These last few weeks have been crazy. We have been in several different states...AL, GA, NC, SC, VA, and MD. We have had many events taking up our time......OCS graduation and commissioning, Thanksgivings, Baby shower, family visits, movies, planning to move and much more. It is during this time that I am so grateful for our decision to homeschool. I don't have to worry about the kids missing school because we can take school on the road with us. I packed two small boxes of homeschool books that we took to my parent's house and did school there for two weeks. We did take some time off but even during the time off from the books, the girls were still learning. I have managed to keep PF right on schedule with her work and she should be done with this "semester" in time for her week of Christmas break. Butterfly and Ladybug have taken the last week off and won't start officially back until after Christmas. Since their curriculum isn't mandatory right now, I have the flexibility to do that with them.
These are a few pictures of the girls doing schoolwork in the "Tiger room" at my parent's house. They call it that because it has an animal theme to it.
Dragonfly fit in alittle PE. She threw everything out of the box and climbed up in it. She was content to sit in the box while I worked with her sisters.
We will be back into the full swing of things after our Christmas break and especially focused after we move to our new house. I might fit in a few special things before Christmas break and the move are over.
The Prodigal Cat by Janette Oke Changes for Julie by Megan McDonald Julie's Journey by Megan McDonald Stuart Little by E.B. White Bitter Dumplings by Jeannie Lee Brothers byChris Soentpiet BSC Little Sister 13: Karen's Surprise by Ann Martin Island Rose by L.E. Williams Sunchaser's Quest by Mary Stanton Ella Enchanted By Gail Carson Levine
The girls' Uncle is a fire fighter. While visiting his family, we took a trip to his firehouse. The girls got to explore the fire engine and see their uncle all geared up. They were fascinated with the poll and their uncle demonstrated how the fireman use it. We toured the upstairs of the firehouse and met all the other firefighters.
Princess Flower prayed for snow today....well we have heavy flurries. I grew up in GA and whenever there was a possibility of snow it seemed like schools closed or were delayed. I decided to have a GA mentality today and delay school. More so because I need to pack for our trip and taking school on the road for two weeks. PF will still be required to complete Language and Math today but for now it is fun to listen to them so excited to see flurries. I made them snowman muffins and they are listening to jingle bells.
Today we were learning place order using terms such as before, after, 1st and last. I had butterfly get five of her favorite ponies and line them up. Then she would point to the pony that fit each term that I would call out. This would work with any favorite toy, we just chose ponies for today.
A huge task I have been working on lately is adapting the Social Studies and Science curriculum I am using with Butterfly and Ladybug to work for PF too. PF just finished the history book we were working in and not thinking she would finish so quickly I packed up the next one. I will have to wait until my teacher assistant can move acouple boxes for me to get it back out. While we are waiting, I figured that PF can join in with the lessons that I am doing through the Kindergarten Curriculum. She might even learn something we missed. In Social Studies, we are going over helpers in our community. The younger two colored pictures of a police man.
Princess Flower created her own police man and wrote why they are important to our community.
With having more than one child to teach, the fewer different books I have to use the better. I figure that Ladybug and Butterfly will be in the same books for Science and History for all of school and Dragonfly will join them at some point. Maybe at some point they can all follow along with PF, that is probably wishful thinking but maybe we can keep to the same topics. But I think using no more than two Science and two history books will be helpful in the long run for us.
Today for math, we worked with pipe cleaners. They are great manipulatives for counting, patterns, addition, subtraction and much more. We also used them to learn the terms above, below, middle, same and different.
On cold and rainy days, I have to be a bit more creative with what I can do to keep the girls active during the day. So on this occasion, I stuck them in our little hall and put up a gate. We proceeded to throw the balls back and forth over the gate. I made it a point to bounce the balls off their heads which made them giggle uncontrollably. We also practiced catching the balls and throwing.
Last year I put together these binders for Butterfly and Ladybug to use. They are full of extra worksheets. They used some of the sheets last year but still had plenty blank. This year whenever they want to work on "school", they can grab their binders and work on what they want. They use the blank backs to the sheets to draw their own pictures. This works well to keep their eager minds occupied.
These binders have also come in really handy this week when I am doing something with Butterfly that is too much for Ladybug to grasp right now. I just give her, her binder and she works on that while Butterfly is working on something else.
Change seems to be a huge part of our lives. I don't know whether being a military family makes it even harder or not. But with change, we have to face new ways of doing things and be open to different ways of doing it. Yesterday, we started Butterfly on Kindergarten curriculum. I knew that giving two kids full curriculum instruction was going to change things. We tried to run things like we had normally yesterday but that was a huge failure so I knew today we had to make some major adjustments. To my surprise things have gone much smoother today. Ladybug has been interested in participating with some of Butterfly's work. She did a great job practicing to write the letter "I". Abeka has a fun way of teaching writing which the girls have grasped quickly and are enjoying. Example: Capital "I" is a straight stick with a little hat and little shoes.
