Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Forgive me for not blogging yesterday. I should've done it the second we finished our schoolwork, like I am doing today, but I didn't and then life happened and I never got around to it. So to recap...

Tuesday was the usual Spelling Time, phonics, grammar, math, and LEGO Science. Grammar is really starting to bore me, though the kids just love it! I've been skipping oodles of lessons. They learned a new poem that they totally didn't get, lol. They really could not grasp the concept of "opening your heart." I guess that's not a phrase I use too often. Math was a review section and Cameron did fabulously on it. While he was doing that, Cassia started writing random letters so I figured I'd give her some actual copywork to do for handwriting practice. I was way impressed with her capitals. I mean, the girl is only 4! I think we're going to have to work on her lower case letters though. ;) LEGO Science was "Wheels and Axles" which was a lot of fun, of course. And then we headed off to ballet. We got there and I realized that I hadn't grabbed the diaper bag. The diaper bag in which I keep her ballet slippers so that I don't forget them! Ugh. So we had to drive home to get them and it took us 20 minutes to go across town. Traffic sucks. And so we decided to just skip it and do a make up class on Thursday. I let her watch Barbie in The Nutcracker to make up for it and she ended up getting lots of ballet in through that.

Today it has been a little hard to get going for a number of reasons. DH is working from home so that he can take the kids Trick-or-Treating later. That always messes with our schedule. We also had to do a big "house pick up" and vacuum and such because DH's dad and his wife were supposed to stop by this afternoon. But now they're not going to because it's too inconvenient. *roll eyes* (They drove up from Southern California to the town 15 miles up the freeway from us and it's too much trouble to stop in on your way back down? OK, whatever.) And finally, I delayed our start because it's Halloween and I had to make pumpkin muffins for breakfast.

Anyway, we finally got started around 12:30 or 1:00. Phonics wasn't too bad today. For Grammar I skipped four lessons and then stopped at a picture narration. Next we reviewed the days of the week and their proper noun status. For Math we measured things in kilograms and grams. Luckily my kitchen scale is dual calibrated in oz/lbs and g/kg. We have a kids balance with metric weights, but it will only hold a couple hundred grams before tipping over (and we only have about 150 grams worth of weights). The first thing in the textbook said, "Hold a 1kg weight and notice how heavy it feels." Boy, did I have a tough time finding something that weighed a kilogram! LOL, I finally found that a can of dog food, a box of baking soda, and three 20-g weights is one kilogram. Who says I'm not organized? LOL. The kids played with the balance for a long time after the lesson was over. It used to be one of their favorite toys but it's been shelved for quite a while. Finally we did History and I read about Assyria in our History Encyclopedias. Nothing too exciting, really. Oh that reminds me, we also read Gilgamesh the King yesterday and the kids, Cameron especially, were really into it. The illustrations in this particular book are gorgeous.

And that's it from here. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tragic Kingdom

Along with my Get Schoolwork Started Before Noon rule, I think I also need to implement a Blog Before Dinner rule. Once dinner is over, all I can think about is the craziness that was dinner and bedtime. Phew! Is it jut me or does everyone's household just dissolve in CRAZY as soon as it is about 7:00? I told the kids tonight that they belonged in a zoo and they had the audacity to be offended. ;)

So anyway, let me try to time travel back to more peaceful hours of the day... back through gymnastics (not peaceful yet, lol)... back through laundry duty (slightly more peaceful)... finally arriving to our morning of school. That did not start out peaceful, but it did end up going pretty smoothly.

We started with a whine. Few days start without whining (does that make us whine-oes?) but thankfully it didn't last. Cameron did Spelling first. The plan was for him to do half the lesson today and half on Wednesday, but after suffering through the reading on the first page he whizzed through the entire lesson. I even told him to stop at the halfway point and he insisted on continuing. I was considering seeing if he would also whiz through his Spelling Time stuff this week and then trying to get another lesson in, but I think not. It's one thing to move ahead in Math when you're whizzing through but quite another in Spelling. I think having a few Spelling-free days will be a nice reward for doing his work quickly and efficiently.

Next was Phonics, again met with a whine but we whizzed through that pretty quickly too.

Math followed and I finally decided to go ahead and have him do the Practice Exercises that were in the book. To relieve some of the stress of them, I had written them all out on separate paper for him a few days ago. His biggest problem in math, in everything really, is rushing so I didn't want his rushing to write the problems and doing a sloppy job of it to interfere with the addition and subtraction practice. He complained a lot about it being hard, but I just kept encouraging him that with practice they would be easier. By the end, he wasn't making any mistakes at all.

Grammar was next and consisted of standing in the dining room naming everything we could see, lol. "Thing" nouns, in case you couldn't guess. ;) Cameron and Cassia kept going long after I stopped. I came up with a smooth transition into History though by naming "coloring pages" as a thing noun, lol. They both got excited over that one.

History was another Mesopotamian king (whose name has escaped me and I don't feel like looking up) and the an introduction to Gilgamesh. I have a weak spot for Gilgamesh. When I first read The Well-Trained Mind, back when Cameron was a baby, I had decided that since my own public school education was so lacking that I would go ahead an re-educate myself first before it was time to school the children. I had five or six years, right? My plan was to go through and read all the recommended reading for high schoolers in WTM. LOL, yeah, right... in my spare time. I got halfway through Gilgamesh and that was about it! But, I still have a soft spot for the guy. He is my icon. My tragic hero. My symbol of reaching for something, failing, and yet still moving ahead with my plans. Someday I'll finish the book - I even still have the Spark Notes that I downloaded for it! But for now I think I'm going to have to be satisfied with the picture book versions that we picked up at the library today. Those I will finish. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nothing like good friends

Friends are very useful.

Some friends can point you to fabulous cookbook giveaways. Other friends invite you over for a tasty lunch and a really good time. Other friends send you pictures from their neighborhood that make you cringe...

Still other friends invite you over for a beer with the adults while the kids make mud soup in the backyard, lol, just when you are starting to feel overwhelmed. But regardless of whether those friends are helpful, thoughtful, intoxicating, or sobering, I've found that friends are always worth the effort. And when all those things happen in just one day, it just makes me want to say...

...thank you all for being my friends. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wasted Day

Ugh. I've said it before and I hope I never say it again: when we don't do school first(ish) thing in the morning and put it off until the afternoon, everything goes wrong. It happens every time. We didn't start work until about 1:00 today and everything was a struggle. Whine, whine, whine.

