Friday, October 18, 2013

A Peek at Our Week: Getting Back on Track

In My Life This Week
Again, it seems like I spend most of my weeks doing the same things. Not that that is a bad thing, right? LOL I have started walking regularly now that the temperatures are cooler. The dogs get all giddy when they see me putting my walking sneakers on (since they're my usual walking partners). It's been nice getting out again, traipsing through the woods with the leaves crunching underneath my feet.

Things I Worked On
✾ Scrubbing "green stuff" off the house's vinyl siding ✾

What We're Cooking
New England Pumpkin Pie! Do you have One-Pie canned pumpkin where you live? It's the recipe right on the back of the can! Best ever! (But you can find the recipe here.) I think it's the molasses that makes it New England

Now, just because I don't follow recipes exactly most of the time: I used skim milk in this recipe and no butter to make it low in fat, and used 3/4 c sugar instead of 1 c and would probably do 2/3 c next time. And, of course, I used my own roasted and pureed pumpkin that I made last week.

High School Happenings
Jake's summary this week: definition of a community, Nash Equilibrium for Game Theory, types of energy and its effects, histograms vs. box plots (graphing), Chinese writing and speaking, narrative edit, atoms and what they are, and working his video game story with a partner.

Homeschool Happenings

Last Friday I realized that we've hadn't completed U.S. History in almost 2 weeks. Oops! I made a point of getting in our "America: The Story of Us" videos this week. Only we made another oops! and played the wrong disc! The kids didn't want to stop learning about the Depression and Dust Bowl and WWII, so we just continued on, skipping the Civil War. (We'll get back to that.)

Both kids are doing a Poetry unit for writing, but in different ways. Cati is doing formula poetry (or poetry that has specific guidelines such as Haiku) and Sam is doing copywork (currently from A Child's Garden of Verses). It's easier on this Mama to keep their subjects similar, but tweaked for their ability levels.

Here's a sample of Cati's poetry work, which includes putting her final type-written poems into a mini book:

And Sam's copywork: 

We notebook through science using either traditional textbooks or on-line resources. Cati studied bacteria and viruses this week, and Sam studied plants and then the different species of living things. We'll be starting an experiment on testing disinfectants next week! (Such information is good this time of year! :cough: :sneeze:)

We spent Friday morning at H__ Hill nearby, enjoying the mountainous and lake views. This hill was a special spot of the Quakers who settled this town long ago, and there's a special area where people can leave stones with messages for loved ones near a carved wooden statue of Jesus and a child. It is wasn't so cold we could have enjoyed a picnic lunch!

The Serpent's Shadow (C) & Mummies in the Morning (S)
Easy Grammar - Verb/Verb Phrases (C)
Daily Grams - Days 23-25 (C) & Days 32-37 (S)
Spelling Power - Delayed Recall Test / List 30-31 (C) & List 9 (S)
Poetry Unit - Diamante and Parts of Speech (C) & Copywork (S)
Greek Word Roots - pyro, photo, graph, para, phone
Saxon - Test 9/10/11 (C) & Math-U-See - 11X, Test 11, 12A-B (S)
Life Science - Bacteria and Viruses (C) & Amphibians, Birds, Mammals, and Insects (S)
US History - "Bust", "WWII"
Art Detectives - Botticelli, Vermeer, Watteau

People and Places
✾ Boy Scout Camperee (J) ✾ Hangin' out with the S__ Family (All) ✾ Scouts (J/S) ✾ Jazz and Concert Band (C) 

Something to Share

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A Peek at Our Week: A Not-So-Off Week

In My Life This Week
Every Columbus Day weekend a friend of mine, R__, has a Women's Weekend, and for the first time I joined in. We ate meals at restaurants, window shopped for hours, people watched and chatted, played board games, and had lots of giggles. Over the years, I think I have forgotten how fun it can be to get out with girlfriends! How grateful I am that R__ treated me to every thing we did AND her husband graciously watched my kids so I could get out!

Things I Worked On
❦ Roasted and Pureed One Gallon of Pumpkin  Raked Leaves ❦ Began Winterizing Coop/Run ❦ Cleaned and Vacuumed Van 

What We're Cooking
Pumpkin! We harvested 8 pumpkins from our garden this year and a friend gave us a few more. After each of the kids chose one to carve or paint, I baked and pureed the rest, roasting the seeds.

