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.

Noun's Birthday - by Princess S

Princess S had an assignment in her Grammar Town book.  Each character could only speak what they were.  Here is what she came up with.   I tried to leave in the mistakes, including the most glaring one at the very end.

Noun's Birthday

     One day it was Noun's birthday.  She invited her three best friends Verb, Interjection, and Adjective.
     "Guys!" Noun waved to them and pointed to a three layered cake.
     "Run," said Verb when the pinata fell down.
     "Cool," squealed Adjective.
     "Candy," said Noun. 
     Soon it was time for games.  "Yes!" shouted Noun's mother, also called Interjection, when she won a game of Monopoly.
     Then it was time for cake.  Noun's mother brought out the chocolate three layered cake.  Adjective started drooling.  "Chocolate," she said slowly.
      "Blow, blow, blow, blow," chanted Verb.
     Noun said, "Mom?  Candles?"
     "Yes, I almost forgot."  Noun's mother brought out the candles, and Noun blew on them.  
     Everyone tried to sing happy birthday, but they couldn't.  So they just hummed the song.  That, my friends, is the story of noun's birthday.


Well, Now I Know . . .

that Princess M is allergic to fish.  She's had it before - and always spits it out.  We always require them to eat at least a bite of everything though.  She's never had a reaction.  Tonight, however, was different.  She broke out in welts and her lower lip swelled up.  She started itching her face like crazy.  Her nose was stuffed and runny at the same time, and her eyes were so swollen shut she looked Asian.  So we made a trip to Urgent Care and now she's flying high from an Epi pen shot and Prednisone.  Poor thing - but she was none the worse.  She was laughing and silly even while trying to itch her skin off.  And Princess L is now very jealous that her little sister no longer has to eat fish.


"Not" Back to School Blog Hop: Day in the Life

After the past week - I don't know that it's fair to say any day is much like the other.  Despite my best efforts, my crew is barely able to keep a schedule.  We are trying hard, however.  This past week really threw us off - with a funeral and with Princess L being sick all week.  But - tomorrow begins another week.  And I have high hopes!

Our schedule really isn't the same every day of the week.  Mondays we will be doing our two family IEW/TOG co-op and Princess M will have ballet.  Wednesdays, Princess E will have her LLC class and we will all have things going on at church in the evening.  Thursdays will be piano lessons for Princesses E, S and L.  Princess S has a mentor that she meets with once every two weeks, and we've not yet set a time in stone for that.  I spent lots of time working on a schedule that we count as our goal - but it is only that - a goal.  If we make half the time frames in any given day - I'd call that a good day!

Here is our general layout for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: (Sorry it's so small - can't get it bigger.  I think if you click the image you can get it enlarged.)

3rd 2011_2012 School Daily Schedule

Not Back to School Blog Hop


When You Just Don't Understand

This has been a tough week.  We had a funeral for one great-grandmother.  The other great-grandmother suffered a badly shattered broken leg and high risk surgery.  Princess L has been under the weather for three days.  We've had some difficult issues going on in our family.  And just tonight I learned some shocking news that makes me want to shout "Why God?!  It's not fair, God!  What are you thinking, God?" 

For me, when I just don't understand, all I seem to be able to do is cling to that which I know from my experience.  I'm beginning to think, however, that it is the clinging to what I know through experience that is keeping me from growing.  If God were in a nice neat box, and if His plans lined up with mine, and if I were faithful to that which I know I ought to do - perhaps I would understand.  But God cannot be contained, and His plans are beyond understanding, and I can never be faithful enough.  So I am left with my prayers and questions, and instead of clinging to my experience, I will cling to the Truth - the Word of God.  And His promises are new every morning, and His plans are to prosper me (and my family and friends) and not to harm us, and He is the same yesterday as He was today and will be tomorrow.   The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away.  Blessed be the LORD!


Kid Funnies - Yet Again

Yesterday, the little two princesses were playing with the 5 year old neighbor boy.  They all decided to put on a play (as that is what my big two princesses were doing with his older sister.)  So the girls went into their rooms to put on costumes and he ran home to get his super hero costume.  For some reason though, he ran back to our house and decided to change in our bathroom rather than just putting it on at home.  After a minute I hear the bathroom door open and he walks out - in his birthday suit.  Princess M came out of her room at just that moment, took one look at him standing there facing her and said, "He has a toe on his butt!"  I think you can gather what she was looking at.  I quickly ushered him back into the bathroom and Princess M ran into Princess L's room and repeated, "(Name withheld to protect the guilty) has a toe on his butt!"  And Princess L looked at her and said, "Now (Princess M), you know you should not make fun of him like that.  You might hurt his feelings!" 


Our First Week of 2011/2012

Well, today we completed the first week of the 2011-2012 school year.  My mind is awash with things we need to change!  Actually, I knew going in to our schedule there would have to be some changes and I'm surprised we don't have to make more.  Here is our first week in pictures (thought I'd amaze some of you that I actually remembered to take pictures!)

Here is Princess M (who gets my time first thing in the day) making her letter of the week - an 'A'.

While I was working with Princess M, Princess S was doing this:

Notice, she isn't using the chair.  She has a thing about chairs - either she avoids them or finds ways to sit on them that no one has ever thought of before.

Later, she was doing this:


This was also our first week back to piano after an eight week hiatus.

While Princess S was on the piano, Princess L was working with me.


Meanwhile, Princess M had some room time.  She decided to make herself a new bed using a clothes hamper.


Princess E was working independently during these morning hours.

After lunch, Princess M got the idea that the play house needed washing.

Princess L lost another tooth - her fifth.

Also after lunch, Princess E had an open house meeting for her online class.  She was learning how to use the software and the headset and microphone.

