We have been slacking!

Yes, for real.  Not just me either.

We have taken 2 weeks to decompress a bit.  The long winter here in the northeast is taking it’s toll on our motivation and state of mind so we have been taking it easy…with plans to dive back in starting tomorrow.

What we HAVE been doing is just the basics.  We do math, creative writing, and reading comprehension every day and Big Kid always reads on his own too.  Otherwise we have been mostly goofing off and playing.  Taking in the sun when it presents itself.

We have also worked on our paper castle.  I have discovered I am NOT good at this.  Big Kid does well with it, but I am not terribly crafty or good at construction.

I know I have been quiet, but that is why! There hasn’t been a whole lot to report on! Big Kid is still doing Ju Jitsu and Climbing Team.  We still have homeschool group every other Tuesday.  The upcoming weeks are pretty busy too so we will see how it all plays out!  Spring time (if it ever shows up!) means a lot of time outside.  I can’t wait!

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Our Little Routine!

One of my readers asked about our daily routine and while the time varies slightly it is pretty standard overall so I thought I would share.

First thing is I get up in the morning.  I spend a few minutes on my own as I am not the nicest person in the morning and I need a little bit to wake up and remember that I shouldn’t eat the people that talk to me in the morning.

Once I am awake I call the kids down and they have breakfast.  I get Little Kid’s hair brushed, have her brush her teeth, get snow gear on etc, and get her ready for and then onto the bus.  During this time Big Kid is usually goofing off/brushing teeth/etc.

Once that is all taken care of I get all the work for the day out and put it on the kitchen table then I get myself some breakfast and BK starts on his math.  Usually I check to make sure he knows what he is doing and then I go shower while he works on that.  So far that has worked okay for us though sometimes I have to wait because he needs help with the math.

Once I am clean and his math is done he starts on cursive, then copy work, then reading comprehension.  When those are all done usually BK reads our history aloud to me.  I do this because it lets me be sure he read it and more importantly to make sure he is pronouncing the words correctly.  The downside of a kid that started reading super early is that unless they read aloud you can’t be sure they are getting words correct so I use this time and this reading for that.  If there is science or art that day he does those both after.

Then the new thing I implemented was creative writing where I give him a prompt and he has to write a few sentences about whatever it was.  He was having trouble paying attention when he prints and was ending up with capitals where they didn’t belong and g’s way above the line etc so the writing is more to focus on making sure periods and capitals are where they go than anything else though it is also good for him to learn to write with a prompt.

When all that is done (usually takes about 2 or 2.5 hours) BK tends to play outside or inside for awhile.  Doing whatever he thinks sounds like fun that is non-electronic.  Usually it involves a lot of imaginative play.  If there are chores to be done he does those in this time and we do errands in this time too.  Then, by about 11, if all things have gone well I will let him have 30/45 minutes on the computer (usually Minecraft).  Then it is time for lunch.

After lunch he plays for a bit and then it is rest time.  This is both for him to have some downtime/quiet time and so I can get a bit of a break.  He reads or plays quietly in his room while I watch TV or sometimes sneak in a short nap.

When that is over it is time to get LK off the bus and then they play together for the rest of the afternoon until dinner and bed time!  Overall it is pretty easy but it is also simple to modify if needed in case we have an appointment to go to, or group, or an extra activity, or (like last week) LK has a snow day.

So there you have it! Just a basic day around our house!

Excellent Week!

This last week has been great.  Little Kid has been home from school on winter break and it has been awesome to have her here with us doing homeschool.  She wanted to see what homeschooling would be like and we were in the middle of stuff with Big Kid so I just kept school going!

We read more about the Middle Ages in Europe and started a bit about Japan during the same time.  BK read history aloud as usual and LK got to listen.

We kept up worked on cursive for BK as well as adding copy work in print and vocabulary again.

For math we kept going in the Singapore book and ended up finishing it up last week.  I was impressed.  He did pretty well with the multiplication but will need more practice for sure.  We start back to the Math Mammoth text, 2B tomorrow.  That will give him more practice with borrowing and carrying which he had briefly forgotten how to do, but did fine once I reminded him again.  One of the reasons I prefer MM to Singapore.

For science we learned about the moon phases and constellations. BK was a fan and made note of the new moon last night on the 1st.

Little Kid, I kept things for her slightly more mellow.  She finished her Explode the Code book 1 and started book 2, entirely on her own.  She worked on the 1A Singapore Standards book that I got for her for next year.  She did really well with it.  I also got her a 20 weeks of word families book and she did a bunch of pages in that too…plus she kept up work on her Kindergarten BrainQuest book.  It wasn’t terribly heavy stuff but she did well with it, stayed motivated, and kept herself busy when I was busy helping BK out with something.

Both kids of course got to listen to the book I read aloud.  We finished up Castle Diary and they both really enjoyed it.

