Friday, October 31, 2008

Week 12: Getting back into a rhythm

It's been another busy week. I'm close to catching up on cleaning and the laundry. I do still have Benny's suitcase to unpack from the beach. I've been procrastinating because unpacking the suitcase means I then need to pack up his summer clothes also. Hopefully, I can get to that tomorrow morning. School has gone well this week. Jessie had a couple of long days due to dawdling and daydreaming. Violet zipped through every day in order to have more free time (which of course resulted in even more distractions for Jessie). At any rate, we did end up accomplishing a lot this week.

Jessie has spent the week in the Intensive Practice book reviewing fractions. Overall, she has done an excellent job. She definitely seems to have the concepts down. She did almost all of the work in her head instead of writing it out like I used to have to do in school. As long as the answers are correct, I don't mind at this point. Her biggest problem with math this week has been simply concentrating and staying on task. As a result, sometimes she forgot to reduce the fractions. Sometimes she forgot to read the directions and wrote mixed numbers instead of improper fractions, but in the end we got it all sorted out.

Violet spent the week working on different topics in the money section of the 2B textbook and workbook. She practiced writing dollar amounts as numbers and converting back and forth between dollars and cents. She spent two days adding amounts to make one dollar and then to make ten dollars. She was quite proud to have be doing her work mentally instead of writing it out. I think there was one day of review thrown in there as well.


Language arts was the other area in which Jessie struggled to stay on task this week. She did finally manage to complete 4 out of the 5 scheduled grammar lessons and finish up the unit on nouns. She accomplished her dictation work, although on Thursday I did hand her the book and tell her she could just copy one of the sentences. Even I can't spell Corradin, Azrooh, Chlamash, and Ilgamuth without looking at the book. In CW, we got a good start on the story "King Alfred and the Cakes" but didn't finish up all the editing. We'll just take an extra week to finish and spend an extra day on Reading Detective. Spelling went fine. For reading this week, Jessie continued Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodges Burnett and read the story of "MacBeth" in Lamb's Tales From Shakespeare. No problem concentrating here. She got so engrossed in reading Little Lord Fauntleroy on Wednesday that she had read part way through chapter 7 before remembering that she was supposed to stop at the end of chapter 5.

In grammar this week, Violet and I covered commands. For Thursday's lesson, we played a came of Simon Says. I'm not sure whether Violet or baby Henry had more fun playing. For some of the commands I had her make a funny face at him, do peek-a-boo 3 times, and jump with him a few times. At any rate, I think it would be safe to say that it was probably the first time anyone in this house ever giggled their way through a grammar lesson. In spelling, Violet has started the SWO D book this week. For the next few weeks until we finish learning the cursive alphabet, I am printing the list words out for her on the dry erase board. For handwriting, we worked on the letters Dd, Ee, and Ff this week. On the right is a look at Monday's lesson. For reading Violet has finished Ginger Pye informing me that the last chapter when they find the dog is the best chapter in the book. This week's fairy tale was "Rumplestiltzkin", and from Just So Stories she read the chapter entitled "The Cat That Walked By Himself". Wednesday she started reading Follow My Leader and although she thought the first chapter was sad she still loves the book. (YEAH! I wasn't sure about this one.)


The current poem is entitled The Captain's Daughter. The girls are both about half way through memorizing it already. It seems they are competing again to see who can finish memorizing it first. If it gets too competitive, I'll have to start them on different poems next time.

In Latin, Jessie has caught up on all of her vocabulary and grammar concepts this week during lesson 10's review. Adding the Latin grammar cards to the memory box has worked extremely well to keep the info fresh in her mind. Jessie also enjoyed going through the vocabulary cards and watching the stack of words that she needed to learn shrink during the week. She passed her review test on Friday with flying colors. I think her favorite part of Latin this week was the 3 page crossword puzzle in the Activity book.


