Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rome in a Day

We are taking a "vacation" from the usual RRR and immersing ourselves into some History and Science. It's like catching up and having a whole day of learning fun at the same time. Here's how it's going so far:
Monday --Science Day--We finished up a whole unit on ANIMAL LIFE CYCLES:
We read, "Why Frogs Get Wet" and learned all about how frogs go from egg to tadpole to adult. We also learned that if ever a giant man-eating frog comes bounding through town--PLAY DEAD. They will not eat anything unless it's moving. When the girls played Barbies later in the day they pretended that baby Cannon was a Goliath frog coming to attack them so they all played dead. He still attacked. We made our own version of the most poisonous of all frogs : the poison dart frog of Central America. Kate made the fly. Our reward for finishing a science unit has been to go on a fieldtrip. For today's field trip we went to the Pet Store. They didn't have poison frogs but they did have a tomato frog and some other creepy things: tarantula, a giant boa, lizards, fish galore, cats, rats (ewww), and our favorite: The softest thing you've ever laid finger on--chinchilla. The pet store lady was kind enough to let us pet it when she found out we were on a "family field trip."

I introduced the lesson by wearing a toga--as you can see. We reviewed first about continents, oceans, NSEW directions, etc. Then we got right into Ancient Rome. Adrie related the whole story about Romulus and Remus to Dad when he got home and how they were twin boys raised by a mother wolf. For once a wolf is the hero of a story. We also watched some k12 movies about Cincinnatus, Horatius saving the bridge. We learned what it is to have a Republic, or an elected group of rulers. Later in the day I told the girls they had to obey me because I was the "Consul." Kate said, "NO, you're not, because you're not even wearing purple." note to self: wear purple tomorrow. All roads lead to Rome--they also built aqueducts, the first sewer system, 5-story buildings, bath houses. For reading time we read this great book from the library "The Roman News" It is a history series set up as a newspaper and it turned out to be a fun resource to learn little tidbits like girls marrying at age 12. There were articles about how to get your skin, "extra white," a help wanted section for slaves, advertisements for how to spiff up your toga, and a how-to article on throwing a great dinner party with a recipe for "snail snacks."

Wednesday: SCIENCE Day again. Kate chose METRICS--because I told her it involved measuring ingredients for delicious treats! We made hot chocolate and Kate measured it out into a graduated cylinder so that everyone got 100 mL. She used a metric stick to record different heights of things like a her Barbie (29 cm. tall). We learned about Mr. Farenheit and Mr. Celsius and then Kate used a thermometer to record the temperatures of ice water and hot tap water.
Last and best of all we used a balance to find out which of all the girls could make a s'more with the greatest mass. Kate piled hers high with marshmallows and chocolate chips so she won with 38 grams. That is a whopper of a s'more! What a lot of science in one day. We broke it up with some Christmas caroling and running around outside and of course eating all those treats.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Congrats! You have a head, thorax, and abdomen!

ART DAY: We learned about Juan Miro , top-left.(Spain.) The girls drew their own Miro inspired pictures using bold black lines, shapes, bright colors, and wild imagination.

At the dinner table 3 yr-old Adrie said to Dad, "You have a HEAD, THORAX, ABDOMEN." What a compliment!--to Dad AND to our science lesson about insects 2 weeks ago.

One of the BEST investments of my time this week was to attend a local Love and Logic class specifically geared toward homeschoolers. It was just the shot in the arm I needed. I came away not only encouraged and praised but with some great ideas to incorporate into our schooling.

It came at the perfect time because I had been feeling quite overwhelmed with our busy days--homeschooling is hard work! When I'm not doing Kate's lesssons, I'm trying to give a 3 yr old attention--which she never can get enough of...or I'm changing diapers and feeding a baby-- and trying to keep the house in order on top of that!!!....
It didn't help that I had recently been criticized by some person that I was depriving my children socially...etc. HELLO, I live on a street teeming with children! I won't get started on that. ANYWAY, the lessons in the class and the stories shared CONFIRMED my belief deep down that what I am doing is GOOD for our family. Here are some examples:

  • We are never "behind." We are where we are.
  • Set the timer and do 15 minute rotations so each kid gets some one on one time.
  • take lessons outdoors: do math with sidewalk chalk. In the past I have had Kate do a problem set and then sent her on an obstacle course--like riding her bike around the house to find a gray rock,etc. but, this was a good reminder and I could incorporate it into other lessons.
  • teach life skills: math with cooking, measuring, shopping, estimating. Kate has been earning money by finishing units. Today she picked out a barbie , counted out the money and gave it to the cashier all on her own.I can't do EVERYTHING: the kids have to help out around the house. Yesterday I taught Kate how to measure the water and turn on the stove to make her own Ramen noodles for her and her sisters. Jobs help the whole family.
  • Each day, write all the lessons that need to be done, jobs, practicing etc. on a white board. As Kate completes each one she can cross it off or erase it. When it comes time for FUN and she asks "Can I play with friends" I can simply say, "I don't know, CAN YOU?" and refer to the chart. This has been working wonderfully the last 2 days. No more nagging!
  • TALK LESS, ASK MORE "How do you think you did on your handwriting?" "Do you feel like you practiced that song enough and are ready for your lesson?"
  • My opinion of Kate's work is not as important as Her opinion of her work. Let her evaluate herself based on these guidelines: I worked hard, I kept trying, I kept practing. When she finishes her work instead of me praising ad nauseum or correcting ask, "How did you do that?" (Working hard is the right answer.) This teaches them that they can accomplish anything if they work hard, etc. and when things do get hard they won't be as likely to quit.
  • MOVE ON with MY day. I can explain to Kate, "I am available to help you with this assignment for such and such time but then I need to....... blog??? Hope you can join us for that fun family activity later..." That way I can still have a life and not feel like a slave to school work.

It all came together, when, after taking whole week off of piano, (old me would have said to Kate, "Time to practice, you better get going, because you are SO not ready for your lesson.") new me said to Kate, "Let's see, you have your lesson in tomorrow. Do you feel like you are ready to play your songs for your teacher?" That's all I said, then as the class recommended, I "walked away and let her figure it out." A short while later, she actually started practing--first time ever it was her own idea!!!! Hallelujah! Then I was helping her get through some of the unfamiliar notes when (as usual) she had a come apart and threw her music and threatened to quit forever, blah blah blah. But because the new me has a life to get to I responded (coolly, if I may indulge) " Well, I'm available to help you for the next 10 minutes but after that I need to read to Brynn." I had already made it clear that piano would need to be done before any friends or computer time. Kate floundered on the floor complaining while I had a very fun time reading with my kindergartener (who really appreciated the time spent too.) After 5 minutes of wallowing around, Kate --wonder of wonders--ASKED me, "Mom, can you come help me with this song?" Glory Hallelujah!

Back to School--here's what else we covered this week:

Language Arts: spelling, reading fables and discussing morals, pronouns, plot, setting, characters. vocab and reading comprehension, and handwriting.

Math with Dad: adding double digits.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night....

