18 March 2011

What I've been up to

We welcomed Charlie Jonah to our family on February 17 at 9:59 am.  His due date was February 10th, and is already living up to his disobedient namesake by not coming out, even when we asked politely.  So he had to be induced.  He weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 inches long.  Thanks to the wonderful anesthesiologist and the epidural, labor and delivery went smoothly and was complication-free!

Some interesting trends:
All my children and my husband have birthdays that fall on the same day of the week.
It rained every time I was in the hospital to give birth.  Pretty amazing for Southern California babies!
Baby #1 = 8lbs, baby #2 = 9lbs, baby #3 = 10 lbs.  Thankfully, baby #4 was NOT 11 lbs. 

Since Charlie arrived life has been a bit hectic.  As we adjust to life as a family of 4 kiddos, I hope to return to blogging gradually, so don't unsubscribe just yet!  And come this fall, I'll have a brand new kindergartener, whcih means lots of fun theme units to share! 

10 November 2010

A few weeks ago our printer went kaput. 

At first I thought I could live without it, but it didn't take me long to figure out just how much I really did rely on my printer, especially the copier mode.  Apparently I love making copies! 

After holding off for a while and shopping around, I finally decided to make a dent in my Amazon balance that I've been saving through Swagbucks.  My plan had been to save up for Christmas, which I've been doing faithfully all year.  And since we've made a tradition of giving homemade photo calendars of the kids for all the grandparents, a new printer would be a necessary thing for our Christmas plans.   

I finally decided on this beauty

It is such a wonderful thing to be able to replace an important item in your home for absolutely nothing!  From the Amazon gift cards that I've earned and saved through Swagbucks, this printer did not cost me one single penny.  And we still have a bit left over to splurge on Christmas gifts.

  I don't post about Swagbucks lightly.  It really is a website I believe in and use regularly.  If you are not familiar with Swagbucks, it is primarily a search engine that randomly awards "Swagbucks" which can be redeemed for prizes, one of the best deals being a $5 Amazon gift card for 450 Swagbucks.  These cards can be saved in your Amazon account and used whenever you want to spend them.  There are other ways to earn Swagbucks:  completing special offers, watching videos, finding Swagcodes, and getting referrals.  I have found that just using Swagbucks as a search engine will result in about 2 $5 Amazon cards a month.  So by next Christmas you could have an extra $120 toward your Christmas shopping!

Any other Swagbucks fans out there?

Disclaimer:  the above post does contain affiliate links.

03 November 2010

A Halloween Moral

 After weeks of chaining myself to my sewing machine and neglecting all other household duties, I finally finished this:
And this:

And was very excited to pull this out of a bag of hand-me-downs:

And we were all ready for a trip down the yellow brick road with Dorothy, Glinda, the Good Witch, and the not-so Cowardly Lion.
We had a blast at our church's HUGE Halloween Carnival and hung out with friends at a Halloween party the next night.  But then disaster struck...
Fabric paint for a craft and brand new homemade halloween costumes do NOT mix.
Maybe somewhere over the rainbow there's a land where no stain is permanent.  You think?

17 September 2010

Poetry: Emily Dickinson

Our current poet that we are studying is Emily Dickinson.  Here are some of the books that have helped our poetry study come alive:

Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson
Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson


The Mouse of Amherst
The Mouse of Amherst

10 September 2010

Weekly Wrapup..or three

It is a good thing that I haven't been blogging.  This way you know that I've actually been busy doing school and not just putzing around on the computer.  (Although there's definitely been some of that, too.) 

Three weeks of school have already raced by.  We're jumping right into things and have already gotten through quite a bit. 

In science we're studying weather.  Why I chose to do a weather unit at this time of year in southern California, I don't know!  Gracie's homemade rain gauge is feeling feeling very purposeless.  Fortunately we've had a few cooler days that brought a bit of meteorological diversity at least temperature-wise.

Social studies has been all about the fall of Rome, and the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons.  We've borrowed Favorite Medieval Tales from the library read a version of Beowulf.  There's lots of great stories in this book that go along so nicely with what we're studying this year.  Sir Gawain and the Green knight is next.  Did you know that it was written as an allegory representing the conflict in Britain between Christianity (Sir Gawain) and paganism (the Green Knight)?  The faux pas of the year (so far) was our fallen column made of cookie dough.  Sound simple enough, right? Well, Gracie's column looked rather like a part of the male anatomy.  Enough said.  Sorry, I will not be posting pictures of it, thank you very much!

Language Arts has been here and there.  I'm still waiting for a few books I ordered before we really get started.  In the meantime we're learning about verbs and syllabication, and even starting cursive!  I'm very proud of my little reader, though.  Over Labor Day weekend, she started and finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  (I will tuck this away as a bit of happy reassurance during those homeschool mom self-doubting moments.) 

In math we jumped right into the middle of Saxon 2, and have been working on regrouping/carrying in 2-digit addition.  So far it's been fairly painless!  I just hope that multiplication will be, too.

So far we've been doing great in our Charlotte Mason memory verse system.  We've reviewed the verses we learned last year (not so many) and have done it just about every day.  I'm really excited that this system is working so easily!  In Bible we're in Ezra and Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the temple, which has not been the easiest, but we're getting through it, hopefully with some retention!

The biggest change we're implementing this year is the switch from an all afternoon schedule (to make the most of nap time) to staring with Bible, memory verse, and math in the morning and finishing with everything else in afternoon.  That transition has gone surprisingly smoothly as well.  The 2 younger kids have been occupying themselves playing together, finishing up breakfast, or going outside.

