Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 6 - Thursday, 9/6

The school year is ramping up, and Thursday took on one more activity: violin lessons for Boo!

8:30 - Boo had come in to snuggle early in the morning, and I thought she was excited about starting violin.  It turned out that she was very nervous!  She cried and told me repeatedly that she didn't want to do violin.  Boo is very analytical and I can usually talk her through things.  This morning was an exception.  She was so worried that she would mess up or do something to embarrass herself that she would not be calmed.  Finally my husband came out of the bathroom and tried his approach.  "You talked about lessons all summer.  You were excited to get your violin last night.  We have the instrument and you are signed up for classes.  You are going.  The only choice you can make at this point is what is your attitude going to be."  I really thought that this was going to make her feel even more panicked, but instead she sighed heavily, got up, and got dressed with no further comments.  I kept my mouth shut and focused on not breaking the spell.  And this is why having two involved parents is best.  Where one approach fails, there is a back-up!

9:00 - We were running a bit behind, but all three were up and getting dressed by nine.  I made my bed and jumped into the shower, explaining that they needed to get a quick breakfast because we needed to leave by 9:30 and not a minute later.

9:30 - We were in the van and headed down the street on time!  Success!!!  

9:45 - I dropped off Bug at the home ed. program for her science class.  She has been learning about oceanography and loves the science classes.  The class didn't start until ten, so she brought some independent work to do while waiting.

10:00 - Boo's violin class started, with all the chaos one expects from the first day of classes.  While kids were figuring out which room they needed to be in, parents were filling out forms and writing checks, and the teacher was checking each violin to make sure it was the proper size for that child, I set up Bear's book work.  She did her math, handwriting, and Reading Street workbook page before the class even got off the ground.  I then pulled up a chair behind a still nervous Boo and Bear took my phone to a corner and played quietly for the rest of the hour.  (And yes, I know what a blessing it is to have a child that will do that.  The Lord was extremely gracious and merciful to me when He gave me Bear.)  Boo listened intently, followed every instruction, and was thrilled to be praised as a "model student" by her teacher at the end of class.  She practically skipped to the car.

11:30 - I picked up Bug from her science class.  I meant to just run in, get her, and run out, but the secretary pulled me aside and told me to sign Bug up for a mini-play the program will be doing,  After doing that, I saw that the next month's sign-ups were out and so I added their names to the lists for art, K-1 club, another science class, and a field trip.

12:00 - Thursday is preschool fun day, and Cousin came over!  I moved preschool time to the afternoons, and my wonderfully flexible sister-in-law just rolled with it.  She is such a blessing, and didn't make me feel stressed at all about having to change the preschool plan.  The new preschool schedule calls for lunch first, followed by a story, song, and a craft.  Then Bear and Cousin play upstairs until her mom comes to get her.  It worked very well, and Bug and Boo were terrific helper teachers.  I know that I would not enjoy this time nearly half as much if I didn't have them smoothing the way for me.

Today's preschool theme was weather.  We started by watching a reading of Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs on YouTube.  The reader does a great job, and I highly recommend watching the video.

I then switched to another video, this one of Barney singing"Raindrops" because it is about raindrops turning into food, and then snowflakes and sun beams becoming food as well.  We discussed the different types of weather mentioned in the song.

Our craft was to make an umbrella with the different elements from the song hanging from it that the girls would use as a prop when performing the song.

2:30 - The little ones took off upstairs with promises to not thrash Bear's bedroom. Bug and Boo went down to the school room. Bug's math assignment was a review, so she was able to jump right in. Boo and I covered her textbook lesson on the white board. She caught on quickly and I let her move on to the workbook assignment. (I rarely have them do all of the textbook problems. Once I feel they understand, they are able to start the workbook.)

3:00 - The girls finished math at about the same time and picked up their readers. Bug is reading Born in the Year of Courage, and Boo's book is The Perilous Road. Their aunt arrived just as they were settling in on the school room (aka: guest room) bed to read. That cozy scene was quickly abandoned and they ran to get the little girls so that they could perform "Raindrops" for their aunt.

3:30 - I finally got the big girls back on task and breathed a sigh of relief that we don't have evening activities on Thursdays. After reading their set chapters the girls answered a few comprehension questions. Sonlight provides questions and map work for each reader. I took a month (or more) this summer to write them all out, print out the pages, and then put the pages into a binder. It has helped streamline my school days because the girls aren't waiting for me to be free to discuss the questions with them, instead they write out their answers as soon as they finish reading.  I go over all the questions when the book is finished.

While the big girls were reading, Bear and I did her Time4Learning work on the computer.  She got another story, and was able to place "response stickers" on the pages before printing them up to make her own book.  I love the responses idea because it makes her think about what she is reading and apply it to her life, her world, or another book she has read.  There was a phrase that I was hit with while teaching in the public school system, and it cropped back up again in a recent Time Magazine piece, that in the primary grades children "learn to read," and from fourth grade on they "read to learn."  I can tell you as a former fourth grade teacher that kids that are taught under such a system don't make that shift on the fly.  They come in able to decode like crazy, reading into fifth and sixth grade texts.  However, once the questions turn to content, their reading ability drops to that of a first or second grader.  Time4Learning, by asking emerging readers to think about the story and relate it to their lives and experiences, is saying to their students, "You read for enjoyment and to gain new ideas," right from the out set.  Kids who use this system won't have to make a shift in purpose for reading, and will always understand the value in learning to read.  It's just one more reason why I love this program.

After the big girls finished their reading, it was time for history.  Bug has been trucking through Sonlight's Easter Hemisphere Explorer's notebook this year. The first few weeks were tough as we struggled to find a rhythm. Bug is supposed to use an on-line encyclopedia, but reviews of EHE warned that it doesn't contain all the answers. We have found this to be true, and navigating the encyclopedia somewhat frustrating even when she was finding answers. We scrapped the Sonlight recommended approach and have found a way that works for us. After making these changes, we have decided that we do like EHE.

The modifications that we made are as follows:
* Use library books as primary resources and the computer as a back up on the "Just the Facts" and "Journey Jots" pages.
* Copy out the answer key maps on the mapping pages. Why search through four or more different maps when there is one there for her to use?
* Do a Google Images search for the timeline events on the "Monumental Moments" pages and print up pictures for each event. (I do this part. You never know what will pop up on some of these searches.) Then I read through the answer key and talk about each event as Bug glues the pictures on the question and answer sections running along the timeline.

