Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WOW!! It's been almost 3 full weeks already!!

Can you believe that we have been in school for almost three full weeks already!?!?  WOW!

Things are going well!  All of our curriculum is working for us, at least for the moment.  :-)

Here are some picture highlights (yes I know they are mainly from Alyssa's stuff...but she is the one doing the fun stuff right now! LOL!!)

So last Thursday Aaron got to go to work with Daddy all day (he had a dental cleaning and Daddy decided that he could just spend the day with him).  Anyways - we didn't have guitar practice that day so we actually had school at home.  Well, Daisy, our nana dog, did not like the fact that one of HER children were missing!!  She stayed in the school room all morning (which she NEVER does) acting very sad that there was someone missing.  You should have seen her leap to the front door when she heard Daniel's truck pulling into the drive that afternoon.

Ok - so Alyssa has started learning her sight words this and she is doing AWESOME!  She has learned six color words - red, yellow, orange, purple, blue and green.

Here is her showing off her page on the day that she learned the first two (red and yellow)!

And here is her sight word caterpillar - it is growing!!!  :-)

She has done a couple more letters for her alphabet book as well.

 her B bear
 her R Rabbit

And we put our first animal in our "ocean box" today - our baleen whale!!

Tomorrow is our first guitar lesson of the last semester for the year.  And then Friday we are having a summer reading celebration at a splash pad!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Quick Update

Things are going well with school!  We are about to have two weeks behind us already!!  WOW!!  Last Thursday we did "road schooling" because we decided to take a last minute camping trip so we we could be with daddy on a job he had out of town!  We even got in some nature journaling on Friday :-)!  Here are some pictures of that!!

 Alyssa's cactus
 Seth's cactus
 My cactus
Aaron's cactus

I also wanted to post pics of Alyssa's alphabet book!!  She is having a lot of fun with this!!  It is going to be a really nice keepsake when it is all done!    

On the left side of the pages she is completing an alphabet art picture for each letter (I pulled ideas off of Pinterest)

On the right side I found free printables - they were actually letter of the day sheets - but they had all the elements that I wanted to include.  There is one for each letter.  On some of the letters the color picture on the right side will match the animal on the left...but not always...

And I will finish this post with a picture of Aaron's lego creation from this week that he is VERY proud of!!  I thought he did an AWESOME job coming up with this idea on his own!

Until next time,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ready for the New Year

ok - so the last time I posted it was May and I said that we were trucking along and were planning on schooling through the summer... well... that didn't happen LOL!  We were SO BUSY this summer with vacations, and church camp, and VBS, and birthdays, and so on and so on that we never had time!  When we were home we were recouping from one trip and getting ready for the next!  But I can't complain too much, because even though we did not do school, I never heard the "I'm Bored." and "I have nothing to do" complaints - which was the main reason why I said we were going to school through the summer.

The bad part about us ending up not being in the school room was that I never "closed out" the year.  Also I had my list of books and workbooks and stuff that we were going to need for this year that I had planned on buying throughout the summer, and realized a couple of weeks ago that I never did that!

So the past few weeks I have been busy closing out last school year and planning this school year!  I am excited to say that I am done and we are ready to start school on Monday!!  YEA!!  I am SOO ready to get back to our normal routine!  :-)

For the most part things are going to stay the same.  Seth is in 4th grade (WOW! Can you believe that?!?!).  He will be doing Pathways reading for 4th grade.  There is also an intensive vocabulary curriculum that goes with that and he will be doing that as well.  He will also be in Level 3 Singapore math.   And he will continue in his Explode the Code.

Aaron will finish the last 1/3 of his Pathways 2nd grade reading and then will move right into 3rd grade reading!  He is in Singapore Level 2 (which is actually for 3rd grade!) and he will also be moving right along in his Explode the Code.

The boys will continue to do Learning Language Arts Through Literature Level 3 together.

Alyssa will continue her Kindergarten that we started in May (well I say Kindergarten, she will actually be doing Pathways 1st grade curriculum...she is more than ready for it!)

We will continue Beautiful Feet Early American History all together.  And we are also doing Apologia's Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day for science for all 3.

