Friday, August 28, 2009

Cleaning House & Moving the Blog

You know I love to move. So, this time I'm moving my blog. I've been cleaning and This blog has been moved to a new address.

Oak Blossoms Academy
My Personal Blog has moved to Oak Blossoms

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Handwriting tool

I wanted to note this free site. It makes different kinds of handwriting sheets in the Zaner-Bloser font. You can do manuscript or cursive. You can choose different grade levels (thus different size lines). There is a great spelling worksheet maker, too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mutant Daisy

This shows the top of the daisy.

Isn't it cute. It makes a little heart.

The boys are always outdoors and finding things. It's been a blast this year. We moved to my parents house and they have 5 acres. I hope I can photo document more of it this next year.

My mom loves daisies and the animals don't. So, they are all over the property. Yesterday they found this lovely mutant daisy. It seems to be two daises that grew together. So the top bends over. There isn't a bottom, just two sides. We tried to show the side. I know it looks like the bottom, but it isn't. It has two sides that look like that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Prophet Grade 7 (Updated 7/12/2009)

I cannot believe he is going to be in Grade 7 this year. He has been doing so well this year. I'm very proud of the changes he has made. We are trying to follow The Well Trained Mind approach. But, he hasn't quite made it to Logic stage in many areas. Alas, Susan Wise Bauer does talk about this which is a confirmation of how I have felt all along. Some children won't make it past logic stage. But, they will still get an excellent education. I believe they can still be ready for college if they desire that path. There is nothing wrong with starting college and having to do Pre-Algebra or Algebra. Sure it's nice to skip ahead or not have to even take Math classes. Oh, wait I'm getting ahead of myself. Grade 7 it is.

He will be working through Story of the World 3 (1600-1850). He will do written narrations, mapwork, and notebook pages for each chapter.

He will do outlining of each topic from Usborne Encyclopedia or Dorling Kindersley History of the World.

He will keep track of important dates and people in his Book of Centuries.

Supplemental library materials (i.e. books and DVDs) will be available. He will keep track of these on his 6 week planner sheet and Goodreads.

Suggested memory work for the period are Declaration of Independence, First 12 Presidents of the United States, Major Wars for the time period, and Preamble to the Constitution.

I will do my best to create some kind of notebook ahead of time for at least the first term.

If I think it could be done I would consider the Primary resources and Critical Thinking Books, as suggested TWTM. But, I'm not sure if he would be capable of the above work. I think he would love the Critical Thinking books, though. If the budget allows, I might replace some of the work above with those workbooks.

Option 1: I have Apologia General Science already. I will most likely plan this out to stretch over Grade 7 and Grade 8.

Option 2: The Well Trained Mind Suggestions for Biology. They have a lot of fun suggestions. But, I have no idea how he would do with dissections. He has some issues with clean hands.

Option 3: Real Science 4 Kids Biology 1

Language Arts
I like the methods outlined in The Well Trained Mind, but they seem to work at a slower Charlotte Mason approach with my boys. I'm using the the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online for most of our Language Arts planning. As budget permits, I will add in suggestions from The Well Trained Mind, although at lower grade levels.

I probably won't have a formal writing program for him this year. He should be getting enough writing practice via his other subjects with narrations, copywork, dictations, and outlining.

I would like to have him doing some sort of book reports though. We should be able to develop that through outlining. I might start him on some type of book report form to ease him into it. There seem to be plenty available online.

If he uses Rod and Staff there will be writing exercises as part of the program. He will continue in Italics Handwriting cursive. He just started this year and hopefully he will be able to do some of his work in cursive by mid-year.

Assigned reading list will come from The Well Trained Mind for the time period 1600-1850 page 353. He will have free reading time, as well.

He has yet to study formal grammar. Depending on our budget he will use either Rod and Staff Year 5 or First Language Lessons 3.

He has had a difficult time with doing lots of handwritten work. I think he might find diagramming a huge chore. We are changing our plans to Winston Grammar for now. I think the more hands on approach would serve him better. Plus, it's one of those non-leveled programs and he appreciates that.


I would prefer to use Spelling Workout D, but that is depending on budget/VA. If that is not an option, he will do studied dictation. I will pull the studied dictation from his assigned readings.

