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.


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