Sunday, September 1, 2013

August- New Beginnings

This blog has fallen by the wayside.  However, I really am going to try to do a one month post of the kids' school work, activities, etc.  I know one day they will enjoy being able to look back at a record of themselves.

We started back school the first week of August, making this past week our fourth week completed.   Hooray!  A few things are different for us.  We're modifying Ambleside Online, combining it with Memoria Press Classical Curriculum.  On Wednesdays, the boys attend outside classes.  The other thing that is different this year is that the girls have a classmate.  We added our sweet neighbor, Miss B, a third grader to our homeschool.  So, on any given day at our house, we're covering first, third, fifth, ninth, and tenth grades!  Yep, I'm pretty busy!  If you see my free time somewhere out there, would you mind putting my name on it with a sharpie, so I can get it back one of these days!  Seriously though, my motto these days is "Life is hard, but God is good--- let's give Him the glory in all we do!" Even though this is the 10th year of homeschooling, and Lord willing there are twelve more to go, I know in my heart of hearts I'll miss it when it is gone.

Playing apple math with mom
Cookie Sheet Spelling
Her fabulous apple pie!
Miss Cupcake takes a "steps-forward, and a couple back" approach to learning.  You see, I am a slow learner at patience, so I need lots of PRACTICE.  I discovered some approaches to addition besides just using the math-u-see color number rods.  (She was just memorizing color, not getting concept).  I've added in some Math Mammoth ( for her.  I love the variety of ways the same concept is taught.  The first time she saw adding by the number line method she said, "This is the best. It is more FUNNER, Mom."  With reading, she's decoding words but with still a lot of struggling.  So, we're still taking it slow, trying to reach fluency with CVC words in short sentences.  Little Bobo is Lost is her favorite book with which we do some "buddy reading."  The book is a 1947 old school book reader I picked up at an antique store.  Little Bobo is a deer with many endearing adventures.  We are using lots of picture books for unit studies, many of which are scheduled in the Memoria Press Kindergarten Enrichment (very adaptable to first grade).  One of our favorites this month was How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.  We've done apple math, apple crafts, apple science, geography, and her favorite activity--making the apple pie recipe included in the book with her daddy.  Everyone enjoyed eating it.
Muffy's watercolor of grasshopper

Miss B tells us she loves homeschooling.  She is a bright and diligent student and always eager to please.  She is doing great.  We are focusing on lots of reading, providing a high quality diet of books using Sonlight reader selections, as well as some of Ambleside Online 1.  We are using some of the free lapbook ideas over at  I adapted another book unit on hot air balloons for a lapbook for the book, The Big Balloon Race by Eleanor Coerr.  She's started working on some very nice notebooking pages for learning the states and capitals, is learning cursive, and many other things.  My favorite quote from her this past month, "I really like that book, can I take it home and read it again?"  Music to a teacher's ears when reading becomes a joy rather than a task!  Unfortunately, I can't find the pics I took of her art and lapbook.  Argh!

Miss B, Muffy, and Cousin C

section of Muffy's Mandie in the Secret Tunnel canvas

Miss Muffy, our fifth grader, is working through most of Ambleside Online 4 this year.  Her literature for the first term is Robinson Crusoe.  Her assessment of it thus far is that it is a bit boring.  We've added weekly written narrations to This Country of Ours.  New courses added this year are Memoria Press First Form Latin, Memoria Press Greek Myths study, Memoria Press Insects science study, and Memoria Press Classical Composition Fables.  In her free time, she enjoys reading Cherry Ames (old 50s series about a nurse) and drawing.  She loves her art supplies.  For this term's artist study, I had the girls reproduce John Singleton Copley's portrait of Paul Revere.  She worked on it over a course of serveral days.  She also is getting fairly independent in the kitchen.  I bought her the Keepers At Home handbook which she loves working on spiritual goals, cooking goals, various craft skills, etc.  She will earn badges as she completes the items.  It is a blessing to watch her grow and mature in the faith.

Muffy's copy of Copley's "Paul Revere"

Cupcake's version of Revere, black lines on face are his veins of course!

Mr. S is in his first official year of high school.  He's not excited about biology but is getting it out of the way this year, taking the lab through an outside source.  We are having lots of pep talks about what his responsibilities are and what mine are.  His dad has taken over math with him.  It is going fine as we decided to switch curriculums and do Algebra over so he gets a good foundation.  I've modified the AO 9 for him, by primarily working through the literature and history selections, covering early American and world history.  We thought Paul Johnson's, A History of the American People would be tough, but he is enjoying it and understanding it quite well.  He's reading A Tale of Two Cities, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Gulliver's Travels for the first term (2 of which were sub. titles, not what AO scheduled).  He says The Scarlet Pimpernel is his favorite.   He's also taking an outside writing class and a Christian Worldview class.  Music still seems to be his favorite thing which keeps him busy with piano, cello, and violin.  He is also teaching Miss B piano.

