Thursday, September 25, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 1

We did it! We completed our first official week of school! It had some rocky moments, but all in all, it was fantastic! It felt so good to finally be on some sort of schedule and routine after having this cross country move taking up all of our time and energy. Magnus started 2nd grade and Thane started Kindergarten. It is a bit of a challenge having to "really" teach two this year, but I am sure I'll get the hang of it soon. I don't know how the moms with lots of kids do it!

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
This is our first year using TOG. We are doing Year Two, Unit 1 this semester and learning about The Middle Ages. For those of you who do not know, this incorporates our history, geography, literature, church history, and art. Each Year is broken down into four Units and set up so that you complete it in a school year. We, however, will be completing only two units this year, allowing us to move at a slower pace and "dig deeper" into areas that interest us.
History...We read about the different Barbarian tribes (the Goths, the Franks, the Vandels, ect.) attacking the Romans. Attila the Hun was a very vicious man. I don't remember studying him in school. I knew of him, but not much. The boys, of course, were very much interested in it and hanging on my every word. In fact, the created their own battles with blocks and Playmobil guys...

Geography...We broke out the Atlas and looked at the area we are going to be studying. Then, they both labeled maps of the 7 contients, the oceans, and the rivers. Magnus also labeled a Medieval Europe map. The boys like doing maps.

Literature...Magnus has been reading a variety of books about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Magnus has been reading aloud to Thane a lot...

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...Magnus has picked up right where we left off last year in his Growing with Grammar book. We didn't get this curriculum until we were 3/4 of the way through last year, so he is still tecnically doing the first grade level. No matter, he is doing really well learning about the different forms of nouns...proper and common.
Spelling...we have just been reviewing the rules we learned last year. He still has a couple more steps to finish from level one, but he'll move onto level two in no time.
Phonics...He complete a lesson in his Explode the Code Level 4 book.

Phonics (Thane)
We started working through the first workbook in Sing, Spell, Read, & Write. I am pretty sure he is going to do well with this program. Here is one of the sheets he completed...

Magnus...He is finishing up Level B of Right Start due to the fact that we bought it mid year and I slacked off a bit in the subject. He worked on side two of the abacus and was working on addition within the 'teens'.

Thane...this is a new subject for him this year. He is constantly asking me, "Is it time for math yet?" and "When can we do math?" I love his eagerness. He is doing Level A of Right Start. He learned to recognize objects up to five without counting. He did really well. He also learned the poem, "One, Two, buckle my shoe".

Science (Magnus)
He is taking a science class at our Charter School, one day a week for an hour. His first class was this week. They are going to be studying, really quickly, the different eco systems and animal kingdoms. He came home with a picture of the sun, which he drew and colored. I was pretry impressed.

I have also bee tossing around the idea of doing NOEO Biology 1 with them. I have been drooling over this for the past two years and I am able to get it for free through our charter school. I think I will look into it more and decide if our schedule can handle it.

Mrs. P's Kindergarten Class (Thane)
I am so excited about the opportunity for Thane to be in a class room type setting with other homeschool kids! Magnus attended a classical preschool when he was four and that was a great experience for him. They meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours. It is designed to help them be able to listen to another adult besides mom, learn to share with others, focus on thetask set before them, and to have a chance for interaction with other Kers. Thane was a bit unsure of it when I dropped him off for his first day, but he quickly warmed up to it. He told me all about the new friends he made. It warmed my heart! Especially since we just left all of our other friends back in TN! Here is a worksheet he did...
Latin (Magnus)
We are waiting on our Song School Latin materials to come in.

P.E. (Both)
The boys are taking tennis lessons. They have been going twice a week for lessons and then usually another day to practice and hit around. And I must say, I have the hots for their instructor! He not only has great form, but he is gentle and patient with Magnus and Thane. Collin, I mean, their instructor, is fantastic!

