Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's a Wrap: Session 2 Week 1 - Back from Break

In Our Lives These Past 2 Weeks
Busyness, change of plans and sadness! Our vacation week started with despair. And although I won't get into this on my blog, our family is grieving the loss of a special loved one who will always be in our hearts.

And then we prepared for "Frankenstorm", a weird combination Nor'easter with hurricane Sandy that hit New England Monday and Tuesday. Our original plan to head to the island last Tuesday and visit Grandpa and Nannie Lobster and cousin Noodle was nixed, and we stayed put and rode out the rain and wind.

It's comforting to say that returning to school this week has been pretty uneventful, except for coming down with colds, and ALMOST QUIET. Phew!

But THIS showed up overnight on Thursday. ::sigh:: Winter has arrived!

Why yes, that IS my laundry on the line. ::wink:: 

Homeschool High School
White Pine downloaded The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas) onto his tablet for Excellence in Literature II's Unit 3 Honors English book. It's pretty handy to have his tablet available for FREE classics when our little library isn't open! He's definitely liking Dumas better than Thoreau! ::wink::

He also finished up a whole unit in Around the World in 180 Days this week. OK, so it was Antarctica, and, really, how much history and culture is there? ::laugh:: But since he only has to complete 2 units per session, White Pine is quite happy to finish 1 unit in 1 week!

The Three Musketeers, Predicates, Subjects and Appositives, Algebra (STUFF WITH LOTS OF LETTERS THAT REPRESENT NUMBERS ::laugh::), Photosynthesis (Biology), Protein Structure (Biology Coloring), Succession/Population Labs (Testing Variables), Antarctica (Geography)

Homeschool Elementary
Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir learned about seed dispersal and types of fruit this week in Botany. We made a chart for types of dispersal (from paint chip color cards) in our little notebooks. But our BIG CHANGE in Science this week was attending a Mad Science afternoon class. This isn't THE Mad Science, but a hands-on group class offered by a former homeschooled student. The Saplings enjoy our first class on buoyancy and pressure and catalysts, and we'll return next week!

I'm still trying to figure out how to make the SOTW activity book work for us, but this session I'm going to try photocopying ONE map to represent the historical time period we're reading about, adding notes, dates and labels from multiple chapters of SOTW. We often don't read just one chapter and filling out SLIGHTLY different maps every few pages bogs us down. This week we reviewed the first 9 chapters (since we haven't done SOTW in 4 weeks), labeling ONE MAP with place names, famous landmarks and historical people and events. This seems to work MUCH better for us!

With Balsam Fir's new found interest in writing, I've dropped his English Grammar workbook for guided free writing in a notebook. Sugar Maple thought it was a good idea and wanted to keep a writing notebook too.

And Sugar Maple started back up with Sequential Spelling and began Spelling Connections using Spelling with Samson. Did you hear her exasperated sigh from here? For the rest of this school year, spelling will be a BIG part of her school day.

Sugar Maple's Accomplishments
As Small as an Elephant, Writing (Letter), Spelling/Reading Comprehension with Samson, Cursive, Dance Mat Typing (Level 4), Multiplication/Division Facts, Fractions/%, Graphs, Measurement, 5 Types  of Seed Dispersal, Angiosperms, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mapwork, Girl Scouts, Cooking (Beef Stew/Biscuits/Pancakes/BLTs), Clarinet/Band

Balsam Fir's Accomplishments
Henry and Mudge and the Tumbling Trip, Sight Words/Spelling with Samson, Handwriting, Telling Time (Hours/Half Hours), Double Digit Addition, Place Value (to Hundreds), Ordinal Numbers, Lesser/Greater Numbers, Tally Marks, 5 Types of Seed Dispersal, Angiosperms, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mapwork, Cub Scouts

Favorite Resource
Spelling Connections! I discovered this Grades 1-8 Spelling site through a random Google search. Each grade level includes lists of words grouped by a phonics or English rule and homework sheets to download and print for free. Check it out!

For the Love of Books
Did you read Mary's "10 Days of Reading Aloud" series at Homegrown Learners? Her series really inspired me to get back on the "read aloud bandwagon"! So, new session, new learning opportunity! And we're starting with picture books. I suppose picture books might seem strange considering Sugar Maple is 10 and Balsam Fir is 7, but there are PILES and PILES of wonderful, engaging, thought-provoking picture books out there! 

This week I pulled from our shelves The Dump Man's Treasures by Lynn Plourde. It's such a delightful story about an old man who recycles books thrown away in his Maine community to enjoy. Books are treasures, not trash, to the dump man. One day he gets injured delivering books from a shopping cart around town. The townspeople discover something very surprising and puzzling about him, but the kids know just what to do to open the world of books to HIM. You'll have to read it to find out! ::wink:: 

What's Working/Not Working and Helpful Hint
I also used our vacation week to get Mt Paper Pile organized into portfolios and plan for the next 7 weeks. And to meet with each of the kids to discuss changes in daily schedules. These meetings have been very beneficial in making our year go smoother! Each of the Saplings get a chance to voice their opinions, good or bad, and to suggest changes. When I can (and yes, we will continue with Math, kiddos ::wink::), I like to include those changes and "pass" ownership over to them. If it turns out they don't like the changes, well, they're the ones who wanted them! ::wink::

Something Silly to Share
Sometimes I feel this way. How about you? ::laugh::

Thanks for visiting Our Side of the Mountain! Did you miss our post on Hug a Chicken Day here or our Take a Hike to Acadia National Park here? As always, hop over the these great blogs and link up your blog! We hope to see you next week!

