Monthly Archives: January 2008

“I Get My Culture From Yogurt…”

…or “Our trip to the art museum.” The  yogurt quote is from my dad 🙂

See more photos from our trip here.

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I’ve been tagged :)

I’ve been Tagged! Brittney over at King Alfred Academy tagged me with this book meme:

Book Meme

Rules:
Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
Open the book to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people.

My pile of books is right on the desk beside me, so I am not sure what is technically the closest book to me, but right now I am reading The Well Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling, by Rachel Gathercole.

But, one could argue, nevertheless they are the rites of childhood in this, a predominately school-going culture. Indeed, they may well be experiences that most children today do go through. But does that make them good?

I might have a little trouble finding five blogs that haven’t already been tagged… hmmm… I will tag Kelly at Okinawa Raw, Kristiana at La Scuola d’Argento, Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy, and Tammy at the Evergreen Electic Academy, and Kel at Voyager Learning Center. Check their blogs to see what they are reading 🙂

Week Six Report

We had a pretty good week 🙂 A lot of things happened this week that I am really happy about, and a few that I am disappointed about.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any pictures this week 😦 Our camera is still broken, so until we make a decision to get it fixed or replace it, I guess I am going to be photoless. We do have another camera that works, but the USB cord for it is extremely tempermental, so we may just replace the cord for that and do without a new camera.

But some good things:

We finished ETC Book A! Our letter for the week was “R” and the recipe was Raisin Apple Muffins. We don’t actually like raisins, so we made the muffins sans raisins and called them Really Good Muffins – and they were really good! I also found out this week that there is a version of ETC online and decided to look into that for the future.

I made a memory cd for Madison. This was not something I originally planned to do, or something that I had even thought of until this week when I read about some other homeschooling families had used this successfully. We have been working on memorizing books of the Bible, days of creation, the alphabet, counting, etc. so I made up a CD with these things (plus some more that we are not working on yet but will be sometime soon) and have been playing it for Madison during her rest time and at bedtime. It seems like it might be working – yesterday she could remember two more books of the bible, so that is a start at least 🙂

We also started using Headsprout this week. If you have been reading this blog, you know that I have really been struggling with how to teach Madison how to read. She claims she wants to learn, but generally complains whenever I try to work with her. For the last couple weeks, she has been spending a lot of time on Starfall, and I remembered hearing about Headsprout before but not being interested because Madison had not mastered using a mouse. So I looked into the program and found three sample lessons online. Madison sat and did them all right in a row (they were about 20 minutes each) and then asked to do more. She said she liked them, so DH and I bought a subscription (which, thankfully, was 1/2 price till February 1) and so far it is working great. She already read one of their “readers” this week, and still likes to do it, so I am extremely optimistic. I have also told her that once she can read, she can stay up a little longer at night and read in bed, so this week, she asked if she could do that and stayed up reading the Bob books she had already learned how to read. That also made me extremely happy, and I finally feel like we are making progress here.

Math and Bible are both still going great… nothing new to report 🙂

Planning wise, I mapped out the rest of preschool work that I want to do with Madison. What I am calling “preschool” is about 33 weeks of work, so without any breaks, that would be finishing the end of July. Completely unrealistic. But, since I have no idea when we are moving, how long we will be homeless, etc, I am just going with it. On one hand, I am going to try to be flexible, and on the other hand, I am going to try to take our school where ever we go – Nana’s, the airport, hotels, etc.

On the disappointing side:

Of course, there is the broken camera…

We didn’t do any science or violin lessons this week… or last week… I just didn’t feel like it. I think this is not a good indicator of the future.

I also started planning out our future plans for homeschooling – a long term K-12 plan, and a more definite Kindergarten plan. I felt rather confident in our K plan at 3 am when I finished the outline, but today I am not so sure. I feel like I need to figure out where I am going to end up before I can start making other plans, and I am terrified that I am going to screw it up somehow. I am waffling between doing Five in a Row for Kindergarten and making up my own similar program. I also considered starting Tapestry of Grace next year at a very slow pace and spending 2 years on year 1, but I just don’t know. I feel like I need to pick a program and stick with it. AHHHHH… I think I am just going to step away for a few days (or longer), pray about it, and then come back with what will hopefully be a clearer mind.

