Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had another great Halloween here, a bit chilly and windy, but still a lot of fun! This year, we all went out together trick-or-treating.
This year, we had Celeste as a witch with a slightly green face, Andre as Harry Potter, and Adrienne as a corpse bride. I like to go along with them and dress up a little, this year I did a quick skeleton face..
We hope everyone had a great Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Year 5 :: Week 12 :: Home Learning Report

This week was more productive than the last couple of weeks!

We continued working on all our Math and Language Arts.

In World Geography, we are now in Europe. We completed maps on Scandinavia and the trivia questions.

In Canadian History, we learned more about the settlers of Canada, and read several stories in The Spirit of Canada. We really enjoyed the excerpts from Canadian Crusoes and from Roughing it in the Bush. We learned and talked about the Rebellions of 1837.
We talked very briefly about Napoleon and looked at this painting from Jacques-Louis David, a painter that we will study in a few weeks as part of our Art Appreciation course.

In Music Appreciation, we continued and completed our study of Frederic Chopin. We listened to Classics for Kids to learn about his life and listen to some of his music. We completed a notebook page.

In Art, we worked on some splatter painting using this workbook. This Klutz book has been a lot of fun so far. We will be using these paintings to create something else next week. We splattered the paint on the paper and also used straws to push the paint around.

I love this little guy. Adrienne drew this one using the previous lessons of free brush strokes!

This week, we also attended a fun birthday party, took a family portrait, and survived the "Great Lakes Cyclone", which really didn't turn out to be much of a storm. It did give us an opportunity to practice our storm/tornado/cyclone safety plan...
My kids love storms and were very fast at packing up their stuff, bringing food, radio, and flashlights to the basement! 

Friday, 29 October 2010

NaNoWriMo...coming soon!

NaNoWriMo, the month-long novel writing project starts November 1st!
I will be participating this year for the third time. My children have decided not to this year, but did it last year.

The experience of trying to write many words every day for a month is challenging and fun at the same time.

For the kids, there is a Young Writers Program that includes a ton of cool resources. I like to visit that site for their dare machine when I am stuck! There are also teacher's guides and cool workbooks. The young writers set their own word limits, not like the adult's mandatory 50,000 words. 

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get your creative juices flowing and to get writing freely. Before this challenge, my children didn't like to write at all. They still rather do something else now, but when required, I find that it is easier for them to get words on paper, and they also write a lot more. I like to think that NaNoWriMo helped them along a little bit!

You can still register for either the NaNoWriMo or the Young Writers Program.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Up in the Sky!

Adrienne spend last Sunday at a local airport and went gliding for the first time with her Air Cadets squadron. This was also her very first time in any kind of plane.  She said she loved it and is looking forward to flying again!

The Royal Canadian Air Cadets Glider:

The plane that pulled the glider up in the air:

Same plane, different view:

Up in the sky:

All photos taken by Adrienne.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Troll's-Eye View

Troll's-Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales is a collection of stories written by fifteen different authors. You will find short stories about the villains in fairy tales like the Giant's Wife from "Jack and the Beanstalk" and Rumpelstiltskin. The editors explain in that they love the "old fairy tales, which were dark, scary, magical, suspensful, and thrilling, full of cruel stepmothers, malicious fairies, and flesh-eating orgres and giants."
We love that type at our house !

Each short story is followed by a page which gives you a tiny bit of information on the author, and also about the story you just read, why the author chose it and where the fairy tale came from originaly.
Some of the authors found in this collection are Jane Yolen, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Peter S. Beagle.

"There's an Evil Wizard living in Dahoe, Main. It says so, on the sign hanging outside his shop:
Evil Wizard Books, Z. Smallbone, Prop.
His shop is also his house, which looks just like an Evil Wizard's house ought to look."

With Halloween next Sunday, I found this book to have perfect timing! I also wanted to share a link that has lot of great information on Halloween, sorted by categories: peoples and groups (Druids, Celts), Themes (History of the Jack O' Lantern, Ghost Stories, Pumpkin Facts), Events (Halloween Around the World), all from Halloween.  