So that there was less noise in the room while Princess E was online, I had Princess S go through some math review flashcards with Princess L.
Finally, Princess E had to do three science experiments this week.  The first, the top photo, was testing density.  The bottom photos are to show what a chemical reaction is.  She was really enjoying them - but her clean up left a bit to be desired.

We only did half of our subjects.  We will not be doing TOG for another two weeks.  So we are easing into school.  But, I think it was a good first week.  Now we're gearing up for the second.


"Not" Back to School Blog Hop - School Room Week

I've posted photos of our room last year, and to be honest not much has changed.  I purchased a three level book shelf to put next to my desk.  I've had to add baskets to my Ikea Billy bookshelf in order to accommodate more books.  I've moved around a few posters.  The biggest change really has been lowering our desk tables and using regular chairs instead of stools. 

Here is the front half of the room.


A close up of my desk area.

Another addition this year is milk crates.  Each princess has a milk crate that contains every thing that they will need for school (Princesses E & S) or that I will need to do school with them (Princesses L & M.)  The two pictured here are for Princess L and Princess M.  It is next to our library book basket.  Also in the shot is a bin with file folders and page protectors, our file bin that has all of our TOG student sheets divided out by week and level, and our Math-U-See blocks.


A close up of the book shelf and Accountable Kids boards.

Moving around the room, we have our couch for reading (or napping.) 


(I have no idea why the above picture won't center on the page.)  Our second book shelf is mostly for notebooks.


Next we have our desk tables.  Yes - there are only two of them.  For now, Princess L and Princess M will only be working at the kitchen table with me.  Princess E and  Princess S use these desk tables - some of the time.  In reality, they are all over the house - which is one reason for the milk crates.  I have no idea how I'm going to work this room out when we have need of four desks.


(You will notice the other two milk crates under the table.  Princess S was on a red kick - and has picked out red everything this year.  At least we'll know which stuff is hers!)  Finally we have our piano.  I got rid of the shoe rack that used to hold our workboxes.  It became badly needed as it's primary job - as a shoe rack in our coat closet.  So I moved this wheeled plastic file cabinet out of my bedroom and filled it with learning toys and activities that I can pull out and let Princess M do when she gets bored.


Truth be told, we school anywhere in the house that we can.  I've got a few princesses that have to sing while they work, a princess that cannot have any noise when she works, and all of them seem to be unable to do any work at all in their bedrooms.  So it is always a compromise for someone whether we have it quiet or have singing going on.  Thanks for taking a peak at our little slice of the world!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


2011/2012 Curriculum Choices

Well, I sorta jumped the gun in order to join this blog hop.  I've been posting these plans over several weeks.  So I figured I'd just link up to my posts.

I have four girls:

Princess E is 12 and going into 7th grade.  Plans for Princess E are found here.
Princess S is 10 1/2 and going into 5th grade.  Plans for Princess S are found here.
Princess L is 6 1/2 and going into 1st grade.  Plans for Princess L are found here.
Princess M is almost 4 and going into preschool.  Plans for Princess M are found here.

For anyone who doesn't want to take the time to click through for details, you can click the Curriculum tab up at the top.

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Homemade Student Planner

I searched and searched for the perfect planner. Or at least, for the planner that I had in my head. And I just couldn't find it. So I decided to create my own student planner for my eldest two princesses. Here's what I did:

Had to stick with a patriotic theme.  It's one of my favorites.

The first page lists her computer information for sites she needs for school.  It lists the daily meeting agenda we will follow.  I found some neat plastic dividers with folders on each side.

The first section is an annual calendar and monthly calendars that are specific to our schedule.  I got these from The Old Schoolhouse Planner.  I bought the e-book version that is editable.  Yet even with all the choices, I still had to create my own pages!

The next section has our individual lesson plans to schedule from.  I still use HST+ to schedule from.  But because my goal, which is described in the Tapestry of Grace curriculum, is that they will be able to schedule their own work, I am trying something new this first quarter.  I printed out the list of assignments that they have for the first quarter.  They can decide how much of each subject to schedule each week.  They can follow my suggestion which will give them an even amount of work each week, or they can go hog wild with one subject and finish the quarter's assignments in four weeks and have five weeks off if they so desire!  As I said, it's an experiment - so I'll let you know how that goes.


The next section has the pages they will use to fill in their schedule.  Each page is individualized to what they will be using this year.  Our week begins on Friday, and I included a column for the weekend in case they decide to schedule some work on the weekend.  (I know, I know - a homeschool mom can dream, can't she?)

The next section is for their Grammar program to check off the sentences as they complete them and correct them.

The last section is an informational section that I thought might be helpful to them.  It is again from The Old Schoolhouse Planner.

They are actually quite excited to begin using these.  This will be a second year for Princess E in having her own planner and scheduling her own work.  Princess S will be learning this skill this year.  My prayer is that it will help them both to be a bit more organized, and that I will be able to focus more time on my younger students as a result.

The Best Ideas Come in the Middle of the Night

So because it came to me in the middle of the night, the other day I had to act on it.  So take a look at what I ordered to come as a notepad.

Bathroom Cleaning Checklist

I ordered these from Vistaprint. Princess E and I got a good laugh when, after I placed my order, they conveniently offered me my design on a t-shirt. And while we laughed about it, I seriously considered it. Because you know they are going to misplace the notepads.

I ordered two fifty sheet notepads, one for each bathroom, and I will attach a pen on a string to the back of the notepad. Then when they do their bathroom cleaning chores each morning, they can check off each chore as they do it. No more excuses for not "remembering" all of the steps.

I'm considering designing one for cleaning each room of the house.