First was Phonics. Verge of tears again and I had to feed him practically every word. Next was Grammar and it was all whines all the time over a simple story narration. Even though he was laughing his head off over the story, narrating a summary to me was "too hard" and such an ordeal. For math, he completely forgot how to measure something. When using a yardstick to measure the dining room table he lay it along the edge, said "one," moved it about three inches and then said, "two," and continued that way until my head literally exploded. OK, my head didn't literally explode but I think my temper did. So I backtracked to stuff he learned in Singapore Earlybird (aka preschool) and showed him how to use a ruler to measure something. In retrospect, I just think the sudden switch from metrics to English measurement threw him. He didn't really get that a yard was a unit of measure like a meter. I guess my patience was already too thin by that point and I rushed the explanation, thinking it obvious. So we finally suffered through that too.

And then we got to the only reason that I managed to get him through his other work as well as I did - LEGO science. We pulled out a new kit today that was Pulleys. But even this was "too hard" and I ended up helping him with the construction of the models much more than usual. I guess it was just an off day. Would it have been any better had we started earlier? I'll never know, but I'm guessing the answer is yes. No more procrastinating the start of the school day no matter how nicely they're all playing or how interesting the message board conversations are. No more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I take it back

I take back what I said about the LEGO levers kit not being Cam's favorite because this morning he turned off Pokemon Diamond and Peal and got out the lever set all on his own. He rebuilt all of the models and had a great time trying to turn the scale into a catapult. And it's not even science day. ;)

In fact, we did the whole day out of order! We started with Grammar and reviewed our poems and our noun definition. Cameron asked if we were doing "thing" nouns today, but alas, more places. I would've skipped it but it was a fun lesson! We brought out a state map and looked for all the proper place nouns on it. That was really fun. The kids learned a lot about map reading as we searched for mountains, lakes, airports, forests, islands, and ghost towns. Yes, ghost towns. Did you know that AAA maps mark those? LOL, I didn't!

Next we did History! I've never done History second. I generally like to get the "three R's" out of the way first and then move on to the "extras," but we were still finishing our sandwiches and having such a good time just sitting around the table together that I wanted to do another group subject. So we read about Babylon in our history encyclopedias. Cassia was upset that we didn't have any more coloring pages or map work to go with it, lol. Cameron was upset that there were no LEGOs involved today. ;)

After that was Phonics which did not go as smoothly as yesterday. In fact, Cameron was almost in tears because he didn't want to do it. He said he was "just kidding" yesterday when he said that he liked it. But I had him sit on my lap and helped him through it and by the second half of the story, he was reading semi-confidently. I tried not to get annoyed when repeatedly read "knight" as "kanigut." ;)

After that we had to go to the Sheriff's station! I had to go have my fingerprints taken for 4-H so we all trekked up there and spent two hours in the car for about 15 minutes of Sheriff. (Note to self: when your horoscope says "Skip the shortcuts and stick to the straightaway today...Getting sidetracked or lured away by promises of more time or more money is not a good option, so avoid veering off in any new directions," then stay on the freeway despite the back-up and news report of a slow down due to gawkers at a car over the embankment. It just may end up that your city-street shortcut is even WORSE because they are repaving a major road, closing it down to one lane on each side, and that four blocks will take you 12 minutes to travel. Sigh.) So we ended up sitting in a lot of traffic and were about 10 minutes late to my fingerprinting appointment that I was trying to be at least 15 minutes early to. Thankfully, it was not a big deal and no one even mentioned the fact that we were late. I was worried because when I called to get the appointment there was a two week wait for one. I was horrified at the thought of them canceling it because I was late. But they were great and I'm thinking that a tour of the Sheriff's Station would be a super cool field trip. :)

We went straight from there to a park day. It was hot, hot, hot but the kids had a great time. Greyson and his little baby friend T1 were having fun playing in the water fountain. I'm not sure what the other two were doing (besides running around a lot with several other kids) because I was too busy chasing babies, but that's the best thing about park day. Lots of kids, lots of parents, and few worries.

Home at last, around 4:00, and Cameron was slightly miffed to find that I really meant that we would finish his schoolwork when we got home, lol. But it was just math and it was just some measuring of lines so it went quickly. So quickly that I even had time to play a short game of Pokemon with him. He thoroughly kicked my butt. And that was our day. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

He said what???

Shocked, once again, at what just came out of my son's mouth. Here it is...

"You know Mommy, I really like reading now. I don't mind doing phonics at all and you know what? I kind of like reading the stories."

And all it took was a Pokemon obsession to give him something that he really wanted to read. OK, that's not entirely true because it's been slowly coming (the "clicking" of the whole reading thing) for a while now, but for him to actually say it?? Wow. That was something. Something great. :)

So today was Phonics first (his choice!) and then Grammar (Cassia's choice). I expanded a bit on the Grammar. First we reviewed the poems The Caterpillar and Work. Yes, Cam already has Work memorized after going over it only twice before. Then we talked about proper "place" nouns and instead of just writing our city and state on a piece of paper with the correct capitalization like the book said, I took everyone over to the white board and did a whole "thing" on proper nouns and capitalization. In fact, I practically duplicated a lesson from my own grade school experience that I, for some reason, remember in absolute detail. Oh, I know why I remember it, lol. The teacher was asking for proper nouns and putting them into person, place, thing columns on the chalk board. I said, "Vons," which was a grocery store and she said, "No, dear, we can't use 'The Fonz.' We already have enough people nouns. Can you think of a place instead?" I was so offended that she thought I had said "The Fonz" that it burned itself into my memory for thirty years, lol. Anyway, we had already named a bunch of places while on the couch but I put up a list of mixed common and proper place nouns and had Cameron identify which was which. He even wrote "Ourtown, California" with proper capitalization (which is a huge thing for him - he loves to write all caps) all on his own.

Next was Math. We did more measuring with meters and then learned centimeters. Easy cheesey. Science was two-fold today. First thing this morning we watched the shuttle launch which is always a fun way to spend the morning. :) Then later, after Math, Cameron finished off the LEGO Science levers kit. He made a simple scale that was pretty cool. He definitely didn't enjoy this kit as much as the one on gears, but he is NOT going to complain about LEGOs for school, lol. You just can't not have fun with LEGOs.

Then came Pokemon, Pokemon, and more Pokemon, lol. He still needs to do Spelling Time today but that can come later. Cassia has ballet later today and hopefully I'll get some OPGTR in with her while Cam is doing Spelling Time. Poor girl gets so neglected school-wise. I hate to think how neglected Greyson will be! LOL.

Good thoughts going out to all my friends out there in the fire zones. Maria, Meesh... please keep us updated. Stay safe, my friends.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Activate Pokepowers!

