Friday, August 29, 2008

The Food We Eat!

Note to self - sourcream doughnuts are NOT health food!! They have NO nutritional value and shall not pass my lips again, if it means burning down the local D&D..... *sigh*
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.
Galations 5:1

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Our life lesson for the week: God takes care of ALL His creatures, even the little bunnies. So how much more does He care for us?
(My loose 'kid version' translation for the sake of explaining the bunny's situation)
Notice the odd look of the poor rabbit's hind leg? It was somehow snapped which is why I found the kids petting it. :-( It was in pain, scared, and starving! So we scooped it gently into a box and took it to the nearest vet to have it put to sleep. Very hard for the kids to understand but it opened up great conversation.
For more WW head over to 5 Minutes for Mom....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

...the mouths of babes!

Haven't done a Tiny Talk Tuesday in a while, but I finally wrote some down when I heard them this week.

*Reagan (5.5yo - after coming inside to change from swimming): "I'm not in the mood to be dressed!"

*Jefferson (6.9 yo) while I was reading to him: "Pause it, Mommy! I have to potty!"

(Uhm, methinks we've a little too much movie time around this house?)
*Reagan's prayer after listening to Fernando Ortega: "Beer Jesus -help me have a beautiful voice like that man - and not croaky! AAAmen."

(I guess my voice must be the croaky one around here!)

For more chuckles, head over to Tiny Talk Tuesday at Not Before 7!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just what I needed to hear!

I sometimes find myself comparing my walk with Jesus to others. I know that I shouldn't but it seems to happen at times when God is stretching me with some struggle. My knee-jerk response is to look at others and say, "But Lord! Look there - why don't I have that, why didn't You give me this instead, how come they have it easier, etc...." I know this is a lack of faith and that my perspective isn't heavenly directed at moments like these. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit won't let me dwell upon these thoughts for long without redirecting my heart!

I bring this up because He has again shown me what I need to "hear" in my heart. When I struggle with Reagan, as I so very frequently do, and my heart is sore and my mind is tired, and I am moving toward selfishness and pity, my siblings often come to mind. I let myself think about how compliant their children are or how they handle their parenting so much more easily, yadda, yadda, yadda. This morning God was good to bring me to His Word and remind me of what He is doing in ME and take my focus off of others.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perserverence; 4 and perserverence, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not dissappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:1-5 (NASB)

My goal should not be ease and constant peace in my daily relationship with Reagan. God is good to remind me of the work that He is faithfully doing in my heart and the character and hope that He is building in both of us. I would rather have tribulation in order that I be refined from the inside out than a lifetime of ease with a compliant daughter! I want to have godly character no matter what the Lord has to do to develop it! I am so glad that He has given me His Word to draw my eyes back up to Him....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Week 3 (T1) 2008

Don't have much time for a detailed weekly report this week. We are doing well in achieving our daily goals so far. However, I honestly don't know how this happens! It's only by the grace of God that I get to the end of the day and say, "It all got taught, learned, cleaned, fed, and loved today! Amazing!"

This past week, we had trouble sticking to our schedule. This is because I am getting use to homeschooling and to keeping things in my head as we get further into the year. I am getting a better sense for what needs to get done versus what I want to get done. This week was a "needs" week without any extra fun, crafty, or reading projects.

Tuesday was our "run all over the county" to get our farm food for the next 2 weeks, thus shoving lessons into the afternoon where I was tired and their minds weren't as sharp. But at least Adam was asleep! And somehow Jefferson got tons of time in on his Rosetta Stone Spanish. He loves to practice until he gets 100% and then show me that he has gotten farther and better than I have (I'm a slacker and choose not to shoot for 100's)! I like that he is motivated!

Wednesday was just plain gorgeous outside! Add to that the fact that I was miserable tired (doggone Olympics are causing me to miss my bedtime!) and wanted a 10am nap instead of my usual 3pm power nap, and we got nothing done in the morning. I was all kinds of behind on housework and thought we'd just do the school on Thurs. But we dug in as soon as Adam went for his afternoon nap and amazingly, it all got done again! Not the way I like to do it though, since Jefferson didn't get any breaks and dinner got pushed back. You just can't give up weather like that though - it keeps the kids growing and healthy!

