Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Will Today be the Day?

I put money aside during the most extravagant spending season of the year to be able to purchase next year's curriculum (3rd grade) and I'm able to tap my foot right off my leg in anticipation!

Will today be the day the box comes from Rainbow Resource? Will today be the day that Primary Language Lessons comes in from a private sale? Will today be the day that I can flip through Horizons Preschool and Living Learning Chemistry?

Will today be the day? I hope so, our week off from lessons is halfway over...


Monday, January 28, 2008

Tagged Twice!

Ack! I've been tagged twice. Lol, at least I can use the same list of 5 people!

First is Apollo's Academy's Book Meme

1. Pick up the nearest book (af at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, p.123

"What a child or grown-up person can tell, that we may be sure he knows, and what he cannot tell, he does not know. Let us give our children a variety of books to narrate. Some books I have actually had to put aside as they did not foster any narration."

And the second tag/award! Blogging With Purpose


1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.

2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.

3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.

4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site.

The worst part of this is that someone awarded me with it and I can't find the original email! It must be somewhere in my comments...I'll keep looking because it was such an honor.

The beautiful five I'm tagging are both the Book Meme and Blogging With Purpose Award are:

1. Lisa, who is forever inspiring and encouraging.

2. Jennefer, who is faithfully determined to be the best mom she can be.

3. Darcy, who spreads God's love with her laughter and talent.

4. Christy, for being a ever glowing light

5. Dawn K, who lives her purpose everyday


Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Planned Week Off

We're taking this coming week off from our lessons- sort of. It is an official week off but we're going to be reading the books from TOG2- Week 10 that we didn't last week and Camille will be doing her daily reading and ETC work but that's it.

I have a talk to prepare and article to write both about the practical uses of classical education- I'm a speaker at a homeschool group (for 45 minutes, yikes!) on February 2nd and the same talk (aren't I efficient?) will be my first article for where I've been asked to be Classical homeschooling column contributor. There will be a new article each month, published on the 8th. If you read this blog, I hope you'll check it out.

I have many more books (Preschool, Poetry and more history related) to sell which I'll be listing here and at the WTM Forum and hopefully I'll be able to finish selling by the end of this coming week. I also have to get Unit 2 of Year 2 (TOG) pre-planned. I'll be reading through the objectives and book lists to create an overview for each of the 9 weeks for myself. The weekend before the week, I read the books and look more closely at what we'll be doing and discussing.

The major curriculum of 3rd grade is on its way here, our order has been placed. Pushing the "Place My Order" button gives such a satisfaction! I have a list of manipulatives and add-on purchases that I'm waiting to order until I can get the curriculum in my hands- no reason to spend money where it's not needed, right? I could go crazy ordering science kits and math manipulatives but I want to be very selective in what we order.

It's been raining here and poor Jack isn't getting the exercise he's used to. I have a stir-crazy dog. I hope this week will bring Primary Language Lessons by Lingua Mater and our 3rd grade curriculum so I can get acquainted. I really love meeting new curricula, especially ones I've researched and mulled over for a long time.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Weekly Report, TOG2 Week 10

The title is deceiving because we haven't used TOG this week. I decided we needed to take a week and get acclimated to using ETC and focus on language arts. This week all we've done is

Bible (read aloud and answer questions, pray)
LA workbook: work on using commas
ETC: work on present/past tense with -ed and then a lesson on -all, -alk
SWO C: worked through a lesson this week
Reading: Black Beauty, Stepping Stones Classic (IR), The Door in the Wall (RA)
Math: lessons 70-74 in Horizons 2
Poetry Memorization: The Night by Myra Cohn Livingston

That's all. We just finished The Door in the Wall last night, Camille said it is her favorite read-aloud!

We are not a history-driven homeschool, we are a language arts driven homeschool and focusing only on LA allowed me to see that this week. History and science are just other areas for LA instruction with interesting content.

