WELCOME!

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

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quick Update (CTG 11-13)

It's been awhile since I've added anything about our schoolwork. Nothing is wrong. We just don't have anything overly exciting to report about. After Thanksgiving, we did make it through weeks 11, 12 and 13 of Creation to the Greeks. We've been learning about Moses in the Bible - his rescue as a baby, his visit with God through a burning bush, and about the 10 plagues God inflicted on Egypt to make Pharoah let the Israelite slaves go free.

We tried an experiment to show how a chemical reaction from salt and vinegar should shine up a penny. But, it didn't work out too well for us. I think I used the wrong kind of salt. The experiment said to use regular table salt, and I used Sea Salt. Not sure if that would make a difference or not, but it didn't really do anything for the pennies.

This past week, we decided to take a break from our CTG studies as we get ready for Christmas. Instead, we concentrated on a bit of spelling and reading, did some Christmas themed word finds, and watched some Science related videos on You Tube. One day, we learned about the Solar System. Another day, we watched a glass making demonstration. We also made goodies for Christmas to hand out to our neighbors, and made some homemade presents as well. Here is one that Coyote made for his sister. She loves dogs, so he made this for her out of pipe cleaners. He came up with the idea and the design all by himself! I love his creativity.

 Tonight, we will probably go driving around looking at Christmas lights. Its a fun, yearly tradition that we all enjoy.


Merry Christmas to you all!


Monday, November 21, 2011

The First Thanksgiving



Scholastic has a website specifically dedicated to THE FIRST THANKSGIVING. We are using this site this week to learn more about the pilgrims, the Mayflower, the Wampanoag Indians, and what life was like for all of them.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!



Friday, November 18, 2011

Egyptian Costumes, Weaving, and Clouds (CTG Week 10)

The kids really enjoyed making their own Egyptian costumes this week. Coyote is Pharoah, and Road Runner is the Queen.


We used the book "Ancient Egypt" to give us an idea of how to make the costumes.


We also used this book to learn more about the Egyptian craft of weaving. I remember the kids' Aunt Jackie giving them a weaving loom for Christmas one year, so we pulled that out and used it to weave some pot holders.


A Science experiment we did this week involved making a cloud in a bottle. We used a clear, empty sodapop bottle and matches. The book "Genesis for Kids" gives the complete instructions.


Basically,  you put very warm water into the bottom of the bottle and lay it on its side. Light a match next to the opening, blow it out, squeeze the bottle to suck in the smoke, then quickly screw on the lid. Sqeeze the bottle several times. As you put pressure on the bottle, the air inside is clear. When you release the pressure, a cloud forms. Its hard to see it in the picture, but it really did work! The entire bottle clouded up.


Next week, we are taking a break from our regular MFW curriculum and will be focusing on Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims & Indians, the Mayflower, etc. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ancient Egyptian Homes, Air, and Veteran's Day (CTG weeks 8 & 9)

For the past couple of weeks, we have continued our studies about ancient Egypt. One of our projects was to make a model of what their homes might have looked like. We were able to use cardboard, or modeling clay. Coyote chose to use clay and, with a little bit of my help, this is what we ended up with:


Road Runner does not enjoy getting her hands dirty with clay, so I allowed her to draw her own version of an ancient Egyptian home. She loves to draw, so this was right up her alley.


We have also been continuing our voyage through Biblical history. Our travels have now brought us through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Esau, and Joseph. As we learn about these people from the Bible, we have been reading it from the Scriptures and also watching a cartoon version of each event on You Tube.

For Science, we are learning more about AIR. One of our experiements was to find out what happens to a candle after all the air has been used up by its flame.





Of course, the flame went out! And, a vacuum was left inside the glass. We did this experiment several times, as the kids thought it was pretty "cool."

TODAY is Veteran's Day. Since Fridays are usually our Creative Writing days, I found a project for the kids to do related to Veteran's Day. I found it on CurrClick.com for only 50 cents! It's a downloadable project, so all I had to do was save it on my computer, then print out the pages I wanted for each child to do. Today, the kids used their imagination to see what it might be like for soldiers who have to leave their family and friends to go overseas to serve our country. They had to figure out what kinds of things they might miss the most, and then write a letter to someone telling them about what they miss and look forward to coming home to.

