*****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.*****

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fourth Grade Week 14

This week went much better than the past few weeks.  Caleb seemed to be having fun, and that’s important to me. 
Bible – Our questions this week were ‘Why did God let Adam name the animals?  Why didn’t He name them himself?’ and ‘Did Adam give each of the animals the names we call them today?’  We read Genesis 2:18-25 to answer the first questions and Genesis 2:20 and 11:7-9 to answer the second one.
Math – This week Caleb worked on teaspoon and tablespoon, changing yards to feet, counting by seven, what is a decimal, and measuring capacity.  I added in some fun math activities this week (which will continue from here on out), and this week we played a multiplication dice game.  Caleb did really well, and he had lots of fun.  It worked on multiplication AND addition.  Smile
English – This was our first week stepping away from a formal English curriculum/plan.  It went really well, and I think Caleb enjoyed it.  He worked on sentence classification using a card matching game I created, and he worked on noun attributes with another card matching game.  He watched a Nouns DVD that we borrowed from the library.  He also played several English grammar games on the computer (click on the title to be taken to the site)…

Sentence Classification Card Matching GameIMG_9787IMG_9788
Noun Attributes Card Matching GameIMG_9796
Classical Conversations Foundations – Here’s what we learned and studied this week…
  • English – prepositions ‘down, during, except, for, from’
  • Science – the major groups of vertebrates
  • History – the fall of Rome
  • Math – counting by 11s and 12s
  • Latin – 2nd Declension Noun Endings Singular and Plural
  • Geography – the Roman Empire…Spain, Gaul/France, Germania/Germany, Alexandria, Carthage
  • Timeline – India’s Mauryan Empire, Mayans of Mesoamerica, Punic Wars, Rome Conquers Greece, Roman Dictator Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus and the Pax Romana, John the Baptist
  • Science Experiment – this week we had two experiments.  The first one focused on fooling your tongue.  We bit an apple, and then we took another bite while holding a q-tip dipped in vanilla abstract up to our nose.  We had to determine if the second bite tasted any different than the first.  The second experiment was called trickery.  We drew two parallel 4 inch lines.  We put arrows pointing inward on one and arrows pointing outward on the second.  We had to determine which one appeared longer or if they looked the same.
  • Art – This was our final drawing project.  The students had to implement OiLS and the other concepts into one last project.
Classical Conversations Essentials – All we did with Essentials this week was our writing assignment and the Analytical Task Sheet (which is probably what we’ll do from here on out).
Arts & Crafts – Caleb chose to make a sock puppet project based on the sock puppet from the Little Big Planet game.  Micah, of course, wanted to join in, too.
Caleb’s ‘sock puppet’IMG_9812
Micah’s ‘sock puppet’IMG_9811
Exploration – Caleb chose to learn more about vertebrates this week.  He read some books from the library, and I had him separate a set of laminated vertebrate cards into each category (fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds).
I’m looking forward to continuing with this new approach to our schooling, and I’m praying that it truly is a good fit for Caleb.  Since he had fun, I’m thinking it is.  Smile

Monday, September 24, 2012

Choosing Fun Over Formal…

Like I mentioned in my most recent post and last week, we’ve really been struggling with Classical Conversations Essentials.  If you want to know more about what Essentials is about, just click on the highlighted text above.  I won’t try to explain it all here.  LOL!
We are loving the Foundations part of CC, but the Essentials just isn’t going over well.  It is probably because we’re not part of an Essentials group, but even still…I don’t know that it would make a difference if we were.  Caleb struggles with the task of writing, and there’s a LOT of writing involved (copying charts daily).  Yes, I let him skip a lot of the writing, but there still wasn’t much content for the program.
So, after much prayer, thought, and discussion, I’ve decided that we are going to ditch it for the most part.  I will still keep doing the Punctuation/Capitalization Rule and the Spelling Rule/Homophones sheet.  We’ll also continue with the dictation and Analytical Task Sheet (these two go together).  Other than that, I won’t use it formally.  I may use their terminology, and I may still reference the charts, but it’ll only be a tool…not our English program. 
In fact, I’m going to ditch formal English altogether.  As I’m sure you are all aware, English concepts repeat year after year.  However, they just get harder and more in-depth.  So, frankly, I don’t think taking a few years off of formal English grammar teaching will hurt Caleb at all.  I feel confident that he’ll pick it up smoothly when we transition back into a formal program in middle school (that’s my plan…wait until 6th grade to go back to traditional pen/paper/textbook English grammar). 
Until then, we’re going to have FUN with English grammar.  We will read books on parts of speech and other English concepts.  We’ll play games on the computer that teach and review those same concepts.  Caleb will watch You Tube videos and DVDs that discuss English grammar.  I’ll spend time making (with guidance from the Internet and books) some hands-on learning games that teach grammar skills.  I will also use the books he chooses to read during his daily reading time to discuss English skills with him (show me the nouns, where are the verbs, what’s the subject, etc).  Occasionally, he will have to show me how he’s progressing by doing an oral or written assessment. 
I will continue to do the Institute for Excellence in Writing (used in the CC Essentials program) though.  So, this will give him more opportunities to gain some grammar skills through his writing.
Since Caleb is missing some of the fun, too, I’m adding in a few days of math games and arts & crafts.  He’ll also go back to choosing three topics to learn more about each week.  I probably won’t do too much with those other than getting books from the library, but we may add in some lapbook/notebooking activities as time and the subject permits. 
So, wish us well as we begin this new schedule and approach today.  As a homeschool mom, I always worry about whether or not I’m making the best decision for Caleb.  I pray that I am…only time will tell.  Happy schooling!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fourth Grade Week 13

