For Unto Us a Child is Born

Merry Christmas from School 4 Princesses!

I have to share a few quick photos.  DH's brother stopped by our house on his way into town from St. Louis.  He brought his dog, Rocky.  The girls just love him!

We have a Santa hat that is traditionally worn by the person who gets to distribute the gifts.  However, when it was time for Princess L to put it on, she couldn't find it.  So she decided to put a Christmas stocking on her head instead.  Isn't she sweet?!

After receiving her gift from her sister (a felt poster with markers from Dollar Tree) Princess M felt the need to give her sister a very sporadic hug.  Since it doesn't happen often, it needed to be captured on film.

I couldn't decide which shot was better for the official shot of the kids all dressed up, so here are the best two.  I'll let you decide for yourself.



May the LORD bless you and your family this Christmas. 


TOG Year 1 Week 15-16

I think that one of the most difficult times to homeschool is that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We've come off of a one week break, and are looking at a two week break. Not to mention all of the pre-Christmas business that seems to take over our lives during the month of December.  This year has been no exception.  While some things are working well, others are not at this point.  So we are looking at a few changes for our second semester.  Technically our second semester doesn't start until mid-January, but for sanity sake we are making some of these changes after Christmas.  So here is a brief synopsis of the last two weeks.

Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
For some reason, I can't seem to find photos for this last week.  I may have accidentally deleted them. We have been working on the letter F - for fish.  She has really been doing well identifying letters, both capital and lower case, and remembering the sounds for the letters we have already studied.  I am trying to decide what we are going to do next year.  I am waffling between doing IEW's PAL at a slow pace, or doing All About Reading.  We will start on MUS Primer next year, as I already have her book.  It will be biter sweet, as it will be the last time through the program.  I know it seems early to be contemplating, but I like to have those decisions made before the homeschool convention.  I usually take our two week spring break to make a list of everything that I hope to find used, or that I need to purchase new without paying shipping.  So really, those decisions need to be made soon.

Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
These last two weeks have been full of reading.  She is still working on her +9 Calculadder facts.  She has received a 9 every day this week so far.  So, if she gets another one tomorrow, I'm going to call it good and move on.  She is usually about ten seconods slow of getting a 10.  Here are the photos we took after she finished reading her books.  (For any book you see more than once it is because we read half the chapters one day and the other half the next.)

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG
SPD issues have been plaguing this princess for a long time.  Lately, she has had an even harder time than normal.  Part of that might be attributed to allergies during fall and early winter, and part of that is excitement for the holidays.  She has been holding her own in math, and has just finished up her Unit Three Test.  She will be starting on Lesson 22 after Christmas.  She is also holding her own in Latin, though she refuses to ask for help when she doesn't understand something.  I keep explaining that it will affect her grade as well as take longer doing things her way.  But what do I know, right?  She is learning a lot more from her Caesar's English than her grade would reflect, as I hear her using some of the words in conversations.  Writing, however, is definitely not her strong suit.  She is extremely creative, but following a checklist as is required in IEW is not something she is good at.  But we keep on because I am convinced that it will someday become easier.

 Princess E - 7th Grade - D
What can I say - frustration doesn't begin to cover it.  We are going to be making most of the changes we are making because of this princess.  I will be praying over the break about how to handle a few issues with her. Ultimately, it is a change of the heart and better choices that are necessary.  And those aren't my area of expertise.  Those belong to the Father above who created her with such a strong will.  He is going to have to do the work in this princess in order to change the direction she is going.  It is a spiritual battle that I feel very inadequate to fight.  So any additional prayer support is greatly appreciated.  About the only subject that she seems to do well at is IEW writing.  She is also very creative, and does a bit better with a checklist.  It comes down to attitude and choices and her attitude toward writing and her choices to work at it are the least resistant.  So I cling to the one positive we have right now.


Kid Funnies - Sort Of

While doing our reading time today, Princess L decided that she was too itchy in the shirt she was wearing.  (Anyone with a kid with SPD issues can understand that one.)  So she decided to change into something different.  I told her she should just take the sweater that was on the top of her drawer.  She said, "But that sweater makes me look fat."  I said, "No it doesn't.  It makes you look very warm."  To which she replied, "Your sweater makes you look really warm, mom."


Homeschool Classifieds

Due to some second semester changes, I have I'm going to sell in order to order some things I want.  So click on the link over there on the right and see I have for sale.  If you get this in a blog reader, you'll want to click through to my blog. 


TOG Year 1 Week 14

After a week off for Thanksgiving break, we hit the books again this week.  This week we returned to Greek mythology, which is a topic that both my older princesses seem to enjoy.  In fact, I think Princess S remembered almost every single Greek god and goddess that she read about from our first time through this several years ago.  The little princesses made some Greek food at the activity time with our TOG friends, and brought home some awesome spanakopita.  Everyone liked it so well, we decided we needed to make some more soon.

 Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
We finished up "d" week.  She really enjoyed the "How Do Dinosaurs . . ." series of books by Jane Yolen.  Over the past three weeks, her numbers have finally started to stick.  I give the credit to the iPad that DH's dad bought.  So far, most of the apps she uses are free ones, except for two apps from Leap Frog.  Those are the two that are helping her the most.  Here she is enjoying her iPad time.

She also had fun with our "d" crafts - a dinosaur and a duck puppet.



Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
This little princess is really enjoying our library time.  Here are the books she read this week:


(And no she didn't wear the same outfit two days in a row - we just forgot to take pictures one day.)   She is also in lesson three of Explode the Code 4.  I decided to wait to incorporate PAL Writing until after Christmas.  I'm going to condense some of the first several lessons of the 2nd book as she is doing the copywork portion with another program.  But we are going to focus on the story outline elements.  We'll do some practice ones, then we'll start using the chart with the books she reads during her library time.

