Monday, December 21, 2009

Challenges, Triumphs, Joys, and Sighs of Relief...

  1. 8th grader is totally loving Latin. She found a Latin workbook I bought earlier this year, and is so excited to use it with her textbook I bought about a month ago. - Triumph!
  2. Found out today that the 4th grader has been lying about getting work done in her Language Arts workbook. Now she cannot get a Christmas break and T.V. and computer privileges yanked for a week. - Challenge (this is my fault too, I don't grade as fast and as often as I should).
  3. 8 week old is finally latched on and nursing well. It took about 6.5 - 7 weeks. Sigh of relief
  4. Making lots of cookies and listening to a great Pandora Christmas radio station. Joy
  5. Girls sounded beautiful singing Christmas Carols in the new choir they joined. Joy
  6. 8th grader gaining voice lessons and preparation for performing arts High School audition from said choir. Sigh of relief
  7. Teaching Algebra I and three-digit multiplication Challenge and then Triumph!
  8. Watching two girls who were afraid to put their heads in the water last March, swimming 1,000 yards this December. Joy and Triumph!
  9. Receiving lots of support from the girls with feedings, changing, meal prep, and cleaning. Sigh of relief
  10. Working at home, schooling at home, eating at home, cooking at home, being at home. Joy, Sigh of relief , Challenge and Triumph!
  11. 4th grader's increased reading level and activity Triumph!
  12. 8th grader's improved writing techniques sometimes a Challenge, and sometimes a Triumph!
  13. 4th grader's handwriting, grammar, and punctuation skills Challenge!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Incorporate Kwanzaa Into Your Homeschool Curriculum

How to Incorporate Kwanzaa Into Your Homeschool Curriculum

By Daviyd Peterson

With the wellspring of cultural knowledge available to educate African American children about our rich heritage a solid anchor for all of this information is Kwanzaa. Unless you know where you come from, you can never arrive at where you should be going (huge paraphrase). Let's look at this quote...

Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Karenga, the Nguzo Saba stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for it is these values which are not only the building blocks for community but also serve to reinforce and enhance them. Do a search for the Official Kwanzaa Web Site and read to your hearts content.

After learning American history, World history, the history of art, music, writing and the like - African American history is a must and I will touch on a way to add Kwanzaa to your curriculum.

First let's start with the little ones - the simplest way that we use is with coloring pictures. Give them examples of of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa which you can find online and let them color them as they desire. Remember to write the names of each symbol and tell them the meaning of each one. As they get older they will begin to recall the meaning of the symbols and ask questions about each one. Parents prepare ahead of time to answer their questions about Kwanzaa as they will ask about each one and it will probably be at a time when you are not at your computer or near a Kwanzaa calendar to remember. Our children need good principles to guide them thru life and this is an invaluable way to instill them.

For those a little more mature in age get them to make a Kwanzaa calendar to place in their room, with the symbols, their names and meaning. As an added way to remember Kwanzaa we discuss each separate symbol, name and meaning each month leading up to Kwanzaa - giving you extra material to which subjects like history, culture, languages, writing and composition can be budded from throughout the year.

Starting at those at the ages of 16 and up we let them choose a principle and go online to research examples of each Kwanzaa symbol being applied in the past, present and produce an example that can be used in the future. The future application of their respective Kwanzaa symbol can be next year or five years from now and triggers their use of critical thinking - something that young leaders need to practice in order to be part of building family, community and culture.

A more in-depth lesson plan that can be used as a homeschooling guide to Kwanzaa can be found at the Learning to Give website. Each age group has a different activity planned for celebrating Kwanzaa in a more structured format.

Because of the richness of Kwanzaa and the principles that it points to as a reinforcement for community, family and culture it's values should be rehearsed year-round just as Christmas in July and other holidays are touched upon out of season. We have the future of our nation's principles in our hands let's not forget to remind each other to keep those principles.

