Friday, August 31, 2007

Week 8/9 Report

D~O~N~E! The day is done, the week is done, the month is done and the 1st quarter of the school year is done! Ah, and tomorrow is a new day.

I had a hard time remembering what exactly we did this week. Monday seems looooong ago. Actually, this week we tried something different with our schedule. I set a time for the two subjects that all the kids do together: Latin (8am) and Science (9am). This eliminated *some* of the "I finished all my independent work. Can we do ... NOW?"

The biggest success of the week (that would be besides finishing it) would be counting in Latin. We started on Monday and it didn't go Optime. But instead of saying "Bah! Forget that!" as I am so oft to do when one or more children whine/don't get it on day one or two, I persevered. Yes, I am proud to say we counted in Latin every day this week! And finally today, we actually had fun. I guess it is true that we typically enjoy what we can do well. Even Beanie got to join in today. We did a sort of ring-around-the-rosie while counting "Unus-duo-tres" while going one way then switched to the other with the next 3 digits, then back and on "decem" we all fell down.

As for staying on schedule, Ginger finished the entire four book "Key to Fractions" series today. She did well and it wasn't too painful. I have already purchased "Key to Decimals" and she'll start that after the break.

As for not staying on schedule, I'm not done w/ the read aloud Tirzah from TOG. This historical fiction book begins in Ancient Egypt during the plagues, the Israelites cross the Red Sea and are in the desert. We just read the chapter with the golden calf idol. I'm very sorry to say that it is not inspirational reading. The author, while sticking well to the Bible story line, seriously lacks the ability to "show, don't tell." I am not in the least bit inspired and will be glad when the book is over.

Ginger, Momo & Tullius each made several slides in Keynote (Apple's version of PowerPoint) on a different one of the Jewish Holy Days. They turned out really nice. I have to get them off a different computer to post though.

Any other highlights to the week? Besides it being over, I mean? Well, I drew another bird picture. A Gambel's quail. It was fatter & cuter in the book, but at least it is done!

I'm all about being done, apparently. Now, off to see what everyone else accomplished this week!

PS I'm still thinking about a new blog for next quarter. After all, Pheasant Ridge Christian Academy did... :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

WHY I want to start over!

Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it!

It's not the name...I love the name/address.

Its not the look of the blog...I have a *very* talented friend who has offered to help make it look more "me." And no, I'm not telling you who, lest you beg her to help you before she has a chance to help me. :)

It's the posts...I just want to delete them all and start again! Not that I said anything terrible. I just want to start over!

I could just start a new blog...I really could, except I like the address for this one.

So...if you come to visit me one of these days and there is nothing here...just pretend it is a new blog and you're excited that I finally started one!!

Now back to visiting other blogs...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I think I want to start all over...

I've been thinking about starting a new blog. Another one. Yes, I just started this one this month...but a new month is coming! I feel like I want to to start all over again. Fresh. Clean. Blank slate! But I like the name of this one, sort of -- I feel known at least! I could just delete all my posts. But I like the "weekly reports" record. Maybe I could move them...

This is our last week of school before a one week break. Perfect time to start a new blog! Or, maybe I should just take the next quarter off the that would be a change!!

Oh, what to do...what to do...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mathmagical Monday: Count to Ten in Latin

Math is magical to me. Not the "catching fireflies by the river in the moonlight" sort of magical. Rather, the "HOW did he do that" feeling you get when watching a magician perform the same trick again and again and you never see how he does it. I never have understood all.

Still, I'd like for my children to love and appreciate all good things in life, math included. Actually, I'd like to appreciate math!

So here is a little math:

1/5 of my children think math is a horrid invention
2/5 of my children can add, subtract & multiply faster in their heads than I can (they can probably divide faster as well, however this theory can not be tested because I need paper & pencil for division)
2/5 of my children have not shown a positive or negative reaction to the subject

I'd like to continue tipping the scale in favor of math at our house. But I prefer alliteration to addition. I love blogs like La Scuola d’Argento with "Photo Friday" and Sea Star Academy with "Top Ten Tuesday." Therefore, I give you: Mathmagical Monday.

I wanted to take a picture of all the wonderful math related books we have at our house, but I have to gather them up...certain children like to take them and read them and not return them to their proper shelf.

Instead, I give you my Count to 10 in Latin chart. Which I'm not entirely certain is correct...if you know Latin, can you point out any errors? And why isn't there a feminine form of 3? Is it tres? Those colored objects are egg -- unum ovum, two eggs - duo ova? The word egg is neuter...which makes sense since you don't know if the chick inside is male or female!

