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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Video Entry

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Okay first of all, I was holding the camera myself. Secondly, Jack, our dog came up to me while I was talking. Oh, I have no excuses. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Being Realistic

A veteran homeschooler told me a year ago, 'you cannot go deeply into everything, you cannot specialize in every subject- you will have to pick or drown.'

Urgh. I hate it when others are right! There's no possible way I can focus on learning French fast and deep enough to teach my children to be bilingual. I know all the arguments of raising children with two languages, the positives and negatives but I'm waving my white flag. I surrender. No more French until after Latin studies.

Another factor is that I do not have the support I thought I would have, not even from Camille, who loves learning French but also wants to learn Italian and Spanish and just flits from one language to the next without a thought! So. French is being put on hold until after Latin. Ideally, I would like Latin to continue until the kids can take the either the National Latin Exam or have the equivalent of high school Latin accomplished. There are too many benefits of studying Latin over other languages.

I've let go of a few other things. I cannot micromanage my kids all the time. It sucks the joy of life right out of me. Character training, although it sounds all wonderful and nice to study, will be done more informally and natural. I do want to use something like Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande at some point unless I find something else more suitable for us.

What is important? Reading, writing, math and curiosity! Service learning, actively being a part of change for the positive. If we're going to focus on those things, other things will have to take seat further down on the list of priorities. I've learned the hard way that although what others do sounds nice, it may just be nice for them. I'm sure my wake-up call hasn't even happened in the fullest yet, Danny will be home next year. Woo boy. Literally, wooo BOY.

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Our Curricula Overview


If you wish to see it full size, click the picture.

Our mapped out curricula/subjects, some things are to be decided.
The curriculum does not dictate our homeschool, these are the tools we're using to accomplish our goals.
Which means just because we use the curriculum, it doesn't mean we're using it exactly the way the curricula creators intended. For example, we tailor Tapestry of Grace for us. Yes, I'm a tweaker.

About the curricula:

Our K-8 Science, see post here

Horizons Preschool: A complete preschool program that incorporates Bible, Math, Phonics, Handwriting, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, arts and crafts, music, story times, field trips, and other exciting learning activities.
This complete curriculum contains 180 lessons within two Student Books, two Teacher's Guides, a Sing Along Music CD, and a Resource Packet, which contains basic flashcards and other manipulatives. See my post about Horizons Preschool
We've used this informally since Danny is attending a Montessori preschool.

The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist
Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum
This book contains poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry Wadsworth, Longfellow, Robert Browning, William Shakespeare, G.K. Chesterton, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost and many others. The poems are divided by stages, Early Years, Grammar Stage, Logic Stage and Rhetoric Stage. Dictation exercises for Grammar through Rhetoric are included as well as addition memorization selections. In the Rhetoric stage poetry discussion questions are included with each poem (answers provided). This is an amazing resource for K-12 in regards to poetry.

Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schooland
This classic devotional book covers all the bases for establishing a strong Christian foundation for your young ones.
Leading Little Ones to God uses simple, conversational language to discuss such matters as the nature of God, sin, salvation, the Christian life, the church, prayer and the Second Coming. This book contains eighty-six sections, each followed by discussion questions, a suggested reading, a hymn, and a prayer. We read the hymn as a poem but Sonlight aligns Sing the Word- A New Commandment CD, I think reading the hymn is enough.

We will follow this up by using Kenneth Taylor's books: The Right Choices; Big Thoughts for Little People.


Galloping the Globe by Loree' Pettit and Dari Mullins, Geography Matters
Word searches, mazes, maps and more…clues, puzzles, and animals galore! What an enchanting way to learn geography – a unit study/discovery learning resource entitled Galloping The Globe. This geography based curriculum is geared towards the K – 4th grade children. It can be used from 1 – 3 years and covers all 7 continents. Incorporating the student notebook approach, Galloping The Globe integrates 8 categories of learning activities: Basic Geography, People/History, Literature, Science, Activities, Internet Sources, and Bible. See more at Geography Matters.

Themes to Remember by Marjorie Persons
I have already posted about this, please read it here.

Sing, Spell, Read & Write
To come when we have the curriculum, possible 2009-2010 school year.

French Songs & Games
Our favorites are Lingua Fun French, Twin Sisters French, French for Children, Hop, Skip & Learn French, Bonjour Les Amis DVDs, and classic children's games using french words like Memory, Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.

