Princess L - God's Praising Princess

This past year, Princess L has been attending a princess ballet class.  Her wonderful teacher, Miss Karen Wilde-Berry (isn't that a great name?), has taken her love of ballet and her love  for the LORD and designed her classes around the idea that we are Children of the King of Kings.  Her classes are all about praising King Jesus with dancing, songs, poems, and laughter.  Princess L has gone through all five of the princess levels.  At the end of each level, the girls receive a piece of princess costume.  Last Tuesday was the final recital of the year, and the girls earned their princess gown.  Here's the story in pictures . . .

Here is Princess L waiting to begin.

Waiting to Begin

After a short processional and quick dance, the girls were presented with their princess gowns.

Getting the gown

I love how Princess L couldn't stop looking at her gown.  She said it made her feel like a princess.

All decked out

All lined up for the second processional.

The processional

The princesses curtsey.  You'll notice the blue dresses.  The older class received the blue gowns.

The princess curtsey

Bowing down to King Jesus.


Another aspect that Miss Karen works in is public speaking.  For the younger girls class, she always asks them a question and they are to answer in a complete sentence for the whole crowd to hear.

The interview

Here's the beginning of a demi-plie.

Waiting for the cue

The group shots.

The group

Another group shot with Miss Karen.

God's Praising Princesses

Princess L and Miss Karen.  Thanks Miss Karen for a wonderful year of dancing and praising King Jesus.  May He bless you richly with His love and grace.

With Miss Karen

What I've Learned From 3 Years of Tapestry of Grace

I just finished my third year of TOG.  I did year one during the 2008/2009 school year.  Princess E was UG, Princess S was LG (though she did read many things on her own), Princess L was three turning four and Princess M was one year old.  I only glanced at the Teacher's Notes most week, preferring to get what I needed to know from reading many of the girls books a week before they did.  It was just more interesting and easier that way.  We did maps the easy way - I gave them the teacher map and they copied in the answers.  They didn't color the maps unless it was necessary for understanding.  We did several cookie dough maps, several hands on projects and that was all I could handle.  During the 2009/2010 year, I started Princess L in preschool (which was really MFW K done over two weeks per lesson) and that made me busier.  We did year two.  The big changes were few.  We added in The Story of the World, which I purchased the audio CDs for and we listened to them over lunch.  Because I was busier with Princess L, Princess S did the LG reading on her own.  Princess E did three units at the UG level and then transitioned to some D level work that last unit.  We did a few hands on projects, not as many as I would have liked, and called it good.  I began to see how unprepared Princess E was for the D level.  I began to see some skills that needed to be built up. 

For the 2010/2011 year, I decided to skip year three in order to join a TOG co-op that was a half hour away.  Princess E did full time D level, Princess S did UG level work, and though I intended to do some LG with Princess L, I just didn't have time.  Princess L did MFW 1st Grade.   Princess E and I struggled, all year long, with the Socratic Discussions that are done at the D level.  She fought the work load - whining that she couldn't find the answers in her reading and not reading for understanding but reading to get Mom off my back and have her free time.  I grew weary of the argument. Needless to say, I realize that I've got some more work to do in order to get Princess S ready to transition to D in another year.

Next year we will again be doing year one.  Both Princess E and Princess S seem to remember many of the facts they learned the first year.  Actually, I'm kind of surprised by that.  It tells me that they were probably reading and understanding more than they let on.  One thing I did then, that I am planning to continue now, is something I learned from MFW.  That is the concept of the book basket.  When I went to the library to pick up the books I had reserved, I would look at the call numbers and go to those sections.   I would pick up other books in those sections that looked interesting.  Then I kept them in the library basket.  I didn't assign those books, but inevitably, the girls would pick them up and read them.  I think the majority of their learning came from the reading they didn't have to do.  But, since the books had the facts that were deemed important on the Threads pages, I was fine with that.

