Weekly update.

I just thought this was a cute little picture. My 2 yr old patiently waiting time to leave for the field trip. Baseball helmets make the wait go faster, you know.

WHAT A PRODUCTIVE WEEK!!!! The best yet since the holiday season!! =) lol Probably the best since we started homeschooling last July.
Nathan was a little worker bee this week! So exciting to see him starting to get more involved in his schooling, taking the initiative to get his work done without constant reminding.
He FLEW through a chapter in math. Really it was mostly a review for him from last year. He loves measurements and easily (re) memorized all the different units of measure. Tested fantastically out of the chapter so we are AHEAD in math now!! He is going to fly out of the next chapter too….More review-long (and longer) division and money review. It’s a good review and great for his self-esteem.
Nathan is doing well with everything else too. We started doing some of his reading comp orally because of the time it takes just to write all the answers down. With his short attention span, it just makes things easier on him and me.
The only thing we didn’t get done this week was spelling. Nathan is such a terrific speller, though, that I’m not too worried about it right now. We dropped it when we got into the fractions that caused him such a headache (literally). We’ll pick it back up next week.
History was lacking during those tough fractions weeks too. We picked that back up this week with some library books.
All three older boys are learning about volcanoes right now. Next week we’ll finish that up and make our own volcano. We were suppose to do it Friday, but we went on a little field trip instead.
Our field trip was with a local homeschool group to a local old army base. It is still used for training practices and preparations, but it isn’t the lively camp it once was years ago. It was so cool for the boys to learn about the history of this base. They loved it!! I did too…very interesting.
They LOVED the helicopter!! It was one actually used in combat so it looks a little beat up in places.
This tank was also used in combat years ago.

The old prison yard on base. This place once housed German pows during WWII and Vietnamese pows during the Vietnam war. Our area now has a huge population of both because when they were released after those wars, a good number of them made this area their new home. You can tell it is no longer a functioning prison.

A year or so ago, there was a huge fire on base. Several buildings were burned to the ground. You can see smokestacks here…this shows about a fifth of the damage. Instead of rebuilding these old bunkhouses, the insurance money was put toward several other new buildings for resevere services as well as funding for the museums on base now. A lot of the land that is no longer used for military purposes is being turned into residential and commercial areas. Our area needs the space for both, but it’s a shame to lose the history.

Kaleb is doing great with his math. Nothing formal, just a few worksheets and a lot of oral math practice with simple addition and subtraction. I bought one of the suggested math play books and received it in the mail. So many fun ideas!! We’ve done a few and I have many more planned for next week.

I also received the Explode the Code books in the mail this week, but haven’t shown them to Kaleb yet. Following some great suggestions, I am looking for the Leap Frog Letter Factory video (sold out in all the stores around here right now) for some super fun learning.

Gabriel is busy soaking up every little bit of *school time* he can. =) I love watching him sit at the table, “doing school work” with his little fun books. Since he still insists Gabriel is spelled “K-B-B-B”, we’re working overtime on his name song. lol
Oh our nightly read right now is Stuart Little. My oldest comlains. “I’ve already read this” while the next two are totally loving it!

I love that everything came together this week. I know it won’t happen every week and probably not next week, but it really helps boost our homeschooling confidence. Daddy loves to see all the progress too!! With this being our first year, he is still a little worried.

YAY!!

I ordered some cool books on ancient Egypt yesterday evening from HS Library Builder.

Most of the books I ordered have a little craft kit included. The boys will LOVE it!!

I LOVE history, but never got a chance to study ancient history when I was in school. I am so looking forward to next school year!!

Week In Review

We accomplished a lot more this week!

Wednesday was Nathan’s 11th birthday so we took it pretty easy that day….didn’t get much accomplished, but didn’t plan to anyway. We just made a fun day out of it!