Daviyd Peterson: 12-year consultant, instructor, trainer of digital divide solutions for home and business. Helps African American and minority homeschools bridge the digital divide by becoming computer homeschools. Supporting homeschool moms and dads with resources to provide income for their homeschool...

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Does That Work

How is it working out homeschooling with a new baby in the house? Are the children still learning? Are you still teaching? Are you getting any sleep? How are you not sleeping and teaching?

Well it's working on autopilot. The kids are working in their books. I take a few minutes to send a small lesson by email. I take a minute to answer a question here or there or give an assignment. I have even been reading with each child individually. I am using TIVO to record educational shows, and the children are still progressing. It's amazing, but things are still moving ahead. Eight year did a presentation on the Maya, 12 year old is conjugating Spanish Verbs, baby is not latching onto the breast, and I am getting bits of sleep here and there. Oh and hubby is filling in the blanks and spaces everywhere while working our business.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home at Last!

Well I had the baby! I am home with my munchkin. We arrived back at the homestead on Sunday. I am recovering from my third c-section, so I mostly stay on the couch. Except for today, I did way too much and now I regret it. I had to take the munchkin to the doctor, which then turned into a trip to the hospital across town for lab work. Don't worry all was fine. It was just a standard check up. Here are some things I need right now:

  1. Sleep
  2. Babies who latch on better (although I am a mom who nurses long-term, this is the third child who is giving me the business getting the process started right)
  3. Sleep
  4. Another pain pill (nothing stronger than motrin, narcotics make me crazy).
  5. Friday to come, so the project we have in house can come to an end (my husband is doing most of the work, but I've been doing a smidgen from my perch on the couch.
  6. To be able to sleep in my bed again (the bed is not comfy because of my incision).
  7. My older children to understand that it is NOT business as usual around here (the trips to the library are really at the bottom of my list right now--hubby took them though).
  8. Sleep.
  9. A bucket to contain all the love and joy I feel for my new baby, and our new family.
If you want to see him, just send me an email and I'll send you a link.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

REPOST Tea n' Honey Bread Testing The Ice: Book Giveaway

This is reposted from one of my Favorite Bloggers Tea n' Honey Bread
I'm so excited to be able to present this giveaway to my blog readers. As an aspiring author, blogger, avid reader and collector of children's books, I leaped at the opportunity to introduce my readers to this expertly written and beautifully illustrated masterpiece.

In the early 1950s, legendary baseball hero Jackie Robinson literally "tested the ice" for his kids who so eagerly wanted to skate on the frozen lake near their home. Under Sharon Robinson's skillful authorship and Kadir Nelson's vivid illustrations, TESTING THE ICE also becomes a stunning metaphor for her father's remarkable racial breakthrough. Learn more about Sharon Robinson and illustrator, Kadir Nelson's journey [here]

Prizes: (Click image to enlarge) Grand prize valued over $50 USD: Kidorable hat and gloves set and a copy of Testing the Ice. Four (4) additional winners will receive a copy of Testing the Ice.

How to enter: 1. Leave a comment on this post with the title and author of your (child's) favorite children's book (1 entry) 2. Become a follower of Tea & Honey Bread (2 entries) 3. Write about and link (very important) this giveaway on your blog, twitter or Facebook! (3 entries). The Testing the Ice prize pack and book giveaway is available to US residents only. Winners will be randomly chosen on Wednesday October 21st, 2009. Good luck!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Transitioning From Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary

My 8 year-old has moved into 4th grade this year, and that means she's officially in Upper Elementary. Once a child moves into upper elementary the expectations change for the quality of their work. As her teacher, I am expecting neater handwriting, complete sentences with proper punctuation, showing work on math problems, and just an overall display of a greater effort being shown. No more winks and nods at little errors. As a result of my new expectations, she is experiencing meltdowns. I actually remember my oldest experiencing these same meltdowns when she was in regular school. Now that I am the teacher, I have to deal with the meltdowns.

