Sunday, December 28, 2008

99 Things To Do Meme

I rarely do these meme things (I don't even remember how to pronounce them anymore), but I thought this was fun. An interesting way to end the year is looking back at the past 40 (ahem) -ish ones:

Feel free to cut and paste to your own blog and complete and leave me a comment so I can come over and read yours. :)

Items I have completed are in bold.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (does middle school orchestera count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (not even for a million dollars)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (more like crafty art projects)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (pasta sauce when I was in college, but thankfully nothing serious enough for an ER visit)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (line was too long)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (in Soviet Union)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (I grew up in Illinois; I'm sure I must've done this at some point.....)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (5K not marathon)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run Does playing baseball in the backyard with the kids count?)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (and gotten terribly sea sick)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (Dave said he did, so I'll have to believe him)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (Does my master's thesis count? It had to be bound, and is in the UT Austin library)

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (hoping to do this in 2009)
86. Visited the White House (at a time when it was still open to the public)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (does catching and gutting a fish as a Girl Scout count?)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (been there, didn't swim)
97. Been involved in a law suit (I actually had to file a lawsuit against my mom. But, I did it with her and my dad's permission, to keep active a motor vehicle accident claim with the insurance company)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, December 19, 2008

Curriculum and Resources Update -- the remainder of 2008-09

US History 1850 through early 1900s -- We will use TOG year 3, units 3 and 4 to focus primarily on US history. As we move into year 4, we'll take a broader view of the world again.

Geography -- mapping according to TOG; puzzle maps; Scrambled States; learn capitals of all the states; Seterra free computer game

Language Arts:

  • Spelling -- All About Spelling 3 and 4
  • Writing -- I will use Writing Aids from TOG. I have to figure out where to start.
  • Grammar -- Growing with Grammar 4. Also use Editor in Chief A1 scheduled weekly for 33 weeks
  • Reading -- Reading Detective (we haven't used this yet) -- I might save this until the summer.
Math -- Singapore Math 3b and 4A. We progress at Ben's pace. We'll also use CWP (still have CWP 2 to work through), IP and perhaps EP books. I have some Keys to Fractions to use when we get to that point.

Foreign Language: Continue with Lively Latin

Bible -- Daily Bible reading/ devotional

Science: Physics -- Real Science for Kids: Level 1- Physics

Fine Arts:

  • Visual Arts: We have some "how to draw.." books that I'll encourage the boys to use. I'd like to get them into an art class after ski lessons are over.
  • Performance Arts: continue piano lessons; Stories of the Great Composers I; go to a concert & play

Critical Thinking Skills -- Finish book A2 of Mind Benders, then work through. Building Thinking Skills 2


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We Did It!

Sonlight Core 3 is done! We finished the history reading on Tuesday and our last read=aloud tonight. The readers have been done since before Thanksgiving! We actually celebrated on Tuesday by going ice skating after volunteering at our churches MOPPETS program. I am off to make a certificate for Ben now for all his good work!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Week ?? Report

I don't know where I am in my weekly report. My Teacher's Binder is in the other room, and I am too cold to move from under my blanket to get it, so I'll figure it out later. We had a good week and are making progress in many areas. Yet, we are stalled in some, and I need to figure out why.

Ben has finished all of the readers for Sonlight Core 3. We have one lesson left to do in The Story of the USA and we'll be done. That will be finished on Monday. Our project for the next month or so is to learn about our state. I've download Hand of a Child's Template Book and am referencing a free, generic state study lapbook template here to create a lapbook about our state. I've also collected some titles of historical fiction books that take place in our state to provide some read alouds/ readers during this mini-unit. I am planning on working on this through January or mid-February as my Ben and Luke will be taking ski lessons for 6 weeks in the new year. This means we officially have only 3 1/2 days of typical school.

We will finish our read aloud, Swift River, this week as well. After that, I'm not sure what I'll read to the boys. We might take a break from a story and read devotional type books for a break. Maybe poetry. I'm not sure. I'm trying to remember to have fun during the advent season, yet not set my expectations so low that our schooling grinds to a halt.

Math is going fabulous, and we're working through the first workbook of Key to Fractions to supplement Singapore Math.

