Friday, February 29, 2008

Week in Review

It's time once again for the week in review.

I spent a lot of time this week working on next year. I am not sure what sparked the need to figure it all out...possibly because I realized that I don’t have it all figured out. My big issue right now is what history curriculum to use. Right now we are using Story of the World…which only goes through 4th grade. I had planned to move to History Odyssey for next year – I even bought the guide book. But after looking it over, and reading some discussion about it on the Well Trained Mind boards, I realized it might not work. What I like about SOTW is the activity guide and its discussion questions, map work, outlining/narration details, reading lists, projects and tests. HO does not have these things. There is a guide for the work to be done – but no discussion. Some reading lessons but no additional notes on those – it just does not seem meaty enough.

The next program that I looked at was Tapestry of Grace. It looks wonderful. It is a multi layered programs with appropriate reading/books/questions/projects for elementary, middle and high school. It looks like it provides an outstanding parental guide. However, I do not want a religious history program. I’d rather keep my religious instruction to church. Probably not a common approach…but it’s what works for us. TOG is also a pretty expensive program…but I am thinking that I would like to see it and see if I could use it in a secular manner – or maybe even combine it with HO.

Finally out of frustration, I pleaded my cause to the members of my e-group and got some great suggestions: Sonlight, Mystery of History and one I had never heard of: History at Our house. Now that last one looks so intriguing. I still have questions about it…but we’ll see. Homeschooling looks to be quite different around here next year – if we use HAOH, Katie will get a class via teleconference; and if we use IEW, her writing lessons will be on DVD.

MATH: Katie continued with multiplication and division of fractions by moving into multi-part word problems. Some of these were quite challenging to her (yippee…we found a math challenge!). Here is one for you to try: Mrs. Klein made some tarts. She sold 3/5 of them in the morning and ¼ of the remainder in the afternoon. If she sold 200 more tarts in the morning than in the afternoon, how many tarts did she make?

HISOTRY: We started the week with a test on Chapter 23 (the chapters we covered last week). She finished reading “The Night Journey” by Kathryn Lasky and “Stalin” by David Downing. She had to choose one to write a book report – and she chose “The Night Journey” saying that doing it on “Stalin” would be too easy! Below is her report – kind of hard to read with the pencil and the reflection from the scanner. Next week we’ll try pen!

Next she started Chapter 24 and read about Mussolini (Il Duce – and we talked about the Latin root for his nickname) and Fascism in Italy. Today she is going to start “The Wave” by Todd Strasser.

PHYSICS: Katie continued with week 24 of the Noeo Physics curriculum and learning about Magnetism. She learned about magnetic fields (am I the only one that reads this and thinks about the tv series, LOST?!!) and how to make a non-magnetic object magnetic. I hadn’t realized that was possible!

SPELLING/GRAMMAR: In Grammar, Katie worked on proper adjectives and adjectives used to compare; in Spelling, she continued working with suffixes.

WRITING: This week Katie had to take the floor plan she made of our house and write a written description of it in a five paragraph essay form.

PIANO: Katie is working on sheet music, doing a practice piece from the technique book and reviewing scales this week.

OTHER STUFF: Our homeschool group is still on break so there was no Latin or Folk dancing – but it will start again next Thursday. Yesterday, Katie went to the “America’s Got Talent” audition at the Cobb Energy Theatre. She was gone for 7 hours! Her friend “Squirtle’s” mom’s marching band (Seed and Feed Abominables) were auditioning. Katie is under strict instructions to not reveal who is going forward…so I have no idea if they are “Going to Vegas” or not…But I hear that Katie might be shown on camera with her antics in the audience. I guess I’ll have to watch now!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Devine

Perhaps captions don't count? Well...after enough requests...I am thinking that an explanation is necessary. The above pictures are of "Devine." You'll find her walking along the pathways of Disney's Animal Kingdom...or sometimes snuggled up to a tree along the path. Don't walk too quickly or you won't see her at all.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Pursuit of Trivia...

Inside my head is a bastion of useless knowledge…but I am not quite sure where I left my cell phone. I can tell you the secret service code name for George Bush…but I forgot that we had invited friends over and went to the library instead (sorry Carolyn!). I can tell you the oldest registered trademark (and the first trademark in England), but I can’t remember the name of the movie I went to see last week. I can remember lots of things that happened before I had children…but after, it’s all kinda fuzzy. Those brain cells have been sucked out and I am left dry.