There's been lots of other things going on:  trips to the DMV, visits from the plumber and a new toilet, meeting with our new teacher, starting ballet, and a few doctor's appointments.  The very first thing we did on the very first day of school was go to my ob appointment, which is probably symbolic of the focus of this year, since baby #4 is expected in February!  

I hope your beginning of the year has been good, and I hope you've been able to blog more frequently than me!

23 August 2010

20 August 2010

Hey, Guess What...

Our family is due to increase by one sometime in February!

(This post is also acting as my excuse note for the poor blogging this summer.  Please accept it with my apologies.) 

Summer is a great time (if there is a great time for it) to have that first trimester fatigue, especially as a homeschooler, but I am soooo ready for it to be over!  School starts Monday and I'm praying for the energy to make it through!  "I can do all things..."

30 July 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Do you love shopping for back-to-school supplies like I do?  All those penny deals and ridiculously cheap pencils, erasers, and crayons!  All the glue sticks may seem excessive, but I bought fewer last year and we didn't even make it to May!  I will find a better hiding spot for the back-up stash this year. 

What is your back-to-school supply weakness?

26 July 2010

The Charlotte Mason Subjects

I already wrote about the curriculum we'll be using for the 2010-11 school year, but there's a lot of subjects we cover without exactly using a set curriculum.  These are the subjects that are at the heart of a Charlotte Mason education.  These subjects include Nature Study, Artist/Picture Study, Composer Study, Hymn Study, Poetry Study, Shakespeare, and Handicrafts. 

I've come to realize that without a set plan, these subjects often get neglected and go by the wayside, so this year I'm being very deliberate about them.  I've divided ths school year into 6 six-week terms during which we'll have a focus topic in each subject.  I only plan on covering each subject once every two weeks, so it's really not a lot of time in each area.  Here's what this part of our school year will look like (The numbers indicate the term.)

Nature Study:
1.  Clouds
2.  Apple trees
3.  Rocks
4.  Ladybugs
5.  California Poppy
6.  Constellations
Resources:  Handbook of Nature Study, Southern California Nature Guide

1.  Vincent Van Gogh
2.  Winslow Homer
3.  Georgia O'Keefe
4.  Michelangelo
5.  Ansel Adams
6.  Leonardo da Vinci
Resources:  Discovering Great Artists (Kohl), Art Projects for Kids,  Deep Space Sparkle

1.  Mendelssohn
2.  Rossini
3.  Beethoven
4.  Handel
5.  Dvorak
6.  Copland
Resources:  Classics for Kids, CDs from the library

1.  My Father's World
2.  Amazing Grace
3.  O Little Town of Bethlehem
4.  The Lord is My Shepherd
5.  America the Beautiful
6.  A Mighty Fortress
Resources:  Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1, Christmas Carols for Kid's Heart (Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 3)

1 & 2.  Emily Dickinson
3 & 4.  Robert Frost
5 & 6.  Christina Rossetti
Resources:  Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost

1-6.  Romeo & Juliet
Resources:  Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare

Handicrafts/ Life Skills:
1.  Latch Hook
2.  Setting the table
3.  Embroidery
4.  Loading the dishwasher
5.  Photography
6.  Weeding

So how do I choose the topics?  It's pretty random.  Some of our nature study topics (clouds, rocks, and constellations) will align with our earth science curriculum this year.  Some of the artist (Michelangelo, da Vinci) are from the time periods we'll be studying in history.  Other than that, I simply choose topics that  I have resources for, or they sound fun and interesting.  I think the key is just having a plan.  Choosing something is better than choosing nothing! 

So how's your planning going?

23 July 2010

Curriculum 2010-2011

Calvary Chapel Bible Curriculum
We left off in the middle of 2 Kings and should make it to the middle of Acts.
Simply Charlotte Mason's Scripture Memory System
I will be consistent about this this year.

Saxon Math 2 and 3
We are midway through Math 2, so we should begin Math 3 sometime during the year.
Daily Word Problems, Grade 2
We used this last year, and it proved to be a good supplement for solving word problems.

Language Arts:
Independent Reading
Explode the Code/Book Seven & Explode the Code/Book Eight
While the series has been great, I'll be glad when we've finished these last 2 books and move on to other things.
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Vol. Levels 1 & 2)
Love this book!
Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 2
We'll start this when we're finished with Explode the Code.
Writing Strands Level 2
We haven't really focused very much on writing yet, just a bit of copywork.  I hope this curriculum will work well for us.  Anyone have experience with it?
Cursive Writing
Peer pressure has motivated my daughter to want to learn cursive, which I am more than happy to oblige.
Dictionary Skills
This should be a light supplement we'll use occassionally.
English from the Roots Up, Vol. 1
Am I biting off more than I can chew?  Maybe...

R.E.A.L. Science Earth and Space (Level One)
I'm excited about this!  And I've gotten so many supplemental resources like rock kits, field guides, books, and scopes that it should be impossible not to have fun while learning science this year!

Social Studies:
The Story of the World 2: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
Gracie loved volume 1, so I think volume 2 will be a hit as well.

Nature, Artist, Composer, Hymn, Poetry, and Handicrafts:
We'll focus on one area/person per 6 week term, covering 6 of each (but only 3 poets) during the year.  I'm planning to schedule each subject once every two weeks.  Come back on Monday for more specifics on who and what we're studying in these areas.

For lots more curriculum and planning posts, go to today's Weekly Wrap-Up post at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.