Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Character Program

I have been using a new program, Character First.  I thought I would share it as I am really happy with this program.  I have not been asked to do this review, this is just what my family is doing using this program.  I find I do better using a program as a spine for our schooling and then I add to it as I find things.   What I like about this program is that it includes many different activities to help emphasize the Character trait.  The notebook comes with animal stories, people stories, art projects, science projects, and plus more ideas.  You can use them all or just pick and chose like I do.

So far the kids and I have completed 2 Character traits.

The first trait we covered was responsibility and one of the projects was to make a responsibly poster using the kids hand prints to write down their home responsibilities.  We have this posted in the hallway and the kids refer to it daily. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the many activities we did to demonstrate responsibility as I was still learning the program and figuring things out
The next Character trait we did was Patience.  I like the poster  idea so much we recreated it and again have it hanging in the hallway.  I need to move these to the kids room but I like to have the kids to refer to it was it is needed in our home:)
Never one to just follow a program 100% I did tweak them a bit with other things I found on the web.  Such as reading "The Book of Virtues" by William Bennet and completing worksheets on the stories relating to each trait.  We have watch various YouTube videos relating to each trait...You tube is great for finding silly songs or skits that the kids enjoy.

I found this fun clip and thought we could replicate it at home and discuss patience.  We used star burst candies as our treats.

Kids had to sit for 10 minutes and not touch their candies, after the ten minutes we talked about how hard it was to be patient.

Then the kids got to eat their candies plus an extra one as a reward for being patient.

One of the science experiments for the program was to create stalacites and stalagmites.  Since it takes several days the kids had to wait to see the results. oops forgot to get a picture of the end result:(
We are having fun with this program and I think it is helping the children understand the concepts of Character traits---although reminders are needed every once in a while:)!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Georgia O'Keefe art lesson

We are continuing our Meet the Masters Art program and this month we learn about Georgia O'Keefe and her style of art work.

The kids pick a flower picture we found on the computer and then using a small square decided which part of the flower they wished to concentrate on in their drawing.

We used water color pencils -- which is the first time we have ever  used these and we found them pretty easy to work with.

After you draw your picture you then use a water to paint over the color pencil lines giving the work a water color look

Princess choose to do a Calla Lilly concentrating on the center stamen

Little Man really like the splash of purple triangle in his square so concentrated on that aspect of the picture.

My attempt at Georgia O'Keefe's style

We had fun working on these paintings and learning about Georgia O'Keefe.  In addition to this art project we completed a note page on her, read the book "The Greatest Artist series -- Georgia O'Keefe" by Mike Venezia and watched several you tube clips on Georgia O'Keefe.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Fun in the Snow!

It isn't often in our area we get a really good snow fall, but last week we had several days of light snow which accumulated into about 3-4 cm.  We took a snow day to enjoy the snow and play.

We live in the East Anglia and it is mostly flat however right behind our house is a man made hill that is perfect for sledding.

This snow was mixed with ice so it was super fast

The kids loved it

Walking back up the hill to do it again.  I think on this particular day the entire neighborhood was out enjoying the snow.

We even had enough snow to build a decent size snowman

After fun in the snow we went inside to have a large cup of hot cocoa to warm up

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Theater Trip to London

For the last four years for the kids birthday we have elected not to have birthday parties.  Instead, we plan a special family outing for the Birthday child.  While living in England my daughter has always chosen to see a Theater performance and this year we went to see "Walking with Dinosaurs."  We saw over 20 life size dinosaurs and how they got them to move around the stage was amazing.  It was a great show!

The show is narrated and begins at Pangaea and talks us through the  3 geological periods concentrating on the a few dinosaurs from each period

 we met the Liliensternus dinosaurs of the Triassic period

Then came the Jurassic period and we met a Allosaurus  

Stegosaur being chased by the Allosaurus


Ornithocheirus -- looks like a Pteranadon to me:)



Lastly we saw the most famous of Dinosaurs the T-Rex of the Cretaceous  period

Ending with the the meteor hitting the earth
 After the show Princess decided to have her Birthday dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe again, this year.  It is her favorite restaurant.  While there she decided to have her face painted with a dragon -- her favorite animal!

We had a great time in London seeing a show.  Going to a London show was a great Birthday tradition while we lived here.   It is something I hope we can continue when we return to the states.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Happy Birthday:)

Happy Birthday Princess!!!

It is hard to believe my little girl is turning 11 years old.  I am seeing so many amazing changes in her as I watch her grow into a young woman.   I went thru all of my daughter's pictures on the computer, and they brought me many happy memories and a few tears!  Seeing her from a infant all the way to where she is now...they grow up so fast...

