Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That's All, Folks!!

Well, the books are packed away. The papers are stacked. The schoolroom closet is reorganized and all the things that I've not used recently have either been thrown away or are marked to go into my friend Shelley's garage sale.
We have reached the end of first grade.

Today, Reilly wrote her last "paper" of her first grade schoolyear. It's titles "1st Grade" and she wrote "I like 1st grade because it is fun! We go on field trips. We went apple picking. Math is my favorite thing to do. School is fun in the car." (That cracked me up because we've only done school in the car once and she got carsick, so we stopped!) After she wrote, we played numerous games of Math Go Fish , which is Reilly's new favorite game. Instead of making suits or 4 of a kind, you make pairs that are either the 9's or 10's family, depending on which type you're playing. Then she read a book to me, and when she finished, I said, "School's out, school's out, teacher's let the monkies out!" Tomorrow we head off to the Zoo with The RHFG, so both of The Kids are super exited about that. It's been so long since we've been, they're going to think it's all new!

In the last nine months, Reilly has read 76 books, and has studied the human body, weather, and space. She has mastered all of the addition facts from 0 to 9 and she learned all about how to punctuate sentences and tell nouns from verbs. While it has not been sunshine and roses the entire year, and we had our share of hard days, I could not be more proud of my girl.

I love being a homeschooling family!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The End of Space

Well, we finished our space study this past week, so now we're just in countdown mode until our last day of school which will be next Thursday. Here's Reilly with her finished planets book that she's been working on. I'm SO proud of how great it turned out! She was thrilled to get to read it to Papa at dinner that night!

I REALLY wanted today to be our last day, but I just couldn't justify slicing days off of school. Plus, I figure that way any days that we have school this summer will count toward next year! Also, I'm one who likes something to look forward to and building anticipation, so it will make it that much sweeter to stick it out for these last 4 days. I think that I'm going to call up the other members of The RFHG* and see if they want to get together and go to the zoo next Thursday for a last day of school outing - take lunches and the whole shebang. That was another reason I wanted to wait til next week, so that I can actually have something "big" planned to make it special!
We've started doing several card games to practice math facts and it's working SO WELL! We do the "Make 10" game where we have 5 cards in our hand, 4 cards laying face up, and a draw pile. When it's your turn, if you have 2 cards that can add up to 10, either in your hand or by matching with one that is laying out, you can take them and set them aside. The first one to get rid of their cards, wins! (We could also do this with the as a "Make 9" game. OH, and the face cards are out of the deck and ace is 1). Then yesterday I introduced "Math War" where I shuffle the cards (minus the face cards) and then lay out 2 of them. Reilly has 5 seconds to tell me what the numbers add up to and if she does, she gets to keep them. If she can't, I tell her the answer and I keep them. She's not lost this game yet, although it's a little more stressful for her because of the time limit. I keep having to remind her, "Honey, it's just a game!" She likes it though, and both of the games have really helped with her skills with the addition facts. Whoopee!

*The RFHG - The Regular Friends Homeschooling friends who homeschool who I always call when I need company on a field trip! Officially named in this post about Valentine's Day!

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Ummmm, Mom? You're blabbering again!"

Reilly was doing a worksheet today where she read a few little paragraphs and then had to mark whether the sentences listed afterwards were fact or opinion. One of the sentences was "Starfish are very beautiful" and Reilly heartily agreed that starfish were beautiful. So, I felt like I should explain to her that just because she (or anyone) agrees with an opinion, it doesn't turn it into a fact. So, I launch into an explanation which was apparently too wordy because when I got done, I said, "Do you understand?" and she said, basically, "Well, when I got done with the worksheet, you started saying all these things that didn't have anything to do with it."
Not my finest teacher moment, I guess!Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our Journey Through Space Continues!

We're still delving into the study of the planets and Reilly LOVES it! She's making a "planets book" where, each day, she chooses a planet that she wants to write about. We look through the books that we have and gather information about that planet and she picks what she wants to put on her page and then she draws a picture of the planet. When she finishes the book, it's going to be a really great keepsake of this unit!

Here she is, working on one of her pages the other day. The stuffed animal that's on the table is "Jady", the JustMommies homeschooling board mascot. Jady gets mailed around to the different families on the board and the family takes pictures of her in different places with them. In this picture, I said that Jady was "helping" Reilly make her page!

