Friday, October 30, 2015

Week in Review: October 26-30, 2015

This was a week of changes to some of our curriculum. It never fails, does it? We completed week 14 in school this week. After 14 weeks, there are some things we had to change. While there are many things I love about Heart of Dakota's Bigger Hearts for His Glory and Little Hearts for His Glory, there are several things I don't love about it, but didn't realize until this week. My children simply weren't enjoying the read aloud books for history and science, which is the core of the program. I don't know if we are going to abandon it altogether, but for now, we are taking a hiatus.

So what are we doing? We are going to try delight-directed homeschooling. I have always wanted to do this, but was afraid the kids wouldn't learn "what they should". Who decides what a child should learn? As I thought about this, I realized my children learn more and retain more when they decide what they want to learn. When they get interested in a topic, find books at the library, watch YouTube videos, and ask questions, they learn so much more.

Enter Do-It-Yourself homeschool journals by Sarah Brown. A sweet blogger friend, Linda at Homeschooling6, has been blogging about these journals for several weeks. I was so obsessed interested! Sarah has given me the opportunity to review these beautiful journals. We started yesterday, and let me tell you, so far, it is just what I was looking for.

I had the kids choose 8 or 9 things they were interested in, and we took a trip to the library. I had them choose one geography, one history, and one science book, and the rest were totally their decisions. I was proud of their selections!

{7th grade choices}

{5th grade choices}

{2nd grade choices}
They have already shown me such motivation to learn new things. The journals are absolutely beautiful, and I even have my own! They have written short stories, done copywork from their library books. drawn pictures, made meal plans, written recipes, and much more!
Other than that, we have been continuing in math and grammar as usual. Mercie is still learning her 3 multiplication facts and pronouns. Eli is learning about different geometric shapes and angles and lines in math. In grammar, he is still learning predicate adjectives and nouns. They are both working in their cursive books and doing great!
Silas, my kindergartner, learned the letters Q, R, S, T, and U this week. We introduced syllables to him, and he learned to clap out words. In math, he worked in his math journal and Essential Math workbook.
Mikaela has been crocheting some more, making her own cookbook with recipes she wants to try, and watching videos on how to use fondant.
Eli has  been making paper airplanes, reading about pyramids, and drawing his own town.
Mercie found a recipe in her cookbook for kids that she wanted to try, and luckily we had all three ingredients! It was called Nifty Nachos, and all the kids scarfed them down.
{Yes, she is wearing gloves...}

Silas and Titus have been making things with Magformers all week: hats, helmets, belts, balls, toys...

My husband's job is winding down, and he only has a few weeks left. We have been in Ohio for 6 months now, and I am ready to go home! {Louisiana} We will be packing and cleaning this rental house for the next few weeks.

{Reading a  book called "Mistakes that Worked"}

That was our week in review! How was your week?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Math Journals

Math journals have been an important addition to our homeschool. A few years ago, before I started using a boxed curriculum, we used journals for every subject. It was a combination of notebooking, lapbooking, and journaling, and it worked extremely well. However, it was very time-consuming for me to find all the resources I needed and pull together a curriculum. I was also worried my children were "missing something" or getting behind. {They weren't... I enrolled them in public school last year, and they all scored excellent on the testing. They also kept honor roll the entire time.}

I have missed the journaling aspect of homeschooling, as I now know it is very effective. So we started keeping math journals a few weeks ago. They look different for each child. I will show examples of each of their journals for their grade and skill level.

Silas is in kindergarten. His journal consists of activities that I have glued or put in his journal in advance. I try to do a week at a time. He loves coloring, cutting and gluing, so I try to include several of those a week. We are working on letter recognition and writing from 1-10, shapes, and patterns.

{He had to glue the missing numbers on.}

{ He had to roll the 2 die, count the dots, and write the number in a pumpkin.}

{Making patterns with star and animal stickers.}

Mercie's consists of both printables I have glued in or her own things she creates. She is learning multiplication, so she glued flaps for the fact families she is learning. I printed out some skip counting and multiplication sheets for her to complete each day. She also works in her Singapore book every day according to the plans in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. The journal doesn't take her but five to ten minutes, and she loves doing it.
{She had to color the problems with correct answers.}

{Skip counting.}

{She made flaps with the multiplication facts.}

{She wrote her own word problems using multiplication.}

Eli's journal is a little different. He is learning about angles and lines, so he has been writing the definition of each and drawing an example. He also has some division vocabulary words and crossword puzzles in it. He enjoys doing his. Writing the definitions and drawing examples helps him to remember. After he completes his journal, he either works in Singapore 5 or Spectrum 5. I like alternating!

