Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up Post ::: The Second Week, August 20-24

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Another Friday and our second week of school has been wrapped up. Yay! Another week of mostly at-home days which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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B had a good week this week! Last week she and I struggled a bit to find our groove in school. Between her personality and the 8-10 month difference between when she is starting kindergarten and her sisters started kindergarten (i.e., N1 was almost 6 when she started; B turned 5 a few month ago), her needs for kindergarten are a bit different that where I was aiming to start her at. But that’s totally ok. We spent the week exploring some more with our math manipulatives (doing Saxon K lessons 6-9), filling in a few handwriting work sheets, and reading a LOT of picture books along with our Teach Your Child to Read lessons (lessons 5-8 this week).

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Our favorite part was pulling out one of my all time favorite books to read with my kindergarteners, Blueberries for Sal, and do some fun Five-in-a-Row-ish type activities with it. We used some freebies from Homeschool Share, and on Thursday afternoon we baked a blueberry cake to share with the family. It got two thumbs up from all of us.

N2 also had a big week – due in large part to the new smile she’s sporting below. : ) We lost a third tooth on Sunday afternoon and the fourth on Tuesday afternoon. She’s finding hard to say her S’s but is otherwise absolutely adorable with her gap-toothed grin.

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N2 had a normal week of lessons in all subjects. We spent one math lesson learning about estimating volume and spent a wet 45 minutes filling up different containers and trying to guess how many cups they would hold.

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N1 had a fabulous school week as well. She and I have really be plugging along on building her confidence for her timed math tests that she works on each day. Over the last two weeks, she has done a few extra per day, and we are starting to see some results. So proud of how she is applying herself!

She also wowed us in the kitchen this week. She found a recipe in one of my cookbooks and asked to make it one morning for breakfast. I, miraculously, had all the ingredients and she set about making Grandma’s French Toast for us. We don’t know who Grandma is or was, but her French toast was delicious!

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As a group, the girls and I have a worked on a few subject together each day:

  • we are reading through the book of Matthew together and drawing pictures to go along with what we are hearing about for our Bible time.
  • we continued on our animal lapbook learning about distinguishing features of reptiles, birds and amphibians, as well as some facts about mollusks and echinoderms. (Quite a bit of this I learned along with them. I love that!) We scored some neat animal videos today at the library – Eyewitness DVD: Reptile Eyewitness: Amphibian , and Eyewitness: Insect – and we’ll watch a few of those about some of these animal groups as well over the next week.
  • We also read chapter one in Story of the World and briefly familiarized ourselves with the Tigris and Euphrates River were. This is material we will touch on in one of the first few weeks of Classical Conversations so we’ll hit it again in memory work soon!

As for the boy, we are still transitioning him to a little room time on his own each day while we work on school each morning. (As I mentioned in last week’s wrap-up, he has about 20 minutes on his own, and then sisters take turn going in and playing with him while I have one-on-one time with them for some subjects. Truly he’s been doing GREAT with this!) During his alone time one morning this week, he apparently decided to take a snooze. When N1 went to check on him she found him crashed out on the floor under his nigh-night … and there we left him for a good hour and a half. : ) No afternoon naptime that day, but our morning was quite productive!

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Today, being Friday, we got out for a little outside / nature time and a trip to the library! Our first stop was a nature trail not far from our house. I told the girls I have visions of us walking this trail at least once a month over the next year so we can watch it change with the seasons. Truth-be-told, they were not as excited about my vision as I was. : ) It was quite warm and the walk was almost a mile. I think we’ll enjoy the walk part of it more the next time I am aiming for us to go in late September.

That said, a few pictures from our outing so we’ll have them to compare later on this year…

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The boy found some big rocks and was having a blast climbing around on them. While I still bring the stroller with us most places so I have a way of containing him, this time we left it in the car and he had so much fun walking and exploring.

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The munchkins did a quick pose at the beginning before we got all hot and sweaty and were in no mood for smiling!

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Hope you all had a great week … I haven’t really intended to be such an intermittent blogger for the three people that read here … but I’m have a hard time find any extra minutes now-a-days. I’m working on improving that and hope to share some Read-Aloud Thursday books and Project Life pages soon.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap-Up.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 13–17 // Back to School

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It was back to school week here and we hit the ground running! All in all it was a really, really great week as far as what I planned and what we got accomplished. I’m definitely seeing some areas that we need to tweak, but overall, this was a great start to our 2012-2013 school year. : ) I could tell that summer activities faded and we enjoyed a brief lull this week where I didn’t haven’t to worry about any other errands or outings and could be very focused on setting the tone for our school week and routine. I realized that other than a quick run to Target on Thursday night, the girls and I never left the house all week. No wonder we got a lot done! : )

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School pics on Monday … more next week.

