Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homeschool Update 2

Can you believe this is the seventh week of school already?  Time is just flying by!  It's been a couple of weeks since I posted my last homeschool update and I've made a few changes to the way our schedule works.  We all love it so much and I will share more about that soon.  But for now, let me share a little bit of what we've been up to.  I don't have a ton of pictures and I certainly don't have equal amounts of photos for each child's activities.  (I mention this because I know a certain grandma cares about that sort of thing and I just want that grandma to know I am aware of this problem and will try to do better.  Ha!)  Rest assured they are all working very hard even if I don't happen to capture it on film. 

This is Annabelle tearing bread for our colonial bread pudding recipe (remember we're studying the colonial period in history).  She kept getting so tickled over something.

Cracking the eight thousand eggs needed for bread pudding.

The final product.  It was very yummy when it was fresh out of the oven.  However, we all discovered we would have made lousy colonists because we were not able to eat it warmed up later.  Yuck!

Annabelle learned about colonial schools/colonial education.  Here is the horn book she made along with a cross stitch pattern she created.  It's highly unlikely she will ever actually cross stitch this pattern, but if she proves me wrong I will most certainly share it with you. 

A page from Jeb's reading activities.  He read a story about trolls.

Another page from the same lesson.  I liked his troll...very scary!

You may remember that my last post highlighted a lot of Henry's writing and it appears this time I took a lot of pictures of Jeb's writing.  Take a look.

After he found out his brother wrote an angry bird story, he had to do the same.

After he wrote this story we videoed him doing a weather forecast and sent it to my mom.  He enjoyed that very much!

He got the idea for this story when we were studying skeletons in science.

And this is a sweet picture of him writing a secret story.  He kept it covered the entire time he wrote.  Once he was done, he let me read it.  It was a cute story about his favorite teacher in school...ME!

Jeb has been learning about verbs in grammar.  First, we watched a School House Rock video about verbs on schooltube and a different verb video on  Then, he made a little flip book about of his verbs is "bomb."  At first I was thinking of bomb as a noun, but then he clarified that he meant "like when you bomb somthing."  Okay!  The next lesson he read a Transformers book and searched for verbs in the text.  In the third lesson he had to unscramble some sentences and find the verbs in each one.  After he had action verbs down, he learned about linking verbs and had to sort some action verbs and linking verbs.  We are still working on verbs, but this is all I have a picture of.

I don't have a lot of pictures of Henry's work, but I do have a couple.  I should mention that Jeb is in some of these pictures as well because he has been asking to help teach Henry his lessons.  It's funny to listen to because I can hear myself being repeated.

This is Henry working on one of his math assignments.  He's adding the numbers on the cards and creating patterns for each one.  Actually, he did the same pattern for each card, but I was fine with that because I didn't ask him to create a patten in the first place.  All I wanted him to do was show the numbers with tiles under each card.  It did sort of create a graph effect and so we used it like one with Jeb and I asking questions like, "How many more does 5 have than 3?"

Close up

This game is a brain teaser/logic game that he really enjoys playing.  It's called Royal Rescue and even though the box says it's for 5 years old and up, it stumps me at times. 

This is Jeb teaching Henry a writing lesson.  It wasn't actually a day that Henry had a writing lesson so I was surprised that Henry agreed to do extra work just so Jeb could play teacher.  This lesson is where I heard myself the most and realized Jeb has the flow of a writing lesson down pat! 

Again, I only have one science picture.

Doesn't look like science, does it?  More like lunch time.  But if you look closely, you can see their fingers are taped.  They had been learning about how important joints are and had to tape two fingers together, covering the joints.  It didn't take long for them to realize how differently their bodies would work without joints.

Next time I am going to try to get more pictures for you.  Especially of Bible.  We do so many neat things during our Bible lessons but since I am always so hands on during those, I never think to get the camera out.  But I day.