We are a family that is quite fond of trivia. When I was young, I played trivial pursuit in the 80’s with my parents and brother…my husband and I are regulars at trivia contests at our local bar…my kids are big fans of “Scene It.” We have all sorts of incarnations of trivia games…and the more recent dvd trivia games.

In high school, I was part of the academic team. I remember one of the first questions: “Complete this quote: ‘And this is good old Boston, The home of the bean and the cod, Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots, and the Cabots talk only to_______’” My teammates were quite shocked (and thrilled) that I knew the answer. How did I know it? It was used in the beginning of a Jeffrey Archer book that I had read recently. My team had enough wins that we were invited to participate on “High Q” – the quiz show that is on WSB on Saturday mornings. We didn’t do well on sports questions like: “Which college’s mascot is a horse named “Traveler?”

How do I know this stuff? Sometimes, I am not really sure! If it’s a question about the late 70’s through the 80’s I might know because I can associate it with what grade I was in. I remember seeing the re-make of King Kong in 1976 – I remember it was ’76 because we lived in Florida, I was in first grade, I went with the girls that lived behind our house and I remember going to a shop and buying stickers after it was over. I remember that Entertainment Tonight started in 1981, when I was in 6th grade, and that John Anderson was an actual viable third party candidate (well…he actually didn’t have a party at all) against Carter and Reagan in 1980, when I was in fifth grade. I remember him probably because my dad voted for him (he almost always voted for someone that was not in the mainstream).

For events and trivia that I cannot lock onto a school year memory, I am sometimes fumbling. Sometimes I can get things right just because I am a fan of – like: “What actor was in all three of these movies: ‘Cold Mountain,’ ‘Gone in 60 Seconds,’ and ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?’” Sometimes, I can arrive at the answer simply by using my noggin and thinking about NAFTA: “What four countries does the US import the most automobiles from?”

So, is there a difference between memory and knowledge? For trivia, the line is blurred. A good trivia question should make you pause and think (Who was the last man to set foot on the moon?)…it should be on the tip of your tongue (What character was played by the same actor in both the movie and TV version of MASH?)…and if you don’t know the answer, when you do hear it, you should slap yourself on the head and say “oh…yeah…” (What color is Sponge Bob’s tie?) Did you know that there is even a word for people who collect and study trivia?

And do you know what is helping my trivia game these days? It’s homeschooling. By studying with my child, I can now answer: “What alloy is made up of iron, chromium and nickel?” and “What was the political party of George Washington?” or even “How long was the 100 years war?” Perhaps some of those brain cells are returning after all…
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Week in Review

We had a good week. We started our week with a holiday - always a nice way to begin! Katie had her friend Diana spend the night on Sunday and then on Monday, Madalyn's friend Shannon spent the day with us. AND Katie's friend Audrey and her mom Bernice came over for lunch on Monday - so we had a day full of friends. Again...a great way to start off the week. On Tuesday, Madalyn went back to school and Katie went back to her planner.

MATH: Katie continued with Singapore Math (5A). She did several days of reviews and then learned how to divide fractions. Fractions are her favorite. She even likes to make up problems to do for fun. Strange child...

SPELLING/GRAMMAR: Spelling Workout continued with suffixes this week. In grammar, Katie learned how to diagram sentences with adjectives. She also covered demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these and those.

HISTORY: We worked through chapters 23 and 24 in Story of the World and Katie is enjoying what she is reading. The more modern history seems to be grabbing her attention more than some of the other periods we have read about. In Chapter 22 we covered the rise of Indian Nationalism and Ghandi. Next, in Chapter 23 Katie learned about the Peace of Versailles and the rise of Joseph Stalin. These chapters are setting the stage for our next reading: "The Wave" by Todd Strasser, "The Night Journey" by Kathryn Lasky and "Animal Farm" by George Orwell.

WRITING: Katie's history lesson influence her writing assignment for the week. I took the suggestion from the SOTW activity guide and had Katie do a research project on peaceful demonstrations. She choose to research Martin Luther King, Jr (after realizing that there is not much information in the kids section on Thoreau's "On Civil Discourse.") We went to the library and looked for information in the encyclopedia and a few other books. She took notes while we were there, and then the next day used her notes to make an outline. She did a rough draft, a second draft and then a final draft using the traditional 5 paragraph essay format. It was a great first foray into this format.

