Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 2/27

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

My oldest daughter turned 15 years-old.   My little girl is not so little anymore.   We had a wonderful time with many of her awesome friends. 

In our homeschool this week.
My youngest daughter that does really care to read lost herself in a book.
Places we're going and people we're seeing...
I drove my older children and some friends to Santa Barabra for a youth conference.   While they listened to some awesome speakers,  I visited the Santa Barabra mission with my two youngest.   It was a joy to spend some alone time with just them.   That doesn't happen very often.  

My favorite thing this week was...
Spending a quiet Sunday afternoon working my kids to help them set some goals.

What's working/not working for us...
Having hubby away so much for work.   Really not working for me.   

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
After eleven years of homeschooling, I am a few years away from "retiring" from teaching.   I just feel like I'm really getting good at this.    Thinking about not having anyone to teach makes me a bit sad.   It's time to think about the next stage of my life.  

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

That's some big hair!   The winner at my daughter's party in the Bumpit hair contest. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekly Report February 21-25, 2011

Be sure to check out what others did this week at

This week started out with a day off for President's Day. It was a day off of school for the kids, but lots of learning took place for me!    That day I got to spend most of the day alone painting--the kitchen.   I learned  I like the peace and quiet of a day to myself;  I also learned I HATE painting!    In addition I learned that painting a kitchen and it's cabinets is not a two or even three day job!

That being said---we didn't adhere to our normal schedule for the week because I was busy painting!    

E worked on his Aleks math.   E-R and I-E started on a section on angles which has been a review so far.    They also completed several reviews of past sections while their teacher painted.

We did complete several spelling lessons in Sequential Spelling.

E wrote an outline and rough draft for his setting essay for A Jury of Her Peers.

Everyone worked a lot in their Critical Thinking Books.

E practiced for MacBeth two evenings this week in addition to Friday morning.  

E-R and E  and I-E swam three times this week.

Everyone read alot.

And we focused a lot on art!    The first art lesson was a Visit to Gerrit Van Vranken.   Basically this lesson taught that computers can be used in art work.   Computers use the same rules human artist use to create 3-D and linear perspectives.

These aren't very dark--so sorry about that.

They are three dimensional landscapes.

 The next lesson  was all about light.   How we perceive light in art work and how light affects the way we depth was the focus.   The first project involved drawing a still life making sure to include the shadows.

Favorite part of school all week was the photo project.   The kids took photos of each other (and the cat) while learning about sidelighting, uplighting, and backlighting.

Can you say model ?

Can you say I have a stick and am super happy to have something to hit with it?!

Can you say nothing to do with our art project but super cute anyway?

E wishes to remain behind the scenes, but would like his public to know he took the pictures!

So our week didn't go as planned, and yet I feel it panned out to be a pretty super week.  

And I am one step closer to a new kitchen! 

Did your week go as planned? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why I Homeschool

I homeschool because my children are all individuals
 I can give them an individualized education at home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekly Review February 14-17, 2010

Our week flew by. We seem to be back in the swing of things----history, art, AND science all got down!

History: This week I had a brilliant idea for utilizing our Perspective: Timeline Game. We've played this game many times to review timeline dates. It's a simple game. Everyone takes turns putting their cards in the correct place on the timeline in relationship to other cards. At anytime your cards can be challenged. The point of the game is to end up with all your cards on the board and none in your hand. In our competitive family the challenge part of the game became more important than actually knowing where the cards went! Also, with all of the cards from the beginning of time to present day in use we had a hard time remember the dates of what we put down. So, to my son's horror I made up my own rules! gasp! We got out our Timeline Books and several history encyclopedias. I picked out only Medieval and Ancient History cards. Surrounded by our Timeline Books and several history encyclopedias, we started the game. Points were earned if the event was in your timeline book and you could tell us about the event. In addition, you didn't have to tell anyone else the date and got to place the event on the board. It was up to everyone else to look in their timeline book to see if you were right. If the event was not in their timeline book, they were out of luck: you looked it up and told us about it, and we all added it to our books. It made for a nice break from what we usually do and we all learned much more from this method of playing the game. In addition to our game,  we read about learning, scholarship, the black plaque, the Peasant Revolts, and the growing power of the common man during the end of the medieval time period. Everyone wrote a paragraph about St. Thomas Aquinas and a summary of medieval literature.

