Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monthly Learning Report-November

The past month has been challenging... With hubby on a short deployment and illness, I'm pleasantly surprised that we have learned a thing or two! =)

Read Aloud

Language Arts

Literary Devices—compare and contrast, cause and effect, categorizing to organize and recall information Unit 1-2
Grammar—participle phrases (parsing and diagramming sentences)

Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1, Lessons 37-46

Plate Tectonics
Atmosphere, Weather & Climate
Metamorphic Rocks, Landscapes & Biomes
Grassland Landscapes
Arctic Tundra
Tropical Rainforest

Settling the Northern Colonies
Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts Bay, Philadelphia “The City of Brotherly Love”
Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, William Penn, young Benjamin Franklin

Physical Education
Pop Warner Football

Electric Guitar, private lessons
Solo techniques, song-Canon Rock

Language Arts

Reading Comprehension—recalling details (narration), story sequence (using various readers and poetry)

Grammar—Plural Nouns—adding s; adding es to words ending in sh, ch, x, or s; nouns ending in y

Poetry—rhyming pattern, content and meaning, “Young Night Thought” and “The Sun's Travels”

Handwriting—cursive letters (upper and lower case) g,h, I, j, k and review b, e, f

Spelling/Phonics—long “a” sound-"ai" and "ay"

Composition—dictation, literature response, sentence structure, punctuation

I've been using various workbooks as well as internet resources

Money—value of $10 bill, $5 bill, $1 bill, 50 cent piece, quarter, dime, nickel, penny, adding up change, buying with money and making change, word problems

Multiplication facts for 3, 4, 5

Division-concept of, using linking cubes—dividing into equal groups

Telling Time-reading time, understanding hours later, word problems

vocabulary—asteroids, crater, elliptical, gaseous, terrestrial

salt dough model of Mercury

Social Studies
medieval castles-moat, drawbridge, knights, keep, boarding house, castle walls, manor, portcullis gate, enemy attacks on the castle

feudal system, lords, nobles, serfs

Level 2 ballet class, 2x a week
rehearsals for The Nutcracker ballet, cast as a party boy and school rat

Equine Science/Horseback Riding

horse breeds, colors, tack—bridle, bit, reins, saddle pad, saddle, stir-ups

jogging, walking forward and backward with better control of the horse


Thanksgiving-we read several library books for both Almond and Peanut
Alphabet/Phonics-we've been making an "ABC" book, inspired by Homeschoolshare's Alphabet Lapbook (I will post pictures at a later time!).

We continue to read many books, some from the library, but most from our own collection. This past month, these were her favorites.

This is a fun and colorful workbook...and it only cost about $6 from Barnes and Noble! She is working on counting, identifying and writing her numbers 1-10.
Peanut also follows along with Almond in social studies and science when she wants to.

Pre-ballet 2, 1x a week
rehearsals for The Nutcracker as a Santa Helper

She hasn't been interested in much formal learning this past month, but is enjoying playing and dancing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Selecting Literature

So we go to the bookstore, and Almond asked if she could get a book... I say, "sure, but you know I need to approve...go and find a few and I'll help you choose." We own many classics in paperback, but she said she wanted to find a hard back so it would be her special collection. So, she comes back and I'm thinking to myself, "I hope she doesn't pick that fairy princess series all the girls at ballet are reading..." Her picks...Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Wind in the Willows, and A Little Princess! Need I say more? ;D

Free Audio Books

Somehow, I totally forgot about Duh! Free mp3 files of our favorite books...they have most books that are in the public domain. I was surprised to find just about all of my read aloud titles there! Last night we finished the last few chapters of The Wizard of Oz and and started The Secret Garden. So easy!!!


Yes, the H1N1, or "swine" flu hit our house! Kids have been sick at different intervals the last 2 weeks... Luckily, I didn't get it, and am hoping to stay healthy despite my lack of sleep! =) We're really feeling lazy, especially with holidays coming up...we normally start to slow down about now. Hopefully we'll be healthy again soon and get back on track!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monthly Learning Report-October

Family Read Aloud


Language Arts

Literary Devices—flashback, characterization, setting, plot, prediction
Vocab from literature
Writing-persuasive essay
Grammar-helping verbs (parsing and diagramming)

Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1, Lessons 23-36
Solving equations, undoing equations, undoing with division, more than 2 operations, solving with 2 unknowns, invisible coefficients

What is Earth Science?
Scientific Process
Measurement and Laboratory Skills
Views of the Earth
Human Impacts on Erosion
Water Erosion
Coastal Erosion
Applying Knowledge: Real Life Examples
Water Cycle
Origin of the Oceans
Ocean Floor

War of Independence
Declaration of Independence

Physical Education
Pop Warner Football

Electric Guitar, private lessons
Solo techniques, song-Canon Rock


Language Arts

Oral narration, written narration (4 sentences), dictation, vocabulary from literature
Grammar-object pronouns (me, you, him, her, it us, them), possessive pronouns (my, mine, your, yours, its, his, her, hers, our, ours, their, theirs), nouns—singular and plural; using “have” and “has”

Writing-friendly letter, persuasive letter, organizing thoughts and ideas

Handwriting-cursive letters (upper and lower case) G,H,I. Review of letters B, F

Spelling/Phonics-words ending in silent “e” such as cable, fable, gable, sable, stable, cradle, ladle, maple, staple, beetle, feeble

Money—value of $10 bill, $5 bill, $1 bill, 50 cent piece, quarter, dime, nickel, penny; counting money; dollars and cents, adding/subtracting with word problems

Multiplication facts for 2, 5, 3

Telling Time—hour hand, minute hand, writing time, reading time, saying the time

Review of triple digit addition/subttaction with regrouping

Math Fun on and Fun 4 the Brain

The Sun
-center of the universe, millions of miles away, made of heat and gas
-why you shouldn't stare at the sun
-revolve and rotate, day and night
-solar flares and sun spots
-what color is the sun?
-Light waves, how we see color

Equine Science, level 1 (horseback riding)
saddling, mounting the horse, gate safety, riding techniques: walking, jogging, dismount, horse face markings, leg markings

Social Studies
The Pledge of Allegiance
King Alfred
The Vikings

Geography— location of continent Europe and countries of Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark

PE/Fine Arts
Ballet, level 2
Rehearsal for upcoming Nutcracker production. Cast as a "party boy" and "school rat"


Reading lots of books!

