Saturday, February 2, 2013

Learning Log of January 2013

My oldest child turned 10 this month. Just yesterday she was born!
Ok, so January was a crazy month! Busy, busy, busy! 
We learned so much.... did so much at home. I discovered so many things about me and found new joy in this life of motherhood. It was a full month. I saw DD10 blossom, DS7 discover new interests, DD5 began to read and is now sewing. DDalmost3 has a huge vocabulary thanks to Horseland!! Ugh. :)

Lots of links, lots of great websites... take it slow and enjoy!! 

Books Read Out Loud to All

DS7 reading to his sisters.
* We continue with the new routine we established in November. Every  night an hour before bedtime, we sit down in the living room under the covers, all huddled together like cats, one over the other and Dad reads to us or we listen to an audio book together. Sometimes, the kids will color or play quietly with their Legos. Or just cuddle quietly.

In January we listened to Sole Survivor - The true account of 133 days adrift by Ruthanne Lum McCunn. See more details on the audio book section of this post.

* We are also listening to episodes of Jonathan Park together. See link and more information on the audio book section of this post.
* Dad also read to us Bartleby of the Big Bad Bayou by Phillis Shalant. I printed coloring sheets for a Red Eared Turtle, Spotted Alligator Gar, American Alligator and  Magpies. I highly recommend this book for young and older alike. If you're from the South or interested in it, you will love the characters in the book. It describes the Bayou and it's animals are the characters of the book. A book of friendship and sticking together through thick and thin.

Playing musical chairs during DD10 birthday party playdate with cupcakes.
* Then we began A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 1 on audiobook - I finally realized that DD5 is actually listening to what is been read, although she is constantly moving and sometimes talking, because she commented, "Mom, I don't like this book. It's scary!" So instead of playing for all the kids, DD10, DS7 and I are listening to it together after everyone goes to bed, or in the car on the way to karate. Although I enjoy the literacy of the book, I think it is extremely dark. So be sure to check it out before letting your kids listen or read it. I read this review before I picked up the audio book at our library. I wouldn't recommend it though for kids under 12 years old. And I have mixed feelings about continuing the series, although my kids are enjoying. I asked DD10 why she likes it, she said, "The children are very resilient and resourceful. Although they are in a bad situation, they are trying to make the best of it."

* The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
* Land of the Pilgrims' Pride by Callista Gingrich
* Disaster Day by Precious McKenzie
* Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
* The Sign on Rosie's Door by Maurice Sendak - From time to time I find a gem at our library. This book was published in 1960 and it's the story of this little girl who has multiple personalities. No, not really. She just loves to pretend to be all these different people and all her friends follow along. So funny!! I read it to the kids and they loved it too. :) Then I googled the author's name and found out that he also wrote Where the Wild Things are. We haven't read that one yet. Any one recommends it??
* Homes around the World by Bobbie Kalman
* Dino-Hockey by Lisa Wheeler
* Dino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler
* Dino-Football by Lisa Wheeler - Book is written in rhyming verses packed full of action. If you kids love the sports and dinos they will enjoy this book.

Homemade peanut butter cups.
* The Alphabet in Pictures - from STorybird. You got to check out this website.
  * Tomorrow - another story from Storybird.

* the multiplication table of 5 book - not as much fun as the multiplication table of 4 book.

* Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan -I really enjoyed this book. It's about this Grandpa 80++ years old who lives on a farm with his family. The book is about his journey toward death and how his grandson who is his kindred soul helps him by building him a sod house like the one he grew up in. Very sensitive and sweet book. The link provides more information on the content of the book and reviews. I enjoyed how my children were intently listening and perceptive about the feelings of the characters of the book. I highly recommend it. As a follow up to the book we watched this video on SOD HOUSES build in the 1800s. Here is another video that explains more on how sod houses were made and how hard it was to live in them.

