Friday, December 18, 2009

Education update December 14-18, 2009

Yah!!!!!  It's time for a Break!!

N finished his Japanese class with what he thinks is an A.   This class was a 5 credit college class, and I am very proud of all the hard work he put in this last sememster.   He also finished Chemistry, English, History, Physcology, Leadership, and Crew so far this semester(all with As)--with 3 more weeks to go after break.   He set some goals at the beginning of the semester and is right on track to finish those goals by the end of the semester.   He's also volunteered at Project Secure all most every week.   Oh, and I think he's only missed one day of seminary!

A-M presented her ninth-grade project as the example student on Monday.   This meant that she delivered her 10 minute speech to all of the judges that were being trained along with many communty leaders.   I was in attendence and think I had more butterflies than she did!   She did a beautiful job and was the only student to earn the full 300 points!  

On the home front:
We mostly finished up loose ends this week.

E-R and I-E finished their Primary Mathmatics 4A workbooks.   I am using the CA standards textbook though so we do have a few more topics to cover after break before we move on to 4B.   After finishing their books, they enjoyed Vroot and Vroom on the computer.   E finished chapter 13 in Teaching Textbooks which was an introduction to geometry.  

We continued spelling throughout the week.

We ditched the rest of Shurley English.    Instead we enjoyed watching the comma portion of
We had fun watching the examples of when one uses commas and then writing our own examples.   I learned that sometimes it is optional to use commas--one does not need to use them and yet it is perfectly okay to do so!   Who knew?

E finished up reading The Hobbit and we are going to make his BB display into a book.   I-E and E-R finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphin.   I-E made a scrapbook showing the plot of the story.   E-R made a map depicting the setting of the book.

Our main project this week was finishing research papers.    Papers are finished along with work cited pages.   We have been practicing taking notes and writing outlines throughout the first half of the year, and we took it a step further these last few weeks.   Papers included text citations and work cited pages.   As a bonus, N taught E, I-E, and E-R how to make their papers into a Power Point Presentation.  I think that was as entertaining as any other computer game they play.   I've included their papers on the side.  

Merry Christmas all!
  I am very happy for a break to enjoy preperations for Christmas and to have a little time to plan the next few months of school!!!!

Thankfulness and Christmas Idea

I am very thankful to have kids that think beyond themselves.   This year we received a catalog from an organization that supplies animals along with training to people in third world countries who need to learn to fish(so to speak--although, they also supply fish complete with a pond ;) ).   My kids being my offspring are all over any catalogs that enter the house--exspecially my I-E.   They examined this catalog from front to back and asked many questions.   It was then proposed that as a family we skip having alot of gifts and instead buy some farm animals.   A vote was administrated and ducks are what we will be buying.   These ducks will replace chickens that were lost in floods in places like Indonesia.   It turns out that ducks will survive much better in places where wet weather is becoming the norm.   These ducks will provide meat, eggs, and extra income to a family that will be trained in the husbandry of ducks.   Also, available are goats, cows, chickens,  sheep, pigs, donkeys, oxen, rabbits, wells, mosquito nets, seeds, school supplies, ect.
Check them out---87% of what you donate is used to help others better their lives.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Education Update November 23--Dec 11

Christmas is in the air!!!!!

Lots of performances these past few weeks.   E was an hilarious Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, E-R and I-E performed a beautiful poem with their drama class, and N and A-M graced us with their beautiful voices at the church Christmas breakfast.

Gaston wooing Belle

E-R and I-E with their drama class performing Noel

Angels singing to Baby Jesus

N with the young men gracing us with their deep voices!

E helping to lead Christmas Carols

Even with so much Christmas activity in the air, we continued on with school.

Language Arts:   Spelling---E-R and I-E have worked through day 50 of Sequential Spe lling. I-E and E-R worked through day 60.   Shurley English---My goal is to finish Shurley by the end of next week.   The new concepts taught at the end of the program  are concepts that overlap with our writing progam so I decided we could speed through these last three weeks.  So in the last few weeks we've covered verb tenses, double negatives, contractions, linking verbs, similes, metaphors, parts of a friendly letter, and parts of a business letter.    Write Source----STILL working on our research papers.   Outlines were made and rough drafts created.   Next step--revising and editing.  

Math:  Teaching Textbooks--lessons 71-80--percentages--E also continued working in Life of Fred.   I-E and E-R  finished book one of Key to Fractions before starting book two and learned how to multiply two digit numbers in Primary Mathmatics.

History:   These past few weeks we studied the Assyrians and the rebirth of Babylon.   The kids also reviewed their timelines to see how the events of the different civilizations they've studied fit together.  

Art:   We continued studying lines.   This week the kids drew a  blind self portrait and then a self portrait where they got to actually look at their papers while drawing their portraits.  

Science:   I-E and E-R are studying insects.   Unfortuntually, its been a bit chilly here for them to observe any live insects.   But I'm sure any day the Santa Anna Winds will blow and bring those insects out of hiding.   E studied fixed pulleys by building a model and testing how much force was used with different lengths of rope.  

Spanish and French:   We are putting together books about ourselves in Spanish and French and using Rosetta Stone.  

Drama: E-R and I-E worked on memorizing their Noel poems and had a recital.   E had two performances of Beauty and the Beast where he had a winning performance as Gastine.

Water Polo:   Water Polo ended for the season.   We have swim team tryouts this coming week.

