Look! He's actually working and writing something!
Turtle finished Level 2 of All About Reading yesterday. I told him we needed to take a picture to celebrate and this is what he came up with. He wanted to be Lady Liberty. Oh, well. He finished anyway and here is photo proof.
Today was Kitten and Chubber's doctor appointment for their 2-year-old check. They are on the chart for everything except Kitten's weight! Thank goodness. They are also doing really well with verbal development. They have a several different words and this morning I heard Chubbers singing "Sunbeams" to himself. He and Kitten also like to mimic what other people are saying and know all the kids names. I took all the little boys with me and left the rest of the kids to do schoolwork independently. It went pretty well; nearly all the schoolwork I asked to be completed got done.
Math - Ladybug and Sunshine have one last lesson in Funnix Math. I was looking through Math Mammoth 1 since that is their next step and realized that they know almost all the material already. I printed out a couple of sheets that I thought they needed to work on from the first book and printed most of the second book of Math Mammoth 1. I really like how Funnix prepares the kids for math. This week, Ladybug and Sunshine get to start doing Xtramath also. Chicklette and Turtle are getting the hang of the new real life math we bought and I think they are enjoying it more.
All About Reading - As I mentioned, Turtle started level 3 of All About Reading today. He was able to skip the first lesson because it was just review and he didn't need it. We haven't taken a break from the curriculum so why review? The second lesson went by quickly too as the AI and AY phonograms are pretty simple. Chicklette did All About Reading with Ladybug and Sunshine today. Sunshine's bad attitude delayed them a little bit, but they finally got the work done.
The weather outside has been just gorgeous this past week. Our apricot has been tricked into flowering early, hopefully not too early, and the kids have just loved being outside. Kitten and Chubbers especially love to go outside and ask for it any time anyone else is out.
History - In history, we started discussing the slave trade. It's a pretty sad subject and I am glad that my kids have no real frame of reference to understand it. It is one thing that I am glad is completely foreign to them. Racer is enjoying doing history more on his own and I'm thinking about getting him the high school level next year. We'll see because it might throw his high school schedule off a bit.
Science - Our science topic today was sandstorms. Turtle was so intrigued with the concept that he looked up several videos about sandstorms on YouTube. I had to pull him away to get the rest of his school done. The height they reach is pretty amazing. Did you know that sandstorms from the Sahara actually make it all the way to the Amazon? Crazy.
What a beautiful day!
Here are some pictures of the backyard. Can you tell I'm excited spring is coming? The weather is beautiful, I planted milk jugs in the garden. Haha! I'm trying to get a head start on some seeds so we are trying mini greenhouses in the garden. I also dosed the beehives with some lemongrass oil to try to attract a swarm sometime this year. I can't believe the beautiful weather today. It's going to be ten degrees above average this whole week.
Turtle had an orthodontist appointment today. We thought he was going to get his expander out, but the orthodontist said his laterals are not descended quite enough yet. We've done all our subjects out of order today.
Ladybug and Sunshine did their math mostly independently today because they stayed home with some of the bigger kids while Turtle and the younger ones went to the orthodontist. They only have four lessons left in their math before they get to go on to Math Mammoth 1. When I came home, Sunshine and Ladybug read a new story out of their reader. We have finished that reader and only have one reader left in this level for All About Reading. We got to start talking about plants in our science so we took a tour of the backyard to see how all the trees and shrubs are waking up. Maybe next week, our mini greenhouses in the garden will have started to sprout. I am going to print out a handwriting book for Sunshine and Ladybug. I was planning on going through all the lower case letters without pencils, but we don't always do it when we are supposed to and I think they are ready to start actually writing.
Chicklette and Racer started a new book called Grammar for Middle School: A Sentence-Composing Approach. Racer whined about it, of course, but he still finished all his subjects in good time. I was originally only going to use it for Chicklette, but as I was going through and making lesson plans, I thought Racer could benefit from it too.
