Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Learning about Maps

I wanted to help the girls get a better understanding of maps. Often in our FIAR studies, we've found places on the map, but I knew there were some things they still didn't know about them.  Colin participated as a review for him. Some things we dicussed were the continents, the oceans, compass and compass rose, symbols on maps, the difference in globes and maps, the equator, latitude and longitude, hemispheres, and scale.

We did activities from Beginning Geography: How to Use a Map. Some of the worksheets are maps of rooms, streets, and a fairy tale land that give directions to find things or get to a place. They also made their own map of our school room.

Books we read:
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Priceman
Up North and Down South by Gonzales
Continents: A True Book by Fradin
Miranda the Explorer by Mayhew
Me on the Map by Sweeney
There's a Map on My Lap by Rabe
Mapping Penny's World by Leedy
How I Learned Geography by Shulevitz
Maps and Globes by Knowlton
Katy and the Big Snow by Burton
Oceans: A True Book by Stille
Madlenka by Sis

I used an orange to help them understand how a round object (Earth) is made flat (a map) by removing the peel in one piece and flattening it against the table.

I found the mini books on Homeschool Share by just searching since they were in different unit studies. The map to label the continents came from our Galloping the Globe book.
Here are the pictures in Caleigh's notebook.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: August 23-27

This was our first full week back. We started out slow, but are almost up to a full schedule now. I think it went pretty well especially considering we were out of the house for part of the day three times this week.

We finished up a map unit study that we started last week. I wanted to help the girls understand more about maps. We discussed globes, maps, directions, continents, and oceans. We started to make a paper mache globe, but if you read my day in the life post you know that the kids got a little wild with the paste and the globe is still unfinished.

We started doing a quick overview of ancient history. For Colin, it's review, but the girls didn't listen in to much of our history last year so I'm hoping it will give them a better idea of what's going on before we move on to the Middle Ages. We started by reading about what history and archaeology are and reading some books on archaeology. Then we began an ancient Egypt unit study, which I will write more about next week.

Colin had been doing review sheets for math because he stopped in the middle of a book. He has now finished that and started into new lessons (working on decimals right now). The girls both started new math books so they've been doing lessons for a week now. We use RightStart Math and my kids have always loved the games, but it's something I dread. When Molly had a memory game in her lesson this week, I had Caleigh play it with her. I hope this is something that will continue to work so I can skip some of these games.

Colin reviewed all Spell to Write and Read phonograms and rules and took a placement test. Next week he'll start on new lists. Caleigh reviewed the single letter phonograms and started multi-letter phonograms. We also went through the cards to see which ones Molly knew.

On Tuesday, we met with Colin's First Lego League team. We moms discussed expectations, ideas, and plans while the boys played Legos and got to know each other. One of the other moms has a 7 year old girl so that gives my girls someone else to play with during the meetings.

On Wednesday morning, we went to a park day for a new to us homeschool group. It was a nice, friendly group. There were quite a few boys around Colin's age so he was very happy.

Today we went to our homeschool group's kickoff at a park. It was great to see so many other homeschoolers. I think that must be especially good for new homeschoolers to let them know they're not alone. We had a potluck lunch and played at the playground. We were there for almost 4 hours, but Colin still didn't want to leave. He got to play with 3 of the friends he's made so he had a great time. 
Unfortunately, I don't any pictures to share because one of my kids threw something and hit my camera knocking it to the floor and now it won't work. Hopefully, I can find the cord for my old one soon.

See more weekly wrap-ups here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day in the Life

I was just going to write the tentative plans I've made for our days, but every time I write it out I can't fit everything in. I don't know how, but somehow it usually works out. I try to keep our schedule so that we have entire days at home, but there are field trips, classes, playdates, errands, travel, etc. that often interrupt us.
I decided to try to keep up with the times everything is happening on Monday, a day when we're not going anywhere.
This is only our 3rd day of school for this year so we're still trying to work everything out. I also haven't finished the kids' chore chart so other than Colin unloading the dishwasher, they are only picking up toys and doing things as I ask them. I thought this would be rather boring, but it turned out to have some surprises.

