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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Art or something like it

Art is typically one of the first things to go because . . . well, it makes a mess. And I have been lax in doing it, partially because Junior treats art as most dreaded torture.

How can kiddie art be torture? Well, I suspect in the nursery at church and mothers-day-out some well meaning little girls told him he was doing it wrong. I don't know this for a fact, but I do have a little girl and I know how they can be.

Plus, I know most of the pictures brought home by him, were not in fact done by him. I would gush over a picture he brought home and he would say "Oh, G (or S or another girl) colored it for me." *


So when I saw this idea at Deep, Space Sparkle I thought we should try it.

It is supposed to be a lesson in symmetry (which I did go over with Daisy). For Junior, it was a lesson in self confidence.

This is the first picture he has ever done (by himself), that he is proud of.

I know. You are thinking "what the heck is that!?" To be honest, I don't really see what it is either but with all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that went into producing it, he is proud.

See Daisy and I kept encouraging him. We even went so far as to say he was the only one who made something that looked like an alien. Daisy's resembled an insect and mine . . . a person with really bad hair. I googled E.T. to show him how his kind-of resembled E.T. (like a bust of E.T.).

We drug him, kicking and screaming (almost) along every step of the project.

But now he wants it to hang on his wall.

So you can see his vision, here is his picture with the parts labeled. I don't know what the big blob at the bottom is, he hasn't said and I couldn't even guess.

The top arrow points at the teeth.

The left arrow points at one of the eyes (the other is on the opposite side)

And the right arrow points to the nose.

I don't "see" it either but I also don't get Picasso.

* I don't resent these little girls, I just know that sometimes they can get too caught up in "doing it right."

Monday, July 27, 2009

A lot of action here

It may look like I have been a very, very busy mom to have gone from 7 posts to 30 but I went and pulled a bunch from my main blog and put them up over here.

And I imported them.

So really the whole process took maybe 30 minutes (and it wouldn't have taken that long except the export/import thingy takes all the posts (200+) and moves them and I didn't want the non-homeschool ones here so I had to go through and get rid of those and then publish the ones I kept.

And yes I know that was a run-on sentence but that is how I felt about the project.

But now I have them moved (Yeah me!) so I can focus on something else.

One thing that is cool is that it also moves the comments, which explains how I have posts and comments from before this blog was started.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Curriculum for this year

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers is doing a Share your Curriculum Edition of the Weekly Wrap-up. This is my first time doing Weekly Wrap-up and I am pretty excited about it.

I don't have the curriculum for this year 100% ironed out yet, but I do know what some of it is going to be.

Right now what we are thinking is
  • Math on the Level

  • Janice Van Cleve books for science although I am not sure which

  • Handbook of Nature Study

  • Bible study we are just using the Bible and one of those lists of the Harmony of the Gospels

  • Tatras for our phonics

  • We are thinking of Story of the World for History

  • Literature will be various books throughout the year. Right now we are going through Treasure Island and Wizard of Oz. After that, I don't know exactly.

We might be adding or changing, I am not 100% sure. We will also be participating in our local co-op which meets every other week.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Without a plan(er)

I am a genius at making lists and charts to keep me organized. Unfortunately, I am also a perfectionist and so I tend to get the chart or whatever the way I want it, and then keep tweaking it. Ad Nauseum.

Last year I made myself a lovely planner. It was basically everything I could possibly need.

After about 6 weeks, I stopped using it because the lesson plan pages didn't work as well as I thought they would. I don't remember now what was wrong with them, I think maybe schedule envy - you know when you see someone else's schedule system and suddenly yours is . . . lacking.

Anyway, I am trying to make my planner for the upcoming year. Why can't I use a ready made one? Because that would be entirely too simple. I apparently can't do simple.

This year though, I am making a mini version (only 6 weeks or so of weekly scheduling but with the calendars and such) and I will see how it works in the light school that we are doing now.

Right now, we are doing math and reading. Partially to keep them from forgetting anything, and to make some progress but also to keep us in the habit of schooling. It is so stinking hot outside now that we might as well do school in the heat of the day.

Plus this lets me try out my planner. My planner comes from various sources, some from Donna Young, some from the Tanglewood and some from the Old Schoolhouse Planner. Most of them I almost liked but ended up retyping so I could customize. Now obviously I can't share the pages I didn't retype and customize but I will try to give you an idea of where I got various things.

After I get the planner designed, I am going to print out a good portion of it (except for the weekly pages and just a few of those) and then take it and have it spiral bound. Taking the spiral out and having the new pages added won't be a big deal once I get the pages I will use.

I also made Daisy her own so she can check off what she has done each day and can keep track herself. With hers, we are also doing the small version with two completely different weekly pages so she can see what works for her.

I will try to keep you updated on how it goes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Math on the Level

After a year of Saxon - which I hated, ok maybe not but if we did it all we would hate it - I thought I would try something else. Actually a month ago I was going to do Saxon again.

Instead I found Math on the Level. First I had gotten one of their 9's Down Math facts ebooks (also available in print).

Daisy is a bit shaky on her math facts - like her mom did for years, she counts with her fingers - and this offers drills but in an unusual way. The first worksheet is full of problems 9+1, 9+0 and 9+9 and your child does this one daily until he/she can do the whole worksheet in a short amount of time, and then moves to the next one that adds 9+8 to the mix. By the time your child gets to the smaller numbers (and easier) they have had alot of practice with the larger numbers. Most books start out with 1's and then 2's and so on and have very little (comparative) practice with the larger ones. They offer 9's down addition, subtraction, multiplication and division each separate if you do the ebook version where you just print out the worksheets you need.

So after thinking about it some more I ordered the Starter pack with the Math on the Level. In some ways, this will be more challenging than Saxon because I actually have to teach it instead of just reading the book and pointing out the math problems in the book. Yet in others it will be much easier to do.

Today for instance - the first day we have used it - we discussed Roman numerals. I first made up a story about how Roman numerals were invented - to rivaling farmers with the same names as my kids, fighting over who had more sheep. There were hand motions involved and so I think it will make V, X, and L easier to remember. Then we discussed the other numbers and some mnemonic devices to help remember the larger ones - we settled on "Learning Causes Dad Migranes", or maybe it was "Lucky Cat Dines on Mice." Anyway, it was actually fun. We didn't spend very long with it and will do some more with it tomorrow.

Then to keep it in her mind, I put it on her 5-A-Day sheet.

What is a 5-A-Day? Well it is 5 math problems on different things to see if she remembers how to do a math concept. That way I can know if she "gets it" or if she has forgotten it. If she misses Roman numerals for a few days I know she needs it reviewed or retaught.

Since this is the first day we have actually used it, I will review the curriculum again for you after we have used it more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What we think we know

Ok, I really love these TED talks. What is TED? According to their website
TED started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year's TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

The talks on their website (and on youtube) are short 10-15 minute things and are usually something that will make you think but not something boring. Here is one I just listened to What we think we know where he asks 4 questions that most people think they know the answer to, but might completely be wrong.