Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2018-2019): Our oldest child, EL, finished her formal education in May 2017. She remains at home due to her special needs, and continues to learn with us when she is able. JJ is in 10th grade this year. We intend to homeschool him through High School, and are using a variety of different curriculum choices to complete this goal.

Please feel free to follow along....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Review of the Past Couple of Weeks

In the past couple of weeks, our Geography lessons (ECC week #14) took us to France.

For Science, we  learned about how different animals defend themselves, how they adapt to their surroundings, and we used You Tube to tour a couple of different caves.

For Bible, we are still reading through the book of Matthew (using You Tube to watch the Visual Bible), and also learned about Menno Simons, a Roman Catholic priest who changed his views and became a leader of the anabaptist churches.

For Music, we learned some new songs from European countries, started a new chapter in our music workbooks from Christian Light Education, and watched some Christmas videos on You Tube. (If you haven't figured it out by now, we LOVE You Tube!)

Physical Education was done in various ways as the kids ran around outside, played in the snow, danced to music, and went bowling.

Art hasn't been anything especially fancy lately. They either colored a Christmas picture, added features to a paper snowman, or learned how to draw an animal (such as a tiger or reindeer).

For Math, we continue with Mastering Mathematics by Letz Farmer. Both kids are currently in the Attacking Addition workbook. They are learning how to carry, and also how to add dollars and cents. Road Runner is concentrating on memorizing her addition facts, while Coyote mainly counts in his head without memorizing.

Language Arts, Spelling, and Handwriting have continued on as usual.

Last Friday, we all went on a field trip to tour a local radio station, as well as a printing factory. See photos below....

For Home Economics, the kids helped me in the kitchen as we made some Christmas goodies to take around to our friends and neighbors. This is a yearly tradition that we all enjoy.

Today is Christmas Eve and we are taking a break from school for awhile. We look forward to the time off as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Week of Events

First of all, we had a really nice Thanksgiving week, as we took some time off of our regular studies and focused on some Thanksgiving activities. The following week, it was hard to get back into the routine of things, especially since I had come down with a pretty bad cold and didn't feel much like concentrating. So, we took it easy that week as well. Then, this past week, we were finally able to return to our regular studies, but kept getting side-tracked with one thing or another. Even so, I think we accomplished what needed to be accomplished, for the most part. But, anyway, here are a few photos of some of the activites we did together this past week....

Last Saturday, we all took a trip to Home Depot for the Kids Workshop. They hold these workshops on the first Saturday of each month, and they are totally FREE. The kids get to make something and take it home. At this workshop, the kids made a wooden picture frame. They still haven't been painted and decorated, but we DO have the paint, and will hopefully be doing that soon!

On Sunday afternoon, we decorated Christmas cookies to help celebrate a friend's birthday.

On Monday, we began our week with a "trip" to Norway (ECC Week #13). Then, in the afternoon, we made Cool Whip Cookies for a cookie swap. With the leftover dough, Coyote made a snowman, and he also helped Road Runner make a dog (Its kinda hard to tell what it is in the picture, but at least the kids know what it is. LOL.)

Tuesday was interesting, since we had NO HEAT! Our furnace went out on Monday night and the temperature dropped down to the lower 50's inside the house. We all slept in the same room on Monday night, with lots of blankets and a space heater. Then, in the morning, we called the furnace guy to come out and fix it, but he didn't arrive until Noon. So, for the morning, the kids and I huddled together in the family room, sitting next to the space heater. It was too cold to do any writing, but we did spend some time reading. Here you can see Coyote reading one of his Hooked On Phonics books to me and Road Runner.

We left for Road Runner's Speech class right after lunch and spent some time warming up there. Then, we were able to come back to a warmer house, as the furnace guy was just finishing up. Boy... times like that sure do make one appreciate heat!

The rest of the week went pretty much as planned. Then, on Friday afternoon, we went to a homeschool day at the library. The topic there was "Christmas Around the World." It tied in nicely to our studies with ECC, since we are learning about different countries and cultures this year. We learned about different Christmas customs and traditions, including some in Norway (which we studied this week). And, then we had crafts and the kids chose to make an ornament that is traditionally made in Sweden - a star made out of straw.

We also learned ways to say "Merry Christmas" in different languages around the world. Here are a few of them . . .

