Monday, November 24, 2008

Yay! Our camera's here!

Lets see, we've been busy people this past few days. Friday we meet some new homeschooled friends. I've been trying to find Aria some gal pals her own age. I'd like her to have friends of varying backgrounds so she doesn't have just one peer set helping her make up her mind about everything. We meet several girls her age this weekend and I made some new friends, too.

We met our new friends at their home on Friday and then Saturday attended a bbq at the park. Sunday we visited with old friends at their house and today we had another old friend over to play. So four days of socializing and running around has left me feeling a little like I've been too close to a fast moving train, but strangely energized.

Hopefully, we'll get back to some academics tomorrow. We need the support, though, of others like ourselves. So, our visits were definitely needed and welcome. We are scheduled to go camping after Thanksgiving with our new friends. So, the fun's not over yet.

We are very excited over our new camera. It can do videos, too. So, we can upload our science experiments and Aria can upload her singing. We can say hi to everyone every day. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quick entry

I have to get to some cleaning so this is going to be short and to the point. We played on the computer all day. Math on, science on (we learned about popcorn, ligaments, and resonance), language arts on and and I read a chapter from our book. We are getting to the end of "The Rainbow Wand". We did a lot of stuff in a very short period of time. I think everyone was on fast forward today, but that's okay sometimes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're plugging away

Yesterday and today we read four chapters of "The Rainbow Wand". I am gratified to see the children pause their coloring and get that far away look while their minds create vivid images of the story. To practice Comprehension, I asked them a few questions about the characters and situations in the book. Aria's retention of the details was great.

To practice our math, yesterday, we created flashcards. We did just two fact cards each, but we decorated them up like pieces of art. Today, we played Addition War with a deck of playing cards. I've been trying to incorporate all of the five senses into our math. I am hoping that this will help us all to retain the addition facts. We, also, reviewed skip counting. Aria knows how to skip count by twos, fives and tens. Casey know the fives and tens and is pretty sure of the twos, but may need a little review.

We began a Thanksgiving craft yesterday, but the kiddos didn't feel like continuing with it today. There hasn't been much enthusiasm for Thanksgiving crafts as there was for Halloween. I'm hoping we can get a couple of things done before Thanksgiving. I may need to find some crafts that are a little better quality. Something, that requires more thought and something we could give as a gift or keep year after year.

Today, Aria practiced noun and verb usage by playing Casey and I sat with her through the first game. Then Casey and I went to another computer to play Starfall. I read one of the 'books' on their site and reviewed the 'when vowel teams go walking the first vowel does the talking' rule.

DH ordered us a new camera. I hope it arrives quickly. I'm having photo taking withdrawals.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Successful Day

We had lots of learning fun today. We read as usual. We are trying out Fairy Realm Book 10: The Rainbow Wand by Emily Rodda. I didn't realize that it was a series, but the book seems to stand on it's own. We haven't run into in any confusing materials, yet, that relate to previous books. The children seem to be enjoying it well enough. There's no shouting "Read more! Read more!" But there's no moaning when I pick it up.

Then Casey and I played a math game online. The object is to reveal a picture by answering addition problems. Aria and I played a game, too. In this game, you defeat an alien space ship by answering math problems.

I think my favorite part of both of these games is that the kids and I sat in the chair together. I held Casey and then held Aria while they played. I encouraged and helped them through both of the games. I've been thinking that I wanted to spend more individual time with each of them and I think I may have hit upon something important for us.

I have, in the past, spent more physical time with Casey while he's learning. I've held him in my lap or sat behind him in the chair. I've sent Aria off to blog or play a game. I think that was a mistake. It disconnects me from her learning and allows her to hurry through things just to get them done. I feel that having me there may help to support and comfort them when something is confusing or difficult. Being there, also, shows that I am interested in what they are creating and learning. It says I'm interested in them.

Casey and I worked on another digraph and then he wanted to play with a couple of 'games' on I like that he chose to play these things. He knew we could have been done after practicing the 'ch' sound, but he then went on to 'ar' and 'ow'. I didn't for an instant mind that we didn't do the worksheet I planned. It's so much better to go where the interest leads then to end a foray into learning prematurely.

Lastly, we did something they both really liked. We created a story with sound effects. Aria typed a fairly lengthy and, slightly, disturbing story. :) I saw her making corrections here and there. Although, her writing was far from perfect, the fact that she was taking notice of any of the grammatical errors is a huge step for her.

I transcribed Casey's story for him and we then took turns reading our stories and pressing the buttons for the sound effects. This is definitely something we will do again. We all thought it was great fun and I think this would be wonderful for those kids who don't like writing. This makes it much more fun. I think I may write one that's funny and see what the kids think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back to School

After, a week and a half devoted to a garage sale endeavor we are now back to school. We finished our Katie Kazoo book which we started last week. They seem to focus much better on the story when they are coloring while I'm reading. I find that kind of ironic, but I guess it focuses the eyes and leaves the ears and brain open to the story.

We practiced our math by modifying this game We rolled two die and added the numbers together. We then counted out the correct number of beans to represent the answer. When we had ten beans we would trade them in for a manipulative representing ten. (I have foam pieces, strips, and squares representing ones, twos, threes...tens, hundreds, and thousands.) The first on to fifty won.

Casey then made up a game with very subjective and changeable rules which he graciously let me win. Then we changed to a bit to make it more fair and accurate by placing the foam 'tens' strips end to end. We rolled the dice and counted that number of spaces on the strips until we reached the end of our tens road. He won that one. I was impressed that he knew 5+6 immediately even though we've never formally learned that one. He knows what 5+5 is so he correctly deduced that it was one more. A couple of times he 'saw' where he needed to move his piece without counting it out. I'm impressed by his mathematical thinking.

We were practicing our math facts in the car yesterday and I was gratified to hear my dear daughter remembering several math facts we have been working on. I wasn't sure that she was retaining them long term. Yay! My dear husband gave me so good advice about teaching math with several different methods. I could use music, flashcards, games, ect. I thought this was a great idea. We can create several different ways of recalling the facts and we can use methods that will speak to each child's mode of learning.

Aria practiced her nouns and verb with a game on and Casey practiced 'wh' with

I'm very depressed because we can't find our digital camera. I love having the things we do recorded that way. It would have been so fun to have it last week when we got out our new microscope and looked at a hair, wasp's wing, and a...booger. :) That particular sample was happily extracted by both older children in record time. lol Well, we'll find it or get a new one for an early Christmas present, I guess.

Feels good to be back together, learning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We had taken last week off of school so the DH and I could do a MAJOR junk purge. Now that we are mostly finished with that huge job we can get back to that thar edumacatin' stuff.

We got back into the swing of things today with our traditional morning reading. I set the mood with the reading candle. And I don't believe that I heard any whining about doing school today. They seemed ready to get back to it.

After reading we verbally reviewed our math facts and then played a game online practicing counting by fives. Both children understand the concept and are proficient at counting by fives.

Then Casey played on with the 'th' digraph and also with 'ee' words. Then we did a little verbal playing with the 'th' sound by filling in the missing word. For example, "During what holiday do we eat Turkey?" I, also, gave him a couple of words with 'th' in them and asked him was the 'th' sound at the beginning, middle or end.

Aria played a game online that practiced noun and verb identification. The goal was to 'recycle' the trash into the correct bin. If the trash had a noun on it then it went in the 'Noun' can and the verbs went in the 'Verb' can. I helped her a bit and then she understood much better. I think we could adapt this game to a real life recycling game.

It was a good first day back. Now I've just got to go get all this garage sale junk marked and clean the house and prepare for school the rest of the week and figure out what we're gonna eat for the rest of the week.