The details:

This week we started back working on about 2/3 of our expected workload for this year. Why only 2/3? Because several of our school activities won’t start up until the first week of September, such as Classical Conversations, Bible Study (we are part of Community Bible Study), and Awana. However, that gives us several weeks to get a jump start on math and language arts, as well as test out a new daily routine which may or may not revolve around containment and management of a certain almost two-year-old in the house.

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I think the key to our good week was our boy schedule. I spent a good chunk of last week with a piece of paper and outlined a tentative schedule to help our days flow. Our plan was to start our day in the school room with activities that can be done with an active boy – this week, we used that time for girls to practice piano lessons and write copy work in their journals. Then, about 10 a.m., the boy goes in his room with a baby gate up for a half hour by himself. At that time, I worked one-on-one with B, while the N’s did their handwriting / explode the code / spelling (N1) – anything they could do independently. After approximately 30 minutes working with B, she’s ready for a break and she goes to play with the boy while I did math one-on-one with N2. By the time N2 is done with math, she’s ready for a short break and she shifts boy-duty with B while I move on to math with N1. B comes back to work on some handwriting worksheets and what work she can do on her own with minimal help from me.

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This is what I’m trying to avoid. : )

This gives me about an hour and half of one-on-one time with the girls and the boy isn’t left unattended and/or unsupervised for great lengths. By 11:30 or 12:00 pm, we let him out of his room and either do some group reading in the school room or head down to lunch depending on the day. Having said how well all this worked, I fully expect there to be a few snags along the way. Case in point: the boy can now climb out of his pack-n-play where he naps in the afternoon. This has meant at least a 20 minutes delay in afternoon school business every afternoon while I remind/train him (multiple times) that when it’s nap time he has to stay in bed. But overall, for now it’s working and for that I’m thankful.

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This week we checked off several scholastic things:

  • N1 finished the last five lessons in her Saxon 2 book. Yay!
  • N1 and N2 each completed one week in their respective Writing With Ease books. N1 has about a lesson and a half left in her book before she moves on to WWE 3.
  • 1st Language Lessons – at least three a piece – for each girl.
  • We went back and read the introduction to Story of the World, Book 1 in preparation for our study of ancient civilizations in both our CC memory work as well as our Bible study on 1 & 2 Chronicles and Kings.
  • As we prepare for a semester of biology memory work with CC, we also worked on this animal classifications lapbook from Homeschool Share. I had forgotten how much N1 loves lapbook work and need to make a point to add more of that in my plans over the year.
  • B tackled her first four lessons in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and her first five lessons in Saxon K. As expected, she needs lots of breaks to disperse some extra energy throughout the morning, but for the first week, she did a great job of working when it was time to work.

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We started a new lunchtime read-aloud, or rather picked up one we had gotten a few chapters in and set aside for lack of a good summer schedule.

Lunchtime read aloud.

N1 and N2 are both working through some assigned independent reading books. N1: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling and Brighty: Of the Grand Canyon (Marguerite Henry Horseshoe Library). N2: Ramona the Pest and A Mouse Called Wolf. N1 flew through the Incorrigibles and is chomping at the bit for Book 2, but I’m holding out on her until she finishes Brighty. So far, she’s not a fan, but is still plugging along.

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I had plans for us to get out and do some nature observation in the backyard on Friday and those plans were thwarted by rain. So, instead we worked on a cooperative project indoors – making chocolate chip cookies for our Friday movie night. A pretty nice way to end a full week.

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He can be still.

Linking up with Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for this week’s Weekly Wrap-up!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Read-Aloud Thursday // The Magician’s Nephew

Summer evening read-aloud started tonight.

We finished our book for the July edition of the Reading to Know bookclub this week … I say “we” because we read The Magician's Nephew as a family in July. It had been years since I had read this one – we’ve listened to The Magician's Nephew Radio Theatre many, many times. I thoroughly enjoyed our return to Narnia with this book, maybe even more so as an adult.

