Saturday, September 29, 2007
Saturday, Week 6
Both boys did a copywork page about the archangels, and another identify/count page about coins. They did a coloring/cut/paste page about St. Michael the Archangel.

We read about the archangels (today is the Feast of Archangels.)

C was really struggling today -- acting very stressed and worked up. We had a good week, so I decided we had done enough for the day.

posted at 9:32 PM

Friday, September 28, 2007
Friday, Week 6
I had planned a zoo or botanical garden visit for today, but the clouds were threatening rain, and L has an intense dislike of riding in the car these days -- so I didn't want to risk a 25 minute drive to end up rained out. We'll make it next week, I'm sure!

Both boys completed a coin worksheet where they had to identify coins and then color and count them. I had C also compute the value of the coins. N requested to do more money worksheets, so he did 2 pages in his math workbook. N completed a copy page of the letter "L" and read the 8th BOB book.

C requested that we start his grammar book, so he completed 3 pages in that today. He also completed a spelling page, and did his oral spelling test (missed the word "say" which was the odd word out of this week's list.) C read independently the 1st chapter of an abridged version of Treasure Island. We read this week's Magnifikids together.

Both boys did a Ninja Turtle coloring page and additional coloring and cutting on plain paper. We watched the first section from Sister Wendy's Story of Painting dvd. They played outside. They played inside.

We're heading to the library soon.

posted at 1:46 PM

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Thursday, Week 6
The boys attended their enrichment program yesterday. Fall ball is over, so it wasn't as hectic when they got home. Tonight is the open house for their program, so it'll be interesting to see more of what they've been doing.

We started a new unit about money today. N completed 2 pages in his workbook adding pennies and nickels. C completed 2 worksheets doing the same, but with higher sums. We watched a video tour of how coins are made at the US Mint website. We dumped out a jar of coins and went over the differences between each coin. We practiced counting by 5's and 10's. We made stacks of coins to equal one dollar. We talked about 1/2 dollar and dollar coins (I didn't have any, but we looked at pictures of them.)

C completed a page in his spelling workbook, a page in his religion workbook, and 2 pages in his word journal. N completed a copywork page on the letter K.

I read the book Cactus Hotel. N read the 7th BOB book (and did a really fantastic job with it! I think it's finally sinking in. We read in a different spot today, and decided that we need to read in that spot every day.) C read independently 8 chapters in a Magic Treehouse book during quiet hour. (I am so glad he can read independently now as I did not like reading those books out loud at all, but the boys enjoy them.) He is eager to tell me about the chapters, so I know his comprehension is good.

The weather is beautiful and they've been playing outdoors during breaks.

posted at 2:29 PM

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Tuesday, Week 6
I'm almost afraid to say it -- but today was another great day. I hope we've made a turn for the better and the easy days are much more common than the difficult ones!!

Today, both boys colored an orca whale, did a secret code worksheet (adding 2 numbers, then matching the sum to a letter to decode the answer), created play-doh creatures, and listened to Anansi and the Magic Stick.

C read Chapter 3 in "Faith & Life" and answered the questions at the end of the chapter. He completed a page about alphabetical order in his spelling workbook. He also completed a very large poster about himself for his enrichment program (favorites, family names, what he's good at, etc. etc.) There was a lot of writing, coloring and gluing photographs down. He did a great job! He also memorized this week's memory gem, and was surprised to realize he also remembered last week's.

N practiced writing his name, and decided to also practice writing "Nate the Great." He worked on figuring out the beginning sound of a bunch of things around the house. I was extremely proud of his efforts on the secret code worksheet -- he completed it with no complaints and did a fantastic job - not only with the sums, but with matching the letters and then writing the letters.

Both boys played outdoors for recess, helped clean up after breakfast and lunch, and helped clean the living room. They also helped sorting out their clothes to get rid of those that are too small and figuring out what they'll need when the temperatures drop to 70.

