September 20, 2012

Week Two Wrap-Up

I can't say enough about our new schedule...I just LOVE IT! We start at 11am do four lessons, break for lunch and then do four more lessons ending at 3pm or 4pm depending on the day. What I love most is having the time in the morning to get a lot done before we begin. By that time I have accomplished something or often many things and I am feeling I am ready for the boys. I am prepared to focus on them, be more patient, more relaxed and thus a better teacher and mom. I also LOVE having lunch right in the middle of the lessons to give us all a mental and emotional break. Seems to take the weight off of the day and allows us time to talk during the meal about things we have learned in the lessons. Often as they linger over the meal I read the next lesson while they are eating the last morsels of food. Ahh multi-tasking I love it too!!

This week we have been reading through Daniel. My dh does this over breakfast. We have heard the stories before many times but still I am amazed at Daniel's trust in God up to the last almost fatal moment. I would have cried "unfair!" "Enough!" when the satraps slandered him and plotted to usurp him even to kill him. But Daniel believed God would save him even though he was being thrown into a den of hungry lions. Amazing. How far would you let God seemingly ruin your life before you stopped trusting He is good enough to save you?

First lesson of the day is reading from Buchko. I read about two chapters before the 30 minutes for the lesson is up and we are moving along to math. (I changed the order of our lesson this week to to coincide better with my planner.) We are loving to hear how Bruce is telling the stone aged indians about the gospel. How he puts it into terms and ideas the indians can understand. I simply love the idea of tying my hammock into God and getting in with both feet. This is more challenging then it seems when you realize the Motilone indians he is speaking to sleep in hammocks 25 feet off the ground. Yikes! That takes a bit of trust to tie in way up there. It is also a way they invite you to be part of them. If a girl likes a boy she ties her hammock next to his and they are then officially married. Hearing ideas we know so well put into new terms makes it more clear to us. The boys all heartily agreed tying their hammocks  into God is a wonderful idea!

We are having a lot of fun with the skip counting songs in math. We moved on to the X3 and X4 songs this week. The X4 song is a country western tune which really resonates with my bluegrass heart. Yippe i kie aaaay we skip count every day! In addition I introduced the boys to Sal from Khan Academy. (Thanks Debbie for the pointer) He has been explaining to them about what Multiplication is and what a multiplication table is. Then we made our own tables this week. Max especially liked it. We played An old style version of Multiplication Bingo that I found at the Goodwill this summer for our game-activity-fun day.

After Math we are reading from the Story of the Greeks and preparing for our Saturday Scrapbook day. The boys want to scrapbook about the Greek Olympics. So we will be working on that theme for a few weeks. We did get our books started last Saturday, see Max's inside cover and title page below.

We are using a basic wire bound sketch book for our scrapbook. The map on the cover came from Homeschool in the woods packet of old world maps. The title page is from Notebooking Pages packet of Ancient Times pages. On the other cover of the book we plan to add the old world style map for Ancient Rome. Thus the book will open left to right for Ancient Greece and right to left for Ancient Rome. Somewhere in the middle they will meet. We did more this week preparing things for the pages on the olympics but the boys wanted me to wait to show you it all when they have it done. So I will let it remain a mystery until then.

Also last week on our 6th day/fun day we did our first nature notebook entry. Using Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Leslie Walker I introduced the boys to the scientific aspect of nature hikes/walks...recording your observations. Following Clare's advice from Chapter 2 "Beginning Your Journal" we entered our daily observations. There are eight of them noted on page 22:
  1. Name
  2. Date
  3. Place
  4. Time
  5. Weather
  6. First Impressions
  7. Wind direction
  8. Cloud Patterns
Then we drew something we loved:

Before we do an entry I read a little from her book that I think would help them form an idea about what a nature journal can be or  something that would inspire them. I love this quote form the book (Zak did too!)

"Think of a nature journal as a treasure hunt. Ask yourself, "what's out there beyond  the doorstep? What treasures will I find?" You will be amazed when you actually get outside at all the things there are to draw or write about." - Clare Walker Leslie

Following a reading from the Stories from Ancient Greece we  continue our reading through the Burgess Bird Book. We have met the fly catchers and the woodpeckers, the cow bird and many other friends of Peter Rabbit in the Old Orchard. There happens to be copious resources to go along with this book, but here are three of my favorite ones:

Audio version
Free Printables that go well with the stories
Burgess Book Companion Web site

I am however going to keep our reading simple and just read and look up birds in resources books I mentioned last week. Having said that I did decide to add one more resource, The Handbook of Nature Study. It was a DUH! moment when I realized I had the text on my shelf and the questions Max was asking could easily be answered by reading there. SO we are reading more from that book next week.

