Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 20

We had a "thumbs up" kind of week. We completed everything I had planned with the exception of the history project. I just can't seem to get on the ball with that. Especially if there is a lot of prep work involved.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
I still can't shake the feeling that I am not using this program to it's potential, even in the grammar stage. I think I need to add in some read alouds. Maybe start doing the read alouds they have scheduled or even reading one of the in-depth history books they suggest. I will have to give this some more thought.

History...this is the week Magnus has been waiting for. We learned about the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Incas. We discussed the influence the Spanish explorers had on their daily life and survival. Exploration and Conquest continues to be a big hit around here.

Mapwork...we labeled the different tribes on a map of Central/South America. I didn't realize the Inca Empire was so big!

Literature...Magnus is reading Morning Girl by Michael Dorris. It's been kind of a challenge due to the fact that he has discovered the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and only wants to read them. These books are roughly 350 pages each and he has read three of them since this past weekend!

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...more review of sentence structure this week.

Spelling...I decided not to start the program this week. I needed to spend sometime familiarizing myself with it and learning how to teach it. Granted, that hasn't happened, but I hope to get to it this weekend.

Writing...we started Writing With Ease Level 2 this week. So far so good. Narration needs work...he gives ALL the details, but it'll come in time.
On a side note...our charter school purchase the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style by Andrew Pudewa DVDS and notebooks. Some other moms and I are going to work through the series on Monday afternoons and then get a co-op going so we can work through the Student Writing Intensive Level A with our kids. Not sure I am going to join in with the co-op...I want Magnus to work through WWE before we tackle SWI A. I may save that for next year. Regardless, I am excited about having other moms to do this with.

Phonics (Thane)
Every day, my choice to change to Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading is reinforced. Thane is moving along. When I tell him it's time for reading he gabs his book, plops on the love seat, and waits for me to join him. The snuggles make it so worth it! We finished the easy short vowel sounds and will move onto blends next week. It will definitely be more of a challenge. We'll see how he does.

Also started him on the Explode the Code books. He loves them and gave them a thumbs up!

Magnus...he has completed worksheets everyday this week on four digit addition. On top of that, I introduced him to subtraction (finally). He understood it quickly. on telling time. With there only being digital clocks in our house, working with the "hands" proved to be a little hard. Will have to continue working on this concept a bit.

Continued learning about birds this week. We focused on their development. They completed a few worksheets and watched a great video about eggs. It showed the development of the chicken and the process an egg goes through from the farm to the grocery store.

Yea for me! We actually did it this week! The boys got a kick out of the song this week. They even made up a dance to it. I had to listen to it at least 10 times every day!

(Yes, Magnus is dressed up like an Indian. You'll see why.)

Magnus also built a model of a casa (house) and had to label the porta (door), murus (wall), and fenestra (windows). He got pretty creative.

P.A.C.T. Classes
Science...cancelled this week
Kidspiration...did something. Not sure what. working on a drawing of a weaver bird. Can't wait to see that one!
Music Appreciation...we attended a school program instead
PE...we attended a school program instead

Mrs. P's Kindergarten Class..."N" Week...he shared is Nerf gun.
Music Appreciation...we attended a school program instead
PE...we attended a school program instead

Wednesday, our charter school invited a Native American to come talk to the kids about the life of a Plains Indian. Lizard Woman (her name...I love it!) brought all kinds of things to show the kids. Later, they got to try their hand at the Bow and Arrow. My little, creative, "I have to immerse myself" child dressed up like an Indian. I love that it doesn't matter to him if the other kids are going to do it or not (they didn't). He does it because he wants to.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 19

Due to sickness...again...this was a light week.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
History...Read about Magellan and his explorations. It sadden us to hear that he died before reaching India, his final destination. The boys are really enjoying the book Exploration and Conquest by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. I had to talk to them a bit about slavery and that was difficult.

Literature...Magnus has misplaced I, Juan de Pareja so he was unable to finish it. He better find it because I can only renew it one more time!

Lapbooks...we finally finished putting our Middle Ages lapbook together.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...still reviewing sentences, fragments, and questions.

Spelling...I received Spelling Power and we did the survey and placement tests. According to that, he is at a 4.5 grade level in spelling. I don't see how that is possible. Anyhow, it said to start him on flow list D, but I think I will start him on C. He likes the idea of only doing spelling 15 minutes a day. We'll see how he likes it after next week when I show him exactly how he is suppose to study the list words. There are several steps involved and I don't think that is going to sit too well with him. He thinks he has better ways of doing things. (Where does he get that?)