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG
This princess is almost done with lesson 20 in Delta.  She also is almost done with lesson 9 in Latin for Children.  Since she had already read her Lit book for the week, she read through Princess E's book too.  

Princess E - 7th Grade - D
Princess E is working on lesson 19 in Epsilon.  She is on lesson 15 in Latin.  She is continuing to assist Princess L with her piano lessons.  They even played a duet of Mary Had a Little Lamb this past week.   She is working on Module 8 in science, and then we are going to take a break.  She will be starting The Fallacy Detective for the second semester.  I have a few ideas for taking science in a different direction with my "not-so-science-minded" child.



This is a must watch video! Watch it and pass it along.


Rebecca St James

Tonight we went with some good friends to see Rebecca St. James in concert.  We had a blast!  It was a mother daughter concert, so it was filled with mothers and daughters.  But there were lots of dads there too.  It was her Purity and Worship concert, and she sang several songs off her new album.  She also talked a lot about the importance of staying pure.  She was married back in April, so it was really neat to hear her talk about the benefits and blessings that have come as a result of doing things God's way.  I think it's an important message for girls to hear (from someone besides just their own mothers.)

Here are the three girls waiting for the concert to start.

E, S and R

After the concert was over, there was an autograph line.  Princess E had brought her book along to get signed.  And of course we had to get a photo.

RSJ concert

One thing that was very cool about Rebecca is that after every song, she makes it known that all applause belongs to God.  She is just a vessel for His words and melodies.

We even managed to get a mother daughter photo.  (Of course, it took two tries because some members of our family have a hard time looking normal in photos.)

Mom and girls

We had a great night and were so glad to be invited by our friends. 


TOG Year 1 Week 13

This week we began learning about Ancient Greece. Princess S has been waiting for this week so that she could read D'Aulaire's Greek Myths - again.

Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
This week we began the letter D.  We read a bunch of dinosaur books.  This morning we played the Mugs game from IEW PAL.  I was amazed at how many of the letters she was able to say on her own.  She had fun playing with our Leap Frog Dominoes that she found in a drawer.  We tried matching the colors and shapes, and the colored dots, and she loved them both.  Guess we'll have to start playing some more games.

 Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
This week she finished up her MUS lesson on +9/9+.  I made up a drill sheet with those facts, and she has steadily gotten faster throughout the week. We also started Explode the Code Book 4.  But the highlight of her week was graduating from the Discovery cards to the library.  So this morning I gave her five books and told her to spend fifteen minutes reading through them herself.  Then I went into her room and we settled down on her bed and she read all five books to me.  She was very pleased with herself when she was done.  I snapped a photo of it.

PAL Library Day 1

Princess S - 5th Grade  UG
As I mentioned before, Princess S was excited to read Greek Myths again.  This week was a better week for this princess, losing her gerbil not withstanding.  After a horrible week prior to this one, she seemed to have a better attitude about everything.  She is finally beginning to understand long division.  I have no idea what happened to make it start to click - I'm just glad that it did.  She decided that she wants to participate in the piano festival this year, so she got her first song to begin working on this week. She has made a goal for herself to get five points so that she can earn a trophy.  I told her not to put undue pressure, just to work as hard as she can.

 Princess E - 7th Grade  D
This was also a better week for this princess in that she completed all her work.  She received the results of her piano exam and was thrilled to hear she had received highest honors.  She, too, is beginning to work on piano festival songs.  Unfortunately, she has also come down with a cold which she graciously decided to share with me.  So it has also been a week of coughing, sneezing and lots of Kleenex.

Tomorrow I am taking the big two princesses to see Rebecca St. James in concert.  I think it should be a lot of fun.  If I get any decent pictures, I'll be sure to post them.


TOG Year 1 Week 12

This week was a special one because my youngest student turned 4!  We celebrated on Sunday at Pizza Ranch.  Here is a picture with the present we gave her, which has provided hours of fun so far.


Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
This week we finished up the letter C.  Since Nanny was in town, the big project was to make cookies.



We decided to make cookies shaped like the letters we had studied so far.


Unfortunately, we forgot how much snickerdoodles spread, so our cookies ended up very fat, and not looking at all like the letters they were shaped like.


But they still tasted awesome!

She made a pom pom caterpiller.


We counted and measured with our caterpillar.


We made a C caterpillar picture.


And finally, our C puppet was a black cat, just like our Oskar cat.


One thing that I have been mixing in with our Letter of the Week curriculum are the letter stories that go with IEW PAL that we are using with Princess L.  She LOVES these, and they are helping her to really retain the short sounds of the vowels, and the consonants we've done so far.  I work in a review of these letter stories at least once a week.  She gives me the nickname for the letter (which is the memory clue to help write the letter,) then it's name, and finally it's short sound.  Next week it's on to D for dinosaur!

Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
This was a busy week for Princess L.  She has, officially, one lesson left of IEW PAL reading.  She has been working through the discovery cards.  She is currently up to pack 20.  We will plan to finish them by the end of next week.  She also finished up lesson 8 in Math-U-See.  We moved on to lesson 9 - which is, incidentally, adding with nines.  I have always loved this lesson!  Every time they look at what they perceive to be big numbers and say to me, "I won't ever be able to get this."  But once they learn the secret to adding nine to any number, it turns out to be easy.  And they are so pleased with themselves.  It is always an ego boost.  That is what happened this week for Princess L with this lesson.  Since Calculadder goes in a different sequence than MUS, I ended up making my own drill sheet for this one.  She is also finishing up Explode the Code book 3, and we will begin book 4 next week.  I like this series because she has reached a point where she can read the directions and do everything almost completely by herself. 

