Friday, September 23, 2011

Schoolin' with the Flock: September 17-23

PhotobucketIn My Life This Week 
Guess what?! The kids now have blogosphere nicknames! I've always used their first initial, but why not have something that is more representative of who they are? LOL Oh, and did you notice that I made some changes to my blog set-up too? I can't seem to find the "look" that I want, but I'll keep tweaking!

Homeschool Happenings
Yep, we did! We gathered up our school books, headed out to the yard in the chilly morning air, and completed school while the chickens pecked around us. 

See Chirp to the Left? LOL

So, in Language Arts this week Jag worked on Saxon Grammar and Writing lessons 4-6 on proper, concrete, abstract, and collective nouns and present, past and helping verbs. Sweet Tart worked on lessons 5-7, complete and fragment sentences, and action verbs. And Sprinter reviewed /ch/, /th/, /sh/, and /wh/, started /sm/, /sn/ and /sp/, completed 2 readers, and finished 16 pages of Handwriting Without Tears. (Yep! HWT is pretty easy for him now.) We visited the library mid-week for new books. Sweet Tart and Jag are reading these books:

Sprinter's Letter to Nannie

Jag and Sprinter chugged along on with their Saxon Math lessons, and Sweet Tart with MCP Math. And they all had first assessments! Jag got a 95%, Sweet Tart got a 96%! Sprinter's assessments aren't graded, but he did very well.

Sprinter Doing Saxon With Chewer for Focus

Jag's Earth Science studies have focused on landforms, the 4 spheres, maps and globes, and latitude and longitude. And Sweet Tart and Sprinter finished notebooking the basics of the solar system in Astronomy. We made a Planets Wheel, a Solar System Dictionary Mini Book and My Solar System Book. I read Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System to them and then we watched the TV show. We also started delving into the Sun and discussed rotation and revolution in relation to the Sun, Earth and Moon and watched this. (Let's hope for warm sun next week so we can try out a pizza box solar oven!)

Jag's 4 Spheres Chart

Sweet Tart finished up Columbus on Wednesday. She wrote a letter IN CURSIVE (which we'll definitely need to continue working on) to Columbus, asking for a job as a ship musician. To make the letter look "old", we lightly painted it with diluted coffee, let it dry and then carefully burned the edges. We also wrapped up Columbus by Edgar Parin and Ingri D'Aulaire and filled out a Who Was notebook page.  And now she's off to learn about John Cabot! Jag read Chapter 1: Rebels in America: The Story of Us and started his episode guide from The History Channel by creating a vocab matching game using flashcards.

Sweet Tart's Cursive Columbus Letter
Sprinter's John Cabot Shoals Picture
Jag's America: The Story of Us Episode 1: Rebels Vocab Cards

And on Friday we studied the 2nd element of art in How to Teach Art to Children - shapes. The kids did a shape scavenger hunt then copied onto paper a shape design they created with tangrams. Our BIG cooperative project was a positive and negative shape poster.

The Kids Positive/Negative Shape Poster

Places We Went and People We Saw 
  • Soccer, soccer, soccer! (Didn't I say this last week? I think it will be my mantra through October! LOL) Jag had 2 home games and 2 practices, and Sweet Tart and Sprinter had 1 game and 1 practice each. Although Jag isn't too thrilled with riding the bus home after practices, I'm finding not fighting through construction to get to the Middle School W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!
  • Jag and Sweet Tart played basketball at the Rec Center. Still lovin' Saturday ball! 
  • Another Sunday hangin' out with the boys from next door! Sword fighting, running around and traipsing through the woods most of the day.
  • Sweet Tart had a clarinet lesson at the Elementary School. She enjoys practicing outside with the CHICKENS as her audience. CLUCK! Toot! (At least they don't "take cover" in the woods at her first toot anymore! LOL)
  • Jag and Sprinter had Scout meetings. Sprinter is working towards his Bobcat patch!
Our Favorite Thing(s) This Week 
So, my youngest is a runner. (Those of you who know him, know this! LOL) When we're out-and-about, I usually drop the kids off at the end of the road and they run the 1/2 mile back. Sprinter has never lost. On Tuesday, he runs into the yard, "Mom! Porcupine!" Lo and behold, just a little ways from our driveway, a haggard looking porcupine is slowly climbing up an old pine, stopping here-and-there to eat bark. Sweet Tart catches up and watches too. Imagine the 3 of us pointing and starring up at a tree for 20 minutes. Wonder what the neighbor's thought? LOL

Looked Like This - Photo by Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Timberdoodle BOOK Review: Raising Real Men

"A Practical Guide to equipping the hearts and minds of boys without breaking or losing your own" - Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young

So, I'm a Mom of 2 boys (and 1 little girl smack dab in the middle). My boys are VERY different! One is studious, laid-back, quieter, and the other is precocious, anxious, and loud. (Interestingly they were due on the same day 6 years apart and almost shared the same birth DAY.) I was excited to delve into this book and gain some insight into my wonderfully unique sons.

