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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse





Today we decided to just take the day off from doing our normal bookwork, as we had a fun activity planned for the kids.

Pinhole Camera
Dad was great and made a pinhole camera for the kids to observe the partial solar eclipse we are having today. So instead of sitting down with the books, we discussed what a solar eclipse is, watched a couple of videos on youtube that explain it well, then we opened up Stellarium (an astronomy program) on dad's computer and started watching the progression as the moon passed between the earth and the sun.
Finding the Moon on Stellarium



Pointing out the sun on Stellarium
In roughly 10 minute intervals, we hurried outside with our pinhole camera and compared what we could see to what we were watching happening on Stellarium. We were all amazed at how well we could see the image of the sun and that we could actually see a huge sunspot (sadly, my cell phone wasn't able to take a clear enough picture to show it but we will post a photo from the DSLR later tonight).

We spent a good 3 hours running in and out of the house.. It was a fun day :)










Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moving Right Along

Kids really weren't up to doing much today but surprisingly we ended up getting all of our work done. It was pretty touch and go for a bit though. So far our good days have outweighed the bad ones and even our bad one's haven't been too bad so I shouldn't complain at all. Last year was a complete headache to get Garrett to sit down and do any paperwork at all, so just the fact he's doing writing is a plus, for sure.

Garrett's Spelling Test
We started the day with our typical daily drill. This is when I knew things weren't going to go as planned as they were just blurting out random answers to things they already know. (Example: They would say its September instead of October, even though they've been counting the days to Halloween and know its in October. ) We managed to get through drill, albeit it too alot longer than usual, and we decided to get the pop quiz spelling test done sooner than later.. Both kids did well, although Garrett needs to work on his "S" as he tends to write it backwards when he's in a hurry. Same with Ashleigh with the lower case "b". Both kids made a 100, spelling all 6 words correctly but neither got the bonus word "Book".. As it hasn't been one of our spelling words at all, I would have just been really impressed if they got it but am okay that they missed it (might use it as a bonus again later this week, as they learned the word "Hook" today.)

After the spelling popquiz, we did lesson 7 from our Spelling workbook. Today's words were Hat, Map, Pin, Hook, Hop and Stop. Kids actually did really well with this and flew through todays lesson.
A few of our spelling pages from today

Today's math was adding simple cents together.. The kids have basic concepts of money, so this was pretty easy for them. We did have the return of the "boobies" with the number 10 but it wasn't as much of a distraction today as it was yesterday. (Thank Goodness).. We're on schedule with our math assignments so we should be testing on Friday.. Fingers crossed.. and then moving on to chapter 3 on Monday.

Finally, we began Chapter 4 in our Science book, which is covering life cycles. Today we discussed the life cycle of a frog and I really wish I could find a place to get tadpoles to allow the kids to observe it but outside of mail order, not much options. Plus, any frog that we would grow would have to be kept as a pet as there's no water here for them to live. (We have toads,
Ashleigh's cute Tadpole
that's about it).  We watched a few quick videos about the frog life cycle and then called it a day.

Oooh, I forgot to mention this weekend was homecoming for my oldest daughter's school. Friday night was the football game so we decided to have a good time out of the house. We walked down to the school (its only about a mile from the house) and stayed to watch the first half of the game as well as the halftime show. 
Can you tell it was windy?? lol
We left shortly after as it was starting to get cold and windy and plus we didn't want to be walking home at 11pm at night.. The kids had fun watching the game and getting to see the cheerleaders and the band.. Then, Saturday night my oldest daughter got all gussied up and I drove her to the homecoming dance for a few hours, then picked her up. (She's only 15 so I do not allow her to date). She met a boy from her class there. They are just friends at this point which works for me.. haha

The oldest all dressed up for her dance




Monday, October 20, 2014

Boys will be boys.

We had a really productive day today, even if the kids had a serious case of the giggles.

First, we celebrated the first grading period being over with by cleaning out our notebooks and starting over. The kids are amazed at how much they have done but they were concerned I was going to throw it all out.I assured them that the stack of work would go into a box and we would hang on to it for now.

