2017-18 School Year–Week Six

This has been the kind of week where on Monday afternoon, you think to yourself, “It’s been a long week.”  No real reason for it…we had a good week. It just seemed like an eternity!

In religion, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug have all been learning about Joseph and all of the things that happened to him. Chickadee has fewer lessons in her book, so she has already moved on to the Israelites wandering in the desert.

Math is still going extremely well. Turkey and Bunny continued to draw perpendicular bisectors and bisect various angles. Ladybug has been rounding numbers while adding. Chickadee is starting to count by tens, using dimes as a reference point.

Our literature studies are moving very quickly. Ladybug has already finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Turkey and Bunny wrapped up the second fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. And we’re over half done with Ramona the Brave…those of us who have read it before are looking forward to the “guts” chapter!

Turkey and Bunny are learning about Kingdom Protista in science. They’re sick of writing their own biological keys, but I think it’s a fun assignment. Ladybug is focusing on the big cats in her science studies…we’ve learned about how stripes and spots work as camouflage, and studied lions and tigers in-depth.

Even though today is the first day of fall, it’s been in the 90s all week, so all of the outdoor field trips I’ve been planning will have to wait until it actually feels like fall…hopefully we won’t have to wait too long!

2017-18 School Year–Week Five

It was another busy week, and we never even did go on a field trip!

All of the children have been learning about Abraham and his many relatives in their various religious lessons. Turkey and Bunny have been studying about Abraham in history, as well, so that has worked out rather nicely. I think Ladybug may learn about him in history next week, too…I love when multiple subjects collide!

Math has continued to go well for everyone. Chickadee is a very mathy little girl, and if I let her, she’d probably be halfway through her kindergarten curriculum already. As it is, even with me holding her back a bit, some days she does two (or even three!) lessons just for fun! Turkey and Bunny learned how bisect angles this week (although I did learn that Turkey looked up how to do that some time ago, because he was curious). Ladybug learned how to measure area and volume. This is the least trouble we’ve had with math as a whole for years, and I love it!

The big excitement this week was science. We took samples of water from a pond in our neighborhood, and have been culturing them. Yesterday, we got out our microscope to see what we had caught. In addition to the bacteria we were looking to find, we also discovered paramecium! All four of the children were truly delighted to see those tiny, microscopic creatures moving through the water. It was one of those thrilling homeschool moments! We get to check back in on our samples in a few days, and we’re looking forward to seeing if there are any changes.

Maybe next week we’ll go on one of the several field trips I’ve been considering…we’ll just have to see how it goes!

2017-18 School Year–Week Four

I have to admit, I’m kind of shocked that we’ve already finished four weeks of school!

It was mostly a regular week, although, since Moose had off for Labor Day on Monday, we only did a few subjects that day. But something is better than nothing, right?

Anyway, the rest of the week was fairly regular. Turkey and Bunny have continued to excel in geometry, even as they learn some more new terms, like “reflex angles.” Ladybug has been reviewing Roman numerals and perimeter. And Chickadee has started working on dot-to-dots!

Our history lessons still have us in ancient Egypt and the surrounding areas, although Turkey and Bunny’s studies have begun to diverge from Ladybug and Chickadee’s, as they are going more in-depth with the people and events of that time. They have been learning about Gilgamesh and Sargon, while Ladybug has been focused on Cheops, pyramids, and mummies, and the difference between hieroglyphics and cuneiform….she really enjoyed trying to write in both styles!

In science, Ladybug has learned all about different species of bears, and we’re really looking forward to seeing some bears in action after Grizzly Ridge opens at the St. Louis Zoo next week! Turkey and Bunny have been learning about Kingdom Monera…they even created their own biological key down to the class in that kingdom.

Turkey and Bunny finally started their writing curriculum for the year. Right now, they’re working on writing things in both the subjective and objective voice. They’re also continuing the review of parts of speech in grammar, and have started diagramming parts of sentences. Ladybug is working her way through her writing curriculum, as well, and had her second spelling test of the year this week. Chickadee has now learned three letter sounds, for F, B, and M, and is chomping at the bit to learn how to read!

Our literature studies are moving along quickly. Ladybug is already about halfway through The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Turkey and Bunny are on Fit II of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I finished reading Ramona the Pest to Chickadee this week, so of course we had to start reading Ramona the Brave!

I don’t know if we’ll make it to the zoo next week…I imagine the crowds will be pretty heavy for the first few weeks the new exhibit is open. I have a few other field trip ideas planned for the coming weeks, though, so we’ll find something to do!

2017-18 School Year–Week Three

It was another busy week of school!

We are in a fairly comfortable routine now. The teacher is still working on handling everything for three different grades, but I’m getting it figured out. Surprisingly, religion has been one of the hardest things for me to learn how to balance. Turkey and Bunny do all their Bible readings on their own, but we then discuss all the questions from the lesson together. Meanwhile, I still read the stories (from two different books) out loud to both Ladybug and Chickadee, in addition to going through the questions for each with them. Sometimes, I can’t keep up with who I’m talking to at any given moment, but we’re managing.

