Saturday, 23 April 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Screen-Free Week and a Break from Blogging

This past week was Scree-Free Week and we had all agreed to stay off any screens for seven days. We all realized very fast that this wasn't going to work. It worked for us in the past, but not this year. The television and video games were easy to keep off, it was the internet that wasn't! We kept finding ourselves "needing" to get online. Adrienne needed to do research for her current essay, we found ourselves wanting to look things up for our Canadian History, and there were many more occasions! 

We did watch one documentary, Babies. We had been waiting our turn at the library for this one for a long time! 

Babies is a great documentary. We all really loved it! It was a great tie-in for our World Geography study, seeing the living conditions of the African baby and the Mongolian one, compared to the Tokyo and USA. Here is a trailer. We were able to get this from our local library, so check yours too!

The rest of the week was uneventful. We completed our regular subjects.

In World Geography, we are now studying India. In Canadian History, we are now in the 1970s!

If you would like to read other homeschool families wrap-up posts, you can visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

I will be taking a break from blogging for a while. I have always told myself that when blogging becomes "something I have to do" instead of "something I enjoy", I would give myself a break from it. I feel this way about blogging right now. Spring is a time when I want to be outdoors more, enjoying our beautiful weather and nature with my children.

Book Sharing Monday will be on hold, but I hope you continue posting on your own blogs. There are many (126 at last count!) Book Sharing Monday posts I have written, you can visit previous ones here

I will be back soon, hope you will have a fun-filled time too! 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Book Sharing Monday :: More Poetry Books!

This series is wonderful. The Poetry for Young People by Sterling Publishing is a great way to introduce poetry to children. Scholastic has reprinted many of the titles and I have been fortunate to find a few at our local thrift store!
We are reading through these this month. Each book has an introduction, which is a short biography of the poet, selected poems follow, some with explanations of the poem or words defined. 

Here are two of our favourites:

"I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
to an admiring bog!"
Emily Dickinson.

How Doth the Little Crocodile
"How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
Lewis Carroll.

If you would like to participate in Book Sharing Monday, please include the link to your book sharing post below. Happy reading! 

Weeky Wrap Up ~ Two Weeks Worth

 The last two weeks have been busy. We continued with our regular school work. Andre finished his Teaching Textbook Math 6! He will take a short break and then continue on to TT 7.
Homeschool swimming lessons started, Andre and Celeste are participating this time. Our weekly homeschool park day also started this past week, with a great turnout! We had 35 kids and 10 adults! It was a beautiful sunny day and we all had a wonderful time.

Here is a short report on our "together" subject:

In Science, we learned about the electromagnetic spectrum. Adrienne and Andre completed notebook pages on this subject, and explored the links from the Usborne Encyclopedia.

We made progress in World Geography. We finished our study of the Middle East and are now in the former Soviet States. We also started reading an interesting book called Overcrowded World (What if We Do Nothing?). This book explains the problems facing the world today with overpopulation and takes a look at what the situation might be in the future.  There are little problems "What Would You Do?'" throughout the book that incourages critical thinking.

In Canadian History, we covered the 1950s and the 1960s. We also took some time to learn about the Korean War.

We spent some time last week painting together. We haven't done that together in a long time. It was very relaxing.

If you would like to read more weekly wrap-up posts by other homeschool families, you can visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Poem in Your Pocket Day :: April 14

Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day, part of the celebrating of National Poetry Month. "The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends": that is the explanation from the website.

When Celeste heard me talk about this, she said she wanted to share her current favourite poem. She has memorized a few this year, but her top favourite one is The Caterpillar by Christina G. Rossetti (the Well Trained Mind version). She wanted to recite it for you today:

The Caterpillar by Christina G. Rossetti

Brown and furry,
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin or die,
To live again a butterfly.

The Kindness of Homeschoolers

I attended a small curriculum sale at a local homeschool group last night. I was trying to sell a few things, I didn't succeed much...but I came home with these books. The amazing part was that this particular homeschooler was giving them away! I have been checking out of "The Well Trained Mind" from our local library countless times, so I am very happy to finally have my own copy!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Book Sharing Monday :: Two Poetry Books!

