Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 10 ...Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving could not have come at a better time for us. We needed a break from our regular school work. I knew the boys (and me too) still needed something to occupy our time or we would drive each other crazy so I planned out a mini Thanksgiving unit and created a lapbook for us to do. It was just what we needed.

The week started out with a nature walk. We rode our bikes and headed to some trails we had yet to explore. Let me just say, there is nothing like living in a town where there are more bikes than cars! We have so many safe bike trails to get you from one place to another. It's great!

During the week we cuddled on the couch and read "If You Were At The First Thanksgiving" by Anne Kamma. We also explored some fantastic websites that gave us more information about the voyage, daily life, and the Wampanoag Indians. The boys then completed the appropriate books to add to their lapbooks. Here are the finished products...

Thanksgiving day, itself, was wonderful. I decided to go ahead and make a Thanksgiving dinner. My last attempt at doing this was 9 years ago so this is the first Thanksgiving dinner the boys had that I cooked. Let me just say that I deserve a pat on the ba
ck! It actually turned out good! I couldn't believe it! The turkey was not dry and the stuffing wasn't soup! I can't wait to eat the leftovers tonight! The boys made butter for us to eat with our meal. They shook baby food jars full of heavy whipping cream for a good part of the morning. It turned out great! We were all very excited to eat it on our bread.

I put the boys in charge of setting the table. They did a great job...

Thane arranged the centerpiece...

They also dressed up as Pilgrims...

Our break isn't over yet. Today (which is really going to be a "work" day) I am going to be taking a look at Tapestry of Grace and some other subjects in our homeschool that I can utilize better. Collin is working on a 15 page paper that is due next Friday. BUT...tomorrow we are going to go camping!! We'll spend the weekend at the beach relaxing, bird watching, exploring tide pools, and eating over an open fire! I can't think of a better way to spend my time! I'll be posting pictures next week.

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 9

Remember how last week was rough due to intense emotions? Well, this week started out the same way. I have been reading Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It is a guide for parents whose child is more intense (check!), more sensitive (check!), more perceptive (check!), more persistent (check!), and more energetic (check!). I have concluded that I do not have one "spirited" child, I have two "spirited" children! And to complicate matters, I, too, am "spirited". I encourage you to click on the link to read an excerpt if you are interested in finding out more. Attitudes did improve by the end of the week.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
History...this was the first week of week 5 for us. To be honest, I really can't recall what we learned about. Maybe it has something to do with us completing history during the first half of the week. Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that history has been very blah. It's disappointing. The Middle Ages is our family's favorite time period. Something needs to change and I am not sure what. It's not the fault of's mine and I don't know how to fix it. Oh, yes...we are in the middle of studying about the Vikings. Maybe we'll just have to have a "re-do" for this week.

Literature...Magnus has been reading a Landmark book called The Vikings by Janeway. He is really enjoying it.

Timeline...we added a couple people to our timeline. It's starting to fill in and the boys are making connections. I am glad that we are doing this.

Project...the boys started making a model of a Viking ship with Collin. They will probably finish it next week. I'll post pics of it when they are done.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...he started learning about adjectives this week and completed 5 lessons in GWG. I wanted to make sure that the rules are getting cemented in his head so I created some copywork pages for him to complete.

Spelling...completed Step 2 and he got all of his words correct on his test! He was very proud of himself as was I. This subject has been a struggle.

Phonics...almost finished with book 4 of ETC. I picked up book 4 1/2 and book 5 this week. I might have him do 4 1/2 so that he'll have a chance to work on the rules that he just learned in book 4 or I might have him move onto book 5 and alternate lessons with book 4 1/2. I'm not sure.

Phonics (Thane)
Thane is starting to read!!!!!! We worked on sounding out simple words that had the short "a" sound. He read the first couple books in the Bob series and was so excited! We didn't have these milestones with Magnus as he just picked up a book and started reading. It's fun to see the joy in Thane's eyes! He worked some more on I was able to check out the site more and found some great worksheets to print off for him. He liked doing them since he has become familiar with the characters.

Thane also atteneded Mrs. P's class. It was "e" week so he brought in a
n elephant to share.

I can not say enough how much I love Right S
We played the Corner game again. I know you can't tell by the look on Thane's face, but this is loads of fun!

Magnus...I printed off some worksheets for review of the "9" facts. He did really well. He also worked on partitioning 11 and creating patterns on the Geo Boards.

Thane...started simple addition through word problems. I could not stump him! He also learned the art of partitioning and did well with doing "5".

I think the reason our week turned around was because of science. It was interesting, I enjoyed teaching it, the boys were involved, and we watched videos on the internet. I am thinking this might be the secret to making things interesting...using different resources to teach and learn. It breaks things up. Forgot to mention...we started studying invertebrates.

Magnus also attended his science class with Ms. Carla. They studied amphibians and reptiles.


We finished up chapter 4, the review chapter, in Song School Latin. We listened to the songs and sang along. We like this program.

That about covers it! Next week is Thanksgiving, but we will still be doing school M-W. Maybe that would be a good time to "re-do" our Viking week. Whatever the case, I need to do some serious thinking about how to approach history. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sad State of Affairs

Normally, this is a beautiful sight to me. Full bird feeders mean lots of opportunities for me to watch birds in the coming days. However, this is how my feeders have looked for the last 2 1/2 months. Full. Not one visitor. Very sad.