The whole post is here if you want to see the other pics...oh, and we took Jady to Philbrook, too! You can read about that here! (Well, we didn't go there just for the stuffed animal, we just happened to take her with us!!)

The other day we were watching a video about space that I had gotten from the library and it kept talking about "earth years" and "earth days" and how certain planets take x-amount of earth years to orbit the sun. Reilly was having a little bit of trouble understanding the difference between orbit and rotation, so I paused the movie, got some playdoh and a skewer, and set up a little object was a hoot!

First I showed her how rotation worked, and then we let Declan play the Sun ("Be the sun, Son!") and had Reilly orbit around him while spinning the ball of dough. The coolest thing was seeing her face light up when I asked her if she understood! She got it!!

After we resumed the movie, Deco asked to play with some playdoh. I wasn't really paying much attention to him, but then I noticed that he was running around the coffee table with his own planet on a skewer, complete with little blue dot, just like the one I made!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spacing Out Part Deux

We started our "unit study" on the planets today, which Reilly was really excited about. School opened with us reading two books about planets, one of which was a Dr. Seuss book. While that might sound weird, it was actually a very fun book and quite informative! It is from the "learning library" section of the Cat in the Hat series, so it's not like there were a bunch of made up words thrown in there. The other book, which I think was oh-so-imaginatively named The Solar System, was very informative, but we only read half of it so as not to go into too much information overload. (OK, well, that and I had to save SOMETHING for us to do on subsequent days!)
I found these great planet stickers at Mardel, so she made the solar system picture that you see in the pics at the top. Wait, I admit it, I put the orbit lines on there for her to put the stickers onto. But she figured out which planet went where! So we didn't cheat too much! She didn't want to label the planets at first but MomTeacher prevailed and she (Reilly) was very pleased with how it looked in the end. (I'm amazed at her handwriting!) She also learned a little mnemonic to help her remember the planets in order....and I'd write it here if I could remember it! But I can't! It's a good thing I'm not the one in school!!
But hey, did you know that a million earths could fit in the sun? Awesome!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spacing Out

We didn't really have a good day today. I think that I'm just kind of going throught the motions right now, and the end result is that Reilly is becoming bored out of her mind. I find myself picking the wrong battles and being irritable because she's getting irritable...because she's bored! It's been way too long since I really did anything fun, anything hands on, so I decided that we'd end the year with a unit on the planets. We went to the library and I got a few books on the solar system and then - after I paid my $17.50 in fines! Yikes! - I requested a few videos on planets. I'm going to pick the brains of my fantastic friends at JustMommies to see if they have any fun projects that we can do and I'm going to do some looking online. I'm sure that I can come up with some things to bring the fun back to school! I just don't want our year to end with a file instead of a bang!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Didja Think I Had Disappeared

No, I haven't!

This past week has been kind of a crazy whirlwind because my brother was in town to visit from St. Louis. He wanted to come and see the family during his birthday week (he's 34 now!) because he hasn't been in town on his birthday since he moved out of state, which was a year after he graduated from high school. We had such a good time, as always! One day we took a "field trip" to Bartlesville to tour the Price Tower, which is one of two sky scrapers designed and

built by Frank Lloyd Wright. I was pleasantly surprised by the tour because it was very interesting! The funny thing is that, while the building is unique, it really is NOT my "style" at all because it is very small and cramped inside. There are so many angles and points that it leaves very little open space. Also, the building gets smaller at the top, so the only thing on the very top floor was Mr. Price's office and his secretary's office. The funniest trivia tidbit is that Mr. Price wanted a big globe in his office and Mr. Lloyd Wright had a problem with that because a globe is round and pretty much nothing else in the building is! (He designed all the furniture as well!) Neat tour!

We went to Osaka for dinner to celebrate Erin's birthday, which he hasn't done since his 13th birthday. (I go there every year on my birthday...I like how they cook at your table!) Mmm, mmm, mmm, was the food GOOD! I thought I was going to POP!

We kept trying to go to Philbrook so that Erin could get some pictures of the gardens in bloom, but it rained so much you'd have thought we were in Seattle! On Friday, when it FINALLY wasn't raining, Uncle E, The Kids and I headed over there...only to find that it was closed for a special event! SO we headed to Woodward Park and the Linnaeus Teaching Garden for some exploring...and swinging.

What a fun time!