Here is what Road Runner wrote. (Remember... She is a 13 year old with autism and this was her best work. I think she did a GREAT job! The only thing I needed to help her with was where to place the periods at the end of each sentence.)

Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

I miss my mommy and daddy.
I miss 2 cats.
I miss my room.
I miss my house.
I miss my table and chairs.
I miss the clock.
I miss the TV.
I miss the bathroom.

Take care,
"Road Runner"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homeschool Blog Award Nominee

This blog (SONset Academy) has been nominated for the Homeschool Blog Awards under two different categories:  "Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog" and "Best Crafts, Plans & Projects." If you feel this blog is worthy of winning in either of those categories, please go HERE to place your vote. Thanks!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Combination of CTG Weeks 5, 6, and 7

We've been busy, and I haven't had a whole lot of time to post about our school work. So, here's a brief update on some of the things we've been doing these past 3 weeks...

We took two field trips to a nature center, not too far from us. The first time, we went as a family on a Saturday afternoon. The center had "Outdoor Days," so we spent a beautiful Fall afternoon outdoors. While there, David helped Coyote shoot a BB gun for the first time. It took him several tries, but he was very excited to hear a balloon pop when he finally figured out how to aim.


The second trip was on a Friday afternoon with our homeschool group. That time, we spent another beautiful day, going on a nature hike. We saw all sorts of neat things, including a baby water snake and a large snapping turtle. 

For Biblical History, we've been learning about the stories of Job & Abraham. We watched a couple different videos for children to help the kids visualize what might have happened.

For Science, we've been learning more about Dinosaurs and when they were created. We watched a video about that as well, and listened to a couple different songs that talk about dinosaurs on a CD by Buddy Davis. You can find the CD on the ANSWERS IN GENESIS website. Its a great CD with lots of fun songs on it. We bought it when we went to the Creation Museum last year.

We also continued learning about pyramids and did an experiment with clay to see how much more sturdy a pyramid shape is compared to a square block. While tilting a paper plate (simulating an earthquake), the block fell off before the pyramid.


We also learned about heiroroglyphics used in ancient Egypt, and the kids tried to write their names with the various shapes.


Another Science experiment was about air and water, and showed the kids how everything takes up space. Even air has mass. We put a piece of paper into a clear plastic cup, turned it upside down into a bowl of water and the paper did not get wet because the air was filling the cup. As we released the air little by little, the water began to fill the cup.


For Math, the kids are practicing addition skills. Coyote likes to use the white board, so I will write problems for him on the board, just like what was done on the chalkboards when I was in school.


For Music, we've been listening to The Four Seasons by Vivaldi and, this week, the kids drew a Summer picture as they listened to the "Summer" section of the music. That covered Art class as well.


We also took a trip to visit my parents last weekend. The guys went to play golf (a fundraiser for Brookes Bible Institute in St. Louis) while Mom & I went shopping with the kids. During shopping, the kids helped pick out items to put into our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry. We also took the kids to the park and enjoyed another beautiful Fall day.


So, that's about it! We finished our first 9 weeks of school already. Time is flying by....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homeschool Blog Awards

The Homeschool Blog Award nominations are in full swing. There are many different categories to choose from as you nominate your favorites. So, click the picture below to head on over and start nominating!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pyramids, Spelling, Skeet Savage, and Scarecrows

Last week was a busy week for us, so I don't have a whole lot of pictures to show you about our CTG week 4. However, I do have one here of the kids making a pyramid out of straws and molding clay. (If you haven't figured it out, we have been learning about Ancient Egypt and the pyramids)...


