Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Weekly Report

What can I me butter because we are on a roll! I can not believe the difference I am seeing in my attitude and my boys' attitude towards school work! I think Charlotte Mason has hit the nail on the head and I am so glad we figured this out before we got completely discouraged. The quality of books, curriculum, and activities have really transformed our days. No time is being wasted on "twaddle" and we are accomplishing more throughout our day even though our "seat work" has lessened. It's a paradox.
Onto our week...
History (Both)
We read, actually we listened to Jim Weiss read, chapter 22, Sparta and Athens, in SOTW. I had Magnus tell me the difference between the two as a narration. He did alright, but I think he would rather just answer the questions in the Activity Guide like we had been. I am trying to be more consistent with narrating and it looks as if that needs a bit more attention.

These are the pictures of the Spartan Warriors the boys colored

Language Arts (Magnus)

This is Magnus' first requested creative writing project. Lesson ? in Language Lessons for the Very Young volume 1 asked him to write a paragraph about his family that used correct capitalization. I think maybe proper names were suppose to be used to show more capitalization, but I am content with the correct capitalization at the beginning of the sentences, correct spelling, and correct punctuation!

He really enjoys doing his Dictionary skills workbook. I am glad I decided to teach this to him now. It is a skill that will serve him well especially since his reading level is far above grade level. However, he is a lot like his dad is with words/language and is able to figure out the meaning just from the context it is being used in.

We worked on how to identify using "c" or "k" for the /k/ sound at the beginning of a word in our All About Spelling workbook. He got the hang of it quickly. You know, I grew up in a good school district in Iowa and I don't think we were taught the phonic/spelling rules. I would remember them if we had because I remember things like that. I am so glad that I am able to choose what my children learn and how they learn it. And, I am learning right along with them. I love it!

Phonics (Thane)

Thane finished his Get Ready for the Code level A book this week. Luckily I bought all three levels at the same time so we are able to get started on book B right away. I think these workbooks are a great learning tool for him and I am glad I thought to use them even though I did not use them for Magnus. We have started running into some trouble with his speech though. He says "rainbow" like "wainbow" and I am afraid it is going to affect his phonetic learning. He has been improving with other difficult letters and combinations, so maybe this will come in time too. If not, we may have to consider speech therapy.
Oh, and Queen's Homeschool has graciously taken care of the mix up and the correct book should be here any day! Thank you, Queen Family!

Math (Magnus)

We worked on partitioning hundreds, identifying place value, working with and creating rectangles and quadrilaterals, and understanding the cummutative law. He picks up new skills pretty easily with math so far. Still loving Right Start!

The boys like to play the games together. Thane is going to whiz through his RS Level A book next year because he pretty much understands all of the Level B games due to playing with Magnus. We did a better job of playing the games for review this week. Magnus told me the games are his favorite part.

Nature Study (Both)
I have to admit, I did not follow Barb's Green Hour Study again this week. I want to, but I am having a bit of difficulty fitting it all in since we have been going to our local nature center's programs twice a week. They are learning a great deal of information there and exploring the woods on the nature hikes. We did, however, read about the Northern Cardinal and learned about it's habits. We also read our Burgess Bird Book during tea time and added some things to our bird habitat. Oh, and I hope to create our bird feeder journals this weekend (I actually sat down to the computer now to do that, but got sidetracked with this weekly report!). Be sure to check out my nature blog...Dancing with read about our "naturey" things.

Here they are reading a bird book together while listening to the bird's songs on cd. I am so glad they enjoy birds as much as I do!

Fine Art Friday
We did a picture study during tea time and our Sketch Tuesday drawings for Barb's blog. We had to draw something that is alive. You'll have to come back on Tuesday to see what we came up with!

Our beloved friends who have been away in Mass. caring for a relative the past couple of months came back home! We have been spending time with them and catching up. (Kara, if you are reading this, I am glad you are home!)
Monday...Homeschool storytime
Tuesday...Nature Detectives at our local nature center
Wednesday...No AWANA due to public school spring break...bummer! Got together with our friends and played outside.
Thursday...'Boro Wild program at our local nature center. They learned about how to attract wildlife to our yards. I'll be posting about this on my nature blog soon! Met our friends at the park before the program.
Friday...Our dear friend, Laura Beth, is watching the boys while we celebrate 10 years of marriage!!!!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for checking in with us! And remember...we love to read your comments! (You don't have to have a blogger account...just click the "what'd you say?" in the box at the bottom of this post and follow the directions...Yes, I'm talking to family and "real life" friends! Love you all!)

For the record...I have not been able to keep clothes on my oldest for years! I gave up a long time ago!

Give Them Dirt...