{It's hard to see, but he drew a protractor and examples of angles.}

{He had to do a division terms crossword and write his own word problems.}

We will continue to use these math journals. There are so many things we can put in them! I hope this helps someone who isn't sure how to use a math journal.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Week in Review: October 19-23, 2015

Kindergarten: Silas 

We are plugging away with All About Reading, pre-reading level. Silas learned the L, M, N, O, and P this week. He already knew L, M, O, and P, so we just had to work on N. Aren't his letter crafts cute? He glued yellow construction paper "hair" on his Llama, yellow hole-punches on his M {cheese for the mice}, foil squares on his N to be tin cans for his Nanny, and toothpicks on his Porcupine. He loves doing these each day. He loves to color, too, as you can see! 

He can say his alphabet perfectly, pointing to each letter as he sings. He can recognize all the letters A-P, except G, J, and K.

In his math journal, we continued working on the numbers 1-10. He loves his math journal! He had to fill in the missing numbers, count animals and glue the correct number on, put the corresponding number of star stickers on the numbers 1-9, and a color-by-number. We also use our calendar to count! He can count into the twenties, but always skips "20"! {18, 19, 21, 22...}

He learned more stories about Jesus and his miracles this week. His favorite story was when Jesus walked on water. He kept saying, "But He didn't drown...He didn't fall in the water." He cut a brown boat out of construction paper, glued it to blue paper, and then painted glue to make bumpy waves.

We are working on memorizing the months of year, so we sing them each morning. He has trouble with rote memory, so it takes a while before it "sticks". In handwriting, he practiced writing M, N and O. He also traced his memory verse.

We also read lots of books this week. He currently loves any Berenstain Bear book! He is also obsessed with Paw Patrol, and has colored almost an entire coloring book this week.

Bigger Hearts: 2nd and 5th grade - Mercie and Eli:

We finished Unit 13 this week. We read about Anthony Benezet and Jaques Marquette this week, along with George Washington. The kids added to their timelines and a map. We defined vocabulary words. They made a "helping hand" craft, because Anthony Benezet was a huge servant to the people at that time. He helped many poor people by giving them a place to live, blankets, jobs, and anything else they needed.

In science, we continued learning about John Audubon. We read about owls and made a notebooking page. We also read about snakes and how they move to catch their prey. We watched several cool YouTube videos and completed a notebook page.

Our poem this week was titled Four Things, and the kids liked it. It was short, but sometimes the short ones are the best.

Our character trait was "dependability" and our verse was Proverbs 30:5. We learned the rest of "Amazing Grace" and sang every day. I am amazed how much the kids love singing!

We finished "The Sign of the Beaver" and started "The Indian in the Cupboard". They absolutely love this book so far! 

In math, Mercie kept working on multiplication by 2's. Eli worked on angles. Their math journals really help solidify what they're learning. I hope to do a post on them this coming week. Eli had to write the definitions of lines, angles, rays, vertex, and so on and draw examples of each. He worked a few pages in his Spectrum workbook. {We are still using Singapore, but he needs a little more review than it  provides.} 

In grammar, Mercie is working on pronouns in Rod and Staff. I started typing and printing Eli's grammar. I wanted it to be more independent, and he does better with worksheets. He is loving it so far, and it also has his copywork. It makes things much easier when he can grab his binder and do it all without help from me.

{And I know in the above picture, he underlined "loudly" as an adjective. I told him it was an adverb, and he tried to erase the colored pencil. Sigh. I need to invest in erasable colored pencils.}

Mercie and Eli are both doing great in Cheerful Cursive. 

We did week 2 in Drawn into the Heart of Reading - the humor genre. I am excited about the book project they will do for week 4!

7th grade - Mikaela:

I don't get many pictures of Mikaela, because her work is mostly independent. She also doesn't like me taking pictures of her work, so I try to respect that. 

She is taking a break from Science in the Ancient World for a few weeks. It's a great curriculum, but she had an experiment every single lesson. She was getting burnt out, and so was I! I bought God's Design for Science: Animals for her to do with Eli and Mercie. She hates to admit it, but she misses doing school with them! I'm hoping this will give her more of a "together" feeling that she is missing out on.

She is also slowing down in America the Beautiful for a few weeks. It is a lot of reading each day. One lesson this week was 6 pages! I am letting her read most of the lesson one day, and finish reading it the next day, completing the activities, too. 

Her Daily Grams book came in this week, so she worked a page in that each day along with a page in Easy Grammar. She hardly ever makes a mistake in grammar and I rarely have to help her.

She is continuing with math on Khan Academy. It is working well for her. Earning points and badges still appeal to a 7th grader! She is working on absolute value, positive and negative numbers. 

She worked three lessons in her Spectrum writing book, and did copywork from America the Beautiful.

She has also been drawing and crocheting this week. She cooked dinner a few times. She has taken over doing all the laundry each week for money! It has helped me out, and she wants to save up for something special.

We had a full, fun week this week!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Week in Review: October 12-16, 2015

We finished Unit 12 in Bigger Hearts for His Glory and Little Hearts for His Glory! These units are flying by. It's hard to believe we are 1/3 of the way through our school year already.