* To celebrate Martin Luther King's day, the kids were free to play with the neighbor who was home from school. The next day, we sat down and read:
- Young Martin's Promise by Walter Dean Myers
- A Lesson for Martin Luther King, Jr. by Dnise Lewis Patrick

DD10 notes preparing to write more newspaper stories.
* It's Raining, it's Pouring by Kin Eagle - We "read" (we actually sang it) 3 times in a row in one sitting!! so much fun!!
* Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke - A big waste of time, paper and ink! :(

Audio Books

* We gave the kids new mp5s for Christmas; so every one goes to bed with a selection to choose from Fairy tales, worship music, Story Hour files, The Piano Guys, Jonathan Park and more.  We gave them $25.00 mp3s in 2011 Christmas and the devices lasted almost a year. This year my DH was able to find a similar deal but instead of mp3s they were mp5s. These gadgets not only play mp3 files, but the kids can take photos, make movies, read ebooks and plays games on them. The children are enjoying them very much. DD5 is becoming a photographer, DS7 is becoming a gamer and DD9 is enjoying listening to her audiobooks again.
* The Brinkman Adventures - Are you studying about missionaries and martyrs? Or maybe you would like to introduce missions in your homeschooling curriculum? I would highly recommend these audio dramas. You can go to the website and sample an episode.

DD10 and DS7 working together on news stories.

* Sole Survivor - The true account of 133 days adrift by Ruthanne Lum McCunn - We listened to this book during our evening before bedtime routine. It was very interesting. It describes the many details of how this man survived 133 days at sea. At the end of the book, the author explains how despite Lum being 30 pounds underweight he was actually in good physical condition. One of the things he ate was the organs of fishes and birds. I recently watched this video from Sally Fallon where she relates that Dr Weston Price researched many HEALTHY traditional old civilizations around the world and one thread in common was that they all consumed animal fat. The animal fat was consumed mostly by eating organ meats, fat and dairy products from animals. I found the link interesting. Another interesting thing was that Lum after 133 days at sea was rescued in the north of Brazil, in the city where I was born: Belem, Para. Again this book was a random audio book I picked up at our library. Do you ever wonder if Someone is orchestrating your steps??? :)

Anything can be cells' organelles, even beads.
DD10 commented once the book ended that she was amazed that Lum didn't have scurvy. Sometimes I am amazed by what she knows at her age.

* A. Lincoln by Ronald C. White, Jr. - We began this audio book read by Bill Weideman. It's massive but so interesting.We are listening to it in the car as we go to and fro places. It can be a bit over my head sometimes, so I know the kids are not understanding every word. But I really think it's important for us to listen to hard book because we always learn something knew even if we don't get every word of it!!!

* A Series of Unfortunate Events - Book 1 - The Bad Beginning 

DS7 independent reading list:

DS7 eating our homemade chalupas with guacamole.
*The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick - he didn't really read this book but browsed over all the illustrations.
* Martha And Skits Out West - MArtha Speaks series
* Like DD10 used to do, DS7 is now listening to Jonathan Park's audio drama every night before he drifts to sleep.
* Guinness World Records 2012
* Guinness World Records 2013
* Gladiators - Fearsome Fighters by Creative Education
* some of the books we read aloud, he also read aloud to his sisters.

DD10 independent reading list:

DD10 discovering the world of cells.
* Tales of a Woodsman - volume I - A Peek at Nature by Rodney Senteney - the first 100 stories from the newspaper column. - The author is a true woodsman. Each page is a short story of one of his adventures or an animal or plant he encountered. Lots of interesting facts and perfect for animal lovers. It's from 1993 so you can only find used copies out there, but if you do, buy it! You will enjoy it!
* The Dragon's Eye by Dugald A. Steer - Dragonology Chronicles
* Maury Had a Little Lamb by Janette Oke
* Gandhi Peaceful Warrior by Rae Bains
* Nate the Great and the Fishy Prize by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
* Nate the Great and the Big Sniff by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
* Johnny on the Spot by Edward Sorel
* Awesome Autumn all kinds of all facts and fun by Bruce Goldstone
* Handel and the Famous sword Swallower of Halle by Bryna Stevens
* Guinness World Records 2012
* Guinness World Records 2013
* Adventures of Raggedy Ann by Johnny Gruelle
* Here Comes Pontus! by Ann-Sofie Jeppson
* Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas by Marjorie Wenman Sharmat
* Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke -
* Shadow - The Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles - a new series of books all about dogs. It has got DD10 inspired in writing expository texts on each breed of dog.
* Scout - The Puppy Place series
* Muttley - The Puppy Place series
* Jupiter by Elaine Landau
* Write Away - a Handbook for Young Writers and Learners by Dave Kemper, Nathan and Sebranek. - I got this on Ebay a couple of years ago and DD10 is finally interested enough in writing to read it. Take a look at the link and the review there. It's exactly like it says, I don't need to repeat it. Highly recommend it!
* For Boys Only - The Biggest Baddest Book Ever by Marc Aronson and HP Newquist - ok , so this book is supposedly for boys, but DD10 read it anyway and found it very interesting. Her question: "Why is this book only for boys??"

