"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Nature, Crochet & Games

My husband blessed me with these lovely flowers yesterday.  I have been enjoying them immensely! :)  What a wonderful way to end the week!  They smell nice and look beautiful. 
I had to take a picture of this Pine Tree because I can not recall ever having seen this before.  The red on the tree are little baby pine cones growing but I had never seen them red like this.  The red will fall off as it grows and develop into the pine cone but I had never seen seen them in this stage.  At first glance it looked like berries growing!  My 5 year old daughter thought they were strawberries and drew my attention to them as we walked around my SIL's farm.  Aren't they cute?!  God's creation is truly wonderful and never ceases to amaze me at how intricate the details are!
We did some crochet work this week.  It was nice and relaxing for the kids.  I read to them while they worked.  My son is learning to chain here.  He'll learn to go back over it in a bit.  At this time it's just good for him to learn how to hold his yarn and hook while he learns the initial stitch.  He made bracelets, rings and necklaces.  He did such a good job. :)
Here's Heather working on one of her projects.  She learned to crochet a couple of years ago.  She's very keen to do it and has showed lots of interest in learning how to do other time honoured skills like this; such as knitting and sewing. :)  I find it is a great time to connect with her.  Sometimes we will sit and crochet our projects together, chatting and generally having a good time together.  There have been times when we've talked about serious matters while doing our work.  Other times when we laugh and joke together.  It's certainly been a way for us to spend some good quality Mother/Daughter time together.  It's also a good skill to have to make something special for the people in your life too!She had an exciting week because a dear lady from our church had her and one of her friends (who also crochets) over for an afternoon to do a special project for Mother's Day. :)  They had a wonderful time together!  She came home with her project complete and all wrapped up; grinning from ear to ear about her time away.  I was happy to have this lady talk to her about how reading a pattern is important because Heather doesn't like to read patterns, she mostly makes up her own.  That's creative and bright but reading a pattern is also an important skill to learn.  It's good to know what all the abbreviations mean, how to count out a project, as well as learn all the different stitches.  They even talked about how math is apart of crocheting.  I love it when they can see that skills like this translate out into the world around them!   They ended of their time together with a game of Skipbo. :)

We did some games this week, particularly by the end of the week because we had some sickness pass through the house.  This game helps the kids learn how tell time and it's a lot of fun.  Graham told me right away how much he enjoyed it.  There are four games that tell time to the hour, half hour and quarter to and after hour.
Here's my little one doing a lady bug alphabet game.  She loved this game so much!  I got this from Scholar's Choice (and educational toy store) a long time ago when I was Homeschooling my first child.  It's something I've used with all of my children.  She took the little letter and used it to match up the big and small letters on the lady bug.  I'd tell her the name of the letter and she'd hunt for it, put them together and say the letter sound.  She played it numerous times. 

This post is linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up.  Please join in the fun and post your weekly wrap up!  A great way to share ideas and encouragement. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman

One of the poems.
This is a beloved book around here.  The Llama Who Had No Pajama contains 100 beautiful poems that the kids love to read and reread numerous times!  The poems are fun and engaging, the illustrations quaint and amusing.  Of course the kids favorite is, hands down, the one about the Llama Who Had No Pajama!  I really like poetry presented in this way for the kids.  It draws them in to the world of poetry in a tangible way.  A great introduction to poetry reading in the Preschool Years. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: War of 1812 Fort Field Trip

Esther Practicing her soldier moves at the Fort Field Trip!
Lining up for battle!
The period soldier - preparing his ranks for battle!
Graham learning how to bake tea biscuits for the fort!
The highlight of our week was the field trip to a local Fort that was used in the War of 1812.  We are able to participate in one field trip a month due to a local Mom who does a wonderful job organizing these trips.  It's great to get out to meet local Homeschoolers and do some learning together.  We'll be doing Canadian History this year and this was a bit early but that's okay!  They will remember this field trip, it was that good!  The staff were dressed in period costume and did a wonderful job telling all about when the fort was built and rebuilt, how it was used, and what they did there.   The staff was incredible.  The period soldier taught the kids how battle was fought during that time.  He explained what weapons were used, as well as the strategies for warfare.  The kids got to participate in a mock battle, featuring how to line up for battle, how to load your weapon, how to march and how to run into battle.  They got to wear 'red coats' for the demonstration.  The period soldier even shot a musket three times to show the kids what it would have looked like.  It was fantastic!

