Thursday, August 31, 2006
Week 3, Thursday
Yesterday was Colin's enrichment day. He learned more about the 5 senses, cut, pasted, colored, drew a flower on the computer, played with a big parachute in PE, and did something in music that he can't recall.

Nate practiced remembering his full name and address.

Today the boys watched the Atelier lesson in the morning and then we met a friend and her baby at the mall for a visit and lunch. The boys had fun helping D pick out some simple toys for her baby and were careful to try and choose things that they thought would be fun for a 3 month old. Colin kept asking "So, what is it that B likes best? How do you keep him happy?" It was very cute.

After lunch, we headed to the gym where they played in the kid center for a while before we swam for 2 hours.

We stopped at a fabric store for remnants to do this week's art lesson and talked about different textures. We talked about measurements as Nate decided we HAD to get some fabric to make a lamb, and there weren't any appropriate remnants.

Then, home for dinner and On the Banks of Plum Creek.

posted at 6:53 PM

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Week 3, Tuesday
The day started with our nature journals - we decided to go in the front yard this time. Colin drew a blossom from the bird of paradise and the tree in the front yard, Nate drew a rock, I drew the tree trunk from our tree. As usual, I wrote out their narrations.

We moved inside and Colin worked on a time worksheet. This time he wrote out the full time, instead of just filling in the number for "o'clock". He did great and I know he's ready to move on to 15 and 45 minutes past.

While Colin worked on that, Nate worked with a set of art ABC blocks. He is working on learning to recognize all the letters and these blocks seemed to help a great deal. The more active he is, the better he learns. He loved the fact that he is getting better at recognizing the letters, and I still think it's funny that he knows the sound each letter makes, just not what it looks like.

Colin read Level 1, Book 6 in the Little Folks Phonics program. Stumbled a bit over the word "have" since it doesn't follow the silent 'e' / long vowel preceding rule. Otherwise he did great. His reading imprvoes everyday.

Both boys then played with the blocks and added more blocks in to build structures.

Colin needed to find something for the "guessing can" he was sent home with last week at the enrichment program. He was also supposed to think up 3 clues and bring those as well. He thought up 3 clues, I wrote them out, and then had him copy the clues and practice reading them. On his own, he then decided to do some copywork using a book of fairy tales.

Nate was excited that he had successfully recognized 5 letters and we were able to add stickers to his ABC achievement chart. He spent some time looking at different things trying to find more letters.

Nate decided to work on the Number Practice Workbook that he declined to do yesterday.

posted at 6:43 PM

Monday, August 28, 2006
Week 3, Monday
I made a worksheet that listed the numbers 0 - 10 in boxes and gave them to the boys with a few sheets of stickers. They counted out the correct number of stickers to go into each box, and got a bit creative when the stickers were too big to fit in the space I allowed. They both did great at this activity, and had fun using the stickers their grandparents sent last week.

I read the first chapter from The Little Book of Saints, Volume 1, Circle of our Days and 2 books from the Tonka Emergency Vehicles series.

Colin read (on his own) Dune Bug and Hop On, Hop Off for his reading chart reading. He also read Books 4 & 5, Level 1 from the CHC Phonics program.

He successfully completed a time worksheet where he had to fill in the "X" o'clock after looking at analog clocks. He had no problem at all.

He worked on pages 3 - 5 from the Little Folks Number Practice, which was only about the number one. Very simple for him. Nate declined to work in his workbook.

Both boys built a castle with legos and drew pictures using stickers, pens, stamps and crayons. Colin created another number matching worksheet on his own. They played outside. They ran errands to the library (Colin chose a few more easy phonics books) and taking the cans to the recycling machine.

Their aunt came over late afternoon and she, Colin & I played a dice game. We each threw 2 dice, Colin added up each pair and announced who won based on the highest number. He was often able to determine the winner by just looking at the dice, but I had him practice his addition skills and add up each pair.

posted at 6:16 PM

Friday, August 25, 2006
Week Two, Friday
Colin finished the Level 2 set of Bob Books by reading Books 11 & 12. We will go through them again next week so he can read them more comfortably, but he is doing extremely well.

Both boys practiced writing their first and last names. Colin practiced upper & lower case letters, Nate wrote with all upper case.

They visited with a friend while I was at the dentist earlier and learned about birds, since they were watching a parakeet. They also played with bubbles, and jumped on the trampoline.

They played with their LeapPads. Worked on reading, phonics and some number skills.

They practiced jumping rope and Colin can do a couple revolutions with the jump rope.

