Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Week in Learning {Thanksgiving Break}

I didn't plan to do a post this week but then I needed to record some thoughts for future reference.

Caleb did complete two lessons in Saxon math, read an extra hour a day, and worked on his Boy Scout Citizenship in the Nation merit badge. Tyler just did some extra free reading.

While on break, I planned out the last two week of school before Christmas Break. I decided that we will continue in our regular math, language arts, and Morning Basket. I took out history/geography and science and left our afternoons free for extra Advent reading and activities.

I'm hoping to pull out our Advent/Christmas books today and sort through those and decide which ones we are reading this year. I know we are reading A Christmas Carol which I did have to purchase since it was already checked out at the library. We actually have a copy of this book but the print is small. I like the illustrated and larger version much better. At least, I think this is the one our library had that I previewed last year and wanted to read this year. I may be wrong once we receive it on Monday! I bought Letters From Father Christmas last year which didn't get to read, so that is at the top of our list this year. I'm sure I will list the books we enjoy in our weekly Advent posts. 

I put many hours into pondering science. I have one who is not a fan of science and has hated about 95% of what we have done in science. I have another who just wants to do "experiments" aka make messy in the kitchen. He really isn't interesting in the learning but just wants to do activities and make messes. I've been trying to find something the first would enjoy and trying to get the second something active yet trying to figure out how to get him learning. Science is important in our home since both Scott and I have science degrees. One thing I do know is that they both enjoy nature study. I wish we had a country home so that we could just step outside every day and study God's creation.

Focus on Chemistry is too hard for Tyler. I knew that could be the case when I purchased it but knew he would use it eventually. Tyler admits he isn't sure what is going on but he doesn't want to stop. That would be because it comes with a book of exerperiments. ; ) To solve this problem he will be getting a basic chemistry set for Christmas and a three month subscription to Tinker Crate. I'm hoping he will be more willing to switch his science book in January since he has the above "toys". Since I have it on hand and it's a good science text he will be doing some chapters from Behold and See 5. Caleb used this book in 6th grade. It's written in a nice conversational tone but some of the chapters are challenging for the late elementary age.

I'm still pondering over Caleb's science. I have a few ideas but I want to pondering and pray before making anymore decisions. I have a few weeks before I need to decide.

I'm also thinking about Latin again. I thought I was decided and then I realized I missed the deadline on a 20% off coupon. Now I'm pondering it some more because I don't want to pay full price! I have a great Latin program on hand, Latina Christiana I, which is proven to get the job done program but dry as can be. Some kids can withstand it but I'm not that lucky. We tried it for a few weeks last year and I may not ever get anyone to try Latin every again because of it. We sampled Visual Latin which went over well but Caleb thought the guy teaching was too goofy and it was just too soon after the LC lessons for Tyler. ; ) I'm looking at Latin for Children after Sarah recommended it (and I could have written what she said about their previous course-which I believe is the same as what we used). Of course, once I decided on it I had missed the deadline on the coupon code.  : ( This needs more pondering and prayer as I don't want to spend another $100 on Latin without results.

Just because I think every post should have a picture (but I haven't been taking many lately), Tyler receiving Webelos Scout advancements from the Cubmaster (Scott) at the Pack meeting a week ago.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Thanksgiving Week Daybook {2014}

Outside my window . . .
today was nice! Breezy but in the 50s.

I'm thankful for . . . 
a much need break, money to purchase Christmas gifts, visiting family, healthy boys, not having to cook for Thanksgiving, a sister-in-law who is willing to take (free) family pictures for us, new clothes, a full frig and freezer, a reasonable schedule, a hard working husband. Or the shorter version, I'm just thankful for all of God's everyday gifts.

I am pondering . . .
Advent plans! Christmas gifts! 

From the kitchen . . . 
lots of cookies in the  near future! I stocked up on all the ingredients for sugar cookies. We will make these for St. Nicholas Day, a cookie exchange, and sometime during Christmas we will use our Nativity cookie cutters set.

I am reading . . . 
Not much right now, but hoping to do more during Advent. I've slowly been reading Consider This

Clicking around . . . 
Since I've been pondering books and Advent, much of my clicking around involves that!
I've been enjoying all of Erin's book lists on Seven Little Australians & Counting.
Jennifer at Family in Feast and Feria has many links for Advent!

A peek at my week . . .
No school this week! Monday I did some deep-cleaning in the living room and lots of laundry. I'm now ready to decorate for Advent come this weekend. Tuesday we ran errands in town. Wednesday was laundry and planning the last two weeks of the school before Christmas break. Thursday we gathered with extended family for a Thanksgiving meal. Today we had breakfast at my parents. We then went to take family pictures. I did a quick clean of the house this afternoon. I've also done some online Christmas shopping.

