The Loom of Doom, & so much more.

So week 2 came and went.  Way too fast I’m thinking, especially since here it is, Monday morning of week 3, and I’m just now remember to post about last week!  So much went down… Lets see…

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Last weekend (Aug 21-22) I spent making a DIY loom for us to use with BigBoy & PinkDiva’s history lesson.  It turned out awesome!

The loom itself is made from a Cross Stitch Frame, the kind you can use to turn your fabric into a scroll.   The frame was too short to make an effective loom though, so we cut the bars in half and attached them to small pieces of scrap wood.  The rigid-ish, and I say “ish” because there is a lot of flex & bend, heddle is made of two pieces of plastic canvas, cut and stitched together.  The shuttle in the picture is made of cardboard, but DH has since made a nicer one out of thin wood for us to use.

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BigBoy was thrilled to give weaving a try.  ThePinkDiva had tried weaving in a class at the Cultural Arts Center last year, and fell in love with the art form.  BigBoy is still a bit young, and doesn’t quite get the hang of it…  but PinkDiva loves to weave.  This time we’re making a small green blanket.  But now that we have a loom, I see plenty of doll blankets in our future.  Pinkdiva is even talking about stitching a few pieces together to make a bigger blanket.  Should be fun.

Thursday, thePinkDiva began vision therapy.  I don’t think I’ve ever explained that one anywhere online, so it really needs it’s own blog post.  Soon.  I hope.

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Friday was spent at the Podiatrist’s office.  Because I messed up my foot. Everyone got their Math tests done, and that was it.  I was too worn out/in pain to do much else.

Then, on Saturday, Soccer Season officially kicked off.  One night a week for practice, and then games on Saturday.  Should be fun.  BigBoy is thrilled because this is the first year he’s actually part of a team, instead of the “Tots”.  Geekboy discovered at least 3 friends from last year’s team on his new team.  So even though he is the shortest guy on the team, and playing in the 10-12 division (he’s only 9, but they didn’t have enough 8-9 boys to make a team in that division), he’s looking forward to a great season.

One week down.

So, yea.  We officially started “school” last week.  Really, since the learning never ends here in Casa Del Yuriar, all it means is that we cracked open the math books again, and tried to get our “school” routine started again.  The first week or so is always a bit rough as we settle into a routine that works for us.  They may have argued and moaned, PinkDiva may have done her Poltergeist impression a few times (you know, head lifting up, spinning 360 before settling back down again), but in the end they loved it, and even learned something.


PinkDiva talks Photosynthesis.

Curriculum time is here again!

After spending the better part of the last month alternately researching curriculum ideas, and procrastinating, I’ve finally finalized… well, mostly finalized our school year.

Math is going to be Math U See for all three.  GeekBoy is starting in Delta, but he’s already whizzed through the first 3 chapters, and that only took him 5 minutes!  So I have Epsilon standing by, and fully expect to be using it by middle of the year.  As much as the Geek claims to hate math, he is a math whiz.  ThePinkDiva is starting Alpha this year, and BigBoy won’t be very far behind.  He still has a few chapters of Primer to finish before moving on to Alpha.  The little guy is hoping to catch up to his big sister.

For Language, GeekBoy is still working through the Easy Grammar 4/5 book we found halfway through last year.  Its been working well for us, so we will keep going.  Since discovering thePinkDiva’s vision difficulties, we will be ditching Hooked on Phonics this year.  I’ve decided to give Spell to Write and Read a try.  It’s supposed to be good for dyslexics, which she is, and BigBoy will be doing this also since he really wants to learn to write.  ThePinkDiva will also be continuing her work in Explode The Code online.  She’s been doing pretty well with it, and I’m considering getting a subscription for BigBoy as well.  Especially since I can get such an awesome deal on the program via Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op.

GeekBoy’s writing progressed quickly once we worked on correcting his posture and grip.  This year we will continue working on “Pull, not push” to get him forming letters from the top, as well as lowercase letters.

History will be different this year.  GeekBoy has informed me that he has trouble concentrating when thePinkDiva goes off on a word-association rabbit trail.  Since she does this a lot (it’s her way of processing information), GeekBoy will be having his own history lesson, using Mystery of History.  ThePinkDiva and BigBoy will be doing year 2 of the American Heritage Studies by BJU. I’m planning to do time lines with each “class”.

Science was a hard one.  As much as I love the Apologia books, they seem to be just above the understanding of my younger two, and there doesn’t seem much in the text that interests my oldest.  So this year we will do things a bit different.  I got a subscription to AHA Science via Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  The kids adored the sample lessons, and we are looking forward to accessing the games and seeing what else the program has to offer.  I’m also planning to pull random experiments out of this book Gramma gave us, 101 Cool Science Experiments.

