Saturday, December 31, 2011
Ok, I'll admit it.... I'm a copy cat. I have seen a few blogs doing a year in review post, and I thought it was a good ideas - so here we go.
This time last year, Delta was 7, Echo was almost 5, Foxtrot was 2 and a half, and Golf was only 6 months old. Also grandkids: Zulu was 7 and a half, and Yankee was 1 and a half. We were doing a mostly AO program with some modifications from Milestones Academy, Simply Charlotte Mason, and my own Canadian additions.
Now they are all a year older (ok, duh...). Delta has been baptized and is in Cubs. Echo has joined Beavers. Foxtrot is learning to read with "Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons" and doing a bit of math with RightStart Level A. And Golf just started walking a couple of days before Christmas, is saying some words, signs more, and is continually asking me to put on "Baby Signing Time".
Here are the Top 5 posts for the year (based on the stats)
Canadian History Plan - Updated!
History - Familiy Rotation
Help - History Year 1
This Country Of Ours
hm - makes me think people are looking at the curriculum posts the most!
The Top 2 Pages are
The top Referring URL's (since Maple Hill Academy opened) have been:
See Jamie Blog
Actually, I think Simply Charlotte Mason would rate higher, but it looks like theirs is broken down based on the forum topics that referred to here.
And looking at the year....
We tried the Accountable Kids program in Helpful Changes
I updated the History Plan for Canadian History
We visited the Fire Station!
This was a busy month on the blog!
Changed our entire homeschool plan from mostly AO to our own plan
I modified the Scripture Memory Box idea to work better for our family
Info on combining the family for various subjects
Foxtrot turned 3!
I started looking at changing our Math to RightStart
I dreamed about a bunk room!
Delta started Cubs and learned to sew on buttons and badges.
Delta turned 8 and got Baptized, and we started a different Handwriting program
I showed off the maps that Delta and Echo drew.
We added in ASL to our school, and started work on a new plan for Devotions
There were a LOT of changes this year, and I'm looking forward to next year!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Note that at this time, this is a semi-finished draft. This study is an update of a study plan made by Michelle Duker, being updated to use the current Gospel Principles manual, as well as give picture references to the Gospel Art Book.
At this time, I haven't checked things like page numbers in other resources, or looked for newer Friend Articles, or done searches for other resources.
Note that older children could look up more of the Scripture References in the lessons, including the Additional Scriptures.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
So far this school year, I have jumped around a bit in our devotions, trying to find the best fit for our family at this time and stage in our life. I have found (with a fair bit of searching) a great resource that I think will work well, and am looking forward to starting it.
Michelle Duker, many years ago, created a study plan for children based on the Gospel Principles manual that is used for new members of the church. This plan includes - a scripture to memorize (generally over 2 weeks) parts of the lesson to read each day, a scripture each day, and songs from the Children's Songbook to sing. The plans for Fridays generally have other materials that reinforce the lesson from resources like The Friend or the Scripture Stories books. For most lessons there is a picture from the Gospel Art Picture Kit to display.
However, recently the Gospel Principles Handbook was updated, and the Gospel Art Picture Kit is no longer sold (although it is available online). I knew that I would need to do a little work to update the plans.
As it turns out, Michelle is a member of an online homeschooling forum to which I belong, and has graciously agreed that I could post my updated lesson plans online in the hopes it might benefit others.
I am debating posting lessons as I update them, or doing all the updates, and then posting a final plan. Do my readers have a preference?
And for those that would like to see the original plans, or who would rather use the older version of the manual, here is the original: http://www.schoolofabraham.com/gospelprinciples.htm
Intro, and Lessons 1-10
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Well, in case you would like a change from all the Christmas posts on the blogs you read, I thought I'd write about us adding Sign Language to the many things we are learning.
Years and years ago, I took ASL (American Sign Language) classes with my sister. We learned a fair bit, although we certainly never became fluent!
Then when Delta was born, I read about Baby Sign and the benefits found using Sign Language with hearing babies. So I did some Baby Sign (ASL signs - note that some Baby Sign systems do NOT use ASL signs) with each of my children. I will admit that we never had babies that could sign a hundred signs or anything like that. But each child learned signs helpful to me... "More", "All Done", "Eat", "Milk", "Diaper", and then usually a couple of signs that interested the child. When Foxtrot was a baby, we took a Baby Signing class, and Delta and Echo (and I ) took a Signing class for toddlers, where they learned more signs, like the colors, animals, and some foods.
