Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jan 18 - snow day #3

Today is the last snow day. I couldn't keep them in. So work was minimal:

Bible, catechism, Christian Almanac as usual

Math - 2 pages, and then I realized - slaps forehead - I hadn't given any tests. There is one test per lesson; we are on lesson 7. So, tomorrow... 2 tests. Saturday... 2 tests. Should be easy; so much is review. Hm, maybe even 2 tests each day; then we'll be done on Monday.

Um, that may be it.

Fair bit of reading: J read Fantastic Mr. Fox the night before, E is moving right through Down in the Bonny Glen.

Tomorrow we'll get right to work. Uh huh. After errands (grocery shopping, library) and cooking and dropping off food for sick friends. Sure, loads of time!

My own reading: Last night C brought me a big fat novel: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. Started. Didn't read any tonight. Good so far, though.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

1/17 - snow day #2

Another snow day, even less productive than y'day...

Bible and Catechism , Christian Almanac as usual.

Math - 2 pages instead of usual 3. Come to think of it, E did only 1, was supposed to do another but I cleared the table for lunch and we both forgot.

Read last 4 chapters of Little Pilgrim's Progress - part 1. Discussed at length. Taking a few days' break before moving on to part 2 - Christiana.

J read and logged a couple of books.

Read 3 chapters of The Big Six.

That's it! Lots of sledding and fun, though!

1/16 - snow day

Woke up to a lot of snow. So didn't accomplish much. If we lived in an area with reliable snow all winter, it wouldn't be such a big deal. But we have to take our snow days when we can.

Bible - Psalm 139 and Isaiah 41. The kids read Ps 139, taking turns in chunks of 5 verses. This is the next one to memorize, if we ever get through Psalm 33.

Catechism #34

Copywork - finished the catechism answer. It was a short one. But at least each child held a pen in his/her hand.

Math - yes, we struggled through the first 2 pages of a lesson. Kind of funny in an annoying way - we had been doing some work on place value, doing problems using expanded notation:

26 + 12 written as 20 + 6, plus 10 + 2. (Vertically, of course). J hated it. "What are we doing this for???" I told him it was to get ready for regrouping. Today's lesson started the regrouping. He was trying to blast through it, in his own overconfident way - and got them all wrong. Now he understands why he did all that practice.

Read a little more from Stars, Mosquitos, and Crocodiles over lunch, then some history about King Philip's War.

Read 2 chapters of The Big Six.

Made Maple Syryp candy in the snow. E's idea, from The Maple Syrup Book. Fun.

My own reading: I had excitedly picked up The Language of Threads, sequel to Women of the Silk, at the library. Last night I realized I had read it bfore. Oh, I had been so anticipating reading a good novel! I am truly turning into my mother now...

Played and played in the snow!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Jan 15

A holiday, but when Daddy's working, we're working. OK, not really, but we don't go out of our way to take off school or legal holidays just because. We acknowledged MLK today but not in a huge way.

A fairly typical-ish day. Kids were slightly sick, and as usual I was slightly disorganized. We didn't do all I would have liked, but then we never do. Someday I will set my expectations correctly. Will I?

Bible: Psalm 138, Isaiah 40

Catechism: Question 34

Christian Almanac

Daily Grams - 2 "lessons"

Math - lesson 6, complete - just skip counting and review - easy

Cursive - a bit of practice

Copywork - just a bit because of all the math writing - Catechism ("What is adoption?"); J logged another book (The First Marathon, a picture book) into his reading log. OK, it seems silly to "count" this miniscule amount of writing but it's getting to be more all the time.

Little Pilgrim's Progress - 7 chapters - a bit too much - I could tell they were not as sharp on remembering names, events, etc., toward the end. We had been doing no more than 5 chapters so I think I'll keep it at the going forward. Tomorrow we will finish part 1, then take a couple days for me to get ahead on reading, and move on to part 2. Since we had read part 1 before, but not part 2, it will be more exciting.

Science - Chapters 1 -3 of Along Came Galileo, reading about pendulums in The New Way Things Work, marking up a map of Italy with Galileo locations, then some messing around with a pendulum (yoyo). No written experiment work. When Daddy came home we talked about it more and have some new ideas for more experiments tomorrow.

