Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Love Is

Love is me and you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 4

This week I will begin my update with Emmanuel.  He is progressing nicely.  I think we are finally getting into a grove twelve weeks in. 

Reading - I am using Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons.  This resource was not a match with Christopher's learning style and I was tempted to give it away but I am elated that I kept this book. 

We sit down together and work through one or two lessons a day.  Then we do the corresponding handwriting lessons. 

Bible - This week we completed Unit 2 of HOD curriculum.  Our focus was Noah and the ark.  We learned that God put a rainbow in the sky to remind us of his promise to never flood the entire earth again.

Science- Emmanuel's first science experiment was predicting which items would sink or float.

Motor Skills - He is working very hard on his cutting skills.  He is improving but it is a slow process.

Christopher's week was very productive.  I posted about our art in a earlier post, so I will not include art in this weekly wrap up. 

Language Arts - We had our very first lesson is subject verb agreement. 

History - Many of our letters were borrowed from the ancient Greeks. Then I realized I was reading from the wrong chapter.  As I explained my error to Christopher he said that's okay mom at least we learned about the alphabet. The correct topic for us this week was the island of Crete, located in the Mediterranean Sea.  The people of Crete were called Minoans after King Minos.  Minoans are well known for bull jumping and sailing.  Modern day gymnasts use many of the same moves that were used back in ancient times, somersaults, vaulting, and tumbling but instead of using equipment they would use small animals in preparation for jumping bulls.  The King of the Minoans created the first navy.

Math- Ordered containers by volume.  I filled various containers and Christopher has to guess which container held the most cups of water.  We began counting by 10 and working with dimes.  Christopher already knows how to count by 10 but our curriculum goes more in depth.  We compared the value of  pennies to dimes and determined that carrying dimes would be easier than carrying around so many pennies. 

 We continue our studies in Spanish, Reading and Critical Thinking but I will only highlight certain things each week.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tooth Fairy Inflation

Do any of you remember what the tooth fairy left you for each tooth?  I remember the anticipation the night before.  All I could think about was the shiny, cold dime that would greet me in the morning.  Oh the joy, but have you seen the amount of money children get for losing teeth nowadays?  It's unbelievable.  I got a dime for each tooth and was more than happy to give each of my children a dime.  Seems reasonable right?  But then I started thinking, what if one day he and friend are discussing how much the tooth fairly left him and he eagerly says a dime and that friend says 'What only a dime'.  This potential drama played out in my head, oh the horror!  See what happens when I start thinking.

So I caved, I gave in to the tooth fairy inflation pressure and gave him one dollar.  One whole crisp dollar, wow! Had I received such fortune for a tooth I would have lost my mind at the local corner store.  Then I did some research and felt bad about giving the dollar when the tooth fairy is leaving $3.00 plus for some. Why should this milestone be clouded with dollars and cents. 

Anyway, tooth fairy inflation aside, Christopher is so cute with his two front teeth missing that I catch myself staring in his mouth constantly. I keep pestering him for kisses.  He's just so cute, I cant stand it. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meet The Masters

In the Weekly Wrap-Up #3 I discussed briefly our art curriculum Meet The Masters.  Last week we finally began Unit 1 of MTM.  I spent a lot of time researching and finally decided on MTM.  Anyone who has decided to educate your children at home knows how painstaking it is to pick a curriculum.  The fact that there are so many choices out there does not simplify the matter.  Anyway my decision to use MTM was based on several things:
  • Cost - My husband and I discuss each year what our budget will be for boys education.  That means I have to choose wisely and make the most of what I have.
  • Ease of Use - I was looking for a program that was user friendly.  I am not an art scholar so I needed something that was presented in a way that I felt comfortable teaching. 
  • Presentation of Material - I was looking for a combined program that taught art history, artist study and of course had a hands on component but it needed to be fun. Some of the programs I researched seemed to focus so much on technique (line, shading, etc.) or they were just so rigid in their approach. Of course, there is a time and a place to focus on those things. However, I did not want my first graders initial experience with art to be negative.
  • Non consumable -  It's important that I have things that I can reuse, this is a cost savings to me.  
MTM met all of these requirements.  The program is broken down into Tracks and each track contains seven artists or units.  The curriculum is further broken down by age groups.  So track A contains the same artist throughout the program but the assignments/techniques are catered for a different audience or age group. 
Once I downloaded my track I went to Kinko's and made copies of the units.  I created a art folder that follows the sequence of the program.

