Friday, October 14, 2011

Finally getting around to updating

Here's a quick run down of what we have completed so far this school year

- Finished Singapore 2A
- Finished Singapore 1B - Intensive Practice (reviewing what we did last year)
- Has Addition and Subtraction facts to 10 memorized (still working on getting faster at them)
- Knows that multiplication tables for 2 and 3 (working on quicker recall of them with online games)

- Started late this summer at lesson 135 in Ordinary Parents guide to Teaching Reading
- Now at lesson 186
- Can read Magic Tree House books to me, but still prefers to read easier material to himself or the little ones. He can read Curious George, Clifford, or Henry and Mudge without difficulty.

- Recently finished Book 4 ETC
- Returning to Book 5
- On Step 9 of All about Spelling 2 (We haven't put much time into spelling yet this year)

- We did the first 10 weeks of Writing with Ease 1
- WWE 1 has been shelved for the time being because he was just not putting in the effort to listen to the story and answer the questions and narrate back to me.
- We are now working on narrating other readings like our science or history readings.
- Since quitting WWE - D has become interested in writing his own little one page stories. He draws a picture and then add a sentence or two about it. He does not like to make up his own way to spell words so I am constantly having to help him spell out words for his stories.

Grammer - First Language Lessons
- Worked through lesson 64
- Memorized the following poems
- The Caterpillar
- Work
- Hearts Are Like Doors
- The Months

- Learned about landforms and bodies of water with Beginning Geography
- Knows the Continents and major Oceans

- Main thing to get pushed off when we don't have time
- We have talked about what makes something living, looked at cells, looked at the exhibit at Sci-quest about cells, started learning about the human body. We haven't had time to do many of the labs for the human body yet, but we have read through a lot of library books about the human body and the things that it can do.
- Hope to spend a lot of time between now and Christmas doing more fun labs for human body stuff so in the spring we can move into the animal portion of RSO. Leaving the plant part of late spring early summer when we will be starting our garden again.
- Bird watching - D has become interested in knowing more about the birds that we see in our yard. I need to take more time to have him learn about how to attract them and what to feed them. I'm ordering him a new bird book to hopefully have info on the bird that we see in our yard all in one book. Right now the junior guide that he has does not have a lot of the birds that we see in our yard and he does not like having to look through the larger guide and wants me to do it for him.

- Another one of the things that gets put off to the end since I am more focused on the 3Rs.
- The few weeks that we have gotten through in History Odyssey we have really enjoyed. Unfortunately with the little ones around it takes us about 2 weeks to get through one week worth of stuff. Hopefully as we get more into the Egyptians and the Romans we will be able to get through material quicker when it keeps D's interest longer. Also now that we have a strong start with the 3Rs and are at least done with 1/2 a years work in them we can spend less time on those areas and more time enjoying the history and science for this year.

- D originally did HWOT in Pre-K, then skipped up to the first grade book in his K year. We did not order a book for this year but I can now see that he needs extra practice. I think I will be ordering either another copy of the 1st grade book for him or the 2nd grade printing power book soon. He still has some trouble with a few letter reversals that need to be fixed. Even though I sit with him while he does copywork he still will occasionally reverse b and d, randomly asks which way a c goes and also occasionally makes his p's backwards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yes... just like all the other blogs I started!

Ignored for months at a time!

I don't know why I thought this blog would be any different. I hardly have time to think let alone put up a blog post.

The end of August is forgotten, September was a blur and the beginning of October was spent at Disney World.

Little E turned 1, S turned 4 and I'm fighting the urge to have another little one.

I'm going to try to get a better update of where we are at in our schooling up soon.. but for now life goes on.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Update - August 15th - 19th

This week was more of a routine week for us. Nothing really exciting happened around here.

We played outside more than we have in a long time thanks to a break in the heat. Kids had a great time during one playtime when I started a water fight. We all ended up soaking wet and laughing. Even little E enjoyed laughing at all the craziness. We also decided one morning to go check out a new playground at a park that we haven't been to in a long time.