At lunch we started reading in Stars, Mosquitos and Crocodiles again. We had started it quite a while ago but I sensed a loss of interest so set it aside. They asked about it today, indignant that I thought they didn't like it. So we picked up where we left off.

We brought out the History Pockets and E did some coloring on a map of the 13 colonies. J didn't. We meant to do more but never got to it - tomorrow we will, though, since it's all out and we will have more time.

Read only two chapters in The Big Six.

J spent some time on some computer games I found at a UK kids' museum site and did some model airplane work. E rested a bit, looked at recipes and sorted through a pile of papers she had amassed.

I worked on Bible study some and did some meal planning. Cooked a way-too-time-consuming dinner.

Along with history pockets, tomorrow we will do some more pendulum work, but probably no more science reading. We need to do 1/2 lesson of math, more copywork and cursive, spelling and some test prep. I need to finish Bible study and get my shopping list ready for Wednesday.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jan 10-12

Another week with too many things to do: PE on Wednesday, a playdate on Thursday, game day on Friday. Socialization! Yeah!

Not much in the way of other work: progressed in math, Bible, catechism, cursive and copywork. Continued with Little Pilgrim's Progress. I must make the time to sit down and get about 10 chapters ahead of them. I'm feeling rushed to get their study questions done and my own reading is not as good or careful as it should be.

E wrote a bunch of thankyou notes for her birthday gifts. J was immersed in airplanes - building and flying.

And that's about it.

My own reading: Hahahahaha.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jan 8 and 9

We are getting into a new groove and it's going fairly well. I think I am right that I have been allowing the kids to get by on too little math. J is thriving on doing more each day. Right now - rounding, estimating, and doing little addition "puzzles" is fun for him.

So for these 2 days:

Bible - Psalm 129-131, Is 33-35

Catechism q 33

Daily Grams #47, 48

Math - Lesson 3, pages D-F, lesson 4, pages A-C

Reading - Little Pilgrim's Progress, ch. 24-33

Cursive and copywork every day

Spelling - test for E, copywork for J

History - SOTW Ch 14 - Prussia

Science - History of Science Lesson 14: Reading about Mercator, Huygens, and Galileo in Picture History of the Great Inventors, also the section on Galileo in The World of Captain John Smith. We did not read the intro to Along Came Galileo as outlined in the BF study guide, nor did we do the mapping exercise, yet.

Other reading:
Christian Almanac
Introduction to Fabre's Book of Insects
2 chapters (only!) of Secret Water

Today instead of doing test prep work J worked on some Perplexors logic puzzles (Mindware) and did a lesson in Maps Charts and Graphs which has been neglected for some time. Glad I just left that stuff in his bin... He also has started working in his Complete a Sketch book, and working - a lot - on some new paper airplane book he picked up at B&N with his Christmas gift card. Also watched one of the fighter jet movies he rec'd for Christmas.

E has been working on thank you notes and drawing a lot, and reading!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Math on Saturday

We have just started the Beta level of Math U See. Since J would be in 4th grade if he was in school, but is registered as a third grader (legal in OR as the compulsory education age is 7), he has to take standardized tests this year. Though he has a math brain, and understands concepts very well, he does not do well with his basic math facts. So we are still on very basic addition and subtraction. He does know a few multiplication facts, but not enough to be very useful so far. This does not bother me, except for the testing. Last fall I had him do a practice third grade test, and he did very poorly on the math part. Overall his score was 73%, which no doubt would put him above 15th percentile (the level required for homeschoolers) - mainly because of his strong verbal skills. Since the practice test included spelling but the "real" test does not, I would expect him to do even better. But the math is still a problem.

So we are trying to put a little more focus on basic math. Since the beginning of the book is review, we blasted through the first 2 lessons. Today we did half of lesson three. It was very easy for him: greater than, less than, equal. He enjoyed it and said it was like a puzzle. Neither child was particularly put out about "working" on a Saturday. E took longer and whined more but she got the work done.

This made me wonder if we have been moving too slowly in the past. In order not to burden them with too much tedious unenjoyable work, we have usually done 2 pages of MUS each day, along with some other, more interesting math (Mathematical Reasoning, math puzzles, problem solving type stuff). I'm thinking we should just plan to spend more time on math each day and get this done. This will mean splitting them up - since J gets the concept but needs the practice, just getting more practice might work well. E is a little slower on the concepts, I think. So we will be messing around with math once again.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Jan 2-5

Trying to log things more than once a week. Tedious but necessary.

