Monday, December 3, 2007

Crazy 2 weeks!

It's been two whole weeks since I've posted anything about school.

I've been super busy working on costumes for the church's very first Kids Christmas Choir production. Really, super busy. So busy in fact that I let the kids go and we didn't do any school work at all these last couple weeks! I know they were loving it, but I was feeling a bit guilty.

Now the christmas play is over and it's Monday morning and I don't feel like doing anything. Jeremy and I have been sick since last Thursday. He's feeling better today - back to his video games. But I barely have a voice and I'm suffering from a really nasty cough. I was able to sleep until 9am today. I was hoping for 10 but I'll take it. I can always get a nap in later.

I'll probably also work on school lessons for the rest of the week and start getting us back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, Christmas is coming all too soon and we'll be taking another break for travelling.

There's always something.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Week #10

I can't believe how quickly the days have passed away! It's been a whirlwind of activity around here and doesn't show signs of stopping. In fact I may be facing a few loop-de-loops! :D

A recap of last week (#10)

Monday we began our butterfly lapbooks. I wanted to start them a couple weeks ago but we never got to it. So I gave the kids the folders I canabalized and a bunch of printouts. We filled out some diagrams and that's as far as we got. They totally lost interest. We read Becoming a Butterfly by Anne Rockwell. Great book. We also read a couple chapters in A Wrinkle in Time. Our word of the day was AUGMENT. and we did our workbooks. Seems like an easy day, right? Except we were coming back from fall break and none of us were feeling like digging in - me included! In math we are working on multiplying decimals. Ugh! Such a difficult concept to teach. Anyone have any handy tricks?

Tuesday, being the first Tuesday of the month, was our MOMS group meeting. It takes up the whole of the morning. I love the group and at the same time I'm glad it only meets once a month. So we did our workbooks and read some more in A Wrinkle in Time. Our word of the day was ORDINARY.

Wednesday we went to our homeschool group meeting. We joined a couple weeks earlier and the kids absolutely LOVE going to this group. So that takes up our morning as well. But, we got up early (thank you time change) and did all our workbooks! So when we got home we had lunch, we finished reading A Wrinkle in Time and we started our US State Study. We are beginning with Maine. I used 2 folders so I could have 4 flaps. We filled out some worksheets, labeled some maps, looked through some atlases. I checked out some of those books they have at the library for each and every state or country (almost) in the world. I love those books, but they can be a little dry. So I had them look through the books at the pictures for right now and stop to read anything they thought was interesting. Our word of the day was EXTRAORDINARY.

Thursday we were supposed to do some more on Germany, but our internet was down so after a few minutes fiddling with it, I gave up. I have no patience with technology. So we did our workbooks and we started a new book, Phineas L. MacGuire...Erupts! by Frances O'Roark Dowell. This book is hilarious! Chapter 3 had us rolling! And our word of the day was COMPREHEND.

With DH's new schedule at work he now has Fri through Sun off. So Friday we went to Sea World, had lunch out (chinese) and just played the day away.

Saturday the kids were at Disney Quest with their friends so DH and I had "a date" and spend a couple hours at the Masters Art Festival in Downtown Disney. There was some really great art there! We even found something we'd like to have when we finally get a house!

Sunday we went to 9am service, went to lunch, picked up some milk, dropped it off at home and went back for the 5pm service. We spent the rest of the evening watching Stargate Atlantis season 3.

And now it's a new week! :D

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall Break (week #9)

I woke up Monday morning and just did not feel like doing anything. So I figured since we had so many other things going on this week we'd take our fall break like planned.

I spent my time finishing up halloween costumes for everybody. The kids spent their time watching movies, reading books and magazines, and playing video games. And of course, we did the grocery shopping, ran errands, did laundry, cleaned the RV, blah, blah, blah...

The highlight of the week was, of course, Halloween. The kids couldn't wait to get at the candy. And once again I had to remind them that they wouldn't be eating any of it. I know they have a hard time understanding why I throw it all away, but it's just the way it is. After trick or treating we went to the church's event at the Fun Spot. The kids had a blast riding the bumper cars and driving the race cars, while hanging out with friends from church. They got a small bag of candy there too and that one they got to keep. I took them to the store today to pick out their own halloween candy.

Here is a pic of the kids in their costumes.

K wanted to be one of Lily's "Lola" characters from the Hannah Montana show. I'm glad she chose black/white Lola since it was super easy to come up with the outfit. The biggest expense was the wig and I really feel we got ripped off. What a piece of garbage! I didn't have any white extension hair in my stash and I didn't have time to order any so we had to use it as is. It worked I guess.

J is the manga character Naruto. He's been wanting this outfit for over a year. We looked on the internet and ebay and couldn't find one for less than $100! And most of them looked horrible. So I made it myself. I went to JoAnn's and picked up a pattern that included pants, shirt and vest. I altered the vest and shirt pattern to what I needed and spent about $40 all total for all the little details. I even made those funny little shoe things out of some felt and his flip flops. When I finished the jacket, he put it on and didn't take it off for hours! I think he really likes it. My DH said I should make up a bunch of these to sell on ebay. Yeah - I have plenty of time for that.

I didn't get to dress up this year. All my costumes are in storage in MI. But my DH said most people would think I was in costume anyway because of my dreads. He's such a smart aleck sometimes.

So now it's late Friday night and I haven't done anything to get ready for school next week. Can I take another fall break? LOL Next Tuesday we'll take off because of MOMS group at church and Wed. morning is the homeschool group so we'll probably take that off too. Plus DH's schedule at work changes next week and now he'll have F/S/S off. Maybe we will take another week off....I don't see us getting much done anyway!

Well then. To the weekend! :D

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Great #8

This week SO did not go according to plan!

Monday started off with our regular bike ride and swim. Then we hopped into our book work. We're working on multiplying decimals and they're both forgetting to count the decimal places when they finish their answer. We started read A Wrinkle in Time and K is still reading Dragon Rider and J is reading It's All Greek to Me.