PHYSICS: This week Katie moved from inventions to Magnetism. She learned about magnetic materials and poles. She did a few experiments to see what is magnetic or not (stainless steel is not - hence no magnets on our fridge - yippee!), and another looking at actual magnets. She learned that magnets have a north side and a south side - so if you have two magnets, the north side is attracted to the south side; north-north or south-south would repel each other. Also, if you cut a magnet in half, there will still be a north side and a south side.

EXTRAS: Our homeschool group is on break for two weeks, so there was no art or folk dancing. I bought a "Walk away the Pounds" dvd, and Katie and I did that for the first time. It's a nice and easy workout (my trouble with most workout videos is that I am so un-coordinated that I spend most of my time trying to figure out what they are doing - and with this - it was simple and easy to follow!) - and I see us doing that a few times a week.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Homeschool on a Dessert Desert Isle...

What homeschool product could I not live without? Besides the obvious of our curriculum choices, these are the things that make our homeschooling lives easier:

1. My planner. It is just a simple planner that I get each year from "The School Box." Sometimes it is hard to find because they have the fancy ones for the school teachers - and I just need to plan assignments for one student. I don't need seating charts or records for grades...I just need a box for each subject over the course of a week. I plan for just three weeks at a time - it is short enough so that if we have to make changes, it's not on a grand planning scale - but it's long enough for me to reserve books from the library. Katie is in charge of her own day. She crosses off when she is done - and she can do the subjects in whatever order she chooses. Sometimes she'll even swap some of her days around - doing all her spelling first and saving grammar for the end of the week. Notice too, that everything is done in pencil! You never know when you might need to make changes! And that segues nicely into important item #2...

2. Pencil and sharpener. You know what drives me nuts? When the eraser won't erase...and it just smears graphite across the page. Yuck. Don't those companies do product testing?

3. Dry erase boards. Sometimes explaining something on paper just does not cut it...a dry erase board is the perfect solution.

4. My computer and the internet. I surely hope that this desert island has electricity and wifi because the resources I have found online are priceless! From reviews of curriculums, to support groups, to homeschooling blogs full of amazing resources, to amazon and tons of others - all of these sources help me to run our homeschool life so much easier.

5. And lastly, but not least, our library!

(perhaps that desert island shouldn't be deserted...)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

These were taken at the Chacchoben mound complex in Mexico (in the south section of the state Quintana Roo)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Challenge Check-in

My 888 challenge is not going as quickly as I would have expected. Even my daughter has commented that it is taking me quite a long time to finish "The year of Living Biblically." I think that blogging is taking up some of my reading time! One of the talents that I do possess is the ability to read more than one book at a time. This happens to me because I forget my book in the kitchen...and I am too lazy to get out of bed and go I grab something else off the shelf!

So far, the only books that I have finished are Romance books. I was not a reader of romances until recently. My first was "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It was recommended by a friend at my book club. I didn't know it was a romance...and actually the book store where I purchased it, had it in the fiction section. It is a great book - historical fiction with a little time travel thrown in - over 800 pages - riveting story - I would highly recommend it. So...when I finished it, I had to find the sequel (there are now 6 books in the story with 2 more to come). Now, I looked at a different bookstore for the sequel, and I could not find it on the shelves. When I went to ask about it...they sent me to the Romance section. What?! I dont' read romance! All I thought of was Barbara Cartland bodice rippers. Well...let me tell you, Romance has come a long way since the '80's.

My mother will still say that romance books are drivel...and I will admit that I can finish one in a day...but it is wonderful escapism...and there is always a "happily ever after." This HEA is really important after reading books like "Cold Mountain," where I just wanted to throw it against the wall after reading it. **Spoilers ahead - if you don't want to know...move on to the next paragraph!** I mean, after journeying forever with the twists, turns, and setbacks of that novel, only to have the hero killed in the end - no thanks!

The genre that I don't read a lot of is non-fiction...and here I am reading two! For this type of book to work for me, I need it to either be funny or told like a story. I tried so hard to read "John Adams" by David McCullough, but I just could not get into it. It was just too dry and tedious. Recently I read "A Year without Made in China" by Sara Bongiorni about one family's attempt to go an entire year without buying goods made in China. The writer has a great sense of humor about her experiment and I like her writing style. Another non-fiction favorite is Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City." Larson writes in a story format with side by side tales - of the architecture world's fair in Chicago and the first documented serial killer in the US. Fascinating history!