Our first artist was Vincent Van Gogh.  Previous to beginning the unit I checked out several books from the library and we read through those.  You don't have to get additional books but if you are a overachiever  person like me, then no matter how great a program is you will always find ways to tweak it more.  I will say that Van Gogh was not a happy man so, I had to really edit the information that I shared from the library books.  MTM's presentation needed no editing, it was perfect. 

When you purchase the program you receive a user name and login.  When you are ready to begin the lessons you log in and watch the presentation while reading the supplied script.    I read while Christopher clicked the next button.  Then we worked on the worksheets which taught us how to apply texture to our pictures. Van Gogh's work is know for its texture. 

Christopher did a great job adding the various textures.

Outlining a shape.

The third and final portion of our activity was to recreate our version of a Starry Night, using some of the techniques we learned. 
The original

Christopher's completed masterpiece

Emmanuel's contribution

You didn't think I was going to let them have all the fun did you!

We enjoyed our journey through unit one and are looking forward to the days ahead with this curriculum.  MTM has put together an excellent product in my opinion. It has certainly enhanced our learning this year.  If you are looking for an art program that can be implemented easily and is fun for all you should check this one out. 

Edited to add - This program has changed since my original purchase.  There are now five artists per track and seven tracks, versus seven artists on five tracks.
Disclosure:  I have not been paid to share my opinion about this product. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Photos

Chronicling the family as we grow and expand can be challenging. At times I feel so guilty that I don't do a better job of displaying our family moments.  A few weeks ago my friend Carrie came over to do a photo shoot of the family.  We discussed the photo shoot for months prior to it actually taking place.  Originally we were going to do an outside shoot but because of the heat we decided an indoor shoot would be best.  I was so grateful to have the photo shoot at our home.  Here are just a few of the shots.

I wanted a stair step picture but Joshua was not cooperating.

Mom with the family.  She was excited to join in on the family photos.

The boys with lollipops.  Mother gave them lollipops to keep them happy during the shoot.

I got this idea from  photos my friend took with her family.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 3

Another great week here at Random Uttering.  Here a few highlights. 

Reading - We studied plurals. If  there are more than one of an item you add an s to the end of the word to make it plural. 
Our program is really stepping up and each week we are incorporating more phonics rules.  For example last week we learned the short vowel rule.  Short Vowel Rule - When a word has one vowel in the middle or at the beginning it makes its short vowel sound. This week we worked with consonants that are doubled at the end of a word.  SS, ff, ll are letters that don't stand alone at the end of a word when they follow a short vowel sound.  Examples of this rule are words like mess, cuff, hill.  Each day I do a short review to see what he remembers or what he is struggling with prior to us moving ahead with new information.

Language Arts - Our first week incorporating LA into our days was exceptional.  I was concerned  the work load would be too much but Christopher adjusted well.  He told me several times this week how much he loved LA.  Much of information covered this week was a review for Christopher.
  • Identifying vowels and consonants
  • Comparing the similarities and differences of capital letters and their lowercase partners
  • Every word has a vowel
  • Sentences begin with capitals and end with periods
Christopher did learn something new this week.  He learned that a telling sentence has two parts.  The who and what.  We did a series of exercises where Christopher identified the who and the what.  There are so many features I find appealing about our curriculum.  One of things I love is there are little boxes at the end of the directions.  After the student has read and done what the directions say, the student is to put a check in the box.  This is the beginning process of teaching him to check over his assignments prior to turning them in. 

Art - This week we began our first unit of Meet the Masters. Our first artist was Vincent Van Gogh.  Christopher really enjoyed it.  When my husband came home he couldn't wait to share all that he learned about Vincent Van Gogh.  I will post more  about Meet the Masters in a later post. 

Math - We are moving right along in math.  He has quizzes almost daily on his math facts.  He is such a perfectionist that he is disappointed if he does not score 100% each test or quiz.  We are really working with him in this area because his desire to be perfect shows up in many other areas.  One of our assignments this week required that Christopher fill a design with  pattern blocks and remember how he covered the design.  So he put pattern blocks on the design then he removed the blocks one by on tracing the border line of the remaining shapes.  Finally he colored the pictures.
I love the way Saxon math is laid out. It truly is an incremental approach each concept building upon itself.  I really could not have asked for a better program.  It is very repetitive which is a turn off for some. When I first reviewed the curriculum, I questioned the pace of the program thinking it may be too slow.  But I am really enjoying this program with Christopher. 

