Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dorothy, Reappearing Salt and Lots of FUN

Highlights from July 23-27th

We began a new read aloud, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I picked up the 100th birthday edition from the library which has lots of two color drawings throughout the book. All three adore this story and beg for more, which I am most always able to accommodate. One day, I read for over an hour. We began at breakfast and moved to the couch. Not one of them moved from cuddling up against me the whole time. Typically, the boys quietly move from cuddling to pulling out blocks, a coloring book or a puzzle to work on nearby ~ Not with this book, though. They've all been glued to me for the whole reading time. I wonder if it's the pictures on nearly every page? Whatever it is, I am so happy they are enjoying it so.

We visited our friends' home twice this week for chemistry co-op. (I blogged about our first class here.) We studied water molecules and tested whether salt dissolves faster in hot or cold water. We then poured a tablespoon or so of dissolved salt water into petri dishes, one labeled for hot water and the other cold water. Would the salt reappear? We checked after the water evaporated and this is what we found!

Salt crystals with x's in the middle! The hot water salt crystals were much larger than the cold.
The four children made water molecule models and then experimented with other structures. We tested the movement of water molecules in two states, solid and  liquid. We visualized the third state with the illustration of steam pouring out of the opened dishwasher door for gas. My kids look forward to chemistry class with Ms. M!!

C8 and I finished our Lit study from SchoolhouseTeachers.org of Misty of Chincoteague. Pony Penning Day really does take place each year on July 27th. We were excited to find activities relating to Pony Penning Day on This Week in History from TJEd.org. We enjoyed learning how to draw horses and reading about Marguerite Henry.

We also finished the first five Bible (and history) lessons from Heroines of the Past Bible Study. We learned about the courage of Princess Edith from medieval Scotland during the events surrounding her uncle forcefully taking the throne from her parents. A gripping story. Our principle, Daddy, shared his story of when he visited Scotland a few years ago on business and toured Edinburgh Castle. Daddy witnessed firsthand the dense fog drifting in while actually on the castle grounds! How cool is that?!

We completed our regular math and English lessons and lessons on Time4Learning.com and VocabularySpellingCity.com

We visited a new skating rink with Daddy and the kids tried out their Christmas skates on a wooden floor other than our house! No, we don't mind them skating inside. It's great exercise.


We took a vacation day this week to visit Six Flags at White Water once more. This time Daddy tagged along!

Friday, Daddy accompanied me to the Southeast Homeschool Expo to pour over the exhibit booths. We enjoyed finding many great resources together and saw quite a few homeschooling friends, too.

On a personal note for me, Friday morning my first TOS Review Crew post went live!

I am linking our week with:
Homegrown Learners

Favorite Resource This Week





~Hope


Friday, July 27, 2012

SchoolhouseTeachers.com: Your One Stop Curriculum Source!



SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, is a thorough online resource for all of your education needs, from Pre-K through high school. It is designed to aid homeschool teachers in quickly finding ready to go lessons. Each lesson is developed by a leading expert in their field, in virtually any subject, along with an abundance of extras and features.

I do have a confession to make. I found myself in information overload the first night I logged on. Luckily, it was after the kids were in bed.  I  spent two hours exploring and becoming familiar with SchoolhouseTeachers.  There is so much fabulous information packed into this one site. I was and still am completely amazed.  I do have one more confession. I didn't watch the introductory videos. My night would've been much easier if I had. Nonetheless, now that I am familiar with the layout and content of  the website, I can easily and quickly find lessons and activities to benefit our family.

Allow me share with you how we've used SchoolhouseTeachers.com:
  • I like opening the site and looking for spontaneous inspiration and going with that lesson, right then! It's nice to change the pace of the same ol same ol and spruce things up a bit! ~ Some lessons, for example Everyday Easel art classes, which are absolutely phenomenal, or craft classes usually require additional materials.
  • We all loved Pre-K Activities: Read and Play. The lessons include activity ideas to go along with a piece of literature such as If you Give a Mouse a Cookie and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? The lessons are generally two weeks long per book and include about five activities per week.
  • In the Craft Shelf section, under August, we found a recipe for Kolaid playdoh! Super fun and easy!
  • We read Misty of Chincoteague and followed the Literature class guided lessons or as the author (Adam Andrews from Teaching the Classics) calls it, conversations. This particular lesson is a four week course. All lessons focus on reading comprehension and literary analysis - we used story charts for the first time!
  • I printed numerous, fabulous notebooking pages found in the Schoolhouse Planners.
  • We enjoyed reading through the July Monthly Theme: Grasping a Foreign Language and discovered how learning one can benefit each of us.
  • The July Reading List, which contains book recommendations based on July's theme, Foreign Language, is fabulous! I'd never heard of The Avion My Uncle Flew. We've already read through many of the recommendations! (June's Reading List is all about Art and Art History! Lots of fun reads here, too!)
  • Daily Grammar is something we'd try regularly, also. I'd just look through the topics and pick an appropriate skill for extra practice.
There are many more we've tried, but there's so much more I want to share with you. So, I need to get on with the review! ~ I will be listing several sample lesson pages, too!
To help give you an ever bigger peek into SchoolhouseTeachers.com,  I will link to introductory videos (the ones I should've watched first!), list the classes offered, extras, and features.