We have 3 books left in the Chronicles of Narnia series.  We will start reading The Silver Chair on Monday!!

I have some pictures to show you of what I have done different to the room this year. There was a suggestion in the Apologia science book of having your child make a 3-D ocean box that they will be filling with sea creatures throughout the year.  Well I decided to make a HUGE ocean box and found some really cute ocean animal craft ideas on pinterest to put in our ocean box (the book mainly had instructions for clay figures to make...I thought this might be more fun).  I thought since I was having that box that I would just decorate the rest of the room in Ocean theme as well!

First picture is of Alyssa's Corner!  I am so excited of this little space for her!  I am trying to make this a very special year for her (well, and for me too, since this will be my last time to teach this age )-: )  And the world map below really doesn't go with her stuff - I just didn't have anywhere else to put it.

Here is the bulletin board I put over my desk.  I am working on crocheting a fishing net that I want to hang probably from this corner with fish in it and stuff...I will post pics when I get it complete.  I know it looks kind of plain right now.

Here is the big ocean box!  I can't wait to see it filled with our ocean creatures.  I will post updated pictures as we fill it.
 Here is a close up of the paper in the middle of the box - our theme verse for science!  (sorry - didn't realize the pic was blurry...but didn't feel like getting another one right now)

Here is my filing cabinet.  It is starting to look in rough shape so I covered the door fronts in sea blue duct tape and added fishies.  Didn't quite come out as cute as the picture in my head but it works!

I think that is it for today!!

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Alyssa is in Kindergarten

WOW!  I am not doing a good job at all keeping this blog updated!

We are trucking right along!  We have made the decision to homeschool at least a portion of the summer.  The kids will be off almost the whole month of June due to vacation and trips.  But I am hoping to get in at least a couple of weeks in July and then most of August.  I mean - if we are home we might as well get school in.  It is a lot better than being stuck in the house (because it is too hot to go out) and hearing "I'm bored" all day!  Plus, like I told the kids, we only school in the mornings anyway!

And let me tell you - since I made that decision - the whole pressure of having to be finished with everything by a certain date has been lifted from me!  I am no longer trying to put "school year" labels on things...we just go when we finish and then start the next thing!  (and as I look at things I see that we are on track...if not a little ahead so we are GOOD!)  :-)

With that, Alyssa has started Kindergarten!  She has been begging me since her 5th birthday in April to start!  I was trying to hold off but realized - why? If I am not doing the "school year" labels then why not start her now.  So we started last week and she is LOVING it!  I have to admit that I am too!  I don't know if it is due to the fact that this is my third time to do kinder or the fact that this is my last kinder so I am trying to savor it....probably a little of both!  :-)

I am not doing a good job of getting pictures of school.  I did try to get some pictures though to show Alyssa's first days of kindergarten.  And I have a few others that I found on the camera :-)

 (working with Granny on her history journal - she does history and science with the boys (has been for a while)... sometimes she listens just as well if not better than the boys and can answer more questions sometimes too LOL!)
 (she LOVES to cut and paste!)

 (she takes such care to get  her handwriting just right too!)
 (this was her Nature name picture she did today - she LOVED it and took such care to get it just right)
(Aaron got my phone the other night - he was being silly wearing my sunglasses!)
(Alyssa showing her fish lips!  Doesn't she look like a movie star?!?! LOL!)

Just realized that I didn't get pictures of our new science journals we have started!  I will get pics of those and our history journals for a later post!  

Oh - and Aaron is now 2/3 way through with 2nd grade reading!!!!!  :-) we are taking a break for the summer to do some light literature studies!  He is going to start with Magic School Bus book 1 (Dinosaurs before Dark).  He is super excited about that!

Seth is fixing to finish his study on Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims and he is going to start a novel study on 'Because of Winn Dixie'!  :-)

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aaron is becoming an artist!

Quick post to share some of Aaron's drawings that he is doing in his animal drawing class in co-op!  He is LOVING this class!!

 killer whales
 Mr Happy the cat
 Mr. Jop the penguin

Until next time,

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Plans!!