Writing...we are going to be starting Writing With Ease next week. Narration and dictation just aren't getting done. This will aid in that as well as provide him with much needed copywork. I am excited about it.

Phonics (Thane)
Ordinary Parent's Guide for Teaching Reading is working beautifully! He is reading the words and not the pictures! He likes the optional activities at the end of some of the lessons and I have been adding in some of the games from Happy Phonics.

Magnus...learned 4 digit addition this week. According to the book, we were supposed to take 5 days to work on the concept on the abacus and then "several days" doing it on paper. Well, we did 3 problems on the abacus and then moved onto paper. He got it! He understood it! We spent the rest of the week doing the worksheets. He is very proud of himself...I am proud of him too!

Thane...I didn't do any formal lessons with him since he was under the weather. He did ask to do some worksheet though. I gave him a sheet of 45 problems with questions where the answers would be from 1-50. Problems like 28+13 and 17+12. He only missed 8 of them!

(Think this child is tired of having his picture taken?)

Science (Both)
We started studying birds this week. We learned about their beaks, feet, and feathers. The boys have shown interest in bird watching in the past...I know where they get that from...and they are able to identify several. We have several hawks in our area and when they hear it's call, they rush out the door to try to locate it. I like being able to share my interests with them.

Latin (Magnus)
I had really good intentions. Doesn't that count for something?

PACT Classes: Magnus
Science...Monday was a holiday
Kidspiration...Monday was a holiday
Music Appreciation...cancelled for some reason
PE...didn't go due to illness

Mrs. P's Kindergarten Class...didn't attend due to illness, but we worked on his worksheets.
Music Appreciation...cancelled for some reason
PE...didn't go due to illness

Thankfully Thane was feeling better so we were able to go on the Aerospace Museum Field Trip on Thursday. Be sure to check out all of the great pictures! If you didn't click on the link, then just scroll's the next post.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Field Trip

Today, the boys and I went with some other families from our charter school to the California Aerospace Museum. I gotta tell ya...if you live anywhere near Sacramento, this place it worth the trip.

They have roughly 30 military planes, that have flown in combat, parked in a large lot for you to view and touch. We were very fortunate to have Roger as our Docent. He flew one of the planes on the lot, during the Korean War. He told stories of how his best friend died due to a failed evacuation from a cockpit and how the soldiers called one of the planes a "flying casket" because of it being unable to glide if one of the engines failed.

A very sobering moment for me was being able to climb inside a plane that flew during WWII and completed 3 drops of troops during the DDay Invasion in Normandy. It was eerie as I tried to put myself in their place. I just couldn't imagine the fear and rush of adrenalin those boys must have felt. The markings on the side show that it flew 3 DDay drops, 2 medical missions, and several supply missions.

A picture of the nose art.

Magnus flying the plane.

This helicopter was used during the Vietnam War (maybe it was the Korean) to rescue downed pilots.

Each helicopter would also have four of these planes near it to provide cover. In this picture the wings are folded up to show the bombs.

Magnus inside the helicopter.

This plane flew in Desert Storm. I didn't get a picture of it (the gun that is), but Roger said this plane was basically built around the Gatling gun that was positioned in the nose. It's bullets pierced the amour of tanks like a knife slicing butter.

If you click on the picture you can see the particular things this pilot took out during his missions.

This was Thane's favorite. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he has a couple of the National Guard Lego sets.

Remember Top Gun? Well, this is the "Tomcat" that Tom Cruise "flew" in the movie.

I took this next picture for all of my conservative friends who miss Ronald know who you are ;0) At one time, this was his private jet when he was governor of CA.
Within the "museum" part of the building, there are several exhibits featuring jet engines and pilot gear. Fortunately, NASA had a traveling space exhibit on display. We got to view an actual moon rock and touch a meteorite as well as a rock from Mars. They also had special scales that read your weight on the earth, on the moon, and on Mars. It was pretty cool.

This is Magnus' weight on the moon.

Magnus exercising like the astronauts do in space. This thing spun around really fast too!

Oh, and did you know that the universe was formed 13 million years ago from a BANG? Whatever. I don't know...maybe God said "Bang" as the heavens and earths were created.

Anyhow, it was a great day and I can't wait to take my dad there when he comes to visit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Narration, Dictation, and Copywork

I "found" something that may help me do narrations, dictation, and copywork with Magnus. I say "found" but I have actually looked into using it before, but decided against it. I didn't understand how it "taught" writing. The method seemed very elementary to me. (I know...Magnus is in 'elementary' school.) However, since having to deal with his issues in writing and getting it worked out, I have decided to check this "something" out again.