High School Happenings
So, I asked Jake what he did this week and this is what he replied, "Same stuff." There you go! This week's summary from a teenager! LOL

Homeschool Happenings
We had an off week. No school on Monday. For ease, I follow Jake's charter school schedule. When he's not in school, we're not in homeschool. We took yesterday off (for the most part) to kayak. The mild fall weather continues and we're taking advantage of it! (Last year the kayaks were stored the 3rd week of September because it was too cold to go out...)  But some school DID happen!

I was beginning to wonder if Cati and Sam were going to move ahead again in Spelling Power. After WEEKS of playing the Spelling Game, struggling through the same 10-15 words, I'm happy to report that we are once again moving forward. Phew!

The Serpent's Shadow (C) & The Knight Before Dawn (S)
Easy Grammar - Preposition Test, Verb/Verb Phrases (C)
Daily Grams - Days 21-22 (C) & Days 26-31 (S)
Spelling Power - List 20 (C) & List 9 (S)
Poetry Unit - Diamante (C)
Greek Word Roots - pyro, photos, para, phone, graph
Saxon - Review 38/39, Test 8 (C) &  Math-U-See - 11C-F (S)
Life Science - Earth Changes, Bacteria and Viruses (C) & Plants, Reptiles and Amphibians (S)
Phys. Ed. - Bike Riding, Walking, Kayaking

People and Places
❦ Mom's Weekend Out (Mom) ❦ Library (C/S) ❦ Boy Scouts (J) ❦ Concert Band (C) ❦ Boy Scouts Camping (J) ❦ Kayaking ❦ 

Something to Share

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Friday, October 11, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Ch-Ch-Changes! Keeping Learning New

In My Life This Week
I pondered what to write in this section. I seem to do the same things every single week: homeschooling, gardening, animals, chores, reading, Reality TV. It's not particularly exciting, but that's just how I like it. I would rather have MONOTONOUS than CHAOS. What about you?

Things I Worked On
 Pulled the dying plants from the flower garden ❦ Moved the compost into the garden and started anew ❦ Cleaned the coop ❦ Removed "Hot Spots" from livingroom ❦ READ BOOKS ❦

What We're Cooking
Meatball Subs! While out with Jake, taking photos for his photojournalism assignment, we decided to have subs on Sunday. We haven't had them in FOREVER. Like most of my recipes, my meatballs are a little of this, a little of that, and nothing measured. For these meatballs, I mixed together lean ground beef, quick oats, 2 little eggs, finely diced green pepper and onions, shredded carrot, and steak seasonings. But - A-ha! - I decided to use my Pampered Chef scooper to make the balls. Sure, they were flat on one side, but such a quick, cleaner way to make meatballs! I topped the subs with marinara and shredded cheddar, then popped them in the oven under broil until the bread was toasted and the cheese melted, served with steamed broccoli.

High School Happenings
Jake completed his building project to test acceleration of an object due to gravity. He continued to learn Chinese phrases, sounds and characters. The focus is on reading and saying rather than writing though. He used box blots to graph data.

Homeschool Happenings

Have you seen the "America: The Story of Us" videos? It's a video series on American history, and much more intriguing than the NROC videos we're taking a (permanent?) break from. This week we focused on "Rebels", the first colonies in American through the Revolution, supplementing with specific place, event or people You Tube videos.

But that wasn't the only thing I changed up this week.

 Sam started a copywork journal. I'm not a huge fan of copywork, but I do see how it can be a powerful learning tool for grammar, writing, spelling, handwriting, and reading. I chose for him to copy and read fluently 2 poems from A Child's Garden of Verses. He was less than thrilled, but it's no surprise since it's HARD WORK for him to visually track sentences word-by-word, recreating the sentences on paper in legible handwriting. But we got through it. Perhaps next week I'll find something more interesting for him to copy. Airplanes? Legos? Minecraft?

Cati read A Picture-Perfect World: A Hidden-Picture Habitats Book to Sam as a way of wrapping up his study of biomes. Winnie, our Nova Scotia Toller, wanted to listen in too.