* Books on her "nightstand": Jesus Freaks; The Bathroom Bible; the Guardians of Ga'Hoole;
* DD10 is always re-reading her books that are on her shelf. Sometimes I can't keep up with the stuff she is reading, so I just try to keep "safe" books at home. I grew up reading a lot and a lot of junk because my parents didn't really mind what I read.

Activities at Home

Shooting fireworks on the last day of the year!
* For devotions, we tried picking up The Dig again but it felt dry. So we began reading The Awesome Book Bible Facts by Sandy Silverthornek and discussing it. We also watched The Perpetua Story and did the worksheets of the student study guide as part of our devotional. DS7 wanted to know why the Romans killed people in the coliseums. "For entertainment!", was my answer followed by more explanation. History can be complicated sometimes!

* Now that DD10 can write in cursive she decided to teach DD5 to do the same. Her sister is enjoying the lessons and she can already write her name in cursive. For now,  DS7 is not interested in cursive lessons!

DD2 getting to know the new neighbor's dogs.
* On the last day of the year, children and Dad launched some fireworks and we got to play with the new neighbor's dogs. We also got to watch fireworks from our kitchen. As my DS7 said "Mom, no traffic jam! We didn't have to spend any money and we got the best seats!" Kids are so easily entertained. Thank you Jesus!

* We began posting some of our crafts on YouTube. On the last day of the year, we had a flock of starlings stop by our front yard and feed. We captured it on video as well as the conversations while we observed. You can also see the video I edited with photos and how to for the melted crayon art project we made in December. 

The flock of starlings that used our house as rest stop. Nature study!
* Lots of playing: train tracks, magnets, Legos, horses, playing house, cooking,making puppets and acting them out in plays. Creating cells with beads, making lots of things with Legos,Wii games; chess;

*  DD5 is doing a lot of learning while watching videos. She is also busy coloring the worksheets I downloaded and printed out Word Family Fun /a/ from Walking by the Way . I am letting DD5 color and work on these as she wants. I highly recommend you check out Ami's website and all the materials she has available there. She is in the process of adopting 3 children and really could use your prayers and support.

Pumpkin waffle chicken salad sandwiches. So good and so healthy!
* Lots of cooking; lots of baking. Going Paleo this month. No wheat!! So we are eating healthy fats, meats and lots of veggies and fruits. The kids had orange delight a few days in a row by request. We are also eating almond muffins and pumpkin waffles. We made Whole Family's Pumpkin Waffle and they were a success. We also used them as bread for chicken salad sandwiches. They are light but very fulfilling.

* DD9 turned 10, so now she is DD10!! I invited a few of her friends to come play and we had a playdate with cupcakes. It was NOT a surprise party, although she thought it was!! The kids played on our huge front yard, and we had musical chairs and freeze dance after we ate cupcakes. Lots of fun!

* DD10 and DS7 have been writing notes to friends. Creating codes and using them to write secret notes. Together they are writing a draft to another issue of DD10 newspaper.
DS7 building with straws and pipe cleaners.
* DS7 is still building a lot. This month he found some cardboard tubes and wanted to shoot Qtips out of them, but I decided that small pom poms would be safer. I am still finding pom poms all over the house! Ugh! I finally got him some straws and pipe cleaners and he build some 3D geometric shapes. Then it was time to build with plastic cups. He build pyramids of all kinds and sizes until the cups were in shambles.

