Sunday, April 29, 2007
This week we've had a bunch of sickos in the house. Just a cold, but sometimes that can be even more work with little kids because they aren't sick enough to lie in bed all day. They feel good enough to be underfoot, complaining and whining all day long. I know how they feel! I am the champion of whining and complaining when i am uncomfortable (Maybe that's where they learned it??).
Anyways, here's a long-winded update into what our week has looked like:
Math: we're trying to get back on track with learning our addition facts. We spent last week doing the +8s and this week doing the doubles.. Next week we'll move on again. We went back to the basics and began to enjoy using the MathUsee blocks again with our work. Everyone thinks this is great fun... and I've let go of my controlling attitude and let little snapdragon and H play with them at the table. The fine motor control they are developing while stacking the little blocks is worth it! I have pictures, but you'll have to wait, since I'm sitting on the couch with the laptop and a sick baby and can't go get the camera.
We've also been doing a daily drill of calculadder. This is a timed math sheet that you do every morning. I set the timer and she gets two minutes to finish the page. When she can get through the whole page with no mistakes in 2 minutes we move onto the next level. This is really good practice in the slow and steady method that we both need to work on.
Being the perfectionist, all-or-nothing kind of person that I am, it's been fun to speed through math and reading to see how smart my little girl is, and go go go!! But I'm realizing that it's more important to develop good habits of constancy and discipline in these areas, and take little steps each day, instead of big bursts of speed every few weeks (or months in my case). Think the fable of the tortoise and the hare. (isn't homeschooling grand! It's teaching me so many things too!)
Reading: We're still moving incrementally through our new lesson book, and E is so much happier now. I just need to remember to add in more reading practice throughout the day. I have lots of nice easy reader books she can read to me... perhaps after lunch or maybe at bedtime.
We also listened to many books on tape, and watched our traditional Friday family movie night movie: Jonah and the whale (veggie tales).
Science: We are into the desert unit, and are reading a little each day from One Small Square:cactus desert. Yesterday we were at our local zoo and got to see their desert exhibit, and we want to go to the garden centre next week and buy some cactuses for our house.
Religion: We are still working our way through the Treasure of my Catholic Faith. It's pretty work-bookey, but full of really good theology, and fun for the kids to use. A real keeper for us.
We are also finishing up our Easter Lapbook... just have to do the Ascension and Pentecost. I'll have photos of this soon.
Life Skills, etc: The kids were busy washing the walls for me at the beginning of the week, and have been very good with their chores in the kitchen (unloading the dishwasher, clearing the table, washing it down), and their bedroom chores (cleaning their room at night, laying out their clothes for the next day, making their bed in the morning and getting dressed right away).
We also had a fun opportunity to visit the University and participate in some research. The child psychology speech development lab and cognitive development lab are always doing research, learning more about how children develop. It's quite interesting. Anyways, we are in their database, and they called us last week. E was in an experiment on memory where she got to watch a puppet show and then respond to some questions about the characters, and the twins were in an experiment that tracked what their eyes were following to see if they can tell the difference between colors and shape at such a young age. It was fun for all! The babies got free t-shirts and E got to pick 2 prizes.
Phys Ed: What a beautiful week here! Spring has finally arrived, and the kids spent upwards of 3 hours a day running around outside in our big yard. They blew bubbles, made mud roads for their trucks, built houses out of wood scraps, played chase, princess, and many other games. What fun!
A crazy fun-filled week, and at the end of it all we celebrated my birthday, and I thanked God all day for giving me life.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
However, said program is also very teacher-intensive. It's too time-consuming and requires way too much patience and concentration for all involved. Especially in this household where I have 4 little distractions running around. It's been so good for us, up until now. She's learned cursive really well, and she knows most of the phonograms and is reading at grade level. But it's boring for her (Because it's tedious hard work), and it's frustrating for me, because I just don't have the time to devote to it.