It is officially spring here, well, except for the few flakes of snow that fell on Monday, but true to Middle Tennessee weather, we were at the park without jackets the next day. Our friends were not able to meet us like they usually do, so the big toy didn't seem as exciting to the boys. I came up with another idea. "Let's go explore the creek and see what treasures we find!" Here we are in the creek..

Yep, it was dry. But that didn't stop them from having fun!

Then the real fun began. They found dirt!

I asked them several times if they wanted to go back and play on the playground. Every time they answered, "No way! We are having too much fun playing in the dirt!"

Also...I just updated my nature blog...Dancing with Dandelions...go check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sketch Tuesday

We finally got on the ball and completed our sketches to join the others at Barb's Heart of Harmony Sketch Tuesday. This week we had to draw something "blue". Our thoughts have been on birds (thanks to our nature study and my love of them!) and spring time (thanks to the warming temperatures here) so we all did sketches having to do with that.

This is Thane's drawing of a blue bird flying over him and Magnus.

This is Magnus's drawing of Robin's eggs in a nest.

This is my picture of Robin's eggs in a nest. I do not claim to be any sort of artist, but I sure like trying!

If you are looking for a fun, easy, art project to do with your kiddos, this is perfect. We have a good time drawing together and seeing what each other comes up with. Just visit Barb's Heart of Harmony site to get next week's lesson and then email the sketches to her by Monday night to be included in that week's blog entry. It exciting to see everyone's drawings! It's a virtual art show!

(I know I am posting this on Monday, but I wanted to be sure to get it up in case Collin takes his laptop to school tomorrow!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008


"O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ you Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. Amen"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weekly Report

We had another great week! We accomplished everything I had hoped and had lots of time outdoors enjoying the springtime weather. I also had a little time to look over and adjust our schedule...again. The only thing I was not able to complete was our birdfeeder journals. That will come in time though.

History (Both)
We read Chapter 21, The Medes & The Persians, in the SOTW. Magnus was very much taken in by the Persians and even remembered hearing a story (50 Famous Stories Retold) about the 300 Spartans fighting the Persians. We found the story and he read it to us. I then had Magnus narrate it back to me. He has a photographic memory...when he wants to...he retells stories nearly word for word. The boys also made their own silver plates since silver was of great value to the Persians.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Spelling...this is going great! Worked on initial/final blends again. I dictated words and phrases to him and he did quite well.
Grammar...We talked more about the Robert Frost poem he was copying and revisited capitalization usage at the beginning of sentences. Still loving Queen's Homeschooling resources, but not pleased with the customer service...long waits for purchases to be received and the wrong items being sent. Ugh!

Dictionary Skills workbook...worked more on alphabetizing. This was giving him some problems a few weeks back, but now he looks forward to the challenge!

Math (Magnus)
This week we talked about quadrilaterals, partitioning and adding tens, and introduced hundreds. I thought he was going to be stretched a little, but I was wrong. He grasped the concepts quickly. I allow him to work with the abacus if he chooses to, but he is not dependent on it...which is good. I will admit, we have not been playing the games for review like we had been, but that is going to change. I understand the importance of review and using the games for that.

Phonics (Thane)
He is almost finished with the first book in the Get Ready for the Code set of 3 books. He worked on K, T, and is now on R. I ordered Language Lessons for Little Ones volume 2 for him to add more review, introduce him to picture study and narration, but it has been a fiasco trying to get it from Queen's Homeschool. Hopefully I'll get it this coming week.

Nature Study (Both)
Unfortunately, this did not get done as far as utilizing the Green Hour Challenges created by Barb. However, the boys have been participating in programs designed by the local nature center. You can read about the Tuesday program here. I still have to write about Thursday's program, but here are some pictures...

These are some of their buddies who attend a lot of the same programs in the area that we do. They are learning about different habitats and this lesson was about neighborhood habitats. They we suppose to locate the four things needed in a habitat (food, shelter, space, and water) in the neighborhood we were walking through.

The Bradford Pear Trees are in full bloom and prettier than ever!

Fine Arts Friday (Both)
We have not been consistent with doing our sketches for Sketch Tuesday, so for fine arts this week we made sure we got them done. You'll have to check back on Tuesday to see our masterpieces! Even *I* did one!

Tea Time (Both)
I am so glad we are doing this! It really breaks up our morning without throwing things off. We are still reading The Burgess Bird Book for Children this week and will be for the next 10 weeks or so. I also got some books of poems written by Robert Frost and read from those. Unfortunately, I think Thane is only participating for the snacks, but what do you expect from a 4 year old.

That about covers it for this week! Be sure to check back for next week's update!
Hope you all have a great Easter! He is risen!

Holy Saturday

"O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on the holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

"Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

"Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Not So Wordless Wednesday

A good reminder for Holy Week

"Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon; Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nature Detectives

Come see what we did today at the local nature center!
Here is a sneak peak...

