Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

It has been such a long time since I WW'ed, and I have a picture that didn't make it to our weekly summary, so I decided to put it here. We were having a picnic after disembarking the Mayflower II. After our picnic, we walked over to peek at Plymouth Rock, however, the whole pavillion thingy it sits under is under construction, and either the rock isn't there or it is hiding under a couple sheets of plywood. So we went into the gift shop, me yelling to the boys as they sprint ahead of me, "I am NOT BUYING ANYTHING!"
We walked out with something I wanted -- Made for Trade board game by aristoplay. Ben and I have enjoyed playing it. He likes to beat me when we play games involving any sort of currency. It is shillings in this game.
..So much for wordless....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weeks 32 through 33

We've been field trippin' of the past couple weeks. Last week we did THREE trips: the local planetarium for a wonderful 2 hour homeschool program on the Spring Sky. The boys made a model of the big dipper and we viewed the spring stars at the sky show:

Can you see the big dipper?

How about now?

Daddy had a 3+ day course to attend in New York, so instead of staying home alone, two days later we motored to Massachusetts to see Grandma and visit the Mayflower II and Plimouth Plantation!

[Pathetic moment alert, brought to you by my hormones, I'm sure: I cried as we watched the introductory film to Plimouth Plantation. Not about the film itself, but about actually BEING at this place FINALLY in our homeschooling journey. The film itself just introduces visitors to the facility, explains the premise (real Natives at the Wampanoag site and actors portraying the lifestyles of those pilgrims/ settlers who came in the 1630s). The film encourages visitors to ask questions.

At the end, I tried to hold back tears as I explain to my mostly shy crew of boys, "Now, guys, be sure to ask questions if you don't understand anything or if you want to know something about what life was like back then. And, if you are a little scared, let me know and I'll help you." But, I'm crying because in my head I'm thinking, "THIS is what I've been waiting for for 6 years, since I first agreed to homeschool Ben and our children. I've been waiting to take advantage of all that New England has to offer in terms of learning opportunities for our kids.... and it is finally here!" It was a mom moment. Well, maybe not for most moms, but for THIS mom, it just made me thankful for where we are today in our homeschooling journey.]

We also saw our local homeschool Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing. It was wonderful. And the boys really enjoyed it. They laughed at Dogberry, who was a very talented comic relief, as was his sidekick. But, they were sad that Benedict didn't get to fight Claudio. "Too much love in it. Not enough fighting." Boys will be boys!

In other subjects, we are progressing, though I must admit our history lessons are being sidetracked right now. Ben is set to finish Singapore Math 3A at the middle of June, which I'm pleased about. Right now we need to practice not so much the math facts, but operations -- he's making some simple computation errors when he adds numbers carried in 3 digit multiplication. We've slacked off on our spelling lessons for no other reason than we've just been busy. Ben's doing a great job with guided diagramming of sentences. We seem to be back in gear with Latin in terms of doing it more than just once per week. We're learning the 1st declension and have a nifty little jingle to help us remember, "Nomintative, genative, dative, accusative, ablative." It has a bit of blues rhythm to it, so we usually jive around the kitchen singing our declensions!

Kindergarten? Well, God blesses Luke, because even when his reading lessons are spotty during the week, he still remembers his sounds and blends well and comprehends what he is reading. Thank you, God, for covering my weaknesses and mistakes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Week 31 Report

Oh my, I can't believe it is week 31; it really doesn't matter that much since we school year round, but just seeing us inch towards 40 does mean that in fact WARM WEATHER IS COMIN' SOON. I'm tired of my feet always being cold. I should be thankful -- the snow is all gone from our yard and we actually went to a park on Thursday!

3rd grade: Is scooting along well. Ben is doing very well with his math, grammar, and science. We are finally into the Landmark Book for US History; it is enjoyable despite lots of warnings about it being dry. Ben made an advertisement to encourage settlers to come to the new world. We picked up the pace in Latin this week to finish the first Lesson (chapter). I just love the grammar stage and the ease in which students can memorize! Speaking of memorization, Ben's been working on Psalm 121 for 8 weeks now. I decided to not have him memorize Poe's Bells peom so he could concentrate on this for now. I'm not a huge fan of this poem anyway. We played hookey from CBS today, but for good reason. Wednesday the boys had three activities to attend: Ben had a manner's lesson, a self-defense class at a martial arts studio, and Wed. night church program. Then yesterday Dave work the boys up at 6 am and said, "You guys wanna go skiing?" So they all hopped in the car and took off for a great day of spring skiing.

Kindergarten: Luke is doing so well in his reading lesson. He's getting the idea of blending down better, and can do it quite easily when he's not being goofy. I think this will be my challendge with Luke -- getting serious work out of him. He's always been such a ham and can get us to laugh very easily, but he is carrying over that attitude occasionally with his lessons.

We also worked on our warm/ cool collage. It was a group project: (insert here)

2-year old: Just today we picked up Levi's desk. It is so cute! He is now the Keeper of the Markers, as his desk is between his big brothers' desks -- easily within reach to all. He asks to do school all the time, and he found the Leap Frong learning games that Luke got for Christmas a few years ago -- these are perfect for him! So, we will have fun with the domino matching games and the bingo games.