We continue to rock along in our school year!  Aaron just completed his first reader for 2nd grade reading!!  He will go ahead and complete the second one (which at the rate he is going he will finish it by the first of May!)  After that he will start his Summer reading (more on that in a minute).

Ok - so I am once again trying to get in some history into our school days.  My original plans for this for the year kind of fell through and just didn't click I guess because it was very easy to neglect and not do... to the point that we weren't doing anything. But I went looking through the resources I had and have come up with Early American History projects and so far we are having a blast with them!!

 We started with talking about Christopher Columbus.  I used my resources that I still have from Adventures in My Father's World.  We watched the Animated Hero Classic video about Christopher Columbus and made some drawings (from Draw Write Now) of Christopher Columbus and of his three ships). Right now we are doing projects about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims.  I am using a scholastic make and learn project ebook that I had purchased some time back for these.  That book has good synopsis material to use as teaching material and I am supplementing it with the My Father's World resources.  After this we will spend some time talking about the Indians (I have a couple of Scholastic project ebooks for that) and then we will move into colonial life.  I would to like to continue to find resources like this as we move, at a slow, leisurely pace, through American History.  The kids LOVE the hands on aspect of the project and I really think it will help them to retain the information.

I have even cleared off a shelf for us to put our projects.  Here are some pictures of how I have decorated our shelf and some of our first projects.

 Here is the shelf decorated and ready for projects 

 A "Old World vs New World" diorama that we made 

Here is the "old world" side - showing Holland, where the pilgrims tried to live

 and here is the "new world" side showing America after they landed on the Mayflower.  We had fun comparing and contrasting the two.

 Here is our 3D model of the Mayflower (standing in blue ocean waves)

 You can open the front flap to "peek" inside the ship - we had good discussions on what life must have been like on the ship.

The kids are enjoying this so much that they asked if we could do same thing for science!  So we are taking a break from Apologia science and going to start talking about animal habitats and doing projects for that.  Let me say that we LOVE Apologia and will continue to use that book...but it is a lot of reading...and I think, especially right now since they are still young, it's ok to take a break from that and do some "fun" science!!   I am also using Scholastic ebook project books that I have already purchased.  They also have some fun experiments and stuff to explore further with!  Today we started with caves (didn't get pics - I will have pics for my next post).  We made a cool "peek through" book on 'What lives in caves?'  I even found some pictures of stalactites and stalagmites online that I showed the kids as we talked about what a cave is and what it consists of.    Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to start our experiment of making stalactites.  When we come back from spring break (which is next week) we will make a cave diorama!  

I have cleared the top of the other bookshelf for our animal habitat projects.  Once again, I will have pictures of that in my next post!

So, at the beginning of the post I mentioned "Summer reading".  For the first time at Watson Christian Academy we will have summer school.  :-)  And before you start telling me how mean and cruel I am, hear me out!

Summer school will not be like our normal school will be more relaxed and more "fun" than "normal" school!  We will be on a very relaxed schedule because we are wanting to get in a bunch of camping, and we have a big trip in June planned, and we will have park days and stuff with our we will NOT have any type of a rigid schedule.  BUT on the days when we are home we might as well be productive right?!?!  (and kids behave SO MUCH better when we are on our routine).

So here is what I am planning for our "summer school":

Literature Studies - Seth is going to be reading 'Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims' (we read it aloud together last year but he is going to read it on his own now and is super excited about this), an abridged verison of 'Tom Sawyer' and an abridged version of 'Huckleberry Finn'.  I am actually writing the literacy units to go with the books, which will consist of vocabulary and comprehension questions by chapter.  But this way he is keeping up his reading skills as he continues to focus on comprehension, as well as learning new vocabulary (and practicing using a dictionary to find meanings of words) etc...

Aaron will be reading Imagination Station's 'Voyage of the Vikings' as well as the first books in the Magic Tree House series (he is SUPER excited to start these).  He will also have literacy units like those described above that he will complete as he reads his books.

We will continue our history projects and our animal habitat projects.