Dancing With Dandelions...because there's beauty among the weeds!

Content yet? I think so.

Alright. This is it. I am done changing our schedule around...until next time. (For those of you reading this who are not homeschooling parents, I think I am pretty normal. At least I think other homeschooling moms go through these transition times until they find their groove. Can I get an "Amen"?)

I was looking through the Green Hour Challenge for Week 5 and getting excited about our bird study. There is so much I want to learn, teach, and do regarding this but I can't find the time in our schedule to do it. I know that if I do not schedule the time to do it, it will not get done. I am also trying to keep our "formal" studies scheduled for the morning to allow for free time, field trips, activities, and quiet time in the afternoons. Our Nature Study has been happening on its own and it is going great, however, I want to do a more directed study of birds. So, I have, once again, tweeked our schedule to include it in our formal studies in the morning. Here is what it looks like now...

Language Arts (Magnus)
Phonics (Thane)
Tea Time-Nature Reading
Bird Study
Math (Magnus)

History (Both)
Math (Magnus)
Tea Time-Poetry Reading
Language Arts (Magnus)
Phonics (Thane)

Math (Magnus)
History (Both)
Tea Time-Nature Reading
Phonics (Thane)
Language Arts (Magnus)

Language Arts (Magnus)
Phonics (Thane)
History Project (Both)
Tea Time-Picture Study
Fine Arts Friday (Both)

The boys have said they like not having the same subjects scheduled at the same time each day. I like it too. Keeps things fresh.

So, now that I have officially scheduled in time for our bird study, guess that means I need to get on the ball and get our bird feeder journals assembled! Off to work...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(St. Patrick's Day is a special day for us as he is the Patron Saint of our Parish.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and Everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekly Report

I want to shout from the mountain tops! We had a FANTASTIC week!! The new schedule we tried out worked beautifully! In fact, I was debating whether or not to do short lessons like Charlotte Mason did, or continue with doing our lessons until they are completed. Well, without realizing it, we did short lessons and I believe that added to our successful week. Instead of trudging through our spelling and writing 40 plus words in one day, I broke it up into 3 days. I heard no complaining and I think he got a better grasp on the rule and words!
Here's the break down of our week...

We worked on writing equations and finding the sums on the abacus. He also spent the week looking for parallel and perpendicular lines. He understood the concepts well. We also introduced "tens". I love the way this concept is taught visually. I makes it very easy to understand. Magnus had 10 plastic bags and added 5 tiles of one color and 5 tiles of another color to the bag to make ten. The reason behind the two different colors is to reinforce them not counting, but knowing there are 5 tiles of two different colors present. This aids in the base ten philosophy and with learning future concepts. I had to "reteach" the way RS says 20...2 tens...instead of twenty, but that is only for a few lessons so they can understand that 20 is 2 groups of ten. Magnus caught on quickly.

Language Arts-Magnus
Grammar...Loving Queen's Language Lessons for the Very Young. This week he worked on copying Robert Frost's poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. He enjoyed the poem so much, he has also memorized it and has made it into a song! We talked about what "stanzas" are and where capital letters are used. While completing his copywork, he made sure to use correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
Spelling...He learned about final blends and initial blends and segmenting words. I see where the segmenting has already aided in his spelling. He was having some difficulty with "l" being blended with another consonant, so I'll continue reviewing that with him. I also dictated two and three words phrases to him and he did really well with those.
Dictionary Skills...He completed a few pages in his workbook without complaining and getting discouraged!

Great things are to be said for the Get Ready for the Code workbooks. He looks forward to doing these every day. He worked on the letter "m" and "k". He did some "magazine art" for the letter "m" . He gets discouraged easily if the letter he is writing doesn't turn out just the way he wants it to. This is getting a little frustrating to deal with. I'm keeping my cool though and trying to offer encouragement where I can.

We read chapter 20, Greece Gets Civilized Again. The boys enjoyed writing their names using the Greek alphabet and learning about the Olympics. For our project this week, we became Greek weavers and weaved a placemat (since they liked to feast) using foam sheets. They liked the project and have used their placemats since making them.

Science/Nature Study-Both
I've already written posts about this and you can read about our Green Hour Challenge week 4 and our impromptu nature study by clicking on the links. There are also some great resources and links for aiding in a Bird study within those posts. Birds are going to be our area of concentration for the next 6-8 weeks. I'll be posting some about our nature study on my nature blog, Dancing with Dandelions soon, so be sure to check there too.

Fine Art Friday-Both
This was a good decision as far as scheduling goes. It is a perfect way to end a busy week. It's very relaxing and doesn't require a lot of planning for me. During our tea time we had a picture study of a still life called Old Models painted by William Michael Harnett in 1892. The boys then selected three items that are very special to them, arranged them, and used watercolor crayons to draw them.