They also spent a HUGE amount of time playing together both inside and out which was awesome for me.  I am used to having to keep BK entertained on my own all day so this was a wonderful treat and he really enjoyed her company.

In all I would say it was a GREAT week and it gives me a lot of hope for having LK back with us once school is out!

Hi! I am still here!

Hello all!

I have an awful lot to catch you up on.  The last time I posted was in the beginning of December, which is completely crazy as it is now the middle of February.

Things quickly got hectic in December with the holidays and with Little Kid in school and then on a LONG Christmas break.  We also ended up with a new kitten that needed vet care and to be neutered and then he got sick etc.  In addition to all that we had family gatherings and extracurriculars like basketball happening.  Plus the whole family ended up sick about 3 weeks ago with what I can only assume was influenza.  2.5 weeks later I am still *still* coughing, as is Big Kid.  I blame Little Kid for bringing home germs from school ;-) . For whatever reason, it just ended up keeping me far too busy to keep up with the blog.  I hope now that the holidays are through that I will be able to keep up a bit better!

We are still using and loving Build Your Library and are 14 weeks into the second grade curriculum.  Just today I got spiral notebooks for the copy work and the vocabulary sections.  Admittedly we have sort of skipped a lot of the copy work and vocab until this point.  I have made the decision that we aren’t going to do that anymore so now I have the notebooks and we are going to take it on!  Big Kid can ALWAY use the extra practice with handwriting.

We are still working our way through cursive and just started on “tow truck” connections.  BK seems to enjoy them and is doing well overall with cursive.  He does have some trouble with the letter r but I don’t really blame him, it is a bit difficult and doesn’t look like the letter in print at all so it is a bit confusing.

In history we are studying the middle ages.  We recently read a bunch about vikings and what life was like as a viking.  We also just talked about the Battle of Hastings.  I am still having BK read to me aloud for history.  If he is reading from Story of the World (per the curriculum) he is reading aloud and I am listening, using that chance to make sure he is pronouncing words correctly (like the long a in Hastings).  This also allows me to be SURE that he has read the work.  I read the literature book aloud to him so this is his chance to narrate to me.

In science we have been studying the planets and outer space.  So far BK seems to enjoy it and has learned quite a bit about space.  We just covered comets and meteors and today we read about the Big Bang.  In addition to the books we use for the curriculum I got BK Born with a Bang which explains more in depth what the Big Bang was.  He read through that on his own during rest time and while he might not “get” a lot of it just yet I he really liked the book overall and I think it will spark some good questions later on when he is a bit bigger.

For math we have been covering quite a bit of stuff.  We finished the Math Mammoth 2A book and moved on to the Singapore 2A book to finish that out.  We had stopped Singapore just as we got to multiplication and division and switched to Math Mammoth to really hammer home some more addition/subtraction.  Since I was confident that had been mastered pretty well we moved back to the Singapore book where we will stay until we finish it out, then back to Math Mammoth 2B!  Big Kid is doing remarkably well with multiplication which makes me excited. It is almost like a switch is finally starting to flick, ever so slightly, toward to on position with math.  He has always done okay with it but now it is really starting to click I think.

For literature we have read Viking Adventure and we started Castle Diary this week.  Both have been okay though Viking Adventures was rather…lame.  It wasn’t very in depth and was a bit too predictable, even for BK.  Castle Diary is doing better so far though the language is a bit harder for me to read aloud, just because of the time period it is supposed to be “written” in.

For extras BK finished up a busy season of basketball! He had a blast with it and is already looking forward to next year.  I am looking forward to next year too because we get to move up from 8am and 9am games to 10am, 11am, or 12pm games.  That makes Saturday’s a MUCH happier place for everyone in my house!  Coming up he is starting the climbing team at our local indoor climbing gym and he is going to start Ju Juitsu through our parks and recreation department.  Before I know it, it will be time to start signing up for summer camps!

In the coming week or two I have to start work on our end of year assessment for the state.  I have opted to do a portfolio this year though I have learned it can be MUCH less complicated than what I did last year, so that is very exciting.  It does however mean going through all the work we have done since last March and picking out what to show for what area of study.  It also means I have to write up the “plan” for our study next year for the state.  Little Kid has decided she wants to homeschool too so I will be writing two plans, one for each of the kids and filling out all the paperwork for both of them after I finish the end of year portfolio for BK.

In all I would say we are doing pretty well, just super busy as happens sometimes this time of year, especially with our “end of year” happening in March!  I do hope to be back in action on at least a weekly basis from now on!

Three Weeks Worth!

So I have three weeks worth of stuff to fill you in on!  We took Thanksgiving week off since Little Kid was home from school so there isn’t a ton to report about that other than they spent hours and hours playing together. I *really* miss having her home during the week and Aaron does too, especially when it comes to playing outside.