Tuesday we went for a ride and a swim even though the air was really cold. The water felt great though! We did workbooks and read from A Wrinkle in Time. And then I spent the remainder of the afternoon making an Emeril recipe (yes, in my RV!) to take to our small group meeting.

Wednesday is where things totally switched up on us! I was invited to join a home schooling group that was just getting started and Wed. was the first meeting. Turns out more than a few ladies at our church are homeschoolers! So instead of our normal morning we decided to join the group. I go out to the truck and start it up and wouldn't you just know it? No brakes! I drove it yesterday and it was just fine. Apparently I sprung a leak.... so I told the kids our only other option was to ride our bikes to the meeting, which, luckily enough for us was at a park on the bike trail we ride every day - just in the other direction. They agreed so we got our morning bike in anyway!

At the meeting we had "gym class" and played kick ball all morning - moms too! :D it was great! The kids were all running around and having fun and all the moms were trying to catch their breath! After the meeting we rode home and hopped in the pool to cool off, so we got our daily swim too. The only other "school work" we did was read from A Wrinkle in Time. And then it was time for the kids to go to choir practice.

Thursday and Friday were just workbook days. I just totally spaced and couldn't get myself motivated to put things together.

Thursday DH had the day off so we took the truck to get fixed (yes he drove it with no breaks - unbelievable!) and then did some shopping. His boss bought him a 50" TV as a bonus gift but we can't use that in the RV! So we took it back for store credit. While dealing with that the kids discovered a Wii actually on the shelves so we used some of the credit and let them get it. I have to say, I played a couple rounds of tennis and it's pretty fun - and I don't like video games much!

Friday we took it easy. No bike ride or anything. We pretty much took the day off. I only had them do their spelling. DH got home from work around lunch time so we went our for chinese and played at nothing all day.

Saturday we did our laundry and took my sewing machine and materials and stuff over to the lounge. So while waiting on the laundry I gave the kids a sewing lesson. (to sort of make up for lost school time!) We went over the pattern, separated the pieces we'd need and got them layed out on the fabric. I let DD cut some of the pieces, but DS wasn't really interested. He likes picking out the stuff but he's not interested in putting in all together. DD really wants to learn and has already picked out some patterns she wants to make. So that's exciting. One of my kids actually likes something I like! They're too much like their dad! :D

And that's our week. This upcoming week was supposed to be a week off, but since we've been taking it easy, I think we're just going to keep going. And I'm going to try to get motivated! I started putting stuff together for our butterfly books and our state study books, I just need to print some more. You'd think I'd have the energy for that at least!

I think I need to put Wheaties on the grocery list...

Monday, October 22, 2007

week 7

Last week was a whirlwind of activity. I'm sure if I didn't write things down I'd not remember half of the fun we had together as a family!

(Monday was posted on the last blog entry.)

Tuesday we took another bike ride, another swim. Seems to be a new habit now. Then worked in our workbooks and read some stories about Germany, finished reading Haunted Waters. And we started our 50 State Study this week. We're beginning in Maine. I have a bunch of WhichWay USA books from Highlights for Children. They include a map of the state and all kinds of info with the puzzle book. As we study each state we'll put together a lapbook style book to hold all the info, short reports, pictures and tidbits we come across. The back of the lapbook will list all of our resources. I'm 3-hole punching the folders so that we can hold all of our lapbooks in a binder (more likely several binders!)

Wednesday we went as a family for our daily bike ride and swim. After lunch we went to the Orlando Science Center. We had a lot of fun! They have a special section on the first floor for kiddos under 48" and even though my two are taller than that they just had to see what was going on in there. We looked at Florida's water system, a replica of a sink hole, (scary thought), saw some sea turtle eggs buried in the sand (fake of course) and listed to the ocean in some shells. On the way out they have this wonderful water table set up to play with. DH and the kids played there for about 30 minutes! The table was set up with a slight decline to aid the flow of the water from one end to the other. DH challenged the kids to come up with a way to make the water flow in such a way that it went against gravity, back up the table. It took them a bit and a little help from dad, but they did it! I finally had to drag the three of them away. :D On one of the other floors they had a hurricane simulator. I couldn't stay in it for very long, the wind made it difficult for me to breathe. But they all had fun with it.

Thursday we got up and had our ride and swim. When we got back DH made his special breakfast for us. This is a weekly event and our kids look forward to it. This week instead of omelets, we did scrambled with some steak, hash browns and biscuits with jam. They ate up every scrap! We spent the day doing some shopping and went to Coldstone Creamery for a treat. What an experience! If you haven't been to one you really need to take a field trip. If they have exceptional employees the experience is well worth the cost.

Friday was our anniversary and DH had arranged to trade with another guy at work so he could be at home with us. We took our morning ride, but this time took the truck and hauled the bikes to the beginning of the trail and rode our bikes home (about 6 miles) and then picked up the truck later. We went for our quick swim and DH tested the kids on their surface dives. DD is like a fish in the water, but DS needed some extra practice. He still doesn't like the feeling of the water going up his nose. Can't say I blame him, really. :D Then we pretty much spent the day watching season 10 of StarGate SG-1 and just relaxed.

DH went back to work Sat and the kids and I stayed home and just played around. We didn't get our ride/swim because of rain. But we still had a pretty good day. I worked on costumes for Halloween, the kids played some video games, watched some movies, read magazines. A pretty normal, lazy weekend.

Sunday night after church we took some friends and their kids to Coldstone Creamery for some fun. Their kids were entranced with the oodles of choices for them to put in their ice cream! It was so much fun to watch them flit from one side of the line to the other trying to decide. :D

And now we're back to Monday! What a week! :D

Monday, October 15, 2007

What a Day!

It's been an adventure. What a day!

We kicked off the morning with a bike ride to the butterfly garden. A quick trip, really, but a little harder today since the wind was blowing pretty hard right into our faces.