Once Primary Language Lessons by Lingua Mater gets here, our LA will be:
- PLL, with maybe 1 day of workbook exercises for reinforcement
- Reading/Poetry

This year I've been very confused with what to do with language arts in 1-3 grades, I pray that I'm finally getting ahold of it. There are a few things I would do differently and will do with Danny.
- Focus on phonics/reading only until child is at 3rd grade reading level- which means K-1st is for phonics & handwriting, oral narrations only
- 2nd grade will be our starting point for spelling and gentle grammar (like PLL) and start written narrations


Thursday, January 24, 2008

LA Daze

My house is a mess, why? Because I have piles of stuff I've pulled to sell. If I don't sell this stuff by Janurary 28th, I've resolved to donate to the public library and It will cost money to send stuff to Book Samaritan but I think in the long run, that will help other homeschoolers.

Okay, we are 90% sure we're moving in June to another church in Georgia. So I'm purging, clearning and trying to downsize all that but dh is a pack rat and won't allow me to touch anything he deems important.

Language Arts is MESSING WITH MY HEAD. I keep yelling, "SERENITY NOW!" but nothing comes. Lol. Where First Language Lessons was stagnant for us, Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl seems to be perfect for us.

Primary Language Lessons contains:

Good literature. Emma Serl makes liberal use of writings by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Samuel Taylor Coleridge as well as fables, folklore and maxims.

Famed artwork. Using reproductions of prominent paintings, Miss Serl trains children in observation and discussion. A unique approach to teaching oral language skills, it helps train children in art appreciation as well.

Comprehensive lessons and drills in the things parents want their children to master. The exercises here cover proper English usage, composition, punctuation, memorization, speaking, letter writing, dictation, reading and etiquette in writing.

Honestly, I haven't read anything negative about Primary or Intermediate Language Lessons. I didn't look at these closely when I chose First Language Lessons because I was WTM brainwashed- been that is fine. Primary LL is for 2nd-3rd grade, which is probably another reason I didn't look at it closely for 1st grade.

I think I have the path laid out with integrating PLL and ILL:

3rd - finish ETC books; Writing Tales 1; Spelling Workout C/D; Primary Language Lessons
4th - Writing Tales 2; Spelling Workout D/E; Intermediate Language Lessons
5th - Classical Writing: Poetry for Beginners; SWO E/F; Intermediate Language Lessons; Junior Analytical Grammar

6th: CC: Chreia; Critical Thinking Books 1&2 *or* Art of the Argument; SWO F/G
7th: CC: Maxim; Traditional Logic I & II; Analytical Grammar; SWO G/H
8th: CC Refutation/Confirmation, Common Topic; Traditional II or Material Logic; Analytical Grammar; Vocab from Classic Roots A/B
9th: CC Encomium/Invective/Comparison; Material Logic or Classical Rhetoric; Analytical Grammar; Vocab from Classic Roots C/D/E
10th: CC Characterization and Description, Thesis/Law; Classical Rhetoric with Aristotle; AG's High School Review

CC is Classical Composition

*A veteran with extensive logic experience told me that Traditional Logic I should be done before doing Refutation/Confirmation.

Where we're headed makes even the curricula decision in 1-4 important, the foundation is vital.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Curriculum for Sale!

You have to register at the Well-Trained Mind boards but here's the direct links to all that I'm selling.

French Items

Middle Ages books

Homeschooling books, teaching books and parenting books

Help me clear out the clutter!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CrAzY from Clutter

What saps me more than anything? Clutter and disorganization- yet I am guilty of both. You should see my desk from which I am typing right now, with the one little clear space that just fits my coffee cup. I've got Wedgits Design cards in front of me, a remote I took away from Danny, printouts from BookMooch of books I needed to mail off, The Art of Teaching by Gilbert Highet, some contraption that is a compass and magnifying glass thing-a-bobber. Yesterday's math test that I forgot to grade because dh wanted to go out to eat last night.

Danny has more toys than places I can stick them, Camille's room has been taken over by books because she has 3 full size bookshelves in there plus the Playmobil castle the kids' got for Christmas and her crafts. If you think a 7 year old is consistent in keeping her floor clear of clothes and shoes-think again!

The problem is I'm in charge of too many things, paying bills, laundry, homeschooling, my children's clutter, my dh's clutter and my clutter. Who causes the most clutter? Yep, that would be me. I'm constantly being pulled in so many directions so I leave catalogs, mail, books, things I've taken away from Jack (our pup) and Danny and other stuff laying around the house in so many places because where things are left is where someone called out, "Mom! I need you RIGHT now!"

