Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 2011 Week 5

Here is what happened this past week:

Typing, Math, Handwriting: Business as usual. I am giving away a copy of the Mavis Beacon program we use for typing at my other website. Click here to leave a comment to enter in a chance to win it.

Co-Op: The kids all enjoy their classes and I enjoy assisting in classes without actually having to teach any.


My first full week with Spider Droid's Saxon Phonics Intervention went very well. We have decided to do 5 lessons a week which means we will either do a lesson on the weekend (as we did this week) or do an extra lesson in the evening since Monday is filled with Co-op and Awana.

Bunny Girl is pretty self contained with her English lessons. So self contained I didn't even look at them this week. I know she is progressing cause she made me take her to the library last week so we could do some research on an assignment. I plan to grade her work tomorrow while the kids are at Awana.

This was kind of a heart wrenching week for Amy and I as Princess Puppy is now on the verge of reading better than her brother. She is really doing very well with the learn to read in 100 lessons book. Spider Droid does seem to be progressing with the new program.

History - We studied the Old Testament patriarchs this week. One aspect I like about this Mystery of History program is that each week they not only quiz on what was learned that week but they also quiz on previous weeks as well. This week the kids were able to put all the people, places and things (nouns) they have learned about so far in correct chronological order.

Science - We have started to study mussels this week. The kids really enjoy their science lessons and I am looking forward to their muscle experiment we will do at the end of the lessons.

Field Trips and Extras - Last week I told you about stations. On Thursdays I give both Spider Droid and Princess Puppy Electric Company Station. What I will do is have them each watch different episodes of the 70's version of the show. This reinforces the reading phonics instruction they are receiving during the week and also is quite a but of fun.

We went on our first field trip of the year on Friday. Amy was able to take a 1/2 day and go with us. We went to an Apple Orchard between our house and where my SIL lives. Afterwards we went to see my Nephew in the Musical Annie. Click here to read my review of this fantastic show.

Well that's our week in review. Head back to Weird UnsocializedHomeschoolers to check out more Weekly Wrap-Up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 2011 Week 4

Weird Unsocialized Home Schoolers has a nifty little Meme called Weekly Wrap-up. I started writing a wrap up post a the end of each week at the beginning of this school year. Posting these wrap-ups on her meme is a no-brainer. This is good because by the end of the school week, I have little to no brain left.

This week we started our home school co-op meets on Mondays. This leaves me 4 days to do the rest of school. I am very glad for our co-op, CWF, (Christian Workshops of the Fox Valley). Each child takes 4 classes per semester and the parent teaches 1-2 classes assists in 1-2 classes and has 1 class off as a break in the day. I had offered to teach a preschool class on Dr. Seuss and a blogging class this semester. The preschool class did not get offered due to another teacher offering a similar class to 1st through third graders. Each semester it seems that some classes don't get signed up for. This was the case for my blogging class as only my daughter signed up for it. So as the semester began I had no classes to teach and 2 to assist in. I wasn't really thrilled about the prospect of not pulling my weight. I shouldn't have been worried. A new family decided to not join at the last minute, leaving the board two assistant positions and 1 teacher position to fill. I now am assisting in 3 classes and have 4th hour off.

Here are the classes my family is taking on a period by period basis.

1st Hour

Bunny Girl : Sketching with Pencil and Pastel
Spider Droid: Drawing
Princess Puppy: Animal Safari
Home School Dad: Toddler Class assistant

2nd Hour

Bunny: Scrap booking
Spider: Robotics
Puppy: Kid's Worship
Dad: Gym Assistant

3rd Hour

Bunny: Skit's and Plays
Spider: Missions Geography
Puppy: Kid's Concoctions (cooking)
Dad: Skits and Plays Assistant

4th Hour
Bunny: Christian Yoga
Spider: Robotics Lab
Puppy: Linking Language through Travel
Dad: Off

The robotics class is part of the First Lego League, a combination of science and problem solving for 8 to 14 year olds (All team members had to be between 9-13 sometime this year). This years challenge is a biomedical one. Spider Droid is way psyched about it. I'll let you know more as I do.


Monday makes for a very long week. After CWF we have Awana. This means that besides about 2 hours at home in between, we are out of the house from 9 am to 9 pm. They both began this week. This week was just Awana registration and fun fair. Next week there is no actual club, as the volunteers will have a dry run. We have decided not to volunteer as a family this year. Amy will get some down time at home and I'll set up shop at a bookstore near the church and get ready for my coming week.


When I started teaching the home school 2 years ago I had a 2 year old running around while I attempted to teach soon to be 7 and 9 year olds. Wherever the 2 year old went, disaster followed. As she got older the disasters got worse. She also stopped taking naps so I was either teaching or clearing.