L has a bit of a cold, but took a very long morning nap, which helped us get a lot done. I'm thrilled with the progress today, and especially thrilled that there were no tears, arguing, yelling or complaining from any of us!

posted at 1:42 PM

Friday, September 21, 2007
Friday, Week 5
Another good day! We're on a roll :)

Since today is the feast of St. Matthew, we talked about him today and briefly on the other 3 evangelists. The boys colored a page of St. Matthew collecting taxes, and another of his coat of arms. We talked about his symbol (human/angel) and read about when Jesus told him to follow. I three-hole punched the pages they colored and put them in a notebook. We're going to try and make a notebook with all the projects from feast/saint days.

The boys both did a copywork page. N did a page in his math workbook about counting pennies (we're doing a money unit next week.)

C read 2 books to me, N read part of a BOB book, I read the remainder of the whales and dolphins book.

We made cheddar coins to celebrate St. Matthew's day.

I dictated a shopping list, and C wrote it out for me.

DH had only one call, and it was a bust, so he's home super-early. L is still fussy and didn't sleep well at all last night. We're trying to decide what to do with our afternoon right now, and I think we might hit up a museum.

posted at 12:32 PM

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Thursday, Week 5
Another good day! The boys were great, and schooling went well, even with caring for an infant with a fever (poor baby).

N did one page in his math workbook about time and one worksheet, C did one worksheet about time. They both had a great time working with the new clocks I found that have movable hands and a dry erase pen to write the time out. I would shout out a time, and they'd move the hands and write the time out. They also played with them independently for a while, creating times.

We made origami whales, I read Jonah & the Whale, and more from the book about whales and dolphins to go along with our whales/dolphins/mammals unit.

C read Sugar Snow out loud to us. N read the 6th BOB book. I read Daniel & the Lions out loud.

C completed a review page in his spelling workbook, and 2 pages in his Faith & Life Workbook. He also completed a page in his word journal.

Both boys created *something* using paper, scissors and tape. I'm not exactly sure what the final piece was supposed to be, but they had good practice cutting.

C has memorized this week's memory gem.

They're watching Here Come the ABC's at the moment, which is a fun letter video that is not baby-ish.

Yesterday was their enrichment day, and they got to go on a field trip to see a play version of Charlotte's Web, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Last night was also the last Wednesday of fall ball for the season.

posted at 12:16 PM

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Tuesday, Week 5
Today was an AWESOME day. There were NO arguments, no complaints, no procrastination, no tears, no fights -- nothing but awesome attitudes and cheerful demeanors. Today is the kind of day that shows me that we can homeschool and enjoy it!

Both boys drew in their nature journals and I wrote their entries.

N did 2 pages in his math workbook (matching analog and digital times) and C did the same worksheet he bombed last week on time (and only missed one this time.)

N practiced the letters I and J in "Little Folks" and read to me from the 5th BOB book.

C completed an entire week's worth of spelling (2 pages and an oral test.) He read to me from an early reader (2nd grade level) and then read the 2nd chapter of his "Faith & Life" book to me. He also practiced the number 9 in his "Little Folks" workbook.

I read from a book about whales and dolphins and also this week's Magnifikids.

We danced between assignments to the Shrek soundtrack. (I think this extra, very fun activity helped Nate immensely to transition from one thing to another.)

We played dominoes and Go Fish.

I finally remembered to write out the memory gem on the whiteboard on our refrigerator, and C noticed it right away and read it off. I plan to leave it up there for the week, and also make a copywork page from it. This week's reads: "Hearts, like doors, will open with ease, To very, very little keys, And don't forget that two of these Are 'Thank you, Sir' and 'If you please!' "

We met DH for lunch, and then I took my shaggy-haired boys for haircuts. DH's call after lunch was a bust, so we met up again to get the oil changed in both vehicles. (funny aside - I put socks on L today when we went out because the high daily temp has dropped below 100. I know that seems crazy, but that's Arizona for you!)

posted at 5:35 PM

Saturday, September 15, 2007
Saturday, Week 4
It's been a long, tough week with DH out of town.