Picture Study
This consists of using various children's art books that have the child look at a painting and either do a find/seek for items within the painting or offers questions that make a child look closer at a piece of work. We also have the game Art Memo (from RainbowResource.com) which is the game Memory but with art.

Fables, Fairy Tales and Folklore
Danny's kindergarten year will be filled with stories and we'll read through a few titles throughout the year and possibly into first grade:
  1. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
  2. Favorite Fairy Tales Told Around the World
  3. The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen: A New Translation from the Danish
and other books we have on folklore, American and otherwise.

Dinosaurs
In kindergarten, we'll learn about dinosaurs as Danny's interest takes us. We already have a lot of books, games and activities about dinosaurs that we'll use from a summer study Camille and I did.

Explorer's Bible Study
This is a non-denominational, yet thorough Bible study product, I've written about it here in more detail.

Language Lessons for the Very Young by Sandi Queen
This delightful introduction to the language arts is the answer to what our Charlotte Mason style customers have been asking for! Introduces a student who has mastered the art of learning to read to the skills of picture study, narration, copywork, poetry, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and more - all with a gentle, twaddle free approach. Full-color fine art throughout makes this consumable book for ages 5-9 a delight for the eyes as well as the ears. A varied approach gives the student something different each day, alleviating the boredom that often comes with those repetitive, dry grammar books you'll find elsewhere. Perfect-bound paperback workbook offers 180 daily lessons - one for each day of the schoolyear. See it at Queen Homeschool Supplies *We are not using this as consumable and I am changing some of the exercises to better suit us. The only reason I'm using this is because it is the only product on the market like this for first grade that I know of that fits what I want for my kids.

more curricula information to come...



 

Wordless Wednesday Oct 29

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Taste in Art

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful


Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences . Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque. It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.


People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past. It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots. They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others. Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence. These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful. They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.



Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy


HT: The Thinking Mother

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Saturday's Excursion

We went to a Public Safety Day where the kids met local firefighters, police and other community helpers. We learned about fire safety, emergency procedures and toured different types of emergency vehicles including a mobile communications center. We watched firefighters pry open a wrecked car with the jaws of life and the kids rode an antique fire truck. Then we headed over to a Fall Festival where the kids loved a petting zoo (poor animals) and I was able to talk to some of the major environmental groups in our area such as the marine extension from the University of Georgia, Savannah Tree Foundation, USDA, a few historical sites had booths and a few others. My poor dh had the kids while I asked question after question and only moved on because there were other people around who wanted to chat and the kids and dh were pretty restless. It was a fun day. We have a few more 'Fall Festivals' to attend this year, the kids are really in for a treat.

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In the pictures:
Camille held and petted a snake. Without flinching at all and she wants one, she even wants to feed it live mice. I could barely pick up the snake to hand it to her at the festival but I did it. Proud personal moment.
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Danny and Camille loved the marine extension's area where they let the kids touch whelks, clams and hermit crabs. We were at the table for about 30 minutes.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Such is life

We have three more weeks to go before a two week break. I'm ready for a break and even through we could, we're not because I don't have anything to DO and I'll have Year 3, Unit 2 to plan out during the two week break, not to mention Thanksgiving!

This is called perseverance. We're studying South America during history for the next three weeks and I better muster up the enthusiasm I had seven weeks ago! Nine weeks is a long time but, especially when you're in week 7. I'm one of those types that needs something to do when we take a break because I cannot just. take. a. break. In fact, during our break, Camille will be doing Times Tales with a concentrated effort and reading everyday. I might even have her review her Latin vocabulary so that it stays fresh.

So why am I talking about wanting to take a break when taking a break isn't even really a break? Illusions are nice to have now and again. The idea that we don't have to do something would be nice. I feel very boring right now. Our last weekly report showed that, we did x, y, z and it's all going okay. Blah, blah, blah. Lol. At least I can laugh at myself.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our 4th Grade Science

After much deliberation and prayer, as well as bugging other homeschoolers, we have finally devised a plan for 4th grade science that we are excited about.

Fourth Grade: This year we will explore topics as they interest us as we read The Storybook of Science by Jean Henri Fabre. Topics range from ants to metals.

Milestones in Science by Thames & Kosmos will provide more information and experiments covering the accomplishments of over 140 scientists and civilizations. Great Inventors and Their Inventions by Frank Bachman will supplement.

Nature walks & studies will continue. The little details such as how we will keep a science notebook, whether we will profile the scientists we meet and learn about is still up in the air.




