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 bit...it 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 statehood...love 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!!


  1. A couple of things:

    First, I also LOVED doing the timeline during our study of Ancient Egypt. We made a time line on our wall using yarn and index cards. I loved seeing where historical Egyptian events corresponded with Biblical events. Fascinating!

    Second, I have a Linky on Saturdays called "Study America Saturday". I would love if you would link up anything fun you do in American History.

    Looks like a great first week!


  2. Hey Nicole!! I will absolutely link up!! Thanks for stopping by!!!

  3. I love your enthusiasm and I'm sure your kids do, too!! I'm going to check some things out you mentioned. :)

  4. Have you ever looked at Essentials of the English Language and the Institute for Excellence in Writing? (4th-6th grade)

    Having been an English teacher, you would LOVE those programs.

    I've done them with my oldest for three years now, and I am truly amazed at his english and writing skills. :)

  5. Not sure you still check this post, but I am wondering what curriculum you use for your World History and American History? Please feel free to email me saffraun@gmail.com


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