They made their way over to the Cook House where they got to bake tea biscuits which were a steady part of a soldiers diet at the fort.  They cooked them right there and tasted the fruits of their labour.  My son got to participate in that part of the demonstration.  He was very thrilled about that!

The visited the soldiers barracks, getting a look into how soldiers lived life on a fort.  They often brought their families with them.  The kids were fascinated to learn how so many people fit into one room with bunk beds, a wood stove and tables.  They were also astonished that food was often scarce as each child would have got the portion of a hamburger sized amount of food for an entire day!

We will go back this year as it is the two hundred anniversary of the war of 1812 and there will be numerous events to honour the memory of that war.

My son purchased a replica of a musket gun (with his own money), and explained it to everyone he comes across.  But what I love about it, is that he is talking about the history of that war, not just the musket gun! :)

***This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialised Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up!  Please join in the fun and link your own Weekly Wrap up back to this blog!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Nature Outing/Swimming/Sight Word Bingo

This week we've been working at a relaxed yet steady pace. We've had a few sniffles at the beginning of the week but by week's end we are all clearing up nicely. We played some games: math and reading games. We played Sight Word Bingo several times! All the kids love this game. I have the youngest one (5 years) play along with her Alphabet Bingo, she is quite content to do her own version. :)

We've concentrated on blending this week for Graham. It appears to be helping him gain some more fluency. My hubby told me, that he is watching him translate the skill more to the real world. That was fantastic to hear from him! We didn't touch the eye tracking yet, I decided to keep the week at a lighter pace and pick it up next week. Monday, was Easter, and we had a full activity day today.

All three of the kiddo's took part in a Nature Program this morning with a local Nature Reserve. This week's session was Pond Study. The kids had a fantastic time! I heard all about it on the way home and throughout the day. They tromped through the muck in rain boots, drew water life from the pond, talked about the life cycle of bugs, investigated frogs, looked at the snakes at the reserve, saw a couple of deer, a skunk (yikes!) and did some bird watching (they saw a wood pecker). All three of them were in separate classes, which I believe is a first for my eldest two. They have traditionally been grouped together! My eldest girl met some homeschooled girls she connected with, which was great! I sat around with a couple of Homeschooling Moms and had a great chat! Mom's need that.

We also went back to swimming this session! I haven't done it the last three sessions. I had dislocated my shoulder bone last year and bruised it so badly that it took months to heal. I landed on it wrong while getting down on the floor with the kids. I had an MRI done a while ago and it's healing up nicely now but it literally took months. So I took a respite for a while to give me some much needed time to heal and relax. The kids were beyond excited to get back at it. It was so good to see them in lessons again. And it was good to socialize with lots of Homeschooled families.

This was a great week. But I am looking forward to getting on what I call our 'Summer Schedule'. We do a lot of biking with the summer schedule and this year I will be taking the kids to parks to do some of our homeschooling outside. They specifically requested bird watching and botany. So we'll dig into some nature sketching. I'll do some read a louds on a picnic blanket with some snacks, pull out some sand toys and enjoy afternoons or mornings outside in the fresh air while we learn. I homeschool all year round. I find the kids get bored when we don't. How I do it changes throughout the seasons. Really spring, summer and early fall are our favorite times to HS. Lots of hands on, out in nature, and physical exercise. :) We do take breaks but they fall into into a nice Rhythm that works around all of us - Dad included.

We have a full week next week, so it was really nice to take it easy this week.

Please join in the fun and post your own weekly wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! It's a great way to connect with other Homeschoolers and share ideas!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Usborne: Maths Dictionary & What's Maths all about?

I got these excellent books from Usborne: First Illustrated Maths Dictionary & What's Maths All About?.  The books are geared toward the level of understanding your child is in math.  I got them as a free read for my son primarily as a way for him to connect with math on a different level.  He often wonders why he has to put so much effort into learning math.  This is proving to be a nice, gentle way of approaching it.  It takes the stress off learning math during school time and opens it up to how the world of math works.  The pages are fun and colourful as are the descriptions of math, taking a child into the fundamental reasons why and how math exists in the world around them.   They're great books to cuddle up on the couch, read and chat about.  I've come to realise that it's important for him and kids in general not to feel intimidated by math when they struggle with it.  These books have helped to alleviate the stress and engage him in the process of math in a different way. 