Anyway, this is part of my new attempt to make Latin a living language at our house. I decided we'd start by learning to count to 10. Because of gender, this wasn't as fun & easy as learn as I had expected.

I hope that I will be making Mondays more magical and more mathematical for all my children, and myself, from now on...after all, docendo discitur -- We learn by teaching ~ Seneca.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Week 7/8 Report

We just finished week 7/ week will be 8/9 and then we're done with First Quarter/TOG Unit 1! This was a rather unusual week because Dad was home all week. Not because he was sick, not because we had a family vacation planned, not even because we wanted to do some around the house, this was to get his World of Warcraft character to level 70. And he's *almost* there, as of the wee hours of Saturday morning (while I'm typing this up).

See kids, what you can do with a little dedication & perseverance? Reach the level cap in an MMORPG! Actually, Ginger, Momo & Tullius all have characters about level 45 themselves. But I digress...

So, between having dh home and Ginger's eye doctor appointment and trying to fit 1.5 weeks worth of learning in, we had less time and more work...but it's all good.

7th grade~Ginger's studied dictation sheet. We go over the sentences on Monday and then she gets to doodle on it the rest of the week. On Friday I dictate it to her. This has been going well, I'm very pleased...much better then copywork ever did!~

5th grade~Momo's diagram of the Hebrew Tabernacle (from TOG). She can write so neat when she wants to!~

2nd grade~A page from Tullius's Lively Latin (I'm using it for all 3 older kids). I'd say he is doing very well with this. I want to make Latin more fun though, more real, more immersion, more like I read about people doing with, say French at Trivium Academy!~

Kindergarten~Zamakee finished THREE of his workbooks this week! Two were from Critical Thinking Press: Visual Perceptual Skill Building PreK-2 and Can You Find Me? PreK-K, the other was a Dover dot-to-dot of cars and trucks. This is his calendar of the Jewish Year from Old Testament Days. Sometimes he likes to color and sometimes he doesn't!~

~Beanie needs more intentional time from me. Twice this week I've read recent blog entries on this very topic: The Magic School House and Livingstone School...hopefully I'll be able to talk about it soon too! Ginger & Momo made Beanie this baby animal matching game from Kidz Club several weeks ago. We got it out again this week & he can do it all by himself! Oh, and I found a schedule that he could actually follow here: Fanning the Flame

And how am I doing this week? Did I learn anything? Yes, I learned I could stay up until 2-3am every night with my dh & still get up a 6am when the boys do! I think I could go back to college! Seriously, I have been doing a lot of thinking about our weeks & our learning...still searching for the richness!

And you? What did you learn this week?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Surgery on the Schedule

Yes, surgery. And not being performed by me. Today, I took Ginger (12yo dd) to her pediatric eye surgeon for her biannual visit. She has worn glasses since she was 3, did vision therapy four years, and had eye surgery at age 7.

Amazingly, she has stayed steady since the surgery with her eyes aligned -- and she could finally read to learn instead of focusing on the words! With glasses, her vision is about 20/60. In the last few months, though, I've notice her left eye beginning to stray out. Before it turned in (she had almost no vision in left eye at age 3).
So, surgery it is. The surgeon is confident that because she's used the eyes together for so many years that she can and will continue to use the just needs to be put back into place, as it is returning to its old lazy habits. I am wondering if there is more going on in her brain then just a break down of vision. Lately, she has had a very hard time answering me -- as if she can't process what I am asking, or simply forgets that I asked a question as the moments go by. I mentioned this to the surgeon but he doesn't deal with such things (he doesn't even think vision therapy works, generally speaking). But I'm wondering if this is more than just a 12 yo thing...

Ginger does not want the surgery. But not only do I want her to be able to see the best she possibly can (which is nowhere near what I can see), I want her to look the best she can too! She says she doesn't care about how her eyes look -- but I think she will when she is 16 or 20 or so. Therefore, surgery is on the schedule...except I haven't looked at my schedule yet! I don't want to either. Next week is our last week of the first quarter, then we're taking a week off...then I'll look at the schedule, then I'll think about all the ideals that seem to missing in our days.

I've seen some darling bunny rabbit pictures lately on blogs like Take a Hike and Mini Blessings and I wanted to draw a rabbit for this post! But couldn't find a single cute rabbit picture in this house to draw! So here is one that Ginger made over the summer in a art class she took. It is in graphite watercolor pencil (or something like that!) on canvas. Actually it seems fitting that the drawing in this post be hers! You can see some more of her artwork at Ginger's Art Gallery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In which I see a new bird and draw its picture

After reading Harmony Art Mom's Attracting Birds to Your Yard post, I was feeling sorry for myself. I will never have a yard that looks like that while living in the desert.

