Weekly Update: In Pictures.

We have a GREAT week! We went to eastern AR this week to spend time with Daddy.  We had a few field trips planned but we did manage to get some schoolwork done too.
Monday was spent driving, shopping at Mardel {one of my FAVE stores!}, and driving some more.  We made it in time for dinner with Daddy.
Tuesday was spent grocery shopping for the week and doing schoolwork.  I mistakingly thought Tuesday was Pi Day (3/14) so we had donuts as a breakfast treat before I realized the real date. 🙂
Wednesday we had pizza and carrot circles for our Pi Day lunch.  I had planned on doing some easy Pi Day activities but Daddy came home early so we spent the rest of the day outside.
On Thursday, we drove up to Wynne, AR to visit the Cross County Museum. Daddy is working in Wynne so he was able to take a couple of hours off to spend with us. A sweet older lady showed us around the museum.

This is a telegraph set, similar to the one Grandpa used for Morse Code while in the Navy.

We also had plans to visit the Veteran’s Museum in Cross County but it was closed.  However, this super cool helicopter was outside on the courthouse lawn.  The only one of its kind in Arkansas.

Dad doesn’t think he is a very good teacher, but he proves himself wrong everytime we go on an outing like this.  He told the boys all kinds of awesome info about the helicopter and military history.

Drake and Gabriel in front of the Cross County Veterans Memorial.
Our 3rd museum stop for the day was the Caboose Museum.  Unfortunately we found out it is only open by appointment only.  We took a peek inside through the doors though. 🙂

On our way to and from Wynne, we saw a crop-duster flying SUPER low over the highway…back and forth as he sprayed something on the fields that run alongside the highway.  The little boys especially LOVED watching it.

On the way to eastern AR, we stopped so Nathan could get a spring hair cut. 🙂  He didn’t really want it…he loves his long hair, but it was a little too shaggy.  He has since decided maybe it isn’t so bad. He didn’t realize all that hair was weighing on his neck! 🙂 Plus it was much cooler for him during this warm week. Look at all that hair on the floor!
Drake and I have been playing some fun games.  This one helped him get the hang of colors which for some reason has been giving him some trouble.  He now knows all of his colors AND all of the ends and outs of this game! He loves to play it everyday with anyone who is willing!

The three little boys have enjoyed playing these two games as well.  I had actually forgotten I had all these games until I was digging around for some preschool games to take to my co-op games classes.
Gabriel was SO cute while doing this ETC sheet.  The instructions are simple…”X” the picture whose name begins with r. Write r below those pictures.” Well he took one look at the 2nd picture and started to x it.  I asked why and he said “rrrrrrr-romance.” What?! Cracked me up! It’s suppose to be kiss but my romantic boy made it work with the letter R. 🙂

Gabriel wanted to read a “real” book so we started reading these Phonics Readers this week.  He is doing a FANTASTIC job! He also still loves reading through the BOB books as well as OPG.

Kaleb read this book aloud this week.  Actually in one day.  It was a bit too easy for him but we didn’t make it to the library in time to get some that he really wanted.

Since I’ve remembered ETC for Gabriel, he has loved it! He actually brought the workbook to me this week and asked if he could do extra pages.

Drake and worked hard on recognizing the ABCs.

Gabriel LOVED learning the *squ* sound. 🙂  He spent the whole rest of the day saying “squ-squ-squ-squish.” 

 We accomplished a lot more schoolwork than shown in pictures. 

Gabriel is moving along in MM 1 at his one-page-a-day pace. He did four phonics lessons, several ETC pages, and practiced some handwriting on his own while Kaleb was working on his cursive.

Kaleb did two lessons, one review, and one test in MM2 this week.  Also he skipped ahead to the end of MM2B to check out multiplication.  He asked me to help him with the first two problems on the page and then he completed two lessons on his own.  He says he LOVES multiplication. 🙂  He also completed three FLL lessons and three cursive handwriting lessons (first time using A Reason for Handwriting book C).

Nathan completed four math lessons, three English lessons, completely finished his WW workbook, and two science lessons. 