Final day of water polo for this season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SOTW and History Odyssey Level 2 Ancients

I decided to combine History Odyssey with Story of the World.   I knew that Story of the World would be a good introduction to Ancient History for E-R and I-E.   I also remembered the fun element from the first time I studied Ancient History with N and A-M.  History Odyssey is a solid program that combines history with basic research and research writing skills, but fun is not an adjective I would include with any description of it.   I think satisfying works well to describe it.   It is satisfying to complete a map while learning the locations of cities and countries one has just read about.   It is satisfying to look back over summeries of important figures one has written.   It is satisfying to explain to dad the outline one has written.   I want to teach the joy of satistfaction, but I also want to teach the excitement of learning how others lived, thought,and believed through exciting stories and hands-on activities.  

So, this year I decided to combine the two programs.   E sticks with History Odyssey.   He is old enough to remember the stories from SOTW from the last time we studied ancient history.   A-M and I-E read SOTW together.    I pick a few activities to go with each part of History Odyssey.   Voila, best of both worlds!

Anyway, now to the part you cared about!   I've matched up the chapters of SOTW with History Odyssey.   I know that some ladies on TWTM forums have mentioned that they perfer to do the opposite---Follow SOTW and add in History Odyssey.   To be honest, that does make more sense to me, but I didn't think about doing it that way before we started, so here we are.   Perhaps next year, I will try it that way.   So if you wish to do it that way, this list will still work--just complete the SOTW chapters in order and match them up to the History Odyssey lessons listed.  

Lessons Listed are for History Odyssey and Chapters listed correspond with SOTW

Lesson 2---Chapter 1
Lesson 7---Chapters 3 and 7
Lesson 9---Chapters 2 and 4
Lesson 10---Chapter 12
Lesson 13---Chapter 13 and 14
Lesson 20---Chapter 11
Lesson 22---Chapter 8
Lesson 24---Chapter 17
Lesson 27---Chapter 10
Lesson 29---Chapters 32-33
Lesson 32---Chapter 6
Lesson 33---Chapter 14
Lesson 35---Chapter 38
Lesson 36---Chapter 39
Lesson 37---Chapter 37
Lesson 38---Chapter 15
Lesson 40---Chapter 26
Lesson 43---Chapter 9
Lesson 45---Chapters 31-32
Lesson 48---Chapter 21
Lesson 50---Chapter 19
Lesson 54---Chapter 20
Lesson 56---Chapter 22
Lesson 59---Chapter 23
Lesson 61---Chapter 24
Lesson 66---Chapter 25
Lesson 69---Chapter 27
Lesson 71---Chapter 29
Lesson 74---Chapter 34
Lesson 75---Chapter 35
Lesson 76---Chapter 36
Lesson 80---Chapter 28
Lesson 83---Chapter 41
Lesson 84---Chapter 40
Lesson 85---Chapter 42
The End!

Of course, not all of the chapters matched up perfectly with the lessons.   So, if you find something that works better, please let me know.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Education Update for November 16-20, 2009

A-M:   This past week A-M's freshman project was chosen as an example project.   What exactly this means--we're not sure!   But I have been informed by said freshman that it is good news.   She has worked hard on her project and deserves this extra recognition.   Her very first report garnered a GPA of 4.2!   

N:   N continues to work hard on his Japanese class.   He is also working on extra labs for his Pyscology class so he can count it as a lab science class.   N's report card also pleased us with all As. he also helped put together another great fun night as part of a great leadership team!   I exspecially enjoy hearing his voice on the school's call-outs.

At home this week, we had a laid back relaxed kind of week.    PJs were the uniform of the day as we adjusted to the cooler fall mornings.    We bathed like cats in the sunshine to warm up.   

History:    This week we learned about the cultures spread throughout Ancient Africa.    Littles wrote paragraphs about the changes camels brought to Africa.   We also worked on mapwork and timelines.   As a treat, we watched a DVD about the first rivertrip from the start of the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea.   We are reading aloud People of the Ancient World: The Ancient Kushites.

Math:   E was feeling under the weather a few days this week and skipped Teaching Textbooks two days.   He completed lessons 68-70---topics stock, calculating with a calculator, and checkbooks.   He also continued to work on Life of Fred.    Currently Fred is working on fixing his mistake of paying WAY too much for a bike.    I-E and E-R continued working in the first book of Key to Fractions--I am hoping they can finish it this coming week.   In Primary Mathmatics, this week constisted of reviewing estimating and multiplying.    We also worked on mental math problems.
            My favorite part of math this week was when J started Math in Everyday Life with everyone.   They learned about wages, gross pay vs net pay, deductions, exemptions, social security tax, and minimum wage laws.   I really enjoyed listening from the kitchen. :)

Soaking in the Sun while Working on Math Smart Game in PJs

Language Arts:   We finished chapter 17 and started chapter 18 in Shurley English.   This week we focused on irregular verbs and verb tenses.   E-R and I-E are really enjoying Island of the Blue Dolphin.   We have read it outloud within the past year.   E-R told me, "I forgot how good it was."  Ethan has added alot to his Hobbit display.  

In writing this week, topics were chosen for our research papers.   E chose Gorden B. Hinckley, E-R chose Ramesses II, and I-E chose Abraham Lincoln.   We hit the library to get some experience with real live encyclopedia and started the process of taking notes on those time trusted index cards.   I hope to have these research papers completed by Christmas break.