Today's EHE assignment was a "Just the Facts" page on Antarctica.  Bug pulled out her stack of library books and got to work.  She did a great job, and even read You Wouldn't Want to Be A Polar Explorer when she was finished.  Boo saw what she was reading and begged for a turn.  The "You Wouldn't Want to Be" series is an off beat, slightly irreverent take on different historical events.  The illustrations are detailed and funny.  And while the kids are laughing, there are a lot of interesting facts that they are absorbing.  These books are a hit in my house.

While Bug was working on her history, Boo and I were continuing to read through Lincoln: A Photobiography.  While I read, she colored in pictures for Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis flap books.  Her History Pockets Civil War projects have been coming along nicely, and she is taking real pride in her work.  This is an improvement over last year, when she would lightly scribble over a picture and call it done.  After I completed the chapter, Boo used her new flap books to fill in a Venn Diagram about Lincoln and Davis.

5:00 - I did it!  I made it through the day with a smile on and the girls completed all of their activities and assignments. The only thing left to do was read alouds.  Boo was starting Caddie Woodlawn and was less than enthusiastic about it.  It being 5:00 had everything to do with her lack of interest, but I explained that if she wanted to take time from her day for violin, a long lunch break, and help with preschool for Cousin and Bear, she was going to have to accept that school time would get pushed back.  She shrugged and said she understood and showed a great attitude when discussing her vocabulary words for the chapter.  Once I started to read the chapter, Bug, who has wandered off to get a snack, suddenly reappeared with an, "I love this book!" and jumped onto the bed.  I was able to read while snuggled between two of the sweetest girls on the planet.  Motherhood at its best.

5:30 - Time for housecleaning, dinner prep, and making sure that we had things lined up for tomorrow, followed by dinner, some rough housing with Daddy, and finally getting into jammies.

8:00 - The last bit of school for the day was to get some more chapters of Bug's read aloud done.  She is woefully behind because I hadn't found a good time for it in my routine.  I had planned on saving Bear's read aloud for the bedtime story, ending the day with all three in a Rockwell kind of scene.  The problem was that I wasn't getting to Bug's read aloud during the day and she was missing out.  I decided to start getting the kids ready for bed a bit earlier and starting with Bear's book (a fifteen minute read most nights) and then shifting to Bug's, allowing the younger two to stay if they can remain quiet.  Bear opted to head back downstairs and snuggle with Daddy, but Boo found that she liked Torches of Joy, and hung around.

9:00 - Day is done!  Gone the sun!  And with the girls in bed, I went downstairs to crash on the couch and watch some TV with my hubby.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 5 - Wednesday

Today was not school as usual.  Today was our annual trip to the county fair!  Every year our local fair gives a free fair day for school kids.  If you are home schooled, you simply register a few weeks in advance and print out the paperwork the day of the event.  The parking is free, the entrance fee is waived, and you can even pack in your lunch.  What's not to love?  Well, actually there are things I don't love about it.  For starters, it's always hot.  And since you have to check in between 9 and 10am, you are guaranteed to be there in the middle of the day, looking around for the nearest snow cone vendor.  It is also packed, with kids bumping my girls out of the way to get to the toy/ rug braiding station/ weaving loom/ goat/ cow...  You get the idea.  I must admit that I didn't want to go and would have stayed home if not for the fact that the girls' best friends were going and they would not be forgiving if I skipped it.  It turned out to be the best fair day we have ever had!

For starters, it was lightly raining.  We grabbed rain jackets and celebrated the cooler weather that would allow me to stay at the fair longer.  Two challenging pregnancies left me with a weakened heart and it has been acting up lately with the heat.  I had told the girls that we would not stay past 1:15 (when the pig races are done) because I was worried I wouldn't be feeling well.  However, as we walked to the gates with the cool mist around us, I knew that the weather could not have been better and it was going to be a great morning.

The second thing that made the day wonderful was something that I felt torn about celebrating. The crowds were nonexistent.  My girls and their friends were able to braid, weave, and explore to their heart's content and no one elbowed them out of the way.  This was the first year I allowed them to make a rag doll because no one was at the table.  In the past it was a thirty minute wait just to get a spot at the craft table, and I wasn't willing to sit in the sun that long for such a simple craft.  When I saw the three volunteers sitting there chatting and looking around, I asked the girls if they wanted to make one.  They were so excited and made some very cute rag dolls.  My friend made a comment on the lack of kids to the volunteers, and one responded that it was probably due to all the cut backs made at the schools.  I felt bad that so many kids were unable to come to the fair because their schools didn't have the bus funds, or the time to spare due to fewer working days.  And it was another reminder to my girls about how blessed they are that their parents are able to home educate them and provide all these great experiences.

Bug's rag doll.

After spending a good hour and a half in the pioneer village, we headed over to the milking barn.  Remember that stack of paperwork I mentioned earlier?  Along with admission and parking is a slip for free milk for everyone in your party.  My girls insist that fair milk tastes better than store milk, and they love lining up for their little jugs of chocolate milk.  After drinking it down, we went in and watched two cows show where that milk came from and how the dairy farmer got it.  :o)

Next to the milking demonstration was a Dairy Farmers Association table where they were giving away Holstein patterned pens and pencils to kids who could answer milk related questions.  The kid would spin the wheel and have to answer the question the arrow pointed to.  It was fun, and Bear also picked up a pamphlet explaining the value of chocolate milk.  She liked the picture on the cover, but it was Bug who saw the value of it.  With a lawyer for a father she has learned the importance of having facts to back up your argument and she read it carefully on the way home.  She has enjoyed chocolate milk for the last two nights and thinks that she might never have to choke down "regular" milk again.  Her father appreciates a strong argument and is fair minded, but I don't think she really changed his mind and we will see how long the flavored milk victory lasts.  :o)

I was pretty hungry by this point so we headed over to some picnic tables to enjoy our lunch.  I was also ready for my backpack to lighten!  The girls ate fast, not wanting to waste precious fair time, and we were soon ready to pet some goats.  Well, to be honest, the girls were ready to pet some goats.  I was ready to walk quickly through the enclosure, pulling my skirt out of no less than three goats' mouths and one baby cow's, and stand safely on the other side out of range of puddles and piles.  Bear loves cows, and spent the majority of her time petting the baby Holstein and a Scottish Highland.  This cow was quickly dubbed "Merida's Cow."  Boo walked around with her hands up in a position of surrender.  I wondered why until I realized that the goats could see that she didn't have food and would turn away from her, allowing her to move freely through the pen.  Trust my Boo to come up with a clever and simple solution to a problem!  Bug was thrilled with the two llamas, but her true love was a black and white baby goat.  She sat down by it and it laid its head in her lap.  Bliss!