So that was our week. Everything else was just normal…

5 things I am happy about this week:

5.  I found out they have Starbucks in Japan!!

4.  I made the tastiest chocolate cake ever, trans-fat free, thanks to the Pioneer Woman.

3.  My wonderful husband took me out to dinner last night at Texas Roadhouse, where we had great service and even greater steak (plus he took me to Starbucks after dinner 🙂 )

2.  I discovered Headsprout – more about that later

And finally… the number 1 thing I am happy about this week…

1.  We bought a new desk!  Anticlimactic, I know, but we have very very little furniture in our temporary apartment right now and I have not had a place to set up the printer or to organize anything.  So… last night, as I was on the verge of a mental breakdown from the messy pile of stuff in our living room, my dear husband took me to Wal-mart where we bought the cheapest, ugliest desk for $37.  We brought it home and two of the pieces were broken, which I guess were not important because we put it together anyhow, and I spent the rest of the evening reorganizing my homeschool/office stuff, and stayed up till 3 am planning our next year of homeschool.  Ironically, even with virtually no sleep, I feel better now than I have in days.  It was like I was sinking into some kind of depression state and buying an ugly desk was all I needed to snap out of it 🙂

If I could, I would snap a picture of it real quick, but our camera randomly broke while we were at the hockey game, so you will just have to trust me on this one 🙂 Luckily, I will not be allowed to take the desk to Japan…

Week Five Report

We had an eventful week… after spending the weekend in Kansas visiting my grandparents (we got home late Monday night), Madison had a little bit of a relapse with her cold and we spent Tuesday night in the emergency room.  She had an ear infection which I am pretty sure is gone now and she is a much happier child again.

Regardless of that, we had a good week.  We studied the letter T and made turtle bread, did math lessons, bible lessons.  Since all that is relatively the same as every other week, I won’t bore you too much with the details, but here are some pictures of our week 🙂

 The start of our alphabet quilt

Our “Turtle Bread” – it was actually really good!

Copying a letter she “wrote” with Starfall – this was her idea, just for fun 🙂

 Making crafts at Storytime

We also went to a Blazers Hockey game last night – we got free tickets from our apartment complex – and, surprisingly, it was really fun!

 

 

One exciting decision I made this week was about Japanese… I have really been at a loss for what to do here, but after visiting with Kelly from the Okinawa Raw blog, I have decided to chill out about it!  She suggested using the book First Thousand Words: Japanese to teach some basic vocabulary, then finding a Japanese tutor for Madison when we get to Okinawa later this spring.  I also found a website with games and other fun stuff about Japan, so I am going to use that as well to try and expose Madison to Japanese culture.  I let her play the kimono game this week and when she dressed herself for storytime this week, she decided she needed an “obi.”  Of course, I had to let her wear it… luckily she took it off before we got to the grocery store 🙂

Another neat thing I learned from Kelly’s blog is that on Okinawa, we will be able to use the elementary school library if we register as homeschoolers, and we will have the option of enrolling Madison in school just for specials (gym, art and/or music).  I am not sure yet if we will do this, but I am really excited about the possibility!

I have been reading a lot about long term goals on the Well Trained Mind site this week, so my goal for next week is to map out the goals I have for Madison’s education.  I have some very vague ones set in my mind, but I haven’t made any definite decisions about what to do with them.  I would really like to set up a teacher’s notebook like the one I saw at Trivium Academy, but I think I might make that my goal for the month of February 🙂

I am also going to be doing a little bit of construction on this blog this week (at least I am hoping to try).  I have some ideas to experiment with, but I am not a master of HTML, so you will have to bear with me if the site is a mess this week 🙂

Have a great week!

Week Four Report

Wow, every week I am getting later and later with these things… My new goal is going to be to post them on Friday afternoon. Hopefully I will be able to follow through with that. I am halfway through Week 5 now, and I can barely remember what we did last week 🙂

We have not been having the greatest weeks – life keeps getting in the way of school, even though we have still been able to accomplish everything I wanted to. This past week we had to use Friday as a catchup day since Madison was sick most of the week (and she is still sick this week – we made a trip to the emergency room last night and found out she has an ear infection).

So, last week, for bible we did great. We normally do one lesson per day but ended up doing a few extra this week. On Tuesday we finished with Joesph and Madison said “Can we please do one more today? I need to know what happens!!” We also did one extra on Friday because our routine is to do bible first thing every morning, and since we did catchup school on Friday, Madison said “Aren’t we going to do bible first,” and we had to do it.

For reading, things are going OK. She is reading the Bob Books we have been working on with quite a bit of fluency now, but I still don’t think she is”reading.” I think she is memorizing. We are starting some new books this week, so we’ll see how those go. I feel totally lost here, which is not how I expected to feel.

We also read several library books (one of these days I am going to update the preschool reading log), including “The Moon is Made of Milk.” It has a recipe in the back for Moon Cookies, so we made those which was fun.

In ETC, we did the letter K. We did finish the workbook pages, but we did not get around to making the recipe for the week. I think we will end up making it sometime in the next few weeks when we just have extra time. On the plus side, we are planning to make an alphabet quilt and since we went back to my mom’s this weekend, I was finally able to get all the pieces cut out. Hopefully we will get a chance to start on that today and post pictures in our next weekly report.