Emmanuel began unit two of his curriculum this week.  It was a light week for him.  We worked on the letter B. Emmanuel knows his letters and sounds but is not quite ready to start reading so the letter crafts are fun for him. 

We spent some quality time together reading books.  Emmanuel likes to snuggle so reading time is very special to him.  He gets very upset if we are not able to have our reading time together. 

He added another page to his numbers book.

We even had some time to throw in a few of the activity bags from the swap that I planned earlier this year.  This is the Trace N Erase activity.  Emmanuel traces the shapes or numbers and then erases them with his eraser.

Joshua joined us briefly, but then was off to his normal destruction.

Last week I forgot to bring my camera for our first day back to Friday school.  What was I thinking? I managed to get a few shots of the boys this week.
The boys in the hall prior to class.

Christopher in his chess class.

Emmanuel having fun in his class.

Well are week was busy and rewarding.  How was your week? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lego Aircraft Challange

Christopher received his first Lego challenge for the 2011-2012 school year last week.  The task was to build an aircraft. He was so excited to take on this new challenge.  He whipped up his creation in no time.  We are grateful to welcome back the folks over at from their summer break.  A few weeks ago Christopher asked me why he had not received a Lego challenge for a while.  I have been so busy, that I did not notice the challenges were missing.  So I hopped over to their site and discovered they were on break.  Whew!  Welcome back legoquestkids! Thank you for always putting together  awesome tasks for the children.  Here is Christopher's latest creation. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up #2

This week was a bit crazy.  Monday was a holiday so we did not have school.  When I plan our year out I plug in all the holidays that my husband is off.  When he is home we can have fun spending time together as a family.  Anyway Monday was a holiday and Friday was our first day back to our homeschool co-op.  These types of weeks don't work well with my obsessive compulsive attitude around our school week.  I start to wonder how will I get everything accomplished with only three days of school.  Then I start to panic.  Generally Friday is our day to catch up on things that we did not finish Monday through Thursday. Now that our co-op is back in session I guess we have to bite the bullet and finish things up on Friday once we get home.  I hate that, but 'You gotta do what you gotta do'.

Reading- We finished Light Unit 104 lessons 5-9.  Today Christopher will take his exam for the LU and we will begin LU 105 on Monday.  We will also begin incorporating our Language Arts program on Monday.  I am so excited, I can't contain myself.  Last week while preparing our manipulatives and supplies for the week I noticed that we would be beginning our LA component soon and I had to take a deep breath.  It's one of those milestones you reach in your academic year.  Way to go Christopher!

Spelling words for the week.  A formal spelling has not been introduced but he is learning to spell by sound.

Math- He completed lessons 37-39.  One of this weeks highlights was an  assignment measuring objects on a balance with pennies.  We had a series of objects that we measured eraser, pencil, cell phone, key etc.  Once we put our items in the left cup of the balance we then put pennies in the right cup of the balance until the balance was level.   We noted our observations on our paper and Christopher drew pictures of the items measured. This was really fun!

Spanish- We are trekking through our Spanish.  I have to find a way to incorporate the workbook that came with the program as well as an additional workbook I purchased for him.

History- We covered several events in history this week.  Adam and Eve's punishment, Cain and Abel and Noah building an ark.  We built arks out of foil and placed them in the bathtub to see if they would float.  I did not think they would float, so I was pleasantly surprised with the results.   We placed Lego men and several plastic animals in the boats.  We raced our boats by fanning them with paper to simulate wind.  Christopher did not want the activity to end.

Science- Finally we started our human body lapbooks.  We will add more to our lapbooks as we learn more about each body system.

Read Alouds- Our current read aloud selections are The Adventures of  Reddy Fox and Pinocchio.  Christopher does not seem to enjoy Reddy Fox. However he and Emmanuel are enjoying Pinocchio.

Emmanuel finished his Unit 1 and we are on to Unit 2
Math- We completed the first page for his math book.  We cut out one tree for the number one page.
Motor Skills- We have moved on to book B in the Rod and Staff ABC preschool series.

Joshua learned the letter A.  He really enjoys the songs and finger plays in LHTH.
Joshua identifying the letter a.

PE- The temperatures dropped about 20 degrees here so we were able to take our activities outside. 

Joshua riding his tricycle backwards.
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