Pretty straight forward day today. We started with our usual daily drill and then did a quick maze for Halloween. Ashleigh took a few minutes to figure out the rules of a maze as she just wanted to draw a straight line from point A to Point B and didn't understand. After a bit of explanation, she got it and they enjoyed doing it.   Then we worked on vowel recognition and touched a bit on sentence structure.

Now that we're done with phonics and are started to read and sound out words, I figured now was the right time to start our Spelling work. We're starting with Spelling Workout Level A by Modern Curriculum Press. Rather than start at the beginning that is basically just writing letters, we skipped to Chapter 6 and picked up from there.  The lessons are a bit more simplistic then I would like, but its a good start for them.  Today's lesson was Words that Begin and End with the letters S, T, and B. Their word list is tub, bus, bat, see, sit, and us and they will have a spelling test over those words tomorrow before we move on to the next lesson.

We're just about done with our chapter in Math over basic addition and should be able to test for it on Friday (fingers crossed). I think they should do fine on it, as we've been doing alot of various exercises to get alot of practice in. However, we hit a small bump in the road today. I don't know what it is about boys... but for some reason, my son (who is 8 mind you) decided that he was going to draw boobies on his answers. So, if it was the number 10, the O was suddenly a boob and if it was the number 8, it was too boobs.. As boobs are not a typical thing Garrett is exposed to in our house, it rather took be my surprise. My husband assures me that its just a boy thing and not worry about it, but we will see how long the numbers are altered. Hopefully it's just a passing phase.

Finally, the kids helped me in the kitchen today making both homemade hummus and bruchetta.  They really like measuring ingredients and putting them in the blender or bowl.. The bruchetta is now "resting" for dinner and we had a nice snack of some of the hummus and baby carrots. This was a pleasant surprise as we normally buy hummus (I couldn't find Tahini and ended up ordering some) and the kids won't touch it. Homemade is so much better tasting and it was obvious for the kids. Or maybe it was because they got to help make it, I don't know.. LOL

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Wrapup

Very productive day today.. Kids did great and I'm happy with how the end of our first semester has turned out.. Kids are learning by leaps and bounds and even on our off days, we're at least accomplishing stuff, which makes me happy..


We skipped drills today and did a few other activities instead. First, we did a quick worksheet that enforced beginning and ending sounds for things having to do with Halloween. Without hardly any coaching, the kids
Autumn Dot to Dot Fun
completed that worksheet within a couple of minutes and quickly were ready to move on to the next thing. We follow that up with a dot to dot activity that had them counting to 50. The resulting picture was of an Autumn leaf and so they decided to color it red.

For reading we read the story "Bees and The Mud" from the book Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel. Then we quickly got through with our math assignment. I told them if they got through the math assignment that we could play the "POP" game and that was a huge hit with the both of them. Garrett (who is normally really good at math) decided he just wanted to get the POP cards and not really try to answer anything, but Ashleigh did a great job and had well over 15 cards before she finally pulled a POP card and lost it all. They had alot of fun and we ended before we actually
Doing Math (Excuse the bad hair)
declared a winner this time around.  We then finished up Chapter 3 of Science and discussed how plants use camouflage and spines in order to protect themselves from animals.  We will be taking our science test once my eldest daughter gets home from school (as I don't like leaving either one of them unattended while I bring the other in the back room and I can't test them together as they cheat.. lol).

We had a few surprises in our mailbox that had the kids pretty excited. The first was our monthly mail from "Sam and Sophia".  We've been subscribing to Little Passports for some time now and this month was from Kenya. Included in our package this month was a small pad of scratch paper,
Elephant Poop Paper
a bit bigger than a pad of Post It notes. Imagine the kids surprise when we read that the paper was made of recycled Elephant poop. We went online to the website for the company who made the paper and looked at how its made. Still kinda ewwwww but it was really neat..  They also received the first of this month's post cards from our Post Card
Ash points to Wisconsin
Swap that we are in. Today's post card was from Wisconsin and was from a little girl named Abby. We went to our map and found Wisconsin and then pinned our postcard up with the first 5 that we received last month.