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG
This week in TOG, we studied the ancient Americas.  The focus in year one is on the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.  In year two there are other tribes that are studied.  These big three tend to be the more violent ones, so we tend to go a bit light on some the details for the more tender-hearted princess of the group. She began lesson 8 in Latin, finished lesson 8 in Caesar's English, and week 13 of Fix-It Grammar.  This next week has us beginning Ancient Greece, and this princess has been looking forward to D'Aulaire's Greek Myths.  She has read it several times.

Princess E - 7th Grade - D
Princess E finished up module 6 in science, and lesson 12 in Latin.  In The Magic Lens, she is almost to the point where she will begin the first loop. She also prepared for her level three piano exam.  She said she felt pretty good about it, so we are anxiously awaiting her scores. 

In another month the girls will begin to work on their songs for Festival, which is in February.  My how time flies in the music world!  Hearing Princess L beginning on piano reminds me of how far Princess E has come in such a relatively short time.  Princess L seems to be doing the same thing that Princess E does - play by ear rather than reading the music.  It comes naturally to Princess E - a gift really.  Perhaps we will see Princess L with this gift as well.  Princess S, while she can do some things by ear, seems to follow my footsteps of reading the music well.  Praise be to God for their gifts and talents!


TOG Year 1 Weeks 10-11

We have been visiting Ancient India and Ancient China the last two weeks.  It is fun to see how much the girls remember from the first time we went through this year plan.  We didn't get a chance to eat Chinese food or Indian food yet, but I plan to do that.  Chinese food is common in our house as DH likes to make it himself.  But I don't believe they have ever had Indian food.

Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
We have finished up letters A and B.  I took photos of letter A but for some reason they aren't on my memory card.  I think some little elves - who shall remain nameless - were using my camera.  But I do have two photos from letter B.  Princess M made a bee and a bear puppet.


Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
IEW PAL Reading - Today we finished up lesson 74.  She started in on the Discovery Cards last Friday and is up to pack 18.  I have her do about three a day, and have her review the cards from the previous pack that she was having a hard time with.
Math-U-See - We started back up this week on lesson 8.  This is a lesson on solving for the unknown.  After a quick refresher, she remembered how to do it.  She finished level four in Calculadder, but since the MUS sequence is different, I will have to mix up the order on Calculadder from here on out. 
All About Spelling - We finished up step 18.  My frustration is that she spells very well during spelling, and during school itself.  But when she makes up one of her many books, her spelling is absolutely horrid - even on words she spelled correctly during school.  It's like all of the rules she knows just leave her brain on vacation.  Not sure how to deal with that as I didn't have that issue with the first two princesses.  But then again, they learned how to read a lot faster too.

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG
In math, Princess S is almost finished with lesson 18.  This has been a more difficult one for her.  She has this need to cross out her numbers, not sure why, and it is making it difficult for me to read her answer.  She also is forgetting about the remainders.  So it's been a bit slower of a lesson.
She is working on lesson seven in Latin.  She is doing quite well and I have decided to speed her up just a little bit. I had originally planned for her to take two years to do this course, but I think she can handle moving just a bit faster so that we'll finish about 3/4 of it this year.
Ceasar's English One - Though she complains about this course, I can definitely see some improvement in her ability to decode words by their stems. 
Science - She is working through the bird unit and is almost done.  She is looking forward to moving on as we have studied birds before.
TOG - Because I didn't get the literature book assigned for her level for our Ancient India week, she ended up reading the D level book and doing the SAPs that go with it.  She did quite well, so I'm thinking I will switch her over to the D level literature books for the third and fourth units of this year.  It will mean that both girls will have to share, but it also means less books to get from the library or purchase.
Other activities - Fix It grammar, Practice Town, Paragraph Town, and IEW Ancient History writing.

Princess E - 7th Grade - D

Princess E is working hard for her piano exam which is next weekend.  She is also Princess L's "piano buddy" as they go in for lessons at the same time and she is assigned to sit with Princess L during piano practice time to help her out. 
MathUSee - She is almost done with lesson 17.  This seemed to be a better lesson for her.
Word Within the Word vocabulary - She studied list five this week.
Magic Lens grammar -  She finished the sections on conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs.  I am now alternating vocabulary and grammar so that she will move a little bit faster with each book.
TOG - She is enjoying her online class through the Lampstand Learning Center.  We continue to work one week ahead of where her class is. 
Science - Module six has her doing a lot of lab experiments.  Since she is really struggling with this, I have decided to finish out this semester with science, and then finish the book next year.  She isn't going to be far enough in math to begin Physical Science next year anyway.  So to fill the void I'm looking at a Logic course which will probably be right up her alley since she loves to argue so much.
Other activities - Fix It grammar, Practice Town, Paragraph Town, IEW Ancient History writing.

It's been a busy two weeks and I anticipate that as we move closer to the holidays, the schedule will start filling up more and more.  I don't know who is looking forward to our one week break at Thanksgiving time more - the girls or me!


Princess M Funny

This morning I was trying to get through all the blogs in my blog reader.  Princess M was at the table eating breakfast.  She asked me for some juice and I told her I'd get some in a minute.  (I think she must hear that a lot.)  She kept on talking, I assume to me since I was the only one around, and asked several questions that I only half-heartedly listened to.  Finally she walked over to the computer, put her hand on my shoulder and said to me, "If you just get me some juice I'll stop talking."


Awana Color Night

Every year our Awana Club has a color night.  Our family's tradition is to spray their hair their team color.  Thankfully, all three of my Awana girls needed blue.

