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Showing posts from September, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace ~ Outdoor Hour Challenge

This has been the challenge I have been waiting all month to do. Every morning, when I walk at the park, I walk past a huge grouping of Queen Anne's Lace. It is so pretty and I couldn't wait for the kids to get down close to it with me.


Once we got close to it, I wondered if that's really even what it is! Can someone help me identify it? And as luck would have it, right after we arrived and I took a couple of close-up photos of it, my batteries died on my camera. Urghhhh! We have a nice time of exploration, however. UPDATE: On the way to an out of town football game tonight, I think I saw legitimate Queen Anne's Lace next to the highway in several places. We are going to check it out this week!


We used the free notebooking page provided by Barb for today's challenge.


Up close and personal we could see that it was covered in bees, spiders, and fireflies. Most of the "Queen Anne's Lace" was still bloomed and very lovely. We measured it, noted it's c…

Weekly Wrap-up ~ 1/6 of the Way

We just completed our first six weeks. On a 36 week schedule, that means we are already one-sixth of the way done with this school year. What?

With six weeks under our belts, we are in a good schedule and have figured out what is and is not working for us.


What's Working

Starting our day between 10 and 11 a.m. each day is working well. The kids are up around 9:00 a.m. They get up and have plenty of time to play for a bit, have breakfast, get dressed and get ready for the day. Without rushing them along, I find that they are then ready to start schoolwork when I am ready. They usually end up playing the iPad anyway during this time, learning geography, history, math, or grammar.

Starting our school time with Bible is the perfect way to start our day. The kids asked why we always start with Bible. I told them that God likes us to devote the first part of our day to Him each day. It just gets us in a good mood. They are loving our Bible curriculum, Stick Figuring Through the Bible by G…

Thursday Quick Tip

Do you need a number line for your kids to use in math? We use a Hungarian model for mathematics called Math Enhancement Programme, and a number line is used often. I purchased two small white boards from Dollar General for $2.00 each. With a sharpie marker, I made a number line. When the kids need to use it, they use their white board markers to draw their dots and jump lines. (Warning: White board markers over sharpie markers will erase it on a white board. My kids just make their dots and jump lines above it or below it to keep that from happening. That's also another quick tip for you if someone accidentally uses a sharpie marker on your white board. Just rub white board marker all over the marks and erase them.)


Join Marcy at Ben and Me for more Thursday Quick Tips, including topics on marriage, parenting, and schooling.


Skoolbo ~ A FREE Grammar (and more) iPad App

In my quest for a better grammar solution for my two 2nd/3rd graders, I came upon an app for my iPad called Skoolbo. (I was wanting some kind of fun technological gamish type thing involving grammar, to use in rotation with their book work and/or worksheets and Rainbow Sentences because I have seen how much they have learned about geography using Stack the States and Stack the Countries and how much interest they have in the presidents using Presidents vs. Aliens. They actually play these games in their free time.)

"Skoolbo is a literacy and numeracy program with more than 50,000 questions designed to assist 4 to 10 year olds in their journey to mastery of essential reading and mathematics skills." ~ from the website.

It is not only a FREE app, but can also be downloaded to a PC or Mac.

At first when Brynne tried out Skoolbo, I didn't think it looked like something that would interest us. It doesn't just cover language arts, but also math, and you never know which y…

Small Square Study ~ Outdoor Hour Challenge

Last week's Outdoor Hour Challenge was to observe one small square of nature. I took the kids outside and told them to walk around and find any spot around our house that they wanted to observe. Our yard actually would have been a great place to do this because we just moved here and there has not been any landscaping to the yard at all. It is primitive. But, they insisted on going across the street to an empty grass lot that has some shady trees. It was their nature experience, so I relented. They each went to the spot they wanted to observe and I made a, roughly, 1' x 1' square with craft sticks and yarn.


I handed them their notebooking pages and some colored pencils and told them to just observe their square. They could dig around and see what was underground, etc. Sadly, they just weren't really into doing this. It felt like more of an assignment instead of a nature adventure. I think that if they would have chosen a more interesting square (like in our yard), it …

Autumnal Equinox

This past Saturday marked the Autumnal Equinox ... the Fall Solstice ... the first day of Fall. Rick and the kids are really into the solstices. So, we learned all about the Autumnal Equinox on Friday so that we could celebrate it on Saturday. (And celebrate it, we did! The kids participated in our town's fishing derby and then played at the park two different times that day.)

We discussed what the equinox meant, and looked at our globe to discuss it. Then we did the following activities:


Literature (always start with good books!)
By the Light of the Harvest Moon, written by Harriet Ziefert


Fall, written by Anna Claybourne
It's Fall, written by Jimmy Pickering

Writing
Wrote a "Fall Things" acrostic poem.

Eli wrote:
Fall has leaves
All leaves are different colors
Light comes from the moon
Love leaf piles
The leaves fall
Harvest food
I love pumpkins
New pumpkins rise
Get pumpkins from pumpkin pile
See pumpkins

Brynne wrote:
Falling leaves
Autumn
Leaves
Lilly pads float in the water
Tree…

Homeschool Legacy ~ Schoolhouse Review

Unit studies. I love them. And I use them as my primary teaching tool. It typically involves delight-directed learning, literature, and hands-on activities. In my book, that's a recipe for superb learning! We are doing a unit study at all times, a portion of it every day.

I read a book this summer that really inspired me to spend one entire day per week in nature with my children. So, on Fridays we devote our whole day to nature, and also do Bible and art. One of the things that I really wanted to make sure we covered this year was a study on the local flora of our state and community.

So, when we had the opportunity to review Homeschool Legacy'sOnce-a-Week Unit Study unit called "Forest for the Trees", I was very excited! This would give the kids and I a framework for learning about the trees indigenous to our area.


Although you can go to the Homeschool Legacy website for their Scheduling Tips, the unit study is easily adaptable to any schedule. Like I said, we do …

Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week ...
This was what will probably be a typical week for us. I've gotten up each morning for my bike ride and walk after taking Dawson to school, and then come home for a full day of homeschooling with Eli and Brynne. Dawson went to a couple of high school volleyball games (which thrills me that he is getting involved in the social aspect of school) while Eli, Brynne and I enjoyed a quiet night at home. On Wednesday nights, the kids and I walk up to church with a potluck item for dinner before I have handbell choir practice. It is really great to see my little ones interact with the elderly members of our church. Then they get to hang out with my niece, Rylee, in childcare. We go for walks and see lots of family. It's busy, but nice and steady.



In our homeschool this week ...
This has been a yucky week. Tuesday was horrid. As I sit here I don't feel like we did anything! But then when I look at our display wall, I realize that we did lots of storytelling, …

Thursday Quick Tip

I have learned that we do much better in our day, and accomplish more, if I don't have a minute-by-minute schedule. (I can't believe I am putting that in print.) Instead, I have a planner page that includes each subject and I write in the lessons I want to accomplish each day.


For the first couple of weeks, we started at the top and worked our way down. But that even got monotonous for me, and I love order. I felt like the kids were getting a little bored, too.

So, I came up with an easy system to allow our days to vary just a bit. I wrote each subject on a large craft stick and put it in a mason jar adorned with a ribbon.


We always start with our Bible lesson. After that, the kids take turns pulling out  a stick to tell us which subject to do next. This puts a little mystery into our day, and helps with the slumps and grumbles that were occurring as we approached the subjects that were the least favorite.



I'm linking up with Marcy at Ben and Me. Let's see what other…