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Showing posts from May, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ The Last One

This is technically the last Weekly Wrap-up of this school year for Journey to Excellence. School is over for us. Yay!!

I didn't plan on schooling over the summer. I thought we'd just have fun. But, then education started becoming a way of life, instead of an institution. That happens in homeschooling, I have found. So, looks like school will continue, somewhat, over the summer. The older two kids won't be required to do anything formal. Kyndal will be working at her job, sleeping late and hanging out with her friends. And other than reading, and working with his grandpa for a couple of weeks, Dawson won't be doing anything other than being a teenager.

At Eli's IEP meeting it was clear that he needs some reading reinforcement this summer so that he is fully prepared for 2nd grade next year. And Brynne loves to read. So the two of them will be doing reading lessons every day (a reading lesson sheet, Saxon reader and silent reading). And Eli really wants to learn abo…

... and we're done

When Dawson came downstairs a little while ago and said that he had completed his Pre-Algebra final and made a 91%, I experienced quite a wave of emotions! First I realized that WE .. ARE .. DONE !!!!! That was his last assignment. He and I were so excited! We high-fived and hugged. We made it through our first year of homeschooling.

Then I almost started crying because I took a brief moment to look back on all that we have accomplished this year as teacher and student, mother and son. I was a little overwhelmed.

And we are both still really happy with our decision for him to come home. We are ready for another great year next year, but are also ready for a break. Let the break begin!!

(Brynne is also done, other than our final field trip tomorrow to the zoo. We had a great year! I don't think the emotions are as high for her or for me because we knew our time together would be great. And, it has been! And for her, the learning never stops. She has plans to do lots of reading this…

Next Week's Plans ~ The Last Week

To celebrate Brynne completing the entire study of a letter-of-the-week curriculum, we will be doing a week-long lesson on The Zoo from A-Z.

How will we do that?

My amazing bloggy friend Stacey at BrainInTrainin (I get so many of my ideas from her) posted about a website for the Indianapolis Zoo. You can download the materials by going here. (It's the 3rd grade program.) I printed off the relevant materials for our study and put them in a binder for a full week of activities. Many of the items in the materials can be used, no matter where you live and no matter how old your kids are.

We will do the following:
sort and diagram the provided animals using a Venn Diagram to plot animals with claws, beaks and tailssort and chart habitats of the animals (grassland, forest, ocean, swamp rain forest, tundra and desert)choose three animals from our animal fact cards and discuss the different ways they all do the same type of activities, like eating, foraging, moving, protecting themselves, …

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Favorites

This week was kind of a blur .. just trudging along trying to get done what we need to get done.

Brynne did finish her alphabet study and she was thrilled! Each week she did a tracer page, made a mini-book, did a word search for her letter-of-the-week, and read four books about the letter. She completed "Z" this week.

We finished up our Princess study and concentrated on 1 Peter 2:9 and Psalm 45:13, the fact that she is a common girl chosen by God to be His princess. We read the scriptures and she copied them. We also correlated the importance of taking our role as princess seriously, just like the new Princess Catherine has to take her role as princess seriously.

Here is my favorite princess.


Speaking of favorites, here is a picture of Dawson's favorite homeschool lunch: garden vegetable Ritz crackers, sliced mozzarella cheese and pepperonis.


With studying the Italian Renaissance, we continued to discuss the artists of that time, and read more of I, Juan de Pareja. That…

A Day at the Museum

Today we took a 'school away from home day' and went to Philbrook Museum in Tulsa. We love this museum. Not only is it beautiful, but it has great works of art. It's one of Dawson's favorite places to go. He is studying the Italian Renaissance, so we made sure to stop by the Italian painting and portrait wing. Beautiful art!

We spent the most of our time in the gardens though. Breathless!










We also purchased our family zoo passes for the year, while we were out, and had lunch at iconic Hideaway Pizza. Yum!!!

It was such a great day!

Hold that Thought!

Do you like notebooking? Wait ... Hold that Thought!

Yes, that's the notebooking resource we will be using next year.

We have tried lapbooking, and I know lots of people use it and love it. But we always felt like we spent so much time cutting and pasting and it required tons of work on my part to get the pieces prepared. We didn't like it.

Instead we found ourselves taking our units and making copies of all of our worksheets, etc., that we planned to use and binding them together in a manila folder with yarn. Brynne seemed to enjoy them, they were organized by topic, and she could look at them anytime she wanted. It also gave her more room for free writing and drawing.

