Thursday, May 2, 2013

Learning Log of April 2013

My azaleas in bloom. Photo by DD10.
Spring is here! We have been outside as much as the weather permits. If I can remember well, last year was a bit warmer than this year and we were already swimming. This year we have been gardening, painting the outdoor furniture, building a chicken coup, making new garden beds and doing lots of outdoor playing. 

So beware: post loaded with photos!

Books Read Aloud to All

Our reading before bedtime routine kind of fell by the wayside. Now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer we are staying outside longer. By the time we get in, eat, shower, Dad is too tired to read, or we are too tired to listen to anything. When Dad does get to read, he is reading The Word and Song Bible by Stephen Elkins.

* The Tale of Tom Kitten - A Story about Good Behavior
* Trixie and Jinx by Dean Koontz
* Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
Keeping up with our Spring Fair tradition.
* The Terrible Chenoo - MOnster Stories - A Story from North America - retold by Fran Parnell
* Dinosaur Fun To Learn - illustrated by Jan Lewis - colors, counting, ABC, time, opposites etc.
* A Child's Book of Values - Christian values for the very young
* Good Enough to Eat - a Kid's guide to food and nutrition by Lizzy Rockwell - a book for kids to indoctrinate them according to what the government says it's the right foods to eat. Instead of reading this book, read Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions

* Amon's Adventure - A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide - We finished this book almost a week after Easter. I highly recommend reading this book every year as an Easter tradition. Read more about it on my Learning Log of March 2013.

Audio Books

Creating our own games.
* The kids have the files below in their mp5s to which they listen to every night at their choosing: Fairy tales and classic stories , worship music, Story Hour files, The Piano Guys, Jonathan Park and The Brinkman Adventures, The Chronicles of Narnia.

* The Hobbit - DD10 listened to the audio files I downloaded for FREE. She enjoyed it and I promised her that we would listen to it again as a family together in the evenings. You can find the files on cue on my YouTube channel or you can find it for FREE HERE on and download to your mp3 player.

Our first Science Fair.

DS7 independent reading list:

Making marshmallow fondant for the Cell cake.
 *Lego - Defend The Castle by Hannah Dolan
* Because of Winn Dixie by Katie DiCamillo - I made DS7 read this book. He actually started it on his own and then said he was done. But he wasn't. I made him read every chapter. Although he enjoyed the book and was comprehending it well (I made him narrate and I asked questions about the book, set and characters), it was a struggle to get him to sit down long enough to read more than a chapter or 2 at a time. I am beginning to understand that it has nothing to do with his ability or desire to read, but maybe his maturity to be able to sit still for long periods of time to read. I don't know how good it is for me to force him to finish a book. Any suggestions?
* Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo - read aloud to his sisters
* Lego Pirates - Brickbeard's Treasure by Hannah Dolan
* Dinosaurs in Action - Unearth the secrets behind dinosaur fossils by Rupert Matthews
* Dinosaur Combat - Unearth the secrets behind dinosaur fossils by Rupert Matthews -  DS7 is researching about dinosaurs.
* Highlights magazines 2003, 2003 and 2001 for April.
DD10's Cell cake for her Science Fair Project.

DD10 independent reading list:

* Massacre Island by Anne Chancey Dalton
DD10 latest sewing creations.
* Because of Winn Dixie by Katie DiCamillo
* Hello, Mrs. Piggle- Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
* Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm by Betty MacDonald
* Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald
* Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
* Lego  Ninjago - Jay: Ninja of Lightning by Greg Farshtey
* Lego Ninjago - Zane: Ninja of Ice by  Greg Farshtey
* My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
* Double Dog Trouble by Page McBrier

* Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby DD10 and I have not finished this book yet. We have been so busy.
* The Encyclopedia of Horses Ponies by Tamsin Pickeral - had to check this book out again, because DD10 hadn't finished reading it.
* DD10 is also reading many books on how to raise chickens. She kind of nominated herself the person who will be in charge of taking care of our chickens when we get them.
* Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail 
* Hobby Farms Chickens - Tending Small-Scale Flock by Sue Weaver 

My 4 Musketeers marching outside on a not so warm day!
Activities at Home

Planting in our new cinder blocks raised garden bed.
* Spring is here and we have been busier than ever! Our garden is growing. WE have added boxes and new plants. I have planted 2 hibiscus by our front gate and painted 2 big pots to keep them in. I chose luscious mango, and is it luscious!! Even the kids have helped painting the pots.

