Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review of the week #20-- Concentration

A lot happened this week as always. My boys are following the same path the girls were on a couple years ago. It is so much easier on me this time around because I've been through it once and I actually know what I'm doing. I didn't push my girls hardly at all because I was worried about pushing them too much after I went through a phase where I really did push them too much. When #1 would complain about how hard something was like math, I would let her get away with only doing one or two pages cause maybe it was really hard. Then when she turned 10 I realized that she was behind where she needed to be in math, so she ended up working on math for 2-3 hours a day until she was caught up.

I'm smarter this time around, so now this week when #3 told me his math was soooooo hard, I told him he had to do it anyway. He rolled around for awhile and I wondered if he needed extra addition and subtraction practice since he seemed to have completely forgotten how to add big numbers. Then I remembered past experiences with the girls and told him that he does know how to do it and I had things to do and to let me know if he needed help, that when he finished he could play his turn on the wii since it was Friday. He wasted a bit more time, but finally at some point in the day-- I think his friends were coming over-- he buckled down and finished the assigned pages in about 15 min. It was not too hard for him-- he just didn't want to do it. Life!!

O.K.-- The girls worked mostly independently this week. They are moving right along. Their compositions are getting better. They are finishing in a timely manner and have had more free time than usual. #1 did write down some of her songs, we have to continue that. #2 is working on character building. She has a tendency to yell at people for the slightest provocation and also whines and cries way too much for a 10 year old. So she starts each day with 10 extra minutes on the wii and loses a minute on the wii for every outburst and whine and cry that she makes. She is doing amazingly well. The first day, she lost all her minutes, but she only lost 2-3 the rest of the days of the week. For her she just needs to realize what she's doing. What a relief. She is trying hard and I'm proud of her. She just requires a little more parenting than the other kids have in this regard.

#3 started 3B this week and is continuing with the Greek. It is harder than he likes to do, so his main work is to learn to focus and concentrate. Lucky for him, I'm smarter as explained above and it shouldn't take long for him to adjust to his new requirements. #4 focuses really well and likes checking things off. He finished the last 11 pages of his math book and took the test in the same day and passed. He also hung around whenever I was helping #3 with Greek so I let him go ahead and start Greek also. So those 2 boys will be working together just like the girls did. I'm very proud of him. It's fun to teach one who is so willing and finds it so fun.

#5 started reading lessons for real this week. He is learning to blend the letters and is doing better at that than I remember the other kids doing. He's very proud of himself. He read his first BOB book.

The babies were happier this week. They made a lot of messes and require a lot of time and energy, but it's O.K. because they are waaaaaay cute!! I love them so much. They actually enjoy group time and I can usually read and help the other kids with their school work when they're around. But when it looks like I'm going to leave the room-- watch out!! They start crying. It worked fine for school, but it was a pain trying to clean anything on Saturday. Oh well. We survived.

We had Group time 4 days this week. We memorized a short poem and D&C 14:7. We read a weird story in the Bible stories for children and continued discussions about the New Testament. We also started the Great Composers series and learned about Bach and Hayden. We also continued our music time, exercising and stretching, and languages. It is fun for me. We only had story time twice this week. We spent some time outside before it started snowing. We visited a petting zoo of the cutest baby animals ever. The girls are planning to perform an original play with some new homeschool girl friends they have made. We also went to the Classic Fun Center and left #5's tricycle there. We have to remember to go get it back this week.

We planted seeds to be ready to plant outside when it's warm. We tried to plant some more fruit trees but it was too cold for all of us. We want spring!! Whew!! No wonder I'm tired and it's late, but I'm glad I got all this down so I remember that even though the house is no where near perfect I have been doing stuff and it's O.K.!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review of the Week #19 --current events

It seems likes ages ago that the Japan earthquake hit and yet it has really distracted me this whole week. We spent time each day checking the news and watching videos of the terrible devastation. I feel really sorry for the people there. I was so distracted that we didn't get off to a real good start this week as far as schedules go. I would say that we are still off track a little. I also haven't been getting the kitchen clean before bed and I haven't made a new kitchen chores chart yet. Those things are really necessary for a good homeschool, but this is life too and sometimes we just need a change especially when we our mind is somewhere else.