While zipping down the path we discovered a really big turtle in a puddle near an over-flow drain. He was a little scared of us and disappeared rather quickly. Which led to a discussion of why animals are afraid of us, which then led to the topic of turtle soup. K&J were pretty disgusted by the notion of eating a turtle.

Off to the butterfly garden. I remembered to bring the camera this time. So we walked around and K wanted to take the pictures. Since K was taking pictures J had to take some too. We had a quick lesson on composing a picture. K is a quick study. I think she needs her own camera. While there we took a bunch of pictures of butterflies. I asked the kids if they'd like to do a study on butterflies. J came up with the idea to make a butterfly scrapbook. We're SO going to do that! I've been wanting to do something like that for all of our studies, so I'm psyched that he's even interested in something like that. We'll make little books using folders - which is what a lot of homeschoolers are doing - to make "lapbooks". How cool!

After a break we headed home and went swimming for about 20 minutes. Just long enough to cool down. After a bike ride the water is especially cold at first. But once you get used to it it's not too bad.

With swimming out of the way we got to work on school. K&J worked on their workbooks while I went over my lessons for the day, moving things around. It took them ALL day to work on those workbooks! ALL DAY!!!! It took forever to get to our readings for the day.

When DH got home from work we ran to the library so I could drop of a bunch of books and pick up a bunch more. I picked up books on butterflies and some more books on dinosaurs. I'm going to need to order some of the butterfly books from other branches as there were only 2 left on the shelves out of like 50! I think the PS must be doing projects on the butterflies at the moment as well.

After the library we headed out for dinner. SUSHI!!!

We went to Sushi Katana. K&J were super excited about trying some new things. J wanted spicy tuna, K wanted a crab roll. We also had an Osaka Rice Paper Roll and a Hamachi Roll as well as Tuna Tataki and a Nigri Sampler. The kids tried everything! J tried the paper roll and had to spit it out, but K liked it. The Hamachi Roll had roe on it (fish eggs) and K asked what it was. Chad explained that if she put some in her mouth and bit them open they were very sweet. So she tried it! I was never so surprised. How many 11 yo girls would put fish eggs in their mouth to see how sweet they are? J didn't try it though - he said he was full. It was a good meal.

Now we're home and DH and I are watching the next episode of StarGate SG-1 season 10 and the kids are listening to music until bedtime.

So it's been a really good day. The only thing that could make it better is some chocolate! But that's not going to happen. :( maybe tomorrow!

Friday, October 12, 2007

A successful week #6

This week was a bit of an experiment. Since I'm still not content with our daily schedules I decided to pretty much through caution to the wind this week.

Monday was an official "unschool" day. We got up and had pancakes for breakfast. After cleaning up we went swimming for half an hour. We came back, had some lunch and then we all curled up on the bed for an afternoon of reading time. We read Sea Clocks: the Story of Longitude by Louise Bordon, The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller, Math Curse by Jon Scieszka, a few chapters of When Mammoths Walked the Earth by Caroline Arnold, 10 chapters of Haunted Waters, and a few pages out of Mad as a Wet Hen and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban. Then after dinner we went for a bike ride to the library and took another swim before we called it a night.

Tuesday, I started to feel a little guilty about having so much fun on Monday, so we did a little more book work. We got up a little earlier and had breakfast. We did our Bible reading and then I decided to head out to the pool for a little swim. We did laps! So that's PE for the day. I had the kids do all their workbooks in math, english, vocab and spelling, word of the day, reading comp. We also did our puzzle from Arithme-tickle, and read from Mad as a Wet Hen, Haunted Waters, When Mammoths Walked the Earth, and A Family of Poems. We also read a selection from Great Composers by Piero Ventura. We're still studying Germany in our cultural studies so we read a folktale called The Elves and the Shoemaker as well as a book called King Ludwig's Castle by Lisa Trumbauer, which I found to be very interesting. Did you know the Magic Kingdom's castle is inspired by one of King Ludwig's castles? Anyway, by the end of the day, I felt totally worn out. There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere!

Wednesday and Thursday we took off because DH is home those days. Wednesdays he takes the kids out for the day. This week we got up and had omelets for breakfast. They headed out to the waterpark and I stayed home and worked on sewing projects all day. Thursday we had pancakes for breakfast. DH decided to play and made the kids shaped cakes, like sponge bob and mickey. Then he made his own "leaning tower of pisa". It was so tall he had to stick a chopstick through it to keep it upright while eating it! We spent Thursday shopping for a new couch to put in the cargo trailer. We want to set up the cargo trailer as a kind of living room space. Right now all our equipment is in a temperature controlled storage so we have some space to play with. The kids use it for a play area, but soon mommy will be moving in!

Today, Friday, I thought about trying to get as much done as possible but still have a relaxed day. Still need to do some tweaking for the week to get everything in, but I think I may have found our groove! Now that the weather is cooling off we're getting out a little more.

We got up today, had some cereal and headed out for a bike ride. We rode 5 miles! (there and back) We have this wonderful trail system of converted railroads. We went the opposite way today and headed out into the wild. Along the way we stopped at a butterfly garden and enjoyed the little creatures, as well as a little blurb about how butterflies morph from caterpillars. We also were able to identify some orb webs. We need to look up the other kinds - I couldn't remember! We made it down to the next station on the trail and took a little break to enjoy the moss-draped cypress trees and just enjoy the quietness of the area before heading home. On the way back we stopped to check out a truely huge grasshopper. A local told us they were a nuisance but we thought it pretty cool. It was a little warm as we got close to home, so when we got back we grabbed a quick bite and then headed to the pool to cool off. Then we came back to the RV and got to work. I had them do their workbooks in math and spelling today. Then we just did our readings. Bible, Life in Mesopotamia, Haunted Waters, A Family of Poems, Mad as a Wet Hen, Arithme-tickle, and a selection called "The Devil with Three Golden Hairs" from a book called Mightier than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys. This particular selection originated in Germany.

