Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day's work and curricula review

Today happened to work well for doing a daily report again, so here it is!

We have done all the worksheets for our Bible story already this week, so today we read an Arch book about Abraham. This is our third week talking about Abraham, so by the end of this week I think the girls will know his story pretty well!

We did the First Article of the Apostles Creed today. I am so proud of how well Sweet Pea knows the 10 Commandments now!

Next was a math attack. I printed a worksheet off for review of math facts 0-20, then we did a Singapore lesson, and then a Math Mammoth page. This is more math then usual in a day and took about 45 minutes. We did so much because Sweet Pea needs quicker recall on some math facts before we can move on.

Sweet Pea did the first part of lesson 12 in spelling. This week is a big review week of all the spelling words we have already done and I'm very pleased by her retention.

We did the first lesson in that vintage LA book I linked to a few posts back- Primary Lessons in Language and Composition by William Henry Maxwell. I really, really like it! I received it a few days ago and spent quite a bit of my time in the evening reading through it and checking out the lessons. I really like how this follows the more traditional and classical model of writing.
Today in Sweet Pea's lesson we did picture study, narration, and copywork. All easily and concisely laid out for me.

I think we will either continue to do Rod and Staff, switching to doing the lessons orally or return to First Language Lessons for Grammar, eventually switching to something like Growing with Grammar. This is so perfect for writing, though, that I'm thrilled! Some warnings- it is not for reluctant writers. It assumes your child can read and write in cursive. Otherwise, it's awesome, and if those things don't bother you check it out!

Next Sweet Pea read chapter 12 of SOTW- more about Egyptians. Reading these selections have been great practical phonics review for her. ;)

And no, she isn't making a naughty finger gesture- she was tapping her fingers as she read.

While Sweet Pea was working on all this, Little Bird and I colored and cut out a paper doll and some clothes, then pretended to be the mom and family of the doll. Little Moose slept, army crawled around the room, and caused mischief.

After this was lunch and now the two littles are sleeping and Sweet Pea is reading.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preparing to leap back in

This last week was nice. It was really nice. My children are still really young in the scheme of things so we aren't homeschooling really heavily or anything, but it was still a breath of fresh air to just relax and NOT have anything specific to do on any one day. No getting behind, no deadlines.

No more relaxation! Just kidding. :)

This week we are back to our regular program. I really hope to add art back in- Sweet Pea really likes it. The only reason it has been hard to do is that the younger kids really like the art supplies, as well.

So, here we go! Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Break

We spent this last week on fall break. It was wonderful! We began the week at a conference for my husband and spent time with friends. The girls had a wonderful time playing and I had a good time, as well.

We've spent our time coloring, crafting, cooking, and taking walks to enjoy the outside before the weather really gets chilly.

Next week we are back to our regular schedule.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I thought I'd weigh in since it's going around the internet. Sweet Pea needs pretty close supervision for most of her school. It's not that she isn't capable of the work, it's that without being attended she gets distracted or dawdles, or doodles, or repeatedly falls out of her chair.

Some things she does well by herself- reading being high on that list. She now reads most of her history lessons to herself and does the corresponding activities for the lessons by herself. I check in with her later and she narrates the story back. She does most of her math solo as well, now that I think about it.

I do think teaching time management and independent work ethics are really important. We're just not there yet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Any long term reader of my blog knows that no subject sends me into a tizzy quite like Language Arts. I stress, I fret, I switch. I lament costs and the amount of options.

I've come across another LA curricula that really excites me. It was written in the late 1800s/ early 1900s by a new York school superintendent named William Henry Maxwell. From what I've seen it's very compatible with classical education and writing progression. And, save the cost of ink and paper- it's FREE!

I think this is the order- if anyone has it different let me know!

Primary lessons in language and composition

First book in English, Volume 1

Introductory lessons in English grammar: for use in lower grammar classes

There are quite a few books more in the series available here.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Grade level

This is something I see going around right now, so I'm trying to organize my thoughts.

Right now I have Sweet Pea in her age grade- she is 6 years old and in the first grade.

I spent a lot of time last summer panicking about what level of work to give her because she was ahead of most Kindergarten programs I had access to. I never considered bumping up her grade, though.

This year she is doing a mix of work. Some of the things we are doing are not tied to a specific grade- history, science, and French are definitely in this category. The programs we are using are meant for general early elementary and are being successfully used by 1st graders and 3rd graders and even some older kids. I think that Bible and Catechism are hard to level, as well- it's mostly learning material (or gaining familiarity) and I don't see grade levels listed for the books we are using. For math we are wrapping up the "standard" 1st grade work and will soon be moving on to "advanced 1st grade/ 2nd grade" work. Our Language Arts program is all 2nd grade materials.

Even with how across the board Sweet Pea is, I consider her 1st grade. I think when most (non-related) people ask small children what grade they are in they are mostly interested in age. It really isn't meaningful to tell people that she is doing certain levels or work and turns people off more then it interests them.

Of course, there are kids who seem to really thrive from not only working at an accelerated pace but also being grade accelerated- I can't speak about those situations because I have no experience there.