Here's a sample page from What's Maths All About:

The First Illustrated Maths Dictionary I am using with my five year old.  It's a great way to introduce math during free reading time.  Below are pictures of a couple of pages in the book:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up 29: HS Conference/Eye Tracking Exercises & Sketches

I entered our homeschool week all revved up from a Homeschool Conference. :) I purchased my new curriculum for Canadian History, see all those fantastic living books?! We are one month away from American History being all done and are quite excited to begin a new history program. I drove up to the conference with a bunch of ladies, where we stayed over night. We enjoyed a lovely dinner out and headed out to the conference early to shop and enjoy various seminars. It was a great time away with some wonderful women who I am truly blessed to know!

While at the conference I attended a bunch of seminars about Learning Disorders. It was at the last seminar I felt that I was quite possibly getting a handle on what may be going on with my son. I don't get the sense that he has a learning disability, I've been all over the diagnostic criteria for them and I can't find something that really fits. So when the speaker in the last session spoke about eye tracking issues I began to see some strong co-relations with my son. His eye sight is really bad (+4) and we didn't discover it until he was 4. Plus a lot of children with allergies tend to have this problem (he is Celiac and has a host of environmental allergies). He complains of headaches when having to read or do math. I can tell he's straining to make sense of it but I couldn't figure out exactly what the problem was. Of all the seminars I sat through on Learning Disabilities the symptoms of poor eye tracking started to make a lot of sense. It could be that the muscles in his eyes have been made weak by his poor eye sight in his earlier years. I have booked him an appointment to get his eye tracking ability assessed. We'll rule out all the physical first and then if nothing pops there we'll look else where. He's as smart as a whip but he's struggling with math and reading. Don't get me wrong, he's making strides but he's not quite where we think he should be at this point. I found it incredibly helpful to have sat through all these seminars to help me figure him out. :) I've already started some eye tracking exercises to help strengthen that skill because it really can't hurt!!!

Today, was a hard day for my boy. He had fallen earlier in the week and did a face dive into the pavement. His glasses got scratched up so badly that we needed to replace the lenses (so thankful for the eye protection plan we purchased). We had them replaced today but he had to go for a few hours without glasses. He completely melted down in the van on the way to piano. He sobbed and asked me why he had to have such bad eye sight, and why he had so many food issues and outside allergies. It was heart breaking to hear him so upset. I let him vent and be sad then we talked about how it was good that we could get him glasses and that we had the ability to make him good food to eat even with all his food sensitivities. Really, he's taken most of it in stride but now and again he gets sad......and that's okay. We'll deal with these things as they come, knowing the Lord has a plan and purpose for his life.

All in all it was a good week though. We got lots of school work done and my daughter started a new grammar program called: Growing with Grammar. She LOVED it! We were using a different Grammar program but she was finding it difficult to understand the instructions. It looked to busy and wordy. But GWG, she said, is both straightforward and simple to follow. She blew 18 pages and 1 test (perfect score) away this week in the grade 6 level. (which made her very happy because she is in Grade 5). She's like that with Wordly Wise too, loves to do the work in that book. She is required to do that once a week but likes it so much she does it more.

The kids are interested in WWI and WWII so I got Usborne War Stories (True Stories from the First and Second World Wars). They used to be in separate books but they combined them into one. We read the first chapter which then sited the events of Christmas in WWI when the soldiers came out of their bunkers to have smokes/drinks together, play some soccer and even exchange military items like hats or badges. So we skipped over to that chapter to read. The kids were astonished at this. They couldn't stop talking about it. The book has ended up being a great read this week.
We've continued to do some history sketching. This week we talked about the missionaries and how their work is very important in history as well; from David Livingstone, to Jacob Deshazer to Jim Elliot. They sketched some animals from the jungles where some of these missionaries went to spread the gospel (see pics below). We have read Nate Saint's story but we haven't read about Jim Elliot: Christian Heroes Then and Now yet. That one is on our reading list for this year. A good week, a revitalized Mom, some tears but healing hugs/words, relaxed home schooling, a play date and time spent together as a family. :)

**Please join in the fun and post your own Weekly Wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Life of Fred: Apples

This post can be linked back to Canadian Home Learning: Book Sharing Monday! Please join in the fun and post your own book selections! :)

We started a series of books called Life of Fred Math. They are proving to be excellent books. My son struggles with seeing math in the real world. He often asks: "Why do I need to know this?" Life of Fred is a welcome change for him. The stories are often funny and they go through a day with Fred, directly relating Math to every day life experiences. We've been doing the work at the end of the chapter on the wipe board. They draw Fred and some of the things that happened in the chapter and then answer the questions. The series starts off with Apples and it is very easy for them but that's okay because I'm looking for him to 'see' and 'feel' the math around him. I have the next few books so we'll continue on with them alternating it with his math program. Here are some sample pages: