Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 3 - Indians, tin art, and a water battle

Jessie's 8th Grade
  • Jessie spent the week in Foerster's Algebra reviewing operations with negative numbers.
  • She finished up her first grammar unit after reviewing appositives and did very well on her chapter test.  She continues to ace her vocabulary quizzes as well.
  • In writing, she worked mostly on grammar lessons this week covering the moods of verbs and chart the different verb forms.  On Friday, she ran three chreia through a shortened sentence shuffle.
  • In literature, we continue working through Pilgrim's Progress with discussions focused mainly on recognizing and understanding the allusions of the text.  She is also slowly but steadily reading through Rob Roy as well.
  • In chapter 2 of Latin Alive, she reviewed the endings of the first and second declension with the addition of the endings for the vocative and locative cases.  She also reviewed the uses of the nominative and accusative cases and learned about the predicate accusative as well as Latin appositives, which fit in nicely with her grammar lessons.  In EG3, she also reviewed the first two declensions in Greek and learned about declining masculine first declension nouns.
  • For geography, she spent one last week reviewing the countries of Central and South America.
Violet's 6th Grade
  • Violet completed her second IP section and began working with ratios and fractions in her Singapore textbook and workbook.
  • She did very well on her first grammar test on Monday and spent the remainder of the week reviewing sentences and diagramming.  In spelling, she scored a 90% on her Friday test.
  • Literature for the week consisted of reading and narrating from From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by Konigburg.  In CW, she rewrote the story of "The Old Nurse" from The Children's Homer starting in the middle of the story.  We also looked at how the scenes were developed, did sentence shuffles, and some paraphrasing.
  • Violet reviewed the 3rd declension endings in LfC C, learned new vocabulary, and completed another lesson in the history reader.  She also completed another third of The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker.
  • She conveniently forgot to complete her geography lessons (and is frowning at me for typing this).
Benny's Third Grade
  • Benny had a brief review of addition with carrying in Singapore with smaller numbers before adding numbers within a thousand.  In Miquon, he is working on subtraction.
  • In R&S 3, he worked with commands and exclamations.  He also completed two more spelling lessons in SWO C.
  • We finished our review of the cursive alphabet and moved on to cursive copywork and worked with the model "The Fox and the Grapes" in CW Aesop.
  • For literature, he completed reading Dolphin Adventure and began Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl.  He also read aloud 5 more lessons out of the McGuffey reader, and we finished our first read aloud, The Story of Dr. Doolittle.
  • For geography, I decided to change directions.  He had learned 24 states last year using The Little Man in the Map, but he could only name the states if he pointed them out in a specific order.  I pulled out my files from the girls' US state geography lapbook and had him create US booklet this week.
This week in history, we covered the removal of the Indians, Osceola and the Seminoles, and Sequoyah's invention of a written Cherokee language.  The girls outline from SOTW 3 and read Osceola Seminole War Chief by Blassingame, The Story of the Black Hawk War by Hargrove, and Sequoyah The Cherokee Who Captured Words by Patterson.  Both chose to write about Sequoyah.  We also completed the related map from SOTW, but as usually I removed the labels from the girls maps and asked them to write the labels in themselves.  Benny and I read the same section of SOTW 3 and the same Osceola book.  For Sequoyah, we read Talking Leaves by Kohn.  He completed 3 oral narrations and the associated map.  Everyone also continued to learn about pioneer families as we read more of Pioneer Sampler by Greenwood.
Our fun project for the week was to create pictures by punching holes in an aluminum pie pan to mimic the tin decorations of the pioneers.  Jessie opted to skip the activity.  Violet created a bird,
 and Benny made an evergreen tree.


Jessie completed her first science test and moved on to chapter 2 in Physical Science.  She is a bit behind in her note taking and still working while I am typing this.  She has learning some basic chemistry concerning matter, particle theory, elements, compounds, states of matter, etc.  There were no labs scheduled this week.
Violet and Benny both did an excellent job on their first unit quiz.  We spent most of the week learning about the periodic table, what information it contains, how it is arranged, and the history of its creation.


For art lessons see Thursday's post.  The girls listened to the first section of The Story of Classical Music, assembled the timeline portion of their lapbooks, and added a few early figures and terms.  Benny listened to Mr. Bach Comes to Call this week.


Henry and I continued his farm theme by reading several books involving farmers this week including Farmer Duck by Waddell, Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck  by Wheeler, The Thing That Bothered Farmer Brown by Sloat, and Farmer Palmer's Wagon Ride by Steig.  We also enjoyed singing "The Farmer and the Dell" using a book by Rae.  In letters, he finally seems to have mastered Dd and Ee, we reviewed squares, practiced counting to 20, and introduced the number 6.
 I sent him outside with Benny one day to have fun blasting a chalk target on our basement wall.  They did a great job of soaking the target before
soaking each other as well.  Henry, as you can tell, needed a clothes change.  Benny managed to escape with only a few patches of wet here and there.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Creative Corner - Organic shapes, popsicle art, and a scarecrow

 This week the girls and I followed these directions to turn geometric shapes into organic ones.
 Jessie started with a few large shapes spread out over the paper
 while Violet's shapes were concentratd in the middle.
Benny made a sign of his name using regular size popsicle sticks and tacky glue that we placed over the door to his room.
Henry painted the back of a paper plate with me, and then turned it into a scarecrow using an online template.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WW: More from the boys

 Benny successfully completed his first 200 piece puzzle
and Henry, who didn't want to be left out of the picture taking, gave me this silly pose.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keeping the Young Ones Busy - Water Activities

Activities for toddlers and preschoolers - Part 1

There is something about water that just equals fun in my house. My plan is to have at least one water activity a week that my youngest can do with minimal supervision either on his own or with one of his siblings. Some of these activities we have already tried successfully, and others are on my current idea list.
I'll come back and update with more pictures as I have time.

Outside play:

1. Put the fire out - Draw a ladder on the sidewalk with a large chalk fire drawing at the top. Fill a small bucket and add a couple of sponges. The child runs or hops with the wet sponge to the fire, squeezes out the water, and returns to the bucket for more. I generally leave room for a second fire beyond the first one to make the game last longer.

2. Target practice - Draw a chalk target on the side of the house, a piece of plywood, etc. Using water guns, soak the target down and wash it away. You could also throw wet sponges at it instead of using water guns, but it would be a little bit messier.

3. Water the flowers or garden - My youngest loves to help and do real work. We have a few plants left in our garden, a rose bush, and a couple of small apple trees that he could water with a toy watering can if we have several dry days in a row.

4. Car wash - Generally, everyone pitches in and helps when we wash vehicles, but the same concept could be applied to toys as well. We have a plastic tractor, a small plastic picnic table, and a wagon that could use a bath in the next few weeks while the weather is still moderately warm.

5. Paint with water - All you need is a bucket of water, a paint brush, and a door, window, or section of the house to "paint".

Indoor play:

1. Float or sink
     Option 1: Fill a sink or tub halfway with water and hand the child a basket of objects to test which ones float and which ones sink. Ideas for objects - plastic toys, sponges, bouncy ball, plastic Easter egg, penny, straw, cheerio, pen, spoon, etc.
     Option 2: Fill the kitchen sink with water and add several floating boats or plastic stacking cups. Then have the child try to sink the toys. Henry used the sprayer at the sink at the other week. Younger children would probably be better with sponges to squeeze water on the toys or a small measuring cup with a handle or maybe even a turkey baster.

2. Bubble fun
     Option 1: Let the child take a bubble bath. I usually sat just outside the bathroom working with another child for safety reasons.
     Option 2: Put the bubble bath in a sink of water. Hand the child a sponge and some toys to wash. "Clean" toys can be placed in an adjacent sink or a plastic tub to be quickly rinsed at the end of the activity. Repeat the activity the following month with different toys. Have a car wash day, an animal bath day, clean the play kitchen dishes day, etc.

3. Penny drop - Place a small container at the bottom of a sink of water or bucket. Hand the child a stack of pennies to drop in the water one at a time to see how many he can get in the container. Then he can retrieve the pennies and try again.

4. Sunken Treasure - Fill a sink or rectangular pan with a few inches of water. Drop several small objects in the water like marbles or some plastic beads will sink as well. Let the child retrieve the treasure with a pair of tweezers.