Art:   Lessons 2 and 3 are completed.   The project for Lesson 2 explored lines and different ways to create them.   Lesson 3 had a practice with contour lines and looking at things as they are instead of how one expects them to look.  

This is titled Knives by I-E.

We had a good week and are looking forward to a very short week of school and a long relaxing break with family!   Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Education Update November 2-Friday the 13th.

Update for the last two weeks.   

English---We have worked through Chapters 15 and 16 of Shurley English.   New things learned--indirect objects, possesive nouns, and quotation rules.   Our research writing unit began with summary paragraphs which we practice during history time.   We practiced summarizing the contributions different pharoahs are remembered for.   We also worked hands-on with an encyclopedia.   In spelling I-E and E-R worked through lesson 38.   Some of their words these past two weeks---splattered, admitted, withheld, shouldered, builds, wouldn't, watering, prettiest.   E has been working in Sequential 2 at an accelerated pace.   We have been doing two lessons a day because it seems so easy for him.   Some of his words:  scream, disgusted, climax, streaming, surname, nickname, and Christianity.   We started Word Roots.   Our root for this week was struct.  Ethan continues working on his Hobbit bulletin board.   He has written poems about elves and goblins.   He has also added another setting drawing.   E-R and I-E finished reading Trumpet of the Swans.   E-R made a character book.   I was very impressed with her drawings--she's quite an artist.   I-E decided to make a poster about the themes of love and family.    Her poster turned out quite lovely!  This week they started reading Island of the Blue Dolphin.   I challenged E-R and I-E to read 1,000 pages by the end of the year.   If they complete the challenge, they earn a date with Dad.   They have been working hard to meet the challenge.

Math--E-R and I-E worked on Factors, Multiples, Order of Operations, Negative Numbers, Addition and Subtraction of Whole Numbers in Primary Mathematics.   They also reviewed Place Value using Miquon.   They also started Key to Fractions Book One last week.   Book One reviews Fraction Concepts, so they can really cement those concepts before I introduce Multiplying, Dividing, Addition, and Subtracting of Fraction. In Teaching Textbook, E worked on lessons 57-66 which covered decimals.   Today he completed quiz 9.  Life of Fred is a new math book we are testing out.   I wanted E to complete a review of fractions, but didn't want anything as problem intensive as the Key to books.  Life of Fred fits that criteria perfectly.   Each lesson is a short sweet bit of Fred's life that just happens to include math.  Of course, Fred leds a pretty unusual life--considering he is only 5 1/2 and is currently teaching college classes!

History--We finished up studying Ancient Egypt.   I'm kinda sad, because there is so much we didn't have time to study, but alas we must move on.   I am excited to move on to Ancient Africa.   I remember studying this time and area with A-M and N.  I think I enjoyed it so much because I learned so much new myself.  

Art--We started art this past week.   We are using Discoveries in Art.  We completed lesson one which covers the defination of art, the feelings expressed in art, elements of art, and the choices involved in creating art.   The best part was the project.   J took the littles to the park to draw a night scene of the sky.   Then they compared their creations to Starry Night.   They had a blast and were all happy with their creations.   Of course, I wanted to add all of the enrichment suggestions to the lessons; of course that didn't happen and maybe--just a little---I'm okay with that!  

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th.  Friday the 13th has special meaning for our family.   On Friday the 13th two special little girls entered our lives.   We had done everything we could to get them to us healthy and whole.   They entered the world much bigger than expected and have filled our lives with joy and smiles ever since.   They are an example of true friendship and love to all of us.  

Friday, October 23, 2009

Education Update--October 12-23

Project of the Week

I found this webquest on line and had visions of an enjoyable day completing it.   My kids  would take their roles,   read the websites, fill out the note sheets,  and write the persuasive essay.   Sounds like a perfect way to finish up our unit on persuasive writing, polish internet research skills, combine writing with history,  Right?   Well things might have worked out that way, if the websites weren't technical, long, and dry.   Things might have worked out that way, if all involved agreed that King Tut was murdered or not.    Things might have worked out that way, if one sister and one brother had not decided this week was the time to diabolicly oppose every statement to come out of each other's mouths. 
Good Idea
Ended up with a finished product
Would not repeat with my kids

A-M:  Last week was the freshman project launch at Foothill.  The theme for this year's projects is Think Globally, Act Locally.  A-M is happy to get her choice of topics--tundra, global-warming, pergrine falcon.   This project counts for the majority of her biology grade.   It will also count towards her grade for all of her other classes except PE.  Presentation day will be December 14th.   JT has volunteered to be a judge on presentation day.   Of course, he won't judge A-T, but it will be interesting to see what some of the other students present.   Every week until December 14th  will involve some kind of assignment to work towards presentation.  This week, A-M worked on researching her topics.

N:  Last week N was busy getting ready for Red Ribbon Week.   Red Ribbon Week is a week in which El Camino  sponsors activities that encourage drug free behaviors and lifestyles.   He also finished his English class with another A and started his Pyschology class.   He received his grade for his Japanese midterm and did not do as well as he had hoped.   He was very nervous to take the oral part of the exam.   That was the part he had the most difficulty with.    He is working hard on Japanese; I am very proud of his hard work.  Last Friday his school week ended with a moonlight costume party.   He attended dressed as the mad hatter.  The party was very well attended and deemed a success.   Red Ribbon Week was kicked off with a luncheon and blood drive this week and ended with a presentation from Straight-UP.