Thursday we played a little catch up after a morning run to the grocery (I swear it takes me 3 or 4 trips to get our food for 2 weeks all bought and put away!). We read and read (Arthur but soon it will be Beowulf!) and walked and then did another item for our plant lapbook. Jefferson seems to be learning something from these but Reagan struggles to focus long enough to finish even these little parts. I know she's soaking something up though when she spits info back out at me when we're looking at plants in the yard. We used white carnations this week to show that colored water moves from the vase to the petals - they loved this!

Friday Reagan and I had our first interrupted lesson due to her behavior. Truthfully, she was so fussy this entire week that I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner! I was running through a listening exercise with her for phonics. When she missed one and I corrected her, she started fussing and whining. I tried to talk to her about how learning isn't where we get everything right, but where we practice and make mistakes. But she wouldn't listen and I could tell she was shutting down. I stood up and ended the lesson (with the mistake of slamming my pen down too hard) and a tantrum ensued. For some reason, however, she collected herself quickly and asked me to come finished the lesson! For those who know her, this borders on miraculous since it required her to calm herself AND humble herself. The Lord was good and we finished the lesson happily! Although I shouldn't have slammed my pen, I have decided that I will NOT even try to teach her when she is upset. I want her to associate our school time with happy learning and comfort - not stress or anger. And so far, she is pleased as punch to be "doing Kindergarten!" and I am thankful that God has given me the wisdom to be able to read her body language and keep her lessons enjoyable!

I STILL haven't completed my science plans and am starting to stress about it! I am ready to move into astronomy and I know Jefferson will love it. But the evenings and weekends keep slipping away! When I'm not catching up on the housework, I'm enjoying the kids and can't stick my back to them by sitting at my desk. And I get so tired in the evenings after dinner. I think I'm going to have to ask dh for some special time without the kids.....

But at least the Olympics are over and I can get some better sleep this week!! That will surely help. And for those who know her, please continue to be in prayer for Reagan and how we deal with her wisely and lovingly!

Our House Guidelines

Found these at Trivium Academy last year and want to work hard this year to have the kids memorize the verses. I hope that this will help them to understand that Mommy and Daddy aren't just making up rules to control them, but are showing them that our authority comes from God's Word. The rainbow colors are for Reagan's sake - she remembers things better if they are in color. These are hung right above our kitchen/school table so that we can refer to them when needed. Hope they can be of help to someone else too!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Progress or not? Figuring out our Dear Daughter

The angelic face you see in the previous post I am convinced was given to my dd just to keep her alive. Sometimes I think that we are making progress with her and we see some amazing things happening in her heart. And times like this week, I think we are only going backwards with her. I don't understand what it is that we are not doing properly as parents. Even though we see some improvement in her behavior, I get an overall sense that we are not effecting true change in her heart. The pure rage in her tantrums alone is evidence of this and I am sooooo very concerned. She is not deterred by ANYTHING - not punishment, taking away things she likes, spankings, not reward, or even the presence of strangers. If she does not get her way and she decides to get angry, then she throws her entire body on the floor and screams in rage.

This week was particularly rough and I can't figure why. She threw multiple fits each day and put me at my emotional limit.

