Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's journal: Our great week

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In our homeschool this week...we are lapbooking like crazy over here.  Each child has a lapbook that they are working on right now.  Aaron is working on a shark lapbook (found here at homeschool share), and learning all about sharks through various books.  Aric is working on a Batman preschool lapbook that just focuses on preschool skills with the fun of Batman included.  We've been calling it Batman school, he loves it!  And, April just started a fun "chicken" lapbook (also here at homeschool share) because she wants to learn more about the chicken's we are raising.  She asked me the other night if chickens can see color, and I said, "I don't know!  Maybe we should learn about them more!"  So, she decided it would be fun to do a lapbook.

While I read The Titanic lost and found by Judy Donnelly the boys made their own boat.  Aric had a ship to put together, and Aaron colored a picture of the Titanic sinking.  He got tired, so it didn't get colored all the way.
We also read about the Titanic since it is something that Aaron has been very interested in recently.  He saw a picture of the sinking titanic on the cover of a magazine and that piqued his interest, so we talked about it, and found a short beginning reader about it.  All the kids were interested in the titanic but Aaron asked the most questions. 

P4220944 April did this fractions coloring page.  She didn't like reducing the fractions, but she made it!  She's doing great with her Singapore math.  She's picking up the algebra really quickly.  In fact, there was one part I couldn't figure out what it was trying to explain, and April explained it to me!  Wow, that was a switch.  It's hard to make your brain go backward when you already know the stuff.  I can do algebra pretty good, but I couldn't figure out the process that the book was trying to explain, lol.  April figured it out quite quickly though.  I like that she is feeling more challenged in math now, although that doesn't mean she's always happy to do it.

 I stressed a good deal about the work boxes being gone.  Many days I didn't think I could do it.  Things just weren't working, and I hated having piles of books and school work everywhere making it very confusing.  It felt so unorganized!  It was literally driving me crazy.  I spent most of last weekend thinking about what I should do.  At that point I was ready to bring the work boxes back.  While I was doing the thinking I realized it wasn't the work boxes that was the problem, it was what I was putting in there.  I needed to change and get rid of some of our current curriculum.  The kids were just needing to move up to the next level in a lot of things, like math.  I was so excited and relieved when I realized this!  Now I just needed a plan for new work boxes because there was still the space issue.  I didn't want same shelf with shoe box system, and I can't justify going out and getting the Ikea shelves that I've wanted for a long time.  So, I thought some more.  Finally, on Sunday night when I was getting ready for school this week I saw these file organizers, and it came to me!  I have these file shelves that were holding our various papers for printing.  I took all the computer paper off, and starting putting their school work in each slot.  It fit!  It was an answer to a prayer that I had been praying all weekend.  Aren't they great?  I was so excited, and they have worked great all week.  Our school went way smoother this week.
Aaron's shelves
I only have 2 of these right now, one for April and one for Aaron.  I went back to Costco to see if they have them anymore, but I didn't find them.  So, I'm on the search for something similar.  Ideally I'd like to have more than six slots for each child, and I need one for Aric's preschool lapbooks and such.  They are great for space, and they don't bend the books like the work boxes we had did. 
April's shelves
We also went to the tulip field's this week and did a nature study mixed with some fun activities that they have there.  Post and pictures on that to come soon.  We also have been busy building a chicken coop so the kids are learning some about that when they help Michele.

P4220946April has been reading a ton of American girl books again, but she was reading this one in particular for the online homeschool American Girl club.  She ended up not doing the club because we couldn't get logged in.  She was bummed.


Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...follow your child's interest.  Most of what we have done this week came from something the children were interested in, and it has been so fun to watch.  Also, don't worry if things don't fit together, or don't last the length of time you think it should.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...The 2 older kids went to work with Daddy for take your sons and daughters to work day.   They had a fun time with all the demos some of which included lasers which are always cool.  We went to the tulip festival which was beautiful and fun.  April had a friend over, and we made it to the library this week too.  It was a pretty packed week.

My favorite thing this week was...Seeing Aaron get excited about reading, and hearing him try to sound out a word for the first time.  I mean really trying without any help from me.  Also, having him come sit next to me while we read Charlotte's web, or his Shark wars book.  This interest in reading is huge for him, and I am hoping this means he's going to catch on soon.

What's working/not working for us...trying to build bridges out of popsicle sticks did not work for us this week.  It was a total flop.  I was very hopeful, but I think it didn't work for 2 reasons:  1. my kids are too young (most of them), and 2. I didn't plan it out real well.  I was hoping that we could do the whole weight experiment, but we couldn't even get them built.  We may re-visit that one in the future.

Questions/thoughts I do you balance out child led curiosity learning with the "need to know" stuff like math, reading, writing, history, etc.  I believe in following the child's lead, but there has to be balance with stuff that they may not have any desire to do each day.  There probably isn't a solid answer to this one, that is just what I am pondering right now.

Things I'm working on...Lots of yard work, and hoping to get to my garden before it's too late.

I'm reading...mostly for fun right now.  I'm reading Fablehaven, and The little house on the prairie.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...I'm not usually a big earth day person, but I decided to take the kids outside on earth day, in the nice afternoon, and paint earths.  While we painted the earth's we talked about how God made the earth, and why we should remember and love the place we live. 
Aaron's hands
Aric's hands
April's hands

Then, the next day after they dried we made heart's with the kids' hands, and glued them on. 

Hope you had a great week too!


  1. what an interesting looking week you had

    I LOVE lapbooks!!!!!!!!!

    that fraction sheet looks interesting

  2. I have a lapbook in holding right now. :) Gotta get some ink!!! Looks like you had a great week and I love the earths you did :)

  3. I do like the new workboxes! Balancing want to know with need to know is a toughie. Some weeks there isn't a balance and it's predominantly want to know. Other weeks nothing is piqued the girls' interests and we just do Mom's regular plan. I think you have to look at the big picture balance and not week to week. And you'd be amazed at how much need to know stuff you can fit into want to know subjects. Most of my girls writing is focused around history and I'm good with that.

  4. Oh, I can't wait to see the finished chicken lapbook! That's be so fun! (Has she found out if they see in color yet? I know they have great eyesight, but I don't know if it's in color either! LOL)

    How nice that you figured out a solution to your workbox dilemma! We don't use workboxes here, but we have work BINDERS. Whatever can be put into a notebook is...and usually about 2 weeks of work. Grab-and-go! LOL

  5. We love lapbooking here! How wonderful that we are able to follow our children's lead. As I go more and more in our homeschool toward this direction, I do struggle with the same questions you have as to how to balance the "want to learn" with the "have to learn" category. I hope you have a great weekend! :-)

  6. What a great week. Love the lapbooks :)


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