The funny thing is - now that I'm sorta figuring this schedule out, DH is about to take a job in a new dept. at the company which will change his days off to FRI, SAT, SUN! Which is nice in and of itself, but now I'll have to squish the school days together. It was kind of nice having time off in the middle of the week!

My goals for this weekend: 1) get the family membership for the Science Center and spend some time there. The observatory is open on Fri. and Sat. nights so hopefully we'll go tonight! :D 2) figure out how to schedule next week!

Hope you all have a great weekend

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Number 5

I'm still working on tweaking this schedule. I've thrown a few things out. Changed the order of when we do certain things. I'm looking for a way to reduce paperwork, but keep up the learning curve. Next week I will FINALLY be able to get a family membership to the Orlando Science Center! And, if I'm really careful with my pennies, maybe a membership to the local YMCA as well! Whoo hoo! The OSC has some fantastic programs available for the kids and I can't wait to take advantage of those.

Bible/History we're still in Mesopotamia. I had the kids draw a map of the region and label the rivers, cities, mountains and bodies of water. We continued reading from Life in Mesopotamia. They told me today that they really don't like the LifePacs we're using. I like the info they give us, but I find some of the worksheets they include to be monotonous as well. So I think we'll still read them for the info, but not necessarily use all the worksheets.

In Science we finished up the last of the outer planets. I've been trying for 2 weeks to make a "scale model" of the solar system but it's just been way too icky outside for us to do it. You need a minimum of 177 feet of open space (if your Sun is only 1/2" wide) to do this! HERE is the website I'm using. We've also begun reading from a book called The Mystery of Gravity by Barry Parker.

Our literature study has moved into the realm of Fiction. We're learning to create characters and settings. I'm reading several different kinds of fiction books aloud. Right now we are reading Haunted Waters by Jerry B Jenkins (the Left Behind author). There are several titles available in this mystery series. I think they're pretty interesting. Slow take off in the first book. We're into chapter 10 and just now seeing some action! At least they are short chapters.

In Art we are studying color value, beginning with black and white. Interestingly enough, I've just received a photo challenge from a friend to do a photo study in black and white this month! How cool is that? We've been reading from Looking at Pictures by Joy Richardson and What Every Artist Needs to Know about Paints and Colors by David Pyle. The first book takes a look at how pictures are saved, restored, displayed in museums and addresses the issue of Why? The second book is about how colors and paints were discovered and evolved into what we have today. This book is more of a technical book, but there is a lot of neat information in there.

The kids are doing great with the decimals. I found some great math books at the library. Every day we do a puzzle from Arithme-tickle by J. Patrick Lewis and a puzzle from Learning Adventures in Math, Grade 5-6. They LOVE doing math puzzles! We also read Piece=Part=Portion by Scott Gifford and Zero: Is it Something? Is it Nothing? by Claudia Zaslavsky.

We weren't able to get anything done in Music, Geography, or our Cultural Studies this week. I'm really not liking the Spectrum Geography book for Grade 4 that we're using. I think I'm going to ditch it and work on geography without a workbook.

K is still reading Dragon Rider and J was reading Summer Reading is Killing Me. He just finished it today. I'm still waiting for the library to deliver a couple books on costuming for me to read.

So that's where we've been and where we are now. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4 winding down....slowly...

This has been one kind of a week.

The schedule got all twisted up, I don't know how many times I erased my scheduled plans and rewrote things, only to erase again. And then I gave up erasing and just started scratching things out, circling and x-ing and marking arrows. My schedule book for Th/Fr looks like one of John Madden's replay screens during a particularly messed up special play in the 4th quarter of the playoffs leading up to the superbowl. whew! grrr... just one of those weeks.

We did accomplish a few things.

We finished our poetry unit, but didn't write any poetry this time. I decided to keep that assignment for the next poetry unit. I will keep reading poetry to them daily, however, so they don't lose the feel for it.

We started our 6th grade Math books. Decimals! yay! At first, they just weren't getting it. But the moment it finally clicked they went to town and finished their assignments lickety-split. Now the homework in fractions?.....that didn't go so well. And DD is refusing to do her long division. I know it's hateful and that's what calculators are for, but it's still a skill that needs to be learned.

We did some more work on similes and metaphors. They're getting the hang of it now. Similes are much easier for them to come up with and understand. I think that's natural to the way most people speak. Metaphors are more difficult to come up with. Synonyms and Antonyms are in the bag.

K is still reading Dragon Rider. J finished Ninjas Don't Bake Pumpkin Pies. I picked up Tut! Tut! for him because he asked for some more Time Warp Trio books, but he informed me that he'd already read that one, so back to the library we go. I never did finish The Pirate Queen. I tried to renew it but someone is waiting for it so I have to give it up. So now I'm reading Blackwork, by Mary Gostelow. As soon as the new JoAnn's opens I'll go get some black floss so I can start learning how to do some of the blackwork stitches. That'll be fun.

Over the weekend I'll be re-evaluating the schedule, once again. Wish me luck. :P

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sweet Number Three!

Week number three is officially under our belts! The headaches haven't been bothering me too much this week. Thanks for all the well-wishes! I did have to flex my "ingenuity muscles" just a tad, nothing like three wistful faces (2 kids, 1 husband) looking at you to make your insides quiver and your brain turn to mush. Of course, I had to give in. Not only did the kids get their regular Wed w/Dad, but they got Thursday as well, and convinced me to go along. I had to do some major rescheduling, but hey, that's why homeschooling is so great! You can change things whenever you want! So here is what we've accomplished this week.

In Bible/History we talked about the Ice Age, the Tower of Babel ,Stonehenge, and the growing civilizations in Mesopotamia. We read from the Bible, Ancient History by J.M. Roberts, Ancient Mesopotamia by Shilpa Mehta-Jones, Charge! Weapons and Warfare in Ancient Times by Rivka Gonen, and Archaeology for Kids by Richard Panchyk. We've been using AOP LifePac #7 which focuses on archaeology and is helping the kids understand how the history of the world is wrapped up in the Bible, and how just because the Bible doesn't mention something by name doesn't mean it wasn't there.

