Saturday, 25 June 2011

Summer Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Week 1

We started our summer break this week! We are now only doing a minimum amount of school work. Here is the breakdown from this week:

- Adrienne completed 5 lessons of her TT Math Pre-Algebra
- Andre completed 2 lessons of his TT Math 7
- Celeste and I completed 3 lessons in the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, 3 lessons in First Language Lessons, and she read 3 pages in her Elson Reader. She also read a few other books this week, including Goodnight Moon and The Little Engine That Could.

- Together, we completed five days of our Prehistory Study. We are really enjoying this so far!  

The rest of the days were filled with lots of relaxing and playing! Puzzles came out and paints again. Adrienne is trying out some body painting, on herself and her siblings. We spent time at the park too. A nice and relaxing week for us!

You can read more weekly wrap-up post by other homeschoolers at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Tennis...Our Way

There is a tennis court at the local park near us and since it's all fenced in, we let Orion loose and he plays along with us! This is how we like to play tennis!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Two Weeks Worth and our Summer Plans!

Over the last two weeks, we finished more of our subjects. Celeste and I also worked a lot on her phonics, reading practice, and grammar. Andre did a few lessons in his Teaching Textbooks 7 and Adrienne is working hard at finishing her Math. She had started her Pre-Algebra Teaching Textbooks in January. She gave herself her birthday as a deadline, this means she is doing Math six days a week in order to finish.

We finished our World Geography study last week with Antarctica and a World Review. This curriculum worked really well for us this year and I am looking forward to using it again in combination with Barb's Geography Plans next year.

We also finished our Science study. I can't say we loved learning about physics this year, but we did it!

We spent more time outside over the last two weeks, even did some unplanned nature study (see the "ducks and (dead) mudpuppy" post).

Adrienne and Andre spent last weekend with their Air Cadets Squadron for a Field Training Exercice weekend. They did a lot of different outdoor activities, canoeing, hiking, absailing, and more. They were not allowed to bring any electronics or cameras, so I don't have any photos to share.

Andre finished his short season of floorball. This was his first time and he enjoyed it, even if his particular team lost. He wants to participate again and practice more.

Tomorrow, we start our Summer break! We will continue to do some "school work", mostly Math and reading/phonics because I have learned over the years that my children need this, even if it is just two or three times a week. When we take a long break without any math practice, it is difficult for them to get back to it! We are also going to study a little history through our break.

Here are our plans:

Adrienne: Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra: Monday-Saturday until finished (she has about 25 lessons left).

Andre: Teaching Textbooks 7:  Mondays & Thursdays

Celeste: Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, First Language Lessons, and Elson Readers: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays.

Together: Prehistoric Times. I started writing our plans to share with you. You can find them below the main blog title in the tabs.  I will keep adding to that post as we go along.

We are planning on starting our new school year August 15. This may change, we will see! I am also working on adding links to our 2011-2011 curriculum list found in the tabs below the main blog title. I hope to be finished by Friday.

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

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ducks and a (dead) Mudpuppy :: (Unplanned) Nature Study!

It was so nice outside today that we decided to go on a picnic at our local park. Another homeschool family joined us and we had a wonderful time playing and chatting.

Without planning it, we ended up doing quite a bit of nature study.

First, we went to the little pond near the park and observed a family of Mallard ducks. The kids really enjoyed watching the ducklings swim around and listening to them.  I thought it was interesting to see the mom duck round up and direct her little ones. We counted 15 ducklings!

We then went over to the beach area and found some other interesting creatures to look at...even if they were dead!

There were quite a few dead fish washed up on the shore, which we didn't think was a good sign, but it made for interesting nature study. The beach is on Lake St. Clair.

We saw one that we couldn't identify while we were there. Andre thought it was a salamander, and after some research tonight, I think he was right. I am pretty sure it was a Mudpuppy.

They are from the salamander family but spend their lives underwater, which is why they never loose their red gills. You can see them in the photo that shows the underside of it. They are also nocturnal. The one we found was about 12 inches long, including the tail. You can see the four toes on each leg. It looks like this particular was injured on the top. I read somewhere that because of their size, mudpuppies make good canditates for dissection. My kids are really wanting to do this type of science activity, but we didn't think of bringing it home (or if that was even ok to do!).

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Every year, I start looking ahead to our next "school year" around March. I do enjoy this planning but sometimes it gets to be a little overwhelming. There are more and more choices every year for homeschoolers out there and it's also a time to review what has worked for us and what hasn't, for curriculum and styles too. 

When asked what style of homeschooling we follow, I answer "eclectic". We are truly eclectic.

We use some classical education ideas. The Well Trained Mind was the first homeschool book I read and could relate to.

We also add some Charlotte Mason ideas to the mix, especially for art and music appreciation, shorter lessons and time spent in nature.

We have also done unit studies and lapbooking.