Lit: E still hasn't found his Windows to the World book, but I have found lots for him to do in my TM that doesn't require him to have his book! He re-annotated A Jury of Her Peers specifically looking for how the settings reveled the development of Minnie Wright. Next week he's going to write an essay on this topic. E-R and I-E are reading The Family Under the Bridge. They did comprehension questions, vocabulary, and we had a really good discussion about sharing feelings and responsibilities of parents. They also completed a paragraph describing how they would feel if they didn't have a home during Christmas time.

E-R's paragraph

I'm glad to have a home, but if I had no home at that time it would be hard. I would try to not see stuff I would want for Christmas. I would touch everything I saw. I would taste sadness. I would smell everything I couldn't taste. I would feel tears coming to my eyes. It would feel colder than it really was at night. It would be sad not to have a house during Christmas time . I'm glad to have a house to live in.

English: We're still working on pronouns. E started levels 6 and 7 of Sequential spelling. He's the only natural speller in our family; he's flying through each lesson without much difficulty at all.

E's spelling test

 E-R and I-E continue to work through level 3 of Sequential Spelling. Telephone Etiquette was a much needed lesson for our family. We did find some of the rules a bit outdated for today's world filled with caller id, call-waiting, and cell phones. E-R and I-E are working on a persuasive essay to get ready for the writing test in a week and half. 

Math: I-E and E-R started learning about percentages. E continues working through the Aleks Algebra program.

Science: We read about Daniel Benoulli and his family, are working on memorizing his principal, and completed a few demonstrations of his principal. I'll have a post just for science with pictures and more details later today.

Art: We did it! Amazing I know This week we learned about three dimensional art during the Renaissance.

I-E's art assignment

Memory Work: We continued with our states. Almost everyone has the states and abbreviations down. Next we're going to memorize those capitals. We are working on memorizing Tennyson's poem, The Eagle, and finishing up the facts of the sensory system.

I feel really good about our week.   Off to enjoy the four day weekend.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.  

Be sure to figure out check out everyone's week at the Weekly Wrap-Up Hop.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Memory Work Plan

We've always included memory work in our school.  In past years, I've not been quite organized so it happened a bit haphazardly.  This year, I am excited to have a plan in place to help memory time happen.

Math facts

I found these nifty math games at   We worked our way through the multiplying facts and the irregular verb tense game produced by the same company.   This was  a fun way to review and solidify those facts.
For poetry we are working through IEW's Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization,  I used this program with my older children.  We still remember fondly  Ooeey   Goooeeeeyyyyyyy!

Vocabulary is short and sweet with Vocabulary Cartoons.  Each day we look at the word and picture.  I read the example sentences.  We repeat the word definition.   Each day we add another word and review a few words from past days.   Sometime later in the day, I make a point to bring up our vocabulary word of the day to further review it.  Every ten days or so, we have a quiz.  

Anatomy is covered through Lyrical life science.   A CD is popped in.  We listen to the song (with varying degrees of ethusimasim) and work on filling out the accompanying worksheet.   One worksheet per week--which makes most units last three weeks.   My goal is for the kids to memorize the parts of the body not to go into depth about each of those body parts.  I have found that I do need to make charts each week with facts to memorize to go with the worksheets. I make these using information from the textbook.   When I don't do this--I notice that my kiddos simply fill in the sheets and move on. I try to keep the review from past days to three minutes and the new information to five minutes.  Also, with all the charts review is easy to do. 

E requested memorizing scripture mastery scriptures so he will have a head start at seminary next year.  We've started with the Doctrine and Covenants.

Lyrical Life Science Human Body  as well as Math Games will not take us through the entire year.   We may move on to another Lyrical Life Science Book.   And we will work on memorizing all the states of the United States using these lovely maps. (Which I have 100-not the nine shown (and which I have lugged across 13 states-twice))  We are also using these Wrap-Ups to memorize capitals and abbreviations.

Memory time is an enjoyable 30-45 minutes in our home.   Ultimately worth the extra resources and few hours of planning time required.    

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Valentine Ever!

Happy Valentine's Day
(Front Cover of Pink Construction Paper Card)

(Inside Pink Construction Paper Card)
It's Valentines day
its Valentines day
You should be Jumping and shout
Its by leap year day
Shout Hooray for that day

Your not 40 yet its a long
way away
now have a good day

Happy Valentine day

by E-R

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekly Update February 7-11, 2010

We are still working on getting back on track, since our few sick weeks.