* The kids are germinating flowers and herbs. We learned a lot about getting seeds from flowers, broccoli and other plants. We have been eating collard greens flowers. You can see the video where I explain about how similar to broccoli they are.

* DD10 is sewing again... creating her own designs. She made her neighbor friend a stuffed animal. Now she is working on gifts for Grandma and Bisa (Great Grandma in Portuguese). My parents are arriving for a long visit in May. This time, they are bringing my Grandmother with them. The kids are excited and we are busy preparing and cleaning the house.

Teaching the children how to work.

* Stories of Adventure and Survival -  The Globe's Readers Collection - DD10 is still working through this book. It's a book filled with short stories with writing exercises of comprehension and thinking critically.
DD5 and DD3 working together on the Mouse Pack.

* DD5 is still working on ClickNKids that we purchased at the end of 2011. She can read all the short A, I and O sounds and a few sight words. Together we are taking our time going through the
  Hooked On Phonics books I used with my oldest children, as well as Word Family Fun activities, Explode the Code 1, I Can Read It! book 1,

* DS7 and DD10 are still doing the Logic of English Language of Arts curriculum together. Sometimes,  3 x a week lessons is just too much (there are other more interesting things happening around here), but I am trying really hard to do a lesson a week. So we meet at least twice a week. I think I have a discipline problem. :(

* DD10 is moving on to Singapore Math 4A and DS7 is moving on to Singapore Math 3A.

* The kids found the Photo Booth on our Mac one day when they were playing on the computer. They made a bunch of short movies and edited the photos using special effects. It reminded me of this where this brilliant Indian Professor explains how children will teach themselves.  Because of that interest, I began teaching DD10 how to use Open Office.

* Lots of playing: in the mud; with playdough; on the trampoline; learning how to bat and throw with
Fascinating mud and all its possibilities.
the neighbor who plays softbal; in the garden; in the park; on the Wii; with friends.  Many playdates. One hot afternoon, we brought the slip and slide out and the kids had their first water fun of the season.

* Lots of painting. We took all our outdoor iron furniture apart and I sprayed and painted them all. The kids helped. Dad took and put them apart and the kids helped and played around us. It was almost a week worth of work. But we got it done! I was so happy with the results! It saved us so much money and I found out that I actually love this back breaking work.

DD10 and DD3 painting my planter luscious mango.

* I am teaching DD10 how to cook. She can make an egg casserole, peanut butter cups, nachos, rice from scratch, and roast with potatoes and carrots in the crock pot. She asked me to teach her and I
DD10 first roast cooked on the slow cooker.
figured why do I have to wait until she is in her teens, if she wants to learn now. I was really encouraged by watching the movie "Our Journey Home". Those little girls, in the movie, peeling potatoes are sure younger than 10 years old. We are also working on laundry. She already folds clothes pretty well and knows where everything goes.

Field Trips/ Activities Outside Home

* Karate classes - After 3 months in the intermediate class, DD10 and DS7 are now blue belts. They continue to be enthusiastic about karate.

Making Onigiri by DS7's request and idea.
* Ballet and tap classes. Preparing for a Recital in May... the costumes are here and they are soooo cute! 

* The Spring fair was here and the kids got to ride even more daring rides than last year. We met up with another homeschooling family and had a great time playing together.

* Our First Science Fair was this month. It was such fun. You can see this post on it. And check this exciting YouTube video of DS7 experiment. The kids' efforts were rewarded and we celebrated by going out to eat with another family and continuing the fun at our house with a playdate. The kids were happy. :)

* Trips to the park, library and garden supplies store for tools, seeds, fertilizer, compost and wood. Lots of helping Dad and Mom on errands.

Websites/ Links we found and used/ Apps

* - Website to read and listen the Bible in many different languages. The text is read by actors and has background music. You can download it to your phone, android or computer, or just listen online. Great resource for devotion or Bible time.

