Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Becoming a Reader

Today I began teaching Suzy to READ! Whee! Well, she's been learning letter sounds all year, but today we began the section of Alphabet Island Phonics that teaches the student to decode short vowel words. YAY!

It struck me that soon I will have FOUR reading children and I will have taught all of them to read! How cool is that!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Books in the Mail

I thought it would be cool to post a list of books I have received free from Over two hundred books have come my way through PBS since I joined, but I'm just going to list the ones specifically for homeschooling over the last few months.
  • Explode the Code, Bk 6
  • History Pockets, Ancient Civilizations, Grade 1-3
  • Literature Pockets, Folktales Fairytales, Grades K-1
  • A Guide for Using The Cricket in Times Square in the Classroom
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • 100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing The Right Curriculum And Approach For Your Child's Learning Style
  • Nitty-Gritty Grammar : A Not-So-Serious Guide to Clear Communication
  • Seascapes (Looking at Paintings Series)
  • Draw Fantasy: Dragons, Centaurs, and Other Mythological Characters
  • History Pockets, Ancient Egypt, Grades 4-6
  • Pyramids: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience Ancient Egypt (Kaleidoscope Kids)
  • 6,000 Years of Earth History (CD) (Vision Forum)
  • Alternatives to Worksheets: Motivational Reading and Writing Activities Across the Curriculum
  • Gonzo Gizmos: Projects Devices to Channel Your Inner Geek
  • Storytime Crafts for Kids
  • Making God's Word Stick
  • Backyard Ballistics
  • History Pockets, Ancient Greece, Grades 4-6 (History Pockets)
  • Ancient Greece!: 40 Hands-On Activities to Experience This Wondrous Age (Kaleidoscope Kids)
  • The Enormous Egg
  • DK Readers: Going for Gold (Level 4: Proficient Readers)
  • DK Readers: Robin Hood (Level 4: Proficient Readers)
  • Literature Pockets, Fiction (Literature Pockets)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)
  • Twizzlers Percentages Book
  • The Bronze Bow
  • A Coloring Book of Tutankhamun
  • A Coloring Book of Ancient Egypt
  • Steven Caney's Invention Book
  • Child's Play (6-12) : 160 Instant Activities, Crafts, and Science Projects for Grade Schoolers
  • Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book
  • Honestly, Katie John
That's a nice list, isn't it? Now, to use paperbackswap, one lists books she no longer wants and mails them out to people who request them, earning a credit per book. You pay for the books you mail out - an average of $2 per book. You can use your credits to request other books you want and the sender pays for the shipping. It is AWESOME!!

Wanna try it out? Link in my sidebar!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Co-op Starts Friday

Homeschool co-op starts on Friday. I am on the leadership team, but I have been less involved this semester than ever before. I did handle the class enrollment and some of the scheduling. Next year, I will be even less involved if I am still working full time.

So these are my children's classes. We meet every other week through the end of April, for a total of 8 sessions. It's the highlight of the kids' lives, I think!


1 – Open Gym

2 – Build it Better Lego (David is teaching and I am assisting.)

Bring your uncompleted Lego sets to class and have a Lego master help you build. After you've completed the model, David will show you ways to modify and improve your models to make new and better models. We may order pieces online to add to your set to create exciting ships, vehicles, sculptures, and other cool stuff. You bring your own Legos and pay for any extra pieces (.07-.35 per piece). No supply fee.

3 – Lego Robotics 4

Students will build a racing robotic devise and then program it to race on a variety of racing courses.

4 – PE 10+

This gym class will continue with a 15-20 minute warm-up, followed by a team sport.

5 – More Flight and Space

Each week 1 or 2 "milestones" in Aerospace will be discussed (and reviewed at the end of the 8 weeks)


1 – Cricket in Times Square

This literature class is from Beyond Five in a Row unit-study! It's for ages 8-12. Each week your student will get a rock solid hour of rich information and hand's on lessons that will enhance his/her homeschool journey....from science to reading a classic book, to history, art and music to Newspaper and Dictionary Treasure Hunts and even eating Chinese food or at least cooking it!

2 – Grooming for Girls

I hope to make the girls aware of the need to care for their hair skin nails and feet. Their bodies are changing now and some families have a hard time with young girls paying attention to hygiene. I plan to have fun with this class as grooming can be fun (Skin care, french braids, hair wraps)

3 – Choir

If you love to sing and enjoy learning new music, then this is the place to be. Learn songs, basic music theory and proper breathing techniques in a class that definitely hits a high note!

4 – Drama

We will practice reading with expression, reciting scripture & poetry, practicing presentation (enunciating, facial expression, voice) the class will choose their own readings and contribute short dramas for the class to learn. A performance is possible but not mandatory.

5 – PE for Girls

This is a physical education class for girls only in which we do weekly warm-ups, running, and a variety of games and sports.


1 – Karate

Style of karate: Tang Soo Do. Students will learn: basic actions (kicks, punches, blocks), one-steps (practice against an opponent), self-defense, 1st basic form, and also respect for others and obedience of parents/teachers.