We do have a couple problem areas that I haven't addressed or dealt with at all this semester: art expression, art appreciation, music appreciation and science. We are about 4 chapters behind in science and one of the books I purchased, I've not even really used. While I appreciate several things about Real Science 4 Kids-Physics I (written to the child; explains concepts very well; experiments are well thought out; review is appropriate), it is not as exciting as the science has been that we've been using. Science is getting pushed to the end of the day, where it is often ignored. I feel like I'm cheating my sons of something they love. At least they are playing with the Lego mechanical kit I purchased, but I haven't made the time to watch the instructional CD that came with it, so I am not really using it as a teaching tool.

I need to figure out what to do at this point with science --- bag RS4K, persevere through it (the most fiscally responsible thing to do ...... ), or --- what, I don't know. What I'd really like to do for art is sign the boys up for an art class somewhere. Maybe after ski lessons are over, before baseball starts..... As far as music appreciation, I have a resource to use, I just need to hold myself accountable to use it.

Luke is doing well with his reading and math. We'll be doing some catch-up next week and will try to complete two math lessons a day. I'm not sure how we got behind, but there is about a week's worth of math that didn't get done earlier in the year. He is counting by 5s now and is getting better at reading the teens numbers better (13 vs. 31). He's even using a Math U See trick and calling the teens "onety-three," etc. When he does this, I provide encouraging feedback and rephrase it with the correct name. He is also getting better at reading Bob type books. He is easily reading Book 5 in set 1 with less need to sound out every word. We've really backed off on our science reading, and honestly I don't have the heart right now to continue with the Pond People. I don't know what to do about that either. I'm considering selling off the lot and just reading "Let's Read and Find Out" science books, as well as other miscellaneous science books I have here. That would make him very happy.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- I got nothin'

We had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with my parents, my brother, his three kids, my SIL and her husband and twin Kers, and my MIL. Lots of food, friends for dessert (they came to visit, we didn't eat them), and laughter. A good time. And, I have not one. single. picture. to document the great weekend. No pictures of Ben and Jack IV playing broom hockey in the backyard. No picture of my lovely centerpiece of gourds, faux fall leaves, Indian corn and a pretty 6-candle tea light set. You can't even see my beeea-utiful table cloth that I got at Kohls for only $12!!!! Or my perfectly browned turkey that was brined with Stonewall Kitche's Farmhouse Brine and was too. die. for.

Even my mom, the take-a-picture-of-everything-and-everyone documentarian forgot her digital camera and had disposable cameras for the entire weekend, so I'm a little doubtful that the quality of those will be post-worthy.

Meanwhile, on the homeschooling front -- about which I haven't written in a couple weeks -- Ben won his grade level in our local homeschool Young Inventor's Program judging! He will go to the state competition in April. I was soooo excited for him! He has also accomplished our goal of knowing his math facts using the FlashMaster drilling machine. Our goal was to complete each of the four operations with 90% accuracy or better at 4 seconds per fact. Just before Thanksgiving he met this goal with division. Now, he is in a 'maintenance' phase and completes one fact per day, Monday through Thursday. He has to get 86% or better accuracy, which so far has not been hard for him. I'm so proud of the hard work he's done with his facts. He really had to push through some rough spots.

I've actually sold our Core 3 Instructor's Guide as we are days away from finishing the history readings and read alouds. Ben has read all the readers except Sarah, Plain and Tall (I'm going to rent the DVD instead). We are about half way finished with Swift River. We should be finished with all this by next week. For our history studies we'll be working on our State History lapbook project, which will last through most of January. In January, we'll only school 3.5 days per week because homeschool ski lessons take up a whole day and we have our co-op gym class on Friday afternooons. So, this is a perfect time to lighten up on history studies and work through the lapbook.

In February, hopefully we'll be using Tapestry of Grace's Year 3, unit 3 to study the Civil War period of time. I am planning on purchasing the digital edition, which will fit into our homeschool space much better than 4 binders per year plan.

Luke is doing great with Explode the Code online. He finished Book 1, and we're taking a break before we start Book 2. We're still working through All About Spelling, and I want to introduce blends to him before I sit him down in front of the computer to do the ETC lessons online. I am planning on looking at Starfall.com to fill in for now.