We will also throw in some math games so that we keep fresh on our math skills!

At this point that is all I have planned.  See? Sounds like fun, right?!?!  :-)  

And of course I will also be planning out our "new" school year during the Summer as well.  Those who know me know that for the past 2 summers now I have used that time to plan out our school year!  Now every year I have had to tweak and change as I go...but it seems to be much easier to do that when the majority of your year is planned in advance :-)  It has worked well for me and I plan to continue in the same fashion!

And it is getting about time to have Alyssa "dive" into school since she will be turning 5 in April - YIKES!!!  

So as you can see things are staying busy around here!

Until next time,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rocking along...

Well we are rocking right along in this new year!  Things have been SUPER busy lately!  Seth is doing a public speaking workshop for 4H.  He also starts guitar lessons through the Salvation Army next week.  He is super excited about that!

The kids are still working on learning the recorder and doing well (our biggest issue is ME working in practice time but thankfully they are smart fast learners).

We went on a field trip to the Perot Museum last week and had a blast!!  Here are a few picture highlights from that trip.

 (cool thing about this one - we talked about the wooly mammoth in science this week - I pulled up this picture to help the kids to remember the skeleton we saw last week)

Then this week we went to the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park (see I told you - we have been crazy busy!!)  Here are some highlights from that trip :-)

 The boys enjoyed two different scavenger hunts that they had set up for them to do!

 the two pics above are of blue-eyed MJ, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and we just fell in love with her!  She has BLUE eyes (very rare for turtles)

 This penguin pair were roaming the place while we were there!  We got to pet them too!

So the kids are getting super excited about our new semester of co-op that starts next Friday!  I am looking forward to a change of pace with the classes I teach - I am doing a couple more classes for Alyssa's age group :-)  (and of course still doing a science class for the boys age range - we are doing Magic School Bus Science this semester!)

But with the younger classes come more "art" classroom has been looking like an art room lately.  In one of the classes the kids will be learning alphabet, numbers and shapes etc with animals!  On the first class we are going to read Eric Carle's 'Animals Animals' (thank you Karen Hare for the book if you are reading this!!!).  We are going to use Eric Carle's art technique to make a cover for a book that we will be making with all of our activities for the semester.  To do this I needed to texture paint some tissue paper!

Here is my tissue paper hanging to dry.

And see that AWESOME WONDERFUL wooden gadget with the two hooks!!  Seth made this for me one night when he was playing with Daddy in the shop!  It was his own invention and he was so excited to give to me.  I am so happy that I found the perfect use for it - it helped me to make a double rowed drying rack for these tissue papers!!  :-)

Here is another shot of the tissues hanging to dry!  We also decided to do these for our homemade valentines that we are making for friends for Valentines this year (there are a group of 57 kids that are exchanging valentines - kids are having a blast making them!)

And here is my finished example of the Eric Carle art!!  I am so excited to see how all the kids' turn out!

I am also doing an Exploring Literature class for those young ones as well.   The first class we will be reading 'Joey Ran Away' and here is our kangaroo craft we are going to do!  :-)

I have to share this next picture :-)  Seth's Draw To Learn Proverbs lesson was from Proverbs 8:12-16 and it stated for him to draw a picture of his country's leader and pray for wisdom for him.  Well, he chose to draw this country's first leader - George Washington!   I loved it!!   

And Seth is learning his times tables - oh boy!!!  He is not happy at all about memorizing them!  I finally found a cool app that we tried out today and he is loving it!  After about 20 minutes on his app he about has his 2 and 3 facts down!!  :-)

Well as I type this it is snowing outside!  Probably won't be enough to amount to anything but it is sure pretty coming down!  We are trying to stay warm!!  I am so thankful that my hubby found an AWESOME deal on a 150 gallon propane tank and installed a gas heater (with a thermostat) in our school room!!  No more having to run out here at 6:30 in the morning to turn on some heat in this FREEZING room!!  It now stays at a good constant temp and we stay nice and toasty!!  I have to say - it has been one COLD winter!!!  Hopefully that means it will be a BEAUTIFUL spring!  :-)

Until next time,