Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 7/30

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

      In my life this week…
      My Birthday was Monday.  To celebrate we went out to eat for supper. My Hubby bought me a cheesecake sampler instead of a traditional cake.

      I also did some cleaning  and miscellaneous work around the house.
      I had the opportunity to take a couple short shopping trips this week. Tried to find some clothes for my self, was partially successful.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Our Church had Vacation Bible School this week, so that occupied the morning all week. 

The rest of the week we did our normal summer activities.  Piano lessons and library program. The library program this week was a magician who wove a story into his tricks.  

Questions/thoughts I have…
Determining what curriculum items we can afford right now and which ones I need to put on the back burner for a while.

How to make assignments for my 10 year old daughter to challenge her, yet not overwhelm her.  How to help her work to her ability and grade level. 

Things I’m working on…
During the month of August we are going to spend a week concentrating on 4 different topics.  

I spent time this week preparing for the first and third weeks of August.  We are going to concentrate on state history and culture the first week.  I haven't decided between two different topics for the third week, but started pulling resources together for both topics. We will also begin Bible Study and finish up the supplemental math books from last year this week.

Helped Daughter learn to latch hook.  She picked it up quickly and seems to be enjoying it. 

I’m reading…
A hodge podge of things.  Some magazines before I toss them. Skimming several books about blogging and HTML coding.

I’m grateful for…
Again this week our Air conditioning.  It has continued to be very hot.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

These are pics from the library program.  The magician let them try to spin the plates after the program was over.  I had to post one of each of them, otherwise the other would have been jealous.

Homeschool Mothers Journal is hosted by Sue at The Homeschool Chick

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

P is for Palette and Painting

ABCs of Homeschooling

P was a challenging letter for which to find an original topic.  I had had several ideas, but when I looked at the link up I learned they had been written about so I decided to keep thinking.  Going through the P section of my spelling dictionary I ran across palette and decided that was my topic for this week. Since it is hard to just write about a palette  I figured I would add another P, painting.

The last couple years my daughter has had the opportunity to participate in a painting class taught/led by a former homeschool mom.  The instructor chooses a Scripturally based theme for the 7 week long session and has the students complete at least one painting based on the theme. The last sessions theme was "Messiah" in preparation for Christmas.

Each students experience begins with a lesson focused on color and color theory.  During this lesson the student fills in a color wheel chart.  Additionally, there are other aspects of painting and drawing art which she teaches the students during each session.  My daughter has thus been exposed to several different aspects of composition.

Also during the session the teacher has organized a field trip for the student and family.  For the session when these pictures were done the trip was to the fabric store to purchase the fabric they painted on.  Other field trips we enjoyed were to a nursery to study lilies and the art museum.

During her classes she used a palette for her paint.  Ooh, there's another P word!

At the end of each session the students work is displayed during an Open House.  During this time the students have the opportunity to explain their work to other parents and friends as well as see their classmates finished art work as well. 

I am grateful  my daughter has had the opportunity to participate in the class as she has definite talent which needs to be encouraged and nurtured.  I can help her grow in more "crafty" art directions, but lack in the area of painting and drawing.  So as with music lessons, I am grateful for the opportunity to outsource this aspect of my daughters' art education to a wonderful teacher who truly cares about each of her students. 

The pictures I have included are 2 of the 3 pieces my daughter created in the last class.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 7/23

      In my life this week…

      We are just trying to stay cool.  We have had 6 days with temps over 100 this week and the heat index has been at least 115.

In our homeschool this week…

Daughter read Sarah Plain and Tall.  She is trying out one of the new Literature Note Sets from  "In The Hands of a Child."

We have also done some reading aloud.

We've talked a little about hurricanes as the kiddos have been interested in severe weather.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We did art at Michael. Piano lessons continued.

Also went to the library.  This weeks summer reading program activity was Giant Games.  We got to play large size versions of checkers, dominoes, and tic tac toe.  Also large-poster board size pieces-memory, Candy Land which the player could walk through and a version of Yahtzee will large inflatable dice.  I think the kids had more fun tossing the dice around than playing Yahtzee!

My favorite thing this week was…

Going out for concretes.  Concretes are super thick ice cream.  

Things I’m working on…
I am making plans for our one week intensive Missouri study. I need to write down my ideas for this, right now they are just gelling in my head.

I am also planning our Grammar and Math camp for later in August.

Thinking about ideas for blog posts.

I’m reading…

Cinderella Ate My Daughter
    I'm glad I checked it out from the library and didn't buy it.  I am not impressed. 

No One Cares What You Had For Lunch 100 Ideas for writing on your Blog  
         It's okay, I just don't see myself using many of them.

I’m cooking…

Toasted Ravioli
Orange Chicken
Can't remember what else we had!

Tried to do easy foods that didn't take much cooking to avoid heating up the house.

Thanks to Sue at the Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mothers Journal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chemistry for Elementary Students

Our final science unit for last year was Chemistry.  This hadn't been part of my original plan for the year, but all of a sudden my children decided they want to learn about chemistry.  It is not easy to find resources for early and mid elementary on Chemistry.  But I did find a couple of books and a great lapbook that were at an appropriate level.  So I put them all together and came up with a fairly decent Chemistry unit. 