A few plans . . .
Finalize Christmas shopping plans and get the shopping completed next week!! Top priority! Decorate for Advent on Saturday/Sunday. Which means I need to finalize all Advent plans.

Around the house . . .
I'm struggling with the fact that I didn't get the painting projects done that I wanted to this fall. My dining room walls are bare and I have plans in my head but can't move ahead until the painting is done. I think I'm dragging my feet on spending the money on this project and the fact that Scott doesn't like my paint choice. 

A picture . . . 
Tyler with his cousin on Thanksgiving Day.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Week in Learning {Week 16}

I had to change the name I was using for these post. Learning Notes just didn't sound like me. I will be tagging these post with a new label. You can find previous post under Learning Notes. I'm not sure if I like this new name either but I couldn't come up with anything else, so I promise to stick with this name.  ; )

If you are looking for last week's Learning Notes This Week in Lessons Learning, it didn't happen. There won't be a post next week since we are taking Thanksgiving week off.

This week's pictures came off of Caleb's Kindle (Scott has taken the camera during hunting season) and quality isn't the greatest.

I was able to work some more margin into Caleb's day and now there is too much. He is finishing 30 minutes early 2-3 days a week before lunch break. I will have to add something back in. I think it was just rearranging some of the subjects that helped free up some time. 

We missed a couple of days of Morning Basket this week and we did about the same number of Afternoon Baskets that we have been doing (which isn't enough). I'm struggling in getting started in the mornings. We started reading Hamlet for Shakespeare study and I'm loving this Bruce Coville book that our library had. The boys should love this book . . . . they aren't showing much interest though. We listened to a new Christmas CD that arrived on Friday for Music Appreciation. I recommend Family Christmas by Piano Guys! Can't wait to listen again in a few weeks.

Caleb's science text is so boring! It's just a listing of facts. I know it's just this chapter because I previewed other parts of the book and it's not that bad for a text book (far from great though). I have yet to decide how to handle it. We did close it up for the week. I purchased The Curious Naturalist by Sy Montgomery and it arrived on Friday and we read the first chapter out of the winter section. It was delightful! This is how all science books should be written. We are studying God's creation and that is delightful and therefore you would think it could be written that way. LOL! I'm taking suggestions for science!
Tyler is enjoying his new science program (Chemistry) but when the experiments involve marshmallows what else can you expect. It is hard though and I'm not sure if it's appropriate for him or not. He loves experiments and does them no matter if he understands or not. ; )

Some how Caleb didn't get behind in math lessons this week. We have been struggling and missing one day a week which was starting to add up. He doesn't know it yet but he will be doing two lessons next week. (This is the only assigned school work for next week along with extra free reading.) He has been doing a lot of fraction work lately. I have to keep reminding him that this is review. Honestly, the Saxon book does a nicer job of explaining things than what we used last year. Or maybe it is just because it is review. He still can not finish a lesson in the 45 minutes of math.

Caleb some how did get behind in Writing With Skill this week. I'm not sure how that happened. He did require more help. We had a little pep talk about how he does just fine doing this on his own. 

Since we stopped reading Grammar Town we started Sentence Island. I originally was going to just get this book and I wish I had stuck to that plan. We like this one! I'm hoping this will help Tyler with sentence structure as he seems a little clueless in this department. I'm making Caleb listen to as he could use some help too.

Caleb is working hard in history since we finally have a book that he likes. He has an hour each week to read the chapter and write a narration. His narrations are good content wise but he needs some help with sentence structure. His sentence are beyond run-on. He is also not editing his work before printing it and turning it in (he is writing them on his Kindle). He catches most of his mistakes when he reads it out loud. Getting him to do that seems like an unnecessary challenge.

Tyler saw the eye doctor last week. I didn't suspect any problems but since we all (myself, Scott, Caleb, grandparents, aunt, uncles) need glasses it is just a matter of time. Tyler was pleased that he didn't require any glasses. He does require some eye therapy for focusing problems. This would explain his horrible handwriting. He does this at home on the computer. We have already seen improvement! This is his spelling sheet with words and dictation sentences. The top is before therapy and the bottom is a little over a week of therapy. We are already seeing improvements!

Overall, we had a good week. Tyler got everything done in his lesson plans and Caleb almost did (just WWS). 

I need to work on planning out the last two weeks of school for the calendar year. Can you believe it? We typically add in much reading during Advent. We will continue with math and language arts but I'm sure history and science will be replaced with the extra reading. 

How was your week? 


Friday, November 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday {November 21, 2014}

1) I wasn't able to get the Learning Notes up last week. I put it off and then by Sunday I couldn't think of anything besides what was written in the lesson planner. I'm working on this weeks though and will have that up this weekend.