We looked at the time in Kuwait vs. our local time.

posted at 5:40 PM

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Week Two, Thursday
Atelier's 2nd art lesson was covered today. I set up the portable dvd player on the kitchen island so they could watch the lesson and paint at the same time. It worked pretty well. They learned about primary and secondary colors. The painting provided for inspiration this week was one of Pablo Picasso's "Hands with Bouquet."

Both boys reviewed their flashcards of the letters M - Z and colored in the pictures on each flashcard.

Colin read 2 Bob Books today -- Level 2, books 9 & 10

While at lunch, Colin covered a piece of paper writing rhyming words that he knows. Cat, Hat, Bat, etc. Pop, hop, lop, etc. He also practiced lower case b's and d's since he has a hard time telling the difference.

We spent more time reviewing time -- still working on the hour vs half hour concept.

posted at 7:48 PM

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Week Two, Wednesday
Today was Colin's day at E. He learned about the 5 senses and had the chance to do a lot of cutting and gluing (which he enjoys.)

Nate practiced letters M - Z using his flashcards.

They both played t-ball in the evening. This was their first game and both boys did great.

posted at 7:47 PM

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Week Two, Tuesday
We started our morning writing in our nature journals. Nate drew some grass, and an ant, which turned into a tornado. Colin drew a striped bird (a mickey hawk), ants, ant homes and clouds. I attempted to sketch our elephant food plant.

It was wet in the yard from the violent storm we had yesterday, so the boys also enjoyed stomping in the mud and exploring the changed landscape of our yard. Some time was also spent grieving over the play fort, which was literally lifted and turned more than 90 degrees -- ripping off the slide & ladder in the process.

Colin read Level 1, Book 3 from the CHC phonics program.

We started learning about time. We went over concepts of day / night, seconds / minutes / hours. Nate lost interest about this time and went off to play. We continued by reviewing a clock face and learning the minute / hour hands. Some practice of telling time on the hour ensued. We counted by 5's and then practiced telling time on the 1/2 hours. Completed 3 pages in the MCP workbook about time; including writing the numbers on a blank clock face. Looked at the difference between digital and analog clocks and practiced matching time between the 2. After spending almost an hour, I decided it was time to finish up and Colin asked "Aren't we going to do anything trickier??" I promised him I'd try to find him something trickier for tomorrow. LOL

posted at 12:36 PM

Monday, August 21, 2006
Week Two, Monday
Today Bo was home, so we planned to have lunch out and visit the Air Museum in Waukesha. Colin went with him to run errands and drop off his paperwork in the morning, and we had a nice lunch at Crackers & Co. We headed over to the museum, to find out that it is open Wed - Sun during the summer months. I wish they had updated their website with that information! The boys were very disappointed, but I think we'll try again on Sunday.

Colin read the Level 1, Book 2 from the CHC phonics program and also read "I Howl, I Growl" on his own. Both boys worked on finding words that started with the letter "A" (what was supposed to be a lead-in to the air museum!)

We read a bunch of other books during the day (I'm updating Library Thing as I read books that aren't already listed there.)

posted at 9:56 AM

Saturday, August 19, 2006
Week One, Saturday
Colin read the 8th Bob Book with no problem. He wants a new Leapster game, so I've told him that when he reads 25 books from our bookshelves on his own - we'll get him a new Leapster game. Nate will earn a new Leapster game when he successfully can identify each letter of the alphabet on a regular basis.

Colin went through his math workbook and we're on page 80. That seems crazy --- but there was a lot of repetition and mostly review of the numbers 0 - 12 (counting, writing, recognition, etc.) He still needs to work on writing his numbers neatly, but he understands the concepts covered just fine. I did not have him complete 5 pages of counting groups of 0 - 5 items - once it was clear that he could do it, we moved on. We're going to start learning how to tell time next week. The workbook only has about 5 workbook pages about telling time - so I will supplement with free worksheets from the internet and lots of practice. We have a puzzle clock, a couple small plastic clocks and both boys recently got analog watches.

Nate worked on a pre-writing tracing book and also in a book of simple mazes.

posted at 12:56 PM

Friday, August 18, 2006
Week One, Friday
Today I had a planning meeting for the mom's group I started at our parish. The boys & I spent the morning cleaning house, then we had 3 other moms and 2 kids come over around noon for lunch and meeting / play.

Everyone left around 3:30, so I popped a Jeff Corwin dvd into the player and the boys are learning about wildlife in Lousiana. We'll call that a day!