Together we read several sections in the SOTW.  We’ll do the activities for those sections in the upcoming week.  We started Lesson 2 in Who Is God? and we’re still LOVING it.  I picked up the activity book and coloring book at Mardel this week so we’ll do those activties next week as well.  We didn’t do any science as I am currently pulling together a geology study for the rest of this year from the WTM recs.

Our last field trip of the week was on Thursday.  We went with a homeschool group from the eastern AR area to The Children’s Museum of Memphis.  It was an AWESOME trip, and we made some super new friends.  I only got one picture of Nathan….then he split to hang out with the other teenagers who went on the trip with us.  He had a blast and they are all talking about the next time we get to go down to eastern AR. 

The little boys LOVED driving the FedEx jumbo jet. 🙂  There were SO many little buttons, knobs, pulley-things to mess with in the cockpit.

My one picture of Nathan. 🙂  He aced the flight simulation….and thinks he’s ready to fly a real plane. Ha!

The boys played in the supermarket, shopping for yummy food (see the waffles), and playing cashier with a working cash register.  They have their own receipts from each transaction. 🙂

Of course my monkeys LOVED the rock wall!

Working a teeth puzzle.

That’s Gabriel all the way at the top next to the light. 🙂  I lost him in this maze for a little bit….he assured me later that he was just fine on his own and made some friends along the way.

Playing police officer.  None of them wanted to climb into the back of the car.

Unloading packages from the FedEx plane.

*Fishing* in the *Mississippi river*
This is where our field trip came to an abrupt end.  It was actually time to leave but when I said “let’s go boys”, Drake stepped off the little staircase and slipped on some water.  His little head bounced TWICE off the concrete floor.  It was horrible! He had two huge knots on his forehead.  Thankfully the knots when down after a few hours of icing and some Tylenol. Now he is left with a pretty good size strawberry and bruising.

We came home Thursday night so we could attend our co-op classes on Friday.  The boys are still loving their classes of course.  Drake is having a hard time with his so he is getting some serious one-on-one time with his mom. 🙂  You can kind of see the bruises and strawberry on his forehead in this picture…above his right eye. Poor baby!

Daddy also came home Thursday night so we’ve been enjoying the extra time with him. 🙂

Hope you all had an equally awesome week!

Weekly Report: Mar 5-9 12

Great week!  It was a busy one outside of the home but we still managed to get a lot done.

Monday-
The day started off a little rocky with my oldest {grumpy} two children who I woke up a little earlier than usual.  BUT we jumped into our bible lesson after breakfast and things picked up.  Btw, I am LOVING Apologia’s Who is God? book!!  The boys are enjoying it as well and we are having some great conversations.  I’m going to have the hubs stop by Mardel on the way home this week and pick up the notebook that goes along with it. 

Gabriel is my boy who surprised me the most that morning.  We experienced a first and I hope it’s the beginning of a great habit.  He sat for the first time through all of his individual lessons…one sitting! I was shocked but he just kept sitting so nicely and working hard as we progressed through his phonics and math lessons.  So he got a LOT of free time while waiting on his brothers for group work in the afternoon!!
The highlight of my day was a 3.5 hour lunch with a friend! Neither of us could believe we sat there for so long but I definitely needed the girl time. 🙂

Tuesday-
Started even earlier.  I’m loving the early morning times….which is weird for this night owl.  I was struggling with waking up even at our usual time for a couple of weeks now, not getting to sleep until 2, 3 or sometimes 4 in the morning.  Waking on time was extremely hard for me.  The hubs suggested I stop taking my allergy meds at night and guess what…..I’ve been sleeping like a baby through the night! 

Again another great day! We jumped right into our studies after an early breakfast with still a little grumbling from the olders but at least it was less than yesterday.  {I didn’t even mention that I woke them up even earlier!}

Gabriel, once again, did great and finished early.  He is loving his extra free time!  He surprised me with his math lesson, and I just have to share.  Take a look at this picture of a section in his math workbook:

The instructions say to connect two numbers if they add up to 10. After we did a couple together, he flew through it.  I told him if needed, he could mark out the numbers that eventally didn’t have a match so it would be easier to stay on track.  Well he finished matching and then brought it back to me. He asked “hey mom, can I circle this 2, this 2, and this 2, and match them up with this 4? Or, wait a minute, I can match up this 3 with this 3 and this 4 to make 10 too!”  My little kindergartener blew me away! I asked him how he knew to do that and he said “well these three 2’s make 6 and 6 + 4 is 10.”  Simple multiplication! I love it!