One mere month ago, Cameron saw a Pokemon cartoon at his Grandma's house. Two weeks later, a little girl at the park gave him 4 Pokemon trading cards. Seeing how much he liked them, I went and bought he and Cassia the Trainer Game. It's been all Pokemon, all the time, ever since. Even DH went and got himself addicted to it, so now, we all have our own decks and are all saving our chore money for booster packs to make a better deck. We'll probably end up with big family tournaments and possibly our own little homeschool league. *roll eyes* I dream Pokemon. It's everywhere: on tv, on the dining room table, in their imaginative play, on my computer. I had to draw the line at the Pokemon wallpaper on the computer. It's my computer. I need a Poke-free zone.

So Friday we went to the pumpkin patch with the homeschool group. We had a "school tour" and got to have a tractor ride, entry into the corn maze, a sugar pumpkin from the patch, and chocolate milk for only $4 per person. It was a lot of fun and we just beat the storm which poured down on our little town in the late afternoon. We got no schoolwork done because I was determined to get the house vacuumed and they were determined not to help me at all. On Saturday, DH told them that if they got all the toys from the day before put away in x amount of time, then he would take them to WalMart to buy some packs of Pokemon cards. And that was the beginning of the end. See the first paragraph for details of the rest of our weekend.

Today, Monday, was mostly back to normal. We did Phonics - which went super well - and then Grammar - common "place" nouns - and then Math - measuring by the meter. For History we read the SOTW chapter on Hammurabi and Babylon and did the usual mapwork and coloring page. After we finished I told Cameron that I had one more thing that I wanted to do. He whined until I said, "We're going to build a Ziggurat out of LEGOs!" LOL, he was thrilled. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough blocks to really finish it (LEGOs seem to only come in kits now and kits don't seem to need actual blocks!), but I really love Cameron's design. (Forgive the Pokemon debris in the background, lol.)

Later was gymnastics where they both did really well. Cassia's coach kept telling the other kids to "watch how Cassia does it" which makes me feel great, especially since she is the youngest in her class. Cameron is really, really trying now and it's really showing. He's making some really good progress. But really, how many times can I really say "really" in one really boring paragraph? Really! ;) OK, must go get crying baby now - eight teeth in the last two or three weeks. I think I would be crying too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learning by doing

Today the official subjects of study were Spelling, Home Economics, PE, and Math. OK, actually Cameron only did Spelling Time today and the rest of the time was spent at 4-H but man was it an educational day!

Today was the first day of my new cooking project for kids under 9. I was nervous, but it went so well. The parents were really there to guide and help and the recipes were simple enough that the kids - even the four year olds - really could do them. And to top it off, the food was great! We had tons of leftovers too so people were coming in from all over the 4-H center to taste, lol. We made spaghetti with homemade pesto and rosemary focaccia. Yum. Cameron and his friend T6 said that the pesto looked disgusting. Cameron hates anything green - ironic since green is his favorite color. Anyway, I made him try one bite and he absolutely shocked himself by loving it, lol. He loved it so much he ate three bowls. So that was Home Ec and a bit of Daring (what subject does that fall under?).

PE was covered by our lovely friend, MomS, who spontaneously organized some games during the down times. Yay her! That was an absolute life saver.

Math came not through workbooks and not through cooking. Math came from Cameron peeking into the next room at the 4-H center into the Foam Weaponry Project meeting where they were calculating hit points for different mythological creatures (it's some strange fantasy warcraft thing, don't ask me). Anyway there was a white board up with a list of characters, some associated numbers, and then those numbers multiplied by ten. Totally out of the blue, Cam comes up to me and says, "Did you know that three times ten is thirty?" Um, yeah. "Did you know that 90 times 10 is 900?" Um, again, yeah... but how did you? LOL. He definitely had his "times tens" down. I even tried to stump him with 9000 times 10, after he told me what 900 times 10 was, and he only paused to ask what came after 9000. I said, 9001. ;) So my sly little man said, "Then what comes after 9,999?" Can't fool him! Have I mentioned that we only barely touched on multiplication a little bit last year? The last third of this math book is multiplication and division but we are ages away from that. Looks like we are unschooling math here, lol. My park friends will be proud. ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Evil Soccer Mom

Yes, I am a horrible Soccer Mom. I dared to serve those impressionable young children vegetables for snack. Yes, at our second to last game, after being thoroughly disgusted all year with such thoughtful snacks as Go-gurt (funny thread about the ingredients in Go-gurt), Rolos (!), and these disgusting little "cookie bites" that had a gram and a half of trans fat in each 100-calorie pack (because putting 6 heart-attack cookies in a 100-Calorie pack makes it healthy), I finally got fed up and bought little lunch packs of organic carrots & dip and celery & peanut butter. I usually compromise with little packs of organic goldfish type crackers or organic dried fruit bars, but my kids are sick. The last thing they need after an hour of running around exercising is a lot of sugar and salt, much less all those artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and high-fructose corn syrup that the "other" snacks have. Oh the looks I got, lol. They all just stood there looking at me like, "Is that all you have??" and this one girl was staring at me like I had three heads. Her mom is the one who brought the Rolos. ;) Thankfully, my kids weren't the ones giving me those looks. They were actually thrilled that I had bought something prepackaged and compartmentalized! Next season, I'm seriously considering telling everyone that my children are allergic to corn and can't have anything with HFCS in it. ;) It's feasible. Really! My mom is severely allergic to corn. Just the smell of popcorn popping in a movie theater will give her a killer headache. Anyway, reluctantly climbing off my soapbox here...

Cameron did another segment of Spelling Time this morning and then breezed through the work in his SWO workbook. That program is really paying off. Next we did Grammar: reviewing person nouns again (move on already) and a new poem for memorization. I actually combined three lessons today. Cassia is still getting common and proper nouns mixed up, but Cam's got it down. They both have the definition of a noun memorized too. I tried to just skip the noun review lessons but I can't. It's totally funny, as I pick up FLL and start flipping to the right page they both start in with, "A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea. A noun is the name..." and repeat it three times, lol. Then Cameron will start in with "A common noun is the name of a boy, a girl, a baby, or a chicken!" or whatever else comes to mind. Funny kids. :)

Phonics was next. It went ok. He didn't want to do it. I was annoyed the whole time. The usual.

Math was a review section and I definitely think some more work is needed with this whole borrowing and carrying thing. I have to look through the book and see how much more it comes up and how fast things move on after the next section on measurement, but I think we'll spend the rest of this week, at least, doing some extra practice pages.