For our lapbook we used Foundations for Chemistry from "In the Hands of a Child."  I have yet to find a lapbook from them that isn't fun or exciting and this was no exception. While completing the mini books some of the topics we learned about included  matter, atoms, elements, compounds, the periodic table, and completed several experiments as well.  Even the experiments had their own booklets for recording the process and results.

     Both of the children completed their own lapbook.  The only difference was my daughter did the writing in hers and I wrote out some of the mini books for my son as his writing is still larger and all the information would not have fit in the space provided.
We made one minor change from the set and that was to use a library pocket for the chemistry timeline cards rather than the pocket provided.  If I remember next time I am looking for something to fill my spare time I will make labels for the library pockets that say "Chemistry Timeline". 

In case you are wondering about the pictures, I try not to put pics of my childrens' faces on here simply for safety reasons.  I wanted pictures that were a little different than just laying the lapbook on the table so I had them hold them up in front of their faces. 

The books we used were Fizz, Bubble, Flash from Williamson Kids Can and Chemistry Getting a Big Reaction  by Dan Green and The Periodic Table Elements with Style by Adrian Dingle.  The first book is an overview of the periodic table and has a number of experiments and activities as well as trivia about the elements. The latter two are extremely cute; each element or chemistry item is a character and has their own unique personality.

We really enjoyed completing these lapbooks, as well as many others we have used from In the Hands of a Child and look forward to using even more. In case you are interested in Foundations for Chemistry it is number 1109, but can also be looked up by title at "In the Hands of a Child. "

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

N is for Notebooking

ABCs of Homeschooling

This past academic year I tried to focus more on writing; both the physical act as well as the process of putting thoughts down in a coherent manner. Neither one of my children really enjoyed this, my oldest has never liked to write.  One way I tried to sneak in some writing practice was via notebooking.

Notebooking can be as simple or elaborate as the author (or teacher) wants.  From just several sentences to multiple paragraphs.  It can be used to summarize a passage that was read or listened to or the author can write from their brain.  My son uses this term to describe thoughts he has come up with on his own. It can be done on notebook paper or specially designed paper.  Specially designed paper might have some type of a title or a persons name, a subject, or just simply a fancy border.  One think we did a couple times was to print the border designed pages on colored paper. It is possible to find free designed pages online as well as sites which have minimally priced subscriptions which give access to hundreds of topics and styles. After the author finishes a page it can be hole punched and put into a notebook for safe keeping and review. 

We have used notebooking to save information while studying the individual states, music composers, artists, and other famous people.  Lined paper with fancy borders is also a favorite for my young writers.  While special paper hasn't been the magic cure to make writing loved, it has at least made it a little more bearable.

I didn't finish this in time to link up for "N" week at 5 kids and a dog, but still wanted to post it so that I wasn't missing another letter in my Homeschooling alphabet.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sad News

I just came back to my computer tonight after watching a movie and saw a headline proclaiming Borders Bookstores will be closing all their stores.  I am so disappointed.  I enjoyed going in the store and just browsing and finding new treasures. While I seldom had as much time as I would have liked the time I did get to spend was enjoyable and will certainly be missed. 

The closing of the Borders locations will  make it harder to purchase books.  I know, there will still be online merchants more than willing to send me my purchases,  but there's just something about being able to look at a book first to see if its what I really want.Plus buying from a store gives me my book right away!  I think that's important too.

I know there are many e books to choose from, but it just isn't the same.  First, you have to put down money to purchase the device and then you have to buy the books for it.  Besides, there is just something special about curling up with a book.  Some how I just can't imagine curling up with an electronic device. Besides, I think seeing a bookshelf filled with books is comforting.  I know I often find reading to be relaxing at the end of the day. 

I know you may not agree with me, and that's fine and I respect that, but I'm just saying what I feel.

I know things must change, but why does it seem like the best things change more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 7/15

In my life this week…
 My husband and I celebrated out 12th Anniversary on Sunday.   
 Just haven't felt like doing a whole lot. 
In our homeschool this week…
I have been reading aloud a book about Daniel Boone.  We've been working on finishing up a Unit Study we started a while back.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
 Same old, same old.  Piano lessons, library program and crafts.
Too hot to do much else.

 Things I’m working on…
 I think I have finally finalized the different curriculum I want to use next year.  Now to find where it is cheapest and order. 
I started planning a schedule for one subject which I have the book for already.

I've been looking at books about Ancient Egypt and deciding which ones I want to check out when we get to that point.  I figure by doing it now, I don't have to rush so much as we begin the unit.

I’m reading…

I’m grateful for…
Our air conditioning, both at home and in the car.  It has been extremely hot and next week is supposed to be even worse.  Temperatures over 100 from Sunday until ...

That's why my letters are red this week. Red Hot weather.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Son decided he wanted to make a Cesear crown this week.