Here are some of my learned strategies.  First, the LG level is all about the fun.  I'm planning to make sure I get to the History Core book each week.  I plan to read it with Princess L and have her narrate back to me - a la Charlotte Mason - and do one of the LG Response Pages for the book.  I have the History Scribe books, and I will pick out one or two that go with the threads for the week to have her copy and draw a picture for.  If I have the History In Depth book, or if it looks interesting to me and our library has it, I may add that in if we have a lighter week.  I want to make sure to get in at least one hands on project every other week with Princess L and Princess M.  And instead of doing the paper maps at this stage, we're going to do one cookie dough map per unit.  I also have a map skills workbook that I purchased from Sam's Club years ago that I will be using with Princess L. 

Second, for Princess S, this will be her last year at the UG level.  I have identified some skills that I want to build up so that she is able to transition to the D level by the end of the year.  I plan to have her do a KWO - a la IEW - for her History Core book each week.  She is going to fight this - but I think that it is a skill that will help her to find the important facts in her reading.  She has had great trouble with that this past year.  She will narrate from her KWO what she has learned.  For the History In Depth books, I will not require the KWO, but I will require her to narrate the book to me, and complete some type of response page.  I will be using the History Scribe pages for her as well, more for the fact that she needs the handwriting practice, but she might as well practice on something that has meaning.  I am considering having her do some of the D level literature books.  She certainly can read at that level, and I think she would have an easier time transitioning in this area than learning to do the AQ/TQ questions and discussions.  That would give us less to have to deal with next year.  I won't have her do all of them, but I will have her do at least two D level books per unit. 

For Princess E, this will be her second full year at the D level.  Next year, she will be doing the LLC for her history discussion.  For the moment, I am planning on being one week ahead of the LLC for our reading.  That way she is assured of getting her reading done.  We run our TOG week from Friday to Thursday.  Her online discussion day will be Wednesday.  So she will have time on the weekend to catch up on anything that she is missing.  If that proves to difficult for her, we can switch things up easily.  I will be requiring her to do a KWO for her History Core as well.    She will have to read the History In Depth, as there are often AQ/TQ  questions from those as well.  I'm debating whether to require the KWO for that as well, or just to have her narrate them to me.  I will have her turn in her written AQ/TQs to me and look them over.  She usually does these on her netbook as she can type much faster than she can handwrite.  She won't have to do any copywork, but I will be adding in some dictation for both my elder princesses, as I have determined that their ability to listen and put down what they heard on paper is sorely lacking.

I have come to the conclusion that Charlotte Mason's idea of Reading, Narrating, Copywork and Dictation are all skills that my eldest two have been lacking.  We are going to use her ideas at a much higher level next year.  And I know how to focus my efforts with my little two in the future.

I've come to embrace the idea that TOG is a smorgasbord.  There is so much there, but I just don't have time to do it all.  I need to use the TOG materials as a springboard to build up the skills that my kids need, and how I use it will be determined by what skills they need.  I also will worry a lot less about getting every thing in at the early years, and even with my older two, and instead focus on the Threads pages.  If they can understand the two or three concepts I think are most important, I'll call it good.  I'll worry less about whether we've completed all the SAPs we can, or whether we've read every book.  Instead, I'm going to focus on their listening skills, and their ability to comprehend what they read and communicate it back to others.


Ending the 2010/2011 Year

Today is our last day for this school year.  Princess L finished up on Monday.  We finished the Old Testament in her MFW Bible Reader.  We will probably read this once or twice a week over the summer break and do the notebooking. 

For Princess E and Princess S, it has been a very busy week.  We spent last week and this week focusing on our science and IEW.  We completed our science book - Our Planet Earth - from the God's Design for Heaven and Earth series.  We skipped many of the lengthier experiments but will be building a life-size volcano out of ice cream, crushed oreos and chocolate syrup.  Okay - maybe not life-size - but we will be building a small volcano yet.  It will be an activity we decided to wait to do when Nanny comes to visit sometime next week.  They also finished their IEW writing course - Student Writing Intensive Level A.  It was a lot of writing in a short amount of time, but we got through it.  I debated doing the SICC-A next year.  I decided it was just two pricey for us right now.  So we're going to be doing the Ancient History Writing Lessons to go along with Tapestry of Grace Year One.

