Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School

Today marked the second full week of homeschool for us.  I must say this second week went much better than the first.  It is always tough in the beginning to get children and the momma back into gear.  For me, there is the remembering how to be a ping pong ball going back and forth between four individuals.  For them, it is adjusting to having to stretch the brain muscles.  Just like with exercise, at first it is hard.  However, with practice and routine it gets better.

Cupcake and Place Value Houses- that's 48!
Cupcake and I have been reviewing the letters we worked on last year, and working on letter recognition for the lower case letters that she struggles to remember.  I'm hopeful that phonemic awareness is going to CLICK one of these days.  For math, we are working with the same curriculum as E- uses, except Cupcake's book is the Primer and red, while E's book is blue.  She thinks Mr. Demie on the dvd is wonderful and requested we get to visit his house!  This week she's worked on place value in her workbook and with the blocks and place value houses.  For science, we have read various books about frogs.  Please ask her what tricks frogs do to keep from being eaten.  She loves to tell that part as well as the life cycle of the frog.  She dictated a paragraph with all she learned about frogs.  It was really cute.  She likes her knew talking microscope and the cool insect slides.  Other highlights were reading the Carrot Seed, reading our favorite Beatrix Potter story, The Two Bad Mice, and my personal favorite from my own early years, Stone Soup.  We started back over with Susan Hunt's, My ABC Bible Verses with the plan of learning a verse per week.  She's got Proverbs 15:1 down pat "A soft answer turns away wrath."
Cupcake's draw and write lesson-- lots of paint

Both girls enjoying the talking microscope!

Muffy loves 4th grade.  The Ambleside curriculum is such a good fit for her.  The only problem with it is she is prohibited from reading more than what is assigned for the week.  Her favorite AO book is the classic by George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin which she narrates to me with great enthusiasm.  In church history, we read about Martin Luther and the 95 Theses in Trial and Triumph.  She wrote about him, and used her draft for copywork on her history notebook page.  In world history, she studied King Henry VII, and in American history she learned about John Cabot's exploration of North America. She is giving Speedy Spanish I another try this year, and likes to learn the Spanish Bible verses.  For fun, she's reading one of my (actually my mom's) old Cherry Ames books.  She discovered Cherry Ames on the very top shelf of the built in bookcase (up near the ceiling), and since she's interested in becoming a nurse when she grows up, is enjoying it very much.  The biggest news for Miss Muffy is that she auditioned this week for a youth orchestra in the area, and will be playing second violin position.  Since, this is an intermediate orchestra, she was quite pleased as are we with this placement.
Muffy's Martin Luther notebook page

The long-awaited requested picture of THE QUILT!

S- also auditioned for the same orchestra, and will be playing in first violin position.  We are so excited for him too.  He has worked very hard to prepare his audition piece and scales, as well as working on his techniques and sight reading skills.  This is his 8th grade year, he is enjoying Apologia Physical Science in which he is doing some of the work through a free online at-your-own pace class at the Virtual Homeschool Group website.  The first module test was today and he made an A!  He loves the experiments, but isn't so thrilled with the lab reports--- yes, he has writing phobia.  Last week he turned electrical wire blue.   He is continuing in the Algebra I that we began last year.  The rest of his work is Ambleside Online House of Education Year 7 (which does NOT mean GRADE 7).  There are about ten different books he is reading from that cover lots of subjects including literature, economics, art, world history, church history, nature study, etc.  In Saints and Heroes, he learned about Cyprian and Athanasius.  In Winston Churchill's Birth of Britain and in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, S- learned about conquests of Britain under Roman rule.  His geography selection is The Brendan Voyage in which a man recreates a voyage from Ireland to Newfoundland in a ox-hide canoe, based on the accounts of St. Brendan, a celtic monk.  Thank goodness Ivanhoe is on the kindle so we can just click for the definition of some of the vocabulary.  He seems to like Watership Down which I didn't think he'd like since the characters are rabbits.  
S- and his physical science experiment

E- is doing much better this year with school.  We even moved him up to 9th grade since we have caught up in all subjects except math.  He completed his first module in Apologia Biology this week with an A on the test.  E- is also doing his science course through the Virtual Homeschool Group site.  It is wonderful that he can watch lectures to reinforce the readings and experiments, as well as complete quizzes and tests online.  Other than supervising the work load, he is working at it independently and getting help from his dad as needed.  For English, we are working through Jensen's Grammar, Punctuation, and Formal Writing books.  He is working through the Institute of Excellence in Writing's Grammar of Poetry.  This is one of the required AO books S- is working through, but since E- is the poet in the family, I knew it would appeal to him.  Instead of doing a full AO schedule, I decided the Beautiful Feet Senior High Medieval History and Renaissance might be a better fit.  He can receive literature credit and history credit for the readings and assignments.  However, I'm going to throw in a few additional classics.  So, it is a different course, but the time period overlaps a bit with S- and the Muffy girl's history studies.  E- gives excellent narrations of what he reads and is especially enjoying Howard Pyle's Men of Iron, and Jame's Daughtery's Magna Charta.  Did you know the Stephen Langston, Archbishop of Canterbury came up with the division of chapters and verses for the Bible?  I love this picture I captured of him reading about King John.  He is going through Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis with S- and I.  I'm still trying to think of another course we could get a credit hour from since the math won't count as a credit.  One possibility would be foreign language through Live Mocha.
Any other suggestions?
I wish you could see the grin on his face-- don't even think he knew I was getting a picture!
Matt traveled on business last week to Baltimore.  We were both glad when he was able to return home.  He's been busy working on our house (see dining room picture), teaching Sunday School, studying, and helping me more this year with school.  He is reading Birth of Britain, Brendan Voyage, and Ivanhoe too.  He's getting much farther ahead than me, but I'm reading many books for three different kids.
New heart of pine floors and finally finished walls, Yeah!

I think I'm the chicken running around looking for my head.  The AO curriculum and E's Beautiful Feet curriculum enables the kids to be a bit more independent in the day while I work with the Cupcake, but has given me much to do in the evening and between hours keeping up with their readings.  It is a good thing I love to read.  Also, I've been getting ready for our geography/missions homeschool enrichment classes for the coming year.  My parent's meeting for the classes was quite eventful when shortly before the meeting, the firefighters blocked off my part of the street, so they could do a controlled burn of the house across the street that was badly damaged from a fallen tree!  That had me a bit frazzled; would have helped to have known of that plan.  In the rest of my spare time, I've been studying the book of Ruth, to prepare for a once a month series of talks at my church for the women.  I've named it "Women of the Bible- People Like Me."  We will explore the lives of a different woman of the Bible each month.  I'm a bit nervous about it, but so excited about the things I'm learning and am praying I'll be able to share these truths with others.

Well, if you are still reading this, then you are probably tired out.  Especially long posts occur when there are new things going on, as well as when the blogger has not posted for a while.  I'll try to make the next one shorter.


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