Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gabe plays the piano!

You are in for a treat! Gabe's semester of violin was over the second week of June, so I started teaching him piano (though he is still practicing violin). Violin lessons will be starting back up this week - but he likes the piano so much we are going to continue learning it as well! Now without further ado, Gabe's first piano performance on the blog!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miguel's Baby Scrapbook

I have been working on some pages for Miguel's Baby book and thought I would share them here! Most of the design elements are things that I have downloaded for free somewhere and I am really bad about keeping up with what I downloaded from where and by who...but I will say that they are not my creation - although the layouts themselves are and of course, the photos are mine, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Miguel is 10 Months Old!

Miguel turned 10 months old on Saturday. It is hard to believe that in two short months he will be 1 year old! Time flies when you are having fun!

Miguel at 1 month:

Miguel at 3 months:

Miguel at 6 months:

 Miguel at 9 months:

Miguel at 10 months:

He is cruising around the house, holding onto furnature, the wall, anything really that stays still for a minute or two. We are very close to those first steps!!

He is also getting a real little personality and sense of humor! He's a sweet boy and continues to be a blessing to all of us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Got Worms?!?

This year Gabriel is learning Life Science. Our first thing to study was worms....let me tell you, I was not really looking forward to this! Knowing that I was planning to do this activity with the kids completely gave me the heeby-jeebies! I actually had dreams of finding huge slimy worms all over our apartment in the days leading up to it! YIKES! But knowing that hands on learning is so good for the kids (and all of us really), I put my heeby-jeebies aside and Sunday afternoon we went to the bait and tackle section of our local Wal-Mart and purchased a tub of live worms.

 Gabe, on the other hand, was counting down the days until he could have his own worms living in his room. Notice the slight hesitation in the above photo that then soon became total delight in touching, holding and observing the worms.

For our experiment we used a tall glass jar, black constuction paper, rubber bands, soil and two worms. (We let the other 18 worms that we bought free - though I'm not sure that they made it very long in our heatwave here).

We placed the worms in the jar filled with dirt and put the black paper around the jar since worms like a dark house. We put grass, leaves and some coffee grounds on top of the soil and then left them alone. Every morning we would take off the paper and look at our worms.

You could see the tunnels that they dug - but you had to look pretty hard. The worms were really easy to spot. We found out (much to our surprise) that worms really like coffee grounds! By the second day all of the coffee grounds were gone, while the blades of grass and leaves remained! We also read books and websites about worms and watched one of Gabe's new favorite shows - Wild Kratts! on PBS - that had an episode on earthworms. We learned more than I really care to know about the slimy creatures - they don't have eyes or ears, they breath through their skin and don't drown in water, they recycle and churn the dirt bringing much needed oxygen down to the roots of plants and trees, and in the same amount of land as a baseball field there are millions of worms under the soil. We also learned about the other types of worms (there are three main types: annelids like earthworms, flatworms and roundworms). We will spare you the details on tapeworms....

I will leave with a picture of how I liked to "view" the worms.... 

Wheew - I'm glad that section is over!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And Now a Poem from Gabriel...

As part of our reading lessons, Gabriel will memorize poetry and recite it on our blog for your viewing pleasure! This is not only a way for him to learn some great poetry, but also to work on public speaking skills. It also makes for great entertainment!!

I couldn't get the video to embed correctly via You-Tube, so I had to resort to a link to it...Just click the link to hear a poem from our sweet guy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 6

What About Physical Education, Socialization, and What is Circle Time?!?

This is my last post on home schooling for awhile, but before I leave the subject, I wanted to answer the other questions I have come across. What do we do for physical education? How will my home school kids ever get by without having the socialization that public school gives? What do we do during "Circle Time"?

Physical education is kind of a hard one. A lot of home school kids achieve this through sport teams. We haven't signed Gabe up for a sport's team....and haven't decided if we are going to yet. He does have a goal of riding in a bicyle marathon sometime in the fall with his daddy, though! I think that is a great goal and I try to give him time in the morning (if it is cool enough) to "train". We also try to incorporate Wii Sports, Fit and Just Dance on days that we can't get outside. These are fun for the kids and they really work up a sweat!

Socialization is always the big issue, it seems. Gabriel and Selah both are very social kids - and I don't expect that to change just because they don't attend school. We attend church regularly where they are Sunday School members and we have also joined a home school support group. We go to Library Story Time and have playdates. I am not at all concerned that they will turn out unsociable.

Circle Time! We love Circle Time! This is the way we start our school day. We choose a Bible verse each month to memorize and recite together. Then we pray for our day and especially for Daddy (and any other pray concerns the kids want to pray about....anything from wiggly teeth to sick family members). We each choose a song of praise to sing, do the Pledge of Allegiance and then end Circle Time with a cheer! The kids take turns coming up with an adjective and we incorporate it into our cheer. We put our hands together in the middle of our cirlce and chant, "Today is a day that the Lord has made and it's gonna be a ___________ day! Hoorah! Hoorah! A __________ day!" This tradition seems to get our day started out on a high note and we are ready to face our work!

I hope you have enjoyed a little peak into our home schooling! It has been fun to share it all here in the Blog World!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homeschool 2011-2012, part 5

Here are pictures of Gabe and Selah on their first day of Home School 2010-2011!!
We survived - and ENJOYED it!

I thought today would be a good day to talk curriculum...especially since I have had a day to actually use it!

Spelling:  I am using the 1st grade lists from K12reader.com. It uses a mix of word families and Dolch Sight words...it is kind of easy for him, but I think the extra spelling practice will be good when he is writing, even though they are on the easy side.
Math: Saxon Math, first grade. I like this program because it uses manipulatives and goes all the way to the high school years - so it is vertically aligned well. It also does a good job reviewing regularly. I used Saxon when I taught public school and the students really liked it, too.
Phonics: ProgressivePhonics.com - this is a free phonics program we started last year and lack about 5 weeks before completing the Advanced program. Gabe loves reading the silly stories and they do a great job making it interesting.
Grammar: First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer.
Reading: Ambleside Online. This is also a free site with a week by week curriculum for each grade level. Each book is a classic and you can find most of them for free through Google's e-books!
History: The Mystery of History - I LOVE this book!!
Science: The Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Natural World, More Mudpies to Magnets, The Human Body: a first discovery book, Everybody Has a Body, and Extraordinary Plants by Taylor. These were all recommended by The Well Trained Mind.
Art: Drawing With Children by Mona Brooke
Spanish: DK Spanish book
Music: Gabe is learning theory through both violin and piano lessons.

Whew! The thing about curriculum choice is that there is now a lot for a homeschooling parent to choose from. It is easy to second guess your choice. Just remember that the curriculum is a basis for the education - not the be all, end all. When I taught, I didn't always get to choose the curriculum I taught from, but I used it as a guide. That is what I intend to do with my choices in home schooling curriculum, too!

Our day was great and gets me excited for a fun, enjoyable year teaching my biggest blessings!