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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week 6 Report

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Wow, six weeks already! The picture is from Camille's first lesson in Draw Squad which is a refreshing change from the guilt I was feeling from not implementing Drawing with Children. She loves it and has been drawing every day on her own.

Explorer's Bible Study: It is official, we're doing this orally. We enjoy it better and we can focus on drawing context clues from the text than writing the answers. We're on Lesson 7 starting next Monday.

Horizons Math: Camille just completed her 2nd test of the year, so we're on Lesson 20. I need to start her with Times Tales.

Prima Latina: This week was a review week, we'll start with nouns next week.

Primary Language Lessons: We're on Lesson 116.

Explode the Code: Lesson 7 of Book 7- one week per lesson is the rate we're working at, 2 pages a day for 4 days a week.

Poetry: Camille is still working on Foreign Lands by Robert Louis Stevenson, she has the first two stanzas memorized and is working on the third. There are five stanzas total.

Tapestry of Grace, Week 6, Year 3 Redesigned: This week we read about the War of 1812, The Star Spangled Banner and we are enjoying our read aloud very much which is Once on this Island. We forgot to make James Madison a president card so we'll do that next week. Starting next week, we're studying South America for next three weeks.

Life Science: This week we studied the circulatory system and listened to our heartbeats with a stethoscope. We made a chart to make sense of blood types A, AB, B and O and who can donate blood for each other. We did not get into the details about positive and negative blood types.

Afternoon Tea- we skipped this week.
Draw Squad- went very well
Needlepoint- we skipped this week
Composer biography- skipped this week, I, Vivaldi just came in so we'll read half of it next week.

Piano lessons are going well, Camille's teacher is back from a 3 week vacation in Italy. We did not officially go on a field trip this week, the kids went to a radio station with dh while he recorded a 30 second advertisement and today (Saturday) we went to a Public Safety Day and then to a Fall Festival held at local horticulture center. Pictures will come in another post.

The American Heritage Girls group in our area is meeting Nov. 4th, so I hope to find out more and get a feel for the group then. I'm currently acquiring more information about other opportunities for the kids, tapping our local resources.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Friday

I've been sort of quiet, I know. I'm researching and today I'm off to explore Goodwill and a few used bookstores. The kids are with dh, an impromptu field trip to the radio station as he records a 30 second advertisement for the church and then lunch out.

I've been developing an overview for our science studies for K-12 and thinking and reading about how best to approach it. There are so many details that I've put off posting about it, not to mention the gathering of resources takes time b/c interlibrary loan is not super quick. I've purchased a few used items b/c I couldn't get them through any other source and I hope to be able to post about it soon and get all my thoughts out. Convoluted as they are, lol.

Our weekly report will be up sometime this weekend with a few pictures. I think the blog is loading slow b/c of all the pictures.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Backyard Observations

There's a danger when you engage your children in nature study, they may want to do it ALL the time! Three different occasions since our Friday nature walk...

Monarch Butterfly
Camille found a monarch butterfly on the ground and brought it to me. The poor thing's wing was broken so I didn't see the harm in allowing her to hold it. I had her put it back on the milkweed plant we have which has bloomed again since the monarch caterpillars left.

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Spider Eggs?
We have a lot of spiders in our yard, Camille noticed there are spider eggs on a handle of their backyard playset. We will be looking at these through the microscope later. The kids have been more in-tune to the spiders in our yard since our nature walk Friday. We suspect these are spider eggs but we are not sure.

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The Mystery Bug
Camille observed this bug yesterday, we spent probably an hour looking through the field guides and observing it. This morning, we found two more underneath the playset, one next to a cocoon which we aren't sure belongs to it.

The one Camille found-
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Different one, at the playset, an empty cocoon...

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We finally found the answer this morning in our field guide, it is a Mantisfly! I kept telling Camille the front of it looked just like a Praying Mantis. We learned about Mantids but not Mantisflies during our invertebrate studies.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Animals in 5th Grade

I've been thinking about what we'll be using next year in 4th grade for science lately and I've been tremendously blessed as all the options that I'm considering are in someway or another on their way to me. A generous fellow homeschooler has allowed me to preview her copy of The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe by Ellen McHenry, I purchased a used copy of God's Design for Chemistry: Properties of Atoms and Molecules for less than half the retail price and I have a few books coming from the library via interlibrary loan so I can have all the options side by side and make a decision about our 4th grade studies.