This week I am sharing two poetry books! They both use haiku poems. The first book is about Ontario. "Great Lakes & Rugged Ground: Imagining Ontario" is written by Sarah Harvey and Leslie Buffam. The watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations are by Kasia Charko. 
This book is beautiful and we really liked that we were able to find a poetry book about where we live! This book celebrates 400 years of Ontario's history  through poetry, starting with the Iroquois all the way to 2010 and Toronto's Caribana celebrations.
The book includes historical notes and a fun seek and find, both can be found at the end.

"A park is for all.
The pictographs are sacred.
Pink orchids are too."

The second book I would like to share with you is fun! "Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys" is written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. You might recognize the illustrator's work from "The Dot" or "Ish". We have enjoyed both of these titles in the past. This poetry book is filled with haikus about a young boy's fun in nature. Organized by seasons, the author shares some of of his own experiences when he was a boy or about something he saw his own sons do.

If you would like to participate in Book Sharing Monday, please add the link to your book sharing post below. Happy Reading!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Screen Free Week is Coming!

This used to be called "TV-free Week", but since 2010 the name changed to "Scree-free Week". The idea is to have a week without any screens entertaining us. No TV, video games, movies, computers, itouch, etc... This year, Screen-Free Week is from Monday April 18 to Sunday April 24.

Our family is participating this year. We have all agreed to allow 3 minutes to check our e-mail daily, since our Air Cadets need to check that week's newsletter in this manner. We also don't want to worry about missing any important messages related to work, extra-curricular activities, or homeschool field trips. Three minutes a day is plenty to quickly check new e-mails and take care of them. The rest of the week will be scree-free completely.

This blog will have Book Sharing Monday post automatically published on the Monday (I will write it on the Sunday before). I will be late writing our weekly wrap-up post, it won't be written or posted until the following Monday or Tuesday.

There are so many activities a family can do that doesn't involve a screen. If the weather permits, we are planning on enjoying the outdoors a lot. Biking, walking, planning and working on our garden, chalking on our driveway, etc.. Inside, we have lots of things we enjoy doing together or seperately as well: painting, reading, playing board games or cards, playing with dolls, legos, and more. It will also be a regular school week for us.

You can find many ideas for scree-free activities by googling. Here are a few links I found interesting:

Kids' Activities for Screen-Free Week

Resources to Inspire Your Screen-Free Week (great book list!)

Get Ready for Screen-Free Week: 30 Great Ideas and Printables

Ideas that I came across that inspired me (in no particular order or organization!):

  • start a vegetable, herb, or wildflower garden
  • play with marbles
  • set up a basket of drawing supplies and paper and rotate each day (1 day markers+thick paper, next watercolour+paint paper cut in an interesting shape, crayon+colouring pages)
  • start a book reading marathon
  • sort through toys and donate unwanted ones 
  • start a large puzzle together
  • start an Earth Day project
  • sew something together 
  • make friendship bracelets
  • play hide and seek (still one of my kids' favourites, especially at night!)
  • go bowling
  • cook together
There are so many ideas! Let me know if you are participating in Screen Free Week too by leaving a comment to this post and share some of your ideas for activities too!

Wilderness Wednesday ~ Seagulls in the Field

We've had a lot of rain  here lately, which is wonderful for the grass, but not so great for us! It is still cold too. Yesterday, we noticed a flock of seagulls in the farmer's field near our house. Maybe they were getting worms. I thought the little spots of white looked nice against the brown of the fields and the grey of rainy sky.  

This is our first post for  Wilderness Wednesday hosted by Homeschooling Newbie. I hope the weather will cooperate soon so that we can share more spring nature photos!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Learning about the United Nations

As part of our study of Canadian History, we learned about the formation of the United Nations in 1945. We remembered learning about the League of Nations a few weeks ago, especially when we watched Paris 1919. I wanted to pause our study of Canadian History and take a few days to cover the United Nations, what it is and their role in the world. This topic crosses over to world geography and world news. I found a few resources that I wanted to share with you. These were very helpful to me to introduce this topic to my two older children (12 and 13).

We visited the United Nations website for kids and educators called United Nations Cyberschoolbus. This website is filled with information, lesson plans, games, quizzes, and more. We haven't explored the whole website yet. Some of the links didn't work for us, but that might be a problem from our end.