 Everyone went back to swim team practice, and are ready for the swim-a-thon tomorrow.   Everyone has a goal of swimming 1 mile each.    Together as a team, their goal is to swim from here to Chicago---2,073 miles.

Memory Work this Week:
Locating states and identifying their abbreviations
Reciting Jonathan Bing
Facts about the sensory system

Math this Week:
E-R and I-E  worked on percentages
E worked on Graphing Linear Equations and Inequalities

English this Week:
With E-R and I-E I had to back up and review direct objects and predicate nominatives.    It seems all the information about these two topics have left their not-so-little heads!    They are also having a bit of trouble remembering the different cases of pronouns.    Instead of piling on more info, we've slowed way down and are working on memorizing what we've already covered.    E is doing fine and we continue learning about the different cases of pronouns---the latest being demonstrative case.   E has also been working on his vocabulary, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes.   Everyone has also been working in their Critical Thinking Books.

Writing this Week:
E has conveniently lost his Windows to the World book, so instead he was assigned a report on castles.   He didn't finish it, but will be doing that tomorrow morning!   I may have to wade into the dreaded and feared boys' room to find the book myself!   E-R and I-E are getting ready for their writing test coming up in March.    This week they completed a persuasive paragraph.

Spelling this Week:
We did it! 

Lit this Week:
E-R and I-E started reading The Family Under the Bridge.    I am reading The Great and Terrible Quest aloud.   This book was a favorite of N and A-M and is proving to be quite popular again!

History and Science didn't happen much this week.   Instead, we concentrated on getting ready for our MacBeth performance.    We put together our costumes and worked with the director's notes to get ready for Friday's practice.    E is working very hard on getting ALL those lines memorized, and if I may say so---is looking good in his kilt!  E-R did finish her Story of Western Civilization Middle Ages Workbook.   I-E read chapter 32 in SOTW volume 2 and took the corresponding test.

All in all this week wasn't as productive as I had hoped, but we're heading in the right direction.   How did your week go?

Friday, February 4, 2011

School Week Janaury 31-February 4, 2011

What Happened This Week

  • Sleeping In
  • Watching International House Hunters
  • Napping
  • Reading The Samurai's Tale
  • Napping
  • Writing a Paragraph about something that could be changed
  • Napping
  • Eating of the Corn Dogs
  • Napping
  • Reading The Great and Terrible Quest
  • and then some more Napping

Things We Didn't Do

  • Math
  • Science
  • Memory Work
  • English
  • Spelling
  • Getting up at a reasonable hour
  • Swimming
  • Being Upright for any length of time
We have been sick at our house.    I think the kids have a virus that I had three weeks ago.   E-R and I-E fell ill last Thursday.   N and A-M were struck down on Friday.  E was the last man down on Saturday.    Monday was an official day off, but the rest of the week was a sick week.    Although I would never want my kids to be sick, it was kinda nice that we had a quiet week together.   No pressure to get things done.    No running 5 different places.    Makes me kinda think what I can do to slow things down on a regular basis.    

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Joy Hakim's The Story of Science Teacher's and Student's Quest Guide Review

Joy Hakim's History of Science is a series of well-written books that follows the story of science throughout history. Although the books by themselves are an excellent read, the Teacher's and Student's  Quest Guides combine with the books to make a complete science program.

The Teacher's Quest Guide is the meat of the program chock full of information, helps, and lesson plans to teach the science concepts introduced in The History of Science book. It divides the forty chapters of Newton at the Center into seven units. Each unit starts with an introduction for the teacher with background information, a materials list, and the National Science Education Standards covered. Next the unit divides five to seven chapters of The History of Science into seven lessons.