Actually, it was the best weather ever for trick-or-treating. I couldn't believe we could be out in shorts sleeves and sandals--that is a first!
The storm was during the day when Brynn and I were sick and throwing up!
Everyone managed to get a little trick-or-treating in by the end of the day so it wasn't a total dud. Kate and Adrie went to a neighborhood Halloween party earlier in the day.
All the anticipation of the candy-filled holiday made it just a bit harder to concentrate on school work this week. Kate did some extra lessons at the first of the week so she could have Friday off.
Kate has been doing awesome with her spelling words (ae, ai, ae, and ay words) and moving right along to more challenging words. We reviewed verbs, past, present, and irregular. Also, we reviewed what it means to proofread: check spelling, capitals, periods, and putting sentences in correct order.
The Long Way to a New Land was a chapter book Kate read about a family who immigrated to America from Sweden during the "hunger years." The girls were grateful they didn't have to eat bitter bread made from moss in the woods. The follow up to it was The Long Way Westward .
It continued the story of the same family traveling in rough conditions on the "emigrant cars" on their way to settle the Midwest.
The mathletes are working on counting money and telling time. Kate is very adept at counting money because almost every day she gets out her stash and counts it--just to make sure it is all there. Right now she has $30.00 plus we owe her $7.00 in school rewards, $1 for practicing all week, and $3 that I borrowed earlier this week. Yeah! I know, it's sad when your 7 yr old is lending you cash. She has been saving money for 3 months now waiting for that perfect thing to buy.....will it still be rockstar microphone?
Online, we have a fun activity with other k12-ers called "Who wants to be a millionaire." It is an game that the 2nd graders can log-in to and play together to review math and language arts. The goal is to help them prepare for end of year testing. Kate really was excited to participate so I'm sure we'll be logging in to join every Tues. and Thurs. and adding up more "cash."
For science we are studying Animal Life Cycles. We acted out the life cycle of a butterfly. First rolling up into an egg then hatching into a larva (caterpillar) then wrapping up in a blanket cocoon in the pupa stage and emerging out as a butterfly (with tinkerbell fairy wings.)
We also learned about the reptile life cyle using modeling clay. First the egg, then the hatchling (we made baby snakes) then they grew into adult snakes. I made a big snake to eat their snakes and we I gave them a good n gory description of how constrictors first sneak up on their prey, then strike and bite it, then squeeze it to death, and finally swallow it whole. Kate had invited her friend Emily over to join us for Thurs. science. They both made a steady diet of cute little mice for my snake to devour again and again.
Spanish has been a lot of fun with the PowerGlide program. The other day we went to Wal-Mart and Adrie was delighted to hear a Spanish speaking mom yell to her son, "MALO!" She has been telling everyone about it. That has to be the favorite foreign phrase around here, along with CUIDADO! NO! and NUNCA! I like to have a little fun with that last one. Sometimes when they ask a question, "Can I have a snack? NUNCA "Can we get a TV?" NUNCA and "When is it going to be Christmas? NUNCA. Try it! It's lots of fun because it makes anyone sound like a wicked step-mother.
Last of all, for Art we looked at some paintings of animals and studied how they are depicted in art: using tiny brushstrokes for fur, for example. The girls painted their own animal pictures. Brynn's was a turtle, Kate did a bear and a bird, Adrie is good at bugs. Their favorite things to make and color however, are MERMAIDS. We made mermaid paper dolls that the girls colored making faces, hair, and seashell bikinis.
And that's the week in a wrap: Next week we'll be having a little Fall Vacation to Sunny St. George! Travel is the best education afterall ;)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall FieldTrip to the Pumpkin Patch

Okay, so everyone has been to the Pumpkin Patch by now. Gotta love those photo ops. But, does your pumpkin patch have these?Don't ask me what these are--this wasn't an educational fieldtrip just a fun one. Brynn and Adrie called it a swan, which I think was a very generous evaluation. I think it looks more like a serpent: a rattlesnake or cobra. Either way--it is super fun and Brynn thought this was just the right "pumpkin" for Dad. Does your pumpkin patch have one of these? All the kiddies piled in for a bumpy rumblin' train ride.
How about Indian Corn? Exploring in the fields pictured in the background, we found lots of hidden ears of beautiful variety: red, black, multi-colored, etc. We had them decorating our front porch along with the other pumpkins we found until Kate went out there and discovered to her complete HORROR a mouse picking at the corn. What a feast we had laid out for him. We decided to make the corn an indoor decoration and keep those doors shut!

We went to the local pumpkin patch as a field trip with fellow k12-schoolers in the area. It was fun to get to know other families who do what we do. The numbers are growing. I think we had at least double what we had last year---or at least enough to fill 2 huge haywagons. What a fun day for all of us!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Book by Kate rough draft form...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And this year's science project award goes to the Christensen Family for the VOLCANO WITH CHOCOLATE MOLTEN LAVA...
What a fun and messy science day. We learned about magma erupting from volcanoes. When it reaches the earth's crust it is called lava and then hardens to form igneous rock. After the girls had their fill of hot lava--with enough evidence on their shirts, we put their chocolate volcanoes in the fridge to let them harden. Our little nerds then spent their sugar buzz watching video clips of erupting volcanoes from I knew the concept sunk in when after an hour of that, Adrie yelled, "Let's go eat our igneous rocks!"

