Sunday, September 22, 2013

My homeschool journal: a new schedule

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In my life this week...April came to me this week after starting her first reading assignment for her Shakespeare class and said "I don't get it, I can't read this!  Can you help me".  The play they are studying for the first semester is Julius Caesar , so she is using this book pictured below.  I'm glad they are using the Cliffs complete version because now I have to read it with her, looks like I'll be learning a lot about Shakespeare this year too!  I sure hope I can help her.  I've never studied Shakespeare before, let alone read any of the plays.

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In our homeschool this week...we tried something new this week that I think we'll continue.  I had heard about some families who do focus on one subject a day, and thought that maybe it was time we give that a try because that is what we usually end up doing anyway.  As soon as I decided to give this a try it all started coming together in my mind about which subjects we would put on which days, and which subjects we'd still need to do every day, like math and unit studies.  I have to say after our first week of trying this out, I LOVE it.  It is so much less stressful to focus on all aspects of one subject in one day rather than cramming 5-6 subjects in every day.  For this week our schedule was:

  • Monday:  History and art (all aspects of history including artist study, story of the world chapter and extras, art projects, art class for April)
  • Tuesday: Language arts (this would include all reading lessons, spelling, writing class for April, anything that has to do with reading and writing)
  • Wednesday:  co-op day (just math and 30 minutes of reading on this day)
  • Thursday: Science (this includes lessons from each child's book, nature study, seasonal science activities)
  • Friday:  Geography (this includes U.S. State studies, maps, and anything else that would be geography related)
  • Everyday:  Math, 30 minutes of reading, and any unit studies, memory verse
It was amazing the amount of work we were able to get done this week on this schedule!  I was able to move all kids along in each of their levels and have time for extras.  I'm excited to see if this works for us long term.  Scheduling is always my biggest problem.

In our history this week...We studied King Tut in Story of the World.  They really enjoyed this chapter.  I even made a archaelogical "hunt" for Tut's mask with some treasures, they had a great time finding where "Tut was buried."

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Some books we flipped through.  The boys didn't have too much interest in these.
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They do love this book though.  I also pulled out our Ancient Egypt toob figures.  They love those.

In our science this week...The boys learned about the planet Mercury.  They did the craters experiment by dropping rocks into flour (what a mess!), and they made a mobile of Mercury with old CD's.  April read from her science book, and was supposed to do an experiment, but I didn't have all the supplies (ugh! story of my life).  So, she started on a bear lapbook (her choice to study bears also).  The boys worked on parts of their lapbooks.  Aaron is working on a rock lapbook, and Aric decided he wanted to do a space lapbook.  We were also able to go on a nature walk on this day.

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dropping rocks into flour to make "craters".
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A demonstration that's hard to catch in a picture.
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Aric's Mercury mobile.
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Aaron working on his mobile.
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A pretty sight during our nature walk, some spider webs in these wild flowers.
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I made these for the little guys during our outdoor time.  One is a brown paper bag nature journal, and the other is I spy cards.  Both ideas from Spell outloud.
In our art this week...we started learning about Van Gogh because I knew that April was getting ready to learn about him in her art class.  I will do a sunflower art project next week with the boys, but April and I did the Van Gogh Sunflower art lesson in oil pastel from Deep Space Sparkle for her class assignment.  I was planning to do this art project with the boys too, but after doing it myself decided it was way to difficult for them.  So glad I did it ahead of time.  I will find a Sunflower craft that will fit their level better.  So, for the boys' art this week they did a lesson in chalk pastels and made a football picture. 

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Aric's football (with a little bit of Mom's help)
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Aaron's football.
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April's sunflowers
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My sunflower picture


Helpful homeschooling tips or advice...like I mentioned that sunflower art project was a lot, and would have been a disaster with my boys.  My advice is, if possible, try the project out first.  Sometimes I never realize how difficult or time consuming something is even when it looks easy.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...we had our first co-op day on Wednesday.  This is a new co-op for us so we're still getting to know everyone, but so far so good.  I think we will have a lot of nice new friends.  On Friday we went to our local homeschool group's activity at the library, and then after that we went to see a special homeschool showing of Monster's University at Northern Lights theatre.  The kids really enjoyed going to that, and the whole experience.  April even had a friend from our new co-op sit with us.  She was excited about that.  Then on Saturday morning Aric had a soccer game which is always fun to watch.

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He's loving soccer!  It's exciting because he's the first kid to really like a sport so much.
My favorite thing this week was...watching The Sound of Music with my family this weekend.  I always love that movie, and that was the first time my kids have ever seen it.  They all liked it, and thought it was good.  Now I have all the songs stuck in my head!  That's a good thing though, lol.

Things I'm working on...changes to our daily routine and schedule.  I'm making some huge changes like the scheduling of subjects that I talked about earlier.  Some other things I'm trying to do are little like showering at night instead of the morning.  That has made a huge difference. 

