Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekly Report-Week 5

Another great week, man I love it when a plan actually works! Here's the rundown...

Language Arts: Princess finished up Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and started Gooney Bird Greene. We also started read Twenty-one Balloons together out loud. We completed another week of Writing with Ease and Dication day by day. I love these two programs and I'm seeing progress in her writing and in her spelling. One day I'll have to post more about how we use Dictation day by day, it's an oldie but goodie free from Google Books.

Math: We began our unit with money and I see now why Singapore holds off on going to deep into money in early books. Princess now has the mathematically basis to do all the money calculations and so far this unit has been a breeze to teach. Plus she loves to play store!

History: We learned about monks who lived in caves and read some of the Jataka Tales this week. Our timeline is looking good, here's a picture of it...
Science: We did finish our Venus experiment with the use of our heat fan instead of the Sun, see Science Corner post for a picture. Then we moved onto the Earth and the Moon. We didn't go into to much depth here because we will study the Earth more as part of our Earth Science unit. Even so, Princess enjoyed the week and learned alot about the Moon.

Other: We continued to read and narrate "As you Like It" in Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare. We did a bug's eye view sketch of a plant in our house which was fun. We also completed our artist and composer studies. Here's a look at her artist study sheet...
Education of Me: I spent the first half slugging through the original Song of Roland poem and the second half breezing through Stories of Roland. You can read more about the journey in this post. Needless to say, I am learning more about Charlemagne and the brave knights of old. What I am wondering is did they really have that much gold, seventy camels full of golden objects?

Hope you had a great week! You can read more weekly wrap ups here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's the purpose of my self education?

I found myself asking this question this week as I was slugging through Song of Roland. I had no idea what this poem was about or the history behind it. I found the verse to be beautiful, but I wasn't understanding it. I was having a hard time following the storyline because I had no pegs of information to mark it with. The good thing is that I'm starting to see firsthand the reasons for the plan that is laid out in The Well Trained Mind. The bad thing is that I didn't have this type of education and although I consider myself well educated and well read, there's still some work to be done.

So back to answering the question, the purpose of my self education is to learn so that I am prepared to teach her. It's not to finish books on a checklist. With that in mind I am switching to Stories of Roland by HE Marshall. This is an easier version of the Song of Roland poem that I am considering using with princess in the logic stage. So I'll kill two birds with one stone; I'll preview the book for her and I'll actually learn who Roland was and the storyline behind the Song of Roland poem. Although I'm a bit embarrassed to post this, I'm hoping that it will help others as the pursue thier own self-education :)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Science Corner: Experiments, but I don't have everything I need... I can't do the experiment, right? It happens to me all the time, I forget to look ahead in my plans and so I didn't get all the materials I needed for the experiment we are suppose to do. (I know that I'm not the one one this happens to!) So do we ditch the experiment all together, pushing it back till another week that probably will never come?

Heaven's no! As the Super Slueths do, we think, think, think. Here are some helpful hints for doing experiments with what you have on hand...
  1. See if you can substitute an ingredient: For example if the experiment calls for vinegar, try lemon juice. If you don't have a potato for your starch test experiment, try using a piece of bread or cooked pasta. For baking soda, well there just is no substitute for baking soda that I know of :). The internet and your cookbook are great places to look for "recipe" substitutions.
  2. See if you can substitute a material: For example, I use my meat thermometer for all our experiments. Don't laugh, there's no need to go out and buy thermometers for you to use in science when you have two of them sitting in your kitchen. I have used my oven and a heat lamp (they look like fans here) for the Sun. We don't get too many sunny days here, so when our experiments have called for the Sun, I've had to improvise! If you don't have a two liter bottle, make a mini-experiment using a one liter. The list can go on and on, but the basic idea is that you don't have to have the exact item, just something close to it :).

  3. See if you can subsitute the experiment: Take a look at your experiment book. They usually have several experiments for any given topic. If you don't have the supplies for the one that was scheduled and you can't make a substitution to make it work, go ahead and change the whole experiment. Your kids will still learn about science!

Hope that these tips give you some ideas about how you can continue to share hands on science with you kids even if you don't have all the materials. Trust me, it's worth the time and effort!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Report-Week 4

We've had a fun week! First we took a field trip to the local science museum, which is always an adventure in a foreign country. Actually, we really enjoyed ourselves and I can see going back at some point. Second our local bookstore re-opened with huge (at least for this area) English books section. It was such an exciting event for this book lover that I had to blog about it here. Even with all the excitement we did manage to fit it a bit of school. Here's the rundown...

Language Arts: Princess enjoyed reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle so much last week with Writing with Ease that she chose the book for her reader this week. I'm impressed because she was able to keep up with a chapter a day. We also completed another week of WWE and learned about questions with Good English. We finished A Little Princess this week and princess decided that this is her favorite book so far (that's because it's the first one of the year!).

Math: Princess took her Unit 2 test and passed it with flying colors. We spent the rest of the week playing games and reviewing what she has learned so far.

