Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012

Well we are finished with school for today and we have eaten lunch and the boys are playing outside.  It is a beautiful, sunny day here and the temp is around 55 degrees or so.  I'm sure it feels even warmer in the sun.

Yesterday we decided to take a day off of school so we had a free day.  We traded it with Friday this week because we are not having co-op this week so Friday was free.  It was nice to have a break mid-week and we all came back at it today refreshed.

Yesterday I was sitting in the living room and I kept wondering why I was smelling smoke so strongly.  We had made a fire in our fireplace the night before for the first time (it was lovely and we need to do that more often) and I kept thinking I was smelling the results of that.  Finally, I happened to glance outside and noticed smoke wafting past our house.  I got up and looked next door and saw a large plume of smoke coming up from a huge pile of trees that had been knocked down and piled on the other side of the lot when they started building a new house.  I didn't see anyone around so I decided to put on my shoes and coat and walk over there to see what was going on.  Nick went with me and we found that, sure enough, the huge pile of trees were on fire and nobody was around.  We came back and told the husband and he called 911 to report it.  Not long after there were several smaller red trucks (not true fire trucks) with tanks in the back bed that came to put it out and watch it for a while.  I guess they save the big trucks for the big jobs.  It was not a very big fire yet but it was really smoking and it took quite a bit of water to put it out.  The boys really enjoyed the whole thing.

I am so far behind on posting pictures that I don't even know where to start.  I will put in a few here though.

 This (above) is what happens when boys get a hold of the camera:).

 Here is our house, decorated for Christmas.

 The dad was helping the boys make their gingerbread house.

 We made a big batch of Christmas cookies that were quite yummy.

 I was out Christmas shopping on this day, I think.  They set the camera up on a tripod.

 This was taken just before we took the Christmas tree down, which we did quite early this year.  I was ready for the house to get back to normal.

 Here is Tinkerbell.  She is really getting big these days and a bit chubby too.  This is how she looks when she is getting ready to attack something.

 Here is one of my beautiful nieces, having a treat with the boys.

 This is a salt map we made, while learning names of various landforms.  It has taken it about a week to dry completely.  We should be able to paint it soon.  This was a very fun project for the whole family.

 An after dinner dessert for two goofy boys.

Here the boys are doing a science experiment with the dad. We are studying the human body right now so the dad (being a dr.) enjoys joining in for the experiments.  Here the boys are blowing into the tube, which forces water out of the 2 liter bottle, showing how much air they can hold in their lungs.  They did this twice; once with a regular breath and once with a great, big breath so they could see the difference in how much their lungs hold.  It was a fun project and we all joined in and tried it.

This is how we make our daily schedule.  The laminated cards have velcro on the back to attach them to the strap.  There is a pocket at the bottom to hold the cards.  The boys and I decide what order we will do our subjects each day and we put the cards on the strap in that order (click on the picture to see a larger version).  As we finish a subject, they take turns taking the card off the strap and putting it into the pocket.  This is really working out very well for us and the boys are quickly getting use to the additional workload.  We are normally done by noon, except on Tuesdays when we have to go to violin lessons in the mornings.

That's it for today as we have to get ready to go to swim lessons.  Hope you are having a great day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012

We had a great day with school today.  We have added almost every subject now for 1st grade.  We did Science today for the first time and the boys really enjoyed it.  We are studying the human body and this week they are learning about cells, blood vessels, veins, arteries, and organs.  They loved it.  We will do an experiment on Friday (we are schooling Friday this week because we missed Monday).  Tomorrow is a history day and we have two history projects to do.  We will likely do one of them on Saturday, along with our first art project.  I know they will really enjoy that.

They are doing really well with their narrating.  I am astounded at how much they remember about what we read and they are really good at forming their responses in complete sentences.  Currently I ask them questions about the passage I read aloud so I am walking them through how to narrate a paragraph or short story.  Eventually, they will be able to do it without the questions from me.

I had better sign off, as it is much too late and I have teacher, mom, wife, housekeeper, cook, daughter, sister, etc. duties tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 1, 2012

There was a discussion on a forum I visit regularly about plans for 1st grade.  This is something I have been working on for a while.  The boys are older K'ers so they are currently doing 1st grade level work in the three R's.  Currently I am trying to work through (and test out) the best way to add subjects to our day with the most excitement and the least resistance (more school and less play is not always met with a cheer at this house:).