Nathan is catching up nicely. I think he will be completely caught up by the end of next week. Today we went to the park, and while Daddy played with Kaleb and Gabriel, Nathan and I worked together on some of his lessons orally. Drake snoozed beside us. Nathan really enjoyed it so I think we’ll try to do that more. We have been so blessed this week with Daddy being home so much! Makes everything so much easier! lol

Bible history has been a little difficult for him so we decided to put in away for a while. Sometimes he just needs a break and after a while, we’ll jump back into it.

Math has also been a struggle…those darn fractions!! =) He finished up the chapter on fractions though this week and now he is on something much easier for him….units of measure! He is breezing through which is so good for his self esteem!

We are going to end January with a HUGE lapbook/notebook on the American colonies. We are just about ready to start the Revolutionary War so I thought a lapbook/notebook would kind of tie those early times together for Nathan.

He is still reading those Hardy boys books and loving them!! He is also finishing up a few history books on colonial times.

We decided last night that we will do a little more oral work so he isn’t sitting at the table for so long. He does much better with oral than written work anyway.

After listening to him read aloud to me today, I am going to require he do more on a regular basis. He is a strong reader…as long as he is reading to himself. (I have the same problem.) We’ll just spend a little more time each day to gain some strength in this area.

My four year old shocked me this week. He can easily do simple addition and subtraction!! We play little math games all the time but I have never said 1+1=2. A couple of days ago he said “guess what 2+3= Mom….5!!!” I was so excited that we sat down and went to 10 with addition and back down again with subtraction. I brought out some math materials I had waiting until he was ready, and he has been flying with them! I’m going to start a more formal math program with him way sooner than planned. I also just ordered a book on math games to keep it fun for him and Nathan.

Kaleb is still working on his phonics sounds…doing GREAT! He doesn’t understand, though, that sounding out “mat” is actually reading the word. He thinks he is just making the sounds of each letter close together.

My little Gabriel man is doing well with his red cast. He hasn’t complained once about it. He did ask Daddy to take it off “just for a minute” so he could take a bath. Once we explained the plastic bag trick, he was ok with leaving it on. Two more weeks!! He is such a little sponge! When I taught Kaleb to spell his name, Gabriel picked it up just as quickly as Kaleb did. The only problem is now he says “my name spells K-A-B-B-B.” When I tell him how his name is really spelled, he tells me I’m wrong. =) I made up a little song for him so hopefully he’ll agree soon. (to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb)

G-A-B-R-I-E-L, Gabriel, Gabriel
G-A-B-R-I-E-L, that spells Gabriel
I sing it to him every chance I get and he dances while I sing so he must like it! =) Tonight he told me “G says Ga!” Even picking up on Kaleb’s phonics lessons!
Drake is learning how to WALK!!! My baby boy took three steps toward me yesterday and has since done it several times! He’ll only go three though before plopping down to crawl.
That’s our week!! Slowly but surely getting back in the swing of things! Happy weekend!!!

Week in Review.

We have some catching up to do….and didn’t get much of it done this week. lol

Monday
I went to a mom’s night out with a local homeschool group for the first time. It was AWESOME! I really look forward to doing more with this group.
Nathan-mostly book work. He is the one behind. We WILL get caught back up this next week.
Kaleb-We stopped using 100 Lessons book because it just frustrates him. Waiting on Explode the code books to get here. In the meantime, we’re using phonics flashcards. Did some drawing and painting. Lots of outdoor time…even in the frigid temps!
Gabriel-drawing and painting. Lots of outdoor time.

Tuesday
Story time at the library…a favorite of all three older boys. I love it as well. All three older boys hang out in the children’s room while Drake and I browse books. I get a chance to pick out my own books as well as the history books I want Nathan to read. Then all three get to pick one book of their choice. The remainder of our day is usually spent reading those books!
Nathan-again mostly book work as we strive to get back to our schedule. He *discovered* Hardy Boys books…I’ve tried and tried to get him to read these books, but he has always shown a disinterest. I haven’t pushed because his other book choices are awesome. Finally he did start reading the 3 books in one book I purchased for him a couple of years ago. Now he wants MORE! =)
Kaleb-More phonics flash cards. He has trouble with b’s, d’s, and p’s so we worked on that a bit.
Gabriel-play, play, play little man!