The lessons are broken up into 4 lessons per week. Perfect! We school 4 days a week! (I should say do "seat work" 4 days a week.) They include narration (which I have not been doing but wanting to), copywork (which we have been doing, but now it will correlate with his writing lesson), and dictation (which we have not been consistent with).

What is this "something"?

It's Writing With Ease. We are starting Level 2 next week. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Poor Thane

Well, I took Thane to the doctor today. He has been running a fever since Thursday and coughing consistently for the past three days. For those of you who do not know our medical history with him, I'll just tell you he has asthma and has been in and out of the hospital since he was born. So when he gets to coughing, we brace ourselves. Turns out he was wheezing a bit so they gave him a breathing treatment. I didn't like it. I don't like it. This was his first treatment in two years.

Why, you ask? When we lived in TN we were blessed by a man name Dr. Tom. He is a chiropractor. He viewed his practice as a ministry and therefore gave us a huge discount. He just wanted to see people well and healthy. Our entire family began seeing him in Jan. of 2007. We all started seeing benefits to the treatments right away. The one who benefited the most was Thane. Thane was taking 6 daily medications, sometimes in 4 hour intervals. By March of 2007 he was down to one. A few months later, he stopped taking that one. He (and all of us) were medication and sickness free for almost two years!

Fast forward to now...Magnus was sick all last week, Thane is wheezing, and Collin and I are feeling "old" again. We are kind of stuck between and rock and a hard place...we can't afford the outrageous prices of the "voo-doo" doctors here but yet we can't afford not to afford them. Why oh why can't insurance cover preventive care instead of the medications? Ugh!

Okay...rant over.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of this special day, I wanted to repost the lovely words my husband wrote last year.

And now for something completely different

Valentine's Day, 2008

My wife is a little out of it after a long day with children. The late dinner we ate just took it right out of her. She's next to me on the couch, dressed to kill, and we're blogging.

I don't know why people say we're not like other families.

She assures me that we're only blogging for now. And that's reassuring for me, because hey, you buy a girl a nice dinner, bring her flowers, put the kids to bed, and then...homeschool blog? I dunno.

We're writing this (well, I am. She's making a valiant effort not to fall asleep on my shoulder) because although bad news travels fast, good news seems to go nowhere. It seems like doom and gloom is everywhere (you've all heard about the poor kids at Northern Illinois by now), but people often seem to keep their good news to themselves.

We're bucking the trend. We've got an announcement to make (hi, mom!) and we won't be silenced. I hope you're ready because here it is:

We've been married nearly ten years
- that's not it, wait for it -
and we're in love.

That's right. We're married and have two kids. We live in a little tiny baby pretend apartment with noisy litterbugs for neighbors. My car smells like puke. I made, like, $20,000 last year. Next year probably won't be a lot better.

And we're wildly, passionately in love.

DW (dear wife) just said, "I think you're right!" as I typed this, so that clinches it.

Maybe some time soon we'll go into how this came about, but for now we hope it's enough to know that somewhere out there are two people in love, making it work, fighting like cats and dogs sometimes, but in love.

Ewwww. Our poor kids.

Remember that part in Jerry McGuire when Rene Zellweger's character says "I love him for the man he wants to be, and the man he almost is"? Or something? Well, we've learned to love each other for the man and woman we are today.

So that's it. We now return to our regular programming.

Just thought you should know.

And you know what? It just keeps getting better!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 18

Not much happened this week as far as school goes. Magnus was sick from Saturday to Thursday with a fever and cough. Then, Thane woke up with it on Thursday. Thankfully it didn't last long for him. Collin and I have both been fighting it off.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
This week we learned about Christopher Columbus.

History...We listened to the chapter in SOTW that pertains to Columbus. The boys created some booklets to go into our lapbooking notebooks. Magnus has also read several books about Columbus on his own. I have a basket full of books that relate to what we are learning in history and science and he is always eager to read the treasures.

Literature...Magnus is continuing to read I, Juan de Pareja. He has had nothing but good things to say about it. Hopefully we will be able to discuss it next week.

Language Art (Magnus)
Grammar...did not get done this week
Spelling...waiting for Spelling Power to arrive.

Phonics (Thane)
We played a few games from Happy Phonics, but formal lessons did not happen this week.

Magnus...I printed off a few worksheets from the internet for him to do. Also worked a bit more with place value.

