Sunday, September 25, 2011

Study America Saturday

A great blogger friend Nicole at Journey to Excellence invited me to link up to Study America Saturday weeks ago.  And since I get so much useful info from it, how could I not???

Well, because I don't have anything super exciting to post about our studies right now...I don't know WHAT to post!!  We are really enjoying our American History study of the American Revolution, but really haven't done anything out of the ordinary yet that would be picture worthy!!  So what could I post about???

What I thought I would do is share a great tool with everyone who is studying American History.  That tool is Liberty's Kids.  If you haven't heard of this wonderful series, please go check it out here.  This show was on PBS for a while, but I don't think it is any longer.  Lucky for us and the wonder of You Tube, we have access to all of the episodes, or most of them any way. 

I love them for so many reasons but here are my top 5 for including them in our studies:
Last year we used something similar and sometimes my girls still ask to watch those episodes or will talk about them, so I know they were memorable.

My youngest is a very visual learner.  Although she does comprehend what we read and does lots  of reading on her own, I know that these help her tremendously.

While reading lots of good books is very beneficial and definitely my preferred choice of instruction for history studies, sometimes I feel like my kids just don't get the most out of big events because they can't visualize what is going on and have nothing to pull from to help them understand how critical things like the Boston Tea Party or the Battle or Paul Revere's Ride were.  
These videos show them that in ways that I never could.

The videos are on YouTube and so are broken up into 2 ten minute episodes usually.  I love this because it doesn't take up all of our allotted time and also gives them a perfect cliff hanger for the next day.  I love when the video ends and they both just fall out begging to watch part 2!!!

THEY ARE FREE!!!  I am all about free resources and this is a great one!!

I hope that you can find use for these episodes in your homeschool and enjoy them as much as we have.  You can go here and scroll down to read about each individual episode and then just type in "liberty kids episode # {whatever}" in the you tube search box and there you go!!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happenings of a Homeschool...Week 3

This week our parable was the The Parable of the Yeast.  Kind of a short but sweet parable, but the kids are definitely getting better at understanding them and I have to remember that they too, like the people Jesus was preaching to, are not saved, so these types of things don't come easy to them.  Its amazing how the Holy Spirit can change not only your heart but also your mind!!!  So, this parable was pretty simple and the girls enjoyed talking about how yeast changes the entire loaf of bread and makes it bigger as does the Holy Spirit for the kingdom of God.  Here was our coloring page...nothing spectacular for sure, but it will definitely trigger their memory when they retell these for a grade at the end of the 9 week term!

Memory Work
Still working on Psalm 1 and the Shadow. They are chugging right along and are almost half way through to memorizing them both entirely!!

Chapter 3 this week was TOUGH!!!  I don't know if I am just not "Latin-y" or what, but even I didn't get it at all.  Because it was tough, we are going to repeat it next week and be a little more thorough.  Hopefully something will make more sense to us!!  Reason number 456 I love don't understand it....just repeat it!!  Why take a test on something you don't get???

This week Karsyn and I were introduced to MULTIPLICATION!!!  She is so excited because she now knows multiplication!!  With Right Start Math there is no memorizing, so you don't learn each individual family so to speak.  You master skip counting and then you can multiply anything because you just know that its something counted however many times.  AWESOME!!!

Kamryn and I are still working with massive fractions over here!!  We are adding and reducing and changing improper to proper and subtracting and all kinds of great things!!!  Whew, its some tough stuff, but its so fun!!!

Language Arts
This week in Storytelling the girls had to retell "The Teeny Tiny Lady". So much fun.  They were so creative in their "props".  Polly Pockets, Little Pet Shop pets, nothing was off limits! Great job gals!!

This week Karsyn had to work with the dictionary and alphabetize and look at pronunciation and syllables and write definitions.  All such good stuff.  I can see her with such a deeper understanding than if she were just memorizing rules and doing worksheets!!

Still loving Fix It Grammar although we had to re-write Weeks 1 and 2 this week because we didn't get it right.  We know what we are doing now, thanks to my friend Kayce who shined the light on the teacher's guide for me this week!!! SERIOUSLY????  What was I thinking???