And we started Art Fraud Detectives. Such a COOL book! The kids read about different artists and their works then, with careful, thorough observation, try to spot differences in real paintings and "frauds", solving the mystery of what gang did what forgeries. Art, Mystery and Puzzles wrapped into one book!

Quick Peek
Easy Grammar (C) - Verb Phrases & Irregular Verbs
Daily Grammar - Days 17- 19 (C) & Days 20-25 (S)
Tanka & Diamante Poems (C) & Poetry Copywork (S)
Spelling Power - List 19 (C) & List 9 (S)
The Throne of Fire (C) & The Knight at Dawn (S)
Saxon (C) - Lessons 30, Test 5, 6, 7 & Math-U-See (S) - 10E-X, Test 10, 11A-B
Life Science - Genetics & Heredity (C) & Biomes & Plants & (S)
"America: The Story of Us: Rebels", "America: The Story of Us: Revolution" & additional videos
Art Fraud Detectives - Piero Della Francesca, Paola Uccello

People and Places
❦ F_ Fair with D__ (J) ❦ Scouts (J) ❦ Jazz and Concert Band (C) ❦

Something to Share

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Monday, October 7, 2013

A Closer Look: How We Do Science

It can be challenge to juggle 2 levels of science. With Cati in 6th and Sam in 3rd, they're just far enough apart in academic levels that combining them simply doesn't work well. Cati complains it's too slow, Sam gets frustrated that it's too fast, and I wonder how I"m going to meet the learning needs of both my kids.

But I lucked out this year and found LIFE SCIENCE for BOTH kids.

Cati is using Prentice Hall's Life Science, Amazon new starting at $19.00; a middle school level 833 page textbook traditionally taught in public schools. 


And Sam is using Mr. Q's Life Science, free; an on-line elementary level curriculum.

But how we do science is through NOTEBOOKING. For more information about notebooking, click over to this link from So You Think You're a Homeschooler? website.

Both Cati and Sam have color-coordinated - Yes! That again! I'm obsessed! LOL - composition notebooks for science. Composition notebooks hold together much better than the spiral bound one-subjects. 

First, I photocopy or print out the table of contents for their curriculum and glue them into the first page or two of their notebooks. Having the table of contents readily available helps to plan studies, but also works as a QUICK GLANCE record of the topics covered over the course of the year. As each chapter is completed, it's highlighted. We don't always get through every chapter each year.

I also glue in an envelop in the back of the notebooks to place little odds and ends. This year, Sam's small Mr. Q chapter-by-chapter vocab cards get tucked inside for matching games.

As the kids read their chapters, they take notes and photocopy or replicate charts, graphs or labelled drawings in their notebooks. Cati is mostly works independently, but we're still working on careful reading, taking notes and picking out the most important information in each chapter. For Sam, we read the chapters together, then summarize the information together on a whiteboard which he copies into his notebook.

The amount of notes and details depends on who's taking them. Here is Sam's (left) and Cati's (right) photocopied microscope notes:

Cati also takes self-tests on the Prentice Hall website here to gauge her level of comprehension and learning. 

Fortunately, as both are studying similar concepts we've been able to complete labs together. Those are photocopied out of the Prentice Hall book, glued into each notebook. Both complete any required graphs and information following the lab, but Cati continues on with the comprehension questions at the end of each one.

So far using different levels of Life Science combined with notebooking as made for a smooth Science year!

How do you juggle different levels of Science in your homeschool?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: A Job Well Done

In My Life This Week
::sniffle:: ::sneeze:: Cold? Seasonal allergies? Not so sure, but I AM sure that I'm going through an awful lot of tissues. It's not slowing down this Mama though!

This week I focused on WORK ETHICS with the kids. I'll admit that I'm not the most consistent with discipline, but there are some things that need to be learned and learned well. Oftentimes I find myself redoing chores that the kids are responsible for because they're poorly done. Do you find sometimes that it's just easier to do it yourself? It doesn't instill GOOD WORK ETHICS in kids though. We had some LONG, LONG days of redoing chores to completion - *I'm* exhausted! - but I think they get it. I hope!