The beginning of N's Mad-Hatter

Writing:   Last week was a full and busy week.   I was able to include writing across the curriculum which makes me feel that what we do was exspecially meaningful.  In October,  we are focusing on persuasive writing.   E was able to finish his persuasive essay and has moved on to reading the editoral and opinion section of the newspaper.    I-E and E-R finished their essays this week.  I thought writing went well--we are opinonated at this house--so the opinion statements were pretty easy.
 Calls to Action
E's==Say yes to brushing. Say no to decay, bad breath, and fake teeth.
I-E's==If you smoke, you should stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start OK!
E-Rs==Go buy healthy food; start eating healthy food.

                 We also worked on outlines these past two weeks.  When beginning their essays, the kids started by writing sentence outlines.     Then later on last week, we did the opposite and worked on topic outlines  from a short article about the Nile River.    We also made Nile River projects in which we practiced reading a paragraph and taking short notes about the paragraph.

I with her Nile Project--the notes didn't show up unfortuntually.

 These past two weeks were very productive weeks in the writing arena.  In November and December we will focus on research writing.

History:   Two weeks ago,  we began a four week study of Ancient Egypt.   So far we have completed days 9,10, 13, and 15 of History Odyssey which involved completing the intro and religion pockets of History Pockets: Ancient Egypt.   I always change the pockets up a bit in order to involve more orginal  thinking and writing.  For example:   The Nile River project mentioned above--it orginally called for the students to simple match the pictures up to a paragraph and to glue them next to the Nile River.    I had my students make their Nile Rivers as instructed, but then to use those paragraphs to practice taking notes--which they included next to their pictures.  We also read an introduction to Ancient Egypt from the Kingfisher Encylopedia and from People from the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt.   Everyone colored and labeled maps of Ancient Egypt and wrote summeries of the reading from Kingfisher.  E-R and I-E read chapters 2,4,12,and 13 of Story of the World volume 1.   I have been reading aloud Tales of Ancient Egypt.   A very dry book that my kids actually like.   I'm not going to stress if we don't finish this one.

I working on Study Island
Math:   I missed working in Primary Mathamatics with E-R and I-E two days these past two weeks.   One day we just didn't fit it in and another day I was sick.   Instead on that day, we tried out study island.  E-R and I-E loved it.   It is full of games that require practice of different skills that are on standarized tests.   E wasn't that thrilled.   I think  he was frustrated by the pretest that he scored low on.   Of course, the point of a pretest is to see just where one is, and what one needs to work on.   He of course did not see it that way.   I'm sure after he watches his sisters play the games, he will be more willing to particapate.   This year will be the first time my younger kids have to take standarized tests.   It will be interesting to see how they do.
           The days we did get to Primary Mathmatics we covered approxiamation and factors.    E completed his chapter on multiplying and dividing fractions in Teaching Textbooks.   He has moved on to the next chapter which involves multiplying and dividing fractions in the real world.   He covered the lessons on sales and recipes and ratios.   He has been much better at concentrating on math since his completion rate has been tied to computer time!

French and Spanish:   We continue to move forward using Calvart, Rosetta Stone, and flash cards.   We also are working on completing Spanish and French alphabet books which I printed off of enchanted learning.

English:   We worked on Sequential Spelling, completed chapter 13 and 14 of Shurley Grammar, and practiced handwriting.  E continued working in Painless Vocabulary.  E-R and I-E read the first few chapters of Trumpter Swan.      E started The Hobbit.  He is making a bulliten board about it as he reads.  So far, he has included a picture of the setting of chapter one, an attribute web for Bilbo in chapter one(we plan on tracking how Bilbo changes throughout the book), predications for what is going to happen in chapter 2 and 3.   A tragidy befall E's Shurley English book when the cat decided to use it for a litter box.   Ummm, maybe he will be starting Rod and Staff ahead of schedule! 

Science:   E-R and I-E read about minerals and rocks in The Usborne Encyclopedia of Science.   They explored the websites that went with those pages and took notes.   The experiment they completed was from Reader's Digest How the Earth Works.   They tested their rock and mineral samples with acid to see if the  samples were carbonates.     Ethan began learning about simple machines.   So far, he's worked with 1st and 2nd degree levers.   We need to work on science much more.   I tend to find history more interesting so I have been focusing on that more these past few weeks.   We'll have to have a catch-up weekend soon to come up to speed in science.

Last but certainly not least:

We ended our week and started our fall break with a ride on the Fillmore Train to a pumpkin patch in Santa Paula.

Our friend, S, and E-R on the train.

I-E waiting for the train

My three littles

The exact moment E realized the merry-go-round would not be a' going around

Our friend S

That's our last two weeks.   We're heading into our fall break.   We shall return in a week or two with education updates.   I do hope to take some time for family updates in the upcoming week!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Education Update for Oct 5-9, 2009--With Pic's!

"I love school!" and "This is school?  It is fun"---golden words to a homeschool mom!    Our How Would I Spend a Million Dollars Project was very popular to say the least!   I told the littles that they each had one million dollars and handed them a stack of newspaper to figure out how they would spend it.   They had to spend exactly one million.   About 1 hour into the project, houses came into the picture!    That helped them get to the goal much quicker.   My favorite quote---I wish the economy was better, so there wouldn't be so many sales."  