We did much more yesterday than I had planned on, so we are caught up for the week I planned (actually ahead a bit considering Colin's reading). I'm still trying to decide if we're going to school on Saturdays and take Sunday & Monday as our weekend to match up with Bo. It also looks like we'll have plans most Fridays between the Sacred Heart group and my mom's group . . . so it might make sense to plan on Fridays as mostly a free / outside activity day.

posted at 3:41 PM

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Week One, Thursday
Ok, I need to figure out some better headings for these posts . . .

Today we did the first lesson from the dvd art program. The boys were enthralled and really enjoyed the process. They learned about lines, and created patterned caterpillars. We watched the lesson, pausing along the way as necessary, while they worked in the living room. When they were finished, Colin wanted to move on to the next lesson, and was disappointed when I told him we'd do Lesson 2 next Thursday.

Colin easily read Books 4 - 7 from Set 2 set of Bob Books.

Both boys practiced writing the numbers 1 & 2. Colin continued practicing numbers 3-5 and also the upper and lower case letters of A - H. They used lined chalkboards for this practice. Nate works as long as he is interested, and then is free to do something else. This is a pre-K year for him, so there is no pushing involved.

Today, they also created things with playdough, did a lot more drawing (including drawing on very large sheets of packing paper), created a shadow play in the dark laundryroom, played catch outside, and are currently creating a zoo with their small, plastic animals.

posted at 2:39 PM

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Week One, Wednesday
Colin spent the day at E. He enjoyed his first day and had fun. He's in a class of only 12 other children, which I think is a nice number. He said he didn't have time to finish his lunch - and was starving when I picked him up. I thought ahead and brought him a snack to eat in the car. Wednesdays are going to be extra-busy until October because both boys play t-ball Wednesday nights (as well as Saturday mornings), but I think he'll do fine.

Nate made various items with play-dough, practiced counting to 60, and looked briefly at his letter flashcards. He also came with us to choose which trees we wanted for our yard and learned the names of the trees we purchased.

Tomorrow is probably going to be a slow day.

posted at 8:50 PM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Week One, Tuesday
Before Nate woke this morning, Colin and I got through the first 17 pages of his math workbook (very simple pages of patterns, understanding over/under/first/last, etc.) The biggest thing from that work was the page listing 8 white crayons with different color names written on them. After a short protest, he read each color name on his own and colored them in correctly!

We also went through flash cards G - L.

When Nate woke, we went outside to start our nature journals. I attempted to draw a watermelon leaf, Nate sketched some of our flagstone and Colin sketched a few ants. They then narrated their entries to me and I transcribed the info into their journals. They colored a bit on the covers and we put them away until next week.

I took some time and went over Nate's G - L flash cards with him. He is good about knowing the sounds, but doesn't recognize many letters yet. I think these flash cards will be a help to him.

They are now playing with some dinosaur magnets and separating them into herbivore vs. carnivore on 2 cookie sheets. We're headed off to the grocery store and some other errands after lunch.

posted at 11:39 AM

Monday, August 14, 2006
First Day

Today wasn't that different from any other day over the last few years. The biggest difference was the way I thought about it . . . and how I kept telling the boys "See, this is homeschooling!" LOL!

This morning, Nate was a little miffed that I said we had to wait until Colin woke up to start - so he went and woke Colin up. (It was time for him to wake up, anyway)

We started with the flashcards, and we talked about the letters and the sounds they make, and different words that begin with each letter. Nate got bored after coloring 2 flashcards and wandered off, while Colin was happy to color letters A - F. Colin read the first book in the new phonics program and went off to read it to Nate. Then, I read from God's Love Story.

I told them they could play, and we'd paint after lunch. So, they got their bowls of fossils that they collected yesterday at the T Rex Museum and spent about an hour classifying them into different types, counting how many they had, looking at them through a magnifying glass, and experimenting to see what things the shark teeth would puncture. The only involvement I had was to help them find different things to poke the shark teeth through.

After lunch, I pulled out the painting supplies and they made handprints. They mixed colors and painted pictures for about an hour. Currently, they're in the tub, scrubbing off paint. They're discussing whether a velociraptor claws are sharper or more dangerous than shark teeth. Now they're discussing whether or not a velociraptor could swim - because if it couldn't, then there's no reason to compare their fighting skills.

A very successful first day, if I do say so myself!

posted at 1:18 PM

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Official Start Week!
We'll be "officially" homeschooling this week. Since Colin's enrichment program starts this week, it made sense for us to start our focused learning this week as well.

I have a pretty good idea of what we'll cover between now and Christmas, but I have only written out the plan for this coming week. I want to see how our days flow, and also ease into this new way of ordering our days.

