Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wrapping Up the 2016/2017 School Year

I meant to get this posted over the week-end, but we have been very busy digging a hole.  Yes, digging a hole.  We are moving the swimming pole from the concrete pad down to the back yard so the children can still play basketball and ride bikes.  Plus I will have more shade to sit under to watch them swim.  The bad thing is that our yard is not level so we had to dig a hole.  The boys started digging with their daddy one day last week, and I joined in the fun starting Saturday afternoon. It has been a lot of hard work!The good news is that we are almost done with this project.  The digging is finished and we have about 2 more loads of sand to put back in.  Then the pool can go up!

We have completed another homeschool year!  Our first day of school was August 29th and we have counted 34 weeks in this year.  Our state does not require us to complete or count a certain number of days.  Sometimes when you are dealing with day to day struggles such as math or reading difficulties, it can be easy to get caught up in the struggles and feel like you are not accomplishing anything.  But, when you look back and see how far they have come or how much they have learned in other areas you might just be surprised.
1st day of K

Last day of K

1st day of 2nd

Last day of 2nd

1st day of 4th

Last day of 4th

1st day of 5th

Last day of 5th

1st day of 7th

Last day of 7th

1st day of 9th

Last day of 9th

Since Nick started High School this year, he has been doing a separate curriculum from the rest of us, only joining in on Bible lessons in the morning.  He earned .5 credit in Bible, 1 credit in American History, 1 credit in Geometry, 1 credit in Physical Science, 1 credit in English 1, .5 credit in P.E., and .5 credit in Information Technology Fundamentals (possibly changed to a full credit if he finishes it over the summer.)

Emmie has completed 22 units in her K curriculum.  She has 4 more to do over the next couple of weeks.  She also started Math Lessons for a Living Education Book 1 about halfway through the school year because she wanted a real math book like everyone else.  She is halfway through that book.  She has been enjoying using an online supplementary curriculum over the last several weeks that focuses on math and reading and has completed several lessons every day.  Emmie also joined us for Poetry, Bible, and read aloud every day.

The others all worked together for many of their subjects.

Bible: This year we read through the gospels of Matthew and Mark and have started Luke. We also read Window on the World which is a book talking about the different religions in each country.  We also watched Drive Thru History-The Gospels. 

P.E.: We did yoga, Family Time Fitness, basketball, bike riding, and running.  The children said swimming will count for their PE this summer.

Poetry: We have memorized 18 poems of varying lengths this year using IEW Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.

Read Aloud: For our morning read aloud time we read 6 missionary stories: Cameron Townsend, Amy Carmichael, David Livingstone, Nate Saint, Gladys Aylward, and William Booth. We also read the book Kingdom Tales and read a biography on Orville Wright.  In the afternoon we read several books including: Captain Absolutely, Shepherd, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer, The 21 Balloons, Paddle to the Sea, Snow Treasure, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Incredible Journey, and Mice of the Herring Bone.  We read several books in the evening including: The Terrestria Chronicles 1-4, The Green Ember, The Borrowers and The Borrowers Afield, The Tale of Despareaux,  The BFG, The Ruby Moon, Stuart Little, and others.

ECC: Our main curriculum this year was Exploring Countries and Cultures from MFW.  This covered our science and geography.  The science used Properties of Ecosystems as its main text along with Living World Encyclopedia.  As we studied each country we learned about the animals and types of land (desert, rainforest, prairie, etc...) types of water (rivers, lakes stream, etc..)Each country that we studied took about 2 weeks to complete and included: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Norway, France, Germany, Kenya, Saudi Arabia. India, China, Japan, Russia, Australia, and Antarctica.
building the Eiffel Tower out of LEGO

History: In addition to ECC, we did some history too.  We completed Project Passport Ancient Greece fro Home School in the Woods and read some of Famous Men of Rome.

Science: In addition to the science from ECC we also completed Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy.

Nature Study: Some of our nature study topics from this year included: butterflies, trees, pond, the winter sky, caring for orphaned baby flying squirrels (that didn't end well), insects, earthworms, the moon, and Candlemas.

Foreign Language: Alex did a semester of German.  We did some Spanish using Basketballs Aren't for Breakfast, and started some Latin from Memoria Press.

Art: We have done some really awesome art projects this year!  I tried to do at least one a week but did not get it in every week.  Some of my favorite projects have some from Creating a Masterpiece and I do hope to do a few more this summer before our subscription runs out.  The children's favorite projects have come from ArtAchieve and I hope to do some more of those this summer as well.