He may do both. I prefer a workbook because of the new baby.

We are going to try Spelling Power instead. I prefer curriculum that is reusable and can last a few grade levels. I can use Spelling Power with all the children and it lasts for all grade levels. There seems to be a little bit of prep, but it shouldn't be too overwhelming.

He worked very hard this year to get through two years of Math U See. He is catching up wonderfully. He has been in school twice. Those two times were very different from Math U See and we had to literally start over the last time. They used Everyday Mathematics which did not work well for him at all. Our goal is that he makes it to Algebra during High School.

I would like to see him get through MUS Epsilon and most of MUS Zeta this school year.

Optional Resources
Field Trips
Critical thinking press Mind Benders: Warm Ups A1, A2, A3, A4
Typing Program

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Peacemaker Grade 4

He is doing quite well this year. He needs to work on his confidence a bit. He is finally reading chapter books and I think that will help a lot this upcoming work. I really need him to be more independent.

He will be working through Story of the World 3 (1600-1850). He will do written narrations, mapwork, and notebook pages for each chapter.

He will keep track of important dates and people in his Book of Centuries.

Supplemental library materials (i.e. books and DVDs) will be available. He will keep track of these on his 6 week planner sheet and Goodreads.

Suggested memory work for the period are Declaration of Independence, First 12 Presidents of the United States, and Major Wars for the time period.

I will do my best to create some kind of notebook ahead of time for at least the first term.


I'm really considering having him do Life Science with his younger brother. The two of them really need to do more together. I think it could be a fun bonding experience for the two of them. They are both hands on learners. I just need to come up with something fun. I'm not sure how fun option 1 would be. This is another thing I'm waiting on budgeting to resolve. Bigger budget means more pre-packed experiments.

Option 1: The Well Trained Mind suggestions for Life Science. DK First Animal Encyclopedia, Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia, and Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs. Use these with the notebooking method suggested in TWTM.

Option 2: Real Science-4-kids

Option 3: Homemade Lessons using some KONOS units and library supplements.

Language Arts
I like the methods outlined in The Well Trained Mind, but they seem to work at a slower Charlotte Mason approach with my boys. I'm using the the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online for most of our Language Arts planning. As budget permits, I will add in suggestions from The Well Trained Mind, although at lower grade levels.

He will continue with Italics Handwriting. I would like to see him to start some cursive this year.

He will do copywork from his literature selections. Once he is comfortable with copywork, he will move onto studied dictation.

Budget permitting, I might purchase Writing with Ease level 2. If so, I will nix the previous copywork plans. They are included in WWE.

Assigned reading list will come from The Well Trained Mind for the time period 1600-1850 page 79. He will have free reading time, as well.

He will probably have some type of memory work for each month. Poetry or speeches from the time period are suggested in TWTM.

He will do a short period of oral reading for a parent. We need to keep up with him and make sure he is doing well.

I'm not sure if he is ready to study Grammar yet. At least the diagramming part. It might be too much work for him. If budget permits I might try First Language Lessons 3.

I do have First Language Lessons 1 & 2. I could pick and choose some basic lessons to give him a start on Grammar. Then allow him to perfect the skills of narration, copywork, and dictation.

I would prefer he use Spelling Workout B. I would like some workbooks this upcoming year. If the budget does not permit than spelling will be picked up as part of copywork, narrations, and dictations.

He will keep a list of trouble words. These he will go over at the beginning of each Spelling lesson.

Like his older brother, he will be using Spelling Power at his own level. I'm excited to find a curriculum that can be used by all children. It makes my life easier and it will last more than a year.

He will be moving on to the next level of Math U See. He may need to finish up two levels this year. It depends on what he accomplishes this summer.

Optional Resources
Field Trips
Critical thinking press Mind Benders: Warm Ups A1, A2, A3, A4
Typing Program

The Warrior Grade 1

These plans are for our third child. He will be in Grade 1 this year. I'm only listing what I have access to currently. We are waiting to see if we are accepted to a virtual academy. The VA would allow us more curriculum choices, field trips, and to join the YMCA.