Then today I saw a new bird on our ash tree. The kids gathered around and we decided, based on markings and habitat, it was a Gila Woodpecker.

I drew it tonight...well, not the bird we saw but the Gila Woodpecker in the Field Guide to the Birds of North America by the National Geographic Society (page 265 in my copy).

I love the concept of "nature study" but realistically, the field guide is as close as I get...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Arizona, where even the water is humid

Typically an Arizonian will tell you, if you comment on the unfavorable HOT temperature of our lovely state, "it's a dry heat."

And it is, really. Except during the monsoon season...which we just happen to be in right now. So, instead of standing in front of an open oven at 115 degrees, you are standing in the steam room at 103 degrees.

This afternoon, I took the boys on our usual weekend library/grocery run. When we got back to the car, the first thing my 5yo Zamakee did was grab the water bottle. After a long drink he looked up at me and said, "Even the water is humid."

So it is, son. So it is.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Week 6 Report & Pictures

This hasn't been the most exciting of weeks at Stonewall Academy. Actually, it has been rather dull. I think the main reason is that the teacher (that would be me) hasn't been engaged with the material.

After deciding that we will indeed compress the next 3 weeks into 2 (see earlier post!) and then take a week off has given me a bit of enthusiasum.

Click the pictures to see the pages!

~Ginger (7th grade) is using Apples for spelling this year. I'm very glad to have found this independent, daily workbook and so is she!~

~Journey Through Grammar Land is Momo's (5th grade) first formal grammar since using First Language Lessons in 1st & 2nd grade.~

~For their Tapestry of Grace project this week, Ginger & Momo are making a "Patriarch Family Tree" -- it is still in process. No names yet, and the children of Jacob & Leah, including Judah who is the ancestor of Jesus, need to be moved up a bit & have their lines added. It is a rather complex family tree and seeing it on the wall has helped us all see who's who! When it is completed, I'll add a picture of it to our History Project Pictures page.~

~Tullius (2nd grade) wanted 7 spelling words, since he is 7. This picking words from Tapestry of Grace's vocabulary list and then studying them has gone well. I wish I had something more colorful to show for him! There is always next week.~

~Zamakee (K) wants to be able to read Garfield comic books and Erin Hunter's Warriors series. He has been doing great memorizing the sounds letters make and recognizing them in different fonts. Below is a picture of an activity we did. First, I laid out the sand paper cursive letters (Morning Star Learning) and then we went through the little cream cards (Stairway to Reading) with me saying them and him repeating. Next, he took the card and matched it to the cursive letter. Finally, he read the large white Spell to Write & Read phonogram cards himself and matched them up.~

I don't have a single thing to post that Beanie made, I'm still not doing Before Five in a Row with Zamakee, we didn't study our "element of design," and there just didn't seem to be any richness to the week. But it is over, the kids ARE learning, and...and...well, that is going to have to be enough!!

Leave a link to what you've been doing this week -- I need inspiration!!

A Kink in the Schedule

Originally, the schedule went like this:

1st Qtr/Unit 1, 9 weeks -- July 9 - Sept 7
*WEEK BREAK* Sept 10-14
2nd Qtr/Unit 2, 9 weeks -- Sept 17 - Nov 16
*WINTER BREAK* Nov 19 - Jan 4, 2008
3rd Qtr/Unit 3, 9 weeks -- Jan 7 - Mar 7
*WEEK BREAK* Mar 10-14
4th Qtr/Unit 4, 9 weeks -- Mar 17 - May 16

Isn't that nice and tidy looking? Well, my wonderful parents are coming for a week in October! Hooray! Dh is already planning the fix-it projects he & my dad can do... But, the schedule!! No way are we doing school while we have company! That is one of the top 10 reasons we homeschool, so we can take time off when we need/want to! :) So...I'm contemplating my options:

a) Take our break as scheduled on Sept 10th, and take a break the week they are here...then we'll have to do school the last week of November.
b) Take no break the week of Sept 10th, just go into Qtr/Unit 2...our week break will occur when my parents are here, and we'll be done before Thanksgiving.
c) Combine weeks 7, 8 & 9 (the next three) into 2, and take our break a week early which will keep us being done before Thanksgiving.

