Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homeschool Week in Review: Monday, January 10th - Friday, January 15th

My Father's World Exp. to 1850:  Week 1
Our first week using My Father's World:  Explorers to 1850 was terrific.  We got much accomplished and had fun, too.  Here's what we did:

Our Bible studies were terrific!  The boys always look forward to the worksheet pages that are part of Bible Study Guide for all Ages.  We're currently studying Genesis, with a focus on Joseph. 

Classical Conversations:
Since we didn't practice our memory work during Christmas break, we spent a little extra time on some of the material.  We especially focused on weeks 10-13.  The highlight of our CC time was playing "Will the Winner Lose."  --very fun!   If you'd like to know how to play an easy-to-make and fun review game that you can use with virtually any subject, then visit the link above.  It has prinable instructions an a picture of what my supplies look like.
This week we read about several New World Explorers in Exploring American History. In addition, we read about several notable explorers in the book, In God We Trust. I must say that these were faith-filled and fabulous! To help provide pegs of information about history in our minds, I always pull out our Veritas Press history cards when they tie into our history studies. We covered:
  • Columbus Sails to the New World
  • Magellan Circumnavigates the Earth
  • Cortes, de Soto, de Leon and Coronado: the Spanish Explorers
  • Explorers of the Northeast: Cartier, Champlain and Cabot
The Veritas Press cards provide a concise summary of persons and events that we study. Reading and discussing the cards helps to cement the things we're learning.  Love that!

After we read about each explorer, the boys wrote a short summary on their history notebooking page.
This week’s science studies provided a nice overview of God’s Creation and the account as told in Genesis. I showed the boys how to make a simple drawing of the 6 days of Creation that would help them to remember what was created on each day. I found this idea on the Answers in Genesis Website. Here’s a link: Draw the 6 Days of Creation

Here is Brandon's drawing:

Here's Nathan's drawing:

The hymn we’ll be learning for the next couple of weeks is This is My Father’s World. We were all touched after reading the story behind the hymn. If you don’t have the book, Then Sings my Soul, I highly recommend it! For each week that a new hymn is assigned, I will play a traditional version of the hymn and then I’ll find a more contemporary remake of the hymn for us to listen to. Our remake of This is My Father’s World came from The Go Fish Guys”. Take a listen:: This is My Father’s WorldWe also listened to the Story of Schubert in Words and Music this week. I always enjoy these.

 My boys are moving right along in math. Thankfully, Horizons has been a great fit.

Essentials Week 13 focused on sentences with an S-V-IO-DO pattern. Nathan spent time memorizing information from the “Noun Job Chart”. In addition, we completed a task sheet on 3 different days. When we do this, I dictate one of the “task sentences” to him and he writes it down. We always check for punctuation and spelling errors. The next step is to label the sentence and to identify various things about it structure, pattern and purpose. He then diagrams the sentence, rewrites it a according to sentence purpose and rewrites it according to sentence structure. This sometimes feels mundane, but it’s thorough and it gets the job done. This week Nathan also completed 2 lessons in his Daily Grams Level 5 book.

Brandon completed lessons 36 – 39 in First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind-Level 3. We’re a few lessons behind, so I plan to do four lessons per week to make up for lost time. I am very pleased with his level of understanding of grammar concepts.

My spelling plan is another thing that is going well for us. Yeah! The boys especially enjoy the activity cards that they do on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I feel that Spelling Plus is providing a nice review of basic spelling rules and is helping to solidify the correct spellings of commonly misspelled and commonly used words into their little minds.

So far this school year, Nathan has completed 10 essays on topics about the Middle Ages. We’ll continue those since he’s taking Essentials of the English Language in our Classical Conversations program. (We’re using Institute for Excellence in Writing’s theme based writing books on Middle Ages until April.) Meanwhile, Brandon completed a week’s worth of Writing with Ease assignments on Nurse Matilda.

Brandon thoroughly enjoys reading The Boxcar Children books. He just finished book 5. Brandon recreated the main characters using an orgami pattern we found in one of our Veritas Press Literature Guides! He's happy to have the whole family:

The boys recently saw the third Chronicles of Narnia movie and Nathan was quite interested to find out what happened next. So, he’s currently reading The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair. He doesn’t enjoy reading as much as Brandon does, so I’m thrilled that he’s truly interested in this novel.

Nathan has done very little Latin work since last spring. Not surprisingly, we took a break in the summer. When it came time to resume our Latin studies, I instead chose to focus on writing mechanics and math. (May I add that we’ve made significant improvements in those departments?) Well (blush, blush) . . . Nathan is certainly not able to pick up from where he left off. The only good thing about this situation is that the boys can now study Latin together, which has definite benefits.

