Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekly School Summary - ECC Week 1 (Aug. 30 - Sept 2)

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
Tenor's geography vocabulary cards
We made it through week 2! Woo-hoo!
We're definitely still the adjustment phase and I think the younglings are starting to see how homeschool is different from their previous traditional-style school but it might be a few more weeks before we're really comfortable in our routine.
Chore time (aka "Team Work") went well each morning. I'm really, really surprised how well they just jump in and get things done as soon as I'm up in the mornings. Minimal fussing! And they just distribute who does what on their own without too much of my input. We're going to start working on really 'finishing' each job (putting away the supplies, not just emptying the dishwasher but putting in the 3 glasses that are waiting in the sink, etc) and being a little more thorough with the work. Overall though, they're being very helpful! (Perhaps it's the lure of using a dry erase marker to mark off completed tasks???)

After chores, we begin our school day with pledges, prayer, and now Bible reading. I was reading a book about homeschooling (The Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson) that highly recommended the Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (NIV). I was able to find an inexpensive used copy on eBay which came in early this week. We just began reading the narration and accompanying Scripture passage as part of the start to our day. I really like it. The narration helps give an overview of what's talked about in the following passage. The NIV version is easily readable so together it makes the verses seem more alive and not dry at all.
I think Bass might be taking over the reading part before he leaves for work in the morning to help us get started on our day a bit earlier.
 Locating and identifying biomes
This week, I decided to have another short week to keep things low-key as we begin. We took off on Monday and then jumped in on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, our computer that had the Spanish and typing software is afflicted with the 'blue screen of death' disease. So it went to work with Bass to have his fellow IS department co-workers look at it, and we skipped Spanish for the week. I set Tenor up on my machine and to continue with some typing practice.

Both are doing well with math. It's more of a review at this point in the year. Tenor would like to "get to the hard stuff" so I told him he could double-up lessons. He declined. LOL
They're both doing well with reading, and we've done a few health worksheets.
Tenor is moving through his language arts/spelling just fine but Soprano is still having difficulty with it. It seems like she's not remembering the phonics she learned in K and 1st grade. The text isn't terribly clear about teaching it either. I had been thinking that L/A would be an independent subject for her to learn but I'm wondering if I need to be sitting with her teaching it for her to 'get it'. I'm not sure if it's the curriculum or if it's the level that she's at or what..... I'm praying to know what to do. We'll reevaluate in a couple weeks to see if we should continue with it or if we should find something else.

After their individual work, we start MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures. Soprano is in 2nd grade so she's using The Complete Book of Animals and doing on the worksheets from it. Being an animal lover, she really likes them.
This week we read and discussed the book "God Speaks Numanggang". The kids were interested to hear that part of the money we paid for our curriculum went to further Bible translation. We have friends who just moved to work at JAARS (an affiliate of Wycliffe.) Knowing what their role is in that ministry helped bring the whole book into focus for them. Tenor asked me quite intently if the money we paid went to help with translating. When I said that it did, he smiled and nodded like he was approving of our decision. He's so serious; it's like he's a 9 year old body with a 69 year old mind---what a hoot!
We labeled and colored our world map, made a map of their rooms (discussing scale), and did the hand drawing activity. (Soprno did NOT like that at all. She was struggling with it but added a bad attitude on top so it didn't go well. She did end up finishing it the next day which was good. I'm not sure about future activities.... I might need to come up with some more level-appropriate ones so she's not so frustrated but then again.... attitude is half the battle!)
We also went digging in the garden and created our earthworm niche. We didn't find any big fat earthworms so the little, bitty ones we did put in have their work cut out. The oats are disappearing though so we're seeing some of the expected results.
 Earthworm Niche Day 1

Earthworm Niche Day 1 
Earthworm Niche Day 3 --- getting moldy on top, ew!
Other MFW notes: the book basket is not going as expected! I spent several hours looking at library catalogs (public library system and college where Bass works) finding the suggested titles. I requested multiple titles from the public library in interlibrary loan (which is all online----lovely!) using multiple library cards because you can only have 5 holds per card. I gave a list to Bass to pick up at the college. I went to 2 different local libraries to pick up suggested books they had on the shelf as well as other appropriate titles and pick up our holds. I put them in a cute bin with a cute label.
The kids won't read them.
The younglings love to read. They'll read anything! When we went to the library each week this summer, they'd check out 20-30 books (chapter books!) and have them done in 2 days. I thought for sure that the book basket would be devoured in 1 day. But, no. I've had to start assigning them books to read each day just so that they actually look at them.
Is it because they're "required" that they don't want to read them?
Is it just because we're at the beginning and the subject matter is not super exciting to them?
Do I need to move the basket to be more centrally located and not in the schoolroom?
Seriously.... I have enough stress in my life without needing to worry about the book basket. Ya know? :)
I'm hoping to get this figured out in the next week or so, too.
We also did the Kingdom Tales read aloud. Based on other comments from various bloggers, I worried that it might be upsetting to Soprano but she was just fine, and they both were disappointed that I stopped at the end of the first story.
J's geography vocabulary cards

So we did school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Tuesday, we used some gift certificates to go to That Bounce Place for some P.E. time. The kids had a blast running around and bouncing for 2 hours. They were hot, sweaty, and worn out after but they had fun!

Today (Friday) we're going on our first official field trip. It doesn't really fit with anything we're actually studying right now but I thought an outing would keep them excited. We're headed to the Hay Creek Festival at Joanna Furnace in Morgantown, PA. They have a special homeschool rate for today (the kids are free!) and afterwards we'll use our free ice cream coupons, from the summer reading program at the library, at McDonald's.

Update (Saturday)---Mom's a dork! The Hay Creek Festival is not this week. It's next week. We drove all the way down there to find nothing going on. I was confused that there weren't any crowds or signs of life anywhere until I looked down at our info brochure and realized that I was a week early. Argh! We stopped for ice cream anyway on the way home. Then we got back and I had the kids do their next lessons so that NEXT week, we can take off on Friday and try again.
Fortunately, I'm not dippy like this too often but it made for a long ride in the car and hurried schoolwork last night. Because of the time constraint due to my schedule goof, we skipped the Global Art hands activity. I might squeeze it in next week if we have extra time.

It's been busy so we're looking forward to our extra day off next week!

Linking up to more reviews about MFW here!


  1. Sorry to hear about your trip on the wrong day. That's the life of a homeschool mama - busy! What LA are you using with J. I am glad you are trying to start out slow as you and the kids adjust to homeschool. Take things one day at a time and enjoy your time. Do not try to keep up with others! Seek the Lord for wisdom.
    Thanks for linking up. Kattie at will be hosting this Thurs link up.

  2. We also have been starting a bit slowly.... and it looks like it is working for you :) I feel so bad that you mixed up the week, but it is true as busy dedicated mothers those things do happen and our children bounce back so well when we mess up :) Prayers for great week for this week!! Cannot wait to see pics!


Your kind comments make me smile!

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