*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Friday, September 30, 2011

Living & Non-Living Lapbook

As I mentioned a few weeks ago during our home school review, Caleb worked on a living & non-living lapbook.  We finally spent time this morning putting it all together.  Here’s the finished project:
I’m thinking that there may be many more lapbooks with our new way of schooling.  Caleb asked me today if he could do a dinosaur lapbook, so I’m sure that’ll happen in the not-so-distant future.  Smile

Third Grade Week 15 in Review

Here’s how week 15 went for us…
Bible – Our lessons focused on “God Gave Us His Son” and “God Takes Care of Us.”  We read from Luke 2:8-18 and Psalm 23.  Caleb’s Bible verse for the week was Psalm 23:1.
Math – This week Caleb focused on the following new concepts:  points, more about number sentences, equal parts in fractions, and adding and subtracting ten.  He reviewed the following old concepts:  fact focus:  9, 6, 3.  These lessons completed his first LightUnit, and he took his first test.  He scored 91%, and now I know what we need to continue to review.  Smile
English – This week Caleb worked on finishing up ACE Pace 1028.  He did more words in cursive, did some review work, and completed the test.  He scored 100% on his test.
Next week we begin our “new” way of schooling, and to say Caleb is excited is an understatement.  He has asked to do “school” every day since Tuesday.  LOL!  So, I can’t wait to see how next week goes!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changes, Changes, Changes…

We’re in our 4th year of homeschooling, and let me just say…we’ve changed things up quite a bit from that first year.  I was so scared that first year (Kindergarten), that I went with ALL Bob Jones University Press (BJUP).  I didn’t sway from them except for our Bible curriculum.  I felt like I needed lots of guidance and direction…heck, I probably needed hand-holding.  If I remember correctly, 1st grade was much like K…we still didn’t sway from BJUP.  By the time 2nd grade rolled around, we had ventured away from BJUP in most subjects.  Well, now that we’re in 3rd grade…we’re not using any BJUP materials.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t think BJUP is a FINE curriculum, because it IS!  It’s a GREAT program; however, it is NOT the right program for Caleb.  I don’t think there’s any one program that is right for Caleb.  That’s why we’ve gone to a more eclectic program with curriculum choices.  Well, now that we’re 14 weeks into 3rd grade…things are changing AGAIN!!!! 
You are probably thinking that I’m such a wishy washy person, and that I can’t make up my mind.  Well, that may not be too far from the truth in some facets of my life.  However, the more observant fact in this situation would be that I’m trying to put together the most effective and beneficial program for Caleb.  It’s so hard to find the right fit, and it’s a time of trial and error.  I won’t bother to go into how much money has been thrown away or how much curriculum is now sitting in boxes.  That’s not important…what’s important is that I’m constantly re-evaluating what we’re using to make sure that Caleb is getting the most from it. 
With all of that said, here’s how things are going to change.  We’re going to finish up Week 15 of 3rd grade by doing only Calendar work, Bible, English, Math, Spelling (possibly…still debating), and Handwriting.  Other than that…that’s it…that’s all the schooling Caleb will get formally. 
Beginning in October, each day will begin with calendar work, Bible, English, Math, Handwriting, and Spelling (still unsure…Caleb needs it, but I think he may benefit more from learning it through application).  These are subjects that I deem necessary and important.  They are also areas where Caleb needs extra help and guidance.  This will be our seatwork or formal schooling.  Considering how these subjects have gone in the past, it shouldn’t take any longer than 1.5 hours (1 hour on good days). 
Then, once we are done with that, Caleb will spend the rest of the day using free learning and exploration.  You may be questioning me and thinking…”oh no, Sherrie’s going to turn into one of those unschoolers”.  No, that’s not where we’re heading.  I want Caleb to be the facilitator of what he learns the rest of the day.  I want him to have fun during school and not look at it like a chore or a boring waste of time.  He is so easily frustrated when stuff gets hard, or it isn’t quite what he had in mind.  So now he will be the one setting the stage for his learning.  I will just be a facilitator/helper…if he comes up to me and wants to learn more about bearded dragons, then we’ll delve into that subject using our science materials, the library, and the Internet.  If he wants to learn the 50 states/capitals, then that’s what we’ll do. 
I’m in the process of arranging the school room so that he has access to all subject areas (science, social studies/geography, English, Reading, Math, Critical Thinking, Bible, Art, etc).  In each section will be a conglomerate of books, manipulatives, etc for him to use for learning and exploration.  There will be certain parameters set, and he will have to follow those.  For instance, he may watch Netflix; however, it must be an educational program.  He may play computer games for a set period of time; however, they must be educational.  If he is having a hard time with free learning and exploration, then I will direct him to one of the subject areas.  This will be how his day will continue until about 3pm.  After 3pm, then he is free to play the Wii, play with toys, or whatever else he may decide to do.  However, until 3pm, he is to have free learning and exploration. 
It is my prayer that this will be a time where Caleb’s excitement and eagerness to learn will thrive.  He’s such an independent child, and I think putting him in charge of what he’s learning will help with that.  It will no longer be “mommy my teacher thinks it’s time to talk about plants.”  Now, he gets to decide when he wants to learn about plants.  He gets to decide how long we study plants.  Once he’s done, we move on to whatever else he wants to learn. 
We’re going to give this a try for the month of October.  Once October is over, we will re-assess and decide how it’s working.  If it’s not working, then we’ll go back to our “traditional” schooling.  If Caleb is excelling, and his eagerness is abounding, then by golly…this is how we’ll continue until it fails to work!  Caleb knows that this is only an experiment.  Brian and I have both explained how this will work.  Heck, he even came home from a full day of art and Co-Op yesterday and asked to do school.  I didn’t oblige him because he had done enough learning for one day, and I’m not quite ready with the program yet.  LOL!  However, for him to ask to do school is a HUGE step in the right direction!
I’m hoping to continue to post our weekly reviews even if it’s just Bible, English, and Math.  However, I hope that I’ll be able to remember/keep track of all of the fun and exciting things that Caleb explores each week and share that as well.  I hope you check back to see how Caleb’s schooling as a free learner and explorer is working.  Who knows…you may decide to try this with your child(ren), too!  LOL!  I know I never thought we’d be venturing on this path…however, I’m excited to see what will happen! 
Wish us luck…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Third Grade Week 14 in Review

