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, 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.