It's a challenge for me, and I am working through it. Here's what I've been going through:

1) Problem: I have to repeat over and over again that I want her to write her header on the top of the page.
Solution: I had her to write a page of headers.
Result: This morning she presented her writing work nice and neatly with the header in the right place.

2) Problem: Daughter claims she doesn't remember how to write out her math problem properly.
Solution: I change the rules for math work. Now she has to write the problem and the answer, plus show her work.
Result: Meltdown at the thought of extra work -- oh well. I'll have to report back the when progress happens.

3) Problem: Asking said daughter to start each sentence with a capital and each paragraph with an indention.
Solution: Rewrites of sentence or paragraph
Result: Meltdown at the thought of extra work and neater work with capitalization and indentions. However it's not yet consistent. Still climbing the mountain.

I think you get the picture now. Anyone want to guess at when we'll get to the point where my upper level elementary student will get to the point where she is presenting work that matches her cognitive ability? Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, September 21, 2009

To Be That Mom

What do I mean by "that mom?" The kind of mom who wraps herself into her kids' activities, grades, achievements, problems, and lives. The kind of mom that has no life outside of that of her kids. She prides herself on being the perfect Scout Mom, Sunday School Teacher, Homeschool Teacher, Soccer Mom, Football Mom, or "blah, blah, blah" mom. Don't get me wrong, I think it's very important to be present and a full participant in our kids' lives. However, it concerns me when moms go overboard. I steer clear of moms who only identify themselves as mom. Why? Because it's ugly! It gets very ugly!

Moms who don't have another identity outside of mom can become territorial, competitive, overbearing, boring, judgmental, and a downright pain to be around. Think about it. As "MOM" we have to make sure mouths are wiped, lessons are learned, personalities are cultivated, chores are done, projects are finished, appointments are made, appointments are kept, meals are nutritious, etc., etc., etc. As "MOM" most of the characteristics mentioned above are important. We have to be a little territorial because we have to protect our children from harm. We have to be able to use our judgement and competitive skills (hopefully only with ourselves) to show children how to present their best selves and best work. Let's face it, we have to be a little conservative in front of the children too, and that may come across as boring. Finally, just because we repeat ourselves fifty million times a day, we must also be a bit overbearing to keep our own sanity.

However, we have to know when to check ourselves. If we don't we will eventually become an overbearing, selfish, competitive mother-in-law or an angry old lady. Checking ourselves means, not showing jealousy and resentment if another child presents better work than your child. Checking ourselves means, not chasing down other moms who come too close to "infringing" upon "your birthday party plans," "your scout dance," "your spelling bee," "your play date day" or "your idea for Valentine's decorations." Checking ourselves means, keeping ourselves looking sexy, alluring, and beautiful even if it is with a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt . Yes! it can be done. Just thrown on some cute earrings, a little lip gloss, and a bracelet (and maybe mascara). Checking ourselves also means, not becoming a part of the "Mom Mafia" who sits at rehearsals, practices, birthday parties, and other events side-eyeing other women while bragging about making chili in the crockpot and complaining about out husband's dirty underwear. If you are going to sit with the Mafia, bring some enlightening conversation, not the same old boring mom fodder.

We've got to remember that being mom is just one of our duties. We are still the same woman we were before nursing, changing, soccer, swimming, homework, cooking, laundry, and play dates. We still need time alone. We still need to do our activities. We still need our personal meditation time. We still need a glass of wine. We still need to make love. We are still women. We are not just moms.

Sooo....the next time we decide to come out of the house unkempt, or the next time we decide to fly off an email or pick up the phone to reprimand another grown woman over some kid business, or the next time we think about verbally attacking someone else's child, we should think about checking ourselves. We should remember that "MOM" is only one aspect of who we are, and we don't need to go around mothering everyone in every situation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's a Good Life and I am Thankful!

I was a little restless last night. I began to think about our bills, our financial responsibilities, the things we want out of life and our futures. I got scared and became very negative. I laid in bed conjuring up all kinds of worst case scenarios, and thought about how "others" aren't struggling and sacrificing like we are.