E included bought lots of cars!
E-R started out with a steak dinner
I-E had a whole page of a girl's best friend!

Math:   E-R and I-E started Singapore level 4 this past week.   Place value up to one hundred million was covered.    They finished the first section on place values, all the corresponding assignments, and also reviewed graphs in Intensive Practice 3B.   E took his chapter 6 quiz and worked through lessons 47-50 in Teaching Textbooks.   He is still working on fractions.   This week adding mixed numbers specifically.

Language Arts:  We worked through Chapter 12 of Shurley English.    Direct objects was the concept taught this week.   We also continue to work on those capitalization rules.   E worked in Painless Vocabulary.  Using Write Source,  we started our unit on persuasive writing.  We started out with persuasive paragraphs.   The topic was healthy choices.   E wrote about brushing teeth, E-R about swimming, and I-E about eating less meat.   I feel that really focusing on writing last year paid off.   Last year writing a paragraph was torture.   It would take us a week or more to work through writing a paragraph.    This year has gone much smoother with writing.   Our paragraph this week took two sessions.   One focused on prewriting--gathering ideas and the other sesson on writing and revising and editing.   We had time to move on to starting our persuasive essays which we will finish next week.  We continued working in Sequential Spelling--both levels.   I-E's handwriting book came and we will add that in this coming week.

History:  We finished study Mesopotamia this week.   We learned about Hammarubabi and Sargon.  We had lots to add to our timelines--including the invention of irrigation and writing.   Using History Pockets we made pop-up books about ziggarats.

Science: In earth science we read about rocks and minerals.   We studied different rocks and minerals.   We finally used our rock kit and completed several streak tests with some of the minerals. 

E completed workshops 6-9 and experiments 7-8.   The topics for these experiments were center of gravity and friction as a force that resist movement.   E has not completed the experiments that go with workshop 8 and 9 yet, but they have both already proved to be very popular. 

 Workshop 8 aka shotput device!

That is the days of our lives as I remember it.   Disclaimer--tears, yelling, and tantrums may have been jettisoned from my mind ergo this blog!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Coming Soon


My camera has been at the shop.   It is officially dead!    It will not be revived.   On Friday, my J brought home a new camera for me to tryout for the next few weeks.   So, this week I will be able to take pictures and include them with my post!    

Education Update Sept 28--Oct 2

Find of the Week
I was struggling with Earth Science.   Science Works is something I had used in the past for human antomy with success.   I liked it and so when I saw Science Works: Earth Science on sale at Lakeshore Learning--bonus was my first thought.   Unfortuntually, it didn't work out for me.   I investigated different curriculums this past week.   I asked the wise ladies at the well trained mind forums for their sage advice.    On Thursday while browsing the Golden Valley School library, I came across the Reader's Digest How the Earth Works.   I have this book already.   The Well Trained Mind suggests it.   In my haste to find the perfect curriculum, I overlooked this wonderful book.   Together with my Science Works book, this book is exactly what I need.   Each section of the book starts with a history of the understanding of that part of earth science.   Then each spread has information to read, and an experiment or activity to help explain that information.   I can see how many of the activities would deter many from using this book.   Who wants to spend 2 or 3 hours on one experiment?  Not I.   I was able to look through the book and find plenty of activities that take 30 minutes or less.  This book could easily last a full year.   I am going to pick just a few topics so we can move on to our study of insects in December.  

Our week was a short one.   Monday was a school holiday for A-M, so we all took a break (except for N who met with a study group).  All week we had appts to fit in throughout each day.    I am looking forward to this coming week with just a focus on school for us.

Math--E-R and I-E finished Primary Mathematics 3 this week.   E is still having a hard time concentrating on math.   He finished two more lessons in Teaching Textbook 7.  

Language Arts---We finished Shurley English Chapter 11.   E-R and I-E completed days 17-20 of Sequential Spelling 1.   E completed days 7-10 of Sequential Spelling 2.    We finished our 5 paragraph essays.   E also finished his compare and contrast essay.    E finished reading The Golden Goblet.    E-R and I-E finished reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  E started handwriting this week and continued working in Painless Vocabulary.  

History---We finished the first week of History Odyssesy.    We're kinda mixing level 1 and level 2 together.   We used the first pocket of Ancient Civilizations History Pockets to make introductory pages in our history notebooks.   We included the 8 traits of all civilizations and the terms B.C., A.D., B.C.E., and C.E.   We also started our time lines this week.   E read the first chapter of SOTW vol 2.   He needs to study this time period to meet CA standards.   He is reading each chapter and putting any interesting dates on his time line. 

Science---I-E and E-R studied the convection heat found in the earth.   E worked on a workshop, but didn't get to the experiment that went with it.  

French and Spanish were put on the sidelines for this week. 

Phonics-- E-R and I-E started a review of phonics this week so I can find any gaps they may have.   I was blown away to find out that neither knew what sound th makes!   I-E finished reading her McGuffey's Second Reader.   E-R continues to work through a lesson a day.  

Foothill had back to school night on Thursday.   I enjoyed meeting  all of A's teachers and seeing her classrooms.   Learning moment of the week--how to turn one's biology grade from a F to an A.   Make sure one's name is on the assignment sheet turned in for first quarter!

El Camino is preparing for their back to school night(officially called open house).   It is coming up on Wednesday.   We are looking forward to attending.  N still has a 100% in Japanese.   He is anxious about his upcoming midterm on Tuesday.   It has an oral component that has him a bit nervous.   He has taken to carrying around his Japanese book in order to study at odd moments.