Here is how it sometimes goes:
  • I get her up from bed and she doesn't like that I ask her if she's dry (still bed-wetting her pull-up at night).
  • She fusses and whines instead of answering me and I calmly tell her that I cannot listen to that type of language - I just can't hear her. If she fusses I must leave, I tell her.
  • She starts throwing her head and body at being told this. So I leave (because I don't want to get angry - I don't keep my voice even if I get angry and she feeds off of my tone).
  • Now she screams and throws herself on the floor and rages for a five minutes. This feel like an eternity to me, since I am waiting, knowing that I have no control! My heart is sore. Were I to spank her now, in the throws of her tyraid, it would take 3 times as long to reach her heart, if at all. And I would likely get angry. So I remind myself just to wait.....
  • When she's calm I come back in and administer the consequences - calmly and with NO anger. I remind her that she didn't make a good choice by throwing a fit and should next time take a breath, pray and ask for a hug instead of throwing herself to the ground. I remind her that I love her and want to help her learn to control her anger BUT that I cannot allow that type of behavior if she chooses it.
  • She apologizes (of her own choice -thank the Lord that I can tell when her heart is truly repentant), we hug and we go downstairs to breakfast. She is once again an angel, bubbling with excitement about the things she's going to do this day. But me - I'm left feeling quite raw inside from just the first tantrum of the day....I pray for the strength I will need.
This is FIRST thing in the morning, people! I seriously never know what will set her off and am careful to watch my tone of voice when instructing her. This entire process can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes - and this last week it happened between 3-6 times each day!! It was almost like being back to a year ago with her.

Don't get me wrong - I KNOW that progress has been made with her. God really has shown us how to better deal with her, how to watch our tone of voice, how to encourage her and praise her, how to avoid antagonizing her (yes- we did use to do this! We thought that she should obey no matter what and weren't careful about how we talked to her or instructed her), how to be more consistent with her consequences, and how to help her to use words to communicate instead of only her body.

I guess that listening to her scream for what seems like the umpteenth time in a day (as I try to shield the younger two, try not to snap at the older one in my irritation, and bite my own lip to allay anger from rising up) reminds me that we are in a process. I tend to want to be fully sanctified right now, with all my duckies (or children in this case) in a row. But the process of getting there (to God's standard, that is, not my own 'duckies in a row' standard) is just that - a process, not an end result. Oh but this is a hard lesson for me! I hope that we are at least giving Him glory in our trying to deal with her firmly but lovingly as she rants and raves.....

This is not about how she learns differently or processes what we tell her - it's just plain strong-willed rebellion, a heart issue. I could use any ideas as to how we could help her to control her anger before it becomes rage. We need to teach her this but are obviously missing something. Scripture references would be helpful too - I should try to memorize some for just these times with her. Maybe we should find a counselor who deals just with kids for her? Or one for us as parents?

Just had to unload all this. It helps to get the weight of it off my mind. Thankfully, the Lord is so faithful to soothe my heart. And again - tomorrow is a new day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Our girl, Reagan - 5 1/2 years old.

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teaching Credentials Needed?

For those unaware, the court in CA recently ruled that those parents homeschooling their children would be required to have a teacher's certification or else must enroll the students in public or private school. They did not rule to outlaw homeschooling itself (although this pretty much does so - how many of you hs moms are certified as teachers?).

In light of the legal situation which homeschoolers in CA have recently been facing, I just wanted to post this info from an article entitled "Homeschooling Works! California amicus brief examines the evidence" in the latest HSLDA The Homeschool Court Report magazine (Vol. XXIV, No.4, Jul/Aug. 2008).

"In Sections III and IV of this brief, Amici address the constitutional question posed by this [California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District] Court. Amici argue that it would violate due process rights of parents protected by the United States Constitution to require home-school parents to be certified, since there is no evidence that teacher certification is necessary to academic success in home-schooling. Professional studies demonstrate that home-school students exceed public school students' academic achievement whether or not their parents are certified teachers. In fact, research in the past decade shows that it is seriously questionable whether teacher certification bears any relation at all to academic achievement, whether in the home or in public schools." (emphasis mine)

Sometimes I, as an average Joe (or Jane), just need to be encouraged by info like the argument above. And also by the news below (from HSLDA E-lert system, Aug. 8, 2008) about the courts reversal of its' initial decision.

"A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers
In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that “California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.”

Sunday, August 17, 2008

6 Random Things About Me

Doing the Next Thing tagged me for this one.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you (i.e. me)
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger (me) know when your entry is posted

Six Random Facts About Me:

1. I had a pet garter snake in middle school and still really enjoy these reptiles. I want my kids will have one some day but know that will mean that we never see my mil visit ever again!