Fortunately, even though we weren't perfect with our schedule we actually accomplished quite a bit-- thanks to our checklists!! I let the girls take off 1 day of English workbooks, and we had to get some additional science materials before we could do those experiments so hopefully we'll get caught up on those this week. #1 did much better in math this week and was very happy to do some pie charts. She is still plugging along in Greek and actually enjoys it especially doing translations-- I think it is because she finally knows enough for it to be interesting. #2 had a couple of crying episodes this week. She was afraid she wouldn't finish in time to be able to do some things she wanted to do. I tried to explain that if she spent her energy working instead of crying that she would finish in a timely manner and be just fine. It took awhile, but she was able to calm down and finish her work. I think she learned a lesson and did much better the other days. She is growing up, but it's hard.

#3 passed his 3A math test on the first try. Yay!! I still think he needs more practice with a bunch of these two-part story problems, but we'll be moving on anyway-- I'll just give him a couple to do each day until I think he really has it down. He also started the 1st year Greek workbook since he finished his phonics workbook and is reading and writing well on his own. It is so much easier to teach to him than it was to teach the girls because I have already been through it and know how to teach it and what to expect. The girls have been very good guinea pigs!

#4 is moving right along in everything also. He is so conscientous and loves to get up and get started on his work. He just likes to finish things I think. He is very bright and it all comes very easy to him. We haven't been doing eye exercises though, so I think our break from that has been long enough too and we'll start those up again this week.

#5 didn't do much schoolwork this week. He was still kind of getting over his cold, and he wss pretty happy to just play. But I will have to follow up on him this coming week.

The babies were very high maintenance this week which is another big reason we were so off schedule. The younger one is cutting his molers and has needed to be held, which makes the other one want to be held too so then I have no hands. The good thing about being a homeschool teacher with no available hands is that I can still help the kids read and answer their questions pretty much. I can also still read to them. The bad thing is that that is all I can do. Once those babies went down for naps I just needed to lay down too- just for a break. The good thing is that they are pretty much over their colds-- yay!! I think this coming week is going to be much easier.

We did manage to have 4 group times. They were short and sweet. The babies didn't make it through a whole one at all. They both went to bed right after music time each day. I have started reading George Washington Spymaster to the boys right after group time. I think we need to add in some science at that time too. The girls haven't been as demanding of my time as they have been in the past so it's nice to have this time with the boys while the girls work on their other stuff.

We had either 2 or 3 story times. I really can't remember- it must only be 2 because we only read about ancient Japan and haven't started on India yet. We only also got through 2 chapters of Little Women. One of the times I read to the kids outside after we had been weeding out front. It didn't seem very efficient, so I'm not sure how often we'll do that. We just weren't really excited about story time this week. I think we'll be more excited again this coming week.

So let's hope the babies are happy, I get our chore chart printed so that I can finish the last of the kitchen before I go to bed. One thing I am realizing is that there is no way I can keep up on all the chores that need to be done to keep up this house. I am also realizing that the kids are old enough to be helpful. They need to help both for the necessity of keeping a clean environment and also for the opportunity to learn to take care of themselves as they grow up. It is so tempting to try to do it all myself, but I am being forced to grow as I have been my whole life. I'm learning management skills. It's rough!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning about Radiation and Nuclear Disasters and earthquakes and tsunamis

As many of you probably have been, we have been watching the horrific events unfold in Japan. If there is enough radiation, the radioactive material could reach over half the United States. It may be nothing to worry about. We will know once it hits California-- then Utahns will have about 2 days to prepare if necessary. Better to be on the side of caution and have too much food and water than not enough. The good thing is that it is just fallout and not a bomb mixing witht he earth so we will just basically have to stay inside preferably in a basement surrounded on all sides with dirt or other mass to soak up the radiation. This Nuclear Survival Handbook has a lot of good info on how to protect yourself from radiation. I hope we don't need these skills- but here it is:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review of the Week #18 -- a little off schedule

We wee a little off schedule this week since we had colds and other ailments witht he little guys. Monday was quiet because the 3 younger boys slept a very long time. It was nice. It was way easy for everybody to get their work done, but we missed our little guys. Tuesday was a little more normal. Some of the kids seemed whiny and had runny noses, we skipped some outings and just watched T.V. but everybody got their work done. Everybody seemed O.K. on Wednesday. We played with some homeschool friends.