He isn't reading yet. We are working on that over the summer. I doubt he will be able to read on his own next year. I'll add easy readers from the library as he develops those skills.

Read Alouds
I'll probably pull read alouds from the booklist for Ambleside Online 1.

Holling C. Holling Books
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
King of the Golden River by John Ruskin
Peter Pan (or, Peter Pan and Wendy) by James M. Barrie (parents may want to read this one aloud to edit, see below)
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pocahontas by Ingri D'Aulaire

English/Language Arts
We are following this scope and sequence from Ambleside Online
He will continue to work on phonics till he can read.
Oral narrations of most assigned readings.
Handwriting practice through copywork using Italics or my handwriting.
First Language Lessons 1.

Budget permitting I will purchase Complete Writer workbook 1, Spelling Workout A, Italics A. These would help me tremendously while trying to get used to a new baby.

Math U See Alpha

I'm not sure if he will go along with his siblings in History or not. If not I'll probably rely on the Ambleside Online readings. The older ones will be reading through Story of the World 3. I'll do written narrations of his History readings from whichever spine I use. He can illustrate these and put them in his notebook.

Story of the World 3
This Country of Ours

We might do some Memory work for U.S. History. Perhaps work on the presidents of the United States.

Science probably won't be a huge point this year. Reading is that most important point. I know little boys love Science though.

Option 1: The Well Trained Mind suggestions for Life Science. DK First Animal Encyclopedia, Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia, and Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs. Use these with the notebooking method suggested in TWTM.

Option 2: Real Science-4-kids

Option 3: Homemade Lessons using some KONOS units and library supplements.

2009-2010 Printables, Plans, and Goals TAKE 1

I'm going to start making strange posts to keep track of stuff I would like to plan for the upcoming year. I would like to print off what I need before the actual year, if not just 6 weeks at a time.

I'm going to get more notebooking going this year, too. We end up with scattered papers a lot and no real method to organize them.

I'm posting plans for each child, as well. I'll update them as we go along this summer according to budget restraints mostly.

We are on the waiting list for a virtual academy. So, that will really change how I plan for the year. The VA would allow us to purchase more curriculum especially workbooks that would make things easier to open and go. It would, also, give us the allowance to do some fun stuff like field trips and the YMCA. I will need to keep better track of what we are actually doing including insuring that goal hours are met.

Planning & Goals
I'm going to give the children a 6 week planner sheet at the beginning of the Term/quarter. That way they can do a check off each day. I'm going to use the form from Ambleside Classical. It's on the right hand column of the page and is for Openoffice. It's easy to use it for my own subjects/curriculum. I think I will use the boxes in the right hand corner for keeping track of books read, character traits, or inspirational quotes. If we join the VA, I will include a spot to keep track of hours. They are going to get it printed on their favorite color. The Prophet is red, The Peacemaker is Green, and The Warrior is blue.

Character and Habit Training
I can't believe I'm even considering it. But, we started discussing a chart of character qualities that I printed up. I'm not sharing it because I don't entirely agree with some of the families methods. The boys have responded really well. We did get some character lessons in when we used KONOS, but we haven't used that in the last few years. It's nice to have the chart because I don't think I could come up with a list like that on my own.

These free cards might be helpful. I can print them up and insert what they need to work on. But, I wouldn't have them earn anything for them. I can't keep up with reward systems.
I'm pretty certain we will use at least Story of the world 3 for the upcoming year. I've never had much luck using the Activity Guides. It seems to slow us down and I end up feeling guilty for not doing activities. Activities that my children never seem to enjoy.

I'm trying to decide if I want to do a History Notebook as described in The Well Trained Mind. My oldest is not fully at the Logic Stage yet and I think it would be to confusing to keep track of.

I have a good size set of History Scribe pages. I plan on printing those out to go along with some of the chapters. If I run out, I think I will utilize the Free History printables here. I like the looks of either the second one down on the left or the top middle one with the timeline. I would like to use google images and pull up images to use for notebooking, as well. I might throw in a few packs of "real" notebooking paper to liven things up a bit.

I've been wanting to start a Book of Centuries for years. But, we start and stop and loose the pages. I like the look of this one. I should probably put it on some nicer paper to make it more durable.