Little Hearts: Unit 12 - Silas {5 years old}

In All About Reading {pre-reading}, he learned the letters I, J, and K. We took two days to review the letters A-K because he has trouble remembering them! He glued yarn scarves on the I, drew ears on the jackrabbits for J, and glued a pouch on the kangaroo for K. His favorite part of AAR is the alphabet sheets.

Each day, we use our flashcards to review the letters. Then I have him put them in order {which he does pretty well most of the time}, and we sing the alphabet song while pointing to the letters.

I have him use some sort of tactile activity to form the letters. He loves the salt tray. He also used craft sticks to make the letters this week. {Kind of tough for rounded letters, but he did it!} I also placed several magnetic letters on our fridge and had him find a certain letter. We also scattered them on the floor, and as I held up a flashcard, he had to find the letters to match.

He played a few rhyming games with Ziggy the Zebra. He had to give jungle animals rhyming names {Miger the Tiger, Wion the Lion, Merret the Parrot, etc}. He did well on most of them.

He also had to pull an object out of a paper bag {spoon, sock, car, pen, etc} and find a word to rhyme with it.

In math, he is reviewing size and measurements. I also made him a math journal out of a spiral notebook. I created several pages for him. The first page is patterns. I used star and animal stickers to make a pattern for him to finish, and then gave him space to create his own patterns.

Next, I printed out a fruit graph and glued it in his journal. He had to cut out the fruit and glue it in the correct place on the graph. He also had to answer questions orally about the graph - which fruit had the most? which had the least? how many more grapes were there than bananas?

I also printed out and glued in his journal, a 100 chart. He has trouble counting past 13, so I showed him how to write the numbers 1-30 in the chart. We use a pencil to point to each number as he counts each day.

I am excited about these journals, and made one for each of my kids.

He learned about Jesus this week in Bible study. We read about Jesus being baptized by John, Jesus turning water to wine, and Jesus telling the disciples to fish on the other side of the boat.

I had him perform a simple experiment to see if he could turn water into wine like Jesus. I filled a cup with water and had him take a sip. Next, I had him drop a few drops of red food coloring into the water, and we watched it turn the water red {which he thought was super cool}. I asked him if he turned the water to wine, and he said, "Yes!" So, I had him take a sip, and he thought it was funny and strange that the water was still just water. {And then all the kids had to take a sip, because it seemed so "cool".}  We talked about Jesus being able to do miracles, but we cannot.

He glued paper squares and a wiggly eye onto a fish shape, and we talked about being fishers of men.

We also talked about the importance of water. I printed out some pictures of water, and he cut and glued them to a piece of paper.

He completed several pages in his Thinking Skills workbook and worked on his handwriting.
He also colored a color-by-number that revealed a scarecrow! This helped him with his numbers 1-9.

Bigger Hearts: Unit 12 {Eli, 10 and Mercie, 7}

In history this week, we read about George Washington. We talked about his rules of civility and manners. My husband was talking to Mercie last night and when he yawned, he talked through his yawn. Mercie said, "George Washington said to never talk when you yawn, Daddy!" I laughed because you never know just what is going to stick with your kids! They made a notebooking page on George and put him on our timeline. We also defined vocabulary words this week - unbroken colt, militia, and survey.

They also had a painting project to do. They folded a piece of paper in half and unfolded it again. Then they painted half a tree right next to the fold. Next, they folded the paper rubbed it. When they unfolded it, the tree was there. We talked about symmetry, and I thought these paintings turned out nice.

They also demonstrated why the sun is hotter at the tropical zones than in the temperate and polar zones using a flashlight and piece of paper.

In science, we continued reading about Jean Audubon. They read about different types of bird beaks and drew four types.

We talked about food chains, and they had to draw their own. Eli's turned into a food web, but I didn't complain. He had previously learned about food chains and webs, so the more complex, the better.

We cracked an egg and talked about the different parts of the egg.

They memorized Proverbs 21:23 this week, "Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble." Our character trait was self-control, and we had several great discussions on both. Our hymn is "Amazing Grace", and the kids always ask to sing it just one more time!

For story-time, we are almost through with The Sign of the Beaver. They have enjoyed this book, and although Mikaela had to read it for history, she is listening in with them.

Our genre for Drawn into the Heart of Reading is humor. Mikaela is reading "The Middle Moffat", Eli is reading "Centerberg Tales", and Mercie is reading Amelia Bedelia books.

Mercie and Eli both are still working in their Cheerful Cursive book, and they are doing so well!
In math, Mercie is learning multiplication by 2's. In her math journal, I had a few activities to count by 2's, and then she made flaps with the 2 facts.
Eli is reviewing division; three and four digits divided by two and three digits.

In grammar, Mercie is learning pronouns, and Eli is learning predicate nouns and linking verbs.