First Year Cubbie

Second Year Sparky

Third Year TNT

Three Blue-Haired Beauties

New Piano Diva

Today was Princess L's first day of piano lessons.  To say that she was excited is not enough.  She is so happy to finally be like her big sisters.



TOG Year 1 Unit One End

We have finished the first unit of year one!  I will do a separate post on the Seder meal that had with our friends.  The last two weeks we have accomplished the following:

Princess M - PreTOGGler

We finished up the letter U.  Here are our U crafts - an umbrella bird puppet and an umbrella.



She also decided to build "a machine" this week - her words.



Princess L - 1st Grade - LG

This little princess is rolling along with IEW PAL reading.  We just finished up lesson 63.  She is beginning the Discovery portion, which involves decoding ten words on her own and then reading them to me.  When she completes all 30 Discovery packs, she will move on to the library.  I checked out a whole bunch of books that she can start reading as soon as she moves through Discovery.  She really wants to start them, so I have to keep them under wraps for now.  She has passed level three in her math drills, and is working on level four.  We will be starting back up with Math-U-See in another week.  She is almost done with ETC Book 3 as well.  With All About Spelling, she has just finished step 15 of level one.   But, she is most excited about the fact that she will be starting piano lessons on Thursday.

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG

Princess S is working on lesson 17 in Delta, and is anxious to begin long division.  Well, not really, but I'm hoping she is.  She has also finished lesson five in Latin, which is the first review chapter.  She aced her test to boot.  She is halfway through the second unit in science which has her learning about birds.  In extra curricular news, she is moving right along in her Ultimate Challange Awana book.  She is also excited to have a solo in her worship dance group's performance coming up in November.  All the fifth graders got a section of the song to choreograph a solo to.

Princess E - 7th Grade - D

Princess E is enjoying her online class through Tapestry's Lampstand Learning Center.  She finished up lesson 15 in Epsilon, though I'm not yet confident she totally understands the concept of reducing fractions.  She will do well through much of the worksheet, then suddenly miss a bunch of obvious ones.  She has finished lesson 9 in Latin and is beginning the second review.  She is beginning module 5 in General Science.  On the music front, she is preparing for a piano exam on November 12th.  She almost has all four songs memorized.  She is also going to be sharing her testimony at youth group coming up in November.


Keep Unions Out of Childcare

I added a button to my sidebar.  But I'm going to post about it because if it is happening in my state, it could be happening in yours.  Unions like AFSCME and SEIU are going door to door duping home child care workers into signing petitions saying they want to be unionized.  They are lying about who they are, their purpose for their visit, and are using thug tactics to scare these home day care providers.  The unions are trying to force our governor into signing an executive order declaring all home day care providers as union members, thereby requiring them to pay union dues, which would then raise the cost of day care to everyone.  These thugs are going so far as to enter people's homes without knocking during the lunch hour.  Here is a video (13 minutes of a 3 hour state senate hearing) which reveals the hideous tactics.

If you live in Minnesota, or if you have friends in any state who are home day care providers, please pass this information along to them. Then check out this website where you can add your name to the petitions against this kind of behavior. 


Catching Up

So - it's been a while.  I've been trying to get caught up in entering things into HST+, and figuring out why various programs aren't working.  I've got everything back to normal except I can no longer access Pandora on my computer!  This is a might bit distressing because I love having it on in the background while doing various tasks at my computer.  I'm going to breeze through the last several weeks in an effort to get caught up.  I'll start with this slide show of photos (mostly of the little two princesses) of school over the last few weeks.

As you can see, Princess M is moving along.  We finished I, O and are about halfway through U.  I am amazed at how well she is doing remembering the short sounds of the vowels.  The little stories from IEW PAL, combined with the characters from the Leap Frog movie are really helping her a lot.  She is having fun with the activities from Letter of the Week. 

Princess L went in for vision therapy testing.  She is a bit of a different case than what they've seen before.  As such, they want her to try a pair of reading glasses for a few weeks to see if we see any difference.  If there is a difference, then we will get a pair for her to wear for school and close work for a year and re-test.  I haven't really determined if there is a difference yet.

With our TOG studies, we are just finishing up week 8 today.  We have been enjoying listening to the Old Testament on audio for our Bible times.  Princess S is just going to be starting lesson 17 in MUS Delta.  This lesson sets her up to learn long division in the next several lessons.  This was where Princess E slowed down, so I'm anticipating that to happen again.  Princess E is slowly moving through lesson 15 in Epsilon.  She has finished up Module 4 in General Science.  I have offered her the chance to retake the first few tests.  She did much better on the first one.  But, the offer is only good for a week, and she will not be given the chance again.  I also am taking away her option to schedule herself for this work.  We gave it a quarter and she was not doing a good job.  So now she has to follow MY schedule!  The same with Latin.  She was not making good use of her time and ended up doing a whole bunch of pages on one day.  That meant that she kept making the same mistake over and over and getting horrible scores.  No more!  She will now follow my schedule.

I am really struggling with the lack of drive in my eldest two students.  The road to excellence is one that requires a self-will to travel it.  Princess E wants to walk the road of excellence with her music - but that is all.  I cannot force my students to want to get good grades and do the best work that they possibly can.  That has to be something they want for themselves.  Apparently, this is not something they want - and it is driving me crazy!  I cannot relate to the lack of motivation in that area.  And as such, I have no idea how to bring it out of them.  If we continue this path, Princess E will be repeating 7th grade.  She has a summer birthday so it really will cause no problems to hold her back a year.  But she will be madder than a wet hornet.  A logical person would reason that this would be enough to motivate a person - but not my stronger-than-diamonds-willed child.  Princess S has different, yet equally maddening, issues. Her inability to stay organized throughout the day; her losing of assignments, books and pencil; and her consistent wasting of time throughout the day leaving her to do school ALL.WAKING.HOURS.LONG is draining me of all my energy.  But I will keep on keeping on - because that is all I know how to do.  That and cling to the promise that God will sustain me.