Merida's Cow
(Merida, the princess in Brave, lived in Scotland.
Bear was convinced she would have had a cow like this one.)

You might think it would be hard to extract such happy girls from the petting barn, but I did it quickly and with smiles all around using just two words: "Pig races!"  It was time to watch little pigs run around a track looking for their trough of milk and Oreos.  It sounds goofy, and it is!  Especially when the man introduces the duck and turkey races.  The ducks look hilarious, waddling as fast as they can.  The turkeys stole the show, however.  The man prepped us by telling us that turkeys are not intelligent birds.  He wasn't kidding.  One turkey knew what to do, and another was smart enough to follow his lead.  The third realized they had turned a corner and wandered after them, but the fourth just stood there at the first bend, looking very bewildered.  The girls were laughing so hard and yelling, "Run, turkey, run!"  When the three other turkeys were back in their pen, happily eating their treat, the fourth guy must have heard them eating, and finally trotted around the track and into the pen. 

This is where we usually leave the fair, and I was feeling some migraine aura coming on (half of my face becomes numb and my thought process slows down making me cranky and easily flustered), but the weather was so nice and the day was going well so I let the girls talk me into staying a bit longer.  We went to check out an exhibit on American inventors.  The girls enjoyed sitting in a chair that Benjamin Franklin invented.  They found that if they pushed on the stick under the chair, the fan hanging over them moved back and forth.  They also got a kick out of seeing the large iPhones.  The highlight of the exhibit was the flight simulator.  One at a time, the girls laid on a platform in front of a large screen and pulled a large stick forwards to make their plane go up and pushed back to go down.  The plane moved so slowly and I wondered aloud what real pilots thought as they tried to fly it.  The volunteer said that USAF pilots have come in and crashed repeatedly because it is so different from modern day flight.  Each girl got to take a couple flights and Bug really improved so that she was able to stay aloft for her entire flight time.

This is what the girls saw as they laid on the platform.

Stepping out a side door, Bear discovered her second favorite part of the fair.  That's saying a lot about the cuteness of the baby cows, because my little princess discovered an area built for knights and princesses.  There were Disney princess songs playing, dresses, jewelry, shoes, and a little pink house for a princess (or six) to call home.  The thing that cracked me up about the house was the abundance of cleaning supplies.  There were dust busters, vacuum cleaners, brooms with Cinderella's mice perched on top, and three ironing boards set up.  Someone apparently did his or her homework and realized that in all but a few Disney princess movies (ie: Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid) there is a cleaning scene.  After a good thirty minutes of singing a happy little working song, rolling sleeves up, and pitching in cleaning crud up in the kitchen it was time to go.  ("Happy Working Song," from Enchanted.)

It was a great day, and I was very glad that I had made the decision to go.  To read about more great days, or weeks, check out Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrap-Up.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 4 - Tuesday, 8/28

I must learn to say, "No, I can't do that." This was just one of the many mistakes I made today.  Let me explain.

9:00 - I can hear Bear and Boo up and playing already, so I tell them to head on down to the schoolroom while I get my coffee and Bug. They swing through the kitchen, fill up their water bottles and grab some peanuts, and then head on down. Bug moans and groans about being tired and not wanting to rise. I bite my tongue and skip the "if you went to a brick & mortar school you would have been up hours ago" bit and just tell her that I understand mornings aren't her thing but I still need to see her body in the schoolroom soon.

Mistake #1: "Soon" is ambiguous and allows her to think that as long as it feels "too soon" she is being obedient.
What I Should Have Done: Gave her a set fifteen minutes, with lines as a consequence for every minute she ran over.

9:30 - Boo is plowing through her independent work and Bear is mastering the /sh/ sound on Time4Learning when Bug stumbles into the room and flops into her chair. There is a math assignment from yesterday, open and ready to go, and I tell her to finish that up and then start her independent work for the day. She then proceeds to pull an "Office Space" kinda morning while my attention is focused on Bear.
Bob Slydell: You see, what we're trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Bob Slydell: Great.
Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.
Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

Mistake #2: Letting her sit and pace herself. I was trying to let go and allow her to work on her own timing, but she doesn't work and just gets a sore bum from sitting so long.
What I Should Have Done: Set a timer on my phone for fifteen minute check-ins and praised any forward movement, while giving goals for the next check-in.

11:00 - Bear is done with all of her school work, including a full chapter of The Apple and the Arrow. The schedule called for just a few pages, but she was so engaged in the story, and Boo was listening intently while finishing up her handwriting, that I kept on reading. By this point, Boo has completed all of her independent work. Bug has been working on the same math assignment that she started at 9:30. She is now at the half-way mark. We have plans to have lunch at a friend's house and I send them off to get dressed and pack their lunches. Bug will be bringing her math, and hopefully getting it done there.

12:15-1:30 - Lunch with friends.  The kids sat and ate in one room while I talked shop with my friend, comparing curriculums and school time.  The kids became incredibly rowdy after eating and took advantage of the lack of supervision to tackle each other.  I went in and calmed things down, told Bug to find a chair in the living room and work on her math, and then the remaining kids moved into bedrooms where the rough housing picked right back up.  Bear ended up walking into a door frame and came crying for me.  That was our cue to leave and head on over to the next play date.  Someday the kids will all be old enough to play calm and quiet games while their mother's chat.  Someday.

1:30-3:30 - Swimming at the community pool.  Most of the public schools here are back in session and the community pool was delightfully uncrowded.  We met some friends there and Bear reveled in her new identity as a fish.  Just two days ago she decided to try swimming under water and was surprised at how fun and easy it is.  I don't really know when she found time to breathe during the two hours, but she certainly improved her under water swimming skills.  Boo played a mermaid game with her friend and went off the diving board a few times.  Bug had to sit at a picnic table and finish up her math, but her friend joined her.  Since this friend uses the same math program she was able to be a help and encourager and Bug was soon ready to get in the pool.  Then she showed her budding maturity and hung by the wall talking to her helpful one and another friend who came a bit later.  No games.  No diving board even.  Just hung out and talked about clothes, nails, and plans for classes during the school year.

