Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Study helps

Here's a little article I posted in our homeschool group newsletter containing some different ideas to do with your studies. If you have any others to add, I'd love to hear them.

Sometimes, its difficult to think of new projects or ideas to stimulate your child’s learning. Workbooks get very boring after a while, even to us parents! Here’s some ideas to help you with your studies:

1. Salt dough map
2. Make costumes
3. Do a puppet show or play
4. Have a themed dinner
5. Create a power point presentation
6. Make a lapbook or notebook
7. Build a diorama
8. Build a time machine to travel back into time
9. Create a collage
10. Have your child invent a game that’s based on their learning
11. Make a diary entry based on the person that your studying
12. Design a new cereal
13. Make a travel brochure
14. Make a time line
15. Make a comic strip
16. Make a newspaper

A bad habit

I am a curriculum junkie. I love to look at curriculum. I browse catalogs all the time. I even dog ear the Rainbow Resource catalog that Arby hates so much.

I can't do it anymore. THe first reason, is that I just can't afford to buy it all and the second, is that sometimes, I find myself what to change curriculum mid-year. Which is bad. I've done it two times with history and science-its difficult on all of us, especially the kids. So, I don't do it anymore.

This past weekend, I went to the homeschooling conference in Western WA. It was a good conference. I did not go see any of the speakers because it was too much-they wanted $65! So I just browsed the vendors. I took only a little money and I made a list ahead of time of things that I needed to get. I needed grammer, spanish, and bible. I did get one extra thing, I'll get to that in a minute.

I scored with grammer. I've been looking for a grammer only product-no writing as I have a writing curriculum already. I found Growing with Grammer. I really like it. I'm not sure TL will be as excited, when he sees the diagramming sentences, but I'm sure he'll live. For the girls, who will be in 2nd and 3rd grade, I wanted just an intro into grammer. I found it!! Simply Grammer by Karen Andreola. Very short lessons introducing the parts of speech. If you have younger children I highly recommend it!

I picked up several workbooks (Explode the Code) and three Total Language Plus studies. My major find was All Through the Ages by Christine Miller. It is a reference book for history through literature; Ancient through Modern Times. Each catagory is broken down into Resources for all ages, books by grade level, and a helpful timeline for that time period. The real treasure is the books by grade level. She divides the grades into four groups-1st-3rd, 4th-6th, 7-9th, 10th-12th and then breaks it down even farther. Each age group has books listed in these catagories:specific events, biographies, historical fiction, literature, and culture.

This book is definitely a treasure and a steal at only $30. I know I'll be using this book alot!

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 100 Children's books

So Cindy at Our Journey Westward has placed a list of top 100 books on her website. If you've never been to her website, check it out. She has some fabulous homeschool helps and has started her own company-Shining Dawn Books. They're awesome. Anyway, I'm highlighting the ones I've read. I agree with her-there are several on this list I wouldn't read with my kids. There are quite a few I've never heard of. How do you make out?

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967)

99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)

98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)

97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)

96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)

95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)

94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)

93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)

92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)

91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)

89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)

88. The High King – Alexander (1968)

87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)

86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999)

85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)

84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)

83. The Thief – Turner (1997)

82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964)

81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)

80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)

79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)

78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)

77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)

76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)

75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)

74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953) Im not sure if this counts or not. I read about half of it and hated it. They seemed mean to me.

73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)

72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)

71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)

70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelae (1940)

69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)

68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)

67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)

66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)

65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)

64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)

63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)

62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)

61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)

59. Inkheart – Funke (2003)

58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)

57. Ramona Quimby Age Eight – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)

55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)

54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)

53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908) I never finished this book!

52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)

50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)

49. Frindle – Clements (1996)

48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)

47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)

46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)

45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)

44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)

43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)

42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)

41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)

40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)

39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)

38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)

37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)

36. Are you There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)

35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)

33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)

32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)

31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)

30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)

29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)

28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)

27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)

26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)

25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)

23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)

22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)

21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005)

20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)

19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)

18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)

17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)

16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)

15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)

14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)

13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)

12. The Hobbit – Tolkein (1938)

11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)

10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)

9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)

8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)

7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)

6. Holes – Sachar (1998)

5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)

4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)

3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)

2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)

1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

I know, I know, there are alot on here that I've never read. A Wrinkle in Time? The Secret Garden? From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler? The Hobbit? Wind in the Willows? Don't worry-all on my list to read this year with TL. I can't wait!!

some of our days...

