Monday, May 22, 2017

Reflections on Our Week(s)

Again, it's been several weeks since I've last posted. I've had good reason - we've been moving around towns and hotel rooms for the past few weeks. I'm very ready to get into a rental home and out of hotels! That should be less than two weeks from now. This has been like one long vacation, and I'm ready to go home! :-)

We have had the opportunity to see some beautiful parts of Pennsylvania, though. Right now, we're outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Rod had the day off Saturday, so we went to the Hershey Amusement Park. The three younger kids and I stayed for about four hours, riding rides and walking around. Unfortunately, it was cold and drizzling rain, so we left earlier than Rod, Mikaela and Eli. They stayed until closing (10 pm!) riding roller coasters over and over. They had a blast!
They thought it was fun to "meet" the candy-bars!

Another thing I'm getting tired of is eating out. We eat out all the time! I didn't realize I would miss cooking this much. I can't wait to get into a kitchen again! I have so many meals planned in my head to cook!
A nice breakfast at a nice hotel.

We are also ready to get back to schoolwork. The kids even miss it, although they won't readily admit it. Our routine has been thrown upside down these past three or four weeks. I've been printing, planning, and organizing for our new school year. We are going to be using a family curriculum for the older three (more on this later!). We will still be very Charlotte Mason inspired, as this lifestyle works for us. Silas and Titus will continue to use My Father's World. My kids have really missed schooling together, and honestly, I have missed it, too. It keeps things much more simple. Mikaela, being in 9th grade, will have a much heavier reading load than Eli and Mercie, but we will all be on the same page, spending more of our days together.
Mikaela and Eli at Hershey Park

Mikaela is in 9th grade, so I'm trying to get all of her classes and credits lined up. So far, this is what it's going to be:
  • American History (1 credit)
  • General Science (1 credit)
  • English (1 Credit) - this will consist of daily grammar and writing lessons
  • Algebra 1  (1 Credit)
  • Home-Economics (1 Credit) - she does this daily
  • Typing (1/2 Credit) - daily, but only about 20 minutes
  • Spanish (1/2 Credit) - daily using Rosetta Stone
  • P.E. and Health (1/2 Credit) - P.E. will be daily, with a weekly health lesson for her
  • Fine Arts (1/2 Credit) - this will be done twice weekly as a family
As of now, she is planning to go to Cosmetology school, but I want to have a really nice transcript ready in case she wants to go to college. I would much rather my kids go to a trade school and learn a skill they can use, as this is a much cheaper, quicker, and more practical option. However, if they want to be a lawyer, doctor, or teacher, college will be the route we take. I plan to write a post of my opinions on this topic sometime soon.

Mercie was too small for the big rides, and almost too big for the little rides. She still had a blast with her little brothers!
I have so many fun art projects lined up for when we start school again, so my 100 Days of Art Series will be worked on. Very excited for some of these!

Rod and I celebrated our anniversary on the 13th. We went out to dinner alone while a family friend (who works for Rod) sat with the kids at the motel. Mikaela does baby-sit for us, but I was uncomfortable with the area we were in. There were lots of people at the motel that made me uneasy, so I felt better with our friend being there! He took the kids to dinner, and Rod and I got to eat alone - a rarity! I also went to Wal-Mart and got my anniversary/mother's day present - a new wireless printer!

I can't wait to begin posting again about our actual schoolwork. How have you been?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

100 Days of Art: Day 3 - String Art

I've recently found a new hobby - string art! I've seen it all over Pinterest, and I love the look of it. This is one of the first I made. I made this for a friend's new baby girl to hang in her nursery. I figured I would add this to my 100 Days of Art blog project, because who said it had to be the kids art only?

