Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Artist Biography Notebooking Page

I found the notebooking page we are using for our The Usborne Treasury of Art artist study. I had a couple of different people ask me where I got it. I thought I had printed it off my Hold that Thought! notebooking cd I purchased. But, it's a pdf file I found when I googled "Artist of Influence". You can go here to print it.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival

Barb at Handbook of Nature Study has posted the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival: August Newsletter Edition. If you are interested in some great Pond Study posts, head over there. A couple of our nature posts are included!

If you would like to receive the monthly newsletter with GREAT nature study ideas, she now has a place where you can subscribe to her blog via e-mail and receive the newsletter directly in your inbox. I highly recommend it! She does all of the work for you. All you have to do is play along.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

America: The Story of Us ~ Episode Guides

I've had a couple of commenters say that they can't locate the Episode Guides on The History Channel website.

Go directly to this link. They should be right on the left-hand side (scroll down a bit) titled "Classroom Episode Guides". Click on the episode of your choice and it will pull up a pdf for you to print.

Here is the link for you to copy and paste if you need to:

I hope this helps! Let me know if you are still having problems finding it.

Pond Study ~ Part 2

Yesterday was the conclusion of our Pond Study. It was a beautiful day, not like the rainy day we endured last week. Here is a picture of the pond in our neighborhood where we typically do our studies.

We were set on seeing some dragonflies while we were there this time because we know they are usually there.

Before we went for our Pond Walk, we read the book Pond Walk, written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. This was a great book to prepare us for our walk!

It even described the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly. (Do you know the difference?) ... a dragonfly's wings are expanded when it lands and a damselfly's wings move in close to it's body. We watched them at the pond and determined that they were, in fact, dragonflies. However, we weren't quick enough to get a picture of them being still.

Brynne searched around for some rocks and sticks to make a painted rock turtle, as demonstrated in the back of Pond Walk.

She revised her plans and decided to use sticks for the legs and tail and a smaller rock for the head, instead of just using paper. He turned out cute, huh?

Then I had her dip out some water with a clear jar for us to observe after we got back home.

Here is what she saw in the jar: duckweed, icky water, sticks, dirt.

There are still a few more days left to participate in the Outdoor Hour August 2011 Newsletter activities prepared by Barb at Handbook of Nature Study. Go join in on all the fun! I cannot wait to see what the September newsletter has for us!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Math Monday ~ The Number Eating Alligator {Greater Than/Less Than}

Welcome to Math Monday! Cindy at love2learn2day hosts a math Linky on Mondays, so I thought I would start joining in since Brynne will be having a Living Math day at the end of each week.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week Brynne does math lessons from MEP (Math Enhancement Programme). But on Thursdays, I wanted to incorporate a day of Living Math. I plan to just see what types of math lessons we do on the first three days and throw in a book and/or some hands on activities on Thursday to reinforce those lessons.

This week we were dabbling in Greater Than and Less Than. Although she mostly "got it", it took me back to my elementary school days when we would draw an alligator mouth with the teeth facing the Greater number. Did you do that??

I searched and found "The Number Eating Alligator". Click here to listen to it.

I also printed off a copy of an alligator stick puppet (found at the bottom of this link). I placed playing cards on the coffee table and Brynne used the puppet to determine which way the alligator mouth should go. Then she would say, out loud, the equation, i.e. 8 is greater than 3, 3 is less than 8.

It was fun and engaging. And, when she was done I gave her a Greater Than and Less Than worksheet with two-digit numbers. She was able to use what she learned to complete the problems.

Go join Cindy for other great math ideas!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Science Sunday ~ Dem Bones

This week we continued, or, rather, really began our study of The Human Body.

We started by reading The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole.

This week we concentrated on the bones of the body. We read Dem Bones by Bob Barner. Since I was doing a terrible job singing the song, I pulled up this version on Youtube and Brynne watched it a couple of times.

Then we did a couple of demonstrations. The first was something I copied from Pink and Green Mama. I took two latex gloves and filled them both with flour. In one I put a craft stick down into each finger. When they were completed they were a perfect demonstration of a hand that did not have bones and one that did.

After having some complete fun, we did a couple of visuals about ball joints and synovial fluid.

I also had Brynne attempt various movements without moving her joints. Jumping without the ankle joint ... not happenin'.

We finished our bones study by applying the bones stickers to our Human Body poster provided by The Young Scientists' The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body .

Then we flipped the poster over, where we have our life-size Brynne, and she added q-tip bones to her philanges.

We are linking up with Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom. 