A friend recently asked me about studying biomes, which is what we'll be doing in 5th grade and as I was providing her links and resources it dawned on me that I didn't know what we were going to do! Before I put that thought off thinking it's too soon to develop a plan for 5th-8th studies, I realized that what we do in 5th and up will determine how I need to approach our studies in 4th and even now in 3rd. I don't want 5th grade to be *BAM*, now you're in 5th grade you need to start doing this and that. I want 4th grade to be the bridge between what we're doing now and what we will be doing. A perfect example is science vocabulary, if I expect Camille to write out 5-10 words and their definitions a week in 5th, I want to start her out with 2-3 words a week now in 3rd or 4th.

I looked at all the major curricula available on the homeschool market. I gave everything a chance and I could not find something that covered animals in a way that would be challenging to us that would hold our interest for an entire year and still allow us to read living books or provide enough hands-on, learning through doing type of approach. I decided that I'd make our own and build all the major different habitats in whatever ways we could. I found the book Habitats by Pamela Hickman at www.christianbook.com for $2.99 and decided that would be our real life application. The only thing left to do was to find a spine to use for the nonfiction information. I also decided that I needed to find a new spine for Danny since when Camille is in 5th, he'll be in 1st and we'll being doing our science together.

Sitting on my shelf from a sale purchase I made last year was Animals Alive! An Ecological Guide to Animal Activities by Dennis Holley. Dennis Holley is a biology teacher for grades 4-12 and has won two prestigious awards for his alternative curriculum used in Animals Alive! On the back of the book the story of a court case where a judge ruled that a girl would not be obligated to dissect a frog is presented with the challenge of whether or not the same lessons can be taught without killing animals.

The author warns that this book was not written to be fully integrated with any other subject area or any specific grade level.

Each chapter of the book addresses a major phylum of animal and presents information about :
-phylum's classification
-diversity and distribution (anatomical characteristics and habitats)
-collection of specimens
-maintenance of specimens
-health and safety issues concerning the specimens

-Teaching Strategies which include:

Observation: Observe and investigate the structure, movement, feeding, behavior/response and reproduction/growth of the specimen
a. Under behavior and response, students will explore geotaxis, thermotaxis, galvanotaxis, phototaxis, magnetotaxis, hydrotaxis, thigmotaxis, chemotaxis, rheotaxis

Ecology: investigating the habitat and surroundings of the animal and discover its place in nature.

Integration: Activities to integrate what the student has learned with writing, fine arts, social studies (history and geography), and societal/environmental issues. Math skills are also used when possible including constructing and analyzing data tables and graphes, measuring, calculating, and problem solving.

Chapter questions, activities and challenges are designed to be used in hands-on experiences in which students are actively involved in scientific investigation. When possible, they follow an inquiry-oriented approach designed to develop the following science process skills:

1.Observing
2. Measuring/Graphing: learn to make, record, and display quantitative information
3. Comparing/Contrasting: will learn to identify distinguishing characteristics among objects or events.
4. Sequencing: will learn to put events in order
5. Prediction: will learn how to propose possible outcomes
6. Experimentation: will learn how to design experiments to test their predictions
7. Analyzing/Reasoning: will learn how to explain the meaning and importance of data gathered or facts given.
8. Drawing Conclusions: will learn to make general statements about particulars.
9. Modeling: will learn to construct physical or mental models.
10. Communication: will develop skills for conveying information in oral, written, or pictorial form.
Holley says that "although some factual background is necessary, try to maximize thinking and minimize memorizing. Let process lead to content when possible. For example, allowing students to first work with live animal (process) and then discussing specific facts about the animal (content) will make the facts more understandable and relevant because students will have seen the animal live, up close, and in action."

A sample chapter, condensed.