7:30- I'm up. I'm going to be honest and tell you that most of us are not morning people here. My goal is to eventually be up at this time every day, but many times it's closer to 8:30. This day I just happened to wake up early.

7:45- I'm on computer. Molly is up and complaining that she's tired so she lays on the couch and asks to watch TV. She is also not usually up yet. Colin is the only one who gets up early. I sometimes have to wake the girls at 9.

7:55- Colin is up and getting his breakfast. He likes to eat first thing.

8:45- Molly and I have breakfast

8:55- I've heard Caleigh talking to Colin, but this is the first time I've seen her. She gets her breakfast.

9:10- I get laundry out of the dryer. It's a load from yesterday that I forgot about so I had to turn the dryer back on to try to get out wrinkles. I'll tell you that this is often the way it happen. Then I put towels in dryer and another load of clothes in the washer. My hand gets tired from spraying the stain remover so much. Do they have to stain every single item? The girls are getting dressed, brushing teeth, and fixing hair. Colin has already done this, but I didn't notice when.

9:30- Everyone upstairs to school room. I remind them to feed the poor fish they're always forgetting.
Read aloud time. Here they are waiting.

Read Bible story and books to go along with our map unit study.

10:30- Everyone to the table to do oceans lapbook & Beginning Geography worksheets. In the background you can see that Molly, who still says she's tired, is having some trouble getting off the couch to come to the table.

One of the worksheets is following directions to a treasure and I gave them all a few M&Ms as their treasure.

10:50- Break for Molly; I work with Caleigh doing math; Colin is still doing review sheets so he does math on his own.

11:15- First Language lessons and Spell to Write and Read with Caleigh

11:30- Caleigh has a break; I work with Molly on math and phonograms. Then she practices writing letters in her salt box.

11:50- Both girls on break; Colin copywork; then with me: review phonograms, Writing Tales, we go over math he did earlier correcting anything missed

12:30- Lunch: I help girls get their stuff; Colin makes his own; I get towels out of dryer & move clothes to dryer.

12:45- I sit down to get on computer when I hear Molly say she sees a bug. I go back in to see that we've been invaded by ants during the time we were upstairs. They are all over the floor near the window. I start searching for them and discover there is a small crack at the backdoor that they're coming in. Colin goes out to get the ShopVac and vaccuums them up. I then try to search to find something to get rid of them. I end up spraying Windex all around the outside of the door and I sprinkle cayenne pepper all over the area near the crack in the door (I think I read somewhere that they didn't like that). That will have to do until hubby comes home to take care of it. Now I feel like everything is dirty so I scrub the whole kitchen and lose my free time.
During this time, the kids have run off to play.

2:00- Back upstairs to do history. We're doing a quick review of ancient history to get the girls caught up. We read the intro about what history and archaelogy are and read a couple books about archaeology. Then the kids are supposed to do timelines of their lives. It turns into something crazy and only Colin gets any pictures drawn about his life so I give up.

3:00- Quick clean up of school room/play room and then the kids are free to play.

3:30- I make paste and start cutting paper strips for our paper mache project. Colin unloads the dishwasher, which is normally done earlier in the day, but didn't happen. As you can see here, it's a dangerous job and you should always have your weapon ready.

4:00- Kids' snack; computer time for me and at this point I realize I forgot to eat lunch so I get an orange and some water.

4:30- I go to the kitchen to make spaghetti sauce. After I get everything out, I realize we don't have any garlic so I put everything away and go back to the computer, where I do some lessons plans, check email, facebook, etc.

5:10- Back to kitchen. I put some chicken in the microwave to thaw. The paste is cool so I decide to let the kids start on the project while I'm making dinner. I notice that there is some stuff on the table on the back porch so I go out to clear it off while yelling for the kids to come out. When Colin comes out, I turn around just in time to see him closing the door and I try to tell him not to, but it's too late. The door is locked. We are locked out of the house. I'm not sure when hubby will be home because he had a meeting. Colin tries to search all around for a way to get inside. A wasp gets into the screened in porch so the girls won't come out of the yard even though it's raining.

