Friday, July 24, 2009

It was here all along...

I've spent the past couple of weeks looking off and on for new containers for our books. It's not that I didn't like the baskets that we used last year, but they had a few problems. Violet broke the handles on hers within the first month of school. The fabric lining kept sliding around. There are all kinds of white scratches on our cabinets from taking them in and out. Some of the books were getting bent as the girls tossed them in at strange angles. So we've been looking around at our options.

After checking out numerous plastic tubs, dish tubs, plastic shelves, portable files, crates, and even a few more baskets, we have been to WalMart, Target, Staples, Office Depot, Michaels, and Bed Bath & Beyond (some more than once). I was leaning toward the Really Useful Boxes at Staples, but I didn't know how I would like them. I don't like the idea of laying books down flat. (I envision bent pages everywhere). Truthfully, I didn't want the hassle of multiple tubs out at the same time or to argue with the girls over putting the books back in the various tubs correctly. Then, too, they are a bit pricey. Still I was about to resign myself to the fact that it was the best choice available. Then as I was looking around Baby Henry's room while waiting for an internet page to load the other day, I spied it. The perfect sized box. Not too wide, not too tall, deep enough to force the girls to put the books in straight and best of all completely free.

It turns out I might have to thank Huggies for making their boxes smaller a few months back. (Although I still don't like paying the same price for fewer diapers.) A little bit of contact paper and we're ready to start loading up the books. Now I just have to figure out how to keep baby Henry out of the memory boxes and the drawers with the pencils, markers, scissors, etc.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lesson Plans: Latin for Children B

I finally received my history reader for Latin so I could finish up the lesson plans for next year. My plan is to basically follow the suggested schedule available from Classical Academic Press as I did last year with one change. This year we're going to start the Primer on Monday instead of waiting until Tuesday. We had a few long Tuesdays and Wednesdays last year, so I'm trying to distribute the workload a little more evenly. The schedule includes the primer, DVDs, activity book, history reader, and additional free resources available on the website. For the tests on Friday, I follow the recommendations to reuse the quiz in the primer that is completed on Thursday for the test Friday. I personally retype the quizzes in Word because I like to change the vocabulary section so that only the first principal part is listed and add in a second column for Jessie to write in the remaining Latin parts before translating. If I get in a time crunch, I may just photocopy a few of the pages ahead of time and use them as the test instead. My plan is to create multiple choice tests for the review chapters. (I'm a little bummed there were none included in the free resources.) If I run into time constraints, then we'll just use the flashcards and do an oral quiz of the vocabulary. As always I'll post a link in the right hand column to download the schedule for anyone who might find it useful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WW: Our baby birds

Thanks to the dog and the beautiful weather, we've spent a lot of time outdoors this summer. We watched our geese raise another batch of young ones, found a couple of small turtles laying eggs, caught plenty of fish, helped the boys next door catch frogs and tadpoles, and have been fortunate enough to enjoy watching a regular variety of widelife including birds, squirrels, rabbits, and deer as well as a pair of possums and a snake. (OK, personally I could have done without the snake and luckily the kids didn't see it or I wouldn't have gotten them down to the lake for weeks. Happily DH was there to take care of it since we're fairly certain it was a small copperhead.) The kids favorite part of the outdoors this summer has been the baby birds in our old basement. The parents built their nest in an empty five gallon bucket and have been very good sports about having three children come in once or twice a day to peek at their little ones.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lesson Plans: CW Homer A

I spent a lot of time playing around with CW Aesop the past two years with Jessie. Using the student workbook the first year didn't work for us because we were just plugging along filling in the blanks instead of really focusing on the information in the core book. The second year, we really emphasized the writing component of the program and dropped the analysis section altogether.

Now that we're getting ready to start CW Homer, I really want to try putting the entire program together and running it as it was designed. I didn't get the accompanying student books because I was afraid of repeating the mistakes from our first year of Aesop. Instead we're using basically the first 20 weeks of the schedule in the back of the book for younger students. I actually went ahead and downloaded the models from Lulu (at $0.95 who can go wrong). I substituted two models in week 17 where I just really didn't like the selection and week 20 because we rewrote Rapuzel last year. It actually turned out to be easier than I thought. I love how the core guide is divided up into skill levels

I made an overview chart just like the one in the back of the book to get started.

Then I broke the information into weekly tables and added in the corresponding pages in the guides where each skill is found leaving myself plenty of room to take notes as we go along. Now hopefully, I just need to do some reading before we start, jot in a few notes, and we'll be on our way.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Baby Henry's Achievements

I glanced at my list of posts this morning and realized it has been a few weeks since I've posted any pictures. I thought I'd take today to show you some of what Henry has been up to over the last few weeks.

He's finally eating three meals a day in addition to nursing. He will willingly eat toddler cookies, pretzels, breads, cereal, and crackers. I'm having a harder time trying to get him to eat small pieces of fruits and vegetables, so we're still using baby food for now. Generally, he sits quietly and eat without a mess. On this day, he kept trying to grab the spoon, and well, the mess just kept spreading.

This is Henry being silly. My DH takes the credit for teaching him to stick his tongue out like that.

He's mastered the stairs at our house. Since he can also open the door to the basement whenever he pleases, he has full run of the house.

He loves to make things happen. The lightswitch on the stairs as well as the one of the coffee table (which he can climb) are both within reach. He loves to just turn the lights on and off over and over and over again. He's also learned to turn the water on in the garden tub of our bathroom and flush the toilet. (I simply haven't caught him in the act to take a picture yet.) Since he can open the door, I've had to resort to keeping my bathroom door locked to keep out small intruders.

He's making progress towards walking. He'll stand on his own, and sometimes take a few steps at a time. He has enough balance to not only push his walker but also to turn it on his own. Here he started making laps around the kitchen and finished by chasing his sister trying to bump into her.