This week in history we finished learning about Texas' war for independence and the Mexican American War. Monday, we read about the battle of the Alamo. Wednesday, we read a chapter from Guerber's The Great Republic to get a quick overview of the Mexican War. On the left are the girls' booklets on Sam Houston, Susanna Dickinson (a woman in the Alamo), the battle of the Alamo, and the Mexican American War. Jessie also had a booklet on Levi Strauss. For timelines we added figures for Sam Houston, the Alamo, President Polk, and the Mexican American War. I also discovered that their were figures covering the colonies and territories becoming states. We went back and added in all of these. There were states added in 1787, 1788, the 1790s, the 1810s, the 1820s, the 1830s, and the 1840s. We did two separate maps this week. The first map shows the United States at the time that Texas became an independent republic. The second map shows the United States after the Mexican American War.

In science this week, we started our new Apologia Elementary book, Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. Both girls were very excited about the new book. Jessie was excited because we have an art book called 1 2 3 Draw Ocean Animals by Levin that she has been waiting to start. Violet is actually excited about the new topic. (She enjoyed studying insects, but they aren't her favorite.) Having the new book may be one reason why she picked science as one of her two favorite subjects for the week. Tuesday, we covered some introductory information with lots of vocabulary (aquatic animals, benthos, nekton, filter feeders, etc.) and completed a crossword puzzle booklet. Thursday, we just reviewed the different types of animals and their characteristics (ie. What makes a mammal a mammal? etc.). Here I went a step farther than the book and had the girls write two examples of each kind of animal and then gave them time to draw an example of each as well. Benny wanted to join in on the fun. He asked me to draw some whales for him. He traced what I drew and then tried drawing a couple of his own.


I hadn't originally intended on starting art this week. Jessie pointed out to me that we had read about plankton and requested that she be able to use the art book to draw plankton this week. Violet also completed a plankton drawing. No music this week. I'm still waiting to get the book from the library again. I'll try to get all of their drawing up tomorrow afternoon in a separate post.


No themes this week for PreK. We had several random library books that Benny had picked out for himself as well as a few that hadn't been available when I put them on hold the past few weeks. We just read through these, and Benny made his own paper dragonfly on Friday. As far as PP goes, Benny is doing very well. We added the R page this week, so Benny got to read his very first real word, ran, on Tuesday. He's also made some great improvements in being able to say the letter pairs together quickly instead of in a slower more stretched out fashion. On the counting front, I am confident that at some point he will remember 15, 16, and 17; however, this week is not the week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WW: It's finally out!

After several months of wiggling, Violet's first tooth has finally come out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Exploring the World with Benny, week 8

This week's theme was simply France. No added animal theme this time. We still had a few extra sheep books to finish up, and I knew that Benny would want to make some paper insects with his sisters toward the end of the week. Here are the tales from France that we enjoyed.

  • Beauty and the Beast by Jan Brett
  • Brave Martha and the Dragon by Susan L. Roth
  • Cinderella by Barbara McClintock
  • Jig, Fig, and Mrs. Pig by Peter Hansard
  • No Dinner! : The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin by Jessica Souhami
  • Stone Soup by Heather Forest
  • Three Sacks of Truth : A Story from France by Eric A. Kimmel
  • The Three Sillies by Steven Kellogg
Here is a picture of the ladybug he made on Saturday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zoology 1: Violet's Insect Lapbook

Violet's lapbook cover
Inside her lapbook
Section containing general insect information
Section on specific insects

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Zoology 1: Jessie's Insect Lapbook

Front cover
Inside lapbook
Section on general insect information
Section on different types of insects

Friday, October 24, 2008

Week 11: Starting Back Up

It's been a long week. The one downside to taking a week off is that we can never seem to start back up the following week on pace. I also had unpacking to do, summer clothes to pack away, bills to pay, etc. To top it all off, baby Henry has kept us up the last two nights with a stuffy nose. I know I'm tired when I put the coffee filter directly into the coffeemaker without putting in the basket first. DH found this very funny. I'm just glad we didn't end up with coffee grounds in the pot. Here is a look at our school for the week...