I believe you will find SchoolhouseTeachers.com will please a wide range of homeschool philosophies and learning styles.

Here, is the link to the introductory videos I promised.

Now, lets take a closer look at the contents of SchoolhouseTeachers.com and a few sample pages.

When you click the SchoolhouseTeachers tab you will find a short bio of all the expert teachers. Under the SchoolhouseTeachers tab are the following links:
  • Career Exploration
  • Chemistry
  • College Choice Guidance
  • Economics
  • Figures in History view a sample lesson here
  • Filmmaking
  • Geography
  • High School Math  view a sample math lesson here
  • History Home Economics
  • Lapbooking 
  • Literature
  • Music-Voice view a sample music lesson here (this is for the whole family!)
  • Reading Lessons
  • Special Needs
  • Technology
  • Writing view a sample writing lesson here (this can be applied across all ages!)
 And the list will grow!

The second tab is Schoolhouse Dailies. Here you will find daily lessons for many subjects! The links include:
  • Daily Grammar
  • Daily Math
  • Daily Writing
  • Ditch the Desk view a sample lesson here (a hands on unit study for grades K-5)
  • Everyday Easels
  • Everyday Explorers: Canada
  • Everyday Explorers: USA view a sample, journal-based, lesson here
  • Pre-K Activies: Read and Play
  • Summer Shakespeare view a sample lesson here
  • This Day in History
  • This Month's Menu
The next tab is Schoolhouse Extras. I can't wait to share with you what's under this tab. It's many peoples' favorite resource. It's worth far more the subscription price AND it's considered an EXTRA!
  • The Old Schoolhouse Magazine ~ the current digital issue
  • TOS back issues ~ approximately 19 digital copies dating back to 2007
  • Free E-Book ~ a new TOS e-book each month available for download
  • Schoolhouse Expo ~beginning this month SchoolhouseEXPO webinar recordings will be posted
  • Schoolhouse Planners ~ includes five unbelievable, customizable PDF e-books :  The 2012- 2013 Schoolhouse Planner has nearly 800 pages! Here is a 14 page sample and this is a sample of the table of contents
    The five Schoolhouse planners include:  
  1. Big Planner 
  2. Primary Planner 
  3. Intermediate Planner 
  4. High School Planner  and 
  5. Special Needs Planner
While looking through the Primary Planner, I found notebooking pages galore!  There could be a full review devoted entirely to just the planners.

As if this isn't already enough, there is yet another tab with valuable curriculum resources entitled Schoolhouse Library. It includes:
  • Copybooks
  • Homeschool Life ~  articles for days you need a little encouragement
  • Monthly Theme
  • Reading List June
  • Reading List July
  • Reading List Summer
  • Teacher Lessons Archives ~ here you'll find quick links to Schoolhouse Teachers' lessons archived by month, with lesson titles included
  •  Art Shelf
  • Craft Shelf
  • Homemaking and Housecleaning Shelf
  • Nature Shelf
  • Spelling Shelf 

As we get close to the end, we find the Schoolhouse Site Tour tab. It's a must to click the actual tab because what's inside is invaluable to help learn and navigate your way around the immense wealth of information included in Schoolhouse Teachers and Schoolhouse Dailies. There are two videos: 
  • How you use our Schoolhouse Teacher Lessons
  • How to use our Daily Studies
Under the tabs, you'll find:
  • Testimonials
  • What's new ~ a list of new content by month 
Finally, we find ourselves at the newest and last tab titled Schoolhouse Samples. This is a tab that I've linked to numerous times in the body of this review. Here it is one last time! 

Pricing:
The first month is offered at just $1! There after it is only 5.95 a month. You can cancel anytime. There is also an option to purchase a year long membership for a 10% discount price of $64.26. You can view the sign up page here.

Final Thoughts: SchoolhouseTeachers.com is an immense website offering inspiration and guidance to homeschoolers. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the possibilities, that's ok. I did in the beginning! Don't hesitate to reach out to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Everyone is super friendly and eager to help! 
I am more than pleased with the content and intend to continue to supplement our studies with SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

~Hope





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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Staycation with Family


Sunday:
My daddy brought my little sister and 3 1/2 year old niece to spend most of the week with us! He had meetings north of ATL all week and my sister could clear her week. So, it was the perfect opportunity for him to drop them off with us. They live in the same city.