3:30-4:30 - We went home and the girls took showers to wash the pool water out of their hair and then got some snacks.  Swimming always makes them tired and hungry.

Mistake #3: Doing too much.  This is when I was wishing that we had either skipped the lunch or the swimming because they were ready to crash and yet still had a half of a day of school to get through. 
What I Should Have Done:  Understood that there is such a thing as too much fun and said no to swimming, as I had made the lunch plans first.

4:30-6:00 - I checked over Bug's math and found that she had done almost half of the problems incorrectly.  I copied them out and had her redo them, watching all the while so that I could see where the errors came into play.  She did just fine with the multiplication, correctly working the four problems she had missed. The double digit long division was another story.  She really didn't get how to make a good initial guess, and was creating "fact dumps" along the sides of the page, but misnumbering them.  For example, if the problem read 147 ÷ 23, she would have running down the side of her paper 1-46, 2-69, 3-92, and so on.  All of her answers were one off because of this.    So while I talked Bug through some better strategies, Boo completed her math and practiced her spelling list with the Spelling City app on my iPhone.  When she was ready to take her test, I just gave her a test form and told her to use the Test Me function, but write her answers on the paper instead of typing them in.  This way I wouldn't take my eyes off Bug.  Then Boo moved on to her reading, covering two chapters of Freedom Train and answering the questions.

Bug did finally get her math done and started the independent work that she should have done in the morning while I moved on to history with Boo.  I'm reading from Lincoln: A Photobiography, a great book full of quotes from Lincoln and his friends that strives to give a factual accounting of his life, with the positives and negatives of his character fairly shown.  While I read, Boo works on coloring in items from her Civil War History Pockets activities.  Today she colored the North and South headings, and when I was done reading sorted the fact cards into the two categories.  She did this quickly and told me that she learned it all from You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier.  I had picked it up at the library and she read it on the way home, and again yesterday during some down time.  I guess my work here is done, she knows all she needs to know about the Civil War, and I can take off the next few weeks!  Ha ha!  If only...

6:00 - Boo and Bear got a surprise visit from the School Fairy because they were completely caught up.  Boo got a box of Nerds, and Bear got a bag of m&m's.  Bug suddenly wanted to keep going, but I told her that the school house has to shut down at six because the teacher has to get some laundry done, the dishwasher loaded, and dinner started.  I have random days marked on my calendar for School Fairy visits and hopefully we will get things to a place where Bug will be on pace and get her prizes.  Otherwise I may just hang it up and pack her off to public school.  :o)

No, not really.  I wouldn't do that.  But I will cut out tumbling, choir, clubs, and dance if necessary.  Four weeks in and still wondering how I'm going to get her through the next 32. *sigh*

 Linking up with the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week 3 - Tuesday, 8/21

It's Bug's birthday today!  My baby has crossed from single into double digits.  This has hit me harder than I was expecting.  I'm accustomed to the "they grow so fast, treasure these times" comments, but never really appreciated them until I gave my daughter a hug on her last night as a single digit kid.  I choked up and blinked back a few tears.  I'm not usually this way at birthdays.  I love watching my daughters grow, seeing the people they are becoming through God's love and gifts of the Spirit.  I have never pined for the days of stinky diapers, projectile vomiting, and sleepless nights.  I have never wished to once again strap on my Baby Bjorn and hop on the treadmill, walking for hours at a time because it was the only way my colicky Bug would stop crying between 6 and 11 every night.  And yet, last night, seeing her long limbs spread across the bed, I did suddenly and painfully miss the tiny thing that was no longer than my forearm.  How did an entire decade go by so fast?

We have quite a few fun birthday traditions in our house.  The first is that the birthday girl gets to spend her last night of her age snuggled up with Daddy watching a movie of her choice.  This came about when Bug was still little and, being adverse to all change, didn't want to change her age and would cry the night before her birthday.  My husband came up with the movie night as a way to distract her and start the birthday fun early.  Last night Bug and Daddy watched The Princess Diaries.  He threw out a few different options, but he lives in a world of princesses and took her request good naturedly.

Our other traditions all occur on the day of and they start first thing in the morning when the birthday girl comes down to the kitchen to find a new outfit and her presents laid out on the table for her.  This comes from my parents, who would do the same for me, minus the new outfit, but with a fresh coffee cake.  I loved having a magical start to my birthdays and made sure that we would give the girls  great mornings on their special days.  Bug loved her new outfit and all the gifts from her sisters, Nana and Dzia-Dzia (pronouned Ja-Ja - Polish for Grandpa), and Daddy and me.

In our house, birthdays do not exempt you from school, so as soon as breakfast was done and Daddy was off to work, we were headed down to the school room.  Bear was in a silly mood and didn't want to do her reading today.  I told her that she had to and so she read her entire Time4Learning story in a whisper.  During this time Bug and Boo finished up Lesson 3 in their A Reason for Handwriting workbooks, copying out their verses and coloring in the pictures.  I really like this program because it gives a perfect amount of work to do each day, and they have a presentable finished project at the end of each lesson/week.  The fact that they are copying out Bible verses is a terrific bonus.  I laminate the final pieces and we use them for place mats at dinner on Sundays.  Everyone takes a turn reading their verse and showing the picture.

After her computer time, Bear moved to graphing in math and then her Reading Street program.  The book this week was Plaidypus Lost, by Susan Stevens Crummel.  I love the word play in the title.  The toy is made from an old plaid shirt, so it's not a platypus, but a plaidypus.  Makes me smile just to write that.  :o)  I also find the story to be very true to life, as I have done my fair share of returning to stores, parks, and libraries to find the lost lovey.  I did it enough times that I had to make the rule that loveys never leave the house, even for car rides.  If you bring a toy somewhere it had better be one you won't mind losing. 

