Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nature Study, Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 . . .

Now is the Time to Draw:

What a great week for a new challenge! We decided to take advantage of the first day of Fall (Autumn) on Tuesday and get out to see all the changes of the season. We went to a local nature area armed with the wagon, snacks, paper, crayons, camera, and an excitement to see everything around us.

The first thing the kids noticed was the colors of the leaves changing from green to yellows, reds, and browns. They also commented on the amount that had already fallen to the ground and were now, crunchy beneath us. They worried that the crunching of the leaves would scare away any potential wildlife in the area. We saw a lot of new flowers that we have not seen before. We also saw three different kinds of berries that we will be looking up. I think the most curious thing was a plant that had HUGE leaves. It was much bigger than our hands, and tucked nicely under the shady trees and bushes.

The girls had fun watching leaves and sticks float down the stream from a small bridge, and having them disappear beneath the water or overhanging trees.

C9, C8, and C4 collected leaves that were on the ground throughout the walk and when on our way back, we found a nice meadow area with a picnic table and sat down to do some leaf rubbings. Some of the leaves proved difficult to do, but they did a great job nonetheless.

C9 doing some leaf rubbings

When we were loading into the car, C8 noticed a small praying mantis on the walk and we spent a few minutes observing it. It was a little skittish, every time one of us got within a few feet of it, it would take off quickly. On the drive home, we passed a home that had two deer in the yard eating the grass. We thought this was a perfect end to the day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week Three . . .

A pretty normal week, and that is not a bad thing! Here's how things went:

Spelling: C9 did lesson 39 in Word Lessons, C8 did lesson 3 in Word Lessons, C4 is working on her name

Reading: C9 read Titles 4 & 5 in McGuffey's Fourth Reader, C8 read lessons 4 & 5 in McGuffey's Third Reader, they both finished Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson and wrote in their reading journals, C4 continued with letter recognition with phonics cards and a few Dr. Seuss books

For our group discussion on the book, we took a comfy seat on the couch and chatted about the story. We all agreed that David was a very honest boy. He took his relationships seriously and was very loyal and good. C9 and C8 thought it unfair of him to have to struggle so much and I explained to them that sometimes, sadly, even though people are good, bad things can happen because unfortunately not everyone is honorable. We also talked a little about the downtrodden lives of the Scottish and Irish of that time. We all really liked the book and would suggest it to anyone young and old!!

Copy Work: We decided to take a little different approach here. Instead of a new "quote" each day, we are going to work on the same "piece" each day and then on Friday, use this "piece" for dictation. This way, I can gauge a little more how they (C9,C8) are doing with spelling and grammar. It was very helpful. I also think that it meant more to them and could retain the info from the "piece" a little more. C4 continued to work on line tracing and some letter copying.

Family Read: We finished with the book on myths and returned that to the library. I would recommend this book as a very interesting and entertaining book. I think the thing I liked about it the most, is it encompassed myths and legends from all around the world. We all liked it very much!

Math: C9 continued working on multiplication facts with worksheets and flash cards and C8 focused on double and triple digit addition. I think C4 is almost done with review on colors and shapes and will be moving on to counting and numbers very soon.

History: We started our next chapter in American History Stories Vol. 1. It tells us the story of Christopher Columbus. We were able to find a very interesting biography on him at the library and have started on that as well.

For an extra bit of fun, we headed to a fun filled, "Fancy Nancy" party with Grandma. It was held in a library and we were to all go dressed in our fanciest attire. They had so much fun! The kids got to make very fancy hair bows and the Moms, fancy watches. We listened to the story, Fancy Nancy, Explorer Extraordinaire and enjoyed every minute! We took the opportunity to practice letter writing skills and sent Grandma some thank yous. Happy Schooling!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nature Study, Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 . .

Using Your Words:

We decided to kill two birds with one stone this week, and try doing our field trip and nature study at the same time. We chose a local Nature Area complete with paths, bridges, stream, wild flowers, etc. The field trip part was to find a letterbox that was supposed to be in that area. No luck there, I'm afraid, it has not been found for a year and we didn't find it either. So on with the Nature Study!