And there I left it.
Now Golf has been learning baby sign language, and the older children have gotten interested. So, I checked our library, and discovered it had the "Signing Time" videos (which we had occasionally watched on TV - but they are no longer on TV here.) They also had some "Baby Signing Time" videos, so I took those out.
I have to say - WOW. Golf is really starting to sign. She will sign many of the words while we are watching the video.... and watching 2 videos just a couple of times - she is signing more in general. She asked for a banana yesterday by signing. Today she also asked..... to watch "Baby Signing Time". She signed "More" "Baby" "Signing" "Time". Hey - that is a whole sentence!
Here is a video of Golf signing Baby. She usually signs "signing" as well, but didn't when I was filming her. (If you turn up the sound, you can hear the Baby Signing Time opening song in the background.)
I have had people ask me if teaching babies sign language slows down their speech. Research has shown that if anything, it speeds up their speaking. In fact, some speech therapists recommend using baby sign with children that are having problems speaking. In our family, we have used baby sign with all our children. One was late in speaking (that child had their speech evaluated and was at the very low side of normal - requiring no therapy.) One was talking so fluently at a young age that people thought they were a year older than they were. Another was also very fluent very young. And of course, Golf is still learning.
I am still trying to decide how to approach adding ASL to our school. We are watching the Signing Time videos for now. I will probably work out something more with this free resource - http://www.lifeprint.com/index.htm
Also, the Sign Language Phrase Book (picture at top of blog) is very good for learning phrases and has a fantastic chapter on ASL grammar (which is NOT the same as English Grammar).
Friday, December 2, 2011
So another week has gone by... and how did it go?
Well, on Monday, Delta and I were both sick, so we cancelled our violin lessons and swim lessons for the day.
Tuesday - I still wasn't feeling well. Echo got sick that evening (all over the bed, our leap pad, the bedroom floor, oh yeah, and her sister!) She also got sick all over the bathroom floor right after. So I had 2 girls in the shower, extra laundry, a floor to cleanup (thanks for the carpet cleaner!!!) and the leappad to cleanup, as well as the book (leappad still works).... oh, remember at the start that I still wasn't feeling well??
Wednesday - Well, I'm still not feeling well, but as the kids seem ok, and we had already missed a week of school (we missed some days last week too...) we did some basic school. Following the trend - that night it was time for Foxtrot to get sick. (See a pattern?) She came out from bed (waking me up) saying she was wet. Her clothes weren't wet and she didn't need a change, so I started to get a little upset and sent her to bed, while I "used the facilities".... then my nose detected a problem as I passed their room and so I turned on their light.... sure enough, she had been sick in bed. So I managed to handle a sheet change without waking up everyone else in the room.
Thursday - So.... who here hasn't been sick? That's right... it was Golf's turn to be sick.
Friday - well, I'm starting to feel a bit better - or at least my symptoms are different...... I'd have been tempted to try to get SOME schoolwork done, but Zulu was here for the day. (A PD day at his school.)
Oh well - guess we will just cross this week off and start fresh on Monday.
It could have been worse.......
My brother phoned, he was in Ontario where our ancestors lived, and called to say he was going to the cemetery to take some pictures, and what people did he need to look for? So I checked in our records and gave him a few names. There was a couple of children in the family (ages 8 and 13) that had the same Burial Date in 1841. My brother said, "Oh yeah, they had an epidemic there in 1841.... small pox or influenza or something like that.... it was in that local history book I read"
I am grateful to live in an age where everyone getting sick in the house just causes us to miss out on some schoolwork.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Things have been pretty busy here - and I think we all have had the flu the last couple of days... sigh.
Anyway, I went to the library, and I thought you might be interested in what we picked up....
- It appears that our Library has picked up the "Little Pim" DVD's for German. I've picked up 3 to see what I think of the program. It is for ages 0-5, so that gets a few of my kids in... We happened to get volumes 4-6 (the ones sitting at the library) so I don't know if it will be too hard with not seeing 1-3 first, or if it really won't matter. I have wondered about that program, so I'm thrilled to get to see these DVD's
- I grabbed a couple of Baby Signing Time and 1 Signing Time DVD. We have decided to add ASL into our little homeschool (Delta and Echo took a preschool course, and Foxtrot took a baby sign course with me ages ago - so they know a little) I took what was available at the library I visited, but there are several in the system.
