Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 23

Collin was on Spring Break this week so I intentionally planned a light week for us. I wanted to be able to leave our school work behind and go somewhere if we chose to. However, that didn't happen. Poor Collin was sick this whole week. :o( Still glad I didn't plan a lot though.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
It was kind of a tricky subject this week. We learned about King Henry VIII and the joy he felt when he heard about Martin Luther and his dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church. King Henry needed a male heir and his wife did not provide one. The Pope would not let him remarry. So, The Church of England was formed. *We*, are Anglican. But...many an Anglican will tell you that the "Church" was already there in England and that this was not how it came to be. So, we'll go with that.

History...as I mentioned, we learned about King Henry VIII and all of his wives and their...(clearing throat)...ends. We also watched The Other Boleyn Girl. (Just kidding! I did though.)

Lapbooking...the boys completed a booklet I created about the wives of King Henry.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...learned about capitalizing proper nouns such as days of the weeks, months of the year, and holidays.

Spelling...this is a thorn in my side! I simply do not know what to do! I received the Phonetic Zoo, but it looks like the word lists are going to be too advanced for him. They don't recommend it until 3rd grade anyways. BUT...my charter school wants me to pilot the program. I just don't know. Andrew Pudewa of IEW suggested using All About Spelling before starting PZ. Doesn't he know that I was but I stopped using it? And I am not exactly sure why I stopped except that it seemed like Magnus just wasn't retaining the rules. Maybe that was not a good decision. Maybe we will have to revisit it. BUT...I also have Spelling Power and I like the looks of it. So many choices!!! Arrrgghhhh!!! Can I just not do spelling until next year?

Writing...
only did a few lessons in WWE.

Phonics...completed a lesson in ETC.

Phonics (Thane)
Still working on the simple short vowel words. I had him read a couple readers I picked up at our charter school and he did so well. He asked if he could keep them because he was so excited about being able to read them easily. I am glad for my decision to take reading slow with him. He also played a little with starfall.com

Math (Both)
Magnus...HE IS FINISHED WITH LEVEL B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee! I'll be moving him into Level C next week after I give him the Level B final test.

Thane...STARTED LEVEL B THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Most of the lessons in the front are review so we are already up to lesson 24 or so. I have a feeling we are going to plow through this level. He sat in on most of Magnus' teaching time so he knows a lot of it already.


Science (Both)
We started our unit on Dinosaurs. The boys requested it and are very excited about it. We, of course, are going to take it from a creationist perspective, but do not think we are going to take it as far as "dinosaurs being on the ark". And then there is this whole "old earth", "new earth" thing. Why does it have to be so complicated? Anyhow, we read the creation story from the Bible, we read about the first fossil being discovered (an Iguanodon tooth) and that dinosaur means, "terrible lizard". We also reviewed the characteristics of a lizard. The boys completed a few booklets for their lapbooks. We are also going to do some research on our favorite dinosaurs and write a mini report on them. The boys are actually excited about that! I also have some fun projects to do in the coming weeks.

Latin (Magnus)
What? We were suppose to do Latin this week? I didn't get the memo.

P.A.C.T. Classes
The boys attended them.

I had to share this picture...

Magnus gets so excited about the books he reads and the things he reads in them that he tells all of his friends about them. Then, he grabs the book and starts reading parts of it to them. It's so cute!

I am crossing my fingers and hoping and praying we will be able to make it to the beach on Sunday! I need a beach break!!!

Oh, we are taking a little day trip to somewhere really cool next week with our friends, Zelda and Rick and kids. You'll have to check back next week to see where!

Hope you have a great weekend! :o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R.I.P. Finn

It was a sad day in our house yesterday. It was the first time that Magnus experienced true loss. His beloved beta fish, Finn, died.

Here is Magnus' tribute to him...
Here is the memorial we set up for him...
(No, he is not buried there. He is floating in the ocean!)

Rest In Peace, lil' guy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 22

It was a little tough getting back into the swing of things after being sick for so long, but we did it.
Tapestry of Grace (Both)
We are nearing the end of Unit 2 and as I start planning Unit 3, I may do things a little differently. We will begin studying US History with the formation of the thirteen colonies. I am thinking about straying away from the layout TOG has and doing something on my own, but still using some of their recommendations for reading. I'll post about this when the time comes. So until then, here is what we accomplished this week...not much.

History...listened to the SOTW audio about Martin Luther. We did have a pretty good discussion though.

Lapbooks...we completed a few booklets about Martin Luther and the 95 Theses.