We woke up on Thursday though to a crying 4 yo that his ear hurt. I put garlic oil in his ears and gave everybody echinacea, colloidial silver and a cherry bark blend. We turned on the T.V. and he started to feel better. I even made a hot cooked onion pack to hold over his ears. His dad also gave him a priesthood blessing before he left for work. When my kids get sick, I just give them everything I know. I'm not sure which thing works best, maybe they all work together. But he started feeling better and said his ear didn't hurt anymore. I decided to go to the health food store and get more herbs for him and so I decided to go ahead and do my weekly shopping. I told the girls they could finish the one movie they were watching but then they would have to get working on everything they can do on their own except math and greek. I took the babies with me and we got all kinds of errands taken care of. The boys hardly knew we were gone. We don't watch much T.V. so when they do get to, they love it.

The girls did very well and finished all their work for the week so that on Friday they only had a couple fun things to finish up. Then we got the house all cleaned up and had friends over. It was very refreshing. The boys finished everything they needed to also. I think we've got a good system in place. Even though we didn't do everything according to schedule, we were still able to do what we needed to because of our checklists. We had 4 group times and 3 story times this week which is the goal. The kids had time to play and the house was clean. One thing I discovered this week is how much the kids can pick up and clean in 15 min. when we all work together. So we will start incorporating that in too this week.

I didn't spend as much one-on-one time with kids as I needed to this week since I was playing doctor mom and went to the store during prime school hours. So this coming week I will have a lot of checking to do. #3 finished his 3A workbook and needs me to check it and help him get ready for the test. #2 has passed up #1 in math this week. It comes easy to her and she asks me for help when she needs it. #1 spends way too much time trying to figure out problems before I realize it. I need to make sure she is progressing and not wasting time better.

#1 has been playing really good pieces of music that she makes up on the piano. She is amazing. I need to help her write her pieces down on music paper and on notepad ( computer program we have). She did great at her violin recital also. Music is a very strong point with her as is anything artsy really. It is so fun to see their talents develop and see them turn into young adults.

I can't wait to see what they each turn to, they all have their natural likes and abilities and they are all so different. Even though we are giving them all the same strong educational foundation, I can see that they are all going to choose to delve deeper into very different areas.

Also this coming week I think we will try to get our garden beds ready and maybe plant some peas.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review of the Week #16 -- Steady

Our schedule continues to work out well. No day is ever exactly the same, but we know what we need to do for the day and we do it. Now that that is figured out well enough-- of course it's no where near perfect, I will be focusing more energy on making our food prep easier, efficient and cost effective as well as on losing my last 15 lbs. of baby weight. Wish me luck.

The girls learned how to find the area and circumference of circles this week. #3 continues practicing big problems of addition, subtraction and multiplication. #4 finished his unit on fractions and will start measuring on Monday.

We memorized D&C 82:3:
For unto whom much is given much is required and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

We continue to read a section a day out of the Golden Book bible Stories for Children. We are reading about the last words of Moses. We are also reading the New Testament and are on chapter 16. We discussed how Jesus fed the 4000 and the 5000 and that if we keep his commandments and follow the prophet, we have no need to fear. He will care for us also. We started learning the song "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words to Each Other". We only did yoga 2x this week, cause we were short on time and the kids get a little bored with singing time, but I make them do it anyway because it's for the 3 youngest kids and they like it.

I still can't find our music snippets CD which is very annoying-- #6 was constantly taking it out of the CD player, so I think we'll start with the Great composers CD and book which may be more interesting anyway. We did very little in the way of languages this week. The kids know the basics of beginning conversation for Spanish and I'm just not sure where to go next. I need to figure that out. I've had a heck of time getting the French audio for our program together-- so I may just do that one and then make my own Spanish program based on the French and Greek programs we have.

For history I started reading them the chapter on Ancient China. The girls have been reading about the New World and their reports are getting better. We will be getting ready for a geography/ history fair at the end of this month. I think the kids will learn a lot by doing that. The girls are completing their science workbooks which makes me happy. We are learning about light and heat and energy. I have got to remember to buy a mirror for one of the experiments. We didn't do much else for science this week.

We went on a field trip to the Air Force base museum. They had a fun education center with simulators for the kids to fly airplanes. They had a good time.

Overall it has a been another good week. I have a lot of workbook pages to correct. I didn't sit one on one with the girls this week making sure they were doing it right so hopefully we don't have a bunch of back pedaling to this week. We shall see!!