Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun week of new activities

Lots of pictures this time. We started having different themes for each day of the week. Monday's are Muffin Tin Monday. We will eat lunch out of a muffin tin and the lunch will follow a theme. This week the theme was the letter S since that is Simeon's letter of the week. Caleb and Simeon really enjoyed Muffin Tin Monday so we will continue. If you would like to learn more about Muffin Tin Mondays then check out Muffin Tin Mom. Tuesdays are Sketch Tuesday. We go to the sight of Harmony Art Mom and she offers a weekly theme. The theme this week was stew. So they could draw anything in stew, related to stew, or stew itself. Caleb decided to draw deer stew and Simeon decided to draw lava stew. Wednesdays we have AWANA in the evening so we have AWANA Wednesday. Thursday is Lapbook Thursday. We make lapbooks that are either work we have done this week or a review of something we have done a couple of weeks ago. We did a lapbook of the letter S and added the number one since those are the themes Simeon worked on this week. So this is a culmination of work we did while learning about the letter S. Caleb did a review of his first chapter in his science text-- Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. Then Friday is Adventure Friday. We will do a lot of outdoor things when possible. Sometimes we will do science experiments, other times try new recipes, other times field trips, you never know what we might come up with for Adventure Friday. This particular Friday we did a science experiment where we made foam out of vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and food coloring.
Outside of our new themed activities we learned about the letter S, the number 1, learned that a, e, i, o, and u can all have the short u sound as well as sometimes wor is really pronounced wir, then we worked through word problems in Math, in science we talked about the life cycle of various insects. We talked about what etiquette is, as well as why it is important, and learned how to begin counting in Spanish. It has been a full week and we learned a lot.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Field Trip to Ballard Nature Center

What a week this has been for us. Caleb started math fact drill. Then he worked on the -er, -ur, and -aw sound in reading. Then Simeon started learning the letter S-- the sound it makes, how to write it, and to identify words that start with the S sound. We will pull it all together with a lapbook next week. Then we will work on one letter per week. We did a craft project making napkin rings and we started reading The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling this week. Our school week ended with a trip to Ballard Nature Center where Patty never fails to present an interesting, educational, hands on experience for the children. She talked about pond ecology and showed the children tadpoles, baby blue gill and possibly bass, a crawdad, and a spider. I learned that a baby fish is called a fry. Then there was another presentation about nocturnal animals complete with a game where the children identified various nocturnal animals with flashlights. Then we went for a nature walk. Patty talked with us about how various seeds are dispersed, caught grasshoppers, saw animal tracks, turtles, squirrel nests, frogs, and so much I could not even list it all. Caleb found a crawdad on our walk. Then we saw a snapping turtle in the middle of the trail on our walk back to the center. It was a terrific, fun learning time for all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nature Study

At our house we take nature study as adventure seeking. We have been known to do things like spend a day down at the river bottom just observing, going out to nature trails hiking, collecting bugs in our backyard... We have seen tadpoles at various stages, minnows, as well as deer tracks, raccoon tracks, various bugs, frogs, different stages of decay... We have learned things like how rocks errode, the difference between a toad and a tree frog, something that hedge apples are good for (keeping pesky bugs away in case you didn't know). We have also identified the different parts of insects, learned what makes moss form on some parts of a river, what a current is, and more things than I can ever list. One thing we planned to do and will still do if we get another nice day is to dig our an old half rotten log to observe what happens inside of it. We have been known to have bugs living in jars and net cages on our kitchen table. After the bugs die we have saved them in plastic bags and hung them on the wall in our school room. They have been taken out a couple of times to look at them with magnifying glasses to identify things about them that we have been reading about in our science text. This has been a lot of fun for my boys. Right now we have a hedge apple rotting in a bowl on the kitchen table so that we can observe the process. So I know many who have posted these nice neet and well decorated school rooms. I am going to post a few pictures from our school room-- only they won't be like these nice rooms they will be of some of the dead bugs hanging in our school room.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dick and Jane books, Addition, Seven Days of Creation, and Painting pumpkins

This week in school Caleb told me that he wanted to start reading his Dic and Jane books. I knew there were a couple of words that were a bit longer than he was used to and I was not sure that he was ready, but decided to go ahead and try it. He did great!!!! It seemed that this was the right amount of challenge for him. He has now been reading and reading. He is trying to read everything too. He picks out words from signs as we are driving down the road, from the mail, newspapers, from the internet... Then also this week in our Saxon Math addition using the actual "+" and "=" signs were introduced. Caleb is making math problems out of every day life now. Yesterday for example he asked me how many cookies there would be if he had 5, Simeon had 5, Daddy had 5 and I had 5. When I talked him through this math he came up with the correct answer of 20. It has been a lot of fun to watch him get excited about what he is learning.

We also painted pumpkins one day for art. The boys really enjoyed this. I am including some pictures of this. The other big event is that Simeon had completed the Seven Days of Creation. I will show some pictures of this as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So far this year

Since we are well into our school year before starting this blog, I thought I would share some pictures of our year so far.


Welcome to our homeschool blog. We wanted to share with family and friends some of the things we are learning and doing during our homeschooling days. We have named our school Vanderhoof School of Excellence because we strive to do all things excellently for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When my husband and I were researching different styles and methods of homeschooling there were three that we were drawn to. The Charlotte Mason style, Unit Studies, and Classical Education. We really appreciated the gentleness of the Charlotte Mason style. Also, both of our children are creative and our family is one that enjoys outdoor things. Unit studies appealed to us because we could take the things our sons are interested in and use it to build the curricula around. It seemed that this would develop curiosity, a love of learning, and leave room for creativity. The Classical Method appealed to us because of the discipline and learning solid principles to use for thinking. We want to raise children who are not told what to think, but learn how to think for themselves.
As my husband and I talked about the method or style we would use, we could not let go of any of these three. That was a struggle for us until we discovered My Father's World curricula. It is a combination of Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, and Classical Education. We are also using Apologia Science and Saxon Math.
After talking it over with my husband and children we decided to use our real names instead of nick names. Basically Vic and I decided to let our sons decide and they decided they did not want to have nicknames.
Meet our family. Vic is the hard working dad and principal. He has a lawn care and floor care business and works various jobs when needed to pay the bills of the family. He can often be seen telling stories, reviewing lessons from the day, practicing drill with our oldest son, and whatever else he needs to help make things work around here. Caleb is our oldest son. He is 7 years old and is now learning to read. Caleb is curious, determined, creative, and energetic. When he has free time he can often be found making radio shows on his cassette recorder, making up stories, drawing, and building with Legos. Simeon is a vibrant four year old. He enjoys puzzles, drawing, playing with sticker books, and snuggling while listening to stories. Then there is Charity also known as Mom or homeschool teacher. After eight and a half years as a mental health/ substance abuse therapist she was burnt out so came home to be with her children. She is still adjusting and learning how to juggle the responsibilities of a household, homeschooling, and being a supportive wife to her husband.
We look forward to sharing the adventure of homeschooling with you. I hope you will enjoy our pictures, challenges, good days, bad days, and all that falls in the middle.