Brazilian - "Boas Festas"
Chinese (Cantonese) - "Saint Dan Fai Lok"
Dutch - "Vrolijk Kerstfeest"
Filipino - "Maligayang pasko"
French - "Joyeux Noel"
German - "Froehliche Weihnachten"
Greek - "Kala Christouyenna"
Hebrew - "Mo'adim Lesimkha"
Hawaiian - "Mele Kalikimaka"
Icelandic - "Gledileg Jol"
Irish - "Nollaig Shona Dhuit"
Lithuanian - "Linksmu Kaledu"
Norwegian & Swedish - "God Jul"
Romanian - "Craciun Fericit"
Spanish - "Feliz Navidad"

And, or course, in English - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time for a Change of Pace

Maybe it’s the time of year - weather getting cooler, skies getting grayer, no more pretty leaves on the trees - but I found this past week to be especially difficult for all of us to stay on track with our tasks at hand, both physically and mentally. Both kids were having a hard time paying attention during our studies this week and, even when they did seem to be listening, I think their comprehension took a flying leap out the window. My patience ran thin more than it should have and we had more than our share of raised voices, grumpy faces, and tears to contend with. I’ve decided, as Thanksgiving approaches, we will be taking a break from our normal routine and doing things a bit differently around here. We all need the change of pace and, hopefully, the following week will produce better attitudes for all of us.

Hope everyone has a
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yanomamo Indians and More....

This week, as we have concentrated on South America in our studies, we learned about the Yanomamo tribe living in the rainforests of southern Venzuela. They have been known as a fierce tribe, often having battles with neighboring tribes and capturing their women. They also have a strong connection with evil spirits and will train a young man to become a Shaman, so he can listen to the spirits and tell the rest of the tribe how to appease them.

As we researched online for more info about the Yanomami, we came across the testimony of a Shaman Chief from who battled with many evil spirits. It was only the one, true, living God (known as The Great Spirit to this man) who was finally able to deliver him. This is an amzing testimony and I encourage you to take the time to listen to it when you get a chance. It comes in two parts....

We also had a couple of homeschool activities this week. On Thursday, our community met on the courthouse lawn for a Veteran's Day ceremony to recognize all of our veterans. Coyote took part in the ceremony with his Cub Scout pack. They led us all in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It was neat to see him being a part of that.

Even more neat was the fact that Coyote was wearing the same Cub Scout shirt and hat his daddy wore when he was that age!

Then, after the ceremony, our homeschool group met to draw pictures and write letters of encouragement to our veterans, as well as collect items to go into care packages for the veterans overseas. I am "proud" of our homeschool group and for their willingness to participate in community projects such as this.

On Friday, we went to a Hodgson Mill factory to see how they make and package different products, such as flours, yeast, pancake mix, pastas, etc. It was a neat learning experience for all in attendance. Our Road Runner thought the factory was a bit too loud for her ears, however, she really did enjoy seeing how all the machines worked. I'm glad we had the chance to go.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finished North America

The past couple weeks, in between illnesses and other distractions, we concentrated on the study of Canada and Greenland, along with learning about forests and the arctic regions. This concluded our study of North America and now, this week, we begin learning about South America.

Someone on the My Father's World Yahoo Group sent a link from UPM for a virtual field trip to the forest. So, we spent one morning going through this site and it was the neatest thing! Even if you are NOT learning about the forest right now, I recommend this site. It is very educational and informative. If you can't visit a forest in person, this is the next best thing. (NOTE: You do need to have a pretty good internet connection in order to view this and, even then, it may take a couple minutes to load in.)...

Virtual Field Trip of a Forest

We also spent some time on You Tube, viewing a paper mill and watching how they make paper out of wood. I love You Tube! So many neat educational things to find on there. We even watched videos from National Geographic that showed more about the animals we have been learning about. (NOTE: Parents do need to watch WITH the kids, as You Tube can sometimes show things that may not be acceptable, especially to young viewers.)

As we finished up Canada, Coyote helped me make a desert that is regularly made in that country, and we shared it with grandparents who came for a visit over the weekend. Instead of using the traditional blueberries, I used a can of cherry pie filling. We all enjoyed it....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our Mexican Meal

Last week, I told you to check in at the end of this week to see if we made a Mexican dish. Normally, my husband isn't a big fan of Mexican foods, due to the spices. However, we do eat mildly seasoned tacos and chicken fajitas on occasion. So, that's what we had.....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Trip to Mexico and Beyond

This week, the kids received their "passports" and we all took a pretend trip to Mexico. While there, we watched a Mexican hat dance (on You Tube), learned some Spanish words, and made Mexican suns with Model Magic clay.