We haven't done much in sciences this week. We finished up the inner planets. We were supposed to start the outer planets, but that got put on hold with the extra day off.

In Language Arts we've been doing the "word of the day". I've been using this website which is geared toward 4-6th graders. I started keeping a list back in August so I could pick and choose and then, if I miss a day, I'm not short. We've been doing worksheets on figurative language. The kids really enjoyed the hyperbole and idioms. My son got just a tad bit silly with personification. And they loved alliteration and onomatopoeia. Similie and metaphor are not their friends. Still working on that! They're doing great with syllabication and compound words. We also started our Journals for the year.

The Literature Study is going swimmingly. We are currently reading The Year of the Dog. Which is a great book. It goes along great with our cultural studies. For poetry we are reading from A Child's Introduction to Poetry, Side by Side: Poems to Read Together, Poetry for Young People, by Langston Hughes, and The Earth is Painted Green. We haven't started writing any of our own poetry yet. I think we'll do that next week.

In our Cultural Studies we are doing a "festival". We've chosen 3 cultures: Native American, German, and Japanese. We're going to a study of these cultures and compare them to each other as well as to our own American culture. In our cultural readings this week we read Liang and the Magic Paintbrush by DEMI (chinese) and Little Oh! by L.C. Melmed (Japanese). We also read Raising Yoder's Barn by Jane Yolen (Amish).

In Art we did a lesson on ancient art and another prism project. Most of the art lessons show up during the history lessons as well as the culture lessons. Eventually, we'll begin putting art on the timeline as well.

In Music we've been studying the instruments. This week we learned about some African instruments and how they are used. And we read I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It's so beautiful and it fits into not only music, but culture, art, and LA (poetry) as well!

We worked a little bit in our geography books, talking about how the land can be divided into different regions based on either natural or human characteristics. This seems to be confusing to them so we're going to do some more work on this.

They finished their 5th grade math books this week and spent Friday and Saturday finishing up the grade level test. It's a 4 page test in the back of the book. I pick and choose which problems I want them to do, so they're not doing ALL of it! It's just so I can see what they've retained well and what still needs some work.

In our English workbooks J worked on antonyms and K worked on verb tenses. They both completed 2 vocab sections and 4 reading comp sections. And they've both passed their spelling tests.

On our extra day off we went to Sea World. We always stop and play with the dolphins and touch the sting rays, and of course cruise through the shark tube. Since I went this time too we had to stop to see the manatees. On our way to the water ride we took a "path less travelled" and ran into a python! A 40lb. Albino Burmese Python! Not something you see everyday. And we got to touch it! J was a little leery of doing anything so crazy but K jumped right up there and was rubbing its belly! I had to touch it too after I took the pic. It was really smooth and soft! What an experience! Chalk the day up to science!

I snapped this one just as J's fingertips made contact. And then he snatched his hand right back!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Week number 2

I can't believe how fast this week flew by! Especially since I've had a headache all stinking week. Nothing is helping. But I sucked it up and kept at it. I just couldn't face falling behind when we've made such good progress.

We've been reading a lot of poetry. I think the kids favorite was a book called Sad Underwear and Other Complications. I liked some of the poems by Robert Frost in his collection called You Come Too. We also read several selections from A Child's Garden of Verses and At The Top of My Voice. I'm also reading from A Child's Introduction to Poetry which includes a handy CD to listen to. This book is nice as it covers several styles. Next week we will hopefully try our hand at writing a few!

Our Bible/History study is starting to pick up. We finished up this week at The Great Flood. Next week we'll go over The Ice Age and begin learning about civilizations. This is where our Art History will begin as well. I picked up a book called CHARGE! Weapons and Warfare in Ancient Times that I think will pique my son's interest. I have a couple other books on Mesopotamia as well. So far the timeline has been pretty barebones. Next week will see quite a few new additions and hopefully I'll find some way of studying some topics a little more in depth. I'm hoping to begin a unit study on Dinosaurs. We'll see what happens with that.

Science is off to a slow start. We're doing some review work on the planets, working on getting our notebook put together. Once we finish the planets we'll begin an in-depth study on Earth and they'll each pick a planet to study as well. I'm hoping this will spark some unit studies. My dd wants to be an astronaut, so we'll read some biographies and use the NASA website quite a bit.

Next week the kids will take their final tests on 5th grade Math. By Friday we'll be working in our 6th grade books. I'm really dissapointed with the grade 6 book. Half the book is just review work of basic operations and reviewing fractions. I do realize that the more you practice basic operations, the better you remember and recall them. So we're going to start the year in chapter 7, I think, with decimals, and I'll have them do the basics as "homework". I'll assign 4 pages per week and let them decide when they complete them, as long as they're done by Friday.

We've been learning about the different kinds of instruments and where they were invented. We haven't gotten our recorders yet, so I'm thinking I'll pencil those in for sometime in October. Next week we begin learning about the different instruments used in different cultures. Which works out great as part of our MultiCultural Unit for social studies. We've been reading different books about Jewish and Chinese cultures, as well as a book about immigration, called Coming to America. Next week we'll begin what I'm calling a Culture Festival. We're going to pick 3 cultures to study.

For art projects we pulled out the prism and went outside to break up sunlight. They took turns focusing the light on sand in full sun, outdoor carpet, shaded sand, and their feet. The kids thought that was way cool! (also fits into science!) Then we used a worksheet with a prism outline and colored the order of the light. Next week we'll do another project based on the prism.

