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!