Next week we are moving on to the respiratory system.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Study America Saturday ~ Getting Along

How were your American History studies this week? Write a post about it and link up with us!

This week we watched as John Smith and the early settlers made attempts to get Jamestown up and running with the constant threat of the ambushing indians, starvation, illness, and pompous gentlemen who were trying to run the colony.

Here is specifically what Dawson (and Brynne, at times) did in their studies:
We are reading the historical fiction novel, Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone. We have enjoyed the accounting by young Samuel, John Smith's servant, of the events of the early days of settling in Jamestown.

After reading about all of the difficulties John Smith had in getting the settlers to allow him to do what he did best (set up a colony, communicate with the Indians, be a leader), Dawson was thrilled to learn that John Smith is credited with the founding of Virginia.

Dawson and Brynne played "On the Trail with Captain John Smith", a simulation of the settling in Jamestown. It tells the story and has lots of interactive games.

Brynne also watched an interactive showing of the story of Pocahontas.

The majority of Dawson's American History studies this week consisted of research and completing notebooking pages. He also wrote two beautiful poems about Native Americans and Early Explorers, concentrating on the use of action verbs.

Next week Dawson will do studies of The Bloody Massacre and Paul Revere's Ride. As we have determined that this U.S. History study is a little meaty for Brynne, she will switch gears and study her first state, Virginia, in her U.S. States study.

Link up your American History post below. Be sure to include in your title an indication of what you studied this week, for easy searching by others (i.e. Journey2Excellence ~ Early Settlers)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Van Gogh-ing Full Speed Ahead!

What a full and exciting week (and exhausting ... whew! In fact, it's 4:30 p.m. right now and I am laying in bed writing this post. I am whooped!) We have completed our first full week of the 2011-2012 school year and it was a good one.

I must say that some tweaking has already had to be done .. like a change in Brynne's history curriculum and changes to our schedule. But overall it has all gone well.

I'll start with the highlight of our week .. Art! This year I purchased The Usborne Art Treasury. It is such a cool book and just might be the best homeschooling find ever! It has twenty-some chapters, each one showcasing a different artist (some historic, some current-ish). The chapter shows a piece of that artist's work, gives a short biographical section, and then gives a step-by-step of how to do a similar piece of art based on the artist's work.

This week it was Van Gogh. I read the biographical information while Dawson and Brynne completed a notebooking page. Brynne just used the information I read to her from the book. Dawson grabbed the computer and started looking up facts. Then they printed off a picture of Van Gogh and three pieces of his art and glued them to their page.

The next day we did a Van Gogh painting. It was fun and they turned out amazing! I cannot wait to build their portfolios this year!

What else did we do?

Dawson ~ 9th Grade

Dawson had a very busy week. I warned him that this year would be jam-packed. We are working on his schedule since he has such heavy hitting subjects this year. He is trying to figure out when in the day to do each subject so that his mind is not mush when he gets to them.

Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 has been a huge hit! He said that the instructor's voice is one that just makes you want to listen. The new version does the grading for you which is awesome!! He can see immediately when he misses a problem and then re-work it and even watch a step-by-step. I can see that this is going to be the perfect curriculum for him in his math studies. (Praise God!)

In Apologia Biology we skipped to Module 14 because it is a leaf study and I wanted to make sure we actually had leaves to study. He has said a couple of times, "Why is it that every year I have to study leaves?" And then in the next breath he will say, "Did you know that .....?" And it's something that he had just learned. Although the "On Your Own" questions are haaaaaarrrrd, I have loved the experiments so far and the hands-on application about what is being learned. He is currently collecting leaves and identifying their venation, shape, margin, what tree they come from, etc. Application! Good stuff.

In U.S. History he has been studying the 13 Colonies, the meaning of Thanksgiving, and about the Powhawtans. We are reading Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone which has been a good historical novel. More on that on my Study America Saturday post tomorrow. (Link up with your American History studies, if you want! Please!)

IEW has been going great, too, and he has been working on two poems this week about Native Americans and the Early Explorers. I just read them a little while ago and they are so good! The rest of his time has been spent on his grammar lessons, typing, Spanish, and personal reading.

Brynne ~ 2nd Grade

Brynne has also had a full week. In fact, it was so full I changed her history curriculum to make it more fun. She was having that exhausted look in her eyes, and I just don't want that for her. We have decided to do a U.S. States study instead, including a coloring page, notebooking page, license plate map, books, and cooking. It will be fun and I can't wait for her to build her notebook. THANK YOU for all of the great suggestions I have received!