Science: We spent the week studying Venus, which we added to our wall sized solar system. It's a scaled model so it looks like Mercury and Venus are right on top of each other.
We haven't completed our experiement yet for this week because we haven't had a sunny enough day. We'll try to get to it this weekend, but if the Sun doesn't show I'll have to figure out some other way to make an artificial Sun.

History: We moved on to the Byzantine Empire and princess was most impressed by Empress Theodora playing with bears. We are really loving Story of the World! So much so that princess decided to pick up volume 1 this week and re-read it on her own. Guess that means that we can't use Story of the World with Sonlight Core 6 & 7 in the future. Bummer!

Education of Me: I spent the week reading all about scientists from the Middle Ages so that I could complete Great Scientists of the Middle Ages. It's now available and I have a new blog to host the Series, which you can see here. It's free to download, so go take a look.

Also be sure to check out the other weekly reports and the Weekly Wrap-up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Lover's Oversea's Paradise

When we first moved here we found a local bookstore that had a decent section of classical books in English. It closed for remodeling the week after I had found it, so I never got to take full advantage of it. Today it reopened! It's beautiful indside, picture marble floors(well fake ones at least), wood detailing (ok, it's paneling but it's still pretty!) and good lighting (this is a really big bonus here where we see the sun once every 10 days or so). It has three whole floor of books! Yes, I was drooling, but given the fact that I can't read 90 % of the books in there (I only know about 40 of the 10,000 characters); I made a beeline for the escalator that leads to the top floor which contains the imported book section.
My pulse quickened and I had to force myself not to run because this is what happens to a book lover without a library, it's the worst form of sensory deprivation! What I found was almost a dream come true, three whole, very long aisles devoted to classical literature in English (trust me, this is huge!). After I picked my jaw off the floor, I started hunting for the books that I plan on reading this year for my self-education. I wasn't able to find them all, but I found some good substitutions, like The Travels of Marco Polo and Piers Plowman, and a ton more books that I want to read in the future. It's a good thing that I had a budget because I could have easily left with every book they had in there.

I also found a section of abridged classics that are used to help teach the locals English. The books have some Chinese in them, but all in all they are perfect to use with princess. I snatched up these to use this year...
I also picked up a few for next year so that I won't have to worry about whether or not they will be there the next time I go back.

Now I have to find room for the books and change my reading list, plus I need to calm down from all the excitement. Does it make me certifiable that I'm still alittle giddy from the whole experience?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Project: Making An Illuminated Book

I thought that I would share more about the project we did last week as I thought others might enjoy seeing a closer look. I found this website when I was doing research for our study of the Middle Ages. It looked like something that my princess would enjoy so I scheduled it into our plans.

Princess worked on coloring the pages while I was reading aloud her history. When she was finished; I had her make up a story to go with the pages. Her story was the medieval version of Mary and Joseph, kinda cute huh? She then asked me to write in cursive because she wanted it to be pretty.We then made a "golden" cover for the book. This was a neat project for princess and it helped her to understand how long it really took to make books in the middle ages. She has a new found appreciation for monks and for how precious books were from that time period, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Science Corner: What about experiments?

Experiments take time and preparation. You have to make sure you have the supplies. You need to read ahead to make sure you know the science behind it. You have to be willing to answer the questions that will inevitable come up. So is it worth doing experiments with your elementary age student?

Most definately YES! Experiments are the best way for your student to learn the principles of science in a fun and enjoyable way. Experiments make science an exiciting adventure. It's a sneaky way of teaching your student the principles of science and it's definately worth the time and effort you put in.

So how do you go about adding experiments to your week?
I highly recommend any book by Janice VanCleave! She uses common household items for her experiments and gives thorough explanations of the science behind them. She has books for every discipline of science and most are available at your local library. Add in some living books about the topic you are studying and you've got a complete science curriculum free from the library.
If you don't want to do the planning yourself, find a curriculum that does it for you. Elemental Science offers plans that include reading schedules, narrations, experiments and ongoing projects. Biology for the Grammar Stage was what sparked my own daughter enthusiasm for science. Although I believe Elemental Science offers the best, it's not the only program to include frequent experimentation. You could also check out NOEO and Real Science by Pandia Press.

The main goal of science in the elementary age is to get your student interested and excited about science. They will learn far more about Newton's law through experimentation than they ever would by reading a book. So get up, get yourself an experiment book and start learning!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekly Report-Week 3

Here's our weekly rundown...

Language Arts: This week I let princess choose her own book from our self. She chose Dolphin Adventure by Wayne Grover. She loved this book and it gave us an opportunity to discuss the differences between manatees and dolphins (for some reason she wanted to call the dolphins manatees, which are not the same, to clear this up we looked both up in our Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia-problem solved). Writing with Ease went well this week, in fact I noticed that her dictation is getting better. It's nice to know that progress is being made!

Math: We talked about multiplication and division within 10. Princess declared that this was the easiest week of math so far. Guess all that skip counting paid off!