Our history was about Tenochtitlan. I'd like to find a documentary that shows it going from a lake to Tenochtitlan, to Mexico City. I'll have to search around. Maybe we'll watch this one. Or maybe this one.
For science with the older kids, we read about seasonal shifts. We had already read about this in our encyclopedia so this was a good review. We also learned more about the climate in Patagonia. They are in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains so it stays fairly dry.
Yes, this looks like a beautiful idyllic scene. Older sister and brother quizzing each other with their Latin flashcards, younger brother explaining to little cousin about the Lego boat. Actually there was so much noise that Turtle and Chicklette are yelling the answers to each other while Turtle bounces on his knees. And Sunshine is so very patiently explaining to Grasshopper that he cannot touch the Lego creations.
Math - I started Chicklette and Turtle on a new Friday math because they weren't enjoying Family Math very much. I was hoping Menu Math was written more towards the student, but it is teacher-centric. I'm still trying to figure out a Friday math schedule where I can direct my three math groups at one time.
All About Reading - We, Ladybug, Sunshine, and I, moved on to Lesson 39 today. We got to read a cute little story about a boy that shrank after drinking pink milk. Ladybug really does not like to answer questions that begin with "Why do you think. . . ?" She always immediately says, "I don't know." So I just ask her what she thinks, that there is no right or wrong answer or I ask Sunshine and then she will open up a bit more. Turtle is getting so close to being done with Level 2. He did the fluency sheet for the AU and AW lesson today. He is getting to be a much better reader and I am so excited for him to be able to start reading library books easily. They all, Racer, Turtle, and Chicklette, got 100% on their spelling tests today. Yeah for All About Spelling!
Science - We skipped science on Wednesday for Sunshine and Ladybug because Racer and Chicklette's dental appointments took so long. So today we did a collage for when it is hot and when it is cold. Racer did his science and history work on his own because the house was quiet, the kids were all playing outside, and he and I were both enjoying the peace. Then Chicklette, Turtle and I did the science together. Today we read out of our encyclopedias about seasons. Did you ever realize that some years, that you would assume to be leap years, are not leap years? All the century years are not leap years, but all the millennium years are leap years. There is actually a reason for that, which I never knew. We add a day every four years, but that takes us just slightly over the mark for making up the days so all the century years don't add a leap day. I think I had heard that you don't add leap days on century years, but I never knew what the reason was.
History - We started talking about the Mayans. They were a little bloody and they had some interesting ideas about the appearance of their gods. All I can say is, I'm glad I wasn't living during that time.
Language Arts - Now that Chicklette has finished All About Reading, I am trying to have her read more and longer books. I really wanted her to read A Door in the Wall, but she said it was too boring. I decided to buy her a lapbook to try to liven it up. It's only been one day, but so far she is getting into the book a little bit more. I need to find a time to talk to her about the book and decide if we are going to really do the vocabulary. I am having Racer read Henry V. We had to go through the obligatory, "Do I really have to read it? But it's hard." We have watched the video and read the Cliff Notes, so I think he is prepared for it. I also found a version that has the modern translation right next to the Shakespeare. I know he can do it, but yes, it will be a little challenging. We are going to do a Shakespeare night for our co-op showcase in May. We moms are very excited for it, and some of the kids are also.
Thankfully, I've found a variety of study tools for Racer that are making his Latin a little easier. There is a quizlet group that is based on the exact textbook he is using so I think that is helping the most. You really have to know your declensions and conjugations. That is the major downfall of the textbook we are using, I think. It does not have nearly enough practice on those areas before it asks you to start translating sentences.
So much fighting today! I finally sent everyone five and under to different corners for 15 minutes before it was screentime. The younger three were barred from the tablets today because one of them messed with a setting making the tablet very difficult to use. Their yelling and fighting was driving me crazy. But now, it's bedtime. Hooray for bedtime!
I just finished the book The Brainy Bunch . It's about a family that sends their kids to college starting at age 12. It gave me a lot to think about. Could Racer be ready to take a few classes at a real college? It got him thinking too about the SAT and ACT so we found some places to do practice tests. It will be interesting to see what his scores are even if we don't plan to start him in college classes yet.