Well, week 14 is over, and things are about to change again.  However, rather than post all of that on this post, look for a more detailed explanation to follow soon.  Here’s how week 14 went for us…
Bible – This week our stories focused on “Why We Disobey God’s Law” and “Why Sin Must Be Punished.”  We read from Psalm 130 and Genesis 8:6-16.  Caleb’s memory work was Romans 6:23.
Science – This week we started a new chapter on Matter.  We discussed the different properties of matter, how to measure mass, how to measure volume, and physical vs chemical changes.
Social Studies – I had requested a book from the library on hold; however, since it didn’t come in we just skipped social studies this week.  Smile
Reading – Caleb read the following stories:
Amazing Animals by Robin Bernard
The Littles by John Peterson
Vocabulary – This week Caleb added the words “act, additional, advice, crumple, fan, memorize, mystify, pause, transparent, and vanish” to his list of terms.
Math – NEW CONCEPTS:  Days on a Calendar, Feet and Yards, The Degree Symbol, Reading Thermometers, Meter, and Expanding a Meter.  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Fact Focus:  Opposites of Doubles 4, 5, 6; <, >, = in Number Sentences; and Fact Focus 8, 5, 3.  Caleb still seems to enjoy math somewhat.  I don’t think he’ll every enjoy it like I do; however, that’s okay!
English – This week we worked on pronouns and writing words in cursive. 
Like I mentioned above, things are about to change again here at Childress Academy.  However, I want to save that for another post.  So, stay tuned…