For those that haven’t read this one, it is the tale in the Chronicles of Narnia that shares how it all began … the country, how humans got there, how the animals became talking beasts, and so on. I really don’t want to say much more than that, because when a first time reader discovers some of the connections between this book and others in the series, it is just delightful! We watched N1 do that as we listened to the audio a few years ago on a summer roadtrip, and this year it was N2’s year to make the connections.

My favorite description is the book are when Lewis is describing the creation of Narnia. His humble words give me just a glimpse of what I imagine the creation of our own world might have been like when God created it.

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. The horse seemed to like it too; he gave the sort of whinny a horse would give if, after years of being a cab-horse, it found itself back in the old field where it had played as a foal, and saw someone whom it remembered and loved coming across the field to bring it a lump of sugar. (p. 116)

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.” (p. 117)

I love this description of Uncle Andrew in the story … so like us as sinners!

When the great moment came and the Beasts spoke, he missed the whole point; for a rather interesting reason. When the Lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion,” as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing – only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. “of course it can’t really have been singing,” he thought, “I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring …  (p. 149-150)

Hopefully those are enough to whet your appetite to pick this one up. It was immensely enjoyed by all of us!

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For more read-aloud favorites, visit Amy at Hope is the Word.

Monday, August 06, 2012

An August Monday Daybook

Outside my window...grey with the hint of rain. A slightly cooler snap in the heat for today which I’ll take, even if it left all the humidity.

I am thinking...about that fact that we really will begin school next week. After several false starts this summer and my plans not working out quite like I thought, we will official get back to work on the 13th. I’m ready, but I have a little planning to do this week to make it so.

I am thankful...for a wonderful anniversary weekend. T and I celebrated ten years with a date night on Friday and I got to sleep in on Saturday until 8 a.m.! Unheard of! We then followed up our kid-free evening with a kid-full evening and took the crew to the county fair. A perfect way to celebrate our marriage – a night without kids and a night full of family fun.

In the kitchen...I have a whole chicken in the crockpot cooking so I can shred it for dinners later this week. I made this quiche last week and it was wonderful – hoping to roll it back in another time this month! I seem to have gotten a little of my menu planning groove back after a long hot summer of not wanting to cook and it feels good.

Maybe it's just because I haven't had quiche in a while, but this was so good.

I am wearing...my favorite hot pink skirt and a grey t-shirt.

I am creating...appointments in my planner. Making dr appointments and calling about dates for a few fall homeschool outings. Yet also trying to create space for breathing and being as go-go-going all the time is not good for me as this summer has reminded me.

I am going...to do a lot of laundry today. And some things around the house this week to gear up for school. We may plan in one more fun summer outing this week, but otherwise, I’m ready for a little more routine to our days.

I am reading...

I am looking forward to...a new video series that our small group is starting tomorrow night, The Truth Project from Focus on the Family. And since kids come to our small group, I’m looking forward to them going through the What’s in the Bible series.

I am learning…about how busy little boys are. Wow. I thought B was busy, but this is a whole new level. : )

Popcorn two times in one day. He's had a good day.

Around the house...you should see my school room! For our anniversary, T helped me reorganize and arrange the room and built four new bookshelves for my closet! Our school room (the bonus room in our house) had a regular clothes closet with a bar that we had put one bookshelf in for storage. It worked. : ) T went in there there last week, took out the bar, and built four floor-to-ceiling bookshelves so I have a place to put all our art supplies, curriculum that we aren’t currently using, work the girls have done that I want to archive, and my scrapbooking supplies. And I still have several shelves still empty! Of course, while he was installing the shelves, we had to completely empty the closet of everything in there which provided me with the opportunity to go through and purge a ton of stuff. Several garbage bags left our house last week and that felt good! More pictures soon…

The schoolroom has gotten a huge clean out and scrubbing. As ready as we'll ever be to start school in another week!

I am pondering...Proverbs 16:9. This was mentioned in a sermon a few weeks ago and it has stuck. I’m pretty sure that this was my theme verse for the summer.

Didn't realize this was my theme verse for summer 2012 until I heard it in yesterday's sermon.

A favorite quote for today...see verse above. : )

One of my favorite things...fall. Coming soon.

A few plans for the rest of the week: hardly anything other than school planning and work around the house and our small group here on Tuesday. I’m sure things will come up, but the week has a quiet start to it!

A peek into my day...photos from our afternoon at the fair!

UntitledUntitledUntitledIt's a one-of-a-kind dad that takes all 4 on a ride.

Happy Monday. : )