Here is what they came up with...

These are the items Thane selected. "Cake" is the bear Collin brought him back from CA, his baseball glove, and the Lone Ranger gun I got him.

This is his drawing. You may have to click on the picture to get a better look at it.

These are Magnus' items. "Grizz" is the bear Collin brought back from CA, his baseball glove, and some Thornton Burgess books we got him for his birthday.

Here is his drawing. Again, you may have to click on it to see it better.

Tea Time-Both
This is the first week for trying this and we will be doing it regularly. The boys responded well to it and enjoyed having a snack while I read to them. On Tuesday and Thursday, I read from the Burgess Bird Book for Children, Wednesday we read poems, and Friday was our Harnett picture study. I am going to "dress" it up a bit by buying some special tea cups and table coverings for this time to make it a bit more special. Hopefully this will be one of those things the boys will cherish and always remember.

Handicrafts during Quiet Time
The boys have always had quiet time or nap time in the afternoons. It lasts for two hours and will always be a part of our day. I need it more than they do! Anyhow, the first 20 minutes of Magnus' QT is dedicated to working on his handicrafts. Right now he is knitting a scarf.

He has also expressed and interest in learning how to sew, work with leather, and wood carving.

Our activities this week included...
Monday...Welcoming Collin home from his visit to UC Davis and his family in WA.
Tuesday...nothing and it was great!
Wednesday...AWANA...suppose to be pajama night, but apparently WE were the only ones who did not receive the rescheduled email. Needless to say, we ran home and changed. Ugh!
Thursday...attended the "Boro Wild program at the local nature center. They are talking about habitats. I am going to post about this on my nature blog...Dancing with Dandelions.
Friday...nothing again.

Hopefully next week will go as smoothly as this week has! Be sure to check back and see! Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Green Hour Challenge week 4...follow up

Earlier this week I posted about our in-depth focus for the next coming weeks. Since I love birds and the boys are interested in them as well, that's our choice. You can read more about it in this post. I also listed some resources that are available if you are interested in studying birds too.

I got a lot out of our reading assi
gnment (pg. 10-11 HNS...Handbook of Nature Study) about the uses of scientific names. Page 11 says this..."If the teacher says, 'I have a pink hepatica. Can anyone find me a blue one?' the children, who naturally like grownup words (yep, I have those kids!), will soon be calling these flowers hepaticas. But if the teacher says, 'These flowers are called hepaticas. Now please everyone remember the name. Write it in your books as I write it on the blackboard, and in half an hour I shall ask you again what it is,' the pupils naturally look upon the exercise as a word lesson and its real significance is lost."

Also on page 11..."The child should never be required to learn th
e name of anything in the nature study work; but the name should be used so often and so naturally in his presence that he will learn it without being conscious of the process."

The above is so true and we have experienced that. I made a conscious effort when the boys were young to call things by their "proper" names (including body parts!). When we go to the zoo, I say, "Look at the White-Handed Gibbon", not "Loo
k at the monkey". In fact, I think parents are selling their kids short to call animals monkey, kitty (when referring to a ferocious tiger), bird. As Anne (remember, first name basis here now) mentions "the name should be used so often and so naturally in his presence that he will learn it without being conscious of the process."

Magnus was just a little tyke when we were at the zoo one time. He overheard a dad say to his child, "Look at the cow, son." Magnus turned to him and said, "It's a Bongo". Now, the fact that my child corrected an adult is not the issue. The fact that I never referred to it as a cow, but as a Bongo is the point. Magnus knows it's correct name.

As far as our Nature Walk/Study this week, again, it was somewhat "Magnus lead". You can read about it here, and I encourage you to do so. It proves that this, Nature Study, is working and developing observation skills and a love of the things God created. Even though our in-depth study is on birds, I took the excitement of the discovery of the bee and we looked into that further. I love not being held in bondage to a specific curriculum and topic, but to be able to learn more about the things that interest us.

Also this week, I implemented tea time. I have chosen t
o read from the Burgess Bird Book for Children during this time two days a week. The boys have become familiar with
the Wren
and the English Sparrow.Not quite sure how to record what we are learning from the book yet. I don't know if I should have them draw the birds in their nature journals or just use them (nature journals) as a means to record actual observations. I've thought about notebooking and have found some pages for them to color. Maybe I can print pictures off the internet and we can make our own bird guide. I am just unsure right now.

Thanks again for following us on this journey. Check back next week! Oh, and I will probably be posting more at my nature blog...Dancing with be sure to check over there periodically. See you next week! Until then, try to get outside and listen to the birds. Tweet, tweet!
(No pictures this week due to Collin having my hoo.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008