The week before Thanksgiving we covered a bunch of the Golden Age of India for history.  We used the Usborne book, Story of the World, and the Kingfisher Atlas of World History that I purchased.  I am a pretty big fan of the KAoWH, I love the use of maps in it, which is an area where a lot of other history books are lacking.

In math that week we covered more fact families with addition and subtraction.  Numbers 11-15 were covered.  BK didn’t really enjoy a lot of this but he is getting much quicker at recall now so I consider that a plus.  He is really “getting” the number relationships too which helps a lot.  I consider Math Mammoth to be a very good purchase for him.

In science we learned more about space including the lunar landing and space shuttles.  He thought the video of the lunar landing was pretty neat.  He was confused about why it was so low quality though so I had to explain that TV back then was WAY different than TV is now.

For handwriting and language for the month of November I had BK write a book as part of National Novel Writing Month.  Of course at 7 years old he wasn’t going to write a novel, but I wanted to give him a chance to see what it was like to write a book.  You can see what he wrote HERE.  He also kept up work on his cursive which is still going very well.

We also started a new book that week, Ida B.  It has been a great book so far.  It is pretty wordy but I consider that a good thing overall as it expands vocabulary and makes BK ask a lot of questions.

Extras the week before Thanksgiving included two hours of time helping Dada and I get our winter car working and back home, basketball practice, and a doctor appointment.

Last week we kept on Ida B and cursive.

In math we covered fact families from 16-18 and did a couple of reviews going over the material that we had already covered.  BK also did a bit of math on Time4Learning including a bit about measuring things.

In science we read about Buzz Aldrin in Reaching for the Moon which was a lot of fun.  It was neat to BK to see what life was like for an astronaut before he was actually an astronaut.

For art we looked at a bunch of pictures of Medieval Islamic art then BK drew his own art based on that.  He saw a lot of plates decorated in bright colors so that is what he did on his project.  We also learned about footprints in homeschool group (I was the teacher last week) so he got to use a bunch of stamps to make a “story” on a piece of paper.  Both pieces of art are pictured below.

Extras last week included Time4Learning, Minecraft, basketball, a trip to the vet with the new kitten and I, and a trip to his Grammy’s house.  When both kids were with Grammy they made sugar cookies, decorated them, and them brought them around to a couple of different nursing homes.  Both kids had a lot of fun doing that and LK enjoyed her day off school on Friday while on the little adventure.

That is what we have covered in the last three weeks! Hopefully I can stay on track with blogging better the next couple of weeks but we will have to see! With the holidays coming things get hectic!  Little Kid gets a good chunk of time off from school soon too so we are excited about that!

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NaNoWriMo

This is the book that my 7 year old wrote during National Novel Writing month.  We watch a lot of nature-type documentaries and he really likes cats…hence the numerous matings referenced in the book.  I also think he wasn’t quite sure how to introduce new characters so he just had the other characters create them.  He illustrated the book as well, one of the pictures can be found at the end.  He wrote the whole thing himself and I typed it up, word for word, spelling for spelling, for him.  By the end, including illustrations, he had written 20 pages.

The title of the book is: Orlean and Cloudy

Chapter One

The Lady

 Once upon a time there was a lady who had a cat.  One day she was sleeping and she heard a noise.  “Why is there a noise at 8:01 in the morning?”  Orlean asked herself.  Just then she heard a, “Boo!”.  She shivered.  She saw her copy machine.  Orlean did not know her copy machine could walk.  She was  unaware it was haunted.

 One day Orlean went out to get a cat named Bolt. One year later Bolt mated with Trigger and made a liter of kittens.  Orlean was happy about this.  She liked cats.  Orlean named one of them Ben and the other one Tiger.

 One day Orlean went to the store and when she came back she saw Bolt, Ben, and Tiger chewing on paper.  “That’s weird,” Orlean said, “My cat never chewed on paper”.  Then she saw her copy machine on the living room floor.  She said, “Good cats!” and she gave them all a treat. “Goooooooooooood caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaats!” Orlean said.

 Orlean wanted to have a bigger house.  She could not move because she the biggest house in the world.  Sh called the house company and they were done in a week.  The night they were done Orlean put her cats to bed in the new section.  That night while she slept, Orlean dreamed of marrying and in the morning she did.  The man’s name was Cloudy.  Orlean and Cloudy got together very well.

 The next day Bold and Trigger mated again this time Cloudy watched and he watched Bolt give birth to them.  One of them was Pony the other was Cat.

 Chapter Two

Cloudy Learns?

 On Monday Orlean asked Cloudy if he could guard the house while she was gone.  He said, “No.  I have to go learn.” 

“No?! Why not!?”  

“I have class and I have to build a car to get there.”

“Why?”

“It is in Burlington and we are in Montpelier.”

 The next day this was the news. “ADULT TAKES CLASS!”

 “Honey.”

“What?”