Friday, September 16, 2011

Third Grade Week 13 in Review

Another week of schooling has come to an end at Childress Academy (oh, how I’d love to have a name other than our last as our school name…maybe one day I’ll get creative).  LOL!  Here’s how our week went:
Bible – Our stories this week were on “What the Law Means” and “God’s Law is Good.”  We read from I Kings 17:8-16 and 2 Kings 23:1-3.  Caleb’s Bible verse for the week was Deuteronomy 6:5.
Science – This week we finished up our living/non-living lapbook.  However, I haven’t taken the time to put it all together, so the completed project pictures will have to wait.
Social Studies – We spent the week reading more books that discussed The Pilgrims.  We read Sarah Morton’s Day – A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters, Young Squanto – The First Thanksgiving by Andrew Woods, The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, and Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness.
Reading – We continued to work on some sequencing activities that I downloaded and printed from The Teacher’s File Box.  We also worked on using how, when, and where words.
Vocabulary – Caleb took his test, and he scored 94%.
Math – Caleb took his first quiz with CLE.  He didn’t score as well as I would have hoped, but that just means there’s more reviewing in his future.  NEW CONCEPTS:  Odd Numbers and Pairs; Dimes, Nickels, and Pennies; Polygons; and Understanding Tens and Ones.  REVIEW CONCEPTS:  Differences of 2; Quarters; Fact Focus:  7, 4, 3; Vertical and Horizontal; Fact Focus:  Doubles 4, 5, 6; and Carrying to the Tens Place.  So far, Caleb still seems to be enjoying math as much as I think he’s going to enjoy ANY math.  LOL!  Again, only time will tell if we’ve chosen the right fit.
English – This week Caleb worked on compound words and pronouns.  He is still doing really well with the ACE Paces that we’re using.  So, that’s a plus on the curriculum choice scoreboard!  Smile
How’s your school year going?  Have you had to ditch and start over with curriculum at all?  Or – is that just me?  LOL!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thanks to the GyroWheel…

Caleb can now ride his bicycle without assistance.  What?!!?  You’ve never heard of the GyroWheel?  Well, neither had I until Brian found it on the Internet.  Basically, it replaces training wheel bikes with a better option.  You remove the front wheel from your child’s bike (different wheel sizes available), and then attach the GyroWheel.  We found one on eBay that had only been used once or twice, so we bought it.  Due to some mail circulation issues, it took longer than expected to receive it.  However, it was worth the wait.  And – we WILL be keeping this to use with Micah as opposed to training wheels.  Smile
Caleb used it the first time, and he did really well.  The second time he used it, it shut off on him, and he came crashing down.  This resulted in his first bike accident scrape…huge one on his elbow.  However, he got back on and tried it again…the wheel was still attached, but not powered on.  Well, he was still able to ride, and he did GREAT.  The next visit to the park, Brian decided not to turn the wheel on at all.  Caleb again did really well.  We thought he would be ready to put his regular wheel on his bike, so we tried that on our next visit. 
Well, with a little coaxing, he was off again.  So, after just two uses with the GyroWheel, he was riding his bicycle without any assistance.  We are so very proud of him.  This past weekend, we celebrated by buying him a 20-inch bike.  He can’t wait to take it to the park and get to riding…I’m sure that’s on this weekend’s agenda.  Smile
And for good measure, here’s a picture of Micah on Caleb’s old Kettler tricycle.  He’s enjoying riding it, too.  Smile  He thinks it’s a Rip Rider.  Shhh…don’t tell him otherwise.  LOL!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beach Bums