As much as I mention these philosophies, I have always listened to my heart when it comes to homeschooling my three children. I have learned a lot through the years! I think this comes through in various ways:

  • I choose to follow my children's interests and give them freedom to explore them. 
  • We don't follow a specific schedule because it never really worked for us. I prefer to have goals in place and so do my children. They like to know what is expected of them and then follow their own schedule. That can change from day to day. 
  • I follow their pace. If it takes Celeste a little longer to learn how to read, then that is just fine. We take the time, as much as it is needed. If Andre is able to "fly" through his math lessons and still retain what he is learning, then fine. He knows how he learns. I respect that.
About my plans, I chose a mixture of curriculum again this year. I have a wide age and abilities range in just three children, their ages are almost 14, 12, and 7. I try to combine them as much as possible for certain subjects. Adrienne, my oldest, has asked me to let her do more independent work this coming year, and not just for her regular subjects. She wanted to do science, history, and a foreign language on her own. I agreed with her but we are all still doing the same rotation, which means that we are all studying Biology this year and Ancient History. Keeping on the same rotation will be helpful when doing read alouds, movies or even fieldtrips for the whole family. 

I will be adding all our choices with links to the 2011-12 tab at the top of this blog shortly. For now, here is a quick list for you:

Adrienne ~ "Grade 9":

Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1

Grammar: Gage Language Power Gr. 9
Writing & Literature: Lightning Lit 8
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Classical Roots B
Spelling: Sequential Spelling
Poetry: IEW Poetry Memorization

Science: Oak Meadow High School Biology
Health & Fitness: Various websites + library books + notebooking + logging her fitness goals and achievements

World History: History of the Ancient World + notebooking

Art & Music Appreciation and Practice: Harmony Art Mom Grade 9 plans + keyboard practice (learn 5 new pieces)

Foreign Language: Oxford Take Off in Spanish

Civics (Canadian Government, Politics and Current Events): Canadians and Their Government Resource Guide + Parliament of Canada Teacher Kit + News on Internet and Newspapers.

Career Planning: What Colour is Your Parachute for Teens

Andre ~ "Grade 7":

Math: Teaching Textbooks 7

Grammar: Gage Language Power Gr. 7
Writing Literature: Lightning Lit 7
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Classical Roots A
Spelling: Sequential Spelling
Handwriting: Italics F
Poetry: IEW Poetry Memorization

Science: "Aristotle Leads the Way" Story of Science + notebooking - he will also tag along with Celeste's science for experiments and readings

World History: Ancient Times, Logic Stage from Classical House of Learning Literature

Art & Music Appreciation: Harmony Art Mom plans "Ancient Art and the Orchestra - Middle School Level" + recorder practice (learn 5 new pieces)

Foreign Language: ?

Celeste ~ "Grade 2":

Math: Saxon Math Grade 2

Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind (continuing from previous year)
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 1
Phonics: Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading + Explode the Code 2 (continuing from previous year)
Spelling: Natural Speller
Handwriting: Italics C + Draw Write Now 8
Poetry: IEW Poetry Memorization

Science: REAL Science Odyssey Life Level 1

World History: Ancient Times, Grammar Stage from Classical House of Learning Literature

Art Music Appreciation: Harmony Art Mom's plans with Andre


Nature Study: Barb's Nature Challenges + Natural Science Through the Seasons (Canadian)

World Geography and Cultures: Harmony Art Mom's Geography Plans + Mapping the World by Heart

Art Practice: my own plans using Usborne Introduction to Art + Discovering Great Artists.

We are all looking forward to these choices. Adrienne was very involved in the choices this year and I appreciated her help and feedback. We also decided to invest in a microscope for our homeschool and we are all looking forward to it arriving and exploring with it!

As I mentioned at the begining of this post, I will add links and all our choices to the tab "2011-12" at the top of the blog shortly.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Great Canadian Beaverfest ~ Their First Concert!

The girls and I went to Beaverfest yesterday. Beaverfest was an outdoor three-day concert featuring Canadian talent. You can read more about it here. Sunday was for all ages and we decided to give it a try. There were three artists performing over the course of the afternoon. We saw Keshia Shante, Shawn Desman, and Fefe Dobson.

This was Celeste's and Adrienne's first experience at a modern music concert (we have been to the orchestra before) and they both really enjoyed it. Even though the artists weren't top hits, I think it was perfect for introducing them to live concerts of this kind. The crowd wasn't crazy, there was a lot of space to move around and we were outside. Celeste was able to dance around and even play with the free beach balls they were handing out. We all enjoyed watching the mascot (a beaver of course!) interact with everyone too!

The next concert on our wish list... WE Day!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Finishing Up!

This time of year is all about finishing up. Even if we enjoy the curriculum or plans we use, we still really enjoying seeing the end of it! It always feels nice to say we have completed this subject or that subject for this "school year".

This week, Adrienne finished her Growing with Grammar 8 workbook. Next year, she will be using a different curriculum for grammar practice since this particular one finishes with grade 8. It is unfortunate because we have really enjoyed it.

In World Geography, we only have one week left! We will study Antarctica next week and then that will be done. I will be writing soon about our plans for next year's geography. We are all looking forward to it!

We also completed our Music and Art Appreciation this week with our study of Antonin Dvorak. Did you know that one of his symphonies, Symphony No. 9, travelled with the space shuttle Appollo 11 in 1969 to the moon? It is a beautiful piece of music. The kids and I enjoyed listening to many parts of his Symphony No. 9 (also called New World Symphony) while we finished work on our artists timeline. You can listen to a part of it in the video below.

We continued with the Mind Maps for Kids book, completing the second chapter which explained what to do with the mind maps. The assignment involved making up a fictional story about a lost jug. My kids complained as usual at first, but then their creativity came through and they had a good time working on their mind maps and all their ideas about the lost jug.

The homeschool swimming lessons are almost finished and Celeste has done great! She really enjoys these lessons and can now almost swim by herself!

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


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