Thanks to Sue at The Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mothers Journal.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dancing in the Rain

Today my 7 year old son danced in the rain.  
Late this afternoon we had several pop up showers and during one of them he decided to go outside. 
It has been excruciatingly hot here so he hasn't been out much, but when it started to rain he decided he just had to go out. 

I stood in front of a window and watched him twirl around and hop up and down in the shower. 
What abandon he displayed, not caring if his clothes got wet, just happy to be out there.
  How great it was to just watch him having fun. 
Doing something so safe, yet unusual. 
Playing in the rain.

I hope he files those briefs moments in his mind to recall later.  
I know I will.
(Unfortunately, the rain only brought the temperature down a little, but caused the humidity to skyrocket, so they didn't bring much comfort or relief.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal Summer Edition Weekly Review 7/8

     In my life this week…
     I dug out a craft project I had started a while ago and did some work on it. Can't go in to details at this point as it might be a gift.

I am inspired by…
I am not sure if it is panic or inspiration, but I looked at the calendar for July and August and saw I have 3 weeks to get things in order to start school the first week in August.  We are going to do some theme weeks to begin with so I still have a little time to get our new curriculum materials yet. Right? 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We went to two Make it Take it Around the World craft events at Michaels this week. 
We visited the library both for books and the program. The program was a puppet show based on the Cinderella story from France.
Both kiddos had piano lessons.
Also stopped at the Teacher Store to get some things laminated, but realized I could spend a lot of money there.  Just on things that look fun, not that we need most of them, either.

My favorite thing this week was…
Hubby's Birthday was Wednesday

Questions/thoughts I have…
We watched the Shuttle launch this morning and I realized I watched another historic launch also... the first.  When they said it was 30 years ago, it made me feel old. 

Things I’m working on…
Still organizing. 
Making curriculum choices.  There are just too many things to choose from! 

I’m reading…
I finished The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.  Read the introduction to Saving Leonardo. This looks to be an intense read.

I’m cooking…
Saturday I made fajitas. 

Monday hubby and I made donuts.  I bought a donut pan last week and tried it out rather than making a donut run.  We also enjoyed Chicken Cesaer salad.

Wednesday we had BBQ Pork.  I didn't really cook it, as it was premade but I did have to heat it in the oven. Does that count? The kiddos helped me make Birthday cake.

I didn't have to do a whole lot of cooking as Hubby quantity grilled over the weekend. Not only does it save heating up the house each evening, it is also faster to get a meal ready at supper time.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
These are the donuts we made on Monday. Chocolate for my and Cinnamon  Sugar for Hubby.

Thanks to Sue at the The Homeschool Chick for hosting Homeschool Mother's Journal.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

M is for Many Things

ABCs of Homeschooling

M is multitudinous.  It begins so many things, it is hard to choose just one. Here are several which are prominent in our home education journey. I can think of more, both educational and not, but this is a good start so I will leave it at that.

 A subject we study; both to identify what it is and make the best use of the money we have. 

 I try to my kiddos about composers and styles, making music on the piano is a subject I outsource to a teacher much better than I.

An overwhelming personality feature of a monkey, George,whose antics we enjoy.

 A required subject which can be difficult or fun, depending on the topic and the learners mood.

Fun field trips which often give hands on experiences or opportunities to see pieces from history.


These are nifty little tools to have and will take you around the block or around the world.  A wealth of knowledge can be found on a piece of paper.

 One of my favorite treats.  No list of M's would be complete without them.

A reading genre enjoyed by both of my children. 

ABC's  of Homeschooling is hosted each week by  5 Kids and a Dog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

L is for Latin

Yes, we are learning Latin.  

Please don't get the idea that including Latin in the curriculum is the only valid reason to homeschool.  I felt the addition of this subject was the right thing to do for my children.  As with many other homeschool related topics every parent needs to make the decisions which are right for their family.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way,

Why are we spending time on Latin?

When we started our Latin adventure two years ago I felt my daughter needed a curricular challenge.

So much of our English Language comes from Latin that I feel it is beneficial to know the original language.

A requirement for public school children is to learn Latin and Greek word roots.  I don't follow many of the public school guidelines as to what should be taught when, but teach things in a logical manner or when my children are interested in something.  In this case I believe it will be more useful to know the language and its mechanics rather than just some random English words that come from Latin.  (Yes, both my children are also interested in learning Greek).

By learning Latin, they have something unique to discuss with their Dad.  Ditto for Greek, when we get there.

Latin is the 'Mother Tongue'  for other languages.  Once Latin is learned and understood other languages become familiar also.

An additional reason for choosing Latin is that it has a definite structure and form, there are more norms and fewer exemptions.

Learning Latin has not been a smooth ride for us so far.  We started with one program that was okay, we learned things from it so it wasn't a total failure or waste of time.  But there were drawbacks to it also.  I really wanted my children (and I) to learn it so we plodded along.  Then as a part of the TOS Crew this last academic year we were fortunate enough to receive another Latin program to review.  This program has a different approach and seems to be a better fit for us.  So we are back to enjoying the pursuit of Latin.  

I do have to admit sometimes Latin gets pushed off to another day and then week as other things come up or need more attention, but I do miss it when we don't get to it.