Workboxes are still doing their job and the whining and complaining have dropped down to a more 6 year old appropriate level. Meaning he still whines, but it's a lot easier to keep him going when he can see when something fun is coming soon. It also helps me since it forces me to plan in more fun/hands on things for him to do.

Soccer has started again and that means practice two nights a week along with a game on Friday night. All that hard running in the heat wipes D out so he has been grumpy since he hasn't been sleeping in at all even though he needs to.

A few pictures from our week
D's spelling for the week - AAS 2 Step 7
S decided to write her name on her own
Playing Monopoly Jr - A favorite around our house

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Update - August 8th - 12th

A few pictures from our week - Sorry not many didn't pick the camera up much this week

I really need to remember to write these update posts at the end of the week rather than waiting until I have time on the weekend. By then I can't remember anything that we did! I do remember that this week was full of outings!

Monday was back to school for most of the kids in our city so we celebrated by spending the morning playing outside. It was also the first morning in weeks that it was cool enough to play for awhile without being miserable. After we played outside for awhile and were completely covered in chalk dust I loaded the kids up and we went and got donuts for a special treat before we started our work for the day.

Tuesday - We went to an indoor play place to meet some friends. The kids had a blast playing on the bounce houses and running around like maniacs.

Wednesday - D had soccer practice. Even though sitting through practice with the other 3 kids is hot and miserable... I love soccer - It makes all my kids sleep great that night!

Thursday - The one day of the week that we managed to stay home

Friday - Back to the indoor playground, out to eat and then off to the library.

What we accomplished this week

Reading - D continued to work his way through OPGTR. We finished Nate the Great Undercover and we are starting Amelia Bedelia. D seems to have kept a bad habit of guessing at longer words rather than taking the time to sound them out. We've been working on sounding out longer words and not just guessing at what they might be. He also has trouble with his eyes moving faster than his mouth and combining two sentences when he is reading out loud. So he will add in random words from the next sentence into the sentence he is reading.

Math - Finished up the IP problems for section on Adding and Subtracting within 1000. We started measurement using meters/centimeters. I also purchased the IP book for 1B and will have D start working 15 minutes a day on review using that book. I also got a trial of IXL for D to try and he has been enjoying playing on there. I think I will be purchasing a subscription for him soon

History - This week we finished up talking about the Sumerians and made a clay tablet to record our observations about nature. D decided to record the number of animals and people that we have in our house. He also wanted to make drawings of the vegetables that we are growing. We finished up our History pocket for the Sumerians as well.

Science - We never got around to making our edible plant and animal cells but we may try to do that this week. Instead we watched a video about cells on BrainPop and read Greg's Microscope.

Art - We finally started Artistic Pursuits K-3 book 1. I'll try to remember to take a picture of D's first drawing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Update - First week of August

A few random pictures from our week -

An update on what D accomplished last week

Reading - Still working our way through OPGTR. Wish we could move through this faster but D doesn't really like it so even though we could get through 2-3 lessons a day he drags his feet so most days we only get through one unless it is a really short lesson and then I throw in 2

Phonics - Now that we are doing syllables in AAS we went back to finish up the 2nd half of book 4 where we stopped last year. We are currently on Lesson 7. I'm hoping that getting through these next couple of lessons in ETC will get him more confidently reading multi-syllable words.

Spelling - Last week we started Step 6 of AAS Level 2. We had a short day of school on Thursday so we didn't get that step finished so we will move it to this week.

Math - Finished up the Unit on Addition and Subtraction within 1000 in Singapore 2A - Worked on the IP problems from that Unit as well

History - History Odyssey - Sumerians - Read about the Sumerians in STOW - Also did math umerian Style. We built our own Lego Ziggurat. This week we are making our own clay tablet and recording observations about nature like the Sumerians did.

Science - Talked about cells and looked at an egg as a giant cell. This week we will be making edible jello plant and animal cells.

Spanish - We also started watching Salsa on PBS

Required Reading - This week Drew read aloud Nate the Great and Nate the Great goes Undercover.