Go here to get the verb activities for free. 
Go here to see the School House Rock video about verbs.
Go here to see the verb video called Light, Camera, Action Verb on  We also looked at a little slide show about verbs on this site but some of it was way too advanced for his age.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


As I mentioned in my curriculum post, I do not have a specific reading curriculum for Annabelle's reading.  Before school started, I showed a list of books to her and asked her what she would like to study for reading this school year.  The first thing she picked out to study was the whole Chronicles of Narnia series.  Truth be told, I wasn't too excited with this choice because it's not really the type of literature I enjoy.  However, it turns out the books are quite interesting and we have had some great discussions come from them.  You might be wondering what we do while reading one of these books and this is where I would introduce you to Annabelle's reading binder.  Cue the drum roll........(by the way, the first book she read was The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis).

Nothing fancy.  Just a binder with some dividers.

A close up of the divided sections

These two pictures show the first section which is the table of contents.  She actually has two tables of contents.  One for her "resources" section and one for her "books studied" section.  

These next three pictures show some of what we put into the resources section of her binder.  When she learns about a new literary element, she makes a foldable or an organizer and creates a page for it in that section.  She can refer to this section when she studies the books she reads.

The third section contains her fluency work.  I haven't kept up with it past the second fluency passage.  I plan to do better for the book she's reading now. 

The fourth section is her reading log.  Here is where she keeps up with the novels she reads in her free time. 

These last four pictures show the books studied section and is where the bulk of her work goes.  When she has work to do that specifically pertains to the book she is reading it goes in this section.  You can see she started off with a short author study.  She also kept up with illustrating the book throughout to create a book of illustrations.  In addition, she created a sequence of book events on a timeline.  The type of work she has for each chapter varies, but includes things such as foldables, graphic organizers, vocabulary, comprehension questions, recipes, and using those literary elements she's been learning.   

Last but not least is the end of book project.  She really enjoys choosing an art project/craft of some sort to wrap up a book.  Here she chose to do a movie in a box.  The movie rolls up and down causing the movie to change from scene to scene.  We found the idea here.  Obviously, we changed it to fit the supplies we had on hand.

I hope this explanation of Annabelle's reading binder and what we do during reading is helpful.  Stay tuned for another homeschool update soon.  Maybe even sooner than you think!

Go here for the reading log.
Go here for the foldables for The Magician's Nephew.
Go here to find the worksheets for the Chronicles of Narnia series.  (This is usually $20 but is currently on deep discount!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Homeschool Update 1 - It's Going to be a Long One

I figured if this blog is going to serve as a memory of our family life and homeschooling, I might actually need to add some posts about what we've been up to.  Our first day of school was August 6 and we have been very busy since that day.  (Except this week...we had a death in the family and just haven't been able to get back into full force, leaving out our afternoon work.  Next week will be better.)  Below are some pictures of the things we've been doing around here.   Note-I am really bad about taking action shots.  I usually only remember to get the camera out when we're finished with something.  And even then, I forget to photograph a lot of things.  Obviously, we do a lot more than what is pictured here.

One of the things Jeb has been learning in grammar is nouns.  He completed a really neat lapbook that he enjoyed doing very much.  Once it was finished, he worked the noun pages in a workbook that I picked up from the teacher store in town.  (I am looking for the link to the lapbook.  As soon as I find it, I will add it in.) *Update* I found the link.  I couldn't remember where I purchased it, but finally was able to figure it out.  Go here to get it.

For reading he has also been lapbooking and enjoying it quite a bit.  I think he liked this first one the most because he chose the theme of it.  He read a lot of books about knights and various other medieval topics during the week, but his favorite was the one about castles, pictured below.  Go here to find the lapbook we used.  We used mini books from the level 2 section and the level 3 section.

cover of lapbook
First section of the lapbook.
This is the inside of some of the mini books.  I tried to open them all but it looked like a mess that way.
This is the second section of the lapbook.  The little fellow on the right has removable armor. 

This is the inside of some of these mini books. 
At the end of the knight theme, he wanted to decorate the back cover with a castle.  So for art one day, I found something online that taught him how to draw a castle step by step

Another thing he did in reading was based off a book that he picked out at the library.  I think he liked it because Arthur punches an octopus to save D.W.  Boys!!  I just happened to have this little booklet stored away that I used with my second graders when I used to teach.  It goes with any Arthur book.

