Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekly Report-Week 26

Is it Friday again already? It was a good week for us, but it went by very fast for me. Here's a look at what we did...

Language Arts: Princess began reading Shadrach this week. She has fallen in love with this book and I suspect that she might try to finish it this weekend. We also completed 5 lessons in FLL, a full week of WWE and another lesson in Spelling Workout. We began reading The Secret of the Andes this week. Both of us are super excited about this book since it's set in Peru near where we used to live. When I read it, I can hear the panpipes playing and feel the breezes blowing through the valley. It's brought up some great memories!

Math: We spent some time on review this week, which princess did very well at. So we moved onto long division. This has proven to be alittle tough for princess. I think mainly because she doesn't have her facts down cold yet. The strange this is though that when she has a word problem that requires long division to solve it, she can do it without a problem, but if you give her the exact same problem by itself, she has a hard time with it. I'm not sure what to think about this, she obviously understands the concept, maybe it's a confidence issue?? Either way, we are going to pause when we finish the 3A book and spend some time reviewing the concepts she learned using Miquon, plus work on her mult/div facts before we move on.

Science: We studied habitats this week and made habitat fact posters, here's a look at them...
History: We spent the week studying the civilizations of Central and South America, such as the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Incas. Princess really enjoyed history this week and for that I'm grateful!

Extras: We looked at different types of wind instruments this week. Also princess went to clay class again this week, beyond that, it didn't get done.

Education of Me: I'm still plugging away at MacBeth.

Hope you had a great week, read about others at the Weekly Report.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Report-Week 25

We had another good week here, here's a look at what we did...

Language Arts: Princess read a book about Columbus, which she enjoyed. We completed two more lessons in Spelling Workout and one in Writing with Ease. We also squeezed in alittle First Language Lessons.
Math: We contiued to work on multiplying tens and hundreds this week and things went very well. Princess is gaining confidence in the multiplication department, so we ended the week with a test. She passed with flying colors, so I guess that means that she does get it after all :).
Science: We talked about oceans this week. The neat thing was that when we looked at the pages about life under the sea, princess was able to point out fish she had actually seen when she went snorkling with her Dad. I love those moments when life collides with learning and your child sees that what they are studying is really true! We also did an experiment on ocean currents. Here's a look at what happened when we added cold colored water to hot clear water...
Pretty cool, huh?

History: We continued to read Pedro's journal this week. Princess couldn't believe that Columbus though America was India. I explained to her that in those days they didn't have the maps we have now; on their maps they didn't have the Americas. She responded with, "Well why didn't Leif Ericson just tell them, he knew about it". I had to snicker a bit but seriously I'm glad that she's remembering things we have studied and making connections. We'll just have to work on the whole timeline aspect of it :).

Other: We actually got to some of the extras this week. We looked at a painting by Michaelangelo and listened to a concerto by Telemann. Princess declared that Telemann was much better than Scarletti and I have to say that I agree!
Education of Me: I managed to read two Acts of MacBeth this week. So far, I'm loving this play. I'll write more about it later.

Well, that's our week, hope you had a good one too! Read more at the Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Strange Comments

Lately I've been getting ALOT of spam comments. I guess I should take that as a compliment as it means that my blog is getting more notice. Most of them are just random advertisments and some are vulgar-please people look at the blog, do you really think that I'm interested in that type of thing? The latest one had me laughing, so I thought that I would share it with you. It was tied to this post that I made a year and a half ago, here's what the anonymous commenter wrote...

" You've saved my life again!"

Really? I've saved your life with my very lame review of Prince and the Pauper? I tell you wonders never cease!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weekly Report-Week 24

I'm tired this week! I think that my body is trying to get ready for the baby, so I'm not sleeping all that long at night, which means I need a nap, which just perpetuates the cycle. Thankfully I plan at the beginning of the year, so for the most part I've just had to open my plan book and go! Here's what we did this week...

Language Arts: We completed two lessons in Spelling Workout this week. We also completed another week of First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease. Princess read a book about volcanoes this week. She very much enjoyed this book and I'm surprised how much she likes to read non-fiction.

Math: We took things slow this week, but we did get through the beginning of two digit multiplication. Princess understands how to do it, she just gets nervous because she doesn't know all her facts cold. So today we took the day off from bookwork and just played a game suggested in the Home Instructor's Guide. Both of us were surprised by how quickly she did her calculations. It was just another good reminder that games are an effective teaching tool. They build speed and confidence in a very sneaky way :).

Science: We began the week by erupting our volcano. I wrote a whole post about this below, but here's a picture of what it looked like as it was erupting...
Then for the rest of the week, we studied about mountains and glaciers.

History: We spent the first part of the week studying the Moghul empire and then we began reading about the explorers, such as Columbus. We have paused in our reading of SOTW so that we can read Pedro's Journal. So far princess loves this book!

Other: The only extras we go to this week was princess's clay class. Oh, well.

Education of Me: I didn't get any reading done this week. Hey, I was just happy to be able to stay up long enough to teach school and make lunch before crashing :).

Hope you had a great week, thanks for reading about ours! Be sure to check out other weekly reporters over at Kris's blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Proof Books are here

Aren't the beautiful? (just ignore the sheets behind them which are most definately not beautiful, but it's all we could get here) I'm super excited to see my babies ready to go!

We are going to go ahead and have a batch printed out in the next few weeks. This is about a onthearlier that we had anticipated. So, in light of that we will offer the pre-order price of $24 for a combo set for the next two weeks only. Then the price will go up to the regular price of $25.98 for a combo set. For now, we will be including media mail shipping for all orders of $24 or more. The books should ship on or before March 5th, 2010. Physics for the Grammar Stage will be ready for print in several weeks and should be available to ship by April 15,2010. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email at

Now I just have to wait 12 more weeks for my other baby to come, who will hopefully be quite a bit cuter :).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Project: Exploding Volcano!!!