2 – Build It Better

Bring your uncompleted Lego sets to class and have a Lego master help you build. After you've completed the model, David will show you ways to modify and improve your models to make new and better models. We may order pieces online to add to your set to create exciting ships, vehicles, sculptures, and other cool stuff. You bring your own Legos and pay for any extra pieces (.07-.35 per piece).

3 – PE ages 6-9

Kids have lots of energy. This class attempts to burn off some of that energy in a fun way. Calisthenics, old favorites as well as new games will be introduced. Sportsmanship and cooperation emphasized.

4 – Making Wooden Toys

Students will assemble and paint wooden toys, such as boats, planes, cars, etc...

5 – Creatures Creatures

Using Leo Lionni books, this class of 6-8 year olds will explore the life of fish, snails, worms, and frogs. We will learn using art, science, and literature. Creatures will share our time together at co-op and become your pet by going home with you.


1 – Open Gym

2 – Puppet Theatre

Through familiar fairy tales, students will learn sequencing and story retelling, using stick puppets.

3 – PE for ages 4-5

In general, we are starting off with warm ups, doing an organized games (duck, duck, goose, or hot potato, ect) and then letting the kids have some free play. If Ann can find the music tapes, we will work with music and movement. No Fee.

4 – Kiddie Krafts

Each week, we’ll do a craft related to a holiday theme. We’ll also be reading a book or two related to that theme as well!

5 – Phonemic Fun

Children who are not aware of phonemes are at serious risk of struggling to learn to read. Some kids pick this up automatically, but roughly 25% of first graders need direct instruction and many reading programs do not include enough. The great news is that phonemic awareness can be built using games, poems, songs, and fun books!! We'll have a lot of fun being silly and learning at the same time!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dirty Bread

Judges 13
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines."

ME, to the kids:

What foods did the angel of the Lord instruct Manoah's wife not to eat?

James (age 8), waving hand:
Ooh, ooh, I know! Wine, and ummmm..... DIRTY BREAD!

The rest of us, looking confused:
????.... OH! (realization dawns) Unclean food!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


OK, I have like 5 minutes, but I wanted to post the stuff I got planned for Art. Sorry, there weren't any links in last night's post and there won't be here either.

David is doing art by himself. He asked if he could be excused from doing cutesy craft projects and I agreed. If we do a project he is interested in, he joins in. He is working on the book Draw Real People by Lee Hammond. He also takes art classes once a month from Don West - Emily takes those lessons too.

The other kids will be doing art twice a week, if I can handle that frequency. Once will be a drawing lesson from Creative Thinking Through Art: Drawing (Evan-Moor). The other art lesson will be more involved - either a seasonal art project (NEED some ideas, got any?), a project from Creative Thinking Through Art: Mixed Media (also Evan-Moor) or The Usborne Book of Art Ideas. I'll probably add in some other art too. Sometimes they just like to paint.

I have yet to do James and Suzy's language arts plans. They're fairly easy though, since they are both doing Alphabet Island Phonics and the book is all laid out for me. Will post more on that later, I hope.

Also planning to post my kids' new job chart. David and I collaborated on it and I am pretty pleased with it. He's photographing it right now.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

History Plans Completed (and Math Info)

Another subject completed - one of my favorites - History! We are doing some American history this year.

We've already read The Light and the Glory for Children (and I read the adult version). We are now just a few chapters into From Sea to Shining Sea for Children. (Again I am reading the adult version.) We'll finish the school year with Sounding the Trumpet for Children, which will take us to the year 1860. (All of those books are by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.) I've got all 3 activity books and I will be photocopying some pages from those to go along with our reading.

I've also got a book called American Adventures: True Stories from America's Past 1770-1870 and I will be integrating selections from that book as well.

Mostly our history work is me reading the chapter aloud while the children color a coloring sheet that goes along with the information. There are discussion questions for each chapter, so we'll cover those. Sometimes I'll integrate a picture book or a movie that goes along with the topic - like Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier or the Liberty's Kids DVD's that we have. The books include several games and some map work so that will be included and we also work on an ongoing timeline that we started with Mystery of History Volume 1.

If we haven't come to the end of May yet when that's complete, I'll pull out some Civil War stuff I have and we'll work on that.

Next year, we'll go back to Mystery of History and begin Volume 2. (I am looking to buy it used, if anyone has one to sell!)

So, there's history!

I'm not going to do a separate entry for Math for two reasons.
One - Bob teaches it, not me.
Two - it doesn't require any planning other than to make sure they have their books.

Here's what they're doing:

David - Math-U-See Pre-Algebra - he's on Lesson 14.
Emily - Math-U-See Gamma - she's on Lesson 9.
James - Math-U-See Beta - he's on Lesson 24 (need to get Gamma for him!)
Suzy - working on beginning addition concepts and counting by 2's, 5's, 10's. We don't have a curriculum for her - just random worksheets and practicing with Daddy.