Anyways, even with all the fighting that happened today, we still got everything done. Except for Miss Chicklette of course.
Religion - We have two different programs running at our house right now. The older kids are doing an advanced version of the New Testament and the youngers are doing the simplified version. From Turtle on down we talked about Jesus is risen. They got to color a picture and Turtle did some copywork. Sunshine colored the face and hands of Jesus blue. I asked him why he did that and he said he couldn't find the right color and he started to get upset about it. So he got to get a new, clean copy and do a better job. I love being able to start off the day with the scriptures.
Math - Racer is loving Khan Academy and I wonder how thorough it is and if he is actually learning. Maybe he has just learned the algorithm of the site and is not actually understanding? We got a copy of the Art of Problem Solving Intro to Algebra book yesterday and he is going to start working through that. It's well reviewed and it seems like it would appeal to his method of figuring stuff out so hopefully it will. Chicklette is doing lots of measuring in this unit and Turtle is subtracting tens and hundreds mentally. Ladybug and Sunshine are nearly done with Funnix Math. They are working on writing and figuring out fractions, counting money, and adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers. Despite the clicker training feel of it sometimes, Funnix Math is a well written program.
We hit up the library today and exchanged our 20 or so books for about 20 more. Racer got four video game books, maybe to prove to me that video games are not all bad? He kept handing them to me and saying, "You should read this book, Mom." The Nature in the City people came and did a little presentation and took the kids into the Eco-garden by the library.
All About Reading - Thank goodness for the flexibility of homeschooling. This last lesson in All About Reading 1 has been a little difficult for Sunshine and Ladybug. It's about the consonant team NK and we just did a lesson about the consonant team NG. We have been taking this lesson extra slow and making sure that they really know those phonograms because they seemed to not quite get it. This is our third day on this lesson and I think they almost have it cemented. We will do a little more review, but I think we can move on to the story in the next lesson without frustrating them. In some GREAT news, Chicklette passed off all the levels of All About Reading. I'm so happy for her and it's one less thing that I need to sit down with her and focus one-on-one. This frees up my time a little more for some of the other kids. Turtle is only a couple weeks away from passing off All About Reading 2 as well and Racer is only a couple weeks away from passing off All About Spelling 6. I'm so glad to see improvement in Racer's spelling. Turtle's reading is doing better as well. We can now finish a whole lesson in one sitting with him almost all the time. Occasionally we still have to do a lesson over two days, but usually he has enough stamina for one day.
Grammar - This is one subject that the book The Brainy Bunch has me kind of reconsidering. I like the thoroughness of First Language Lessons and Rod and Staff, but it is sooooo thorough. 50 lessons on what is a noun for the first part of FLL. (And I feel so disloyal just saying that.) It's just kind of a lot and I do think that kids pick up proper grammar through good books. However, I see value in diagramming sentences and knowing how to put your thoughts into proper order. So, maybe I will skip lessons that seem repetitive and move more quickly through the sequence? It's the same way I felt about Writing with Ease. They do seem like good programs, but they take up time and it might be a duplication of other things I'm doing. I don't know, something to think about. This is one of the things that Chicklette did not get done today. She did, however, read a whole Magic Treehouse book today.
Science - Today we read some library books about snow and wrote down the definition for snowflake. We also recorded the weather. This is still one of the kids' favorite subjects. We also experimented with painting with Epsom salt paints. To make them, you dissolve Epsom salts into an equal amount of hot water and color the solution with food coloring. When your watercolor dries, you see the salt crystals glistening on your paper. It kind of looks like you painted with a glitter paint. Everyone enjoyed it.
Piano - We made it through everyone's piano lessons. They need to look at their notebook so they know what songs they need to practice. Sometimes, Racer thinks he remembers what he is supposed to practice and then he ends up practicing the wrong thing. This is also the subject that Chicklette seems to forget the most often.