Language Arts:  Alex started out the year using All in one English and also did some Editor in Chief.  He recently started working on Lightning Literature 8 from Hewitt Homeschooling.  He will use it for a few more weeks and then set it aside until our next school year begins.

Anthony and Christian started out with Language Lessons for Today.  We finished that book several weeks ago. They also did some Fix It! Grammar Book 2.  Most recently they started Readers in Residence.  We completed the first book, Sarah Plain, and Tall and have stopped working on this until our next school year starts. 

Lily started out the year with Jolly Grammar.  When we had a review opportunity for Eclectic Foundations B we stopped using Jolly Grammar.  She has stopped working on Eclectic Foundations until the fall.

Spelling/Reading: The boys finished All About Spelling Level 3 and 8 lessons of Level 4.  The also finished All About Reading Level 4.  That is the highest level in this program.  They are also using the reading section of K 5 Learning.  Lily finished AAR Level 2 and has gotten halfway finished with AAR Level 3.  She is also doing K5.

Math: Alex is finished with Teaching textbooks 7 and has started on UnLock Pre-Algebra.  The others are still working through their levels of Math Lessons for a Living Education and will finish those this summer.   We did a review of Times Alive and also all of the children are working on the math section of K 5 learning.

I hope you had a great homeschool year!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: The Typing Coach

The Typing Coach
I never took typing when I was in school.  I use a computer every day and of course have to type to write this blog.  But I do not type accurately ( I have to use back space a lot!) and I have to look at the keys when I am typing.  I was happy to have an opportunity to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.

The Typing Coach

To complete the Typing Coach Online Typing Course  you need to have internet access, some type of word processing software on your computer (I use a free Open Office program), the PDF printout of the Student Packet and Learning Checks, and a keyboard to type on.  Lessons are given via audio and some videos on the website and you type into your word processor as the instructor is talking. You also will be typing things that are on the printout.  It is suggested that you cover your monitor so you cannot look at the screen while typing.  I just used a piece of paper to do this.

This course has to be completed in order from top to bottom. You start the course by reading through a course introduction and taking a visual tour of the course.  Then you take a Before and After Snapshot that has you type out the Gettysburg Address in 3 minutes.  Next you have series of lessons.  The first lesson is on Good Posture and has a video to watch and audio to listen to.   The next lesson teaches the home row of keys. Lesson 3 teaches the top row and lesson 4 the bottom row.  Lesson 5 teaches the Shift Keys and Lesson 6 is typing practice.  Lesson 7 teaches the number row.  After those lessons there is one with serious practicing, then a final assessment, and a conclusion.  There is an option to follow a slower paced lesson plan for students who made need to work at a slower pace.  It is a self paced course and can vary in the amount of time it takes to master one of the lessons. The lessons are less then 30 minutes and include time for some stretch breaks.  The cost of the course is $17 for a one year subscription.

After the lessons you visit the Practice and Testing Center to take your learning checks or typing test.  Here you type your assignment and will get a report showing your words per minute, number of errors, and the amount of time you were typing.

I started with the course introduction.  I watched the 4 min visual tour of the course and the 30 minutes video that explains the whole process. The 30 minute video gives good information, but  it does not show any close ups of the screen making it hard to see what is being explained. But the course is very easy to follow.  You just start at the top and work your way down.

The typing instruction is given in a clear easy to follow manner.  It is systematic and very straight forward. I like that it is a self paced course and you are able to repeat lessons as often as needed. It is a mastery based course and you are not supposed to try and move on to a new lesson until you completely master the one you are working on.  That can get tedious, but will help in the goal to be able to type more efficiently.

I have seen an improvement in my typing skills since I have started to use the program.  I confess that I do really well when I am practicing in the course keeping my fingers on the correct keys, but when I am typing something else (like this post) I tend to revert back to bad habits.  That is something I will need to keep working on! 

I would like to have my older children take this course before they start to develop bad typing habits.  I think typing is an important skill that everyone can benefit from learning. To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors

The Pencil Grip, Inc
Back in 2015, I was approached by The Pencil Grip, Inc. to do a review of Kwik Stix, solid tempera paint sticks.  We loved painting with Kwik Stix to create mess free art projects. I was so impressed with them I even bought some to give as gifts.  I was very excited to have an opportunity to review the brand new Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors.

