Archive for December, 2014

Week In The Life ( ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”)

December 24, 2014

Hope everyone had a lovely solstice.

Well, it’s my last post of 2014. What a year it has been too. Of course I say that every year. I guess it’s because every year I grow and learn a little more than the last.

Today was the girls last “official” day of school until the second full week of January.  That is when I will be posting  our year in review. What was the best? What was the worst? Is there anything that needs changing? One thing I do know, we got in 243 days of school. I think it is safe to say the girls deserve this break.

I am really proud of them, they worked really hard and these last few days I asked a question here and there to see if they remembered any of it. They did, and why not? We had lots and lots and lots of conversations over many of the topics.

This week proved no different.

From the study: Language Arts, Little Sis finished reading A Ghost Tale for Christmas and I read the Fact Tracker, Rags and Riches guide. So many conversations about the Victorian times. We listened to the dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol and Sky finished The Jesse Tree.

https://librivox.org/a-christmas-carol-dramatic-reading-by-charles-dickens/

The girls copied the Peanut Blossoms recipe into their cookbooks, they did a Christmas Carol word search, and their writing prompt consisted of them splitting the stickers at the end of the Magic Tree House book (one using Annie and the other Jack) to come up with their own stories. Sky wrote 5 pages. We also filled out A Christmas Carol symbolism worksheet together.

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/a-christmas-carol-symbolism/

http://www.printactivities.com/Word_Search_Puzzles/ChristmasCarol-WordSearch.shtml

Both girls have set up accounts at Quotev and have written several stories already. One of Little Sis’s had over 1000 words. They have even taken requests (I would link to their stories but they requested to remain anonymous). Besides needing to work on punctuation, their spelling and storytelling is excellent.

Yesterday we listened to the story of  A Christmas Nutcracker from Storynory.

http://www.storynory.com/2008/12/15/a-christmas-nutcracker/

Mathematics: Was pretty much as before, puffle toss and worksheet review. While watching a review from Khan Academy, Sky said “I see and understand the pattern now”.  After doing her worksheets and not missing one problem I knew she was right.  Yes, we can be moving  on.

Social Studies, World History: I found an awesome website with tons of history coloring pages and printed one of Queen Victoria to add the Victorian Empire to their timeline.

http://www.hellokids.com/c_27093/coloring-pages/famous-people-coloring-pages/famous-british-people-colouring-pages/british-kings-and-princes-colouring-pages/queen-Victoria

They added both Charles Dickens and Darwin to the timeline as well as Tchaikovsky’s premiere of The Nutcracker Ballet. We watched Horrible Histories, Victorian Work Song (YouTube) and

Geography, The Globe Trekker, London. They added a London color page to their timeline too.

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/color-world-big-ben/

The Arts: We watched George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol, Disney Mickey’s Christmas Carol and the more modern tale Scrooged, which is a family favorite. We also watched Disney’s 3D animated version of A Christmas Carol, which happens to be my personal favorite version.

Tangent, who me? Disney finally releases a true to the story version of a movie and of course people complain “It’s too dark and scary”. When watching a movie based on a book, I always judge it on whether or not the author’s vision remained true. Did they stick with what the author was trying to say. I mean, it doesn’t have to be just like the book, but is the message still there. To me, Disney got A Christmas Carol spot on. It is a ghost story after all. Is it a bit scary for younger children? Yes, I personally don’t think the story was meant for young children to begin with.

We observed and discussed several Victorian artists’ works like Holl’s Hushed, Watt’s Found Drowned, and Redgrave’s The Outcast.

This year, even though we have Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, I introduced the girls to Mikhail Baryshnikov with the American Ballet Theatre’s version. 🙂

While listening to the soundtrack the girls painted their own Nutcrackers.

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Home Ec.: The girls decided to make gingerbread cookies this week, only Little Sis read the recipe wrong and added 3 eggs instead of 1. Yes, they do make baking mistakes. It’s actually ironic because we had just gone over reviewing the steps they learned this year on how to make a good cookie. So in trying to salvage them, instead of cutting them out they tried making them into a crinkle cookie by rolling them in powdered sugar.

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They actually turned out great. They learned the more eggs you add the more cake like the cookie. That’s what they tasted like too, little ginger cakes. Of course 3 eggs isn’t the healthiest, so we probably will not be making these again but understand what to do if the need ever arises.