Oh, and I finally got to meet one of my online friends IRL! Sharon, aka Sailmom, and I met through my blog and the WTM message boards. She has been a tremendous help to me in transitioning to N. CA. (Hi, Sharon!) We have been corresponding the past few months via email and it finally worked out for us to meet! Then, she had to go out of town on me, BUT she'll be back next week! The kids hit it off real well too! So that was the highlight of my week! Not that she left, but that we got to meet! (tee hee!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


We rode our bikes to the Farmer's Market on Saturday. It was full of wonderful smells, sights, and tastes. But, I wanted to show you how my bike looked as I rode it home...

We bought a couple potted mums for our gigantic back patio, a yummy baguette, and a sachet filled with lavender to place in the dryer with our bedding.
I felt so French!

The only thing missing was this...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things To Do: First Day of School...check!

It's official...I am teaching a Kindergartner and a 2nd Grader.

Let me tell you, the day started a little rocky with one of my students giving me some attitude. Not the way I wanted to begin a new school year. I allowed a "do over" and things went on more smoothly.

(Do I need to tell you who the class clown is?)

We started the day with history. This is our first year using Tapestry of Grace (which will combine history, literature, geography, and some church history for us this year) and I am fully aware of the "four week" fog most people experience as they try to implement it for the first time. But, I have a question...since I am doing each "week" in tw
o weeks, does that mean I will have 8 weeks of fog? Anyhow, we are studying the Middle Ages this year (yeah!) so we read a bit about the Fall of the Roman Empire and Attila the Hun attacking Rome. We also got out the atlas so we could see the area we are going to be working on this year. Then they spent some time creating a notebook cover for their binders. They spent a lot of time doing this. They like crafty type stuff.

On to math...Magnus is finishing up level B of Right Start. We are behind due to starting it mid-year last year, but we'll get caught up.
Thane is starting Level A this year and is very excited about dong math this year.

Language Arts was next...Magnus completed a lesson in his Growing with Grammar book, reviewed spelling rules with me, and did three pages in ETC learning about compound words. Thane started Sing, Spell, Read, and Write today. He worked on some pages that asked him to pick which one is different and to follow instructions. He also worked in his Get Ready for the Code book (we are finishing it up from last year).

In the afternoon, we headed to our charter school for Magnus' first science class. They are going to be learning about the different ecosystems as well as most of the animal groups. Looks like they will be covering a lot of material before Christmas break. After class, he told me he has already made a new friend. I am so thankful to have the chance for them to be in a safe classroom setting with other homeschoolers.

All in all, I think it was a productive day. I jumped in with both feet and didn't drown!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

School Is Upon Us!

School is starting next week for the fam. Everyone, with the exception of me, seems to be ready.

Collin is taking a class on Chaucer's Troilus & Criseyde, Introduction to Graduate Studies, and a "directed study" with one of his professors. *I* think it is going to be good for him to get the analytical side of his brain in motion again.

Thane is taking a class, through our charter school, that is created to give the kids a "kindergarten experience". He'll be reviewing (I say 'reviewing' because he already knows it) the ABC's, memorizing poems and nursery rhymes, working on handwriting, and even participating in a play at the end of the year. I am glad he is getting the opportunity to learn in an environment like this. Magnus was able to attend preschool at our church and it was a fantastic experience for him. Oh, and the class is only once a week for 2 1/2 hours.

Magnus is also taking a class...a science class. This came as a huge relief to me as I still had not planned out my science for this year. I know we are going to start/continue Barb's Nature Study, but beyond that, I only had a few ideas mulling around. His class is once a week for an hour. They are going to be studying habitats and animals. I am hoping to expound on it and complete some activities like lapbooks, other hands on stuff, and reading.

