A lot of the time I write posts focused just on one topic… like the Renaissance sheets I just shared on Wednesday or the comma worksheet I’m going to share next week. But other times, I just want to chit-chat about what’s going on… and that’s what this post is going to be!
Homeschooling has been going pretty well lately. We are trying to keep going at a steady pace because we have a huge trip planned for out West. No snow days for us, but it keeps us totally motivated knowing we have some amazing adventures coming up later this year! We have a week of camping booked in the Grand Canyon… plus plans to visit Zion, Bryce the Tetons and have several days of camping booked in Yellowstone! Camping in the national parks makes traveling more affordable for us (and the kids love it!!).
As you probably know, we finished our biology unit and we’re now diving into the ocean (haha — couldn’t stop myself from writing that!). We went over some basic facts and are starting to learn the location of some of the oceans and seas with this new pin-map I made for the kids. (I’ll share the printable next week.) They know where the oceans are, but are working on some of the seas and straits. I told them I’d be quizzing them tomorrow on the first 8 seas (Friday). We’ll see if they know the location without the answer sheet yet!
Earlier in the week, we had a bit of snow. The weather warmed up a bit, though, and we took the opportunity to spend time tramping about in the woods looking for animal tracks again. It was *really* fun! We love spending time outside – and it fit right in with ED’s study of animal tracks last month.
ED had done quite a bit on animal tracks last month: Those are part of the Animal Packet and you can find our more about what else is in that packet here:
We’ve been reading a lot. We have SO many books going at the moment! I’m a little embarrassed to tell you just how many books we’re currently reading. We’ve been reading the Time Quartet series together and are making slow progress. We finished a Wrinkle in Time last semester and are half-way through the second book. Then, the kids all have their own books they’re reading:
LD (age 12) is currently 2/3 of the way through To Kill a Mockingbird (affiliate link)(which he reads in the morning while eating breakfast). He also read an excerpt from Flowers for Algernon (affiliate link) and started reading that as well. Plus, he and I are reading Lord of the Flies together and are using it as a discussion/literature book to talk about literary themes, etc. Both he and DD also spend about 15 minutes/day reading selections from a giant literature book at the beginning of our writing workshop. These texts go over basic literary terms (character, point of view, plot, mood, tone, style and so forth). It includes short stories, poems, folk tales, myths, essays, biographies, and so forth. LD finished one and is now on the next one (McDougal Littell Literature: Student Edition Grade 9 –affiliate link) I feel like they’re getting exposure to some different genres without my having to do a lot of work to pull everything together.
DD (age 10) is my big reader. She is currently racing through the third Warrior series: Warriors: Power of Three (affiliate link). She raves about that. For school, though, she is We are also reading the The Black Stallion (affiliate link) together. You probably know this book — about the boy and a black stallion who are stranded together on an island. We had read Hatchet together last semester and this book is of a similar vein! She is also reading the McDougell Littel Literature books. She finished two of them already. I think she just finished McDougal Littell Literature: Student Edition Grade 7 (affiliate link) and is now on her third for the year! She’s not here for me to be able to ask what other literature book she’s reading currently. She races through them so fast!
Finally, ED (age 8) is reading the Little House series for literature. I know that a lot of homeschool families do big units along with the Little House series, but we aren’t doing that at this point. Her brother and sister also got her started on the Deltora Quest series. (affiliate link) She and I are reading the Harry Potter series together (mostly at bed time and in the morning when we eat breakfast together). And for writing workshop, she is reading Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly. (affiliate link) LD and DD read this book for our Writing Workshop a year or so ago. They both got a lot out of it. I read it too and thought it was terrific.
This past week, we spent a lot of time going over the US Presidents. That stemmed partly from our trip into Washington D.C. when we visited the National Gallery of Art (to see the Renaissance paintings). While we were there, we also went into the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Magna Carta (this building was very close to the National Gallery). We were chit-chatting about this-and-that and I realized they didn’t know some of the presidents I felt they should know immediately. Thus, the impromptu extra lessons on the Presidents this week.
Each day we’ve been singing the US Presidents song (all the US presidents in order). We’ve been working especially hard to memorize the 2nd and third verses! And, we’ve spent time talking briefly about who was president during some of the major world events: The Trail of Tears, Civil War, WWI, Great Depression, WWII, Korean War, and Cuban Missile Crisis. We’ve talked briefly about these events… and have gone to you-tube to watch Flappers from the 1920s and other things. It’s just an overview, but I think it’s useful to do that from time to time. Again, you can get those sheets and the lyrics to the US President song at this post (They’re free.)
We’ve been making stead progress in German. We are currently working on prepositions! The kids have had fun acting those out (under, next to, over, on, around, etc. etc.) We sing songs with the different lists of prepositions (some use different cases: accusative, dative, etc.). I’ll be writing more about our current German resources at some point soon. I know we get a ton of hits on our German material and we’re long overdue for an update.
The girls still spend lots and lots of time doing crafts and putting on “shows.” I love seeing how creative they are!! I snapped a quick pic of their latest creations–just because! I wrote cat mask, but it was actually a “fox Mask.” (affiliate link). I bought a set (of 5) as one of the crafts the girls did at ED’s birthday slumber party a few weeks ago.
This week has kept me VERY busy behind the scenes. As many of you know, our blog was under Parents.com for several years. We moved to our new location back in January (of 2015). I spent countless hours changing all the links so that they no longer pointed back to Parents (last Jan and Feb). But one thing I didn’t realize was that many of the photos here on the blog were still housed on their server. They (Parents) must have done an update that broke all the links. Those pictures still exist in my blogs’ database, but I have to go back post by post to see if there are broken pictures. I was up until 3:45am on Tuesday starting to fix those! Ack!! And, I have SO much more work to do. This affects many of our preschool and kindergarten posts. So, if you come across disjointed posts with no pictures, just know I’m working hard behind the scenes to fix all that!! Keeps me busy at any rate, right?!!
Once those are all fixed I’ll hope to share a Preschool Curriculum checklist that I’ve put together for those with 2-6 year olds. It’s pretty detailed, but I need to make sure those links all work before I can share that!
Well, I’m just about out of time. I have to take ED to her Brownie meeting. I’m a co-leader. The girls made their own Pinewood Derby Cars and we’re having races tonight!
I hope you’re having as much fun and enjoying homeschool life as much as we are!! See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page. And, don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl and the kids