A big change I made was making sure we took frequent breaks to just be silly. After doing Calendar, Social Studies and Science, I put on some loud praise music and we sang and danced for awhile. Then we did Kindergarten Language, writing and numbers and took a break to play in a pile of leaves.
I have made Princess Flower my teacher's aid in the mornings and she assists with Dragonfly and sometimes Ladybug while I do things with Butterfly. We were doing this the first few weeks of school but it didn't seem necessary to continue at the time. Now I am seeing the use of it again. Butterfly's work only takes alittle over an hour right now, I am sure it will take longer as the lessons continue. Princess Flower starts school after lunch. This is also helpful to her because there are less distractions after lunch because of naps. Her work unfortunately takes alot longer.
I am hoping these adjustments will make things run smoother but we will remain flexible.
Who doesn't enjoy getting packages? Today these boxes held new curriculum that I ordered last week. I ordered the Kindergarten curriculum from Abeka to start Butterfly on. She was so excited. Every book I took out she wanted to do right then. I told her it would have to wait until tomorrow. I also ordered Princess Flower additional math books and Abeka's 4th grade language book. I have spent a good bit of the evening going over the teacher's books. I am excited and a bit overwhelmed. More so I am just ready to jump into it all.
I was looking for a fun website for grammar games and came across this one. The games aren't incredibly involved but they do add more fun to practicing parts of speech and spelling. They also have math games and some other games for pure fun.
Do you have great website resources? please leave your recommendations in a comment.
I have been using this website for over two years now. It is a great resource for reading comprehension quizzes and book recommendations. Depending on how well your child does on a quiz will determine the amount of points they earn. With the points, they can pick out prizes. Most of the prizes aren't all that exciting but they do offer 6 months subscription to Highlights and chocolate bars.
The quizzes let me know that Princess Flower actually read and grasped the book she just finished.
Tonight is a big night for our country and also an incredible opportunity to teach PF about how a president is elected. I am not incredibly fond of the system but I might as well except this Electoral College Vote system and move on. I found a couple fun websites. One has a calculated for the electoral college votes so you can play around with different possibilities. Princess Flower is laying next to me in the bed reading and asking every few minutes who is winning now. She is on pins and needles and is irritated that the finally results won't be in until after midnight. She was also upset when I told her she couldn't vote because she wasn't 18. She didn't understand why. Maybe we should dive deeper into the history of voting and let her she that at one time she wouldn't even be able to vote when she turned 18 because she was a woman. She will have to wait until 2020 to vote in her first presidential election. She was only two weeks old when I took her with me to vote in my first presidential election in 2000 so she has had some experience at the polls already.
The girls have been bugging me about Ballet lessons. It just isn't practical right now to start them in anything. So instead I rented a Ballet instructional DVD from Netflix for them. Today was their second time watching and trying to copy the dance moves. The DVD is made for beginners around the age of 6 so it works well for my group. We have decided to keep it until the end of the week so they can have a Ballet lesson each morning.
I picked these books up for Butterfly to get us through until I can order her Kindergarten curriculum. I was going to wait until January but she is so eager to learn now and has torn through most of my spare worksheets. I mentioned before that I really like this companies books and Butterfly loves them too. I let her work on the Alphabet book while I was helping to teach PF how to make dinner and she completed close to half the book. So I think these books will be finished by the end of next week when hopefully her new curriculum is in.
In case you were wondering what we do with our youngest learner while doing school this is the post you will want to read. On most days, I take advantage of both her morning and afternoon naps to do one on one instruction or projects that involve small pieces or scissors. Dragonfly's naps can be unpredictable at times...not so much when she goes down for a nap but how long she stays asleep so I have to be a bit flexible. On this particular day, shown in the pictures, she woke up early from her nap and I was still working with Butterfly on some things. Sometimes I would just put Dragonfly in her high chair and give her a snack to occupy her or some toys to play with on her tray. But instead I let her sit with us and gave her some of the leftover sticky paper that was left behind after the stickers were taken off. The paper stuck to her and gave her a cool tactile experience. She had fun trying to get one hand off the paper and then try to help the other. It actually held her attention for quite a while and I was able to finish with Butterfly.
PF worked hard this month on studying the American Girl Julie who is from the 1970s. She completed her basic Grammar book. She is tackling fractions, decimals and higher level division and multiplication with ease. Her writing has improved substantially. She has added alot more description to each writing assignment.