I have 4 junk drawers in our house and the worst part is when I get it in my head I have to put something in a safe place- that safe place wherever it is, is never found again. If I had time to draw myself a map, I would! So what's the real problem? Self-discipline. I really despise that word, because in spite of my best efforts it means I still have MORE work to do on myself. Plus, I've had a condition called homeschool-itis, where when you are out in the world and see a book for $1.00 about any subject you are studying, you justify the purchase by saying, this book is nice and CHEAP. I have raided Goodwill numerous times over the last 2 years and gotten plenty of books. These books have to be housed and read and if you're me- organized.

Since deciding to go with TOG, I now have a purpose in my book aquisition adventure instead of just buying because it is a deal. Science, music, art and children's literature, these area the areas that I allow myself a little more freedom but the children's literature is always carefully considered. Will using the library for this book be easier? Most of the time the answer is yes. The only time it is not is when the library does not carry the desired title at all. Those I must buy.

Right now, I'm purging books and it is in the air we might move this June. The possibility is stronger this year than last and if we don't move this June it will be June of '09. I have 96 books so far that I have identified that I need to let go and there are more... not to mention the 100+ books I have listed at BookMooch which are stored in my closet. Our homeschool supplies are in bad shape too. I have stuff that I'm holding on to because we MIGHT use/need them in the future. Right Start Math games is one of them, it is an awesome product but we're not using it. Craft supplies is another area, it seems that when we need something I will go to the store faster than searching through what I already have.

If I am viligant about purging, that will only create more clutter- clutter that is meant to be lessened until the clutter is hauled away. What to do? JUST DO IT.

Okay, another area of crazy....

What to do with it? I think I'm going to send any educational items to with a few exceptions that I want to sell, like the Right Start Math Games. I'm lightening our load of french items too. Tapes that I've bought at library sales...parenting and homeschooling books that I've either not read or have read and I'm done with. Yep, this makes me CrAzY!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekly Report- TOG2, week 9

We've had a good week, very good!

StoryKeepers DVDs are a hit, but Camille wants to keep watching the 'next' one to know what is going to happen. I'm switching back to using Explorer's Beginnings II as our daily Bible lesson so the kids can fully enjoy the StoryKeepers on their own.

We're making progress! Camille is reading Black Beauty (Stepping Stones, chapter book) and she's getting comfortable with books that have smaller words and less space in-between the lines. Just this alone has been a hurdle! She read and loved The Magic Finger but I couldn't get her to read any other Dahl book because of the format. We are 3 chapters from finishing The Door in the Wall and I'm not sure yet what we'll read aloud next. The Door in the Wall has been a challenge reading aloud but very rewarding.

It has been a light week of reading, coloring and mapwork. But it's been GOOD. The lower grammar selections are really working for us and dh is completely on-board about buying history books instead of using the library. United Streaming was a great help this week, we watched Animated Heroes- Joan of Arc.

We combined Rainforests and Grasslands this week to compare them, watched a few United Streaming videos.

Our new poem to be memorized is The Night by Myra Cohn Livingston (on the right sidebar with audio), and we discussed what 'lace' pictures on the wall meant. My brilliant little girl said, "there must be lace curtains on the window and the moonlight shines on them to create shadows on the wall," of course I was thinking that the moon shines through the trees and that's what the child in the poem thinks looks like lace but no, my daughter is becoming smarter than me.

We're spending much more time doing language arts than any other subject during the day, really reading and poetry fall under this category too. I'm adding Spelling Workout C back into our day if Camille doesn't revolt, I think if she does it in smaller chunks, it won't be a big deal to her.

This is what we're doing within a week:
- 2 pages a day of Grammar, Mechanics and Usage Grade 2, the focus right now is commas.
- 1 lesson a week in Explode the Code 5
- 1 page of Comprehension Quickies a week
- 1 book report from How to Report on Books Grades 1-2
- poetry memorization
- daily independent reading & reading aloud, 1 hour approx. a day if you count shared reading, 2 hrs./day
- copywork 1x a week (I'm decreasing this from 2x a week)
- I want to add: SWO C back in and journal writing with SWO's prompts

Camille loves multiplication, Whew! Her math facts have solidified and she has confidence now where before she was easily frustrated. How much time spent doing math is a whole other ballgame but mostly it's my fault for not sticking to my duties.

