Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Just Get it Posted Already

(I have had this post typed and ready since last Friday, but for some reason getting photos recognized by Blogger off my computer has been a problem the last several months. It just so happened to coincide with the the change from iPhoto to just Photo, which I hate, by the way. I am just now dragging photos into this post, and am going ahead and posting it 'as is' because I still can't get them all here. Annoying!)

We had another great, steady week last week. I don't want to give the impression that we never have icky days, because we do. Sometimes one of us is tired or just not feeling it or has a negative attitude. Sometimes we just don't want to do our grammar or math or copywork.

Thursday was kind of one of those days because we were up late on Wednesday night and it was rainy on Thursday morning. But I have found that if we just stick to our planner and do "just one more thing" we seem to find ourselves at the end of the day with most of our planned tasks accomplished.

Some days we don't get everything done we have planned. Again, there are those days that we have just had enough so we finish our day with some extra reading or a relevant movie. And if we don't get everything done we always have Freedom Friday to complete tasks. It just leaves us with a little less freedom to do some delight-directed learning, which is the purpose of Freedom Friday.

This week we moved right along with our basic studies. We did a spelling unit, did copywork from Proverbs each morning, watched CNN Student News, studied real numbers in Pre-Algebra, completed another week's lessons in grammar, read out of McGuffey's and did some copywork, finished Because of Winn Dixie, read out of our personal books, and read aloud from The Lightning Thief. All of these subjects are moving along nicely and steadily.

In Astronomy and Greek Mythology we continued learning about Hercules. The kids continued to practice memorizing the 15 brightest stars with their corresponding constellations. At the end of the week they did a marshmallow/toothpick Summer Triangle. We also watched the Disney film Hercules.

In Missouri History we learned all about the first explorers from Spain and France. The kids finally completed their salt dough maps of Missouri identifying the four geological regions, major cities, and major waterways. (No photos ... ugh!)

In our enrichment class the boys attempted to build the tallest structure using spaghetti, tape, string, and a marshmallow. This proved to be very difficult for them. Eli gave up after one attempt due to frustration and Nolan got his very high but it wouldn't support the marshmallow. At the end I put together a basic idea. We also discussed how engineers and/or scientists cannot give up after their first idea fails. If that happened then we wouldn't have any new inventions.

Nolan is amazed it's standing!

The girls and I went to the park to choose playground equipment that we could use in a metaphor paragraph. Brynne chose a slide that she thinks looks like an elephant. Riley chose a train and train car play structure that she thinks looks like a giant's shoe and sock. And I chose a jungle gym that I think looks like a spider web. I am going to write my metaphor this week for an example and we will complete theirs next week. Then I think we are going to switch programs. The one we are doing is just not fun. They are trying their best to enjoy it, but I just don't think the program we chose is working for them. I have some other ideas.

Outside activities this week included Eli going to archery one day and Brynne having a couple of nights of volleyball practice.

The greatest part of my week was on Friday when I left the kids at home alone with a list of schoolwork to complete while I went grocery shopping. This list included making their marshmallow constellation, finishing their Missouri History questions from our weekly chapter, painting their salt dough maps, playing a number classification math game, finishing up their astronomy worksheets, and reading. I was so pleased to come home and find all those tasks completed and completed well.

2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 97.5 hours, including 15 hours outside home. Plus Summer Hours Logged: 141.5 hours, including 54 hours outside home.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window ... it's a little too warm and sunny for my taste, especially since we are into September. Bring on the morning chilly temps!

I am thinking ... about how blessed I am as a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I am thankful ... for a husband who works hard to make all my dreams come true.

One of my favorite things ... is a day where I actually get out of bed and do all those things that make my day better: exercise, Bible study, shower and get ready. It makes for a successful and productive day.

I am creating ... healthier menus for my family.

I am watching ... Gilmore Girls hoping to get through all of the seasons before the release of the new feature series on Netflix. I have a lot to watch.

I am wearing ... black burnout t-shirt, Miss Me Jeans, black Coach flip flops, FitBit, Rustic Cuff bracelet.

I am reading ... The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. I'm absorbing it, really. A fascinating read for an introverted homeschooling woman.

I am listening to ... podcasts while I run. Can anyone recommend a good series? I am not very good at locating podcasts. I need them to be about 30 minutes each.

I am hoping ... for a super quiet weekend where I can just get some rest, read, and watch some t.v. It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks so I am declaring this a non-people weekend. This introvert needs some down time!

I am learning ... how to be a better baker.

In the kitchen ... I have been trying to make healthier, homemade versions of some of the kids' favorite, everyday foods. So far I have come up with great recipes for homemade pizza rolls (Brynne's daily lunch staple) and 100% whole wheat bread (for Eli's sandwiches everyday at lunch). The whole wheat bread needed to be soft, like sandwich bread, and I finally found a perfect recipe! Next up? Homemade waffles that can be frozen and then popped into the toaster. Eli has eaten waffles every single morning since he was about 2 years old. I also have a recipe for homemade poptarts. I might try those, too!

In the schoolroom ... We are just doing so well. I couldn't be happier with the progress of our days so far.

In the garden ... I actually pulled out one tomato and some raspberries. My garden has been a disaster this year. However, the sweet potatoes are coming along nicely!!

Board Room ... It's time to start thinking about an election unit!

Post Script ... Literary Analysis is not a High School Requirement by Lee Binz. I want my kids to love reading! That's all.

Shared Quote ...

A Moment from my Day ... That Nana life. It's pretty awesome!


Monday, September 5, 2016

Missouri Monday

Welcome to the first post in my Missouri Monday series! The kids and I are doing a year long study of Missouri this year, all prompted by the spontaneous purchase of this book at my favorite consignment store for $5.

When I purchased this book I had no idea that it would serve as a launching pad for a full year of very exciting studies, activities, and field trips, and quickly become our very favorite subject.

The whole idea for studying Missouri History came as we made a tentative decision to send Brynne back to public school next year starting in 7th grade. (This is a very difficult decision for us, but if she is going to be able to play sports in middle and high school she will have to attend a public school. The decision is still up in the air, but we need to be prepared.) Students in our public school study Missouri History in 4th grade. I didn't want this to be an issue when I went to enroll her next year, so I decided we would study it this year. I have recently learned from other kids her age that they really only spent a few weeks on the subject. With our way of learning, that's just not possible. If we are going to study it, we are going to study it! In fact, we are practically going to wear it for this entire school year.

Missouri: Then and Now is broken up into short chapters. We are able to read about three to five pages a day to get a chapter finished in a week. At the end of each chapter is a New Words list, Matching Partners activity and/or Fill-in-the-Blank, Testing Yourself questions, Things to Do, Things to Talk About, and Research resources. At this time we are answering the Testing Yourself questions each day that correspond with what we have read, and then at the end of the week the kids do the Matching Partners or Fill-in-the-Blank activity. Our plan is for them to also choose a Things to Do activity to complete on Fridays, but we haven't gotten into a good groove with that yet.

On Fridays we also watch a short video from the Finding Missouri: Our History and Heritage series. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has a full website with resources for studying Missouri History using Missouri: Then and Now, including links to the videos that correspond with each chapter. It's a nice way to wrap up what we have read and studied that week.

We are also planning to go on field trips twice a month. I have field trips planned through April of 2017. I tried to schedule trips around what we are learning in the chapters from Missouri: Then and Now, but there are some special days planned at some of the sites that have us a little off track. That's okay, though.

So what has our first two weeks of studying Missouri History with Missouri: Then and Now looked like?

Chapter 1 - The First Missourians

We learned about Early Hunters, Woodland Indians, Hopewell People, Mississippi People, and Osage Indians. We learned about the Bering Strait, the transition from Hunters to Hunter-Gatherers to Farmers. And we learned about the changes to indian life after the Europeans came to Missouri.

Our focus was on the crossing of the Bering Strait land bridge so we watched a Youtube video and conducted a hands-on demonstration.

Photo Credit

Eli chose to make a wigwam and Brynne chose to do a poster highlighting the life of Big Soldier. We are still working on those.

Chapter 2 - A Rich Land

This week focused primarily on Missouri's Four Geographic Regions: The Northern Plains, The Western Plains, The Ozark Highland, and The Southeast Highland. We also talked about Missouri's largest cities, its rivers and lakes, and its climate.

The kids each made a salt dough map of Missouri, including labels for the largest cities and the geographic regions. Then they painted them to reflect those regions and the major waterways in the state.

Field Trip

We traveled the 3 hours to Defiance, Missouri, to Homeschool Day at the Daniel Boone home. This is the home that was built by Daniel's son, Nathan, where Daniel and his wife Rebecca lived until Daniel's death in 1820. The home was quite extravagant for the day. The main floor had a parlor, large main entertainment room, and Daniel and Rebecca's bedroom. Upstairs were two very large bedrooms for Nathan, his wife and their many children. The basement housed the kitchen and family dining area.

The historic site is now home to Lindenwood Village. We went on a self-guided tour of the village seeing demonstrations such as fiddle playing, weaving, spinning, musket shooting, ax throwing, pottery, candle dipping, etc. The kids played some period games.

After our time at the Daniel Boone home, we drove the 30ish miles to St. Charles, Missouri. The historic section of St. Charles is astonishingly charming! The roads are brick, it's one block from the Missouri River and the railroad, and there are tons of shops and restaurants. I'd love to go back there for a weekend with my hubby.

We had lunch at Bradden's Restaurant. And then we went to Missouri's First State Capitol building. This was the most fascinating tour, and I am so glad that we decided to do it. In fact, all I could think while we were there is how deprived our public school kids are in their education. I wish I could take small groups of kids on trips to St. Charles for this tour. I learned so much, and so did the kids!

We sat in the exact room where the Missouri Compromises and Missouri Constitution were negotiated! It was overwhelming! We learned a lot of fun facts.