Oh, we have birds. I am listening to the crows swarming outside as I type. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard. They gather and swarm in the trees next to our building like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's, The Birds. Seriously. Hundreds of them.

We also have many Western Scrub Jays...
Yep, they're beautiful. I wanna like them. I have tried to like them. But they have a screech that is almost as maddening as the crows kaw.

This songbird lover is very sad. I haven't heard the "chicka dee dee dee" of the chickadee or the joyous "cheer, cheer, cheer, what, what, what" of my beloved Cardinal. There are no Cardinals here. Very sad indeed.

Isn't he stunning?!!

So, my bird feeders will continue to sit and this birdlover will have to go find her birds somewhere else.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 8

This week was tough. Emotions ran deep. But, we made it through and we have a better understanding and appreciation of each other. I just hope this coming week will be smoother.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
History...This was our second week of week 4. We studied Charlemagne and gained an understanding on how instrumental he was in establishing the current boundaries for Western Europe.

Literature...Magnus read "A Sword in the Tree" by Clyde Bulla and chose to narrate a part of the story by using his Playmobil guys. I thought it was very creative.

I am having to do some more research on narration and try to figure out how I want it to look in our homeschool. I love the idea of the boys using props and other creative ways to tell me about what they read, but I only want a summary and I am not getting that.

Lapbook...we completed a booklet about Charlemange. I am glad I added this component to our history lessons. The boys are enjoying it.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...Finished the section on verbs and learned how to make and use contactions. I want him to get the grammar rules and definitions etched in his brain so I created copywork sheets for him to complete. Plus, he'll be improving his writing skills as well! I am brainstorming other ways to etch them as well.

Spelling...finished up step 1 of Level 2 (AAS). We are loving the new magnetic white board!

Phonics...continued working in his ETC workbooks. He paid a lot more attention to the instructions this week.

Phonics (Thane)
I decided to just have him do the handwriting pages of the remaining letters in the first workbook. He is excited to start the next workbook and actually start putting the letters and sounds together to make words. He is ready for it.

I have also added a handwriting book by Zaner-Bloser into the mix. This boy actually likes writing!

Magnus...learned and worked on his 9 facts for addition. He caught on pretty fast and understands the way Right Start teaches it very well. In fact, he didn't use the abacus once and was computing the problems in his head! We also played the corner game a few times.

Thane...continued learning how to write his numbers correctly. Worked a little more with even and odd numbers and did simple addition using word problems. He just "gets" it.

Science (Both)
Last week we finished reading about Louis Pastuer. This week we were the scientists and conducted experiments on our own. We gathered bacteria from different sources in the house and placed them in a petri dish. One half of the dish was left as is and the other half was rubbed with antibiotics. We then made conclusions as to what we thought would happen. We are going to record our findings daily for the next 10 days. We also broke out the microscope and checked some things out.

Magnus also had to write his first research report. Mrs. Carla, his science teacher at the charter school, asked the kids to research their favorite shark and write a few sentences about it. Well, that wasn't good enough for our Magnus. He also drew pictures. We went to the library and got some books for him to read about the Hammerhead shark. He copied several sentences from the books and then I helped him compose them into his own words. He did a great job!

Latin (Magnus)
This is going great! We are learning a lot of vocabulary and Magnus is making connections between them and words in our language. We completed chapter four this week which was a review lesson. He got the exercises correct. Thane is also, indirectly, learning Latin by singing the songs with us.

Whew! I am glad this week is over! Be sure to tune in for next week's report!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 7

I simply do not have the energy to write up our report this week. It has been a long, tiring week. I can say that we did get everything done that I had planned. We had a great week with good attitudes...for the most part.

I have been thinking a lot about our approach to school and taking into consideration the boys' learning styles and my personality.

Tapestry of Grace...I have been looking into presenting our TOG subjects a little differently and doing more with them. TOG is a fantastic tool and I want to make sure I am utilizing it as much as I can without overwhelming us.

Magnus...I have been researching cursive writing programs for him. Zaner-Bloser is the way I was taught but I think we may have greater success with Handwriting Without Tears. He does not like the actual action of writing and as long as it is legible, I really don't care what it looks like. I have some more research to do in this area. I have also been revisiting the idea of Narration and what I want it to look like in our school. Magnus has a photographic memory and can retell a story back to me and not miss a word. The problem with that is I don't want to hear the story again. I want him to summarize the major points and tell those to me.

Thane...He has been begging me to teach him how to read. We have been going through the alphabet in his first workbook of SSRW, but I have decided to skip the rest and give him what he wants. He knows the letters and their sounds, so we are going to move onto the next workbook and start reading! He is very excited.

Me...I am not good at leading discussion. I need a set of questions or rules to follow in order for us to talk about what we just read. I don't know why this is so hard for me, but it is an area that I want and need to grow in. I've looked into Teaching The Classics and it is exactly what I need. It teaches you how to lead Socratic discussions. Now, if only I could find a used's pretty pricey.

Thanks for visiting our open house this week! :o)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

364 Days "til Halloween

Carving Pumpkins...

Here are the boy's all dressed up...Magnus was Thor and Thane was a Viking.

Halloween afternoon our apartment community had a carnival for the kids...

The University Marching Band even made an appearance...

Here is the boys' reaction...

After dinner at In -N-Out Burger we went Trick or Treating around the apartment complex. The boys brought home a lot of candy for Mom and Dad!