The younger three and I also had a field trip to a local greenhouse that afternoon.  They enjoyed it and learned about how the greenhouse people mix the dirt and get it into the little pots, seed the pots {which was actaully pretty cool with their machinery…I wish *I* had paid better attention but I was entertaining the 3 yr old who was a little tired and bored.}, water the plants, and move them from the *back* greenhouse to the *front* greenhouse {via conveyor belt….which grabbed Drake’s attention since he thought it was a “train of pretty flowers” moving from one greenhouse to another”}.  Then each of the children received a potted flower to bring home!  So sweet! 

{I have a cute picture but it won’t load properly onto the computer from my phone….bummer.)

Wednesday-
We managed to get a good amount of schoolwork done in the morning.  Gabriel is still working hard at his schoolwork!  I love it!!  We met my friend at church to do a little work.  Between the two of us and her husband, we manage to only get my desk put together….after a couple of hours! Ha! The boys zoned out on a movie while we worked.  I took the {starving} boys to a local pizza place for dinner and then we headed home to do a little history mapwork {which we haven’t done in FOREVER}. The two littles wanted in on the fun so they colored some coloring sheets from SOTW. 

After getting all the kiddos tucked into bed, I dug out my copy of The Well-Trained Mind book, crawled into my bed with a notebook and pen, and started searching for answers to some problems we’re having in our homeschool.  Just three short hours later, I found what I was looking for…..a WTM homeschool. 🙂  We are going to make some quick and easy changes to our science curriculum {drop Apologia’s Elementary series…which I love but can’t seem to get done} and finish out this school year with geology ala WTM. Then we’re changing a few more things to align with the WTM for next year.  I really think this will help us out a LOT.
Thursday-
Woke up suuuuuper early to a sweet little 5 yr old smiling at me and whispering “hi” before crawling under the covers to snuggle with me. 🙂  He was fast asleep in no time but I wasn’t.  It was a nice quiet rainy morning.  Later in the day we went to a local consignment sale and scored some seriously cute stuff for the baby and then did a little more baby shopping. No schoolwork was accomplished but the boys enjoyed some time with their nana.

Friday-COOP FUN!!! We’ll have co-op classes this morning and then maybe squeeze in a little schoolwork this afternoon.  Gabriel is SUPER excited about co-op since he’ll be getting his WORMS to care for during the next 7 weeks.  He’s had the necessary supplies to take back in a little bucket since we got home last Friday.  Now to convince him to leave the little guys in the container……

I have TWO FUN SURPRISES in store for the boys next week!!!  They are going to LOVE both of them!! And since I found my little camera, I’ll get to take some REAL pictures. 🙂  Maybe one day I’ll get my Nikon to the store to be fix…..one day before the baby gets here for sure. 

2012-2013 School Year Planning

It’s a little early for this, isn’t it?  Sure does feel like it to me, but guess what I’ll be doing during my usual yearly planning time…….taking care of a NEWBORN. 🙂  So I guess it isn’t early, it’s just in time.

After reading and rereading parts of The Well Trained Mind, I’ve decided that is THE route we need to take for much of our curriculum.  I fell in love with the WTM years ago, and the book is one of my favorites.  BUT I’ve never really implemented much. I’ve always found things I thought I’d like better (some that I actually do like better but it isn’t getting done) but I’ve always gone back to that book when I realized something isn’t working.  I feel that the WTM way for most of our curriculum is exactly what we need to make more AND better qualitly progress. 

The focus of our 2012-2012 school year is books, books and more books. We haven’t read near as many books this year I had planned.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad year but not one of the good ones either. Although our spring semester is going much better than the fall, I’m looking forward to starting fresh with a brand new school year and a different plan in place.