I like this page because he wasn't afraid to at least try to spell "imagination."

This is a diorama Jeb made of a colonial log cabin and a colonist working in the field.

Next up, is Annabelle's work.  First are some pictures of history.  The kids and I are studying colonial America this first semester, so pretty much everything we do for while will revolve around that topic in history.

This is a picture of Annabelle squishing blueberries to get ready for dying some fabric the way colonists did. 
This is her dropping fabric into the boiling samples.  Action shots!  Yay, me!
The finished fabric swatches!  As you can see, we did quite a few.  We were disappointed by some and pleasantly surprised by others.
These are some popups that Annabelle made when she learned about the different types of homes the colonists lived in.  She learned that the colonists in the New England colonies had different homes than those in the middle colonies, and they had different homes than the southern colonists.  These popups will eventually go into a lapbook.
Annabelle enjoyed making these "dolls" so much.  Each person has several overlays so you can see the different layers of clothing. 
I didn't remove her last layer because then she would be in her underwear and girls shouldn't be on the internet in their underwear.  Ha!

This is a map of Jamestown that I got from a Scholastic teacher resource book called Easy Make and Learn Projects Colonial America (it wasn't easy to make, by the way).  The digital download is currently on sale for $1 because it's dollar deals on Scholastic's teacher digital resource books.
She's still enjoying math.  Pages like this make her feel so accomplished when she gets done. 
This is the book I made for her to help her study those multiplication facts.  If you want to see how I use this book, check out the youtube video at this link.  The video suggests using a white board, but I didn't want to have to rewrite it on the board every day, so I came up with this instead.
This page is totally boring, but if my brother ever reads this, he will completely appreciate that I shared what she is learning in grammar.  Aaron, if you are reading this, please ignore any grammar mistakes you may have found in this post.
For art one week, we studied an artist named Georges Seurat and the kids tried their hands at his pointillism technique.  Annabelle was the only one interested in actually filling the whole page.  The whole picture is made of tiny dots. 

I do have pictures of what Annabelle has been doing in reading, but I am going to save that for another post so that I can share the parts of her reading notebook with you at the same time.

Henry's turn!  To start, I am going to show some of his writing with you.  Basically, the way I teach writing with him goes like this:  He decides what he wants to write about and dictates it to me.  Sometimes, I help out with questions to give him ideas and sometimes he doesn't need help with ideas.  He is responsible for writing all the capitals at the beginning of the sentences, ending each sentence with a period, being the "space" man to keep the words evenly spaced, and the illustrator.  I have recently added him spelling aloud any words for me that I know he can spell before I write them and he circles any words he can read when we're done with it.  I didn't have any current pictures of his work, but I do have some samples to show you what I started out doing with him.

Preschool art work makes me so happy.  A few weeks ago, he drew a shark for my mom that was basically a happy face with a fin on it and I wished I could keep it because it was so stinking cute.

Henry came to me during free time one day with this piece of scrap paper and said he wanted to write a story.  I was about to take the pen, but he insisted on writing the words himself...all he wanted me to do was spell the words for him.  He has a slight angry bird fascination these days.

Below are a couple of pictures of the kind of work Henry does in reading.

Here he had to read the words and match them to the picture.

On this one he had to find words that rhymed/were in a word family together and make ice cream cones.  I didn't tell him to match the ice cream flavors, too, but I'm glad he did.  He LOVES to cut and glue so this was right up his alley.

And finally, I will show you one measly thing from science.  All the kids enjoy our science curriculum for the most part, but for some reason I don't ever think to take pictures of it.  Probably because it is the last thing we do on the last couple days of the week and I am exhausted by then.

We are studying the human body and this is a picture of a human cell drawn by Henry.  I didn't require him to label the picture, but I did require his brother to label it with initials and his sister had to write the whole word. 

That's all, folks.  Stay tuned for another post...soonish.