Sunday, March 27, 2011

i ♥ Faces - A Slice of Life


This week's theme at i heart faces is 'slice of life'.  I took this one last year when our family all went mushroom hunting together.  As we were walking back to the cars, my two girls and two of their younger cousins were walking hand in hand.   I ran ahead of them to snap a few shots as they walked.  I love how Rachel and Shad (on the ends) are deep in conversation.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homeschooling - Week in Review

Another week of the basics.   I'm really hoping little Alex starts sleeping at some point soon, so I can have some energy!  It's funny ... I always thought I wasn't getting any sleep when the other kids were babies, but I had no idea!   He had several nights this week of waking every 20 minutes ... all night long.  I know he will grow out of this at some point, so I'm trying to enjoy him and his babyhood despite the trials.   He had his two month check up this week and weighed 13 pounds ... so he is growing very well.

Sarah moved into a toddler bed last week, and we haven't had a minutes trouble with the transition.  I am amazed.  She actually yells for us to come get her after her nap instead of getting up herself.  I figured with as active as she is, that this would be a terrible transition.  She sure surprised me!  I guess she loves her sleep (just like her Mom)!

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Sarah in her 'big girl' bed with Josiah keeping her company.

We didn't do anything exciting this week.   We are trying to double up on a few weeks of our Sonlight Core (history and read aloud), since we are a little behind.  We didn't start it until our school room was finished last year (which of course, was several weeks later than I thought it would be).  Then, we missed a few weeks at the end of my pregnancy and right after Alex was born.  I want to finish Core 3 this year, so we can move into Core 4 right at the beginning of the school year.  We finished week 22 of our core, and are on week 28 of our school year.   I'm not sure if we can make up the difference, or not.  The history is much easier to double up on than the read alouds!

Here is what we accomplished:

Math - Caleb continued his work in fractions.  Josiah worked with the metric system.  Rachel learned about bar graphs and the value of a dollar this week.  I don't think Jada did any formal math this week.  She did play lots of Skip-bo with me ... which reinforces some basic math skills, right?

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Playing Skip-Bo ... don't mind the mess!

Grammar - Caleb studied adjectives.  Josiah finished his chapter on Nouns and Pronouns.

Reading - Caleb finished his book  George Washington: Young Leader (Childhood of Famous Americans) and started Martha Washington: America's First Lady (The Childhood of Famous Americans Series).   Josiah finished Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books) and began Om-Kas-Toe. He actually read for pleasure this week!!!   He also wanted to tag team read with me during our history readings (I usually read these aloud).  I'm happy that he finally seems to be enjoying reading. Rachel read Henry and Mudge and the Tall Tree House (Ready-to-Read. Level 2) and lots of picture books.

History - We learned about The Articles of Confederation and the writing of the Constitution.

Read-Aloud - We read chapters 12-18 in Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.   The boys both seem to really be enjoying this book.

Science - Caleb learned about the skeletal system.  Josiah and the girls finished the cell chapter.

Writing - The boys both wrote about whether they would prefer to be a star on a losing team or a nobody on a winning team.  Both those the latter.   Caleb wrote a paragraph and Jo only wrote one sentence.  Their actual writing still needs a lot of work ... that will definitely be a focus for both of them next year.

My sister's home town hosts a homeschool week every year.  They have a scavenger hunt where the kids have to go from store to store solving clues.  My sister and her family, my brother and his family, my Mom, and the kids and I all met up on Friday afternoon and did the scavenger hunt together.  It was a little chaotic (we have 14 kids between the 3 of us) but we had a lot of fun!

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My older 5, posing with the tree holding up the roof!

Cousin Chi and Caleb.


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Most of our group right after finishing the scavenger hunt (and right before eating yummy soft pretzels).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Reprieve ...

Because of this ...

I was able to do this ...

Caleb asked me to teach him how to play scrabble.  Alex actually slept long enough for me to teach him and play a game.  Neither of us are very good ... but we had fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

School Planning - When



This time of year is planning time for me!!  One of the first things to decide when you are planning is  when to do school.  Homeschooling allows great flexibility in scheduling.  You can follow the traditional school schedule, school year round, or do anything in between.   In our state, you must school for 180 days, but you can schedule them whenever you want!

We (O.K. ... I ... my kids would prefer to spend their days in frivolous pursuits year round) like to start in July and finish up at the end of May.   This year I am scheduling 5-6 weeks on and one week off.  I will spend the week off planning the upcoming weeks, cleaning the house well, and doing once a month (or six weeks, LOL) cooking.  I'm hoping this will allow me to keep the house running well.

Once I have a general idea of when I want to do school, I go into ical and start scheduling the weeks on and the weeks off.  Each week we are in school, I just number the week on Sunday.   The weeks we are off are left blank.  This year we are starting school July 18th.  We have 5 scheduled weeks off and 2 weeks at Christmas.   We will finish off the last week in May.  That gives us 7 weeks of Summer break.
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If something comes up during the year, we can move our weeks off around.  It's totally flexible.  Hopefully, though, we'll be able to stick to the schedule!  I've planned each of the older kids' birthdays during a week off,  so they'll be able to celebrate with the day off.