Jessie wrapped up the textbook and workbook section on fractions at the beginning of the week, and spent a few days completing the review exercises in both books. Next week she'll be moving on to the fractions section of the intensive practice. Her fractions work went very well. The only part of the review exercises that gave her any trouble was the double digit multiplication. She kept forgetting the unit place 0 when multiplying by the tens digit. I think we'll add one or two wipe board problems a day for a couple of weeks just for some additional practice. We might also take a day to review the why behind the multiplication since that always seems to help cement the process in her head.

Violet completed the intensive practice section on multiplying by 4s, 5s, and 10s this week and spent two days with general review before starting a new section on money. I was thrilled to see that she remembers the value of each of the different coins from last year. New for this week, we finally started up the challenging word problems level 2 book again. This week she did 3 problems a day of the regular problems and 2 problems a day in the challenging section. She did a much better job of reading the questions carefully than when we first attempted the book at the beginning of the year. She ran a bit long a couple of the days so I may need to adjust the pace. We'll see how next week goes. I haven't written out a new schedule for the CWP book and will probably just keep winging it for a while.


In grammar this week, Jessie has been breezing through her lessons. R&S takes 3 lessons and 1 worksheet to cover singular and plural nouns covering the basic rules, a few special rules, and some irregular ones as well. Friday's topic was on giving titles to paragraphs. Spelling went well. We're still making steady progress through the battle section of The Horse and His Boy for dictation. In CW Aesop, our fable for the week was Mercury and the Woodman. We struggled a bit this week in getting to the lessons. I wanted to start her on the level three descriptive writing section. To be honest, my brain just wasn't up to the task. We did manage to add a few adjectives and adverbs here and there. I picked out a couple of words that were repeated several times like brought and dove and had her look them up in the dictionary for synonyms. Hopefully, next week I'll have time to really look at the core guide and pick up a thesaurus so we can be more focused in our efforts.

Violet did very well in her language arts this week. Her spelling lesson for the second half of the week covered homonyms. I had expected the different spellings to confuse her, but she seemed to know for the most part which spelling went with which meaning without any extra instruction on my part. In grammar, we covered statements. Our other new addition for the week was starting cursive handwriting. We covered the uppercase and lowercase letters from a through d. She did any excellent job. The lowercase b and the uppercase D gave her a bit of a challenge and the slanting of letters will probably come eventually. All in all she is off to a great start.


Both girls have completed yet another poem. This week they finished the last verse of Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. Jessie has almost completed memorizing Exodus 20: 1-17. She's worked on finishing up the last commandment this morning. Violet informed me that she needed a new Bible memory card since we still have the 23rd Psalm in the daily slot of her memory box. Hopefully, I'll get back up to speed here over the weekend.

This week Jessie struggled a bit with Lesson 9 of LfC A. We missed doing one day of lessons and tried to catch up on Wednesday. The result is she hadn't memorized all of the vocabulary before her test this morning. She also needs some more practice with her translating. The grammar for the lesson discussed the two functions of the nominative case, subject nouns and predicate nominatives, so the translations were all three word sentences of subject, linking verb, and predicate nominative. I also realized that we need to implement a system of review for older vocabulary and grammar concepts. For the vocabulary, we'll work on new vocabulary daily and start reviewing old vocabulary on a weekly basis. For the grammar concepts, I've decided to add the noun endings, verb endings, etc into her memory box on white cards to ensure that they stay fresh in her mind.


As usual, when something has to give it is usually in this section of our homeschooling. We did complete our booklets, timeline figures, and map work left over from before vacation. The booklets covered the Oregon Trail and Narcissa Whitman. In addition to these we added timeline figures for 3 more presidents, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and . For map work we added the Oregon Trail to a previous map containing the Santa Fe trail. The week's history reading was supposed to cover Sam Houston, the Battle of the Alamo, and The Mexican War. We did read and narrate a biography of Houston, and the girls read and narrated a shorter selection on Susanna Dickinson, one of the women in the Alamo. We didn't get to our second day of reading so we'll stretch it out over next week. Normally, this would bother me, but truthfully I have spent so much effort on getting ready for our new science book next week that I didn't have the map work ready anyway.