On the 27th of August, the boys and I packed up the vehicle and headed down to Panama City Beach for the week. We went with three other homeschooling moms and 4 other homeschool kiddos. So, that’s a total of FOUR moms and SIX children (all being boys except for one). Our trip down was uneventful, and we enjoyed the ride. After getting checked in and unpacked, it was time to check out the pool and beach. The winds were crazy, but nonetheless, we enjoyed a little playtime on the beach and some time at the pool/lazy river area.
Sunday found us doing the same thing as the night before, but the children added in a few games to make the time pass. Sunday night, Mari Beth, Anna (another mom and her daughter), the boys, and I headed out to enjoy a seafood dinner. While my GPS wasn’t quite cooperative, we managed to find the location and enjoyed our meal. After dinner, we decided to try to find one of the local Publix stores. Once again, my GPS decided to act all wonkers and sent us on a wild goose chase resulting in NO Publix find.
We enjoyed games, the pool, and beach again on Monday. That afternoon, we all packed up and headed out for a sunset dolphin cruise. The kids enjoyed looking at fish and ducks while we waited to board the ship. Upon boarding and seating, the captain explained that the seagulls would eat Cheetohs from your hands. Well, that was a sight…WOW! Caleb and a few others got nabbed by the seagulls, but that didn’t stop them from going back for more fun. Micah loved the boat ride, and we were all happy when we saw all of the dolphins. It was an enjoyable time, and then we headed back to the condo for a yummy supper of spaghetti and meatballs.
Tuesday found more of the same beach, lazy river, and pool activities. It was nice not having an agenda and being able to just do whatever, whenever. Smile Our other guests, Tricia and Kaleb joined us on Tuesday evening for the rest of the week.
Wednesday morning was spent back at the beach, and Micah finally warmed up to playing in the sand just a wee bit. However, he HAD to stay on the towel. LOL! After he was done with the beach, it was time to enjoy the lazy river and pool area once again. Wednesday evening, Tricia, Kale, the boys, and I enjoyed a nice dinner out at TGI Friday’s.
Thursday and Friday were more of the same fun activities; however, the beach was no closed to the public and to swimming. If you remember, this was right around the time Tropical Storm Lee decided to make an appearance. The seaweed had been disgusting all week basically, and it gradually just got worse. So, with no beach time, there was lots of pool time (which was quite okay with Micah).
Friday evening, we headed out to Hunt’s Oyster Bar to celebrate Tricia’s birthday. It’s a dive really, but it was really good food, and we all enjoyed our meals.
Saturday welcomed us with lots and lots of rain. However, since we were leaving, that was fine. We're glad we were able to enjoy a full week without rain, and everyone had a good time.
As always, when I returned home, I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Isn’t that always the way it is?!!? LOL!
***I don’t have hardly ANY pictures from this week of fun. Most of the time, I used my phone, and with the sand, wind, and water, that wasn’t a combo I wanted around the phone too much. So, here are the few I snapped***

This is a pig outside a general store we stopped at on the way down.IMAG0087
Caleb and Micah enjoying the poolIMAG0090
This was either naptime or bedtime…LOL!IMAG0092
The boys waiting to board the boat for the dolphin cruiseIMG_7837
Another pose before boardingIMG_7838
Jae, Micah, and Caleb on the boatIMG_7840
Silly MicahIMG_7841
One of the better shots I got of the dolphins…it was so hard to capture shots of them because they were moving, and so was the boat…LOL!IMG_7845
Bedtime…ah, sleep!IMAG0093