For History we finished off the rest of our Middle Eastern folk tales with The Tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves by Eric Kimmel and the last story in our Arabian Nights book, Ubar, The Lost City of Brass. We have all thoroughly enjoyed the read alouds from this section and ...drumroll please... this is the first time we've actually read all the library books that I've brought home on a subject, lol. So, now that we've had some exposure to some good old fashioned blood and guts, I think Cameron may finally be past his big aversion to being read to. Don't get me wrong, he protests, but he is really listening and enjoying the stories. Of course now they're going to go around quartering each other, I'm sure, but that's all part of the Classical Education, no? ;)

OK, I've got a million things to do before tomorrow and I need to get the kiddos in bed. Sweet dreams to all. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another lazy day

Another day of "nothing to do" because the kids are still too sick for me to risk exposing them to the world - or the world to them. I really need to get to the store and we have things on Wednesday and Thursday that we can't get out of, so I hope that there are some miraculous recoveries by tomorrow.

Cameron started the day with Spelling Time but only did the first lesson. I don't blame him since there are thirty words on the review lesson! I'll ask him if he wants to work on it again later tonight and then again tomorrow to see if we can get him on a lesson-a-day pace with it.

Next was Phonics and since there was only three words and two sentences to read, lol, it went extraordinarily smoothly. Grammar was a narration of the fable, The Lion and the Mouse, which you can see by clicking "Narrations" to the right. Math was the final exercise in this section before the first review and before we move on to measurement. I'm definitely going to add in at least one of the extra practice pages. He is rushing through the problems and making lots of careless mistakes in borrowing and carrying... or maybe that means it is time to move on? LOL, I hate that. You get it set in your head what is "right" and then someone else offers another suggestion, which also makes sense, and then you are forever going back and forth trying to decide what to do. Thanks a lot, Cathy. :P OK, final decision: I will have him do the Review section and if he struggles with the carrying and borrowing in that, where it is gradually led up to, I will take that as a sign that the concept needs work and do the Practice pages. If, however, the change of topics and gradual build up eases him into the more complex problems and he does not struggle then I will assume that he knows the concept and is just worn down by the repetition, in which case we will move on. OK, don't let me change my mind again. ;)

Science today was LEGO science. We did the Lever set and he built examples of the three different degrees of levers and then some complex, extending, grabbing pincers. Pretty cool stuff but Cam wasn't really on his game today. He's still recovering from his cold, I think (though he's not really acting sick), because he kept making mistakes and then getting very frustrated by them. Much more so than usual. Anyway, he only did one of the two building cards and we decided to save the other one for Thursday.

I finished off by reading two more Middle Eastern folk tales. They claimed that they didn't want to listen, but again I found them gathered around me hanging on my every word. We read The Queen of the Serpents from Deborah Nourse Lattimore's Arabian Nights and then read Eric A. Kimmel's retelling of The Three Princes. Both were very good. My plan is to read our last two fables tomorrow and then move on to Babylon and Assyria next week.

Now it's cleaning time. Somehow, there are LEGOs all over the floor.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Phonics Mania

We started the day today with Friday's Spelling test. Yes, I know it's Monday. The good news is that he got 100%. Yeah!! Next I had him do the first two pages in the next lesson, which happened to be a review of the first twelve lessons - most of which we did last year. It was easy work and should be fun reviewing all those words in Spelling Time. I'm going to let their Friday test suffice for review weeks.

Next came Phonics. That went surprisingly well until except that he couldn't seem to remember that the "gh" in most words is silent. Words like "through" were being pronounced "trug" but at least he wasn't complaining about doing it.

Math was two pages of subtraction where you need to borrow from the hundred's place, as in 400 - 37. That went really well. We did the textbook problems on slate boards and Cameron thought that was super fun. Greyson thought the chalk tasted good. :P While Cameron did that, Cassia did the pages for the letter "l" in Go For the Code.

We followed that up with Grammar. The lesson was entitled "Picture Narration" though we didn't really do a narration. We just looked at the picture and talked about the people in it. Cassia was much more interested in the exercise than Cameron was. She had a good time making up a whole complex story to go with the scene. Cameron was happy to let her do all the talking. I was happy to too because she was having fun and I didn't really see the point in the exercise. But maybe I'm just dense. ;)

Finally we got to History and I finally got to the library this weekend, paid my fine, and picked up a couple books on Sumeria and some ancient Arabian folk tales. We read You Wouldn't Want to Be a Sumerian Slave! and Aladdin from Arabian Nights: Three Tales. The book about Sumerian slaves was interesting (to me) but didn't really hold anyone's attention, except for the two pages on the bloody war, of course. Aladdin was another story though. They were both hanging on every word and afterward we watched Disney's Aladdin to compare. We decided that we like them both, lol.

Next Cassia brought me some Bob books and said that she wanted to read them. I suggested that maybe we should work on some more phonics first and so we did another lesson in OPGTR - the letter "b." After that she went and got the Bob Books again, she was determined! She "read" the first two books, but by the third it was obvious that she just had them memorized from the last time she tried to read them, lol. She demanded that we finish all the red ones though so I fed her the words for numbers three and four. After we finished all the easiest red books, she went and got her ETC primer again and moved on to the letter "g." That girl was motivated today!! Anyway, I'm going to wrap this up now, however ineloquently, because blogger has a scheduled outage in 3 minutes and I must save before then...

Surprised? Not me. ;) says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Friday, October 12, 2007

No fever? Do your math!

Cameron was much better today. YEAH!! No fever at all and his cough was totally controllable. Whew! Greyson has a bit of a runny nose and hasn't been sleeping all that well. Last night it was so weird, he was waking up crying every hour (and I had already given him Tylenol before bed because he decided to climb out of his crib and land ON his head. *sigh*) so I brought him into my bed so that I wouldn't have to keep getting up to comfort him. Well, he slept fine with me! He woke up a lot and changed positions, usually on top of me in some way, but he never cried. Weird, huh? I'm thinking maybe it's just his sinuses hurting and so keeping himself elevated over my back helped him sleep. Except that frequently he was laying in a teepee style over my back: head on one side, legs on the other, butt up in the air, lol. Like I've repeatedly said, the kid's a nut. ;) Cassia has seemed fine so far but she slept in until 9:30 this morning which is about two hours later than normal. She also burst into tears this afternoon during hide-and-seek when Cameron found her too fast, which could be a big sign that she's headed downhill too. We'll see. DH comes home tonight so I'll have some backup if I suddenly have an onslaught of sickos.

So I tempted Cameron after lunch with some Spelling Time. He did the last lesson, a spelling test in which he only missed one word, book (spelled it "booc"), and then played a snowboarding game. One thing I like about the program is that you have to earn tokens to play the games, so you can't just spend all day there playing games. I think I'll give him his official test sometime this weekend.

