Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From a Week or Two Ago

Map, globe, flag, dressing up.
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Besides a basic one about the country, I found this book with a Syrian Christmas story.
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Syrian cheese sandwiches and ayran.
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Learning letters.
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Making lots of puzzles.
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I started Zahana and Rohan's science unit by reading Genesis 1:1-5.  Then we made a poster of day, night, and the formless earth.  We will add to the poster as we go.
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We are only doing (formal) science once a week.  The first lesson was about time.
We read some library books, made a water clock and sand timer, and learned about time around the world.
Here is a free clock printable and a pendulum experiment that we did not get to.
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The second lesson was on gravity.  Zahana made a butterfly balancer.  And we did some fun experiments:
Balancing and gravity
Learning about gravity
Tablecloth trick  (We didn't try it, but it looks fun.  We don't always get to everything I've planned.  Sanity is more important.)
Balancing forks
Gravity unit
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Third science lesson was on light.  It did not go well.  We had a couple books from the library that were simple and colorful.  We read through one and that went OK, but Rohan really just wanted to go ride his bike.  Then we did some experiments which did not work.  They were pretty simple and well-circulated, so I was expecting good results.  And I think I was also hungry.  Fail, fail, fail.  Oh well, there's always next week, which will involve magnets and me remembering to take a snack break.  That's got to be better.

Art from last week.  Paint wet-on-wet with watercolors, cover with plastic wrap and allow to dry.  Fabulous results. Success!  I think next week's art project should involve using these pretty papers we've been making.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's Now or Never

Apparently, blogging is falling on my priority list.
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Sad but true.
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Tonight seems like a good night to blog though.  So here's our last couple weeks.
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This was a good day.  One couple passed by on a four-wheeler.  Other than that, we didn't see anybody.  There was a swimming hole out in the middle of the creek, so the kids could swim, wade, catch critters, whatever they wanted.
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Even play in the wet sand in a pretty dress.
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Rohan just wanted to catch fish.  He caught quite a few minnows in his net.
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As I was watching Rohan and how focused he was, I started thinking about how much he really enjoys bugs and fish and frogs and such.  And I started really getting down on myself for not paying more attention to his interests and providing more opportunities for him to cultivate them. 
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Then I mentally smacked myself in the head.  That's exactly what I was doing at that moment.  I think maybe he'll be fine.  And I should quit guilt-tripping myself.
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I guess it's just because I still tend to focus on Miah and Larkin more when it comes to interests, activities, and getting together with friends. It's time for me to stop considering Zahana and Rohan as the little ones, the tag-alongs.  That's Elowen's job now. 

One thing I feel like I am getting better at is living life together. As opposed to "That is your thing, and this is my thing," we're doing more "our thing."  I think that probably just comes from the kids getting bigger.
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Our history studies this year started with the very first day of creation.  This was a book I picked up at the library that I really enjoyed.  It's a little kid's book, but the verse and pictures were just too lovely to pass up.  Miah was even inspired to paint animals in bright, unconventional colors after she read it.  The book is about how all of creation glorifies God.
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This week's art project was gelatin printing.  Lots of fun!
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Since the ink was already out, Miah tried another project with it and watercolors.
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And one thing led to another. . .
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Miah started cross-country practice last week.  I am so impressed with how hard she works and how much she is enjoying running.  She even asks me to take her running on non-practice days.
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While Miah runs, the others play in the creek or we walk.
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Well, there was more, I'm sure, but it's getting late.  Maybe I'll post again someday.  Until then, we'll be having fun.  I hope you do too!
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shop Announcements

Right now, I have several of my art yarns marked down 25% in my etsy shop.

