Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: Session 1 Week 3

Hold the blog post! Balsam Fir found a book and started reading it for fun without any encouragement! We'e been waiting and waiting for him to find enjoyment in reading, but until now he hasn't even really liked being read to much less read himself. Whoop! 

Oh, what book? The Lorax by Dr. Suess! He LOVED the movie and found the book upstairs in our library and decided that he was going to read the story...without help! By the end of the day he had read the WHOLE story. ::grin::

In Our Life This Week
Autumn has arrived! A season of crisp nights and warm days, red, orange and yellow leaves, carved pumpkins, relaxing walks in the woods, and lots and lots of apple treats. 

Most every mid-September we drive to Grandpa and Nannie Lobster's and have a family apple picking Sunday. This season we picked 2 bushels of Macs to bring back and turned a bunch into crockpot chunky applesauce which we canned up...but have been eating a lot of. (If you decide to try out this recipe, substitute a drizzle of honey for the brown sugar.)

But it also means that our kayaking days are numbered. ::sigh:: Sugar Maple and I went out late yesterday morning and attempted to kayak around the lake. But the water was too choppy. It was fun trying though! And later on today we're heading to the state park for more paddling and a picnic to end our productive week of learning and then store the kayaks for the season. Hiking anyone?

What's Cooking?
Funeral Sandwiches from Sunday Baker. Oriental Ramen Broccoli Cole Slaw from  Summer Corn, Potato and Bacon Chowder from Weight Watchers. Crockpot Apple Crisp from The Crockin' Girls.

Homeschooling Elementary
Ch-ch-ch-Changes. Yep, just 2 weeks in and I felt the need for some changes. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that Balsam Fir was not syncing with Horizons Math. Did you hear his loud complaints where you are? ::sigh:: So, I printed out the first 30 lessons of the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) and he seems to be responding better to the UK's adaptation of Hungary's Math system. (It's free...) SOTW isn't going as smoothly as I thought either. Why? Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir want me to read 2-3 chapters at a time which puts them "behind" on the activity book stuff. Should I just skip those things and do just what they seem most interested in?  And the Saplings decided that they would rather choose what order they did their daily subjects in. As long as they're productive and learning, right?

I would never ever have guessed what really got the Saplings "school happy" this week...sewing! Have you see this Pinterest pin going around? Well, I thought that Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir could make their own comfy mat while perfecting a simple stitch. "I just can't stop sewing! I want to sew everything," danced Balsam Fir around the livingroom. Who would've thought a 7-year-old boy would find sewing exciting!

We worked Chapter 2 Seeds in Apologia Botany this week. We soaked and then dissected bean seeds then added a labelled drawing with those parts into our notebooks. We made Grass People last week...and watched their "hair" grow this week.  Super cute! We planted additional bean seeds inside plastic baggies with damp napkins to watch them germinate and measure growth with and without sunlight. And we're carefully observing our bean seeds inside our Plant Maze Box to understand phototropism better.  We labelled Angiosperms (flowering plants) either Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons from pictures (because there's not a whole lot of flowering going on in Maine right now ::wink::). Next week? Dissecting flowers!

And we read about King Narmer uniting Lower and Upper Egypt into one strong civilization way back when, King Knufu building the largest pyramid in Egypt as his final resting place, Sargon defeating the city-states in and around Mesopotamia, and the Hammurabi Code of Laws. We watched "Civilization and Writing", "Mesopotamia and Sumeria" and "Ancient Egypt" learning videos at Zane Education. And added history cards to our wall timetime from Tending Our Lord's Garden.

Sugar Maple
✔ English - Object and Person Pronouns, Cursive, Spelling (/out/, /ood/, /ould/, /up/)
✔ Math- Missing Addends, Number Words, Greater Than/Less Than
✔ Science - Parts of Seeds, Germination, Monocots/Dicots
✔ History - Ancient Egypt and King Khufu, Sargon and Mesopotamia, Mummification, Hammurabi, Historical Timeline, Colonial America 
✔ Extras - Sewing, ZooWhiz, Spanish, Typing, Soccer, Kayaking, Clarinet

Balsam Fir
✔ English - Types of Sentences, Complete Sentences, Sight Words, Handwriting, Spelling
✔ Math - Odds/Evens, Double Digit Addition, Calendar (Days of Week video), Counting to 100/Place Value (video), Missing Addends, Tangram Puzzles
✔ Science - Parts of Seeds, Germination, Monocots/Dicots
✔ History - Ancient Egypt and King Khufu, Sargon and Mesopotamia, Mummification, Hammurabi, Historical Timeline, Colonial America
✔ Extras - Sewing, Spanish, Keyboarding, Soccer

Sugar Maple continued to read about Sam Gribley and Frightful in My Side of the Mountain. Balsam Fir finished up his 2nd Nate book this week, Nate the Great and the Lost List. He's chosen Nate the Great and the Snowy Trail for his next Nate mystery. I've been working on his sight word mastery by choosing words from his reading, writing them on styrofoam cups. If he can read the word on the cup he add another stacking cup to his Word Mountain. And if he can't read it, the cup goes to me. In the end we see who has the "mountain" (highest stack) and the "hill" (lowest stack). When Balsam Fir definitely knows a word, I cross it out and write a new word next to it. No sense throwing away the cups until they're filled with words, right? Just a simple thing to add some competition to learning something mundane!

Homeschool High School
White Pine has found his schoolin' rhythm! And is he a busy boy! His core subjects - English, Math, Science, and History - take him from 9:00-1:45 to complete each day, eating lunch while reading, and then he quickly grabs his soccer stuff and we drop him off at the school for practices (2:15 to 5:00) or games (3:00 to 4:30 for home or 2:15 to as late at 8:00 for away). He also has Boy Scouts on Tuesday evenings (if there is no game) and sometimes a scout activity on Saturday. Oh, and open basketball started Friday nights last week. By the time the weekend rolls around, he's ready for some sleeping in! (BTW, we do let him sleep in if he can. ::wink::) But he has a positive attitude about everything he's doing! 

✔ English - The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Approach Paper
✔ Algebra - Area, Inverse Operations, Signed Number Multiplication/Division
✔ Biology - Chemistry of Life, Properties of Water, Nature of Matter, Carbon Compounds, Subatomic Particles, Atomic Structure
✔World History/Geography - Africa and Egyptian History
✔ Extras - Soccer

One of Our Favorite Things
Catching up with friends! My friend and her sons moved away 3 weeks ago. It's been odd to have them gone! Our sons have played sports and attended scouts together "forever" which gave us Moms plenty of chatting time together. Soccer has been QUIET this season! ::wink:: It was nice spending a few hours with them! And fortunately they moved within driving distance of my family for occasional reconnects!

The Tooth Fairy sure has been busy on Our Side of the Mountain! Shhh! Don't tell Balsam Fir, but doesn't he look like a Jack O'Lantern? ::laugh:: Just in time for the Autumn season, huh? I love toothless grins!

A Something to Share

Phew! Did you read all that? ::laugh:: We've had a super busy, but productive and fun week here at Our Side of the Mountain! Perhaps next week will be slower? Nah - I don't think so either! ::laugh:: Have a GREAT week!

Blog Hops
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  1. So glad you are able to utilize MEP! We finished up Math Made Easy and just started MEP this week. I was worried how Eli would adapt to it's theories and philosophies for math, but he is catching on!

    You had so much fun stuff going on that I can't remember what to comment about! Love the Grass People, apple picking (applesauce ... yum!) and sewing project!

    We are studying the Equinox tomorrow.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. King Narmer - My daughter learned about him last year in The Story of the World. Is that what you use? Also, we are using the same Botany books for the same daughter. We are still in Chapter 1. Sounds fun.

  3. You HAVE had a busy week, yet productive! Sometimes my busy weeks end, and I look back and can't figure out what we did. Like last week. Then there's are weeks like yours when we just plug away, and get so much in, but it doesn't feel like work. Those are my favorite, productive weeks!!

    Thanks for sharing! I'm going to have to do the plant thing with my boys! Oh, and reading on his own? Enjoy!!! That's a blessing, we waited a long time for it too with our eldest. Something has recently clicked for him though, and he's a reading machine! The youngest was born reading, it so funny how different they are!

  4. I love the sight words on the cups. That's a great idea.

    As far as the SOTW reading goes... maybe you could find some of the suggested books that go with each chapter and give them more reading this way. Then they aren't behind on the activities or narration questions and map work. My kids love it when I read our SOTW chapter, and I usually try to have a little supplemental reading to read afterwards - for if they're still coloring or doing other things. Just a thought...

    Your weeks are always so well laid out. Thanks for linking with Collage Friday!

  5. Another great, busy week! The apple picking looks awesome and that applesauce recipe I have to try! Crock pot! Who would have thought? I always like following your recipe links. Found some great ideas that way. Wow, school has been busy huh? That is what I love about homeschooling; if something isn't working, try something else. I know you were glad to see him reading. I felt the same way when Keilee started reading just because she WANTED to! Love that sewing project. Headed over to check out the instructions now! Have you considered getting the SOTW CD's? Keilee and I would listen in the car and when it was time for the chapter it would be reinforcement from what she had already heard. Happy weekend Jessy!

  6. I love it when they take to reading on their own. Love those small successes. We went apple picking too! Apple crisp in the crock pot does sound fabulous. Sounds like a full and very successful week.

  7. Hi there, my name is Ann. I’m the creator of the and its sister site, . Both sites provide resources and information for the inclusive, eclectic homeschool population. I’m in the process of creating a blog feed page on the directory, similar to but with a stronger mix of homeschoolers. Various faiths/non-faith, philosophies, lifestyles. Eclectic homeschooling. Eclectic life.

    I was reading through your blog and from my initial perusal, you look like a great match. So, I’m wondering, first, if you agree with my assessment and second if you would be interested in being included in the CHEERful Blog Collection. I just need your permission and feed to get started. Hope to hear from you soon at



  8. Oh my goodness! What great homeschool moments for always. Reading, grass people, toothless grins and looking forward to fall. Love it.

  9. I wouldn't skip narrations, but I would skip the crafty activity type stuff if they are not interested. My Sam has always hated that stuff and wanted to just read and narrate. Sounds like a great week!

  10. I wish I had your energy! Lots of serious fun learning going on. I am so excited for your son reading on his own!! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Wow! I really want to come and do school at your house! :-) I love all of your creative ideas-- from the words on the cups, to the grass people, to the awesome sewing project. And, congrats on having your son pick up a book and wanting to read. I am still waiting for that day with a couple of mine, but hoping and praying it will come eventually! :-) Hope you have a wonderful weekend, friend! Many blessings, Lisa

  12. Congratulations to your little man reading a book all by himself! My son was 8 before he was a confident enough reader to just dive into a book on his own. The key was finding him books that were an interest to him, which meant I had to be willing to compromise a bit and give him some grace to be who God made him to be. Enjoy your weekend!

  13. Haha- I love the grass people, and your timeline looks really neat. I have a timeline disability - it just never works out for us!

    Your school looks so fun!

  14. Loads of great learning fun in your week! Thanks for linking up at Favorite Resources, Jessy...hope you're having a great weekend :)

  15. Such a fun and creative week! I am going to start with sewing and crocheting next term. It's really nice that your son is enjoying it so much!


  16. What a great week. We seem to have a need for the tooth fairy often around here too.
    Blessings, Dawn

  17. It looks like you have had a great week! Picking apples from a real tree is fun! I have found that my children enjoy listening to SOTW audio cd's in the car. We use SOTW to supplement our history memory work, but we also use other resources and reading material like Mary suggested. I like your time line and the sewing projects! I hope you have another great week! Just stopping by from THMJ.

  18. Simply lovely! You have had a very busy week! Thank you for sharing and thank you for linking up to the blog hop. I love reading your posts!~Melissa

  19. I love that Winnie the Pooh pic.

    I have a Balsam Fir at my house, too, so congrats on the reading! As I read further, I see he's 7 just like mine, too!

  20. I'm slowly catching up....... I love their grass head guys for their botany projects. The faces on them are great.

    Thanks for linking to Science Sunday!

    PS: I love your timeline.

  21. Such a productive week! Love that your son decided to read on his own!
    A couple of my kids are doing a timeline this year, but they are doing timeline notebooks instead of a wall timeline. But I'm tempted to make a wall timeline just because I know ALL the kids would learn from it. ;-)


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