Homeschool Highlights – November

November was a rough month for our family. We battled numerous bouts with the cold and little Levi had his very first ear infection. Needless to say, we had to take a few days in November off. Add Thanksgiving and we really didn’t get a ton of school work in. BUT we pressed on regardless.

Language Arts

Abigail’s reading is starting to sound less robotic. She reads a bit smoother as she moves from one word to the next. She continues to develop her spelling and writing skills and loves to journal in her new Lego Friends composition book.

Sarah also continues to improve. She’ll fight me occasionally because she thinks she doesn’t know certain things (e.g. what sound does the letter “d” make?) but I manage to get answers out of her. We need to move more to phonetics and not just focus on sight words.

Math

It is interesting to me how the Saxon curriculum seems to jump around from concept to concept. One day we’re measuring the length of the table with linking cubes, the next day we’re starting to count dimes and pennies, and then we learn just the beginnings of telling time. It doesn’t seem to bother Abigail though, as she catches on pretty quickly no matter what we cover. It all builds on itself, but it just skips around a bit.

History

I looked ahead and we won’t be finished with Quarter 1 of our history curriculum until mid-December. I’m hoping to pick up the pace once we wrap up this quarter as I think the girls can handle it. We finished with a lesson on Ramses II (or Ramses The Great) at the end of November.

Astronomy

We pretty much just covered the Earth during the month of November. I just love learning along with the girls, and being reminded of things I may have learned long, long ago. When talking about the earth the girls learned about seven characteristics that make the earth perfect for sustaining life. Earth is pretty unique in many ways. God designed an amazing home for us (and his universe is simply amazing too)!

Co-Op

We missed two weeks in November due to sickness and then of course Thanksgiving. Abigail continues to talk about her Engineering class-it was probably her favorite this semester.

Homeschool Highlights – October

We have successfully completed two months of school! We’ve got a nice routine going for is even though we don’t have a “fixed” schedule.

Language Arts
Abigail is doing really well here. She continues to improve her reading skills and is writing well too. She has even started writing things on her own time, spelling words she’s not sure of phonetically. One day she wrote an encouraging note to Sarah about how was pretty how God made her.

Sarah has a good 20+ sight words under her belt. She has her favorite activities and the ones she’d rather not do, but she plugs away regardless.

Math
Math is starting to get more meaty. Abigail has started to learn her doubles and facts and we are  gearing up to doors with money and telling time.

History
We continue to plug along in history. We made it to The Shang Dynasty. The girls favorite part of history is adding to our timeline at the end of every three lessons.

IMG_2831

Astronomy
We finished learning about Mercury and also studied Venus in October. We’ve really enjoyed learning about just how different the planets are from each other, but especially how different they are from the planet Earth.

One memorable lesson related to Venus’ thick and cloudy atmosphere. Because it is so thick scientists cannot clearly see the surface. So, scientists used radar to map out the surface of Venus. Apologia’s textbook explained how we could to do a fun experiment that simulated radar. I prepared a surface ahead of time, then we covered it, mapped out a grid, and inserted a chopstick marked with different colors at every inch. With this we were able to map out the surface without seeing it. This was pretty cool!

IMG_2700

Please excuse the grossness of the flour mixture I ended up making for our “surface”

Co-Op
Co-op is going well, though we’ve missed two weeks due to illness. Levi is doing a little better in the nursery. Maybe someday he’ll be able to stay in the nursery the whole time when a nap isn’t involved.

Homeschool Highlights – September

We are over a month into school. Rather than do a unit-by-unit post like last year I thought I’d do monthly highlight posts. Here is our first one for 2014-2015!

Language Arts
Abigail really started to “get” sounding out words at the end of Kindergarten. After just a month into our Sonlight curriculum she is on a roll. She has already progressed in a noticeable way. One great example is that about two weeks ago she read through an early readers Bible story that was Jonathan’s when he was in school. She read right through it with just a little help from me. She tried going through this same book in July and got really frustrated because she was having a harder time than she would have liked.

Sarah does work surrounding one letter a week and is also working on sight words. She is plugging along. I just need to be more intentional with her so she gets the help she needs from me.