But it took me until the middle of the book before it grabbed my attention. Perhaps because I'm ALWAYS reading similar books and the information wasn't new. Or maybe I disagreed with some of the author's point-of-views. ((wink)) I'm glad I stuck it out though because I thoroughly enjoyed the 2nd half of the book.
Chapter Highlights:
  •  Making Competition a Part of Our Sons' Lives
  • Cash, Check or Credit?
  • Gender Differences in Learning
  • Talk is Not Cheap, It's Essential
  • Becoming a Man
The authors, Hal and Melanie Young, offer practical advice on raising boys. The book is easy to read and offers scriptural support for disciplining and instructing young men in a firm, but fair manner based on how they "work". They include personal stories and examples of their own sons and focus on homeschooling as the best way to instruct boisterous boys.
"...the mother of sons has a wonderful opportunity - that she may become the mother of heroes" - Hal and Melanie Young in Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys

A definite read for those who are raising boys in a Christian-led home!

Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle Blogger Review Team, I receive free products in exchange for a frank and unbiased review on Our Side of the Mountain. These reviews are my own personal thoughts and opinions as well as my childrens'. For more product information and current prices, please visit the Timberdoodle website or like Timberdoodle on Facebook. And see all Timberdoodle's products by requesting a FREE product catalog!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Glimpse of Our Week: September 10-16

In My Life This Week
The deciduous trees are starting to put on their colors. Splashes of reds, golds and oranges are spreading through the leaf cover. Our days are comfortable, but our nights are chilly. Windows are being closed in the late afternoons and evening darkness arrives around 7:00pm. Soon, it'll be dark 5:30pm! Autumn has arrived and with it thoughts of warm stews and seasonal pies. And what better way to celebrate Fall then with a sweet 6-year-old Sous Chef helping to make a pumpkin pie!
Homeschool Happenings
It was one of those weeks - a week of interruptions (me), curriculum changes (J) and pessimistic attitudes (C) - so we only completed 2 days. ((sigh)) Perhaps next week will go a little a lot smoother! But learning still goes on even without textbooks!
Nicole from Journey to Excellence has created a WONDERFUL curriculum around "America: The Story of Us" videos from The History Channel, and a new American History Linky party on Saturdays, so I thought we would join up this week!

C is working on History Pockets: Explorers of North America, and her focus was Christopher Columbus this week (and probably next).
C And I Read This Aloud
C Did Map Work Showing Columbus's Exploration Routes
C Baked Hardtack - a Tasteless Bread Staple of Early Explorers
And since J's Around the World in 180 Days is STILL back-ordered - a new publisher is revising the current edition - I revamped his History/Geography. We're going to use some of the same materials that Nicole is using: "America: Story of Us" videos with accompanying illustrated history book and episode guides from The History Channel with historical fiction and non-fiction literature, WonderMaps and Sheppard Software Geography games. He's a TOTAL American History buff so this works out just right for him!
J's Revamped History Videos and Book
Oh, and I had to share S's self portrait! Don't you just love the spiky hair?! LOL
We ended our challenging week with a "reset" - a crisp, early fall morning spent exploring the state park near the lake and a picnic lunch. ((contented sigh)) 
Deer Prints!
Oak Galls - Inside Are Growing Wasp Larvae
 People We Saw And Places We Went
  • With our neighbor's 3 sons, the kids traipsed through the woods and rode bikes on Saturday, and then that night J and C went to the Rec Center to play basketball. LOVIN' Saturday ball!
  • J and C spent the afternoon with friends on Sunday.
  • Soccer, Soccer, Soccer! J had 3 games and 2 practices this week while C and S each had a practice.
  • C and I went to Band Info Night at the school on Monday and had her first lesson on the clarinet on Tuesday.
  • J and S had Scout meetings. S was SO EXCITED to don his cute Cub Scout uniform and head off to his 1st meeting! 
  • My doctor. Again. ((sigh)) 
My Favorite Thing(s) This Week
C and S slipped on some "hospital" gloves and hung plastic grocery bags off their bikes and rode around the neighborhood picking up aluminum cans and trash. I LOVE that they're responsible for our environment even though others aren't! 
Photo(s), Video, Link, or Quote to Share
Isn't Stripe a Hoot? She Fell Asleep Playing With a Stick!
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