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Showing posts from December, 2011

Study America Saturday ~ Amanda Bennett Download-n-Go

Have you ever used any of Amanda Bennett's Download-n-Go unit studies? They are excellent! In fact, we will be starting one on Dogs next week when we start our second semester of school. Right now Amanda Bennett is having a 12 Days of Christmas special, and some of her BRAND NEW unit studies are on sale! I have decided to cash in on some of these for next year. Our History plans for next year include a semester on Current Events , with the presidential election being our main focus, and then a semester on U.S. Government . Well wouldn't you know it ... Amanda Bennett has a unit called Elections 2012 and one called American Government which are brand new! They are regularly $10.95, on sale for just $5.00!! The thing I love about the Download-n-Go unit studies, other than the fact that the entire unit is completely prepared for you, is that there is a younger grades lesson plan and a Junior High/High School lesson plan, so BOTH my kids can study the same thing a

Meeting Goals

Eli ended his first semester of 2nd grade this week. He has met a couple of big goals and we are so proud of him! He had an Accelerated Reader (AR) goal of 10 points this quarter, which meant that he had to read 20 half-point books and get a 100% on the reading comprehension tests for them. He is still developing his reading skills and isn't ready for chapter books, so he has to read lots of books to meet his goal. He has really been into a series of non-fiction books about animals. He reads one almost every day. And he has to read each book twice before he can take the comprehension test on it. Usually he reads it to me after school and then to his daddy before he goes to bed. This week, however, I made him read one to Dawson instead of me. It was about naked mole rats. Yuck! This quarter I also started paying Eli $5 per week for every spelling test he got a 100% on at the Pre-test on Wednesdays. If the students get a 100% on the pre-test, they don't have to take the tes

Tea Time

On Tuesday, Brynne had her Girls Club Christmas Tea. She woke up that morning so crabby, which is not like her, and was crabby all day. As we were getting ready for the party, she started getting teary and weepy. She said she just didn't feel very good. I asked her if she wanted to stay home, but she really wanted to go. She got all dressed up and I was able to snap a photo of her and Eli before we left (he was on his way to his Boys Club Christmas party). The tea was absolutely lovely! The tablescapes were beautiful! And so was this little girl. The girls decorated "gingerbread" people and then took turns telling about the cookie they brought to share. By this time Brynne was really not feeling good, and was shivering. She wouldn't take off her coat. I felt her head and, yep, she was warm. We stayed separated from the rest of the girls so that she could participate in the gift exchange. She just sat with me, covered with a quilt, sipping hot cocoa. In t

Eli's 2nd Grade Christmas Party

On Monday, Eli had his class Christmas party. They had snacks, made a couple of crafts, and had a Secret Santa gift exchange. Eli got a Nerf gun for his Secret Santa friend. The boy who drew his name happens to be one of his best friends. The kids each wrote four clues about who was their Secret Santa friend. They stood at the front of class and read the four clues and then the students tried to guess who it was. His friend gave these four clues about Eli: I have had dinner with him. He has long hair. He loves to play Wii . He doesn't like to watch movies. His friend knows him so well. Eli does not like to watch movies in class. A lot of movies scare him and he feels trapped in a classroom, so kind of freaks if he has to watch one. When they start to watch a movie, he gets up and goes out into the central pod and gets on the computer. He's always been like that and all the kids know that about him. As soon as the clues were read, his teacher said, "All togeth

Study America Saturday ~ Slavery

Dawson is studying the period just prior to the Civil War, when Slavery was at it's height. We have been reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Dawson has done some activities about Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad at the Scholastic site . And he wrote a Character Sketch about Harriet Tubman. He watched the History Channel video "Underground Railroad" hosted by Alfre Woodard. I thought this was an excellent video because it covered all aspects of slavery that we were studying in more detail, even the true story of Eliza as told in Uncle Tom's Cabin . We read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave , his personal account of slavery, and did some literary studies on it. You can read the entire book by clicking on the link. We finished our study this week by watching the entire mini-series Roots . I can remember watching that with my dad when I was a kid. It was a good end to our study. Dawson said, "W

