Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekly Report

I've been trying to work on my blog for the last week. Putting in more pages that can be accessed by the links across the top. They are not ready yet, but are  under construction. I need to set aside a certain time each day to work on them, that way I can't give myself the "I didn't have time" excuse. Which I seem to have no problems convincing myself of. Earlier this month I stated how this winter has been great weather wise. Hardly any snow, not too many cold days and just plain easier than last winter. I should have waited because it is definitely making up for it now. At least it's not too cold at -1 degrees celsius, it just a pain though because it takes forever for the city to plow our street. Thank goodness for snow tires.


You could see the grass back here two days ago.

We started the week with being sick. A high fever that turned into a cold on the weekend. Other than the sniffles, she doesn't seem to feel too bad now though.
In Spelling Workout A we finished lesson 9 and started lesson 10. So far I find it a quick and easy way to reinforce what we have been learning in phonics. We only do one page a day 3-4 days a week and it should take us into the summer. In The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading we were able to finish up long o vowel sounds and begin long u, on lesson 103. One of the lessons this week was to copy the 20 word/phrases onto index cards and lay out 5 of them. I was to choose one of them in my head and draw it while she tried to figure out which one it was. It was fun and after she reversed rolls and drew for me. I got a kick out of the flag she drew. It is the blue one with her name in the center in the picture below.


Notice the chocolate residue on the face.

We have reached the halfway point for Saxon Math 1. We are on lesson 65 out of 130, which came as a nice surprise today. The adding 2 equations are making more sense and I can see her mentally counting instead of using her manipulatives. I am only making her do one side of the fact sheets right now. Two is too much and that way I can use them in the summer to ensure she doesn't forget everything. I don't plan on stopping school in the summer, just lightening it. I think I will be doing both her and I a disservice to stop and I don't really want to have to spend the first 2 months of the next year reviewing everything she forgot.

We started the Evan-Moor Beginning Geography book of Continents and Oceans this week. She made the connection that North America is called North because it is at the top of the map. We are going to go through this 2 days a week until finished and then move onto the next in the Apple Press series.
Art class was fun this week although their was a snow storm. We drive into town with my husband in the morning and then bus it home. Which for some reason she really likes. Roo painted her clay mask that she made a few weeks back as well as made and ocean scene on a big block of wood whcih I had the pleasure of carrying on the bus home plus a bag full of library books.


On the bus coming home from art class.


She said it is an African mask, I think it looks more like a clown:)


She pawned off the colouring of the turtle to me while she played.

We are having frustrations with the passport agency. I had to get a new passport for myself as well as Roo because they expired recently. I had no problems with mine, but hers they sent back the application this week. They stated that you could not fully see her eyes in the picture. She wears glasses, not much can be done about that. If we take the glasses off for the picture, her eye turns in and I am sure they would reject that photo saying she isn't looking at the camera of something of the sort. It's maddening and now I have to go pay for a new photo, mail it again and wait and see if they reject this one. I'm glad we don't have a trip planned or anything because could cause problems.
I so want to get my schedule done for next year. I think my hidden obsessive compulsive side is coming out and really wants something organized and detailed on paper. I just wish it came out more with housework.
I was flipping through my new Elemental Science Biology and figuring out how I am going to combine it into 2 days instead of 5. It will probably be easier if I actually sit with it and input info into an excel spreadsheet. Hmmmm maybe that will be my plan this weekend. That and my About Us page on this blog. What exciting plans;) The sad part is, that I actually am excited about the excel thing.

It just stopped snowing and the sun broke through (right in time for it to set), what bizarre weather.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Report

This week was successful and we seemed to get into a better groove to be able to accomplish things in a shorter period of time. I am sure it was just a fluke though and we will be back to the regular drawn out lessons by next week:) I finally figured out how to make my blog page bigger and how to get larger photos on here. It took some html changing but in the end I got it around how I wanted it, so I am happier with the look.
I think I have found a way to lesson the pain of math time. I don't want Roo to hate math so I am trying to find ways to make the lessons less painless for us both until we get a program that is a better fit. I left her book open to the fact sheet yesterday and picked up a book and began to read out loud. It wasn't an intentional plan of mine to leave the book open, I just thought it was a good time to break for a few minutes before proceeding. As I was reading she picked up her pencil and did her fact sheet without a word. It was so easy, I am shocked I never thought of it before. We will see if it works tomorrow too. This week in math we worked on plus two facts, measuring and recording items using linking cubes as well as the different ways that shapes can be used to cover the same picture. She likes the hands on activities for math and also pages with colour or pictures keep her interest. So my goal is to find a program more suited in this sense than Saxon is. Any suggestions?