He had started playing LEGOs almost as soon as he woke up today and built this elaborate space station and so he went back to that as soon as his Spelling Time game time was up. After another hour or so of that, I got out the math book. When he protested I told him that unless he could come up with a fever, he had to do his math. He felt his head and then agreed, lol. Math went slowly. I think that maybe I am going a bit too fast on this section. He kept making mistakes in borrowing so I put on my old math tutor hat, got out my scratch paper and colored pens, and slowly went over the problems. He was able to keep better track of things using the colored pens but I think, for the rest of this section, we'll do the textbook problems either on the white board or on scratch paper instead of just doing them orally. I *might* even have him do one of the practice sessions but I know he is anxious to move on to the next chapter, measurement.

Cassia did some work in her math book today and coincidentally that was on measurement too. She's not as interested in doing the measurements as doing the coloring of those measurements, but that's ok.

It was raining today so both Park Day and a soccer game were canceled but that's ok because we weren't planning on going anyway. I feel like I'm forgetting something I wanted to say.... ???

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sick Day

Poor Cameron woke up miserable this morning, so no school for him. He spent most of the day on the couch watching tv and napping. He did feel better later in the afternoon so we played a couple games of Crazy 8's and then I taught them how to play Rummy. Cassia kept winning, lol.

Greyson also spent much of the day in his crib either napping or in trouble. Yes, I know, you can't really punish a baby (even though he knows what he's doing!!) but when he starts getting super crazy, nine times out of ten when you put him in his crib he will scream for a minute and then fall asleep. Today was not one of those days. He decided to continue freaking out in his crib and apparently bashed his face on the crib rail, giving himself a "bleedy" nose, as Cassia said. Luckily it stopped really quickly because he would not let me anywhere near his face with a tissue or washcloth. The boy is a maniac.

So that left me and Cassia to ourselves for most of the morning. We put together a Hawaiian Hula Girl craft that she had gotten at a birthday party a couple weeks ago.

She was asking all sorts of questions about Hawaii so I looked up some stuff on Enchanted Learning. I didn't even print anything out but she enjoyed looking at all the thumbnails and the map of the Islands. After seeing a coloring page of a Hawaiian flag, she decided that she wanted to play this freeware geography game we have called Seterra. We spent about an hour taking turns playing that and I still can NOT keep straight the flags of Nicaragua, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Guatamala. All those blue and white stripes confuse me, lol.

And then Cameron woke up and then Greyson did and I've been running around ever since. Fingers crossed that everyone else doesn't get what Cameron has (he's been so miserable today), that it's not strep, that it's not mono, and that it's not pneumonia either. All three of those have been going around and I'd prefer to just stick with a plain old cold, thank you very much. I must go, Little Mister Screeching Stompy Feet apparently needs something. *eye roll*

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blissfully homebound

It rained (a tiny bit) this morning and Cameron said that he thought he was coming down with the sore throat and cough that DH and I have had all week, so I took that as a sign that we weren't going anywhere today. After the busy day we had yesterday, I didn't mind a bit! :P So the kids spent all morning watching Time Warp Trio and I putzed around changing sheets and such until about 11:30 when we started school.

We started with Spelling and Cameron was begging me to do Spelling Time again, lol. I had to tell him no though because he only has one part left and I want him to do that on Thursday before the Friday test (that we didn't get around to until Sunday last week). He griped a bit but then saw that he only had one more page to do in the SWO book to finish up the stuff for that lesson, lol.

Next we had mini-pizzas for lunch and Cameron suggested we do Grammar while we ate since that was just oral work (he didn't use those words, lol, but that was his point). I thought that was a great idea and while I was flipping to the right page, he automatically started in by reciting the definition of a noun, lol. I guess the lessons are pretty predictable already. ;) Then he recited The Caterpillar. Then we reviewed common and proper nouns again. I was going to skip it, but it turns out they both needed the review on it. I guess it's tricky to keep track of when you've never even heard the terms before last week. They also had a lot of fun saying a common noun and then coming up with a corresponding proper noun or vice versa. Cassia's favorite proper noun was "Miss Martha," her ballet teacher. :)

After that was Phonics and that was the typical issue of him being able to read just fine when he would stay in one place. But he preferred to jump around and drive me batty. *Sigh* I'm sure I will miss all that energy some day.

Math went really, really well. He only made one mistake in borrowing, unlike yesterday when I think he only got one right on the first try. I guess it was just a bad math day for him yesterday. We're moving through this book really quickly. It's mostly because we are skipping all the Practice and Review sections in the text, but I really don't feel like he needs them! There's no point in just doing busy work, right? There is a review section coming up in the workbook soon and we will do that. If any problems come up during that, maybe I'll assign some of the other work.

And finally we got to History and read a SOTW chapter on the beginnings of the Israelite nation. They colored some pictures and did some map work and it was all very typical. (I think we've definitely hit our groove with this school thing.) Unfortunately, I owe the library a small fortune so I haven't had any books for this chapter or the last. You can't reserve/request books when you owe over $5 so I may spend tomorrow driving up to the branch that has a couple of Ali Baba books that I should've read last week and picking those up.

I spent the rest of the day getting my planner/tracker up to date. Now that I'm "official" I want to make sure my records are complete. I am SO glad that I make such ridiculously detailed blog entries because I never would have been able to do that without them. So there ya go - my rambling nature has been justified. Off to have some dinner now and get away from the computer. :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


P.S. I just added the scans of Cassia's interpretations of the Sumerian inventions and Cameron's illustration for The Rabbit and the Turtle narration. You can follow the specific links in the "Fast and Lazy" post below or just go to Shadowlight Academy Nuts & Bolts and scroll through.

P.P.S. I forgot to tell you, we're official!! As of today, Shadowlight Academy is a real live private school. That was actually my lead in to schoolwork today: Since we're an official school now, we'd better get busy and do some schoolwork! LOL.

Busy Day!!

Wow, I can't believe the day we've had today. Busy, busy, busy, but it was all good. We got school done nice and early. Cameron started with Spelling. We decided to get a subscription to Spelling Time and Cameron just loves it. I set him to work on it while I took a shower and he completed four of the five stages for this week's lesson. It's designed to be one stage a day, lol, but I was going to have him do two or three of them on Tuesday and the rest on Thursday anyway. I'm glad he likes it. I just hope the like keeps up enough to justify the $35 a year!

Next was Phonics and we breezed through that.