If you are participating in Book Sharing Monday, please add your link to Mr. Linky below. Thank you and Happy Reading!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Year 5 :: Week 11 Home Learning Report

This week was a lot of fun! We had my mother-in-law "Nana" stay with us for a couple of days.
Nana did a Christmas theme craft with the kids (see further down this post) and we also went bowling on another day.

We did manage to do our main subjects of Math and Language every day this past week, but not much else, so this post will be a bit short!

We finished reading aloud Chasing Vermeer this week. It was a great story and we all enjoyed it, even my youngest (6). Next week, we will finish our notebook pages on Vermeer and Chopin. I have been playing a few CDs over the last couple of weeks.

In Canadian History, we read about the War of 1812. I asked Andre and Adrienne to write a summary of the Battle of Detroit, since Detroit is not very far from where we live.

As I mentioned above, Nana did a craft with the kids. I think these turned out beautiful. They are string ball ornmanents. The instructions were in a book that she brought along, but you can find similar instructions here. 

Next week, I am hoping to get back to our regular routine and cover all our subjects!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Loop Scoops

Annie Leonard from The Story of Stuff along with PBS and WGBH created a new online series called Loop Scoops. Through fun little cartoons, kids will be asked to think about important questions about recycling, using and buying less, where you food comes from and much more. My kids and I have watched a few of these and we are sharing our favourites with you so far. You can see more on youtube by searching Loop Scoops or by visiting the PBS site.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: The ABC Book of American Homes

The ABC Book of American Homes is written by Michael Shoulders and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. We love alphabet books and this one is another wonderful one. As the title suggests, this is an ABC of all different types of homes that can be found in the USA, and for most in Canada as well. This book was labelled for preschool 3-5 years old at the city library, but I think it would be good for much older kids as well. You could use it as an introduction to house architecture and certain pages really open up to more reading, for example the straw house page got us talking about the type of materials that could be used to make a more "green" house. We also were interested in the "junk" house, which uses materials that were thrown out by other people. Here is a short quote from that page:

"J is for Junk House. This type of house is made of materials that most people send to the dump. The shingles on the roof might be recycled rubber. The family may walk on carpet made from discarded soda bottles."

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Year 5 :: Week 10 Home Learning Report

This week was a short week! We celebrated Thanksgiving on Monday here in Canada and we took a day trip to Kitchener/Waterloo area on Thursday. My husband had a meeting there for work and we visited family too.  

We covered our main subjects of Math and Language Arts. We also did French on Tuesday, reviewing greetings, family members names, numbers, and colours. Adrienne also reviewed the verbs "etre" and "avoir".

In World Geography, we completed our study of South America. Along with map work, we completed a comparaison chart. In this chart we compared the size of the countries chose, the population density, the infant mortality rate, and the government. 

We are continuing our read aloud of Chasing Vermeer and really enjoying it!
A very light week for us!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Interesting TED Talks for Home Learners

I shared before a few TED talks, here and here. I enjoyed listening and sharing Sir Ken Robinson's "Do Schools kill creativity?". Just a few days ago, I posted on my facebook a link for another Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk. This one is called "Bring on the learning revolution!":

I received a few days ago an e-mail from, which I thought was junk at first! It was actually a personal message letting me know about a link to one of their pages. They have put together a list of 50 Awesome and Inspiring TED Talks for Homeschoolers. The list is divided into sections Arts & Culture, Business, Sciences, Technology, World Issues and each talk shared has a short description along with the link.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Lego Quest # 27 :: Archeology

This week's theme for the Lego Quest was "archeology" and both Adrienne and Andre participated.

This is the story Andre told me : "The red pile of bricks is an egg. This egg is from when the dinosaurs died, there was a dragon there and the dragon threw the egg out of the atmosphere. The egg started to orbit the earth and one day it was hit by a meteorite and it came hurdling back into the atmosphere. It struck this area and the people that work at Area 51 came to excavate it. They are planning on bringing it to Area 51 and putting it in an electrical cage until it hatches. The person with the number 10 on its back is looking for evidence in the soil. The person with the space helmet is looking for evidence in the water. The person with the red top and blue pants  (holding the pile of red bricks) is pulling the egg out of the water."