Her pretending to drink while I was explaining a lesson.

Language arts this week consisted of solid phonics OPGTR review and the different ways to get the long o vowel sound. We are now on lesson 100 and I plan on slowing down a bit now to spend more time with review before a new lesson. Spelling is working on the beginning and ending sounds of basic words. She seems to get through this quickly and I noticed today how her printing has improved since last week. It is funny how even a few days can cause a noticeable change in things.

In geography we are almost done her Apple Press My First Mapbook and I plan on using the Evan-Moor Continents book before moving on to the next in the Apple Press series. The last few activities have been reinforcing North, South, East and West and how to use these directions on a grid map. This week we travelled across Australia using clues and math equations.  These along with a grid and the compass allowed us to determine what city our characters destination was.

For art class this week the kids made paper plate masks and maracas which I must admit has been driving me nuts.  I think I have muscle pain from shaking it while she was doing work. She said she needed the maracas as background music;)

The frog mask.

I have been using The Story of the Orchestra to slowly introduce Roo to classical music. I plan on building more in depth onto it next year. I looked into The Beautiful Feet History of Classical Music book, but heard it was more for older kids. So I purchased the Beautiful Feet History of Classical Music Timeline to use that as my guide for reading biographies and listening to music about these composers. This timeline comes with two medium length pieces of cardstock to use on the wall. Then you colour and cut out the composers and paste them onto the cardstock. It's good because it will giver her the visual timeline and will help to keep me on track with what composers and when.

The Beautiful Feet Classical Music Timeline

I received some of my next year school books this week. It is always so exciting going through new curriculum trying to visualize what the lessons are going to be like. I can't wait until I have most of my core books so I can sit and plan out how I want the year to look. Not that I will necessarily stick to it, but it always makes me feel more organized if I give myself a game plan. I need to find the perfect organizational book/program for myself. I do well with paper based but computer based always seems more professional so I am open to suggestions.
Roo termed today "lazy day", which means we get dressed in our cozy stuff to do school work. She is done for the day and is in the next room. As I type this I can hear a rather high pitched rendition of "A Spoon Full of Sugar" while she is watching Mary Poppins and vegging in her nest (a pile of pillows and blankets on the couch).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Report

This week started off slow because Monday we did a lot of running around including library time. Missing school was not intentional, but was unavoidable. She was just too tired after the long day to do much other than crawl onto the couch and veg. Our day wasn't so unproductive though. We did build our new bookshelves that were a super deal. I posted a picture in another post, but since then we bought two more shelves to add to them. Below is the final product. I just need to get more books to fill them.

In phonics this week we learned how Y works as a vowel. Then we made the eye spy game on cards that she had to read and find what was on the card. I really like how OPGTR has the fun learning games that take away from the phonics monotony. She was also reading her lessons off the white board while driving her bike in circles around the room (not a lot of room, but she managed). Spelling Workout A is still in the lessons that are easy for her. I am glad that we started it now because it seems to match up well with what we have been learning phonics wise as well as with the Bob books.
Math is still the longest part of our day, but we do what we can. I break it up into meeting/calendar time, counting/skip counting, the lesson and then the actual fact sheet worksheet. We do this with breaks and/or other subjects in between to make it not so bad. She is grasping counting by 2's (thank you for your suggestions), counting money, odd/even numbers and understanding both the digital and analog time. We learned adding 2 to odd and even numbers and for some reason she grasped the odd numbers quicker. I'm not complaining, I just always thought even numbers were easier to understand. She has been working on writing her number 5 because when she writes it, it usually ends up looking like an S. We have been using the linking cubes as manipulatives for counting. She decided to use them for other things.

Math manipulative monster

Cube fingers and temporary tattoos.
I think she though she could get out of work by putting them on her fingers, since she couldn't write with them there.

Roo seems to love geography and gets excited when it is geography day. She learned the what the compass rose was and how to find little Bo peep's sheep by using directions. In art class the theme was Valentines Day and she made a Valentine hat, picture frame and a card for me. She was a super cranky pants that day. I made a post regarding that below also about my new print copy of Elemental Science Biology for next year.

Learning about North, South, East and West.

She went a little glue crazy and it is oozing out the holes.