Computer Repairs

I got my computer back from a three week visit to the computer repair shop.  I'm still working on getting things loaded as they had to completely rebuild it.  So I'm hoping to get a few posts up soon.  I even have a few pictures.  In the meantime, I've got three weeks worth of assignments to get entered into HST Plus which will keep me busy.  And I need to go through and make a few changes for the second quarters worth of assignments that will be printed out next week.  Busy, busy, busy.


Drama Queen in Training

I wouldn't have believed it unless I'd heard it with my own ears. This morning I sent Princess M back to her room to clean up the legos she had tossed all over. She fussed about it but walked into her room. After a half minute or so she let out a big sigh and said, "Mom, you're ruining my life." I have no idea where she picked that up from. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing, and then had to compose myself to explain why she really cannot talk to me that way. She really is a drama queen in training.


TOG Year 1 Week 4

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG

Latin For Children Primer A: Lesson 3 is finished and 4 is started.
Globalmania Geography: Beginning Europe.
Language Arts
Fix-It! Tom Sawyer: Finished through week six.
Grammar Town: She has one week left before starting Paragraph Town.
Practice Town: Finished through sentence 15.
McCall-Crabbs Book B: Done through lesson 12.
Caesar's English One: She began lesson 3.
Science - God's Marvelous Works: She is taking her first unit test on Monday.
MUS Delta: She is almost ready for lesson 14 test.
TOG Yr1 Wk 4: This week covered the first ten chapters of Genesis.   Last year, our church spent the entire year studying this section of the Bible.  And we studied it in depth.  So I decided that we would just take this week a bit lightly so that they didn't get bored with the overkill.  She began doing important people on Quizlet this week.  Reading: Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (UAW) - excerpts, What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, The True Story of Noah's Ark, On Noah's Ark, Bible - Genesis 1-10.

Princess E - 7th Grade - D
Latin For Children Primer B: Lesson 5 and begin Lesson 6
Globalmania Geography: Same as above
Language Arts
Fix-It! Frog Prince: Finished through week six.
The Magic Lens: Working on verbs section.
Practice Town: Same as above
Essay Voyage: She wrote a paragraph on an animal (she choose a chinchilla) and finished the first unit.
McCall-Crabbs Book B: Same as above
The Word Within the Word 1 (WWW1): She is working on the third word list.
MUS Epsilon: Lesson 13 - She is having a bit of a time with reducing fractions.  I've printed out some extra worksheets so that she can have some more practice before taking the test.  I think the big problem is that she is leaving math for the end of the day and is in such a hurry to get done she just isn't thinking straight.
TOG Yr1 Wk 4: She had her second online class this week - and seemed to really enjoy it.  Timeline cards were done.  AQ/TQs.  Reading: Early Times: The Story of Ancient Egypt - excerpts, Tales of Ancient Egypt, Bible - same as above.

Princess L Through Week 6

Getting in a weekly update is just plain difficult this year!  I don't know how it's really going to happen.  So I'll just update on everyone when I can.  This post will be about Princess L.  We have been doing some major reviewing.  One problem with switching phonics curriculums as much as I have is that you have to do so much reviewing because each one teaches some things so differently.  If you don't start at the beginning, you don't always understand some of the lingo, acronyms or ways of marking words that are used.  They aren't all the same!  There are definitely some aspects of IEW PAL that I like.  At the moment, we are only doing the reading portion.  (She knows all her letters - though some are still backwards - so the first writing book was just too slow for her.  The story sequence is important, but we're going to hold off on that part until later.  The second writing book is mostly copywork, and I decided to get A Reason for Handwriting for her instead.  She really needs the starting dots right now as she has a hard time getting her letters a uniform size without that reference.)  We are pretty much doing two reading lessons a day.  I think she really could do one more, but I generally begin to run out of steam when we get to that point of our day.  Today we finished up lessons 28-29.

As part of IEW PAL, she has started All About Spelling Book 1.  I really like this program.  We aren't using it exactly as written, but she is flying through it.  We are already at step 13. Seeing as how both of her older sisters are great spellers, I'm not surprised.  However, one of Princess L's favorite past times right now is writing stories.  When she writes stories, all her phonics and spelling skills seem to disappear!  I'm anticipating that she will move into Book 2 sometime around her birthday in March.  Or perhaps we'll have to hold her off until after the MACHE conference to see if I can find it used somewhere.

She is also continuing to do about two pages of Explode the Code Book 3 each day.  She does this on her own, for the most part, except for the pages where you read the sentences and match it to the picture.  I do those with her.  And it is this exercise that has me convinced that she needs vision therapy.  She is going to be evaluated for it the beginning of October.

In Math, she has finally passed level two of Calculadder and has moved on to level three.  This level corresponds with MUS Alpha lesson 8 which is the +2/2+ facts.  When she gets close to passing this level, I will bring the Alpha book back out, as this is where we left off. 