Math has continued to go well. Turkey and Bunny have gotten into some new stuff in geometry, but they’re picking it up quickly, and they both like it. Ladybug has been reviewing fractions and decimals, and Chickadee is working on counting higher. She has some trouble after fourteen…she always wants to skip straight to sixteen, and I think it’s because she ignores fifteen because it’s not pronounced “five-teen!”

Ladybug has really been enjoying science. She learned all about different kinds of dogs this week, including wolves, jackals, and dingoes. Turkey and Bunny had their first test (both received As!), and are now learning about the kingdom of Monera. They’re looking forward to getting out the microscope soon, and seeing what kind of weird stuff lives in the ponds around here!

Today we took a field trip. There has been a men’s fashion exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum (Reigning Men), that I had wanted to see, but almost forgot about. Fortunately, they offer free tickets on Fridays, so we were able to get in at no cost before it leaves town. Since we’re all learning about ancient Egypt right now, we also stopped to see the galleries dedicated to Egypt while we were there.

We don’t have any big plans next week, but we are attending a Japanese Festival this weekend, and hopefully we’ll learn something while we’re there!

2017-18 School Year–Week Two

We made it through our first full week of the school year!

It was almost a completely normal week…but not quite, because on Monday, we were in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse! We’ve been preparing for it almost since the end of the last school year, by learning about the science behind an eclipse, and even going to a special eclipse show at the St. Louis Science Center. We were very excited when the big day was finally here, and while we did some schoolwork in the morning, most of the day was spent marveling at and celebrating this unique event!

Other than that, the rest of the week was a typical school week. Turkey and Bunny had their first geometry test…Turkey got 100%, and Bunny only missed one. They moved on to the next lesson, which focuses on unions and intersections, and that’s been going really well, too! Ladybug has been reviewing math concepts from last year, and learning the order of operations. Chickadee is still working on left and right and counting.

Language arts has been interesting. Turkey and Bunny have a formal grammar curriculum for the first time in a few years, and Ladybug doesn’t (although I am planning on getting the new Peace Hill Press curriculum when it’s available). We’ve been working on a special creative writing assignment to start the school year, although Ladybug did begin her regular writing curriculum this week. And Chickadee is working on handwriting, letter sounds, and Get Ready for the Code!

In history, Turkey and Bunny have been learning about cuneiform and hieroglyphics, and the importance of written history. Ladybug has been learning about how early nomads settled down and became farmers, and Chickadee has been listening to just about everything, even though she’s probably not understanding too much of it. They’re all also learning early Old Testament stories in religion (from three different CPH series!), which is tying in well with history for the moment.

We also had our first science experiments of the year this week. Ladybug got to see how camouflage and natural selection work using m&ms (with a little help from Chickadee), and Turkey and Bunny classified a whole bunch of living things using a biological key. They’ve already finished up the first chapter of their science text, and will have a test early next week.

We also started our first literature studies of the year. I have never read either of the two books we’re going through right now, and I have to admit, it’s fun to have something previously unknown to me on the schedule! Chickadee is still enjoying our read-through of Ramona the Pest, and I’m enjoying all of the memories that reading it out loud yet again is bringing back.

Next week, I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to see a special exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum.  And we’re looking forward to the first “Homeschool Day” of the year at the Missouri History Museum…it’s only a few weeks away!

2017-18 School Year–Week One

The first week of the 2017-18 school year is already behind us! This year, I have two ninth graders, a fifth grader, and a Kindergartener!

We started on Tuesday, so it was a short, four-day week. And the first day of school is always mostly fun…finding out what’s in this year’s schultüte, handing out books and organizing desks, taking lots of pictures, and building a Lego set. The latter took several hours, as it is the largest Lego set (the Lego Ideas Saturn V), that we’ve ever built in school. It was a fun project that everyone got to help with (we intentionally started before Moose’s first day of school so he could participate), and was educational, thanks to the fantastic extra details in the instruction book.

On Wednesday, we had a pretty full day of school, beginning most of our subjects for the year, from high school geometry and biology to fifth grade math, spelling, and vocabulary, all the way down to reading Ramona the Pest out loud and Kindergarten handwriting. But then we took a break from our work on Thursday to go on our first field trip of the school year, to see The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. It was a fantastic exhibit, full of extremely well done replicas from Tut’s tomb, and was also a great way to kick off our history studies for the year, as everyone is going to be studying ancient history in one way or another.

Today we finished off with another regular school day. The only subject we haven’t started yet is our various literature studies (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to start for Turkey and Bunny, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Ladybug), which we will add to our schedule next week. I’ll close with something new for this year…I chose a Bible verse to be our theme for the year for the first time ever, and I think our chosen verse of Philippians 4:8 is an especially good reminder with all the chaos in the world right now:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Schultüte 2017

I really love finding special little things to put in the children’s schultüte every year. This year, I included some fun tape, stickers, and Lego minifigs. Chickadee also received her first pair of scissors and a pencil sharpener in hers!

The children had fun opening them, and also had a good time trading minifigs. In the end, I think everyone was happy with what he or she ended up with.

I love this tradition, and I always look forward to seeing the looks on the children’s faces as they go through their schultüte each year!