We visited one of our homeschooling friends this week and it was great- Camille just hopped on a bike and rode without training wheels! This is HUGE, she's been afraid and timid about riding without training wheels and we haven't pushed her. She just hopped on the bike and took off! She spent about 2 hours riding around in circles, lol.

Danny's potty training is going well, he's speaking better too.

I want Danny to have a better start than Camille did so I've been looking at phonics programs and I think I have his PreK and K years figured out.

PreK- Horizons Preschool and tons of reading aloud
K - Sing, Spell, Read & Write K/1 Combo, Galloping the Globe, Horizons Math K, D'Nealian workbook, Leading Little Ones to God

then he will join us in the TOG journey in 1st grade and start TOG1 in lower grammar with Camille in TOG1 Upper Grammar/Dialectic.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Our Memory CDs & How

What is on our Monday & Wednesday memory CD. I've been working on these lately and I had to record a few poems and if I could figure out how to add audio to my blog from my computer I would. I'm creating 2 CDs, one for Mon/Wed and one for Tues/Thurs, each approximately 30 minutes long. This is so Camille can go to her room and I can work with Danny- or at least that is the plan. We will still go over this stuff together in the context of our lessons.

I have Tues/Thurs' CD done but I need to revise it. My 'plan' is to create two CDs per quarter so there will be 8 CDs total a year. Tues/Thurs contains Veritas Press history song, french vocabulary songs, books of the Bible songs, poetry just like this one does and Themes to Remember songs.

Download Audacity for free here, I then Import into iTunes and burn to disc. The part that takes the longest is figuring out what to put on the Cd and what order.

How I Created Our CDs:

1. Figure out what operating system your computer runs on, aka OS system. Download the appropriate Audacity version for your computer.

2. Do you have an internal mic on your computer or external? You may need to purchase an external mic.

3. Open Audacity, hit the red circle button to record. Press the square to stop recording. Preview, if you're happy then Save File As under the FILE menu. I saved mine as .wav files

4. I have iTunes so then I opened iTunes and Import (under FILE menu) the .wav file I had created. I created one .wav file for each poem or track for the CD.

5. In iTunes I created a Playlist and placed the tracks how I wanted the CD to play, when I had all the tracks I wanted, I burned the Playlist to a Music CD-R CD.


Monday, January 14, 2008

They do Yoga and Read!

Danny loves to read, or at least his version! He pulled his entire shelf of books down to enjoy.

and here's my Yoga Kids

Ignore the mess.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hard Decisions

There are times when it is hard to decide what would be purposeful for our children and what would be challenging or just a plain waste of time. I have this dilemma now with history this week. I'm awaiting the arrival of a book that would serve as a spine for this week and I've explored the other two options I have.

In TOG there is a multitude of ways to use it and implement their book selections to fit your child. Camille is teetering between lower grammar (1-3) and upper grammar (4-6) and it is hard for me to know what is appropriate and right for her all the time, each week. I recently discovered that I have already read 2-3 books aloud to her that have been deemed for Dialectic stage (7-9th) and looking back I just don't know why. When I see Upper Grammar and Dialectic- I see students that can read on their own and possibly the books contain more mature themes.

It wasn't my intention to pick books that were harder, the books I chose in the past seemed to be the right book then. I'm not fretting about this but I do consider my mistake now as I'm trying to determine the correct course of action for our week ahead.

If I were to read SOTW as it is outlined in TOG, we'd read chapters 23-27 covering The First Russians, The Ottoman Empire, The Hundred Years' War and the War of the Roses. Those topics would take all the time I'm willing to use for history.

If I were to read The Story of the Middle Ages by Harding, we'd cover Medieval Europe in more detail, much more than what Camille has been given but key points would be addressed and the reading would not be long.

The problem is both of the above options while doable are deemed upper grammar and this is the first time in two years, I don't want to read The Story of the World. The objectives in TOG for this week for lower grammar is to learn about Joan of Arc, learn about the plague, guilds and craftsmen and the impact they made on Medieval Europe. With Camille in mind, taking the lower grammar route seems best.