For now... we're doing first grade.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly report, week 6

In which I realize that this blog has few entries as on late save these weekly reports. I need to post more- there's lots I'm thinking of and that I want to say- I just need the time to say it!

We had a lot of interruptions and chaos this week. We will be wrapping things up this weekend. Fortunately, the interruptions were of the fun and social variety, so it was time well spent.

Language Arts
Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea and I are spending some time reviewing how to make uppercase letters. We're also making great progress through Rod and Staff English. We do one lesson a day, so we work through 5 lessons in a week and it takes about 5 weeks to do each unit. We are over 1/2 way through Unit 2 and there are only 6 units, so we are doing great! I have Writing Strands level 2 that we will be starting soon and at that point we may switch to doing Rod and Staff orally for the grammar instead of using it for grammar and writing. We'll see!

Spelling is currently going well. Sweet Pea floored me this week by telling me that she LIKES spelling because it helps her write her stories. I'm glad she sees a good reason for it!

Little Bird

Little Bird is still working on her ABCs. It's something that she does with both mommy and now daddy- it's something fun and special that they can do together without any prep work. She also continues to hone her fine motor skills with copious amounts of coloring, cutting, pasting, and playing with play-doh. This week I let her spend a lot of time cutting paper into tiny pieces, gluing them back together, then coloring the mess. She can now recognize all the uppercase letters and most of the lower- go Little Bird!

Sweet Pea

We had a small math breakthrough this week! Always exciting. Sweet Pea can now easily add a single digit number to a double digit number. Next we will work on adding two double digit numbers. I especially like the focus on mental math and regrouping numbers to a base 10 unit (12+5=10+2+5=17).

We also spent some quality time with flashcards to review math facts for sums 0-20. Other fun activities included spending time skip counting by 2s and 3s.


Sweet Pea and Little Bird

This week we finished ancient China. We had fun reading about silkworms and how farmers in China could grow rice while the farmers in Mesopotamia could not. Sweet Pea remembered the Nile delta and it's floods when we were talking about the Yellow River and it's flood patterns. It was also fun to introduce the idea of a dynasty and familial rule lasting for that long.


This week we talked about mammals who live in the water. We talked about generalities, then looked up some specific species. We looked up the baleen whale- and Sweet Pea exclaimed, "That's like the whale on Nemo!" Good to see that there are real world applications for science. ;)

We times ourselves holding our breath and we were worse at it then any of the ocean dwelling mammals. Good thing we don't need to rely on holding our breath for survival!

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

This week was a heavy vocabulary and usage review week. We went over all previously introduced terms and practiced integrating them throughout the day. We did lessons 1-5 again and next week we will move on to lesson 6.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

This week was the Flood. I think it's one of the best known and most artistically done Bible stories., but in reality it's a really dark story. Think about it- everyone save 8 people and the animals on board the ark lost to water? Kind of strange that images of the cute, fluffy ark are so commonly found on nursery items and children's toys. The lesson went well, though, and we're moving on.

Sweet Pea

I was all set to move on to the next section of the Catechism this week. I was! I had all my sheets together and everything! Then I decided to stop and review here, too. See a theme? Sweet Pea knows all 10 Commandments, but is still cementing their order. Once that's firm we will move on.

Family Fun

This week we saw quite a few friends. We also spent family time playing board games and the girls had some quality time together with stickers. They made this masterpiece together.

Just for fun I'm including my lesson plan form for the past 6 weeks. I am changing how I do it next quarter because this looks really cramped.

I hope everyone else had a great week- I know we did!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Language Arts
Sweet Pea

We have worked through lesson 10 (the first review) of Unit 2 in Rod and Staff English. We are still working on nouns and locating them in sentences. Sweet Pea is getting good practice in classifying them and pulling them out of sentences.

Little Bird

Little Bird is still working on her ABCs. She also continues to hone her fine motor skills with copious amounts of coloring, cutting, pasting, and playing with play-doh.

Sweet Pea

We are now well into section 6 of Primary Mathematics! This means we are working on numbers 11-20. Sweet Pea is also getting good practice solving for X and has had a lot of story problems to work through lately. I think that we will start Challenging Word Problems (I got a complete set when they were being phased out) soon.


Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We reviewed history from the beginning of time-ancient China. Currently we are not doing most of the fun projects in the activity guide. We just aren't making it quite that far. We are doing the mapping and coloring pages.


This week we did primates. I think most kids loves primates- they are so common when you think of mammals. Doing the animal kingdom this year was a great choice!

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We did Lesson 5 of Le Francais Facile. We also reviewed colors, shapes, greetings, numbers, and size words. We also got a new CD of French children's songs to play when the girls are coloring or playing. I picked one with a France French accent since our main program has a decidedly Quebec sound to it.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We covered the children of Adam and Eve. I've always found this to be a sad story. The kids seemed to enjoy it, though, and we'll keep moving on.

Sweet Pea

We've done the 10 Commandments now. We'll review and move on! Yay!

Family Fun

We visited my inlaws' lake house. The kids played in the woods, colored, explored, and had adventures. We adults grilled and hung out. A good time was had by all!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day late, dollar short

We are homeschooling this week, I've just been too busy to post.

Weekly report on Saturday or Sunday!


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