Math went pretty well too. He was ALL over his chair, lol. He was working in the office in the spinning "executive" chair and it was so comical watching him. He was hunched over the desk with his forearms basically stationary and his feet in the chair. Spinning and climbing and contorting all over the place! I almost took a picture at one point because I couldn't believe the position that he felt comfortable working at, but none of them lasted long. Constant movement of his lower body, but his upper body and brain were (mostly) focused on his work. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is when he spins around in the chair in between each word of a sentence or something which is why I have forbidden the Spinny Chair for any phonics or reading work. ;)

Next came a quick Grammar lesson on proper nouns. It was actually just a review of common and proper nouns but it was a fun one because we got to name all sorts of different professions and people who did them. I did decide to skip one of the lessons before that one. It was a review of common nouns which we've already reviewed once or twice. I don't think we really need to review that many times. I haven't really looked, but I have the distinct feeling that since we are currently focused on common and proper People nouns, that we will spend an equal amount of time on the Place, Thing, and Idea nouns. Lots of lesson skipping may be in our future.

I was pleased to find that Cam does indeed have the definition of a noun memorized. I'm thinking we should be writing those down somewhere. I haven't decided yet if it will be a "Definitions" page in his Language Arts notebook or a file box of index cards with definitions. Maybe even both? After that we had about half an hour for him to play with work on his LEGO Gear set. There was a challenge activity to design a machine to make targets pop up for a shooting gallery. He really couldn't fathom how to even get started, so I let him just build it from the picture of the sample solution. Once he built it though, he was able to modify it to move faster and I'm sure that given more time to mess around with it, he would've come up with more creative things. But we had no time. We had places to be!

So we were off to the monthly 4-H meeting which went pretty well. Cameron's actually mostly interested in what goes on during the meetings which is a big change from last year when he could barely follow them. He was especially interested in the fundraising project which is selling cookie dough. You get club recognition for selling at least two batches of dough which make 40 cookies each. Cameron said, "But that's 80 cookies!!" LOL, I think he thought we had to bake the cookies before we could sell them. He's really excited to start earning those selling incentives. Anyone want to buy some cookie dough? ;) But speaking of club recognition, they passed out the club awards today and Cameron walked away with an armload of them. He was thrilled and gave me a big ole thumbs up from the stage. Included in that was a cheesy little trophy for completing a record book. All the younger kids who do the record book get this trophy because 4-H doesn't believe in kids under 9 competing. Everything they do gets rewarded equally. Well Cameron saw his trophy and said, "Hey this is a gold trophy! That means I must've won first place!!" LOL, so much for young kids being non-competitive.

The after meeting activity was a really fun one where the kids make and pass formal motions for the ingredients of a punch. It was a lot of fun last year. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay. We had to rush off and get Cassia to ballet. And then from there we had to rush off and get Cameron to gymnastics for a make-up because he had missed his evaluations while we were on vacation. I was so proud of him. He worked really, really hard and earned himself five stars. Last time he only got three. You need to get eight out of ten stars for being able to do certain skills before you can move on to the next level. Unfortunately, one of the stars that Cameron got was for a skill in the next level so he only has seven stars in Level 1 and one in Level 2. Too bad that he doesn't get an advancement ribbon but "WTG, Cam" for working hard and earning so many stars. Forgive my gushing, but he has been so apathetic to this class up until a couple weeks ago. It's so nice to see him really trying.

Finally we got to come home around 6:00 pm. I don't see how "normal" people can be on the run all day. That was way too much for me in one day, lol. And this post is way too much too, I'm sure. Hasta pasta, mi compadres.

Monday, October 08, 2007

"Being fast and lazy is no good"

We actually got school started without a fuss today. When I brought out the spelling book, Cameron tried to argue to do phonics first but I told him that today there would be no arguments as to the order of subjects. I was going to decide and that was final. And amazingly, there were no arguments. Spelling went well. He can somehow read much easier during spelling that during phonics. Actually, he's been reading great lately. He did lots of impromptu reading over the weekend - just random things like the Chance cards in Monopoly, but it was great to see him actually wanting to read something. On that note, phonics went really well too with hardly a moan of complaint. I did have to remind him of the sounds of the gh, igh, eight, aigh, and augh combos that we were reviewing but he mostly remembered them in the accompanying story.

Math was the problem today. He fussed and fidgeted and did very careless work. It took about an hour to get through three pages of three digit addition. I guess it's a lot like reading where he can read the lists but gets intimidated by the long stories. It appears that he is getting intimidated by the long math problems. If he can't do it in his head, it's too much. The good news is that he did start trying hard eventually and was very proud of himself when he was actually able to get the correct answer on the first try (which was only two or three times in the whole exercise).

Next I read them a version of the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, for Grammar. I guess I shouldn't be calling this subject "grammar" because it is much more than that. In truth, it's a whole language study designed to introduce young children to the beauty, complexities, and forms of the English language. Anyway, after reading them the story I had Cameron tell it back to me in his own words. He told me a wonderfully detailed and original version of it. Some of the analogies he used were quite amusing. For example, "...the rabbit went speeding ahead like a galloping horse." LOL, I love that one. He's going to be a great writer, I think. After he finished his retelling, he and Cassia launched themselves into two full-blown re-enactments of the story, first with Cameron being the tortoise and then with Cassia being the tortoise. Fabulous entertainment, I tell you! Then I had Cameron come back and give me a summarized narration instead of a full-blown story. He had a bit of trouble paring it without losing all the plot, but we finally got a handful of good sentences and then he drew an illustration of the tortoise winning his trophy, lol. You can read both versions and see the illustration here.

Finally we did History and I read to them about Sumer and Akkad from our children's encyclopedias. I had a word search for Cameron to do and Cassia was very sad that she didn't have one to do as well. In a moment of brilliance, I told her that she could draw pictures of each of the word search items and she loved the idea! One of the most notable items was a very modern interpretation of a calendar. The date squares, which ranged from "2, 4, 6, 8" in one to 303 in another, were of all shapes including triangles and ovals, lol. She was super proud of it too. Definitely something to cherish. Oh, I forgot to mention that she did about 5 pages of phonics and 2 or 3 pages of math while Cameron worked on his stuff.

And that was our day, except for gymnastics which we will be heading for in a little while. It's funny how overwhelming it sounded to me to do "so many" subjects in one day, but it really isn't that much. And it's fun too, which just makes the time fly. I really thing that Grammar/Language is their favorite subject now.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Silly Name Tag

If you're reading this: tag, you're it!

