Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tooth Fairy on the way!

H lost another tooth today! He is hoping to catch a glimpse of the tooth fairy tonight, but is just as eager for his reward in the morning. Isn't it nice to be young??

Progress report

We have completed MathUSee Alpha and are now starting in Beta. H is chomping at the bit to get to the hard problems. I never imagined I would have to slow him down in Math, and believe me, I am not complaining, but he will still be required to work his way through all the assignments in order. L is keeping up beautifully, although she has been sick this entire week and is feeling quite sluggish. This too shall pass... I couldn't be more happy about the progress I am seeing. The kids are enjoying their MUS lessons which sure makes Math a lot easier for all of us. Thank You MUS for a Great Program!!!!

We are also making good progress in Level Two of All About Spelling. The spelling rules are sticking in the kids memory nicely, and it is great fun to see the kids applying them in other activities. L's reading is automatically improving, as we haven't worked on any Phonics this month, yet she is reading more difficult words. I think our recent lessons about syllable division have really made an enormous difference in how she decodes words now. H is also improving greatly, and is using less and less invented spelling. He is making more effort at thinking his way through words, and the results have been very positive. It is astounding to me that such a simple and straightforward program can make such a huge difference in the kids abilities. I am SO GRATEFUL to have found this wonderful spelling program! We really Love it!

I am ramping up our writing lessons now to include sentence and paragraph formation. I have IEW's Excellence in writing program, and really love the approach, but I feel like something is missing at the onset. I really feel like some introductory sentence and paragraph basics should be covered before venturing into full out writing. I have been researching a few other writing programs and came across Step Up To Writing. It looks really interesting and easy to implement (Can you tell the ease of implementation is a running theme with me?). On Monday I plan on calling them to see if it includes an actual lesson plan. If so, it will likely be on it's way. I'll keep you posted.

We recently had a great time learning about magnets too. It was a basic lesson, but the kids had such a blast playing with the magnets. They went wild figuring out what had iron content, and what did not. H found it particularly interesting that the earth itself was like a giant magnet, and that there are actually magnetic rocks (magnetite).

I have a lot planned for the next few months, and will post as we move along in our lessons. Have a great day!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Year

Wow - it's 2009... Where does the time go?
Just many folks make their resolutions, this year I have decided to do the same. I usually don't bother, but this year I feel like this is a great time for a new start and fresh outlook. So, without further adieu, here are my plans for the new year...

Become and remain more organized. My biggest problem is that there are still things in my house that don't have a true "home". It's those very homeless items which clutter the house and get in the way of just about everything. We have been in this house for a year now, and there is still a storage room FULL of boxes and bags of "stuff". It is time to pull myself up by the bootstraps and muster up the courage to actually sort through the junk. We have already started the organizing process before xmas (with the simple stuff) and we all feel better for it, so now for the grand finale, we will tackle the "junk" room.
Also, with the house more organized, it generally is easier to keep tidy. One of the biggest obstacles in our homeschooling day has been to first have to clear off the table and tidy the room we are working in. If I have trouble focusing on our lessons when the room is a mess, then I can only guess the kids are equally distracted. It's time to end the constant struggle with clutter.

Less Pasta, more veggies and fruit. Pasta is such an easy and quick meal to toss together at the end of a long and busy day. We seem to have lots of those... I am working more and more veggies and fruit into our diet and the difference is already noticeable. We don't seem quite as sluggish throughout the day (and especially after dinner). Also, the kids are getting less picky as more veggies keep appearing on their plates. An added bonus! :)

Streamline our HS schedule. After reading Ruth Beechick's You can teach your child successfully, I came to realize that what I was doing previously basically amounted to doing "school at home". We tried to cover too many subjects at once and we never got into any real depth with each one - and we (I) were going nuts. I have finally found peace with the idea that "Less is more", especially when it comes to HSing. We are working more in depth with the basics (3 Rs) and adding in additional topics as we progress. I started this approach about a month or two ago, and it has really been working well for us - So we will continue.

I suppose that covers the primary personal goals have for myself this year. I'll keep you updated with our progress as time goes on.