- I also grabbed "The American Sign Language Phrase Book" by Lou Fant. I remember we used a book by him as an extra book years ago when I took sign language
- The Elements - A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. We have been learning about Elements recently, so this is a nice extra book to look through. I find it interesting that Delta loves the Element Gold.... Rich tastes?
- A few books for reading time - "Corduroy", "Ferdinand", "Harry the Dirty Dog"
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
There have been times when for whatever reason, sickness or other things, that mom just isn't available for school. I have come to realize that a bit of preparation ahead of time can let the children still do some school. Of course, the older the children are, the more independent they can be - but at the same time, there are things that even younger children can do.
Here are some suggestions of things to do that I can try to remember.
First - helping mom. Fetching things, helping with meals, doing some basic watching of toddlers/infants.
Devotion - singing a few church songs. We have the animated Scripture videos (well, many of them) - so this is a nice easy change in routine.
Math - if doing RS, this is a good day for math games. Pick one of the math games your kids enjoy, with skills that they are fairly good at (but could use a bit more practice) - and let them play. If not doing RS, or for a variation, let them do Khan Academy on the computer. For slightly older, I have heard of Timez Attack - but we haven't tried it yet.
Writing - select (or have them select) some copywork.
Reading - let them pick a book to do some reading from to themselves. Have them read to the toddler or baby. They can read to mom too.
Science - they could read from a science book... or watch a science video. With a few minutes to setup, they could watch videos from "The periodic table of videos" (on the internet), or watch a good science video on netflix or the TV. Delta likes the Planets.
History - read a book again - or watch a video as well. Delta likes the Naked Archeologist.
Music - put on some music to listen to while they read or play. For instrument practice, have them "serenade" mom with review songs.
Foreign Language - Have them watch a "First Steps" video, or watch a movie or something in the target language. For German - could setup Sesamastrauss (sp?) on Youtube. (I sure wish our movies had a German option.... French or Spanish gives more options for movies to watch, as most of our DVD's have one or both)
General - Let them play educational computer games. (We have various Reader Rabbit games)
Most of those just take a few minutes to setup, then mom can be sick on the couch for quite a while. Although not as good as a regular day at school, it is better than the "turn on the kid shows on TV" option. Mind you, there may be days when that is all you can do...
oh, in case you are wondering - I'm not sick. A couple of days ago I had something very important I HAD to take care of during school time. I set the timer and would do my work for 15 to 30 minutes, having the kids work on various things from my list above - then I would set them up with something else, as I worked again with the timer. I got what I NEEDED to get done, and the children still got some schooling done. I don't advocate doing it often of course, but when you must.....
Monday, November 14, 2011
Here is a "Being Real" post... I admit at times that I tend to post only the good things happening in our lives and our school... the things where we are doing well. But of course, that is only part of the story - so here is a post about some of the other things.
At times I get frustrated with my attempts at Habit training. Charlotte Mason said:
"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. All day she is crying out, ‘Do this!’ and they do it not; ‘Do that!’ and they do the other” (Vol. 1, pp. 135, 136).I have been working on habits with my children since I first heard about Charlotte Mason about 5 years ago. Yet, I realize that I have become the 2nd mother, not the one with the smooth and easy days. Perhaps it is partly because my children are still young - but I don't think so. I know that CM said not to excuse children because of youth - and that they will not "grow out" of bad habits. No, I think the problem comes down to a combination of 3 things.
First - I'm not totally sure of what I am doing. The longer I am a mom, the less I know about raising children. Ok, that isn't true - I just REALIZE how much I don't know. The examples that CM gives in her books about instilling habits just seem so hard to implement. Like the story about the boy with temper tantrums.... diverting the child's thought to something pleasant BEFORE the tantrum starts... just that exact moment that a tantrum is about to happen but before the child has had the thought. Well, with 4 children, I can't see that I can discern that exact moment for each possible tantrum..... and the ones that I know are about to happen are generally because I am telling them "no" for something they want, or asking them to do a job they don't want to do.... very different from the example given. Not that my kids have tantrums all the time - but they do occur. In any case, I am sure that my techniques just aren't quite right. We are supposed to follow through and make sure the habit is done - but WITHOUT Nagging. I haven't gotten this worked out on how one DOES that.
