Back Again!

Okay, so, I haven’t written in about 6 weeks.  The truth of the matter is I haven’t had the brain power to do much of anything by the time the kids go to bed at night so I will take the chance to update now…and there are quite a few updates to be done!

1. For those that don’t know (I am guessing a lot of my normal readers know but people that stumble on the blog via search engines etc don’t) I am currently pregnant and due at the end of August.  It is a great deal of why my brain power and energy haven’t been up to par with keeping the blog updated.

2. Little Kid finished school last week.  She chose to be homeschooled for 1st grade so she will be joining in on our schooling.  I am VERY excited to have her back home with us and even more excited at being able to make our own schedule vs having to work around the bus schedule etc.

3. The kids both have 3 weeks of camp this summer so we are going to continue doing schoolwork but I am modifying things slightly for the summer.

The plan of attack for this summer looks something like this:

Excel Math for both kids.  A worksheet a day on the weeks there is no camp.  I got 1st grade for LK and 3rd grade for BK.  This will help keep them up to par on math without requiring a lot of in depth lessons for the summer.

First Language Lessons.  I am planning on doing this from the very beginning with both kids at the same time.  A lot of it may be “easy” for BK but I haven’t done any formal grammar lessons with him and it will be easier to just keep them on the same page, so to speak.

Lunch time reading.  I plan on reading a chapter book to them over the course of the summer during lunch time.  We are going to start with Jurassic Park.  We will read that for as long as it takes then I will pick something else.

Moving Beyond the Page.  I got BK the water cycle unit and the Charlotte’s Web unit.  BK and LK will both do the water cycle activities and BK will do Charlotte’s Web on his own, though I may have him read aloud to LK.  I haven’t decided yet.

Phonics.  I will continue to work with LK on phonics/reading skills over the summer in hopes of having her be a pretty decent self reader by the time fall gets here.  We have Explode the Code and we also have a couple of word family books to work with as well as many Leap Frog reader phonics books.  She has a pretty good grasp on all this already but I want to be sure her confidence is there by this fall.

In all, I expect it to be a busy summer.  Once we get back into the swing of things after this baby is born I got a unit of Moving Beyond the Page for LK and we will resume the work on Build Your Library with BK (we have gotten as far as week 27 of Grade 2).  It is just easier to have things that are more simple to transition into/out of for the summer when the schedule can be all over the place and when I will be having good days and bad.

So there you have it!  Nothing to fancy or exciting I am afraid, but I am still here and will try my best to keep the blog a bit more updated!  This week both kids are at a TKD camp and are *loving* it, which is awesome.  I am hoping they will want to sign up for lessons this fall as it will help LK with her confidence and BK with his focus.

Still Trucking!

We are still here and still trucking along with homeschooling!

We took a week off when Little Kid had her break from school.  We were super busy that week so I called off homeschool too!

We have been studying geology for science, which has been a lot of fun. We “made” a sedimentary rock, which was admittedly challenging to find the materials for as it has been a LATE spring here.

We have been reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon for read aloud.  I am quite fond of this book and BK seems to like it too.  It is really well done and engaging.  This time I tried to buy it on the Kindle, which works, but isn’t ideal for the way I like to do things.  Normally I look ahead and pick spelling/vocab words out of the book we are reading and it isn’t as easy to “flip through” a book, so to speak, on the Kindle as it is with a real paper book.  I can (and sometimes do) use the vocabulary words that Build Your Library suggests, but sometimes I like to go a bit “off book” too.

In math we have kept up with triple digit addition and subtraction.  I have also added in timed math drills, one a day, to work on memorization of simple math facts.  For whatever reason BK hasn’t mastered memorizing the math facts despite working on it in many different ways, and still counts on his fingers for each math problem…so I have started drills where he has 60 seconds to get 20 problems correct and if he can do that 3 days in a row he gets to “move up” to the next number (he passed 0, and 1…and is now working on 2).

We finished off the Handwriting Without Tears cursive book last week so that has officially been completed.  What I need to do now is pick a keyboarding/typing program because it would be awesome to have him home row typing soon.

History has been more of the Middle Ages.  Last week was a week long bit about Marco Polo which BK found interesting.  I had him read this book aloud to me for a page or two each day to make sure he is pronouncing words correctly.  He usually does well enough but there are some that I have to help him with, which is why I find having him read aloud to me so important.

We also found some frog eggs in the pool (when it was still more of a pond) so now we have ALMOST got tadpoles.  The eggs are wiggling etc so it won’t be long, maybe even tomorrow.  Then we will feed them and care for them and watch them transform into frogs! I am probably more excited than the kids about this as this is yet another neat thing we never got to do when I was a kid in public school!

Last week I also purchased Grade 3 from Build Your Library.  Grade 2 has gone well, and we are only 22 weeks in (out of 36) but there was a sale so I ordered it.  I also opted to get it printed out.  When I got Grade 1 I printed it out and kept it in a 3 ring binder.  For Grade 2 I decided to see if I could do it just keeping it as a PDF on the computer.  While the PDF option works, it isn’t awesome overall and I find it makes things more challenging, so for Grade 3 (and what’s left of Grade 2 for us) I had it printed out and shipped to me from Fedex printing.  It worked well and I did it all online, which was awesome.  I got both of them spiral bound as well.

Anyway, that is where we are at right now! Starting week 22 tomorrow.  Hard to believe that in just 6 weeks Little Kid will be here with us full time! I can’t WAIT for her to be back! She seems excited about homeschooling too so hopefully it stays that way.

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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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