By 11:30 Bear had completed her drawing of the plaidypus at the beginning of the story and the  plaida-polka-stripe-a-pus at the end, she was done for the day and I could turn my full attention to the older two.  Bug had a math review, and with a reminder to not let it take more than an hour, she went right to work.  Boo was continuing a lesson on story problems and breezed through her workbook and review assignments.  Bug completed her review at the same time that Boo was wrapping up hers and so I let Boo have some play time while I corrected Bug's math and we reworked problems that she had missed.  She had ten multi-step story problems and she made mistakes on six of them because she didn't answer the final question.  She would solve for a part of it, but would then move on without realizing that there was more work to be done.  She is usually spot on with math and when I asked her what had happened she told me that she was trying to work quickly and kept worrying that she was taking too long on each problem so she didn't reread or double check her work.  It was a reminder to me that I need to just let go of my time issues and let her work at the pace that suits her best.  That's a huge benefit to being homeschooled, and yet I lose sight of that and get focused on the clock again and again.

After math I decided that we should break for lunch.  It looks like this will be our routine on days when we have mornings at home.  The big girls can usually get all their independent work and math done before lunch time, leaving reading and history for the afternoon.  Bug wanted to go to In&Out for her birthday lunch, and took advantage of a new policy that I instituted on Bear's birthday: Birthday girl gets both fries and a milkshake.  Boo looked on with an expression that let me know where we are headed in a month for her birthday lunch.  :o)  Bug took advantage of her lunch break and spoke to Grandma, Papa, Nana, Dzia-Dzia, and Aunti Em (I kid you not - that is what she likes to be called).  Then, while Bug watched a bit of a Harry Potter movie and enjoyed her shake, I got online and on the phone to work out gymnastics and tumbling classes for the girls and their best friends.  It makes life much easier if I can schedule them for things with their friends as there will be a second mom to help should a kid get sick, or I have a headache and can't drive, and vice-verse.  We worked out a way for all six girls to be in classes that take place in the same building at the same time.  I'm so thrilled that we managed to pull that off!  :o)

After lunch Bug took her reader, Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry, and disappeared into her room.  Boo chose to sit at her desk and read her book, Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell, filling in the answers to the comprehension questions as she came to them.  Bear laid on the floor by the play kitchen and babbled to herself.  I tried to figure out what she was going on about, but she was so quiet her words were difficult to understand and I wasn't about to break the spell by asking what she was doing.  It was a very quiet hour and I managed to get in a load of laundry and write this post up to this very point. (I just put that in because I always wonder when people find the time to blog.)

And it turns out that was all the time I had to blog this week! There was dinner at a pizza place on Bug's birthday, lots of school work, babysitting my littlest niece, prepping for the Water Bash Sleepover on Friday night, staying up 'til 2am, a pool party on Saturday, pulling together presents for my husband's birthday, dinner out to celebrate, church, lunch with family to celebrate my husband's birthday along with Bug's on Sunday, and another pool party. I'm exhausted and am going to wrap up this post as is. Maybe I'll come back and add more later...

Linking up to the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Week 2 - Monday, 8/13

I woke up at seven this morning.  Not because I needed to, but my neighbor's pool filter chose that time to loudly start up and I knew I wasn't going to get back to sleep.  By the time I got out of the shower, both Boo and Bug had come in and were snuggling with Daddy.  He had a rare morning where he could sleep in and they were taking full advantage of it!  I decided to make a blessed and blissful child-free trip to Target.

I came back around 9, lunch and dinner in hand, along with some treats from the "School Fairy" for their great work last week.  I hid some Rapunzel Squinkies in Bear's pencil bag, a mini basketball game in Boo's backpack, and some crazy multi-colored crayons in Bug's backpack.  Then I went upstairs, pulled all three from the bed, and got Bug and Bear started on breakfast while Boo jumped in the tub.

After her breakfast, Bear and I got going on her schoolwork. She completed two assignments and needed to sticker them off in her lesson plan book. (For more information on my lesson plans and sticker system see this post.) Bears's stickers are kept in her pencil bag and she was delighted to find the Squinkies in there.

I let her play with them for a bit while I went to see what was taking Boo so long.  Bug was sitting on the counter chatting with her.  I should have known.  When those two start talking all forward movement ceases.  I got Boo out of the tub, told Bug to get in, and returned to Bear.

Bear had some math, a story, and a workbook page to complete.  This week's story was Fix-It Duck, by Jez Alborough.  I am a fan of Alborough's work, and thought this would be a fun story.  It turned out to be a bit painful.  I can't stand watching people/characters make fools of themselves.  (Three's Company is certifiable torture for me.)  Fix-It Duck runs around ruining everything he tries to fix and I just want to yell, "Stop!  Sheep, don't let him near your house!" Anyway, after surviving the book, Bear went on to her workbook page.  It involved circling the correct letter in each row.  I wanted to make it a little fun, and pulled out her Dot Art set.  This worked wonderfully!  The dots were the perfect size, and Bear enjoyed picking different colors for the different letters.


Finally, Boo came downstairs and got to work, noting Bear's new toy.  She asked if the School Fairy had left Squinkies for her and I told her, "No, but there is probably something in your pack since you did work so hard last week."  She went and checked out her pack and found a table top basketball game.  Boo loves basketball.  She dribbles a ball around the house which I hate and Daddy loves. My husband made the rule that she can only use her left hand when she's inside which cuts down the noise somewhat, but a basketball on stone tile is LOUD!  I thought she would love this game.  She thought she would love some Squinkies.  School Fairy Fail.  Big time.  She cried, said it wasn't real basketball, and then ran out of the room and cocooned herself in her bed (a move she has been doing since she could crawl).  While tempted to go out and get her some Squinkies, I decided to let her learn how to deal with disappointment.  Harsh?  Maybe.  However, it is a good life skill to learn and I'm always impressed by how emotionally strong my girls can be.  When I explained that she really had no reason to feel entitled to Squinkies since she didn't even know that there was a possibility of getting them until she saw her sister with some, and the gift was a random gesture of love so she should feel the love and move on, it seemed to click.  She did come down from her loft bed and get back to work, but the game was not touched and will most likely morph into a set of Squinkies down the road.  The School Fairy is magical, after all.  :o)

By11:00 Bear was done with school and Bug had yet to begin.  (I'm seriously wondering how I'm going to get Bug through this school year if she doesn't develop some personal motivation to get school work done.) I sent Bear off to take her bath, made sure Bug had some independent work going, and worked on math with Boo.  This took some time as she has lost confidence in herself.  She began to cry, telling me that she couldn't do it.  The problem she couldn't do?  43 + 30.  She clenched her hands and shook, telling me that it was just too hard!  I reminded her that she was able to do a problem of this caliber in first grade and then gave her a quick lesson in how the brain functions.  When we panic, blood is siphoned off from higher functioning areas (such as those that can add four and three) and sent to areas that control our muscles and nerves so that we can fight or run away quickly.  By freaking out, she was making it impossible for her brain to find the answer.  She needed relax and then the answers would flow.  She seemed skeptical and I told her that she really was creating the problem.  I knew she could do it, but her belief that she couldn't was making it harder than necessary.  Then it hit me.  It was like she was driving at night wearing sunglasses.  And then I told her this story:

My mother worked as the director of religious education for our church during much of my childhood.  Our church was located in a very rural setting, out along a road that ran past cow pastures and corn fields, with one small (25 houses) township between the church and our city.  On the night of my story my mother had an evening meeting.  While driving to the meeting at 6:00 the setting sun was in her eyes and she put on her prescription sunglasses.  The meeting ran long, as they often did, and it was late by the time she was able to head home.  She became increasingly worried as she drove along because the night was so dark and she was having a hard time seeing the road.  There weren't street lights as this was a rural road.  She began to pray for the Lord to help her get safely home.  "It's so dark, God.  It's so dark and I can barely see the road.  Please help me see better!"  She reached the township and it's one stop sign and single street light illuminating the intersection.  Suddenly my mother realized that she was still wearing her sunglasses!  She had never switched them out with her regular glasses when she reached the meeting.  Within seconds the night wasn't so dark and she could see the road.  She laughed most of the way home and told us this story to remind us that we often make our own way harder without even realizing it.

Boo loved this story and could see the correlation between her panic fits and putting on sunglasses while driving at night.  The laughter eased the tension and she sailed through the rest of her math.  Thanks, Mom!  :o)

After Boo finished her math we did her history, reading a chapter from Boorstin's The Landmark History of the American People.  I bought a sketch book and her job is to draw a picture that reflects what the chapter was about.  Once again I find myself grateful that Sonlight doesn't underestimate a child's ability.  I would have never picked this book off a shelf for a child, and used it with some trepidation with Bug when she did Core 4, prepared for her to complain that it was boring and hard to understand.  It turned out that Bug loved the book, and Boo is no different.  She loves all the quotes and interesting facts and her drawings capture important details from the chapters.

This chapter was about slavery and Boo had been angered by a 
poster offering both a horse and a girl as prizes in a raffle.

All that remained for Boo's school work was half a chapter of  Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt, along with three vocabulary words from the chapter.  Sonlight provides lists of words to learn from each chapter, putting them into context and giving definitions.  We discuss the words and Boo gives her own definition, referring to the Sonlight instructor's guide when in doubt.  She then writes the definition and draws a picture demonstrating the meaning.  I found that limiting myself to three words per chapter makes this enjoyable, not overwhelming, and Boo lights up when she hears one of the words then used in the chapter.

By 1:00, time for lunch, I had two kids down and one to go!  *Pat on the back.*  The one to go had not been focusing and there was a pile or work to get through.  *Sigh.*

At 2:00 I returned to the trenches school room and Bug and I tackled math.  Bug is actually quite good at math, understanding quickly and usually enjoying herself.  The problem we find with math is that it often requires more than five problems and her attention wanders somewhere between 6 and 7.  Then I need to pull her back and get her started again.  This was done by poking my head in while I changed loads of laundry, put away the dishes, got dinner started in the Crock-Pot, and got on the computer to renew library books that were due the next day but we still needed to use.  By 3:00 she had completed the math assignment and it was time to get ready for ballet class.

Ballet was from 3:30 to 4:30 and it was exam day.  That meant that the teacher pulled each student aside for a quick evaluation to see if she was ready to go up to the next level.  This is Bug's first year with this studio and her tension mounted as the class went on and one kid after another was pulled aside.  She became sure that she wouldn't pass and came into the hall crying to tell me so.  I gave her a hug, a quick pep talk, and sent her right back in.  I have found that Bug is like me in this regard.  The more someone sympathizes with me, the harder it is for me to not give in to the anxiety and cry.  When told that I can handle something and I had better get to it, I buck up and push through.  So I reminded Bug her keep her head high and smile and sure enough she did great!  Her teacher was so sweet and was very encouraging.  Bug was still worried that she hadn't passed after class, and ignored my assurances that she did well because I don't dance, what do I know?  She didn't say that, but I could see her thinking it.  :)

We got home at 5:00 and I put the crescent rolls in the oven and made a salad while the little ones ran around outside and Bug worked on her birthday party invitations.  She needed two done within the hour so that she could bring them to her next dance class and pass them out.  By 5:20 dinner was ready and since Daddy is never home that early, we ate dinner in the living room while watching some of Ken Burn's The Civil War.  It was very interesting, but my enjoyment was broken by the girls complaints about the soup.  They managed to choke down their servings and then raided the kitchen for some bread and peanut butter because they were still hungry but not about to take seconds of the soup!  Guess who is not serving that again!  We left at 6:15 to get back to the dance studio for Bug's music theater class, grabbing the portable DVD player on the way.  Bug loves this class, and her teacher is so energetic and knows how to encourage the kids while not putting pressure on them.

When we got there at 6:30, Bear and Boo settled down to watch a movie only to discover that the DVD player's battery was empty and the AC adapter had been left at home.  Problem?  Not really.  I had recently downloaded the Ralph S. Mouse series of books onto my Audible app.  I have a splitter for their head phones and once they were set up with the story they sat quietly and listened to the story.  Yet another reason to love Audible!

 During the class the ballet instructor came in and started to evaluate one of the girls.  Bug was doing push-ups at the time and inexplicably started to struggle.  Her teacher asked her what was wrong and Bug began to say that she can't do them.  Now, her teacher knows better, having seen Bug do many push-ups during warm up time.  She also doesn't allow Bug to say, "I can't," but requires, "This is hard," or "I could use some help."  Bug popped up, shouted, "I can't!" and ran crying from the room.  Second time in the same day she exited the room crying.  I am so thankful that I found a studio that understands that she struggles with anxiety and loves her through it.  I jumped up, met her at the door, and cut her off with a quick, "No!  You don't run out of a room like this."  As I later explained to her teacher, I look harsh and unfeeling, but it's what she needs from me and helps her snap out of her panic attacks faster.  She stopped crying, I gave her a tight squeeze (pressure helps), and her teacher led her back into the room while her ballet teacher explained that there weren't evaluations for music theater, the girl they were evaluating had missed her ballet class, and that Bug had passed the earlier evaluation so she had no need to worry.  Thanks to the "not a big deal" attitude of the adults in the room, Bug and the other kids were able to shake it off and continue with class as normal.  I'm always slightly embarrassed by Bug's out-bursts, but the understanding behavior of the instructors made me feel better too.

We got home at eight and Daddy was still hard at work.  I declared "chore time" and while I cleaned up the kitchen the girls went up to clean their rooms and their bathroom.  I don't know what it is with my kids, but they leave scraps of toilet paper on the floor all the time.  They just pull it off and play with it while going and then leave it on the floor.  I practically see red when I walk by their bathroom and see clothes and toilet paper all over the floor and blue blobs of toothpaste dotting the sink.  I told them to tidy up the bathroom before I flipped out and Bear quizzically asked me how I could do that, "a-cause you can't do a cartwheel, Mama."  The older two understood my meaning, however, and got in there on the double, only to start talking and forgetting the whole reason for entering the room in the first place.  I could hear them talking while working in the kitchen and called up for them to each put away five things and then come down and report what they had put away.  Bug and Boo loved this game, running back and forth with their reports, and the bathroom was quickly cleaned.  If only I could count on the "five things" game working again.  :o)

At 9:00 the rooms were clean, teeth had been brushed, girls were in jammies, and I was reading two chapters of The Boxcar Children.  It had been a good day.  Bug didn't do her history, nor have we touched her read aloud, but I am going to give myself leave to call it a good day. Daddy came home just in time to tuck in the girls at 9:30.  Then he had a very late dinner and we snuggled up and watched the first half of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, because a mind-numbing movie was all we could handle by that point!  :o)  

Thanks to Kris for hosting the Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 1 - Thursday, 8/9/12

I know that the homeschooling posts that intrigue me the most are either curriculum related, or "a day in the life" type posts.  I love getting a sense of how other families manage their time and juggle kids.  I have decided that this year's weekly posts will take a day from that week and give you a peak into my crazy homeschooling life.

This morning started slowly.  After struggling all week to get off Hawaii time and back on California time,  I was still rejecting the notion that 8am was not actually 5am.  To make matters worse, Bear had come in to snuggle at 6 and accidentally rolled herself the bed off not fifteen minutes later.  She yelled, cried, and then clung to me so tightly that I could not get back to sleep.  Instead I laid there with my eyes closed and tried to convince myself that this was almost as good as sleeping.  Which it's not.  So when my hubby got up at 8, I extracted myself from Bear, rolled over into his freed space, and went back to sleep.

At 9:30 I told the kids to get up and get moving.  At 9:45 I dragged Bear out of my bed and carried her down to the kitchen to grab a quick breakfast and then we headed to the computer.  She did T4L's reading and got a new book, Pam and Pat, to read to Daddy tonight, which is a big deal to her.  She loves to cuddle in his lap and show off her budding reading skills.  Then we did T4L's extensions and learned more about pollution.  There was a worksheet that went with the lesson, and the suggestion to read "Cindersmelly," from Dog Tales by Jennifer Rae.  Bear thought it was a fun story, but neither of us saw the connection to pollution.  She moved on to math and since it involved coloring and not much parent involvement, I called in Boo to get started on her math as well.  Sitting on the floor between their two desks and ping-ponging my attention back and forth isn't my ideal, but with my niece on her way over and work still to do I didn't have much choice.  Bear completed her math and then quickly did the worksheet that came with the home ed. program's reading series.  She's well beyond it, but T4L doesn't generate "samples" and I need something to turn in for monthly reports.  With that done, Bear was done for the day and scampered off to get dressed before Cousin arrived.  Boo wrapped up one part of her math just in time to answer the door.  It was 11 and Cousin was here for her preschool!

The girls have been blessed with a delightful sprite of a cousin and an energetic aunt who jumped at the idea of a preschool/kindergarten activity time once a week.  She even offered to pack a lunch for her daughter so that I wouldn't have to worry about having Cousin friendly food on Thursdays.

Activity Time was a great success!  The theme is pulled from Bear's T4L extensions subject, and so we sang a song about the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle (from The Mailbox, April, 2008) and then I read The Great Trash Bash, by Loren Leedy.
After that we did some hands-on learning about the different types of pollution.  I poured Kool-Aid into a glass of water and the girls commented on how the water changed.  Then I put some celery in the water and when we checked back an hour and a half later, not only was there red going up the stalk, but the bottom was looking gross.  Cousin and Bear were impressed and understood that water pollution can be harmful.  After setting up the water pollution station, we went outside to learn about air pollution.  The girls painted with plain water on white pieces of paper.  Then I poured some Kool-Aid powder on a plate and they took turns blowing the "pollution" into the air and it fell onto their paper.  The powder clung to the wet places and soon their  papers had red pictures.  We talked about how pollution will cling to air molecules and can enter their lungs and make them sick.  Finally, I had the girls hide on the side of the house and I scattered the contents of my recycling bin on the lawn.  Then I made a big show of being shocked that people had come and made my lawn a "land of litter" and I needed help to clean it up.  They ran around and picked up the litter.  Then I told the girls that they could reuse the things they gathered and make things.

Boo made a house for her hamster, Rhino.

Bear made an entire obstacle course, complete with a tight rope, for her mouse, Ernestine.

Bug used an empty glass bottle to make an instrument that she could shake, and we noticed that it made a great kaleidoscope.

Cousin spent her time happily fringing the flaps of boxes and then asking me to tie colorful string around them.  They spent so much time on their projects that we didn't get to lunch before 1, and Cousin's mom came and needed to take her home.  The girls were disappointed, but I should manage the time better next week and I'm sure they will get to eat lunch together under the tree like they wanted to.