Mr. E is glad to be done with biology and covering physical science this year doing the lab with an outside class, as well as a writing class and Christian Worldview.  His favorite subject is literature with history a close second, using AO 9 along with Mr. S.  There isn't a book he doesn't like.  Best quote of the month from him, "Mom, this is going to be such a great year---- all those wonderful books I get to read."  We are working with him on social/life/study skills to help him develop his full potential.  He would really like to be a middle or high school literature or history teacher and do writing on the side.  He spends a lot of time writing stories and poetry, visiting the ice cream shop, bike riding, and reading great classic literature.

My summer and most of the days are spent in school, preparing or working with the kids.  I was hoping to take some classes for women through the seminary, but decided my plate was full and will postpone those plans.  Matt is back in school at the seminary, working on his THM, while continuing to work full time.  He preached twice in August while our pastor was away.  He's busy, but is a big help keeping things going on the home front.

Till next time.



I guess you could say we've been a little busy since I haven't posted since November.  Perhaps I could manage at least one post a month.

The Cupcake is doing a new phonics program called Primary Phonics by EPS.  She has a workbook and a set of readers.  This past week she got the phonics work done to be able to read the first book, "Mac and Tab".  I'm very impressed with this program.  It has just the right amount of repetition that she needed to build confidence and succeed.  I'll be ordering level 2 very soon because the girl is making great progress; just have to keep reminding her to sound it out, NO GUESSING!  She's also working on d'nealian handwriting each day.  We've made it to letter "P" in her ABC Bible Verses book.  In math, she has learned quite well how to skip count 2's, 5's, and 10's, add with her blocks, and currently learning about time.  Last week I gave her the opportunity to make some money (and count by 10's at the same time).  I gave her a dime for every sock pair she could match.  I'm proud to say I owe her about four dollars!  (Some of those socks had been waiting for their mates for months!-- win, win, for the mom and the child.)  Favorite stories have been folktales like Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Empty Pot, Chicken Little, etc.  Sometimes she helps make a story map for re-telling.  She hasn't completely abandoned Thomas the Tank Engine in her play, but is more a fan of playing American Girl dolls with her sister these days.  She was so delighted to get Audrey Anne (a Target Our Generation doll) for Christmas along with a jeep and salon chair for the dolls.  Oh, by the way she's lost five top teeth all at once, well almost!

Muffy girl has developed a love for honey vanilla chamomile tea paired with a deliciously good book.  She started over reading A Little Princess and sometimes tells me "Sarah" is calling her (to come read and have a cup of tea).  She and her Auntie Missy are still reading Anne of Green Gables together, taking turns doing the reading out loud.  Not to be left out, she's reading The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge with her dear mommy.  We love it and some days would like to transport ourselves to Moonacre Manor and visit Maria, Miss Heliotrope, Wrolf the dog, Zechariah the cat, Sir Benjamin, and the tiny chef with the enormous vocabulary Marmaduke.  She traveled to Nepal in her mind and studies over the last few days, creating a beautiful map/flag scrapbook page, and notebook page for her geography notebook.  After finishing the Real Kids elementary biology, she decided to study about the body from the old "All About...." science series by Random House.  (This is an old series but excellent for homeschooling and getting a lot of information on a particular topic).  She enjoys drawing and labeling diagrams and pictures of what she learns.  Last week she baked chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and a butterscotch pudding pie and this week's creation was key lime pie milkshakes!  

Sir S- is busy with his school work.  He's almost done with a few of his Ambleside Online books for this term.  We're going to skip a few of the term three books and pick up some of the books from the year 8.  The reason being that will put both boys in the same place in history to do year 9 next year.  I CANNOT get enough of the readings done myself for two separate literature and history programs, so I'm tweaking to fix it for next year!  I returned from Cupcake's speech session the other day to find S and his accomplice, Muffy, both with the frizziest hairdo's ever to which he explained it was part of his physical science lab to make lightening with hair and a balloon.  He's progressing nicely with both violin and piano.  I've enjoyed some late night piano concerts as he practices from the music books he received for Christmas.  He got quite a few since that was all he really wanted this year.  He just began a new musical adventure, learning the cello.  His previous strings experience benefits him in this endeavor.  He's getting a good quality sound already.

Mr. E is such a good student.  He jumps to his studies right away to get done early enough to ride his bicycle around town before the sun goes down.  With the colder weather, the snow cone business has changed to the hot chocolate business with his helper Muffy, along with making smores with his new smores machine.  The boy loves his gadgets.  We've been working on fixing up his new room.  He was excited to finally get a bookcase for his prized possessions--- new books by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Lois Stephenson for Christmas.  He's still plugging away at biology and gee wiz I do think his book is tougher than I remember my biology class (which was even AP).  All that vocabulary!!!!  He reached the half way point in the book so there is no turning back now.  

Enough catching up for now.