Resurrection to Reformation Units 10-17

Yes – it’s been a long time since I’ve posted about Princess S.  She has been moving right along with RTR.  She has transitioned well to this program, for the most part.  She is able to do most of the activities on her own.  I wish I had time to do the Storytime box with her, but it just isn’t to be. 

Over the last few weeks she has learned about the Crusades, the Hundred Years’ War, the ending of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Exploration Age.  She has made some great history projects – which I neglected to get any photos of, mostly because I was working with her sisters while she was working on them.

In Math, she has just passed the lesson 10 test.  She could be a little bit further along at this point, but she keeps forgetting that she doesn’t need to do the B and C worksheets if she gets the A worksheet all correct.  So in almost every lesson she has done some unnecessary work.  Not that it’s all bad, but I do want her to pick up the pace a little bit. 

She is making very good progress on her Latin studies, however.  She is working on lesson 20 right now.  She is on pace to begin Level B before the end of the year, which I had hoped she would be able to do.  She does Latin completely on her own, as she refuses to ask for help.  I don’t worry about her pronunciation as she will not be speaking this anywhere. 

She has been taking writing classes through a co-op close to us.  They are working on IEW B.  Most of the information is a repeat of A, but I’m very grateful for the break from having to teach writing this year.  They love their teacher too, so that is a plus.  At the same co-op, she is taking an art class.  She is a very talented artist, who is stuck with a mom who cannot draw a stick figure to save her soul.  Thankfully, Jesus saved my soul, so I don’t have to worry about that!  We are looking forward to a two week break for the holidays.


Bigger Hearts Units 7-10

Princess L is partway through unit 11 now.  She enjoyed learning about the Native Americans, and about Benjamin Franklin.  She enjoyed making a wampum belt out of colored rice.

The problem was that our glue just wasn’t strong enough to hold the rice in place in the page protector.  She also got tired of trying to stay in the lines she had drawn.
The thing that I was most pleased with was her improvement on her vocabulary sheet.  This was the first sheet that she completed 100% on her own.  I was impressed that the sentence she wrote made sense and used the word correctly.
Her handwriting could be better and there are a few spelling errors, but I was so happy to see what she did on her own.
She has been enjoying learning cursive, so much so that she got quite a bit ahead of where she should be.  So I decided to take a week off from cursive to do a bit of extra spelling practice.  She is on lesson 15 in AAS Level Two.  I’m hoping to get through level two by the end of January and attempt to finish level three by the end of the school year.
In math she is working on the all facts review for the level three math facts.  She has been working with Math Rider as well on her addition facts. She is up to about 40% mastery.  I think she actually is probably better than that, but it takes her a bit to find the correct numbers on the keyboard yet, and then type them in with two fingers.
She has been on a break from her vision therapy.  We did a final analysis to see where she was at.  It was evident that she is still struggling visually, but the consensus is that she lacks either the understanding of what she is being asked to do, or the verbal acuity to tell us exactly what it is she is seeing.  So it was decided to take some time off and come back at the end of the school year.  Dr. Dean will reassess her to see if he thinks she is ready to pick up where she still has some weaknesses.  He gave her a pair of reading glasses, but I really don’t think that have made a difference at all.  She still skips lines, tries to combine words, and re-reads the same lines over several times.  So instead of adding in her own reading, I am having her read aloud part of our story time book every day.  I read a portion, and then she reads a portion, and we trade off.  We are almost done with Farmer Boy and will be starting Stuart Little soon.  I promised her we’d rent the movie after we were done with the book.
Finally, we got in a field trip last week.  Here’s the proof:
ta da
wierd girls
(Not really sure what they are doing or what Princess E is going for.  Wednesday Adams maybe?)  Nickelodeon Universe opened up for free rides for four hours one day last week and was filled to the brim with homeschoolers and preschoolers.  We were some of the lucky takers.


Little Hearts Units 4-5


I realize it’s been a while since I posted.  Let’s just say we’ve had a couple of those “anything that can go wrong did go wrong weeks”.  It included three days of Princess S on the couch with a high fever.  Definitely not weeks I want to relive anytime soon.

