Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well, today is Sansday (read: Wednesday for all the Real Folk out there that have a real weekend) so we're sitting on the sofas, watching Bee Movie and being lazy, which is, frankly, the best way to be on a rainy, cool day. There's not a whole lot to update as far as school goes, really, seeing as how I've actually been updating more than once a quarter. *pats self on back*
Reilly is indeed enjoying grammar! Yay! Yesterday, however, we had a little bit of a...disagreement, lets say...over a little book that she was to write. On Monday, she wrote a five page "book" with a sentence on each page that had, simply, a subject and a noun in it. She chose "kitty" for her subject and then ran, slept, played, ate, and climbed. Then yesterday we talked about adverbs and she was to make another book and do the same thing, but add an adverb to each sentence. Simple, right? She could choose a new subject/noun combo or use the one from the day before, it didn't matter, so she chose to do "kitty" again.
I got down on the floor to do some math with Deco and a few minutes later Reilly said something about how she was going to go back and "put in" the adverbs. When I questioned her, I found out that on all of her pages, she had copied her sentences from the day before, minus the punctuation, with the intention of just going back and filling in the adverbs. Now, call me nit picky if you want, but I had her go back and erase what she had done. She simply didn't understand whyyyyyyyyyy I would have her dooooooo thaaaaaaat and it simply wasn't faaaaaiiiiiiirrrrrrr that she had to write it all agaaaaaiiiiinnnnn even though I explained to her that she wasn't learning how to write partial sentences and then lists of adverbs. She was learning how to write whole, good sentences.

On another note, I'm having a wee bit of a problem with some of the books we're using in science. As a Christian who doesn't believe in evolution, I really don't want to shield my kids from the fact that people believe that the world started from a big bang. However, when we're reading through books that are talking about the earth and how the make-up of the earth and things like that, it's a bit annoying to have to keep saying, "Well, that's what a lot of people think, but this is what we believe..." The thing that really is beginning to bother me about this is the fact that Sonlight is a Christian company, and as such, one would think that the books that they choose for their literature-based curriculum would be more creation minded rather than evolution minded.
Also, the experiments don't match up with the lessons anymore, but that doesn't seem to bother The Kids. They just enjoy doing the experiments every week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grammar ROCKS!

Or, well, at least we like to THINK it does!

I decided that I wanted to add grammar to our daily schedule and, after researching different options and talking to my friend Julie, Homeschooling Guru, I'm just kidding, she's really just a completely normal homeschooling mom whose opinion I happen to value a lot... I decided on a curriculum called Shurley Grammar. (Or maybe it's Shurley English, I can't really remember. But that's not important.) Anyway, I was looking for a thorough curriculum that wasn't going to add a whole lot of time to our day, and wasn't going to kill us with boredom, and this seems like it's going to fit the bill rather well.

Plus, there are these fun little "jingles" that the writer of the curriculum has come up with for learning the different parts of speech, so I think Reilly is going to get a kick out of those. What's really funny is that while the curriculum calls them "jingles", and put them on a CD, they didn't actually put most of them to music. The lady just sort of...says them in a semi-jazzy way, throwing in some random claps as though that makes them more jingle-y or something. It's really rather laughable. Luckily, I have Homeschooling Guru Julie, who also happens to be Musical Guru Julie *waves at Julie* who was able to figure out an actual tune for most of the jingles, which will really make it fun. I'm kind of excited, actually.

What's really funny about all of this is the fact that she is so excited to start this! I guess it's because it's something new, so hopefully she'll continue to be excited about it. She was very disappointed that she wasn't going to get to write in her workbook because I was going to be alllll frugal and photocopy the book so that I could use it for Declan. However, I was just looking online and realized that when the time comes for Declan to use the book, it will only cost me around $10 to buy him a new one. So she'll be thrilled tomorrow when I tell her that she gets to write in her book! Silly girl!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sooo...What's Been Up in Our World?

I'm not doing as well with keeping this blog updated as I would like to be doing! I take lots of pictures, and we're certainly not at a loss of things that I could share, but I somehow always put this blog off until last and then I get behind! Boo, hiss!

But, I'm here now, so here's an update! I'll even divide it up by subject so that I can make sure that I don't miss anything important!


We do science every Tuesday and I must say that The Kids always want to do it first thing because it is, apparently, their favorite subject. I still really like the Sonlight curriculum, although it seems a little random sometimes. For example, in the book that we're reading, we're learning all about plants now. But the experiments are still just about water and the properties of water and what it can do and how it acts and reacts with the air around it and things like that, all of which made more sense when we were talking about weather. The experiments we wil did today were putting different things like sugar, pepper, sand, shampoo, etc. into water and seeing whether or not they dissolve, but we read about the parts of plants. So really the only way that the two are related is that plants need water! But The Kids like it anyway, except for last week when the "experiments" were really so lame that I had to put the word in quotes because they didn't really count as experiments! We made some condensation on the outside of a jar. We made some steam. Ring-a-ding-ding. Oh well, you can't win 'em all!

Here are some pictures of Reilly and Deco making bubbles with their hands...I don't really remember where this fit in, I just know that they had fun doing it! I think it had something to do with water's skin? *shrugs*

We're in a co-op every other Monday with a couple of families who are using the same history curriculum. Last Monday was my week to host and I was really lucky because I got the Ancient Egypt chapters! I made Egyptian fig bread (tasted like a Fig Newton bagle!), we did some decoding with heiroglyphics, and we mummified some Barbie dolls. It was a lot of fun!

Deco mummified his GI Joe doll instead of a Barbie doll. The only thing was that the dolls feet kept spinning around, making it hard for the bandages to stay on! Reilly was making the "death mask" for her doll.

Nothing looks funnier than a line of mummified Barbies!

For another lesson, we made "seals" with their names on them, which we then used to imprint on clay. I'm not sure what we're going to do with the little clay discs, which I don't have a picture of, but they liked making the seals!

We use a book called A Reason for Spelling which, midweek, has you pick a fun exercise for spelling practice. Something like spell the words in split peas and glue, make them on a paper chain, write them in sidewalk chalk, or say them out loud while tapping out the rhythm with instruments. Well, since we don't have any rhythm instruments, I opted for a pot and spoon. And Reilly opted for the "whack and yell" method rather than the "tap and say" method! And boy did she have fun!

She's all up for anything loud! Today she practiced by jumping and spelling her words at the top of her lungs - that fell under the "Spell Your Words Out Loud" option - because the other options were spell them with split peas and glue, make a paper chain, or something about puzzles. And, really, who would choose any of those options over "scream and jump"?

I'm amazed every day with the speed at which Declan is picking up reading! I don't know if it's because he's older than Reilly was when she started Kindergarten or because he's been listening for three years and learning by osmosis, but he is so far ahead of where Reilly was at this stage of kindergarten. I remember she was still sounding out 3-letter CVC words at the start of first grade and he rarely has to be reminded to blend that all together. I have a great video that I took, but it's too big to put here, so I'll try to get another, shorter one soon.

Random School Thoughts

  • I find myself still struggling with feeling frustrated when we're not moving as fast in a day as I'd like. I think it harkens back to last year when I was working and knew that I had to be at work at 5:00 and that I somehow needed to fit housework and errands (and usually a nap!) in between school and 4:00. Last Thursday, history took us around two hours to do, and I was so antsy because it was 10:30 and we still hadn't done anything else. But when we got done with history and moved on to the other subjects, we still finished by about 12:15 or 12:30. On a typical day, we start school around 8:30 and we're finished by 11:30, and then I've still got the whole day to do other things. I keep having to remind myself of that "whole day" thing!

  • I'm going to be adding a grammar curriculum here in the next week or so. It's supposed to arrive next week...actually, it was supposed to arrive on Monday, but I just checked my order and realized that I'd ordered Level 1 instead of Level 3 - Oops! - so I re-ordered and it'll get here on Wednesday. Oddly enough, I'm really excited about this...I guess this is the weirdness of being a homeschooling mom. We get excited about grammar!

Well, this post has gotten long enough, so I'm going to hit "publish" now!