How do you plan when you're school year will be?  Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?  Do you follow the traditional school schedule?  School year round?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Game Time!

When we added on a family room last summer, Aaron and I had different visions for the space.  Aaron wanted some place the kids could go to watch TV and play video games (leaving his TV free, LOL).  He also wanted it as a space they could use when they had friends over.  Again, to keep the din away from us.

I, on the other hand, envisioned a space that we could play games together as a family.   I pictured the kids playing games and doing puzzles together on the floor.  I saw us gathered around the coffee table, playing together.  

I think we've been able to work the space so that both of our visions could come to fruition.   After Christmas, we took the kids' Christmas money and bought a TV for the space.   Their Wii is hooked up to it (and through the Wii, netflix instant streaming) along with basic cable.  Aaron's visioned ... accomplished.  

We also moved all the games out here.   We bought an inexpensive shelf, and loaded it with our games. Using this as inspiration, my dad built frames around four game boards.  We used leftover trim from the addition, making it virtually free!  I also, displayed a few games on a shelf above them.  That's what you call decorating on the cheap!

The kids are playing lots of games now.  This could either be because the games are so much more accessible, or it could be because I banned TV and video games during the week.  Either way (and I think we all know which way it is)  our family room is now being used just as I envisioned it.  We still need a coffee table to gather around (and I would love some different furniture ... which isn't going to happen) but I love seeing my kids playing together!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alex at 2 months!

Alex is 2 months old today!  In some ways it seems like he was just born ... and in other ways it feels like an eternity!  

  • He sleeps one 3 hour stretch in his bed.  Then ... he spends the rest of the night in bed with me, nestled in the crook of my arm.  It's the only way he'll sleep (and consequently, the only way I'll sleep).
  • He loves to stare at patterns and sometimes just the wall.


  • He still eats every 2-3 hours.
  • He occasionally will smile!
  • He wears 3-6 month clothes



  • He loves being held - but only by Mom.
  • He talks and coos ... loudly.
  • He's 13 lbs.




How he's grown and changed:
Alex 2 months

Sarah

In honor of recently turning two, I had a mini photo shoot of Sarah.  





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Friday, March 18, 2011

Homeschooling - Week in Review

I'm almost embarrassed to post our week this week, but I want to be fully honest about what goes on around here!  Remembering the bad is as important as remembering the good ... right?!?  We celebrated Sarah's birthday on Sunday, so Alex spent the afternoon being held by others and not sleeping.  This led to a couple of really awful nights with a terrible day in between.  I think he was the grouchiest he's been (which is really saying something).   Consequently, I was quite the slacker this week on the schooling front.

Sarah opening a present from Pa and Nanny.

The weather finally began acting like spring is on the way!  The kids spent a lot of time outside this week.

On Monday, bundling up was still necessary.


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By the middle of the week, spring jackets could be worn (of course if you're Josiah - you can wear short sleeves).

Jada and Rachel peeking in the window.

Caleb continued working on fractions this week.  He learned to multiply and divide them.  He also became very frustrated with them.  He continued struggling with reducing his fractions ... he can reduce them, but he doesn't seem to notice when he needs to.   In grammar he studied adjectives.  He learned about the cardiovascular system in science.   In greek, he finished learning all of the alphabet. We may need a few days of reviewing before he move on.  (Greek is Dad's department, though).   He began reading George Washington: Young Leader (Childhood of Famous Americans).  He had a rough time this week being diligent ... and he's usually my best. 

  
Caleb building a crayon house while he's supposed to be doing grammar.


Josiah learned about mixed numbers and improper fractions this week.  In grammar, he's studied all the different kinds and uses of pronouns.   He's been reading Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books).  

Rachel got up early each day to get her math and phonics done.  Unfortunately, on Thursday she couldn't find her math book (we finally found it Thursday night under the couch).   She also had some corrections, because even though it was review, she didn't read the instructions when doing it herself.  I guess at least she gets an A for initiative!  She also read one of the Frog and Toad books.

Jada had a little excitement while doing her math on Tuesday.  She was sitting next to me on the couch, and suddenly she said, "My tooth fell out."  Sure enough, her tooth just fell right onto her math book.  It must have been really loose!  We also played Sorry and Skip-bo together ... a little bit of applied math.  I don't think she did much else the rest of the week.
   

Together we finished reading about the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the different fighting styles of the British and the colonists.  We read 5 more Chapters in Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.  The girls and Josiah learned about the difference between animal cells and plant cells.  We also had our second Poetry Tea.



And ... a picture of the little guy!  He does sleep ... occasionally.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We all donned green for St. Patrick's day, so I decided a family picture was in order.   Easier said than done!!!






We caught Alex smiling!!

And crying ... which is more the norm.

Monday, March 14, 2011

i ♥ Faces - Sun Flare



This week's i heart faces theme is solar flare.   I took this picture several weeks ago, with the sun coming in the window behind him.   It's the only picture I could find in my archives with solar flare and there's no way I'll get a chance to get out and take any today ... so it will have to do!

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