So, following the wisdom of one of my friends,I have decided that the most perfect reading program in the world is not the most perfect program for MY family, if we never use it, or don't use it the way it's intended... or start crying half way through a lesson because it's too frustrating.
We've moved back a step, and have begun to find the joy in learning about things step by step, day by day again. We don't need to jump to jr high level spelling in one week! We don't need to be PERFECT in one day!! This is what I have learned over and over again since the twins have come.
So here we are back to the original program I bought and we are enjoying the slow pace. It has delightful stories, a fun workbook, short lessons, and most importantly... CRAFTS! The added bonus is that it's often very easy to incorporate lessons for our little preschooler Z into it.
Today, we learned about short u. E already knows that u can say three sounds, and she knows how to write them, and she can read words with them slowly. It was such a nice lesson, however, because instead of being boring, she had her confidence raised by being able to easily do it, she got in good practice of reading easier words, and she enjoyed the craft (making an Umbrella.. u).
Z did his all by himself too! He drew a circle first, then cut it out. Then cut it in half. I drew the zig zag for the bottom and he cut that out and then he cut out a J that I drew for him for the handle.
E's umbrella is done without any of my help or suggestions LOL. She even drew a secret message under the umbrella handle.
While the kids were making their U crafts, I set little snapdragon up on the floor to distract her from bugging her siblings, with a mat and some nesting cups to build a tower. She had so much fun that the older kids got distracted themselves from their work and abandoned the art project to play with the cups too.
I love this part of homeschooling.. the interactions and relationships that blossom from spending so much time together with their siblings.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I've posted a Storynory Widget on my sidebar where you can browse through their stories and enjoy them like we have. Even the 3 year old boy listens to them.
Here's whats on today (click on the grazr link below, or scroll down a bit on the right sidebar of my blog).
A cold or something of the sort was makng her feel quite draggy and ill. There goes my plans for a good homeschoolinhg day, I thought.
I persevered, however, against the relentless tide of requests for the traditional sick day movie-a-thon, and decided to sprinkle the house with opportunities for discovery and learning instead.
First there were the books I layed down on the couch where she was lounging:
- A picture story book of the Greeks
- How to decorate birthday cakes
- Tree identification guide
(it helped I was rearranging furniture all day and had the books all over the place to organize them!)
Then there was the podcasts we listened to:
-12 dancing princesses (did you know it wasn't orignially a barbie thing?)
-Alice in Wonderland chapter 7
-The happy prince (oscar wilde)
And the online audio books from our library:
-The Jungle books by Rudyard Kipling (the first chapter), and
-Anne of Green Gables (in it's entirety)
And finally, there was the Klutz How to Build Castles kit that I placed on the table for the kids to discover.
The result... at the end of the day, instead of having sick, whiney, TV doped kids who were grumpy and restless, I had curious-feeling-a-bit-better kids who learned a lot, and I enjoyed Anne of green gabels very much. So much, that I ordered the DVD to watch later.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Here, dear readers, is his twin brother: Super Peter! He's learning how to crawl.
No lounging in the sun for this kid, he wants to MOVE!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
|From Easter bread ...|
|From Easter bread ...|
|From Easter bread ...|
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Where I've found joy this week:
1. The good Lord gave me a quiet thirty minutes of peace yesterday afternoon when the four youngest were sleeping and the oldest was doing what she loves best- artwork. So... what was I to do but take a bubble bath. Ahhhh... the relaxing warmth of the water, the quiet silence through the house, the lingering smell of bubblebath.
2. That sounds so nice, I think i'll run up and have another one right now, since they are all asleep at the same time again!!!
Stay tuned for more joy next week LOL
Monday, April 16, 2007
Last week we wrote up a schedule together, and talked about how we would start school again on monday, so they were ready for the new routine. The most exciting looked-forward-to part of the schedule was the addition of a formal 'recess'. Apparently, after hearing about this in books and on movies, the kids wanted to have their own recess. (not that they dont' play all day long already.. they just wanted to experience real recess!).