Favorite Resource This WeekHomegrown Learnershttp:// Sunday
Hip Homeschool Hop ButtonDown Home Blog Hop3Boys&aDog DEALS!Photobucket


  1. The snow looks lovely. So sorry to hear about your loss in the family and I do hope the peace of God comfort you all.

    Another thorough weekly wrap-up. Thanks for sharing. Let me know if you want SOTW 2 for a discount. I have a set I never used. :)

  2. Hey! Those are MY socks out there!

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your loss! I hope and pray healing for your family.


  4. Sorry to hear about your loss. It looks like a great week!!! I will need to look into Around the World in 180 Days for our oldest and middle...they may like that. And we need a new Spelling, so thanks for that link!!! Lydia is loving Samson's Classroom for her site words.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and your colds! <3 HUGS and welcome back to your new session! Ours ends today (our first one) ... and then its off to Disney for a week! and then we will start our second session! XOXO

  6. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I can't believe all that snow!! Wow, how cool! (No pun intended.)Looks like you-all got a lot of great school work done!

  7. I love the layout of this blog post. You found an easy to read way of incorporating everything from you week. Those of us affected by Sandy and then just this week Athena have had a hard time homeschooling on a normal schedule. I for one am looking forward to a fresh start Monday!

  8. thanks for visiting my blog

    sori about your loss

    planning meetings are good are as goals set in them

  9. I glad to hear that you survived the storm so well, but sorry for your family's loss.

    I hope your son continues likes Dumas better than Thoreau. I read all of the books I could by Dumas in high school and continue to re-read them to this day. I can't wait to introduce my daughter to them. My favorite remains The Count of Monte Cristo.

    Have a great week!

  10. Many sighs here at the mention of spelling
    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  11. Hopping over from the Homeschool Mother's Journal!

    I'm so sorry that your family is suffering through grief. My heart is familiar with the pain and I will be praying for the Father's loving arms to wrap around your family and give you comfort.

  12. Hey there! Thanks for stopping by No Idle Bread.
    We also had to brace ourselves for hurricane Sandy. We are blessed to have received high winds and rains. . .I'm still in prayer over those who were hit hardest.

    We use Story of the World, too! My kids love it. You made an excellent point about the map work. . .sometimes the maps can be repetitive. I think you came up with a great solution.

    Take care and may God comfort you with the loss of a loved one.

  13. Loss is always hard. May God bless you and give you all peace.

    Thank you for the delightful housework insanity picture. I absolutely love it!

  14. Busy as always, and beautiful pictures. Sorry to hear about the loss in your family. Our prayers are with you. :)

  15. Oh Jessy, I'm so sorry to hear about your family's loss.

    I love the idea of meeting with your kids after each session. I don't technically break our year up into sessions, but I should do more periodic check-ins with their opinion. As my daughter gets older I think she wants more input--I like the idea of making changes based on their ideas (so if they don't like them they have to blame themselves!).

    Welcome back to the read aloud bandwagon! :) We love to use picture books mixed in with our chapter books, too.

  16. I'm so sorry about your family's loss, Jessy.

    We love picture books, even though my girls are 10 and almost 12, and I'm clearly an adult ;) Thanks for the Spelling Connections suggestion...I'm going to hop over and see what that's all about. Thanks for linking up at Favorite Resources!

  17. Sorry for your loss. I love the SOTW books. I think I'm going to try those meetings with my ds and see what he thinks about his schedule.

  18. Jessy so sorry about your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

    What a great week. The snow looks beautiful, we just rarely get snow here in Bama. Sounds like White Pine got so much done!! Woohoo for him. The maps look really awesome too. And yes I saw Mary's great posts. We love to read aloud around here. :)And I am definitely checking out the Spelling Resource. Keilee is not a great speller. Hope you are having a lovely weekend and have found some solace during your grief.

  19. We had a loss as well. Its never easy to lose a furry or feathered friend.

    I do want to thank you for posting the snow pics. Bring me back to the reality of living in Maine LOL

    I do one-on-one 6 week meetings. The children choose their curric, we discuss family and schooling issues.

  20. It's so irritating! Sometimes your blog drops off my blog list and then I realize I haven't seen anything from you in a while. Sorry if you think I abandon you!

    We read picture books EVERY day! And, last year I would even have Dawson read picture books to go along with his studies. You are never too old!!!

  21. Thanks for linking up with hammockTracks. I've featured your post this week.

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