Finally, TOG.  I say this with a big sigh because although I love TOG - I'm finding it difficult to work into her day.  It's not her fault.  Really, it the fault of her big sisters, who need to be brought back into focus every few minutes.  When I began TOG with the big two, both of them were much better readers than Princess L is right now.  So, I only read aloud one or two of the books each week, and they did the rest on their own.  By the time I finish school with Princess M, have had meetings with the big two, then have finished all  of the above work with Princess L (all the while bringing everyone else back to their tasks, attempting - and usually failing - to do some house chores, and keeping Princess M occupied throughout the day) I'm generally not awake enough, sane enough, or patient enough to sit down to read the TOG books.  Since we are in year one, much of the history is written in the Bible.  To me, that is really the meat of this year.  So every day we have been listening to this. This has been a wonderful addition to our Bible time! The girls usually draw pictures of what is going on each day as we listen. Sometimes we only listen in the morning. Other times we also listen at lunch. It depends how much reading is assigned in that week. This next week we will be listening to 29 chapters, so we'll listen three times most days.


TOG Year 1 Weeks 2-3

Short and sweet, because I'm pressed for time, here's our accomplishments over the past two weeks.

Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
IEW-PAL: Writing - I've set the writing part aside for the moment and purchased A Reason for Handwriting First Grade.  We're using the first part of the book to review letter formation and then will move to the one week lesson format.  To be honest, I just needed to add in some seatwork to begin her day with.  I'm usually trying to transition Princess M into a room time after finishing her preschool.  So to begin Princess L with some simple copywork that will keep her in her seat became a necessity.
Reading - We're working through two lessons a day and are up to lesson 20.  These are really review for her, but she needs the review.  I am pretty much convinced she is going to need vision therapy.  Having gone through it before with Princess S, I see all the signs when Princess L is reading.  I added in the All About Spelling portion and she is already at step 10.  I am modifying it slightly in that we do the ten words on the board.  If she gets any of them wrong, then I have her write those words on paper as well.  Then I give her the Reinforcement words to spell on paper.  So far she is doing great.
Math: She finally passed level 2 of Calculadder.  So we will do MUS Alpha lesson 7 (+2, 2+) and move to Calculadder level 3.  I added these to her flashcard stack at the end of last year, so while she has seen them, it takes her quite a while to get the answers correct.  But I have seen some improvement over the last five weeks.
TOG Yr 1 Wk 2-3:  Aside from the cookie dough maps, this has really fallen by the wayside.  It takes so much time to do school that I just don't have the energy to do these with her.  When we began TOG four years ago, Princess S was in 2nd grade.  We were doing the same level as Princess L, but Princess S was reading so much better.  She would read all the books on her own - even the ones I had told her we were going to do as read alouds.  Princess L is just not able to read any of these on her own.  I'm trying not to fret over it and will just do what I can.  She is listening to the Story of the World on CD with us over lunch, as well as listening to all the Bible readings with us in our morning Bible time.  I guess that's the important part anyway.

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG

Latin For Children Primer A (LFC-A):  Lesson 3 - She fretted again about noun declensions, claiming to not understand them.  But when she was willing to settle down and listen, she discovered it was quite easy.  Go figure!
Globalmania Geography:  This is our last week with the countries in Asia.
Language Arts
Fix-It Tom Sawyer: Finished through week five.  This last week we added in identifying quality adjectives.  She is finally beginning to understand the difference between to and too. 
Grammar Town:  She is on the home stretch with this book.  She had a fun exercise to complete this week where she had to come up with sentences using the three types of phrases she studied - prepositional phrases, gerund phrases and appositive phrases.  She did amazingly well.
Practice Town:  Both princesses are rocking at the four part sentence analysis!  Too bad they don't seem to be incorporating what they know into their own writing.
McCall-Crabbs Book B:  Done through lesson 10.
Caesar's English One:  She finished lesson 2.
Science - God's Marvelous Works:  She is studying for her first unit test. 
MUS Delta:  Today she aced the lesson 13 test. 
TOG Yr1 Wks 2-3:  These weeks she was learning about the various gods of Egyptian mythology as well as the beliefs about the afterlife.  These are incoporated with a study of the ten plagues that God inflicted a proud Egypt with.  It was interesting to see how they line up. 
Reading: Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (UAW) - excerpts, What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Bible - Exodus 19-40, Maia of Thebes, Pepi and the Secret Names

Princess E - 7th Grade - D
Latin For Children Primer B (LFC-B):  Lesson 4 and begin lesson 5.
Globalmania Geography:  Same as above
Language Arts
Fix-It The Frog Prince: Finished through week five.  She is beginning this week to identify one or two of the sentence openers.
The Magic Lens: Finish up section on adjectives.
Practice Town:  Same as above
McCall-Crabbs Book B:  Same as above
The Word Within the Word 1 (WWW1):  She worked on list two and tested on it.  She did a lot better on the analogy section this time.
MUS Epsilon:  Lesson 12 and begin lesson 13.
TOG Yr1 Wks 2-3:  This was to be the first week of her online class, but she ended up missing it.  I must have been reading the time difference wrong since the beginning and she ended up logging in to a Rhetoric Literature class.  She got out after ten minutes.  So she had to listen to a recording of the class.
Reading: Early Times: The Story of Ancient Egypt - excerpts, Science in Ancient Egypt - excerpts, Understanding Jewish Holidays and Customs - excerpts,  The Golden Goblet, Tales of Ancient Egypt, Bible - Exodus 19-40.