World History
Still talking pyramids this week.  Those things are fascinating!!!  We are still reading from The Egyptology handbook and its so visual and cool!!  The girls each read a lesson on their own and then we talk about it and watch NatGeo videos to supplement and bring it home.  We learned this week that each stone on a pyramid weighed 2 tons and it took anywhere from 8-20 years for a pyramid to built!!!  WOW!!  If we had that kind of work ethic in America what we could accomplish!!!

American History
This week we learned about the different classes of people in the colonies.  Kamryn wanted to know why the rural colonists didn't just move to the towns where they could buy what they need and why the slaves didn't just leave the houses they were at.  GREAT DISCUSSIONS!!  And the Boston "Massacre" has just taken place and we got the very first taste of media propaganda in our country when the Red Coats killed 5 colonists, but the newspapers reported it as a "massacre" because the folks in Boston were ready to get the British soldiers out of the colonies and they knew it fire up everyone to march toward independence.  The girls are loving it!! SO AM I!!!  Here are our supplement books to go with our history studies:

Life as a Colonial Schoolteacher
Life as a Colonial Doctor
The 13 Colonies
American History Stories Vol 2
Colonial Women

This week week we finally began our states.  Starting with Deleware.  Next week we will do 2 to catch up.  The girls are responsible for coloring the state, memorizing the capital, and telling us something interesting they found out about it from a book we have in our book basket called The Quilt of the States.

Picture Study, Music Study, and Art
This week our new piece of art was The Oregon Trail.  Wow, not at all what I expected it to look like!! We enjoyed studying that piece for sure, since we all love the 80's computer game.  (is that just me?)  In Music we entered into the Classical Period where everyday people were first getting exposed to beautiful music.  We talked about Mozart and listened to some great pieces from the period!  Art was pushed to the side this week...for some reason we just couldn't make it happen :(

We finished our healthy plant growth experiment and are now working on a deep understanding of photosynthesis and why leaves change color.  We are heading to TN in a few weeks, so I really want them to understand this so that when we see the massive changing colors there they will know why.  We did lots of reading this week and next week we will head out to see if we can back up some of what we have read.  Lots of experiments next week as well to show photosynthesis in action.  I will have lots of pictures!!  Here are the books we read this week...

Usbourne Book of Science Activities Vol. 2
The Nature and Science of Leaves
How Leaves Change

Nature Study
This week is SPIDERS!!!  This weekend we will go out in search of different kinds of webs and identify some spiders! CREEPY!!!

Next week is going to be so great, I cannot wait!!!  Hopefully I will have more pictures.  This week was rushed because we are heading out to participate in The Homeschool Movie Club's showing of Dolphin Tale today!!!  We are so excited to see this movie!!  In case you are going today, wear blue to show that you are a homeschooler!!! The club is trying to get the message to Hollywood that good, clean, quality movies will sell...and that there are lots of homeschoolers out there that have a very loud voice!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happenings of a Homeschool...Week 2

This week our parable was the The Parable of the Weeds.  What a great follow up to the wise and foolish man because who are "weeds"?  The people who build their houses on the sand of course!!  We read the scripture in Matthew 13 and talked about how weeds can take over the garden, how they can sometimes look just like plants, and what kind of damage they can do.  Then we discussed why the farmer didn't want the servant to pull them up right away, but to wait until it was harvest time and he would pull both the wheat and the weeds up then and the wheat he would store in the barn and the weeds he would burn and how that relates to us today.  The girls are loving how Jesus used these stories so that people could understand what He was telling them.  The girls colored the coloring page below from here and then re-wrote the parable in their own words for their parable book they are creating!

Memory Work
Still working on Psalm 1 and the Shadow. 

Chapter 2 this week and everyone made a 100 on the test!!  I was so proud because this chapter last year was really hard for Karsyn to understand.  So now the girls officially know how to conjugate a Latin verb!  YAY!!