Kate and Brynn went to Liberty Girls on Tuesday. It has been great to get together with other k12 families and homeschoolers and yeah!--there are some functional and cool families out there. It gives me the little boost I need to think, Okay I can do this too! The girls have been reading and learning about slavery from the American Girls Series, Addy.
Addy, a colored girl, and her family says things like, "We done real good" "You is going to learn to read" and " It ain't fair, mama." It's fun to throw all grammar lessons to the wind and really get into the part.
Kate and Brynn came home each with a bag of cookie dough to make letters out of--just like Addy when she was teaching her mom to read. The dough, although not tasty because it was made from some very "healthy" wheat flour, was very entertaining. The girls probably spent an hour rolling it out and playing with it. Then they said, "Mom can we SEW?" Sew???
Apparently , again like Addy, they learned to sew stitches on fabric. Sewing has become the new craze around here. As long as I thread the needle and tie a knot at the end, they will happily sew rags together, scraps of fabric, whatever they can find. Luckily, we had some fabric around (from our Chinese silk lesson.) They got the grand idea to sew purses out of them and use a ribbon for a handle. They have become quite the fashion trend on the street.

We also made a makeshift barbie dress for Adrie. It's more like a toga or a mumu, however you spell that. Either way, as you can see, they are very proud of their newfound sewing skills.

Sewing just happened to fit right in our Art and Language Arts lessons. Kate read aloud Josefina and the Story Quilt. It told about a girl crossing the plains to California as a pioneer. Also, about how important quilts were to pioneers. They were like the family journal or scrapbook. For Art, each girls got a square of white fabric to draw on with markers. We just happened to be babysitting a couple of neighborhood kids that day so they also got a patch to draw on. Next week the girls will stitch them together to make a mini quilt--without the backing or filler or quilting bee--none of us know that much about sewing!

Kate also had to learn about what it takes to write a book. The first lesson was a word web where she had to think of an animal and write ideas about it in the outlying word bubbles. The next day she made 5 complete sentences from her wordbubble, a rough draft, you could say. Next she learned about PROOFREADING--correcting her sentences with puncuation, spelling, etc. Finally, it was time to PUBLISH her story in a book. Kate decided to elaborate BIG TIME on her 5 sentences and write a whole dialogue and everything complete with illustrations. She spent a good hour on her book and in the back there was even a section "About the Author, complete with a picture of herself. Ha ha, I'll have to get a picture of that. So, I guess it is still a work in progress. We'll have to publish the final draft on the blog next week after a few corrections.

Friday ended with a neighborhood block party at our place. We had probably about 75 people show up--our driveway has never been so exciting. Everyone brought potluck, and their own meat to grill and there was plenty of feasting and visiting. This was the second official block party and I think we're going to make it a yearly tradition with maybe some games and prizes in the future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Field Trip to Fish Lake

What better place to enjoy school than in the mountains. Really, we did this for some Saturday recreation but to prepare us for maximum fun and education, we read Let's Go Rock Hunting" the drive up (thank goodness I didn't get carsick.)
What a beautiful sight at 10,000 feet altitude to see the strikingly blue Fish Lake. Along the lakeshore trail the girls found lots of rocks and Dad entertained us with his new knowledge, "Don't be igneous" and "Let's not take that for granite!" I love being married to a nerd.

For Art day we learned about how artists use different kinds of lines: wavy, zigzag, spiral, etc. The girls painted their own masterpieces on these leftover cardboard sheets. They really add a splash of color to the kitchen, as you can see.

For Spanish we have been reading a book and then I will insert a word or phrase in Spanish, each day adding a little more. For example, "Ay Abuela! Que grandes dientes tienes!"
"The better to eat you with," said the lobo.

Kate is loving the Science unit on rocks. She played some interactive games on the k12 site to learn about Mohr's scale of hardness. Every day she begs to go rock collecting, even if it is only in the backyard.

Kate taught Adrie her preschool today. She made flashcards from 1-20 and they practiced together . She also read her an alphabet book-- Love it when the kids help each other!
Brynn is savoring every word that she is able to sound out. It is exciting to see her discover reading. Her sight words are: the, a , I, was, said, it, is.

We are continuing to learn about the American Revolution. This week we read a book from the RedCoats point of view called, George the Drummer Boy. Kate had to compare and contrast this with last week's Sam the Minuteman. She is learning the difference between fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, and fables. She has also been practicing her handwriting everyday. Her new favorite book series she discovered for her free-time reading is, The Jewel Fairies by Daisy Meadows.
To help learn about nouns, proper and plural, I made up some "Mad Libs" type stories where Kate had to fill in the blanks of the story. They turned out pretty silly, much to the girls' delight.