Today we are doing our last school activity for the year - our CAT testing.  Princesses L & M are over at a friend's house and we are doing all six tests in one sitting.  Then they are officially on summer break.  More on how we will spend our summer later.

Princess L Funnies

Today, we were driving past a cemetery.  There were workers mowing the lawn and trimming around all the headstones.  Princess L was watching and said, "Look, Mom!  Is that a flower park?  Can we walk around and look at all the flowers?"


TOG Year 4 Week 36

We have one week left of this school year.  I think I blinked - it's gone already.  I have been working hard to get most of next year's stuff ready so that I can have some summer days where I'm not doing school-related work.  Most everything is done other than printing.  I usually print off all the student pages I will be using for TOG, three hole punch them, and put them in file folders by weeks.  I may do this by unit this year, as I'm not yet sure to what extent I will be including Princess L, and am not sure yet how or when I will transition Princess S up to the D level.  I've been toying with the idea of switching her for Literature first.  She can certainly handle the amount of reading and the depth of the reading.  It's the literature elements that she needs the work on.  But moving her up to Lit first I think would be easier than moving her up in both history and lit as I did with Princess E.  So, I think I may do my printing a unit at a time.

I have tentatively sold several things that I have decided against using with Princess M.  I have buyers that need to wait until the end of the month when they get paid.  Then I plan to make a few small purchases for Princess L for next year.  I am leaning towards doing the Letter of the Week Curriculum with Princess M next year.   It will mean quite a bit of printing and laminating with contact paper.  I don't know if I will print out all the activities in color.  That might get a bit pricey.  I may print some in black and white and let the girls color some of them for Princess M before I laminate them.

Here's what we did this week:

Princess E - 6th Grade - Dialectic
Contined working on a review sheet I put together to study for the year four D level exam.  She's taking her own sweet time - but she's going to have to speed up.
Science:  Lessons 17-26.  Took a quiz on Rocks and Minerals.
IEW:  We completed lesson 11 on taking notes from different sources.  They each completed three individual paragraphs.  We began lesson 12 - which is a continuation of lesson 11.  They each had to pick three sources and make a list of possible topics.  Then they had to make a KWO for three topics.  They will take these three topics and write a three paragraph essay.

Princess S - 4th Grade - UG
Growing With Grammar 4: Chapter 8.8 - Chapter 8 review
Science and IEW:  same as above
Princess L - K - LG
MFW First Grade: Lessons 117-123. (We will complete lesson 124 on Monday and end for the year.  She will have read through the OT in her Bible Reader.)
Calculadder:  Book 1 Level 3
Explode the Code Book Two: Finished the book


TOG Year 4 Week 35

 This was our last formal week of our Tapestry Studies.  Week 36 is, for the most part, a review of the year (for Princess E) and a review of the unit (for Princess S).  We are supposed to read Revelations, but we are going to hold off on that for now.  We have to do our annual CAT testing on the 27th - which will be our last official day for the 2010-2011 school year.

Princess E - 6th Grade - Dialectic
Latin for Children Primer A: Done
Math-U-See Epsilon: She finally finished lesson 8 and lesson 9 seemed to go better.  She will take the test for that and then the Unit test that I realized I forgot to give her after lesson 8 (blush.)
IEW:  We will be finishing the last few lessons over the next two week.
Foundations 1:  Done
MCT Language Arts: Done
Practice Island: Finished the last 10 sentences - Done
McCrabbs: Done
Science:  See IEW above
TOG Yr4 Wk35: Timeline; SAPs; AQ/TQs; Reading - Mao Zedong's china; Homeland: The Illustrated History of Israel; The Making of Modern Africa; Raising Dragons.

Princess S - 4th Grade - UG
Growing With Grammar 4: Chapter 8.5-8.7
Math-U-See Delta: Lesson 9
IEW, MCT Language Arts, McCrabbs and Science: same as above
TOG Yr4 Wk35: Quizlet vocab; important people; SAPs; Reading - All the People; Countries of the Middle East; Falling Up.
Princess S has a few lessons of Grammar left and a literature SAP.  Then she is done except for science and IEW. 