This week we reviewed for her test at the end of the week.  She did really well on it and one question had her explain the strategy she used to figure the problem out as opposed to showing her work because all of her math must be done in her head.  It was really exciting to see her understand how to get the answer.  I told her she is well on her way to being a mathematical thinker!!  Yes she is!!

This week Kamryn and I learned how to add fractions mentally which was so much fun!  It took her a few tries to really get the hang of it, but once she did she was on a roll.  Here was one of her problems...

John bought one foot of ribbon.  
He cut it into 1, 1 3/4, 5/6, 1 1/2, 2 1/3, and  1 1/6 pieces.  
How much ribbon did he have left? 

We had so much fun solving these problems.  I love learning math with her every day!!!  Next year she will be on her own and I will probably cry! 

Intermediate Language Lessons
Still liking ILL, but hoping that it gets a little more technical in the coming weeks.  Karsyn really likes it, so for now its working.

Fix It Grammar

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!  Kamryn will start officially find errors this coming week which should be fun!

World History
We learned about pyramids this week and what they were used for.  The girls really are enjoying Egyptian life and culture...who knew??

American History
We are getting close to the Revolution now.  We have experienced our very first public address of sorts and the colonists are banning together!  Things should start getting heated here pretty quickly!!

What we are reading
Kamryn read about William and Catherine Booth this week, the founders of the Salvation Army. She said she liked them but liked Gladys Alward better!!  I am having a hard time finding any books on her, so if anyone knows of any please let me know!  I don't want to quench her fire!

For Bible reading, Karsyn is reading the Day by Day Bible.  

Both girls finished Sarah Noble this week.  Kamryn will begin The Winter of the Red Snow next week which will be much more challenging for her, and she needs that.  I am looking for something for Karsyn to read at her level...ideas would be appreciated!

This week we completely forgot to color a state. Ooops, again I say that I love homeschooling!

Picture Study, Music Study, and Art
We reviewed our picture from last week in Picture Study, began the Baroque period in Music, and learned how to make animals out of basic shapes in Art.  This is a quick and easy, but very fun part of our day!!

We are still working on our "Healthy Plant Growth" experiment and are tracking our little lima beans growth in our science journals.  We turned their home on its side to see how much they would like that. LOL, they didnt!  We also began to look at leaves and why they change colors.  We had an experiment and removed chlorophyll from a leaf as well. Fun stuff!!  I mean where is my camera??

Nature Study
This week for nature study the Daddy Boy took the girls down to the river by our house.  They found lots of invertebrates that were not insects there.  The favorite of which were clams!!  They loved it.  We talked about and read about crabs, crawfish, and other water loving invertebrates to go along with the clams and will start Pagoo on Monday!!!  Again, where is my camera??   I will do better next week!!  I promise!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happenings of a Homeschool....Week 1

Our first week back to school is now under our belts, and while I am a little bitty bit late in posting, I am going to try hard to post weekly the happenings of our homeschool.  I really want to remember these good days around mid-February.

I have to first say, "Living Books Curriculum, where have you been all my life?"  Wow!!  What a great program.  We are doing the 2nd grade program and while I think I will pick up the pace a little is really great.  My girls still have their Math, Latin, Intermediate Language Lessons, and Fix It Grammar which is on their appropriate levels, so I wasn't too worried about the other stuff being a few years behind.  The problem I am having is that I want to stick with this until high school, so I have got to figure out how to pick up the pace and catch up to their appropriate levels.  But its so awesome that I don't want to miss anything.  We are having a blast and its amazing how much can be learned in short 20 minute lessons that are alternated between technical and non-technical subjects.  I have revamped our schedule once again to make sure everything is alternating the way it should be and I have moved their Independent Work to their "quiet time".  It was pointless to have it in the middle of the school day because I wasn't getting anything done with all of the questions.  Now, I have permanently given them something to do while they are in their rooms for quiet time and if they have questions I don't have to go upstairs to answer them.  The choir is a singin' I tell ya!!!

So here is the new and improved schedule...