Section One: Lower Invertebrates
2. Sponges

I. Classification is presented as Kingdom, Subkingdom, Phylum, and Classes
II. Diversity and distribution
III. General Phylum Characteristics
IV. Specific Class Characteristics
a. Class Calcarea
b. Class Sclerospongiae
c. Class Demonspongiae
d. Class Hexactinellia
V. Importance of Sponges
VI. Collection of Species
VII. Maintenance of Species
VIII. Health and Safety (Teachers, Students, Sponges)
IX. Teaching Activities
X. Habitat
a. Sponge Habitat
b. Sponge Habitat Comparisons
c. Land Sponges
d. Different Forms for Different Folks
e. Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Have students try to put themselves in the sponge's place by having them react orally or in written form to the following questions:
__1. Would you rather be a marine sponge or a freshwater sponge? Why? (Acceptable answer given.)
__2. Would you rather be a sponge with long spicules or one with short spicules? (Acceptable answer given.)
f. Muddy Water=No Sponges
g. Sponge Structure
h. Sponge Size Comparisons
i. Sponge- One or Many?
j. Green Sponges?
k. Sponge Regeneration
l. Sponges Come Together

XI. Feeding
a. Sponge Food
b. How Do Sponges Get Food?
c. Fabulous Filter
d. Is It Food Yet?
e. Attack of the Hungry Encrusters

XII. Reproduction and Development
a. Sponge Reproduction
b. Smoking Sponges
c. Gemmules- Why and Why Not
d. Observe Gemmules

XIII. Integration with other Subject Areas
a. Writing: report in which they explain which sample was the natural sponge and which was synthetic.
b. Fine Arts: Have students paint a picture of a sponge using a natural sponge, or, write a song or poem entitled "I'm Just a Lowly Sponge."
c. Social Studies:
__1. History: Why did it take so long to discover that sponges are animals? (Possible answers provided)
__2. Geography: Where are sponges harvested today? In the past?
d. Societal/Environmental Issues:
__1. Have students respond either orally or in written form to the question, How can studying reaggregation behavior of dissociated sponge cells be useful to humans? (Answer provided.)
__2. Why can sponges be thought of as biological apartment houses (or shopping malls)?
IXX. Release of Specimen.

We're not planning on maintaining a sponge specimen at home but this can be overcome by providing videos and I will be tapping into a few of our local resources like the University's aquarium for help. If we can collect a specimen, it will probably be successful due to the help of professionals. Hopefully I will gain a few professional advisors when I complete a Master Naturalist course next Spring through a local college.

Other likely specimens we will be exploring at home are: Planaria (after discussing it with Carolina Biological Supply), Earthworms, Land or Aquatic Snails, Spiders, Crayfish, Sowbugs or Pillbugs, Ants, Butterfly or Moth, Crickets, Mealworm Beetles, Goldfish or Guppies, Toad or Frog, Green Anole, Tortoise (already have one), Zebra Finches (not recommended in book but we already have them), Rodent (hamster, mice, gerbils). Um, the rodent one is the only one that will have to be carefully considered. Smile.

For supplies, of course we'll need habitats to house the critters for observation. It is my plan to only use animals that can be released back to the wild or in the rodent department, back to its original owner. A compound microscope is needed as well unless the activities involving one are skipped. There are so many components to this curriculum that I don't feel as if I've even scratched the surface of the treasures it holds!

I am ecstatic about using Animals Alive! for our 5th grade year, I think it will be an experience that the kids will remember for a long time. Check out Animals Alive! by Dennis Holley from your library or you can purchase a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week 5 Report

This one is jam-packed with pictures because I'm including our field trip from yesterday (Friday).

Explorer's Bible Study
Studied Genesis 4 this week. Other than the map work, we're going to do this orally. Camille has a lot of writing in her day and I'd rather discuss this anyways. It is going well, although we have had a hiccup about understanding the scripture. Camille had a hard time understanding Genesis 4:11-16 on her own. I've struggled with that, whether she should do it alone, I don't want her to. I feel like it is my job to do this with her. How I'll do both Danny and her will be whole other problem next year.

Horizons Math 3
It's time to get the coin out! I wonder if it's normal for other 3rd graders to be adding up money by writing out 25 + 10 + 10+ 5+ 5+ = 55? Camille has dawdled this week in math, even with the Nobility Record! On the days that she did, we weren't able to do something else and I gave her an extra chore to do in the afternoon.

Prima Latina
We are on the Review Lesson I for Lessons 1-5. I am very happy with how this is going although Camille is having a problem with the prayer. I am so glad I bought the DVDs, I feel like I'm learning alongside Camille instead of teaching her.

Primary Language Lessons
We are doing Primary Language Lessons every day because we will be starting Writing Tales 1 this year. We're up to Lesson 110 now and there are 164 lessons in PLL. We have 54 lessons to go which will take us 13 weeks at 4 lessons a week and that is if we don't skip any. We're not rushing, one lesson a day is fine- rushing would be 2 lessons a day plus Camille would revolt.

Explode the Code 7: Finished Lesson 5 this week.