Lunch Break!!!

After eating is a Language Arts lesson or two. We have been working through a dictation lesson this week from Primary Language Lessons. The word SQUIRRELS was hard for the boys to master so we wrote the word over many times and did dictation a few days in a row on the same sentence until they got it! Boy were they proud! In the same book, PLL, we did an short lesson on when to use "is" or "are." They also wrote a short story about squirrels using "is" and "are" in their composition notebooks (which we picked up at Walmart for cheap). Take a look...

I recommend getting the teacher's edition to supplement the student text of PLL as it has some wonderful ideas for how to implement and further use the lessons. When it sugested writing a story or drawing a picture about squirrels I knew that would be  good switch from dictation. It also allowed them to use the word they had mastered their own way. I addition to the teacher's guide, I recommend either Living books curriculum layout workbook or Cynce's because it makes doing the lessons so much easier having places already set out to write your answers.

Here is Max's drawing from the poem "If I knew" (Where the box where the smiles were kept)

I enjoyed hearing the boys read out loud to me from Elson Reader book Three and narrate the story this week. They chose to go through this series last year and they still love it. I love it too, as the stories they read to me are good ones and though not modern they have timeless values woven into them which is refreshing. So I have them read two or three pages for me this fall. We were reading 5 to 7 this summer from Peter and Polly in Summer, but the words in these short stories are bigger, and more challenging to sound out. I don't want to tire them out, I want them to practice, so we read what they can get done in about 15-20 minutes. So far it has worked out very well. The truth be told...I don't know if I could do much more than that. Listening to three emerging readers for one hour is about my limit too!

To complete L.A. for the day we have one more lesson. Just before bed we are reading  The Wind in the Willows. Oh how I love this book! It is chocolate to the ears. To supplement my own readings I also play an audio version of the  chapters I have already read. (They just can't get enough) The audio version we have I picked up a garage sale for next to nothing. It is part of a set called The Children's Classic Library. It includes more than Wind in the Willows, it also contains  40 other classic stories like Treasure Island, Pinocchio and Heidi. I love that they are unabridged and dramatized. Gives my throat a break and they get their fill of good literature. Win win!

Onto Lain! We have made some good progress with our dialogue "meet the family" in the Minimus  Latin curriculum we are using this year. We must have listened to the dialogue about 7 times before the boys were able to read it all the way through making no mistakes and understanding the dialogue. Each time we listened to the dialogue more details became clear. Then each one was given a chance to read it out loud while the others listened. Once that was complete, we took about half of the vocab words at a time and wrote them onto 3 X 5 cards. The latin they wrote on the front and a picture of the word or the english word on the back. These flash cards that they are making for themselves was an idea from the teacher's manual. Take a look at Max's card for Feles (cat).

Once they had completed all of the vocab words we played a sort of spelling bee type of game to reinforce them. They stood up together in a line and I gave them first the latin and they gave me the english, then I gave them the english and they would give me the latin. If they failed at a word they sat down and the last one standing was the winner. We played several times and all won in the end. Today (Thursday) we translated a birthday invitation which was found at Vindolanda in an excavation.

You know a boy loves a book when he puts his legos aside just to listen. Well that is what they do when I bring out The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky by Opal Wheeler. Zak said, "I just love that horse boy."

Our look at Paul Klee this week has resulted in some fun drawings and paintings of cats.

Tj is painting a 'the cat head' based upon the coloring page we did last week called "The Head of Man."

Here is Max working on his 'cat head.' We began the drawing by tracing a bowl form the kitchen. Having the circle thus define the space made the rest of the drawing/painting a piece of cake.

We then morphed from "The Head of Man" to "The Cat head" to Klee's "Cat and Bird". There is a great site we used to guide in drawing this. You can check it out here.

Can you find their signature in the drawing? We used oil pastels to color these.

Zak said this is chocolate cat! And so it is.  I hope it is a chocolate ice cream cat!

That is all for this week. I hope you are having a good one too.