I'm grateful...to have known a great man from our church who died this week in a tragic and unexpected tractor accident.  He was our Bishop, and my husband even worked side by side with him for a time.  I'm grateful that my husband had that experience, and learned a lot of great things from him.  I'm grateful for all the things he taught me, and the inspiring words he always had for those around him.  I'm grateful to know what a precious thing life is, and that it can be taken away in a blink of an eye.  I'm grateful that I was super distracted with a lot of fun activities on Friday, the day we found out.  I might have just broke down and cried.  I had a heavy heart that day.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...a photo from last week of my 5 year old playing with squishy circuits.  I love this introduction to electricity for him.  Basically you create an electrical circuit using playdoh.  He loves his new squishy circuits set.  It's pretty amazing too.

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He loves playing with squishy circuits.
I'm linking to The Homeschool Mother's Journal at:
So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

Desiree

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meet the students

Their fisrst day of school on 9/3/13...
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We had a great opportunity to have our pictures taken by our friend, Rya B., who is a photographer and a fellow homeschool friend.  She did wonderful.  I loved her cute little set up.  These pictures were taken a few weeks before we started school.  The only one not pictured is April because she was at girls camp during this shoot._MG_2123
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Your homeschool friend,

Desiree

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire

 Our family had the opportunity to attend the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire today!  Even better than just attending was that we got to dress the part(s).  My Mother-in-law is a vendor there, and therefore has us come and dress up too!  We get to come in as her guests which means we get in free, we just have to dress up and play like we are living in renaissance times.  She made all the kids' costumes, and I borrowed one of her dresses.  Now we are planning to get our own costumes and do this for halloween, so we have our own next year. 

It is so fun to go to this festival/faire.  All the sounds, language, merriment, "play", and whatnot are all meant to make you feel as if you have truly stepped back in time to the time of Shakespeare, and the Elizabethian time.  There are people dressed up in all sorts of characters from that time period.  We saw pirates, knights, royalty, commoners, jesters, you name it!  It was so fun to see all the costumes, and hear people talking in the language of the time as well.

The kids have looked forward to going to this all month, and it didn't disappoint!  They all had such a great time.  It was also a great living history lesson for April as she jumps into her Shakespeare class this year!  They were also excited watching Daddy make all their swords the week before.  He made them out of wood.

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Our family ready to play at the faire.
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Aric, a "commoner" with a sword!
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April, a princess in her "Merida" (from Brave) style dress.
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Alex, who looked much like a peasant child by the time we were done.  He was covered in dirt, shaved ice stains, and barefoot at the end of the day.
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Aaron loved looking like a knight.

There was much to see including jousting, dancing, music, and magic shows.  I love this picture of the boys watching a pretty spectacular magic show.  They sat through the whole thing.  It was pretty fun.

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A living history of armor was set up.
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 Aric wanted to give it a go, and try some things on.  He managed to get the gloves on (don't know if that's what they are really called).  Those things themselves were heavy!IMG_4352 IMG_4353

Walking around wasn't easy with the littlest one, but it was fun! IMG_4354

Isn't he just so cute!  I loved how cute he looked in his garb.  It was even cooler that the whole thing is out in the middle of trees, and hills.  This one section was really forest-y.
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They even had some fun games like darts, and catapult shooting.IMG_4351

It was a fun day had by all.  Can't wait for next year!

Your homeschool friend,

Desiree

Friday, September 13, 2013

A cattails update and pond study

Oregon Garden Homeschool day!
9/10/13
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Every year The Oregon Garden has a homeschool day in early September.  We always enjoy this day.  We went again this year, and discovered that they had a great big area full of cattails all around the pond!  I knew they had some cattails, but didn't realize they were just right of the trail.  We got to walk right up to the cattails and touch them!  Aric (below) loved it.  He couldn't believe how soft they are.  If you read my last post, our first Fall cattail nature study, we couldn't get this close to cattails, so it was pretty exciting for me and the kids.  

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It was
fun to get some close up
pictures...
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April loved the water lilies in the pond.  She got some great pictures of those.

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As a fun bonus, during the homeschool day they have stations set up all through the garden.  One of the stations that they always have (and my kids absolutely love) is the pond discovery station.  This station is always the popular one with lots of kids all around the buckets.  Well, we decided to come back to this station after we walked all through gardens and visited the other stations.  I was hoping it would be less busy on our way out.  It was!  When we got back, there were hardly any kids and a lot of free buckets.  Each of my kids got their own bucket to explore, although they still buddied up when someone discovered something cool.

We spent at least a half hour at this station!  Maybe more.  They didn't want to leave either.  There were all kinds of pond critters to discover.  We found at least 1 tadpole, some little fish (can't remember the name of them), larvae of some sort, water skippers, and a lot more I can't remember at the moment.

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 These two were working hard to find that tadpole that kept hiding in the greenery...
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This kid didn't want to leave (I had to bribe him away).  He would catch a fish, and say "fishy, fishy!"  Then dump it out and do it again.  He LOVED this.

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The tadpole that they finally caught.  It looked really cool when I looked down through the top hole, but my camera couldn't get a good focus on it that way.  Can you see the tadpole?
I didn't know there was so much in such a little sample of a pond!  I think we might spend some more time on pond life in our school soon!

Your homeschool friend,

Desiree
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