I've looked into a few homeschool tracking systems but they never seem to fit. We don't have "classes" and I don't really give assignments and we don't test other than math - and I don't have to track that, we hav a book we progress through. So this will have to do.

When I bought the kids' new desk blotters (the kind with the montly calendar page) I bought myself one too. $3.49 seemed a good price for a calendar I can't lose in a pile of papers. Each night, or few nights, I will write out what we need to do each day. I'd love to get the whole month filled in with at least the basics that we need to do each day. I spend too much daily time preparing and walking around saying "hm, where is that book?" "Hm, what should we do today?"

We are easing into the new year. Focusing on math, so far. And cleaning the house after the holidays, which are not quite over yet. Also focusing on attitudes as I see the same old resistance to work that we had before vacation. (Solution: no more vacations?)

We are continuing in the Bible, reading a Psalm a day, and a chapter (or part of one) of Isaiah. Now some may disagree with this but I skipped over some of the bleaker parts of Isaiah to get to some of the promises. Yes, yes, I know we must read the judgements and the woes but how many can a child hear before he or she tunes out? I don't preach a gospel that is all good news with none of the bad. But too much bad is not so great for the kiddies, I think.

On to question 32 of the Shorter Catechism. I didn't do the full review of 1-31 but J mostly has it and E won't yet, so we will press on and Fridays we will do a review with Daddy at night.

Trying to read the Christian Almanac every day.

On MUS Beta now. We did lesson 1 in 2 days, and lesson 2 we are blasting through today - it's just number sequence, easy. Good practice, though, as we are not as fluent with our numbers as we ought to be.

Got back into the Spectrum test prep books y'day. Moving along with cursive, though E seems to have hit a wall with the "J." We will move on, perhaps to "L" ("K" has got to be tough too) and then come back. J is doing fine.

All thank you cards done.

The Little Pilgrim's Progess reading is going great. The kids love it and it's so good for me to read the "real thing." My only problem is taking the time to sit down and read several chapters at a time and get the questions and verses ready. Yesterday they read 5 chapters. Today I am not ready with anything. But we have some errands to run today, a lot to do, so I will take time tomorrow to get a bunch done. Last night we read the story about John Bunyan in Trial and Triumph.

Next week we will add history and science back into the mix. Odd that we have taken such a break from our best "subjects."

J started reading The Ravenmaster's Secret which is one I read aloud a few years ago. He is loving it. E is reading The Bobbsey Twins Mystery at Snow Lodge which was an old favorite of mine. Yesterday I told them to read for 30 minutes and they eagerly got their books and read over their assigned time. And J read more last night and this morning.

I am not reading anything. Well, the Pilgrim's Progress and I am getting caught up on the TableTalk for my daily Bible reading. Craving some GOOD fiction. Saw a sequel to Women of the Silk at Powell's the other day and almost bought it (hey, it was on sale) but decided that we already have too many books to pack up and the library's likely to have it anyway. So, maybe next week.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year, New Methods

Well, maybe not new methods right away. But this is going to be a year of new things. Since it looks like we are moving to Pennsylvania next summer, I'm going to have to get used to new homeschool laws - much stricter than those here in Oregon. I'm going to have to document more, and maybe even do more academics in a more traditional way. More like school? Maybe, a little.

But for now I need to:

Get back on track with daily Bible, Catechism, reading, writing, and math. More history, more science.

Prep J for his 3rd grade test, which he will take in March. Summer is allergy season, and this test will be hard enough for him without having to do it through the fog of meds and runny nose. E will take a 2nd grade test for practice.

Finish SOTW #3 by late spring so that we can "officially" start #4 in September for our new "school year."

Finish MUS Beta as quickly as possible so we can move into multiplication and division. This should be fairly easy for J but not so much for E. Maybe I should stop thinking I can blend them in math... I'll see how she does with carrying and borrowing, or renaming or regrouping or whatever it's called now.

Come up with a good record-keeping method.

Amp up the kids' writing a bit so we can produce more written work for the necessary porfolios/documentation for the state. It's time, anyway. She is capable but lazy; he is lazy but could be capable if I had him do it more.

Now, can I do this without making them hate "school?"