Her favorite subject (which surprises me), is Math!! She is love, love, loving MEP! And so am I! We end our day with it and it's her favorite thing to do. I cannot recommend that program enough. And, it's FREE! Then yesterday we did "Living Math" and did some hands on greater than and less than lessons with an alligator and some playing cards. I will have a full post on that on Monday.

In Science we have been learning about bones. We read a couple of books, watched "Dem Bones" on Youtube, added q-tip philanges to our life-size Brynne, did ball joint and synovial fluid experiments, and made "hands" with bones and without. I will have a full Science post on Sunday.

Handwriting, copywork, and grammar have taken her longer to do this week than I anticipated. But, that is sit-down work (and she's not too into sitting). It's something she'll have to get used to.

This morning we went with our Co-op friends to a semi-local playground and splash pad for some fun. It was nice for Brynne to just run around, and for me to gab with the moms. And, it was only in the high 80's, so wasn't blistering hot! In fact, it was almost nice under the shaded awning.

As you can see, we are at Full Speed Ahead!

How was your week? Head over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to share it with others.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pond Study ~ Part 1

As part of The Outdoor Hour Challenge's August Newsletter, the kids and I partook in the first part of our pond study.

It was drizzling the whole time we were there, so there wasn't much activity. And, it was slippery, slimy wet and Brynne and I were terrified of the possibility of a slippery, slimy snake, so we didn't dig into our study like we would normally do.

Walking around the pond we did find an egg. It was small and a tad bit squishy. A snake egg, perhaps?

I collected tons of different leaves for Dawson's Apologia Biology Module 14 study while he and Brynne sat down to sketch. I had them look for something big to sketch and then concentrate on a smaller detail of it to sketch in a detail box (suggested by the newsletter).

Brynne sketched a leaf, some water, a rose (that wasn't there) and a log and made a detail box of the bark on the log from an up-close photo I took. (Again, she was too scared of snakes to get too close, so she sketched from the photo.)

Dawson sketched the pond and a tree and drew detail of the small nodes on the tree. He had his sketchbook propped right up to the tree when he drew the detail.

I spotted a tree with a fungusy mushroomy thingy (very technical terms, I know) growing out of the side of it. So, I sketched the tree and made a detail box of the "thingy".

We didn't see any cattails, or frogs, or ducks, or dragonflies, so no detailed study of any of them could occur. Next week, though, we'll go back in search of them again, and plan to dip out some pond water to observe.

We will visit that pond often, because it's a great place to study nature, so I know that our pond study will really occur all year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are You Listening?

I haven't been. Well, I heard, but I wasn't really listening! Sounds like my interaction with my kids sometimes.

I wasn't listening to my parent, either. This time, it was my Father. My Heavenly Father.

I spent ALL SUMMER planning Dawson and Brynne's U.S. History curriculum. But all through it I felt that it just wasn't "right" for Brynne. But, I wanted them to study the same thing. I wanted her to be a super-smarty. I had some great plans.

But everywhere I turned, there were the U.S. States.

There were wipeable maps, flash cards, unit studies I saw on websites, cookbooks, fun ideas, a puzzle Brynne just "happened" to get from my mom for her birthday, the postcard swap sponsored by Heidi at Starts at Eight that we signed up for, the U.S. Geography notebooking cd we received FOR FREE from  Hold That Thought! that I didn't request. I was ignoring the whispers from God telling me that a state study would be more fun and informative for Brynne than a full-fledged U.S. History study covering the settlers to the millennium.

Yesterday morning Mary at Homegrown Learners talked about her U.S. State study she is doing with her kids. And I got so excited at the thought of it! Then I thought about Joesette at Learning Curve who has done a state study for the past year or more with her girls.

Yes, a state study would be great. It would be FUN, which is what a 6 year old 2nd grader needs to be having in her learning. The intense books, videos, notebooking pages and such that I had planned were looking a whole lot more like work than fun. And when you are 6, learning is supposed to be fun.

I went to the library yesterday afternoon to see what publishers had state books, so that I didn't order some from home and then get them to find out they were too complicated. Remember, I want this to be fun, not daunting. I picked out a great series of books by Rookie Read About Geography.

And then I did a search for easy readers with the subject of our first state, Virginia, (because I love fictional fun books about what we are learning) and found Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make you a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley. Edna Lewis grew up on a farm in Virginia and became a famous chef. (There are even some recipes in the back of the book.)

I felt such peace when I left the library. I had direction and I knew exactly what we should be doing, what God wanted me to do!