She is helping her brother play the piano scales when he forgets...She is even giving him helpful tips during math lessons, when I am unavailable. He is now learning multiplication tables and it is nice to hear her telling him multiplication tips that I taught her last year.
She is including her brother more in her long as he agrees to play her way...I didn't say she was perfect:)

She is now helping more in the kitchen cooking breakfast and lunch.   She enjoys teaching her brother  how to cook simple items, such as mac and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches.  I loved that she includes safety tips like always remember to turn the pot handle towards the counter and remember the burners are still hot even after you turn off the gas.

It is always fun to find them cuddled up reading stories together and giggling.
We are so proud of the young lady she is becoming.  Happy Birthday!!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

speed review

Julie from Highhill Homeschool ask me to do a review on the Math game she created.  The game is a skip counting game called SPEED!  The game includes 8 deck of cards for the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

It comes in a lovely box and 8 decks of cards, it is very well packaged and the cards are well made.

The game's purpose is to help teach child to skip count by a given number for example playing 2 speed has the children count up or down by 2's only.  The three speed deck has the children  skip counting by 3's only, and so on.

The first time I opened this box Little Man spent over an hour playing with the cards, he wanted to do all the levels.  He loved the fast pace of this game...however what I love about this game is a short fast paced game.  On average one game takes less than 5 minutes.
 This game is played by two players and the above picture shows the set up of the game. The deck is shuffled and each player gets half a deck.  The 2 cards in the center are the starting cards.  The four cards on the side lines are the first cards played for each player.  As you get rid of cards you add more cards from your deck.

This is a speed game so once you begin both side begin to play the cards and the first to get rid of all the cards win
So looking at the starting cards there is a 8 and a 10 (top card) and my playing cards (bottom) are 20, 2, 4, 6.  I have to see if any of my cards can be placed on top of the start cards.....skip counting by twos

 I added a 6, 4 and 2 on top of the 8 card, if I had the cards I could have skip counted in the other direction 10,12,14

This pile of cards started with  20 so you can skip count back down to 2, 4, 6 or in this case it went 20, 2, back to 20 then 18, 16...remember the other person is playing to so they might lay down a card that goes in a different direction then you want to go.

If the center cards are the same the players shouts SPEED, the player not quick enough to shout speed has to pick up all the cards and keep playing.  This may seem simple but when you are trying to keep track of the cards you are playing it is easy to miss this.  I often overlooked this and my kids loved shouting SPEED:) and then seeing me pick up the cards:)

Even Princess joined in the fun once she saw how much fun Little Man was having.

Right after we got the decks of cards Julie and her husband came out with a App for this game on iPad for only .99.  You can download the lite version for free for the 2 speed deck.  I have to say I am addicted to the game as it is played with four levels and the speed of playing by the computer is faster at each level.  I am determined to beat the Legend speed for every card deck but so far I am only up to the Ace level.  My son and daughter has enjoyed both versions of the same game so much they ask to play it every day prior to their math lessons as warm up exercise.

You can find the Math game Speed on Amazon or in the App store on the iPad.  Julie has even more great posts about this game including a video which you can find on her
blog --  here

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My failed Home school craft project

We have been studying Argentina in our geography lesson and we have read a lot about gourd cups for drinking Yerba matey tea.  So I decided the kids would make a gourd cup for our country craft, having no idea that this project would be such a headache in every way possible.

First I had to  find gourds large enough to work with.  I searched every craft store and garden center in my area and could not find gourds and most people I questioned didn't seem to know what I was talking about.  Next I called my parents to see if they could find some gourds and send them to me, which they so kindly did, but the gourds they sent were way to small to use.  So I did the next thing I looked up Gourds on, but they were not listed, so I tried the US Amazon site and found them.  Happily putting my order in my basket my lovely husband informed me that if they aren't sold on the UK site it probably means that gourds are not allowed into the country:( being a plant and all.  Ignoring his warnings I ordered them, conveniently forgetting to tell him the shipping cost were nearly double the cost of the actual gourds, because now I HAD to get those gourds and proceed with my grand craft idea.

The gourds arrived 3 weeks later:) 
Now that I had my gourds I looked on the web to see how to cut no I didn't think to do this before actually ordering the gourds....  What I found out was gourds can cause gourd flu, due to the mold spores that occur during the drying process.  After spending several days researching gourd flu and trying to decide if this is really dangerous, I proceed, taking precautions...

I open the doors and window of the house and Princess and I start working on cutting the gourds....which leads to problem number 3:(
None of the knives we have will actually cut the gourds.  We tried the pumpkin knives,  steak knives and every knife we have in the kitchen.   After much, much effort I finally got one cut...I had no idea how tough these things were:(  Kids left me by this time as they were bored watching me cut the gourd and seeing very little progress.

Next, I start calling everyone I know to see if anyone has a kind of knife that will successfully cut through a gourd.  No one I know have  any ideas on what to use.   According to the web site I found I need an exacto saw blade which I cannot find here, yes I have look.  Have I ever mentioned that I hate shopping and this one craft alone has meant 2 separate shopping trips with the kids in tow...pure and utter torture:(!!!!

