Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Last Week of Summer Vacation

I'm joining in again on the weekly wrap up meme hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. The first part of our week was pretty laid back. It seems like we did a lot of laying around and watching tv.

I made a mini office for Ashley. I got most of my printables from here. I also did a little bit of shopping and got some materials to make a flannel board. I have a ton of Sizzix dies so I will cut out of felt a bunch of shapes, including numbers and other math manipulative shapes. I think Ashley will enjoy using it for Math and for fun - creating scenes with the other shapes.

I completed Tylers schedule for the first month of school. He has a guide that we purchased for his core but I wanted to set up a schedule for everything else. Also there are some subjects that aren't scheduled everyday.
Samantha and I watched Pride and Prejudice (part 1) - very good! We got part 2 in the mail yesterday (netflix) but haven't watched it yet.

Ashley had a couple of friends over for the day. They had fun playing and swimming.
We visited with my brother and soon to be sister-in-law. They are moving to Austin, TX from Albany, NY. So on their long drive from NY to TX they stopped by to see us and other friends they have in the area. They were traveling with their dog and cat. Their dogs name is Shmelbe and he and our Chloe had fun playing together.

We also had huge storms in our area that evening, lots and lots of rain. A tornado actually hit a mall about 30 minutes from us. I even had a friend who was in the section of the mall that got hit. Thankfully, she, her husband and their baby are okay but their van was totaled. At our house, our yard flooded and mud ended up in our pool again. Our sun room flooded as well. This is the second time this has happened. Today, Jeff did a little investigating out behind our fence line. Short story is we have calls into a couple of people who need to take a look at a ditch that was being used to keep rain water out of a subdivision back behind our property. This ditch is aimed right at our yard and is so overgrown that water is not being diverted properly and is instead flooding our yard and the yards of a few others.

So anyways we have a couple of days (and a couple of hundred dollars) of trying to clean up the pool.

We spent today vacuuming up the pool. Tonight I need to get to bed early because a friend and I are going to yard sales early tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our 2009-2010 Curriculum

I have spent countless hours researching what we would use this year. My biggest requirement for the curriculum is that it be a living books curriculum. At first I really wanted to try and keep the kids on the same core program (for example, they all do American History) but the more I looked at all my options and the more I looked into their interests the more I came away with individual curriculum for each of them. Samantha and Ashley are both doing American History but using different curriculum. It will definitely be a challenge this year but I also feel like Tyler will be a little bit more independent this year too which should help. So here is the plan:

Ashley Grade 1
Heart of Dakota: Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory - This is a very gentle program that includes Bible, History, Geography, Science Poetry, Reading, Storytime and Art. It also offers Language Arts and Math or you can use your own LA and Math. I am choosing to use my own which will be Explode the Code, Language Lessons for the Very Young, Horizon Spelling (I got this free from paperbackswap!) and Horizons Math. Although I may use some of their copywork.
Bible: Morning Bells Devotional
Hide ‘em in your Heart CD
History/Geography: American Pioneers and Patriots
Stories of the Pilgrims
Boys and Girls of Colonial Days
Science: God’s Wonderful Works
Readers are scheduled throughout the year as well as plenty of read alouds from different genres
I am adding in:
Phonics: Explode the Code
Language Arts: Language Lessons for the Very Young
Spelling: Horizons 1
Math: Horizons 1
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Grade 1
Critical Thinking: Mind Benders Beginning Book 2
Scholastic Success with Maps Workbook Grade 1

Samantha Grade 5
Samantha is my reader so hopefully Sonlight should be a good match for her.
Bible, History/Geography, Language Arts: Sonlight Core ¾ American History
Science: Winter Promise The Human Body and Forensics
Grammar: Easy Grammar 5 and Daily Grams
Vocabulary: Word Roots A2
Spelling: Apples
Math: Horizons 5
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Grade5
Critical Thinking: She has several books to choose from Critical Thinking Activities, Red Herring Mysteries, Brain Stretchers
State Study: Star Spangled State Book
Keyboarding: Typing Instructor Deluxe

Tyler Grade 7
For Tyler we decided on the Middle Ages. But since I feel a need to try and keep him in line with Fayette Academy's curriculum, he is also doing TN state history. The program I chose seems really neat and not too overwhelming so I think it is doable.
Bible, History, Geography: Winter Promise Quest for the Middle Ages includes the history of the Christian church. This program uses the second Mystery of History book.
TN State History: Exploring TN Notgrass Co.
Science: Apologia General Science
Language Arts: Wordsmith (creative writing)
Grammar Easy Grammar Plus and Daily Grams
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from the Classical Roots
Spelling: Apples
Math: Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
Critical Thinking: Building Thinking Skills Book 3
Keyboarding: Typing Instructor Deluxe

I also want to start weekly Nature Studies using the challenges from Handbook of Nature Studies blog.

My wish is to do Rosetta Stone: Latin American Spanish for Homeschool and the Music curriculum: Music and Moments with the Masters. But right now I don't have the money for these and right now I think our plates are pretty full. Mid-year if I feel that we can fit something else in and I have the money I may add these in.

The kids also have various activities including: piano (Sam), soccer (Tyler), dance (Ashley), gymnastics (Sam), swimming and various church activities. We may also participate in 4H and a co-op that offers art, home ec and P.E.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Helen Keller Festival

Samantha has to read the biography of Helen Keller for school and the same book is a read aloud for Ashley so when I heard that there was a Helen Keller festival I thought it would be a great trip for us. Apparently, Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Al and they have a festival every year to commemorate it. Tuscumbia is about 2 hrs from us so it was a nice little road trip for me and the girls. They had live music, rides, food, arts and crafts. The house where Helen Keller was born is a couple of blocks from the festival.

We didn't arrive until about 2pm which was good because it was very, very hot that day. The girls rode a few rides and then we checked out the Arts and Crafts. After that we decided to take the train ride...3 times...because it was so hot and it was nice to just sit and try to feel a breeze. The girls both got free face paint and made some un-free candles. We checked out a waterfall and then took the shuttle into town. The town was very cute and had a lot of shops. Unfortunately they all closed around 5pm so we really didn't get to check any of them out. We did find a nice Italian Restaurant to eat at. Finally we made our way to the Helen Keller house and the play the Miracle Worker. The play was absolutely fabulous and I highly recommend it. ($8 each for the 2 hr play and $3 each for the festival) It had a lot of funny parts too which helped keep Ashley involved. We didn't spend a lot of time in her house just because there were so many people there. But we did get a good number of pictures. And of course we got a picture at the infamous water pump.

The bad part of the whole thing was after the play the shuttle was supposed to be there to pick us up and bring us back to the festival. I think we ended up missing it mostly because Samantha wanted to get signatures from the actors which I am glad she did. We left the Helen Keller grounds around 10:30pm and waited for the shuttle for about 10 minutes. When it didn't show up I decided we better start walking since we still had a 2 hour drive ahead of us. We weren't really positive which way to walk but ended up in the right direction and with the help of a few people and after walking SIX blocks with two VERY slow girls we made it back to the festival with only a few blisters on our feet. The festival was over but we got to our car and made it home safely. All in all, we had a great time. Ashley said it was the best day ever but she regularly declares this so I am not sure if I can use that as a reliable measure.

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