We also learned about desert lands and talked about how certain animals survive in the drastic temperature changes (hot in the day, cold at night). To experiment with this, made our own turtles and put them out in the sun and in the shade, along with a thermometer, to note the difference in temperatures. We also put two bowls of ice cubes outside - one in the sun and one in the shade. The kids learned that the sun will melt ice cubes faster than the shade.

As we continue to learn about North America and the names of the countries, we also played a geography game this week. Even Mom is learning with this game, as geography was never my strong point. It's fun to be learning along with the kids.   

On Thursday afternoon, we took a field trip to the local Veterinarian clinic. This didn't have anything to do with Mexico, but was still a neat learning experience.  

On Friday afternoon, we had our Homeschool Library Day and learned more about the Spanish language, as well as some German and American Sign Language.

Next week, we continue with our travels in North America; and, if I can find a recipe my husband will eat, we may be making a Mexican dish of some sort. Check in next week to find out!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just the Basics

Nothing really exciting happened this week in our school work. We didn’t really do any fun art projects or go on a field trip, because this week was.... well, let's just say it was a challenging week over all. So, we mostly just got the basics done - but that’s okay. Some weeks are like that.
One thing I would like to mention, however, is that we started going through the Gospel of Matthew this week and, in order to help the kids visualize what might have happened during those times, we watched The Visual Bible, found here on You Tube:

The Visual Bible - Gospel of Matthew

Oh... and we also played in GOO this week... LOL!

NOTE: Goo is made with cornstarch, water, and food coloring. Its a fun time of sensory play, especially for your hands-on learners. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 3 of Exploring Countries & Cultures

This past week was filled with several activities and assignments that helped the kids and I learn more about North America, the United States of America, the names and locations of the states, and different kinds of forests and trees.

I am using GEOGRAPHY SONGS to help us learn the locations of the states. It’s a great CD that is filled with short little songs to help us remember locations of different places in the world.  This week, we focused on learning the states on the Northern border and Southern border of the USA.

For Art class, we chose a “sand art” project from the book GLOBAL ART. Both kids enjoyed this project, but Coyote (our hands-on learner) really enjoyed it the most. In the picture below, Road Runner's picture is on top, Coyote's is below it. We used colored sand to make the pictures, then filled the little bottles with the leftover sand.

We also began reading HERO TALES, by Dave & Neta Jackson, this week. It’s a book about true stories from the lives of 15 different Christian Heroes. What a great book this is! The stories are short and interesting, and have questions and a Bible verse at the end of each chapter. We are all enjoying it.

For those of you with active children who have trouble sitting still while you read to them, here is a neat little idea you may want to try... Earlier this week, my mom sent each of the kids a little dry-erase whiteboard to draw on. Our kids love to draw so, as I was reading aloud from Hero Tales, our 2nd grader (who seems to have a need to keep his hands busy while he listens) came up with the idea to draw pictures that coincide with the paragraphs. At first, I wasn’t too sure about it, but it turned out to be exactly what was needed.

I was so amazed at how well this technique helped Coyote to pay attention better and to really comprehend what I was reading. After finishing a chapter on Dwight L. Moody this week, his whiteboard was filled and he was able to tell me all the main points of what had happened in the story. It was certainly a “God thing” and not something I could have ever come up with on my own.

On Friday, we took a field trip to an apple orchard with several other homeschooling families. A great way to end our week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maps & Globes

In our school room, we have a large map of the world attached to the wall. This week, with the use of this map, along with various other books (such as "Maps & Globes" by Jack Knowlton), we have learned about the 7 continents, the 5 oceans, elevation & depth, how to locate a place with latitude and longitude, the need for directions, and how there are different kinds of maps used for different purposes.

We ended the week by making a large sugar cookie and decorating it like the world. Here is Coyote decorating the cookie with blue frosting...

Then, I did my best to draw North America and South America on the "globe" with a tube of green frosting. Its not perfect, but you get the idea.

The kids enjoyed making it with me. But, of course, we all had more fun EATING IT!

On another note, I previously mentioned I would list the curriculum we are currently using for this year. So, for those interested, there is an updated list towards the upper RIGHT of this page.

School is out for the week! Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 1 of Exploring Countries & Cultures

Today was our first day of using Exploring Countries & Cultures from My Father's World. It went well for the most part. Coyote had a little trouble with all the extra stuff we did today, compared to last week when we only did Lanugage Arts, Music, and Sign Language. But, I think it will work out just fine, once he knows what to expect.