6:00- Hubby arrives and we are back in the house. I get the chicken out of the microwave and finally start making dinner.

7:00- Dinner & clean up

7:45- I call the kids back out for the paper mache project. I show them what to do and come back in to get on the computer to search for skating classes. After a few minutes, I go back out to check on them and discover that leaving was not a good idea. They have not followed directions, have used almost all the paste for only a few strips of paper, the table is a mess, and the girls have the paste in their hair. I should have taken a pic of this mess, but I was too upset and just sent everyone back in to clean themselves up.
I start cleaning up their mess. I scoop up the paste they spread all over the table and use it to put the strips on the balloon. I finish covering the whole thing, clean up, and bring it in to dry.

9:00- Put kids to bed; I take a shower and then watch a movie with my hubby.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good deals

Just wanted to share some good deals I've come across lately. 

You can get a free Download N Go Expedition Mexico by going here until August 27. It looks great and I'm looking forward to using it with the kids soon.

Reading Eggs, an online program to help kids learn to read, is offering a free 5 week trial for up to three children.

I found these file folders games at the Dollar Tree. They had four or five different ones. I bought some used file folder games a few years ago, but I've only made one of my own because I just never had the time to do more so I think $1 is a great price for these.

Today at Michael's, I found this president wheel. You turn the wheel and it shows the birth state, vice president, political party, and number of terms for the president the arrow is pointing to. They also had animals and dinosaurs. They were marked $1, but rang up 49 ¢.
The president workbook was in the dollar section at Target.

While I'm at it, I wanted to mention one of the best resources I've found. Homeschool Share has so much wonderful information and it's all free. They have unit studies divided into levels for different ages, lapbooks, and lots of fun ideas. They also have lapbooks to go with many of the Five in a Row books.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School 2010

Today was our first day back to school.

Colin- 5th grade

Caleigh- 2nd grade

Molly- kindergarten

Back to school cake

I had been changing the number on our chalkboard everyday to count down the number of days until school starts. Caleigh was happy to get to put zero so she made a smiley face on it.

The girls going back in after taking pictures. So glad they're going that direction.

Just can't believe my baby is already a kindergartener.

We'll  probably take about a week to get back to full schedule. Today we did math, bible, handwriting (girls), and started our unit study on maps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tomorrow is the day (really, this time it is)

The start of school keeps getting postponed here. Things just keep coming up. Today is the latest in the dates I've set for the first day, but I didn't have time to make the first day of school cake yesterday. Can't have the first day without cake.

When we finished school on June 30, I was sure four weeks would give me enough time to do all the things I wanted before starting school.  This will be our first year to officially have 3 school age kids so I really wanted to have everything planned and organized before we started. Looking back now, I have to wonder what in the world I was thinking. Here's part of my list:
  • unpack and organize the rest of the toys
  • unpack and organize my scrapbook stuff
  • plan history by making an outline, having a list of all go along books separated into what we have and what I need to get from the library, printing coloring pages and maps, planning projects and gathering supplies for them
  • plan astonomy in the same way as history & print lapbook pieces
  • plan unit studies for ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, butterflies, & maps; print lapbook pieces for all
  • choose & plan our Five in a Row books, find go along books, print lapbooks pieces
  • make a plan for art study
  • print math sheets for all the kids
  • make list of chapter books for the year
  • make list of books for Colin and Caleigh to read alone for the year
  • read Spell to Write and Read again to jog my memory on starting with beginners
  • make a planner/record book because I can't find one I like
  • do research to choose a foreign language and a math program for Colin to start when he finishes his current book
  • plan a cooking unit study with a different topic and/or recipe for each week
  • organize and decorate the school room
  • make a timeline for our wall
So tomorrow when we start school, will all of this be done? No way. Will even half of it be done? Not looking like it. Will it all work out anyway? Sure it will. Just like other years, I'll be printing things in the mornings right before we use them, ordering library books with barely enough time to get them before we start that subject, turning the house upside down looking for supplies for our projects, planning unit studies and FIAR books the week before we do them, and reading through lesson plans minutes before having to explain them to the kids. I'm sure that even if it's not as organized and prepared as I would like, it will all be fine. I did get the cake baked for tomorrow. As long as we have the cake, that's all that matters, right?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Linville Caverns & Falls Trip