2. I have terrible posture. My mom was always on me to "stand up straight" but being the tallest kid the entire elementary school at age 11 did not help. My back is feeling the consequences these years later! The last 2 pregnancies with 60 lb gains and 11 lb babies each didn't help either. :-/
3. I cannot stand bugs. I don't mind looking at insects in a bug box or dead ones, but I don't want any live ones touching me. This is the one thing I can't stand about camping. Don't even talk to me about tics!

4. I had my belly button pierced in my 3rd year of college. It stayed that way until I was pregnant with Jefferson 6 years later. All the girls in the pep band (yes - again I remind you that I was a band fish) swore that if our basketball team (Drexel University) won even ONE game of the NCAA tournament (this was only the 2nd year they had ever even made it), we would all get pierced. I wasn't into drinking, tattooing or being crazy so it was the craziest non-permanent thing I could do! I was almost engaged to dh - I think he's the only person to ever have seen it (except maybe my sister)! But I have to say, it's a good thing it's no longer pierced - you mom's of 4 or more babes know what I mean.... *sigh*
5. My favorite fantasical creatures are dragons (hmmmm.... lizards -go figure). I love movies/books with dragons, even cheesey ones. I finished reading "Eragon" last year and am working on "Eldest" now (both by Christopher Paolini). I don't know what it is about these things - maybe the magic, maybe the flying, or maybe the power of the fire-breathing (I think my kids might say I DO have that power)!

6. I got mono my 4th year in college, just before the fall semester (I had been living in Philly working an internship). I was only just engaged to dh and he and my mom had to pack and move ALL my stuff because I was moving to a new apartment. I just laid on my bed all day and pointed with a pointer at them!

Wow - if this post doesn't expand your horizons, I don't know what will! :-) I'll break the rules here again and tag whoever want to be tagged. It's fun little dity so if you have time, let me know 6 random things about you, huh?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Week 2 (T1) 2008

This week I'm actually going to try to get this posted on time (without giving up sleep and while maintaining all other priorities, right? *snortchucklechuckle*).

Our 2nd week of school went as smoothly as the 1st and I must admit that I am excited to be back into the structure of school! I tried to plan activities and daily items for us all over the 7 weeks that we had for summer, but it still was just too long without school. I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to get less done, be less focused, and less organized when I don't have a well-defined structure in place. I'm assuming that the same goes for my kids since I could see their behavior slide as the weeks went on.

This week had no hiccups (or fishbones) and with no homeschool co-op yet started, we took Thursday off to visit the dr and then some friends at a campground (you'll note however, that even though said campground was 0.1 feet from my sil house, that we did NOT visit her. Apologies have already been made and relationships mended with future assurances that such a slight will never occur again! *snickersnicker*).

Jefferson - 2nd Grade

Bibletime is actually going quite well! I think that Explorer's Beginnings II is going just far enough in depth for Jefferson to make him think and also stretch him to remember. This week he worked through the 1st 3 days of creation in his lessons, colored one timeline sheet and colored 3 pages of his Creation booklet. Dh is a little further along at our lunchtime bibletime (since this is just reading and prayer)- they read about Cain and Abel here.

RightStart Math C - Jefferson is still reviewing a few things from last year. We went over 3 different method to add 1 and 2-digit numbers in his head (complete the 10, adding by 9, two 5's method). One lesson was just a practice sheet (as will every sixth lesson be) and games (Corners this week - his favorite). He also finished up his Addition Chart and learned to read an outdoor thermometer. Over the next month (actually this starts September because he cannot stand to start charting something mid-month! Oy - he is just like me...) he will check the outdoor temp each day and graph it. He loves tasks like this and wanted to know "What time of day will we do it?" I was surprised that he realized this on his own!

Language Arts

Grammar was a bit of a struggle as again I faced the fact that the definitions of a noun, pronoun, and verb were not at all sinking in. This is frustrating to me, having taught nothing but these all last year, but at the same time - understandable. I'm realizing that he just doesn't understand the concepts well enough - so it doesn't matter if he can spit the definitions back out at me. This is where only practice will help him at this point. So we started just copying sentences and labeling the N, P, and V so he could visualize and start strengthening what he learned about them last year. FLL is such a typical left-brained auditory book! He enjoys the LLFY much better and we may just move on over to that as the year goes -we'll see.