5. Plain old water and toys - This one has lots of variations: cups (maybe a funnel, some eye droppers, or a turkey baster) for pouring, ocean animals, small boats, rubber ducks, toy frogs, etc.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Middle School Mondays - New Lesson Plans

I thought that I would try adding a bit more structure to my posts this year to help me be more consistent in my posting.  Each Monday (as best I can) I going to post on a topic, curriculum, or idea related to the logic / middle school stage.  Tuesdays I'll tackle younger ages.  Wednesday are for fun pictures and Thursday's for art.  Fridays will stay weekly reports. 

To start off, I've added the lesson plans that I've created for Jessie's curriculum for download.  Hopefully, these will save someone a bit of planning time or help you see how we use these curriculum.  If any of these links don't work, please leave a comment, and I will correct them.

New Lesson Plans:

BJU Physical Science Lesson Plans - These plans assume two periods of science a day.  The first is done independently and the second with the instructor.

Foerster's Algebra Lesson Plans

Latin Alive 2 Lesson Plans

Rod and Staff English 8 Lesson Plans

Word Within the Word Volume 1 Lesson Plans

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week 2: Pioneers and a Full Schedule

It hasn't been a perfect week, but overall it's been a great one. 

Jessie's 8th Grade

  • Jessie finished up her first chapter in Foerster's Algebra and scored an 89% on her test Friday.  Her score gave me an excellent opportunity to explain the importance of studying for a math test and the importance of showing her work since I gave her partial credit for two problems that had work but no credit for incorrect answers without work.  Hopefully, we'll improve on that score over the course of the year.
  • She studied subject complements, business letters, and object complements in R&S 8 and scored a 103% on her second vocabulary test.
  • In CW, she's been working with verbals, verb moods, and verb tenses.
  • For literature, she researched the life of John Bunyan.  We discussed her research using questions from the context section of Teaching the Classics before she wrote a summary of his life.  We then began daily reading and discussing Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.  She also read the first 15 chapters of Scott's Rob Roy, which we will discuss at the finish of the book.
  • Jessie began Latin Alive 2 this week; completed the first chapter reviewing the alphabet, syllabication, and accent; and began working on chapter 2.  She also commenced book 3 of Elementary Greek, which also had a review of the alphabet, breathing marks, and pronunciation.
  • For geography, she's on the last level of South and Central American countries.
Violet's 6th Grade
  • Violet completed her first IP section in Singapore and moved on to unit 2 in her book.  The exercises are asking her to look at a three dimensional figure and then decide if it can be made by folding a two dimensional set of shapes that are connected in a certain way.  She's had a little trouble visualizing some of the problems, so we've done part of the work together.
  • She aced her second spelling test of the year.  In R&S, she worked with clauses, sentences, and fragments; wrote a set of directions; and learned new terminology for the four sentence types.
  • Our model for Homer this week was "Scylla and Charybdis".  I let her type her rough draft instead of writing it by hand, which made it much easier to edit at the end of the week.
  • In literature, she read Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon, charted the plot with me through discussion, and then used the chart to write a plot summary of the book.
  • She also began her first week of LfC C which reviewed the first two declensions and the present tense endings and embarked on her first adventure in Greek by using The Greek Code Cracker to begin learning the Greek alphabet.
Benny's 3rd Grade
  • Benny finished up his first Singapore unit this week and the corresponding section in the IP book.  He moved on to section two on addition and subtraction, which is also what he has been focused on in his Miquon book. 
  • In R&S 3, he learned about statements and questions (and I again wondered why on earth they call them asking and telling sentences) and diagrammed some compound subjects and predicates.  He also completed two more spelling sections in SWO C.
  • In CW Aesop, he gave me a narration of "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing", which honestly I thought was well enough done that we didn't do any editing to it.  He also did some daily cursive copywork.  We've made it through R in our cursive alphabet review.
  • Literature has three tracks this year.  We've using McGruffy's Second Grade reader to practice reading aloud.  Right now, I'm just having him focus on not skipping words or mumbling.  He's been reading Dolphin Adventure by Grover on his own and then narrating the events of the chapter to me.  We also started a new read aloud The Story of Dr. Doolittle