 And here is our weekly breakdown, which is what the rest of the posts will look like :)


We are doing Bible this year at the kitchen table with breakfast.  It has really worked out because it gives us that precious extra 15 minutes in the mornings and we can pray and eat and talk all before going upstairs which I love.  So, I have decided to venture on my own for Bible and have found a list of all of the parables of Jesus here.  We do a parable a week and I just search online to find a coloring page and some good discussion questions that we can stretch throughout the week.  This week we did the parable of the wise man and the foolish man.  We had a great talk and made huge improvements from Monday when both girls thought that God wants us to build a house in the mountains not at the beach.  By Friday everyone understood that Jesus is the rock upon which we build our lives!

Memory Work
This term we are memorizing Psalm 1 and "The Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The girls love memory work so much and its a great energy boost first thing in the morning with all of the dance moves and hand motions they make up to go with the words.  They will recite both for grandparents at the end of the 9 weeks.  

We started back from the beginning in Latin this year even though we had made it through Chapt. 3 last year.  Because we got such a late start beginning the Latin for Children program, I felt like we would do better just to start over!!  We breezed through chapter 1 this week and love to sing the latin songs that go along with the program.  So fun!!  This program is fabulous!!

This week in RightStart Math, Karsyn is mastering 2 digit mental addition by learning different strategies for doing these problems in her head.  She will take her first test of the year next week after a full week of games and review and I am crossing my fingers that she just blows us out of the water.  What I love about this program is that on her test next week she will be required to list out the steps of the strategy she chooses to use to solve each problem mentally.  

Kamryn is working on fractions and mastering how to add them, find fractions of a whole number, finding how many more to make a whole and do way more than I knew how to do before beginning this week!  Our "ah ha" moment this week in math was when we learned that the denominator is the number you make and the numerator is the number you take.  For instance if you are looking for 5/6 of 12 you will "make" 6 groups of 2 and "take" 5 groups of 2 making 5/6 of 12...10!!!  I cannot say enough about this program, I really can't!

Intermediate Language Lessons

Karysn started Intermediate Language Lessons this year as a bit of a more relaxed program that teaches in context.  I like it so far.  If things don't go as planned I will definitely go back to First Language Lessons but I have heard so many good things about this program that I had to give it a try!  We like it so far!  My favorite thing about it is that it gives you a passage to read and then gives you a specific sentence to dictate and then zeros in on a word or group of words from the sentence and asks you to formulate a rule for it.  One was a capital I.  Karsyn's rule was "Always capitalize the I when its lonely."  I think she will remember that better because its her rule!!  I like it!!!

Fix It Grammar
This is by far the best find of the Midsouth Homeschool Convention.  Kamryn has a sentence a day to fix, define a vocab word from, and rewrite all from a classic novel.  This year its Tom Sawyer.   So this year she will read an abridged version of Tom Sawyer, define the difficult words in the story, and rewrite the entire story to keep for herself!  IM SOLD!!!  Another plus is that her entire grammar career is right there in this one little book.  NEVER BUY GRAMMAR AGAIN!!!  Come on somebody!!!!

World History
We are learning about the Ancient Egyptians and have just scratched the surface so far.  We began our timeline which is even amazing to me to see how the Bible facts are happening right alongside the Egyptians building pyramids.  I mean you always knew it, but to see it is amazing.  Im excited to put it all together this year!

American History
We are studying the American Revolution this year and can I just say that colonial life is so awesome!!  I love this time period and the living books included with this curriculum just bring it all to life.  So far we have learned about taxation without representation and The Stamp Act.  Its just getting good!!!  By far my fave subject!

What we are reading
Kamryn is reading Hero Tales for her Bible reading and this week was Gladys Alward.  She LOVED it and said that she wanted more books about her. CHECK, I can do that!!

For Bible reading, Karsyn is reading the Day by Day Bible.  

Both girls are independently reading The Courage of Sarah Noble this week and what a great story that is.  We are really enjoying our time talking about it. 

To correlate with American History we are studying very loosely American Geography using Daily Geography from Evan Moor. We will also color one state per week and just briefly talk about what makes the states unique.  Were coloring them in order of it!!  Hopefully by the end of the year we will have memorized all of the states and capitals as well as be able to locate them all on a map!  Yay for Geography!