There was a lot of talk on the Well Trained Mind Forums about creating History notebooks. I'm not interested in binding anything. But, I would like to have everything prepared for the 6 week period. Anything that helps with keeping me from having to recall all the steps I want to take. I'm getting way to distracted with having all these kids and now there is going to be a baby. I know Peace Hill Press offers the notebooking pages from SOTW already printed up. We tried those with SOTW 1 and they didn't go over well. But, it's one of those things that I might consider if we join the virtual academy.

I love using these Story of the World planning sheets. I use them more as a log of what we read or notebooked during the week. I don't like planning supplemental materials. We never have the budget for extras. So, we depend on the library. I never know if we will enjoy something from the library or if it will even arrive around the time of study. It, also, lines up the 42 chapters into a "real" school year. I've been using the one for SOTW 2 and it's keeping me on track and giving me some focus.

I would like to do some sort of Life Science with the boys. We did a little introduction a few years back. But, they were really young then. It really depends on my budget constraints. I have Apologia General Science and I might start doing that with my oldest. I can stretch it out over two years.

Read Alouds

I might do notebooks for some of these. Here and Here are some samples. A narration per chapter.

This Country of Ours

Language Arts
Here is the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online.

We use Italics for Handwriting.

We started some copywork this year. I will continue with that for a bit in the summer and pick it up again during the school year. It made a huge difference in handwriting. I like the Italics because the boys are doing better with it. But, there isn't much practice in the workbooks.

I would like to start some studied dictation, as well. I think I might try with the oldest and see how it goes. I think it could do a lot to help with his writing skills.

I plan to start with First Language Lessons 1 for The Warrior. He needs to be reading well before we start. I'm looking at Rod and Staff or First Language Lessons 3 or 4, for the older two. Neither have done any formal grammar yet.

Nearing the end of our year

Washington weather is becoming so beautiful. We are not entirely up to where I would like us to all be. But, then again I didn't really have any written goals this year or really any years.

This summer we are going to finish up SOTW 2. I think I'm about done notebooking at this point. I think we will just read and discuss. I'll keep up a nice basket of library supplements.

The boys will continue on in Math since they are both "behind". The youngest will continue with reading lessons. I would love for him to have some basic reading skills since I will be so busy with the baby.

So, I probably won't be posting about our learning too much more. (Not that I've been consistent on that.) But, I will be using my blog to keep track of plans and goals for the upcoming year. We did well with adding more structure into our days. So, I'm hoping I can bump it up a notch this upcoming school year.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How about a May update...

so much for posting more. When do people find the time for that anyway?

So, it's going well. The boys are half way done with their new level of MUS. The prophet should be caught up by High School! The Peacemaker will be caught up by next year. I guess they just needed some time.

Handwriting is going well for both of them. Since, they both finished their books we are finally getting in more copywork. I love copywork. They may not, but it's so useful. I really wish I had been doing more of this all along. Next year there will be copywork for everyone. And, dictation for the oldest one.

The Warrior is really getting into reading. It's given us the opportunity to continue some speech work, as well. I've been hoping he will be reading by September, although I would love if he could "get it" by the time the baby comes in July. But, I may be overly hopeful with the last bit. He is still very interested in writing things down, so I think there is some kind of learning thing going on with using his hands.

So far, the Prophet is a reader, the Peacemaker is visual and artistic learner, and I'm wondering if the Warrior will need to write things down to get it. It's interesting to see how different they are.

We are implementing more of schedule/routine to our day. I've been using the scanner my mom gave me to make little packets of Math work, so they know exactly how much work they have this week. Overall school is going a lot better and we are learning a lot more. So, although I wasn't sure if doing more schoolish type work would go over well...I think we needed some time for it to sink in and find a plan we could take on.

We made it to SOTW 2, as well. We did quite a bit of Middle Ages stuff via KONOS when they were younger. I'm borrowing the book from the library and we are going through more chapters per week than normal. I would like to get into the SOTW 3 and SOTW 4 for my oldest in middle school. So, it seems like we are rushing. But, we are spending greater chunks of time on it during the day. We try to get a History Scribe or other notebook page and some copywork or narrations done for each chapter. Plus, we are reading an eyewitness book and discussing a lot. Things seem to be sticking enough. We dragged SOTW 1 out for almost 2 years and that was way too much.

