Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking Back 2012, Week 4

Enjoying nature seemed to be the theme of last week.  The girls completed their habitat studies and enjoyed several nature walks this week.  We visited a few state parks and made observations of the various ecosystems.  The girls worked more in their nature journals, practicing with identifying and classifying the living organisms they found.  We also got some great exercise time in.


Outside of our nature studies, we had the opportunity to attend art club classes at the library.  We also completed our study of Babylon and continued on with SOTW.  Nick received his first set of grades from FLVS. 


We decided to change over to a workbox system.  I never thought I would give this a try, but here we are.  The girls have been having trouble moving from one subject to the next and were needing constant motivation.  God forbid something distracted us for too long, I would never get them back!  So, I did more research on the workbox system by Sue Patrick.  Most have nothing but positive things to say and love how the children are motivated to complete their assignments.  The creativity of moms is easily seen when you research the various set-ups they have created.  I fell in love with the mobile drawers, but we could not afford it.  Instead, I used what we had and only purchased a few expandable folders and laminating sheets.  I spent about $40 setting up all four children.  Today was the first day we used the set up and we all enjoyed the day.  The flow was wonderful, but it is Monday, so I'll update you on how it worked out the rest of the week.


Finally, I have been looking for ways to cut down on the daily cooking and dish washing that overwhelms my home.  I would usually wake up and cook my meals and work on housework early in the morning.  This worked great, but it was time consuming and some days, you just want to sleep in a minute.  Luckily, I stumbled across a pin on Pinterest about freezer meals.  Mama and Baby Love is the blog I used for direction and recipes.   I spent about 4 hours Friday morning on food prep and the kids helped with the dishes!  We will share how this worked for our family in a little while. 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Looking Back 2012, Week: 3

2012 Week: 3


 This week has been a very exciting and still functional week!  I say that because we are good at going off onto a tangent and taking too long to get back to our schedule.  But this week, we worked hard at keeping on task with our learning objectives and it all paid off. So here's what happened with our family this week:
  1. They attended their bi-monthly drama class offered for free by the public library.
  2. Dominick worked well through his FLVS courses. This is his first year and our families first experience with virtual schooling. I will share our experiences for this first semester later this week.
  3. The Girls:   In science, the girls completed Lesson 1 of Apologia, Zoology 1.  The quizlet flashcards proved to be successful with retention of the vocabulary terms.  I added a few more classes to extend their understanding of habitats and biomes.  They started these activities this week.  We visited the zoo and they practiced making animal observations.  Each of them picked three animals to draw and describe in detail.  They then shared their descriptions while the others guessed the animal they were describing.  After that we took the animals and practiced classifying them.  At the zoo, they also examined the various habitats that were exhibited.  They made drawings of five biomes and noted the animals and vegetation that were found in each.  Other resources:

In history/geography, they studied the Babylonians using chapter 7 of The Story of the World By Susan W. Bauer and page 21 of Kingfisher Encyclopedia of History as spine texts (I have various age groups studying the same topics). They added a few more figures to their timelines and worked in their history notebook section for ancient Babylon.  Their map work this week was on the political map of Norther and Western Africa.  We are still using our laminated continental maps in our Big Book of Geography.  They really enjoyed the online interactives the best.Other resources:
We continued reading with James and the Giant Peach by: Roald Dahl.  We read chapters 10-17 which correspond with section two of the literature review unit for this title.  They continued working in the reading journals, noting new characters and important events.  The girls again, have enjoyed the quizlet cards for the vocabulary section.  

Horizons math is still working beautifully for them. We are also continuing with Easy Grammar and Daily Grams for language arts studies. 

  4.  I have finally begun using Pinterest and loaded up some of our favorite resources there.  Unfortunately,
       not everything could be pinned so I am keeping my sitemark account.  I also began reading   
       Homeschooling The Child With Add (Or Other Special Needs) by: Lenore Colacion Hayes.  This
       has been a difficult year for my son and I and I am hoping to get some advice from this book to help
       us improve his schooling experience.

Do any of you have experience with homeschooling a child with ADD or any other special needs? If so please share some of your experiences and tips that could help me and others.

Peace and blessings,
Dorcus Ethridge 

      Monday, January 16, 2012

      Apologia Science: Zoology 1, Lesson 1

      Day 1:
      On the first day of class we watched the video  (24 minutes) embedded below to introduce the classification system.  I created a study guide to accompany the video.  We answered the questions together while watching the video. You will find the link to the study guide below the video.  After the video, we assembled our notebooks and lapbook pieces that we would need for lesson 1.  I share the links to notebooking pages and lapbook printables in a previous post "Apologia Science: Zoology 1".

      Day 2:  
      • Read pages 1-5 of text.
      • Completed "Try This!" page 5.
      • Narrative exercise pg. 5.
      • Work in notebooks.
      • Study vocabulary terms for lesson on Quizlet.

      These cards can be printed by clicking "Study these flash cards" above and clicking the print button found below the flashcards and directly above the word list.