Here's he's not actually walking, but standing still while moving the popper back and forth to make noise.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sharing Schedules: Singapore Primary 5A & 5B US edition

Here's a quick look at Jessie's math schedule for the upcoming year. I've added links to both this year's and last year's schedules over in the right hand columns.

Again, this schedule is simply a framework from which I make my weekly schedules. If Jessie struggles with a certain section, I have no problem stretching an assignment over two days. Conversely, if she breezes through an assignment, we will double up lessons. Since the girls are always eager to finish at the end of the year, we tend to double up more lessons then and finish in closer to 38 weeks.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sharing Schedules: Singapore Primary 3A & 3B US edition

I decided that a little extra review would be good for Violet to start off the year. We actually completed the first two units of 3A at the end of last year. She did OK with the work. I think she got the general idea of what she was doing and why; but before we shift away from addition and subtraction to devote more time to multiplication and division, I decided a retracing of our steps for a few weeks to help her really master the material and be confident about it would be prudent. Here is the schedule that I put together for the textbook, workbook, and intensive practice resources. Again, the Excel version can be downloaded using the link in the right-hand column under lesson plans.
I should add that we rarely take a full 40 weeks to complete our math schedule. Although I have doubled up assignments here and there to stay in the 40 week time frame, I find that as we go through the year some assignments end up being much easier that I thought and we complete two days of work in one day. Usually, we finish math in 38 weeks despite my 40 week schedule.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sharing Schedules: Rod & Staff English 5

Here are the assignment schedule for Jessie's grammar for the upcoming year. Again all the exercises, worksheets, and tests have been included.

Sharing Schedules: Rod & Staff English 3

In an effort to save others time, I'll spend several posts over the next couple of weeks putting up the schedules that I have created for our curriculum this year. The Rod & Staff English 3 schedule includes all of the textbook lessons as well as the additional worksheets and tests. Again I am not sure that we will actually need to use every worksheet or complete every lesson, but it's every so much easier to mark something off the sheet that is not needed rather than trying to add additional practice on the fly during the year. If you have Excel I've posted a link on the sidebar where you can download the file. If not, I'm including photos of the schedule that you can copy and paste into Word or similar software to print out. HTH

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Good Night's Sleep

It has been so long since I've had a full night of sleep that I had almost forgotten what it feels like. Last night baby Henry finally slept in his own crib from 9:30pm until 5:00am. Now I don't expect it to happen again tonight, but it sure felt great to be wide awake at 6:00 this morning and actually be able to get some things accomplished before the kids woke up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Curriculum Savings: This Year's Final Results

  • Singapore Primary Math 5A Textbook ($7.95)$5.00 (37%)
  • Singapore Primary Math 5A Workbook ($7.15)$5.00 (30%)
  • Singapore Primary Math 5A Intensive Practice $8.15
  • Singapore Primary Math 5B Textbook ($7.95)$5.00 (37%)
  • Singapore Primary Math 5B Workbook ($7.15)$5.00 (30%)
  • Singapore Primary Math 5B Intensive Practice $8.15
  • Singapore Primary Math Challenging Word Problems 5 $7.55
Total cost: $43.85
Total savings: $10.20 (19%)

  • Teaching the Classics, DVD and workbook ($89.00)$73.95 (17%)
  • Following the Plan: R&S 5 pupil book ($15.30)$7.80 (51%)
  • Following the Plan: R&S 5 teacher's manual ($21.90)$14.40 (66%)
Total cost: $96.15
Total savings: $30.05 (24%)

  • D is for Dinosaur by Ham ($11.99) $5.99 (50%)
  • Draw and Write Through History: Creation to Jonah ($9.95) $9.70 (2%)
  • Draw and Write Through History: Greece and Rome ($9.95) $5.00 (50%)
  • God King: Story in the Days of King Hezekiah $10.25
  • Greenleaf Guide to the Old Testament (11.95) $8.00 (33%)
  • Hittite Warrior ($10.25) $6.25 (39%)
  • Life in Ancient Egypt coloring book $3.25
  • Life in Ancient Greece coloring book $3.25
  • Life in Ancient Rome coloring book $3.25
  • Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest by Rohl $13.38 (OOP)
  • The Story of the Greeks, 3rd edition $23.95
  • TruthQuest History: Ancient Egypt / Greece ($24.95) 17.00 (32%)
  • TruthQuest History: Ancient Rome ($24.95) 17.00 (32%)
  • Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World $13.59
  • Victory on the Walls: Story of Nehemiah ($9.50) $9.71 (would have cost more to ship)
Total cost: $149.57
Total savings: $34.84 (19%)

  • Usborne Encyclopedia of Planet Earth $13.25
Total cost: $13.25
Total savings: $0.00 (0%)

  • Latin for Children B Mastery Bundle $114.95
Total cost: $114.95
Total savings: $0.00

  • Mind Benders B1 ($9.99) $6.00 (40%)
  • Mind Benders B2 ($9.99) $6.00 (40%)
  • Mind Benders B3 ($9.99) $9.00 (10%)
  • Mind Benders B4 ($9.99) $6.00 (40%)
  • Think-a-grams A1 ($12.99) $6.00 (54%)
  • Think-a-grams A2 ($12.99) $6.00 (54%)
Total cost: $39.00
Total savings: $26.94 (41%)

Total cost for this year: $456.77
Total savings for this year: $102.03 (22%)

Overall the savings are still worth the time and effort I put into looking for used products. I'd like to get my list together a little sooner next year so I have some more time to look around for used items. Still I've spent enough for now, so it's time for a break.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WW: My picky eater

Sometimes it's not about WHAT he eats but WHERE he gets to eat it. Whatever works!