I think my favorite non-fiction writers can be found in the travel section of the bookstore -- Bill Bryson and Maarten Troost. Most people have heard of Bryson and his travels around Britain (in "Notes from a Small Island"), Australia ("In a Sunburned Country"), the Appalachain Trail ("A Walk in the Woods") and the universe ("A Short history of Nearly Everything")...but not as many people have heard of Troost. He has written two books with a third coming out this fall. His first book, "The Sex Lives of Canibals" is not about sex or cannibals but about a couple's quest to escape from their mundane lives to something extraordinary - so she gets a job on Kiribati, a small island in the Pacific - and he writes about island life. It is a laugh outloud, pee in your pants, funny book.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Week in Review

Another week of homeschooling completed. All in all, it was a pretty good week - work completed as scheduled with a minimum of tears, frustration, and screaming. Madalyn had a good week at school, too. There was early release on Wednesday and Thursday - and I had a conference with her teacher yesterday. She says that Madalyn is a sweet girl, a hard worker, and a natural reader (Public school is such a good fit for her!).

Math: This week we moved from addition and subtraction of fractions to multiplication. Again…it’s easy! I am struggling with how to challenge her in math. We can’t skip the lessons – just because it is easy for her doesn’t mean that she knows how to do it without the lesson. So…perhaps we should do more than one lesson on a day. I am not sure what to do.

History: We covered the Russian Revolution and the end of WWI. Katie really liked this chapter in SOTW – she found it quite interesting. Her interest was obvious when I graded her chapter test! She also read a book about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a kids Discover magazine about Suffragists. Katie says that what we need to work on now is children having the right to vote!

Physics: She continued her book about inventions. She stood in our kitchen at the beginning of the week to see what needs electricity in order to function. Conclusion: pretty much everything! Thank goodness for electricity or else we’d have to cook our dinner “over yonder fire.” She also read about the history of the television, computer, and possible inventions in the future.

Spelling: continued words with suffixes.
Grammar: Grammar unit review and then moved to the next chapter on adjectives.

Writing: She finished “Children of the Lamp” and then did her first week using the book report form I discovered on “Wall of Books” blog. She did not appreciate this new approach! After looking at her first attempt, there were tears when I told her it was just a first draft and that changes needed to be made. But after going to the basement school room and letting out a loud primal scream…she was ready to tackle the project again with much better results.

Piano: Worked more on technique – left and right hand switching. She got new books this week.

Latin: Third conjugation verbs – and she has 2 weeks off of classes – and is thankful that Abbey did not send home a Latin test to do over the break this time.

Choir: Tonight both girls are performing with their choir (Gwinnett Young Singers) for the International Montessori conference downtown Atlanta. With Friday traffic, I am wondering if we need to leave NOW…

Art: Had an art show for the last day of classes (my favorite is the second one - she had to draw a face with her eyes closed - love the abstract!):

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

She's Brilliant I tell you, Brilliant

I have been immortalized by Darcy! When I first began this little adventure into was of course because I was looking at all these homeschooling blogs...and I wanted one, too! As I was looking, I ran across one called Life with my 3 Boybarians. I really liked the style of it...and it had fabulous music! And then I noticed that the creator, Darcy, does designs for other bloggers. I asked her to help me before my first post was published!

We did quite a bit of back and forth because I wasn't sure what I wanted. And then I had to prove to Darcy that I was quite the study in contradictions. One of the first things she asked (to get a sense of my style) was: "Pick any of these words that you think describe how you want your blog to feel: whimsical, serious, grungy, artsy, artistic, colorful, retro, shabby, clean, studious, old-world, homey, scrappy, floral, urban, loud, nautical, cottage, classic." And here is my response: "Okay...hopefully you won't feel like you want to slap me...but I like the idea of a study in contrasts - whimsical yet serious; classic, clean, studious yet loud :-)"

From there, I realized that I did not want a scrapbook look...that I liked images. One of my favorites with photography is black and white...with part of the photo in color. And then, I gave Darcy my idea of a lightning bolt instead of sunshine...kinda going with my ironic/sarcastic sense of humor. Well...Darcy just took off with that idea. She loved it, saying: "The irony of it all is *hilarious* to me, in that shocking sort of way." Well...once that was out of the was just a small matter of picking colors and doing the code (cough, cough, small matter indeed!)