* LOTS of ART: We made a polar bear in our journals one afternoon. Is it just in my house, or is craft and art time a hassle?? Sometimes you just got to let go of the mess and play any way. DD10 is working on her artwork for an Art Fair she will participate in February. DS7 decided he really wanted to paint on canvas, so I gave him one and let him paint freely. He is working on a mixed media landscape. DD5 is sewing. Yes, it's a sewing kit, but she made it all by herself: a fluffy kitty!! DDalmost3 played with beads, and made herself a bracelet.
Craft time at our house.

* DD10 is writing a lot. She says she is writing a book on dogs and another one on living healthy.

* It has become routine when we sit down to do a craft or art project to listen to Beethoven's Wig website . I highly recommend it!

the tools for a couple of hours of microscopic fun.
* We finally used the microscope I bought last year. Dad is in the medical field and was able to teach us many things about cells. Since we had been learning and watching videos on cells, I thought it would be the perfect time for us to bring out the microscope and see cells up close and personal. We looked at the prepared slides for paramecium, pollen, salt crystals and a mouth swab. Then we collected our own specimens: Dad's blood, DD10 thumb print and black pepper. We were able to see the cells' nucleus and other organelles, as well as, fat globules, bacteria and the rocky formation of black pepper. The children had a great time and the questions were never ending. I am glad I took heavy courses of Biology, Chemistry and Lab so I could help out with the questioning session. I highly recommend you purchase a microscope for your family. This set comes with prepared, ready to use slides, as well as tools and empty slides for you to prepare your own. 
I read about another homeschooling experience with this tool and I thought I got to get one. I am NOT affiliated with any of the links. That's just what I used and what I would recommend.

The instructions and the prepared slides that come with the microscope.
* DS7 finished Book 2A of Singapore Math and we are moving on to 2B. DD10 finished Book 3A of Singapore Math and is so concerned that she is so behind. She is "officially" in 4th grade. So I showed her how Books 3B, 4A and 4B is really just review of what she already knows. She knows more than she thinks, she just likes to fuss over Math so very much because I made it so hard for her when we first began homeschooling. :( 
 Field Trips/ Activities Outside Home

* Karate classes - the kids earned another belt.

* Ballet and tap classes.

Lego Club. We had a total of 27 kids plus parents!
* Lego Club - a homeschooling Dad is now hosting an once a month Lego Club at our local  library. This month we build cars and the kids got to race them. We talked about aerodynamics and physical forces. We watched a couple of videos from Creator Lego. As the previous month, the children had a ball. Everyone got to bring home a prize and we are looking forward to the next meeting when we will be building flying vehicles. There were 27 kids plus the parents there!!We had to move to another part of the library because the first room we used was too small for the crowd!

* We went to the Circus just like we did last year! This might become a yearly family tradition.

Websites/ Links we found and used

* Scripture Songs for Worship : If you are a Christian and love worship music, this is the site for you. Beautiful music full of Scriptures to capture your heart and spirit. Great source for memorization. I uploaded the songs to the kids mp5s. This is available for FREE with videos, lyrics, music sheet and actual mp3 file of the song. Donations are welcome for support of the site!

DD5 first sewing project.
* Dr Mike's Math Games _ Great site, if you are a Math aficionado or need extra help with motivating your kids with math.
* Made by Joel - Oh, my!! this Dad is amazing!! He is such a creative spirit... he creates paper toys, wood toys, paper city print outs and so much more. Check his site out... there are so many great ideas for activities to do with your kids; for toys to make with your trash and just FREE simple paper toys. A couple of nights after New Year's Eve when we watched some amazing fireworks from our back door, we sat down to listen to an audio book and I printed Joel's fireworks coloring sheet and gave one to each of my kids. The colors and brightness of the fireworks were still fresh in their minds and they eagerly colored the print out in complete silence and peace! Ha! :) I am always amazed at the simple things that will keep my kids quiet sometimes. :)

Making Polar Bears in our art journals.
* Sparkle Stories - I love storytelling... and I was so happy when I found this site. It's a site filled with beautiful music, voices and stories. You can subscribe to stories according to theme and age level and you can also listen to samples to help you decide or just download a few for FREE on their blog  to see if your kids will enjoy them.