So Glad to Be Married to a Great Guy

When my husband left town last Monday, I was looking forward to evenings spent in leisure.   I could hunker down in bed with the snack of my choice while watching the show of my choice.   My oldest son helped me find Monk and Top Chef on Hulu.   I was set.   Day one, I watched Monk with N.   Oh, I needed eggs and milk for breakfast in the morning, so at 9:15 I ran to the store with a close friend.   Got to bed at 10:30--fell asleep during my show.    Day two--up at 5:30 to make breakfast and lunches and drive to seminary.    Run home to make breakfast for the next set of kids, clean-up, start school, and then run to ortho appt. at 10:00.   Pick up N at 11:30.   Run home make lunch.   Fit in more school.   Run and pick up A and take her to chiro appt.   Run home.   Fit in more school.   Make supper.   Run N to Japanese.   Come home clean up.   Get everyone ready for bed.   Dole out computer time to kids that earned it.   Try not to collapse into bed.   Work on getting things ready for our education specialist (ES) visit the next morning at 9 am.    At 9:15 leave to go pick up N from class.    Come home.   Try to watch Top Chef.   Fall asleep 5 minutes into show.    At this point, I'm only 2 days in!    \

I am so thankful for a husband who drives kids where ever they need to go.   I am thankful for a husband who doesn't mind getting up at 5 am.   And I suppose, I don't mind a husband who picks out the shows we watch each evening!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Education Update for Sept 21-25

Find of the Week
Independent Reading Management Kit: Literary Elements
I know, I know with a name like this you are all running out to buy this exciting book!   What this book lacks in title, it more than makes up for in usefulness.  It is written for the public school teacher who needs to addresss multiple levels of abilities while helping students learn to work independently therefore making it is perfect for a homeschooling mom teaching multiple children-each with different ablilities and levels of independence.   This book is not written to analyze any one book, but rather is full of ideas for projects that will help students learn to think about literary elements.   The projects cover many different styles of learning.  Students could decorate a CD cover to show the theme of a story, fracture a story to work with point of view, make a flip book with a character's personality traits, scrapbook the story's plot, or write a friendly letter from the viewpoint of a character making sure to describe the setting.   This is a resource that makes literary analyze easy for the busy mom and keeps things fresh for the students.  

History--Final test for geography--everyone did really well with A's all around.   I was pleasantly surprised--my kids are not used  to taking test except for math tests.  Our geography test have been all over the place.   Throughout the year test scores varied from 54% to 100%.    So, I think in addition to learning geography, test taking skills were also improved.    We started our study of ancient history.   The rest of my history books came, and I'm so EXCITED!!!!   This week I'll have time to look through everything and plan out the next couple of weeks.  Happy, happy!

Math--Finally found the CD-Roms for Teaching Textbooks.   E had put them away somewhere safe while we waited for our new computer.   They were certainly safe---safely hidden away until E found them while cleaning his room!   I am very happy to have the lessons taught by someone else again.   Lessons 44-46 completed.   Primary Mathmatics --lessons 31-35.   One more lesson to complete before we move on to level 4.   Math time has been moved to first thing(after scripture time).   I am hoping this will speed things up for E who has a hard time concentrating.

Language Arts---Spelling--E-R and I-E lessons 12-16.   Still not getting to it with E and A-M.   Going to start completing it with E alone.    Shurley English--Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 lesson 1 completed.   I am using Shurley to teach the classic 5 paragraph essay.   Completed our rough drafts and will work on revising and editing this coming week.    Lit continues with The Mouse and The Motorcycle and The Golden Goblet.   E continues to work on his compare and contrast essay.   This week he worked on adding more complex and compound sentences.   We also had a discussion about stingyness with writing.   I'm sure that is a concept usually taught, but this kid is so stingy with the written word!   I'm just trying to get him to give a little more!  E finished chapter 2 in Painless Vocabulary.  

Science---We didn't get to it!    Looking for something to replace earth science for E-R and I-E.   I need something with more direction for me.  

Spanish--going well.  E-R usually works on it before we start school in the morning.  

French--Well, Bruno is gone!   E chose Bruno for his French name.   This week he decided he would like to use his name with a French pronouncation which is really funny, because pronounced the french way, his name is his first intial and our last name in English.   He completed lessons 10 and 11 and worked with Rosetta Stone.

A-M had a full week and struggled to fit everything in.   She is glad that tomorrow is a day off and will be able to catch up on her homework.   We attended a debate at Foothill this week.   It was very well done and thought provoking.   On Saturday she attended a workshop sponsored by the local speech and debate league.   She got to see all of the state champions perform and learn about all of the areas available to perform in speech and debate.

N also had a full week.   He is finding it necessary to step up his study time for his Japanese class.  He is getting together with a study group tomorrow on his day off.   I'm very much impressed.   He is continueing to work on  his English class.   Leadership has improved so much from last year, and N is very excited about the improvements.   He is in charge of coming up with a theme for a fun night for November. Fun night is a two or three hour activity just for fun at the school in which all students are invited to particapate.   Any suggestions?

So goes the days of my life!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fishhawks aka Osprey by E-R

Fishhaws or Osprey is not as large as a eagle but it has a hooked bill also sharp claws like it. 
His color is dark bown, black, and white like you see in this picture.