For art, I have GeeArt.  We’ve had the program for some time now, but I’ve never managed to get it together enough to get the projects done.  I’m hoping to overcome my own fear of messiness and allow the munchkins to get messy, and maybe even get messy myself.  But the biggest thing they will learn in the category of “art” this year — how to clean up their supplies!

It should be a fun, busy year.
Not Back to School Blog Hop

“I lived it!”

Yesterday was an off day for me. I started off the day declaring it would be “Mental Health Day” all week. Then I pulled a muscle in my chest. Yup, it’s official. The 5 yr old is now too big for me to lift. *pout* So, momma was in no condition to teach.

It was also Monday, which means Pizza and Movie Night in our house. GeekBoy was so excited, it was his night to pick! But alas, it was only 4:28pm, and he had to wait until 5pm to put his movie on. He looked at the clock and then told me he had 32 minutes til movie time. I smiled. This from the boy who claims to hate math, despite his mathematical genius. For some reason he views math as pure evil, and subtraction, specifically, is the bane of his existence. I couldn’t help myself. I told my son, “Guess what? You just did math. And guess what? You did subtraction!”

My son was thrilled with himself. So thrilled, he decided to look at the length of the movie, given in minutes, and figure out how long in hours it would be. When he again came up with the right answer in under a minute, I cheered him on and said, “Guess what? You did more math! Subtraction even!”

He was so ecstatic. He ran off to his brother’s room where his brother and sister were playing, shouting the whole way, “I did math! I did math!” But when his sister decided she wanted to do her math workbook too, Geekboy told her, “I didn’t do my workbook… I lived it.”

Gaming, FTW

In today’s history lesson we talked about the makings of a successful settlement. We compared the maps of Jamestown and Plymouth.  Discussed the need to readily available water and food, and the need for protection.  The kids were supposed to draw a settlement, but GeekBoy said:

“I have a better idea! I can build one in Civilization 3!”

He’s been building cities, increasing knowledge, exploring countryside, and negotiating treaties ever since lunch.

What happened to the Lost Colony?

Today we discussed the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  I knew this one would be a big hit because GeekBoy loves a good mystery.  So we read the short little bit in the book about the Roanoke colony, and then we watched the NatGeo special (embedded below). After ward, we discussed the Eleanor Dare stones, and some theories, and the kids each gave their own theory of what might have happened to the colonists at Roanoke Island.

GeekBoy’s idea:  A hurricane hit and wiped out most of their colony, forcing the survivors down to Croatoan Island.  Then another hurricane forced them to the mainland.  There they moved to South Carolina and married into the friendly Indian tribe down there.  I think Eleanor Dare carved the first stone.  Then some point later, she died.

thePinkDiva’s idea:  They got captured by Indians.

BigBoy’s idea: they married the Indians, then they died.

My personal theory, is that they, much like the colonists in Plymouth, got very sick that first winter.  Most of them would not have survived.  I think the few that did decided to move to the nearby Island of Croatoan with the friendly Native American tribe that lived there.  I believe it’s possible that a hurricane hit that drove the remaining survivors inland, where they intermarried with Hatteras Indian Tribe and the Pembroke Indian Tribe.  Both tribes are reported as having “light eyes” and speaking as the English did, and both tribes would have been in the right area.  The Hatteras are descended from the Croatoan.  There is documentation that the Pembroke Tribe had many of the last names of settlers, and claimed to have ancestors from Roanoke. (Here’s a link to one of many sources for my theory.)

One thing is certain.  Whatever happened to them, it’s a mystery to us.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a 2 part NatGeo special, hosted by Leonard Nimoy.

Venus & Amerigo.

Week one went pretty ok.  Yea, we had a few bumps…but over all it was fun.  It generally takes about 2 hours to teach 3 different grade levels.  Wednesday we did a science project that involved pouring melted butter over a plate of flour to watch the “lava” carve it’s own paths.  Thursday, the weather was soooo pretty, that we declared a “Nice Weather Day” and the kids played outside, all day.  It was great!  Friday, we whipped through lessons in record time and even had time to get ready for Daddy’s birthday party.

We’ve got a full week ahead.  GeekBoy has soccer practice on Monday – yes, on labor day.  Hopefully most of the team will show up, because we only have one practice a week, and last week was rained out.  That means we will be heading into our first game next Saturday without ever having a full practice. Not a good position to be in to start the year.

Tempers and technique.