First Week with Workboxes

So the first week in August was our first week using workboxes. Although the original setup and getting used to filing the boxes each night was a pain the first couple of nights it was SO worth it. The kids love their workboxes. My 6yo fusses a lot less about how much more are we going to do. Even though we had an assignment sheet printed off from Homeschool Tracker it still resulted in a lot of whining about how much more or that we are doing too much.

Now with the boxes he can see how much more we have left and what fun thing he is going to get to do when we are done. It also has made me more conscious of making sure that we add in more fun things to do. It's amazing how throwing in a small bag of cookies can make doing a dreaded subject more fun.

Here are a few pictures of our workbox setup:

Our two stacks of bins - I found these at for $30 and free shipping!

Close up picture of our picture cards for the subjects

I just toss his checkmarks for when he is finished in with his work. When he completes it and returns it to his bin he is allowed to take the subject card off and put the checkmark up.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Our new workboxes arrived early than planned! I worked hard this weekend to get things set up and stuff moved around to find a place where they would be easy to use, but at the same time not be somewhere where the monsters... I mean the kids would destroy them.

I've been reading about so many different workbox setups and I've finally found a combination that will work for us. D's boxes are numbered 1-10 with numbers that stay on the boxes. Then also on the box is a picture card representing what is in there since he can't see through the boxes to see what is coming up next. Rather than having him take a number card off the box and put it on a grid or number strip I am having him remove the picture card and place a checkmark card in it's place on the box. I have an extra bin in S's boxes to store the cards, and I place a checkmark card in the box with the work that he needs to be doing. We will see how that works out. If he isn't completing his work before he puts up the checkmark and moves on to another box than I will have to make him bring me his work before I give him his checkmark card.

I was hoping that we would have a normal morning to get used to our workboxes, but of course I forgot that little E has a doctors appointment so I have to drag all 4 kids to the docs office ( so next week I will be posting about us all being sick after our well child check this week... it never fails that one of the kids picks up something from the docs office)

So hopefully once we get home from the docs office in the morning we can get right to work on our workboxes and maybe for once we can get through our days work without a ton of whining/complaining/stalling and whatever else a 6 year old can come up with to get out of doing some school work.

I will try to post pictures of our workbox setup soon. I took some tonight but my computer can't read them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eventually I'll get to doing updates Weekly - End of July

The week of the 18th to the 22nd was a blur. D had science camp for 3 hours every afternoon so our whole routine was thrown off and none of the little ones were napping and were all very grumpy every morning.

D managed to do some math and reading most days that week but that was all we tried to accomplish.

He had a great time at camp and they did all sorts of fun things. The first day was all about slime so they made different types of slime and made bouncy balls out of one of them. The second day was about bacteria - They went through the small cell exhibit that the museum has and also did cultures of the floor and bathrooms. The museum also has the Grossology exhibit about the gross things your body does so they talked about that and played with those exhibits. One day was "sticky" and they made all sorts of candy (that was a fun afternoon bringing home a tired sugared up kid!) The final day that made rubberbands and also made egg drop contraptions.

This past week we have been working on getting back into our normal routine and back to doing our normal amount of schoolwork. I also decided this week that I am going to try to do workboxes with D to help him see exactly how much work he has left to do because that is what causes the most whining when he doesn't know exactly what he has to do. I tried a listing of what we were going to do but since he can't physically see what is left he gets upset that it is too much to do.

I also started putting together some preschool/prek work for S. She complains everyday if I don't sit down with her and do "school work" with her after I am done with D. Hopefully this will help keep her happy and less complaining while I work with D. I also got her her own set of workboxes that she will split with R so they both have planned activities that they can do each day and hopefully stop destroying the house anytime I sit down with D.

I really need to be better about pulling out my camera. You'd never know that I used to have my own business and had my camera attached to me 24/7 before I got pregnant with E. I'm just so worn out most days that the thought of picking up the camera is more than I want to do.

Hopefully next week will be our last week without workboxes while I get them here and set up. Then we will be starting out our journey with those and hopefully they will work out for us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekly Update - Mid July

We've been cruising along for the last two weeks.