Princess M has been moving right along in Little Hearts.  She just began Unit Six.  We have learned about the Israelites in Egypt.  She made an Egyptian necklace that she was quite fond of. 

Then we talked about the Exodus out of Egypt.  Her favorite part of this unit was the Rhyme in Motion section for God Sent Ten.  She thought using her fingers to count ten was great fun.  I saw big improvements over the many days we did the rhyme in her finger dexterity.  Another craft she enjoyed was making a quail, which was the meat of choice for the Israelites on their Exodus.

We have just finished up the book about Reddy Fox.  She amazed me with her ability to recall what was read in the story even though there were not very many pictures at all.  She is excited to begin our new book.  

Her final favorite activity was making edible peanut butter play dough.  As a surprise to me, however, she had no interest in eating it!  She had to make Balaam’s donkey.  She had no clue what to do, so I suggested we approach it like a snowman.  This was what we came up with.

In math, she has whizzed through to lesson 11.  She learned about place value very quickly and had fun creating the numbers with the math blocks, and using index cards to label what number was created.  The “t’s” and the hundreds were learned, and she is getting better at remembering to count from the right and read from the left.  (As a leftie, she is constantly getting that backwards.)

Her reading is coming along quite nicely.  Currently, we are 2/3 of the way through lesson 12.  She has learned all of the short vowel sounds and is working on reading words, phrases and sentences with all of the vowels present on the list.  She has had difficulty with u/o and e/a.  She will mispronounce the u as an o and the e as an a almost every time.  I finally told her that if she sees the letter u or e in the middle, that she should hide the first letter and sound out the last two letters first, adding in the first letter at the end.  That seems to work, however, I’m concerned about moving forward with that strategy.  She can recognize when I mispronounce it, but not when she does it.  I’m hoping that will come in time.  We are working on the lesson 12 fluency page.  It is taking a lot longer than the others, but she is determined to get through it so she can put another sticker on the chart.

On her own one day, Princess M decided to do an art project.  She created a still life scene (as she has seen Princess S do occasionally,) and proceeded to draw what she saw.  We were all impressed!  This example shows what mirror writing is to a leftie.

Here’s a close up of her drawing.  Notice the fancy lettering.

Finally, Princess M hit a big milestone on November 9th – she turned one whole hand!  The day started by going to the mall and getting her ears pierced.  She didn’t even shed a tear. 

Later that night, she opened her big gift from Nanny – my mom.  She got a Molly American Girl doll.  Mom has great luck at antique stores, so this doll is getting a chance to be loved by a second little girl.

Then last Friday, we took Princess M, Princess L, and three of Princess M’s friends to the American Girl Bistro for an afternoon tea.  They had great fun!  Everyone dressed up and brought a doll along, who was served from doll sized plates and cups, while we enjoyed fruit kabobs, finger sandwiches, cake pops, and cupcakes.  Here are a few pictures.

We will be taking the week off of school for Thanksgiving. We have a few fun activities planned, but mostly we will be enjoying our time off.


Revival to Revolution Units 6-10

Princess E has been scrambling to finish unit ten.  She is a bit behind due to some poor choices, but I am hopeful that her new school surroundings will help prevent that.  Although she wants to do school in her room, she has proven over the last several months that she cannot handle that, no matter how much she kicks and screams and cries to the opposite.  So, DH moved her back up to the desk in the living room/school room, moving all of Princess L’s stuff to a basket.  (She ends up doing her work mostly at the kitchen table anyway.)

Princess E has been learning about the kings during the Seven Years’ War – George III, Frederick II and Louis XV.  She read about the Boston Massacre and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  She is finishing up learning about the effect the Declaration had on Europe.  She has really enjoyed her story time books – The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart and John Paul Jones The Patriot Pirate.  She is starting The Reb and the Redcoat.  For science, she built a circuit.  But, she did this while I was otherwise occupied so I have no photos of it.  She has been reading about Thomas Edison and his contributions to American science and our way of life. 

In math, she finished the Middle School One class, and was pleasantly surprised to begin Middle School Two at 80% proficiency.  She is aiming to begin Middle School Three after Christmas, and Pre-Algebra by Easter.