Poetry: We reviewed all our previous memorized poems from last year and now Camille is working on Foreign Lands by Robert Louis Stevenson. We worked on illustrating it together and Camille has copied the first two stanzas. We have company now in our poetry memorization, a friend's son is memorizing the same poems as Camille and we'll videotape the kids reciting them. He already has the first stanza memorized. Camille is thrilled because she feels like she's memorizing with someone else and it's a contest. We'll see how our little experiment goes.

Tapestry of Grace, Year 3 Week 5
This week we read and learned more about Thomas Jefferson and the Supreme Court. Camille read Marshall the Courthouse Mouse on her own and she would have read A Picture Book about Thomas Jefferson but I misplaced it and I was unable to find it. It's here somewhere... She also made her own moccasins this week which was a HUGE hit. A picture of them is here. Here's her notebook page for the branches of government. I typed and printed out the text and had her piece it together, matching up the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

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Afternoon Tea with Fairy Tales

Camille loves Earl Grey tea and I'm enjoying Vanilla Chai, we didn't use our tea set this week, opting to just have our own mugs of our different teas. We did read two fairy tales this week from our Brothers Grimm collection, The Three Spinners and Cinderella. Camille requested Cinderella thinking it would be like the Disney version, but found out quickly it was not. We are still filling out our chart for elements in a fairy tale as we read.

Drawing With Children is being replaced with Draw Squad because we were not getting it done. I have too many involved subjects and I need this to be easy and enjoyable for both of us. We will start Draw Squad next week.

Needlepoint: Camille worked on her project this week and I think she'll finish it next week and I'll provide a picture. She will be giving it as a gift to her Sunday School teacher. It is a picture of a Bible with the words Holy Bible on it.

Composer Biography: I am condensing our Vivaldi biography and I have I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman on its way so we can read it before the quarter is over. I think we'll work on a timeline of Vivaldi's life and compositions. I'm grateful we have Opal Wheeler biographies to read for the rest of the composers this year. I have seriously considered dropping this from our week and just relying on Tapestry to provide the reading assignments. I'm still considering this.

Independent Reading: Camille is reading The Golden Goose by Dick King-Smith. I've been reading curriculum books. I'll say why in another post coming soon.

Other: Piano is going well, Camille's teacher returns from his 3 week vacation in Italy (so jealous) this coming week. Danny loves his Montessori preschool now and even protested Friday when I said he wasn't going because we were going on a field trip. We have quit soccer for Danny, he's just too tired and uninterested- I'm sure it would have been fine if he wasn't going to preschool but he has a full day there and the soccer was too much.

I am currently trying to figure out which organization would be best for Camille: Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls or Roots and Shoots. I hope to have answer by the next Weekly Report. I've decided against putting the kids in organized sports at this time. Camille wants to make friends above and beyond any interest in playing a sport and it's hard to make friends when there is little social interaction.

Now for our field trip. There are so many pictures but I couldn't leave any out! It was so beautiful and we saw and experienced many things.

We went to the Savannah Ogeechee Canal and walked the trails there. Here is a picture of the many birds' nest inside the nature center there.

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Outside in the butterfly garden

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The one of the left is a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly, the one on the right is a Harris' Checkerspot and we also saw Zebra butterflies but weren't able to take a picture.

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I don't know if the picture on the right is the same butterfly that I somehow took a picture of it flying and landing in the same frame or not. Still an amazing photo even if it is two butterflies.

I love these flowers, so beautiful!

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Now for our spider encounters of the day. Here's a Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver's web, I couldn't take a picture of the spider.
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This is a Golden-Silk spider, it's web when seen in the sunlight looks golden. I finally took good spider pictures! I'm so thrilled. We have seen many of these but they will be gone come the first frost.

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This is a Mabel Orchard Spider. I'm sorry the picture didn't come out but it had an irridescent orange color which caught our eye as we were walking.

Here is one I haven't identified yet. It was red, black and brown with white spots. Maybe a Argiope? I didn't have much luck with photographing it. It was different from the other spiders we've seen though.

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Now for general pictures of our walk. The trail bordered the canal so there were areas that were flooded and we had to carefully try not to walk in the water which was about 30 inches deep.

Camille wanted me to take a picture of this River Birch

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And now for observing and feeding the Gopher Tortoises, the kids had so much fun! The lady on site was very kind to use and made our day by talking to me and allowing the kids to feed the tortoises.

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