This week's history focus has been pioneers.  Everyone has been reading Pioneer Sampler by Greenwood for a basic look at daily life of a pioneer family and a portion of Hero Tales Volume 2 by Jackson about Peter Cartwright and circuit riders.  The girls read Better Known as Johnny Appleseed by Hunt and The Story of Davy Crockett by Meadowcraft.  They wrote paragraph summary on Cartwright and had a choice between Johnny Appleseed or Davy Crockett for a longer summary.  Both of them chose the latter.  Benny and I read Johnny Appleseed by Kellogg (which I also had to reread daily to Henry who loved it) and The Story of Davy Crockett by Adler, and he gave me oral narrations of the stories.
In the spirit of Johnny Appleseed, I asked Jessie what she wanted to make from apples, and she chose to make an apple crisp.  I think she was a little disappointed that there were no leftovers since what is left in the picture was DH's portion.
Violet read about bread making in the Greenwood book and made a batch of crescent rolls.  I confess that we used our bread machine to run the dough cycle, but she had fun rolling out the dough and shaping the rolls.
Benny and I did activities from Pioneer Sampler.  We compared sugar water to plain water after it had been in the freezer for an hour after reading about how trees use sap and how the pioneers extracted it to make maple sugar.
We also shook up a cup of whipping cream,
drained off the buttermilk, rinsed the remaining butter, and added some salt for flavor.  The butter was delicious on Violet's homemade rolls.


Jessie began BJU Physical Science and completed the reading of chapter 1 covering basic definitions of science and the effect of worldviews on science.
She also completed three labs this week.  The first just covered basic safety and had her reading warning labels.  Lab 2 was designed to introduce the scientific method.  We compared the ability of distilled water, bleach water, salt water, and sugar water to conduct electricity.  Unfortunately our store brand distilled water was not very well distilled so all of our solutions ended up conducting electricity.  Lab 3 had her practicing making qualitative observations.
Violet and Benny began God's Design Atoms and Molecules.  We talked about what chemistry is and watched the reaction of vinegar and baking soda.  They also learned about atoms, the parts of atoms, and basic terms like atomic number and atomic mass and used their new knowledge to complete the above worksheets.  On Friday, we read about Marie Curie.


For art, scroll down to the previous post.  We'll add in music next week.


For Henry's mom time our first part of the school year will revolve around farms and seasonal items.  I am going to be loosely following the Harvest Time Curriculum at, but I've added two more weeks at the beginning as well as additional books, nursery rhymes, and activities that better fit with our family.  This week we read about barns and animals on the farm with The Big Red Barn by Brown, The Very Busy Spider by Carle, Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Cabrera, Baby Farm Animals by Williams, and Winter Barn by Parnall.  Henry loved the Old MacDonald book.  By Wednesday, the girls were asking me why on earth I had checked out that book after having to listen to me singing it to Henry and Henry singing it on his own.

We made a peek-a-boo barn scene using construction paper and a muddy pig craft which is in yesterday's Creative Corner post.

We also continued our alphabet activities focusing mainly on reviewing the letter Dd this week.  In the photo, he is matching the upper case letters on the Little People Alphabet Zoo animals to the lowercase letters on the drawing board and naming the letters that he knows.  We reviewed circles, introduced the numeral six, and practiced counting to 20.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Creative Corner - Optical hands, a pastel fox and a muddy pig

My weekly reports have been getting rather long, so I've decided to break off our art work into a separate day each week. 

For the girls' art lesson this week, I was researching middle school art projects and came across a photo of an optical hand project.  I thought the girls would enjoy trying to recreate the optical illusion.  Lightly trace on hand on a sheet of paper.  In the area outside the hand keep the lines straight and curve them upwards slightly inside the hand.  It seems that the narrower the bands of color the better the illusion. 
Here's my own attempt
Jessie's hand
Violet's didn't come through quite as well in the picture, but it's there in real life.
Benny drew this fox on black construction paper and colored it in using oil pastels per these instructions.
Henry wanted to paint, so I found a cute farm craft.  I printed a pink pig and cut it out.  Henry helped me glue the pig on construction paper and then giggled as he used a sponge and some washable brown paint to make it thoroughly muddy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Week 1: Starting up slowly

I had several goals for our first week of school:  getting used to the new schedule, reengaging the kid's brains to focus on their work, reviewing Latin grammar and vocabulary with the girls, keeping Henry out of mischief, improving his play times with his siblings, and making a morning devotional time a priority.  For schoolwork, we focused on starting math, language arts, Latin review, memory work review, geography and art.  We had a few hiccups and adjustments, but overall the week has gone very well.