Suddenly, I had to stop and just be extremely thankful for our lifestyle. We aren't struggling. We have chosen to live the life we are living today. We lived the two-career, two-income, two-tuition, two-car, two-property lifestyle, and we were falling apart. We weren't seeing each other. We weren't laughing together. We weren't talking with one another, we were passing each other in our own homes. We weren't engaged and fully present in each other's lives. We spent a lot of money, we accumulated a bunch of things, but we rushed about from place to place without stopping to share joy and love.

I look at our lives now, and I am happy. At this very moment I am experiencing some discomfort associated with finances, but I am doing great. I know my children can sleep in a little because they stayed up a little past their bedtime last night. I know my husband is going to wake up and give me a big hug and kiss with a giant "Good Morning" when he rises. I know that I get to decide what my children will be learning. I get to decide how to discipline them. I get to decide how we will honor the Spirit of the Lord. I get to decide what we will eat, and what time we will leave the house. I get to spend time with each family member. I get to receive all the love and appreciation throughout the day. I also get to see and hear the immediate growth in my children. I also get to decide what I will contribute to the Universe.

There are things I can't decide like, when money will come into my home or when the bank is going to change the rules and charge me extra fees. I acknowledge that things like that have made me feel frustrated and helpless at times, but I am not with out help. God knows what we've always wanted our lives to be. God knows what we've wanted to provide for our children, and God knows exactly how to give us all that we want and need.

I am well taken care of, and I am happy for my life. It is exactly what I want it to be. Life is easy and life is effortless.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Week Down

Well the first week is over, and I am very happy with it. I made a schedule, which can be seen on the last post. It details the amount of time the girls should spend on each subject and on which days they should study which subject. I am loving it! I will use it in combination with my black board of assignments. It's a great tool to keep me on track. Thursday was Geography club and piano lessons, so we didn't get much done in terms of work. They spent the morning working on their Geography project, and after presenting it that was about it for schoolwork. We went to the park with other HS families and had a "PE" afternoon. Except that moms sat and talked while the kids ran and played all over the park. I don't feel bad on days like this because the children need their exercise and social time with other kids. Plus, they only occur about once or twice a month.

Although my schedule includes English, Math, Language Arts, Spanish, Social Studies, Spelling, writing, science, sewing, cooking/baking, art, piano, and Latin, we didn't get to tackle everything this week. We missed Latin, and my 4th grader hasn't started spelling yet. Although she came to me and daddy exclaiming that she knows how to spell "hypothesis" and "thousand." Both of those words came as a result of doing her Science and Math work.

I have been a little slow getting her Spelling program together, but I am working on it. I'll have it ready by Monday's lesson. I'll post it here on the right side with the other's if you would like to download it to use for your child. Latin didn't get started because I didn't have flash cards, I have them now. Next week we'll start Latin.

This year I am reading books with both of the girls separately, it doesn't take up too much time and it's special time together. My oldest is reading 8th grade Literature, and the 4th grader is reading something from the Newbery List.

Anyway, that's my update for this week. Oh I forgot to say how impressed with the math book I am using for my 4th grader. It's really great at presenting math in many different ways. It's the 4th grade math by Haughton and Miffin.

Here is a pic of their New Jersey Geography project. They only had a limited amount of time to put it together, so it's not too bad.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day of School

Things have started off lover-ly over here. The girls are on schedule.

They are buzzing along, mostly with review material. They've started to sprawl their books and papers all over the dinner room table,

and there has been only one "stop bothering me" outburst. I had to separate them. The 8 year old likes to talk while she works and the 12 year old likes to daydream while she is supposed to be working.

All in all, the girls seem happy to be working their little brains, and I am happy to be implementing my schedule and plans. Obama comes on to give the children a message about the importance of education shortly, so we'll take a break to watch that!