It was a very interesting area and we were all very intrigued by everything around us. First, I will tell you the challenge part and then explain what we saw.

**One word to describe something they heard: crunchy (C9), tweeting (C8), bzzzz (C4)

** Two words to describe something they saw: blue stream (C9), brown grasshopper (C8), hopping grasshopper (C4)

** Three words to describe something they felt: happy about nature (C9), bumpy, dirty ground (C8), poke, orange weeds (C4)

We started out with a walk through an area out in the open surrounded by weeds and wild flowers. There were a couple of small foot bridges to cross that went over little streams. We came across a grasshopper that must have fascinated the kids because we spent about 5 or so minutes just looking at it.

Then onto an area that was surrounded by big trees and smaller willow type trees. There was a small river that ran through this area with some nice, small rapids. It was fun to see the different kinds of trees and bushes that live on the banks of the river versus the types that are out in the fields.

For the last leg of the walk, we went through a garden of wild flowers and berry bushes. It was interesting to see the different types of flowers and the butterflies, bees, and other insects that were busy flying around and on them.

For further study, we will try to identify some of the specimens that we were able to get pictures of. For more about the Nature Study Challenges, see here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week Two . . .

I think we are really loving this! It has been nice to do things the way we like. If we want to spend some extra time on a specific subject, we can! If we are having a hard time really getting interested in something, we can move on and possibly go back to it sometime. Here is how our week went: (Note: this may seem tedious to some of you, but I want to be able to use these posts as a reminder of what we did, what worked and didn't work, etc.)

Spelling: C9 continued in Word Lessons with lesson 38. She focused on her cursive writing with this lesson and is really doing amazing. C8 did lesson 2 in Word Lessons working on sentences.

Reading: C9 read to chapter 23 in Kidnapped and did lessons 2 & 3 in the 4th McGuffey's Reader. C8 read to chapter 25 in Kidnapped and did lessons 2 & 3 in the 3rd McGuffey's Reader. C4 continued letter recognition with flash cards and stories.

Copy Work: C9 & C8 copied the 2nd Article of Faith, 2 other scriptures and a quote from Charlotte Mason, "I am, I can, I ought, I will." This has become a sort of motto for our home. C4 continued working on line tracing and circle drawing. She is also working on her name.

Family Read: We continued reading the myths and fairy tales book. The kids are really getting a kick out of some of the ways people make up stories to find the reason behind things that happen in our world.

The Usborne Book of Myths and Legends

Math: We focused on Money this week. Recognizing the differences and counting change back. Our "Take Five" focused on this as well, so it was great to do both together. We played a couple of games, including Monopoly, thanks Grandma and Uncle for help with that. They had a lot of fun.

History: We finished our biography about Lief Erikson and learned so much!! Such an interesting tale. We filled out info in our Book of Centuries. We also did a lot of map work to go with this story. I learned a lot too!!

"Leif and the Norseman on an exploration"

We took a fun "field trip" to explore a nearby nature area. It was a lot of fun and the kids were so amazed by the things they saw. We did our next nature study challenge in conjunction with this (see a future post). They loved watching the insects, looking at wild flowers, checking out a stream and the baby got a treat when a train passed by blaring it's horn. He was in heaven, saying, "choo, choo, chuga, chuga, Mom, look!" (repeat) It was a lot of fun!

We also took a little trip to the state fair. The kids loved looking at all the animals; cows, horses, roosters, turkeys, bunnies, etc. We also tried a lot of yummy food and got to learn about wildlife from the fish & game booth, trains from the Operation Lifesaver booth, and got some free, fun info from the National Weather Service booth. I found out that they have a local station and would love to have homeschoolers come by for a field trip!! Happy Schooling!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nature Study, Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 . . .

For our nature study this week, we spent some time exploring a rocky bank of a reservoir. The kids had a ball looking at the world around them. They skipped rocks in the water, turned over rocks looking for anything, watched bald eagles flying over head or fighting with golden eagles, and hunting for crawdads in the muddy reservoir bottoms below a dock. It was difficult to pull them away. I think it was a good thing we were camped there for the weekend, so they could go back again and again. It was extremely hard to choose just two things to study for this week, but we did. Here are a few pictures:

This inlet was a prime spot to look for great rocks and crawdads.