We did no formal schooling today - but the boys played their fall ball games this morning and we played a bunch of games (dominoes, Kazink, cards) this afternoon.

We played a game in the pool reviewing time-telling and questions about animals.

We read through the Magnifikid for this week. I read a chapter from the current Paddington book we're reading. C did some independent reading in a book about castles. N practiced the sounds of various letters (I would say -- find something that starts with a "F" and he would look through the house to find something that matched. He did pretty good!)

N had a hard time controlling his body (kicking out in the air and "accidentally" making contact with his brother's body, punching at the air, squeezing L, etc.) and so I sent him out to run laps in the backyard a few times. He actually went and did it with no complaint and seemed to be in more control when he came back in. I *know* he needs a ton of physical activity, but it's exhausting to try and help him get enough. The more he is able to move, the better he is able to focus. I have tried to make him do push-ups as a consequence in the past, but I don't think they're active enough to help. Now that it's cooling off (ha! isn't it funny that I think 100 degrees is "cooling off"?) I will try the lap running more often.

While it feels like we "skipped" school, learning happened and that's what is important. DH comes home tomorrow and we'll buckle down more next week again. I'm proud of what we've accomplished in 4 weeks! It was probably time for a break anyway!

posted at 9:46 PM

Friday, September 14, 2007
Friday, Week 4
I declared this morning that we were taking the day off from "schooling"! This announcement was met with great glee from N!

Actually, we're taking a day off from workbooks and worksheets. There's still plenty of learning going on around here! :)

N helped me mix up pancake batter and did all the measuring, as well as pulling out the ingredients, himself. All I had to do was pour and flip! The boys ate them up, but I'm wondering if my baking soda is old since they weren't very fluffy? My baking powder was just purchased, but I can't remember when I bought the baking soda. Maybe later we'll make some volcanoes and I'll test it.

C wrote out a "to-do" list for today and a separate grocery list. I like being able to dictate to him while I'm doing other things ;) It helps him practice writing and spelling as well.

We sorted laundry and got a load started. We gathered trash and got that to the curb. The boys dusted the living room and cleaned the mirrors in the bathrooms.

I need to feed L and then we're off to run errands. (library, grocery store, pick up our dog's ashes which have been sitting at the vet for WAY TOO LONG, bank, maybe haircuts)

Enjoy your Friday!!

posted at 12:03 PM

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Thursday, Week 4
Last night, the boys had their fall ball practices. On Monday, C had fallen and scraped up his arm. He was telling me that it still hurt, and he didn't think he should practice. (N's league is at 6, C's is at 7.) I just looked at him and said "okay." Personally, I was exhausted and one less hour at the field was just fine with me. About 15 minutes before N was done, I asked C, "Are you sure you don't want to practice tonight?" And he replied that he did not. I was very non-committal in my response, but part of me *knew* that I should encourage him to play and fulfill his commitment to his team. But, darn it, I was tired! Anyway -- N comes off the field and C looks at me and says "I really should practice tonight, Mom. We're already here and my team is counting on me!" I said "okay! I think that's a really good decision and I'm proud of you."

I WAS proud of him. I was feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't tried to talk him into practicing, but I was extremely proud that he came to the decision on his own. When we got into the van after practice he said "That was a great practice! I'm so glad I stayed!"

Today N fought a bit about starting school, but came around rather quickly and got down to work. I hope this is the beginning of a switch for him.

They both did their nature journals today and practiced reading. (I have a review of BOB books up on my other blog.) They also practiced cutting by trying to follow curvy lines on a piece of paper.

N did a page in his math workbook (filling in the numbers on the face of a clock) and C did a worksheet page about time. He got about 1/2 of them right, so we reviewed hour hand vs. minute hand again and did some additional practice. He's struggling a bit with the concept of minutes vs. the numbers he actually sees on the clock face. We practiced counting by 5's again as well.

C did a page in his spelling workbook and we did the oral test of spelling words. He missed one. He also did 2 pages in his word journal.