I presented all this to the kids and they liked option c best. And I think I do too...I really am ready for a break. And I need to plan/buy somethings for Tapestry of Grace Unit 2!!

Oh, I thought this blog entry needed a picture. This is Suede, a newborn Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat. They're about the size of cats when they're born and so much fun! We used to raise them...someday I'd love to do it again...and have Miniature Horses. Now that would throw the schedule off!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Revising Writing

I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with teaching writing! This year we're using Tapestry of Grace's Writing Aids. At first I was unsure about it -- it is in beta right now. All the assignements are complete and integrated into each week of TOG for Year 1, however the Teacher's Notes and Talking Points and Graphic Organizers must be printed off the computer and organized by me. But I decided I would use only Writing Aids for the first 18 weeks (2 units of TOG) and then decide if I needed to add more. We're in Week 6...and just got to polishing the first rough draft paragraphs.

So far it has actually gone well. At first it was putting information into Graphic Organizers, then writing sentences with the information, then writing a rough draft...all that was pretty good. But "polishing" a rough draft? I tried to work w/ Momo yesterday. She had 2 rough drafts, an expository paragraph on plant cells and a descriptive narrative on building the pyramids -- written in the first person.

Other than a few possessive apostrophes, her writing was grammatically correct. However, I would have worded things differently -- stronger, more expressively, etc, especially on the pyramid paper. But I just do not know how to express this without telling her what to change, specifically. And do not want to do that. I want it to be her writing!

Perhaps I'm just not good at revising myself. In fact, I know I'm not! I learned that from NaNoWriMo ...50,000 word novel written in 30 days -- don't edit (lock up your inner editor!) just write, write, write! And I did -- I'm a 2006 NaNoWriMo winner. Hey, I can put that on my sidebar! But have I revised it? NO. I can't. I know there are things that don't sound right, lots of things. But I just don't know how to change it. A huge part of the problem is the storyline changed so dramatically as I wrote -- the beginning doesn't fit. If I can just get the first chapter into a semblence of order, I'm going to send it to Jennifer at I Will Read 10 Pages. I still love my main characters of my story, Stone Scroll Saber, Robin and Meganna. These are their pictures.

Anyway...I haven't even worked with Ginger on her writing yet this week! Although, with hers we can focus on punctuation and capitolization and such! I obviously do better with the concrete.

I am looking forward to NaNoWriMo 2007 and so are the kids! And hopefully, we'll ALL be better writers by November 1st!

Edited to add -- you can be a NaNo winner too! You just have to write 50,000 words in November! And no, according to the official rules, it can't be the same word 50,000 times!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week 5 Report & Pictures

Inspired by Jessica at Trivium Academy to post a "weekly report," I give you a single page created by each of my children this past week. To type out what they did would take hours...and I need those hours to create assignement sheet for tomorrow morning!

~A page from Ginger's Botany Coloring Book~

~Momo's Spelling Test of Tapestry of Grace Vocabulary Words~

~One of Tullius's pages from Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 2~

~Zamakee's cut and paste page from his Kumon Book of Pasting~

~Beanie's Dragon picture, the labeling & flame were done by Momo~

There it is -- WEEK 5 of 36! Actually, if you want to see this week's hands on projects of the Ziggurat at Ur, a small Sumerian chariot, and a Babylonian Tile Mosaic, check out our History Project Picture page!

If you stop by, say hi! I want to see your blog too!

Wolf Sketch

I need a picture for this blog. And since I'm the Mama Wolf of my 5 cubs, I decided a self portrait was in order.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Danger! Deep hole!

Last night, when I went to say goodnight to my girls, I stopped in my bathroom first. Taped to the faucet, I found this little note.

Keep toothbrush heads away

As it turns out, Momo's electric toothbrush head had a close call with the drain (which needs a new stopper) and she felt compeled to warn the rest of the family. What a thoughtful girl!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

7th Grade Schedule

Ginger is 12 and in 7th grade -- she'd rather be out-of-doors and doing one of the following: drawing, reading or running! I'll have to share more about her another day. Now I must put some thought into next week's assignement sheets. Oh, and her hair doesn't look quite like this anymore. It's chin length, she donated the rest to Locks of Love in June!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

5th Grade Schedule

Momo is in 5th grade and there was just too much to keep all her assignments on a single page with my new & improved (just this week!) schedule. But now that the week is wrapping, I'm not sure I like this style at all. So next week, I'm trying something new. But as I promised dh & the kids -- I will not add or alter any of the work for the whole quarter. Which we are exactly halfway through, now that I think about it. Momo has always been an academic minded student -- learned to read at 4, loves math, enjoys logic puzzles...basically likes what comes to most minds when they hear the word "school."
And yes, just like in her Christmas picture, she was barefoot in shorts in December!