I have to get the batteries recharged in my camera so I can upload the pictures.


I've been meaning to post this to my online memory bank:

Levi: "Mom, guess wha? On Muppet sew, Gonzo dancing wif cheese!"
Levi: "Mom, gues wha? On Muppet sew, Miss Piddy dancing wif bahwet!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

It's a two-fer day! I couldn't decide, so I'm posting both.

Ben and Luke are having Bible time. "I want to be like Ben," Luke said.

Luke is in his spaceship. Bon voyage!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Training Hearts Link

Jeannie Fulbright's guest article at The Heart of the Matter.

Not only this, but I've fallen out of the habit of having a consistent quiet time in the morning. The time change, I think, messed up my routine. I need to get to bed earlier and exercise some self discipline to do what is best for me and my family. My days always start better when I focus on My Lord first thing in the morning.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Weeks 29 & 30 Report

Last week was a short week. On Wednesday, Dave gave me a huge blessing by encouraging me to fly to my hometown to see my grandmother, who is critically sick and in hospice care. So, Thursday night I left and spent two full days and nights with her, sitting and calming her, talking and singing with her. It was such a blessing to me to be able to be with her and serve her.

So, we took this Monday off so I could fill up the refrigerator again and rest. But, we're back in the swing of things -- healthy enough, even, to return to CBS and gym class for the first time in a month!

History: We're continuing to make progress in our US studies. We've just started the Landmark book, which it seems gets some dull reviews in the beginning. I found it to be quite interesting. Based on this reading, Ben is working on making an advertisement to encourage would-be settlers to come to America. He'll finish it up next week. He's taking a week off of the coordinated SL Readers to read The Great Brain. This will help us re-adjust and get more on-track with the History, Read-Aloud and Readers. I am feeling that something is "missing" from our history studies. I think it is the hands-on activities. I am planning on going to Hands and Hearts and looking at their activity kits to supplement our current studies. Or perhaps I need to consider a lapbook. Hmm.

Science: Last week we did several experiments with rubbing alcohol and baby oil, making a cool wave "machine," and suspending drops of oil in between various liquids. We were studying misible and immisible liquids. We've moved on to a beautiful book A Drop of Water. The photography is just amazing and this is such a wonderful, visual way to learn about the amazing properties of water. Next week, we'll be doing several interesting experiments related to these properties.

Math: WE took this week to use SM Intensive Practice to solidify long division skills. Ben still needs a bit more practice with word problems and reading them carefully to determine which operation to use (division vs. multiplication).

Latin: I realized that we've really been working at a snail's pace through our Latin. I'm waiting until CBS is over to increase how often we work on it. Right now, we're touching it twice per week -- I'd rather get up to three times per week. Ben completed his first page for his Roman History book.

Art: Over the past two weeks we've actually done art! We are working on the color wheel and mixing colors to get different hues. Our next project is making a collage to learn about warm vs. cool colors. I love that our library has a place where visitors can trade magazines -- I found several that we can use to cut and complete our collages.

Our plans for next year are taking shape -- though there is not much I need to plan! The biggest decision is what to do about science. I received the Sonlight catalog this week, and Ben is interested in working through Science 3 and 4. Yes, both. Preferably at the same time, he says. Hmm, I say. What I like about them is that there is a little bit of physics in each year along with a couple other topics that I can't remember right now.

In other news, the Ben and Luke tried out a new midweek "Kid's Club" program at an area church for the first time this year. They both enjoyed it and Ben said, "I like Wednesday nights again!" Our church used to offer this type of program, but it disbanded this fall; which wasn't a problem because we were busy with Ben's travel soccer this fall and then ski lessons this winter. Of course, baseball will start in a couple weeks, but I'd like to keep the boys plugged in and then we can decide what to do next fall. I'd also like to consider Cub Scouts (actually, what I'd really like is Boy Scouts and have received some wise counsel from another homeschooling son to wait on Cub Scouts -- "Sometimes it is just glorified babysitting" at this level she said.)

The boys have also been feeling quite patriotic this week. They have been seen to be dressed up as soldiers (nothin' new there), pledging allegiance to the flag and singing God Bless America, America the Beautiful (there are eight verses) and the Star Spangled Banner. Just adorable.

I also spent a day trying to gauge Levi's interest in potty training. He wore training pants all day and has gotten over his fear of sitting on his new Baby Bjorn potty seat (phew!), but otherwise, he's just as content to be walkin' around in soggy underwear as a diaper. That's alright. The other boys were 3 before they were ready to be potty trained. I'll "spot check" him in the summer to see what his interest/ ability level is.

Next week is going to be a busy week. Wednesday, Ben is going to a manners/ protocol class and both Ben and Luke are going to a stranger danger class at a karate studio. Thursday Dave is taking the boys on a surprise end-of-the-season ski trip. The week after, we're going to the Planetarium for a field trip.