We walked through the office that housed four Missouri governors in just 5 1/2 years. The first Missouri governor actually beat out William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame in the first election. Clark's wife had become ill and he had to go to care for her and wasn't able to be on the campaign trail. Also, Alexander McNair was wealthy and was able to spend $10,000 on his campaign.

The capitol rooms were on the second floor of the Peck brothers' property. We also toured the grounds and saw the gardens and the wells. It has all been beautifully restored! In fact, it took 10 years to restore the property because the team did all of the restoration with period techniques and materials.

The first two weeks have been a lot of fun. Join us next Monday as we talk about Chapter 3 in Missouri: Then and Now.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ In the Full Swing Now

Whew! This has been a busy week! There has been lots and lots of schooling going on, hitting every subject and even going on an all-day field trip. We were definitely weary yesterday morning, but just pushed forward and ended strong.

Our morning time is going really well. We ease into our day with some spelling, Proverbs copywork, CNN Student News, and a fun read aloud. Right now we are reading Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

Then it's on to a couple of our most tedious subjects: Pre-Algebra and Grammar. We have started Pre-Algebra Tutor: Volume 1 by ScienceandMath.com and it is going well so far. We like this program because the video lessons are concise and there are not a ton of daily problems to complete. We completed the entire Mastering 5th Grade Math series last year and learned so much that we decided to move onto the Pre-Algebra collection.

{Note: I have all four volumes of Mastering 5th Grade Math, including video lessons and a cd with all problems and solutions, for sale. Honestly, if you are interested in it just make an offer. I will sell it super cheap plus actual shipping if you think it would bless your family. It primarily teaches all aspects of fractions.}

Our grammar brains have returned and we are moving along with Fix-It Grammar's Robin Hood (by IEW). I can't say we jump into grammar each day with excitement, but to me it's one of the non-negotiables. I want my kids to be good spellers, have good grammar, and be good writers. This program fits the bill. And Brynne has been heard saying that grammar is her favorite subject, so ....

Just before lunch we are sitting down to read together a selection from McGuffey's Fourth Reader and do some copywork from it. Then the kids dive into their current books. Brynne is still reading through the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter and Eli is still reading through the Gregor the Overlander books by Suzanne Collins.

Brynne is doing some extra science this year to get ready to go back to public school next fall. (The return is a sports issue.) This week she did an experiment out of her General Science text.

At Journey Homeschool we practice "Safety First".

After lunch is when we get into our favorite subjects. I have found that our brains are a little mushier by afternoon so we need to really enjoy what we are studying to get everything accomplished and properly comprehended.

Missouri History has been an exciting surprise! I just happened to pick up an old textbook at my favorite consignment shop and that has served as a spine to launch us into what has quickly become our favorite subject!

This week we talked about the geologic regions and waterways. The kids made salt dough maps labeling each of those regions and the three largest cities. We ran out of time to get them painted but will complete that this next week including all of the major rivers and lakes. We concluded our week watching "Our History and Heritage: The Lay of the Land". These videos are free and are a companion to our textbook.

We went on a great field trip to the Daniel Boone home in Augustus, Missouri, and then onto Missouri's First State Capitol in St. Charles, Missouri. It was a great day and quite possibly the best field trip we have ever done. I will be posting about that trip on Monday on my Missouri Monday post.

In Astronomy and Greek Mythology we learned about Hercules and its constellation, as well as Keystone with a review of the 15 brightest stars. We watched a couple of videos from the Mythic Warriors cartoon series about Hercules and read several chapters out of The Lightening Thief from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

We held our first enrichment classes this week. Each of the kids has only one friend attending this year, which I think will actually work out nicely. It will allow us to really focus on our tasks and give each of the kids some good one-on-one socialization with a child their own age. Eli and Nolan are doing STEM activities this year and we started with "Help Harry". Since it was a team challenge this week, we invited the girls to compete against them. They came up with completely different ideas but were both successful in building a structure that would allow Harry to see over the planter he was stuck behind.

The girls are doing a creative writing program using Amy's Creative Writing Lessons. This is going to be a challenging 9-lesson course for Brynne and Rilee, but I am hoping we will be up for the task. This week they learned about cliches and metaphors. We will work more on that next week and come up with our own metaphors.

In addition to our regular schooling, Eli had speech therapy this week where he presented a biography report on Greg Louganis, who is someone famous who stutters. Brynne started volleyball and had practice three nights this week. She also competed in our local Septemberfest queen competition and placed second. My niece Ashtyn placed second in her division, as well. My grandson Bennett and my great-niece Ellie competed in the baby competitions last night. Bennett was awarded 2nd place. (A baby named Opie won 1st. I mean, how can you not give 1st place to a baby named Opie wearing a onesie that looks like a tuxedo. Fun!)

Busy week? Absolutely! We logged lots of hours! But we feel like we finally have our feet wet, are in a good groove, and ready to take on the rest of the school year.

2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 65.5 hours, including 12.5 hours outside home. Plus Summer Hours Logged: 141.5 hours, including 54 hours outside home.

Linking up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.