We finished up week 13, and it went fairly well.  I’ve had to re-assess some of my decisions, and I’ll address those in another post.  For now, here’s how week 13 went…
Bible – Our question this week was “Why was the first person that God created a boy?”  We read Genesis 2:18, Ephesians 5:22-25, and I Corinthians 11:3 for the answer.
Math – This week Caleb worked on ordering fractions, choosing whether to add or multiply, meters and millimeters, and time patterns. 
Classical Conversations Foundations – I think Caleb is really enjoying CC Foundations.  He’s really learning a lot, and he’s having fun.  Here’s what we learned this week…

  • English – prepositions ‘between, beyond, but, by, concerning’
  • Science – the major groups of invertebrates
  • History – the split of the Roman Empire
  • Math – counting by 9s and 10s
  • Latin – 2nd Declension Singular and Plural Noun Endings
  • Geography – the Egyptian Empire…Egypt, Nile River, Upper/Lower Egypt, West/East Deserts, Nile Delta, Crete
  • Timeline – Judah falls to Babylon, Temple Destroyed; Babylon falls to Persia; Jews Return and Rebuild the Temple; Roman Republic; Golden Age of Greece; Peloponnesian Wars; Persia Falls to Alexander the Great
  • Science Experiment – this week we reviewed the Naked Egg and Shrinking Egg experiments that we did at home last week.  For the naked egg, you take an egg and place it in a jar of vinegar.  Let it sit for 72 hours and watch to see what happens.  Then, take that same egg and put it in a jar of Karo Syrup to see what happens after 72 hours.
Naked eggIMG_9762
Shrinking eggIMG_9764
  • Art – This week we worked on perspective.
Classical Conversations Essentials
  • Grammar – We continued to review nouns, verbs, and pronouns.  We also reviewed different types of sentences.  Caleb completed another punctuation/capitalization rule and spelling/homophone sheet.
  • Writing – Due to some extra-curricular obligations, we didn’t get to our writing assignment this week. 
Like I mentioned earlier, I had to re-assess some of my decisions, so I’ll share my conclusions soon.  I’ll sum it up by saying next week will bring some changes, but hopefully more fun!  Smile  Stay tuned…
On a side note – Micah is LOVING preschool.  The only thing he’s not a huge fan of is the homework.  LOL!  But – it’s only one worksheet every few days.  Smile  I think he’ll live.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fourth Grade Week 12

We’re about a day behind in our schooling, but that’s okay.  So, we finished up week 12 today.  Here’s how our week went…
Bible – Our questions this week were…”When God created the earth, were the trees fully grown, or were they baby trees?  If they were fully grown, did they have growth rings?” AND “Why did God make a week 7 days long?”  We read Genesis 1:12, 29-31 for the first question and Exodus 20:11 and Exodus16:25-27 for the second question.
Math – This week Caleb worked on multiplying 4, millimeters and centimeters, finding the change, one-fourth inch, counting by fourths, and checking addition.
Classical Conversations Foundations – Here’s what we learned and studied this week…