Phonics was all about the modified vowel this week. Another example of "I haven't a clue what that means, Mommy, even though we went over it plenty last year and last week!" Now... I know that he can read these just fine, so someone tell me why does he need to know the definition of a modified vowel? We are also working on the definition of a homonym and analogy right now. He seems to be fine with reading, spelling, and phonics but struggles when it comes to fishing words out of his brain (whether it be vocabulary or narrations). Hmmmm.....I seem to have always had the same problem myself. Don't quite know how to help him here - I just try to give him starting words, suggestions, verbal cues and encourage him to use more descriptive words.

Spelling covered some suffixes and the two /oo/ sounds (book, tool). This is all from SWB, which we completed last year, but are reviewing a bit to start this year. He is doing well here and it is showing in his dictation.

Reading - his reading is becoming more fluid although it is still common for him to run right through periods and commas only to stop at the end of a line of words instead. He does very well figuring out longer or difficult words phonetically or through context. He finished up "I Wonder" from the Reading to Learn series of Christian Light Publications (I love these books! Great for new readers and full of character lessons).
For our read aloud time we began "Arthur High King of Britain" by Michael Morpurgo. This is a FABULOUS book for read aloud! I was so into it the 1st day we read it, that I had to read ahead after he went to bed! The author presents this well-know myth in a wonderful manner that draws the reader in and holds us tightly. The illustrations are beautiful. I send a thanks out again to Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy for her suggestion of this author! Jefferson "snuck" it up to his bedroom tonight and will most likely begin reading it on his own in the morning. He narrated it back to me without even realizing that he was narrating! Even Reagan was captivated with Arthur and Merlin today (and that's saying something since her attention span is so short). Next week we'll do a narration sheet with illustration.

Writing - Our Veritas Press Classically Cursive copybooks just arrived but we didn't use them this week. I dictated 4 sentences for Jefferson to put in his "Journal". This booklet has space at the top for illustrations so I ask him to draw something nice for one of the sentences each week. I have noticed that he is writing faster and more sloppily but does better with the 2nd grade lined paper (1/2 inch) than he was doing last year.

Memory Work - reviewed "God's Beautiful World" and started reviewing the Days of Creation. I forgot to start work on our house rules this week (each on has a scripture verse with it).....

History - we read the 1st chapter of SOTW2 on the end of the ancient Roman Empire. Jefferson worked on a map and coloring sheet after looking through our DK Eyewitness Ancient Rome book (I love these books - eyecandy and great info) and a couple library books. I'm not in project mode yet, so we didn't do anything further this week.

Science - Continued to work on our plant lapbook. Although Jefferson enjoys this, the information seems to be getting to him in a piece mealed way and I wonder how effective is this method. But then again, I'm not too focused on it and we've already exhausted the books I'd planned on reading for this topic. It'll look nice when they are finished!

Spanish - Goodness, does Jefferson love this! He is learning that he needs to speak more clearly in order to enunciate in this new language. He discovered this week that he could go back to parts of the lesson and repeat them until he did better (mostly he did this with the verbal lessons). Somehow he figured out that a 100% is the best thing to get and that practice is how he can get there! Ahhhh... the joys of self-motivation! I let him know how it pleased us that he wanted to do better. I also sat down this week and caught up with him in his lessons so that I know how the Rosetta Stone program works and so I can learn Spanish too. Of course, it was much easier for me, having had a couple years in high school but I expect it will get harder soon. At least my background can help him in pronunciation and with any grammar that he just isn't understanding.