Well, sort of :). Princess was a bit disappointed that our volcano didn't go boom. I think that she's been watching to much of Mythbuster's lately. Anyways, here how we made a volcano from scratch and then exploded it in the shower (that's right, in the shower).

First, we started by making some salt dough. For this project I chose a salt/cornstarch dough because it tends to dry quicker, here's my favorite recipe for that...
  • Mix 2 cups salt with 2/3 cup of water and heat over medium heat for several minutes. In another bowl mix 1 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cups of cold water. Remove the salt water from the heat and add in the cornstarch water. Return to the heat and stir continuously until thickened. Let cool a bit and then knead the dough until it's smooth and workable. This makes about 2 cups of dough.

So after making two batches of dough, we had enough to cover our glass bottle. Here's what it looked like (she's already started to paint it in this picture as I forgot to get the camera out on the first day, but you get the idea)...
Next we let our volcano dry for several days. This is where the size of you volcano makes a difference. The bigger the volcano = the more dough = very long time to dry. I had a friend who made a huge volcano (about 2 1/2 feet tall); very cool, but it took three weeks to dry! So after your volcano is dry, you can paint it. We opted for standard black paint, but you can use any color you like. Here's what it looked like after that...
After the paint dried(this took about 1/2 a day), we filled our bottle with 1/4 cup of baking soda, 2 Tbsp of liquid soap and some red food coloring. A funnel comes in real handy for this step, but if you don't have one or if your's has a wire mesh that won't allow baking soda through, like mine, you can always cut off the corner of a plastic bag.
At this point I would move your volcano to a place that can get messy, such as outside, the sink or the shower. Now for the fun part, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Do this very quickly, as the reaction begins immediately! Here's what our volcano looked like as it was exploding...
We had alot of fun with this project, from start to finish! I highly recommend doing this at least once during your homeschooling journey.

ETA: I received an email from a dear friend of mine that let me know of another option for exploding your volcano. Apparently diet soda (preferrably orange as it makes cool colored lava) and a Tbsp of sugar creates alot more fun. We're going to try this later on in the week and I'll try to post a picture of it when we do. (We tried this and it didn't work for us, but I think that it's because we had alittle baking soda at the bottom of our volcano.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Report-Week 23

Keep on trucking seems to be the theme of our school this year. I keep expecting the burn out to hit or to hit a wall, but thankfully that hasn't happened yet. Here's what our week looked like...

Language Arts: Princess finished Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm this week and I'm very proud of her because this book was a bit of a stretch for her. She did great though and only complained about the length of her assignments once. Our switch to First Language Lessons and Spelling Workout is going great and I'm pleased with the decision to make the change. We also completed another week of Writing with Ease.
Math: We continued to work on multiplication and introduced multiplication within the tens and hundreds. At this point she's just doing problems like 600 x 2, but I can see that she's frustrated because she doesn't know her facts down cold. For the time being we are going to keep moving forward, but we'll see how things go next week.

Science: This week we talked about tornadoes and volcanoes. Here's our tornado...
We also made our volcano out of salt dough, which is currently drying. Next week we'll explode it, which is the part princess is really looking forward to.

History: We talked about Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages and we also looked at the African kingdoms of Ghana and Mali. We continued to work on our mapwork, coloring pages and narrations. Her notebook is really looking great!

Other: Here's the one part of school that doesn't get done as much as I would like, but I guess that's bound to happen. Princess is continuing to go to clay class. Here's a look at some of the projects she has made so far...
Education of Me: I started to read MacBeth this week. I haven't finished all that I wanted to because of all the other things that needed to be done this week, but so far I like it. But then again I love Shakespeare so I'm not surprised.

Thanks for reading about our week, if you want to read about others, go check out the weekly report over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Having a Homeschool Business

Awhile back I read this blog post over at The History of the World Blog. In it Susan Wise Bauer says,
"Cooking, I think, must be like writing. You do the same thing day, after day, after day, after day. You’d better enjoy it for itself, not for the rewards."
This is really true. There are days when you don't want to write, but you have to keep going because people are counting on you finishing what you said you would finish. It's not about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, because frankly it's not there. There's not alot of money in writing homeschool curriculum, some, but not alot. Her post got me thinking alot about why I continue to move forward with Elemental Science. Lately I've seen too many companies start up only to have to change their plans before they even have one product out. This is discouraging to me because these ladies have worthy, marketable ideas, but the nitty gritty of getting it done has become to much. I have to admit that there are days when I'm overwhelmed by the process of writing a new program, but I also enjoy the process as well. I love tapping into that part of my brain that doesn't get used as much as it did when I was a part of the academic/working world. It's a thrill to see it all come together after I've worked through the "slog".

So what is the reality of having a homeschool business? Well, the last few weeks have been very hectic for me in the Elemental Science department. Not only am I working on finishing writing Physics for the Grammar Stage, but we are also working on getting all of our books published so that we can offer them directly from us. And although my hubby helps out on the administrative side by dealing with the printer, getting the ISBN's and so many more things, I'm the one who has to have the files ready to go. This should have been an easy process since all I needed to do was finish the quizzes for each program and the files would be ready to go. Not so, I've found out! The files were ready for me, but the printer had other ideas about how the files needed to look. So after spending countless hours reformating pages numbers, changing copyright pages, redoing the covers and resizing my files; they are finally ready to go! The proof copies are on their way and I couldn't be more excited! The process really is like given birth. It's a whole lot of pain to get it done, but when you finally see your baby for the first time, it's so worth it.