P.E.: Walking Away the Pounds.

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Wishing happy holidays to all, and to all a good night

(and peace for the journey).

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Week In The Life (“Hey! Unto You A Child Is Born!”)

December 13, 2014

Well, the holiday shopping is done. Papa and I enjoyed a day out and dinner together. I am really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives, being more of just the two of us. When we first started going out alone together I thought we wouldn’t really have much to say, outside of the topic of children, work, and homeschooling, but actually we have lots to say and talk about. Talking has really never been a problem for us though. We both have lots of future plans of how we see ourselves once the children are busy living out their own lives. Both of us has grown in so many ways over the years, and it has taken lots of work to get where we are today, but oh it has been worth it.

The oldest two are pretty easy to shop for, the little one however is a different story. She has never really played with “toys”. She would line them up in rows and get extremely upset if one got pushed out of place, but played, nope.

Neither of the girls have been much into dolls. Actually Sky has always been scared of them, she says they are like “mini human beings with lifeless eyes creepily peering deep into my soul”. So she has always played with stuff animals, Build-A-Bear was perfect for her. Her animal figurines have always been a big hit too and now she has her anime, but Little Sis has never really been into anything besides playing games. This is the child who picked out workbooks when she received a Jo-Ann’s gift certificate, and trust me I tried really hard to talk her out of them.

For a long time she had just copied what Sky wanted, so shopping was pretty easy, just get two of everything. These last few years though her individuality has really emerged and though she loves receiving new games, I don’t want them to be her only presents. You would think buying for a 9 year old girl would be a lot easier. 🙂

From the study, Language Arts: We had three stories going this week. I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud, Sky continued reading The Jesse Tree Out loud, and Little Sis started The Magic Tree House, A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time out loud.

They copied Shel Silverstein’s Snowball poem in cursive,

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their word of the week was censor and their writing prompt was The Evil Snowman.

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/evil-snowman-writing-prompt/

Mathematics: Was much of the same as last week, watching videos from KA and doing worksheets from Math is Fun.com. Little Sis and I did toss the puffle around to the multiplication tables and she did a multiplication picture from Coloring Squared.

http://www.coloringsquared.com/worksheet/space-advanced-addition/#.VIuq5cJ0ztQ

Social Studies, World History: We listened to the history of King Herod the Great at Storynory,

http://www.storynory.com/2012/12/28/herod-the-great/

and watched the episodes 7 and 8 of Crash Course Big History from YouTube.

Home Ec.: The girls chose to make Hershey Kiss peanut butter cookies this week.

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The Arts: We watched Webber and Rice’s, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat musical.

P.E.: Yep, Walked Away more Pounds.

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Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (An Old Testament )

December 6, 2014

Hope everyone, who celebrated, had a good Thanksgiving.

I have noticed some new followers on my blog lately (hello, waving from the cyber world). This post has been swirling around in my mind for awhile but I didn’t know exactly when I would have the time to write it. We have been knee deep in learning and time is something I seem to never have enough of.

So, how exactly do we homeschool?

I am not a very big fan of labels. Sure, I have carried a few in my days but just as soon as I am slapped with one it no longer applies to me. In my opinion, labels don’t allow any room for growth. I have however made peace with the word homeschool, because that is what we do. 🙂

School at home, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Unschool, Radical Unschool, yes I know them all. Some have hindered, some have really helped us along our journey. However, none of them have been a waste of time. It was during this time I really, really got to know my children, and myself. Knowing who you are and how you learn is a very important discovery to make on this homeschooling journey.

Sky, 14 is a visually learner. I could label her right brained, on the spectrum, dyslexic but it doesn’t change how she *needs* to learn. This is why we watch lots of movies and documentaries. She can watch a movie once and remember the smallest details many years later including dates. She loves video games and books with pictures like comics, graphic novels, magazines and manga.

Do I wish I could snap pictures of her reading the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings? Yes, but she loves the movies and watching them with subtitles as to not miss a thing.

“But, at some time she will need to read or do things she doesn’t like.” Yes, which brings me to my other point.