Thin Stix by KwikStix
Thin Stix are solid tempera paint sticks that allow children to be creative with little mess involved. Thin Stix look and feel like paint.  They can be used on paper, poster board, wood, and more.  You do not need to any water to use these paint sticks.  All you have to do is uncap, twist, and paint.  The paint dries very quickly, in around 90 seconds. The Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors includes yellow, red, green, blue, brown, and black.

My girls (6 and 8) love to draw and paint, but they are not very good at cleaning up after themselves. When they paint with regular paints, they often leave their cup of water on the table and the cat knocks it over and makes a big mess.  The girls and I were excited to see the Thin Stix arrive in the mail.  They ripped the package open and went to grab a stack of paper so they could start making beautiful pictures! 

The colors of the Thin Stix are very bright. They go on the paper very smooth.  They really do dry very quickly which is fantastic if you are doing art work with children that has to be transported some place.  I would never have my Sunday School class or 4 H Club paint with regular paint because of worry about mess and also because the paint would not have time to dry.  But with Thin Stix neither of these things are a problem. 

My 4 H Club is working on a community service project this week.  They are making cards to send to children that are in the hospital.  Here is one of the sample cards we made using the Thin Stix to paint the picture.

Children can paint all the way to the edge of the page and you do not have to worry about them making a huge mess.  If they do happen to paint off of the paper all you need is a wet rag and it comes right off.  Soap and water takes the paint off of skin easily.

In case you are wondering about the difference between the Kwik Stix and the Thin Stix, here is a side by side photo of the two.

When we reviewed Kwik Stix, we commented about how much we loved them but that they were not easy to use for finer detail. With the Thin Stix, you are able to do thinner lines and paint in smaller spaces. 

You can paint on many types of surfaces.  Thin Stix works on different types of paper, poster board, canvas and wood.  We discovered that they also work great on rocks.  I thought she was going to paint a design on a rock but she wanted it to be completely covered.

We have had a lot of fun using our Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors! The Pencil Grip, Inc. also carries several different products including pencil grips and therapeutic toys. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say about Thin Stix, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 34

This is the last week I am counting in our 2016-2017 school year!  I will post last day of school pics next week and write a general wrap up of our school year.  We will continue doing some school work over the summer and for those who are interested in reading about what we are up to I will write weekly posts talk about what we did during the week.

My husband was out of town this week.  He was only gone three days, but Monday (the first day he was gone) was our 18th wedding anniversary.  I was very sad that we could not be together that day but am so thankful for the 18 years we have had and look forward to many, many more.

the pretty roses and bear he sent me

The children and I went to the greenhouse Monday morning to buy some flowers and some vegetables to plant.  I have never planted flowers in front of my porch before, but have always wanted to.

the playhouse at the greenhouse

Tuesday my brother would have been 41.  I miss him so much, but look forward to the day when we all will be together again.

The girls had gymnastics on Tuesday.  They have one class left next week.

Chelsea came over and babysat for me Tuesday night because I had to take Nick to a meeting.

Friday we had an end of school year picnic and then had to run Chelsea to the doctor.  Later that evening Alex's soccer team had a pizza party.

Sunday the wonderful ladies at my church gave Chelsea a baby shower.  Only a few weeks to go!

Week 34 in our Homeschool

Bible: We finished reading the gospel of Mark this week.

P.E.: We rode bikes one day this week.  I think planting the garden should count for a couple of days of P.E. too :)

Poetry: We finished memorizing Some One by Walter de La Mare.

Read Aloud: We finished Heroes of History Orville Wright and Captain Absolutely. We started The Adventures of Rush Revere (upcoming review.) In the evening we are reading The Crown of Kuros.

History/Latin: We completed lesson 3 of Latin Christiana.

Science: Gardening and caring for chickens and rabbits counts as hands on science this week.

Language Arts: Christian and Anthony did 4 lessons in Readers in Residence.  They finished their cursive handwriting books.  They also are working on the reading section of k5 completing one lesson a day.  The girls are working on it as well but they do more then one lesson per day. Alex completed week 2 of Lightning Literature 8.

Spelling: Christian and Anthony completed Step 9 of All About Spelling Level 4.

Math: Alex completed a quiz and three lessons in UnLock Pre-Algebra.  The 4 younger children did at least 4 lessons in K5 and 4 lessons in MLFLE. 
She was supposed to be going to bed

MFW K: She finished B for Butterfly.

And learned to ride without training wheels

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!