Last year when I taught, Kate really loathed Math time so you can imagine my surprise when she said this week that Math was her favorite subject--what?!! Apparently switching teachers made all the difference--Dad is doing a great job!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kate the Great Rock Hunter

Could we get any more scheduled?: M-F Math and Language Arts. T/TH Science, M/W Spanish, Friday Art Day. Heck we even added a lunch schedule to go along with our family prayer schedule : M-PB&J, T-Ramen (Kate's favorite), Wednesday Brynnsday is Tuna Fish (her favorite), TH-mac-n-cheese (Adrie's and ONLY Adrie's favorite) F-plate of snacks. (cheese, crackers, nuts, fruit, etc.)

The mathletes Dad and Kate are enjoying their early morning lessons--more review of different ways to add--like using number lines or my personal favorite, fingers. Also, inverse operations (7-2=5 so 5+2=7.) I catch them doing all sorts of cheesy things like making up songs about math rules and calling themselves mathletes.

Kate's daily L.A. lessons have included new spelling words (easy ones but they'll get harder soon,) vocab words, plural nouns, proper uses of May I and Can I, and handwriting. She chose to copy a joke from one of her library books, "Why did the skeleton go to the movies alone? Because he had noBODY to go with." Ha ha--she has been telling that one to everyBODY.

We've learned about Independence Day and the Revolutionary War by reading Sam the Minuteman. The colonists got that name for being ready to fight the RedCoats in a minute's notice. Kate said she was going to be an "hour-man" to get ready for bed tonight.
Interesting how kids make connections--We were reading about why the American Revolution started: the colonists were under the rule of King George III of England and they were angry with him because he made them pay extra taxes and feed his soldiers etc. They wanted to be FREE to make their own rules. Kate said to me, "That's kind of like how YOU are the boss and I want to be free to make MY own rules." Hmmm, am I sensing a revolution?

During Adrie's Music class we ventured over to the canal again hoping for another Huck Finn moment. There was no water in the ditch however, the lack of water revealed a wealth of rocks to found by "Kate the Great Rock Hunter." For our SCIENCE Kate chose to do the unit on Rocks first. One of our assignments was to go rock collecting and study their different properties and categorize them. This turned out to be WAY MORE FUN than I could have imagined and the sandwich sized bag I gave her for collecting was totally insufficient for the great haul she came home with--thanks to the jogging stroller for getting 50 rocks home. Move over baby--make way for the rocks. Kate was so excited about her finds, "Look at this one it's red, and this one is so smooth, and this one has stripes like a tiger"...and on and on until I said it was absolutely time to go pick up Adrie. She spent the next hour carefully washing and organizing her rocks. They are outside on the back porch right now, lovingly wrapped in one of my towels.

Adrie here is showing the other science activity of the week: Layers of the earth. We watched a cool video clip where we toured all the different layers: Crust, Mantle, Core, and then made our own models using dirt for the crust, pebbles for the mantle, and iron filings for the hot metal core. This was an extra fun and dirty activity to be had outside! That attracted a few little neighbors. One of our little across the street cuties observed us for awhile and then ran back to her house shouting, "I'm going to make the earth too!" She came back with almost all the supplies necessary.

For Art today we looked at some famous Portraits (the Thinker by Rodin--which we saw last week at the museum and had to take turns posing like. Kate thought he must be thinking of his girlfriend.) We also learned about Self Portraits. Durer portrayed himself with long curly hair and we had to laugh at the thought of Dad with long 1400's stylish hair. (Kate later drew a picture of that. ) The assignment for Kate was to draw her own Self Portrait. She chose to draw her famous self. The one that is SO famous, people throw flowers on the stage when she sings into her pink microphone.

Brynn's been doing great with Kindergarten. She only missed the bus once this week. Kate came in that morning to let us know that the bus had arrived. She found us completely dead asleep thanks to Cannon's 3-5 a.m. crying-fest. Our girls were never that stubborn during BabyWise sleep training. Brynn is pretty much the only kid that gets her hair done in the morning. It's my special time to visit with her as she chooses how she wants it and I try to create it. Today she chose a "braid flower" which we learned how to do from another blog, "hair-do's for girls" and we also like "babes in hairland."