Literature...I am having a real hard time following with the portions Magnus has read. Then, by the time the next week rolls around and he is suppose to finish the book, all motivation is gone. I need to figure out a way to really use this portion in our homeschool.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...he learned about using initials in place of people's actual names. He thought that was pretty cool and started writing only his initials on all of his schoolwork. I think it is pretty cute. He is pretty cute.

Spelling...still waiting to receive Phonetic Zoo in the mail. Dani, the advisor in charge of the classical part of our charter school, is going to be giving a seminar on spelling next week. We are going to listen to Andrew Pudewa speak about it. I am looking forward to it.

Writing...if you scroll down to the post below this one (Our Writing Stuff) you can see where we are at with it.

Phonics...still working in ETC 4 1/2. It's mainly "busy work" for the times he is finished with the work I gave him and I am still working with Thane.

Phonics (Thane)
We have parked ourselves at the simple short vowel words for awhile. I want him to get comfortable with reading. If he is not able to figure out a word after a couple of tries, he gets really frustrated. He has a hard time distinguishing between "b", "d", "p", "g", and "q". He gets them all mixed up.
He is still loving his ETC workbook though.

Math (Both)
Magnus...we worked on finding the perimeter and the diagonal. He thought is was pretty fun. Magnus will be finishing up Level B next week.

Thane...finished Level A (and was able to already sell it!) and is moving way ahead in Level B. I am able to skip several lessons as they are just review of A. I have a feeling we are going to be able to move through B quickly since he sat through many of Magnus' lessons.

Science (Both)
We read a fantastic book...The Boy Who Drew Birds. It is a story about John James Audubon. The illustrations in it are beautiful and the colors are very warm. Yes, I know I am a bird fanatic, but I know you would love this book too. The boys then colored some pages out of the Audubon Dover coloring book using a special technique Magnus has been using in his drawing class. They colored the picture with crayons really hard. Then they chose a single color of watercolor paint and brushed it over it. The effect was really nice. We will be starting a unit on Dinosaurs next week.

Latin (Magnus)
We reviewed his flashcards.
P.A.C.T. Classes
Well, we had to drop out of his science class. His teacher is unable to continue teaching it and someone else is taking over. However, they changed the day to Thursdays and I am not going to drive out to Sacramento 4 days a week.
Magnus was able to attend his Kidspiration, drawing, music appreciation, and PE classes.
Thane attended his Kindergarten, music appreciation, and PE classes.

On Tuesday afternoon, we went to the park for a play date with some other families from our charter school. the boys definitely out numbered the girls. We are going to make it an every Tuesday activity. Gives the kids a chance to...dare I say it?...SOCIALIZE...and us moms too.

Well, Collin is finished with his second quarter of his first year in grad. school. I am ssooooooo proud of him and his diligence. He had three 20 page papers and 2 presentations to give within the past 3 weeks. Oh, and yes, this was all during the time I laid in bed for a week and a half. He worked very hard and accomplished it all on time! Way to go, honey! So, this coming week is his Spring Break and we are going to make it to the beach even if it kills me!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Writing Stuff

Writing is pretty high on the priority list as far as subjects to teach Magnus. This kid has always had a lot of ideas floating around in his head. We call him our "ideas man". Up 'til now he has expressed those ideas verbally, through pictures, and pretend play. Now, he is ready to do it through the written word.

We started working through Susan Wise Bauer's, Writing With Ease Program (Level 2). It encompasses copywork, narration, and dictation in one easy lesson. All three of those components were lacking in our homeschool. I read a short story, Magnus narrates it back to me, I choose a sentence for him to copy, and then I dictate a sentence while he writes it down. All of this is done over the course of a few days. It is working well.

I am also incorporating Andrew Pudwa's (of Institute for Excellence in Writing fame) ideas of writing. I purchased (used) his Teaching Writing Structure and Style and went through the first disc with some ladies from our charter school. It is a very systematic approach and one that is said to work especially well with boys. Magnus and I gave it a shot today and I am amazed at how well he caught on.

The first step is to take a short blurb or paragraph about something. I grabbed our Uborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History and chose something short that I knew he had an interest in. Here is what I chose:

The Peasant's Revolt
In 1381, hundreds of English peasants tried to win more freedom by rebelling against the landowners. Led by Wat Tyler, the peasants marched to London and rioted in the streets. King Richard II met the rebels and promised to help them, but later he punished them.