I knew today was going to be rough when BigBoy woke up with a very croupy cough.  Luckily I saw this coming last night, and had his cool mist vaporizer running already, but still.  Nothing can derail a homeschool day faster than a sick baby kid.  Thankfully, a dose of Robitussin seems to have helped tremendously as he is currently rolling around on the floor playing legos, with very little of that nasty cough.

thePinkDiva kicked off our school day by asking to play with the Math-U-See blocks again.  (See, I told you it was a big hit!)  I have to watch her like a hawk though, because she has a tendency to take little pieces and run off with them.  I don’t mind her playing with them, but… We are still missing about half the counters we got with the K12 curriculum a few years back, Candy Land is missing most of it’s cards, and the rest of our kiddie board games all have pieces missing.  There is a reason why I got Family Game Night & Monopoly for the Wii.  And that reason’s name is thePinkDiva.

So, Diva and Geekboy ripped through their math lessons in record time.  They ran off just in time for BigBoy’s Robitussin to kick in.  He walked into the kitchen declaring he was now “good enough to leave my room.”  He snuggled up on my lap and whipped through MUS Primer Lesson 4 (the one on rectangles).  He ran off, and thePinkDiva came back for her phonics lesson.

This is where the drama started.  You’d have thought I asked her to read War & Peace, instead of HOP book 7, The Fog.  She screamed at me, and got sent off to her room for a 20 minute fit of temper & rage.  When she finally settled down, we compromised and only worked on sight words today.

Then GeekBoy continued the drama when I asked him to come back to the kitchen and do his language.  We started going over Prepositions yesterday and I realized that the “book” I have to use with him isn’t so much a grammar book as it is one of those testing review & reinforcement type books.  So, the two pages we did yesterday were obviously not enough. Today I used this site to find the nine most common prepositions, and listed them on the board.  Then we talked about how to tell if the word was being used as a preposition (if it comes before a noun).  I pulled one of his favorite mystery books off the shelf, picked a page at random, and we looked for prepositional phrases.  He seemed to really catch on after that.  Then we looked over today’s workbook pages and found a review of punctuation that he ripped right through.  Until we came to the writing part.

I know writing is his weak point.  He has struggled with it for years, and been officially diagnosed with Dysgraphia.  The main strategy for overcoming Dsygraphia is to practice writing. So I made him think about the things he wanted to write and tell me.  Then I dictated his sentences back to him, and let him write without thinking too much about what he wanted to say.  This is when I noticed the way he curls his hand over his page.  It kind of reminds of the way the lefty kid in high school used to write, except, my son is a righty.  Our new goal is to help GeekBoy re-learn his writing technique and use a straight wrist.  I’m hoping that once we get a good writing technique into his muscle memory, writing itself won’t be so much of a pain.

History today was just a review of the continents and compass direction.  We are working on American History this year using Heritage Studies 1 by BJU.  Should be a fun year.  I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the area’s rich history with field trips to various locations we’ll be studying.

Believe it or not, I’ve gone 2 days without picking up my camera!  So no pictures yet.  I’ll have to try to remember to take some tomorrow.

First Official Day of School

Day one done, & nobody got hurt. I’d call that a success.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  Math-U-See is a big hit.  The kids love the blocks, and the video.  It’s a great help for me, because I really have no clue how to use all these blocks and stuff with math.  I was never taught with manipulatives.  I was taught using the old flash card memory idea.  BigBoy blew threw lesson 3 in Primer, and is well on his way to catching up to thePinkDiva, who started on Primer lesson 9.  thePinkDiva loved Decimal Street and “-ty”.  Mr. Demme’s explanation of adding the “-ty” to all who live in the Tens house really helped her figure out how to say the double digit numbers.  GeekBoy, who started on lesson 18 in Alpha, has had trouble with the concept of subtraction in the past.  But after watching the video and playing with the blocks, the concept seems to have finally clicked.

thePinkDiva is still working on the Hooked on Phonics yellow book (aka Kindergarten).  We got about halfway through it last year before life overwhelmed our “school” year.  So today we just did a quick review of what we had already done.  It would seem that the 6 months or so we took off have actually helped her. She had no trouble at all reading the different sections we choose to go over as our review.

BigBoy decided he wants to learn to read.  So he is starting the Hooked on Phonics yellow book this year.  Yes, both kids are using the same book.Today we went over the alphabet and letter sounds.  He only missed a handful of letters, and already knows most of the sounds.  So, we’ll see how quickly he catches up to thePinkDiva.

The only hiccup of the day came when I asked GeekBoy to do his Grammar pages about prepositional phrases.  See, he was under the mistaken impression that when I said he was done with math that I meant he was done with school.  But he changed his tune when he learned that his latest Lego Brickmaster magazine had come in, and that I wouldn’t give it to him ’til he finished both Language and Science.  Mean rotten momma. 😉

Science is one of two classes that we are doing together this year (the other being History).  We are going to finish the Astronomy course we started last year.  We’re using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  Last year year, we got all the way through the solar system to Mercury!  Yea, that far.  So… today we reviewed what we did last year.

The funny part – it has taken me longer to write up our school day today, then it took to teach 3 children 3 different subjects.