Thane...this kid begs me for worksheets! I gave him a few that included addition up to 20. On a sheet that had 45 problems (which he wanted to do all) he only missed one! We have been skipping some lessons in his book as I feel he knows what 8+2 equals.

Science (Both)
We finished reading One Small Square: the Woods this week. I had the boys draw pictures of a scene from the woods. They had to include at least one mammal, one tree, one amphibian or reptile, one fungus, one bird, and one insect.

Latin (Magnus)
Nope...didn't happen

PACT Classes
Magnus...Unable to attend any because he was sick.

Thane...attended Mrs. P's Kindergarten Class and had a Valentine's Day Party.

Thane and I also went on a field trip with our charter school to see the play Swiss Family Robinson. This was the first play Thane has attended and he LOVED it! It was very entertaining. Unfortunately Magnus was too sick to join us.

Hopefully this weekend will bring much rest for us. See you next week!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Day Was Made

I heard thunder today! THUNDER!! We NEVER hear thunder anymore. It just doesn't do that here. One of my favorite things in the whole world is thunderstorms. I am a happy girl.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 17

Wanna know what I did this week? I googled our local school district. I was at the end of my rope and desperate. Am I going to send my boys to school? No. But, for an afternoon, I considered it. That being said, attitudes changed and work got done. It was a tough one.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
We started Unit 2 of Year 2 this week. I found this week to be fascinating as we concentrated on the a few of the artists from the Renaissance...Michelangelo, DaVinci, and Giotto (even though he was in the 13th century).

History...we read Mike Venezia's books about Michelangelo and DaVinci. We also listened to The Story of the World vol. 2 audio of the chapter about the Renaissance.

Literature...we read Mario's Angels and answered the questions on the Student Activity Page. Magnus is also in the process of reading I, Juan de Pareja.

Project...the boys colored a picture of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and pretended to be Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. I taped paper to the ceiling above their loft beds, handed them a tub of markers, and let them get their creative juices flowing.

The picture "painting' didn't last long on the ceiling. They complained of their necks hurting. I told them, "Michelangelo had to be in that position for 4 years"! Anyhow, they finished them on the wall.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...He started Level Two this week of Growing with Grammar. It was pretty much review, but he was able to do it independently. One of the big blow ups we had this week was in this subject. Thankfully it seems to have been resolved and you can read about it here. I really encourage you to click on the link if you have a child who struggles with the process of handwriting.

Spelling...I think I am going to try a different approach with him. I love All About Spelling and the phonetic approach it takes, but the rules are not cementing and they only work for less than half of the words in the English language. I still want to teach them to him, but not have them be the basis/foundation of the program. I am looking into Spelling Power.

Phonics (Thane)
Well, we started The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading this week. I was a little worried about it keeping Thane's attention since it does not have the bling that Sing, Spell, Read, and Write has, but he seems to like it. I have been encouraging him in saying that he is truly reading now by looking at the words and not the pictures. That seems to help. I still hope to find time to look in my big bin of Happy Phonics games to add a bit of fun to it.

Magnus...we worked on skip counting some more and the concepts of whole, half, and quarter.

Thane...well, we did about 10 lessons this week. It's hard to justify doing problems like 10+3 when he is figuring out 85+25 mentally! But, I am still going to press on and finish Level A with him just to make sure we don't miss anything foundational. At this rate, he'll be moving into Level B just about the same time Magnus finishes it (in about a month)! I am also going to print off some addition worksheet for him to do "for fun" (his words!).

Science (Both)
We read some more from One Small Square: Woods. Do me a on the link and look at the cover of the book. Don't look intently, but just look as you would at one of those weird posters with the wavy lines that showed a 3 D image. Does the image on the lower left hand corner look like a zebra stretching his neck to you? It freaks me out every time because that is what I see and then I think, "what is a zebra doing in the woods?". Call me crazy, I know. Anyhow, the boys drew life cycles of a butterfly/moth. I had also planned on going on a small nature hike this morning, but it's raining. Luckily, part of our gigantic patio (it's bigger than our living area!) is covered so the boys are still able to be outside.

Well, after reading about the incredible things that can be found living in and under fallen logs, we decided to not worry about the rain and go investigate some dead logs nearby...

Latin (Magnus)
Unfortunately, with all of the drama this week, we didn't get to it. I hope to make this more of a priority.