I went ahead and ordered the new copy of The Well Trained Mind. I don't have a copy, so I always make notes and send it back to the library. But, I really think if this is going so well, that it would be nice to have something to reference back to. It got here right before Mother's Day which I thought was a good sign.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An April 2009 update

I've had the most amazing Braxton Hicks this pregnancy. I feel like I need to keep my legs together at all times. Sitting at my computer desk leaves me a bit breathless.

Neverless there is school getting done!


We are just getting into chapter 18 of Story of the World:Volume 1. I've been better at getting to the library and keeping our shelves full. Even our youngest is getting to enjoy history. Since, my 12 year old has little desire to color our 6 year old has taken over coloring sheets. He especially loves the gruesome ones.


For Apologia Science we are just starting the chapter on Mars. The boys are doing narrations for each reading. I've picked up supplemental library books and DVD's for the youngest.


The boys have post finished their Italics books for the year. I'm going to wait on ordering new ones till the summer. For now I'm going to really step up the written narrations and copywork. They didn't get much of that at younger stages and I think they need it.

The Prophet is not interested in Writing Strands at all. This is the second year and it's still not going over well. I'm giving up. I've been defeated. I liked it because it was pretty short and sweet. But, he doesn't end up with much writing accomplished. So, I'm having him do typed narrations of History and Science readings. He is doing copy work from his current reading book. He just started the Eragon series. I hope this gets him a bit more interested and comfortable. Next year we are going to start Grammar and cursive Italics. So, I think it would be good to boost his Writing Esteem a bit before then.

The Peacemaker is doing oral narrations, which I write and he copies. I wish this is something I did when he was younger. But, he was in public school for much of that time. They had the children writing in journals and not correcting their work. It was funny sometimes. But, I think it was detrimental for a child who wasn't reading well yet. He is doing wonderfully with his reading, btw. His confidence has soared and he doesn't put himself down when reading aloud.

I'm learning so much about my boys this year. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the Warrior for his upcoming Grade 1 year. It's allowed me to see where we have gotten behind and had to play catch up with the other boys. I've learned to utilize different methods to combine writing and reading skills in with different subjects. I'm getting better at combining children and working with my own "classroom". All in time for a new little one to come in an demand a new schedule.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday 5 March, 2009

The boys listened to me read 2 chapters from Swiss Family Robinson. As always we encountered some news words. They actually figured out what formidable means.

A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land.
We discussed Israel, honey bees & their disappearances & importance, growing crops, pesticides, organic growing, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and Industrial Farming.

Prophet worked on Math, read more from the Popcorn book and we did some online research to see if Cheerios was still the top cereal. Polled the rest of the family about what cereal they saw as the best and what they thought would be at the top.

Peacemaker worked on MUS & ETC.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Monday 2 March, 2009

Everyone did some Math today. We are going to try 3 days a week with more work each day. My boys are like their parents. They don't like doing the same thing everyday.

We finished up Chapter 14 of SOTW 1. I was thinking of doing projects...but honestly where to find the time? Perhaps this weekend we can do something with chapter 15. I found the blog of a family who does the projects. So, I thought they could at least see some and see what they think. We are actually a pretty creative family, but they hate when things are disguised as school. I'm not sure how to separate that. We use to have a lot of fun with projects. I don't know what happened. I still think it's the transitions of this year.

They all did some reading. Prophet from the popcorn book and a National Geographic. While Peacemaker read aloud from Bighorn Sheep. He really needs more everyday practice to get reading more regularly. I need him to be able to read and comprehend by himself.

They all listened while I read aloud from Swiss Family Robinson. Every time I pick up the book they comment on how the movie is nothing like the book.

They all made breakfast and lunch by themselves. At least, I can be happy to know they will not starve when they grow up.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Weekend Learning

Today the boys wondered...are cocoa beans fruit or vegetable? What are they?

They figured they were fruits and here is the answer. Chocolate is somehow a popular topic this week. I swear it's not because I'm pregnant.