“The news says adult takes class.” 

“That’s you, duh!” replied Orlean.

“Oh and look a bird robbed a trumpet and a lady screamed call an ambulance!”

“That’s funny!” Cloudy said laughing.

 Chapter Three

Halloween

 It was October 29th and Orlean and Cloudy were listening to a Halloween song.   On Wednesday Cloudy had no class and on Thursday while they were handing out candy Orlean and Cloudy saw the lights go out.  Orlean said, “Pony did that.”

“Who is Pony?” a trick or treater asked.

“One of our cats.” Orlean said.

 Chapter Four

November

 It was November.  Cloudy’s class was done for the year.  Cloudy had an owl necklace from class that day.  One day Orlean and Cloudy were visiting Orlean’s mom and the car broke down but Cloudy had spare parts and it only took two minutes.  It took all day to get there but they had lots of water.  When they got there she was waiting at the front door.

 When they were home Orlean and Cloudy saw Bold and Trigger mating.  Bolt gave birth to a kitten.  When she was done she ran in circles.  She was excited, very excited.  They named him Bert  Then she got all the cats at the shelter.  The cats were smart.  They piled up.

 There was only 4 cats at the shelter.  Their names were Subaru, Cheve, Watchcat (he wore a watch), and Mark.  Mark meowed 10 times he was inside.  Then he did a rollover.  He was happy he went, “Yeow, Yeowey!”  Mark yelled a lot.  He could stand on his back legs!

 Bert jumped and hissed a lot.  Orlean planted some catnip one day.  One day Orlean went to the store to get a copy machine but it was closed.  That night while she slept Orlean woke up at 12:00am.  “Hello!” said Orlean.  Just then Cloudy appeared and said, “why are you awake?”

 “I heard something.”

“Me too.”

“Do you know what it is?”

“No.  Do you?”

“No.”

 They went to the catroom to see if it was a cat.  “Pony!”  It was a cat.  “Get in the catroom!” said Orlean. Pony hissed then meowed.

 Orlean and Cloudy went to bed after they got Pony into the catroom.  AFter they went to bed they were happy.  In the morning Bolt gave birth to a kitten.  They named him Piper.  One day Orlean and Cloudy were visiting Cloudy’s mom and it took 10 minutes.  They had a nice time.

 Orlean and Cloudy were sad when they were home.  They had a good time.  They were sad until they saw Bolt mating.  They named her Jewel.  She was nice and had a diamond.  

 The next day Cloudy said, “I wish I had a helicopter.”  He walked over to his dest and there was a helicopter with a remote.  It was amazing!

 

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Two Weeks for the Price of One!

So, I didn’t write last week.  That was half on purpose and half accidental.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks!

In the last two weeks Big Kid has been on many great adventures.  Last week he had the usual homeschool group (picture of the space we are using below), acting, and then went with his Grammy to a homeschool class, far away, on orienteering.  He learned all about navigating a course with a compass.  He enjoyed his time and learned a lot!  We took Monday off this week because it was my birthday!  That is the joy of homeschooling, I can make my own schedule and we can take off whatever days we want to.  Then this week he had two performances for his acting class.  One was Tuesday night and the other was Wednesday at noon.  Both were great and it was neat to see the 8 weeks worth of work pay off for all of them. After all that was done we had one “normal” day on Thursday then BK went on a trip about 1.5 hours away to another museum with Dada and his Nana.  They learned about sunspots and all sorts of other neat things plus he got to look around at the museum’s exhibits.

In terms of actual schoolwork we covered a bit more about space for science including astronauts and astronaut training.  We read from the Space Encyclopedia and we looked at a couple of websites.  He also read a bit from a great book called The Elements that I got from Little Kid’s book fair.

In history we covered part of the Byzantine Empire, Justinian the just emperor and his wife Theodora.  It wasn’t a super exciting bit of history but it still counts!  Big Kid has been reading to be aloud for this part of the schoolwork so I can be sure he is reading words correctly.  The only one he had trouble with was Byzantine which is understandable!  He figured out Constantinople just fine though!

In math we covered some more addition and subtraction as well as word problems with “difference” and “how many more”.  He is getting a little bored of the Math Mammoth format I think but he is learning it all a lot better so we are going to stick with it, maybe add in more from Time4Learning or Khan every other day vs workbook every day.  We will see!

We also finished Trumpet of the Swan.  It was a good book and BK enjoyed it.  It was a lot of reading but that is how it goes!

BK has continued his work on his book for NaNoWriMo.  Below is one page of what he has written.  He writes it during rest time then I type it up later for him.  He has also continued his work on cursive and is doing very well with that too!

I would say it has been a very busy couple of weeks and we are looking forward to a little chill out time.  I am still deciding if I will have school on the days that LK is home from school, like the entire week of Thanksgiving.  I guess I will see when I get there!

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