His breast is more white you can see.

The Fishhawk is often found sinting in a tree by a pond, lake, or a river.

He is also found at the seaside

A Fishhawk can catch a fish easily.

He can use his claws to catch a fish

I hope you like the paragraph.

Friday, September 18, 2009

School Check-in for the Week of Sept. 14th-18th 2009

This week was pretty productive.   I always want to fit more in, but I need to get over myself and realize that slow and steady wins the race. 

Geography Jeopardy
This was so popular my kids have asked if we could do it every week with a different subject and if they could take turns acting as host.   I made up a jeopardy game using facts from our past year of geography in order to get everyone ready for the final on Monday.   We used our Lakeshore cash.   It was amusing to see my children flashing around their wads of cash.   The game took alot longer then planned so we still have double jepordy to get to and then prizes to bid on with their Lakewood cash! 

Math: E has worked through lessons 42-44 in Teaching Textbook.  We are mired in fractions, and we are taking this tramp at a slow pace.  E-R and I-E also worked with fractions this week in Singapore.  They covered equivalent fractions, covering fractions, and simplifing fractions.  A short review on time finished our math week for us today.

Language Arts:    The highlight of studying The Mouse and the Motorcycle for E-R and I-E has been their Ralph journals.   After reading each chapter, they write in a journal pretending to be Ralph writing about his day.   It is good practice writing and they have really thought about point of view this week.   E has continued reading The Golden Goblet.   I love this book's themes.   So much thought-provoking thinking comes from our discussions of Ranofer's choices.   E is working on an essay to compare and contrast two different careers--just as Ranofer compares and contrast goldsmithing with stonecutting.    We made it through chapter nine of Shurley and reviewed three-point paragraphs.   I was surprised that all my students remembered how to write them.    I expected to spend two weeks on them, but we ended up spending just two days reviewing.   Next week we are moving on to Three-Paragraph Expository Essays. E continued on in his Painless Vocabulary and Thinking Skills books.   E-R and I-E worked on Explode the Code and everyone continued on with Sequential Spelling.  I only got to spelling with E and A-M twice this week.   I'm trying to keep them together.  The problem is we have to wait until A-M gets home to do it and by that point I'm done with school.   I'll have to rethink how I'm doing spelling with the two of them. 

Science:   Oh science,  I had such grand plans, but after looking at the book I'm using for earth science, I realize I need more guidance.   E-R and I-E didn't get any science in this week.   E worked one day with his science encyclopedias and the internet links that went with them.   He couldn't do his workshop and attached experiment because I bought the wrong size battery for his motor.   So today I got the battery and then the motor had something wrong with it!   He took it apart and worked on fixing it for about an hour.   Later he attempted to fix it with Dad and still things didn't workout.   Now he thinks he needs a little tiny screw to make things work.   We talked about how things don't always work out in science even for professional scientists: he wrote up the experiment explaining the problem with his faulty equipment.  

French:  E completed a review and lesson 10.   He spent today downloading the audio component to our new computer--which by the way N figured out how to get the sound up and running.---Thanks N!

Spanish:   Since the sound is now working on the computer E-R and I-E stared using Rosetta Stone to work on learning Spanish vocabulary.   They are working on it free form right now.   Whatever they do is bonus.   It will help them when they take a formal Spanish class at a later point.   E-R loves it and asks to do it in her free time.   She started her own Spanish notebook just for fun.  I told her that I had a workbook that went along with Rosetta Stone.   It was like Christmas for her--she was so excited when I got it out for her.  

Reading:   I-E completed lessons 66-69 and E-R lessons 37-30 in their McGuffey's Reader.   Today I-E chose to read The Tale of the Patty Pan and E-R read The Tale of Timmy Mouse.   

N at El Camino:   This week N completed his first class--World History-with an A.    I'm very proud of his progress.   Mrs. Stout set the course up to take four weeks and he set a goal to finish in three which he did.   His final project was a powerpoint presentation on the causes of WWII--he earned a 100%.   So far this year he has a 100% in his Japanese class.   Leadership has been going much better then last year.   N is leading the committee on monthly activities and tonight was the first fun night.   Turnout was excellent and all went as planned. 

A at Foothill:  A worked on working with a group this week.   This was a new experience for her.    Her group worked on a newscast from South Africa.   She was a roving reporter reporting on the AIDS epidemic.   The project went well.   She has also been struggling with managing her time regarding homework.   She seemed to have done better with this later on this week.

All in all not a bad week.   We are still trying to hit our stride in some things and also waiting for curriculum to arrive for art and a few other things.    I need to work on going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.   I feel better when I get up between 5:30 and 6:00.   Then I get to have my own quiet time, exercise, and clean up a little before everyone gets up.   I managed it twice this week--aiming for three times this coming week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Education Plan for the Year

School Year Plan:

We only took two full weeks off this summer, so some things we have a jump-start with and other things we are just finishing up from last year. My two oldest are in high school this year and it seems so quiet with only three at home.

N is attending El Camino High School at Ventura College again this year. He has his usual classes and is also participating in Leadership and Crew. This semester he has Japanese at the college. Mrs. Stout is his teacher---who we dearly love. She is the perfect match for N. I believe No-Nonsense is her middle name. N is again volunteering at Project Secure which makes me one proud mama.

A-M is attending Foothill Foothill incorporates technology into all of the classes offered and is ranked in the top 3% of high schools in the nation. Teachers work together so students have assignments that cross all curricula. A-M loves it. Ask her sometime about her PE teacher!