TGIF! Friday is date night for me and dad: tonight it's tennis which will leave me very sore for Saturday which is "sleep in and throw all schedules to the wind" day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hannah Montana and Huckleberry Finn

At least we can say about this week that everyone did some learning. The huge bag-o-chocolate treats that I bought at Costco has really paid off for school rewards. Adrie gets one for doing a preschool lesson: she knows almost all of her letters already. Brynn taught her today using her worksheets from Kindergarten. Brynn gets her treat for reading lessons. Kate gets one for finishing school with a "good attitude."--we've had some close calls.

This week seemed extra busy because in addition to soccer 2x/week we added Adrie's music/rhythm class and Kate's, piano lessons. Adrie was SOOO excited to go to her first class, she drew a special picture for the teacher and wore her cutest newest outfit. We walked her down the street to her morning class. Her 40 minute lesson gave Kate and I just enough time to walk down to the nearby canal and do some outdoor schooling. Sitting on the bank, letting her bare feet dangle into the cool rushing water, Kate read aloud to me from her book. That was our Huck Finn moment. She read several fables and we discussed the morals. We do a little tradition at dinnertime that our neighbor taught us called "high/low." Everyone takes a turn saying the best and worst or High/low that happened to them that day. Being in the canal was definitely Kate's high for the day.

Other reading lessons: putting things in ABC order, common and proper nouns, subjects and predicates. Today we read 3 poems about pets and Kate had to fill in the blanks to write her own. Dad is still working with her on math review. It is such a huge burden lifted off me, to not have to deal with that. He is much more patient than I.

Brynn had her best day at Kindergarten so far-- even though it had a rough start. Dad had to drag her out the door screaming because she didn't like the bows I put in her hair but it was too late to change it. She ripped them out herself and went to school with some pretty loose and kinky pony tails. Anyway, the good came because she said each teacher rotated in her classroom and they played different games. Sounds fun to me. Brynn told us that a girl named Katelyn said, after turning to look back at Brynn several times, "I just can't help it you're too cute!

I took Brynn with me to sign her up for gymnastics. She is SOO excited and she has to wait 22 more days for it to start!!

Today we finished reading "Meet Addy" the American Girl book about a girl who grows up in slavery and she and her momma runaway to freedom. It was pretty intense at times reading about whippings and beatings and when they almost drowned in the river and ended up with leeches. I don't know how much Adrie and Brynn got out of it but Kate was fascinated. The whole black/white slavery concept was pretty difficult for all of them to grasp. On a lighter side, I think they learned to be grateful that they get to go to school and play instead of working in the fields de-worming tobacco plants. This book was our reading requirement for our local chapter of Liberty Girls which they will attend twice month starting next week.

And on a final note: Kate, like all girls her age, is a big fan of Hannah Montana. For her weekly reward, she chose a poster of her at the store to put in her clubhouse in the unfinished basement. I told Kate that Hannah Montana probably does homeschool too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monet to Picasso

Our first fieldtrip! We had to catch this exhibit before it left town. It was a pretty unique experience for us-- seeing real live art, passing through hard-core security (no pens allowed), listening to the handheld speakers that narrate the paintings as you walk along, as well as what Kate pointed out in the Picasso section, "Why are there so many naked people?"
My proud parent moment came when we saw the geometric/primary colored painting of Peit Mondrian and Kate said, "Hey, I know that one!" That is one we had used in her first grade Art curriculum to talk about shapes in art.! No print can compare to seeing the REAL thing. All in all it was a fun experience and Nana treated us to cookies at the museum cafe.

Later in the day we stopped to get shakes before heading off to VoiceMale's free outdoor concert in the park. What a perfect day to start with a museum trip and end with a concert.
After the concert viewSaturday Sprinklers with cousin QuintinSunday walk to church The weekend ended with a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Week of School and We're Ready for a Vacation

We finished the first week of school and we're even cutting it short to go on vacation. It's Labor Day Weekend (aka my birthday) and I want some city fun so we are off tomorrow. We will also be planning a trip to the Fine Arts Museum to see the Impressionism exhibit so now we can call it a fieldtrip and count it as school. Here's what we did this week:
Monday, we sent Brynn off to brick and mortar public school. Why is Brynn going to Kindergarten? Because she REALLLLY wanted to; Kate went, so she feels it's her "rite of passage."

