Friday, August 28, 2009

School Begins! 2009

Our first full week of school has been better than expected! Both kids are eager to learn and find the materials engaging and fun. Here is what we are doing!

Bible: We’re learning a brief overview of different worldwide religions and how false they are compared to what the Bible teaches using Window On The World. Our key verse is: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I Tim 5:17 Soon we will be learning about missionaries that take the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to countries with false religions and poverty. We will be praying for these countries and missionaries. We will also be reading through the book of Matthew and doing various activities that our My Father’s World curriculum suggests.

Spelling: We are using Words Their Way for spelling. We compare spelling patterns by sorting them by sound and then by spelling pattern. Cutie Pie is working on long a vowel patterns and Sweetness is working on r controlled vowels. Their spelling list consists of high frequency words from these sorts. We also play games and read literature to expound on the words we are studying.

Language: I use dictation from Bible verses and other quotes from literature we have read. Sweetness also writes letters to her friends and family. We work on both spelling and grammar using this dictation method.

Reading: Cutie Pie is amazing me with his reading abilities. He is reading Puppy Mudge books and a phonics series that we got from the library. Sweetness’ reading has really took off this year too. She reads the Henry and Mudge series, and other similar chapter books! She also reads books that pertain to our geography studies, like Me on the Map of which she loved and on her free time drew a map of her neighborhood!

Read Alouds: We are reading about animals from the All About Animals books and of course our science and geography read alouds. We started Kingdom Tales, but find that to be a bit abstract and obscure as they try to compare the Kingdom of God to this imaginary enchanted place. It is similar to Pilgrims Progress. While I find the tales entertaining and thought provoking, my kids don’t seem interested so we will put that one down for a while. We are looking forward to beginning Hero Tales and other missionary stories.

Math: We are using Singapore Math again this year. These first few weeks have been review of number bonds in relation to addition and subtraction. We use a lot of word problems with manipulative so the children can visualize the addition and subtraction facts along with rote memorization. One fun thing they both love is go-fish. We stack the deck then draw cards and lay down two cards that add up to the fact we are working on. E.g., two 5’s make a 10, 6 and 4 make a 10, etc. We are allowed to ask the other player for a card we need, and get a second turn if we get what we’re fishing for. Sweetness is getting an introductory to multiplication by map scaling (turning inches into miles).

My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures
We are so loving this program that incorporates Bible, Geography, World Cultures, Vocabulary, and Science (using God’s Design for Ecosystems). So far we have learned what a continent is, the name of each continent using the Yankee Doodle tune. We have learned the 5 oceans, what an ocean ridge is. Also latitude, longitude, map grids, map scales, different kids of maps! I bought an awesome workbook, All About Geography, and have found this to be a gem. Now I’m not the workbook type, but this book is very engaging and gives practice on geography concepts. Soon we will be exploring different countries, the first of which is the USA! We are so blessed to have friends and family from different states and have traveled somewhat. I look forward to playing USA bingo !! A neat little game I picked up at the thrift store for $1. This curriculum also sneaks in a little bit of history to boot ! I LOVE IT.

Science: Again we are learning about the wonderful world that God created using God’s Design for Ecosystems. We learned that a worms niche is mixing and fertilizing the soil by placing several kinds of soil in a jar with some earthworms! Amazing how those creature burrow down. We also learned about the oxygen/water cycle by placing soil and grass inside a jar, placing it in a warm spot and watching the water evaporate and condense. We will be getting some cooler weather next week and will begin our leaf collection as we explore North American forests.

Art/Music: Cutie Pie asks every day, “Mama are we going to do a craft?” He did enjoy the cup we made out of a piece of paper and was really impressed that it actually held water. But he was not too enthused with the dolls across the world and I reckon I can’t expect him to be. So he took matters into his own hands and created this dwelling for his troll. It is complete with a mailbox located on the side with its own assigned mailbox number. (place picture here).

The children are practicing what they learned from piano lessons last year. Cutie Pie is actually asking for more piano lessons. I still want to work on reading music, learning the notes and symbols and need to search for a good music workbook. There is a wonderful good band/choir comprised of mainly homeschoolers that I am itching to join. But we may have to wait until next year as we have a great need to stay close to home and keep our calendar as free as possible this year.

Last but certainly not least is physical exercise. We plan to get back to our daily walks next week as the temps cool down. Eve will be happy to go walking once again too. For now Sweetness and Cutie Pie are utilizing the treadmill. Sweetness has decided to give up English riding lesson and opt for a monthly Western trail ride of which she will earn. I would like to get them involved in gymnastics, but again we need to stay close to home this ear.

Well, the last thing I can think of that I want Sweetness and perhaps Cutie Pie to learn is typing. So need to hop off here and search for a good typing program.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our school. None of this is possible without the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How's it feel to be FORTY? The Big 40!

It feels great to be 40. Truly it does. And I can't think of a better way to spend the day, nor a better gift than having attentive excited children to teach at home! Children are truly what I waited my whole life for! I can't think of a better way to celebrate your 40th birthday than with a sleepover! OK! Well, maybe I could think of something else, but it wouldn't have been near the fun!

I remember when I USE to play this game!!

YES! They dressed alike on purpose : )

My birthday wish is that my dear friend and neighbor will help me celebrate my 41st birthday! It was just last year this time she was painting my kitchen . . .

Monday, August 3, 2009

What is your reward?

Whew… taking a break after a day of cleaning the house. I think it’s been a month since I dusted last. I think a lot while cleaning so I’m gonna talk outloud on my blog : )

We‘re almost ready for school to begin. I had a talk with the kids over lunch. I asked them what kind of rewards they would like for doing a good job on obedience, chores, and school work. Some things they wanted were, ice cream cone from the drugstore, lunch out, mini dog from Wal Mart, extra craft day, play date w/ friends, and a trip to thrift store. Some will be short term and other long term rewards.

What’s my reward satan asked? Yes, that pesky thing tries to get on my shoulder from time to time, so I plucked him off real quick and said, “Thank you Lord for the privilege to be at home with my children making a warm, clean, pleasant place for my hardworking hubby to return to. Thank you Lord for a hubby that works so hard to provide for us. Thank you for his health and stable job. “ That reward has no price tag attached.

So school is going to be great this year I can feel it in my bones. I chose My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures this year. The teacher’s manual is so clear and easy to read. The author lives and loves the Charlotte Mason approach with a Christian worldview. I’m not a purist of any one homeschool philosophy, but I do like CM’s short, twaddle free lessons with lots of outdoor exploration. I love that we will be studying different countries and cultures using missionary stories!! We have been blessed to meet some people who are taking their education and their faith to China and India!

I’ve got a school supply list that we will shop for tomorrow Lord willing. OK… I reckon that is it. Wished I could talk myself into washing my car, but I need a shower and must put up some tomatoes. Tomorrow is another day for washing the car. Unless the Lord comes back : ) Are you ready?