Here's little Chunky Monkey enjoying the new swing set.

On nice days, our backyard becomes a convergence zone for all the neighborhood kids. They have a great time back there!

Right now, the tulip festival is going on. We are the largest producers of tulip bulbs behind Holland. This area was actually founded by Holland-ers, hehe, couldn't resist. The day of TL's tournament, we happened to drive by on our way home. It was raining and cold so we didn't stop. The pictures don't do the fields any justice, but you can see how many tulips there are. There are a handful of farms that plant tulips this way. Most are free to park and visit, but some do have a parking fee. They are gorgeous!

So, last night Daddy and Princess went jogging. She seems to really enjoy it. He told her that if she really liked it, maybe next year we could get her on a track team. She said that was fine, but she needed an ipod!! Oh my gosh-she's only nine!! She wants to go today to buy one.....little does she realize that's not going to happen!w

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Award

We had talked to TL about it. You see, he was competing for the first time in a sparring tournament this past weekend. In fact, it was his first ever taekwondo event. There was only one trophy. So, as parents, we prepared him for a likely loss. He understood, he was just excited to compete.

Did I mention that there were only three other kids in his age group? And that they were all three belts or higher than he was?

Well, he won!! We couldn't believe it and he was sooooo excited!

I am so proud of him!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time flies

And then another week has gone by. These are our highlights from our first camping trip over Easter. It was pretty chilly and overcast with a little drizzle here and there, but not too bad.

We went camping at Deception Pass State Park, which is gorgeous. We normally hang out near the ocean and watch for whales, but since the weather wasn't great we hung around camp. This is a photo of Cranberry Lake.

Chunky Monkey hanging out with Daddy

Little Miss Trouble loving the egg hunt in the woods

And they're off!

This was taken off all the girls together. Two other families were with us. TL was of course, too cool to participate in the hunt and therefore did not get a picture. Rest assured, however, he made sure that all the candy was safe to eat by tasting it himself!

The campground is pretty tight, especially when you've got a 34 foot camper. We were trying to turn down the road into our campsite and I was telling my hubby that he needed to turn more. He of course, responded like any other hubby and told me that he did not need my help driving.....

wait for it.....

wait for it.......

about thirty second later........


Do I bother with the "I told you so" or just tease him alot? Yeah, he's getting alot of teasing.....including my reminding him that I drove the camper by myself, pregnant, with four kids and a dog from VA to MT and I didn't dent it!! I'm so mean!

Chunky Monkey chewing on her finger. She cut her first tooth the other day and another two are getting ready to cut through.

Bug-a-bug getting her blue kinkerkicks belt.

This weekend we bought and dear hubby put together a swing set for the kids. The closest park is down the street and there aren't any swings there. Girls love to swing so off we went. We couldn't buy a cheap metal swingset, because the wind is so bad here on the island. I'm talking around 50mph at least once a month. Its crazy!

I was able to finally put up our bird feeders. I didn't expect any hummingbirds but saw at least six different ones visiting my feeder. They're sucking through the feed. I only put about two inches in on Sunday and it was gone Tuesday night. I noticed what I put in last night is almost half gone tonight. I must be feeding the entire population. I don't care though, I love hummingbirds. I missed them when we were in Japan.

The kids got me this feeder for my birthday last year. We filled it to the top on Sunday and I had to refill it this morning. They're loving it. Look at this red winged blackbird. See how he struts his feathers? He does this to scare the other birds on the feeder. There's about three of them that visit it, but this is the biggest, and baddest, or so he thinks!

I have pictures of the swing set, but I've probably bored you enough for one day. Tomorrow we're vising the Island Historical Museum. It should be fun and I'm hoping that the weather holds up. Have a fantastic week everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Its the most wonderful time of the year!

Edited*** I just realized as I was copying my list into my notebook so I'll be all ready to go next weekend, that I never wrote our Bible Curriculum for next year. And that's because I'm not sure if we're going to go with individual studies or a family study. I may have TL do his own and the girls do the same. Not sure yet!

This is the time of year that my obsession with curriculum gets satisfied. I have to remain in check the rest of the year or I'll break the bank. I'm currently looking at getting our curriculum ready for next year.

