Oh my gosh! We've made it 6 weeks! I was worried about my sanity, but I am really enjoying homeschooling and feel like God is really working on my heart and my patience for the process. We're settling into a routine with our school that has allowed me to add in extra activities for each of the kids. This was a process, and kind of an explosive one, since Austin's chief concern is the kids getting "socialized" enough and my chief concern is me not having a nervous breakdown. He's been working pretty much non-stop for the last month and a half, including long nights (well past midnight) and weekends, so it's been all-mama-all-the-time. I know my military friends do this for months on end, but I didn't sign up for single parenting because I know my limits :)
Anyhow, as I'm becoming more confident with our schedule we've added in Football and Art and Scouts (for Riley), Ice Hockey (for Logan, who will start a kid's science class this week and is asking for art lessons also), and Gymnastics and Preschool (for Savannah Lynn). The picture below is one of Riley's pictures from art class. I've included the "before" the lesson picture, too. His art teacher is an awesome Christian lady and she does fantastic work. I know it's hard setting up a business in this economy, but I hope she succeeds because we love her!
This week we really enjoyed our lessons- I think we've finally got the hang of the memory work. Leigh Bortins says you have to "train to retain" and I think it's finally taking for everyone. One change that I made this week that finally made Latin click was that I added in the (real) sign language for the Bible Memory verses (John 1:1-7).
You wouldn't think that making something MORE complicated would make it easier- but this really did. Since our Latin words are all being learned with the intention of translating John 1:1-7 into Latin from English, learning the sign for each word has helped with cuing the kids, and for some reason, helped them realize the connection, even though I'd told it to them 100 times.
For our history this week, we've been working on the Louisiana Purchase. In addition to reading from our What Your Child Needs to Know books, we also used several websites, including this one which has an interactive trail map with excerpts of journals from Lewis and Clark and this one which has a kind of "follow the adventure" game. We also got to go meet up with some of our Classical Conversations friends for a history craft day. We made trail journals by coloring a picture of Lewis and Clark (actually Sacagewea and Charbonneau with Lewis and Clark in the background) and then bound several pieces of paper inside with string. Most of the kids were much younger than Riley, but he loves to draw and we added some difficulty to the activity together by having him copy pictures of actual discoveries Lewis and Clark made along their trek rather than just drawing random objects like the younger kids were doing. We found a great list on Wikipedia here.
Math is still skip counting for CC, we're on 11 and 12 and Riley is kicking butt at it, finally! In our Singapore math, Riley blew through intro fractions and intro time (he's done them before with me) and did a review chapter today, which he was great at. His approach to some word problems cracks me up because he sets them up like algebra problems __ +9 = 15 and then fills in the blank. Logan is still struggling with ordering numbers in sequences that don't start with 1. Counting should start with 1. It's just that he needs the natural order of things to be followed. We're getting there.
For English we're trucking along with our Insitute for Writing Excellence, Teach Your Child to Read, and All About Spelling. Riley has finally hit a point in his reading where he's excited to do it. Yesterday we ended a chapter of his current Magic Treehouse book in a particularly exciting place and he looked ahead at how many pages the next chapter was- it was 8- and trucked ahead anyway. Usually 8 pages would elicit a groan, but he was finally hitting a good stride and was too excited to see what happened to care about the length of the page. He also read a book to me about the growth of apples since we're going to pick apples on Friday after preschool. I couldn't let fall go by without some of my favorites. Also, Logan has some great, meticulous handwriting going. It's very exciting since Riley writes like a doctor.
Science this week was the digestive system. We enjoyed a Bill Nye as well as using this website. Logan drew a most excellent picture of the digestive system, including a butt. I am so scared to leave him alone in his class tomorrow for fear he'll end his memory work "small intestine, large intestine AND THEN YOU POOP!!!!!!!"
Sigh. He can't be the only one with a mastery of that component of digestion, right?
Geography was more states and capitals. We're to the middle of the US now, which is exciting!
I think that's it...oh, we finally got our history timeline cards. For next week I'm going to get some banner paper and make a giant timeline on our wall for us to add events to as we've memorized them in order. They've got the first 16 down cold, and the 8 we're on this week. The middle, well, it's a little fuzzy- they can do it with the pictures on the cards, but not just from memory. I blame that on my inability to get the flashcards in until now.
I also splurged and purchased the rest of History of the World on CD. We still love it and the kids love finding the week's history (and then the timeline history) on the CDs during lunch. They're retaining the information and I get to STOP TALKING for half an hour....well worth every penny.
Whew. I think that's it.