After Magnus read it, we took it sentence by sentence and chose 3 keywords from each sentence and wrote them down in an outline form. Here is what he came up with:

The Peasant's Revolt
1. 1381, freedom, landowners
2. Wat Tyler, London, marched
3. King Richard II, promised, punished

Next, I had him rewrite the sentences using the keywords from above. Here is what he came up with:

In 1381, peasants rebelled against landowners to gain freedom. Wat Tyler led the march to London. King Richard II promised to help them, but punished them instead.

How great is that!?! Magnus did so good! He was able to use his own words while keeping the main points there. I was so proud of him. And the best part? He is excited to do it again!

So, my plan is to continue using WWE a few days a week and to do a keyword outline on the other days. There are many more steps involved in the IEW program, but I think we will just plant ourselves on the keyword outlines for now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tid Bits

Well, this sickness has kicked my butt! I haven't been able to do much of anything. Poor Collin has had to pick up the slack during the most inconvenient time. It's the end of the quarter for him and he has had three twenty page papers and 2 presentations due within 3 weeks. No not good timing. But, he has been a trooper!

We haven't gotten anything done in the form of school this week. I am trying not to get down about it. Life happens. But, the boys have spent their days having battles with their Playmobil guys, drawing lots of pictures, reading lots books, dressing up and pretending to be many different characters, playing outside, and taking care of their mommy.

I have had some time to think about some things I hope to do with the boys in the coming few years.
...I know the units we will cover for science next year and I have been gathering information for them.
...I purchased a few books about the orchestra and am going to plan a fun unit for that complete with a lapbook.
...I have gathered some great materials and information for a study on the 50 states. Now I just need to figure out when and how to add that in.

We have been enjoying clear, blue skies, filled with sunshine. The temperatures have been in the mid 60's. We've been able to have our windows wide open during the day and the boys have spent lots of time outside. Guess there are some good things about CA.

I got three new cds for my birthday:
...Patty Griffin, Children Running Through (waiting for it to grow on me)
...Madeleine Peyroux, Half the Perfect World (Love her!)
...Jars of Clay...Redemption Songs (Fantastic! Course, everything they do is.)

I lost my voice Wednesday and I still can't find it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekly Report...Week 21

Due to sickness...me this time...we were able to only get a bit of our work done.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
History...we touched on Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Literature...Magnus is reading Thunderstorm in Church by Louise Vernon. It is a story about Martin Luther and he is really enjoying it.

Read Aloud...I started reading Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation by Douglas Bond. The author is friends with Collin's parents.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...moving right along in his Growing with Grammar. I like this program.

Spelling...well, I had planned to start Spelling Power this week, then the Administrator of our charter school okayed the purchase of Phonetic Zoo and asked me to pilot the program. So, I am waiting for that to be ordered and given to me. I hope it'll work. If not, then we'll give Spelling Power a shot.

Writing...
we did a few days of the Writing With Ease program. I also started watching the Teaching Writing Style and Structure videos from Institute for Excellence in Writing. This is good stuff! I am very excited about this. However, since we just started the WWE, I thought about putting off the IEW until next year. But, after talking it over with the classical advisor at our charter school, I am going to continue WWE three days a week and then work on the "key word outlines" only for the other two days. I plan to use the Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers and the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History for text for the outlining.

Phonics...even though he reads at a Jr. High level, I am still having him work through the Explode the Code workbooks. He is on book 4 1/2 right now.

Phonics (Thane)
His reading continues to improve, however, I think I may be pushing him a little fast. I am going to slow things down a bit, play some games and read from some easy readers like the Bob books. He is my "workbook" kid so I also have him completing the Explode the Code books. He is working on book 1 1/2 now.

Math (Both)
A strange thing happened this week. Thane and Magnus were both learning the same thing in each of their books. Of course Magnus' was a bit more advanced, but with the way Thane has been with numbers, I just had him doing Magnus' work. So, they got to do their math lesson together. It was about using nonstandard units of measure (like a paper clip, our feet, markers, ect.) to measure things. They both enjoyed it.

Science (Both)
Due to me being sick, we did get to it. No worries...there is always next week. Besides, if I am feeling better, we are planning a trip to the ocean to look at tide pools on Sunday. Say your prayers!

Latin (Magnus)
He did chapter 9 which was a review of the previous 3 chapters.

P.A.C.T. Classes
The boys were able to attend all of them this week with the exception of Science. Ms. Carla was ill again.

Be sure to come back the beginning of next week to check out the pictures from the beach!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

From Computer to Real Life

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting some friends (and their families) from my homeschool message forums in real life! We have spent the last year or so talking about curriculum, throwing Arrested Development quotes back and forth, and discussing politics. Zelda and Dawn are remarkable women and I feel honored to call them friends.

The kids had a great time too!