I promised to talk a bit about our literature classes.  We are using Teaching the Classics (TTC), the literary analysis method used by Adam Andrews in his Center For Literature as well as offered by IEW.  We spent the first five weeks watching the DVDs and following A Syllabus for Literary Analysis.  We only did the part that covers TTC.  We will do the Windows to the World portion in another year or two.  I want them to be a little bit further along in their writing skills before tackling that part.  For the last two weeks, and until our Thanksgiving break, we are using children’s stories to practice making Story Charts and answering questions from the Socratic list that is included in TTC.

Here is what we do on the whiteboard.

Then we fill it in.

Here are two more for other stories.

One thing that we do with each story that the princesses are having a lot of fun with is identifying the conflict.  In his seminar, Adam Andrews suggests listing the conflict as a question.  Since my kids have watched a lot of old Underdog cartoons (because it is DH’s favorite cartoon from childhood) they are used to the narrator cliffhanger questions right before they went to a commercial.  They have fun picking this out and reading them very dramatically. 

After our break, we will work with a few easier chapter books that I hope to take two weeks for each book.  After February, we will pick out a few longer and more difficult novels to finish out our year.  I own Reading Roadmaps, so we will pick some from there.  I will use this to plan out our next year’s books.  I hope to eventually work in Laurie from Teacups in the Garden’s idea of a Literary Club CafĂ©.  My kids LOVE hot chocolate, so I think we’ll plan to sip hot chocolate will we have our Socratic discussions after we have done our story chart on the whiteboard.


Resurrection to Reformation Units 6-9

Princess S has been enjoying (from what I can tell) working on these units.  She started out learning about the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim invaders.  She learned about the reign of Charlemagne and the Northmen (Vikings).  She finished up with learning about the Great Schism.  For her history projects, she has done a lot of baking.  She made some loaves of bread that had Scriptures hidden inside of them.  She made colorful Marzipan cookies.  She made a fun card game called Lord of the Castle.  But her favorite project was making a shield with a coat of arms.

She thought it looked more like a puffin that what she wanted it to be. 

In Math, she is on lesson seven and should finish it up by the end of the week.  In Latin, she is up to lesson 10.  Since we had to completely start over, she is doing one lesson about every two days.  She is still in the review process.  In science she has learned about grubs, earthworms and moles. 

For Grammar, she has finished up Grammar Voyage and has begun Practice Voyage.  Here is the MCT way of studying grammar.

She begins with a sentence, “Taking the wheel, the captain laughed unexpectedly at the mate.”  The first thing she has to do is label the part of speech for each word in the sentence.

You’ll notice she left “taking” blank.  She wasn’t sure about that one, so I told her that we would come back to it as it would become more obvious as we went along.

Next, she labels the parts of the sentence – subjects, predicate, objects and complements.

The third step is to label the phrases – prepositional, appositive, gerunds, participles and infinitives.  This was where she started to realize what “taking” was.  When she could identify “taking the wheel” as a participial phrase, she started sorting things out.

The final step is to identify any clauses, the structure and the purposes of the sentence.  So, this sentence has one independent clause, and is a simple declarative sentence.  For the rest of the school year she will do three sentences a week using this process.  We all enjoy it so much more than diagramming, and my elder two princesses are grammar whizzes as a result. 

On Wednesdays, Princess S has an art class and a writing class at a co-op of sorts.  Since HOD schedules four work days in each unit, we do not do HOD on Wednesdays.  Instead, on Wednesday afternoons Princess S and Princess E and I do vocabulary and literature.  We usually do vocab first.  I put up the three stems we are studying on the whiteboard along with a list of words that have the stems we are working with.

First we underline the stem we’re working with.  Then we underline any stems we have already worked with, and finally underline any other stems.  Next, we use collegiate dictionaries to look up the meanings of the stems that are new or that we haven’t had yet.  The fun part is using those definitions to come up with a short definition of the words themselves using the definitions of the stems.  For example, bio means “life” and log means “speech, study of, written work, or word”.  So biology becomes the “study of life”.  I will post about our literature program when I post an update on Princess E next week.


