Friday, November 7, 2014

Homeschool update: November

I had to take time to document just a few of the things we've done so far this year on our homeschool journey:

Learned and memorized American history sentences starting with "In 1492, Columbus made the first of four trips to the Caribbean on three Spanish ships named the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria" all the way to "In 1820 Henry Clay worked out the Missouri Compromise allowing Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state."  We've read a number of fiction and non-fiction stories to support our weekly learning, and are currently working our way through An American Girl: Meet Addy (1864).
Coloring skills in progress...

We've memorized the states and capitals from Augusta, Maine to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Leah loves pointing out states and capitals, and to my sheer amazement, even our little Logan knows his share.

We've been working on skip counting, and have memorized all the multiples from 2-14.  For the record, skip counting means that she's counting by 2's, by 3's, by 4's... to 14's all the way up to multiples of 12 for each number.  Yep.  This might be my favorite part of the program, because even though she doesn't realize it, she's just mastered pretty much every multiplication table she'll ever need to know.  Through this process, Leah has also figured out the rest of her numbers and can currently count and recognize numbers upwards of 100.

We're learning about the human body, including the different types of muscle, tissue, the axial skeleton and all the various systems (digestive, excretory, circulatory, etc).

In school, she's had art lessons, done science experiments, completed weekly presentations on everything from Columbus's journey to the Caribbean, to simple show and tell, to researching and presenting info on her favorite state.  They are currently building a life-size model of the human body and all its organs and learning about music by playing the tin whistle.

At home, besides working on our weekly memory work, we also work on reading, sight words and spelling, 

 put on dances and plays, 

(a very serious business, I might add)

use all sorts of methods to practice addition, colors, shapes and fine motor skills, 

enjoy lots of different art projects and crafts, 

play with different kinds of disgusting, delightfully goopy substances,

and enjoy precious moments when the whole family is together.

More often than not, we do it all without the use of a comb through our hair and while wearing interesting outfits or jammies - because that's just plain more fun.

Even Olivia Joy gets in on the action!

....Alright, so maybe she's got a few years.

I can't even begin to describe my own awe and gratitude for the amazing little learner our girl is.  It's all about background knowledge, this program.  No, she doesn't magically understand it when we talk about the secession of the Southern States, nor do I expect her to incorporate such language into her daily vocabulary.  But, she is hearing that advanced vocabulary every day, training her brain to work in ways that will benefit her for a lifetime and learning concepts that will give her a framework to - when she's ready - synthesize and build on her knowledge in a way that I find so awesome and exciting... though, admittedly I'm a super big Nerdy McDork on the academic, brain-development front.

Although we've had our fair share of figuring things out and adjusting as we go along, I feel so very, very grateful for this opportunity for our family to be together, and to share in the joyful and challenging process of learning and growing.  It is amazing to be able to watch those precious little ones every day!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrating Halloween 2014

We were so lucky that, despite his busy schedule, Casey was home for Halloween day.  Granted, he flew in the afternoon before and flew out early the morning after, but the kids and I were so happy to have him home to celebrate one of our favorite days of the year.

We started the day with a little party for the kids we go to school with, and it was a pretty good turn out!

There were games, crafts and food, and tons of fun and creative costumes.

I also put together a little scavenger hunt for the kids.

As part of the scavenger hunt, I gave the kids a list of items to find under the heading, "I MUSTACHE you to find..."  Well, our whole family got in on that action.

And our little mouse did wonderfully.  She was quiet, cute and calm the entire time.

After lunch and a much-needed nap, we did a little pumpkin carving.

It was the first time we've ever let the kids in on this action, and I think it's fair to say that they LOVED feeling the goopy, squishy pumpkin guts!

The decor this year required a few last minute touches.

We enjoyed our traditional Halloween dinner, and before long, it was time to set out.

Our kids absolutely adore Halloween, which is so much fun.  That spooky white ghost guy in our front yard?  They shook his hand, named him Fred and loved on him all month long.  Every day after dinner, they begged me to take a walk to see the Halloween lights in our neighborhood and we watched Toy Story of Terror,Curious George's Halloween and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown more times than I can possibly count.  While trick-or-treating, Logan had to stop each and every time to inspect the candy he was given, and was so cute and brave about walking from house to house.  They are at such a joyful, excitable and just plain fun age; I am grateful I get to experience these wonderful moments with them.  

Another awesome year down, and above all else, I am just so happy we were all together.   

I changed my font at