Hope everyone's year is off to a great start!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking for Fair-minded Homeschooling Blogs

I am in search of fair-minded homeschooling blogs to follow. Not looking for political or religious rhetoric. I have my own, but I don't like to mix it up with my homeschooling blog. I am looking for great ideas for teaching, great craft projects, cool curricula, thought-provoking teaching advice,etc. If you know of any homeschooling site like that, please leave them in the comment section because I am losing the battle in my search.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Most of Curriculum Shopping Done

Well, I've done most of my curriculum shopping. I've got a mishmash of different curricula and publishers. For my eight grader's math I have The life of Fred, Beginning Algebra and Algebra 1 by Heath. The Life of Fred is a book that has a bunch of heavy reading. Since my daughter reads a lot, I think she'll enjoy having a math book like this one. The other is a standard applications math book, which will be most helpful to me as a teacher. I still need to get a graphing calculator.

We are also going to start Latin this year. My daughter is very interested in the etymology of words, so Latin will help with that. Other than that it will be English, Life Science, US History, Spelling, and Spanish. It should be a very exciting year.

My fourth grader will be working in 4th and 5th grade math books. I have Haughton and Miffin plus stretch your mind mathematics. I am going to be doing a lot more writing exercises with her this year. I have A Beka Language Arts. We are going to work hard on punctuation and sentence structure. Last year I encouraged her to write from her heart this year, she needs to tighten up her grammar and writing skills. We'll also continue spelling, social studies, and science. I am going to work from a 2nd-3rd grade book and 4th grade book. The lower level keeps Science fun, but the on level books keep her on track with definitions and concepts.

In case you were wondering, I got most of my books on ebay, with the exception of The Life of Fred. I watched a lot of items, read reviews on Amazon, searched for days, but eventually I got most of what I needed for about $75.00. I was also blessed enough to shop at a yard sale of a homeschooling mom. I scored a bunch of books for about $10.00.

I will probably attend the homeschooling expo coming to town next month, but I am not anticipating buying too much.
It is my goal to get my lesson planning done while my girls are away over the next month, I've definitely got to get it all done my mid-october because our new baby is on his way. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good News for the Girls!

Both of their BFFs are being homeschooled this year. They'll have wonderful field trip partners now. Yea!!!!! I am so excited.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top Ten Things People Say...

when you tell them your children are home schooled.

1) Who does that, you? Uh...yes I do if that's okay with you.

2) Are you a certified teacher? No, I am not a certified teacher but I have a Master's in Professional Counseling and I have completed my coursework for a Master's in Educational Research. I know a High School Diploma is the education level that is required in Georgia, but do you think my education will do?

3) How do they like that...I guess they have no choice? Yes, actually they do have a choice. I ask them all the time if they would like to go back to regular school, and their answer is a resounding "no," at least not in Georgia.

4) That would drive me crazy...I don't have the patience. We all have to take a break once in a while. It is a commitment to take your child's education into your own hands.

5) What grades do they get on their tests? I only give spelling tests and standardized tests. If my children get answers wrong on their lessons, I ask them to redo the work after I explain anything that aren't clear on.

6) How do you know if they are on track? I know they are on track by having conversations with them about what they know. I pay attention to what I see and hear from them and I check that against what children should know at their grade level.

7) You are hiding from the world... you are gonna have to face the world sometime? I can hide as long as I like if that's what I'm doing. If I have to hide my children away to ensure their successful education, I am willing to do that.

8) Are they getting enough socialization? Children don't need to socialize with children to be social. They can socialize with me and their father, and they will be just fine. However, my children socialize with other homeschool children and other friends they have gathered over their lives.

9) Oh! Homeschool kids are so much smarter than kids that go to regular school. I'm not sure if mine are, but I can only hope so. My goal is to give them a creative, individualized, safe, expansive education. If that makes them smarter than other kids great, but I want them to be the best they can be. I believe homeschooling can provide that for them right now.