Anways, the day was a success. We began with our morning routine:
Get dressed, make bed, have breakfast, clean up kitchen, kids unload dishwasher
And then we started into our schoolwork:
Religion, (faith and life)
Math (calculadder..a timed math drill we are trying out, and lesson 10 in Math-U-See on adding 8 to numbers)
Snack time (bagel and cream cheese)
Spelling (list H2 in SWR, practicing phonemes, and writing in cursive)
reading (she read to me a short story from Little Angel Reader A)
Recess (they played and played for hours outside with grandpa. This was the highlight of the day for sure. We found lots of signs of spring: worms, ladybugs, tulips and rhubarb emerging from the ground, strawberry plants starting to grow... and they started to build a playhouse out of rocks and boards they found. They just need some cement they tell me... sure..i'll get right on that)
" Sorry mom, the baby was trying to eat it".
Can't beat that for an excuse. At least the baby stopped crying for a few minutes ;-)
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Happy birthday sweetie pie.
Before I start to teach her how to make anything with the machine, I decided that I needed to get a few projects under my belt first, so I started with some pajamas for the girls. I figure this is a good thing to start with because then they can wear them in the dark where people can't get a good look at all the mistakes I made while learning how to sew :-)
I used this pattern, and this is how they turned out. Pretty cute... but the elastic is too tight on E's, and the toddler's isn't finished yet because I ran out of elastic.
Later on, the preschooler wanted something for himself too, so I made him this cute jacket out of an old pattern that I found in the basement. I used a tablecloth that I shrunk by accident, and a dress shirt of Sean's that got shrunk by accident too for fabric. I needed to go this route because I just can't get out of the house like most people to buy fabric... it's too hard to drag all the kiddies with me. (and NO, I didn't shrink his shirt on purpose to use the material!).
Here are some of the lessons that I have learned so far:
1. The cute country/handmade look (think crooked seams etc..) is great for quilts and handicrafts around the house, but not so cute on dresses and jackets.
2. The seam ripper is my best friend!
3. You need to be pretty exact when you are cutting out fabric from the pattern. Don't cut corners (literally), and work slowly, or things won't match up.
Stay tuned for more adventures. I want to try a tierd skirt from the tutorial I linked to in my google reader on the sidebar (right, under Blogs I"m reading today), and also some skirts for myself. I'd also like to make a new quilt for my bedroom, as well as some nice placemats and a table runner.. but I don't have time for all of them so we'll see what we get to.
Friday, April 13, 2007
School work has taken a definite unschoolish bent since the twins were born, and one thing that our little first grader has been enjoying learning is kitchen skills. She is already very good at unloading the dishwasher, she habitually takes her dishes to the counter when she is done eating each meal, and she can peel carrots almost as good as grandpa Ed.... but ever since I came home from the library with a children's cookbook, (and she since found the other one she got as a present last year) she's been in the kitchen nearly every day attempting to make something.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
My cousin is an artist... something I really admire about her. She works so hard, seems like she must have lots of fun, and produces some great work. Her latest photo she has done is above. It's called The Dream, and it's part of a series of young adventurous girls. The sort of art that could only come from a mind that was raised on great books.
Below are three other pictures in the series (Bound, The Explorers, The Reader). My favorite is on the right.
On her website you can view some of her other works, and here is a photo tour of the making of some of her work:
It's interesting to see how they are all put together... it gives you an appreciation of how much work goes into these. It makes me want to go out and buy some original artwork from someone... In the age of superstores where you can buy cheap prints of just about anything for pennies, it's nice to be able to support original artists. My husband often likes to find obscure Catholic musicians on the Internet and order Cd's from them as well. I believe you can also support writers by purchasing the hardcover editions of books as they come out, as it shows support for their works, and more money ends up in the actual author's hands.