Here is Adrienne's archeology site's description which goes with the photo below: "The black tent is where they examined the objects found at the site. On the site there are more objects dug up, broom, wheel, money, treasure chest, lamp. One digger found the head of R2-D2 in the dirt by the river. The brown area has been all dug up, the green area on the other side of the river will be dug up later." 

Monday, 11 October 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: One Halloween Night

We have been enjoying many Halloween themed picture books for the last few weeks. You can see some in my librarything widget right below the main blog header.
This morning I asked Celeste to choose her latest favourite to share with you.
One Halloween Night is written and illustrated by Mark Teague. He is the illustrator for those wonderful How Do Dinosaurs... books.
This picture book has great artwork and the story is a lot of fun too.
Three kids are looking forward to Halloween, but this halloween seems to be a little different for them. Their costumes aren't really what they had planned,  the candy is different and the evening just keeps on getting more strange.
A fun Halloween story!

"At other houses, the treats were weird, or awful. Soon their bags were full of candy with names like "Broccoli Chews," "Sweet'n'Sauerkraut",  and "Eggplant Fizzlers." 


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Year 5 :: Week 9 Home Learning Report

In world geography, we are now learning about South America. We read books on Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina. While searching for interesting books for our geography at the library, I cam across this series by Bobbie Kalman. I have used her history books before, but these were new to us. There are full of photos from the countries and are perfect for our studies. I don't always read the entire book, but we always look at all the photos and talk about those.

In Canadian History, we read about Montcalm and Wolfe in the Plains of Abraham battle. We  watched the related episode from Canada: A People's History. We learned more about the colonists, the people who came from Europe to this new world. Andre and Adrienne researched what kind of food the Habitants ate and what the Voyageurs would have eaten as well.

In Science, we covered motion this week. Every week, while I am reading the Usborne Science Encyclopedia, I have encouraged Andre and Adrienne to take notes. We have done narration for years but note taking was new to them. They are both getting better every week.

In Art/Music Appreciation, we started a new artist, Vermeer. I thought it would be fun to read aloud Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.
We have really enjoyed this book so far, with the puzzles to solve. There are some free resources at Scholastic for this book, including printable pentominoes. While completing our biography notebook page and looking at various paintings by Vermeer, we found out that The Concert (see below) was stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. You can watch the account from the Director of Security on Youtube here.

We had another nice week of homeschooling, getting our main subjects (LA and Math) done and having fun as well. We even did some French!

With Halloween coming soon, Celeste and I have been decorating a bit and doing some simple crafts. We like the dancing skeleton and paper banners in particular, from the Toy Maker site. They remind us of our Mexico study! 

Monday, 4 October 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: The Elson Readers

This week I am sharing a series of books that is partly curriculum. 

Celeste uses them to practice reading aloud every school day . Adrienne and Andre also do, but not as regularly. We haven't enjoyed readers in the past. We didn't like that a story was cut up or too short to be enjoyed, but my children really like these! I think it's because of the content of each short story or passage and the quality of literature.  

The Elson Readers were written by William H. Elson, who also wrote the Dick and Jane series, in the early 1900s. As the back cover explains " The real beauty of The Elson Readers series is the kind of literature within its covers--wholesome literature that views the world of nature with awe, upholds the ideals of service to others and our country, and encourages sound moral development in the reader". As the levels go up, the reading selections increase in difficulty. For example, the Elson Readers book five concentrates more on understanding the meaning of the story or poem. There are discussion questions. There are also teacher's guides available.

All the readers are seperated in sections, in themes. The primer that Celeste is reading now is divided into Animals and Birds, Nature, Festivals and finally Slumberland. As the levels increase, the themes stay similar, Nature, Adventure, Home and Country, and more. As the levels increase, the stories change from being re-written at the lower levels to being actual excerpts.  
You can read more about the Elson Readers at the Lost Classics Books Company. You can also read The Elson Readers, Book Five at Project Gutenberg.

The book you see open in the photo is the Elson Readers Primer, the one Celeste is using right now. She loves it!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

I was tagged!

Barb from Harmony Art Mom tagged me yesterday in a post!

She said "There's a game of tag going around the blogosphere. Someone tags you with 8 questions to answer. You answer them, and then tag some other blogger buddies with your own set of questions".