Reagan - Kindergarten

I am so excited about teaching her phonics! Again this week I was surprised by how much she already knows and how ready she is to read. I barely even had to explain to her how to blend a consonant with the vowels - these seemed easy to her. I did notice as she read, the directionality difficulties she tends toward (switching b/d, p/q etc). I will have to teach her some verbal or visual cues to fix these but I'm not concerned. We reviewed our vowel flashcards each day, read a blend chart (short a), and worked on her 1st Christ Centered Curriculum lesson (hadn't planned on using this but she seems ready!). She gets frustrated easily with her penmanship - seems to think that every letter must be perfect and holds her pencil very tightly, causing her hand to tire easily. I don't push her at all here since my focus is to get her reading, but she likes to have something to show her daddy!

RightStart Math A
Another good week for her. Lessons are still very simple as I get a feel for how long she can focus and where her strengths are. We finger painted 1, 2, 3's, reviewed dot cards, read 1 to 5 on the abacus, and worked on one tracing sheet. Below I've shown the "Mr. Thumbkin" sheet that we used last week to teach her a visual cue for writing her numbers in the correct direction. We start the 2 at his head, go around down to his feet, and then "Run away - they're stinky!" And we start he 3 at his head, go around to his "Smelly armpit" and down to his feet. She just eats this silliness up and it totally sticks in her head! The key with her is to keep it light and fun (not that Jefferson doesn't need the same thing, just that his behavior is more predictable so I never felt I had to work so hard to make it fun!)

I am thankful that we've hit the ground running this year! The Lord has blessed us and I am more than thankful! I need to tweak our schedule around a bit and be very diligent about my own sleep. I look forward to the week to come!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - 9 months

Late for WW but I couldn't resist getting this pic up! After all it's technically still Wednesday. I just love his sweet little eyes (Reagan will want those lashes when she gets older)! At a whopping 26.5 lbs and 9.5 months, he is so, so, so happy and loves to climb up on my lap. Oh, how I love these days!

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

100th Post!

I never (and I mean never) figured when I checked out this new 'blogging' thing last December, that I would become so mightily attached to it as to reach 100 posts! But here we are (and in "we" I mean me and my sil - my only reader *chucklesnortchuckle*!), not even a year later and blogging has truly gotten into my blood it seems. I figure if homeschooling is going to take away my precious scrapbooking, I can at least keep some kind of journal going here online!

But for my 100th post I won't bore you with my Weekly Report (even though we finished a great first week of the new school year!) or drag you through 100 Things About me (I haven't the wit to keep anyone engaged for that long, especially with info such as "I love the color green" and "I was a band geek in high school" or "My little brother is 6ft 5in tall").

Instead, a little movie fun! Sharon at Equip Academy down under tagged me (forever ago - sorry!) with this meme and I haven't had a second to get to it until now! But it seems fun and I LOVE movies so here goes!

1. One movie that made you laugh:
Hitch (Will Smith & Kevin James of King of Queens) - almost wet myself when he had an allergic reaction to shellfish!

2. One movie that made you cry:
Schindler's List - anything that is about true human tragedy really moves me

3. One movie you loved when you were a child:
Superman and Goonies

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once:
Pride & Prejudice (both 2006 version and the A&E) - I could still watch them over and over and over .... I am such a Jane Austin sap!

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it:
Stranger Than Fiction (Will Ferrel) - this is the only Will Ferrel movie that I like and wouldn't you know, he can actually act!

6. One movie you hated:
Anything with Leslie Whatshisname such as Naked Gun -that kind of humor doesn't even crack a smile for me and is worse than boring movies.

7. One movie that scared you:
Hotel Rwanda - about the genocide in Rwanda ... the magnitude of human evil scares the daylights out of me and makes me glad that God doesn't make me all-knowing

8. One movie that bored you:
M. Night Shyamalan's latest The Happening - I usually like his movies but this one was awful ... I mean, killer plants? Come on!

9. One movie that made you happy:
Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio (mom of ten writes little advertising dities to support her family), Amadeus (I love Mozart) and Four Feathers (Heath Ledger does a great job portraying courage and character)

10. One movie that made you miserable:
The Saw - nasty, nasty, movie - I hate horror films but for some reason dh dragged me to this one

11.One movie you weren’t brave enough to see:
The 911 movies that came out a couple years ago - I just don't think I could handle living through those feelings again.