Today, we were introduced to ecosystems for Science (using Properties of Ecosystems from Answers in Genesis). We learned some new words, such as habitat, biotic, abiotic, fauna & flora.

For History and Geography, we learned about maps, how they got their beginning, and how they have changed over the years. When we took a snack break, I made a "map" of the inside of our house, and gave the kids a trail to follow to the X where they would find their snack. They had fun with that. We also learned that the world is NOT flat like a pancake. It is round, like a ball. So, Coyote came up with the fun idea to have pancakes for lunch today.

As for the green tomato worm we have been watching.... Last night, after we arrived back home from a "Back to School" party for our local homeschool group, the kids looked at the jar (now sitting outside on our picnic table) and noticed the worm had emerged from its cocoon. At first, it sort of had the look of a big bee with very short wings. However, as time went on, the wings unravelled and began to dry out.

This morning, we released the moth (known as a Hawk Moth) and it  sat on our picnic table all day. Finally, this evening, David and Coyote saw it take off in flight. Bye bye, hawk moth. Good riddance... ummm, I mean, good luck.....


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day of New School Year

We were on vacation a couple of weeks ago. It was a fun and educational time as we visited The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY; got a tour of an airplane at Lunken Municipal Airport in Cincinnati, OH; and visited the Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY. We also visited with family and friends, and celebrated Road Runner's 12th birthday!

Now, we are home and finally ready to start school. I was originally going to start on Monday, but David so wisely suggested that we wait until Wednesday (today) so we could ease back into it slowly. I was getting over a nasty head cold on Monday, so that didn't bother me one bit!

So, here is a picture I took for our first day back to school....

As you can tell by the picture, the kids weren't exactly thrilled with starting school again. But, they were cooperative for the most part, and we did have a good first day. It'll just take a few days to get back into a routine. We did not start the My Father's World curriculum yet, but will start that next Monday. Today, we did Language Arts, Music, and Sign Language. We are using new material for all of those subjects this year and, so far, I really like them. I'll list everything later on in a separate blog entry, but I really think its going to be a good year!

To update you on the green tomato worm, he formed a cocoon while we were gone on vacation and has been laying on the bottom of the jar for a couple of weeks. Not sure when he is going to emerge. Only time will tell....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meet the Class

It's my first entry on SONset Academy! We haven't officially started back to school yet (my plan is to begin on August 23rd), but let me introduce you to our class:

My husband, David, is our Principal. He brings wisdom and insight to our school, as well as emotional support on my part. He loves his children and desires to be a part of their lives. I know I would have a hard time schooling the children without his help.

You've already seen a picture of me on the main blog page, so I won't include another. But, I am Victoria. This will be our 6th year of homeschooling. I have learned alot over the years, and still have a long way to go. But, it has mostly been fun teaching our kids and I'm so glad to have the opportunity to do it.

Our daughter, Road Runner, is 12. She loves animals of all kinds, but especially dogs and birds (Road
Runners are a personal favorite of hers). She also enjoys drawing and cutting out pictures, reading books, and watching movies. Her autism brings some special learning needs with it, but she is smart and understands a lot more than I think most of us realize. She has really "blossomed" a lot this past year, and I am looking forward to seeing what the future has in store. It is a blessing to have her for a daughter.

Coyote is 7. He also loves animals, likes to write stories, and is getting especially good at drawing. He is an active boy with an interest in super heroes, science fiction movies, and finding critters in the yard. A mild case of Tourettes Syndrome has caused him some struggles, but he is working through them. He is a joy to have around - funny, sweet, and a best friend and teacher to Road Runner. I am so glad he is a part of our lives. 

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Speaking of critters, I recently purchased a book called "Pets in a Jar" by Seymore Simon and, yesterday, we decided to use it for the first time.  David's parents were here and "Dad" found a large green worm eating the leaves off my tomato plants. The first one, he just stomped on to get rid of it. Then, he took Coyote out to see if they could find another one. They did. Coyote brought it inside to me, while it was still hanging onto a leaf branch. At first, I wanted it OUT of my house. But, then, I remembered the book I bought and figured this might be a good opportunity to watch the worm and learn from it. So, now we have "Claws" (Coyote named him) sitting in a jar in our family room. Coyote reminded me this morning that we needed to go get fresh leaves for Claws so he would have plenty to eat. If you look closely at the jar, you can see him laying on the bottom. It will be interesting to learn more about him, watch him form a cocoon, and hopefully emerge as a moth of some sort. We'll see what happens....