Our resident rock lover with her own "Rock Shoppe". You can see the piles of rocks around her separated by physical characteristics. Any of these rocks could have been yours if you had a rock to trade that enticed her.

"Crabby" the crawdad. No we didn't bring it home, it was sent to a neighbor for care. This was as big as my hand. The kids were fascinated by it.

The kids' Nature Journal pages about our trip. The first is for a crawdad, the second a bald eagle, and the third a crawdad.

We will spend some time this week finding information about crawdads and bald eagles. Everyone is very excited! Yes, the fighting eagles comment is true. We watched 2 bald eagles and 2 golden eagles fighting for a few minutes. When we left, they were still chasing one another. Isn't nature great!!

Our First Week . . .

One of the only successful things that grew in our garden!

I think it was a success!! Our first week of homeschool has come and gone and I do believe that it was a great time had by everyone. I will just run through what we did. I really liked reading a play by play of someone's day or week of their schooling experiences. It helped me realize that it was reachable.

For Spelling, C9 finished lesson 37 in Word Lessons. She copied the words and definitions over a period of three days. The other two days were spent answering the questions that went with the lesson. C8 finished lesson 1 in Word Lessons. She copied each of the words over two days and then copied sentences that included these words two other days ( just a side note: C8 was sick with fever for a day, so took a break).

For Reading, C9 read through the opening pages of her book McGuffey's Fourth Reader and also read Title 1. C8 read through the intro pages and then Lesson 1 in McGuffey's Third Reader. They did this on Tuesday and Thursday. Monday thru Friday, they read the first 11 chapters of Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. C4 worked on letter recognition. We used phonics flash cards to help her learn and remember her letters.

For Copy Work, C9 and C8 copied 1 scripture from the Bible, 2 from the Book of Mormon and a quote by Freud. C4 practiced tracing lines of different sorts and writing her name.

For our Family Read time, we read some old fairy tales from a book of virtues and we started on a book about myths and other stories. This has gone well with our "Take Five" topic and history.

For Math, C9 worked on basic multiplication facts with a times table, worksheet, flashcards, and games. C8 worked on triple digit addition with a worksheet and games. C4 worked on racogniton of shapes and drawing of shapes. She also worked on recognition of colors.

For "Take Five", C9 and C8 learned about why and how things, people, and places are named the way they are. From cities, to peoples last names. They also worked on capitilization of proper nouns with this.

For History, we read the first two chapters in Amercian History Stories, Volume 1. We have been reading from a biography about Lief Ericson and the Norseman. We started on our Book of Centuries.

We also got to go to the library to find new "fun" books to read, a couple of biographies, and play some games on the computers. C9 and C8 also spent time honing their typing skills with a FREE program I downloaded called Rapid Typing. We learned a new song and are helping C4 understand dates and weather with a morning calendar routine. This is basically the jist of our week. We completed our Nature Study over the weekend, but see a separate post for that.

All in all, an amazing week and a great time had by all. I especially loved every minute of it. It gave me a great feeling inside to know that my kids where home with me, just how I like it. Happy schooling to all!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day . . .

Just a quick note to say that our first day was great! The girls loved being home and I loved having them here. We started at about 10:30, finished with our first half at about 11:45. After lunch and getting the baby down for a nap, we started up again at about 1:15 and finished for the day at 2:45. I think it went fairly smooth. There were a couple of things we will try differently. We will do our McGuffey Readers on Tuesday and Thursday only. We may also tweak how often we do some other things as well. We'll see how the rest of the week goes.

I found a great web site with ideas for our Nature Study. I also found the book she refers to, Handbook of Nature Study, online for a free download. So I made some some journal pages and hopefully we will do Challenge #1 this week. I would like to do a once weekly post just about our Nature Study, so keep a look out. I will post about our week at the end of it!!! Happy learning to all.