Second - Consistency. Oh, that is a problem. A system isn't seeming to work, and I give up on it. How does one know when keeping at something longer will end up working, or that the reality is just that what I'm trying would never work for anyone? CM also warns about letting the child off "just this once"... and that this is prone to be allowed by a mother just before the habit is formed because the child has been "doing so well". Ah, I think I am prone to letting them off "just this once" not because of sympathy for my children - but because of tiredness in myself... it is energy for me to call them back to see the habit done. CM says that teaching habits becomes a habit in the mother.... I guess I'm letting myself off before THAT habit is formed.
Third - My habits. As is true of everyone - I am a creature of habit. And I have already seen that some of my habits are not helping me habit-train my children. I'm not going to go into all my bad habits for the world to see... but I must say that I know they are a definite issue. Yet I feel at a loss to change my habits for longer than a very short time. Yet this makes me see the real need for habit training for my children, so they won't have similar struggles. It is a conundrum that I have been, as yet, unable to solve.
I find homeschooling harder without the habits in place. Some have counselled to do less school while focusing on habits, which is something of which I see the merit. But - as I've been working on the same basic habits without success for 5 years, I also feel that I can not be putting off school for habit training that seems to be getting nowhere. Another problem to solve.
May my kids thrive in spite of my faults and weaknesses!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
We have been working on Cartography over the last term, and I am impressed with the results. What a great way to learn geography! With a little coaching Delta and Echo have been creating amazing maps - and they seem to remember more about what they have drawn than just looking at the maps.
So far we have done a simple map showing just the Equator and Prime Meridian, then a map showing the placement of the continents.
This last week, they completed a map of Africa, and I am still so proud over it.
Here is Delta's Map. Note that the scanner has emphasized the strokes of the pencil crayons more than the originals did.
|Delta's Map (age 8)|
And here is Echo's Map. I did the labeling for her, but she did all the drawing.
|Echo's Map (Age 5)|
On other subjects, it was solo day recently for Suzuki violin. Unfortunately, my camera decided to "hang" while I was taping the solos, so I don't have them to post for your enjoyment. It is kind of interesting seeing a camera hang... one minute it was busily taping Echo, and the next nothing was changing on the screen. I kept "taping" in case it was still recording. Then when I tried to turn it off, it wouldn't shut off until I popped out the battery. And then when I tried to use it again, It gave me "read error". Fortunately, erasing the bad file of the movie it hung on while filming (using the computer at home) has cleared up the read error, and hopefully all is well.
Halloween also went well. I got out my old scouting/guiding uniform collection to use as costumes this year, which seemed to be very well received at the doors while trick-or-treating. The uniforms are from about 30-40 years ago, so it made them old time scouts/guides. I am amazed that apparently one little girl about age 8 or so about 30 years ago was so petite that Foxtrot (3 years old) could wear her dress! I don't have kids that are that big! Actually it was the same with the other uniforms. Echo (5) wore a dress that a 10 or 11 year old would have worn, and Delta at 8 wore a scout shirt that an 11 or 12 year old would have worn. We now have lots of candy that the kids are enjoying (and mom sometimes too) - that I really am not sure what to do with. It also turned out the be the first Halloween in my memory that we didn't need to wear big winter coats... although I had fall coats in the stroller, the kids didn't even put them on the whole evening. Just as we arrived back home, it even started to rain!
|Scout, Guide, Brownie|
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Well, after me personally loving Peterson Directed Handwriting - I came to realize that we needed a change. Delta has been learning Cursive since Year 1 (starting with Cursive First, then adding in Pencil Pete, then changing to Peterson) - and whenever he needed to write anything other than copywork - he used a print that he was never taught. On top of it, I had been working with Echo on doing the cursive for Peterson for months and months - and was unable to get a legible letter from her.
So I started the research again.
Well, looking at Penny Gardner's book Italics: Beautiful Handwriting for children... the handwriting looked familiar. I remembered years and years ago, when I was about 10 - my mom had some book on calligraphy - but in it was how to write beautifully in your everyday writing. I realized that the "font" was very similar. I had taught myself that writing back then - and so my handwriting is a mish-mash of the cursive taught in school, and the italics I learned all those years ago.
I looked at the samples in the book, and the videos available from Penny Gardner's website- and liked the simple approach to teaching. It is very inexpensive, so we are giving it a try. The kids seem to like video lessons, so I'm letting Penny teach my children. We have done 3 lessons, and I'm happy to say that Echo is making beautiful, legible letters. Delta is happy with it too. I like that we can later add the joins to do an italic-cursive writing. We will have to see if this translates to better everyday writing.