I can tie our study of the Mongols to the plague and then from there we can read about Joan of Arc with the coloring book by Guiteras or I could read Diane Stanley's book. We can read about the guilds and craftsmen as well as the medicine practices during the plague in The Middle Ages by Mary Quigley. Since I don't have the Medieval World spine I'm waiting for I can use our Usborne World History Encyclopedia and then we'll be able to read Medieval Feast by Aliki and The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop.

I know the right answer, it just feels weird deviating from The Story of the World after reading it all year. I have no problem dismissing The Story of the Middle Ages and even Famous Men of the Middle Ages because we have not been reading them all year. If we had, we would read them now- they are just hard to 'jump' into.

I knew that switching to TOG would mean some changes both in my approach but also in our lesson structure. I'm grateful that I have a path to follow to keep it on Camille's level even though I don't regret what we've done so far either. Although justified, I feel a little weird about this week but I know that this will give me plenty of opportunity to focus on narrations both oral and written. It's going to be an easy-going week for us in history.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weekly Report: TOG2-Week 8

Others have said to me that history shouldn't be the focus in 2nd grade and I've felt guilty for enjoying it so much. I've wondered if I'm doing Camille wrong by allowing history and science to driving forces in our lessons. I'm over it now. History will always drive our homeschool, there is nothing about this world that is not history and frankly I just don't understand when others say that history DOESN'T drive their homeschool.

Through our history lessons, Camille is reading, writing, being creative, critically thinking and gasp- having fun. Through science, we are doing math, reading and writing some more and alas- critically thinking and gasp, again- having fun! BUT that does not mean we're not doing the nuts and bolts of reading, writing and math. We are. Which is why I'm putting Spelling Workout to the side so we can start Explode the Code Book 5 on Monday. I've also lightened Camille's reading by giving her one book to read for as long as she needs to finish it (a chapter a day is working well) and I've downsized the amount I read to her or at least I'm telling myself that.

I didn't go into much detail for last week's weekly report but that was because I just got back home and I've had an overwhelming list of 'things to do' looming overhead. Don't get me wrong the list is still there, it has shortened a little but I've exhaled so I can really make a weekly report. Grin.

Bible: One lesson from Explorer's Bible Study at Youth group this week- discussed being fishers of men and New Year's Resolutions. Watched Raging Waters, a StoryKeeper DVD this week at home and discussed it.

Math: Camille started multiplication this week and she LOVES it. She thinks it's so easy which has been a relief to me. Kudos to Horizons again for making my job easier. She's showing math fact mastery with her addition and subtraction, it's hard to believe I panicked over this just a few months ago!

Grammar & Mechanics: The workbook approach is going well for us, Camille is eagerly doing her work and I feel at ease with the content as well as Camille's retention. Another plus is that it doesn't take long at all, just 10 minutes a day for 2 pages, I'm so proud of her!

Science: We were supposed to do Grasslands this week, but didn't. I might do it tomorrow after church because it really is a short lesson, if not- I'll add it to Rainforest this coming week. Maybe we can do a compare/contrast between the two.

Poetry: "I Heard a Bird Sing" by Oliver Herford is successfully memorized, next up is 'The Night" by Myra Cohn Livingston

Independent Reading: Last week Camille read "Minstrel in the Tower" and this week it is "Frog and Toad Together". She read Frog and Toad All Year Long in first grade but since seeing the play "A Year with Frog and Toad" she's interested in reading the book again. This is the visual learner in her coming out- she saw the play, enjoyed it so much that it translates in enjoying the book. I don't care- she's reading with INFLECTION and ease. I know it's an easy read for her but her confidence is booming and mama is beaming! She's so cute about it, she wrote a list of the chapter headers and she's crossing them off as she reads them- is she MY girl or what?!? Lol.

History: TOG2- Week 8: The Mongols, Marco Polo and the Far East
I'll give you the breakdown of the week so you can see how we're using TOG.

Monday- Samurai
Read SOTW 17.2 about Samurai
Read "How to be a Samurai Warrior" (finished the entire book)
Read "Step Into Ancient Japan" pg. 16-19
Copywork: Chanticleer & The Fox moral lesson
Read Aloud: The Door in the Wall
*We were so entranced by samurai, we just read and talked. I didn't require her to do anything other than the copywork, plus I didn't have a Samurai coloring page with me and we were at my parents' house with no printer.