Princess L - K - LG
MFW First Grade: Lessons 110-116.
Math-U-See Alpha: She is going to do the online drill a couple times a week through the summer but I decided just to stop before lesson 8.
Calculadder:  Book 1 Level 2 was just passed on Wednesday and she started Level 3.
Explode the Code Book Two: Lesson 10
I haven't decided yet where we will end.  I'm thinking we will go one more week.  I knew when I switched curriculum after the first quarter that we wouldn't make it through, but I'm happy with the progress that has been made so far.

Princess M - PreTOGger
I think Princess M is quite excited for us all to end for the summer because it will give her sisters more free time to play with her. 


Kid Funnies

Princess S:  Hey Mom, can animals get sickness?  You know - like fevers or dyslexia?

Me:  Do you know what dyslexia is?  It has to do with not being able to read normally.  Animals can't read, so they can't get dyslexia.

Princess S:  Oh yeah.


Field Trip

Seeing as how this week's topic is the presidency of Barak Obama, I thought the opportunity we had today was too good to pass up.  There was a tax rally on the steps of the capitol in my state.  There were many speakers, but the highlight was listening to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  Though she is not our direct representative - we choose to lay claim to here just the same as she does represent our state.  She is a breath of fresh air to listen to.  Both of the princesses seemed rather bored and said they didn't understand much of what was going on, we did have a good conversation on the way home about why we went.  We talked about how our freedom in America comes with responsibility; and that in order to preserve that freedom for themselves in the future, they need to pay attention to what is going on in the government and peaceably speak out when it is in the wrong.  We acknowledged that without changes in the way that our government is functioning, they will perhaps experience some of the atrocities we have read about this year.

Tax Rally

TOG Year 4 Week 34

It really is a weird coincidence that we were studying the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency.  Hoopla of this past week has made this week's studies much closer to home.  Princess E and S were so young when 9/11 happened.  Yet, they have been impacted by it as all of us have been.  No matter what your stance is on how things went down, or whether there is closure given in photographic form, the truth is that God has orchestrated all things to come together for His purposes.  And we rejoice that His plans have included a modicum of retribution for those directly affected by 9/11.

Princess E - 6th Grade - Dialectic
Latin for Children Primer A: She has finished this book and I am getting it ready to be used next year with Princess S
Math-U-See Epsilon: Working on lesson 8 - still.  It's a matter of not rushing through for her.  It's been a busy week and she's been in a hurry to finish, but that doesn't get you out of corrections, as this princess is learning.
IEW:  We are going to take a break from this to finish our TOG studies, then take the last two weeks of May to finish our IEW, MCT and science.
Foundations 1:  -ED (dropped e)
MCT Language Arts: See IEW above
Practice Island: Sentence 86-90
McCrabbs: We have now finished book A.  We will not start book B until next fall.
Science:  See IEW above
TOG Yr4 Wk34: Timeline; SAPs; AQ/TQs; Reading - The War in Iraq; Homeland: The Illustrated History of Israel; Idiot's Guide; Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelo; . Read Aloud - SOTW 4.

Princess S - 4th Grade - UG
Growing With Grammar 4: Chapter 8.2-8.4
Math-U-See Delta: Lesson 8
IEW, MCT Language Arts, McCrabbs and Science: same as above
TOG Yr4 Wk32: Quizlet vocab; important people; SAPs; Reading - All the People; Countries of the Middle East; September 11, 2001; Falling Up. Read Aloud - same as above.

Princess L - K - LG
MFW First Grade: Lessons 103-109.
Math-U-See Alpha: Continue lesson 7 +2  - We added in the online drill at Math-U-See. 
Calculadder:  Book 1 Level 2
Explode the Code Book Two: Lesson 9

Princess M - PreTOGger
One of Princess M's favorite shows to watch is Little Einsteins.  She knows the theme song by heart and is so funny to watch when it is on.  I like this show because it combines art and music throughout the show.  But she also still has an affinity for "Monkey George" as she calls him.  She usually gets to watch one half hour show while I work on the first part of Princess L's school.