English/Grammar/L. Arts has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've discovered that my son is further along than I thought, and that my daughter rushes through her work and doesn't read the directions! They are at two different levels in English, but I'm teaching most of the LA together. They each have a workbook at their level for English/Grammar and Reading Comprehension. Then I pull out worksheets for different things. This week we worked on Syllables, Alliteration, Idioms and Hyperboles. We had a lot of fun with alliteration. Apparently, Dogs Dance in the Dirt, not dig! LOL

We finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. We'll begin The Year of the Dog on Monday. I was hoping they would choose Inkheart next, but they didn't. We'll get to it. My son finished reading Night of the Ninjas and will begin reading Ninjas Don't Bake Pumpkin Pies. This time I will ask for a verbal summary of the book from him. My daughter is reading Dragon Rider. It's a very large book and I'm excited she wanted to tackle it. I asked her today what has been happening so far, and she looked at me, shrugged her shoulders, and said "I dunno". So I had to make a few very direct questions to get her talking. I think I'll need to ask her everyday just so she keeps things in mind while reading. In whatever spare time I can muster I am reading several school books as well as The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventures and the Dawn of Empire. I'm also doing some sewing on my dress and beginning dh's shirt for his Tudor outfit. I'm excited about getting his shirt going, because I get to do some blackwork embroidery. Though I think I'm going to use white on white instead of black on white. {shrug} We'll see what happens when I get to that point!

Even despite the headache that is still raging in my head, it's been a good week. Things have gone smoothly, including the kids doing their chores (dishes and garbage). The only hitch I can think of was when I tried to print something today the printer said I couldn't because it was missing a cartridge. DH took the empty color cartridge to be refilled for me. I couldn't be angry. Oh, and it stormed yesterday just as we were heading for the pool. :( that's always sad.

Since I couldn't print until I got my cartridge back, I'll be working on school for awhile tomorrow to get ready for the next week. No biggie, most of it is done, just need to tweak a few things, make a few copies for the timeline and make sure worksheets are all ready. And then the weekend is mine to do with as I please. (read: sewing!)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Week One

Or should I say week "won"?

Off to a bumpy start, grant you, but it got better. I switched some things around, got rid of a few things, added more reading time. And I'm still considering getting rid of some more things.

I'm finding myself constantly reevaluating my goals for my children. My goals for the school year have undergone constant change for the last 5 years, so this year was no exception. But have I really thought about my goals for my kids? Or what my kids' goals might be?

By Friday, Jeremy was totally into the reading time. We're reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A movie they have seen countless times. But the book obviously has some differences. And I'm having fun coming up with weird voices for the characters. Kylie isn't so enthused. But I'm hoping before too much longer she'll find interest in it. Maybe with the next book, as this one was Jeremy's choice.

I've also noticed that Kylie has no problem getting to work on the worksheets and workbooks and getting it done. But she doesn't read all of the directions and sometimes I want us to work together and she wants to move ahead. Jeremy, on the other hand, hates writing with a passion. He can't stand worksheets, and he doesn't like his workbooks. I have yet to find an answer to this dilemma.

We're off to a bit of a slow start with our Ancient History study. But I know things will pick up soon. I'm really excited about it. I love history, and I hope they will pick up on it and find a love of history themselves. It's really very interesting seeing history unfold from the Bible and see how it fits together with the "World" History texts. Because the world assumes the Big Bang Theory is no longer a theory, the texts no longer present it as such. And the texts no longer present Creation either. So it's quite a challenge using secular texts for history. I just leave things out or I let them know that unbelievers think theory "x" is true, while as believers, we believe creation is true. As we continue on, I'm sure they'll have a great many questions about this.

In the next month or so, I'm hoping to start adding in field trips. I really want us to start a nature journal. And as we start doing some of these other things, the amount of "bookwork" will be reduced. I want to implement more learning by reading and research than filling out worksheets. I want them to find the answers to their questions and really learn.

So while week one didn't get off to a great start, I still think we've won something in the process. So let's just call this week WON!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

First "Official" Day of School

Did not go as well as I had hoped. No one, including me, was really ready for this.

I've been doing my homework for 5 weeks now, finding new books to read, working on lesson plans, putting together unit studies. I've been hoping that the kids would be excited to try some new things for school.

But today just didn't go so well. I had originally planned to roll us all out of bed at 7 and begin school by 8. A few days ago I read that again and told myself that was just plain crazy.

So we were up a little before 8 and began sometime after 9. Not too late a start. But things just started off on the wrong foot I guess. I'm going to rethink this morning thing.

I'm also going to change the order and do the workbooks at the END of the lessons. Doing them in the middle left Kylie hanging while I was trying to coax Jeremy into getting a move on and finishing up his Reading Comp. Like pulling taffy in the middle of winter.

We managed to finish our day a little after 3 with an hour break for lunch and rest time. And the only thing I skipped was spanish review. I think I'm going to hold off on Spanish and Sign Language for a couple weeks yet.

We did our fist art assignment. I wanted the kids to draw self portraits. They did them in like 5 minutes. When we do this again at the end of the year, I'm hoping the years' lessons will have matured their thinking a bit, and they'll take their time to produce something more lifelike. This is my hope.

As we were dong some of the worksheets my mind was thinking about how we'd be putting all these things together in our notebooks. The little folders I have now are not going to work in a couple weeks. But that gives me a little time to figure out exactly what I need. I hate buying supplies and then not using them. So we'll probably use those little folders for something, I just don't know what yet.

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This is the first lesson in our Bible/History course. The days of Creation. As they said, "We've heard this so many times!" We won't spend too much time talking about it before moving on. But we'll be adding it to the timeline next week when we get it set up somewhere.

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Here they are, working in their workbooks.

Even though the day didn't go according to plan, I did see where I can improve things a little. Jeremy hopes tomorrow won't be quite as boring. I hope so too. I'm trying. But I can only throw out so much of the plan at a time!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

School starts in 2 days!

I'm so excited for school to start!

The kids aren't, obviously. They have no interest in school. Which is quite unfortunate. I really wish they enjoyed learning. But I guess all those TV shows about kids not liking school have rotted their brains.

