don't be fooled serious scientific research will be done :-)!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elemental Science news!!!

I have the best husband in the world! He stayed up late last night working on my website. He made a few creative changes that I was asking for and he added paypal buttons to my site and my blog. So now you can download the Elemental Science programs directly from the source instead of having to go to Lulu. I'm so excited about this change, although it will mean a bit more work for me. I think that it will make the whole process easier. Go take a look, you'll see he did a great job!

Also I have my Chemistry for the Grammar Stage program about two-thirds of the way done and hope to post an early sample up on the yahoo group within the next several weeks. I have opened the yahoo group up, so that it's easier for people to join and take a look at what's there. There is also a new link to it on the sidebar of this blog.

It is my hope that these changes and my curriculum as a whole will make it easier for all homeschooling moms to do science with thier children!

Education of Me

I know that this has nothing to do with my ancient history reading plan, but I have been busy on my education over the past two weeks. I was able to complete one of my classes and send off the final exam! That leaves me one more class before I get my master's degree. It's taken me quite awhile to finish, but I'm proud of my work and I have learned so much.

Update on the Iliad: Do we even need to go there? I haven't read anymore of it, I know on my last post I promised that I would read the book. I still plan on it. I finally returned the library copy and bought my own. It now sits on my shelf screaming read me!!! I'll get there, eventually (hanging my head in shame).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #38-Chesnut Tree

We did our nature study last Friday, but I'm just not getting around to writing it up. We were lucky enough to have a real chesnut tree close by our apartment!

A real treat for around here because most of them have been affected by chesnut blight, a disease which affects the bark. Princess and I discussed the disease and what it meant for the chesnut population. Unfortunately from the looks of it, this tree may not last much longer.

We had already looked at the seed pods and seeds earlier in the year. We even ate some that had been roasted in the oven one night! But this week, we were only able to study the remnants of the seed pods and seeds.

We also did bark and leaf rubbings of the tree. We discussed how the leaves looked alot like the leaves of a chesnut oak. Then we headed instead to complete our journal entries.

I'm so glad that we had a chance to complete this nature study. Please check out this study and others at Barb's Handbook for Nature blog. It's been a great experience for us and I'm sure that you will enjoy all she has to offer there!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Week Report-11/10/08-11/14/08

Another successful week, here's what it looked like...

LA: We decided to back off of All About Spelling for now and pick back up Explode the Code. I love AAS, but princess does not and I'm not sure that it's worth the battle right now. We will finish the ETC series and then move onto spelling. Princess is happy about the decision and I'm happy because we are still working on reinforcing phonics which was my goal for this year. Princess is still working through FLL. She also read Julius this week along with part of Oink and Pearl.

Math: We had our end of unit test and princess passed with flying colors. I'm so proud of her, her math skills have really taken off! So we will leave addition/subtraction within 1000 and move onto length. I know that princess will enjoy this unit because she is constantly measuring things around the house, she thinks it's great fun!

Science: We did the coolest experiment I have ever done this week! It didn't end up exactly as planned, but isn't that when real learning takes place? We dissolved an eggshell in vinegar, what was left was like a rubber ball and you could see the yolk, a bit strange, but very fun to look at. The egg was suppose to shrink, but instead it grew, good old osmosis. As a scienctist I should have predicted this, but alas, some of my smart genes left when I was pregnant with her. So now our egg is in salt to draw out the water and see if we can shrink the egg! Also we continued our study of birds. Here's an update on her habitat diorama...

History: We studied the Minoans this week. We also read a book on Atlantis because this was a subject that I was fascinated with as a kid. So naturally I wanted to share it with princess. Next week onto the Greeks!

Others: We finished Homer Price; the verdict: princess enjoyed it! For artist study we looked at Renior's Girl with a watering can, which is one of my favorite paintings of all times. For art we did some styrofoam printing which turned out to be a very neat project. We are really enjoying Art Adventures @ Home. Finally we started Pilgrim Stories, which I downloaded from Google books. We have both enjoyed this and I hate to say it, but I'm learning alot about the pilgrims and what led them to leave England.

Now off to see if we can get a little nature study into our week! Hope you had a wonderful week too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Weekly Report 11/3-11/7

We had a busy Friday and a busy day today, so I'm just getting time to put this up! Let's just say that things are about to change here in the next months and this is something that I am very excited about! As I can, I will share more details with you all. That said, here's a look at our week...

Language Arts: Tabitha read Sammy the Seals and a Fancy Nancy book this week. We spent a second week on Step 12 of AAS and I'm not sure that this is working for us right now. I think that we are going back to finish an Explode the Code book to give me some time to really think this over and decide where I want to go and what will work best with princess's learning style.

Math: Princess was doing well with subtraction with and without renaming, so I threw in a few addition with renaming problems towards the end of the week. She seemed to take it in stride. So I'm going to go ahead with my plans to give her an end of the unit test around the middle of next week. Then on to length!