This week, we began from the beginning: using Latin for Children: A. Nathan didn't mind that he was starting over.  In fact, he was delighted to work through the ease with a greater understanding and with such ease.  We watched the DVD lesson, studied the text, chanted vocabulary, completed several super fun worksheets in the activity book and even played a few games at the Headventureland website. Wow! What a fun learning journey this was! The boys even had their noses in the books looking for fun words such as pugo (I fight), necco (I kill), and oppugno (I attack). Once they were armed with plenty of “fighting words”, they grabbed their Nerf guns and had a battle—all the while shouting Latin phrases at one another! I think I’ll forever be able to hear little Brandon shouting “Oppugno, Nathan!” and Nathan yelling, “I got you! You’re hit! Necco you, Brandon!” This was learning at its best!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

50 Blogs Worth Visiting

I found a terrific list of homeschool blogs and just have to share!

It's a list of blogs by homeschooling parents, teachers, group leaders, and professionals that are worth a visit.

So, go grab a cup of your favorite beverage and . . . enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Father's World: Our New Curriculum for the New Year!

New starts come with the New Year, and we are getting just that in our curriculum!  Last week we just started My Father's World:  Explorers to 1850 lesson plans.  We are very excited to study American History, especially in the context of other events that happened throughout the world.  Here's our second semester lineup:

My Father's World:  Explorers to 1850 lesson plans

A study of the Book of James using Boy, Have I Got Problems!

History studies using these books:
Exploring American History, 2nd Edition
In God We Trust
Building a City on a Hill
George Washington's World
The Last 500 Years
The Story of the World, Volume 3
American Pioneers and Patriots
Trial and Triumph

Here are some of the history and Bible books we’ll use:

Here is some of the literature we'll read:

Read-alouds include:
Almost Home
Amos Fortune, Free Man
Bound for Oregon
Madeline Takes Command
Mary Jones and Her Bible
William Carey

Here are some of the science, music and art books & CD's we'll use:
Science studies using:
God's Design Science:  The World of Animals
The World of Animals (Encyclopedia published by Parragon)
Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany

Fine Arts:
Weekly art lessons, integrated with history using God and the History of Art

A tour of 12 hymns using Then Sings My Soul

A study of three composers using:
The Story of Chopin in Words and Music
The Story of Schubert in Words and Music
The Story of Mendelssohn in Words and Music
The Best of Chopin
The Best of Mendelssohn
Schubert Symphonies

A few Changes I'm making to the MFW lesson Plans:
I guess I'm a curriculum tweaker at heart!  I can't seem to leave well enough alone.  Since we do substantial memory work in Classical Conversations, we will not memorize the book of James as directed in the MFW lesson plans.  As I went through the teacher guide, I noticed that after a chapter from Boy, Have I Got Problems! is introduced, the lesson plans schedule a 3-4 week period to memorize scripture passages before moving on to a new chapter from Boy, Have I Got Problems!.  Rather than memorize the verses from James, we'll move through lessons from Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  We will be memorizing Ephesians 6: 1-24 with our Classical Conversations group.

I also plan to integrate several of the projects from Time Travelers:  The Revolution (published by Homeschool in the Woods).  The MFW hands-on projects can certainly stand alone, but I wanted some things that were a little more involved for my art & craft loving boy!  Time Travelers projects seem to be a perfect fit!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Our New Homeschool Room

In October 2010, we completed a small remodeling project in our basement.  One of the things we added was a separate room for our homeschool!  I haven't finished decorating, but wanted to share, anyways!  As you can see, we still need window treatments.  I also want to hang our maps and make an "art wall".  Here are a few pictures our our new space:

This is what you see when you walk into our school room.  My desk and book case stretches about 9 feet and our homeschool table is just beyond that.  I found the table at a terrific little thrift shop. 

Each side of the table has two little drawers, where my boys keep their school boxes and other desk supplies. Super handy!

This is the view standing as I stand on one end of the room and look towards the school table. We have a white board mounted on one wall, and oposite the board is a window. I love having a view of the outdoors as we school. The framed picture is actually an antiqued world map.


Here is a better view of my desk. I keep lots of reference books here as well as our yearly homeschool files. To the left of the book case is our mini print center. I store copy paper, colored printer paper, cardstock, and envelopes in one drawer.

Essential office supplies at our fingertips!

The top left drawer contains containers of our most often used art supplies:  markers, glitter glue, crayons, tape and paper towel!

This is the bookcase where I house the binders were the kids store their work. Each of my boys has a binder for Language Arts, Math, History, and Science.  I use the middle shelf and bottom shelf for most of the school books that we use for the year, as well as my "teacher notebooks".

I color code my binders.  My oldest son's binders are green, my youngest son's binders are blue, and mine are peach.  This helps us to get our hands on what we need more quickly.

One end of our room has a nice sized closet.  I love having a place to store all of our "stuff" behind closed doors.

We keep all of our games, science kits, manipulatives, art supplies, maps, and other extras on these shelves.

One end of my closet has cubbies that house bins of math manipulatives, art supplies, construction paper, and extra school/desk supplies.
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