A few fun highlights from this week

- We made recycled crayons - The kids thought it was great. We've had a bucket of broken crayons that I have said we are going melt down but it never gets done.

Next time we are going to sort them by colors and use candy molds to have fun shapes. This time it was spur of the moment so I just used my mini muffin pan and we had crayon coins.

- Tuesday we did our first real lesson with RSO - Life. We did a plot study looking for living and non-living things.

School Progress

- D memorized his second poem for First Language Lessons - Work
- In Writing with Ease D is getting better at Narrations and instead of trying to tell back the whole story he is giving two sentences about the story.
- We need to review his handwriting more. I'm having to correct his letter formation more than I should. So I am going to order an additional Handwriting without Tears book for him to work through.
- He's flying through the beginning of Singapore 2A. We got to Addition with Renaming and he surprised me with already having figured out how to do it. I gave him the problem of 36+28 to show him how to carry the 1 over. I asked him what 6 +8 was and he thought about it for a minute and said to me "That's easy! The answer is 64 - why are you asking what 6+8 is?" I guess we don't have to do much work in this section before we move onto Subtraction with Renaming.
- After a bit of coaxing he is starting to like History Odyssey and Story of the World. I have found that I have to ask him questions after every couple of paragraphs or it all goes in one ear and out the other.

Next week he has camp at the science museum - Icky Sticky and Gross - Sounds like a young boys dream class.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Crew

My Crew (from L to R) R-2, S-3.5, E-9months, D-6

Had the add a cute one of E. He's growing so quickly and I love this little face!

Things that make our day easier

A few things that I have found that help D keep moving through our day.

- I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep track of our plans. Using its Assignment Report I can give Drew a check list of the things that we are doing that day. He likes being able to see what we have left to do and being able to check things off is motivating to him since he knows that once everything is checked off he will get computer time

- Computer Time - I found an add-on for Firefox that allows me to block all websites except for the ones that I allow D to go to. So now he can have more unsupervised time one the computer. Even if he types a site into the address bar if it is not on his allowed list it redirects him back to the site of my choice.

- Bribes! It's amazing how quickly and neatly copywork can be done when there is a pile of chocolate chips waiting on the table for him.

- Letting him have more control - By printing out the assignment sheet I allow him to pick the order we do things. Occasionally I will force him to do something first when I know that R is in the mood to get in trouble or E is going to wake up soon but most of the time he picks the order.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Language Lessons - Memorization

Here is a video of D reciting the first poem that he memorized for First Language Lessons.

I should have taken a video the day before when he practiced it and decided to make up all sorts of cute actions for the poem. Today when I told him that I was going to take a video of him he didn't want to do his actions and just wanted to say the poem and move on to something else.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A few Random pictures

A few random pictures

D being silly

D working on Singapore Math 2A

S didn't want to be left out

Off to a slow start

So far our first 2.5 weeks of our new school year are off to a very slow start. The first half week of June we did great. D was excited to crack into his new books and we didn't have much planned outside of the house so we got to work and got everything done. The 2nd week of June we did good the first couple of days, but then life got in the way and we didn't school for the rest of the week. The 3rd week of June D had VBS in the morning and was exhausted by the time that he got home and was willing to quietly play during quiet time so I didn't make him do any school work.

This is why we school year round. If this were August and we were just starting our school year and had only done 6 days of school so far in the month I would be freaking out. Thankfully since we are going year round I know that even if we don't get many days in during June and July, when all our PS friends are out of school, we will at least have 3-4 weeks done by August. Giving us extra time to take off in the fall when we have gorgeous days and would rather be playing at the park then sitting inside doing math.

Hopefully this week we will work on getting back into our routine and can get some school work done at least a few days this week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homeschooling with younger kids in the house

Why is it the minute I get the little ones interested in something and then try to sit down with D to do anything they all have to migrate to where we are.

