Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Productivity Plus!


In our regular life this week…

we had what was called a normal week. It was so nice! Monday night we had Scouts. On Tuesday we had lunch at my mom's with her and my aunt and that night I had my ladies church group over for our monthly meeting and fellowship. Kyndal was home all week and took Brynne for some shopping that night. The rest of the week we had dinner each night and got caught up on our t.v. shows. Dawson's buddies came over after school one day and Taylar was over a couple of different evenings. We talked on the phone and FaceTimed with Rick. We were tired every night from a full day of school each day. My leg was better early in the week and then got worse toward the end. I am trying not to take as much Ibuprofen, but it causes my knee, shin and ankle to ache and throb. So to replace Ibuprofen I spend more time with an ice pack tied around my knee. I'm really starting to get annoyed. It's just a bummer. I so wish I could exercise.


In our homeschool this week…

What a full, busy and great week! We are definitely in our groove! Every single subject is going better than I could have ever planned. This is the first time that I am completely happy with every single piece of curriculum we are using. And I think the kiddos are, too. There is nothing they seem to dread.

Bible - This week we concentrated on Joshua, the crossing of the Jordan, and the fall of Jericho. We also got into an amazing discussion about being under the wing or umbrella of God's protection and what happens when we decide to step out of that protection. The conversation started when Brynne said that she hasn't had any real bad stuff happen in her life. I told her it was because she was under the wing of me and her daddy's protection right now, because she is a little girl. And the conversation went on from there. I was amazed at the maturity of their questions and insights.

Grammar - I said in our curriculum post that we would not be using any formal grammar unless we were using a review product. And, lo and behold, we started reviewing Logic of English. I honestly think Grammar is our favorite time of the day each day. That curriculum is a perfect fit for us and we WILL be using it until we complete it. It will take us all year. We studied nouns, verbs, adjectives, compound words, subjects and predicates this week, while learning some beginning diagramming.

Spelling - We are also using the spelling portion of Logic of English one day a week. The rest of the week we are doing our daily lessons in Soaring with Spelling. This week the kids are doing compound words. They LOVE THIS SPELLING PROGRAM! They have both mentioned it more than once this week. Eli was especially proud of his 100% on his Spelling test. He had missed a few on his pre-test on Monday which really bummed him out.


Reading - Each day I am reading about 20 pages out of our read-aloud and the kids each read for 30 minutes out of their personal choice chapter books. Easy going and enjoyable.

Math - We are using Multiplication Learning and Teaching Made Easy by Glenda Brown James this first six weeks of school. The kids are doing a different math puzzle each day using the multiplication facts of the week. It's an easy-to-implement program and the kids are able to just grab it and complete it fairly quickly without any real fanfare. I also decided to bring back daily MEP (Math Enhancement Programme). I miss the problem solving and mental math it provided. It's definitely more work, but worth the effort.

For Friday's "outside math", the kids used logic to make shapes (i.e. see how many triangles they could make using 9 sticks) and copy designs using similarly sized sticks.


Handwriting - We continue to use Handwriting Without Tears Cursive (3rd grade). They are concentrating their practice on n's and m's right now. We only have a couple more weeks of this book before we move onto Cursive Success (4th grade). Again, it's one of those things that is just easy for the kids to grab and do each day. No problems. No complaints. And it's working because when they were doing their Logic of English vocabulary development on Thursday, it required them to make compound words and write them. We are using the Cursive workbook, so they wrote those new words in cursive. And they did great!

Writing - We are using WriteShop Primary B this year and have been working on writing friendly letters. I like Book B so much better than Book A in that I feel that it's more age appropriate and relevant to them. Book A was necessary as a foundation, but I am glad to have the creativity and "maturity" of Book B. It included a cute dance to learn the parts of a friendly letter. I videoed it to post and cannot get it to load to Youtube. Frustrating, cause it was so cute and helpful!!

Geography - This week we studied Delaware and Connecticut. We did lots! To see what we did specifically for each of these states, check back in tomorrow for Study America Saturday. Oh, and if you have an American History post, feel free to leave a link to your blog post in the Study America Saturday comments. I'd love to see what you are doing in American History, too!

Science - We are doing a review for Susan Kilbride's e-book How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13. (Last year I reviewed her book Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers (Ages 4-13)  and we did the Atoms and Molecules lessons as a prerequisite for the Electricity unit.) To introduce us to electricity, I checked out the The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan. We also watched THC Classroom's "Modern Marvels: Mad Electricity" about the innovations and inventions of Nikola Tesla. This week (from Ms. Kilbride's e-book) we learned about and did activities with Static Electricity.


