Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Seems I am a slacker when it comes to updating on all things home and homeschooling!

Well, Home and Garden first :)
We have made it through a good chunk of our remodeling projects. The living room/dining room/kitchen are pretty much done sans some finishing touches, the deck has been completed, pantry done and front entry tiled. There are a few more painting projects to be tackled over the winter, and possibly a bathroom tile job if I can persuade the Hubby...I am thrilled to be this far along and hope to get the few other things done over the winter as there are ALWAYS outdoor projects to be done!

The garden has been almost tucked in for the winter, as I am trying a new layering/mulching method that comes highly recommended from a dear friend for next year. Supposedly it is very efficient and low maintenance...which sounds great to me! I had my first go 'round with canning this fall and though I won't make it through the winter without buying tomato sauce, I will at least get to Jan 1 :) I have enough greens, jams and preserves to choke a horse, as well as LOTS of fruit frozen to make pies and muffins with throughout the winter.

Our chickens are doing pretty well despite the fact we lost 3 this fall. It was a hard lesson, but good for the kids to experience...the circle of life...They have all been very acive in the care of ALL the animals, which they have done on their own.(with only occasional prodding) I am grateful and appreciative of their help, as normally I do it all, lol, but they have really been stepping up and helping out. Its good for them :) All the other animals have been getting along fine, even our one-foot-in-the-grave kitty...we have decided she has more than 9 lives for sure.

Homeschool Front:
We have been very consistantly been working every morning on our schooling. This seems to work best, leaving the afternoons for adventures, outings, or gettin' stuff done ;) Max has been MUCH more interested in school this year and we have actually used up all his 'practice' workbooks and are now dabbling in a bit of 1st grade work. Not too much, as I still want him to enjoy that 'kindergarten' age, but I also don't want to hold him back if he wants to go on. He loves math so we do practice adding and subtracting, basic phonics, letters and numbers...he has the same knack JD has for math so he often answers the older kids' math questions... ;)

Lilly is LOVING phonics. She loves to read and sound out new words, loves to write and draw. She is NOT loving math, lol, but is excited we have finally come to the 'money chapter' lol. The kids have been playing bank quite a bit lately in the course of their adventures. I am glad she will practice during play, as she really does not enjoy actual math 'work'. Sigh, I remember that...I was not a fan of math either. I try to find fun ways to learn it but secretly I totally understand- if you don't like math, you don't like math! I try to plan it for her to get her math done first so its over with and then she can enjoy the rest of her subjects. She LOVES word searches and crossword puzzles, and is very good at reciting poems!

JD. He is officially READING! We had been *warned* it could take years for him to master phonics because of the way he would need to learn it but earlier this fall something just clicked and he is doing SO well! Granted, he is not at grade level, but he is so determined to read and catch up. I am so proud of him! We do a good deal of his work orally as his dexterity is not the best so we save writing practice for practice and that way he is not falling behind in his learning due to taking so long to write. He is doing language arts, vocab and spelling and phonics adjusted, and doing quite well. He still loves math and is crazy good at some math but will hit a wall with other things. He has no trouble with multiplication and division of up to 2 numbers but when we get to 3 numbers x 3 numbers...the wheels come off! So odd! We are spending some extra time with that. He is also doing some geometry and algebra (concepts...its a really cool book that breaks down algebra into different concept activities...he LOVES it!) I am also encouraging him to draw more to help with his dexterity issues which seems to be helping...he doesn't love it but he will do it during our art time.

As a group, we work on science and nature, poetry and literature, art and history. I have this VERY cool new art book that gives 200 some odd different art concept/lessons that the kids really have been enjoying. (Hooked on Art by Jenean Romberg)We do a different concept each week, then add to it with the new lesson the following week. I will throw some art history in as well, as later in the book they make some refrences to famous artists which I will expand on.

I have been having the kids learn to recite different poems, though not the ones suggested by the CM curriculum, I still liked the idea so I found A Treasury of Poems for Today's Child which has poems broken up in chapters by season, holiday, animal, people, etc. Some I have seen before, some I haven't (well, most actually) The kids really have enjoyed this and though this is somewhat of a lost art, I love that they enjoy reciting poems. I am hoping to broaden this into them writing poems, etc. Though that is not a part of the CM curriculum until later, I could see at least Lilly taking a liking to that sooner.

For our literature piece, we will be doing fairy tales, most likely Grimm. The kids LOVED the Sisters Grom Series and I think they will get a kick out of the refrences and make the connections once we read some of the poems. I'd like to add in some Aesop's Fables as well, to lighten things up a bit ;) I am starting this after the holidays. For now, we have been reading books of their choosing, in addition to any we are reading for 'school'. We are still working on the Thorton Burgess series (currently on Danny Meadow Mouse). I was hoping to start the Little House on the Prarie series this fall, but they are SO hooked on the Thorton Burgess books we are on a mission to find and read them all. Little House will have to wait.

Initially we were reading about the evolution of man and society, but we have taken a temporary break as we usually read about/study the Pilgrims journey and various Native American tribes during November. We have done various readings on the Pilgrims, and also read about the Trail of Tears, Squanto, Chief Joseph, Pocahontas(the real person not the Disney character) as well as Sacagawea. We are going to learn about various tribes next which will take us through the end of November, and will end with some sort of creation depicting all that was learned on the Nature Table. We did this last year and the kids really loved it- they made cabins and teepees and set up a village for the pilgrims...I am excited to see what they will come up with this year.

Once we head back to evolution we will detour a bit again as ancient Egypt really caught their interest so we will probably spend some extra time on that, since we have that option :)

In Nature and Science we have been using these great textbooks(?) that give an overview of all things, well, science and nature! They are great at introducing topics which we can then go into firther...or not. The kids loved astronomy last year and we ended up spending A LOT of time on that and weather, this year it seems to be animal kingdoms and their various habitats. I ordered some great cdroms on biospheres, animal habitats and animal kingdoms a couple years ago (good sale...couldn't pass it up!) and we will be able to use them now...they have also been watching many of the documentaries on Netflix from National Geographics...Beavers is Max's current favorite. They have also been VERY fascinated with the show Verminators and Bizzar Foods...I can't watch them but I will say what I have *heard* is QUITE educational! The Bizzar Foods show is more than I can stomach but it is very cool in that the kids are learning what different types of foods people eat in other cultures, which is VASTLY different than what we eat. I will leave it at that. :)

Beyond that...lots of time spent outside, down by the 'swamp', and inventing various contraptions in the driveway. Lilly and Max played soccer this fall and LOVED it, Lilly is quite good and hopes to be on the travel team next year! JD(and Hubby) spent most of the fall biking with a group through a local bike shop, along with continuing to run (he is doing 2 races with me in the next 2 weeks!) Hanging with a new co-op this year that the kids seem to like as the kids are all around their ages, which is a HUGE bonus. Also met some new friends during soccer season including a family that lives right around the corner who homeschools as well, with 3 kids same ages as our family. They are huge hikers, and skiiers and we are very much looking forward to many afternoons of skiing this winter! (the kids skiing, the moms trying to keep up, lol)

OK, I *think* I am caught up...and hopefully I will stay that way! Maybe I will even get some pictures up. Well, let's not get carried away...

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