Science: We spent another week on birds and princess has decided that it's not fair that the males have more colors than the females. She believes that the girls should be prettier! Here's a look at how our food charts are going. The chart and the animals are all a part of my science program, Biology for the Grammar Stage.

History: We finished the chicken mummy this week, here's the post about that. We also studied Moses and the Exodus this week and made a book about the ten plagues. Princess is still enjoying our history study.

Others: We began reading Henry Huggins this week and we have enjoyed this so far, it's a cute book! We also did gadget printing in which we focused on using color to create a pattern. Here's what princess created...

I hope you had a great week, hope you enjoyed reading about ours.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Chicken Mummy

Yesterday we went to a friends house so that we could finish the chicken mummy project together. Here's what the chicken looked like after 6 weeks in the salt(changing it several times)...

I have to say that the smell of the salt was not the best, but once we cleaned him up, it was better. We coated the chicken with scented oil that we had made earlier. Then we started to wrap him. My friends daughter graciously offered up some of her old jewelry to use as amulets. We broke a cinnamon stick in half and put that in there too. Here's the final result...

All said and done, this was a fun project, but if I every get a chance to do it again, we are using an apple instead. There is something about rubbing oil on a dry shriveled up chicken that I just don't need to experience again. This project is truly a once in a lifetime project!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #37

This outdoor hour challenge was on spruces. We happen to have a very tall blue spruce at the church just across the street from us. On our way over there, we talked about conifers and pines, which we studied about a month ago. I was surprised and pleased with how much princess remembered. Here's what our tree looked like...

We observed the general shape of the tree and the fact that the branches slopped downward, almost touching the ground. Princess tried to get in to do a bark rubbing, but the branches were so close, she couldn't get to the trunk. We decided that this was to help keep the tree warm in the witner. We also picked a few needles and talked about their shape. I wanted to have princess observe the cones close up still on the tree, but the only ones left on the tree were on the highest branches. So we picked one up off the ground. Once as home we put the cone in water to see if it would close up. This is the cone before the water...

This is the cone after being in the water for 20 min...
Pretty cool huh? At home, we entered our finds into our nature journal and also wrote a few observations. Here they are...

Once again, we enjoyed our nature study. I'm really glad that we have added this to our week!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Education of Me Update...

Isn't amazing how many books you can finish when you're trying to read one your don't enjoy? Yep, you guessed if, I have only read one more chapter in the Iliad. This book is becoming my nemesis. I want to finish it because I don't like to give up, but this one's hard! It's just not holding my interest. So here's what I've read in the past week instead of the Iliad...
  1. The Secret Life of Bees-I really enjoyed this book. It's about a girl who lost her mother very young and has an abusive father. She runs away and goes to live with a bee-keeper(there's more to that, but I don't want to give it all away). It's really a coming of age and coming to terms with your life circumstances kinda book. It was nice to get lost in the characters.
  2. Animal Farm-I've read this book before and it was good to reread it. This books always reminds me that the grass is not always greener on the other side!

What I plan on doing next week...

  1. Read the Iliad-I refuse to take this off the list, I will finish this book! See I posted it here, so you all can watch and make sure I do it.

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekly Menu Plan

I love to cook and I'm always on the look out for new recipes. Since I have enjoyed seeing the menu plans of others, I thought that I would begin to share mine. We try to eat healthy, as we have worked very hard to get to a healthy weight. So, most of my menu plans are under 500 calories a serving size. If you'd like a recipe, leave a comment and I'll post it for you! I'm toying with the idea of doing a cooking blog(check out the poll!), we shall see....

Monday: Polynesian Chicken with Pineapple (this I got from Juan Carlos on the Food Network) and Hoisin Couscous (this I made up on my own)

Tuesday: Chili (I have modified a Cooking Light chili recipe to suit our tastes, for now! Plus it's only 300 cal. for a cup of it!) with Double corn cornbread (I add frozen corn to cornbread mix. We only eat 1 each, so usually I bake the whole box and freeze the ones we don't eat)

Wednesday: Spicy Orange Shrimp with Sweet Potato Noodles (Another great Cooking Light Recipe! I may have to make it with pork though if shrimp doesn't go on sale.)

Thursday: Spaghetti w/ Ground Turkey (I had plenty of tomatoes to make sauce this year, so now we have to use it!, ground turkey is lower in fat and calories than ground beef, so it helps to keep us healthy)

Friday: Black Beans and Rice with Turkey Sausage (this is a new recipe for me, so I'll have to let you know about it.)

Saturday: Penne and Sausage with Peppers and Onions (I'm not sure how this is going to come together, since at this point it's all in my head!)

Sunday: Jerk Chicken w/ broccoli and baked sweet potato (This is one of my hubby's favorites. I got the recipe for the spice blend from the web when we lived in Peru and we used it ever since.)
There's my plans for the week. It's going to be good eats here at our house!