Both Dawson (9th grade) and Brynne (2nd grade) will be doing a full year study of U.S. History next year. I have purchased them each a 3-ring binder and we are going to notebook our study of America.

While searching for notebooking pages for the themes we will cover, I came across a notebooking publisher calle…

Stop the Presses!!!

Just after I posted about our plans to use Math Mammoth for our primary daily math lessons, my friend Stacey from BraininTrainin recommended MEP ~ Mathematics Enhancement Programme.



And I am in love.

So much, in fact, that I printed the first 30 lessons of the Practice Book, Lesson Plans and Copy Masters. They will go in a binder and we will use this curriculum (FREE, btw) for our math lessons. We will do them on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday we will do Living Math. We don't do formal school on Fridays because of Homeschool Coop.

What attracted me to MEP? It is heavily logic based with a heavy emphasis on word problems. It's not just 2+2 ... it's figuring out why there is 2+2.

It's not "paper math" even though the answers are written on a worksheet. The math is primarily done in the mind.

Brilliant!

MEP follows the hungarian methods of math. Hungary is ranked 6th in the world for mathematics. The United States is ranked 14th.

You should go check…

Living Math

Because Brynne came home from kindergarten after school started, I didn't purchase any formal curriculum for her. I already knew she was advanced in many areas, so I really just used this year to let her teach me! I wanted to get a good feel for what she already knew, what she was interested in and what style of teaching worked best with her.

I already had an interest in the Charlotte Mason method, which worked especially great since I didn't have any formal curriculum to use. We stuck with the 3 R's and did science and social studies units based on her interest, doing lots and lots of reading! And with all of the reading we did she learned to, well, read!

In math we used a 1st grade book that the school gave us, but it was boring to her so we incorporated as much hands-on math as we could. We tried to work off of our social studies and science units and do math activities related to them. She liked that!

In public school she would be in 1st grade next year, maybe even kin…

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Royal

Two more weeks!Two more weeks! I can't believe we only have two more weeks! A full school year has gone by. Unbelieveable!

Although we definitely feel as though we are winding down, there are still some things to get accomplished in the next two weeks.

This past week was a good one.


Brynne ~ 1st Grade
Brynne spent her week learning about The Royal Family. She has really enjoyed this little mini-unit.

We started our week having tea time. We broke out the china and sat on our back patio for a "spot of tea". She even convinced Dawson to join us, something he thought he would "never do".



We took a picture walk through some books about Queen Elizabeth and Prince William. Then we made a picture family tree so that she could see the lineage and try to understand how one becomes King or Queen in England. The visual was very helpful to her!


For fun we also did a family tree of our family and pretended that her grandma was the Queen. She saw that I would become Queen upon…

Decision: Public vs. Home

The decision to homeschool Dawson and Brynne is a rather easy one. The decision to have Kyndal continue attending public school is a rather easy one. The decision about whether to leave Eli in public school or bring him home is a very difficult one.

A brief history: Eli had Interuterine Growth Retardation in the womb. The doctors considered taking him at about 34 weeks because his growth rate was so low. I was measuring several centimeters smaller than I should have been at that point. Because he measured above the 10% mark at that point, they decided to leave him in. I delivered at a little over 38 weeks, but at full term he was only 5 1/2 pounds. During delivery his heart rate dropped off the chart twice. That's when an emergency c-section was performed.

Eli was different right from the start. He was an extra good baby .. almost too good. It was at about a year old that we started to see some "things". Actually it had started earlier than that, but we didn't realiz…

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Just Read It!

Well, it must be the end of the year. I am sure I am experiencing a common phenomenon: I am so excited about what we are going to be learning next year that I just want to get done with what we are doing this year so I can get to planning. (Wrong attitude, I know! We need to finish strong!) And, the weather has just been so nice that about all I have wanted to do is take advantage of it ... just be outside soaking it in!


Dawson ~ 8th Grade
This week Dawson had a book due back to our public library that he is really enjoying, but reading slowly. Because there is a "hold list" for it, he wasn't able to renew it for another two weeks. So, I decided to let him incur a fine and keep reading so that he is ready for the next book when it becomes available (he's on that "hold list"). But, I told him he had to have it finished by today. So he had 200 pages to read in four days. Because we finished The Swiss Family Robinson and our study of the Age of Exploration on T…