I'll just have to fix that.

We're trying something new this year. Really new. I'm loosening up the schedule a bit, in the hopes that the kids will take more interest in choosing topics. I'm also going to have them start notebooking some of our topics and doing more crafts. AND, we're going to start a nature journal! I can't wait for the Florida heat to turn off so we can get out to some of these amazing parks and start sketching!

Hopefully, the kids will develop a love of learning. And I hope they learn lots of amazing and fun things this year! And I'll be learning right along side them.

Oh! We're also going to learn to play the recorder together! I'm picturing family nights where we all play and dad adds in his drum. I'm sure it'll take quite a bit of practice to get to that, but I think it'll be a blast!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

7 days and counting!

School time is right around the corner!

I spent the day printing out worksheets and lesson plans. I have almost everything I need for the next 3 weeks and a few things done all the way through 5 weeks.

I'm really debating whether I should order the timeline kit I found online, or just try to tough it out and print the stuff I need myself. It's going to be really time consuming tracking down all those items, plus the paper and the ink. And I don't have color ink, so that'll cost some money. In the end, it's cheaper to just order the kit!

I also have all the books I need for school sitting here in the RV, stacked in piles everywhere. I'm going to need to dig out the grade 6 math books soon. The kids are excited about that.

So now I just need to put my thoughts in order and figure out the best way to get us through the school day without getting frustrated with each other. I want to change up the way we do some things and I'm hoping it works out.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Getting organized, printer is humming!

I got myself a little better organized today.

I put together a filing system so I could keep track of my worksheets and lessons and such. I don't have quite enough file folders, but I know I can dig some up from some where.

I managed to print out most of the first day's work.

I'm still trying to decide on the schedule and how I want the day to flow. And I'm trying to figure out how much time we really need to schedule for each subject. I'm thinking we'll just wing it the first week or two to see where we need to be and which direction we need to go.

But I'm glad I got started on all the printing. It's going to be a long process. I want to be a month ahead! We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Overworked Mind

My brain is feeling a bit frazzled now.

I've been working on getting lessons in order, putting them on the calendar, trying to make everything fit and mesh well with everything else we'll be working on this year.

I still feel like I have a lot to do, even though I really don't have much to do. I'm still trying to figure out how to mesh the Bible and History lessons. I really need to get those books from Amazon, but I'm having to wait. I'm hoping I can get them through inter-library loan.

And then I just need to start printing lessons, pulling reading books, sorting art supplies, and just basically getting ready to go.

I'm exited and anxious to get going. There's so much I want to share with the kids! So many books to read! My lists just keep getting longer and longer...

But. I'm determined to enjoy these last couple weeks of August break. I'm going to relax, work on some crafts, sewing projects, maybe some photography, and some reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Well Trained Mind

I just got this book yesterday. I've already read a third of it. I couldn't put it down.

I really, really wish someone had given me this book when my children were still babies. I would have done things differently.

The idea of a classical education appeals to me greatly. And I'm glad I got this book now instead of three weeks from now! I have time to play with my scheduling and selections for the next school year! I plan to make a few changes for sure, hopefully adding a few new ideas to the mix every few months or so.

I want the kids to really fall in love with learning. And I'm hoping this book will help me.

I want them to enjoy seeking knowledge. I want them to enjoy learning. I want it to be a lifelong lesson.

I'm going to have to purchase this book. I'll be adding it to my Amazon list, and putting it on my Christmas list!

Friday, August 3, 2007

I've gone link crazy!

I spent 2 hrs this morning posting all the links I'll be using this coming school year. And I only posted the major ones, not all the little ones for individual lessons! Or any of my "links" links! I hope someone gets some use out of it.

I woke up early this morning. It felt nice to be awake as the sun was coming up. It's been awhile.

So today I'll finish up the reading lists. I need to start putting them in the order I want to read them, and start locating them.

And until my AOP lifepacs come in, I'm pretty much done. I'm sure I'll keep going over stuff, reading books and lessons. I do need to start refining the outline for the first couple months. Actually put the lessons together, resources, field trips, experiments, etc. That should take up about a week. And then I plan to use those weeks off ever 8-9 weeks to get working on the next set of lessons. I hope I can stay on top of this and not get lazy!

I'm thinking, if I can get the kids "caught up" to grade level, I might purchase more curriculum for 2008-09, instead of trying to do it all myself. Especially as K will be entering "middle school" and some of those subjects are going to get tough. A premade curriculum might be a good idea. I'd really like to get them the online type of curriculum. That'd be awesome. Way less paper around here!

That's my goal for today. Better get going.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Just - about - DONE!!!

I'm almost finished with all the outlines for the coming school year. I'm so excited to be finished!

I worked on the reading lists again today. Went through every book. I still need to check some of the multicultural books and the bilingual books, and I put together some lists of poetry books. The poetry is going to be fun.

I'm still waiting for the AOP books to get here so I can finish Bible/History/Art.
I think I'm also going to study music in the same chronological order.

And then I just need to finalize some science lessons.

Once that is all done, I can start locating the books I'll need and make copies of the worksheets I need and printouts for the first 3 months. Cake walk from there!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Step into Reading...

So many books. So little time!

Today I worked on the reading lists (among other things) and found a wealth of information. There are so many reading lists out there. I finally decided on 3 regular lists, 1 for classics, 1 for Charlotte Mason books, 1 for Multi-cultural books, and 2 for summer reading books.

I printed them all out by grade level, sorted them, 3-hole punched them, put them in my binder and used my nifty file tab punch to make some tabs so I know what's where.

I also printed out 3 or 4 different journal prompt lists and spelling lists for grades 3-5. That's a lot of paper!

And they are all in my binder and ready to go. I'm so proud of what I've accomplished today. And that's not all!

