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Thursday, December 20, 2012

What's Going On With Us?

So I've been MIA for quite awhile now...two months according to my last post. We've still been chugging along. There have been times I have felt overwhelmed, but it's been more to do with the activities going on, not really the actual homeschooling aspect of it.

We have dropped gymnastics and one of the music classes we were participating in. I'm feeling really good about these decisions. By dropping gymnastics, we gain another whole day at home and we don't have to drive 30 minutes back and forth to Anderson just for that class. I think that will help our checkbook too. We we were all hungry after gymnastics and so it was so tempting to stop and grab something to eat while we were out, not to mention running into Target, etc to buy things we probably didn't really need.

By dropping the one music class, we freed up an extra hour in the morning and we are able to do school before we go to to our other two music classes. I won't really see or feel the impact of making these decisions until 2013 begins, but I'm hoping things will feel less hectic.

So back to school...nope, we are not on a Christmas break. We will definitely be taking the actual day of Christmas off, but my plan is to continue to have school. We need to get in as many days as we can before our little guy arrives in April. But we will be taking a whole week off in January for a vacation. I'm looking forward to being able to take a week or two off here and there during next year's homeschooling year!

I do want to share where we are right now, which makes this a super long post! Sorry!

We are currently on Day....


Hard to believe we are actually almost through our 3rd nine weeks!!


We are on Week 24 of All About Reading. Here is a sample of the words Pressley is reading right now. I was really impressed when she read "brush" all by herself this morning!


We have actually moved on to the 1st grade handwriting book. We are really trying to focus on staying in the lines and taking our time. She likes to rush through and her letters and numbers look sloppy.


We are in Lesson 22 of Math U See. We are currently skip counting by 5s.


We are doing a Grapevine Study on the Birth of Jesus. Today, we learned about the angels appearing to the shepherds.


Observations: Where math was her strongest subject at the beginning of the year, it is now her weakest. I wouldn't say she is struggling with it, but she has to work a lot harder to "get" the material. It takes a day or three for things to sink in. Her strongest subject is now reading. It seems like it has just clicked with her.

Hopefully, it won't be another two months until you hear from us again. lol



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coloring Pages of Famous Works

I saw this site and had to share! It's a website with coloring pages of famous works, such as the Mona Lisa and Starry Night. I think it's a great way to let your child get their creative coloring going and then show them the original piece and talk about it!

http://www.color-me-online.com/masterpiece/paintings/index.html

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pressley Meets Elvis Presley

Week 13 started with some old-fashioned rock n' roll. For our history/geography lesson, we talked about Tennessee, which led us to a discussion about a guy named Elvis Presley. Her eyes lit up when I told her his name! Thanks to youtube, I was able to show her Elvis in action in a performance of Jailhouse Rock. We talked a little about rock n' roll music and dancing. 

Pressley's response to Elvis? "I want to marry him," she said. I guess young Elvis still has an effect over the ladies! :) I explained to Pressley that Elvis died a long time ago. She had a lot of fun dancing around the room to his songs. 

It was a fun school morning! I'm glad I can expose her to different aspects of American history. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 12: Wrap Up

We just wrapped up day 60! And I must say I'm really sorry with how sporadic the posts on this blog have been! Our days are normally so full that it's hard to find the time to sit down and write.

If you follow my other blog, then you may have read our big news yesterday. We are expecting another little one in April 2013! So I've been pretty tired lately too! Thankfully, I can slowly feel my energy coming back. :) I really would like to have our school year wrapped up by the time our new addition arrives, which puts some pressure on us. We can take a week off at Christmas and a few days around Thanksgiving, but other than that, we don't have the luxury of taking very many "free days". Looking back, I'm really glad I started school in July rather than waiting for August!

I wanted to share where we are at now with our curriculum. We always start with our calendar time and the pledge. And then we move on to...

1. All About Reading. We've continued to move through the sounds of the alphabet. Last week, we learned the sound of "u" we hear in "utter" and the second sound of "s", which you hear when you say "his". The second sound of s is a little confusing, but I think she'll get the hang of it, the more she reads. Today, Pressley read the story "Run, Bug, Run!" to me. She really does read these stories with little to no help from me, which makes me happy! We wrapped up Lesson 11 today, which means we have almost caught up from taking the couple of weeks to go back and review the first three lessons.


2. A Reason For Handwriting: We have made it through all of the lower case letters of the alphabet. Her penmanship isn't perfect, by any means, but I know we will be working on penmanship for the next couple of years, so the neatness will come. We are halfway through our book so I'm either going to have to throw in a lot of review days or we will go ahead and move on to the first grade book.



3. Math-U-See:  We are working on vertical addition this week. We are at Lesson 15 and there are only 30 lessons. I normally double up worksheets on some days, but I think we are going to go to one a day. I don't really want to start a new grade of math in February and then take a break from it April-July. 