Science: This week we studied Mercury. Here's a look at her notebook sheet...

Princess has really taken to Astronomy so far. She's very interested in the planets and it's cool to see her excited about another discipline of science!

History: We finished Our Little Celtics Cousins and we finished her medieval book. Princess insisted on it having a gold cover, which we made out of yellow construction paper since I haven't found where to purchase gold paint yet. Here's a picture of that...

We also began to talk about St. Augustine and what monks do.

Other: We continued to read Tales from King Arthur and watch the BBC animated version of Shakespeare's As You Like It. We also managed to practice the recorder for the first time this year! I'm hoping that we will be able to keep up with it as I would like her to have some sort of muscial instruction.

Education of Me: I began Song of Roland this week, but didn't get very far because I had a ton of things to do this week. It was an insanely busy week for me, but next week should be better! Anyways, so far I enjoy it. I'm reading a translation of the original version, so it's a step up in difficulty from last weeks selection. However I find the poetry easy to follow and I'm looking for more time to curl up with this book. I ran across this article on the importance of self-education by Susan Wise Bauer and I thought that I would share it with you all.

Hope you had a great week, thanks for reading about ours! If you want to read more reports check out the Weekly Wrap-up.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A New Look

I've been admiring blog headers and buttons from afar but figured that I could never create what I wanted on my own. That was until I discovered that you can save Microsoft publisher files as jpeg's. Which makes it very easy to design your own headers and buttons. Here's the tutorial I used to figure out the picture buttons with links. Now my clickable links are all pictures :). Hope you enjoy the changes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Had to share this...

On our recent travels we were able to see wildlife and flowers that I've never seen before. This flower made me stop in my tracks and stare in awe and wonder for quite awhile.

I have seen pink and yellow lady slippers, which are rare where I come from in the US, but I have never seen a purple one. It was way cool!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Biology for the Grammar Stage: New Edition

I just wanted to let you all know that Biology for the Grammar Stage has been revised. Several of the books planned were taken out of print this summer and it became apparent that a revision was in order. The new edition lays out a 20 week study of animals using the Kingfisher First Encyclopedia Of Animals, a 10 week study of the human body using the DK First Human Body Encyclopedia and a 6 week study of plants using Plant Parts from the Life of Plants Series. It still includes vocabulary, experiments, narrations and ongoing projects. The student workbook has also been revised to add some new pictures and change some of the narration and experiments sheets. The workbook still includes all the pages you need for the ongoing projects, narrations and experiments that are planned. You can check out the new samples here.
If you orderd Biology for the Grammar Stage within the last several months and would like to have the new edition, please email me at info@elementalscience with biology in the subject line, your paypal email and your approximate order date (so I can verify your order). I hope that you all will enjoy the revisions.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up-Week 2

Another good week here! I feel that we have a good routine going and I'm really happy with the material that we are using. For once I feel no need to tweak, I never thought I'd see this day. Now let's just hope that it lasts :)!

Here's the rundown of our week...

Language Arts: Princess finally got into The Sword and the Tree! She kicked it into high gear and finished the last half of the book in two days. We'll add a review sheet for this book to her reading notebook sometime this weekend. We completed week 2 of Writing with Ease and I'm so glad that I got the workbook for this as it has made it to much easier for me to do (thanks, Linda!). We also talked about what makes a sentence and a statement with Good English and completed another week of Dictation Day by Day for spelling.

Math: We worked on multiplication and division with 5, which princess handled well. We finished the week with a mental math sheet reviewing the 3, 4 and 5 facts. I let princess use manipulatives for this. I have put together unifix cubes in groups of 2, 3, 4 and 5. We pull these out and uses them to skip count her way through her multiplication facts. Here's what it looks like... History: We spent the week reading a book called Our Celtic Cousins. This is a wonderful old book that weave tons of history through a storyline about two boys. So far so good. We have also been working on making our own illuminated manuscript. Hopefully it will be done next week, so I can share pictures of it.

Science: We spent the week talked about the sun. We started our wall sized solar system, here's a look at the sun...
Princess was fascinated by solar spots, so that's why our sun has several of them!

Other: We watched more of the BBC Animated version of As You Like It on you tube. I love these videos, they are a great introduction to Shakespeare for this age group. We also read more about King Arthur and looked at another painting by Giotto di Bondone. Princess completed her first art project of the year, which was a still life using a pen (so that they can't erase), here's the result (it's a purse, a candle and two pixie sticks)... Education of Me: I have been frantically trying to rewrite Biology for the Grammar Stage since 4 of the six books have gone out of print in the last two months, grrrr! Hence the lack of blog posts. Even so, I finished Stories of Beowulf and I am shocked to say that I actually enjoyed it. I remembered hating reading this in high school. I think it's because it was a snippet view, watered down, poorly done version. Now I'm actually looking forward to reading the real poem and sharing it with princess. Maybe there is something to this whole classical education thing :)!

That's a look at our week, hope you had a great one! You can read more weekly reports at the Weekly Wrap-up.