Wednesday-
Started off innocent enough. Later in the day Gabriel fell off the swing and broke his arm. Our afternoon/evening was spent in the ER.
Nathan-didn’t get as much done as planned due to the accident.
Kaleb-working those phonics cards, read books, and played outside.
Gabriel-read books and played outside until the accident.

Thurday-
Was a struggle. ER doctor called to confirm the break..she was having a hard time seeing it so she left the decision up to the radiologist. Scheduled an appointment for casting. Needless to say, the majority of my day was spent holding a little boy who was in a lot of pain (even with the Tylenol 3).
Nathan-very little workbook. Math test.
Kaleb-pretty much played by himself until his little friend got home from school. Then he played outside with him.

Friday-
Same as Thursday. I had Gabriel in my lap most of the morning and then had his arm casted early afternoon.
Nathan-did some reading from his history books and started his math, but didn’t finish.
Kaleb-played by himself for most of the morning.

Hopefully we will get back on schedule this next week and actually get caught up! Nathan’s birthday is Wednesday. I told him we would take part of the day off….he just has too much to do. Monday afternoon we will be going to an indoor picnic with the local homeschool group we just joined….we’re excited for that!!

Curriculum notes for next year.

I’m thinking about changing from Seton’s history to Story of the World. I like the Catholic perspective found in Seton’s history books, but it just doesn’t cover enough for my liking. We have been working this year in early America and will end somewhere in the early 1900’s. Then next year we’ll start with the Ancients. After reading some reviews on SOTW, I really think my boys will like it. I can also supplement with Seton’s version, I suppose, to continue the Catholic influence.

I’m also considering Spanish instead of Latin for foriegn language. I know Latin is the language of choice amoung classical homeschoolers, but I have experience with the Spanish language so I think it would be easier for me to teach. I haven’t decided completely on this yet, though. My oldest is totally not interested in either. All of my boys are interested in sign language after a co-op class this past fall so we’ll continue to learn a little more for fun.

We will be switching to Saxon for math. I do not like Rod and Staff’s math curriculum at all.

I think we’ll stick with Seton for reading, English, and my oldest’s phonics.

We will not stay with Rod and Staff science. To be honest, we haven’t even opened the book since the first month or so when we found out it doesn’t fit us. I’m thinking Apologia for next year.

I LOVE, LOVE Wordly Wise and will continue with it. I use the words in each week’s lesson as spelling words so we won’t be needing additional material for that. Once I realized we could use WW for spelling, I put the Seton spelling book away.

That’s all for now. If, by chance,someone who reads this has some of these in good condition to sell at a good price, let me know!! I’m all for a good bargain!!

Phonics and my almost five year old.

We have been sloooooooowly working with the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons workbook……and he does not like it. He stomachs it, I think, because I’ve told him this is how he will be able to read books by himself, something he really wants to do.

I decided we might as well try something else because we can =) and I want him to LOVE learning, not just get stuck doing it as a means to an end.

I’ve been reading reviews and doing my own research for a couple weeks now. I think we’re going with Explode the Code. It seems fun and engaging. I think he’ll enjoy it. We will start with the first set Ready, Set, Go to see how he does there, although I think he may be passed at least the first book already.

I found a used TM online for only $4 and I’m price shopping the set right now. I haven’t checked out our local Christian book store that carries homeschool supplies yet, but it looks like Ebay is the best way to go so far.

We will continue with 100 Lessons until we get the ETC books…hopefully soon!!

Notebooking.

Last October, I discovered how fun lapbooking can be. My preschooler, toddler, and I have enjoyed making a few lapbooks together since then. My almost eleven year old isn’t as impressed with it as I am, though. I still think it is a great way to learn, record information to be remembered, and just a good way to make sure he *gets* what he has learned.