Tuesday- Mongols & Genghis Khan
Read SOTW 21, p.211-216
SOTW mapwork
Define Chanticleer & the Fox vocabulary
Read Chanticleer & the Fox
Read Marco Polo Overland to China about The Mongol Empire p.22-25
Completed SOTW Sequence of Events activity
Coloring page of Genghis Khan
Read-aloud: The Door in the Wall

Wednesday-Marco Polo
SOTW2, Chapter 22, p. 219-222
SOTW mapwork
Read Famous Men of the Middle Ages-Marco Polo
Read Aloud: The Door in the Wall

day off b/c we just got home Wed. night
Wed.'s lessons were done before we left my parents house.
Read-Aloud: The Door in the Wall

Friday: Marco Polo

Read through Marco Polo Overland to China, smelled Ginger and Cloves
Glanced through Marco Polo: A Journey Through China to familiarize ourselves with the journey
Coloring page of Kublai Khan
Created cookie dough map of Japan
Locate all geography locations on map
Read-Aloud: The Door in the Wall

As a sidenote: I don't know if this is TOO big as a cookie dough map but it's our first and it was time consuming b/c Danny kept eating the M&M's off Japan, not to mention eating some of Japan itself! I tried so hard to get the outline of Japan right and by the time it burnt in the oven- I didn't have the gumption to try and label it with Camille. The mountains turned out nicely I think but I am considering just using clay from now on, possibly colored clay too. Lol.

So far my approach is using one topic a day and I think this is really helping us. I think Camille was getting bored with dragging out one SOTW chapter a week. It might change but we're enjoying it so far, I think she loves the mapwork everyday which is great because I do too. Before you think I'm nuts, The Door in the Wall is a bedtime reading, not during the day.

PS- Danny will be getting back to preschool as soon as I get control over our house again, including putting away Christmas decorations and re-organizing the kids' rooms to house their new Christmas gifts. He has been potty-training which I'll spare you the details but dh thought bribing him to potty was a good idea. I'm so NOT the briber, lol. I will be consistent with the training as long as Danny doesn't buck me completely. It would be nice to have him done before he's 4.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly Report-TOG2, Wk7

I don't have a clue what # week we're on, we started in July '07 and since then we've switched history programs which has increased our year significantly. This weekly report is about TOG's Year 2 Unit 1, Week 7 but before using TOG we were using SOTW so by SOTW's chapters we're in week 19-20. Lol. We do have 29 weeks still to go but again that is because we switched from using SOTW alone to using TOG, TOG covers more in TOG2 than SOTW2 does. Sigh. I guess I'll put the TOG week we're on even though our lesson have been ongoing much longer than where we are in TOG.

We were at my parents' house this week, taking care of my mom after her surgery which did affect our lessons. We didn't do Bible, Exercise or French while we were gone. Spelling Workout is being replaced with Explode the Code.

The week of Dec 31- Jan 4 we studied the High Middle Ages which includes the Crusades and St. Francis, in science we studied Deserts and in poetry, we memorized, "I Heard A Bird Sing". I only took two pictures because my camera batteries where running down and I have a lot to do here at home, now that we're finally back after being gone (Dec. 24-Jan 9th).

In history, we mapped out the first 3 Crusades, talked about how leaders grew more in worldly power and how the Crusades changed medieval society. Camille read "Minstrel in the Tower" aloud and "The Crusades" by Miriam Moses. Camille also created a Coat of Arms this week which she wanted the same design of her tunic above, so it's just a duplicate of the cross and lines. We continued reading about castles per Camille's interest. I read aloud, "A Gift from St. Francis" by Joanna Cole which was about how St. Francis gave us the gift of the Christmas manger scene.

In science we learned about Deserts and this is a picture of our experiment to illustrate how sand dunes are made. We have eliminated reading living books in science outside of books we have at home to shorten our day and our dependency on our unreliable library system. If the library doesn't have the book in house, I'm no longer going to wait 8-10 weeks for a specific title to come in.

In poetry, Camille memorized "I Heard a Bird Sing" by Oliver Herford.

I heard a bird sing,
In the dark of December,
A magical thing,
And sweet to remember.

We are nearer to Spring,
Than we were in September,
I heard a bird sing,
In the dark of December.