But, on a different subject, I wanted to share with you what is working for us for SPELLING this year. In the past, I have tried a couple of different spelling programs for Road Runner, our autistic daughter. We started with Word Building paces from A.C.E. Those worked great for her, up until about the 4th grade level. Then, it got to be too much. So, last year, I used Learning to Spell through Copywork from Queen Homeschool for her. That worked good also, and I would probably still be using it this year if I hadn't come up with a totally different approach that I think works even better. This year, Road Runner is going through the Explode the Code workbooks for a combination of phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling. She is currently in book 4, and loves it! I have her do 2 pages per day until she gets to the end of a lesson. Then, at the end of each lesson, there are 7 words that we use for our spelling words.  I input those words into a list on Spelling City (a FREE online program), and have her take the test online. If she misses any words, she can go back over them by hitting the "teach me" button. Then, when ready, she can take the test again. Its working great! And, if you register on the site, you can save your lists and use them again for another child later on!

I am currently doing this same thing for our 8yo son who has been struggling with learning to read. The only difference is that he is in book 3. He loves it, too! It has really helped take away some of the stress of doing spelling work, and I'm so glad for that. Just thought I'd share, in case it can help someone else.

On Friday, our homeschool group had a conference with Skeet Savage as the speaker. She is the Founder of Wisdom's Gate Ministries, the Editor of 3 magazine publications (Home School Digest, An Encouraging Word, and Brush Arbor Revival Quarterly), and an author. She spoke to us about her book, "Homeschooling for Eternity" and also about how to build Christian Character in our children. What stood out to me the most was how, as Christian homeschoolers, we should be focusing more on our children's spiritual lives, rather than on their academic status. Of course, it is important to teach our kids how to read, write, etc. And, we definitely don't want to neglect the requirements of our State in educating our children. But, instead of getting "hung up" on making sure they get the best grades so they can attend the best schools, etc..., NONE of that really matters in eternity. There needs to be a good balance between academics and teaching our kids to have a growing relationship with the Lord.


On Saturday, we went to a nearby campground to spend a beautiful Fall day outside with my husband's parents. While there, we also attended a local Fall festival called, "Scarecrow Daze." Here are the two little scarecrows that followed us home...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Johnny Appleseed, Rosh Hashanah, & CTG Week 3

This past week was a full week of school for us. We learned a lot, and had some fun while doing it. Here are a few of the things we took part in...

For Science, We did an experiment to see how sugar can be turned into light energy. Go into a completely dark room, use pliers to squeeze a mint Lifesaver until it breaks. You should be able to see a small flash of light as the candy breaks apart. We saw the flash of light several times, which was really neat. (I always love it when Science experiments turn out right!)

Our History lessons included learning about Noah and his descendants, and the Tower of Babel. We also learned about the first written language (pictures called cuneiforms), and made our own cuneiform sugar cookies.


We enjoyed making the cookies (and eating them), even though they didn't turn out as clear as we had hoped. The upsidedown triangle is supposed to be the symbol for a J.

Since September 26th was Johnny Appleseed's birthday, we took a some time to learn more about him.  Here is a link to a Weekly Reader site that tells the story of Johnny in cartoon form, and also gives a short quiz for the kids: http://www.weeklyreader.com/interactivestories/appleseed.html

On Friday, we visited an apple orchard with our homeschool group. We took a tour, went through a cornfield maze, saw a worker picking apples, got to pick an apple of our own, saw how the apples are cleaned, petted some animals, and took a taste of apple cider.



We began learning the books of the Old Testament through our curriculum this week, and our AWANA program has also been helping with this.“The Bible Book Bop” song from The Go Fish Guys is a fun one to help learn the books. For flashcards, we are using a suggestion from another CTG family... Go to SUNDAY SCHOOL SOURCES to print out a flashcards PDF for free!

Another big part of our week was learning about Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish celebration. Basically, it is the Jewish New Year, also called the Feast of Trumpets; and it is believed that God created the world at this time of year, so the Birthday of the World is also celebrated.

To help us celebrate this feast, and understand it better, we made our own Shofars on Thursday and blew them at the start of our meal on Friday evening.


We decorated the table with our best dishes, and placed a crown in the middle to remind us that God is the King of the world. (I used a Burger King crown, as that was all I had on hand). After I lit the candles, David blessed the wine (which was grape juice for us) and we all drank. Then, he blessed the bread (in a round shape to show our hope for a full and round year), and we all tore some off and ate it.


Then, we dipped apples slices in a bowl of honey and ate them, to symbolize the hope that this year will be a sweet one. 