We enjoyed a nice dinner together. Dad played in the backyard with the kids and then he had to head on north.
These little ones love him so much. And he loves them so much back!
Monday: Our staycation officially begins!

 My sister and I planned a week of fun for the little ones. We drove up to Six Flags White Water to make fun memories! We had such a fabulous time! We stayed until they closed ~ 7 pm!
J4 and my precious little niece


R6 loving the tree house slide!
C8 and P3 sliding down together!
P3, my adorable niece, is a brave little thing. The faster and higher the slide the better! C8 enjoyed taking care of P3 and treating her just like a little sister. It warmed my heart.

Tuesday:
 We (ugh hum, the adults) were pooped from an all day water park adventure on Monday. We decided to stick close to home. We took the kids to see Ice Age: Continental Drift, to the park to play and then to get yogurt! The rest of the day was spent playing at home.

Wednesday:
My sister and I had caught up on our rest and we were ready to go again. We got fabulous news from my dad, his Wednesday meetings were cancelled (his meetings NEVER get cancelled) and he could join us!
We decided to visit the dinosaurs at Fernbank and see The Scoop on Poop exhibit. Little P3 loves dinosaurs as much as my boys! And, it was unbelievably special to share our day with my dad, sister and niece! ~ Last summer, or was it the summer before...we took our super awesome nephew, E9, to both Fernbank museums.
This was a great introduction to anatomy and physiology, our focus in science this year!
YUCK!
Interesting mushrooms on our nature walk in Fernbank Forest.
We stayed for hours at Fernbank! We always learn a lot there.

Our next destination was a late lunch at a local mall, ride on the carousel and a walk through Bass Pro with a little target shooting practice for the kids. By this time, it was late in the afternoon and dad needed to head north west and we needed to head south before traffic became a nightmare. It was hard to say bye to Dad...We loved that he was able to spend the day with us!!

Thursday:
The kids absolutely loved the water park on Monday so we decided to go for it again! My sister and niece would be leaving around three, sniff sniff (Dad would pick them up from the park.) and we wanted to send them off with a bang...and hopefully little bit would be tired enough to take a big nap on the way home, too!
Well, first thing, before any water or any fun~this is what happened to J4.

He decided to monkey around under a table and he tripped ~ landing on his little nose. The first aid station was one room over. The sweet fellas there took good care of my little monkey. He was ready to play in no time at all! See the video below!




We said goodbye to our sweet family. To keep our minds off of their leaving, we closed the park down once more...

Friday:

We schooled ALL day! ~ highlights
  • "The Eagle has landed." We learned from TJEd.org that the first footsteps occurred on the moon on this day in 1969. We watched the suggested videos and explored the websites listed, even printed some coloring pages!
  • R6 continued Addition: Math Made Easy and I am very pleased with his progress
  • We read lots of books~School Days with the Millers is what we are reading for our family devotion. We love all of the Miller books! We are finishing up Misty of Chincoteague. It's also a great read aloud! We are using it for a literature study on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
  • C8 and I began a fabulous new TOS review ~ Heroines of the Past Bible Study
  • We used SpellingVocabularyCity.com to practice our spelling list (another fun TOS review) 
  • After learning a new fact about the Blue Footed Booby at Fernbank, we decided to research him a little more.
  • We played our new anatomy/physiology game: Somebody Board Game It's a GREAT hands on learning game appropriate for all our children. 
  • Everyone finished Math and English and called it a day!

And there you have it...I am linking our week up with:


Homegrown Learners


~Hope

Friday, July 13, 2012

Need a Hands on Chemistry Lesson?

I find it quite ironic that the three other (first time) mommies that I met in childbirth classes nearly nine years ago ALL homeschool. We have many more similarities, too. 

One mommy and I in particular lived only five minutes from each other and we quickly became friends. In fact, we've both moved once (to a neighboring zip code) since our first children were born and we still live only five minutes from one another! Our daughters have been inseparable from birth and I consider her mommy a very dear friend. This dear friend is constantly researching all sorts of interesting subjects such as education, psychology and nutrition. She loves sharing her findings, and I always leave her company inspired. 
   
My friend invited us to explore chemistry for the next couple of months together. This isn't the first time we've paired our children together for learning. In fact, another childbirth class mommy and her children usually join us. The fourth recently moved to Tennessee.

Cooperative learning doesn't HAVE to happen only at a co-op. It's good to meet with another family or two and learn together outside of co-op.

Here are a few highlights of our first two chemistry labs from this week. Incidentally, one of the precious children learning with us isn't homeschooled. Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers do socialize with non-homeschoolers!