After about a year I needed a change or a ticket to the funny farm. So I decided to try having little mini activities called stations for princess puppy. Coloring station, reading center station, computer station, and the like. Things have gotten a little better since then. This year history, handwriting and science are done at the table with everyone, So there is less need for stations. She does still have some stations, for example she gets computer station where she uses either Pbs kids or Starfall while I work with one of the other kids. She also has an art station almost everyday where she creates masterpieces like this:

Well I spent a lot of time on CWF, Awana and Stations today. Here is a sentence or so on a few other subjects:


We studied Stonehenge. Egypt and Minoan civilization this week.


We are finishing our study of the skeletal system.


We started the Mavis Beacon Program this week.

Every 4 weeks I am going to make my updates available at my main blog Home School Dad. Click here to see Weeks 1-4. You can head back to Weekly Wrap-up by clicking here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 2011 Week 3

I noticed this week that Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers has a meme called Weekly Wrap-up. It didn't take too long to realize that these posts would make fine contributions. So here we go with this week's installment.


Bunny Girl continues to excel in her Emma Serl book. This week she memorized and recited an excellent poem called "The Robin." I am grading each assignment this year, now that she's in the 6th grade. She's doing fine, but it's taking me some getting used to.

Princess Puppy is proceeding quite nicely with her Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons book. We had completed a little more than 50 lesons when we stopped last spring. I decided to start at Lesson 50 this fall. It became quickly evident that we needed to go back a little farther, so we started at lesson 40. I took an SRA training on how to teach this system and I believe Puppy benefitted greatly from the integrity of my instruction. In any case we zipped past lesson 50 this week and she is reading up a storm.

For the past few weeks Spider Droid has been the boy without a curriculum when it came to reading. The SRA based program similar to what Puppy is doing didn't seem like it was going to be possible on our budget. We checked out a Hooked on Phonics program from the library called Master Reading. While it was interesting and fun it was just out of the Spider's grasp. We have been reading all kinds of things, but SD is not the kid and I am not the teacher who can thrive in the long term without a program. On Friday I ordered Saxon Phonics Intervention and I am hopeful that will be what we both need. Anyone reading this who has used it before let me know what you think of it. We will be in make-due mode until we receive it.


In Mystery of History this week, among other things, we learned what a Ziggurat is. One of the things I really like about this class are the age appropriate suggestions for activities that follow each lesson. Spider Droid made lego models of the Ziggurat.


Handwriting w/o Tears is getting a little more difficult for each of my students. They are still enjoying it and seem up to the challenges.


Bunny Girl had her first test in Saxon and got 100%. She is using Saxon for first time in a few years because the program we were using ended at 6th grade as does Excel the program we put Puppy and Spider in this year. Spider Droid is learning some probability as well as getting a refresher on coins and dollars (He is actually excellent on that already.) He seems to have less math-induced tantrums than he did with Horizons. I think this is partially due to the new curriculum, and also since many of those tantrums were because he didn't want to write numbers being alleviated with his success w/HWT. When I bought Princess Puppy her kindergarten math curriculum, I thought, "It's kindergarten, I don't need a teacher's guide." So far, not my wisest of choices. I've had to skip several lessons because I had no idea what they wanted her to do. Looking ahead, it seems to get clearer as the course goes on.


Late last spring, we started using the Mavis Beacon series. The kids loved it and even I started using it. This fall we set time aside on the schedule for it, but I didn't find the disc until yesterday, so I'll keep you posted.


Each unit in the anatomy book takes 4 lessons or 2 weeks to go through. This week we finished lesson 1 and moved on to lesson 2. I love the actvities that it has the kids do. This week we made a cell model from jello and also illustrated how amazing the skull is made by jogging around the room with an egg in a tupperware container. The egg broke into basic Humpty-Dumpty mode. Then after cleaning out the tupperware, we filled it up with water, put a new egg in, resealed it, and jogged around again. The egg lived to tell the tale, until yesterday's breakfast.

That's all I have for this week. I'll be back on Friday to tell you a little bit about our co-op, and something Puppy and I call "Stations."

Friday, September 3, 2010

2010 2011 Week 2

Week 2 is now in the books. Took Thursday off for Bunny girls birthday which is an IBHS tradition. We are keeping up with the curriculum so far. We have a science experiment we are going to do over the weekend but are caught up with everything else.

I am getting more used to the kids new math. Bunny Girl and I are in a familiar pattern of working for a few minutes together and then her heading to her room to complete her assignment. Princess Puppy is just glad to have her own own math book. Her Kindergarten level math takes us less than 5 minutes to complete. Spider Droid's new math is a lot less like pulling teeth than last year. He got 100% on his first test and there are much fewer tears than last year. Speaking of fewer tears click here to see my review of Handwriting without tears.

There is still much to improve but 2 weeks in this seems like it could be a very good year.