We identified the end rhyming words: sing, thing, Spring, sing and December, remember, September, December. She memorized this poem in a week instead of the two weeks I expected it to take so we reviewed all of the poems we have previously memorized in addition to reciting "I Heard a Bird Sing" 3x daily.

It was a good week and very interesting for my mom to witness us in action. I'll post about Week 8 in the next couple of days as we finish our work. I have to go back to my post of "Put this note on my forehead" and figure out what I was thinking before Christmas hit. I know I have some work to do on my end like creating Memory CDs, not to mention taking down OUR Christmas tree and decorations. Can I have a vacation from my vacation? Lol.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Japan Links & Culture Study Ideas
The virtual culture feature here is wonderful, including allowing kids to create a kimono among other items.

Downloads to print and more links

Free pages to print, including projects

I went to World Market today (thank goodness I'm in Charleston!) and picked up a few things to liven up our Japan study b/c we're not at home with all our art supplies. Some of them are from China but since we're studying about Ghengis Khan, Marco Polo and Japan- I picked up chopsticks, a paper lattern, Chinese animal zodiac wall-hanging (look for pictures after next weekend when we'll be at home) and a few other small things.

I found a journal that had a Hinduism god on it and thought that it would be neat to have a journal for each major country we studied. I get ideas like this all the time but the point would to create an India journal and write down all that we learn about India through the years. The same for whatever countries we would pick. I decided that I also want to collect trinkets or inexpensive items that reflect the culture of the countries we'll be studying.

I think that since I'm starting this now in 2nd grade, we'll have fabulous items for future studies. Of course availablity and cost is a factor but I spent $20 today on items we'll see each time we visit Japan & China in our studies.

Anyways, I just decided to share this since I'm the wierd one in my little world that gets excited about this stuff.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm in love.

After two weeks of following Tapestry of Grace's curriculum- I'm in love. The connections are happening, everything is flowing so much smoother than it was when I was using SOTW alone. I'm still using SOTW as our spine but in the TOG framework b/c the Redesigned Years have SOTW scheduled.

I'm not at home so I can't share photos yet but Camille and I created a Crusader's tunic (white pillowcase with a red cross) and this week has been wonderful! We're at my parents' house because my mom had surgery and I'm here taking care of her. Danny is at home with dh and although I miss them terribly, I appreciate this time with Camille and my parents. Jack is having a BLAST with my parents' german shepherd.

I took some Christmas money (both gifted and saved) and bought a good many books from Tapestry with the Share & Save program they have. The Share & Save program allows you to get a percentage back of what you pay them and with my saved up payout I was able to order the Map Aids Year 2 (maps CD) and Homeschool School in the Woods Timeline Figures on CD for free! I'm very thrilled. I can't very well jump up and down here at my parents' house without raising a few eyebrows but I'm really starting to feel like I have it together.

I just have this deep satisfaction about we're our journey is headed with TOG. I can see the road ahead and the studies that are still to be and I'm exhilarated. I'm keeping it simple enough for Camille at this time AND I'm learning tons about what we're studying. The book selections are wonderful and I really can't wait to get home to pour over all the new books that have been delivered.

I'm excited again about history and I love how I can still do 'my' thing within a framework that gives me security and peace of mind. This may sound silly but I feel like a real teacher now. That isn't to say that I treat our lessons as if we're in a schoolroom- I just mean that I feel like I know what I'm doing now more than I have in the past.

We've also got Explode the Code at our house awaiting our arrival. For the time being, we're going to solidify Camille's phonics learning and drop Spelling Workout C for a while. She told me that she wants to enjoy reading but it is hard for her because she has to take the time to understand the words she's reading more so than being able to be in the story. I've read enough books about teaching reading to know we need to stop where we are and work on her phonics and fluency skills.

I told my mom that I finally feel like I have a plan that I won't have to change for a while and that we can just ride the wave until the next school year when there will be new topics and curriculum to explore. I've got my enthusiasm back, full-speed ahead and instead of trying to figure out different ways to do simple things- I've got my head on straight.

I'm in love with Tapestry of Grace, homeschooling in general and I've fallen in love with learning & teaching all over again. We started multiplication in math today and Camille did wonderful! Life is good, God is great and everyone who has been so encouraging to me....THANK YOU! Other homeschoolers have been the best blessing of having this blog and sharing our journey, I've only grown so much because of you.