I am having a hard time. I don't feel prepared. When I don't feel prepared, I start feeling inadequate to teach. I know that is a bunch of baloney! I am a good teacher and I know what my boys need. It's just hard. Maybe it's because of everything else that has been going on in life. Moving across country...away from my friends...away from my church (that I loved!)...away from the familiar...away from everything. I haven't made any friends, have only met a few people. We haven't found a church and that is really discouraging. I don't know where anything is, with the exception of In-n-Out Burger, Safeway, and Target (I know...what else does one need!?). Wow...I didn't intend to write about his, but obviously it is weighing heavy on my heart. Alright. I am off to think about this some more. I'll post about our school plans later.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Little Tiny Baby Pretend House...the boys' room

Alright. What you are about to see is real. The places pictured are not sets in a studio. Nor are the people actors. This is a true depiction of how a family of four can a 594 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

The boys are sharing a room that is pretty much the same size as the one t
hey left. We pretty much set it up in the same way. We, and I say "we" because it was a family affair, turned their bunk beds into loft beds. We wanted to be able to give them as much floor space as possible. If you missed that post, you can read about it and see photos here. It has proved to be a great idea! So, without further ado, here is a mini size tour of their room.

This is the view from the door as you enter their room. This is Magnus' bed.

His bed again. Under each bed is a space set up for each of them to have a reading/play area. I have yet to hang up their curtains (which gives them privacy from the other) and buy them some sort of small area rug for when they want to lay down and read. They are pretty much loving the fact that they have linoleum flooring so that their Playmobil guys are able to stand up on their own without falling down.

Another view of his bed plus the shelves that stand between their beds. Yes, they have a tv in their room. It is the only tv in the house and it is rarely used. I have the vhs player hooked up to it so we can watch videos...educational ones. The terrarium pictured on the bottom shelf is, unfortunately, empty. It used to house my corn snake, Steve. I was hoping it was going to be the home of a bearded dragon, but I think they need a bigger habitat, so I am not sure about that. I *will* put something in it eventually!

This view is under one side of Thane's bed. Their dresser is standing on the other side. Yes, we have a lot of bins. A LOT! Luckily the boys are pretty good about making sure that the correct toys go into the correct bins so things stay organized for the most part.

This is their closet...well, one side. It is full of clothes, science experiment kits, games, puzzles, school supplies, and bedding. The other side is full of bins containing out of season clothing, my homeschool file cabinet, and some of my clothes. Whoever built these apartments was very smart about the use of space. These closets have a lot of room for storage.

Thanks for going on this mini tour. Be sure to come back when we explore the other areas of the Little Tiny Baby Pretend House!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Times in Washington

This past week we drove 12 hours up I-5...or I should say "the 5" like they do here in visit Collin's family in WA. The last time we were in WA was July last year so this was a real treat. I (well, we) love WA.

We were able to spend some time over at Aunt K and Uncle D's house. Here are the boys with their cousins...

Magnus, Miss Aberlise, Thane, and Velvet Brown

Uncle D use to be a High School Science teacher (now in Pharmacy school) so he has all sorts of fun ideas to keep the kids busy. This visit, they made water rockets and launched them way high into the air...

Thane rockin' out with his "safety" goggles.

Seriously, these things went way high in the air! I was unsuccessful at capturing it on film. (Is it okay to say "film" even though it's digital?)

We launched them into the pasture behind their house where these guys live.

They also had a lot of fun wrestling with Grampa D.

Here are some random pictures from that day...

We also took a little trip up near Mt. Rainier to Federation Forest and went hiking. This place is beautiful! Moss just hangs off the trees like curtains...

White River flows through there so we had to stop and try our hand at sinking the ships...someone tosses a large stick up river and everyone else tries to bomb it with rocks. Grampa is quite good!

And finally, we spent some time on Grampa and Gramma's Pickleball court. If you don't know what Pickleball is, you can find our about it here. It was started in WA and is lots of fun!

Oh, and we also went to The Fair and had our fill of Fischer Scones!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


We had to get out of the hot Little Tiny Baby Pretend House so we escaped to the beach! We packed up the car with all of the beach essentials (except that we forgot the sand toys!), and drove 1 1/2 hours to Muir Beach (just north of San Fransisco on Hwy. 1). It is beautiful! It was wonderful spending the entire day near "big water". Here are a lot of great pics...