* Homeschool Commons - list of books and images in public domain. I want to begin a Timeline Binder with the kids and I thing this site will be very useful. You can also use this site to make your own notebooking pages. More on the link below.

* US History Images

Watching Bill Nye the Science Guy and playing with Duplos.
* Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes on YouTube - Bill is a quirky scientist. I think these shows were recorded in the 80s but I am not sure. I found him at another homeschooling Mom blog and when I checked him out I knew he was the right fit for our family. We do mostly of our science curriculum watching videos and doing hands on experiments like dissection co-op classes or in our lab: the kitchen. The link provides an incredible playlist on YouTube. We watched videos on the Brain, Atoms, Light, Spiders, Animal Motion, Spinning Things, earthquakes, Volcanoes, Blood and Circulation System, Dinosaurs.... DD10 and DS7 are really enjoying the videos and learning a lot. After each session we usually have long conversations and discussions about what they saw. If you kids are very visual and vocal they might enjoy Bill Nye. And no, he is NOT a creationist, so watch with caution.

Breakfast at our house: eggs, veggies, orange delight and roasted potatoes.
* BozemanScience - After playing the Cellcraft game, the kids began making cells and their organelles with beads and other items at home. I quickly found some videos and "textbooks" for us to view and learn more. This website is fantastic!! There are hundreds of videos on subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics and more. The teacher, Mr Paul Andersen, has compiled them by subject and content. The videos are easy to navigate and his presentation is interesting as he compares what he was taught when in school and what we know now about the subject. I highly recommend if you have kids interested in Science, or in middle school.

* Interactive 3D Animation on Cells - more on cells, if you are doing a unit study or need supplementation.

* Enchanted Learning Animal Cell informative sheet - more cells worksheets here.

* Bill Nye the Science Guy link from sqootools - not all links work, some videos have been removed.

DDalmost3 making her first bracelet.
* Observational drawing -I so want to do this with my kids. But we are a bit too impatient and too fidgety to stop long enough to observe and draw. But I know one day we will.

* 100 websites that every elementary Teacher homeschooling Mom should know - some of the ones we looked up and used are listed below.

* Free Rice - DD10 knows a lot of Spanish and more English vocabulary and grammar than I thought she knew. We played on this website and had fun practicing math, Spanish, geography, Human Anatomy, Chemistry and even the SAT testing. We donated over 2000 g of rice!!!

* The Underground Railroad - DD10 and I watched these interactive videos and photos one night. Lots of information here. Very interesting. I highly recommend it!

* I have compiled a few Playlists on my YouTube channel and we have been using them: Study on Cells, Histories that are Horrible about the Romans and Gladiators; Science Videos (contain Bill Nye the Science Guy videos); more playlists HERE.

* The History of Toilets and why the correct position to go #2 is squatting. Yes, don't click on the links if you are not interested, BUT if you have any health issues these links really might help. :)

* Games: CellCraft Game (exploring the cell structure through game. I highly recommend this! The link provides downloads for FREE or a website where you can play); games; WolfQuest

* DD10 used Rosetta Stone Software to learn Spanish  very little this month. Maybe next month she will pick it up with more interest.

DDalmost3 water coloring an old book.
* BrainPop  - the kids watched videos on cells, printed out the worksheets and read the additional information on the subject.

* Still using Denise Eide's Spelling videos. You can now find Spelling and Tutorial Videos by Denise Eide on YouTube. I created my own YouTube Playlist to compile the videos we are using in one place. I am using her Spelling videos with DD9 and DS7 for spelling.  If you got kids struggling with spelling, I think The Logic of English is a good resource. It still doesn't solve ALL the mysteries of English, but maybe 90% of it?  

TV shows/ Videos/ Movies/ YouTube findings

DS7 playing with beads: sorting them and pretending they are cell organelles.
* Treasure PlanetEl Dorado;

* Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - I watched this as a child and loved it. So I got a copy from Netflix and we watched it as a family movie night. It is set during the Oregon Trail and it tells the story of 7 men who desperately need wives and the desperate measures they take to get them. It's a musical with lots of song, dances and comedy. The kids watched it again the next morning. :) I highly recommend it!! To continue on this study on the Oregon Trail, we watched this video on YouTube.