So on Monday we will begin our U.S. State Study and abandon the U.S. History study I have all planned, printed and organized. Never fear, I tell myself. There are years left of homeschooling and that U.S. History study will be better suited for her when she's a tad older AND it will be completely prepared and waiting for us when we are ready.

We will study one state per week on Mondays and Tuesdays. We will do a coloring page from the Crayola site. We will do a two-page notebooking page I found to include all the fun state facts and "stuff" that we can print off the internet and attach to it. We will read a book or two and, hopefully, cook something from that state's history each week.

I think this will be so much more fun and engaging.

And then that gives us Wednesday and Thursday to do our science unit studies. As it was before, I had all of our science crammed into one day and it was going to be stressful.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."
~ Robert Burns

or better yet ...

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans."
~ Proverbs 16:3

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Day

A little exercise, a whole lot of coffee, and some quiet time for Mom before the kids get up.

Dawson and Eli are up and getting ready for school at 8 a.m. Kyndal was gone by 7 a.m.
About 9 a.m. Dawson and I are in full swing. Brynne is up, has had breakfast, and is ready.
Yes, we're on the couch at 10 a.m. doing a history read-a-loud while Brynne does copywork.

Interesting American History lessons follow. It takes us at least an hour.
Next is lunch and personal reading time, even for Mom.

Time for Dawson to get to his Apologia Biology textbook and experiments.
Happiness abounds for Brynne with her MEP math lessons and Living math.
Everybody gathers back together for art time, with nature or artist studies.

Literature grabs Brynne and Mom as we read history living books. Thursdays, it's science.
It's time for Dawson to start wrapping up his day, with grammar, typing and/or Spanish.
Finally it's 3:00 and school is over. Eli and Kyndal come home from their schools, too.
Everybody gets to their personal time because the school day is done!

This is what our day looks like Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, Brynne and I spend the morning at our Homeschool Co-op and the afternoons running errands. On Thursday mornings she replaces her grammar, handwriting and copywork lessons with Dance class. And on Mondays, Dawson replaces his grammar, typing and Spanish lessons with Guitar lessons.

It's fun. It's busy. And I'm not sure whether it's doable. I think I might just have too much scheduled. We'll keep working this week to see how everything goes. But I might have to cut out a couple of things at the end of the day, busywork at this point, to give us some time in case we are running late. I'm pretty exhausted. But, we're only a few days in, so maybe we are just trying to get adjusted. Time will tell.

What works for you? The NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop is the place to be this week for the last Linky installment.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

We are in the full swing of things now. And I couldn't be happier.

In my life this week ... I would call this the first week of normal for me. I have a schedule in place, loads to do, but excitement to do it all. I thrive on "normal" and routine, so am happy to be where I am.

In our homeschool this week… Our full schedule starts, with the exception of a couple of extra-curricular activities that start in the next couple of weeks..

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… We'll mostly be home, getting used to our new schedule. On Friday, Brynne and I will go hang out with our friends for a while. We saw them a lot this summer and have been too busy to hang out lately.

My favorite thing this week was… watching Dawson take his first IEW assignment seriously, and then producing a beautiful poem about America!

What’s working/not working for us me… Having my laptop sitting on my desk in the kitchen. It is entirely too easy for me to "check" my e-mail or Dashboard for blog updates. Then I end up getting hooked in and am only partially there for our lessons, housework gets behind, and I find myself "checking out" of my real life. It's distracting and not fair to my kids or my husband (when he gets home and I'm doing the same thing.) Starting today, the computer is in my office at the front of the house. I have scheduled computer time in the mornings before everybody gets up. I won't touch it again until lunch time. Then I won't touch it again until 3:00 when school is over. Then it's off-limits once Rick gets home in the evenings.

Questions/thoughts I have… Have I planned too much for Brynne this year in the areas of history and science? I think what we are going to do is going to teach her so much, and be fun. But would she enjoy it more if we were doing Five in a Row instead? If/when we bring Eli home for school, I plan to do Five in a Row. Should I have just gone ahead and started that with Brynne this year?? Obviously it's too early to tell. But that's just something I am keeping tucked into the back of my mind.

Things I’m working on… Just fitting everything in every day in a smooth and fluid way, and not over-doing it so much that I am a zombie in the evenings when Rick and the other two kids come home.

Books I’m reading… Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner, Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone (Dawson's read-a-loud) More Faith in My Day by Emilie Barnes (my daily devotional).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… 

I looked out on the back porch on one of our cooler days a week or so ago, and found Crusoe just relaxing on the patio furniture with the wind blowing on his face. He had let himself out the back door and was enjoying the day.

Visit other homeschool mothers at The Homeschool Chick.