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with:
Mr Darcy for absolute sure - what a man, the likes of which don't exist any more (sorry dh - you're wonderful and amazing but you're just in a different league, that's all)

13. The last movie you saw:
Iron Man -this was a great blend of action and humor with a good simple action plot. The techno gadgets were awesome!

14. The next movie you hope to see:
Hancock - anything with Will Smith AND superpowers works for me!

I tag .... anyone who has time on their hands? Haha! Really - just let me know if you post this little meme so I can drop by to see what movies you like!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weekly Report 1 (T1) 2008

So we made it through our first official week of 2nd grade/Kindergarten! I've had plenty to blog about prior to this but with all the prep to get here, I just couldn't do it. I know that I really only need to have the first 9 weeks planned, but I wanted to get as much done over the 6 week summer break that I could (anything to lighten my load for later). I managed to get almost everything planned except for history (don't have books and projects gathered yet), science (again - project materials), and memory work (I need a more focused system this year). Oh, and cursive copybooks aren't here yet.

(When things don't fit on my desk, I add a little wooden desk. Then I add another desk! I seem to need more space as I continue in this hs venture.)

Our only hitch this week was having to take Jefferson to the er for Friday afternoon. He decided to wolf his fish down for lunch (Haddock, I think it was) and got a bone stuck IN his throat! It hurt like crazy and kinda freaked me out. I mean, what do you do about a tiny little bone that you can't see and don't know if it's really there or not? Thankfully, with much prayer, we got an ENT that fished it right out (after much whaling and howling on Jefferson's part - he's not too keen on the numbing medicine in his nose/throat or the scope in his nose!) with a pair of MEGA tweezers. Now he carries it around with pride in a plastic cup! Bummer about the fish though - he was the only one of the kids that liked it to begin with....

So these weekly reports will be long since Jefferson has so many different subjects this year and since Reagan is starting Kindergarten. Boring for all of you, but good progress journaling for me.

Jefferson - 2nd grade

Bibletime is something new this year. I'm glad that I waited until he could read to try a program for him (last year we just spent time reading the Bible to him). He loves the workbook format ofr Explorer's Beginners II, although I am not yet sure about it. I like that he can do it on his own. But I want him to have more of a quiet time of reading the Word, reflection, and prayer rather than a 'lesson.' I guess this is a step in getting him used to spending time reading the Bible on his own. Although I have a Big Picture Bible Timeline (Carol Eides) to use with this, we didn't have any to work on this week.

RightStart Math C is going well, starting with review and easy warm-ups. He still loves this subject and always wants to play the card games that it offers which strengthen specifuc skill sets. This week it was "Go to the Dump" (aka 'Go Fish') where, instead of matching identical cards, we had to match parts of 10 (2&8, 3&7, etc.). Easy and fun review! However, in one of our warmups I noticed he couldn't count odd numbers by 2's very quickly. So I ended up writing then in color on the board so that we could give him a little right-brain help with them. I must remember to review these so that he doesn't revert to counting.

Language Arts this year consists of grammar, phonics, spelling, reading, and writing (penmanship/cursive through copywork, and this year, dictation).

Grammar was just a couple easy lessons from FLL and also from LLVY. Last year, he was barely remembering sentence parts and if given a sentence could only pull out the nouns (this - after all year!). So I've added a little color/hands-on stuff to the lessons and also 2 short LLVY lessons per week for him to do if he has the time.

Phonics is just very short lessons from CCC. These are a review of the sound/rule, a small bit of spelling, and then one sentence from dictation using the sound.

Spelling was easy for him since he's used to the Spelling Workout series. We are going back through half of SWB again just for review - this seems to be easy for him so I guess that means he really did learn it last year! But my favorite was finding some scra.bble squares and letting the kids go to town with them! They had a blast and didn't even know they were learning. Jefferson amazed me with his spelling skills and was challenged to see how many words he could spell and connect.