  • wooden board (I used a pallet from WalMart that was about $9)
  • nails (I used wire nails, 16 gauge, 1 and 1/4 inch, about $1 a box)
  • hammer
  • string (I used embroidery floss, ordered from Amazon)
  • template (I found a clip art heart I liked, copied and pasted it into a Word document in the arrangement I liked)
What to do:

  1. Print a template, making sure it will fit on your wooden board. Cut apart if necessary to make it look good.
  2. Place the template on your board, and begin nailing nails in along the black lines. Your paper will stay in place after a few nails. Make sure your nails are as even as possible.
  3. When you have your nails in place, rip the paper off.
  4. Make sure your nails are even.
  5. Choose the color thread you want to use. Tie it off a nail, knotting it twice.
  6. Begin wrapping the string around the nails. There is no set pattern, just make it look how you want it to.
  7. Tie off the string on another nail when you're done stringing it. Trim off the excess.
  8. Enjoy your project!
It is such a simple project. It took me about two hours from beginning to end. The longest and most tedious part is the nailing! The stringing doesn't take long.

I've made several more of these. They are great personal gifts! I am making some to hang in my house.

Day 1: Learning to Draw
Day 2: Pyramids

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reflections on Our Week(s)

It has been several weeks since a real update. I took a much-need hiatus from blogging! Now I'm back, and ready to start blogging several times a week again.

Currently, we are taking a few weeks off from schoolwork. Silas is still practicing his reading using "The Reading Lesson". We are currently on Lesson 7. He has been using My Father's World and the phonics lessons included, and doing very well! I just grabbed "The Reading Lesson" right before we headed off to Pennsylvania, so he could stay fresh with reading.

While learning about rain, Silas did a fun experiment that we have done before. We filled a glass almost all the way with water and squirted shaving cream (clouds) on top. He then used a dropped to drop water (colored with blue food coloring) onto the "clouds" showing how when clouds fill up with water, they get heavy and the water drops as rain to earth.


We took several family pictures on Resurrection Day, and I tried to get a good one of the kids. It's so hard to get five kids to all look the same way and smile at the same time! I can't imagine having more kids trying to get a good picture.

We tried! I am missing lots of pictures from this time period because *ahem* I dropped my phone into the lake, bought a new one, Eli dropped it and shattered the screen (and it had a tempered glass screen protector!), attempted to change the screen and destroyed the phone, and had to buy yet another phone. So I'm trying to get all of my pictures that I *thought* I had backed up onto Google.

I mentioned that we went to Pittsburgh Zoo in my post yesterday. Here are a few pictures. Mercie took all the pictures of the animals! She carried my camera around and had a blast.

How was your week(s)?

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Been Awhile

My husband's job takes us all over the country. We were in Alabama, and now we are in Pennsylvania! We are about thirty miles from Pittsburgh. I have decided to let the kids have about four weeks off from school-work, because we are going to be staying in different hotels,making our way across the state from west to east for a month. 

Since we were less than an hour from the Pittsburgh Zoo, we decided to get a family pass. It was going to cost over $100 for our one-time tickets, and $115 for a family pass. I got the family pass, and we have been twice already! 

We also went to a Pittsburgh Pirates game last Friday night. Unfortunately, it started raining (and it was so cold!) after the third inning. We waited around for over an hour while the game was delayed. We figured they would rain it out, so we left about 9:00 and headed back to the hotel. The little ones were freezing, wet, tired, and hungry! We found out at 11:00 that night they started playing again! There's no way the little kids could have lasted that long, so I'm glad we went home. I'm not so glad we spent over $200 to watch 3 innings...but such is life! Eli, my 11 year old, went to another game on Sunday with a family friend who is working for my husband. He got to watch the entire game, and although the Pirates lost, he had a great time.

Hotel life is...interesting. Having seven people in one room has been a challenge! We have to eat out most of our meals, which is fun for the kids. We eat breakfast in the hotel room, and I've bought bread and lunch meat for sandwiches and some snack foods and drinks for the kids. We found a park nearby, but it's been so cold this past week! It's hard to believe we were swimming two weeks ago and now we are wearing jackets! We went from the highs in the 80s to the highs in the 50s.

I've been trying to lesson plan a little bit with my free time. Silas and Titus are both on week 9 in their My Father's World curriculum. I'm very happy with the Kindergarten and 1st grade curriculum. 