1. Your rock star name: (first pet, current car) - Patches Oddyssey
2. Your gangster name: (favorite ice cream, favorite cookie) - Rocky Road Peanut Butter (hmm, not so tough)
3. Your fly guy/girl name: (first initial first name, first 3 letters last name) - JBer
4. Your detective name: (favorite color, favorite animal) - Green Penguin
5. Your soap opera name: (middle name, birth city) - Lynne Grand Rapids
6. Your Star Wars name (first three letter last name, first 2 letter of first name) - BerJe
7. Superhero Name: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink and add "the") - The Purple Cabernet Sauvignon (Hmmm, how about The Purple Cab or The Purple Pinot instead?)
8.Nascar name (first names of your grandfathers) - Robert Gordon
9. Stripper Name: (favorite perfume, favorite candy) - Lavender Chocolate
10. Witness Protection Name: (mother's and father's middle name) Anne Francis

Personally, I think my detective name should be my Super Hero Name. The Green Penguin saves the day again! LOL

In other news, no news today, lol. We spent the day at the park and the only thing I could count as educational (besides all that good park play!) was them watching Time Warp Trio before we left. Cameron also had pulled out the LEGO Gear set almost as soon as he woke up, but he didn't spend too much time on it before getting pulled away by the tv. He did make a interesting car though with two gears on each side, but I don't think they actually did anything, lol.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

LEGO Mania!!

Wow, we had a productive day today! This was the only day all week with nothing planned so I decided to take advantage of it and scheduled a full house clean first thing in the morning so we could just enjoy our day. I think I've finally gotten myself into a semi-decent cleaning schedule - or at least one that can grow and expand as my expectations of a clean house do, lol. My expectations are pretty low at the moment. ;) Anyway, the floors were all clean and vacuumed by 10:00 am and the clutter that had been on them was finally put away (amidst lots of whining) by 11:00.

Then I got out the books and Cameron insisted on doing math first. That's not going to happen again. It took him about 45 minutes to get through the first two of the three pages and by then he didn't have much patience left for the other subjects. I *knew* that would happen, which is why I normally insist on doing phonics before math, but I feel like I have to let him have his way with dismal results once in a while in order to make my enforcement of more smoothly running rules easier. (That was a horrid sentence, lol, sorry.)

Anyway, we did Math and then Grammar. To my utter amazement, both Cameron and Cassia have 100% committed the poem, The Caterpillar, to memory. In two days. Actually, it was only one day but I refused to believe it until this morning when they recited it perfectly with no promptings or preablitory readings from me at all. Next in the lesson was the introduction of proper nouns. The lesson was fun and we dissolved into silliness but that was a bad lead-in to Phonics. I had actually wanted to do some Spelling first but, again, I let Cameron's protesting sway my choice. Again, it was a bad decision.

Phonics was torture. He was still silly. He did not want to read. He did not want to open his eyes to look at the page. *sigh* But we finally got through it. Finally, I had him write down his Spelling words for the week. I think next week I'll have him do that on both Tuesday and Thursday. And I will certainly have him do it before phonics to calm down and focus himself upon the page.

At last we reached the point of the day we had all been waiting for... LEGO Physics! We started with the Gear Set and despite my multiple queries of "Are you sure you don't want to stop?" we went through all of the guided lessons in the Teacher's Guide. We learned all about drivers and followers and the direction of rotation and gearing up and gearing down and idler gearing and changing the rotary motion through a 90-degree angle and compound gearing. Phew! He built several examples of each of those and then built a merry-go-round and then fan and multiple variations of each of those. He had been at it for over two hours when I finally walked away, lol. There are actually some enrichment exercises and some free-design scenarios that we haven't done yet but we've got to save something for another day, right? Anyway, he's thrilled with the whole thing - obviously - and asked if he could use it whenever he wanted or if he had to wait for it to be a Science day. I said he could use it whenever he wanted as long as it did NOT get mixed in with the other LEGOs. Mean, aren't I.

I have three more sets: Levers, Pulleys, and Wheels & Axles. I'll spend a week or two on each set, I think, and then I'm sure he'll want to combine all four of them to make some monster creation, lol. LEGOs are cool. I also totally recommend the LEGO Educational Division products (I got mine through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op). The teacher guides and project cards are pretty good. The math's all in there if you want to use it. I mentioned the gear ratios but didn't stress them at all. There's also an assessment page that can easily be made into a review or test, if you're into that sort of thing. And no, I didn't just take a job with LEGO. ;)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Fabulous Day

Though we didn't get school started until almost 11 again, closer to 10:30 actually, we did finish before 12:30 which was my goal! WooHooo! I made a goal and reached it!! LOL.

We started with Spelling and Cameron finished up the workbook exercises for the Lesson 11 words. One of the exercises was finding the list words that rhymed with some pictures and Cam said, "Oh, I love these!" Really? I don't remember him loving Spelling, but OK. I'm actually debating whether or not to give a real test on Friday or not. They really seemed to stress him out last year when he didn't get 100% on them. I may just try something like, write the word however you think it should be spelled then write it three times the right way, without calling it a test. He'll hate having to write all the words three times though, so maybe I will make it a "real test" and have him only write the incorrect ones three times.

Next I wanted to do phonics but he wanted to do math. We went back and forth for a minute but I finally agreed if he promised not to whine when it was time to do phonics. Math was another two pages on triple digit addition with carrying. No big deal.

While he did his math, I actually planned ahead and started putting dinner in the crock pot. He finished before I did so while I finished chopping carrots we reviewed the poem The Caterpillar and Cameron and Cassia both shocked me by having it pretty much memorized already!! FLL wants you to review it practically every day for two or three weeks. I don't think that will be necessary! I see what everyone is saying about the repetition being over the top. When we moved on to the rest of the Grammar lesson, it was also super repetitive. I mean, how many times do you need to go over what a common noun is? And I'm sorry, but I would be pretty shocked (and saddened) to find a first-grader who didn't already know what brothers, sisters, mother, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were. That's not grammar. That's family. So, maybe I need to spend some time each night prereading the next lesson, rather than blindly doing one after another, to see which ones we actually want to do.

So then it was time for phonics and we did a lesson on the long /a/ sound in "eigh." There was a little whining, but nothing serious.

Finally we came to History and read Chapter 5 in SOTW about the Sumerian dictator, Sargon. I pulled out the coloring pages and Cameron asked what color he should color it. When I told him that he could color it any way he wanted, he said, but don't we get maps? I showed him the maps and he cheered. Yes, you read right, the boy cheered over map work. What have I done to these children? ;)

So we finished up by 12:15 leaving me plenty of time to notice that although I had turned the crock pot on I had forgotten to plug it in. I also had time to blog and look up the myriad of overdue library books on Egypt before heading to said library and then Park Day. And I must get on with the latter part of that last sentence before we are late to the park. :) Happy Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

School on the Fly

Typical of myself, I somehow managed to put off the gathering of my supplies for the 4-H project I was leading today until the last minute. I did manage to get the sample made last night...

...but then I just went to bed and left the final gathering and organizing of the materials until this morning. Although I did manage to get it all done on time, I did not get any schoolwork done before we left.