Picture Study, Music Study, and Art
We studied The Artist in His Museum by Charles Peale this week.  The girls loved it, and I was very pleasantly surprised.  They were quite interested in this man's museum and all that he put in it.  In Music, we studied Richard Wagner.  Very interesting.  We are using The Story of the Orchestra...a very small picture book that comes with a CD to hear the composer while you study.  Couldn't be more simple and yet so thorough.  I love it!!  Art starts next week!!!

This week we began a "Healthy Plant Growth" experiment and are tracking our little lima beans growth in our science journals.  Next week we will begin making changes to the beans and seeing how it affects them.  At the end of the term the girls will have to tell about this experiment and explain what plants need to grow as well as what hinders their growth.  Fun!!! 

Nature Study
The highlight of our week this week was our nature study time.  We are always out and about in nature, but this week was phenomenal.  A few days back Big Daddy took a ride around the 90 acres behind our house and stumbled upon a butterfly sanctuary. We don't know why they were all here, but there were hundreds.  He told me about it and so I knew where we were headed for our nature study time.  We jumped on the golf cart and headed out back.  It was amazing.  This term we will be studying invertebrates that are NOT insects, so we kicked the year off with our favorite invertebrate that IS an insect...the butterfly.  Here are some pictures from the trip!!!

It was a great first week back!!  I am so ready to see all that we learn this year!!!  I feel like after a year of flailing like a fish out of water, I have finally found my niche, and I am just tickled pink!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We will never forget...

September 11, 2001.

Where were you??

I have been told that people old enough to understand what was happening on that day will never forget where they were and what they were doing when our country was attacked.

I remember where I was.  I was in our very first house.  I was in the living room feeding my baby girl who was about to turn 1 (and is now about to turn 11) some oatmeal for breakfast.  Dora the Explorer was on tv (before they decided to make her a tween....big mistake Nick).  The sun was beating in our front door window, that is what it did every morning.  Our border collie Shae, that we still have today laying in her favorite corner of the living room.  My phone rang and it was Big Daddy who wanted to know if I was watching the news.  Of course I wasn't, so he told that that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center "on accident".  I remember putting in on Good Morning America only to see the live footage of the 2nd plane flying into the building while they talked about the first plane doing it.  I will never forget.


Life changed forever on September 11, 2001 for us as Americans but for so many men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons.  So many people never came home that day.  So many lives shattered.  I will never forget those families.

On September 10, 2001 life was NORMAL!!!  George W was President and life was good.  Did I just say that out loud???  There was no such thing as smart phones, text messaging, facebook, twitter, or even blogs.  We had cell phones for emergencies and desktop computers to type papers for school.  Email was something only office workers had, and there wasn't an i anything.  No ipod, itouch, ipad, or iphone.  And there was no such thing as terrorism, like we know it today.  I had no idea where Afghanistan was on a map, had no idea that people hated Americans, never had heard of Islam, and certainly had no clue of extremist groups who would harm themselves for their ridiculous cause.  I will never forget.


And on that September 11th morning, I went to Walmart as fast as I could (back then they were few and far between) and bought and American flag for our house and our cars.  I loved my country and I wanted everyone to know it. That feeling I will never forget.

And now today 10 years later, I remember of all the lives that have been changed.  All of the families who sacrifice their husbands and wives, moms and dads for the greater good of our country every day.  The wives who haven't held their husband's hands in months or years but talk every night on Skype from Afghanistan.    All of the children who have never met their dads because they are serving our country.  All of the families whose soldiers are not going to ever come home.  On this day, I remember your family.  I thank your family for the huge sacrifice you make for our country so that we can be free and safe.  From the bottom of my heart to all of the soldiers, government officials, airport staff, taxi drivers, subway workers, security guards, police officers, and firemen who work every day to make sure 911 doesn't happen again, I say thank you!!!  Your work is immeasurable and my gratitude is too.  I will never forget the sacrifice you make!!!  We will never forget!!!

What man intends for evil, God will use for good.  Genesis 50:20

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