To be continued...if and when  I ever find a way to cut these gourds!  If you have any good ideas please list them in the comments below because I am becoming a bit obsessed over cutting these gourds and completing my grand craft idea!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Archery Class

A couple of weeks ago our homeschooling group held an archery class.  My kids have done a little with archery since we do Viking re enactment but have never really taken lessons.  So I thought we should go and learn the proper way to shot an arrow.

Getting instructions on safety and naming parts of the bow and arrow

Learning the correct posture and how to aim the arrow to hit the target

Little Man getting a turn and some individual instruction

Princess did pretty well, hitting the target a few times

Little Man needs to gain a bit more upper arm strength

Instructed on the correct way to carry sharp arrows to avoid accidents
Kids had fun and we learned a few things we didn't know along the way.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Weekly wrap up -- our quarterly addition

During the Christmas holidays I took a look at where we were in our schooling to get an idea of where we are in relations to my target goals for the year.  So here is a run down on what we have accomplished so far this year:)

Math -- Both kids are continuing with Math U See and making good progress so no worries here. Little Man has taken off with learning his Multiplication tables.  Princess is doing well with learning division.
On target

Language Arts -- IEW program - We have completed the first section of this program and I have to say I am pretty pleased with it.  Little Man is actually constructing paragraphs, while he still needs some assistance, it isn't the teeth pulling experience it has been in the passed.  Princess is also taking off with her creative writing in addition to IEW she is writing a fantasy novel and I am very pleased with her creativity.
On target

Grammar -- Continuing to use Growing With Grammar and making good progress.  My kids aren't thrilled this year with this program to which I am disappointed so may have to look into changing.  But what kid likes grammar:( so not sure whether to keep going or make a change--decision, decisions....
On target

Spelling --  Continuing with AAS.  Both kids are behind on what book they should be on mainly because this is an area I completely missed last year.  However we are making up for lost time.
Still behind overall but on target for where we started:)

Reading -- Currently both children are reading the Iliad and the Odyssey as their school assignment. In addition they do lots of personal reading of their choice.  Kids have completed reading Gilgamesh all 12 tablets for our studies in Mesopotamia.
On target

Art -- We have completed our study on Remington and in Jan will be learning about Georgia O'Keef.  My goal was for us to accomplish at least 4-6 artists this year.
Slightly behind I had hoped to have 2 artists completed by now

Music --  The children are continuing their Piano lesson and are studying for their level 2 test for ARSBM in February.  We have also studied 2 composers, Haydn and Mozart.  My goal was for us to cover at least 3 composers this year.
On target

Geography -- We are studying Argentina at the moment.  My goal was for 4-6 countries completed this year, I hope to catch up in the New Year, as we got carry away with our history lessons:)
Slightly behind  I had hope to have 2 countries completed be now

History --  We just completed studying the Mesopotamia period and Alexander the Great.  We will be moving on to the Indus Vally in January, we hope to move on to Ancient China by March to finish the year of our history program.
On target

Typing/computer --  Kids continue to type daily and even some school assignments are completed on the computer.  We have also downloaded the program Alice and Scratch in an effort to increase computer programming skills.
Behind on  computer programming skills but on target with overall typing skills

Character training-- Been very happy with our new program Character first and we have completed two sections, Responsibility and Patience so far.  My goal is to complete 6 traits before the end of the year.
On target

Spanish -- We have finally completed the Olivata Oink program and are moving on to Rosetta stone.  I am really hoping this works:(  I am not happy with the children's process in this area
On target but still not happy with our overall progress:(

Science -- We have finished Real Science 4 Kids Physics book and will continue to work with our friends on science weekly for experiments.  We have decided to do the Solar system.  While my kids did this 2 years ago I concentrated mainly on planets.  We will be using Real Science for kids book as the spine and we will be approaching the study of space in a different way.
On target

Handwriting -- Continuing with our Hand writing with Tears book.  Princess working on cursive and Little Man on improving his printing.
On target

Physical Education -- Kids are continuing with their activities of Horse riding, Martial Arts, and swimming lessons

We are right on target this year, which is pretty unusual for us,  so I am pretty happy with our curriculum choices and progress this year.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Scouting Activities

Both kids have participated in Scouts since we have lived in the UK.  There is a long waiting list for participating in the UK scouts so we enrolled the kids in Scouts on the US military base.
Recently Little Man completed his Bear level for cub scouts and Princess is a Junior in the Girl Scouts.

The ceremony for Little Man to earn his new rank

Daddy painting on his bear claw

His was very proud of his claw:)  Daddy did a good job!

and is new patch

Meanwhile Princess had her rededication ceremony for  Juniors

Saying the Girl scout promise and law

I am proud to say Princess has already earned her Bronze award which is the highest honor for the Junior level:)