Monday, October 25, 2010

Homeschool room

I post pictures off and on of the changes in our homeschool room. I just took more tonight. These maps have been on this wall since shortly after we moved in. They continue to be useful and frequently used, so they stay.

Opposite the maps is my china cabinet. I have candy stashed on the bottom shelf. And my newspaper stash.

I have a few super messes that stick around- mostly the large stash of newspaper I save for floor protection, crafts, and cleaning. I could probably whittle it down, but it doesn't bother me too much. My bookcase also doesn't stay lined up well- as you can see things are jammed in chaotically. The blanket covered thing next to the book case is the dog kennel- I also need a prettier cover for that!

I really like these two cabinets- the corner where they meet provides a nice, out of sight place to store posters that aren't currently in use.

Finally- this is the room as a whole, as seen from the kitchen doorway.
And that's where all the magic happens. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Field trip week

Last week we drove down to Omaha, Nebraska, to meet my parents. They live in Texas, so it's more of a central place to meet.

It also gives us a chance to take the kids to do a lot of things that normally we don't have a chance to do.

We went to the Mallory Kountze Planetarium and saw a show about stars and the universe. We went as a private group during the day, so it was $40. However, this allowed the kids to ask as many questions as they wanted without us worrying about keeping them quiet. They also have quite a few neat displays that the kids really liked.

We also went to Pioneer Trail Orchard and Pumpkin Patch. This is actually across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I can not say enough good things about this place- the people who run it are sweet, accommodating, and you can really tell that they are running this because they love it and they love kids. They have been operating the pumpkin patch for sixteen years. Highlights for my kids were a hay ride (sans hay which was actually excellent since multiple members of our party have allergies), picking out their very own pumpkins (very reasonably priced), going through a corn maze, a "haunted" barn that is extremely age appropriate (they also have a more intense one for the older and braver crowd), and the playground. They also sell refreshments and have some small rides. It's a short drive from central Omaha and really worth the trip if you are looking for fun, seasonal activities that feature fall and Halloween.

The kids were also pleased to go to the Henry Doorly Zoo again. This was a favorite from last year, as well. I like the combination of indoor and outdoor exhibits. I was also really impressed with the Skyfari- at $4 a person it is a really long ride that takes you all the way across the park and back. I do wish that the zoo had coupons and more eating choices, but otherwise it's a great time.

Little Bird was under the weather, so she went to the doctor with grandma, little Moose, and myself while Sweet Pea went to the Omaha Children's Museum with her grandpa and father. The doctor was nice, but I think that Sweet Pea got the better end of that deal. She was a little less impressed with the museum and I heard that some of the exhibits were not working properly.

A high point of the trip for me was visiting Adoremus Bookstore. This is a Catholic bookstore with a large homeschool book selection and a nice staff that features at least one homeschooling mother. I was pleased to pick up the next level of Singapore math (although it is US Ed. not Standards, so we'll see how we like it) as well as the Explode the Code primers for Little Bird. Sweet Pea is pleased about the new math as well as her new coloring books.

This was a great trip and gave us some neat opportunities. I think it was a week well spent.

This upcoming week we will be studying Martin Luther and the Reformation all week in preparation for Reformation Day.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Weekly report, sick week

Mostly the mother, not the kids.

Language Arts
Sweet Pea

We have done the first 6 lessons of Maxwell's Primary Language Lessons and Composition. So far we have covered: copywork (daily), picture study (daily), and grammar (daily). This program feels very similar to me to Classical Writing from the scope and sequence and samples that I have seen. It's about 10-15 sentences per lesson. Every lesson also has an oral component to be done with the parent or teacher at the beginning- this is where the concepts and grammar are introduced.

We are also still using Rod and Staff's English 2, only we are now doing the lessons orally. I really like the amount of grammar in this, and we already have it, so we'll complete it orally and then switch to something else next year for just grammar.

Sweet Pea has done 14 lessons in her spelling program. She continues to be a good speller and is good and visualizing words in her head and being able to put that accurately on paper.

She is currently rereading Mary Pope Osbourne's retelling of the Odyssey for her personal, fun reading. We are reading Charlotte's Wed out loud together- Little Bird and baby Moose also listen to this to varying degrees.

Little Bird

Little Bird knows all of her capital letters! Well, usually. She's now working on her lower case ones and letter sounds. We are also working on dot to dots, coloring, properly holding a pencil, and enunciating the sounds she still struggles with- namely f, th, and v.

Sweet Pea

We did the review of numbers 0-20, addition and subtraction, this week. Next is shapes and measuring and money- so more review. That's good, though- when we move on to the next book it's a big jump in skills!

Little Bird

Little Bird can count to 20 (both in English and French) and can now recognize the numbers 1-5.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We finished Egypt, meandered through the Israelites , and then dissected the Phoenicians. I think that Sweet Pea liked the chapter on the Phoenicians the best, but she liked the Israelite crafts better. I highly suggest the Activity Guide for anyone doing SOTW!

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

Review on mammals. I think that they've retained a pretty good amount about what makes mammals unique and how to identify them.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We did Lesson 9 this week. We are not doing any of the writing anymore, we are just working on vocab and usage, as well as listening for accent. The girls watched some movies in French and listened to some children's songs in French.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

This week was Jacob's Ladder. Sweet Pea has a little bit of catch up to do- she still needs to draw a picture for this week as well as last week.

Sweet Pea and Little Bird

We are now working on the Apostle's Creed. Sweet Pea knows all 10 of the commandments, in order, and can easily recite them. She can say the Creed if someone else is saying it with her, but we are working on having her do it solo.

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea has been practicing reciting, "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod." I'm going to have her read it and say it more this next week, then she can illustrate a picture of it and we'll add it to her binder.

Family Fun

Our fun this week was kind of lame since I was sick. We made Jello in funny shapes and baked brownies. We got stickers and made sticker pages and colored them. Both girls spent time working on puzzles, and helped little Moose perfect the art of getting into a sitting position.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What to do with babies/toddlers

I chat a lot with friends about this- what to do with a toddler or baby during homeschool time. Toddlers can be fun and sweet, but they can also be really distracting during school time!

Some things that I have found to help, in no particular order:
-sink full of bubbles with cups to pour
-dry beans/rice to sort
-safety scissors and old magazines

Mostly, it is training the toddler to be quiet and to play solo for short periods of time.

I think babies are easier- they can sit on mom's lap, sleep, or nurse.

Anyone else have useful tips?


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