A School Year In Review.

by Dani

Once again I find myself at the end of a school year and find that I was too busy doing to blog about it. That's a good thing I suppose. :)

Still, I DO have some pictures I want to share from out 2014-2015 school year. We actually have one more week before we are done. We got a little behind with tons of doctor/medical things last fall and this winter, but here we are at the finish line. Butterfly and Cricket have 5 more days of Creation to Greeks (My Father's World). Butterfly is done with math and has one more English lesson and 2 more lessons in All About Spelling level 3 to get her where I want to be. Cricket is done with English and has 2.5 lessons level in All About Spelling level 2. Math for him, we're just going to call it done although he didn't get through all of his 3rd grade math. Math is a real struggle for him. He started the year actually going backward and regressed to below a first grade level. After talking with some experienced homeschoolars, I just stopped all math with him for a semester. We started back up in January and were able to make major progress. We moved through 1st and 2nd grade math and into 3rd grade level work. I estimate he is only about half a grade level behind now. Confidence is still a struggle, but math (usually) doesn't equal tears and complete shut down anymore.

Things that worked this year: well, actually most things worked. We continue to love My Father's World for our core. I actually enjoyed CtG more then ECC from last year. For one thing, the science was better and I like the anchor the history cycle provides. We will continue with MFW next year, but I may switch art around as I'm not too impressed with the art that is part of the program. Language arts I am happy with what we are using. I am VERY, VERY happy with our switch in spelling programs. We went from Spelling Power which was ok for Butterfly and HORRIBLE for Cricket to All About Spelling. I can NOT say enough about how wonderful AAS is. Total. Life. Saver! *I* have learned so much from it. Had I had this program when I was a child, I think I would be a much better speller even with my dyslexia. The phonics that is part of it is so helpful too. We also had a lot of success with IEW writing program in our homeschool co-op this year. So much so that I plan to add it in next year for our writing program for Butterfly and Cricket. We used CTC math program this year and it was a good fit for the year. It is really good at identifying and filling in gaps which we needed. It also is helpful in catching students up. Although it was a good fit this year, I don't think it will be good in the long run.  I don't feel that the lessons are complete enough or that there is enough practice for each topic to make it a complete math program. Sure I could add that practice in myself, but really, I don't have the time to mess with that. I want a program that already has that. So planning to switch to Teaching Textbooks next year.

So here are some pictures from the second half of our year...

Here is our schoolroom/area all set up.

Learning about the 10 plagues. Kids reenact the boils plague.

Butterfly works on IEW.

Cricket works on learning cursive. Isn't his handwriting AMAZING??

We learned about the tabernacle and created mini replica of it.

Ladybug working on her Bible notebook.

In science we studied the solar system. Here we are comparing distance between the plants using a roll of TP. 

When we were learning about Egypt, the kids played senet.

Greek coin made while studying ancient Greece.

Goodbye school... Hello Summer!!! :)

Art, Art, Art

by Dani

Cricket and Ladybug were in an art class at co-op this fall. They got to do a lot of fun projects. Here are some of them.

First Grade Fun

by Dani

In homeschool posts, I've sort of neglected Ladybug, my little first grader. Now she does join the big kids for somethings like history activities and science, but she has she own reading and math and related activities.

Her reading is coming right along although she doesn't like doing her workbook very much.

She DOES enjoy the reading games we play such as the one where she read sentences then did what they said. Here she is following the "Jump on the bed" instructions. :)

She also loves to do copywork (WHY???!?!?) and asks for more all the time. It is having a positive effect on her handwriting at least.

Math is very hands on. We do use a workbook sometimes.

But a lot of it is done on the whiteboard or with manipulables.

So there is a little sample of what Miss Ladybug has been up to.

Lost In Egypt

by Dani

So I've told you what the pre-K set has been doing during the day, but I'm woefully behind in blogging about our homeschool adventures this year.  As I mentioned before, we are working through the second year of the family cycle with My Father's World which focuses on history from the beginning to the ancient Greeks.

While we have been too busy to do all of the activities (namely the celebration of the Biblical feasts), we've still had a lot of fun, and the children have really learned a lot. We started off with creation and moved through the early Biblical accounts. We learned about the ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia. We even practiced our cuneiform writing skills in some "clay" cookie dough tablets! Best part about that was eating it!

We then entered a 4 week study of ancient Egypt. The older two children have really enjoyed this, as have I, since it is a favorite time period/civilization for me. Poor Ladybug has not been as happy. We lost her the first week in talking about mummification and the removal of the brain through the nose! Since then she has covered her ears at the mention of "mummy". :)

We spent time learning about and building various pyramids. There was our clay model...

and the paper model...

Then we got out the legos and got serious! After making the "great" pyramid of Lego and adding the queens' pyramids, the kids decided to add a temple to the front and made it quite grand.

We also studied other Egyptian inventions such as the boats, the chariot, and papyrus. 

In our memory work this year, we are learning the books of the Bible. One activity I had them do was put note cards with the book names on them in the correct order.

Although we have been very busy, we did take some time out for a field trip with the homeschool co-op. We visited a local historical site and learned about pioneer life. The kids had fun making paper and tin punching.

So far so good! :)

What The Littles Do While We Do School...

by Dani

People often ask how we get any school done with two little ones under foot. And while it IS at times a challenge, the pre-school set manages to stay quite busy while Mommy focuses on the older kids. Besides making messes (occasionally very large ones!), they do a lot of fun and educational things. 

There is tons of creative, imaginative play with trucks, planes, and dolls.

There is lots of block building, and the marble set gets used a ton. (The build in the picture was done by Lil' Bug.)

There is singing and musical play.

Sometimes we just dance around and act silly!

Sometimes the Lil' Engineer (aka Lil' Bug) runs experiments like this one to see what happens to his truck if he runs it across different block ramps.  Lil' Sis got in on this one, too. :)

And sometimes we get out puzzles and other pre-k activities. Here is Lil' Bug working a number activity. Yup, he's got those numbers down cold!

So there you have it. What the preschoolers underfoot are up to. :)

Our Fall line Up for Socialization.

by Dani

Because I'm deathly afraid my 5 children will NEVER be socialized due to my homeschooling them, I have them each in a million activities!
Hahaha! Obviously I am being sarcastic. Still the kids really are in a lot of activities this fall so I thought I would share the list of what they are doing.

Sunday- Sunday school and church in AM. This fall Butterfly is in a special baptismal class duirng Sunday School. Then in the afternoon Butterfly and Ladybug have practice for the children's choir.

Monday- Cricket and Ladybug are taking Kung Fu.

Tuesday- Butterfly has ballet class for one hour and Hip Hop for one hour. Butterfly and Ladybug have American Heritage Girls.

Wednesday- Butterfly and Cricket go to Jr. Youth group.

Thursday- Butterfly has a second ballet class. Ladybug has ballet and jazz classes.

Friday- we have homeschool co-op.

We have some really great classes at co-op this year and the kids are really enjoying themselves.

Butterfly has an IEW writing class (All Things Fun and Fascinating), Our State history, and a music class where she is learning, among other things, to play the recorder. During club time she is in Girls on the Run.

Cricket has an art class, a nature study class (this have been supper fun), and an origami math class (which I am teaching). His club time is Legos of course. :)

Ladybug is in the same art and nature classes as Cricket as well as a Spanish class. During club time, she is in a board games club.

The littles are in a Kindermusic class for one hour then various story, craft, play type preschool activities during the rest of the time we are there.

So there is our fall activities line up. It sure keeps me hopping