PACT classes:

Science...teacher was sick this week so he didn't have it.
Drawing...worked on drawing a flower in a vase and then painted it (I think).
Kidspiration...finished his Abe Lincoln thingy. Still unsure what exactly this class is.
Music Appreciation...studied Mozart and different movements of music.
PE...He had trouble running around the track twice last week due to a cramp and his time was a little over 9 minutes. This week he ran/jogged/walked it in 5 something!


Mrs. P's Kindergarten was K week this week. He brought some of his knights for sharing time.
Music Appreciation...see Mangus'
PE...Not sure where this kids gets all of his energy (yes I do...Collin!) He ran twice around the track in 4 minutes 3 seconds.

The boys also attended AWANA this week. Thane is an official Spark now as he earned his vest and book. No more Cubbies. Collin and I enjoyed some uninterrupted conversation over dinner!

Thanks for coming by! I hope you have an enjoyable weekend! See you next week! :o)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Handwriting Woes Solved!

Getting Magnus to write has always been a struggle. The physical act of holding the pencil, forming letters, and spacing the words proves to be too daunting for him. He gets frustrated. I get frustrated. It goes downhill quickly.

I spoke to Ms. Judy, our advisor at our charter school, about it and she helped me to see the issue. For instance...when he was working in his grammar book, he was asked to rewrite this sentence, the sled went down the hill, starting it with a capital letter and ending it with a period. He rewrote the sentence correctly, but I was not pleased with his letter formation, the spacing, and the fact that it was not on the line but gravitating up hill. He had a complete melt down when I had him rewrite it. We are talking an h.o.u.r.

Her encouraging words were this..."he is having to remember too many steps".
1. Capital letter at the beginning of a sentence
2. Period at the end
3. Correct letter formation
4. Proper spacing between the letters
5. Proper spacing between the words
6. Copying/spelling the words correctly
7. Keeping the letters even on the line
She asked me what the objective of the assignment was. I told her it was to capitalize the first word in the sentence and to punctuate it with a period. She asked me if he did that correctly and I told her he had. "Then he is done". She told me to focus on the objective. Focus. on. the. objective. If I feel at a later time that I can add an objective like, "make sure your word spacing is correct", then to do that too. He is obviously not ready for all of that right now and that is okay. I also give him a peice of paper that has larger line spacing with the dotted line in the middle and the top line when he has to write sentences. He told me he likes having that structure.

So, as far as his handwriting goes, I started having him do coywork again. He knows that when he is working on that, his objective is to concentrate on letter formation, letter spacing, or word spacing. I tell him ahead of time what I am going to be looking for.

It's been working. I think he just needed to know that the pressure was off because even though I am not looking for proper handwriting in his assignments, he is not being lazy and turning in sloppy work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

And the name of the game is...Top Five!


We (Collin and Brittney) are teaming up to bring you a variation on our favorite game/get ta know ya activity: top five. We decided not only to post our answers, but to turn it into a quiz and post it for you to answer to let your friends, neighbors, and random visitors to know all about you. If you have a blog, post your answers and give us link. If you don't, put in your answers and post it in the comments.

Top five, here we go, list it! (Brittney's first, Collin's follow)

Top five places you could own a summer/winter home:
Gimmelwald (Switz.)
Cherbourg (FR)
Italy (undisclosed location)

Mercer Island (WA)
Nightmute (AK)

Top five favorite actors/actresses:
James McAvoy
Christian Bale
Colin Firth
Russell Crowe
Liam Neeson

Grace Kelly
Humphrey Bogart
Christian Bale
Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie

Top five favorite musical performers:
Norah Jones
Patty Griffin
Madeleine Peyroux
Jars of Clay

The Bad Plus
Harry Connick, Jr.
Herbie Hancock
The Police

Top five five most re-read books:
A Severe Mercy - Van Aucken
A Charlotte Mason Companion - Andreola
Last Call - Powers
Last Child in the Woods - Louv
Honey for a Child's Heart - Hunt

Declare - Powers
The Lord of the Rings - Tolkien
Space Trilogy - Lewis
Father Brown stories - Chesterton
Treasure Island - Stevenson

Top five vices (tell the truth, now):
Well-trained Mind Message Board
Unspoken Message Board (like an unspoken prayer request)
Diet Coke
Arrested Development

Adult Beverages of nearly any stripe
My wife
Pipe tobacco
Arrested Development

Top five movies I'll watch anytime:
Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson)
The Prestige
Anne of Green Gables
Becoming Jane (but not the end)

Moulin Rouge
Ocean's Twelve
The Edge
The Dark Knight

Tag. You're it.

Sunday at the Beach