Mercie has completed six (I think) weeks of her 4th grade year. So far, here is what we like and don't like about her curriculum:
  • Mystery of History Volume 1: So far, we love it! The reading is just the right amount each day for her. We take turns reading sentences out loud. There's usually a map to complete each week, and we do a timeline and memory cards for each lesson. I try to find one book for supplemental reading each week, and she does at least one hands-on activity each week.
  • Creation Science (Christian Kids Explore): We like this, too. We are on Unit 2, and so far she has done some fun activities like fruit dissection and making constellations with star stickers.
  • Teaching Textbooks 4: She doesn't like this as much as I do, but I want her to finish it all the way. I think it's helping her, and she makes 95-100% consistently on her lesson. I love the fact that it teaches and grades, and she loves playing the games. 
  • Grammar Minutes: Takes her literally one minute to complete a page each day. Good for review, but there's not much teaching on each concept. She does one a day, and there is 100 "minutes" (pages) so she could finish fairly quickly.
  • Language Lessons for Today: We like this curriculum, but it doesn't take her long each day to complete. I honestly don't like it as much as I thought I would.
We have a few odd and end workbooks that we do, like a writing and another grammar workbook. We will be reviewing Readers in Residence for the Singles Review Crew (a branch of the Homeschool Review Crew), which I am so excited about! 

I'm planning our "Together Time" for when we began school again in a few weeks. We've been reading the Bible, reading a read-aloud, and praying. I'd like to incorporate more - art study, hymn study, poetry reading, learning Hebrew, and some oral language exercises. I've been pretty busy reading and researching some choices.

Have you missed me?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Reflections on Our Week

This week the weather was really nice - upper 70s and lower 80s. The kids wanted to swim everyday, and I think we did!

Mercie baked some delicious banana bread from her homemaking book. She did a really great job and made another loaf for her Sunday School class. They ate the whole thing!

Mikaela and Eli read about Christopher Columbus and the early explorers in their history. They read about Louis Pasteur and Alexander Fleming, mold, and penicillin in science. They gave some oral and written narrations, as well as drawing a yeast bud and the basic structure of a mushroom in their notebooks.

Mikaela is reading "Pride and Prejudice", and Eli is reading "Eragon". They are both enjoying their books. They had copywork once this week from their literature, as well as a few sentences taken from their book that they had to dissect. I had them underline, circle, and highlight the parts of speech.

They started reading "On The Writing of English", which is a really neat, vintage book teaching how to write 'essays'. It's fun to read, very conversational and humorous. They worked in "Key to Algebra" and "Key to Decimals" about 30 minutes a day. I love the "Key to..." series.

Mercie learned about ancient Egypt in history and made a pyramid. She read several books, including "Mummies and Pyramids", "Egyptian Pyramids" and "Ancient Egypt". In science, she learned about artificial selection and natural selection. She had to research the variations in a Chihuahua, a Dalmatian, and a St. Bernard. She also had to write down the variations in our family - hair color and type, eye color and height.

She completed lesson 21 and quiz 3 in Teaching Textbooks 4. So far, it's all review from 3rd grade. She did five lessons in "Language Lessons for Today" and four "Grammar Minutes" this week. She worked in her spelling book everyday and passed her "test" with a 100.

Silas is doing well in MFW 1st grade. He learned how to read the "sh", "ch", "th", and "ng" blends. He loves the activities we do for reading, including fun games, books to cut out and write words in, and the "reading review" at the end of each day, where we read the previous lesson's word lists for about five to ten minutes.

He learned about trees this week, and we read some good books. "A Tree for Me" was his favorite, but we also read "The Life Cycle of a Tree" and "A Tree is Nice". We looked at trees outside and did some bark rubbings.

We do a 100 chart and a calendar daily. We also have bean cups, where we use beans to show place value, as well as a coin cup, where we add coins and swap them out for each day. So, if it's day 15, we have a dime and five pennies. We swap the pennies for a nickel and still have fifteen cents. It's a great introduction to money.

Titus learned the letter "L" this week, and his theme was "Leaf". We read "A Tree is Nice", "Leaves" and "Why Do Leaves Change Color?" He collected leaves outside, and he took his magnifying glass. Before he would put a leaf in the bag, he had to look at it with his magnifying glass. It was so cute! He made a leaf book and leaf rubbings with his leaves.

