What We Learned This Week: 3/4-3/8/13

OK, I guess the title should actually be “What We Learned the Past 3 Weeks”. I knew as soon as I posted how healthy the kids had been they would inevitably get sick…and they did. Three weeks ago they took turns passing around a 24 hour bug. Thankfully everyone made it through pretty easily but since they all had it on different days the week was a bust as far as school work is concerned. Two weeks ago we had a light school week (math and language arts only) since Daddy was off. So that brings us to the past week, and we were actually able to complete school work! Thank goodness we school year round:)

We had a pretty full week this week and started some new things too. The older 2 began using All Things Fun and Fascinating from Institute for Excellence in Writing. My intentions were to do our own thing for writing, but it wasn’t going as well as I hoped, mostly from my lack of confidence. Since they had done so well with IEW last year, we went back to what worked. I love their philosophy that you can’t help your child too much. Caspian remembers the Key Word Outlines from Primary Art of Language:Writing and is doing very well. The kids both love creating symbols for the words in their outlines. I think it will be a good thing for them to complete this program and take it further than they did with PAL.

We continued with Mystery of History this week and it is still going very well. We are getting ready to start Ancient Greece and I think the kids will be happy to stop hearing about pyramids for a while:) We started incorporating books from Yesterday’s Classics to our history reading. A few weeks ago we started reading The Golden Goblet but it wasn’t received very well. When I found the ePub books from Yesterday’s Classics we started reading Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt and the kids enjoyed that much, much more.

We had some science to catch up on after our break and finally had a chance to do some of the egg experiments to go with our week of studying eggs. Little Bear’s phrase for the week was “crack, crack, crack!”. We eat so many eggs around here that the kids are very familiar with them, although Aurora was a little disgusted to learn that a chicken could actually form from what was in the egg. They did have fun with the experiments, and that’s all that really matters!

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Caspian is trying to crack his egg with his bare hands…thankfully it was hard-boiled!

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Testing the buoyancy of an egg in plain water, salt water, and a mix of the two. I love it when experiments actually work!

We started some new activities for our after school time in the afternoon. The kids just can’t be left too long to play on their own or they are bound to get into trouble! Some days I feel like every second of their day has to be scheduled! Since the kids really enjoy listening to books we started using Five In a Row for the younger two and Beyond Five in a Row for the older two. Since it is just a supplement we don’t do all of the activities but the kids seem to really enjoy it. We read Mrs. Katz and Tush with FIAR and the The Boxcar Children with Beyond FIAR. If you ever want to supplement school with something fun having to do with books I would definitely recommend looking into FIAR.

Aurora and Moose draw pictures of what they see out of our window to compare with what Mrs. Katz sees out of her window.

Aurora and Moose draw pictures of what they see out of our window to compare with what Mrs. Katz sees out of her window.

The past few weeks I have been working on attempting to cut down on electronic time, especially for the little boys since it is so easy to turn to electronics in order to get school done with the older kids. But I could see they were having some bad side effects from too much. I am working on felt busy books from them, but until then we are using things like reading a lot of books, playing with playdough (and mats), sorting pom poms, and bringing out toys that are not normally played with. The little boys sleep much better at night when they don’t have as much screen time, so it is definitely worth the extra effort.

Little Bear loves his Blue's Clues books!

Little Bear loves his Blue’s Clues books!

Fun with Playdough mats!

Fun with Playdough mats!

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Moose started using Miquon, and he absolutely loves it! This boy loves anything having to do with math. He is almost finished with the counting part of the Orange Book. I decided to put all of the books in one big binder and separate them by their letter section. This way I just take out one page at a time for him to work on (we use a page protector and a dry erase marker so the pages can be reused) and he can continue on with a subject as long as he is comfortable with it. The other kids are still doing well with Math Mammoth. If anyone is interested in this Math Mammoth is on sale this month through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. It usually makes it up to 50% off by the end of the sale.

Look at that smile! He loves his math:)

Look at that smile! He loves his math:)

The only other change to our normal routine was adding in cursive for Moose. He was showing a lot of interest in handwriting and the older two formed some bad habits when they tried to write on their own.  So after a lot of research (dare I say too much!) I have decided to use cursive first for Moose. He is doing really well and knows “a”, “e”, and “i”. I am trying to hold off his other writing until he has officially learned the other letters. Time will tell if that will actually work! The cursive program I chose was Teach Me Joy: Cursive. It is a download so I can print off as many pages as I need and it comes with some cute flashcards that describe how to draw each letter. We are trying to use some other materials for added practice too.

Working hard on his cursive "a".

Working hard on his cursive “a”.

Moose loves to practice his letters with this bag full of colored hair gel. He was so happy to have orange- his favorite color!

Moose loves to practice his letters with this bag full of colored hair gel. He was so happy to have orange- his favorite color!

I am so grateful that we were able to make it through another week of productive school. And we survived February without burning out!!! Have a great rest of the weekend (what little is left of it)!

 

 

 

 

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