Our science goal for the week was to assemble and decorate our lapbooks on insects. We do have the lapbooks assembled. I have a ladybug and a dragonfly paper craft for the girls to work on this afternoon to decorate the outside. I'll post some final pictures of their lapbooks over the weekend.


No music this week. I need to check the book out from the library again. For art, I'm counting their lapbook decorations as our art for the week. It will be a few more weeks before we start anything more formally.


There's not much new to add here. We spent the week in PP reviewing the s, m, and n pages again. He has the sounds mastered but doesn't always blend them with the vowels correctly. In counting, I'm still trying to get him to remember 15, 16, and 17. This week we read stories from France. I didn't add another animals because we hadn't finished up our previous topic of sheep. Below is a current look at Benny's sheep puppet. We're going to add some cotton balls for wool, but I'll have to pick up a bag tomorrow when I run errands.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quarterly Progress Check: Violet's 2nd grade plan...

With the exception of math, Violet is also on track for the year. She's one lesson behind in Singapore because I missed writing one of the exercises down on my chart. She is well behind where I had planned in the Challenging Word Problems. I found the pace that I had originally set was too much for Fridays. We just started adding in a few problems a day this week, so I'll have to go back and refigure at some point (or just keep winging it week by week). Enough checking already. I need to get cracking on some science and history planning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Vacation

We had a great week at the Outer Banks this year. The weather was beautiful. The kids had a great time. I got to read some books while holding baby Henry for naps. DH caught some fish. Here are a few highlights from our trip.
Here's Benny with his first catch at the beach, a nice sized croaker.
Jessie's island sand castle
Splashing around
Working together on their own system of canals.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quarterly Progress Check: Jessie's 4th grade plans

Wow. Time certainly does fly. It seems hard to believe that we are one fourth of the way through our school year now, and baby Henry has turned 5 months old. (ACK!! How could that happen already!?!) At any rate, that brings about the normal status check of how we are progressing through my lesson plans and through our goals (in a later post) for the year. We are actually fairly close to being on track. We're one week behind in Latin and a week ahead in CW from my original plans. That is simply because I decided at the last minute to start CW in week 2 and hold off on Latin until week 3. We're also one lesson behind in math and grammar. This is my fault not Jessie's because I missed including one lesson in each of these subjects when I made the original schedules. (Grr... I hate it when that happens.) So the bottom line is that Jessie is right on track. So what do I really learn from this exercise. I have no science planned for next week and only two more weeks of history planned out. (Nothing like the pressure of a deadline to get me motivated and busy.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Exploring the World with Benny, week 7

Great Britain
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood by Marcia Williams
  • Arthur and the Sword by Robert Sabuda
  • Jack and the Beanstalk by E. Nesbit
  • Next time I will : an old English tale by Doris Orgel
  • The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle : a British Fairy Tale by Margaret Read MacDonald
  • Saint George and the Dragon : A Golden Legend by Margaret Hodges
  • Tattercoats by Joseph Jacobs
  • Teeny Weeny Bop by Margaret Read MacDonald

  • Emma's Lamb by Kim Lewis
  • Little Baa by Kim Lewis
  • Ten Sleepy Sheep by Holly Keller
Sheep Paper Bag Puppet The pattern for the head is on page 10.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WW: Isn't this close enough?

Henry's been working on rolling over. Here's his most successful attempt so far this month. Who wants to lift their head to finish rolling over when there are such delicious fingers to chew on?

He did roll back to front twice the next day, but only when no one was watching.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Week 10: Ready for a break...