Today I had the three little ones happily destroying... err playing in the playroom so I grabbed D and we headed to the living room couch to work on some math. As soon as we sit down R sends a bin of stuff crashing in the playroom. Then not 2 minutes later he is in the room saying that Sarah pushed him. Send him back off to the playroom and get D refocused and then the baby is screaming because R is laying on him. Go pull R off the baby, come back, refocus D again and start our workbook pages. S comes in and starts jumping around the room. Give her a quiet toy to play with. Then the baby comes crawling into the room so I give him a bucket of toys to play with. Then R comes in tries to climb on the back of the couch and jumps on us.

So D and I grab our stuff and move to the kitchen table. At this point he has managed to get 1 of 4 workbook pages done. So of course all the littles see that we are at the table and start moaning for a snack. So I get everyone a snack and then D and I move back to the living room floor. Get another page done before they are all back in dancing around us. Send D back to the table to finish his last two pages while I clean up the disaster that R made in the playroom, S made with her puzzle and E made with his bucket of toys.

All of that in our 15 minutes of doing math today. Homeschooling with 4 kids 6 and under is exhausting!

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Week of First Grade

Last week we started our first week of First Grade

I decided to school year round since we live in the south and the summers are so hot and miserable that we are inside for most of the mid afternoon anyway so we might as well be doing school so we can take more days off in the fall when the nice weather is back and we want to spend the whole day at the park.

We took a 6 week break from mid April through to the beginning of June while I ordered new books and got everything ready for the next year. Thankfully most of our stuff is open and go so there wasn't a lot of preparation for me to do other than to spend a couple of days printing off a ton of stuff from all the ebooks/pdfs that I ordered.

D was excited to be starting school again. After we started our review in math I'm really glad that we didn't take anymore time off than we did. It took him those three days to get back to remembering his basic math facts. He still hasn't got back his fast recall that he had before our break but I'm sure that it will come back quickly.

Curriculum for 2011-2012

Here's a list of what we will be using this year for 1st Grade

Language Arts

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
Writing with Ease - Level 1
Explode the Code - Books 5-8
First Language Lessons 1+2
All About Spelling - Level 2


Singapore Math 2a and 2b - Also using the IP and CWP books
Miquon for some "fun math" as D calls it

History/Social Studies

History Odyssey Ancients Level 1
Beginning Geography and Galloping the Globe


REAL Science Odyssey - Life


Artistic Pursuits - Book 1

About Me

Welcome - I'm Jen and I'm hoping that by having this blog it will force me to write more about our days and about our homeschooling adventures.

Here's my family

BigE - My husband and best friend. He's the one that helps keep me from falling apart after a long day. We met in college and have been married 8 years.

D - 6 year old son. He's my little engineer. He likes to know how things work, how to do things, but always wants directions. He doesn't like to be very creative when it comes to drawing or building with Legos. He always wants instructions. He loves to move around so we try to do some of our school work while running around the yard or house.

S - 3.5 year old daughter. She's a stinker! She is very smart but won't let you see it unless it is on her terms. She is very stubborn just like her mommy and she knows how to push buttons. She is very sweet and loves all things princesses and baby dolls, but at the same time you will find her digging worms in the yard with the boys.

R - 2 year old son. My wild child! R is my destroyer. He can make a mess in an instant and is always into trouble. He loves that he is almost as big as his big sister and uses that to his advantage. I'm often hearing S scream that R is on her and won't let her up. He loves to tag along and pretend that he is doing school with the big kids... for about 2 minutes.

E - 8 month old son. My clingy one. Doesn't sleep well, doesn't like to be away from mommy, finally getting happy now that he can crawl. Thinks the world revolves around him!

Why we are homeschooling -

18 months ago when it was time to start looking at schools for D to go to Kindergarten I wasn't impressed at anything I was finding. The local catholic school K teacher told me that since D was so far advanced that she would just put him in front of a computer when he was bored. The public schools are over crowded and just not the right place for him. At 4.5 he was already reading simple CVC words and writing them on the backs of his letter worksheets at the church preK we were sending him too. He was coming home from there bored asking to learn more at home. So we decided to keep him home for K and see how it went. The year went great and D loved being home. So we decided to stay home for a couple more years. D may stay home forever, he may go back to school some year. For now we are taking it one year at a time and doing whatever we think is best for him.