2nd Grade Schedule

Since all the children are outside planting their bean seedlings that we sprouted for God's Design Science Plants, I decide to post Tullius's weekly assignment sheet.

Tullius is 7 and in 2nd grade this year. He taught himself to read right after he turned four. I had planned to wait until he was 6 to even start teaching him reading. I'd read enough about boys taking longer to mature, etc then girls. And since I had 2 girls, I didn't want to spend year comparing and frustrating him. However, dh...hmm, he need's an online name too. My 7 yo ds referenced in this post isn't really named Tullius...he chose it for Latin class. His former online name was Moogle (Final Fantasy, anyone?) which I never really liked, so this is better. He doesn't have a nickname at home at all, neither does Zamakee...unlike Ginger, Momo & Beanie!

Anyway, dh played an online computer game called Dark Age of Camelot. Tullius would watch him and ask constantly what was being said, what the text scrolling by said, what the numbers were... And he learned to read. By the time he was four, dh had gone to a new game, Horizons. I made a character and then a few weeks later we let all the kids make characters. His reading just took off AND he could spell too -- well enough to communicate in an online game anyway! We're still an online game playing family but this "reading method" hasn't worked for Zamakee...but that is another post.
Tullius has always been a tagalong schooler -- just doing what his older sisters do...

Here is his Christmas picture! He was still 6 years old.

Kindergarten Week 5

This is the weekly assignment sheet I created for Zamakee over the weekend. He hasn't had (nor appeared to care) for an assignment sheet before. That is probably the reason that certain things for him have gotten pushed to last, or simply forgotten. When he saw the colorful schedules I was attempting to make for the other children, he wanted one too. So this is what I came up with.

The only thing glaringly missing (to me) is Before Five in a Row. I still haven't gotten to planning that. I could just forget it -- save B4FIAR for Beanie next semester and save myself some guilt. I'm not quite ready to do that yet. Perhaps I need to go back and re-read Kerri's FIAR Planning Post

The other thing that I don't have a formal plan for is math. I decided to focus on phonics this first semester, letting math come through picture books and life (counting the forks, pointing out the page numbers, etc). I try to get a picture math book or two from the library each week. We also have a great many math manipulatives at our house...perhaps I should add that to the sheet! Zamakee does enjoy typing numbers on the computer. He'll take one of each color of the play money in, say, Star Wars Monopoly and meticulously enter each amount into a Word document.

Zamakee's "photo" was created at for our family Christmas 2006 card. He was 4 1/2 years old. Now he's FIVE!

Monday, August 6, 2007

2007-2008 @ Stonewall Academy

As the Magistra for Stonewall Academy, I've made the decision to start a seperate blog that is just homeschool related. Our family website & blogs, along with our picture pages will remain at
Stonewall Academy Check these out when you have a chance!

This school year began on July 9, 2007 -- today began our 5th week!

**Curriculum Choices for the Whole Family**

Tapestry of Grace Year 1 This covers history, literature, geography, writing, and fine arts.
Lively Latin We will learn Latin this year!
God's Design for Science Plants 1st semester (2nd semester will be Chemistry)

**Curriculum Choices by Grade**

7th Grade Ginger
Math Key to Fractions, Decimals, Percents; Comic Strip Math
Grammar Journey Through Grammar Land
Spelling Apples
Handwriting Evan-Moor Cursive
Science The Botany Coloring Book

5th Grade Momo
Math Math U See Zeta; Figure It Out 5
Grammar Journey Through Grammar Land
Spelling Vocabulary from Tapestry of Grace
Handwriting Evan-Moor Cursive
Logic Building Thinking Skills 2

2nd Grade Tullius
Math Math U See Gamma; Challenging Word Problems 2, Mathematical Reasoning
Spelling Vocabulary from Tapestry of Grace
Handwriting Cursive First

Kindergarten Zamakee
Phonics Stairway to Reading; Spell to Write & Read Phonograms
Skill Workbooks Kumon Pasting; Can You Find Me?; Visual Perceptual Skill Building; Buliding Thinking Skills
Read Alouds Winnie the Pooh; Beatrix Potter books; Before Five in a Row books

Pre-School Beanie
So far, he's just tagging along...trying to learning the phonograms with Zamakee!

Latin Motto

Non scholae sed vitae discimus ~ Seneca. We learn not for school, but for life.