I also started going through the reading lists and looking the books up on Amazon to see what they were about. Only one of the lists actually gave me a summary of the book. Another list gave me the genre. I made it through 3rd and 4th grade books and am working on the 5th grade books. I also printed the 6th grade list, and I went ahead and printed all the Charlotte Mason selections through grade 12.

I'm going to have a hard time selecting books! There are so many I'd like to read myself!

I think I'm going to select certain books to read aloud with the lessons for that particular subject. I found some books about the Revolutionary War, some about inventors, things like that. So when we study those, I'll have some books we can read that fit in.

And then I'll have a list of books the kids can read during their 20-min a day. Plus they'll get extra credit if they do a book report. (Once I teach them how to do those!) I'm hoping these books will stir up some interest in them, and they'll want to read more on their own. That's the ultimate goal!

For the most part, the plan is to find as many of these as possible at the library. But I know I won't be able to find them all, so I'm keeping an eye out on Amazon to see what they run. A lot of these books, I noticed, I can get for less than a buck plus $3.99 shipping! That's not bad. But I think I'm also going to shop some of the used book stores around here and see what I can dig up. Some of the more costly books will go on the Christmas list.

I'd like to join the Paperback Swap website, but I don't have any books I can list to swap with anybody! All my books are back in MI sitting in storage. The only books I have with me here are the ones we need for school and my costuming books. And a couple Jane Austen books. Nothing that can go.

Oh well.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting there...

Yesterday I managed to get most of Science completed. I have lots of links to go through and make a list of which ones will work with which lessons. I was going to start with Life Sciences and then move to Earth and lastly, Physical. But then I realized that could potentially get boring. So I moved things around until I had a nice progression, mixing the 3 sciences together. I like it that way much better.

I wasn't able to get much done on the Bible/History front. Still working on the timelines and waiting impatiently for my Bible curriculum to get here!

I went through the kids workbooks and dated the pages, and listed them in the book. They'll be needing new workbooks soon. We'll be moving to 6th grade math by the end of September. K will need grade 6 Vocab and J will need grade 4 vocab by mid-October, and K will need grade 6 Reading Comp by the end of October.

Today I'm working on finishing Science, go through the English workbooks, put together a reading list, and work on art lessons. I'd like to teach art appreciation while doing actual art projects. We'll see how that goes.

So, while I still have a lot on my "To Do" list, I am getting there...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

suffering from "brain freeze"

I know I should really work on school today. But I just cannot find the energy, or the excitement. I feel drained. I have so much to do. And I'm so glad I didn't wait until August break to do it! At least I'm ahead of the game, a little...

I'm going to try to at least read about school today. I have a couple of those "What your ___th grader should know" books. I've never really liked those, but I need some ideas and I'm hoping I'll find something there. I also picked up a book called "Homeschooling through the Year" or something close to that. I don't feel like digging it out to make sure it's right....laziness is setting in...

What I'd really like to do is pop in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and just veg for the day. Not difficult with this version - it's 5 hours long. But there's no way I'll get either the kids or the hubby to sit through it with me. So I'll have to wait.

I wish it wasn't so hot outside, or muggy. I might go for a bike ride. I haven't been on the trail in a very long time. I miss it. The vegetation around here is so beautiful.

Anyway. I'll probably read through some of the chapters on history - since that's where I'm stuck at the moment - and check out the government and sciences. And then I think I'll pick out another fluff book to read.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A disaster of "historical" proportions!

I love history. I really do. But I'm so fed up with it right now.

I spent another 3 hours today working on the lesson plans for history this year. And then I read a webpage about teaching history chronologically. Which makes total sense to me. So I'm chucking my previous plan and switching it around to work on a timeline.

I also decided that we'd have to study both World History and US History at the same time. So, double the work. yay.

Now I have to make lesson plan outlines for both. Mark websites and find resources for both. Make worksheets and tests for both. On the up side, the World History lessons are mostly done for me. I found a webpage that has it all. And there's another history site that does US history, though not the way I would do it, I can move things around.

I need to do some more research for resources. I'm going to have a hard time finding books, I think.

And I'm going to need a LOT of books this year. I'm introducing a literature study along with everything else we're doing. I know, I think I'm crazy. But I want to get the kids used to reading more. Plus, I'm hoping it'll spark more interest in them.

They'll also have to begin learning to research on their own. So I'll be introducing the "encyclopedia" and "google" to them as well. Though I'm pretty sure they already know what google is. And I'm just as sure when I ask them about the encyclopedia their response is going to be "huh?"

Well. I'm off to do some reading. And not just school books, either! Something just for fun.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Today's research

I have such a ways to go. I'm making headway everyday but it seems like my list doesn't get any shorter! There is so much information out there I want the kids to know and read and take in. There is so little time to get it to them. My greatest hope is that I teach them to love to learn and they will continue the process long after they have graduated.

Today I worked on Economics and Government. I managed to plan out the whole year. I had to pick and choose what I wanted to get covered. Again too much info too little time.

I also layed out an outline for History. I love History, but I find it overwhelming when I'm trying to put together the lessons. The curriculum guidelines have them learning American History but no World History. If I try to add in World History they're school day will be 8 hours long! I've thought about teaching History in a chronological format, beginning with the ancient history, but I just don't know if I want to do that. It makes more sense to do it that way. At least, to me it does.

I think I'll wait until school starts and see just how the day plays out with the schedule I have planned. If I find I have extra time or we can move things around, then I'll probably start World History as well. It doesn't show up in the guidelines until middle school, but there's a lot they need to learn, so the earlier the better if you ask me!

Tomorrow I hope to finalize the History lessons. And I think I'll call it day after that and save the rest of my work for later. I'll probably go to the library and get some history books to peruse just to make me feel better about what I'm teaching this year. I wish I could go to the teacher store. But, I can't. I could shop Amazon and e-bay, but I prefer to see the book in my hands first when it comes to school books.

I do need to take a look around for AOP Bible Curriculum, however. I was told I could find it cheaper places other than the publisher, maybe even used on e-bay.

I should go do that before I forget!