Saturday, September 29, 2007

Week in Review

This was kind of an odd week, simply because of Reilly's toe injury, which you can read all about right here...or, if you want to call she'd be MORE than happy to tell you ALL ABOUT it. (I need to have a talk with her about the fact that some people are squeamish and don't necessarily need to hear all the details when they ask "How did you do that?")

We didn't have any school at all on Monday or Tuesday and then the rest of the week we did minimal amounts of school on the sofa. I just had her do language arts, reading, and math, so it went pretty fast.
On Thursday, we went to an American Girls co-op with some of the other members of our homeschooling co-op. We were to read Meet Kaya, which is the first book in the American Girls series for Kaya and then one family hosted the co-op. There were probably fifteen girls there, some of them dressed up, and a lot of them brought their American Girls dolls - even if they didn't have fact, I think that only one girl actually brought Kaya!
They talked about the story of Kaya, who is a Nez Perce girl from 1764, and then Trisha brought out some traditional Nez Perce food for them to try. She had salmon, which Reilly hated and Declan loved, and a maple syrup candy. Reilly didn't like the candy either (which surprised me!) but Declan loved that as well.
After the food, Trisha taught the girls some string games - using a string loop to make a "teepee" by looping it around your fingers. It's the same idea as doing a "cats cradle" and a "Jacob's ladder" and things like that. Then they learned another game that was played with decorated sticks.
It was so much fun!!! I think that the I and the other mom's who stayed had as much fun learning the games and trying the food as the girls did. Declan had a good time, too, even though he was the only boy there. Luckily, he didn't notice that we were doing "girl things"!
We'll go to another co-op next month where we'll have read the book about Felicity and the host family will do activities from that time period. We're hosting Josephina in November, so I'm going to have to come up with some good ideas for our day!

We went to our regular weekly co-op on Friday (called AHEE), where Reilly made a mosaic cross in her art class. I am SO happy with AHEE and I'm glad we joined this year!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's Been Goin' On?

Reilly loves Learning Language Arts Through Literature, which is something new that we started this year. One of the things in last weeks lessons was that she was to memorize one of two poems and then "present" the poem on Poetry Day. I took a video of her saying the poem, since we don't have an actual class to present to poem to!

At one point during the week, she was also to illustrate the poem. I loved the picture that she made, and we both thought it was really funny that I thought that God, the yellow figure down at the bottom of the picture, was a cheeseburger. That's why she drew a picture of me eating a cheeseburger!

Declan is learning how to make uppercase letters. He loves using his HWT slate and he's getting really good! So far he's learned E, H, F, and A.

Sometimes Reilly adopts the weirdest poses to do her schoolwork. She's almost always at least partially standing at her chair, if not trying to do the center splits while working at the board. I have tried hard to just let her stand how she wants to stand, realizing that while it might be "bothering" me, the only thing that is important is whether or not she's learning what she's supposed to learn.

Oh, and to top things off, here's a little video of her doing what my Mom has dubbed "Blazin' Guns 'o' Love". We're nothing if not a silly, dramatic family, are we?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Getting in Our Groove!

Things have been going very well this week. (I probably shouldn't say that out loud...I'll jinx us!) I think that the difference was made because I started making a little check list for Reilly for each day. I write out the basics of what we have to do (Reading, Math, Spelling, etc.) and put boxes by them. Then she can pick which subject she wants to do and check the box when she's finished. If I know for sure that we're going to do several things within a subject (like practicing math facts and doing a worksheet) then I'll make sub-boxes to check off for those things, but for the most part, it's just the subject. I did tell her that just because it says "Spelling", it doesn't mean that we're only doing one thing within spelling. I think that doing this both gives her a feeling of control over her day, plus that feeling of accomplishment when she gets to make that check mark.

I've been doing a lot more school with Declan this week as well. Last year I bought a "Letter of the Week" curriculum on sale at Mardel and I've started using some of the things out of that. This week we did the letter A, both lower case and upper case. (One of the things I realized is that he knows all the uppercase letters but not the lower case ones.) He's really enjoyed doing that, as well as practicing handwriting on his HWT slate. He can make an uppercase E, F, H, L, and now an A! Yay, Deco!

Oh, and they're both really excited to go back to our homeschooling Co-Op on Friday!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Socialization and All That Stuff...

Friday was our first day at our new homeschooling co-op and it was a ton of fun! Reilly got to take a class about art as her Enrichment Class (EC), as well as a PE class. In PE, they're getting ready for the Presidential Fitness Challenge, so she had to do probably WAY more physical activity than she's done...well, ever. Running, jumping jacks, push was all very intense. I heard the male gym teacher telling one class how to do real push ups and I was surprised. I didn't know there was such a science to it! (You can read about the Challenge here if you want to.) Next week she'll run a mile, so I'm interested to see how that goes. Seeing as how her physical activity is limited to playing outside and going to karate once a week, they may have to weather a lot of whining! BUT, I guess I shouldn't underestimate the power of peer pressure.

Some of the other Enrichment Classes that she'll be taking this year are oceanography, the history of our state, science experiments, animal classification (I'm teaching that one!), science experiments, famous explorers, and something called "Simple Machine's with K'Nex". In PE, she'll be doing soccer, flag football, karate (Hey! She'll have an edge there!), four-square tournament, and some others that I can't remember off the top of my head. The only thing that I'm concerned about is that the lady that is in charge of PE is really nice, but she's one of those super-competitive fitness people who think that the world revolves around sports. Reilly has already said, "The gym teacher yells! A lot!" and I'm a bit worried that the teacher will go overboard with her...enthusiasm. I'm all for the kids being cheered on and encouraged to do their best, but there's a fine line between that and getting on to them for not trying as hard as the teacher would try if she were playing flag football. (Of course, my opinion is a bit colored by the fact that I'm the Least Competitive Person Alive. I'm like the antitheses of Tina, the gym teacher!)

I am one of the teachers in Declan's class, so I've got the "easy" job of shepherding the 3 and 4-year-olds. It was fun, if a little tiring. Luckily there are only 8 of them, and there are 3 teachers, so we've got 'em good and outnumbered!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

My original intent for today was to have school in the morning and then go out to the church and make some DVD copies of a dance recital that I have to deliver on Friday. (The church lets me make the copies on their 10-disc copier, thus saving me hours and hours and hours of time. Because 122 copies takes a looooong time!)

Sounds like a good plan, right?

Yeah, I thought so to. But then I realized that I had not purchased the printable DVD-R's but had, instead, just gotten the shiney kind that I would have had to print and stick a lable on. Not a good thing when you're looking at boo-coo copies.

So, off we head to Sam's. I tell Reilly that we're going to read and practice math facts in the car.

Once home, I realize that The Kids both have Dr.'s check ups at 2:30, so my idea of going to the church after lunch is shot. We have to get there earlier. And I've got discs to print before we go.


So I grab Reilly's spelling lesson and a math worksheet and sit her at the coffee table in the office so I can help her while I'm working the printer. (Printing one disc at a time...very tedious, yet completely neccessary.) Declan, bless his pointy little head, just sat on the sofa and played with some cars. I told Reilly that anything that wasn't done before we left was going to have to be done at the church, which would mean she'd miss out on whatever movie was going to be playing on my laptop.

She got it all done. (Aaaaah, the powerful draw of movies!)

After at least two hours at the church we headed to the Dr.'s office, where, judging by the amount of screaming, you would have thought my kids were getting their shots in their eyeballs. (Afterwards, Reilly says, "You know, my shot didn't really even hurt that bad."
"Well, why on earth did you scream so loud then?" I ask.
"I don't know!" Maybe she doesn't like my ability to actually use my eardrums.)

But ice cream made everything better, even for me. And tomorrow will be a less crazy day. I think.

On another note, we start our homeschooling co-op on Friday, which we're all excited about.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I've always said that it's not all sunshine and roses...

We've had some tough days this week, not because of the material that Reilly's learning, but because of the whole teacher/mom thing. Sometimes I'll ask her "Would you talk to your teacher in Sunday School like that? Would you react that way to a hard question in Sunday School?" because I don't understand why she'll do certain things here that she wouldn't do anywhere else. I guess it all boils down to the comfort level that a kid feels with their own parent that they don'T feel with a "stranger" teaching them.
But we persevere and move on, and I really try to not let the hard times of one day leak into and color the next day. I think that's one way God really has blessed me with, as far as personality goes...the ability to not hold on to things like that.

We started subtraction this week, which Reilly really likes. Of course, right now it's doing problems like 9-1 and 4-4, so the answers are pretty easy. Yesterday she had fun "being the teacher" because I told her that I wanted her to teach me how to subtract. Math-U-See basically teaches subtraction not so much as "taking away" one number from another, but "adding up", so when Reilly looks at 5-4, she's supposed to see "What number plus 4 equals 5?" (That's one of the reasons MUS requires mastery of the addition facts before moving on) She was really able to "teach" me that concept to me, and had a blast writing on the white board.

Then the man from Lowe's came to install our front door, so both of The Kids sat out in the livingroom and watched him do that for about an hour and a half! Aaaah, unschooling at its best!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Week in Review

This has been a fairly uneventful week, but I did take some pictures of random things that I thought I'd share.

Sometime earlier on in the week, Declan asked me if I would make a "superhero mask" for him out of paper. So, using my fantastic artistic skills, I drew a mask-shape on paper and had him cut it out (ah-HA! That counts as cutting practice, right?). After attaching pieces of yarn to the sides, I ceremoniously put it on him and he promptly ran to his room and got his Batman cape to complete the outfit. Then he sat at our little desk and played with Reilly's LeapPad. Even Superheroes need to educate themselves!

Reilly really loves the language arts program that we're using, Learning Language Arts Through Literature. There is lots of cutting out and glueing things down and lots of instructions to illustrate various things. That is her FAVORITE part! Almost every day she says, "I hope I get to illustrate something!" The pictures above are some of her illustrations, and I hope that you can see them well. The one on the left stemmed from the instruction to illustrate a way that God had helped David protect his sheep, so she drew David slinging a stone at a bear, who then falls down. In the one on the right, she had to glue the sentence strips in order and then choose one to illustrate. Her picture goes with the sentence, "Max the Mouse lived in the country", which she chose because, "I can draw a barn really well!" So there's a barn, a hay bale, and a little brown "mouse" right in the middle of the bale.

The left-hand picture is just Reilly, cutting out her "story folder" from the LLATL book. On the right, Declan had asked if he could use the magnetic letters to try to make words, so I got out a cookie sheet and the letters and let him have at it.

We had a bit of a rough day on Friday. I think that Reilly was tired because of being at karate a little later than usual on Thursday evening - I'm going to be part of a demo that we're doing at another church and we had to stay late and talk about what we were doing - and that tiredness made her emotional. There was a lot of crying over things that, to this moment, I don't understand. She wasn't understanding my instructions, I wasn't understanding what she didn't was all very confusing. But we got throught it fairly unscathed and hopefully next week will be better.