The journey (and different header suggestions) are up on Darcy's "Graphically Designing" website (just click on her icon to check out the site...come on, ya know you want to!). And as she showed the finished product on her website she says that I am "brilliant" and "funny, too." Gotta love Darcy. She is a smart cookie!

Okay...moving on. Happy Valentine's Day! We have had a great day here. My day started by waking up to a series of envelopes with notes in them from my husband. I think he's a keeper!

Madalyn had her Valentine party at school - and her "crafty" box looks like it has been to a great party. She also wrote a wonderful Valentine note:
We also had a Valentine party with our homeschool group today. Katie got to exchange Valentines with her friends, eat lots of yummy cupcakes, and make some crafty cards with "ingredients" that would never be brought into this house (ie, glitter, glue, and things with lots of little pieces!)
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday I can never manage to be perfectly wordless! These pictures were taken on a snorkel trip out of Port St. Joe, Florida - we did a show and tell of what we found in the sea. From the top: puffer fish, starfish, egg casing for a nautilus or some other spiral shaped shell creature, sea urchins - alive with spikes, dead ones are without, seahorse, and a crab in a shell.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Our version of crafts

Yesterday we covered my feelings about crafts. They are not my thing. I am not creative. There is this wonderful Einstein quote that says: "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." I like it. When I scrapbooked, we called this the C.A.S.E method (you know, Copy And Steal Everything!) I also am not a fan of the mess that is made when you get crafty...all the little pieces...all the stuff that you drag out...and worse...all the stuff that you then have to put away again! I am very excited about some of the new programs with Creative Memories - I can do my entire album digitally. I can upload my pictures to my computer...and CM has software programs that I can use to be frou-frou if I so choose (all still on my computer)...and then I can upload it to their site where they will print a beautiful book for me. Cheaper than the traditional method...and just as beautiful. Okay...that rant was neither here nor there.

What I wanted to show you was the "doing" of crafts at my house. Madalyn's assignment (err...Mom's assignment) was to make a mailbox to receive her Valentines during her class party on Thursday. Not being crafty, we don't keep things that might have future use in crafts (I don't keep them...I hide them under the rest of the trash so that they can go away with no one the wiser!) - so I had to solicit friends for a shoebox. Then I had to do the Hollywood style of wrapping (you know...on your shows when they get a gift...they just lift the lid off the beautifully wrapped ripping of paper happening on TV).
Then Madalyn did her "craft" - which was to add stickers to the box to call it her own! After being a Creative Memories consultant for lots of years...what I have in my house is an excess of stickers. I am not sure how I became the proud owner of such a money sucking mess...but I am! The kids love to delve into my sticker notebook. But...did I use said notebook for this project? No...I bought stickers. Not sure what I was thinking! Our homeschool group is having a party on Valentine's day...but Katie and I will be in class for most of the party. Katie made some Valentines herself to give to her friends - but nothing as elaborate as our sticker covered Hollywood wrapped mailbox!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

So…are you selling this now?

I like having home parties – I like going to them. And I was even a Creative Memories consultant for 9 years. People are always shocked when I tell them that I hate crafts. They say…”but you scrapbook…” Well…yes, I scrapbook. I love taking pictures. And I always have a lot to say (can you tell?!) So…my scrapbook pages are not works of art. They are really simple – lots of pictures, LOTS of words, and a little color (see -- pretty simple!). I sent my kids to pre-school so that I did not have to deal with playdough, glitter, and glue!

Over the years, I have hosted and attended Creative memories classes, and parties for Usborne, Premier jewelry, Pampered Chef, Tastefully simple, Longaberger, Southern Living, and there have probably been some others over the years. Anyway a few months ago I was looking for a pretty paper towel holder for my kitchen. I couldn’t find anything that I liked – but thought I might find something from Southern Living. I ran into a friend of mine who is a consultant with Southern Living and asked her for a catalog. She just happened to mention that January was double hostess points! So…a simple need for a paper towel holder led to a decision to have a party.

