Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Tempests and Frogs and Ceasars, Oh My!

Our family is 11 weeks into our homeschool school year, and it's only October. I rightfully anticipated a crazy August and September due to moving and a long road trip, so we got an early start. Although we missed a few details here and there, we kept chugging through our main readings and activities through it all. It has provided a nice constant, and on top of that I think everyone is learning and enjoying themselves.

This year Tobias is in 1st grade and we are using Ambleside Online. It is a freely provided curriculum plan built by a volunteer committee based on the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. She was a British educator whose principles included a belief that children are not just receptacles for intellectual facts, but they have a God-given ability and desire to learn ideas and digest a high-quality feast of knowledge. People following her philosophy generally try to follow her ideals of cultivating good habits (especially the habit of attention), relatively short lessons, time in nature, "living books" (not watered down or summarized already for the child, written by people who care about the subject), and having students narrate back a summary or response to what was read rather than worksheets or quiz-type questioning about details.

A typical day for us includes:
  • 9:00 Singing time: Hymn and folk song or Spanish song
  • Math: We use Miquon math worksheets with some blocks/rods that go with them, or Khan Academy on the computer
  • Independent reading. Tobias just finished the My Father's Dragon series and Because of Winn-Dixie.
  • A Poem a day: Today we read October's Party
  • Handwriting
  • Spanish video
  • Piano practice
  • Bible memory work, or sometimes work on memorizing something else like a poem
  • Once or twice a week: Nature study with journals, a craft or useful skill (currently origami), drawing
  • Readings from the Ambleside "chart". Readings are assigned by the week, and can be divided into whatever days we want. They cover history, literature, geography, Bible, and more. This week we're on Week 10, so today we read "The Frogs who Wished for a King" from Aesop's fables, and "Prince Darling" from the Blue Fairy book.
  • We are also supposed to focus on one composer and artist every 12-week term, and for right now we have just listened to a Brahms playlist and haven't done the artist study yet (oops)
Believe it or not, that takes 2-3 hours depending on the length of the readings and how many interruptions we have. Play, errands, chores, and meals fill up the rest of the day for him.

There are of course lows ("I don't remember anything." and "NO. 3 - 4 has to equal ZERO!" being among them), and those lovely braggable moments where your child declares that Shakespeare's Tempest was even better than A Midsummer Night's Dream (we read children's adaptations), and everything in between. Overall, very happy with how it is going so far!

“The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”  -Charlotte Mason

Friday, June 05, 2015

A: 1 Year Old

Toby explains to me "It's called the first birthday, but it's really the second birthday because on the first one he was born. Because what do you call the day you were born? A birthday, the least funnest birthday."

Regardless of how you count the birthdays and which one is most fun, Avery is 1 year old!

photo by Tobias
He loves wrestling, peekaboo, music, climbing onto things, giving people 5 and stopping to smell the roses. His brothers assert that his favorite color is orange, so orange cupcakes are on the menu for his birthday. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Items @ Soaps, Stitches & Such

Soaps, Stitches & Such is a favorite Etsy shop of mine. The soaps, body butters, and other items are made from skin-friendly and safe ingredients.
I chose a variety of soaps for Christmas gifts and had a fun time deciding who would get which scent. I really wanted to keep the lemongrass soap but I resisted! And I was also tempted to eat the chocolate mint soap because it looked so fudgy. And my niece actually did lick the cupcake soap (currently unavailable, but more cupcake soaps are coming soon).

One of the new products that I would love to smell is the grapefruit body butter. Our family just finished eating our way through a case of yummy grapefruits and I am missing the smell already.

The soaps and body butters look like great gift ideas for end of the school year teacher appreciation, Mother's Day, or Earth Day. If you are in the Tri-Cities, WA you can arrange for local pickup to save on shipping.

If you would like to be alerted to special offers from this shop, you can sign up for their mailing list and get a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $10 or more. In case you are just skimming at this point, I re-awaken you with the word COUPON. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

26 Weeks of Kindergarten

Tobias confused a neighbor lady the other day when she asked what grade he was in and he said "done with Kindergarten but not in first grade yet". Finally she asked "well, will you go to school tomorrow morning" (it was Sunday) and she figured out he is home schooled.

I've declared summer here and we've shifted into a less formal daily routine of "just" reading, chores, piano, outdoor play, and one special thing each day like baking on Mondays, teatime on Tuesdays, etc.

We were blessed to cover a lot of material in 26 weeks of Kindergarten that I will list below, but more importantly, I see a lot of things "clicking" for Tobias, academically and in maturity. He follows along when solving math problems with Nate such as "how many hours until tomorrow starts?", enjoys curating many musical playlists, and is getting to be a help with chores around the house.

In addition to the books and songs already listed in the first 18 weeks, we focused on these things this year:

All Creatures of our God and King
O Worship the King

Folk/Children's Songs:

Vos Story Bible:  Jacob buys the Birthright - Joseph's Dreams Come True
The Jesus Storybook Bible:
    The Singer - A dream of Heaven 
    (Sermon on the Mount through Revelation)

Counting by 2's, 5's and 10's up to 100 or more
Miquon Math continuing through E-12
Khan Academy: mastered 35% of the Early Math skills

Pioneering on the Plains (Edith McCall)

finished lowercase letters from Delightful Handwriting

Music Tree: through page 41

Daily reading (he made it to 100 books and we went out for ice cream!).

The Old Man and his Dog (W.G. van de Hulst)
The Lost Photograph (W.G. van de Hulst)
The Borrowers

Other highlights included a trip to the Planetarium, hike on Bateman Island, ECHO end of the year program, building electronics things, and many other projects.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A: 9 months

Could it be that this little guy, in the past month, has expanded his palate from milk and popcorn to include liver and onions, peppers, apple cores, and ginger ale (just a taste!)? Could it be that he wiggles for Dad to pick him up and then gives him a big open-mouth kiss? Could it be that he has started walking? And added teeth 7 and 8?

He loves greeting the fish in the bathroom every morning, being outdoors, stroller rides, having "5 Little Monkeys" sung to him (complete with being bonked on the head), playing "Give me 5!", destroying mini-blinds, and sneakily pickpocketing phones while nursing.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

A: 8 months

  • favorite foods: milk, popcorn
  • favorite music: Baby Elephant Walk
  • favorite gadget: Dad's green disco laser
  • favorite bedtime: switching it up a little every few days to keep things interesting
  • favorite modes of transportation: hitching a ride with Mom, crawling
  • most common way to injure self: standing holding an object and then falling down
  • new features: 6th tooth
  • favorite game: Peekaboo
  • chase it yet fear it: Dad's quadcopter flying through the living room
  • why aren't you asleep right now?: "Pbl-l-l-lt"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

18 weeks of Kindergarten

We've been chugging along with daily activities! I have weekly charts of what we do, but I wanted to see at a glance what things we have done so far so I compiled it as lists. Maybe more interesting to me than to blog readers…

Here's what has been explored in the last 18 weeks, some things more in-depth than others:

Children of the Heavenly Father
You are Worthy
Praise the Savior Now and Ever
Let All Things Now Living
Come, Ye Thankful People Come
For the Beauty of the Earth
Joy to the World
May the Mind of Christ My Savior

Folk/Children's Songs:
Roll On, Columbia Roll On

Vos Story Bible: 
  Paul's Conversion (Chapter 64) through the end
  The Beginning through finding a wife for Rebekah
Leading Little Ones to God: Chapters 1-23
Misc. other story Bibles and review of Sunday School material

Ellerby Math Games (with cards, dice, etc.) 1-18
Miquon Math: 1st third or so (pages are not numbered traditionally) of the Orange Book
lots of everyday math: doubling recipes, telling time, calendars

Christopher Columbus (Ann McGovern)
If You Sailed on the Mayflower (Ann McGovern)
If You Grew Up with George Washington (Ruth Belov Gross)
A Book about Benjamin Franklin (Ruth Belov Gross)
The Yakima (Edward Ricciutti)
If you Lived with the Sioux Indians (Ann McGovern)
Pioneering on the Plains (Edith McCall)

Delightful Handwriting capital letters and almost through the lower case

Music Tree: through page 32

Every day Toby chooses a book or chapter to read. Sometimes we forget to write down what they were. We have recorded 82 books though that he has read himself, and when he gets to 100 there is talk of ice cream. The most recent book he read was "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs", and Malachi enjoyed listening to that after he convinced Toby to "read it LOUD" (out loud).

The Horse and his Boy (C.S. Lewis)
The Window in the Roof (W.G. Vandehulst)
The Magician's Nephew (C.S. Lewis)
The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis)

The best part is seeing Tobias (and also Malachi!) connections about things. After explaining the tax portion of a receipt for eating out, Tobias said "Oh! You mean like the tax collectors in the Bible who took everyone's money?" Kind of.