Science-We'll be doing Christian kids explore Earth and Space as our spine. TL will be expected to read more and do more in depth projects with his grade.

History-I love history, which is why of course, I'm a history major. What I don't like is almost every history program out there. I love the concept of studying history chronologically, however, I don't like either program that's out there. Why? Well, because I think kids get just as confused studying each little event and jumping back and forth from place to place as studying four major events in history out of order (like the public schools do. I never understood what Ancient Egypt, the Civil War, WWII, and Lewis and Clark had to do with each other). What I really wanted was a program to guide us through with a list of good books to read and I could add in projects as I wished. I finally found it-Truthquest! I'm very excited. I love that all of Jamestown will be discussed before moving to the next topic.

Spanish-I'm currently looking for a computer spanish program for TL. I'm looking at Powerglide, I think its called. He needs something more that the girls are not ready for yet. And he needs to move at a faster pace than we've been moving.

TL-continue through classics, vocab study and roots study
Princess-BJUP grade 3, vocab study
Bug-a-bug-BJUP grade 2, vocab study

TL-will continue with AVKO
Princess and Bug-a-bug will continue with the workbooks, Building Spelling SKills

TL-Using Student Writing intensive
Princess and Bug-a-Bug will be doing little writing projects to build sentence structure and paragraph building skills

We usually use BJUP, but Princess seems to be struggling with cursive. I may look at Handwriting without tears.

TL-Grade 7 Teaching Textbooks
I think I may move the girls back to Abeka. I like Abeka through grade four. We'd switched to BJUP, but I'm not too happy with it. More word problems, but very little review. I like a little of review each day, otherwise they forget. To build the word problems, I'll be doing the Daily Word Problems workbook series.

All will be doing their Trail Guide to WOrld Geography. We'll also continue with our Passport Club program, and the girls will be working on Daily Geography Skills. I love this workbook program.

Grammer-Absolutely no idea!! I want daily teaching of grammer with some review each day. I want punctuation, capitalization, etc taught and reviewd all the time. And I want the kids to know what a a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, pronoun, etc is. I could really care about indefinite or reflexive pronouns. Can't we just label it a pronoun and be done with it already? Any suggestions anyone? I NEED HELP!

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another crazy two weeks

Well, daddy is home now. He got home about two weeks ago. We've since bought him a little beater car until we have enough debt paid off to comfortably afford a truck payment. We need to get a big diesel engine with enough stamina to pull the camper up the mountains. Our poor Yukon reminds me of the Little Engine that could, "I think I can, I think I can," puff puff.

Last night we went and got a "cheap" playset kit. I label this loosely as cheap, because it certainly is not. The employees of Home Depot should be encouraged that their jobs are secure, especially since we also purchased a much needed lawn mower. The closest park is all the way down the street and with all the teenagers that hang out there, the girls are not allowed to go down by themselves. Plus, with Little Chunky Monkey napping, we often can't head down that way. And there isn't a single swing. Girls love to swing! So, we bit the bullet and bought the kit with a slide and two swings, but bought a longer top post and have hung another swing. We bought a baby swing, but I think we may get another regular swing, since the baby isn't in the swing alot, and just change it when she uses it.

I've gone back to school. The funding for military spouses was reinstated a week before school started. I got a class that I didn't really wanted to take, but it was really all they had left open. Its History of Christianity. I'm very interested in the topic, but I wanted to take the other Christianity class, which for the life of me, I can't remember the name of right now. This one is a good class, but the textbook is enough to drive me mad. WHite paper, terrible font, no photos, three maps in the entire book, and the chapters are not even divided up with subtitles. And to make matters worse, there is on average (I counted) five names in EACH paragraph. I honestly, have almost no idea what I'm reading-and especially who I should be studying as significant as there are so many names! aaggghhhh

This week, we have a field trip to go to which should be fun. Other than school the biggest reason that I haven't posted is because we decided to go camping last weekend, which meant dewinterizing the camper and getting it ready to go. It was fun, but cold. I had homework to do, so the two smallest ones and I came home each night, since it was about fifteen minutes from home and not a big deal.

Well, I need to finish some homework, sweep the floors, and get ready for our school day tomorrow! Have a wonderful week!