Since Monday is Family Day in Ontario, the library is closed. We are going to have to go on the weekend or something to make up for it and pick up our piles of holds before they call again. We are done lessons for the day and it is my turn to play Wii Mario Cart. She just yelled "Mom, I'm 7th and I don't like that" so at least it is teaching her ordinal positions;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miss Cranky Pants, Questions and Science

The two new bookshelves I got have now become four, no complaints coming from me though. My husband liked the price of these units so much that he picked up two more after work the next night after our first purchase. We spread them across the living room wall, now I just need more books to fill them;) I always tell him that one day I would like a library in my home. Floor to ceiling shelves, a rolling ladder, leather furniture and dark wood (and a fireplace if I am really lucky). This would be haven for me and my husband knows it. He bought the shelves for me to start my library. Although we don't have enough space to dedicate a whole room to it, it is a start.
Roo wouldn't fall asleep last night. We had to get up early to go to art class and I knew she was going to be a cranky pants this morning. I was correct in my assumption, although she put on a happy face during the class. When she came home, she got into cozy clothes, grabbed a stuffed animal and crawled into bed without saying anything. I let her sleep, I would rather her be rested and do less school than be fighting with her because she is too tired to learn anything.
I've been trying to find my groove with the whole "homeschooling" thing. What curriculum to use? Am I doing enough? Too much? I am sure you know the drill. I waste so much time asking myself these questions, I needed to stop and focus. How will I see the successes if I am constantly looking for the negative. Breathe. On a lighter note, I did get my new print copy of the Elemental Science Biology For The Grammar Stage today. I am so psyched about this, the book is awesome, and saves me a lot of planning time. First off I want to say that I got this REALLY FAST. Seriously, it was shipped to Canada and it arrived today even though I ordered it only a few days ago. I plan on taking the 5 day schedule and combining it into 2 days a week which is an option that is stated in the beginning.  I've written myself a rough copy of my schedule for next year that I can fit this into nicely. I have based my schedule on both WTM and LCC, and I noticed that it seems way more doable that when I was trying to stick strictly to The Well Trained Mind schedules. I know what I want to cover and what books I need, I just need to get a more concrete vision of what the days/weeks will look like. How many hours do I spend searching the WTM forums looking for schedules? The answer is....way too much. I think for some reason that I am going to find a masterpiece schedule that will fit our lives perfectly. Does that even exist?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where did the day go?

So, it is Monday and it was supposed to be a school day. Whoops! I actually started off with the intention of doing school, but it didn't work out that way. We woke up early and went out for breakfast as a family, where Roo decided she wasn't hungry. She went to play at the kids toy table while we ate and took her food to go. Next was library time, we usually go on Mondays now since it is a quieter time. She used to go for story time, but has decided she doesn't really care for the stories that much. She would rather play with the kids while I pick books. Everytime I go, I realize more and more how bad our library is for book variety. I actually went through most of the SOTW ag at home and searched our online library catalogue to see what they had. This also helped to determine what I needed to buy for next year. I can honestly say the library had about 1 in every 15 books I searched:( I've got Amazon wish lists as long as my driveway, now to win the lottery. Back to our day, after library time I wanted to check out the local teacher/education supply store. I was able to pick up the exact bulletin board calendar/weather set that I saw online which was awesome.

The calendar pieces

I also got her fake money, and venus fly trap set to grow which should be fun. We then went on a search for cheap book shelves because I needed several more due to the increased amount of books piles growing around the apartment. We ended up finding some in the last place we looked, of course. Two nice ones, on sale and bigger than the one we already had. Some minor errands finished our outing, and it was now 3:00. When we got back, hubby started to build the shelves and Roo and I sorted and pieced together the calendar. We had to use two spots to hang it because we are short on space here but it does the job. Next task stacking books in appropriate piles and moving things to make room for the new shelves. We ended up with 3 book shelves in a row in our living room/dining room. A little cramped but I am pleased with the outcome. By the end of all that it was 6 and we were hungry. I cooked dinner, we ate at 7 and by that time Roo was getting super dancy and talkative. This is usually a sign of over tiredness so we got changed into our pjs, got her something else to eat (because of course she never eats what I make) and then to bed. The day just escaped, but we are back on track for tomorrow.

The middle one Roo declared was hers, so she stacked her books and toys on it;)

Today I also received in the mail, my long awaited Getting Started with Latin by WIlliam E. Linney. Lesson one completed, nauta  meaning sailor. I am glad the lessons are short and build on previous lessons for reinforcement. I definitely will make time to work through these daily. I get my head start on her Song School Latin for next year. Let's hope my brains retains as much as it used to.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Report: 1-5 February

This week was productive. I think we achieved a fair amount although she has some math to finish this weekend. We picked up and read lots of library books and also discovered that the hold system for our library isn't very good.  It was sunny but cold this week, but I like winter. Feel free to boo me on that, but I find something extremely peaceful about the winter time.