2)We have always taken Thanksgiving week off. I had decided to do three days of school this year . . . . it's not looking like that will happen. It's time for a break! I thought it wouldn't be a problem since we are only doing two weeks of school in December but I'm right at the point that if I continue it will be regretted. My fellow homeschooling moms will understand this. I'll have to rework the schedule but I think I can easily had three days to the end of the school year.

3) I was able to purchase everything needed for Advent last week. I got a new wreath, candles, a couple new books, and a tree to use for a Jesse Tree. I will be working on making plans next week and I'm sure they will be similiar to our plans from last year. I'm glad I recorded what we did last year as it will make this year much easier.

4) Christmas shopping has started. I've had a few things saved back from earlier this year. I've been finalizing our list and making shopping plans. Today I purchased some stuff online. I'm hoping to be finished in the first week of December. I still need to finalize the list of books I need to purchase for the 12 Days of Christmas. I had a gift picked out for someone that I decided not to get because of the price (no details so I don't ruin any Christmas surprises)but I went to check that aisle in Target this week since I hadn't viewed the ad (just in case it was on sale) and it was on sale! Not a weekly-ad sale but just a special price cut of $15 which made it reasonable. Actually, a great find since I had a $10 off coupon too! Love Target!

5)Caleb earned his Star Scout rank earlier this fall and he got his patch a few weeks ago during our Troop Court of Honor. He plans to get his Eagle and so far it looks like that goal is on track.

6) Plans for next week? I have some cleaning projects to get done before decorating for Advent. I need to plan our last two weeks of school for the calendar year. I need to make our Advent plans including activities and cleaning routine (I always do deep cleaning projects during Advent).

7) It's been deer season here. Both the boys got a deer during youth season. We then got a new freezer! We had this purchased planned for a while now. I lost the freezer for food storage about five years ago when Scott decided to do taxidermy work. I'm glad to not have to think about how much freezer space we have when I go grocery shopping. Scott got a deer too but we did give the meat away on his. (warning-blood in the pictures! Stop reading here if you will be bothered.)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning Notes Week 14 {2014-2015}

Learning Notes is going to be short this week and a little bit of a different format. I'm short on time (as you can see below). The above picture is our November Little Oratory. The picture is The Child Samuel by Sir Joshua Reynolds as our reminder that the month of November is dedicated to Holy Souls in Purgatory and we need to pray for them.

Overall the week went pretty smoothly. Wednesday ended up being an "independent" day since we had an unplanned appointment in the morning and I decided to get done everything in town that I had planned to do after school instead of making two trips. It was a good thing too as it took much longer than expected and I wouldn't have gotten it all done after school. Thursday I wasn't feeling very well (allergies) and the boys had another independent work day. That did get us a little behind. We have a make-up day scheduled next week that will allow us to catch up.

I need to allow more margin in the day. Tyler has plenty of margin except when he is working with me.  Caleb has hardly any margin! I will see what I can do to fix this.

I'm struggling in getting in Afternoon Basket. We did it once this week (Shakespeare-finished reading A Midsummer Night's Dream ) unless you count the days they played outside after school for PE. It does count but we didn't get the other activities done that were planned. Honestly, I'm mentally exhausted come 2:30 and doing one more thing is hard. Another thing to put on my list to think about. Perhaps doing it earlier in the afternoon. I really think if we work in some more margin I wouldn't be exhausted by the end.

So, I heard so many groans and moans when I pulled out the  Grammar Town book that I haven't pulled it out again. I don't blame them. The book is not what I thought it would be. It's not bad but it's not enjoyable either, lol! It's grammar so I don't know what I was expecting! the boys find it confusing and I do a little too. This too is on my weekend to think about list.

Caleb is getting behind in science. The first two chapters of the Life Science book is just boring! They are really introductory type chapters. I wish I had read ahead and perhaps cut them or shorten them. It's a bad start! On the other hand there was an experiment and Caleb is enjoying that. I need to look ahead for next week and see if any changes need to be made to what we need to get done. (Is anyone keeping track of my weekend to-do list for me?)

I am really behind in keeping up reading for myself what the boys are reading. As you guess it, I need to catch up this weekend.

Tyler starts Chemistry next week and I haven't planned out lessons yet. Yep! More stuff to do this weekend.

The boys are bad about not giving me oral narrations. It is written in their planner and they know what narrations I need to hear and yet it's not getting done. I think we are going to need to fit in meetings at the end of the day so I go through their planner with them. Oh, I'm really going to be reworking that schedule this weekend!

Otherwise, as I stated first off, it really was a good week. I guess I should list some of that! Tyler rocked math and Caleb rocked history! Caleb loves his new history book!

It looks like I will be putting in many hours of overtime this weekend though.

How was your school week?


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blog Suggestions?