8. Science/Social Studies: I normally rotate these two subjects. We focused on science today. My parents brought me these awesome books a couple of years ago called, Nature's Children. We have about fifteen of these books. Each book focuses on two animals. We just wrapped up a book on whales so today Pressley got to choose what animal she wanted to learn about next. And she chose....


So today we talked about how salmon are born in a river, swim to the saltwater for their adult life, and then swim back to the river where they were born when they are close to dying. We also talked about how salmon start off as eggs. 

Well, that wraps up Week 12! Still feeling really blessed to be homeschooling!






Friday, October 5, 2012

Crayfish

I'm simply amazed by some of the things we do in Classical Conversations. Yes, Thursdays make a long day for us. Sometimes it can all seem a little tedious, but if Pressley just absorbs a tenth of the information there then she is so far above what any other kindergartner is learning. Pressley can name Greek/Roman gods. She can tell you about the Roman Empire and why it collapsed. She knows where the Fertile Crescent is on a map.
And I do too...which makes me feel a lot smarter than I did a few months ago. :)

This past Thursday, we looked at all the different parts of a crayfish. Yes, they were real. No, they were not alive.

Holding the crayfish.


Investigating the crayfish.


Another photo of our invertebrate, arthropod friend. 




Monday, September 24, 2012

New Places

Today we met some friends at a local park, one we've never visited before. The air was cool and crisp. We had the playground all to ourselves...and it was fenced in. I didn't have to keep a hawk's eye on Jackson every second. There are parks that are closer, but this one is far superior. I'm so glad my friend invited us to join her and her family!

While we were there, a city worker that maintains the park stopped by. He informed us of another park just a few miles down the road. It supposedly had nature trails and a falls nearby. And, of course, it had a playground as well. My friend and I looked at each other and decided to go visit the other park too.

The first playground had been right off of a major highway, but the second park was off all on its own. Wind chimes danced in the wind. There was a huge swing (think porch swing kind) for a family to rock on. The only drawback was that it was close to the parking lot and it was NOT fenced in. The second park have a very peaceful feel to it. We walked around, but didn't see the falls and creek the gentleman had told us about. We did, however, see it as we left. It was beautiful and I can't wait to go back!

I learned a couple of things today.


  1. It's important to venture out and do things. We go out and do things, but we don't do new things very often.
  2. I had no idea that there was a park with a beautiful waterfall less than 30 minutes from my house. It makes me wonder what other cool things are just right in my backyard!
  3. Talk to people. Now, you obviously have to be careful, but I would have never known about the second park if I hadn't had a conversation with the city worker.
Jackson playing on the playground.



Pressley climbing a pretty high rock wall!



Headed down the slide!


Jackson trying to climb UP a slide!







Friday, September 21, 2012

Seriously? It's Been 9 Weeks Already?

I can't believe our first quarter of school is up. It's going by fast! You know me...it's time to share my thoughts.

Where is Pressley at after nine weeks?

  • We just wrapped up Week 12 of math. We are working on simple addition. I would say math is still Pressley's strong area.
  • We just wrapped up Lesson 7 in All About Reading. We have covered vowels: a, i and consonants: j, b, t, n, s, p, m, g, d, c, y, r, h, k, z, f, v. She is reading short stories of 3-letter words using just those letters. Ex: The big rat hid in the can.
  •  We are in Lesson 23 in our handwriting. We finally got some tablet paper (thanks Amanda!) so we will be doing more practice and less moving along in our handwriting book for now. There are only 53 lessons or so in our handwriting book and I'd rather not move on to the next book until 1st grade. 
  • Classical Conversations is awesome, but overwhelming. There is soooo much material, but I'm finally learning not to stress over it. I want it to be fun for Pressley, not intimidating. She really enjoys the science experiments they do there. (I guess this should probably go under my thoughts, but I'm too lazy to move it!)

Where are my thoughts after nine weeks?
  • Still absolutely ZERO regrets about homeschooling. I love that my daughter and son are extremely close. I love that I am involved in every aspect of Pressley's life. 
  • I am more social than I've ever been in my life! It's taking a little time to get used to this big change, but I think it's a good thing for me. 
  • Yes, my daughter has friends. She even has a best friend.  :) I would say she gets more socialization than most kids in school do. BUT that also depends a lot on the parent. If we weren't involved in extra-curricular activities then socialization could be a problem.
  • There are so many opportunities for homeschoolers....even in our small town! I think I need to be careful to really think and pray over our schedule and what we sign up for. I really love the activities we are doing right now, but there are also other opportunities (like a homeschool class at the zoo!) that sound awesome. I want to make sure I look at all of our options and be realistic about what we can and can't do. Does that make sense? lol
Whew, nine more weeks and the school year is almost halfway over! Unreal!