We played "memory" with his capital and lowercase S, M, and L flashcards. We used his picture cards to listen for the beginning sounds of S, M, and L. He had to put the card in the correct stack. He learned the number 3, and we also have a 100 chart and calendar daily. He is learning the months of the year and days of the week. He is also learning to count above 12- when he gets to 12, he starts with 18, 19...

The kids enjoyed strawberries and powdered sugar this week - a treat my grandmother used to give my sisters and me when we would visit her.

How was your week?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

100 Days of Art: Day 2 - Pyramids

Mercie has been studying ancient Egypt in the Mystery of History Volume One. Last year, we made pyramids from sugar cubes and gold paint. I was very happy that the activity for this lesson was not a sugar cube pyramid, but a poster-board pyramid!

You will need: poster board, scissors, a ruler, tape, and a pencil (paint is optional)

1.) Cut 5 squares from the cardboard, 9 inch by 9 inch.
2.) Put one square to the side to be the base of your pyramid.
3.) Draw a dot at the top center of your remaining four squares (at 4.5 inches).
4.) Draw a line from the center of the dot to the bottom left corner, and then from the center dot to the bottom right corner. Do this on all four squares.
5.) Cut on the lines so you have four isosceles triangles.
6.) Tape the triangle to the base (the other square) and then to each other to form a pyramid.
7.) Paint if desired.

After Mercie made her pyramid, Silas decided he needed one, too. I cut his squares 5 inch by 5 inch and drew his center dot at 2.5 inches. It made a cute little pyramid that he painted as well.

You could use any measurements as long as they are square. Mercie and Silas had fun making and painting these pyramids.

Day 1: Learning to Draw
Day 2: Pyramids

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kindergarten at Home

This is my fifth time to teach kindergarten. My "baby" will be five years old in July, but we started My Father's World Kindergarten with him 5 weeks ago. As you know, I am trying to use Charlotte Mason's influence in our homeschool, and she wasn't a big fan of formal education at a young age. I'm not either, even though I am using a curriculum with my almost-five year old son.

My Father's World Kindergarten (MFW-K)  is a very gentle curriculum. We spend maybe 30-45 minutes a day using it, and most of that time is spent reading books and discussing. MFW-K has a huge book list in the back of the teacher's guide that I take to the library with me. I try to find as many books as I can on that list, and some that aren't on the list.

We spend a few minutes each day reviewing letters and sounds and learning a new letter and sound. Titus uses a salt tray to practice writing his numbers. He has a few worksheets each week to do, but he loves completing them. They are quick and simple worksheets - sound discrimination, handwriting, and cut and glue type worksheets. He usually has one a day.

He has a theme for each week based on his letter of the week. For example, S was sun and M was moon. We read lots of living books on the sun and moon, played with our shadows, made a sun-dial, planted seeds, made the moon phases with Oreo cookies, painted a sun and a moon, and made a creation mobile.

There are Bible stories almost daily that correspond with the theme. We sing songs like "This Little Light of Mine" and "The B-I-B-L-E". He listens to classical music and short poems (like "My Shadow").

He plays with Cuisenaire rods and pattern blocks. We have a number of the day craft-stick cup and practice counting each day. He is learning patterns, shapes, and his days of the week. He is learning to put 24-piece puzzles together and build things with Legos. He is learning to make up beds, put away clean clothes, sweep the floor, wipe down countertops, pick up the outside toys and patio, and dust (not all of this everyday!). He is learning the books of the Bible with his older siblings.

We read books, color, draw, paint, and play outside. He can ride a bike without training wheels (and has been for over a year now), swing himself on the swings (no more pushing for me!), and do flips on the trampoline. He knows how to cast his own fishing pole into the water and reel it in. He loves to pick up worms and feel them wiggle on his hands. He picks flowers and collects rocks. We take walks and look at the clouds.

His kindergarten is just what it should be for a little boy his age.
A Net In TimeSchooling