Each lesson starts with an introduction to the theme of the chapter with a quote from a scientist and a cartoon which visually expresses the theme. Underneath the theme the goals for the lesson are listed. Then comes the who, where, and when of the chapter. Also listed is the what of the chapter which is a list of vocabulary words.  Consider the Quotation follows.. This sections instructs students to read the theme quote and to rewrite the quote into their own words and also includes background information about the theme quote for the teacher. Next comes the Directed Reading section giving information to the teacher on the main ideas covered in the chapter. At this point the lessons vary in what comes next. But they all include at least one of the following and often more than one. Classwide Activities are activities meant to be completed as a class to demonstrate ideas presented in the reading. Cooperative Team Learning and You Be the Scientist are hands-on activities and labs that are meant to be completed in small groups or individually. These are introduced in the Teacher's Quest Guide, but the actual instructions for the activities are in the Student's Quest Guides. Next all the lessons have a conclusion which covers discussion points about the activities. Every lesson includes writing assignments in the form of a homework assignments. These assignments vary and include dialogue between two scientist, newspaper article memorializing scientists, further research about inventions, and many other ideas to cement the concepts with writing. After the homework assignment  Curriculum Links  list ideas to connect the concepts learned in The History of Science with what else was going on in the world during that same time. The different curriculum links are history, language arts, art, music, and geography, Two other curriculum links are a little different. The Science links share how the science concepts read about relate to science today. The Math links suggest projects which are useful in cementing math used in science.

After these seven lessons, a lesson is scheduled to prepare students for an assessment. Each unit gives at least three choices of assessments. Assessment suggestions run the gamat from pulling together a scene, creating a song or rap, writing an essay, creating a poster tracing the history of scientist's understanding of certain science concepts throughout history, creating a game, creating a science hall of fame to a traditional assessment which is included in every unit. The traditional assessment includes multiple choice and short answer questions along with essay questions. Of course, answers are included for the traditional assessments, but the information that should be covered in the other choices is also listed for the teacher.

At the end of each unit is an appendix. The appendix is full of images meant to copied for use in the classroom. It includes pictures of scientist with caption balloons, name of scientist,and the years he lived. There is one of these for most lessons. A few lessons have more than one. These are meant to be used during the Consider the Quote portion of the lesson. The caption balloons are there to fill in with the theme in the student's own words. Each chapter also has a full page science cartoon which shows the concept taught in each chapter in picture form. Next are the activity sheets needed to complete the Classwide Activities. Ballads covering the scientist and concepts taught in the units follow the activities sheets. Next is the information needed to review for the assessments. Last is the traditional assessment and the answers for the all of the assessments. 

The Teacher's Quest Guide ends with a Whole-Book Assessment Unit. This unit covers review of all the concepts taught throughout The Story of the History of Science and includes three different options for assessment.

The Student Quest Guide follows some of the format of the Teacher's Quest Guide. Each lesson starts with a Theme, Who, What, Where, When, Science cartoon, and a Picture of Scientist with caption balloon, After these introductions to the chapter, the Student Quest Guide includes all the lab sheets needed for the Cooperative Team Learning and the You Be the Scientist Labs.

This curriculum is written for the classroom, but I have found it to be a great fit for homeschooling. The many different activities fit all different learning styles. It has worked well with all of my children working together. This would work well as a core curriculum.  Of course the founding and discovery of science concepts are included, but if you choose to use all of the resources included in the Quest Guides this could work well to cover art, music, writing, research skills, and real life application of math.    If this is not your core curriculum, you can NOT do everything crammed into this curriculum!   About half of my children's Student's Quest Guides are empty.   That's okay!   They still do a ton of hands-on activities and labs.   I enjoy the Theme, Who, What, Where, and When sections.   I also adore the assessments.    I like to use the traditional assessments, but we also have utilized many of the alternative assessments.   My children took great joy in creating a conversation between the great minds of Aristotle, Galileo, and Copernicus.   That assessment suggestion had them researching each scientist, writing out dialogue, working together, and performing their parts while learning how these scientist differed in their beliefs about how the world worked.   My children's favorite part is the end of unit ballad.     With great gusto they have memorized each one.

I have always heard great acclaim for Joy Hakim's The Story of Science books.   But to be honest, until I found the Quest Guides, mine sat on the shelf untouched.    They included great stories;  I just didn't know what to do with them.    I didn't have enough science knowledge to make them into a science class.    I didn't understand Boyle's law and the historical events happening at the time enough to whip up a cool demonstration to illustrate it and  a lab to further cement  both the law and how it applies to science today.  And that is the brilliance of the Quest Guides.   They add the information I need to teach the science included in the wonderful stories told in The Story of Science books.  

I used Newton at the Center Quest Guides for this review.   Aristotle Leads the Way also has Quest Guides available.   Currently, Quest Guides are not available for the newest addition to the series,  Einstein Adds a New Dimension, but they are in development.    Quest Guides can be purchased through Smithsonian Publishing as well as other sources.  

Be sure to check out other reviews at Homeschool Curriculum Review Round-Up