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.