I think they forgot about their bikes because they are off on another bike ride today. Link

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday 25 February, 2009

Prophet: Read from Why does Popcorn Pop? & worked on Lesson 2 of MUS Delta. He learned that Europeans like dark chocolate while Americans prefer milk chocolate. Mom prefers dark chocolate (they think it's because I was born in Europe) and they like milk chocolate.
Peacemaker: Worked on Lesson 5 from MUS Beta.
Warrior: Had Reading & Writing lesson with TOPGTR, flashcards, and white board.

The boys were observing the aquarium. We have just a few tadpoles left. But, the most interesting thing now is the snails. They were minuscule almost microscopic. Now they are huge. They realized the snail shells keep getting bigger and they must make their shells. So, we did some online research of that.

Here is Prophets book review:

Why Does Popcorn Pop Why Does Popcorn Pop by Don Voorhees

My review

I like the book. I like it because it tells me foods that I like. I like food a lot. It tells me what's the best chocolate to eat and how they make it.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning to Read

Here is Warrior learning to read. It started with just reading instruction, but he is very interested in writing, as well. Our older two attended public K and half of Grade 1. So, I have yet to enjoy reading and phonics instruction. Peacemaker really struggled with reading, so I figured I wouldn't even start with Warrior till maybe next year. Too my surprise he is interested and doing well. We are following The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. We use premade flashcards and he writes the letters on the white board, as well. I'm really going to use the white board and chalkboard more in our homeschooling. I can just take pictures and blog instead of trying to figure out what to do with all that paper. And, then he drew me a person and had me label the parts he called out.

Here are some of the curriculum we are using with him. This day we did get too far along in Singapore for his understanding. But, he does enjoy counting the pictures and writing his numbers on the whiteboard. I'm thinking about slowly introducing MUS Alpha to him (what we have used with his brothers), but I don't know how ready he is for that either. I think for now we will keep on counting and playing with our Pattern Blocks.

And, last of all a mozzarella string cheese stick for a snack. Because learning is hard work for boys.

Peacemaker Book Making

Peacemaker loves to make books. Here is his latest. (Sorry if pics are blurry, he took them. I had to show him how to hold the button down halfway to focus the shot. Honestly it took me a week before my husband had to show me to do the same thing.)

The book title is Attack of the Cat. It's a common theme around here as we happen to have a cat who is tiny, swift, brave, and sneaky.

August stalking something outside.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday February 16, 2009

The boys have being doing pretty well. It's a big adjustment to start doing more schoolwork around here. But, honestly they seem happier when they have regular schoolwork and routine. They are kinder to each other, too. Their imaginations actually work better. I often wonder if it's a boy thing. Boys need to move and get going.

The Prophet and the Peacemaker have both been finishing at least one lesson per week. I was finally able to get Prophet MUS Delta. I got it used and it cost me half the price since I didn't have to pay taxes and shipping on it. I actually would prefer to buy it new because I love MUS and want to support them. But, last month we barely had food to eat. God provides though and we all have food and the bills are paid for this month.

Warrior is working on some basic counting skills. We played with the Pattern blocks and Pattern Blocks Animals workbook. Pattern blocks are really fun and so useful. Every kid that visits likes them. He did some work in Singapore 1a with me, as well. We just used the textbook and he wrote the numbers on a whiteboard. I am amazed at how he wanted to work on it and would erase to fix the numbers.

We are going to actually finish Story of the World 1. Last year, we did up to chapter 11 in the activity guide and student pages. We finished the rest of the year by just listening to he DVD's, discussing them, reading a few more library books etc. We were so busy with the program we belonged to. So, I thought it wouldn't hurt to go through again. Nothing sticked with Peacemaker it seems, so I think it's a good idea. I had hoped Warrior might be interested in sitting with us, but alas it is too boring for him. I'm hoping it will be interesting in September when we start Story of the World 2.

This week will be starting Chapter 14 about Israel. Prophet starting reading National Geographic's Countries of the World:Israel. I'm going to encourage him to post his progress and reviews on Goodreads. I even wrote it down in my teacher's planner. I think it will be a nice change of pace for him. He will, also, do the SOTW student pages and about 4 sentences of written narrations for each SOTW section. I know it isn't much for his age and grade level. But, he just isn't ready yet for more (see below).