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Miah has a couple skeins for sale.
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I have some new items listed as well.
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I am thrilled to be partnering with River Hill Ranch to produce some amazingly silky, luxurious art yarn made from suri alpaca.
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Curriculum Share

*I started this post last week, hoping to link to the {Not} Back-to-School blog hop.  Guess I missed that.  Anyways, here's the plan:

After our not-very-schoolish first day back to school, we hit the books yesterday. Miah and Larkin are working almost completely independently this year so that I have more time to work with Zahana and Rohan.  I give them weekly assignment sheets, and they know they can come ask for help any time they need it. The goal is to have assigned bookwork done before lunch in order to have plenty of time to pursue personal interests, get together with other people, go places, play, etc. after lunch. That helps motivate them into not wasting time. Another motivator is that their work is their own, at least partly. They chose their own science this year as well as some of their co-op classes. And while planning, I tried to maximize aspects they most enjoy and minimize the ones they don't. So here's what we are doing:
 Miah - 6th grade  
Bible   We are all reading through the New Testament together at breakfast.  Sometimes the kids take turns reading paragraphs to get practice reading aloud.
We are also finishing up Apologia's Who Is God?  and will then move into Who Am I?.
On her own, Miah is reading Answers Books For Kids.
Sunday School and Wednesday nights at church provide more chronological Bible teaching and memorization that we also work on through the week.
Our church supports a few different missionary families and we receive regular email updates  from them, which I read to the kids.  Miah is also taking a class about missionaries at co-op this year.
Math   She is finishing up Saxon 6/5  and will then begin Saxon 7/6.  In the past, I have tried to make math interesting, playing games, mixing it with other disciplines, doing fun math co-op classes, etc.  This year, we are going with simple and quick in the math department.
English   Language Lessons for the Elementary Child Vol. 2 
 For Miah's spelling, I pick out misspelled words from her own writing to practice.
I made a point to include more writing assignments in her history studies this year, and she is taking a writing class at co-op.
Science   Miah chose to learn about the weather for science, so I put together reading, writing, and experiments from these three books: Weather and the Bible, Janice VanCleave's Earth Science for Every Kid, and The Amateur Meteorologist.
History   TruthQuest: Beginnings
PE   Running class at co-op and track team.  This was a big surprise to me that Miah chose this, but I am very happy about it since most of the activities she enjoys are more sedentary.
Art   Silk dyeing class at co-op.  Art projects on home on weeks we don't have co-op.

Larkin - 4th grade
Bible   Same as Miah except he's not taking the co-op class on missions.
Math   Life of Fred: Fractions and Khan Academy Fractions, then finishing Saxon 7/6
English   Same as Miah except he is using Vocabulary Cartoons for spelling.
Science   He chose Apologia Land Animals and is using the Notebooking Journal that goes with it.
History  Same as Miah

Zahana - 1st grade ish
Bible   All the things we do together.  For personal devotions, she will start reading The Jesus Storybook Bible.
Math   This is the only math that isn't a straight curriculum this year.  I didn't think her abilities fit neatly into a grade level, so I am using Saxon 3 and Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math as guides for making her daily assignments.
English  Language Lessons for the Very Young Vol 1, Printing with Pictures Book B, spelling similar to Miah's
Science  I put together lessons based on the days of creation to do with Zahana and Rohan.  I'll be sharing these as we do them.  Maybe.  If I get to it.
Geography  Continuing in our country studies with maps, flags, stories, food, and dressing up. 

Rohan - 1st grade ish
Bible  All the things we do together.
Math  Math Lessons for a Living Education Book 1
English Waldorf-style first grade language lessons including form drawing (more here, here, and here) and learning letters through stories and activities found here: Waldorf in the Home, Heirloom Seasons, Ancient Hearth, Vowels, and Numbers.
Science and Geography   Same as Zahana.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Schoolish Days

After a two-month break, we started back to school yesterday.  I have to say that I do prefer a more regular year-round schedule, but I really needed that break.  Really.  After about 5 weeks, I was ready to get started again, but I had promised the kids at least two months, so I resisted the urge to jump in earlier than planned.  And so I had plenty of time to be fully ready and excited about continuing our educational journey together.  I really just hate to say things like "first day of school" or " starting back to school", because it sounds so awfully schoolish, but the good thing is planned book work does NOT equal no more summer fun.  Mondays at the pool?  Yes!  Hiking?  Yes!  Playing with friends?  Yes!  And I get way more accomplished and am even a nicer person when I am on a schedule. Okay then.  Guess it's all good!
So yesterday.  We got our books and desks in order, and we did an art project.
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And Elowen practiced being gentle.
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And that was it. Not too terribly schoolish, hm?