I'm not sure her experience lived quite up to her expectations--they were pretty high. When I asked her about it after picking her up from the bus-stop she said, "It was easy and we only had 2 recesses." She showed us her coloring pages of letter A and number one and said that it was just like preschool except she liked preschool better. Every day Dad has walked her down to the bus-stop at 7:30 and Brynn gets dropped off at 11:30 just in time for all of us to have lunch, followed by some story time by Mom ( we had quite the library loot this week to get through).

I have been all gung-ho to start on our Spanish. Unfortunately we have had some log-in problems with accessing our account and I don't know when they'll be resolved. Instead we read a very fun book Bebe at the beach. It is a cute story that intersperses Spanish words into
it's rhyming text. We read it again today, with the girls repeating the bold print Spanish words as they came along in the story, "mira, pelota, el sol, gafas, helado, cuidado," etc.

Brynn is still doing her reading lessons after school from her favorite book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We are on lesson #30 and it's going well. She loves to do it and she also gets to pick a treat from the jar after each lesson.

Kate's week has been going well, except for the "You're not a real teacher, I want to go to real school, homeschool is stupid" tantrums that seemed to occur every morning. Dad had a talk with her and decided that Kate will get an "attitude" treat each day out of the jar if she can be "cute and fun" when she does her lessons. Today it worked!!! No come-aparts! Hallelujah!!!

Language Arts includes about 20 min. of spelling, 30 minutes of vocab. 20 minutes of grammar/writing and 20 minutes of guided reading. The spelling has been pretty easy so far (lock, ship, does, from, etc.) We reviewed the 4 different types of sentences (telling, asking, exclamation, command) and practiced writing them. We read and discussed, Clara and the Bookwagon." Today we read some fables and found their morals, "The Dog and His Shadow" and the "Goose and the Golden Eggs" Kate wrote the titles and the morals of each, "Don't be GREEDY" --definitely, a command.

Dad is taking over math, or wizard numbers, he calls it. They have been doing it first thing in the morning after breakfast: 7:30 a.m. So far it has been 1 st grade review which Kate thinks is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Adrie gets to do preschool during our school breaks. I present myself as "Mrs. Winkletoes" her teacher and she loves to show me that she knows her colors and counting. We are working on shapes and identifying letters and numbers. She gets a treat out of the jar after her lesson just like Brynn.

Besides school, Kate had her first soccer game. It was very exciting and she was already asking if she could have a sleepover with her new friend Saylor. Adrie was soo excited to attend her first Rhythm/Music class for toddlers but--Darn IT!--I forgot to take her this morning. When I realized my mistake and apologized, Adrie was in tears. Now she has to wait 7 more days for the next class.. aarrgh!

I made Brynn's favorite for dinner last night, "Creamy Enchiladas" and she said, "Let's just have this all to ourselves -- don't share it with any neighbors!" There's a command. We also made brownies but DARn IT again! I accidentally put 3/4 cup water instead of 1/4 into the mix, so I had to compensate with extra flour and ewww, even frosting on top could not make them taste better.

Yesterday we got the long awaited DVD "Camp Rock" in the mail from Netflix. Adrie thought it was boring (however, she hip-hopped along every time they broke out in song) On a scale of 1-5 Kate gave it one billion stars! They watched it again with Dad before bedtime. Now Kate is working on her own "Camp Rock" book of songs. They are mostly love songs, but one included Nature and another one said, "Jesus made me this way. " Kate is consumed with how she can become famous. She said she will start charging $1/person now instead of 25 cents to watch her concerts. Brynn also started her own book of Camp Rock "drawings."

And there's our first week in a wrap!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Project Organization

Who doesn't like some good BEFORE and AFTER pictures? This is what we were dealing with in summer school, finishing up our History and Art curriculum before 2nd grade. "Where's the tape? Where is a pen?? Where is that Monet print???" I'd had enough. It was time to start the new school year off right. After a little inspiration and a lot of perspiration, this is the AFTER photo.
Inspiration came in the form of those VERY handy over the door SHOE organizers. (about $7 at Wal-Mart) Our girls have been so excited to see their stuff they have been doing arts and crafts all week! I am so proud of our project I have been leaving the doors open just so I can glance over and feel the satisfaction. Ahhhh
If you zoom in that 2nd photo you'll see my other favorite purchase: AN ELECTRIC PENCIL SHARPENER. Why didn't I get one of these years ago?! Except for the horrible grinding sound that terrifies our 5 month old baby, it has been a great thing! Ready for school NEXT WEEK.