I like having parties – but no everyone is as enthusiastic as I am. I have attempted to host parties in the past. I have had to cancel because no one could come. And I have had some really successful parties. I was not sure what this party would bring. I mean, I was having it in January. There is a good reason for it being doubles hostess points month. I sent out my evites; I sent out post card reminders. When I handed some out…some people even asked me if I was now selling Southern Living. What?! Just because I was a consultant before does not mean that I want to be a consultant again!

And then…miracles of miracles…people actually began to RSVP…and in a positive manner. I actually made a call to the consultant to say I had no idea where I was going to fit 21 people in my living room! I actually hoped that not all of them would show up.

On the night of the big event…I had 15 people that came to the house…and lots of outside orders. With the big tally…the party sales were almost $1100! With double hostess points…I got 40% of the party sales in product – and 5 items at half price. That is A LOT of product. And it’s a lot of product that has been delivered to my house. The Fex Ex guy had a lot of comments about all the boxes he brought into the house (they were pretty heavy). And then…I had to sort and bag…so if you came to my party – I have your stuff!! I need to be rescued from all the bags that make it impossible to walk from the kitchen to the laundry room…or maybe that is not such a bad thing...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week in Review

We are classical in our homeschool...and are ardent followers of the Well Trained Mind. I plan out Katie's lessons every three weeks and she does her work rather independently. In the mornings she likes to get up early with her sister - and gets quite upset if we do not wake her up. Katie walks Madalyn to the bus stop (I do wonder what the bus driver makes of her being there every morning and then walking on home - or of her being there some afternoons to pick her up!), comes home and makes herself some breakfast and then she starts on her school work. It is a rare occassion that I have to remind her to get started on her lessons. I am sort of hands off - she does what is in her planner and we have a "check-in" time each day where I make sure that she has done her work and see if any corrections need to be made. Sometimes she needs help - and we do discuss what she is learning...but she is a very independent learner. I let her have charge of her own schedule - as long as it is completed by the end of the week, it's okay with me if she does double work somedays and other days skips subjects.

So...this is what we covered this week:

Math: We are covering addition, subtraction and multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers. Today we talked about using fractions in units of measurement: 1/6 of a year; 3/10 of a gallon, etc..Katie says it was “very easy.”

Grammar: paragraphs and the verb “do” – she is not a big fan of grammar - I think it is just because it is too easy for her. She is in her third year of maybe next year we will jump ahead in the Growing with Grammar plan. Something to think about.

Spelling: suffixes – er, or, and ist (which launches her into the conjugation of sum) Grammar and spelling are combined in our schedule - she does 3 days of grammar and 2 days of spelling each week. She is not a natural speller at all - but quite a proficient typist and a big fan of spell check!

Writing: We are using Writing and Reading strands this year - our first year of trying this plan. We work the program on a three week cycle. We do week one on writing strands which works on the mechanics of writing. The following week we work from Reading strands. For this, we learn about a literary technique - things like conflict, characterization, symbolism - and she either reads a book that is assigned for history or uses one of her choosing - and at the end of the week, she'll write a narrative for me focusing on the topic of the week. For example, she read "Little Women" and then did her narrative about one of the characters in the book. Then on the third week, she again either reads a book for history or one of her choice and writes a narrative on a topic of her choice. This week we were in writing strands with the topic being different types of description. She had to make a floor plan of our house. That was a really interesting lesson in perspective, estimation and description!

Science: We are using Noeo Physics I and have been studying about electricty. Katie finished reading about Michael Faraday - the pioneer of electricity. (Is anyone else a LOST fan? There was a new character last night named Dan Faraday, who is a physicist - is there a connection??) Yesterday, Katie moved on to reading about inventions – electricity and then today about the telephone. On the topic of electricty, Katie was amused to learn about early warning labels – the light bulb said “do not light with a match.” One of my favorite topics is warning labels - you know someone has done the thing they are warning about! Don't ride on the Roomba vacuum cleaner; dog chew toys are not for children under age 5; do not use hair dryer while sleeping; do not use lawn mower to trim hedges; and my personal favorite is on Christmas lights - for indoor or outdoor use only -- as opposed to??? Perhaps I have now saved one of you from certain death or dismemberment!