Princess M Preschool Check In 2

These first five weeks of school have been very hard.  We have had one great-grandmother pass away.  The other great-grandmother broke her leg and had major surgery.  Nanny came to visit for a week and a half.  Princess L was sick for a whole week.  Other various issues have plagued us as well.  So about a week and a half ago, I was feeling extremely discouraged about preschool.  I think it was just another in the litany of spiritual attacks that I have had to weather.  I have been lamenting that she just doesn't seem to be cooperating or getting the idea in many areas.  So I've been contemplating either dropping preschool completely or going with something a bit less structured.  One thing I had been doing is incorporating the letter stories from IEW's PAL curriculum that I'm using with Princess L.  The day after my major frustration hit, Princess M was paging through a workbook and pointed to the letter e.  She said, "Hey it's the toothy letter!"  She then pointed out an i and said, "And that's the sad letter!"  She could even tell me the sounds.  I was amazed.  So, I'm thinking that I just need to loosen up and not expect too much.  She will catch on in her own time.

So, we finished up the letter i this week.  I had figured to be all done with the vowels by now, but since I'm loosening up, I will not be pushing to finish on any schedule.  Here are a few pictures of some things we did.


We made an I iguana.


We made an inchworm.


We made an iguana bag puppet that says - of course - \i\.

We will be starting the letter O next week. 


Ancient Egypt Cookie Dough Map

Today, we had some good friends come over to join us in one of our favorite TOG activities - making cookie dough maps!  It was a lot more fun having friends join us.  The bigger girls took lots of time making sure that their elevations were just right - only to have them melt away in the oven.  But I think they completely understand that Upper Egypt is called that because it is higher in elevation, not because it is on the top of the map.  The little girls just had fun putting things on their frosting glaze.  Here's the photo of the whole group - acting silly of course!


Here's a slideshow of our afternoon.


Princess L Follies

Princess L spent about 30 minutes today getting out a tooth.  It is the sixth tooth she has lost.  She had blood all over her hands, but was happy.  Until I told her to go wash her hands.  And she just had to take her tooth out of the tooth box over the sink.  And the tooth fell out of her wet hands and went down the drain.  She was devastated - until I handed her a dollar bill.


TOG Year 1 Week 1

Did I take a nap - or did the summer just fly by?  We've had a very different beginning three weeks than I had anticipated when planning for them at the beginning of the summer.  We doubled up some days to have some days off due to a funeral.  Princess L got sick and stayed that way for a week.  Nanny came for an unexpected visit.  And a few tasks that I overlooked this summer meant pushing back some work an extra day or two.  But I guess we all need to learn to roll with the punches, right?

Last year I reported on the girls work oldest to youngest.  So it's only fair to do youngest to oldest this year.

Princess M - Pre-TOGGLER
This princess is enjoying being a preschooler.  I'm trying not to have any notions of what I think she should be able to do based on what her older sisters were able to do, and simply go with what she presents.  As such, I've been surprised about a few things and looking at changing a few things.  Our first three weeks we went through the letters 'a' and 'e'.  We did many of the activities listed in Letter of the Week, as well as some other activities I had on hand.  While I tried to follow the outline of the plans included with LOTW, we ended up mixing things up based on what she had interest in.  Here are a few pictures:

A is for alligator

A is for alligator.
A is for apple

A is for apple tree.
Letter poking 2

Letter E pin poking. 
E is for elephant

E is for elephant.
Counting with peanut butter chips

Elephant counting with peanut butter chips.  (This was one of her favorite activities.  I wonder why?)

Princess L - 1st Grade - LG
Princess L got a bit behind because of her illness, which we think was Fifth Disease due to the rash.  I had hoped to get further in our review than we did.  
IEW-PAL: Writing - After beginning book one, I decided it was way too easy for her.  She does struggle with a couple of letters, but that is normal. (I'll save what I printed for Princess M for next year.)  Book Two is essentially all copywork.  I haven't decided yet if I will use the PAL book or use the copywork sheets I have that match what we are doing in TOG.  I'm leaning toward the latter.  Reading - This one has been more of a struggle to figure out where to put her.  She played every single one of the folder games already except the math one, which I didn't put together.  They were all very easy for her.  Yet, she still has some issues with the sounds that the vowels make.  She can always remember the long sound, and often the short sound; but when it makes more than two she struggles with that.  So I've decided to begin All About Spelling with her now to cement in the sounds.  We will do the first student workbook (because she enjoys the cut and paste and coloring,) but we will be doing two or three lessons a day.  We are also going through the Phonetic Farm in the order it is presented.  We learned most of the rules presented already, but I really like the way they represent it visually.  So far we've finished through lesson eight - though really that was all done in the last couple of days.
Math: We are taking a bit of a break from MUS Alpha at the moment.  I had begun the Calculadder drills with her last year.  She seems to have completely forgotten how to do them.  So every day we are reviewing the math facts she learned last year (+0, +1, +2 and the reverse) as flashcards every day.  Then she is doing a level two Calculadder drill sheet (which is all +1s) each day.  As soon as she passes to level four, we will begin where we left off with MUS.  I will refrain from moving her to the next lesson until she can pass the corresponding Calculadder level.
TOG Yr 1 Wk 1:  Due to her illness, we didn't do much with this.  We read The Nile River and part of Geography A to Z.  I had copywork for her, but due to her illness, she didn't do it.
I don't have pictures of her doing school work, but I do have photos from phy ed/recess time where she is trying to learn how to roller blade.  She is great at walking in them, but can't figure out how to get them to roll.  The broom was for balance, but it also helped sweep off the driveway.