She asked (my answer in italic):

1. Do you use a bookmark or do you turn pages down? How many books do you read at a time? For Bible readers-Do you write in your Bible?
I use both methods. For library books, I usually use a bookmark and for my own books I turn the pages down. I sometimes read two books at a time, but usually just one. With non-fiction books, I like to take notes while I read.

2. Where do you dream of traveling some day? Alone with your dh or with your children?
My kids and I were just talking about that! I have many places I would like to travel to. I was fortunate to travel a lot when I was growing up, but there are still many places I would like to visit. Brazil, Peru, Russia, Netherlands, Norway, China, Thailand, New Zealand. I also want to visit Oregon, California, Washington DC, and in Canada all the Atlantic Provinces, Alberta and British Columbia. I would be happy to visit all these places with my husband and my children. If I were to go somewhere by myself, then I would pick France, to visit my mother, siblings and friends.

3. What is your favorite household chore?
I enjoy vacuuming and washing mirrors.

4. What is a personal goal you have made this year?
To keep running, consistently, at least three times a week.

5. How many blogs do you read every week? What attracts you to certain blogs?
I am not sure how many blogs I read a week, probably around 25 or so. I have a lot in my Google Reader and on the side of my blog, but I don't read them all the time. I can't find enough time for all of them! I am attracted by beautiful photos and topics that interest me. Some blogs I read regularly relate to homeschooling and unschooling, but I also read a few about simple living, quilting, sewing, and books.

Now it's my turn to tag a few blogging friends and ask questions...
I liked Barb's idea of tagging people that left comments during that week on her blog, so I will do the same.
Fiddler from Rockhound Place
Tracy from Secular Nature Homeschool
Lori from Keeping it Simple
Sheri from Our Pace
Playing by the Book
Red Ted Art's Blog
I also think five questions is here are my five. If you see your name in the list above, play along by answering these on your blog and if you don't see your name, but want to play too, then TAG! you're it!
My questions, with a "favourite" theme:
1. I have been looking for some simple but interesting halloween crafts/decorations, what is your favourite one to do with your children? please include a link if you have one.
2. What is your favourite way to spend a rainy day with your children?
3. What is your favourite fall food?
4. What is your current favourite read aloud book?
5. Last one just for Mom..what is your favourite novel?
Have fun!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Home Learning Report :: Year 5 :: Week 8

We have had a great week here again.
We continued with our study of Mexico and also moved on to Central America.
Adrienne and Andre worked together to complete some trivia questions related to the P is for Pinata book. You can find them here.
I encourage them to work together, even though they would prefer not to. I think it teaches them useful skills, like patience for example! 

I made the Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead) but I have always
had a difficult time with rising bread. The taste
was really good, I love anise, but it didn't rise right.

With our study of Central America, we talked about the Panama Canal and watched this cool time-lapsed video:

Celeste continues to show a lot of interest with Math and is doing great!
This week, she started learning about subtraction.

Andre decided to teach Celeste how to play Battleship,
but ended up telling me that she wasn't ready. She understood the game,
but he didn't think she took it seriously enough!
Too cute!
Adrienne and him ended up playing together.
They both started laughing so hard and came to show
me why...they realized that they had
positioned their ships in a very similar way
without meaning to! 
You can see in this photo: 

We worked on science this week again, learning more about gravity
and doing another experiment. I am using this Thames & Kosmos kit.
We built the potato trap and had a lot of fun learning about the force of gravity!

We continued our art and music appreciation this week. We learned more about Mendelsohn
by completing our biography notebook pages and listening to his music.
We also looked at a few more paintings by Rembrandt.
Next week we will be studying a new composer and a new painter!

As part of the art and music appreciation, we are also doing a little
bit of art ourselves! We are using a fun Klutz book:

We are doing this all together. The kids are using loose watercolour paper
and I am using the book. We had a lot of fun with the first
assignment, it was simple and relaxing.

Andre started a new lapbook. I don't have photos yet, because it is only
in the information gathering stage.
One of his career choices is to become a movie director, the other is
a pilot for the Canadian Air Force. He told me this week that he wanted
to do a lapbook about famous movie directors.
He has already started gathering information on
M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg.

That wraps up our report for this week!
With fall here, we have been busy baking too...
baking is a great learning activity as well, and it's yummy!


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