They both colored a coloring page from Shrek and did copywork pages in the "Little Folks" books.

I read out loud some information about whales and dolphins.

We played dominoes this afternoon with a wonderful set I picked up at Target clearance. They're made from bamboo wood and feel so nice in your hand.

I also pulled out the paints and let them paint. N has been asking to paint for a while now, but I didn't feel like dealing with the mess. I'm happy to say that the mess was very minimal, and they both enjoyed painting.

posted at 3:20 PM

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Tuesday, Week 4
Yesterday, the boys started their homeschool P.E. class. It meets once a week at a nearby park. The boys were hesitant about going, but had a blast! The class is made up of 20-30 kids, ranging in age from 5 to 15. There's a coach, who developed a good rapport with the kids right away. During the month of September, the focus is on "water games," which is perfect since we're still above 100 degrees. This program is also offering leagues -- one of which being soccer, which N especially is interested in. The thing I like about their leagues is that they correspond to what they're learning during P.E., so the class is like practice, and there's only one other time commitment for the game.

Last night, C played coach pitch while I stayed home with N & L. We hopped in the pool and were still swimming when DH & C came back, so we all swam for a while. Yesterday was definitely a high physical activity day!

Today was a good schooling day, until near the end when N got into an argument with C over crayons or markers or somesuch nonsense.

N completed 2 pages in his math workbook and 2 pages in "Little Folks Number" book.

We started a unit on time, and Chapter 5 of N's workbook is about time. We did a time unit last year, so C has more of an understanding of time than N, but he definitely has more to learn. We talked about the hour and minute hand, practiced counting by 5's, discussed A.M. vs. P.M., looked at analog clocks vs. digital clocks, and practiced telling time with a play clock. I'll concentrate more on the concept of hours with N, and C will move into learning "half-past" and specific minutes (i.e. 9:52). C took great delight in looking at his watch (a new one -- we bought him one last year that broke & wasn't replaced. Amazon has a great deal on kid's timex watches - he has this one. N has a watch as well, but it's currently misplaced.) and telling us what time it was for the rest of the day.

C completed a page in his spelling workbook and 3 pages in his "Faith and Life" activity book. I read the first chapter out loud to N & C. (I like it SO much better than the book our parish is using for RE. They're using "Faith First" and I am completely unimpressed.)

The boys worked on a sea-life puzzle and C read out loud a book about sharks.

We began discussing mammals and will do a brief unit on whales & dolphins to close out our ocean unit and transition into our mammal unit.

They boys did a coloring page of a boy playing t-ball.

I just realized we forgot to do nature journals today! We'll start with them on Thursday.

Tomorrow is enrichment and then fall ball. This is the 2nd to last Wednesday for fall ball, but then we'll likely move into the soccer league. I can't wait until the temperatures drop into the low 90's so we can go to the zoo and the botanical gardens!

posted at 5:40 PM

Saturday, September 08, 2007
Saturday, Week 3
Today was a good day. We didn't touch a workbook, but I know they learned a lot today ; 0

First thing this morning were fall ball games. Can I admit that I'll be glad when they're in the same league again next year so I only have to spend 1.5 hours in the blazing sun at the ballpark instead of 3? I'm not a sports mom . . . I find it numbingly boring to watch little kids play baseball. It wouldn't be bad if it wasn't still so hot. I wish they'd move the season a month later in the year.

We got home and made a cake from scratch (the Classic Yellow Cake from King Arthur's Flour Cookbook) to celebrate Mary's birth. I really love to bake, and haven't done much in years! The boys helped with measuring and mixing and pouring.

While the cake was baking, they gathered all the Mary figurines we have around the house to stand around the finished cake. (will add picture later.) After that was done, C wrote out the grocery list that I dictated to him. He did a great job spelling on his own.

We ran to the library, where C chose a couple books he can read from the Nate the Great series and N chose a few books he wanted read to him. I picked up books I had requested a week or so ago.