Finally, we had a no so pleasant surprise last night.. About 3am last night, our smoke alarms started to go off. I guess the battery in my daughter's alarm is low or something (even though they were changed not that long ago) and since all the alarms are hooked up to the same system, they all stated going off. (Why do these types of things always happen in the week early hours I have no clue)..  It took Ashleigh alot of convincing that there was not a fire and that we were okay.

Today's postcard from Wisconsin
Tonight I think the kids will attend their first High School football game. Today is the homecoming for the school on base and my oldest daughter's boyfriend is on the varsity team (Dear Lord, I am not ready for boyfriends.. haha). We thought maybe we would walk down and go watch the game and get out of the house for a bit. The school isn't a very far walk, might take us a total of 20 minutes to walk there and I think they would have fun watching the game and listening to the band. Tomorrow is the homecoming dance and my daughter is going to meet her boyfriend there (She's only 15 so she is not allowed to date. Her options are either I drop her off and pick her up or she doesn't go at all..).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Learning About Fire Safety



Last week, we worked on fire safety. It's probably a subject I should have covered way before now but since last week was Fire Safety Week, it was a perfect time to cover it. After hours scouring the internet looking for activities, I was able to come up with various handouts thanks to the National Fire Prevention website that could be tied in with our math, reading, writing and science.

To start with, we watched a wonderful video made by one of the fire departments out of Canada that really touched all the subjects concerning fire safety. We then did a tour of the house to map out exits in either direction from the kids bedroom in case a fire blocked one of the exits. We used the "Step" process (Step 1 - Walk don't run, Step 2 - know two exits, Step 3- Get outside and Step 4 - Go to the family meeting place). We had lots of fun practicing crawling to the exits on our hands and knees to get under the smoke and Stop Drop and Roll in case their clothing were to catch fire. We looked for all the fire detectors in our home (we have 4) as well as the CO2 detector and I showed them where we keep our Fire extinguisher and explained why we do not keep it in the kitchen. Then we walked both exit paths to go outside and decide on a safe spot in which all family members would meet at in case of a fire. We decided that crossing the street (we live at the end of  a cul de sac so its relatively safe to cross) to meet at the tree across from the house as the sidewalk has the fire hydrant and we decided that would be a hindrance to the fire trucks who would have to come in. We also looked at video and photos of firefighters in their full safety gear so that they would recognize them and not be scared if they were to see them dressed like that. Throughout the week, we did handouts featuring "Sparky the Fire Dog" that had had activities such as math and writing.

For a science experiment, we talked about how fire needs heat, a fuel source and oxygen in order to burn. We lit a candle and let it burn for a few moments and then took a glass jar and put it over the top and watched the flame die and burn out. I probably should have done this experiment early on, as after all the fire safety talk, Garrett was scared of us having an open flame, even if Mom was there to supervise it. They did enjoy the experiment though and had me relight and relinquish the flame a handful of times. 

I think Fire Safety was a success..

Fuel, Heat and Oxygen
Smothering the Flame
This week has been pretty straight forward. Drills, Math, Writing and Science. The kids have seemed to have gotten bored with history and since they are still so young I am not pushing it. We're still working on our addition and subtraction and today we got the game "POP for Addition and Subtraction" in from Amazon to have a bit of fun with for tomorrow.  Next week we should be finishing our Chapter 2 in Math (which seems like we should be further but each chapter has 15 lessons and we've also been covering other more advanced math in addition of the chapter as the kids have picked up simple algebra pretty quickly).  We've also been supplementing our Math with other workbooks such as the Grade 1 Math Star Wars workbook and other things I've gathered from Teachers Pay Teachers and Currclick.

We will finish with Chapter 3 of our Science tomorrow and should be testing on that tomorrow evening.

Kids have also started their independent reading these last few weeks and that has been going really well. Ashleigh is picking it up alot quicker than Garrett who struggles with it but is still doing better than he was a month ago. The words they are being able to read are pretty impressive, however, and I am feeling much better in my decision to not bother with "sight words" and instead work on phonics and sounding out unknown words.
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