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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week in Review--Week 2

Good thing homeschooling is flexible.

We had friends in from out-of-town, and they surprised us (yay!) by staying an extra day. Monday was spent running errands and celebrating Goofy's 6th birthday (the "kid party"). Tuesday I babysat and had many, many friends over, as the out-of-town friends arrived Tuesday evening. Everyone seems to converge on my house for social gatherings. Why? I don't know. It cannot be my wicked good entertaining skills. I don't have any.

Afore-mentioned friends left on Thursday. I was sad. The kids were sad. It was just sad. We missed our friends. So we went out to lunch and then shopping for a few things at Target. When we got home, we snuggled up and read a book.

Friday morning was go time. Oh dear, I was a week behind, almost! We finished our book, The Light at Tern Rock. The kids really enjoyed the story, and I remembered that I had read it as a child. I borrowed it from a friend who was lucky enough to have an entire SonLight curriculum given to her. GIVEN! I know, right?

The Light at Tern Rock (Puffin Newbery Library)

We also watched a rather bizarre video called, "A Child's Introduction to Musical Instruments." Yeah, it was weird. It was oddly animated and about some farmer who wanted to conduct an orchestra. They sat and watched it all, though. I wish I had had time to preview it, as I would've passed on it. Lesson learned!


We spent Friday catching up on a lot of math. Goofy is still flying through math. I have to say, his rather unschooly Kindergarten year is really paying off. He just magically knows stuff. Funny and Scrappy both knocked out a few days of math work, and Funny took a quiz and got everything right. Whew! I am not a miserable failure, naysayers!

Saturday we listened to our Social Studies chapter in the van while out running even more errands. Everyone needed new shoes. I would've rather been at the dentist, I must admit. Not much is worse than trying to get 4 kids plus a husband to choose shoes. Ugh. We also went to Target (yes, again!) where the kids spent a loooong time decided how to spend their birthday money. First, everyone wanted Silly Bandz. Then Funny decided she could get a really cool toy if she put her Silly Bandz back. It was like a little light went off for her. Ultimately the girls and the boys, respectively, pooled their money to buy 2 big toys. I promise I didn't turn it into an educational torture, but I did note to Hub after, "This totally counts as economics. If that was a subject for us." Homeschoolers are crazy, man.

Next week we all have dentists appointments and a carpenter coming to (fingers crossed) finish up our bathroom so the tile can be installed soon. I am thankful that I've been homeschooling now for a few years because I figure a couple days behind is pretty good! We'll see how the week goes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

There's a book for that--Math

I am a librarian.

Well, I am a librarian by degree, and formerly by practice. I have learned that once a librarian, always a librarian. It's like a sickness. I rearrange books at every library I visit. My homeschool shelves are in Dewey decimal order (mostly). And best of all, I love to incorporate all types of books into my homeschooling.

Let's start with math.

You may not think that math lends itself to picture book and juvenile non-fiction supplements, but it does. How much drill can our poor children take? I'm bored just assigning it.

Anno's Magic Seeds (Picture Books)

Anno's Math Games

These are just a few math books written by Matsumasa Anno. A number of questions are asked about each illustration. The reader is asked to add, subtract, compare, estimate, etc.

A Pair of Socks Thumb

Stuart J. Murphy is, in my opinion, the king of math non-fiction for young readers. Pick a math concept, and he has likely written a book about it. This is just one example. In this book, the reader looks for matches to socks. It's useful for matching, pairs, and even numbers. As a bonus, this particular book is illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

How Much Is a Million? 20th Anniversary Edition (Reading Rainbow Books)

We actually watched a Reading Rainbow video of this book, where the original illustrations were shown while someone read the text. A great book for your math student who is obsessed with giant numbers.

Domino Addition

This is a simple, repetitive introduction to addition. My 5 year old loved it, and by the end had figured out the pattern to the text and was "reading" along.

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes

I love Tana Hoban! When my kids were in preK and K, we read her books every chance we got. They are so simple, with everyday things that are familiar to kids. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Week of School

I am so proud of my kids, because they've really had a great attitude this week. I suppose it's the newness, and it will wear off, but for now, I am loving it!

For more information on our curriculum, see this post.

Funny had a short math review, then jumped right back into her Saxon Math 2. This week we reviewed adding doubles, +1, and +0, as well as telling time. Scrappy is working to finish up MUS Beta. He's been working with money. Goofy was assigned MUS Primer's lesson 1 on Monday, and had completed through lesson 5 by the end of Tuesday, because he wanted to. I am glad I have the next book for him already!

Funny and Scrappy have started a new spelling book this year, Sequential Spelling. So far, we all love it. I think it is one of their favorite subjects. We did have to go buy a trifold display board to divide them up though, as they were always quite interested in what the other was doing. Day one word: in. Day four word: pinning.