I have a teacher's plan book, and columns that I've used for planning. Some of the items will be done with both boys, and then I've broken out specific activities for Colin and Nate.

On Monday, I'm going to have them make handprints with paint to kick off the new year. We'll make more handprints at the end of our year to compare. I think I'll also record some basic info - like height / weight. These prints will slide into the front of their work binder.

This week, we'll review and color flashcards for the letters A - R. Colin knows all of his uppercase letters, but still stumbles on a few lower case letters. This is mostly review for him. Nate still needs more practice on all of his letters - so the flashcards will be used much more with him during the next few months. Each flash card has an upper case letter, a lower case letter, and a couple drawings of items that begin with that letter. I am planning to laminate them so they last longer.

During the week, we'll also read from "God's Love Story." It's a book written by the Poor Clare Nuns in Roswell, NM. The CHC curriculum suggests reading 2 pages at a time - but I know my boys will want to hear more than that! I think I will read from it over 3 days, and read 20 pages.

One day during the week, we'll decorate the covers of our new nature journals and make our first entry. It's too hot to make a visit to the Botanical Gardens right now, so we'll study something in our backyard.

Another day during the week, we'll begin the dvd art lessons I purchased at the homeschooling convention. They'll also practice writing the numbers 1 & 2.

For Colin, he will continue learning to read - with the Level 1, Book 1 story from the phonics book from CHC. There's a simple phonics game that goes along with each of these books that we'll also play. He will complete some math workbook pages. The first 20 pages aren't even covered in the CHC curriculum, so I think we'll see how quickly he can go through those and if there is anything he needs extra work on.

Nate will work on some pre-writing skills using a dry-erase book that has various lines on it. He will also work on counting and sorting using a set of plastic animals he will put together. He enjoys simple mazes, so he will work on a few of those as well.

In addition to all the schoolwork, we'll attend mass on Tuesday for the Feast of the Assumption, play t-ball and make a visit to the library.

A full week, but I don't think too full.

posted at 11:44 PM

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
enrichment program
Today we went to "meet the teacher" day at the school that is dedicated to providing enrichment programs to homeschoolers in our school district. They offer a variety of options - providing classes for homeschooled children grades K-8 from 1 - 3 days/week.

We signed Colin up to attend one day/week. We met his teacher today, and looked in the rooms where he'll spend most of his day, and also the rooms for computers, music, PE and lunch. Kids are able to buy hot lunches, or bring lunch from home.

For K, the kids stay with the same teacher throughout the day and she presents different themes. The first theme will be about the 5 senses.

One of the reasons we did this was to allay some of Bo's fears about homeschooling. It allows Colin to be familiar with a traditional school setting, while still allowing me to homeschool him the majority of our time.

Since classes start next week, we have decided to begin our "official" curriculum next week as well. We have a bunch of new school supplies and both boys are eager to start.

Colin will start private piano lessons soon (date has yet to be determined -- need to talk with the teacher some more.) Nate will start karate lessons as soon as I register him. Both are pretty much dedicated to homeschooling families, which is nice.

posted at 6:29 PM

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I hosted a lapbooking workshop this weekend. Our church was able to let us use one of the classrooms, and I got word out through a couple homeschool lists/groups I belong to. The woman who presented the workshop did a great job explaining what a lapbook is and providing examples of completed lapbooks and showing us how to help our kids create their own. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a website, but she sells materials from Dinah Zike and also Tobin's Lab.

Lapbooks are a way to pull together information learned about a specific topic. Small booklets, graphics and other graphic organizers are used to help children report on and remember different topics learned. It's a tool for review and presentation. Then, all the booklets and other materials are affixed to a file folder -- and a lap book is born!

I'm not sure yet if I'll incorporate lapbooks into our curriculum for this year -- or if I'll wait until the boys are able to read/write on their own. I did get a lot of great ideas, though and I'm sure I'll use them sometime!

You can google lapbooks and see lots of different ideas on how to create one, and lots of great pictures of completed lapbooks. As we incorporate them into our curriculum, I'll be sure to post our efforts.

posted at 7:34 PM

About Us
I'm a homeschooling mom with 3 wonderful kids! My boys are 6 & 7 and working at a 1st and 2nd/3rd grade level. We use Catholic Heritage Curriculum loosely, with lots of our own ideas added in. My boys attend an enrichment program one day per week during the traditional school year, which gives me extra time with my toddler daughter, and the chance to run some errands without my active boys.

This blog was a running list of what we do each school-day, but I tend to post here sporadically now. We usually school on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to take DH's days off into account.

Email Me!
Catholic Heritage Curricula

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