Alphabet Books

Lapbooks for A, B, C

Counting Books

Games to learn/review numbers 1-10, Go Fish, matching, Sorry (using plain cards)

Fine Arts
Ballet, pre-ballet 1
Rehearsal for Nutcracker, cast as a "Santa Helper"


"A Thought"
"At the Sea-Side"
"The Swing"

"Autumn" by John Claire
"Harvest Sunset" by Carl Sandburg
"Trees" by Joyce Kilmer

Nature Study

We've spent at least a few hours each week just being outside. Our focus was on different trees, bark, leaves, shapes, colors, and seed pods (acorns, pine cones, etc...)
Nature Journal drawings


Peanut's Picasso reproduction (this is me!) lol

Almond's flower

Monday, October 5, 2009

Math is fun...well, it's getting there!

We started with a math tutor with Almond last month. The reason wasn't really that she was behind, but that I was having a difficult time teaching her in a way that was beneficial...and I didn't want her to get behind... Many times I was losing my patience and honestly, she just prefers to do other subjects! My goal is to instill a love of learning, and we were definitely going in the opposite direction! I am trying hard NOT to compare her to my other children or to rely on state test scores or standards as a measure. But I didn't want to get to a place that would be more difficult to get out of later, it that makes any sense. I really wanted to her to feel successful! So far, our tutor has been wonderful! She assessed her on the first day, then started working on concepts that most 8 year olds know. She has given me weekly instructions on what to teach and how, and told me it wasn't a big deal that Almond didn't have her addition and subtraction facts down. (whew, was that a relief!) She has made such huge improvements! Before we were lucky if she completed 3 pages of written math a, she completes at least 8, and practices either addition, subtraction, or multiplication facts each day! I'm so excited for her! She even said math was "kinda fun" and I wanted to share a couple websites I have found with games to help with memorizing facts.

Fun 4 the Brain

Have fun with these websites! =)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sometimes we learn the hard way...

Sometimes it takes a lot of tears and emotions to realize you are learning... That's exactly what happened today with Almond. Fact is, she doesn't like math! I don't know what else to do except be firm about math getting done first thing in the morning...otherwise there will inevitably be something else that will come up, or we will somehow not get to it. Trust me, I've tried everything possible to make math happen! A more gentler approach, different curriculum, unschooling... you name it! So starting today, I held firm boundaries, and whoa! How exhausting! But at the end of the day, she apologized for everything, and we decided will start new tomorrow! Tears aside, it was a very productive day...

I drove Macadamia to high school, and Peanut was the first one up. We got breakfast started, and she told me she wanted to do learning... WOW! So we started discussing "more" and "less" and did a fun worksheet with coloring. She spotted a handwriting practice sheet and asked to practice her "B's". She tried so hard to think of words that started with B... I asked her if she wanted to do some cutting and pasting, and she enthusiastically yelled "yes!" I found a cutting activity with a farm scene along with number cards 1-4 with farm animals. She cut until her hands ached, I helped her finish, then she started going crazy with the glue stick! When it was complete, she told me a story that went with the farm scene, and pointed out her numbers, 1-4...this was all completed by 10 am! To keep busy, she played on the computer,, played dolls and pretend (I had to pretend to be grandma and fairy godmother most of the day), and danced ballet to Bach.

Meanwhile, Pistachio (as usual) got started with learning after breakfast. He read Sounder, and did a few pages in his lit guide, Analytical Grammar, and Algebra. He did complain that he knew everything in the Algebra chapter, so I gave him the chapter test and let him move on...He usually will do math daily, and 1/2 weeks worth of other subjects. He then went on to play the online game, Maple Story, where he insists he learned his critical thinking skills, along with math and improved his reading speed... hmmmm...We unschooled at one time, and this is all they did! lol

Almond did learn a lot, despite the crying and complaining in between... Addition properties: associative, commutative, and zero properties. Astronomy vocabulary was done creating a flip book found at the notebooking2learn yahoo group. She then read The Biggest Bear and enjoyed it!

After lunch, we cleaned the playroom, while listening to a Classics For Kids radio broadcast about J.S. Bach and listened to his music.

We did an oral lesson on pronouns, then read poetry from a Child's Garden of Verses. We discussed rhyming patterns, and she asked to write her own poem (I didn't plan on this), using the pattern aab, aac... So I guided her and this is what she came up with...

The Ant, Cat, and Bear

Today I saw an ant,
That tried to carry a leaf, but can't.
The leaf was eaten by a bear.

Then along came a cat,
It was laying on a mat.
The bear ate honey - the cat didn't care.

I'm so proud of her! Before dinner, we played a game of Go Fish, including Peanut so she could learn her numbers...

Tonight we will do a devotional, discussing what happened today, along with a chapter from Strawberry Girl.

Surprisingly, I managed to cook dinner with baked salmon and stuffing...

Just another typical day in my world!

Ballet Fun!!!

We're finally getting into a "school"'s hard to let the leisure and fun go! Here's the girls in their summer ballet production, Cinderella.

Made by Lena