Bigger Hearts Units 5 & 6


The last two weeks were busy ones for Princess L.  She is still working on her vision therapy, and we may finally had a break through.  Dr. Dean discovered a problem with her divergence ability. So we have some reading exercises with special lenses to force her to have to diverge in order to read.  We are also working on some memory exercise to stretch her visual memory skills.

Princess L just finished her first red jewel for her Sky Stormer Awana book.  She is a whiz at memorizing her verses, and is so proud to be a third year Sparkie and able to help other kids that might need it.

For history over these last two units, Princess L has been learning about Myles Standish, Squanto, William Penn and Benjamin West.  Her favorite science activity we did was an experiment using lotion and sugar to demonstrate why we need soap and warm water to effectively kill germs on our hands.  She is absolutely loving the story Baby Island!  She wants to read it first everyday, but I’m such a mean mom I usually make her wait. 

For math, she has just finished the level 2 facts and will begin the level 3 facts on Monday.  I have also decided to make Math Rider a regular part of her Wednesday morning activities instead of doing any workbook pages.  She typically finishes two pages in her book each day, and then every other day we do flash cards.  In grammar, we just finished Kiss Grammar lesson 19 in the second grade workbook. She seems to be having a bit of trouble identifying complements, so for a change I wrote all her sentences on the white board and required her to verbally ask herself the questions out loud. “What is the action?”  (Climbs) “Who climbs?” (Boy)  “Boy climbs what?”  When she said them out loud she got every single one correct.  But when she reverted back to trying to do them without saying the questions out loud she got some wrong.  I hope I convinced her that saying them out loud is the best route for her to take for now.  However, she usually completes her grammar page by herself while I’m working with Princess M, so I’m not always there to make sure she does it out loud. 

In spelling, she has just Level 2 Step 9.  She is a great speller during spelling.  Once spelling is over, she will spell the same words completely wrong once again.  I’ve heard from a few others who have kids like that, but it’s a new and frustrating problem for me.  One skill that she has improved on greatly over the past few weeks is the vocabulary box.  She looks up all three words in her dictionary and writes the definition on the page.  Then she has to choose one word to use in a sentence.  This is the part that needs work because she typically just tries to restate the definition.  It has taken some Socratic questioning to pull out of her a sentence that will work.  But her ability to look the words up in the dictionary is so much better than at the beginning of the year.  In another few weeks I think she will manage it on her own completely.

Here are a few pictures:


Little Hearts Unit 3

After thinking about how best to continue to blog about HOD when the girls aren’t all going at the same pace, I decided it might be best to focus on one girl each week.  So instead of the usual oldest to youngest, I’ll go youngest to oldest.

Princess M is on Unit 3 Day 4.  This past week has been a big one.  Her reading seems to be taking off!  While we had finished the Lesson 3 Fluency Practice Sheet over three days, she finished it in two days with Lesson 4.  She could have done it in one, but we only had a limited amount of time that day because of other plans.


Then yesterday, she read the first story in the Run Bug, Run book. When we flipped through the story she didn’t think she was going to be able to read it all. But when she finished, she was so proud!

In math, she powered through lesson 5 and wanted to start lesson 6.  But she was getting picked up by her Nanny (my mom) and so there wasn’t time. 

On Wednesday it was Crazy Hair Night at Awana.  So, since she is a Cubbie, we sprayed her hair blue.

(And even though I’m not writing about her this week now, I have to post the ones of Princess L who is on the yellow team this year.  Princess E decided to put pony tails all over.  The yellow hair spray really looked more green on her.)

I have been impressed with how well Princess M has been listening to and retaining The Adventures of Reddy Fox.  I usually give her some paper and some colored pencils and she draws while I read.  We always start out by trying to remember what happened in the last story we read.  She draws a picture while I read – sometimes about Reddy Fox, sometimes whatever comes to mind. Then I ask her what she remembers about the story, sometimes by asking specific questions, sometimes by just letting her talk.  She does very well.

One thing that seems to happen is that we skip science.  She has more fun joining in on what Princess L is doing, so if there is an experiment or a note booking page for Princess L, I’ve been just letting her do that for science.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re running four guides at one time.