* Beethoven's Wig - more classical music with funny lyrics. Get your kids enjoying classical music.

*Animal Jam - After a month or so, I have eliminated Animal Jam. The kids were getting addicted to this site. I found that all the activities were pretty superficial and artificial. So Animal Jam is banned from our house. Although the safety features were good, the amount of time they spend on the site and talking about it was extreme. Since we stopped using the site, the kids have been playing more inside and outside the house. We are reading more books again.

Lots of playing with Legos, puzzles and dinosaurs.

* Games on Websites: WEbkinz, Kizi, WolfQuest, Mushroom Age,

* Bozeman Science videos - For the science fair project, DD10 watched many of the biology videos on this website to prepare. Although, they are NOT from a creationist point of view, there is valuable information here.

*Typing Web - Both DD10 and DS7 are using this website. They can both type using both hands now. And since using Animal Jam they are getting tons of practice. I also notice DD10 spelling is getting better and better. If your kids want to learn typing, this is the site to use. And it's FREE.

* Apps Games: Dinosaur War; Carnivores; My Little Pony;

We have a mouse in our house. :) 

TV shows/ Videos/ Movies/ YouTube

*Andre Rieu on YouTube - amazing conductor... his shows are fantastic. Just do a search on YouTube and watch ALL of the videos you can find.

The kids playing in the trampoline.
* The Revolution - Disc 4 - a documentary on the Revolutionary War; from Netflix. This is the last of a series of DVDs on the Revolutionary War. The last disc is almost a review of the war, but from the perspective of the major generals. It is very thorough and interesting. You will learn a lot more than what is taught in school. I highly recommend.

* Sea Level - movie from our library

* My Little Pony; Doc McStuffins; Justin Time (this is super cute and it's from Australia)

* Our Journey Home - Fleeing an 80-hour-a-week job and the comforts of suburbia, Tommy Waller moves his 13-person family to a secluded Amish and Mennonite community in rural Tennessee, where they live an electricity-free life as organic farmers. Filmmaker Ken Carpenter follows the close-knit clan for 18 months in this affecting documentary, winner of the Jubilee Award for Best Documentary at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

* Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Out by LEGO

* On YouTube: lots of Lilo and Stich episodes; chicken laying egg; how to build chicken coups and  nesting boxes; all sort of videos on chickens; Fred Astaire videos (I was telling the girls that their tapping face needed to follow their tap dance and decided to show them how Fred Astaire did it. Oh my, they watched a dozen of his videos on YouTube); Jason Mraz music videos on YouTube; videos on composting and gardening and on how to grow brussel sprouts (these things are amazing!).

The amazing chicken coup that my super husband is building.

 Mom's Eclectic Reading List

* Lucky Child - A daughter of Cambodia reunites with the sister she left behind by Loung Ung - the 2nd of the trilogy that began with First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung - I am always amazed by people's life and the effect of communism. The second book is as good as the first... the author entwines her story in America and her sister's who stayed behind in Cambodia to live with the memories and after math of civil war.
stories. I love to read and find out how people survived and triumphed over their circumstances. This is a dramatic story of family's survival that is torn apart by Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.... if you haven't read anything on this subject you might want to begin with the first book. This is the first of a trilogy written by Loung who is a survivor and today lives in America. It will give you a new glimpse into Asian culture.
Our all time favorite activities: reading, sewing and cooking.

* 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum - Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style by Cathy Duff - Still reading this.

* Do Hard things by  Harris brothers.- If you got a teenager at home, I highly recommend you and your child to read this book. I think this book can be highly motivational to a young adult looking for his/ her place in the world. I was so challenged when I was young and I think it really directed my life. It taught me to never give up and try hard things.

* I am also reading other books on my kindle. I love to download samples of books I am interested and the FREE books available all the time. It's a lot of reading and gleaning from a variety of resources.

How was your month? What new things did you try this past month?

Refurbishing furniture is fun and a lot of work!


Jennifer Hughes said...

Visiting from TGIF Friday. I'd like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend. And who knows, you may just get featured next week.


scarlett clay said...

It is really incredible to see all the wonderful stuff your family is involved in... and reading such great books! Have a blessed week!