10) Your kids are lucky. Thanks my husband and I are trying to do the best we can.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Standardized Testing

Today is the day we are doing our standardized tests. In Georgia we are required to administer a standardized test, although the results do not have to be submitted to the school board. We have chosen the California Achievement Test/5. We ordered our tests from Thurbes. So far the process is going pretty smoothly, except that I think I lost the practice test for my 3rd grader. Maybe I didn't get it. I have two administration forms for the practice test and no practice test, so I think maybe I didn't get it.

Anyway, all is going well even without the practice test. My 7th grader's tests come in longer spurts and my 3rd grader's test are short spurts and I have to do a lot more talking. I have one testing in the kitchen and on in the dining room, so they won't bother each other. They are both still in their night clothes, (as seen in the pics) so the environment is laid back. However, I am administering the test just the way they ask.

I hope they do well, we will get the results in 4-6 weeks.Update Got the results back and the girls did beautifully! Way ahead for their grade levels!!!!! I would love to hear about what test you've chosen and how it went.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Good Ole' Library!

In these economic times the library has been a friend indeed to us friends in need. We make about two trips a week. My daughters read several books a week, so we are there a lot picking up and dropping off. The girls, especially my oldest, does an excellent job letting me know when it's time to go, and if we need to take a little money to pay a fine or two (we get into trouble with DVDs because they are only one week lends). 

So far this year my girls and other homschoolers have gone to the library to plant seeds on Earth Day, check out a cow's heart and to get a general heart lesson, take a poetry series class, and listen to a Jazz Trio. There may be more things, but I can't remember. We've done all these things free of charge, and sometimes they provide us with snacks. 

We used to go to the bookstore and shop online for books, but this year the library has been a huge help in my teaching efforts. We have learned about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Ancient Indian Folk tales, the Grand Canyon, the Rain Forest, Etiquette, Spanish, Passover, Greek Mythology, Magnets, George Washington, Coretta Scott King, Abe Lincoln, and Harriett Tubman.  Not to mention all the wonderful fantasy, fiction books the girls have enjoyed, plus we get to listen to great epic books in the car on CD. I can't sing the praises of the library enough, and I can't emphasize how much of a help it has been on this homeschooling journey. One little secret is that the kids might not realize is that the library is gonna keep us learning all summer long, hehehe.

One more thing, I have listened to some great music from the library as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In Honor of Poetry Month

Because my girls are into music and singing, I encourage them to write creatively and to write poetry because I think they could easily become songwriters with these skills if they so choose. 

As a special Poetry month program My oldest daughter has been attending a free 4-hour poetry & creative writing workshop at one of the libraries in our city. She's been so excited to attend every week, I am sorry to say the class ended today. I gathered together some special gifts for the teacher because she showed such dedication to my child, and I really appreciated it.
One assignment my children have  for spelling is to write a song, poem, or story using their spelling words. My eight year old daughter sent me this poem she wrote using 8 of 20 spelling words. Hubby saw it thought I wrote it, and thought it was even advanced for me.

It's Called The Sun

A party of amazement when the light comes and visits your home you demonstrate your gentle rivers high balance and are happy it came to your address .

Running Out Of Steam

As the end of the year nears, I find myself running out of steam. I am not sure what else to teach. They seem to know everything for their grade level, and even some for the grade level above. It's starting to feel like traditional school around here (you know, the time of year when nothing is getting done but movies and field trips). Anyone else running out of steam?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cutie Booty Cakes Green Giveaway

In honor of Earth day Cutie Booty Cakes is participating in an Earth Month Giveaway sponsored by Walmart and the Eleven Moms. Go over and enter and maybe you will win some cool stuff like this.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Homeschooling as a Reflection of you...

On Saturday my 3rd grader took notes in acting class. When I saw them with all kinds of misspellings and scribble I became immediately concerned. "Oh no!" I thought. I'm a failure if she goes back to school she'll be behind (when honestly, she is ahead--she should be in the second grade). I was so sad. Bright and early this morning I demanded she work in her journal and write. She was hard at work writing about yesterday (Easter). Finally, in a tizzy I said "this is taking too long I want you done in 5 minutes." When she turned it in it was well-written with only four misspelled words. I felt like an idiot. I realized that in acting class she was writing on unlined paper with no desk and had to do it in a hurry. Everything is just fine.