History: Finished chapter 20 in Story of the World Vol 4 (about World War I) – and studies the Learning through History magazine on the Great War. According to Katie, one of the more interesting articles was about Edith Carvell who was a nurse and part of the Belgian resistance. I love this magazine! I am somewhat frustrated with Story of the World. We typically follow the public school schedule - which has a 36 week year. SOTW has 42 chapters in each of their books. This makes it really difficult to finish a book in a school year - especially as this year we spent extra time on Westward expansion, the Civil War, and now World War I. I am thinking that we are just going to have to skip some sections - I mean, how important is it for her to know what was going on in Paraguay? And with that thought...I am trying to figure out what to do for next year. I am thinking that we'll use History Odyssey - but use it as a guide - and perhaps skipping sections again. Or we could use HO as a guide, but do history more as unit studies - spending a month or so on each topic (Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome...). I like the idea of doing this so that I can set up a way to cover American history - linking it with civics and geography - for an entire year - and we'll have to find a way to work Georgia History in there too. Oh, how to do it all?!
Piano: Katie is in her fourth year of piano lessons. No one else in the house has any musical talent - she is completely on her own in doing this! She tells me that she is working on a piece to improve syncopation technique (ummm...okay...whatever that means!)

Latin: Every Thursday we go to our classes offered through our homeschool group. Katie takes Latin, Art, and Folk Dancing - and I teach 2 high school level Latin classes. This week, Katie learned about second conjugation verbs – and is preparing for the National Latin exam in March.
I like to look at Katie's folk dancing class as her PE. This is the one area where we are lacking. She doesn't lack for physical activity...just not organized activity. We have found homeschool PE classes in the past but they have just not appealed to her as they were structured more like drill work (push ups and such). I wanted to find a place where she could learn games and have fun while being active at the same time. Right now we have found our answer in folk dancing. And in our next session of classes she will do swimming and folk dancing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goin' Native

The world of blogging is so much fun – and for someone with a degree in Anthropology, I feel like I have found a whole new culture. There are all these cultural norms – such as the post from yesterday of “Wordless Wednesday.” And now I have heard of bloggers challenge that is going to complete my transformation of going native. It is a challenge that appeals to my two great loves: reading and making lists!

The challenge is called 888. It entails reading 8 books in 8 categories in ’08. You can make any categories you like…and I hear the “official” rules say that 8 books can overlap – so your total reading will be 56-64 books. Now reading this many books is not the challenge for me (I read over 200 last year) – what will be challenging is to read outside of my normal genres…and for me that would be classics.

Confession time: I have never read Jane Austen. For someone who loves romance novels…it’s like sacrilege. (I’ll go ahead and hang my head in shame) I know the stories, I have seen the movies, but I have never read the books. So, a classics category would work – I don’t want an entire Austen category – because, God forbid – what if I don’t like her style?!

So…as a work in progress, here is what I have so far for the challenge:
Book Club
1. Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
2. Isaac’s Storm: a Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

Young Adult
1. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
3. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
4. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
6. The miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo
7. The Wave by Todd Strasser

Popular Fiction
1. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale
3. Duma Key by Stephen King

1. The know it all by AJ Jacobs
2. Body Drama: Real girls, real bodies, real issues, real answers by Nancy Amanda Redd
3. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
4. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
5. Sin in the Second city: Madams, ministers, playboys and the battle for America’s soul by Karen Abbott
6. Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost
7. I hope they serve beer in Hell by Tucker Max
8. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

1. Secrets of the Highlander by Janet Chapman
2. Lover Enshrined by JR Ward
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
5. 1984 by George Orwell

Award Winners
1. March by Geraldine Brooks (Pulitzer Prize 2006 in fiction)
2. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (National Book Critics Circle, 1998)
3. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (2003 Man Booker Prize)
4. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1998 Man Booker Prize)
5. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (2000 Pulitzer Prize in fiction)
6. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kenney Toole (1981 Pulitzer Prize in fiction)
7. A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (1991 Pulitzer Prize in History)
8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1978 Newberry Medal for best children’s book)

Books already on my shelf
1. The boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
2. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
3. An Arsonists Guide to Writers homes in New England by Brock Clark
4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahntik
5. How to teach filthy rich girls by Zoey Dean
6. Your big break by Johanna Edwards
7. Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
8. Material Girl by Julia London

So...are you with me for the challenge? What's on your to be read pile?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Photobucket Katie a few weeks ago in the snow. This is what winter is supposed to look like. But yesterday we had a high in the '70's...I know, don't complain...but I would love it to be seasonally appropriate! (Crud...this is supposed to be wordless. Something I am not good at!)