Nature - While outside one day this week I saw a cicada shell on our back porch. I remember, as a child, going to my uncle's house with my mom while she cleaned it every couple of weeks. He had a chain link fence around his house and he would have hundreds of them on his fence that I would go pick off. I took the kids out to look at it and had them sketch it in their nature journals.


We read When the Woods Hum by Joan Ryder (a great book!) and watched a Youtube video on their molting process.




Homeschool Tricks and Tips ...

Want a fun and energetic day-starter? Download the FREE app Bedtime Math! We are having a ball with the "Math Problem of the Day". We do ours first thing in the morning, after Bible, to get our brains moving, instead of at bedtime. The app provides a fun fact (the first day was about Ben and Jerry's ice cream graveyard and another day was about New York using used up subway cars to make a reef) and then provides three levels of math word problems using the fact. The facts are so interesting and the math problems are challenging but fun! The kids always want to do "just one more".



Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Like I said earlier, we were pretty quiet this week in our outside activities. But, the little kids and I decided to make our final trip to the lake tomorrow and Sunday before I start teaching their Sunday School class next week. That commitment will require us to be home on Sundays, so no more lake overnights until next summer.


A favorite thing this week was…

The feeling of absolute pride and accomplishment at how well our first week of school went. The kids are doing fantastic and I am honored to be their teacher. I've got a great job!


What's in the kitchen this week ...

Eli and Brynne made an apple pie (from scratch ... even the crust!) and crab cakes (aka "crabby patties") this week as part of their studies on Connecticut and Delaware.


For dinner this week we had spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, and "Chik-fil-a at home" which is homemade popcorn chicken, waffle fries, and chocolate milkshakes.


What we're reading ...

Mom:  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (I am finishing this at the lake tomorrow!), Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. 

Eli: Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1 by Dav Pilkey.

Brynne: New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Read-aloud: Ragweed by Avi. 


Things we're working on…

a healthier diet (again) now that we are back to school and a regular schedule. I am, particularly, watching what I eat since I am unable to burn my usual 300+ calories a day exercising, and won't be able to for quite some time. The most exercise I am getting is hobbling from room to room. With cold and flu season coming soon, I am also doing my best to keep the healthy foods in the kids' diets. We were sipping green tea in the mornings as some sniffles were starting.


I’m grateful for ...

Light at the end of the tunnel of a very unfortunate situation.


In the garden…

I used some of these goodies to make Rick a jar of salsa to take back to work with him for the week. It was spicy, but tasty!


And, I pulled my spaghetti squash off the vine just in time for three servings of spaghetti "noodles". I baked the squash and pulled out my noodles for some fantastic and healthy spaghetti this week! This is the first time I have ever replaced pasta with spaghetti squash and I am glad I did!! Next year I am planting three times as many spaghetti squash plants!



What's coming up this week ...

This coming week will be the opposite of normal. On Monday night we have Scouts. On Tuesday night it's our Scout school recruitment night. Thursday night Brynne is competing in the Septemberfest Wee Queen contest. Then Septemberfest is all weekend, which will involve a night at the carnival. On Saturday morning I was supposed to run in the Color Run 5K, which I was training for when I hurt my knee, so I'll be missing that ... BOO! But, I think I can still find a way to make it through the wine stroll at the park in the afternoon! Rick and I are planning to make the girls' bedroom in the basement next weekend, too. That will involve painting, making a drop ceiling, hanging "walls", and moving furniture. Brynne is moving downstairs with Kyndal while she is living here for the next year. (They have just been bunking together in Eli and Brynne's room for the past several months, but it's time to make a permanent space for them.) Then on Sunday I start teaching Eli and Brynne's Sunday school class. They will be moving up to the 4th-6th grade class. Then Sunday evening I am getting to meet my super great blogging friend and daily accountability partner, Jodi!! She is coming to town and I cannot wait to hug her neck!! Next Monday, yeah, I think I'll just die of exhaustion.


A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Okay, while I'm copying these worksheets you guys go across the street and run!!



We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:






3 comments:

  1. I LOVED Unbroken - one of my favorite books ever! Enjoy your time at the lake!

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  2. Wow.. busy busy. Have fun this weekend and I hope it's cooler where you are than where we are in Missouri.

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  3. Oh Nicole, another awesome week. The salsa looks delish and so do the other goodies you made this week.

    Isn't it a great feeling when all your curriculum seems "just right?" I love that!

    After Labor Day our Cub Scouts will begin again and I can't wait.

    I can't wait to link up this year with your American History link up! Next week I should have something to share.

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