Phonics (OPGTR ) - We have finished up to lesson 95 in section 10 where she has learned the various sounds for long vowel e. She is by no means fluent yet, but I am seeing growth. The blends are smoother and the sounding out of words seems to flow better (not so robotic sounding iykwim). We picked up some I Read, You Read books that she seems to enjoy. I think she likes the fact that she is able to contribute to the reading of the story.

Spelling (Spelling Workout A ) - We worked on only 1-2 pages of the spelling per day because the work is a little harder now. She tries to spell the word herself without looking at the list words to see if she can do it. Mostly she can, but sometimes a little peeking is needed.

Math (Saxon Math 1 ) - We still are not enjoying Saxon although I have been trying. I did make the decision this week to change it next year though. It just seems to take so long and we never finish all of the homework sheets (insert shame faced smiley here). I know that Saxon is supposed to be completed in full to see the best results, but it is like pulling teeth. I saved some of the homework exercises for this weekend though. She will not like that very much. She learned how to count money this week using dimes and pennies up to $1.00. I think she was proud of that fact and we had to play store for awhile after so she could keep doing it. She also counted to 100 with her eyes closed, she only peeked at 80;)

Looking for clues in her math binder.

Geography (My First Map Book - By Apple Press ) - We worked on how to use a map grid this week. At first she just stared at me with a blank face, but then it clicked. We are almost finished the K book and I have an Evan Moor beginners Geography book to use after. I have to order the next level of the Apple Press book in the next few weeks because she really seems to enjoy them. At the library this week we picked up Minn of the Mississippi as it came highly recommended. Actually all of Hollings books were recommended but this is the first one we are going to read.

Minn of the Mississippi

Handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears ) - We did this 2x this week. There are still some issues with letter placement on lines when she writes. Generally she goes above or below the top and bottom lines and I have to keep on it. I know this will improve over time because I can see the changes since we began. I am just trying to stop any bad habits as I see them. I have terrible penmanship myself and it never has really hindered me though;)

Art (local art school) - This week in Art class she made a jewelry box. It's painted colourfully with her name and lots of jewels on top. As soon as she came home she stuffed all her jewels along with miscellaneous objects including my dry erase marker which I hunted high and low for today. 

Her painted jewelry box completed.

Her spring picture from several weeks ago.

Music - I am still working with technical help to get my MusIQ Homeschool disk to work because it won't install properly.  I am getting a little frustrated with the whole situation though. The seem to be getting into contact with me more frequently which I guess is positive. My fingers are crossed that it will be resolved soon. 

As stated in a lower blog post, I watch the show Hoarders on A&E. It propelled me into a cleanfest last weekend. By cleanfest I mean getting rid of the stuff we don't use and need that is just taking up space. I need to do it again, it felt good. Have you ever come across something in your house that you swear you have never seen before and don't know where it came from? We came across this felt turtle thing on a shelf that none of us have seen before. Roo decided it would make a great hat though.

Mysterious felt turtle thing. Origin Unknown.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Big Bang Theory and the Return of Eddie Munster

Several months ago we had an unfortunate, self inflicted bang accident. The end result was a buzz cut short patch smack dab in the middle of her bangs. For the last several months she has worn hats, headbands and clips to cover the mishap. It has finally reached a point that there is some growth, but due to the location it looks like a point growing down the middle of her forehead. She has opted to grow her bangs out which makes it easier to clip and hide the cut portion. In the meantime though, it is beginning to resemble Eddie Munster. I personally think it's funny, she.....not so much:) 
For the past several days Roo has started something weird. Every word she says or hears, she repeats back but sounds it out while she is doing it. It is like she is trying to break the word down to see if she can figure out the letters used in the word. I take it as a good thing, but it is strange to hear her talking like that.  
On a final note, I watch the show hoarders on A&E and find it addicting. It also makes me sit and think about how stuff we have and how I don't want to end up on that show. Well, today we made progress. We went through every room with clear plastic garbage bags and filled them with stuff to donate. Toys, linens, clothes you name it we bagged it, put it in the car and dropped it off at the Value Village. It felt good and even the small amounts we got rid of today made a noticeable difference. I plan on doing this on a weekly basis to get rid of all of the extra stuff that we just don't need here. It's a freeing feeling.