Goofy has been working on phonics. I am using what I feel is a McRuffy crib notes book, and while it's working for us so far, I am definitely glad we've covered some phonics work before.

Goofy groups rhyming words. Bat, cat, pat. Cap, tap.

We've also started Primary Language Lessons. The two oldest wrote a few sentences from dictation. I am excited to see how they will progress from here. They've also been working through a workbook on parts of speech. This week: nouns.

The new Science book is amazing! We have all learned so much already. One of our highlights of the week was investigating gyres and currents. We used a 13x9 casserole dish filled with water, some Rice Krispies, and 2 hair dryers (we covered safety too!) that the kids blew across the top of the water from opposite ends. This created their very own gyre! This showed us how the wind affects ocean currents.

Is it a duck? No, it's just the Mediterranean Sea!
The yellow circle indicates the Roman Empire at its largest.

We've learned about the fall of the Roman Empire in Social Studies this week. The kids did some map work identifying the Mediterranean Sea (it looks like a flying duck!) as well as the Roman Empire at its largest point. Everyone made their very own "eat like a Roman soldier" meal.

Scrappy and Funny open up their Roman soldier meals. Of course, Funny's looks like a flower.

We've also covered health (smoking), music (orchestra), and art (block lettering) this week.

For more homeschooling ideas, visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life is funny.

No really, it is. I mean, sometimes it's hard to find the humor. And I will admit that there are occasions where there may not be any humor, but most things are funny.

Not only do I like laughing and finding humor in otherwise icky situations, but I enjoy seriousness. When it's called for. I'm a "sensi," as JD would say (that's a Scrubs reference, people). I can be seriously serious to the point of moping/wallowing/laying around crying while watching Dr. Phil and eating a gallon of ice cream a day. So in order to avoid such horrid sights, I choose to laugh.

Mirth is good.

One of the things that really gets to me, especially amongst Christians, is the fear of laughter. God really does have a great sense of humor. I have seen the platypus. Not much makes me feel more full of joy and love than a good belly laugh. I highly suspect that heaven will be full of laughter, because it's awesome, and God created me to do it, and to love it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pump Up the Jam!

I think it's really quite sad that home canning is a dying art. So many people seem to enjoy cooking (I am guessing, based on the freakishly large number of cooking blogs, not that I am complaining), but I know very few people outside my close circle of friends who can anything.

I recently purchased a flat of blueberries, which is 12 pints. Unlike some other lucky people I know, I do not have blueberries growing in my yard, though I really should work on making that change. Anyway, I used about 6 1/2 pints for this recipe, which is straight from the Ball Blue Book. That's the Bible of canning, for those who don't know.

Blueberry Jam

Pick through berries, discarding stems and mushy berries, if there are any. Rinse. Crush! I used a potato masher, and just took all of my troubles out on those poor berries. I think a food processor might work also. Or a blender. Just coarsely crush them, unless you don't like pieces of fruit in your jam, in which case, you should be making jelly.

9 c. crushed blueberries
6 c. sugar

Combine and bring to boil in a large pot. Boil hard, stirring to prevent sticking, until the mixture gels.

How will you know?

Put a small plate in your freezer. Remove pot from heat. Place a spoonful of jam on the plate and return it to the freezer. After it cools for a minute or so, run your finger through it. Does it leave a space? Then it's done! Time to can. If not, put your jam back on the heat and keep boiling. You know what jam looks like. You may have to test it a number of times. It took at least 20 minutes for mine, maybe even longer.

I bought an awesome canning kit at Wal-Mart a few years ago. It looks like this. I really recommend this if you are starting out. It comes with the Ball Blue Book, jars, lids, a funnel, etc. Everything you need, in one box. For more information on how to can, check here.

If you have a friend who cans their own goodies, I bet that he or she would love to have some extra help on canning day, and would show you how it all works.

Things I like

So, you may have noticed, this is a blog. About me. I mean, kind of. Me, me, me. So here are some things I like, because even though you faithfully read this blog (ha!), might be my Facebook friend, or even better, know me in real life, you can always use some more me.

Things I like:

Batman, but not in a creepy shrine-like way
Hm, okay, most superheroes
Green beans
Green beans cooked with bacon
Rock Band

Watching hilarious TV and movies
Laughing in general, actually
Fantasy/Sci-Fi movies/TV, because why would I want my entertainment to remotely resemble the real world?
Quoting lines from movies & TV shows
Reading blogs in order to procrastinate

Pretending I will have a garden
A tidy kitchen when I get up in the morning

Dark chocolate

And yes, I like Jesus best of all, don't worry. But just because I love Jesus, it doesn't mean I can't have a sense of humor. Does it?

I can see from this list that if you bring me a chocolate-covered television that is running a Better Off Ted marathon, that you'll be my new BFF.