* Ice Age Continental Drift

Orange Delight: orange slices, apples and ricotta. Yumm-O!
* More movies: Mater's Tall Tales - Cars Toon; Oscar's Oasis; Once Upon a Forest; Ruby Bridges (this is a fantastic Disney movie about the first black girl to go to school in an integrated school in Louisiana. The main message according to DS7 is "Forgive your enemies." We watched it on Youtube, but I think you can find it on Netflix. The link to YouTube will allow you to watch the movie in 9 parts. I highly recommend!)

* White Fang - episodes on Netflix.

* Redwall episodes of seasons 1, 2 and 3 on Netflix; the link provides you with the episodes on YouTube.

* The kids watched Tangled on Disney Channel and a discussion poured forth on feminism and the actual original Rapunzel story. So we watched this version on YouTube,  then this one from The Brothers Grimm, and here is another one. We found out that in the original story Rapunzel was pretty naive.

* Horseland, My Little Ponies, Dr MacStuffin episodes; Oobi shows ; Go Diego Go!; Babar; Curious George; Sophia the First; Wild Kratts;Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood; Tinker Bell movies; Angelina Ballerina;

Lagniappe Casserole from Whole Family Strong Blog
* Rockshow Comedy Tour - Tim Hawkins 2.5 hour long video : You got to watch this guy. He is so funny and CLEAN!! I love clean comedy. You can go to his website and purchase his downloads for just $5.00 or the CDs for $10.00. If you don't laugh your head off you don't like comedy! This is a great way to boost your mood during a cloudy and cold winter. 

* Another Tim Hawkins show on YouTube - Full Range of Motions - hey, you got to laugh to survive these winter blues!!

* Torchlighters - The Perpetua Story - another great resource for your devotionals, church History or ancient History curriculum. There is a lot of bonus features on these DVDs with more historical facts, sometimes interviews and more. Because my kids are young we are mostly sticking to the movie but I would recommend you watch the bonus feature for more in depth information if you got middle or high school aged children. For Perpetua and Jim Elliot's videos we watched the bonus feature and the more detailed information was extremely valuable. Because of this story, we watched a few Horrible Histories on the Romans and Gladiators. DS7 read a book on Gladiators and we talked a lot about this historical period.

* What's in the Bible vol. 5 - The link will take you to short clips from this DVD that is all about David, Saul and Solomon. I highly recommend these DVDs.

* Way Beyond Weight - A Brazilian documentary about how 33% of Brazilian children are overweight because of the excessive consumption of processed foods. You can go HERE and do the download of the English version. I watched by myself and then downloaded the English version so we could watch as a family. I highly recommend it! I spend a lot of my time cooking and teaching my kids about healthy eating and the whys we eat the way we do. This film was the icing on our cake because it helped to solidify the information I have been preaching for years at home to my kids. Also if you would just like to see the diversity of Brazil, watch the movie!! 

Mom's Eclectic Reading List

* If not for the Grace of God by Joyce Meyer - have you ever picked up a book and God used it to speak to you through one paragraph of it?? It happened to me with this book.

* Brene Brown TED talk on Vulnerability

* Beyond Consequences videos - this could change your parenting life. Check out her website too as well as her books on Kindle. They are changing my family life. 

Disrespectful Children - if you are struggling with behavioral issues with your children you might want to check out Bryan Post's videos on how the brain works and how to respond to your children.

* Kelly Rae Roberts - Some day I will sit down and create art with passionate freedom just like this lady. :)

* Simplicity Parenting - I never finished the whole book but I think I got what I needed from it.

*The Gospel and the Roman Empire - a blogger from Malaysia with amazing insight.

* There is more, always more.. so check my YouTube channel for videos and lessons saved there in my playlists. 

Our first and only snow this winter. Yes, we live in the South. :)


1 comment:

Dawn said...

Wow! That is an impressive list of activities! Have a blessed month.
Blessings, dawn