As her parent and partner, even though there are things about the world I disagree with she will still need to know them in order to live in it. The standards were set long before I became an adult. However, being that we homeschool there are *many* ways, especially now, to learn these things. Like the saying goes, “The world is our classroom”. Today our knowledge is not just limited to books. Why I, myself much rather use an outline of what needs to be learned by 12th grade than a curriculum. So yes, little by little I am adding in more and more independent work focusing on those skills.

Little Sis, 9 learns more like me and if she wanted would do well in school. She is a very independent learner and has always wanted to do things herself. She is what I would call an “old soul”, again just like her mama. (Yeah, where some thought me weird reading Stephen King in 7th grade I was really dying for more advanced materials. I was labeled “slow” in school because of being very introverted and didn’t like reading aloud in class, not because I actually was.) You explain something to her and she just gets it like she has always known it. She prefers books, worksheets, board games, puzzles or “hands on” type work. I could label her left brain, gifted, advanced but again it would not change how she *needs* to learn.

Some day there probably will be photos of her reading Lord of the Rings, just like her biggest sister, soon 25, did in 7th grade. Does this make one child better than the other? Unfortunately, one will need to work harder to make it in this life than the other. But no, that does not make one better.

As her parent and partner I need to make sure I am not holding her back. This child very well may be taking college courses instead of high school. I also need to make sure she is able to do things outside of her head like sew, cook and enjoy her childhood. There is more to homeschooling than academics.

So, this is how we homeschool. Magic Tree House and chess for Little Sis. Movies and video for Sky and together what I think works as a pretty well rounded education. 🙂 Will there be gaps? Yes, just like I have gaps, and probably you do too, but both children understand how to learn and how *they* learn best.

From the study: This week found us again with lots to watch but I think I will start first with what the girls did while on break.

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Miss Sky made felt hand puppets and Little Sis purchased a new game for her birthday she loves.

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Language Arts: Sticking with our lessons from the middle east and with a holiday quickly approaching we listened to Old Testament Bible stories.

http://www.artsreformation.com/records/

http://www.storynory.com/category/bible-stories/

Sky is reading the Jesse Tree aloud and Little Sis read The Jewel Kingdom book 4, The Diamond Princess Saves the Day.

Their word of the week was censorship and writing prompt was What Does Christmas Mean To You Today? and their Christmas wish list.

Mathematics: We are reviewing everything they have learned this past year, the holidays are not a good time for us to learn new math skills plus December is the end of the year for us. We homeschool year round from January through December. December starts Christmas school and we have a lighter load for summer school but we are *always* learning, even when on breaks.

For both girls we watched videos from Kahn Academy to see if I might have missed some step or something they may find helpful and they did worksheets from Math is fun.com. They also continued playing multiplication math war and other games as well as breaking out the Christmas puzzles.

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Social Studies, American History: Adding to our Thanksgiving lessons I printed out a female pilgrim paper doll and the girls labeled her clothes and added it to their timeline. We also listened to the story of Pocahontas from Storynory.

http://www.storynory.com/2014/11/23/pocahontas-native-american-princess/

http://www.education.com/slideshow/history-paper-dolls/colonial-paper-doll/

If you didn’t already know each year we pick a television series to watch and discuss as a family and this year it was Family Ties for the 80s. However, we only could take a couple of seasons as it is just too darn cheesy for us. Man, have I forgotten how after school special the 80s were. Well anyway we are now watching WKRP in Cincinnati. Yes, it is still cheesy but it has Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, they had such great swag. 🙂 One of the episodes this week talked about Christianity and music censorship.This lead us perfectly into our Old Testament lessons as well as much, much more.

World History: We watched the History Channel’s Bible miniseries episodes 1-5, Jesus comes up later in history. Though more bloody than what I expected, after all history is not all sunshine and lollypops now is it, I like the set up of this series. I do think it may not be suitable for young children though. If wanting to take these stories farther the Bible Collection movies are pretty good too. We however must be moving on.

We also watched the movies The Nativity Story, Small One, (I love this Disney classic), The Little Drummer Boy, and DreamWorks movie Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.

Home Ec. : The girls picked peanut butter fudge as the first Christmas treat to make.

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The Arts: We looked at and discussed both Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens paintings of Samson and Delilah.

P.E. Walk Away the Pounds, 3 miles. Starting in January Sky will use 1 pound weights and I have worked my way up to 4 miles, oh yeah and feeling great.

Peace for the journey.