Friday, September 9, 2011

Third Grade Week 12 in Review

We’re pretty much still right on schedule as we move through 3rd grade.  Caleb is still doing well, and he seems to enjoy his subjects for the most part.  Smile  Here’s how week 12 went for us…
Bible – Our lessons this week were on “What It Means To Be a Sinner” and “How God Gave Us His Law.”  We read from I John 1:8-10 and Exodus 19:16-19.  Caleb’s memory verse was Isaiah 53:6a. 
Science – We read Managing the Land by Sharon Dalgliesh, and Caleb started working on his Living & Non-Living Lapbook.
Social Studies – Our lesson this week was on “The Pilgrims.”  We reviewed why they left England, that they sailed on the Mayflower, and that they landed at Plymouth.  We also reviewed about the First Thanksgiving.  We read Samuel Eaton’s Day – A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters, too.
Reading – Caleb read All About Owls by Jim Arnosky.  We then spent a few days reviewing sequencing stories by using some stories I downloaded from The Teacher’s File Box.
Vocabulary – This week Caleb added the words “chasm, continent, credit, enable, foul, gust, ordeal, plateau, rig, and schedule” to his list of terms.
Math – After a lot of searching, reviewing, and thinking, I finally settled on using Christian Light Education’s Light Units for Caleb’s math.  Because he was behind a 3rd grade level, I ended up ordering the 2nd grade light units.  While I hate that he’ll be behind for a bit, I’d rather he have the ability to LEARN the concepts and then catch up later.  Again, this is just another perk of homeschooling…it doesn’t matter that he’s in 3rd grade doing 2nd grade math work (which in all honesty is still above Georgia’s State Standards).  CLE works like this…each day Caleb has to do an oral section (counting a certain way, reading numbers or money, writing numbers or money, etc.), review math facts, and do a speed drill (2 minutes to answer 28 problems).  Then, we dive into the lesson.  Each lesson offers NEW concepts and then a few problems on that concept.  It will then go back and REVIEW something from the previous year and give a few problems on that concept.  There may be 2 review sections.  Then, there’s a WE REMEMBER section that he does independently to review last year’s concepts and the previous day’s/week’s concepts.  Right now, his only complaint is that it’s taking longer.  Like I told him…”I don’t care how long it takes you to do your math as long as you LEARN the math.”  So, we’ll see if his “like” for it continues.  Smile  With all of that said, here’s what he did this week.  NEW CONCEPTS – Pairs, Addends, The Ten Digits, Number Sentences, and Adding on a Number Line.  REVIEW CONCEPTS – Adding 2 to Even Numbers, 50 to 55 Minutes Past the Hour, Subtracting 2 From Even Numbers, Ordinal Numbers, Adding Four Numbers, Adding 2 to Odd Numbers, Subtracting 2 From Odd Numbers, and Reading a Pictograph.  When I type it all out, that seems like a LOT of math.  And quite frankly – it is.  However, the amount of problems he has to do on each concept is so minimal that it’s really not that bad.  I like that it’s something new with a REVIEW of previous concepts.  I’m hoping the constant review will keep him on his toes and help it all SINK in.  Just to give you an idea of their program and what a typical day looks like, here’s a sample from their website. I’m praying that we’ve finally found the right “fit” for him in math…only time will tell.  Smile
English – Caleb finished up PACE 1027 by writing more cursive words, doing some review work, and taking his test.  He’ll start PACE 1028 next week.
How’d your week go this week?  Are you enjoying cooler temps where you are?  Here in Georgia the temps have been so refreshing this week.  It’s been so nice to open the windows and turn up the air.  Smile

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All Aboard…

A few weeks ago, we met up with our homeschool friends to check out our local welcome center which happens to be at the site of an old train depot.  The boys had a lot of fun exploring all of the fun sites and checking out the old caboose.  It was a very educational trip, and they both enjoyed their visit. 

Micah and Caleb waiting patiently for our “tour” to beginIMAG0068
Some of the boys listening to Ms. Tammy share lots of information…they were frustrated by the gnats.306742_10150790543890495_643385494_21848794_2320915_n
Inside the visitor’s centerIMAG0070
Walking up to see inside the old caboose296363_10150790544405495_643385494_21848803_6105282_n
Micah inside the cabooseIMAG0072
It was hot…IMAG0075
Three flags used as signals…red, yellow, green…hmmm…I recognize those colors from something else, don’t you?300295_10150790545355495_643385494_21848821_6541313_n
Ice “chest”321621_10150790545580495_643385494_21848829_3411565_n
The old general store and barber shop301534_10150790545720495_643385494_21848832_698812_n
Taking a peek to see what’s insideIMAG0077
Listening to Ms. Tammy share some facts/informationIMAG0081
Picture timeIMAG0084
Picture timeIMAG0085

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