My dramatic response to my child's rushed scribble made me think about how homeschooling is so tied to how we feel about ourselves as parents, as teachers, as learners ourselves, and how we feel about what we pass on genetically. When a child is in out-of-home school, parents mostly carry feelings about how his/her educational progress as it relates to them being parents, their own ability as learners and what they have passed on genetically. We homeschooling parents however, have the added burden of being teachers, so we sweat about keeping records, keeping them on track academically, and keeping up with standardized scores. I personally sometimes fear that once my children take their required standardized test that they will be grossly off, but then I have to calm myself down and realize that they are gaining skills that they wouldn't have access too at out-of-home school.

So far they can make Keynote Presentations, search anything on the internet, cook, clean the kitchen well, find any book they want at the library and put it on hold (I just take them to pick them up), my 12 year old is writing a book that is currently 26 pages, I could go on and on. Overall, I have realized that they are at level if not above, and they are gaining more knowledge than they could have in out-of-home school, plus they get to sleep in.

Here's my theme song these days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

3rd Grade Spelling

My third grader needs extra help with her spelling, so I create a weekly program for her to practice. In addition, both girls have to write their definitions for all spelling words. They also have to choose from assignments like writing in cursive three times, putting words in alphabetical order (elementary level) or writing a song, developing a crossword puzzle, writing a poem or story.

I've found that my programs have given my 3 grader the extra edge she needs. She went from f's on her spelling test to B+ & A's.
They are clickable, but I deliver them to her in pdf format. That way they can't be altered.

Here is a downloadable version
Here's version 2.

Here are some screen capture of the program.

Friday, March 13, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird Book Report By Aja

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This year I read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It was published in the year 1960. This book has 296 pages. The genre is American Literature and Southern Gothic. This book is basically showing how diversity was frowned upon in era of time. The people who were not in the right circle had troubles with being themselves. The different people are forced to be like others but they are not,so everybody was trying to “kill their mockingbird”.

The purpose for this book was to explain some of the injustices that went on when the author was a child. The story took place in Maycomb County, Alabama. This story is told by and about the main character, Scout or Jean Louise. The many other characters are Calpurnia, the cook and their caretaker, Atticus, her dad and a lawyer, Jem, her brother, Dill, her friend, and Aunt Alexandra, her nosy aunt.

In the beginning, Scout and Jem meet Dill during the summer before she begins school for the first time. They begin talking about plans to make Arthur “Boo” Radley come out of his house. The Radleys are a very peculiar people because they stay in the house all day. They only come out on grocery days and on Sunday.

When Scout goes to school she gets into trouble. She gets into trouble for talking bad about the Ewells and the Cunninghams because they are not inside of the common class. The people in Maycomb don’t like the Ewells because they don’t value education and they also don’t like the Cunninghams because they are very poor. This is an example of classism Later on Scout’s Aunt Alexandra comes to town to “help” Atticus out with the kids. This is a god example of sexism. She keeps telling Scout to be a young lady because she is a tomboy. Atticus does not like this but he lets her stay anyway. During her stay, Atticus, a white lawyer, is defending a black man named Tom Robinson. He was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Everybody is calling Atticus a Negro lover and Scout doesn’t like it. Sadly Atticus loses the case and his defendant goes to the Electric chair.

This book was a little bit difficult to read because of all of the very different events happening, however it all ties in and comes together at the end. I think that the author achieved her purpose to explain the injustices that were going on in the 30’s, like racism, sexism, and classism. This book has many strong points like expressing the many prejudices of the south in the thirties. I found this book very interesting because of the surprising series of events. In conclusion I think this book is well written and I liked it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Uruguay Geography Project

The girls went to Globetrotters, a homeschool Geography club today. Here is their presentation on Uruguay. I didn't help them, they are pretty good at using keynote, so I just gave them feedback on what information they should include in their presentation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's New at our School

The girls have started sewing, and jewelry making. My oldest daughter is becoming quite the baker. She is getting to the point where she can add little bits of love (special ingredients) to her baked goods. She made a great Pumpkin Bread, and the following morning I asked for Pumpkin waffles and voila they appeared.