They both dislike copy work. Enough said.
Math
We are just doing the basics right now. I’m looking forward to more meaty math.

One fun thing Abigail did was draw a picture of the tree in our front yard for a page in her meeting book. She’ll do it again for winter and spring. She also had her picture taken in front of the tree with her siblings and friend Melina.
IMG_2212 IMG_3278

History

We are plugging along with history. Some of the lessons capture the girls attention more than others. A lot depends on when we do history and how tired they are.

We have a timeline we add to every three lessons. I think this is the girls’ favorite part of history. They also like looking at our maps to see where things happened.

IMG_2192

Trying our hand at cuneiform (the Sumerian’s written language)

IMG_2196

IMG_2198

IMG_2199

Astronomy
This may be my favorite subject just because I love re-learning about the planets and our solar system. Plus I’m learning it a bit differently this go around. We are learning along with our beliefs. The belief that God created the universe rather than a Big Bang. One thing I will say: we have our beliefs, but that does not mean we won’t teach other theories. We want our children to be able to have intelligent conversations with people, knowing well what others may believe to be true.

So far we’ve learned the basics of what astronomy is, we’ve talked about the sun, and we are currently studying Mercury.

We had fun with a magnifying glass and chocolate in order to demonstrate why we shouldn’t stare at the sun (the lenses in our eyes are like a magnifying glass, focusing the Suns light on our retina causing damage). We also made a pinhole box to safety look at the sun.

IMG_2163

IMG_2166

IMG_2165

Co-Op
We joined a local homeschool co-op. Sarah is taking art and a Five in a Row class while Abigail is doing an ABC book and Engineering class. I help out with Sarah’s art class and then the nursery. Levi has joined us in art because he gets VERY upset when I am not around. We need to fix this!

First Day of School!

I just cannot believe that it is almost October already. We are well into our 2014-2015 school year, but I couldn’t miss posting about our first day of school.

I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I hoped to be (as far as setting up the school room went), but we were as ready as we needed to be.

Abigail started first grade. She’s doing Sonlight for Language Arts, Saxon Math 1, Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, and The Mystery of History Volume 1.

IMG_2037

IMG_2043

Sarah started Kindergarten. Because she followed along with Abigail’s My Father’s World curriculum last year we will use a series of printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1 along with a workbook for language arts and math. She is following along with Abigail for science and history as well.

IMG_2035

IMG_2042

Lily. What can I say about Lily? I had grand plans for her and preschool. But, you know what? I think I’ll let her go on being a 2 year old. She hangs out with us in the school room coloring, “crafting”, and fooling around. I hope simply being in the room with her big sisters will do a good job preparing her for preschool come next fall.

IMG_2033

IMG_2032

Here’s to a great 2014-2015 school year!

IMG_2041

Last Day of School

We have a little tradition we started where on the first day of school we take pictures and conduct a little interview with each student. I enjoy looking back to see how much my girls have grown and how much their personalities have developed and changed. Here are the girls first and last day photos as well as their first and last day interviews:

Abigail

First Day of Kindergarten:

IMG_8892

Last Day of Kindergarten and Promoted to First Grade:

IMG_1174

Interview Questions/Answers (first day | last day):

My Age:  five | six

My favorite show/movie:  Oso and Cinderella | Lego Friends

My favorite color is:  pink, purple, yellow | pink, purple, and yellow

The best thing about school is:  learning about Jesus | math

The coolest person on earth is:  mommy | God

I am very good at:  playing sorry | coloring good pictures

When I grow up I want to:  be a ballerina | be a ballerina, artist, and a rock star

My favorite food is:  salad | salad

My least favorite food is:  chicken | chicken

My best friend is:  Constance | Melina and Allison

Jesus:  Christ died on the cross for our sins | has God’s power to heal us

Three words that describe me are:  crazy, fun, rock star | creative, silly, tall

This year I hope to learn:  about lizards and flamingos | Jesus (and the alphabet too)

Sarah

First Day of Preschool:

IMG_8887

Last Day of Preschool and Promoted to Kindergarten:

IMG_1155

Interview Questions/Answers (first day | last day):

My Age:  three | four

My favorite show/movie:  Belle | Frozen, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

My favorite color is: yellow | pink

The best thing about school is:  learning and stuff | making a rainbow

The coolest person on earth is:  daddy | God

I am very good at:  doing exercise | research

When I grow up I want to:  be a teacher | be a rock star and a doctor

My favorite food is:  pancakes | tacos

My least favorite food is:  rotten pancakes | salsa and peanut butter

My best friend is:  Abigail | Melina, Allie, and Riley

Jesus:  Christ died for our sins | is the light of Israel

Three words that describe me are:  three, funny, happiest | pretty, thankful, very “heroed”

This year I hope to learn:  VBS songs | kangaroos, jewels, and quails, and butterflies

Kindergarten Corner – Wrapping Up

We finished! We made it! Kindergarten is over! We didn’t go too crazy with our remaining units, so I’ll sum them up all in one post.

Unit 23 – Fox

The Biblical concept for this unit was, “God’s word makes me wiser than my enemies.” Most of the stories we read dealt with how sneaky and tricky foxes can be. One of my girls was not too excited about this, especially when we did The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. Other than that, the girls did enjoy this unit, especially learning about foxes and how similar they are to dogs. And, of course, we couldn’t go through this unit without singing along to What Does the Fox Say?

Unit 24 – Vegetables

We followed this unit pretty closely. One of the activities was to grow vegetables using ones you already had on hand. We started growing an onion. We saw plenty of roots appear down below, but have yet to see green sprouts at the top.

IMG_2530

Day 1

IMG_2697

Day 16

We also had fun with an art project that involved painting with vegetables. We used potato and carrots to make stamps. My mom had cute little cookie cutters that I used with the potatoes. I simply pressed the cookie cutter into the potato and then used a paring knife to cut around the edge to leave just the shape of the cookie cutter. I thought I took pictures of this project but alas, I did not. I hope the cookie cutter description is easy to follow!

Unit 25 – Quail

For this unit we memorized a few verses of the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Francis Alexander. I made a sheet for each verse that allowed the girls to write out the verse and draw a picture to go along with it.

We had fun with a simple activity covering wings. It showed us just how fast a hummingbird’s wings flap. We started by flapping our “wings” two times in one second (like a crow). Then we flapped our wings three times in a second (like a pigeon). Then we learned a hummingbird flaps its wings 70 times in a second. It was fun to try and match that-though we didn’t come close.

Our “Book Time” book was Mouse and Mole, Fine Feather Friends by Wong Herbert Yee. One of the activities that went along with that was to go outside to sketch nature. We took advantage of at least one napping sibling to do just that-and it was a lot of fun!

IMG_2590

IMG_2699

Sarah’s sketch

IMG_2698

Abigail’s sketch of the back yard

We also made another bird feeder with a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seeds.

IMG_2592

Unit 26 – Yellow

Let’s face it. At this point we are at the very end of June and getting pretty antsy for summer. The girls know their colors pretty well. We covered primary versus secondary colors, reviewed the colors of the rainbow, and have had plenty of practice mixing colors throughout the year. We were pretty anxious to be done so we plugged along with mostly the letter and phonics portion of the curriculum. The End!

The Butterfly Place

Way back in April of 2007-back in the day when Jonathan and I were the only members of our family (and back when we slept through the night) we took his family to The Butterfly Place in Westford. To get the best deal we could his parents purchased a pack of 10 tickets instead of the 6 we needed. So, that left 4 that we never ended up using between then and now.

Fast forward 7+ years to a few weeks back. We were in the midst of our Butterfly Unit and can you believe I still had those four leftover tickets? Lily and Levi were free so I only ended up using 3. Who knows when I’ll redeem the last ticket!

Anyway, we had a great time. I’m glad we were able to see real butterflies and real chrysalises since our caterpillar didn’t work out.

IMG_0884

IMG_0887

IMG_0898

IMG_0899

IMG_0905

IMG_0912

IMG_0915

IMG_0917

IMG_0947

IMG_0945

IMG_0946