Here are a few links that we found helpful:

The Food Force is a video game on world hunger. It has six different missions and is geared to 8-13 year olds. The objective is to teach children about the logistical challenges of delivering food aid in a major humanitarian crisis. Here are some screen shots:

The Water Quiz where we learned interesting facts about water.

The UN Intro to learn about the history of the United Nations.

The Millenium Development Goals link explains the eight goals that all 192 United Nations member states have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. Some of the goals are achieving primary education for all, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and promoting gender equality.

Nadene at Practical Pages has a notebook page and a lapbook mini book free to download. We used the notebook page to write a short summary about what we learned.

While learning about the Millenium Development Goals, I was reminded of the young Canadian that started Free the Children. We spent some time reading about how he got started and the amazing work he has accomplished around the world. I think it is important for our children to see that anyone can make a difference.

Your local library will probably have several books on this subject. I was able to find one that related directly to Canada. The book "Canada and the United Nations" is written by Bev Cline.

The other book on the photo is by National Geographic, "Every Human Has Rights". It is "a photographic declaration for kids based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights with poetry from the ePals community". Thirty basic human rights are written and accompanied by a photo that illustrate each of them, along with a poem. You can read more about how this book came together here. 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Book Sharing Monday :: A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

April is Poetry Month in the USA and Canada! I thought I would share poetry books for the whole month of April to celebrate. We usually make a point of reading more poetry books from the library or study poetry during this month.

The Poets website has a great resource page, a list of "great poems to teach" with audio clips for each poem listed. There are many resources for celebrating National Poetry Month too on this page. Young Poets also has many useful links listed here. I had listed more helpful links in this post.

For the first poetry book I would like to share "A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms" selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka. This book has an unusual title, but it is interesting! Through selected poems, the author showcases 29 poetic forms from the couplet to the pantoum. The author gives a suggestion on how to read this book in the introduction, he writes to read the poem, then the explanatory note at the bottom of that page. He mentions the extra explanations at the back of the book and then suggests to read the poem "another time or two to see if you can tell how it follows - or departs from - the aspects of that particular poetic form. "

Tyger Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
"The Tyger" by William Blake.
A quatrain

If you would like to participate in Book Sharing Monday, please include a link to your book sharing post below. Happy reading!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Last Week of March

We are still waiting for Spring here! The weather isn't cooperating yet, and we even had snow this week.  We did have another good week school-wise.

Andre is almost finished his Teaching Textbook Math 6! He will take a short break then start TT 7. Long breaks are not usually good for him with Math. Since Adrienne started her Pre-Algebra only a couple of months ago, she isn't as far along but is doing really well again. That is the important part.

In other subjects, we had an interesting week. Here are some details:

In Science, we finished with the Physics Workshop Kit (see my review here). We will now be using mostly the Usborne Encyclopedia and library books. We will also do experiments as we go along. We use the Usborne internet quicklinks often as well to review what we learned. This week, we learned about Magnetism.

In World Geography, we are studying the Middle East. We are still using the Trail Guide to World Geography as a base, but adding more library books to our study. I am reading aloud from Kingfisher Knowledge Middle East. This is an excellent book, filled with photos and interesting text. It will take us a few weeks to get through the Middle East. This week, we learned about Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. The small books on the photo are a quick read, but my children still enjoyed them and the library seems to have a big collection of these Scholastic True books! We are also reading some folktales. We started with The Seven Wise Princesses, which is a Barefoot Book. I still haven't come across one Barefoot Book that we haven't liked.

In History, we are now learning about the 1950s in Canada. We took a few days this week to learn about the U.N. and I will be writing a seperate post about that shortly.

Weymouth Bay by John Constable

We studied John Constable today for Art Appreciation. We are almost finished with this subject and I have been planning what we will be doing next. 

In non-school news, Andre joined the Air Cadets. His sister started in September, but he had to wait until he was twelve to join. They will be going away on a field training exercice weekend soon and are both really looking forward to that. You can see them in the photo below, with the white asterixis on.

Celeste was super excited this week because Tangled was finally out on DVD! She had been counting down the days until the release!! We went and picked it up on Tuesday and had a "Tangled" day! If she was a crafty girl, we probably would have done some of these crafts too. We'll see, maybe next week!

If you would like to read more weekly wrap-ups, you can visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


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