I've been messing around with Blogger and not having much luck! I can't figure out how to make my header bigger (picture at the top of the blog). Any suggestions? Also, I changed the background color to more of a neutral color. I'm not sure if I like it. What do you think? Taking suggestions! I love the WordPress blogs but I have no skills to even try such a thing!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learning Notes~Week 13 {2014-2015}

(My purpose with the weekly Learning Notes is really for me to think out loud how our week went. I'm pretty much talking to myself! ;) I'm not bragging about or complaining about student's ability but trying to find the good and the bad and keep records.)   

This week was the start of our Term 2! It went great but we did have some unexpected interruptions (two trips to the doctor). I also had to schedule one day of only independent work since I had a project for that day.

I had hoped to make it out to the family farm for some nature study and planned on Thursday or Friday. It ended up raining on Thursday and I also ended up at the doctor. And Friday turned out too chilly for me!

Week 13 finally brought a schedule! I told the boys this week it was written in stone. Tyler didn't like that at all! I did give into switching spelling and math as no one wanted to do math first when it was their turn to work with me. Because of the interruptions, we weren't able to give it a week long run that I had hoped before ironing out any wrinkles, but it went smoothly. I think Tyler had the hang of it after the first day and he noticed he had some planned breaks which changed his attitude. The spelling/math switch may be our only change.

Caleb (13 years-8th grade)

Caleb is loving his new history book and read the first chapter and wrote a written narration. Also in history, he read in Hittie Warrior and American Gun. He completed a lesson in Visits to North America.

Caleb was impressed with his test from Saxon this week. He actually has confidence in his math ability now. He tells us how much he likes math after he has a successful lesson in math. Everyday wasn't successful this week, but that was more my fault for not finding a protractor and losing our compass and therefore he couldn't complete on of the investigations. One lesson on prime and composite numbers and factorization was a challenge for him. He was taught this last year in Math-U-See and he didn't understand it then or now. Honestly, I know I wasn't taught this in school because I'm struggling to wrap my head around it to. My questions is why and what will this do for my math study? I plan to figure that out.

He is moving along in Fix It, All About Spelling, Writing With Skill, and Lord of the Rings. I'm most surprised at Writing With Skill! He is capable of reading the lesson and completing it own his own and then turns it into me to "grade". I just have to read the rubric in the instructors text to make sure he did everything they told him to do. We are loving this and he is writing every day!

Religion was completed this week with a lesson from the catechism, two chapters in The How-To Mass Book, and a reading in the Virtue Tree program. Caleb was suppose to discuss the Virtue Tree lesson with me and that didn't happen and it was checked off as completed. (Other homeschoolers-how do you deal with this? This has been a big problem this year and I don't catch it until the weekend when I go over their planners. My reminders aren't working.)

We didn't get as far along as I had hoped in the new science program (Life Science). Which was my fault, again since I didn't have some of the supplies bought for the experiment. At this point I would skip it, but Scott did pick them up for me. I guess we will save it for next week. (It's too cold in the house for seeds to grow right now anyway. Warmer next week!) Caleb was eager to start this problem.

Tyler (10 years-5th grade)

Tyler had a successful week and I can only find one thing uncompleted in his planner (which again was my fault from having to go the doctor on Thursday). I do see he missed giving me a few narrations though. I may have to go to looking at their planners during Afternoon Basket every day to prevent this!

Tyler completed 4 lessons and a test in his Saxon book. Square roots are still giving him trouble but otherwise he isn't struggling much with this book and I'm pleased with the switch! He also read in Life of Fred (Ice Cream) and played Times Attack.

I doubled up Tyler's weather readings to finish the book sooner and because he was getting the reading done in 5 minutes. He still can't narrate from this book and I think I will stop asking. We also read a section in his health book about the eyes.

He completed everything I assigned in Language Arts for the week (Fix It, AAS, copywork, keyboarding, Literature, writing). I think he is enjoying keyboarding. I look forward to him learning to type since he needs to be doing written narrations and his poor handwriting is the stumbling block there. Copywork is a struggle as usual. He said on Friday that I didn't need to look over his shoulder because he was going to do his best work without me this time . . . . his copywork sheet was lost! We looked everywhere for it! I forgot to make a new one up so he didn't get to complete that challenge. We did work on written narration during writing time on Friday. After I transcribed a half page of writing we had a little lesson on how he only needed to narrate on the part he had just read and how to cut the unimportant parts. I don't think he would have this problem if he was doing the writing himself!

In religion, Tyler read about 10 pages in Life of our Lord and gave one oral narration. He read a lesson on penance in the catechism and he forgot to give his narration on that.

In history, Tyler read in The Story of the World, Stories of America, and Usborne Ancient World. I read The Cat of Bubastes to him.

For geography, he did a lesson in Visits to North America and played on Sheppards Software.

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