By this point, I was ready for lunch, but Boo felt that she couldn't relax until she knew that her math was behind her.  I finally got my lunch at 2, and because I really needed some quiet time, I let the girls watch a Netflix show while I read up in my room.  At 2:30 things were back in motion.  Boo needed to take a spelling test and I tried out Spelling City's new iPhone app.  I entered the spelling list through their website, pulled up the list on my phone and handed it to her, and she sat by me taking her test.  Boo didn't like this because the phone wouldn't give her helps, as I have a tendency to do.  I liked it for that very reason.  She didn't like her first score (missed four words) and asked if she could retake the test.  I agreed and she only missed one the second time around.  I used the sudden gift of time to help Bug with her writing assignment, encouraging her to narrow her writing topic from "tigers" to "adopting a tiger from the San Diego Zoo." 

It was after three and Bug was set up with the first of many math assignments, as she has been slacking this week and fell way behind.  Boo and I headed up to my room to read about William Wilberforce.  I read and she drew pictures of key events in the story.  I had run out of time on Tuesday and Wednesday to read Boo's history and so we worked for an hour and then called it quits.  Bug was still working on her first assignment.  It was one that should have taken fifteen minutes, but she doesn't focus well sometimes and this was certainly one of those times.  I set Bear free and then, more grudgingly than cheerfully, sat down by Bug to get her to focus on her math.  She doesn't need extra explanations.  She just needs a body next to her and someone tapping the book when her mind strays.  She got through two more math assignments and completed her spelling until 6:30.  I realized there was no way I was going to be able to clean up and make dinner in the remaining half hour before dinner time and ordered pizza.  Cop out yes, but a clean kitchen and family room at the end of the day won out over a home cooked meal.

When Daddy came home, the girls flocked to him and showed off what they had made.  Bear read her book, Bug told about her perfect spelling test, and Boo mentioned that she had mastered rounding in math today.

After dinner and some Olympic diving, I read a chapter from Bear's read aloud, The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warren.  I used Sonlight's Core K with Boo when she was in Kindergarten and decided to use the read aloud list with Bear.  I'm so glad that I did.  I would not have picked The Boxcar Children to read to her on my own.  I would have assumed it would be too long and not interesting for one so young.  And I would have woefully underestimated my child.  Bear loves the story and makes sure to remind me that I have to read another chapter to her each night.  Boo has come running each night too, eager to sit in on Bear's read aloud and enjoy the story again.  Bug has declined, deciding that she has both heard and read that story enough.  I'm hoping that I can tempt her with some of the great books coming later this year.  I'm sure All-of-a-Kind Family will get her attention.  After story time I sent them off to get on jammies, brush teeth, and hop into bed.  Since this will not actually happen without my presence, and Bear needs a second going over with the toothbrush before bedtime, I always follow about ten minutes later.  If they are actually ready for bed, and rooms are picked up, I'll go in and tuck them in.  Bug loves to be tucked in and has been wonderful about keeping her room picked up.  I reminded her to take care of her guinea pigs, and then we had some quick snuggle time to fill up her tank and last her through the night. Then Daddy followed and spent some time cuddling and going over their days, since he didn't get home until 8:15 and there is so much for them to tell him.  Finally, at 9:30, I could relax and talk to my husband child free.

I'm linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-Up

-- And yes, the fact that Hubby works late created our late bedtime routine, which was a motivating factor in our decision to homeschool.  Bug will often tell people that she homeschools so that she doesn't have to get up early.  :o)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bear's Kindergarten Curriculum

It's finally happened.  All three girls are officially in school!  **Trying to not hyperventilate and reminding myself that I can do this.**  This year Bear enters Kindergarten and is so excited to be a "big girl" and take classes at the local home education program.  She is hilariously confident that she will rock Spanish class because she knows how to count to five and say "Hello" and "Help me!" from watching Go, Diego, Go! episodes.

Little Bear getting ready for Kindergarten.

Veteran homeschool parents, can you relate to this?  You find a program that works beautifully with your child, your family values, and your teaching style.  You say to yourself, "This is the best program ever!  I will keep everything in pristine condition because I will use this with each child coming down the line!  My days of searching for curriculum are over!"  And then a child comes along who doesn't work with that curriculum.  She freezes up and clenches her fists and tells you that it's too hard, when you know that she could read the page if only she would relax.  You find her in the playroom writing out her ABC's, but when asked to write a "F" on her worksheet makes wobbly lines and says that she can't write letters.  And then you find yourself back at square one and wondering what on earth are you going to do with that preserved curriculum on your supply shelf.  Please, somebody else tell me that they have been there.

That's where I was at last year.  It wasn't a big deal because it's only preschool and if she didn't do anything that would have been okay in the long run.  However, I was thinking the whole time, "What am I going to do with her next year?  Sonlight K is going to frustrate the two of us and leave us in tears."  My solution was not one that I would have foreseen, but I'm thrilled that I found it.  Bear did a free two week trial of Time4Learning, and suddenly she was making patterns, identifying letters, and begging to do lesson after lesson.  My husband and I signed her up and I had my answer.  She blew through the preschool program and completed the kindergarten program last week.  There are easy readers that you can print from the site and she loves to print up the books and read them to Daddy when he comes home.  I honestly don't know what it is about her personality that makes her a "computer learner," but that is what she is.  I do know that Time4Learning is a well thought out program, incorporating all the best practices that I was taught to use while pursuing a degree in education.  Phonics is approached from a variety of perspectives and every lesson closes with a summary of what was learned.  The first grade program includes a language arts extension that covers social studies and science topics while providing book lists for you to read aloud to your child and even some hands on activities.

I'm not as thrilled by the math program, and suspect that they hired different people to put it together.  I will use it as a supplement, but purchased Singapore's Earlybird A&B for Bear's math.  Hopefully with so much time on the computer, Bear won't balk at a couple workbook pages.

So that's it.  Reading, social studies, and science are all covered by Time4Learning, and then Singapore for math.  What more does a Kindergartener need?  Oh yes; extracurricular activities.  Bear will take Spanish and art classes, as well as participate in the Kindergarten club through our local home education program.  This program also does monthly field trips aimed at the K-1st set and we are looking forward to those.  As for PE, Bear will take swim lessons at the Y, goggles firmly affixed lest a drop of water get into her eyes, and I have yet to decide if she will do a ballet/tap class or beginning gymnastics.  It's going to be a very busy 36 weeks!  ("Thirty-six weeks" sounds more managable than "school year" to me. lol)

I'm linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for her annual Curriculum Wrap-Up.  I have also linked up with the Not Back to School Blog Hop.   So many curriculum choices, so little time...  :o)