I also found various other resources for italic handwriting. The other main resource the letters are formed slightly differently (and looks a bit nicer in my opinion...) but I'm happy with Penny Gardner's version. One great thing I found was a font (for the print version) - and a program that adds in the joins (for the cursive version.) - this will let me make my own copywork when desired.
So, here are the resources:
http://briem.net/ - the other main resource. Has things like desk strips, basic lessons, warm up's. Also the font/program. I can't link to the sub-pages, so explore it yourself. The font is under "The Italic Project", "Teaching Aids", "Software" - then look at each page under there to download, and get instructions on how to use it.
http://www.pennygardner.com/italicsbk.html - Penny Gardner's ebook to teach italics. This site also has links for the videos.
Monday, October 17, 2011
|Delta in his baptismal clothes|
His little sisters are really looking up at him. Foxtrot (age 3) has told me several times that she wants to get baptized. I'm sure that another 5 years seems like forever for her.
I think that Delta is working hard to live up to his baptismal covenants too. He is being even more helpful around the house.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Here is a list of what we are doing this year. I plan to add in other options and other years....
Boy of the Pyramid
Pyramid by David Macaulay
The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War
Our Little Spartan Cousin of Long Ago
Our Little Roman Cousin of Long Ago
Pompeii... Buried Alive!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Delta started cubs last week, and we have gotten him a uniform. Scouts Canada has changed uniforms this year, so he has a brand new cub shirt. (In case you are wondering, he will do cubs with our church unit, but he will also do Timber Wolves with BPSA).
|Delta Sewing on his Badge|
|Badge Sewn On|
Here is Foxtrot singing "Yellow is the Sun"
We are also enjoying reading "Boy of the Pyramids". Yes, we ended up doing Ancients again.
Now if I can just get my habits going better, so that I can help the children with theirs!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
(Hm - I seemed to have accidently deleted this post.... trying to recreate the general idea of it.)
Well, another first day of school has arrived, and we are excited. We are going to be doing more family studies now that Echo is starting Grade 1, and there are some changes in our program that I hope will work out well!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Well, here is a blog with the Bunk Room of my dreams... (Although we would need a girl version...)
[somehow the date got changed on this post...]
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Penny Gardner Storied Scriptures
Scripture Memorizations (your choice)
Reading from Church Magazines
Singing Primary Song (Select 1 per month. Can also sing in Foreign Language or ASL)
NATURE STUDY - Can do the Nature Challenge from here. Note that this is the most important science to do at this age range!
("Pocket Full of Pinecones" - Karen Andreola as a reference/inspiration for parent)
See Maple Hill posts on teaching reading
Christian Nature Reader Books at appropriate level - for science as well as reading practice)
We strongly recommend the Mathmatics Enhancement Programme
Another free choice is Khan Academy which is nice for a little change, but can also be a stand-alone online program.
We are doing German, but do what makes sense for you. There are free lessons here for Spanish, French, and German. Also recommend getting a few fairy-tales with Audio CD to read over and over.
My Very First Little German Book
This list is going to be a lot more flexible, and is currently "under construction". We will be mostly choosing books from various lists. I might not have the entire plan for the year worked out ahead. Here are some things I definitely want to do...
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (Nesbit) and Tales from Shakespeare (Lamb) - 9 per year
Writing/Copywork: - done independently
Peterson Directed Handwriting
Selected copywork from readings/scriptures/etc.
Draw Write Now series
1-2-3 Draw books by Freddie Levin - pick 3 or 4,
Drawing with Children
Basic Observation Drawing - some resources
Music(read how-to) [note this How-to is on Milestones Academy]
Recommended - Violin, Piano OR Recorder (inexpensive) OR other similar instruments
Do NOT start more than one instrument at once! We have been doing Suzuki Violin for three or four years before getting to year 1!
- Suzuki Violin [we do this with an instructor ] Recommended Resource "Step-by-Step" series by Kerstin Wartberg
- Suzuki Piano [we do this without an instructor] Recommended Resource "Studying Suzuki Piano: More than Music" by Bigler and Lloyd-Watts
another option is My First Piano Adventures - Information and Video Lesson Guide here!
option for a very inexpensive music alternative, or for the parent that is too uncomfortable trying to teach something else on their own...
Nine-Note Recorder method [note, we haven't tried this yet]
Similar instruction in another instrument. (ie, Suzuki Cello)
Scouting Plan for their age