Friday, February 26, 2016

School Ramblings {February 26, 2016}

Pictures from the snowy winter bird feeder from last month, Dark-eyed junco, and Lucy my bird watching companion.

We were back at it this week after having last week off. (We are shooting for 6 weeks school then one week off.) We are almost finished with term 2. We are in a good grove and I hope that continues through term 3.

Our schedule was very school friendly this week with only one outside commitment during school hours. We attend a local co-op one afternoon a week. We had a busier than normal schedule the past month so I'm very happy to get back to easy.

I worked the schedule so that the boys had less work to complete with me while we were in the busy weeks in hopes that the school work would still get completed given if I had to leave for a couple of hours. It worked out great and now we still have that schedule, but I'm home now. I'd admit I wasn't sure what to do with my extra time.O f course, that didn't last long and was easily filled.

What's in the Morning Basket?
We got behind in the last few weeks because I ended up being out of the house a few mornings that I hadn't planned on. I decided to cut back (and save for next year) a few items and narrow our focus down to get some books finished before the end of the year. This week we worked on grammar lesson together, drawing lessons, and listening to Swallowdale. I'm looking forward to the term 3 Morning Basket.

Caleb's favored book of the week: The Book of the Ancient World by Dorothy Mills. He admitted he was really enjoying this book and happy to write some narrations. This book is more intended for the middle school ages, and I think it's an easy read for him, but it is engaging. This is key for connecting with the book, which improves the chance it will go into long term memory. Since this was a recent change to Caleb history I was very happy to get this good report.

Tyler's favored book of the week: Farmer Boy . . . . . that is all he had to say about that.

Cassie's favored book of the week: I finally finished Anne of Windy Poplars. I checked out book #3 & 4 of the Anne of Green Gables series to read over Christmas break and didn't read much until after Christmas. Nothing like not being able to renew a book again to provide motivation to get it read! This was my least favorite, but I struggled with putting it down and stayed up too late most nights. I just didn't like that most of the book was written as letters. I'm looking forward to getting the next book.

What's this? (improvements needed)
Cursive? Both boys are having a refresher course since they won't write in cursive and it's been forgotten.

We've got this! (improvements made)
Tyler has been struggling with dividing fractions. Math-U-See Epsilon teaches it first using the rule of four. Which I thought was easy, but Tyler could not wrap his head around this. So, we have been ignoring dividing fractions until the lesson that taught how to do it by multiplying the reciprocal came about. He had that on Thursday and all is well in Tyler's math world again. Tyler has also mastered long division and multiplying multiple digits problems, which I thought would never come at the beginning of the year.


Looking ahead (teacher's duties):
I'm still looking for that perfect grammar program. (Yes, I know there is no such thing!) I did find Simply Grammar that I wished I had used as our first book for teaching grammar. The exercises are too young for the boys. I may be looking over KISS grammar this weekend. Otherwise, I will be writing my own . . . . which would be a really bad idea since grammar is not my best subject!

I also need to finish writing term 2 exam questions since that will happen next week. I need to research raising the bar with narrations and start expecting those from Caleb. This was a goal for the year that has been put off. Caleb's narrations have improved greatly this year, but it's time to go deeper.


Monday, February 22, 2016

February Nature Study {2016}

Finally! Last Thursday and Friday we had unseasonably temperatures in the 60s and 70s and we finally got in some nature study . . .  two days!!

We went on a short hike on Thursday on a trail that has become our usual this past year. There really wasn't much to see. We did see a lot of fungus. It was just nice to get outside with a warm temperature and enjoy.

Friday we went on a REALLY long hike and we hit a trail that was new to me. The boys had been on it before. Friday was warmer and less wind and quite enjoyable. Scott also got to join us on Friday.
(I didn't take any pictures on Friday.)

Bugs were out! I even pulled a crawling tick off my leg. I worry it will be a very buggy summer with our mild winter!

It was very windy on Thursday and there were a lot of new trees down in the woods. We enjoyed checking out the new stumps but kept our eyes and ears open to falling limbs and trees. I think sounds were at the top of our discovery list

The boys collect strips of bark from a dead tree and decided to float them on the lake. They had to do it from the dock after their first attempt was retrieved by Lucy from the shore. It would not surprise me if she decides to jump off the dock to do some retrieving in the future. (Scott has talked about training her to do this.) 

I wish I could name all the fungus, but either we don't have that field guide or it's at Scott's office. 

We are looking forward to some spring nature study! 

Winter Ramblings

(Pictures of a female cardinal at the snowy bird feeder in January.)

My little blog has been greatly ignored this winter. I've lost my desire to write. I've started many posts and then quickly deleted them.

This week we were on break and the weather became very nice and I starting thinking again that I wanted to get back to blogging. I believe my lack of blogging is due to lack of warm weather. It feels natural to hibernate in winter! It was also a great help to have a few free hours to myself with nothing else I needed to get done.

Bird tracks everywhere on the back porch.

I starting blogging to work on my writing. I continue to blog because I enjoy the scrapbook that is created. I return to my blog to look back at how we celebrated and what was going on in nature in previous years and seasons. I would still blog with zero readers because of this.

My favorite thing to blog about is nature. I enjoy writing about our nature hikes and having a place for the pictures of everything we saw.

My least favorite thing to blog about is the how and why of school and family choices (nitty gritty stuff). 

In the middle of this list I would include the day in and outs of homeschooling.

Now, as a reader please let me know what you would like to see on this blog. Any comments are welcome. I would even take grammar advice! My feelings are not easily hurt. I very much enjoy feedback from others and can usually take it in stride.  : )

I will continue on with our nature study post and will have one up soon since we were able to get out two afternoons last week! I am also starting a new, hopefully weekly, School Rambles post.

My goal for School Rambles is to answer some or all of the the following questions.
What's in the Morning Basket?
Favored books of the week
What's this? (areas we need to work on)
We've got this! (improvements made, ideas mastered)
Looking Ahead (my duties as teacher)

I will be happy to hear what you all have to add. You can leave comments below or you can email me at tending pumpkin patch at gmail dot com. 

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