Reading is going well since Jefferson has started using the microwave timer to get his reading done. This way I don't have to keep asking him to sit down with a book and he gets a good amount read each and every day. Our read alouds are another story, however. This time seems to be what gets pushed off or ignored if we run out of time. Hmmmm... I've gotta make this work better and should probably place it in a better place in the day. Thankfully, dh is reading to him at bedtime too.

Writing this year will add something new for Jefferson -cursive. But right now we are just continuing with copywork until our Veritas Press Classically Cursive copybooks. I don't quite have all our copywork planned out yet either so this week was light on penmanship.

Memory Work
I don't have our memory work all printed out yet. But this week we continued our work on God's Beautiful World since we didn't get it memorized last May. I have the 6 days of creation ready for next week (with a.m. bible time). I hope our new system will work better for us this year.

I don't have history quite ready for this year either. But with SOTW, we can always be learning something anyway. We took this week to read the last 4 chpts of SOTW 1 before we start the next volume. Jefferson enjoyed just listening rather than feeling like he had to accomplish something this week. I had he and Reagan close their eyes to envision some of the events - this seems to peek their interest and hold the information in their memory better! I haven't gotten to the library for the extra books for next weeks SOTW2 chpt. yet so we'll have to push history to W/F instead of M/T. Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy has done some good work on her book list for this - thanks!

No science lessons ready yet - Astronomy is in the works as we finish up a plants lapbook. Just trying not to freak out about this and reminding myself that we have more time this year as well as a better plan than I had last year.

Only got one lesson done this week due to not having the program installed in time for Monday and missing Friday (er visit). BUT - Jefferson loved the lesson he had and went for quite some extra time with it. Rosetta Stone seems nice but I need to figure out how I can repeat lessons when he doesn't do well (at first). I would also like to do the lessons myself so that we are learning them together. I also haven't figured out how/when there will be writing lessons.

Reagan - Kindergarten

What a great start for Reagan this year! She was VERY excited to be part of school and have my undivided (well - as undivided as I could be with a 2.5yo screecher and 9mo crawler!) attention. She thrives on positive encouragement, so I laid it on as heavily as I could. We had 3 lessons this week (4 if you count the fun time on the floor Sat with the scra.bble cubes) and talked about the letter A. I know that she has learned this in pre-k, but I really want to focus on the short vowel sounds pretty hard so that she can hear them better when we start blending. We did some fun penmanship sheets with lots of finger tracing. We also named her left thumb "Mr. Thumbkin" to help her with directionality of letters and numbers (her right thumb is 'busy' holding the pencil so it can't be Mr. Thumbkin). This has been a great cue for her! When we are playing with any letter squares or cubes, all I have to due is mention him and she corrects any mistakes.
My favorite part of the week was realizing that she can already spell short vowel, 3-letter words! I only discovered this when we were playing with the scra.bble cubes on the floor. She just beamed at the praise and wanted to play all day! I think that she will be reading sooner than I thought!

We started with very simple lessons for math. She knows how to count but I want to give her a good foundation in proper directionality (her mixed dominance causes easy switching - ie. 5's and 2's) and I don't want her to do mental math by counting (this is common in kids and will slow her down later). So this week we started with review of 1, 2, 3 using dots cards and fingers and objects, and the abacus. This was easy for her but gave her confidence as she started kindergarten. I also used some of the Semple Math program to teach her about "Mr. Thumbkin" when writing these numbers. She loves the tactile lessons and responds very, very well to added silliness (ie. "Start at Thunbkin's head and go down to his shoes. Then RUN AWAY from them!" for visual cue in writing a 2)

Auditory processing
Since we have Earobics scheduled in, it was easier for us to be consistent with it this week. This program was recommended by the psychologist who evaluated her last Feb to develop her ear and help her with sound awareness. This only takes 10 minutes each day and is fun since it's on the computer.

And there it is! An entire week late, but better late than never (hey, wait a minute - I think I've written that in more than one post this week! I guess my "No bloggin' after 10pm" rule is catching up to me.... *sigh*), right? Seriously though, I can't wait until the kids are headed off to college and they can read this post to see how far the Lord has brought them.