All in all, today was a success. Tomorrow, I will not get so upset with the younger kids yelling and roughhousing and then crying because they got hurt. But tomorrow, they will also get to play on the tablets again during our math time.
Okay, so this picture isn't from today, but it's a good one. Today went by pretty quick.
Math - We read two books today for our living math day. The first one was Counting with Sebastian Pig and Friends on the Farm. We practiced counting by 2's, 5's and 10's and finding the silly cow on each page. The kids are really enjoying this series so we will get the rest of them from the library. The other book we read was about measuring and counting and mentioned the Northern Lights, which Ladybug and Sunshine and I learned about this week. It was called Sizing Up Winter. I actually really liked that one. The illustrations are really interesting. There's a depth to them that makes you want to try to pick them off the page.
Reading - All About Reading is full steam ahead here. Sunshine always wanted to go first on reading any words - flashcards, fluency sheet, sentences, whatever, it didn't matter. With some encouragement, Ladybug is now volunteering to go first which gets Sunshine all "fwustrated." It's good for him though, and for her. I just have to make sure I keep track of who has gone first when so they even out pretty well. Today with Sunshine and Ladybug, we read a story called "The Tub" about two monkeys who take turns playing with their toys in a tub of water. One thing that really impresses me about All About Reading is that it brings in other subjects and real life experiences. Okay, not the monkeys playing in the tub, but we had the opportunity to locate Costa Rica on the map. The other kids have also located places on the map, talked about dialects, and discussed idioms. It's not just reading the words on the page, but also making real world connections. After Sunshine and Ladybug read the story, we used pictures to retell the story.
In Chicklette's reading today, we talked about the cowboy dialect and read a story about a very un-cowboy cowboy. It was pretty funny and within the first couple pages she had Turtle, Racer, and Ladybug crowding around and listening in.
Turtle's reading was pretty easy today. We just reviewed a bunch of EE words and talked about contractions, which he has already studied in grammar, so it was just a review for him.
I found out today that My Tech High will pay for Racer can take Part 2 of his BYU English class if he finishes by January so now we have something to push for.
Spelling - Racer and Chicklette both passed off all their words today. Turtle is still struggling with the word student but we were able to find his error and correct it. He also did great on remembering his little hints he made up to remember the correct spelling of his other words. I still am struggling to know how to teach him best with spelling. It's not his best subject.
Latin - Racer and I are still struggling through his Latin class. I try to help as much as possible and with my Spanish background I can pick up some stuff but it's pretty slow going. I like the Memoria Press Latin series much better than this current BYU class, but we'll keep working at it. He had a real setback last week with an important test in that class and it taught him the value of actually studying. He's been making flashcards to work with and they are helping. Chicklette and Turtle did their review questions and translation on Lesson 10 in Prima Latina.
History - I am loving history right now. It's all about the beginnings of England. We've talked about the Viking invasion and Alfred the Great. We looked up Salisbury Plain since that's where Alfred starting pushing back the Vikings and found out that the English military uses part of it as a training ground. Racer continued looking up some information about Alfred and found out that he was a great military leader. Today we talked about the Battle of Hastings between William the Conqueror and Harold the Unfortunate. (Guess who won?) The kids are starting to get opinions on how well the rulers we are studying governed and about the state of affairs at the time. It's really starting to get fun and get some good discussions going. The mapwork from Story of the World really ties all the things we learn together and places them in a concrete sphere. The book recommendations in our text have been spot on also. Lots of good Viking texts the last two weeks.
Science - Racer, Turtle, Chicklette and I learned about chestnut trees today and we learned that Versailles has something like 18,500 chestnut trees. We also learned that chestnuts are quite starchy and full of vitamin C. That got the kids looking up chestnut trees and buying one. They really want one, but I can't see a place for one in our yard. They get huge. And we would need more than one for proper pollination. It would be fun though and our text said that in Europe long ago that chestnuts were a main source of food for medieval people. Maybe this holiday season I can get my hands on some chestnuts and we can try roasting them or in one of the other many recipes.
Till next time from our crazy, loud house.
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