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Freedom

Our Christmas break will begin next Wednesday, but we are certainly short-timers around here! We have had a lot going on in our family, that is no secret. It has been difficult to keep on with our everyday lives in the midst of it. But we have done our best to trudge ahead. Our week this week consisted of sleeping in a little bit, staying comfortable, and finishing up some units. Dawson and I have been watching the mini-series Roots . What a great movie! Along with that we have been finishing up Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I never knew that this book was so faith-based. If Uncle Tom can be a missionary in his dire circumstances, can't I be one? I feel like Dawson has gotten a real, deep understanding of Slavery and it's impact on our country. Because of the 2 1/2 hours + of movie watching and reading we have done daily this week, we decided to put off our Biology lessons until next week. Dawson has kept up on his other assignments, though, making steady

A Sad Wrap-up

We were chugging along so good, until Thursday. Kyndal decided that she couldn't live under the constraints of the rules of our home anymore, so she moved out with a friend. She has made plans to move to Missouri with her dad next week. She refuses to see me or talk to me. She claims I don't love her. Needless-to-say, it's been a difficult weekend. Not only have I had to suffer the loss of my daughter and our relationship, but I have encountered other selfishness as well that has really taken a toll on me. To say I am fed up with the world right now would be an extreme understatement! Rick and I are in the midst of trying to make plans for our future. We have determined that what we have been doing just has not been working. Something needs to change. Hopefully there will be news on that front soon. In the meantime, we still have seven days left of this semester and I need to get myself in gear! Dawson and I will be wrapping up our unit on slavery and pre-Civil War.

Tulsa Festival Ringers

Today we went to a bell choir concert by the Tulsa Festival Ringers. It was held at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center in a theatre containing a backdrop of "The Christmas Carol" that is currently being played by the American Theatre Company. The scenery was . It was truly beautiful with snowflakes falling in the background. The Tulsa Festival Ringers is the only auditioned bell choir in Tulsa. They played a free concert of Christmas songs. A large group of our Homeschool Co-op attended. After the concert we went with our friends for some lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse. Then we took the opportunity to run by Bass Pro Shop and visit Santa! Brynne had written him a letter because she didn't want to tell him what she wanted. She did manage to give him a hug, though. Eli wasn't shy at all about telling him what he wants. It was a nice, Christmas fun day!


Other than just a tiny bit of accumulation on the roofs from flurries, we haven't had any snow yet. But, we're reading about snow this week! Our book for Thursday is Snow by Uri Shulevitz. We will also be reading the book Super Snow Day ~ Seek and Find by Michael Garland. When I saw this book I just knew that we needed to check it out. It will be so fun!! We will also be making shaving cream snow scenes . We'll make the scene of snow on blue construction paper and then once it's dry we will cut out winter shapes (trees, snowmen, houses, etc.) to glue on our scenes. This is always a fun project!!

The Legend of the Poinsettia

We will be doing our Christmas stories and activities on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Tomorrow's book is The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola. In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la noche buena: flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite stars lighting up the countryside. A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl's unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.   We will be doing a couple activities. First, we will learn about the parts of a poinsettia , draw and label one, and inspect the leaves of a fresh one we have in our living room.   Then we will make a paper towel poins

Study America Saturday ~ The Five Senses of American History

When you have the opportunity to see American History ... see it . When you have the opportunity to hear American History ... hear it . When you have the opportunity to touch American History ... touch it . When you have the opportunity to smell American History ... smell it . When you have the opportunity to taste American History ... well, we didn't have that opportunity (unless you count McDonald's on the way home). But we had opportunities to do the others. And it was awesome! The Nina and Pinta, lifesize replicas of the originals sailed by Christopher Columbus, made a stop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and we went to tour them this week. In preparation for our trip, we read a couple of books, of course. We sketched some pictures. We talked a lot about it. But on Monday, we experienced it! We saw replicas made in the exact dimensions of the original Nina and Pinta (well, the Nina is the exact dimensions but the Pinta was made larger for some reason). The Santa Ma

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Books and Bookends

We jumped right in this first week back after the Thanksgiving Break. We started and ended our week having some fun outside the house. And sandwiched in between was three days of good 'ol fashioned schooling. On Monday , we went on a super cool field trip to a nearby town to see replicas of the Nina and Pinta sailed by Christopher Columbus. I have a full post about this field trip scheduled to post tomorrow on Study America Saturday . Check back because it was really something to see! On Tuesday , Brynne started her Christmas unit. My intention during this time is to read a Christmas book every day, do a Christmas activity related to the book, and do as many Christmas themed reading, writing, and math projects as possible. I gave her a new set of spelling words with a Christmas theme which she wrote two times. Then I drew a Christmas tree with markers and she wrote her spelling words inside the ornaments. Her book for the day was Snowbear's Christmas Countdown and we made