Here is what we’ll be using:

Nathan 9th grade (HIGH SCHOOL!!!)
  • Saxon Algebra and Life of Fred
  • R&S English
  • Elements of Style (LA)
  • Either Wordly Wise OR Megawords OR Vocabulary From the Classical Roots series
  • Great Books for lit and history
  • History spine is undecided at this point
  • Apologia Physical Science
  • Spanish (haven’t settled on a curriculum yet but Rosetta Stone is the front-runner)
  • Computer Science (the name of the program escapes me but he is super excited about it….he wants to be just like his oldest (adult) brother who graduated from college this past December!)

Kaleb 3rd grade
  • Spelling Workuot
  • Continuing cursive with A Reason for Handwriting
  • R&S English
  • WTM writing suggestion
  • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
  • Story of the World & WTM reading list
  • WTM science suggestion
  • Spanish (pretty light…mostly using Usborne materials)

Gabriel 1st grade
  • OPGTR
  • WTM writing suggestion
  • Spelling Workout A
  • First Language Lessons
  • A Reason for Handwriting
  • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
  • WTM science suggestion (with Kaleb)
  • Story of the World & WTM reading list (with Kaleb)
  • Spanish (with Kaleb)

Drake preschool
  • Letter of the Week
  • WTM Reading, Writing, & Math suggestions
  • history, Spanish, & science with K and G as interested
  • LeapFrog videos

Together-Not including our bible study, Nathan’s level of participation will not be to the same extent as the littles.  He needs a little geography, but he probably won’t participate in the activities. I have a few other materials for him to use in Art/Music Appreciation. He won’t be asked to join in morning calendar time or arts and crafts which I’m sure he will appreciate. 🙂
  • Apologia What We Believe series as well as individual bible time.
  • Art Appreciation (probably also from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Music Appreciation (from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Galloping the Globe (we’ve pretty much abandoned this but Kaleb REALLY wants to do it so I just need to make it happen. Ha!)
  • State Study (again from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Morning calendar time
  • Seasonal/holiday/history/literature/science arts and crafts
  • Many, many hours per week spent with our noses in BOOKS!  Nathan and Kaleb will have plenty of history and lit books to keep them occupied (mostly I’ll read the lit books to Kaleb and Gabriel).  Everyone will have plenty of *fun* books to read every week, and I will be reading many history, science etc books to whomever will listen, mostly the three littles (well I guess by then it will be the FOUR littles!!!), throughout the day.

I still have a few more decisions to make as far as logic and a couple other smaller issues, and I feel like I’m forgetting something.  However for the most part, this is what our new school year will look like!

I am MOST excited about the WTM history and science. I think this is the PERFECT fit for our family.  I do hate to give up on Apologia’s elementary science series but to be honest, we just don’t get it done.  I think the little boys will enjoy all of the books and experiements that will come from the WTM suggestions.

Now comes the part I LOVE about planning……..the purchasing, printing and organizing!  The GOAL is to have it all done before the baby arrives so we can just kick back, and enjoy him and the summer before starting back in August.  I’m in the process of getting my plan written out so I don’t forget anything.  Eeeek! I’m excited!!!

Tell me what you think about our plan.  If you see any holes, let me know.  I still have the feeling I’m forgetting something….. 🙂

This week’s plan.

Sweet and simple.

Well after a month of illness, I have a LOT to catch up on so this week will be spent doing just that!

Monday-
full day of schoolwork {almost done}
lunch with a friend {awesome 3.5 hour lunch and easiest part of my day!!!}
Dinner: sandwiches.

Tuesday-
full day of schoolwork.
field trip to a local greenhouse.
email last week’s payroll and invoice.
15 minutes of filing {this will take a while to catch up}
finish out last month’s business paperwork {that should have been done…last month}.
Dinner: grilled chicken and veggies.

Wednesday-
full day of schoolwork.
quick trip to church to get ready for Sunday services.
15 min of filing
Dinner: possibly dinner out at a pizza place OR tacos at home.

Thursday-
full day of schoolwork.
I have to admit…I have *something* that needs to be done in town this day but I can’t for the life of me remember.  I HOPE the hubs can jog my memory when I call him tonight. Otherwise I hope I figure it out before Thursday! ha! 
15 minutes of filing
Dinner: leftovers

Friday-
co-op in the morning!
grocery shopping.
Dinner: whatever the hubs wants…probably grilled steaks, steamed veggies, and a salad {his *usual* on Fridays}

Saturday-
family day!