Phy Ed - roller blading

Phy Ed - roller blading 2

Princess S - 5th Grade - UG
Since I didn't list out the first two weeks assignments before, I'll just mention them in here.  For my eldest two princesses, I am trying something new.  Since I use HST+, I have all of my lesson plans in the computer.  I printed out a list of all the assignments for each individual subject for the entire quarter.  They are deciding how much work to assign themselves each week.  I have some bare minimums (there must be at least two assignments done for each subject except for math - which has five assignments a week) and they decide how much extra to do.  I explained that they have two options if they finish the work in any subject before quarter's end.  They can either ask me to print the next quarter's work and start in on it, or they can take a break from that subject for the rest of the quarter.  This is a total experiment - we'll see how they do.
Latin For Children Primer A (LFC-A):  Lessons 1-2  The first two weeks of school she was saying how much she loved Latin.  That changed this last week, mostly because she didn't understand "conjugating" and didn't want to take the time to ask me.  However, after a quick lesson from me, she understands it and is back to liking it again.
Globalmania Geography:  This princess has discovered how much she loves to play Seterra.  We are spending five weeks learning the countries in Asia.  I haven't decided if I want them to learn the capital cities yet or not.   I'm thinking that we will be repeating this program with them in another year or so and will wait on the Capital Cities until then.
Language Arts:
Fix-It Tom Sawyer: First three weeks are done.  We figured out a rhythm that works.  She does the sentences on her own each day and we go through them at our half hour meeting.  Then on the fifth day, she types up the corrections on the computer and turns them in.  I had thought about having her write them but she has a hard time with handwriting, so we're leaving that skill for her copywork alone.
Grammar Town:  I have only the teacher's manual for this book. I keep looking for a used student book.  She has been reading this on her own and then each week I go through the book and ask her questions (the Socratic method from TOG applied to MCT) about various sentences.  She is finished through page 77.  Click here to see a fun writing activity she did this week.
Practice Town:  These are normally not started until after Grammar Town is over, but since the first few sentences are mostly review we started now.  They do one every other day at the beginning of our meeting time.  Sentences 1-7 are completed.
McCall-Crabbs Book B:  They alternate this book with Practice Town during our meeting time.  They are done with the first eight exercises.
Caesar's English One:  She completed lesson one and has begun lesson two.
Science - God's Marvelous Works:  She completed the first three lessons.  This first unit is on insects.  She did one experiment floating a greased pin on a piece of tissue in a cup of water.  
MUS Delta:  She completed lessons 10 and 11 and is almost done with lesson 12.  I have the feeling that around the end of the year, she may very well catch up to her sister.
TOG Yr1 Wk1:  This week we began our study of the ancient world.  As we have studied this before, this week was very much a review for them of the things they remembered from three years ago.  Some things we are doing the same with this princess.  She is still using Quizlet, but instead of having her go over vocabulary words, I have entered the Important People for each week.  i am requiring both princesses to do a Key Word Outline for their History Core readings.  Then they have to use those to narrate back to me what they learned.  Also, we are only going to be doing some of the geography assignments - the one I deem most important - as we are doing Globalmania with the purpose of learning what countries are where around the whole globe.  So this week they reviewed the continents and oceans.  Reading: Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (UAW) - excerpts, Maia of Thebes

Princess E - 7th Grade - D
Any dreams I had of this princess suddenly buckling down and hitting the  books happily were gone after only one week.  We have ongoing issues with her that just never seem to end.
Latin For Children Primer B (LFC-B):  Lessons 1, 2 and 3 - However, I discovered that she was not doing her corrections as assigned.  I will be giving her a closed book test next week so she must get those done this weekend.
Globalmania Geography:  As much as Princess S loves Seterra, Princess E dislikes Seterra.  They are very competitive and I think she's gotten frustrated that Princess S is doing better than she is at learning the Asian countries.
Language Arts:
Fix-It The Frog Prince: We are using the same method as we are with Princess S.  However, for the first half of the year I told her we will not be identifying the IEW dress ups as I don't feel she's done it long enough to adequately identify them.  I hope by the third quarter she will have used it enough that we can add that in.  I think identifying them will help her to use them better in her own writing.
The Magic Lens:  I knew there would be a learning curve with this book.  She hasn't yet established a good rhythm with this book.  We are using the book just before the most current re-write, so the whole first part of the book is mostly reading and discussing, which we've not had time to do a good job with yet.  She has read the sections on nouns and pronouns.

Practice Town:  For my own sanity, I am having both princesses do this level of the practice books.  Sentences 1-7 are completed.
McCall-Crabbs Book B:  Done through exercise eight.
The Word Within the Word 1 (WWW1):  She finished the first word list.  She had a difficult time with the analogies, so we are going to have to spend more time on them in the next list.
Apologia General Science:  While she had a good start, this has not gone well the last two weeks.  She was under the impression that she was doing fine.  She completed the study guide and told me she was prepared for the test.  But she failed the test.  I knew that it was going to be a rocky start, but I didn't anticipate it being this rocky.  We will keep plugging away at it.  The problem comes with her absolute refusal to ask for help when she doesn't understand something.  She thinks reading something is enough - but she is learning that it is more than checking off that you've read the pages.
MUS Epsilon:  She completed lessons 10 and 11.  I'm not thoroughly convinced that she understands division of fractions.  She has a hard time remembering the order of things, and has a heck of a time reducing them.  Not sure why, except that fractions always bugged me.  But I wasn't able to stop where I was until I got it.  I can do that - and may very well stop her after lesson 12 and just give her practice pages off the MUS website until she can remember the steps every time.
TOG Yr1 Wk1:  Again, this was a review week.  She will be doing her discussions via an online class at the Lampstand Learning Center.  She had an open house and an online meeting with her class.  She is nervous and excited about this class.  I think she is going to see very quickly that her method of doing things, and her lack of zeal for excellence (how's that for trying to sound positive) will have her lagging behind in this class.  Reading: Early Times: The Story of Ancient Egypt - excerpts, Science in Ancient Egypt - excerpts, The Golden Goblet.

Also, we all listened to the Introduction and Chapter Two of The Story of the World on audiobook.