  • English – prepositions ‘before, behind, below, beneath, beside’
  • Science – some parts of a plant cell
  • History – the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • Math – counting by 7s and 8s
  • Latin – 1st Declension singular and plural noun endings
  • Geography – the Hittite Empire…Asia Minor, Turkey, Hattusa/Hatti, Cyprus, Arabian Desert
  • Timeline – Early Native Americans, Israel Divides Into Two Kingdoms, Homer and Hesiod, Rome Founded by Romulus and Remus, Israel Falls to Assyria, Assyria Falls to Babylon, Lao-Tzu, Confucius, Buddha
  • Science Experiment – This week we discussed blending (camouflage) and ground temperature (how animals bury themselves to stay cooler)
  • Art – This week we worked on abstract drawings.
Classical Conversations Essentials
  • Grammar – This was a review week, so we reviewed nouns, verbs, and pronouns.  We also reviewed the purposes of sentences (imperative, interrogative, exclamatory, and declarative).  We also had a new spelling rule, new homophones, and a new punctuation/capitalization rule. 
  • Writing – This week Caleb did a keyword outline and wrote a paper using the “Oysters” article.
***I’m finding that doing Essentials alone, and not with a community, is really, really tough.  We’re doing our best, but it’s hard.  It’s really hard for Caleb, so we’re going to have to slow down and add in more fun ways to teach these concepts.  He’s really starting to dislike it, and I don’t need or want that.***
How’s school going for your child(ren)?  Have you found any misses so far?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What’s Cooking Week of September 16-22, 2012

As I suspected, as soon as I stopped posting/making menu plans, things got off balance.  Suppers were more haphazard, and well, we ate out.  Sad smile  So, here’s our plan for this week…
Sunday – YOYO
Monday – Grilled burgers with chips
Tuesday – Pizza
Wednesday – Chicken Tacos and Cheese Quesadillas
Thursday – Ravioli with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pancetta (this is a new recipe that I borrowed from Giada DeLaurentis on Food Network…it gets rave reviews.  We’ve never tried Arugula, so we’ll see).
Friday – YOYO
Saturday – Grilled steak salad

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Micah’s First Day of Preschool…aka Pre-K

Micah had a brief stint at a local church preschool back when he was two, but I pulled him out after Christmas break.  So, he’s been home doing ‘school’ with us ever since.  Since Caleb experienced 3 years of church preschool and really loved it and thrived from it, I wanted Micah to have that same experience.  Well, he’ll have just one year, but it’ll be enough I think.  He’s going to preschool at one of the local Methodist churches.  It just so happens that my mom is the teacher for the two-year-olds, so if I should need to send him home with grandma, then it’ll be easy to do.  Smile  He’ll be going from 9-12 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 
All summer he asked…”when does grandma’s school start?”  Well, yesterday was THE DAY!  He had no problems going into his class or getting settled…I think he’s looking forward to the break from home, and it’ll give Caleb and I some much needed quiet time for school.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fourth Grade Week 11

We were scheduled to finish up week 11 last week, but due to some errands that couldn’t be avoided, school got postponed one day.  So, we finished it up today.  The silver lining is that we have the rest of this week OFF! 
YEAH!  Here’s how week 11 went…
Bible – The first question for this week was “Where is the Garden of Eden?”  We read Genesis 2:10-14 and Genesis 7:18-23 to find the answer.  The second question was “Does Genesis 1:1-2 refer to the first day?”  We read Genesis 1:1-5 for that answer.
Math – This week Caleb worked on adding larger numbers, understanding millimeters, borrowing across zero, subtracting uneven tens or hundreds, adding uneven tens or hundreds, equal fractions, and zero as a placeholder.
Classical Conversations Foundations – We’re slowing getting into a really good routine with our CC work.  Here’s the memory work and other activities for this week…

  • English – prepositions ‘along, amid, among, around, at, atop’
  • Science – some of the parts of an animal cell
  • History – the Greek and Roman gods
  • Math – counting by 5s and 6s
  • Latin – 1st Declension Singular and Plural Noun Endings
  • Geography – the Hebrew Empire…Judah, Israel, Jordan River, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, Phoenicia
  • Timeline – Hinduism in India, Phoenicians and the Alphabet, Olmecs of Mesoamerica, Israelite Exodus and Desert Wandering, Israelite Conquest and Judges, Greek Dark Ages, Israel’s United Kingdom
  • Science Experiment – Due to rainy weather, we had to move to week 4’s science which discussed pollution and the effects of pollution.
  • Art – This week we worked on upside down images.
Classical Conversations Essentials
  • Grammar – This week we learned all about nouns and pronouns.  Caleb also learned a new punctuation and capitalization rule, as well as a new spelling rule and new homophones.  This week we also added in the Analytical Task Sheet…this is where I dictate a sentence, and he writes it.  Then, he has to go over several steps to make sure the sentence is correct, identify parts of speech/roles, and then diagram it (we will eventually get to this part).
  • Writing – Caleb wrote, edited, and typed up a final copy of his Desert Tarantula paper.  Then, he did a keyword outline for the Pillbug article.  After that, he had to write, edit, and type up a final copy.
I’m glad to have this week off…in fact, I’m loving our new schedule of every other Friday off and one week off each month (roughly).  It’s nice to get a week to catch up things around the house, or just BREATHE!  Smile  Micah started preschool today, so I’ll be back later with some pictures of his first day.

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