Peacemaker is listening to me read aloud SOTW. He gives me an oral narration. I write it down and he copies it. It really is helping with his retention.

Language Arts
Prophet is working through Writing Strands 3. We are compromising. He is writing for me. I am allowing him to write on amusing and non-conventional subjects such as video games and bodily functions. He is finishing up Italics C and has actually hit cursive. Yeah. It's only taken a year and half. He is on day 14 of Apples daily spelling drills. He hated this book last year, so I gave up on it. I decided to try again this month. It's not so bad now. It's been good because he didn't know when a lot of holidays were. He had to get the calendar out and look those up. I always mean to do calendar stuff with them, but never get to it...oops. I figure if I can get him doing enough writing through these workbooks and history narrations he will be more comfortable. I need him to be comfortable with his writing skills and penmanship so he can finally start Grammar this upcoming September. I think I have it whittled down to Winston Grammar for him.

Peacemaker is working on Italics B, Explode the Code 2, and First Language Lessons 1. He is whizzing through FLL and on lesson 12. I'm having him do copywork on definitions and probably will skip narration work. He has always done well with narrations and he is already doing them for History. He really struggled with reading. He went to public school for K and half of 1st. He seemed to be fine in K and had an awesome teacher. But, his 1st grade teacher was a horrible fit for him. I'm not sure he did anything but be worried and cry for 1st grade. So, it's really take him this long to get reading down. I think I'll keep him in the Explode the Code books. He is doing well with Level 2 and I think it's a good phonics reminder for him. Of what I can't in entirely figure out what he learned.

Warrior is working on the Ordinary Parents Guide to teaching reading. I like it so much better than Phonics Pathways. So, much I need to remember to sell that book. We are using flashcards we already have and our fridge magnets. We have those talking ones and I only gave him the ones he knows. That way he can play with them while we are in the kitchen. The boy has always been a music lover. So, anything with rhythm hooks him.

We are just finishing up chapter 5 on Earth in Apologia Astronomy. We aren't doing much more than reading because I haven't had the energy. We are reading Answers in Genesis magazine on alternating days. We do a lot of nature walks and canoe rides and live on 5 acres.

This last few weeks we have seen a huge sea lion (it sort of chased my husband and Peacemaker in the canoe), found a den site and two otters, a starfish, hermit crabs and snails, baby mussels, and two bald eagles. One of the eagles was at the beach. But, the other is one that flys by our house every morning. Yesterday it landed out at the edge of the pond and played in the water. It was amazing. I wish we had a zoom lens on our digital camera.

Other being social and part of a community
Today the boys did a bit of schoolwork and then helped out my Grandma and mom. Prophet cleaned the main entrance doors with vinegar. We live in my parents duplex (they own both sections) and we have an inside hallway that leads upstairs to them. It's nice because you don't have to go outside on a cold day. It's not so nice because the huge double doors get moldy because of the cold Washington air. Prophet is does not like to get his hands dirty, so we are really proud to have him help out like that. I think it's important for the boys to do their part.

Peacemaker went shopping with my Grandma, his Great Grandma. She is in her mid-80's now and really short. So, getting stuff off the shelves and on the belt is difficult. My mom or Aunt usually does it, but my mom realized she could send Peacemaker. He love to help at the grocery store and is well behaved. So, he earned a little extra money and got a nice bonding time. I remember going shopping with my Grandma when I was little, so it's fun to think of the two of them. He brought back some apples and caramel stuff for making caramel apples.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reading Trails & giving into the flow of homeschooling

We just signed up for Reading Trails and created our own Trail. I inserted the widget at the bottom of the blog because it won't show up completely in the side bar. I guess it's possible if you have a larger screen, but it's really annoying on mine.


It is for United States History using Abraham Lincoln's World by Genevieve Foster published by Beautiful Feet Books. We were using it as part of Ambleside Online Year 5. But, I've just had so little energy to keep up with using a separate schedule for the two older boys. I've decided to just use the books we like and check out extra books from the library. We seem to gravitate back to that sort of learning no matter what we try to do. So, I should probably just figure that is our style and give in.

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