Currently we are doing the following:
-- I read aloud for probably at least 30 minutes (they always beg for more). Our current read aloud book is Little Pilgram's Progress and it is awesome.
-- Leading Little Ones to God devotion and scripture memory (one verse per week)
-- Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading: we have maybe 1 to 2 months left to finish the book. Once we are finished, I will replaced this with All About Spelling Level 1.
-- Math Mammoth 1A: We have recently started this, after spending the first semester using Right Start A and Singapore Math 1A. They did not work out for us, for various reasons but MM seems like it is going to work out well for us (at least so far). We also use some of Miquon for extra practice or a different approach to a type of problem.  For now, I am having them do 2 pages of MM a day, although they could probably do 3 because it is pretty easy for them right now, since we started back at the beginning.
-- Hand Writing without Tears Cursive / Reading: One child does a page of cursive work while the other reads aloud to me from a 4th grade Pathway Reader and then they switch. One child is stronger at writing and the other is stronger at reading so this actually works out very well for us.  The boys had already finished HWT K and 1st books this school year.  After doing some research, I decided to move them on to cursive, although they will still practice their printing with our writing program, for now.

The way we have been doing school, they are finished at this point. We usually start around 9:00 or 10:00 and they normally have snack time at the beginning of school, during our reading. The work above normally takes about 1.5 hours, although it would be closer to 2 hours if they were doing math that was more their level. Since we started at the beginning of MM 1A, it is pretty quick right now. We are schooling Monday through Thursday and go to co-op on most Fridays for P.E., choir and general play time with others. We read aloud from their Bible at bedtime and they each pick a book for us (my dh or I) to read aloud at that time also.  They are also in swimming and soccer once a week, although they will finish swim lessons in May.  Ben is still taking violin lessons so he has violin practice some days (should be every day but we are not quite that good:).  Nick would like to take piano lessons and will hopefully be able to start sometime soon-ish.

Below are the subjects we will be adding for 1st grade.  We have done a few lessons of each so I could get a feel for them:
First Language Lessons 1:  Poetry memorization, learning parts of speech and narration.
Writing With Ease 1: Copy work leading to dictation and narration.
All About Spelling 1:  We have done a lot of this but, in retrospect, I probably went through it too fast so we will start from the beginning and go through it more thoroughly.
Tapestry of Grace Year 1:  Currently studying about ancient Egypt and what it was like when Moses was growing up.  We do related read alouds, geography map work and vocab work and some type of craft project.
Noeo Biology:  These bottom two are the ones we have not done yet, although we will start science tomorrow.  I have looked through it and we will be doing read alouds from interesting books and experiments.  I have to determine where we should start since the author assumes it will be taught starting in the fall and part of the work needs to be done in the spring.
Usborne Art Treasury:  I bought all of the art supplies yesterday.  Nick is especially excited about this.

We will still school Mon through Thur, year round, taking off time as needed. For K, we have normally started school around 9:00ish or 10:00ish, depending on the day, and we are finished within 1.5 to 2 hours. When we add these new subjects, I plan to start earlier.   I will read the fun read aloud while they are eating breakfast. I think the rest of it may look like this:

Math Mammoth
All About Spelling
First Language Lessons
Writing With Ease

Snack/Play Break

Leading Little Ones to God + scripture memory
HWT Cursive/Reading

Lunch and Play Break

After lunch, we will do Tapestry Of Grace Geography or a craft/project on Mondays and Wednesdays and a Science experiment on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The boys will have time to play for a while and then we will have our quiet time, during which they will do some independent reading for 15 to 30 minutes.  Art will probably be on Saturdays or we may fit it in during the weeks we don't have a science experiment.

In addition, Ben has to practice his violin each day and Nick will (hopefully) soon have piano practice. Both boys play soccer and take swim lessons once a week.

Well, that's it!  That's the plan.  Of course, the actual and the plan do not always line up exactly so we will see how this works out.  Prayers are always appreciated!