Last week we went to the Fernbank Planetarium & Observatory. We saw a great show of the stars in Atlanta in February and in Africa in February. It was pretty cool. After the show we traveled up stars and saw actual stars through the observatory. The next day we worked on Astronomy for Science are going to track moon phases every night.

My 7th grader is starting 9th grade Algebra. It's moving along. She's also working on a book report for the To Kill A Mockingbird. We have to make regular trips to the library because the girls read a bunch.

So far, going so well. We will be standardized testing soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Our mom told us to write about our experience at the inauguration so this is what I wrote:

On Tuesday, January 20, we went to the inauguration for Barack Obama. Barack Obama is the first black president.
" Yesterday Bush, Today Obama" my grandmother said about 5 times the day after the inauguration. At the inauguration everybody was selling stuff like, Obama puppets, hats, shirts, pins, pens, calendars, mugs, even comics. We were walking a lot. We could've waited for two hours at a gate or walked for one hour to another train station. It was a very big crowd. It was also very cold. Even though it seemed unorganized, IT WAS HISTORIC !

Friday, January 16, 2009

August Wilson

On Monday, yes Monday we stopped going to the Co-op, my children had a guest teacher. I had to go to a pitch meeting to bring some money into the house, so my friend with a Ph.D. filled in. She told the children all about August Wilson, the playwright. He wrote a series of ten plays each from a decade in the 20th century.

Today, our ex-Seton Hall Professor friend brought the girls a tape of the Piano Lesson to watch. They love this play by Mr. Wilson. I am happy to have received such quality teaching for the children. They have to write a movie critique, so it will probably show up on their book review blog.

In other news, I am preparing my 7th grade daughter for the SAT. It will be her first go round. Duke's Talent Identification Program makes it possible for her to take the test. I'll report the results when she gets them

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

We took our first field trip to Atlanta Botanical Gardens about a week before we actually began homeschooling. It was homeschool day and we wanted to see if would see anyone we knew that might homeschooling now. Turns out we did see my youngest daughter's old classmate. His mother is homeschooling group and we are part of the same ning group.

Anyway, we got a shared membership with a nice family I met at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and went back on a family field trip. My husband took these wonderful images in the Orchid Garden. We all learned so much about succulents, orchids, Orangeries, and even frogs. I look forward to going back at different times of the year to see different blooms.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Electric Company

A few years back I ordered the Electric Company, a 70's child show, from itunes for my youngest daughter to watch on a road trip in the car. Well fast-forward to 2009. She is still into the Electric Company, and it is the weirdest and most delightful thing the see your my child enjoying a show I absolutely loved as a child. What's more is it helps with phonics, an area I still feel she needs help in. It doesn't get any better than Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, & Morgan Freeman teaching phonics.

...and the big news is The Electric Company 2009 in set to premiere on PBS January 19th. Whoopi Goldberg and other stars will be singing and rapping this time and I think it will surely be a blast! Round up your children 6 - 9 years old and sit them down in front of the tube for the new Electric Company.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tomorrow Morning

Monday morning we will be joining a co-op. I am super excited because the girls will get the chance to meet new people, and to experience new teachers. The co-op we are attending is very inexpensive, which I can really appreciate right now. It will only be $20.00 in total for both children for all of January and February. If you are in the South Metro Atlanta area, you might want to join. The co-op is called Learning is Wild I'll let you know what we think soon.

Update: We were a little late finding the facility, but it went well the first day. However I did get a nice email about my kids being "talkative and high-spirited." It was attributed to their newly home-schooled status... I am told they will be totally different after being home for a year. I am not so sure because I like my kids talkative and high-spirited, so they will probably remain themselves after a year at home.