At home we have a full year planned. I am combining all three younger children in History and Grammar.

This year we are trying History Odyssey--Ancients for the first time. It is a schedule that incorporates the classical method of studying history. I have used many different resources to teach history throughout the years. All have had good points, but none have incorporated all the resources that I wanted to include in our studies. And I have to say History Odyssey is the same story. I spent my afternoon at the library added all my resources into the first six weeks of the lesson plan. I am also adding an unit on archeaology before we start. We will finsih that week long unit with some of these kits. I have a ton of resources for teaching this period of history (enough to start my own library). Unfortunately, these resources are in Saint Louis. Maybe that is a good thing because I can go crazy with history.

For Grammar we are currently using Shurley English 4. We are currently on Week 9. I do not usually use the writing lessons in Shurley English because they are dry, boring, and do not cover enough different forms of writing to meet any kind of standards, so we can complete one week of Shurley English in 4 days. At this pace, we will finish this level in the first semester of this school year. At that point I will move E onto Rod and Staff 5 or 6. E-R and E-I will continue on to Shurley English 5. Shurley English is a program that teaches parts of speeches and grammar rules through review, review, and more review. I have used Shurley English with all of my children at some point in their education. Five years after using Shurley, my oldest is still able to recite that preposition jingle.

We will be using Write Source again this year for writing. E-R and I-E will be using level 5 and E will be using level 7. They all really enjoy their Write-Source books if not always their Write-Source assignments(ex specially that revising!).

Spelling is as always Sequential Spelling. Level 2 for E and A-M. Level 1 for E-R and I-E. SS teaches patterns for spelling and not a list of words that appear random. I have seen a real difference in the understanding of spelling with this program.

E is using Painless Vocabulary this year. All three at home will use Word Roots. Word Roots teaches the Greek and Latin roots found in English words therefore allowing students to decipher the meaning of larger words they may not come across in everyday reading. Mostly we are using it because it will help us meet a CA standard. I have used Vocabulary Vines in the past, but Word Roots seems much more simple. Also, Word Roots has a computer program which I thought would be a nice reward for my kids occasionally.

We have quite a few books to read for literature this year. E started off the year with The Golden Goblet so he could dip his toes into the ancient culture of Egypt. I also picked this book out for him, because I remember it fondly from when we covered Ancient History with N and A-M. It is a mystery that teaches not just the historyand culture of Egypt but also about how to grow as a person. E-R and I-E started out the year with The Mouse and The Motorcycle. So far, they both really love the story. They feel that I am a lot like Ralph's mom--I worry too much.

Language Arts will be rounded out with handwriting and typing. E is completing a quick review of cursive--he really needs to practice his penmanship. E-R and I-E will be continuing their study of cursive writing.

E is studying physics this year with the Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop. Thames and Kosmos science kits use quality components which I appreciate. There is nothing worse then trying to make an experiment work when the equipment being used is falling apart. The physics kit has the student build a machine and then experiments are performed with that machine. It is an excellent concept for studying physics. I have added reading and research to the kit using the Kingfisher and Usborne Science Encyclopedias. The Usborne Science Encyclopedia is Internet-linked. Ninety percent of the links I have visited are unbelievably informative AND fun! E has enjoyed science so far this year. His latest project was a sailcar. E hopes to finish early so he can move on to this kit---

E-R and I-E are starting out the year studying Earth Science. I am loosely using Science Works. I am not really happy with it and am needing to supplement a lot. I am looking forward to the last part of this semester when we will move on to insects using Home Science Adventures. I loved that kit when I used it with all three of my older kids. The models in that kit alone are worth the price. The second semester we will be studying Astronomy using Great Science Adventures: World of Space.

E begged to study French this year using Calvert's French Program. It will hopefully give him a jumpstart with language when he starts high school, and he just finds it fun at this point! Bonjour!

E-R and I-E will continue learning Spanish vocabulary by moving on to Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone is one of the components of A-M's Spanish class at Foothill, so E-R and I-E are very excited to share some of their work with big sister.

Teaching Textbooks 7 is E's math for the first half of the year. He works on it for an hour a day and will most likely finish it about mid-year. From there he will move on to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra.

E-R and I-E are about 3/4s of the way through Singapore Primary Mathematics Level 3. In about 6 weeks, they should be done and will move on to Level 4.

Our Art program is Discoveries in Art from Calvert. Again this is an outstanding program that I have used before with my older kids. We ordered the new version on DVD and haven't received it yet, but I am looking forward to exploring this with yet another group of kids.

Of course, we have other misc. workbooks that I use to supplement with throughout the year. I will fit in a short unit on American government, review geography, ect. Also, plans change. This is our plan for now and I will update this as plans do change. I also aim on posting weekly what we accomplished. I don't always know how I am going to fit everything into my days of teaching, but I look forward to this school year and am happy to enjoy these days of my life educating my children.


What is up with farmtown? Such a simple concept. Plow a field, plant some seeds, harvest the crop, sell the crop--hoping for a profit. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Sounds like it could get boring. I love it! Can't Stop PLaying IT!

Friday, September 11, 2009

So, these are the days of my life

and so I must make the most of them. I want to fill them with love, laughter(even if its only inside my head), meaning, and fun. So, I will be posting about the days of my life. The days are filled with my family and friends.