The boys both helped in the grocery store, reading from the list and finding the necessary items. L got extremely frustrated right before we were ready to check out, but the other people in line were very sweet and helpful. The lines were LONG because they only had 2 checkers working, but one sweet woman spoke kindly to me, an older man loaded my groceries into my cart from the conveyor, and another family congratulated me on my beautiful family. Some days we've experienced nastiness and rude comments -- but it was all sunshine and smiles today!

While I was nursing L when we got home, I read 2 new books we received yesterday - Brigid's Cloak & Why Noah Chose the Dove. Both were wonderful reads with great messages.

I managed to mix up and frost the cake with a pale blue buttercream while carrying L in her sling. I still need to clear off the table to set up our tableau . . . and it's 7:45PM. ugh. Oh, well, I tried my best!

posted at 7:37 PM

Friday, September 07, 2007
Friday, Week 3
Umm, maybe we should give up on Fridays. Another lousy start to the day -- DH let the boys play on the computer and even loaded a *new* game for them while I was still sleeping / feeding the baby. Apparently, he forgot the new rule about computer use before schooling -- but since he had no sales calls until 6PM -- he got to see full force what it does to my day.

Nate especially was horrid. I felt like a fool, and DH doesn't understand at all why I would want to homeschool when they behave so horribly. I felt as if I had no control today (which is because I had NO control today.) DH tried to help by working with Nate on his phonics reader, but it was a struggle from the 2nd word. Where I would have likely stopped and picked it up again later -- DH kept plugging away and they both got more and more frustrated with each other. DH has never really been fully on board with the idea of homeschooling, and having him witness a day like today doesn't help me continue keeping them home.

Among various temper tantrums and consequences . . . we did accomplish the following:

both boys completed the chapter reviews in their math workbooks for Chapter 4. (reminder: we started the books last spring, so it's not like we've rushed through 4 chapters in only 3 weeks.)

both boys completed copywork pages in the "Little Folks" books. N completed a page of 9's, while C completed a page of L's, and then took it upon himself to do a page of numbers as well.

N completed the last upper/lower case matching worksheet, and finally did complete reading the phonics book.

C completed a word search puzzle, wrote in his word journal and drew pictures to go with the journal entries, read 2 books to me, and took an oral spelling test (he missed the word "stir" which did NOT fit in with the other words in the list at all, so it was understandable.)

C & I played the addition card game again and he did well adding in his head.

Both boys did an art project to go along with our ocean / sharks unit. They took 10x13 pieces of dark blue paper and drew an underwater scene. I gave them a sheet of aluminum foil and they cut out sharks from the foil and glued them into the scene. I take a very hands-off approach to art projects, and I think they both did a nice job. C mentioned that the art project was a great way to end the day.

We went out to lunch and the boys' behavior could have been better in my opinion, but a woman sitting across from us stopped on her way out and congratulated me on their behavior. We came home to an afternoon of swimming, then DH left for his call and I fed the boys dinner.

Before bed, we'll read through this week's Magnifikids.

We did accomplish most of what I had planned for the day -- but it was such a struggle that I am exhausted. Tomorrow is a new day!

posted at 6:32 PM

Thursday, September 06, 2007
Thursday, Week 3
Today was a bit of a laid back day. The boys had their enrichment program yesterday, and then fall ball in the evening which ran late. I let them sleep in this morning, and we had plans to go to a local museum for their homeschool event this afternoon.

I decided to let our schooling at home be a little light because of the field trip.

Both boys did 2 math pages. Tomorrow they will do the "chapter check-ups" and be ready to move onto the next chapter next week. Actually, I think we're going to take a break from the workbook and do a unit on telling time.

Nate did a copy page for the letter "G" from 'Little Folks."

Colin did a page from his spelling workbook, and will read out loud in the van on the way to the museum.