      Day 3: 
      • Review pages 1-5 (10 min.).
      • Read pages 6-12.
      • Try This! page 7.
      • Narrative exercise page 8.
      • Mid-Lesson Experiment, pages 10-12.
      • Work on notebooks.
      • Review vocabulary terms on Quizlet. 
      • Dinner and a Movie! We watched The Life of Birds: Episode 2 during dinner.
      Day 4:
      • Review pages 1-12 (10 min.)
      • Read pages 12-17.
      • Work on notebooks.
      • Study vocabulary.
      Day 5:
      • Review pages 1-17 (10 min.) 
      • Review vocabulary.
      • What Do You Remember? page 18.
      • Project: Make a Field Notebook  (We used Nature Study Notebooking Pages)
      • Project: Scavenger Hunt
      The following days of activities were added in order to strengthen the understanding of the classification process and to provide basic knowledge and understanding of the various types of habitats.

      Days 6 and 7: Observation, classification, and habitat projects:
        Pages 8-11, investigations 3 (Making observations) and 4 (Classification).
      • Zoo visits (Conduct investigations using animals and habitats observed at the zoo.)
      • During your visits to the zoo, identify the various habitats( desert, forest, pond, ocean, savanna, and polar) exhibited.  Draw sketches of them in your nature journal.  Be sure to include examples of animals and vegetation noted in your drawings. 
      Day8 :  Habitats
      •   We will be conducting several of the investigations and activities found in
        (Activities include short experiments, coloring pages, creating dioramas, and creating terrariums.)
        As we continue through this first lesson, I will be back to add photos and notes about the activities.

        Many of the resources found on this post are available at your local library.  Be sure to check with them first should you decide to utilize them!
        Additional Resources:;jsessionid=C9278103326F17501AFF8BCECF1A93E3  (Scroll down to the section on classification.)  (Be sure to check out the show me more button!)

        Disclosure: I am an affiliate of some of the resources and product links within this blog post.  I receive monetary compensation from these companies for sales, however, the products listed are products that I have purchased and utilized on my own.  They were not supplied to me freely.  My opinions regarding these products and recommendation of them are my own.  

        Dorcus Ethridge 

        Sunday, January 15, 2012

        Literature: James and the Giant Peach

        Our reading book for this month is James and the Giant Peach by: Roald Dahl.  The girls chose this book because they thought it would follow last months book, Charlotte's Web, well.  Luckily for me, it will also go well with our science studies since we are currently learning about flying creatures.  In the past, we had daily assigned readings but we will be trying something new with this unit.

        Our homeschool is very reading intensive and on occasion they children become burned out with assigned readings.  With this unit, we will have sections to read each week that we will go over once a week.  We will complete projects for that section on that day.  I have already begun uploading the vocabulary lists to Quizlet to allow for more independent study.  Hopefully these changes will help to make our homeschooling day even more enjoyable and functional without compromising their learning.  I will be sure to update this post and let you know how it went.

        As always, I want to leave you with a few resources for James and the Giant Peach:

        Library: Y Fic Dahl, R.
        Library: 372.4 Gosnell1994a

        Netflix: James and the Giant Peach


        Quizlet Flashcards:

        Tuesday, January 10, 2012

        How Far We've Come!

        We have returned to homeschooling after taking a much needed break.  It was refreshing and also gave us time to think back on the experiences we had together this past year.  Even more so, how much our homeschooling has changed since we began four years ago.

        I didn't have the foggiest idea how to home school the first year so I bought the convenient curriculum-in-a-box. I ordered grade-level curriculum from A Beka for the girls and my eldest child was enrolled in the accredited program utilizing their DVD program.  We quickly learned that there were bits and pieces of the program that we loved and others that we hated, with a passion.  I hate to waste money, so we pressed on through the year.  Over time we learned to make it more entertaining.  We omitted the things that we didn't need and added others.  We found out about more homeschooling programs in our area and participated in those.  By the end of the year we had learned to make things our own.

        Spring of that year brought in the first home school convention that we attended.  It was both enlightening and overwhelming at the same time.  We had no idea how many various curriculum choices were available.  The first day, we just walked around and browsed through the curriculum choices, attended a few seminars, and learned more about the various styles of home schooling.  When we went home that night, everything began to click together.  Our eyes had been opened.

        No more curriculum-in-a-box for us.  We began piecing together the curriculum choices for each subject during our second year.  It was much more enjoyable, but still, we had a lot to learn.  Wanting things to be consistent, we would vote on  curriculum choices.  The majority ruled.  Though it worked out great for most of the kids, there was always one child who didn't do well with a particular book.  One of my children, does not do well with textbooks at all.  I had to really come out of my comfort zone and make adjustments accordingly.

        Those first two years were the hardest years to work through, but we did not give up.  We learned so much and we have finally brought our home school to the place that I envisioned it to be.  Our home schooling experience is interest-led and parent directed.  It is very interactive and full of activities within and away from the home.  After years of trial and error, home school conventions, blog reading, internet searching, curriculum tossing, laughing and crying, we had finally found our style.

        This past year, we home schooled our way.  We created so many wonderful memories and had some awesome learning experiences.  There are too many to share, but I will leave you with some of our favorites of 2011.   

        Gymnastics 2011!

        Field Trips!


        Fun Times!






        Looking forward to learning and improving in 2012!


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