Things I Worked On
✶ Cleaned Baby Pine Trees Out of the Rain Gutter ✶ Replaced Broken Light Bulbs ✶ Dug up Potatoes ✶ Tried to Fix the Motion Sensor Lights ✶ Words with Friends 

We're Cooking
MORE apple crisp? I tweaked totally changed up the Barefoot Contessa recipe found here because it seemed like way too much work for apple crisp. All those ingredients! Lemon AND orange zest? And way too much sugar! Our recipe only has 2/3 c and we didn't miss the other 1 1/3 c!

Apple Crisp
Slice, core and peel apples to fill a non-stick sprayed 13x9 baking dish

Combine (with hands):
1 c flour
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c quick oats
1 softened stick of butter
dash or two of cinnamon
another dash of nutmeg

Sprinkle on top of the apples and gently pat down. Cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until apples are soft and bubbly. Serve warm or cold.

Oops! I forgot to take a photo.

High School Happenings
What went on at the STEM school? Measured acceleration of an object due to gravity using formulas. Learned to chart information in different ways. Spoke and wrote Chinese. (I'm thinking he should JUST write Chinese characters because it's MUCH neater than his English penmanship.) Pendulums. Designed an on-line portfolio blog logo. Worked on a photojournalism project. Played Tic Tac Ten. Worked on interviewing someone important in the community (which he recorded on his cell phone).

Homechool Happenings
Cati learned about Punnett Squares in Life Science this week, and dominant and recessive alleles, and phenotypes and genotypes.  Do you remember those squares with upper- and lowercase letter combinations to explain why someone has brown or blue eyes? (If the rolling of her eyes are any indication, Genetics and Heredity aren't her favorite parts of Life Science.) Using blue and white dice, she completed a multi-step Skill Lab over the course of the week to learn about allele combinations, creating her own Punnett Squares.

Sam didn't complete this lab with her. His focus was on Biomes, particularly the tundra and desert. Some concepts he just isn't ready for.

But he did create a castle on Minecraft. I finished reading aloud the Knights and Castles research guide that goes with The Knight at Dawn Magic Tree House book. (It's amazing how much reading gets accomplished sitting in the van during Cati's band practices.) He finds the Middle Ages interesting, and that interest makes for some meaningful learning. 

Next week he's working on a VIDEO PROJECT over Knights and Castles that I hope to share with you. Cross your fingers that I can figure out how to record it with Cati's camera!

I'm not sure if I will continue the NROC U.S. History with the kids. There's nothing specifically wrong with it, but I don't feel Cati and Sam are gaining enough knowledge from the lessons. Perhaps we'll switch to "America: The Story of Us" and "How the States Got Their Shapes" for a while. We need some "life" in our history!

✶ The Throne of Fire (Riordan) (C) & The Knight at Dawn (Pope Osborne) (S)
✶ Daily Grammar - Prepositions (C)
✶ Easy Grammar - Days 13-16 (C) & Days 13-18 (S)
Poetry Unit Study - Haiku & Tanka (C)
✶ Spelling Power - List 19 (C) & List 9 (S)
✶ Saxon - Lessons 27-29 (C) & Math-U-See - Test 9, Lesson 10A-D  (S)
✶ Life Science - Chapter 3: Genetics/Heredity (C) & Chapter 7: Tundra and Deserts (S)
✶ NROC U.S. History: Lesson 16-17
✶ Extras: Biking, Hiking, Kayaking, Cooking Meals, Animal Care

People and Places
✶ Drive-in Movies (C/S) ✶ Boy Scout Camping & Kayaking (J) ✶ Girl Scout Bake Sale (C/Mom) ✶ Cub Scout Popcorn Sale (S/Mom) ✶ Jazz & Concert Band (C) ✶ Cub/Boy Scouts (J/S) ✶ Open House (J/Mom) ✶ T__ Lake 

Our Favorite Thing
Wonderful warm weather! So, we loaded up the kayaks, packed up a lunch and headed to the lake for some paddling. It won't be long before paddles are replaced with shovels!

We saw a pair of Great Blue Herons up-close. The herons kept flying over our heads as we paddled through the shallow inlets. I didn't have my dSLR with me. As the family member voted most likely to flip a kayak, the camera is safer on-shore. :wink: But this photo I snagged on-line.

Please note copywrite. Photo by Coleta Air & Space Museum

Something to Share

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