Sunday-
church.
nap.
pack for eastern AR.

Easy peasy week with HUGE concentration on schoolwork. 🙂

Catching up! …a month in review.

Well my first (and last…so far) weekly plan post was over a month ago. Ha!  After three weeks of wellness in January {after two months of illness}, I managed to catch a cold again….and keep it all month. {the joys of a pregnancy-related suppressed immune system}  I did, however, managed to complete everything on my plan for that week and we’ve trucked along with school lessons.  Not at the pace I planned, but we did quite a bit considering how sick I was.  Thankfully I’ve been well for the last week and a half….and I hope I stay that way for a while!
I only ended up with two individual pictures of Gabriel but I promise all of my boys did schoolwork. 🙂  Gabriel discovered BOB books in February.  Actually I had forgotten all about them!  He has enjoyed all of them BUT the *girly* ones so we just skipped those. 😉

Gabriel is also really liking Math Mammoth! I’m excited because he previously wasn’t that interested.  He does well with math facts memorization but just didn’t like sitting long enough to do even one page of Mammoth.  Something clicked and now he’s doing much better.
We enjoyed a ONE day of snow this winter! We got about 3-4 inches and the boys took advantage! I liked that it only last one full day and melted completely before the end of day 2.

 On one of our trips to eastern AR, Daddy came home early from work one day…just in time to teach Gabriel’s phonics lesson. It was fun to watch them together. 
 We attended our homeschool group’s annual Valentines Skating Party on Vday.  The boys loved decorating cupcakes the afternoon before and REALLY enjoyed making their Valentine’s Day boxes.

 Of course we had to *sample* the cupcakes before offering them to our friends…..they were YUMMY!
Nathan’s box…..boom box style!
 Drake made this CUTE lion box…complete with a tail.  He had VERY little help from Mom.  I was SO tickled by his excitement while making it.

Kaleb’s duck-on-a-pond box….Dad inspired of course. 🙂
Gabriel just wanted a plain box to decorate….old school. I loved it!
After Kaleb won 1st place in his History Fair age division (pics at the link), we decided to celebrate at a really cool restaurant…..in a TRAIN CAR! The boys LOVED it! Nathan and I really, really loved the hamburgers. Good fun and fun!

March brings spring co-op, spring soccer for Nathan, and spring baseball for Kaleb and Gabriel.  Also we’re busy getting ready for baby boy #5 who doesn’t have a name yet. Ha!
We’re kicking into high gear with school work this month so we can get as much done as possible before the baby gets here.
We have a couple cool field trips coming up this month…one tomorrow to a local greenhouse and then next week we’re going to the Memphis Children’s Museum with a homeschool group in eastern AR.
A fun, full month ahead!  Looking forward to it!

History Fair!

Our homeschool group’s annual History Fair was this afternoon.  As usual, it was very interesting.  I love seeing all of the kiddos’ projects.  My favorite was the history of Taco Bell which had nothing to do with pregnancy cravings….  😉 

Kaleb participated this year.  He decided some time ago to do his project on the Little Rock Nine.  He became very passionate about discrimination after watching Remember the Titans and visiting an eastern AR museum which showcased the area’s all black and all white schools as well as a whole wall dedicated to a slave turned business owner.  It’s been an emotional experience for him because prior to this he didn’t even realize such painful discrimination existed.  Then to realize it happened (and still does) right here in our home state was mind-blowing for him. 

To help him in his research, we visited the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site earlier this month.  We enjoyed a lot of time there and learned SO much.  The people running the vistor’s center were amazing and then we talked with a couple of the school security people as we walked around the school (which is still a working school so we weren’t allowed inside). 

Kaleb continued to work on his project.  After he decided on what he wanted to include, we printed pictures and a timeline.  Then he put it all on his board last night. 

He was so nervous when we arrived at the history fair location!  After he spoke with the three judges, he came to me and said he didn’t think he did very well.  He said he was “shivering” the whole time he talked with the judges.  He was sure he would be in last place.

However he did an amazing job and won 1st place for his age division!  Needless to say, he was super excited. 

SO proud of him!  He is already planning next year’s topic! 🙂