I'd say the project was a success. We had seven kids show up, I think, not including the four cancellations and two no-shows. It was nice to have a smaller group for my first time. The project was just simple enough for everyone to be able to do it and flexible enough for the older girls, who were 9, to be able to embellish and really go to town. I forgot to bring my camera but most of the little kids' ghosts ended up with lots of silly hair and multiple faces, lol. The older girls tried for actual dolls and spent lots of time piecing together clothing for them. It was a little chaotic at times, but all in all, it went well. Next time I've got to remember to eat first though, lol. I made the kids a sandwich but I was running on coffee only.

We finished with just enough time to come home and run inside to get Cassia changed for ballet and then run right back out the door. I grabbed Cameron's math books though and he spent the hour doing triple digit addition on the coffee table in the waiting room. The receptionist was quite impressed with what he was doing and said something about how that looked like really complicated math for someone his age. One mom came in later with her first or second grade daughter and said, "Steer clear, Honey. That looks like some serious work there." LOL. I hope he takes those kind of comments as the compliments that they are meant to be rather than feeling like he is doing something he shouldn't be. But I was thrilled to death that he actually completed his entire workbook exercise in a strange place with lots of commotion and conversation going on around him.

Greyson said a new word while we were there: cell phone. He was digging through my purse, or at least trying to get past that annoying buckle, lol, and I mentioned to someone that he was probably digging for my cell phone because it was his favorite toy. Another lady asked him what he was trying to get and he said, clear as anything, "cell phone." LOL, what a nut. That, of course, launched us into a conversation about the kind of world we live in that one of Baby's first words is cell phone.

Once we got home again, the plan was to do a quick phonics lesson and then grammar (Cameron's request, I was going to skip it today) and then do a super-duper, exciting science project. I got a whole big box of LEGO Educational kits so I've decided to do LEGO engineering for the next month or two as Science, before we start MPH 4A. Today I was going to start the Gears kit. I even told Cameron that Science was going to be LEGOs but he just couldn't bring himself to sit down and do that phonics. I don't blame him though. He's had to be civilized quite a bit today so he really needed to just run around in the backyard being a kid for a while. It's a beautiful day too, so I just couldn't complain.

In fact, I decided to join him. I grabbed the phonics and grammar books, in case he got a sudden urge to school, and pulled up a lawn chair to peruse the introduction of FLL. I was flipping through the lessons when I noticed that Lesson 2 was the introduction to a poem for memorization. Inspiration struck and I casually said, "Hey, who wants to hear a poem?" As predicted, they both came running over, "I do! I do!" LOL. So I read them the poem and Grammar was accomplished for the day. Sneaky me. I even managed to read it to them again about twenty minutes later.

So we didn't get to Phonics and we didn't get to Science but we did do Math and Grammar on a day when I wouldn't have been surprised if nothing got done at all. So, I'd say we are ahead of the game today. Now if I could just manage to get a bathroom or two cleaned this evening, I'd be golden.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Back and Relaxed

Ahhhh, nothing like a few days alone with the man you love to put life back in perspective. The kids are still crazy, but I sure did miss them in those three days away from them. Of course, the time also went way too quickly - I could've stayed a week or two! The best of both worlds, I suppose. If you've been wondering, Greyson did just fine. We hung out with Grandma for a few days before DH and I took off so Grey was very comfortable with her and didn't give her an especially hard time. At least not harder than he gives me. Apparently Cameron and Cassia didn't fight with each other at all until MIL left to pick us up at the dock. Then they spent the rest of the night and the whole next day fighting to make up for it, lol. At least they were good for Grandma. I have no pictures because they are on DH's laptop. Maybe I can convince him to upload them to a computer here so I can share.

Today was the first day of our Fall Quarter and it went smashingly. We started with Spelling and although Cameron balked a bit at the thought of it, he did beautifully. I have the feeling that his reading just wasn't up to par when we were doing it before and now he is much more confident and capable at it. He was actually doing quite a bit of voluntary reading while we were on vacation. He even read a telling time book to Cassia but kept getting frustrated because she had already memorized the book and kept telling him the words before he had a chance to try and read them, lol.

But back to today, we followed Spelling with another new subject: Grammar. They were both excited to see what this grammar thing was all about and hunkered down on the couch to listen to the first page of First Language Lessons. They were both surprised and somewhat disappointed when the lesson ended in less than 5 minutes, lol. Hopefully that will let it be a fun new thing to learn about rather than another dragging subject. We'll see. Today's lesson included the definition of a noun, focusing on the person aspect, and then the definition of a common noun. I was planning on doing grammar two or three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday if we have time before the park) but I just noticed that there are 100 lessons for first grade! Two lessons a week definitely won't cut it. Even year-round, that won't cut it so I'm going to try really hard to make it happen at least three times a week.

Next was math and Cameron impressed me by remembering how to carry in double-digit addition. I was taking it slow and trying to really focus on the mental steps and how to write it down with the little carried one on top and he just pipes up with the answer before I ever got done explaining it. But then he declined in silly mode when it came time to do the workbook. Two problems into it, I had to crack down on the silliness and thankfully he responded pretty well.

While Cameron did his math, Cassia did the first lesson in her Explode the Code Primer, book C. Coincidentally, it was on the letter C. It's working pretty well to work with her on something while Cameron does his math. I may get the hang of this multiple kid thing yet! I was also surprised that she was so interested in grammar. I may be able to just fold her in the whole way which will be really convenient if we ever start the Classical Writing series. She was also really interested in Cameron's math and phonics. Unfortunately, she showed her interest by guessing random answers to his work, lol.

Next was History. First off I had Cameron draw me an Egypt picture and do a narration on the subject. I told him to tell me everything he knew about Egypt and he told me some things about pyramids and mummies and then said that that was all he knew. Then Cassia pipes up with, "I know something else about Egypt!" We asked her what, expecting something silly but she said, "Egypt is on the River Nile." Cameron, looking embarrassed said, "Oh yeah, I know that too but I forgot." LOL, gotta love a little sibling rivalry. So that sparked another paragraph in the narration. I was going to move on to chapter 5 in SOTW after that but then I realized that we still had a bunch of library books on Egypt that we hadn't gotten to yet (which are seriously overdue and must go back soon). I asked Cameron if he wanted to move on or read book on Egypt and he chose Egypt. The sweet boy lay his head on my lap while we sat on the couch to read. Can't get that kind of love in a public school lesson! He complained when I pushed past his one chapter limit, lol, but we ended up reading half of Cat Mummies, which is a 60 page book, and flipped through two others about mummies, gods, and pyramids.

Now I need to test-make the craft for the 4-H project that I am leading tomorrow. I hope it works, lol.