We do a lot of reading around here that I don't record in this blog, since it just feels like part of our life. Maybe one of these weeks I'll work at recording all that we read in a week. Right now, Dad is reading Huckleberry Finn as bedtime reading, while I'm still reading them one of the Paddington books at bedtime when Dad is not home. During the day, we read from a bunch of different books.

posted at 11:15 AM

Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Tuesday, Week 3
The day started with a big temper tantrum from C over shoes. We bought him new shoes before we left for Wisconsin at the beginning of August, and he has already outgrown them. We bought new shoes last night, a full size larger, and this morning there were "issues" with them already. I talked with DH and we think it's more that he doesn't like hard shoes vs. the new ones not fitting . . . but I've given up talking to him about it for the day. I'll let DH deal with him later.

N was extremely cooperative today and eager to do his work!

The day started with nature journals. I encouraged C to write his own entry, and with only a little help with spelling "toadstool" he did just fine.

Both boys did math workbook pages (N completed 2, C completed 1.)

Both did some copywork in last year's "Little Folks" practice books for letters and numbers. We started them last year, but never finished them. Working in the books is definitely remedial for C, but I like the religious focus of each page and decided it was good reinforcement for his letter & number formation.

N read books 2 & 3 from the 1st set of Bob Books. I am so proud of his efforts here! He really works at sounding out the words, and his recognition of lower case letters has dramatically increased in the last few weeks.

C completed one page from his spelling workbook and a few pages in his word journal. The word journal is WAY too basic for him, but he is enjoying drawing the pictures to go on each page. He read out loud to me from an early reader. He finished "80 Days Around the World" over the weekend. I would like to order some of the early readers from Seton for him in the next few weeks.

DH didn't have any calls today, so he came home and we all went to the movies. We had the entire theater to ourselves! I almost didn't go, as I didn't know how L would do -- but she did just fine. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up to me! At least for the next few months, we can go to afternoon movies when most kids are in school. And, when the boys are in their enrichment program, I can go see adult movies!

Tomorrow the boys have their enrichment program. We have a conflict between fall ball games, and a special mass at church for RE. I think we'll be attending the mass, but I think DH would like the boys to go to their games. The mass is not required, but I think it would be a nice way to kick off the year. DH feels that they have a commitment to their teams. I'm still on the fence.

posted at 12:50 PM

Saturday, September 01, 2007
Saturday, Week 2
Today was MUCH better than yesterday. The boys and I really talked about it later that day, and they both expressed a strong desire to continue homeschooling. We talked about rules to make our day easier, and C said they shouldn't play DS or computer until after schooling.

Today, the boys did math workbook pages, colored a coloring page of an angel, and each did their language arts worksheet. (C did a wordsearch, N matched upper & lower case letters.)

We read a couple books about sharks.

Then the boys made dessert for tonight's dinner. A month or so ago, I saw an Easy Bake kit on the shelf that looked like fish floating in cups of gelatin. (I guess they're not making them anymore, because a quick search turns up nothing, not even on the hasbro site?) I figured it would fit in well with our unit on oceans and sharks, so picked it up for around $3. It was easy to put together, and I could have done so without the kit, but it was very convenient to have everything together. The kit had 4 clear plastic cups, a light blue gelatin, blue sugar crystals, and 2 packages of gummy fish. We talked about measuring when we made the gelatin, then poured it in the cups. The cups went in the freezer for 15 minutes and then we used toothpicks to push the fish into the cups. A discussion about the different consistency of the gelatin ensued. The blue sugar was sprinkled on top and while the idea was to eat them after dinner, the boys decided to eat them right then. We saved one for Daddy when he gets home from work.

C did some independent reading.

The boys and I played a card game. I took out the face cards, and dealt 2 cards on the table. The first one to correctly add the numbers together took the cards, and the largest pile at the end won. Ummm, I won both times we played -- even though I tried NOT to win the 2nd time. Oh, well, It's a good game to practice facts. I think I might add a writing element to it next time as N definitely needs to practice writing numbers and C still writes some backwards.

I had intended to have them do an art project today, but we had to go grocery shopping and then I fell asleep with the baby when we got home. They're playing an involved game with about 50 plastic animals at the moment -- so I think the art project can wait until next week.

posted at 5:47 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!
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