It has been a very busy week here. I am so ready for a break. (OK. I still need to pack and do a ton of other things, but you know what I mean.) The girls' attitudes were excellent this week. On Monday, they were already suggesting doubling up lessons so that we could spend more time at the end of the week getting ready for vacation. Here's a quick look at our week. Then I really have to get back to work.


Jessie cruised through most of her math lessons this week. On Tuesday's lesson, however, (on the left) she really struggled. The idea was to find fractions of a whole number, but this time the answers were all mixed numbers instead of whole numbers. The basic conversation went something like this:
J: You can't divide (pick a number) by (whatever other number).
M: Sure you can. It just doesn't divide out evenly.
Two minutes later.
J: This won't work.
M: Yes is will. When you divide there should be a remainder.
Five minutes later.
J: I can't do this!!! (dramatic tears)(Never mind that she did it perfectly fine in the textbook exercises.)
M: Let's go step by step. 5/6 x 9 = 5x9/6 = 45/6 = 7 R3 or 7 3/6. Now reduce 7 1/2.
Move to next problem and repeat.
She did catch on after a few more problems, but it definitely made for a long morning on Tuesday. Otherwise she zipped through the rest of her assignments. I truly think it was simply a matter of her needed to write out her work (GASP!) instead of working it all out mentally.

Violet has spent the entire week reviewing multiplication and division by 4s, 5s, and 10s. There were 3 review exercises in the text and two assignments in the IP. It was nice to have some extra time in the morning.


Jessie also struggled with her spelling test on Tuesday. It wasn't that the words were hard. It was another case of zipping through the workbook without taking time to study how the words were spelled. She did much better on her Thursday test and was able to correctly spell all of her missed words from the previous lesson. In grammar, she still cruising through the section on nouns with a brief poetry lesson thrown into the mix. In CW, our story for the week was "The Lark and Her Young Ones". Jessie decided to skip the outline this week because this is one of her favorite fables. In editing, we really focused on expanding her vocabulary in for direct quotations. Not only was said off limits, but I required a different choice for asked and replied (her too favorite substitutes). We should be ready to move on to level 3 in the writing section after break. Dictation is going better. If she pays attention, Jessie's hand grip is correct without the writing claw. She'd already broken 2 of the grips sliding them on and off pencils and dry erase markers for school and using them on her pens when drawing and coloring so I'll have to order some more.

Violet had the same problems with spelling as Jessie on Tuesday and likewise had corrected her mistakes by Thursday. She finished up copying our current poem for handwriting. In grammar, we're starting a unit on sentences and sentence types for the next few weeks.


Both girls are halfway through our current poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. Their Bible memory is going well also. In music, we did manage to finish up the string section before vacation. The girls learned about the double base and the harp this week. There was a unanimous vote in the van Wednesday to listen to all of the string selections one last time before dropping the book off at the library.

In Latin Jessie completed lesson 8 in LfC A. This week introduced declining a neuter noun using the work donum. It also means that we are now one fourth of the way through the book and still enjoying ourselves.


This week's history topic was the Oregon Trail. We read a couple of different picture books to get an idea of what life was like on the Oregon Trail. The girls both read the same biography of Narcissa Whitman. It was interesting to hear the differences in their narrations. Violet had apparently been more interested in Whitman's childhood while Jessie focused mainly on her desire to be a pioneer. Although I did type and print out the narrations, we just didn't have time to get them assembled this week. Timelines and mapwork also fell through the cracks amid the packing and organizing. We'll catch up and post pictures when school resumes.

In science, we finished up Zoology 1. We learned about the leps (butterflies, skippers, and moths) on Tuesday. On Thursday, we focused on their differences and how to tell them apart. We'll be ready to assemble our lapbooks after break.

Benny's topics for the week were Britain and sheep. We didn't get his craft completed this week, but he was too excited about going to the beach to care. He did learn the n sound in PP. He still has mastered the concept of blending letters together. Hopefully, a week off will help.

WW: Henry's new motto

Video, capio, edo

I see, I grab, I eat