Jessie's 8th Grade

Jessie started off Foerster's Algebra with some easy review this week of order of operation, exponents, and mathematical expressions.  In R&S 8, we reviewed sentences, subjects, predicates, subject complements, and basic diagramming.  We began Word Within the Word volume 1.  She enjoyed  watching me look up words that I could place in sentences but for which I could not really give a good definition.  She scored a 100% on her first quiz.  In CW, she focused on identifying a chreia, recognizing types of chreia, distinguishing maxims and chreia, analyzing verbs in a model, and putting statements in logical form.  For literature, we did a refresher of literary anaylsis this week by watching the DVDs from Teaching the Classics.  She picked back up working on countries of South America for geography.  In Latin, she review vocabulary using a combination of FlashDash online and flash cards with me.  I had her conjugating verbs from each conjugation in the present and perfect systems, declining verbs from all 5 declensions; declining third conjugation adjectives; and reviewing possessive, reflexive, relative, and interrogative pronouns.  We also reviewed Greek vocabulary and grammar from last year orally.  Finally, Jessie began logic by completing 9 pages of Building Thinking Skills 3 Verbal this week.

Violet's 6th Grade
Violet completed a drill worksheet for each of the four operations this week and did very well.  I'll have her continue with the Flash Master this year to continue to improve her speed.  She began working on the review section of CWP 5 and completed her first unit in Singapore 6 on expression with variables.  In R&S 6, she also worked with sentences, fragments, subjects, and predicates.  I had her try the writing exercise on Thursday, which asked her to write about a problem and how it was solved.  She gave me a one sentence story.  She scored a 95% on her first spelling test.  In CW, we learned about verbals, did a sentence shuffle, and rewrote a model about Ulysses and the Sirens by starting in the middle of the story.  For literature, I had her read a difference Beatrix Potter story each day, and we used that as a basis to introduce the 5 elements of stories.  Geography was a review of the US states, and she moved up to the next level of the geography game.  For Latin, she reviewed vocabulary using FlashDash and did a combination of conjugating verbs, declining nouns, and copying the charts for demonstrative pronouns which she hasn't quite memorized.

Benny's 3rd Grade
Benny began Singapore by working with numbers in the thousands.  He identified place value, compared numbers, put them in order, and wrote them in number and word format.  His Miquon Yellow book has been a review of addition.  He also began the review section in the CWP 2 book.  He started spelling at lesson 19 in SWO C where we left off in the spring and completed a lesson and a half.  His ability to write in cursive apparently leaked out of his brain over the summer, so we started Tuesday reviewing 2 letters a day and connecting the letters in words.  Once we've made it through the alphabet, we'll switch to straight copywork.  We also began CW Aesop this week.  Our model was "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing".  I explained what a fable is.  He narrated the story to me orally.  We alphabetized the words in the story beginning with the letter s, marked and counted sentences, and wrote a sentence from dictation.  In grammar, we began R&S 3 learning about sentences and statements.  For literature, we finished both The Bicycle Mystery by Warner and The Marvelous Land of Oz by Baum.  For geography, he did a variety of activities including building our North America puzzle.


The girls' art project for the week including a quick review of the five elements of shape which they previously learned from Brookes' Drawing With Children.  Then as a warm up for the year, I challenged them to write their names in block letters and fill them in with different elements.
This is the example that I did for Jessie.  She agreed to give art a try if I did the projects as well and posted my pictures online with hers.
Here is one of Jessie's letters.
Violet in typical fashion went above and beyond doing both her first and last name as well as pictures in the corners of the paper.
Benny completed this hot air balloon project using construction paper, Sharpie markers, and a white soft pastel.

Henry's Corner

Henry and I read lots of picture books.  He was able to correctly match up all of the letters that we covered last year but couldn't remember the name of the letters D and E.  We worked on those letters this week.  He also remembered the numbers 1-5 from last year and is close to counting up to twenty.  Having activities for him to do alone and with each of his siblings made the week run much more smoothly.

 He and Jessie went to a nature walk and caught a small butterfly.
 By Friday, he and Violet were able to come up with their own activity and created a marble run from wooden blocks and a small piece of noodle.
He and Benny got a lot of mileage out of the noodle sections that I cut on Thursday.  Using them with both our beach ball and a balloon.  It was great to see them all playing together and having fun with far less quarrels and bickering than this summer.