I started looking at notebooking when I realized his uninterest in lapbooking. We then got pulled into the busy holiday season so I put it on the back burner.

Now that things have slowed down, I’m back to look for some good (mostly free) resources. I have a link to a yahoo group on the left sidebar of this blog, and here are a few more links.

http://www.notebookingpages.com/
http://www.notebookingnook.com/
http://www.donnayoung.org/forms/planners/notebook.htm
http://www.homehearts.com/notebooking.html
http://www.notebooklearning.com/
http://www.jeanniefulbright.com/notebooking.html
http://www.holdthatthought.com/

If you have a good notebooking resource, please share!!

Happy Friday!

Blessings,
Christie

New Year

Our new year has gotten off to a slow start. Bo and Drake both are sick. Drake needs to be constantly held…mostly by me, so it makes helping Nathan get his school work finished very difficult. A lot of the things we do are oral which works, but that isn’t working with math…I need my hands to write out the problems. With Bo sick, he hasn’t been able to help out as much around the house. He comes home from work and crashes…understandably!

I think we all are suffering a bit from cabin fever. Between sickness and bad weather, we’ve been stuck in the house pretty much every day. Every sun-shiny moment, I’m pushing the boys outside for a few minutes here and there.

Anyway we’re trucking along, getting done what we can and putting off what we can’t. We normally school Monday through Thursday but I think we’ll take advantage of the next few Fridays to get back on track.

My family.

I put some pics of my boys to the left. Nathan will be 11 years old on Jan 21st…he is very excited!! Kaleb will be five in June of this year. Gabriel will be 3 in May (so hard to imagine!!), and Drake will celebrate his first birthday in March!

My husband’s name is Bo. He is the electrical superintendent for a local construction company. He also will be starting his new role at the company as job super shortly…he is very excited about this!!

We started homeschooling last July. I have always wanted to homeschool my children since Nathan started kindergarten, but just never had the “nerve.” Nathan has adhd/odd. He was just diagnosed in October 2007. I have suspected since he was in preschool, but the teachers every year told me he just “needed to learn how to behave” and I needed “to be more strict with him.” After some trouble with the unwilling-to-help-or-understand principal, I decided to pull Nathan out of school the following year. We actually ended up selling our house (something we never thought would happen!!) and moved to a smaller school district. I became pregnant and very, very sick.

After just a few weeks of homeschooling, I panicked because we weren’t getting much done with me so sick all day long. I put him in the smaller school district with hopes that they would be more understanding. He was diagnose that October and we started meds (something we truly regret now). In the year that followed, Nathan did wonderfully in school. He was like a new kid!! However he has lost a total of 20 pounds since starting the meds. We changed to a different kind mid-year to see if we could control the weight loss. That med didn’t work for us at all. His behavior and attention span worsened again. After a little begging on my part, the doctor put him back on the original meds. I knew already that we would definitely be homeschooling after the school year ended, but I had to get him through that last part of public school first. His teacher was horrible to him because of the changes in behavior and attention…something that she couldn’t understand was not his fault! His doctor and I were the ones messing with his meds, not him!

Anyway we took him off those meds as soon as summer started and began yet another different type of medication. After only one month, I took him off and we haven’t medicated since. He was doing well with attention and behavior, great actually, but he became very depressed. It was very similiar to postpartum depression and I hated seeing him like that. The doctor’s only suggestion was to give him yet another drug, an antidepressant…at the age of 10!!

He has been unmedicated for a few months now. We are doing a very neat treatment that I hope works for him called NAET. We are hoping to see some good results from that soon.

So! Here we are. Most of our curriculum comes from Seton. We belong to a small homeschool group, but I am in the process of finding another with more activities…narrowed down to two right now. After a long Christmas break, we are very excited to get back to schooling and our regular schedule.

I hope to meet many other homeschool moms and share stories!!

Blessings,
Christie