For math, we just continued in Horizons K. She is really liking it, and doing well. I have heard some mixed opinions about the book as far as retention at the end of the year, but I am hopeful that it will work for Madison. She likes it. I also think that next week, we are going to start doing it everyday rather than twice a week since we are moving out of review mode and into material she is not familiar with.

We started back up doing violin lessons this week, which are going well. We are still just familiarizing ourselves with parts of the violin, etc, but Madison is really enjoying it.

It was my intention to start Japanese this week with Rosetta Stone, but we I went to set it up, I found that my DH’s work log in had expired!!! Now I am not sure what to do. When we had access to Rosetta Stone for free, it was a no brainer, but if anyone has suggestions about a Japanese program for 4 year olds, I would love to hear it. I am going to research this for the next few weeks and then make a decision.

Finally, art. My original plan was to use the book Scribble Art to present a new concept every week (basic stuff like using scissors, making a collage, using oil pastels, etc.) but that has pretty much not happened. At all. However, Madison does have an art center that she plays in for hours everyday, so I think my new plan for the time being is just to continue to add in new materials over there every once in a while and let her play. She loves to do art, and for right now, that is enough for me. We do live across the street from an art museum right now though, so I am planning to take her over there before we head to Japan.

Other: We went to the zoo on Monday, which was nice. We only stayed for a few hours because Madison got extremely tired, which I now recognize as the beginning of her being sick, but we had a really good time. Since the zoo here is free on Monday’s in Jan, we are planning to go back in a couple weeks with some friends. We missed storytime on Friday because Madison was sick 😦

We also went back to Kansas this weekend to visit my grandparents who were visiting from New Mexico and we had a great time there. I realized when I was looking for pictures for my weekly report that I did not take any pictures of Madison with them 😦 Maybe next time…

Week Three Report

After what felt like a long break from homeschooling (and a longer break from this blog 😦 ), we are back! Since Madison went to visit her grandma the week before Christmas, we started back a week earlier. What I had not anticipated, however, was a visit from my sister and sister-in-law this past week (ages 15 and 13). We did school anyway, but only Bible, Math and Language Arts. The girls were actually a great help – they did a science experiment with her one day, and helped with her ETC book and math another day. It was nice having them here for a little while – it was like having live in dog walkers/babysitters/house cleaners – but I am glad they are home now and finally my life is back to what passes for normal these days.

So, here is our light weekly report for last week:

Reading: I have completely given up on 100 EZ lessons and wanted to start something new after the holidays. What I decided to try is two separate things, and neither one is really a new curriculum. First, I made up flash cards to go with the Bob books. I *thought* she could read the first few Bob books, but when I started working with the flash cards, I realized that she was just looking at the pictures and guessing. So we are using the flash cards to play games, like memory, a matching game that includes running, etc. For now, that is working great, but I think at some point she will be bored with it. Then I have her read me the book after we have practiced the words. My goal is for her to recognize these as sight words. The other thing I am using is a combination of Leap Frog products. Right before Christmas, a bunch of Leap Frog stuff was on sale, so I purchased the LeapPad Reading/Writing and their phonics sets. She had a baby leap pad that she liked and has been excited about this one. We do the phonics stuff together, but she plays with the other books I bought on her own as well. We have only done the first phonics book together (out of 12), but it is going well because she thinks it is fun. I did read through Phonics Pathways and the OPGTR, and while we might move to them later, for now I am going to stick with this.

All of this is in addition to ETC. We did the letter “m” this week, and made mud pies.

Math: Madison loves math. Again, I am not sure where this comes from, but I am glad. We are still doing two lessons, two days a week out of the Horizons K book, which is working great.

Bible: I think we are finally finished with Joseph!! I love that this material is so in depth as far as bible history: we have been studying Joseph for 12 weeks. And the best part is, after a quick review last Monday, Madison pretty much remembered the entire story (after 2 weeks of no school). We are also working on learning the books of the bible and have a timeline where we add new events each week.

Science: With my sisters, we did an experiment out of Mudpies to Magnets about shining pennies.

Other: We went to see Mr. Magorium’s Magic Emporium (which I don’t really recommend; it was a little weird), I got my haircut, we went to Bass Pro (that is kind of like a field trip, right?) and, of course, we went to storytime – even the aunts couldn’t persuade her to skip storytime. Also, over our holiday break, we went to the state capitol in Texas, and Nana took her to Exploration Place in Wichita, KS.

One other exciting addition to our homeschool room is a new easel from Grammie for Christma, which we added to our art center.

This week we will be starting Japanese with Rosetta Stone, which I am very excited about.

Today I think we are going to skip everything and go to the zoo – the zoo here is free on Mondays in Jan., and since it is 61 degrees outside today, I don’t think we should pass up the opportunity…