(Above)
We gathered different edible powders and tested solubility. Does it dissolve or is it hydrophobic? And while you have all these different powders out, go ahead and explore them with the five senses...how do they taste, smell, feel and look? What sound do they make when you shake the container or pour them into the water?? Next, we checked their pH using litmus paper. Which are acids, bases and neutrals? After each activity the children note booked their findings.

  (Above)
Three chemists mixing and using a pipette - a new vocabulary word.

(Above)
Here our chemists are taking turns adding baking soda & water to citric acid & water using the pipette. The results are a chemical reaction that makes carbon dioxide resulting in lots of long lasting bubbles and lots of smiles!

(Above)
Here is an example of baking soda water (base) "poured" into organic apple cider vinegar (acid). We also tested white vinegar. 
All ooh'd and aah'd over this one. J4 in particular insisted on trying this over and over again. ~ The cup in the background is the citric acid/baking soda still bubbling!


~Hope



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week in Review - School, friends, fireworks and fun!

Our week: School, friends, fireworks and fun! 

     Monday we began our new school year. We learn year round, but typically finish our 180 mandatory days in early spring. I blogged about our first day here.

Tuesday, we finished English and math in the early morning and then a sweet third grade homeschooling friend came over to spend the day with us. Our plans for the day also included the $1 movie another homeschooling family invited us to attend and lunch afterwards with lots of homeschool friends! Once home, we read the original Puss in Boots from a free Kindle download. We then read the following books in preparation for Independence Day:


On the Fourth, we continued reading Who Was George Washington, and we watched a couple of YouTube videos:
Schoolhouse Rock: Fireworks

And Liberty's Kids: Valley Forge


We spent valuable family time together, cooked out and of course went to see our local fireworks display ~ all the while remembering those who have fought, are fighting and will be fighting for our freedom. (My father-in-law served during the Korean War and two of my brother-in-laws served multiple tours in Iraq/Afghanistan.)



   Thursday, we received Addition: Math Made Easy to review. I really wanted to try this product with R6 and I was ecstatic to have been chosen to review it with my buddy! It promises in six weeks to have the addition facts mastered! (There is also a multiplication version.) Looking through it and having completed the first lesson on Thursday, I am not disappointed.  
  
We explored SchoolhouseTeachers.com and picked out a couple of activities to complete. This is a great resource for so many different reasons, one being spontaneous learning . We enjoyed opening it up and finding something interesting to learn about on the spot.  

 We also had fun reading through and becoming familiar with This Day in History, a division of Thomas Jefferson Education. Another great resource we were beyond thrilled to receive for review! The information is extremely interesting and FUN!
  
    Friday, we took our Sweet Molly Dog to her vet check up. I have stated before how much we love our vet and how wonderfully he explains and includes the kids in the check-up. Today was no exception. He allowed each little one to listen to Molly's heart murmur and (clear!) lung sounds through his stethoscope as he explained the physiology of what was happening as the blood flowed through her mitral valve.

Here's our sweet girl before going to see the doctor.


Just before finishing up a dear, and very pregnant friend text to see if we were home. We were able to time it so that soon after we arrived home, she walked up the front steps with her adorable two year old. We got to visit for almost three hours! Then headed to the pool for a play date with other very special friends!

Today is Saturday, and there will be a formal math and English lesson since we didn't get to that on Friday. We will read through Thomas Jefferson Education: TWIH and use SchoolhouseTeachers.com. The kids are used to learning all the time and they enjoy it.

~Hope

Today I am linking up with Homegrown Learners for Collage Friday.

Homegrown Learners




Monday, July 2, 2012

Our new school year begins...


     I always look forward to the first few days of July. It's a time when I finish reorganizing our schoolroom for the new year and make our last major curriculum purchases. It's also a great time to do a few mini lessons using our new curriculum choices.
 
    I am anticipating a very fun year with the kids. We have a third grader, a first grader and a preschooler! Along with Bible, English, spelling, reading, math and PE (I'm very excited about our new PE program!) we will be studying ancient history, anatomy and physiology (The nurse in me can not wait!) along with little bit of Latin and Spanish.

   Today, we had a dry run of grammar, writing, and math for the oldest two. For J4, we played with pattern blocks, practiced our cutting skills and practiced writing our letters. We'll stick to the basics for the first couple of weeks, (It is July after all.) and then add in history and science - with the exception of nature study which continues daily.
How to Teach the Paragraph ~ A curriculum we are in the process of reviewing from Creating Better Writers. So far, we are seeing great results!
Who doesn't want to be in preschool again?! Play is your work!


Saxon Math 1 ~ the beginning includes a couple weeks of K review. R6 loves the hands on approach with Saxon. See the joy in his little face. As soon as he completed his full lesson (the above is only one activity from the lesson) he yelled, "I love school! Let's do more, Mommy!"



I know not all of our days will go this smoothly, but I sure am thankful for our first transition day being such a huge success!

~Hope