* Butterfly continues to zoom through things. She finished her tracing and paste book this month. She is on lesson 24 in her reading book and really starting to grasp how to read. We have worked on patterns, belonging, rhyming and counting. She can now count to 30 but still messes up 13 and 14. She can write her name without help on the spelling and can do Ladybug's name too.
* Ladybug has been less interested in doing schoolwork this month. She has finished reading lessons up to 14. Since she is only 3, I am not pushing her to do work on days she is not wanting to. This only causes more work for me. She did enjoy working/creating a few short books with Butterfly.
* As a group, we are still working to memorize all of Proverbs 31. We are halfway there. We have worked on graphs, geography, weather, months, days, and counting by tens. We also did a mini study on animals that included a fun field trip to the zoo. Now that all the girls are getting older, I am starting to assign each girl with age specific jobs that they can do to contribute to the family. PF's main jobs are emptying the dishwasher and being in charge of getting both bedrooms organized. She also takes charge of watching over Dragonfly when necessary. Butterfly and Ladybug are in charge of emptying the drier, emptying the upstairs' trash cans, organizing the shoe cubbies, picking up the book corner and moving chairs when I vacuum. Dragonfly is learning not to throw food and sippy cups on the floor (something all my kids have done). Ally the girls must clear their own plates from the table and either put things in the trash or the dishwasher. This goes into our home ec lessons.
There were four pumpkins sitting on the porch. They did not speak or they went away. The first one said "Trick or Treat" and went away. Three pumpkins sitting on the porch. One said "Smell my feet give me something good to eat" and he went away. Two pumpkins sitting on the porch. One said "Happy Halloween" and he went away. One pumpkin sitting alone on the porch. He said "Boo!" and was the last one to arrive at the pumpkin party.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Ellen Miles Good Luck, Ivy by Lisa Yee Harriet Tubman by Ann Lane Petry Meet Julie by Megan Mcdonald Julie Tells Her Story Megan Mcdonald A Brave Little Princess by Beatrice Masini Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Levine Swamp Tigers by ? The Princess Test by Gail Levine Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar The Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester Happy New Year Julie by Megan Mcdonald Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder Lions by Sally Morgan
PF had the assignment to write a report on a zoo animal of her choice.
Lions are big cats. Their futures are bad in the wild, but good in zoos. Lion's futures are bad in the wild because their lives are shrinking from 100,000 lions. So now there are 17,000 lions in the wild. Lions in the zoo have good futures because there are more lions in the zoo. Lions that live in India, live in a forest. Lions that live in Africa live in dry grass to match the yellow coat of fur. Lions have a territory, where they have space, shade for shelter, and where they can find prey and water. Lions eat meat such as Buffalo, deer, and other types of meat. Lions have pad under their paws. This helps them to creep silently on their prey. People should stop killing lions, help them in pain, and leave more food for them to survive in their habitat.
I gave the older two girls the assignment of creating their own zoo while the other two were napping. I had them draw one zoo and the other they created all on their own. They used their polly pockets for the visitors to the zoo and some plastic animals for the exhibits.
This animals name is Minnea. She moves by running. She likes to eat ginger snaps. She weighs as much as a small dog. She likes cats. She lives in Brazil and can survive for 50 years. Her mating season is in the fall. She is pregnant for 3 months with 3 to 5 babies. When the babies are born the males help to feed them flowers. This animal has no predators.
As one of her animal projects this week, PF had to create her own animal and write a description of it.
Today we ventured with our friends to the Baltimore Zoo. It was suppose to be 55 degrees with a slight chance of rain. So I packed rain jackets for all of us. When we left our house it wasn't that bad. When we got to the zoo the wind kicked up. I borrowed a blanket from my friend for Dragonfly and PF borrowed a sweater. We made it though our hands were icicles when we left. Some of the animals were packed up in their warm homes so we weren't able to see them. For some of the animals it was to our advantage that they were inside because we got to visit their "home" and see them closer than we would have if they were outside. My favorite place was the chimpanzee house. I love watching the monkeys interact with one another. The most precious moment was watching the interaction between a mom and her two year old. The baby would nurse and the mom would rub her head and love on her. This zoo exhibits mainly African animals.
The beautiful path we walked from the entrance to the zoo exhibits.
Some fall colors.
Checking out the polar bear.
The older kids had a zoo scavenger hunt (provided online by the zoo). They had to find a list of animals and then determine their classification.
Penguins.....some of the only animals that felt at home with the weather we had today. Damp and cold and windy. I should have learned by now not to trust the weather report which said it would be 55 today. My poor babies were cold. I am glad my friend had an extra blanket and sweater.