Chad surprised us by making plans to spend a long weekend in a cabin in the mountains. The kids were very excited to get to cook over a fire and make smores. We weren't able to do it Friday because of rain, but they were happy to do it Saturday. I wasn't too excited about the caverns because I'm not a fan of being in small places. It really didn't feel too closed in though and it was really neat inside so I'm glad we did it.

Linville Caverns

Colin waiting to go inside the caves.





Hiking to Linville Falls

The pictures below are from the last trail we did. There aren't any of Molly because she didn't want to walk anymore. She and Chad waited for us. After we left, she told Chad, "They say we're lazy, but I think we're smart."





I actually have a picture of Chad and me this time.

Our cabin was right on the river.



It's hard to see Caleigh, but she's in there between Colin and Chad. Notice that the three of them are fishing, but Molly is more interested in playing with the water.





Molly said the fire was so hot that she might burst into flames so she decided to blow it out.

Hot tub


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Our School Room

When we first looked at this house, I was so excited to see this perfect school room. The second time I looked at it I realized it wasn't as perfect as I remembered because the angles wouldn't allow me to put all of our bookshelves in it. So I had to adjust my plans a little giving up part of the room to toys and putting bookshelves in the room I had thought about using for toy storage. Now that we're in, I think I actually like having the bookshelves in a separate room.

I'm just now starting to work on the decorating part. We just moved here in April so up to now most of my time has been spent unpacking and organizing. I really want to get some more color in the room. I'd love to paint the walls, but that will have to wait until I get more time.

Here is the room as you come in the door.

This is on the right side as you enter the room. My hubby made us this table. We use the shelves under it for pencils, pens, markers, crayons, etc. Some of our craft supplies are under the sink.

These shelves next to the table are where we keep things we use most of the time. Each of us has our own shelf for our books. There are also shelves for science, history, unit study, and library books. There are 2 crates next to it. The bottom one has folders to keep lapbook pieces and worksheets once I've printed them. I'm going to put some fun stuff in the top box to keep Molly busy when she finishes her school work and has to wait on the other two.

We use the couch for read alouds. I rotate books on these rain gutter shelves so the kids have easier access to them than when they're on our regular shelves. I plan to let the kids hang their artwork on the link chain above the window. I'm planning to start a timeline on the wall above the fish tank.

Close up of the rain gutter shelves.

The area next to the couch is empty because I'm saving it for a desk and computer I plan to get for the kids soon. I'm gathering letters to make an alphabet wall on the other blank wall. The cork board has a schedule on it and will display things we're working on. The thing on the bottom is a chore chart that I'm still working on.

This is a small play area. We have more toys stored in a walk in closet right outside of this room. There is another place to display their artwork. The frames have postcards of famous paintings in them.

This is what the room looks like when standing at the couch.

If you noticed the double doors behind the easel, that is the room where we store the rest of our school supplies.

There is a shelf to store games and the other shelves are all divided into subjects.

This is the opposite side. The white drawers have math manipulatives, more craft stuff, science and history stuff, and puzzle books. The shelf to the right of them has all different types of paper and file folder games on top. The shelf in the corner holds puzzles.

We also have a loveseat in the loft area right outside of our school room to use when someone wants some quiet reading time alone.

I am so happy to have this space for our school!

Check out the blog hop to see more school rooms.
Not Back to School Blog Hop