We then ate a meal of lemon chicken, green beans & corn, fresh bread, sliced cucumbers, and honey cake for dessert. We also tried a new fruit, called a STAR FRUIT. It is a juicy fruit that sort of tastes like a mild orange with a little bit of lemon thrown in. Adding some salt to it helps bring out the flavor a little more.


We enjoyed learning about Rosh Hashanah, and it was fun to take part in this meal together.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Trip to Chicago AND Week 2 of CTG Finished

This past week, we finished week 2 of Creation to the Greeks. We would have done it the previous week, but decided to take an impromptu, and much needed, family break. David was able to get some time off work, so we took advantage of it! First, on September 11th, we helped David's parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary...


After that, we took a couple days and saw the sights in Chicago.


I guess you could say it was "hands-on school" that week, as we visited the Museum of Science & Industry...  


The Adler Planetarium (which nicely coincided with our first week of CTG, learning about space, Creation, the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc)...



And Shedd's Aquarium...













We also visited Buckingham Fountain at night, Union Station, and saw the tallest building in the United States up close and personal. (To me, its still the Sears Tower, but I guess it has a new name now - the Willis Tower.)...

This week, we got back into the swing of things with our main curriculum, and learned about Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Noah. For Science, we learned about how to bend light. Yes, it can be done! All you need is an empty tin can, a nail & hammer, and a flashlight. Wash out the can, put a hole in it with the nail and hammer, go into the bathroom and put water in the can. Keep the hole covered so the water doesn't leak out yet. Then, turn out the lights, shine a flashlight into the can, and unplug the hole. As the water pours out of the can, the light will follow it. Therefore, the light can be "bent." (Sorry, I don't have any pictures of it.) We also learned about invisible infrared rays. We used a TV remote control to turn on the TV, and saw how something solid will block those rays. 

Friday was the first day of FALL so, for Home Ec. class, we made pumpkin bread and had a yummy treat for supper that night. 







ENJOY THE FALL SEASON!
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Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week of Creation to the Greeks

Life has been rather hectic lately, but in a good sort of way. For example, Coyote decided he wanted to be baptized, family came for a visit (due to Coyote's baptism), an AWANA program began at our church, events are being planned for our local homeschool group, etc. So, with all we've had going on, it took us 2 weeks to get through the first week of Creation to the Greeks.

As you can see by the picture below, each student has their own notebook to keep all their papers in. At the end of the year, it makes a nice keepsake of all we've learned.


Creation to the Greeks is the beginning of a chronological account of historical events, beginning with the Biblical recordings of Creation. One of our activities is to make a timeline to be displayed on the wall or in a notebook of some sort. Two years ago, I put a timeline on our wall with poster putty and, when I removed it, some of the paint was removed from the wall also. So, this year, I decided to put our timeline in a 3-ring binder. We are going to add to it through-out the year, and then continue with it in following years. It will be a nice record of things that took place in history, and when they took place.

 
Along with Biblical history, we are also learning about various Jewish celebrations and feasts. Tonight, we had our first experience as a family with celebrating a Sabbath (Shabbat) meal.

We are using a book recommended by My Father's World. It is "Celebrating Biblical Feasts" by Martha Zimmerman. Its a neat book that explains the various symbols and traditions of each celebration, and takes us step by step on how to celebrate them on our own. The first thing we did today was set our dinner table with our best dishes, and we also baked bread. The blue bowl at the end of the table is for washing our hands during one portion of the meal. The hand washing and the blessing beforehand is intended to show our gratitude to God for his sanctification of us.


As supper was being prepared, the kids helped me make candlestick salads. Lettuce on the bottom, pineapple rings, half a banana, and a cherry attached on top with a toothpick (for the "flame.") It added a nice, fun touch to our meal.


At another part, before the meal was eaten, the father blesses each of his children with a special prayer for them. This was really neat. He also takes time to honor his wife.


There is a recommended menu in the book, but it is not mandatory. We partially followed the list and ended up with baked fish, cooked carrots, buttered noodles, fresh bread, candlestick salad, and creamhorns for dessert. It was a really neat experience for all of us, and I wouldn't doubt if we did it again sometime in the future.
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